For a Few Animé More…

So, a few more premieres, and a second episode or two. Well, one. I’m not touching either Casshern or Kurrogane. But Akane-iro is out, and before wrapping this up, we’ll see if it has been swallowed by the yawning pit of mediocrity.

First, some more first episodes, though. I’m not going to try to slot them in with the others, because they all have one thing in common: they’re horror stories, and I’ve discovered I don’t really have a strong interest in those.

Black Butler (Kuroshitsuji): Whomever put this down as a comedy was out of their mind. Yes, there’s some comedic elements, based around three inept servants to the young master, but it’s pretty obvious that this is a horror series, very much in the tradition of Edgar Allen Poe. It’s even got a 19th century feel to it — which is to be expected as it’s evidently set in 19th century Britain. One thing is absolutely clear — the butler, Sebastian, is not human, but supernatural. Whether he has his young “master’s” best interests at heart remains to be seen, and I suspect the answer may be no. This episode does “creepy” very well, giving me vibes reminiscent of The Cask of Amontillado. What you see isn’t what your getting, as becomes evident in the second half of the story…

Ga-rei Zero: In a word — bloodbath. Another horror show that doesn’t seem to match the descriptions at all. Monsters in Tokyo, and two (?) secret government agencies trying to fight them. I’m seeing some infighting and thought I was getting a pretty good grip on what appeared to be a fairly clichéd show. Bubblegum Crisis crossed with Ghost in the Shell, crossed with, um, I don’t know, a very dark, violent, and bloody Ghostbusters? Then the last five minutes hit… I’m really not sure what’s going on here after all, but I can tell you one thing… (big spoiler) they’re going to have to introduce a new cast in the second episode. We spend the show getting to know these people, some of whom are straight out of central casting…. and then they all die. Badly. WTF?

Chaos;Head: Taku isn’t just a messed-up teen about to end up with a harem of sorts, he’s seriously a seriously-delusional near-hikkimori in severe need of medication. And he (sort-of) thinks he’s in an ero-game, or rather, that he’s in serious danger from the women around him, who are obviously trying tricks on him from various ero games so they can make him the latest victim of their serial murders. The hardest part about this show is figuring out exactly where the line is between his fantasies, delusions, paranoia, and reality. Most of the time, it’s obvious. Sometimes, it isn’t….and that’s not helped by the fact that there really are some murders going on, and somehow, he got a web-link to pictures of one… the day before it happened. Mystery, cute girls, blood, and a protagonist who lives in a cargo container on the rooftop of a building. I don’t see A/C, how does he keep the computer from overheating? Horror with a whiff of comedy and ero-game pedigree.

Shikabanehime: Another horror series, and although it’s supposed to be about the Corpse Princess, it seems the plot (what there is of it) is going to follow Kagami, eldest of several children adopted by a Buddhist priest and (I presume) his wife. Secretly, the priest is supporting a dead girl in her fight against other corpses on the side. Unknown to anyone else, Kagami discovers this, but keeps it secret that he knows. He idolizes the priest as an older brother. Strangely, Kagami has no fear of death, corpses, or spirits, nor of the talking cat which keeps crossing his path whenever the girl does, but he still decides it’s time to move out. The set-up is taking it’s time, and I don’t have a good sense of where it’s going with the two protagonists. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.

As for Akane-iro, episode 2… well it’s not exactly a yawning pit of mediocrity yet, but it is a bit more ordinary. We learn a bit more about the background of the arranged marriage, and the reason they don’t recognize each other is because they’d never met. I was right about the parents too. It’s still a little offbeat; Katagiri is still a yandere, and it may well be that she hates him not so much for the mistaken kiss as for the fact that she’s against an arranged marriage to start with. Adding one to the other though, definitely hurt. And of course there was an accidental groping this episode. Looks like that’s going to be the problem every episode; the moment they start acting like there might be a thaw in the cold war, something contrived will happen and she’ll be on his case again.

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