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Hisone to Masotan – 01

「正気の沙汰ではないんです」 (Shouki no Satade wa Nai desu)
“This Is Insane”

Every kid dreams of flight. Well, at least I did. It’s the thing I miss most from my childhood: vivid dreams of defying gravity. Maybe it’s because it’s because I grew up with Castle in the Sky Laputa, or maybe it’s because it is human nature to look to the sky and wonder, but there was a phase where I apparently tired of solid earth. When a teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I of course told her that I wanted to be a pilot. Actually, I told her I wanted to be a dinosaur, but the answer I would have given if I was old enough to understand basic biology would have said pilot. Actually I would probably have said astronaut, but the idea was the same. Go high, go fast. That’s what young boys want.

Obviously a team at BONES looked into my childhood, understood my disappointment at failing to become either a pilot or a giant reptile, and decided to make an anime of pure wish fulfilment: dragon jets. That’s not a complaint. Dragon jets are awesome, or so my inner child keeps shouting into my ear. But it turns out there is more reason to watch Hisone to Masotan that just transforming mecha-dragons. Sounds impossible, but in this I actually found Hisone (Kuno Misaki) more interesting than Masotan (which is what we’re going to be calling the dragon, judging by the preview). What a fun protagonist she is. Not only does she supply the necessary quota of quirky faces (which must be half the reason I still watch anime), she’s also got spunk. Often, protagonists in her position basically get bullied into being the protagonist. Reluctant heroes who refuse the call at first are the norm for many stories, and in anime they are often pushed into answering the call anyway through a mixture of peer pressure and uncontrollable circumstances. That’s how it is for Hisone too, but at least she drums up enough sass to mount a defence. In the face of the ridiculous she pushes back with reason and outrage instead of immediately folding. I don’t know if that’s how millennials are supposed to be — kids these days with their cat photos and their vaping and their backtalk — and it probably makes Hisone poor military material, but she’s a refreshing protagonist. She also extra amusing for me as a blogger; when I’m watching a show for RandomC I take notes while I watch, which is usually just Mystery-Science-Theater-esque running commentary. That is, pages of snark. When a character snarks on my behalf like Hisone I form a connection with her immediately as a fellow mouthy wiseass. She’s one of my people. Welcome, sister.

Of course, the characterisation is supported by the rest of the production. The art style worked well for an anime that had elements of both nostalgia and futurism and held even when it wasn’t taking itself 100% seriously. In complement, the scenes of flight were beautiful and suitably uplifting (pardon the pun). As we should expect of BONES; any show they work on at the very least looks good and moves well. But it’s not just about making a pretty anime, it’s about how the aesthetic comes together, in this case to create a rather endearing even when it should be kind of gross. All in all, this pilot was a neat package that has has me optimistic about Hisone to Masotan. I admit that I got into the show mainly because of the quirky premise and respectable staff, but now I have hopes for more. And for those of you who may be unsure about the weirdness of a show about dragon fighter jets, I do recommend giving Hisone to Masotan a go anyway. It’s still really a story about humans and humanity. Even if not, anime has had much weirder. And it’s often rewarding to try something new.

This post was brought to you by Yakult.

 

Preview

April 15, 2018 at 9:10 am
17 comments »
  • April 15, 2018 at 9:42 amstarss

    I refuse to believe BONES of all places decided to go with this basic, childish, sketchy style of animation.

    • April 15, 2018 at 10:10 amPanino Manino

      “potato girl”
      You may not like this style, but the animation IS good.

    • April 15, 2018 at 7:06 pmPasserby

      Did you watch the episode? i’m not sure becuase I don’t see what’s wrong with the animation myself. If you’re attempting to demean the art style, I don’t see anything wrong with it either. How often does anime rely on emphasis on detail and realism in its character design? We are the medium of the Big Eyes Small Mouth. And that’s completely fine. Style does not preclude artistry, and in any case the focus should be on what works.

    • April 18, 2018 at 3:24 amLitho

      Would you have preferred pedophile-pandering moeblobs rendered with bloom set to 200%.

  • April 15, 2018 at 10:09 amPanino Manino

    This episode was a surprise for me… I was surprised by how much I disliked. I did not expect that.
    I mean, the premise is cool and all but the events looked like a “bad isekai” for me. It was hard to watch how things happened, how Misone ended in that situation for no reason at all, the drama with her personality, disapproved by society, and then come that group lauding her as a “savior”, etc… It’s basically how a Isekai works, with the pariah finding himself transported to an unknown and magical world where he is needed and appreciated.
    And that military branch… err…

    Well, there’s that, but what really bothered me was a specific interpretation and parallels that I saw on that world… that infamous “glorious nihon” propaganda, you know? I really hope that this is all coincidental and my personal interpretation only and the anime will not bring a conflict about the “dragon that is flying high above the southeast asia sea”…

    • April 15, 2018 at 7:02 pmPasserby

      I think you both over-generalise and over-specify. Many stories outside of the so-called ‘isekai’ genre involve a desire for a place to belong. It’s a fundamentally human between the individual and society, and of course it would involve a misfit or else there would be no conflict. In any case, Hisone is not a pariah nor is her position unique (there are other dragon pilots, one of which we have already met), so I’m not sure what you’re disliking here. Unless what you dislike is any story where the hero stumbles upon the fantastic, in which case I’m afraid that there is a huge amount of fiction you’re pushing away.

