OP: 「TRY UNITE!」 by 中島愛 (Nakajima Megumi)
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「ようこそ、鴨川へ！」 (Youkoso, Kamogawa e!)
“Welcome to Kamogawa!”
We’re about 80% through the premieres of all the new shows this season, and of all the ones I’ve watched since the pre-airing of Rinne no Lagrange just under two weeks ago, Production I.G and Xebec’s new original series remains one of my favorites. From the dazzling opening sequence featuring a catchy song by Nakajima Megumi to the seemingly perfect blend of mecha action and timely comedy, there was a lot to like from its first showing. The highlight was the energetic Good Samaritan and sole member of the “Jersey Club”, Kyouno Madoka, whom the rarely heard Ishihara Kaori from YuiKaori stars as.
Unlike Ogura Yui who’s already starred in Kami-sama Memo-chou and Ro-Kyu-Bu, this series is Kaori’s first leading role. She had previously been cast in minor roles in Kaichou wa Maid-sama as Ayuzawa Suzuna and Hidan no Aria as Reki — two distinctly different performance that I really enjoyed — and now provides yet another notably different performance as Madoka that I just can’t get enough of. It’s extremely refreshing to hear a new voice that goes together really well with Madoka’s cheerful personality and trademark “Maru!” (literally “zero” or “circle” but implies “Perfect!”). It’s even better hearing it alongside another up-and-coming seiyuu, Seto Asami, who co-stars as the mysterious alien/transfer student, “Fin e ld si Laffinty”, a.k.a. Lan, and sounds distinctly different from Asami’s other roles in Hourou Musuko as Takatsuki Yoshino and Chihayafuru as Ayase Chihaya. The end result is a cast of “new” voices to go with the original premise, and we haven’t even heard Kayano Ai using a bubbly voice for the second alien heroine Muginami yet.
At the moment, I’m most taken in by how goofy yet unrelenting Madoka is in her efforts to help anyone in need. This includes most of the sports clubs at her all-girls Kamojo High School since she’s really athletic and even the film club just because she won’t say no to anyone. When Lan asked her to pilot a robot, she was surprised but still went along with it, further emphasizing that she’ll try to help even with the most outrageous requests. The interesting plot-related part is that Madoka’s cousin Nakaizumi Youko (Noto Mamiko) — whom she calls “onee-chan” — is against her piloting the transformable “Vox” robots for a yet to be revealed reason. Judging from what Lan said about a promise Madoka made with “Vox Aura”, I gather it was made when Aura rescued Madoka from drowning like the flashback suggested. I presume that traumatic childhood experience is the reason why Madoka is so adamant about helping anyone now, so suffice to say, there’s enough foreshadowing so far to keep me hooked. That’s on top of the current situation with three other aliens — Kirius (Nojima Kenji), Izo (Yoshino Hiroyuki), and Array (Matsuoka Yoshitsugu) — who like Lan have infiltrated Earth. From the sound of things, they all came from the same planet and are fighting over the “legendary” Voces — two of which have yet to make an appearance. Combine that premise with robot action and seamlessly injected comedy and we have the makings of what could be the surprise hit of the season. An original Production I.G anime featuring mecha designs by car manufacturer Nissan. Who would’ve thunk it’d be so cool?
ED: 「HELLO」 by 中島愛 (Nakajima Megumi)
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