It’s extremely cold here in the UK now, and every time cold weather comes, I forget how much I dislike the winter season until it’s too late. I know it brings in a new year (as well as a whole new anime season), but January, in my eyes, still sucks. But with a new year, […]
The post Nonon’s Otaku Theater: Winter Anime 2021, Week 1 appeared first on TheOASG.
It’s extremely cold here in the UK now, and every time cold weather comes, I forget how much I dislike the winter season until it’s too late. I know it brings in a new year (as well as a whole new anime season), but January, in my eyes, still sucks. But with a new year, here’s hoping that, with a vaccine out, things will get a lot better. I suppose all we can do is be patient.
So let’s get started…and this season is something highly unusual, with more sequel seasons of popular franchises than the lesser-known shows I normally tend to pick.
Otherside Picnic Episode 1 & 2
Episodes of Otherside Picnic come out on Mondays, and so I’ve had to kick off my coverage of the show by looking at the first two episodes. But you know, compared to the other two seasonal shows I’m watching this season, I was expecting…less from this one, and so I’m quite delighted to see that it’s started off much better than I thought it would…I think? Maybe I just needed to be in the right frame of mind to watch it.
There are two people labelled as ‘main characters’ here, but I see a lot of focus will be on Sorao, the college loner. She’s someone who prefers her own company, enjoying her hobby of researching urban legends and horror stories. Maybe the focus on her will change as we get to know more about the other ‘main character’ Toriko. In this opening episode, we learn next to nothing about her, why she is so interested in the Otherside, and why she keeps guns on her. She is definitely hiding a lot of personal stuff, but as she now considers Sorao a ‘partner-in-crime’, maybe she’ll open up to her more.
In the second episode, she is dragged along to see an expert Toriko knows, and then brought along back to the Otherside to find her friend once more. And we see that Sorao feels like more of a hanger-on, and not a ‘partner-in-crime’. Toriko has a background in the Otherside, has all of these connections and so on, and she feels like she’s only brought along because of her eye, which has mysteriously turned blue and can be used to defeat these urban legends/monsters. I feel a lot of sympathy towards her, as I’d probably be feeling the same thing. She has no reason to be there, and she just wants to go back to her old solitary life. Opposites attract maybe, and so this Sorao x Toriko relationship may well be something like that.
It’s all rather fascinating and all, so why do I feel so conflicted?
I’ll admit now that I had an awful lot of apprehension going into this show. I knew it would dabble in science-fiction and action, but as I watched the first few minutes, I really didn’t know what to think. The idea of there being a scary parallel dimension is hardly original, especially in spooky thriller shows, and I don’t really have any objections with the character design so far. I mean Sorao isn’t anyone you can really dislike right now. So what do I really find so conflicting here? Is it the execution of the story? Is it that there was so much we could have discovered in the opening episode but was deliberately left out? There’s just something that just doesn’t sit right for me here. Don’t get me wrong, I want Otherside Picnic to be a good show, and it certainly has the potential to be one, but so far I’m not entirely sold. These are just the first two episodes after all, and maybe a lot more will make sense in future weeks to come. Here’s coming they will bring a lot more to the table.
Saying all of that though, the first moments have Toriko refer to Sorao as Ophelia, which I thought was interesting, and maybe could give off the idea that Otherside Picnic is in fact more than what it seems. If you don’t know, Ophelia is a character in Hamlet, Prince Hamlet’s potential wife in fact, who ends up going insane and eventually drowns. I remember watching Lost for the first time and not anticipating how deep and meaningful it would get. Sorao kind of comes across as an Ophelia to me; a lonely person who can easily lose her mind in a scary parallel dimension like this, and eventually do something rash. Will we be getting something deep and meaning here, or am I just overthinking this and holding out for hope too much? I guess we’ll see.
Yuru Camp season 2 Episode 1
So here is the one show I had been anticipating so much. We all knew that a second season of Yuru Camp was coming, and now that it’s finally here, we can all feel warm and fuzzy again…and it’s like they never left. These 5 dorks are still making the time they have in the cold winter season by either solo camping or being in the Outdoor Activities Club.
Alright, that gif might be from the very first Yuru Camp episode, but as I say, it’s like nothing’s changed at all from way back when. Our first episode of the new season starts by going back in time with a young Rin, who has been sent camping gear by her grandfather who doesn’t use it anymore. She seizes on the idea of solo camping, and as with any first-timer, makes a ton of mistakes. If you look at the Rin of today compared to the Rin of then, it’s like they are two different people. Even still, this really did set the tone of the new season.
And yes, the talking pine cones do make a return. There was no way they couldn’t bring them back.
With the New Year coming, the rest of the show goes on what each of them plan to do. While they all have their own separate plans (and Chiaki has to suffer working the whole week, because of course everyone goes to the liquor store over the New Year), it appears that they’re gearing up for another massive group camping trip, similar to the one at the end of season 1.
The sub-genre of iyashikei is something I’d only heard about recently, and I had no idea what it exactly meant. I talked about it a week or two ago, but basically it goes on the idea of more humble slice-of-life shows, set in calming and soothing environments, as opposed to the hustle and bustle of your average and non-descript high school. Non Non Biyori (which also has a new season this Winter) can be put in this group, along with Flying Witch and a couple of others. Heck, I even think the more post-apocalyptic Girls’ Last Tour can count too, since it’s basically two girls peacefully on their own in a wasteland.
