A teenage hikkimori is saved through the power of cute lolis.
I don’t trust this series. I just don’t trust this series. Alarm bells started ringing the moment I read the description on Anichart:
Kyou Mekui is a high school student who tends to skip school due to a trauma in his past. Kyou secretly creates songs using vocal song synthesis software as his hobby. Three girls who just entered fifth grade — the crybaby Jun “Jun-tan” Gotou, the strong-willed Nozomi “Zomi” Momijidani, and the somewhat sleepy Sora “Kuu” Kaneshiro who takes life at her own pace — email Kyou. These three girls, who were raised together like sisters since childhood, want Kyou to help them break into music.
There’s no real reason those girls needing his help should be fifth graders, rather than high school girls his own age, but there has been a minor wave of heartwarming stories starring little children rehabilitating much older people like Usagi Drop or Amaama to Inazuma, so I tried it out to see if it was one of those, or whether it would be something more problematic. The first episode was actually decent, starting off showing Kyou’s daily life and how his nominal class mates think about him, before he’s introduced to the three girls. Even when there are a few dodgy camera close ups of the girls, there are at least no panty shots, but then this shit happens. They ask him to help them plan a concert and in order to entice him, each of the girls says that he can have their way with them and then the episode ends.
And then in episode two we get the same scene again, but then ha ha it turns out they’re actually talking about their instruments, isn’t that hilarious? So you not only get a pedo joke, but a copout pedo joke, as the show has its cake and eats it too. It doesn’t look like it wants to go the route of oh la la sexy grade school girls harem, but it is clearly comfortable of toying with that route, only to swerve at the last moment. And what with the dress up scene, where each of the girls dresses up as a different kink — gym uniform, school swimsuit, naked apron — most of my trust is gone. Doesn’t help that they’re walking stereotypes either: the shy, cute one, the energetic standoffish one, the sleepy emotionless one. I actually like the central plot setup and it could be decent, but not with all this pedo bait.
Quick, who ordered the season of utterly generic trapped in fantasyland anime?
Look at this dude, just look at him. Black hair, bland face, even more bland personality. Is there a more generic protagonist imaginable? Even his clothing, freshly bought in the fantasy world he reincarnated in, looks like a school uniform. Anime viewers may complain about all the Isekai/Trapped in Fantasyland series we’ve gotten the past few years, but the reality is that series like Grimgar, KonoSuba, Re:Zero and even much maligned Swords Arts Online are the cream of the crop. The other ninety percent as covered by Sturgeon’s Law, the series that don’t make it out of the light novel or manga series it started in, is much more like this. Bland, generic and lacking even the bite that SAO did deliver.
I’ve read so many of these series and they’re all exactly like this one. Some hapless fool (always a dude, almost never a girl) gets killed in some sort of accident, God or a reasonable fascimile takes pity on him and reincarnates him in some fantasy world, complete with some god level crack cheat to make up for his troubles. Sometimes he gets to redo his life the hard way, starting from scratch as a baby (as in this season’s Knight’s & Magic (sic)), but usually he’s dumped straight into the world as he was. At any rate, we then get to spent some chapters with him exploring just exactly what his cheat power is, as well as figuring out the inevitable game like status menu, while our protagonist also rescues or encounters the first of what will turn out to be a long line of damsels in distress who end up falling for him. In the process legions of low level fantasy monster scrubs are wasted, as well as the occassional human bully. Once the hero and the damsel reach civilisation, the next step is for him to register with the adventurers guild, so he can spent the rest of the story doing quests for which he is once again ridiculously overpowered. There may or may not be some demon lord lurking in the background, but even if there is, there’ll be dozens of chapters of protagonist-kun just puttering around having not particularly interesting adventures and gathering a harem of various archetypical fantasy girls. Important is that the hero is never actually challenged or in any real danger.
And that’s what you’re getting here. Combined with less than stellar animation, there’s literally nothing here that’s interesting or not generic. It’s so generic that it becomes interesting agai– naah, not really.
