Spring 2021 Anime Diary

A second entry? Somehow I’ve found it in me to do this again (though much delayed). I saddled myself with way too many shows again and became so overburdedened I wasn’t able to start quite a few of them until partway through the season, but here you go, my thoughts on some shows that caught my eye.

Mashiro no Oto#

A shamisen sports anime?!?! Well it’s mostly fairly standard fare with some nice characters that really caught my eye. Honestly it’s impressive how much character development for the core cast this show manages to fit in under it’s belt without straying too far from the central focus. Though this is a show primarly about the Setsu, the protagonist and his learning to play the shamisen not simply for himself or his idolization of his grandfather. Often to the point where he apes grandad’s shamisen playing, but to develop as his own person and to build relationships with those around him rather than closing himself off.

The show does a great job of establishing his classmates and setting them up as independent characters with their own interests and goals that come together for the sake of each other to form a shamisen club. Setsu’s family dynamics are also well explored between his domineering mother in Umeko, his father who’s never been around and an older brother who’s always had to clean up after his messes.

You’d think since I’ve yet to say anything about the actual shamisen playing, it’s probably ho-hum, but on the contrary it’s positively electrifying. The audio mixing and engineering work on this show is magnificent at capturing and conveying the mood and reverberations in the air from the shamisen playing. It’s absolutely enthralling and gripping and the visuals and audience reactions do their utmost to impress upon you every pluck of every string. I’m really looking forward to a season 2 for this with much anticipation.

Super Cub 💮#

Make no mistake, this show is straight up propaganda from the Honda Motor Company, but it’s charming as hell and super wholesome. Koguma is a young girl, living on her own, no parents, no money, only a meager scholarship that just barely covers her daily necessities in a small Japanese town. A taciturn loner, her life changes when struggling to bike uphill on the way to school one morning she sees another student whizz by on a scooter and wishes for a different life. This comes in the form of a used Super Cub that she finds for the bargain price of Â¥10,000, the purchase of which changes her life.

This show is directed with such a gentle touch, it takes its time showing you a solitary existence, taking you through the motions of a daily life. It focuses on a protagonist that has retreated entirely into herself, but whose life comes alive in moments of joy. Koguma’s blank expression and the show’s dull color palete inures the viewer and puts them in a similar contemplative trance, which is then punctuated and burst with a pop of brilliant color that brings her and the entire scene alive. These usually come in moments of simple joy of discovery or realization.

Very questionable health and safety concerns and some very wild rough housing on bikes aside, this is an excellent show and excuse me I need to purchase a Super Cub— speaking of where is the goddamn electric Cub you promised us Honda?

Sayonara Watashi no Cramer 💮#

A girls soccer anime? Hell yes. With a sterling main cast of characters that all get their moments to shine. While the animation during the actual soccer matches is limited, it’s used as effectively as one could hope for it to be. The majority of the runtime and animation is employed for character development and moments. Being an adaptation, it doesn’t get very far but ends with a promise of more to come. I’m excited for more of the manga to be adapted.

Seijo no Maryoku wa Bannou desu#

A very comfy concept deployed most comfily. While most isekai use the new world as a sandbox for adventure, this show takes its time opening up and introducing the main character, Sei, to the world and people around her. While she is the special savior summoned by the people of this world, there’s an utter humbleness about her and an adult desire to return home that natrually over time gives way to acceptance that this is her new home as she comes to love and care for her new family and friends.

Another thing I found quite effective is how the show plays with the viewer’s expectations in how it introduces antagonists. You naturally tend to put them as the viewer in the box of big meanies bullying our protagnist, only for the show to reveal that they’re extremely human and flawed and have their reasons for their actions. Even more so that they regret the inconvenience that they had to put Sei through, this doesn’t of course absolve them of these actions but does humanize them and lead the viewer to not seeing the world in absolutes like black or white.

All in all a very calming and relaxing show to unwind to week to week and I hope it gets a second season.

Bishounen Tanteidan#

SHAFT gonna SHAFT. Building on the tradition of visually hyper stylish shows, Bishounen Tanteidan is a SHAFT/Nisio Isin joint and it hits all the boxes you’d expect of that pairing. Our protagonist, Doujima Mayumi, is a girl thrust into the world of the pretty boy’s detective’s club and has to crossdress as a boy to blend in amongst their ranks. Each member has a unique title to represent their specific domain of expertise and peculair personalities to match.

Visual direction that keeps shaking things up and keeps the eyes engaged while an inordinate amount of plot exposition is dumped on the viewer via Isin’s character diagloue continues to be a hallmark of this combo. I honestly don’t know why I keep coming back to and being captivated like a moth to Nisio Isin’s works, they’re certainly not my favorite, but there’s an inescapable charm to me in anyone willing to do something so outside the norm. One could however certainly argue that this formula has been done to death and become it’s own subgenre in effect though.

Notable OPs and EDs#

OPs

  • Bishounen Tanteidan — “Shake & Shake” by sumika

EDs

  • Sayonara Watashi no Cramer — “Kuyashii Koto wa Kettobase (悔しいことは蹴っ飛ばせ)” by Mikako Komatsu