But Yuru Camp really is a milestone iyashikei show, and I only wish that even more people paid attention to it. Maybe some anime followers prefer non-stop action, or lovey-dovey romance, or colorful magical girls, but a show like Yuru Camp can be something we can tune into and just relax, especially now in this cold Winter season. Oh, this really is going to be a fun watch.
The Promised Neverland season 2 Episode 1
Season 1 of The Promised Neverland didn’t made it to my top 5 in 2019, and the reason wasn’t because I didn’t like it, but it was that I found other shows more enjoyable to watch at the time. I rewatched it over Christmas & New Year and I’ve come to appreciate it much more. I also realized so many other things I never saw before. You see, one big draw that some might not have noticed with season 1 was that there was always something happening in each episode, with not a single filler. Whether it would be Emma, Norman and Ray putting together one idea to escape, or Isabella finding out something, or anything else…we would always be on the edge of our seats wondering what’ll happen next. This especially worked with each episode end; we’d get a big shock or event that would jeopardize the escape. So now the older children have left the house and are in the big open world, what is there to happen? Well, there’s the younger children to save, of course.
This big open world is beautiful and unforgiving at the same time. The children have their freedom now, but at the cost of being chased by the demons, who could be anywhere. All they have is the pen Norman left behind, and the messages hidden in books from an unknown person called William Minerva. They are clearly putting too much naïve faith into this one person who may or may not be willing to help them, but sadly that’s the only lead they have. With Emma and Ray being the leaders of the group, a lot of responsibility is now on them not just to keep the rest of the family alive, but to keep morale up.
Let’s not forget that both Emma and Ray are suffering from massive wounds after cutting an ear off in the last season. It’s only when they find themselves in serious trouble when outside help comes to them. But who are these two? What do they really want? And why are they so willing to help the children? So far, this second season of The Promised Neverland is carrying on with the tradition of season 1, where we won’t be getting filler episodes and are left on the edges of our seats with shock endings, leaving us desperate to know more. Like now, for instance; I really really want to know who these two are.
So while season 1 was focused solely on the false paradise of the orphanage, this second season has to find new focus, in surviving in this open and free world that is totally alien to the children. This season will definitely be something a lot of anime followers will want to get hooked into, and not just the people who devoted their time to how they escaped the orphanage in the first place. While season 1 didn’t make my top 5 of 2019, who is to say that this second season will make 2021’s list?
A Lull In The Sea Episode 1
So now to the off-season pick. P.A Works had gotten its feet wet (no pun intended) with popular shows like Angel Beats!, Hanasaku Iroha and The Eccentric Family. I thought it was quite interesting to see a newbie studio (literally – they were founded in 2000) focus more on original work than on adaptations. There was always the chance that more shows that would really suck would come out of them, sure…and there were too (both Glasslip and last season’s The Day I Became A God got a lot of mixed reviews). Won’t go into them though, as we’re here for A Lull In The Sea.
I can’t even remember the last time I dipped into this show. It actually was still going just before I had joined The OASG as well, back in 2014. I think I had gotten to the point where the sea village folk were beginning to spend much more time on the surface. I know why they do, but for the sake of the people who don’t know the show, I won’t spoil anything.
But let’s go into episode 1. Four children from the sea (Hikari, Manaka, Chisaki, and Kaname) are forced to transfer to a middle school on the surface when their own school shuts down. Considering how much division there already is with the sea people and the surface people (that is what I will refer to them as from this point on), this worries them a lot. I know a lot more divisive things come in the future, on both sides. The elders in the sea people are already angry (as well as a little self-righteous), and believe these surface people don’t deserve the time of day. Meanwhile, the surface people are for the most part not that knowledgeable about them, they still treat their opposites with hatred and fear. The fifth main character, surface boy Tsumugu, finds the sea people (and the ‘ena’ skin they have) fascinating.
These four childhood friends appear to be a tight-knit bunch who all look out for each other fine enough…but it hasn’t taken me long at all for me to have an opinion on Hikari. I don’t know if it’s just an excessive amount of teenage adolescence here, but it’s only episode 1 and I already want to slap him. He yells at everyone, and takes his frustrations out on Manaka, the surface people, and his family, but especially Manaka. Because his father is Shioshishio’s chief priest to the Sea God, he will eventually become Chief Priest too, and so I don’t know if that might be a factor in all this. Hikari doesn’t really look like the type of person who would want to live a traditional and humble life in Shioshishio; he seems like someone who wants to live a regular life.
There’s going to be a lot that will need explaining each week, as A Lull In The Sea is such a detailed show, and has built a very large and sometimes complex world. Viewers are told (via Hikari’s narration) about how the sea people and surface people separated long ago, about how he feels responsible for Manaka (despite refusing to show it), and much more. Having such detail has not detracted me from watching it though, however I know that when each week comes, there will be so much I have to remember.
Wow, that was a long column post. Hey, it’s week 1, so forgive me. But there’s so much I can talk about in each one of the shows I’m watching this season; I worry that these weekly posts will end up getting longer than necessary.
But this Winter season will have a lot of shows (both sequels and otherwise) to keep us entertained, so what are your picks? Which sequel seasons have you picked? There are a lot of them, so I’m sure there’s something. Feel free to hit that like button and air your opinions in the comments below!
The post Nonon’s Otaku Theater: Winter Anime 2021, Week 1 appeared first on TheOASG.