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Mikakunin de Shinkoukei – 02 »

Mikakunin de Shinkoukei – 01

「何事も最初が肝心です」 (Nanigoto mo Saisho ga Kanjindesu)
“First Impressions Are Everything”

Characters rule the day in Mikakunin de Shinkoukei, and it works because they’re very good characters who are treated with kindness and respect. Equal measures funny, warm, and romantic, I very much enjoyed this first episode.

Characters, Not Caricatures

One of my greatest fears coming into this was that Dogakobo would make the same mistake that Project No. 9 made with ImoCho and put unnecessary focus on the male lead at the expense of the more interesting (and rightfully the main character) female lead. I’m happy to report that my worries were for nothing! And honestly, I was just being paranoid…this is from Dogaboko, and they don’t make boneheaded mistakes like that.

The attention was rightfully placed on our main character Yonomori Kobeni (Terui Haruka), and as main characters go I instantly love her. She’s kind, responsible, and a good cook, but she’s not above overreacting to a sudden fiance (and rightfully so…in fact, I would consider that simply reacting) and throwing out tsukkomis like a pro. (Also dem thighs, yum.) What I really liked was that she’s so empathetic – even when she overreacted she was worried about hurt feelings, and when she told Hakuya (Hatano Wataru) to keep the whole fiance thing quiet, she asked him if he was mad (albeit when prompted). That plus her apparent inferiority complex when compared to her sister makes her more relateable (and more deep) than many a main character on Episode 1.

As for Hakuya, if the story centered on him then it would be boring. He’s quiet, he’s not good with words so he’s pretty blunt, and he has an overall lack of presence. Fortunately, the story isn’t centered on him. He’s the catalyst for change in Kobeni’s life and a constant source of reactions from her, and that’s the key – it’s all centered around Kobeni. As long as the spotlight is on her (and others), Hakuya can come in from the side, score some points with Kobeni by being blunt, dependable or surprisingly perceptive, and that works great. He’s an understated character, but because he doesn’t have to hold the spotlight, he works. Plus the fact that he seems to be a genuinely good guy – not to mention absentminded – helps endear him to Kobeni and the audience.

The Comedy Sisters

Most of the comedy centered around our main couple’s sisters, Kobeni’s perverted-at-home-but-perfect-at-school Onee-sama Yonomori Benio (Matsui Eriko) and Hakuya’s proud and responsible (yet still childish) imouto Mitsumine Mashiro (Yoshida Yuri). If they’re going to keep flitting around being hilarious, this will be a good show. Benio is stylish, a siscon, AND a lolicon? I found best character of 2014 already! (Just kidding…maybe.) And her chasing after Mashiro-tan, complete with the Mashiro freakouts and clinging to her onii-san, HAH/HNG~! It’s always hard to talk about comedy because, as I’m fond of noting, it’s extremely subjective, but I was laughing a lot during this episode, and when I wasn’t I was smiling from the warm atmosphere. A good start.

Production, Acting, & The OP

This is being produced by Dogakobo, which as I’ve previously mentioned means it’s good. Okay, perhaps that’s a simplification, but it does mean that they’ll bring out whatever strength there is in the source material through good animation and direction. This first episode proves that again. As for the seiyuu, they largely went the newbie seiyuu route, but I have no complaints about the acting we heard this time, so the strategy appears to be paying off. In fact, it was only Hakuya’s seiyuu Hatano Wataru who initially sounded off to me, but I got into it. I’m just not used to hearing his voice sound so blasé.

As for the OP, well, a good OP can be singlehandedly responsible for me watching, introing, or even picking up a show. I was interested in Log Horizon, and then I saw the OP. DATABASE DATABASE DATABASE = instantly pumped! Here it was an early viewing of the OP that got me wanting to intro this show, and I was not disappointed! (Either by the OP or the show.) Originally I was slightly miffed that Hakuya wasn’t included in it since he’s, you know, a main character, but now I’m cool with it for two reasons: 1) He doesn’t have a lot of presence, so him making anything but an occasional appearance would be weird, and 2) it’s the three main girls’ seiyuu who actually sing the song, so it sort of makes sense. Either way, I love both the sequence and the song, so I can’t wait to hear the ED next week!

