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Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu – 02

「これもひとつの青い春」 (Kore mo Hitotsu no Aoi Haru)
“This Is Another Springtime of Youth”

When an anime has a shaky but interesting first episode, it may be useful to continue to the second to see if it patches some of the holes. But if an anime had a perfectly fine pilot what does the discerning viewer, still browsing his or her seasonal options, look for in the followup? I’m thinking that most are, consciously or not, checking for consistency. It could well be an excellent pilot could well have been a fluke, or maybe even a bluff. Even if not, anime is no stranger to going all in on the first impression; it’s inevitable that more resources will be invested on the pilot. A good second episode, then is therefore a subtle indicator that the production team has thought things through a bit further and are going to maintain quality for the long haul. It also shows a certain level of competent storytelling, because second episodes are usually used for much needed but relatively mundane development, and being able to do that in an entertaining fashion shows good control of the medium.

With these considerations in mind, I would assign Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu a passing grade. Looking back on the pilot, it is evident that its writers have very carefully balanced both it and this episode so that it wouldn’t have to cram too much exposition into any one spot, keeping entertainment more consistent. In fact, I would say that we actually have more of it this week, thanks to comedy from an entirely shameless heroine. She’s quite the idiosyncratic one in general—who carries around a portfolio of their trivial accomplishments?—and sometimes even leans against the fourth wall (‘it is like the animators have miscoloured your face‘), but she doesn’t quite step over into slapstick goofiness. This is probably a good thing, because I think Shokomeza still intends to maintain a certain level of realism to its setting. Other characters manage to pick up her slack. Buntarou’s Friend A (Toyonaga Toshiyuki) makes a good attempt at hijacking the stage, thwarted only because his mates appropriately don’t bat an eyelash at his comical, breakup-induced misogyny. The one who actually steals the show is, as in the first episode, Yuuka, who injects disproportionate energy into any scene she waltzes into. Also, cheesecake! This is right in the middle of the usually fanservice-centric maid cafe visit. I guess Yuuka’s just going to be upstaging everybody in this show.

The neat thing is that we still got a fair bit of development as well. The last of the team, as foreshadowed in the OP, have been assembled. Andou Teruha (Akesaka Satomi) is likely the big-sister-type, and an otaku to balance against Sayuki. Uguisu ‘Hokekiyu’ Yuuki (Sato Satomi) is the shy junior who nonetheless aspires to drawing porn. So we have our entire major cast now, and we have a rough idea of each of their quirks, which means that the plot can start moving forward in earnest. I can imagine Shokomeza moving heavier into drama once we get through what can perhaps call the ‘common route’. In particular, Sayuki seems to have (had?) a brother who probably inspired her passion for the medium. And, I’m guessing, probably also forged her obssession with ‘winning’. Will other characters reveal a conflicted backstory too? We can only wait and see.

Looking ahead ~ this one’s a keeper

Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya no Mezasu is actually moving along faster than I expected—even though this episode was by no means fast by anime standards. I was actually somewhat fond of the almost lackdaisical pacing of the pilot, and I expected similar here. Instead, the team cast has assembled pretty much overnight, instead of in the at-least-three-episodes I would have personally predicted. To be fair, though, Buntarou’s two mates were already introduced last week, and we had a good look at Teruha as well, so it wasn’t a big deal to just sweep them into the, er, ‘Marketing Research Club’. More surprising is, perhaps, Buntarou’s enthusiasm for the project. We already know he’s, if nothing else, and enabler (for good or ill), but usually heroes, if we can call Buntarou that, are more reluctant to accept the call to adventure. Buntarou is instead, all aboard the hype train. Usually when a protagonist jumps at the call, it foreshadows some kind of disillusionment or some aesop about reckless haste.

None of that is a knock against the show; it’s just interesting to note. Overall, I think this episode was about as solid as the pilot, which is a good thing. I don’t know if I’m going to be covering it weekly, and we’ll sort things out here on RandomC when we start nailing down the schedule. But as far as watching goes, I don’t see Shokomeza going bad, and it’s likely safe bet for the season. And if you weren’t watching already, I can attach my recommendation with little hesitation.