Could a rag tag bunch of high school girls save their home town from amalgamation through putting on a hero show?
When a hero show is cancelled, Kise Mikan decides to stage one herself to cheer up her little sister, who had been looking forward to it so much. She recruits Akagi An, a sporty, athletic class mate and together they work out a show. Meanwhile the student council president and resident rich girl, Shirogane Misaki, is looking for ways to save their home town Hinano City from having to fuse with a neighbouring town. Shirogane stumbles across Kise’s and Akagi’s efforts and is impressed by their work, and moreso by the nation wide attention her video of their performance gets online. So she decides what Hinano City needs is its own regular hero show and drafts the other two into her plans…
I had no idea what Action Heroine Cheer Fruits would be before I saw the first episode, but what I got reminded me a bit of Rolling Girls, if only because the hero show in the first episode reminded me of the hero fight in that series. No road trip here though, but rather we get a topic of perennial anxiety in modern day Japan, the depopulation of the countryside and seemingly any town smaller than Tokyo and how to reverse this. There have been a fair few series recently where this was either part of the background or even driving the plot, as in the still airing Sakura Quest, so it’s not a far stretch to have a group of school girls try to save their town through hero shows…
I always like this sort of cheerful, upbeat show, whether or not anything actually happens in them. Having an actual plot just makes it that much better, though I do hope it doesn’t devolve in the usual anime antics, which the ending to the second episode, with the introduction of a villain/rival type character seemed to hint at.
“Yes, she was … the bullied girl” — but actually this is all about how we two kept watching the bullying and felt really sorry for her but moreso for ourselves for not being able to do anything.
This started strong and then it ended because it turned out to be only nine minutes long, which was just long enough to set up the situation but not to do anything about it. And so much misery is heaped upon poor Minori-chan it isn’t funny. Not only is she poor, but she has a weak constitution and her parents are dead, so the rest of the class bullies her. Bullying is not a new subject in anime of course, but it’s unusual to see it as it’s portrayed here; is this an actual bit of social criticism? In my anime? The posters shown above and the ineffectual teacher trying to get anybody to lend Minori a pencil after somebody stole her pencil case during a test seem to hint that this is indeed a more realistic bullying story, not just the usual sob story to make us sympathise with a character.
The nominal protagonists themselves are not that interesting yet. Their dilemma of wanting to help Minori but not wanting to go against the class hierarchy is familiar and relatable. But I think this may have worked better had this been the first half of a normal length episode, rather than having to wait a whole week or more to see what, if anything the two will do to help Minori.
let’s look at three short length manga based series I’ll probably won’t keep following:
Aho Girl: an idiot girl shouts until her long suffering, abusive childhood friend snaps again and hits her. That’s the joke. Oh, and she likes bananas. Really really likes bananas. But mostly it’s her shouting nonsense until his patience runs out and he puts her in a wrestling suplex. Having read the manga, this formula doesn’t change much but as other characters get introduced it gets extended somewhat, with Yoshiko’s idiocy rubbing of on others. Problem is that it was never particularly funny. The anime might change that but the first episode didn’t impress.
Netsuzou Trap: NTR is a trash fetish and adding yuri to it doesn’t change much. Two childhood friends go out for karaoke with their respective boyfriends, when the psycho lesbian one starts molesting our protagonist. It’s all abit creepy and unpleasant, not as enjoyable thrashy as Kuzu no Honkai and not as daring either. That actually had people having sex, here there’s only a bit of light anime style groping on the toilet. Had this been a full length episode, there might have been a bit more build-up of why we should care for these people, but now the boyfriends are just cyphers and the two girls not much better.
Tsurezure Children: like Aho Girl based on a four panel gag comic, this one features the love stories of several teenage couples, from the pure to the blatantly cynical. Problem is, with what seemed like a half dozen couples featured in the first episode and no reason to care for any of them, the actual stories are too slight to care about them. Some of them actively pissed me off in fact, like the somewhat rapey student council president forcing the cigarette smoking deliquent into kissing him. Not my humour.