Looking Ahead

The obvious development here would be for Kobeni and Hakuya’s relationship to progress as Kobeni realizes that her jii-chan may have been onto something, and I wouldn’t go into this looking for a subversion. Since it sort of seems like Kobeni and Hakuya could actually be good together, I’m totally okay with this.

Whatever the case, while I’m not sure if I’ll continue covering this I’ll definitely be watching it, so check in with me on Twitter for more thoughts as the season progresses. Thanks for reading!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Crap, I might love Mikakunin de Shinkoukei. That was a really good, really funny, really warm first episode. Dogakobo, yooou! #未確認で進行形 01

Random thoughts:

  • Random aside: So far I’ve written at least a post about every show Matsui Eriko has been in. I wonder how long I can keep the streak going? Though if she’s in another failed adaptation like Maoyuu, I don’t want to win.
  • Uh oh, looks like Kobeni is mad now– Oh, nevermind. Looks like she was just worried about her meal plan!
  • I get it! I totally get it! When you see a short–erh, a cute girl, you just want to pat them on the head, right? Right?! I like this guy. Aibou!
  • Mashiro-taaaan! I don’t blame Benio, I want to bully Mashiro-tan too. Erh, wait…I can’t do that, can I? Damn!
  • DV already!? Though I don’t think it’ll last. I don’t expect Hakuya will catch a lot of elbows; Kobeni just doesn’t seem the type.
  • He’s fine with anything she cooks, ufufu~ He can be a smooth mofo, mostly by accident.
  • Points go to the source material for not even pretending that Hakuya and Mashiro should really be in the same class. Why have the loli be unrealistically old when you can get the same effect from perfectly natural power abuse?
  • Kobeni gave in? A prior victim, nooo! …wait, does this means we’ll get to see Benio, Kobeni, and Mashiro bathe together at some point? Yeeeees!

Check out my blog about storytelling and the fantasy novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: Don’t break the chain, Nerds & the miracle of human consciousness, Urgency & the rush to come, and Explain yourself. My current combo counter: Writing chain, 0 days long. Editing chain, 1 day long.

Full-length images: 18, 30.

 

OP Sequence

OP: 「とまどい→レシピ」 (Tomadoi→Recipe) by みかくにんぐッ! (Mikakuning!)

Preview

January 9, 2014 at 3:25 pm
68 comments »
  • January 9, 2014 at 3:31 pmfullOanime

    Kobeni bouncing during the OP is still playing in my head over and over. Its so cute. http://24.media.tumblr.com/48db648a4ec1e6eb2e06e143d1de4078/tumblr_mz3tbgHOpL1qcsnnso1_500.gif

    • January 9, 2014 at 4:20 pmZhinvu

      I second that! Very cute indeed!

      • January 9, 2014 at 8:35 pmwxiagz

        I agree plus ….. dem thighs!!!

    • January 9, 2014 at 4:58 pmCroos

      At least they know where to put the fanservice rather than putting it in the whole show.

    • January 9, 2014 at 11:34 pmplushkin

      …yes…I too watch it for the plot…
      >.>
      <.<

  • January 9, 2014 at 3:33 pmVip

    I wasn’t really very optimistic at first, but after watching the first episode… Wow, it was quite fun, surprisingly enough. I love the character designs, and I think that this show has one of the best animations this season. Probably won’t end up as anything deep or meaningful, but it looks like a pleasant watch.

  • January 9, 2014 at 4:04 pmCroos

  • January 9, 2014 at 4:13 pmZhinvu

    From the moment Benio had a nosebleed, I knew I was going to like this series. Not to mention I also look forward to seeing more of Benio and Mashiro, and getting to know more of the characters, particularly that girl with the camera. Definitely sticking with this one. Also, that girl in the OP who wears a kimono reminds me so much Saginomiya Isumi from Hayate no Gotoku.

    • January 9, 2014 at 4:37 pmZhinvu

      I’m also surprised by how light Mashiro is. She latched on to Hakuya’s arm after being chased by Benio, and I’m guessing she was hanging on his back the whole time when Kobeni was looking for her at school. It was all so cute.

