I decided to mention briefly mention what I’m watching simulcast from Japan during this anime season. I’ll probably do something similar when with TV in general after the fall stuff starts showing. Two shows have managed to hold my attention this summer:
Kokoro Connect – This show is fascinating from the get-go. It’s about five friends, in high school, who start experiencing body swaps. The characters are distinctive and compelling enough to sell the notion that they’ve switched bodies. The cool thing is that the show uses the premise delve into the characters, and the characters are interesting enough to stand up to the scrutiny.
Further into the season it becomes obvious that character study is going to keep being a thing, and that the characters are going to be pushed. Their weaknesses, the things they don’t like about themselves, all of these things are going to be explored. So it’s interesting from a psychological point of view.
I was surprised at some of character decisions that the show made, but in a good way. Inaban’s issues as laid out in episode 4 struck a particular chord with me–the notion that you can just have this issue. Nothing happened to make you that way, it’s just how you are, and you don’t understand why. I think it’s a powerful thing to say, too, because there’s a heavy notion that problems have to have causes.
Note that some of the topics of discussion are probably not suitable for children. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Humanity Has Declined – This is a post-apocalyptic comedic fantasy, with weird elements thrown in. A girl is a UN ambassador to the fairy community in her village, but it’s much more rustic than it sounds, as this is in a rural setting. She deals with the fairies and with the implications of her community discovering old remnants of the previous culture of the world.
I wasn’t sure about it through most of the first episode, but by the second episode, I decided I liked it. This isn’t the most accessible series out there. TVTropes says it’s a widget, which is supposed to mean Weird Japanese Thing. Some of the plot devices remind me a bit of Written by a Kid, but more deliberate and more self-aware. I like it. It’s a little odd, but that isn’t a bad thing.
By the fifth episode, I’m decided that I like our main heroine and Assistant. The protagonist is generally well meaning, but she’s also very devious. These two qualities are usually thought of as incompatible, so it’s nice to see how they blend in this character. Assistant is awesome, in that he doesn’t talk or make any expressions on his face whatsoever, but you still get a sense of a character that’s actually very funny. He thinks very different from most people, and it’s expressed in different ways. The fairies are pretty whimsical, too.
Anyone else watching anything this summer?