First Impressions Lightning Round – Vatican Kiseki Chousakan | Dive!! | Konbini Kebashi | Action Heroine Cheer Fruits | 18if

Yep, five shows covered in one post. I personally prefer only grouping shows in pairs at most but the premieres piled up while I was busy with other stuff so I feel a post like this is necessary.

Vatican Kiseki Chousakan

Episode 1

I wouldn’t call Vatican Kiseki Chousakan offensive by any means but, on occasion, it does present the workings of the Vatican in a very campy tone.  I don’t really know if camp even is what the show is aiming for. The visuals are grimly colored and the dialogue is so dead serious that I’m fairly certain this is supposed to be a thriller. Instead, I couldn’t help but chuckle at just how over the top the show gets from time to time.

And I do mean “from time to time” because in between the more psychological or supernatural moments, the show is just plain boring. There is simply too much talking in this show; everyone spouts their backstories, philosophies, and deductive reasoning like they’re information kiosks at a museum.

Also, I don’t know if this is just me but the crew behind this show got way too obsessed with panning, zooming, and rotating shots. Rarely is there ever a a solid still shot for more than a handful of seconds. I wouldn’t mind it so much if it didn’t happen so frequently and without any real purpose. What does this really add to the show besides making the production look terribly misguided or incompetent?

Frankly, I don’t think I really need to see more of this. It’s weird and silly in a way that I could see myself watching from time to time but I do find the dialogue and direction too distracting for me to look past.

Dive!!

Episode 1

If I was impressed with Dive!!, I probably would joke that Free! now has some competition. But the truth is, I was actually really bored with this show. Frankly, I don’t fully understand Tomoki’s fear of diving or unwillingness to date girls but this show also didn’t really convince me that I need to care about his problems. A lot was thrown in this episode and yet somehow nothing about the story was compelling in the slightest. Even the presentation felt flat to me. None of the character designs are that distinguishable and the backgrounds are about as cookie cutter as it gets. I guess the animation looked pretty good when characters dive into the water but that’s really about it.

I don’t know what depresses me more: that this show is pretty unremarkable or that this is a NoitaminA show. And granted, NoitaminA isn’t really huge selling point like it used to be. The days of airing shows like Higashi no Eden or Kuragehime are more or less over (Kabaneri is a NoitaminA show for crying out loud) but to see something as soulless as Dive!! airing on the channel block is a reminder that it’s becoming a shell of its former self.

Konbini Kebashi

Episode 1 

No, this show isn’t about convenience stores personified as pretty boys. It’s just about couples hooking up at a convenience store and yes, it is as underwhelming as it sounds. I mean, it is a cute concept but you really have to go out of your way to make a convenience store look that romantic. It also doesn’t help that the chemistry between the boys and girls aren’t terribly interesting and there are apparently six pairings in this show. It was already tricky following two pairings; four more would really complicate things. I also have issues with the direction; sometimes it feels like the shot lingers for too long and a lot of the voice acting feels pretty flat to me.

Action Heroine Cheer Fruits

Episode 1

I don’t really get the title of this show (what even is a “Cheer Fruit”?) but I’m actually more stumped that I enjoyed this premiere a fair amount.

Make no mistake, this is as cutesy as cute girl shows can get but the premise is a little bit refreshing. I certainly can’t think of a show where girls act as heroic mascots for their hometowns to boost tourism. I also like Mikan (who resembles Kotori Minami an awful lot…) and Akagi a fair amount. The duality of an energetic girl and a socially reserved one is a common trope but it’s executed with a lot of charm in this premiere. It’s fun seeing them bond and work together to put on a fun show for Mikan’s little sister and while their show looked cheap, it did genuinely feel like they did their best.

There is some slight credibility issues going on in Action Heroine. Some of Akagi’s stunts look physically impractical and dangerous (how is it that no one got injured?). And I also do find it silly that Misaki, a student council president, is the one who proposes for a mascot project in her hometown. Like are student council presidents that involved in local business? Hopefully, this is like Love Live! where the events are goofy but the characters keep things modest and enjoyable.

Regardless, I’ll stick with Action Heroine for a little bit which is something I did not expect to say.

18if

Episode 1

Well this was….something. Granted, 18if isn’t actually that hard to follow. You more or less get that the main character, Haruto, is trapped in a dream loop constructed by witches and must fight his way through it. It’s just a very strange experience to sit through. Several frames are filled will all sorts of imagery and colors that it’s almost like Alice in Wonderland in terms of how dreamlike the setting gets. The visuals are easily the highlight of the show but I’m not quite sold on the story and characters. The witches are likely to be following a “monster of the week” format and something about Haruto’s nonchalant attitude towards his dilemma (even when he get injured) creates some dissonance between the viewer and the narrative.

I’ll stick through with this show for a little bit longer. It’s just weird enough for me to possibly get into but nonsensical fiction is something you have to really tread lightly. Sometimes they’re just weird for the sake of it.

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