      • January 9, 2014 at 5:42 pmStilts

        Or maybe Hakuya is really strong? He seems like he would be decently built, especially if he was doing physical work when he lived in the mountains.

  • January 9, 2014 at 4:26 pmAnonymosity

    This show was surpringly funny despite how, for the lack of better word, simple it is.
    It seems to take widely-used rom-com/comedy situations and changes them slightly, yet enough to make them feel fresh! It didn’t create the exploding laughter many anime comedies do for me, but it gave a constant good feeling, which is actually quite rare because of the hit and miss nature of comedy.

    For example the obvious “he’s going to be in her class” was made fresh by Mashiro (also I agree with stilts: who needs legal loli classmates when you can have true lolis?)

    • January 9, 2014 at 5:44 pmStilts

      All artists steal, my friend; there’s no reason to (always) reinvent the wheel when you can tell a good story well. Mind you, I would like a little more ambition in my anime, but that doesn’t mean every series has to be hyper ambitious, so I’ll take this one and enjoy it for what it is.

    • January 9, 2014 at 7:21 pmBear

      And don’t forget the amnesia. Where have I seen that before? Can’t remember for some reason.

  • January 9, 2014 at 4:48 pmCroos

    What to expect more from this show:
    1.)Scenery-porn
    2.)Comedy between the twisted characters:
    – Proud loli Mashiro’s brocon
    – The perfect and home-perverted, Benio who release her stress by being a siscon and lolicon.
    – How Hakuya will express his love and feelings for Kobeni but no one just noticed because of his character and low presence. I seriously feel sorry for the guy after Kobeni said “Not at all” when her mother said “You don’t remember him!?”.
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Show Spoiler ▼

    Show Spoiler ▼

    3.)Aliens?
    4.) Romance between all?

  • January 9, 2014 at 5:09 pmAmatsu

    oh, i know where this is going, Hakuya is going to be the phantom sixth member on the school’s basketball team.

    • January 9, 2014 at 5:26 pmlolicon

      haha…i definitely know what you mean.

  • January 9, 2014 at 5:10 pmCroos

    Kobeni gave in? A prior victim, nooo! …wait, does this means we’ll get to see Benio, Kobeni, and Mashiro bathe together at some point? Yeeeees!

    IT might happened.

    • January 9, 2014 at 5:45 pmStilts

      \o/

      *begins praying to Yato-sama* Please let this happen, please let this happen, please let this happen…!

      • January 9, 2014 at 6:17 pmEuzio

        U gotta donate 5-yen first Stilts :P

  • January 9, 2014 at 5:40 pmWanderer

    All right, Stilts, you suckered me into watching something else. :p

    Kobeni is win: exactly the sort of protagonist I like to see, and so rarely find.

    Kobeni gave in? A prior victim, nooo!

    Her eyes at that point were a little… unsettling. May be some psychological scarring there.

    Whoa, nice fanservice in that… oh that’s the OP. Well, whatever. Kind of surprising, given that there wasn’t any anywhere else.

    • January 9, 2014 at 5:47 pmStilts

      Muahaha, welcome to Stilts’ World of Watching 15,532 Anime A Season! Say goodbye to your free time!

      Also, the OP is a great place to put fanservice, especially when it doesn’t belong in the show proper. Plus it was pretty tame to boot, and when it’s in the form of candid photos it’s not surprising that an, ahem, interesting one or two would slip in.

      • January 10, 2014 at 6:47 amAnonymosity

        Did you remember to include rewatching the best episodes and series in that count? xP

      • January 10, 2014 at 3:44 pmStilts

        I never rewatch anything. Not enough time ;_;

  • January 9, 2014 at 5:58 pmCarVac

    Man this studio has good animation. Love Lab was generally nicely animated, but with occasional quality bumps at random times, a real treat.

    Also, the preview is very Hidamari Sketch.

  • January 9, 2014 at 6:25 pmUnknown

    Looking forward to seeing progress in that relationship!

  • January 9, 2014 at 6:28 pmEuzio

    Did not actually go into this series with much expectations. Was surprised how well it turned out for a first episode. I loved how the perspective comes from Kobeni rather than a male character. Most romantic/comedies have the perspective come from the male-MC, unless its based on a shoujo-manga or something.