      About the propaganda value of this anime, I agree there may be a concern, but I do note that other countries supposedly have dragons too and that Masotan is specifically a western-style dragon.

      • April 15, 2018 at 7:53 pmPanino Manino

        Like I said, I didn’t like the way Misone was put on that situation, for no reason at all she was send there, chosen, and from day one everyone expected great things for her while she didn’t even knew what was really happen. Very strange.
        And the fact that other countries also have dragons is what makes me wonder about the possibility of conflict between other countries.

      • April 15, 2018 at 8:59 pmPasserby

        @Panino Manino
        I don’t see what’s strange about accidental discovery, as discovery often is, or how that relates to isekai anime as opposed to some sort of manifest destiny. On the other hand, if you don’t like characters being ‘chosen’, at least Hisone to Masotan leaves it up to you for now to decide whether she was chosen for her flip phone or for some higher purpose. Either way, it’s obvious that this is a pet peeve of yours and I don’t care to poke at it, so I’ll leave it here.

  • April 15, 2018 at 10:21 amsonicsenryaku

    the visuals of this show feels as if BONES is flexing its muscles for Mob psycho S2. Getting to the premiere in particular, I actually enjoyed this quite a bit. One particular misgiving i have about this episode however is how the script handles Hisone’s character flaw. This is the kind of blemish i see quite a bit in Okada’s writing and in the writing of some anime screenwriters in general. It’s this compulsion to just completely explain a person’s character flaw right away and their feelings about said flaw instead of giving it time to unravel. Like dammit, why can’t you just give the flaw some time to fester a bit? Why can’t i have the opportunity to experience the ramifications of the flaw WITH the character? Having the character explain her flaw and tell us how she feels about it midway throughout the first episode limits the scope in which you can truly explore her behavioral and emotional idiosyncrasies with that flaw. I don’t know, it just feels like prematurely blowing your load rather than building towards a more fortuitous climax. Anyway, this anime is a visual treat and i can’t wait to see what other moments of sakuga are waiting for us in the future. As i already said, this anime just makes me even more hyped for Mob pscyho S2, especially since BONES it’s an anime that gives BONES an excuse to experiment with cool new visual ideas and animation tricks

    • April 15, 2018 at 7:13 pmPasserby

      It also irked me that Hisone felt the need to explain herself. That said, I never like it when my anime explains things we should already know. At best it’s wasting time, at worst it’s an insult to the audience’s intelligence. To be fair, though, that was not a scene completely lacking in purpose. If Hisone was one for frank honesty then it’s right that she should apply that to herself as well. And at least the scene demonstrated that despite her confidence during her monologues she’s actually insecure about who she is.

      • April 16, 2018 at 11:16 amsonicsenryaku

        *If Hisone was one for frank honesty then it’s right that she should apply that to herself as well. And at least the scene demonstrated that despite her confidence during her monologues she’s actually insecure about who she is*

        No i hear you loud and clear that the scene had purpose; quite frankly, I though the same thing. However, I would have recomposed the scene in a way that didn’t make it feel so blatant about telling us the character’s flaws.

  • April 15, 2018 at 11:05 amAngelus

    At last, a show that made me laugh out loud. OK, there was a lot packed into that first episode, but I guess it just had to have some real dragon piloting before the end otherwise it would have fallen a bit flat, so that dictated the pacing. I couldn’t help but pick up a few McCaffrey dragonrider vibes in there too, but that’s probably my overly-vivid imagination.

    Oh, and that’s an IQOS machine, not vaping – you can tell because it ejected the tobacco stick after use.

    • April 15, 2018 at 7:13 pmPasserby

      I don’t know, I’m not part of that scene. Kids these days and their fancy cancer toys.

      • April 16, 2018 at 7:24 pmBakapooru

        IQOS is supposed to be safer than regular smoking because it only heats the tobacco (not burn it). I saw it in Japan for the first time a couple months ago. About 20 feet of wall space was dedicated to it in a BIC Camera. It wasn’t just the burner and tobacco, but also accessories to change the design of the burning unit. However, I didn’t see too many people using it.

  • April 15, 2018 at 12:03 pmLonghaul

    The cell shaded CG works with this art style.

    Even if Yakult was a sponsor the product placement was incredibly blatant.

  • April 16, 2018 at 2:54 aminfo600

    This show’s humor reminds me of patlabor, and I have no idea why…

  • April 18, 2018 at 11:08 amArin

    This is my first time being able to tolerate a 3d animated series. The pixelated camo texture bothered me when I saw it, otherwise it wasn’t bad. It’s a cute idea.

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