 

ED Sequence

ED: 「世界は今日もあたらしい」 (Sekai wa Kyō mo Atarashii) by 千菅春香, 花澤香菜, 明坂聡美, 佐藤聡美 (Chigusa Haruka, Hanazawa Kana, Akesaka Satomi, Sato Satomi)

Preview

January 15, 2016 at 10:38 am
13 comments »
  • January 15, 2016 at 10:59 amNeoAnkara

    This lively cast is what I need this season. Also Atomu is like Gakuto + Moro.

  • January 15, 2016 at 1:26 pmTechim

    http://randomc.net/image/Shoujo-tachi%20wa%20Kouya%20wo%20Mezasu/Shoujo-tachi%20wa%20Kouya%20wo%20Mezasu%20-%2002%20-%20Large%2028.jpg
    The level of meta-reference is too damn high lol.

    Let’s see, did I get this right?
    An anime about making a visual novel, (Shokomeza)
    made a reference to a visual novel about an anime on making a visual novel (Saekano)
    (X_X)

    On the topic of Saekano, any of you heard about the upcoming release of the 2 Katou Megumi figures?
    One will be made to order at 1:7 scale, the other one’s life size (1:1) and only 10 units will be made.

    • January 15, 2016 at 6:16 pmPasserby

      The levels of irony in a life-sized Megumi figure are incredible.

    • January 16, 2016 at 2:02 pmRaiu

      And the life sized one will be sold at 2 million yen a piece before shipping.

  • January 15, 2016 at 1:35 pmErimaki

    That’s it folks, Saekano‘s over, it was a fun show. Boy this season went by fast.
    Oh right, wrong show.
    Considering the strong parallels between the two, I found it pretty amusing how Buntarou did in 2 episodes what took Tomoya whole season. Not that either show is worse because of that.

    Have to say though, Buntarou has some mad internet skills if he found out a pixiv artist’s identity and what school they go to so fast.

    Also, “where are the tsunderes” was too funny

    • January 15, 2016 at 3:05 pmTechim

      I found it pretty amusing how Buntarou did in 2 episodes what took Tomoya whole season.

      Well, a huge part of that hurdle was that the girls mostly had more fun being interested in Tomoya or teasing him, instead of regularly clocking in on making that galge.

  • January 15, 2016 at 1:56 pmmac65

    This looks like it’ll be an interesting mix of chemistry. No one is actually
    100% on-board with doing the game; each has their own passion and
    skill to bring to the table. (I love how Yuuki, the shyest, wants to illustrate
    hentai! So cute I want to hug her!)

    I don’t expect mega drama with this series, and the harem seems unlikely,
    but there could be some interesting exploration in getting all of the characters
    working and focused on the same outcome.

    I’ll be watching to see how this all plays out.

  • January 15, 2016 at 2:37 pmMachon1

    I have to admit i’m actually pretty pleased with this show. It’s giving me those saekano vibes again and this isn’t too silly or fanservicey which is always a plus in my eyes. Would definitely recommend it so far!

  • January 15, 2016 at 5:26 pmMormegil

    Dat eyecatch.
    Best girl.

  • January 15, 2016 at 10:38 pmNishizawa Mihashi

    Words cannot aptly describe how much I love this show and how much I’ve been begging to see a show like this, but if there’s one thing that I should point out, it’s definitely the sheer amount of references that this show makes to other creative works! I mean like seriously, did you guys not spot that Valkyria Chronicles reference at the arcade scene? That was frickin’ gold! Alongside the Saekano one that is :P

  • January 17, 2016 at 4:25 pmMentar

    All right :) … season pass booked. Pleased to meet ya, folks!

  • January 17, 2016 at 9:38 pmgustave154

    I love this show!! Nice to see you are going to keep on recapping it.

  • January 20, 2016 at 6:19 amlegwkio

    Show is OK so far. But it doesn’t have MEGUMI KATO so SaeKano’s better.