    Also, I already like Kobeni’s character alot~ Like Stilt’s mentioned, she’s all of the above mentioned and also just adorable! And if the OP is anything to go by, she does have some… mmmmm…. adult charm… XD …. And Benio is a riot!

  • January 9, 2014 at 6:29 pm~fineyristensen

    That is such a heartwarming show, I really enjoyed the first episode, very solid intro!!

    • April 1, 2014 at 7:08 amnews

      I like to party, not look articles up online. You made it happen.

  • January 9, 2014 at 6:38 pmNoZaku

    I can’t be the only one that’s tired of the generic SoL series.

  • January 9, 2014 at 6:39 pmCroos

    Either way, I love both the sequence and the song, so I can’t wait to hear the ED next week!

    Be prepared for 「MASHIRO WORLD」 with lots of HNGG MASHIRO OVERLOAD!

    • January 9, 2014 at 10:30 pmStilts

      My body is ready!

    • January 9, 2014 at 11:39 pmKyosuke

      Mashiro x Benio moments will be golden..! GOLDEN, I SAY!

  • January 9, 2014 at 6:48 pmTez

    Lot of cuteness in this anime, but not so much it makes me gag. Will definitely keep watching

  • January 9, 2014 at 6:57 pmTadashiED

    I actually love this show already!

  • January 9, 2014 at 7:06 pmvlm

    Slice of life? Comedy? Three (main?) girls? At first I thought they were all sisters, and I immediately thought of Minami-ke.

  • January 9, 2014 at 7:19 pmBear

    Yeah Stilts suuurre just kidding. wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more…..

    • January 9, 2014 at 10:31 pmStilts

      I’m confused by this comment o.O

      • January 10, 2014 at 8:10 pmBear

        Ref: “Benio is stylish, a siscon, AND a lolicon? I found best character of 2014 already! (Just kidding…maybe.) “

  • January 9, 2014 at 7:33 pmNKNKN

    Dear god Stilts stop giving me more shows to watch! Halfway through the post this show’d already shot way way up on my watch priority list just from reading about it. As you described it, it is EXACTLY my type of show; Character-driven, light-hearted, fluffy art style mmmmm~

    Time to start budgeting my time better…

    • January 9, 2014 at 10:32 pmStilts

      Request rejected! If I’m going to end up watching half the damn season then so are you :D

  • January 9, 2014 at 7:38 pmKinji

    Can’t believe that im in love instantly with this series,even though I ha ignore to watch the anime preview countless time

  • January 9, 2014 at 9:15 pmRoguespirit

    The very second I saw Mashiro, I immediately thought of http://i.imgur.com/mbJxEyz.jpg

    I think I’m going to like this show. It’s nice to have a female lead who doesn’t just beat on the innocent guy and act all tsun all the time. I think I’m going to like Kobeni (a name I’ve never heard of before in all my years of watching anime)

    • January 9, 2014 at 11:47 pmTassadar

      Thumbs up for both Mashiro AND the Romel-gal (<3) from GuP!

  • January 9, 2014 at 9:29 pmMagoiichi

    As long as you don’t go into Kirino level Domestic Violence, you can do no wrong Kobeni.

    I feel like Hakuya came from a Shin Megami Tensei game or Devil Survivor to be more specific. Hakuya embodies Silent Protagonist without skipping a beat. It’s like someone is choosing his responses just to pursue the Kobeni route. I’m going to see how many flags he trips in the next two episodes.

    With that being said, I’m loving this anime, lots of laughs with almost every scene. That OP or ED is just….let the doujins begin O.O

  • January 9, 2014 at 10:32 pmMochaCookies

    Stilts, why did you assume that Hakuya was the main character? None of the summaries say so.

    • January 9, 2014 at 10:34 pmStilts

      I didn’t. He’s a main character, but the main protagonist is Kobeni, and I knew that going in. What I was afraid was that they’d pull an ImoCho, where Mitsuki is the main protagonist…and yet they kept putting the focus on Yuuya for no good reason other than he’s a guy (I guess?). That would have ruined this show, and since I saw it a few days ago (and many times before), I was concerned. Fortunately I was concerned for nothing!

  • January 9, 2014 at 10:47 pm7godeohs

    Dammit Stilts, the goal was to REDUCE the number of shows I was watching this season. Oh well, +1 to the list. (Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.)

    My mind must be working differently this late at night. When Hakuya caught Kobeni and they had that touching moment, all I was thinking was “damn, that guy sure got his coat, gloves and scarf on fast.”

  • January 9, 2014 at 11:04 pmvayuu

    Early aots so far

  • January 9, 2014 at 11:37 pmKyosuke

    Addictive PV? Check
    Stunning opening visuals? Check
    Super clean chara animation? Check
    Tsundere feMC? Check
    non-typical maleMC? Check
    Loli? Check
    Loli abuser? Check
    Great chara interactions? Check

    There’s a loli here. A loli! It’s a loli! Check

    • January 10, 2014 at 3:01 amCroos

      Aliens? Nope
      Stalker? Check
      Newspaper club? Nope
      Vice-pres? Check
      Legal loli? Nope

      • January 11, 2014 at 4:46 pmLonghaul

        “Aliens? Nope”

        And yet there is mad speculation around this possibility already.

    • January 10, 2014 at 5:19 ammac65

      Actually two lolis – don’t forget the former loli, Yonomori Kobeni!

      I counting on the fact (I hope) that flashbacks will show some of those mis-adventures :)!!!

      • January 10, 2014 at 6:40 pmKyosuke

        Hmmm I don’t think I can count Kobeni’s past self towards my loli collection… but I think Hakuya’s and Mashiro’s mother is a loli! MILF LOLI INC!!!

    • March 2, 2014 at 9:33 pmYou know, for kids!

      A LOLI!

  • January 9, 2014 at 11:37 pmlimyohwan

    What a surprise, it’s great! I don’t know what to say; it was very enjoyable and put a smile on my face. The animation is great, let alone for a non-action show. The show is quite unique. I really like the white shine/highlights on the characters too. My hopes for an at-least-decent year of anime are increasing!

  • January 10, 2014 at 12:53 amDomo-kun

    Great first episode. Let’s hope the next ones do not disappoint. If so, please someone in RC cover the show :)

  • January 10, 2014 at 2:08 amP Ko

    It wasn’t even on my radar at all but I loved it. I loved it from start to end.

    Such a lovable cast with fantastic personalities that all gel and the animation is beautiful.

  • January 10, 2014 at 4:03 amdeVacto

    instan love with dat every nosebleed scene
    *nosebleedsss

    and for the male is like akari (yuru yuri), i hope he didnt lost appeareance too

  • January 10, 2014 at 5:16 ammac65

    A comedy with a good difference.
    I can’t see how it will go (plot-wise) and that’s good.

    So far it worth following.

  • January 10, 2014 at 7:13 amricz

    Loved et~

  • January 10, 2014 at 9:02 amDangerism

    Wow, the first anime of this season that made me think “I really wanna see what happens in the next episode.”

    And definitely agree with you there about characters, not cutouts, being the driving force of the story for a change.

  • January 10, 2014 at 11:45 amSingerOfW

    I didn’t get your fascination with Dogakobo first, but then I realized that between Yuru Yuri, Love Lab, and GJ-bu, I’ve seen and enjoyed them all. Seems like I have another studio to look out for.

    • January 10, 2014 at 3:46 pmStilts

      Ah yeah, I probably should have explained better. Sometimes I forget that you all don’t spend weeks working on the preview / introduce and watch a ton of shows, and thus aren’t as familiar with staff, seiyuu, and studios as I am. I usually remember about the staff, but forget on the other two :X

      Moral of the story: Dogakobo is pretty much awesome. Really just a rock solid studio over all.

  • January 10, 2014 at 11:02 pmMAVMAN

    I’m not a fan at all of the older sister/younger sister combo. They both come off as annoying (specifically the older one) and stereotypical. Also I don’t know how the male could be more bland, and his random comments that show he’s attentive and caring are delivered with such little emotion it’s like he’s not even there (which was the first thing noted about him when he arrived at their house). He reminds me of that kid from Hey Arnold who would just pop out of some random place breathing over that girls shoulder all creepy like. I also liked the MC, but I’m not sure how that will make up for the lack of any other interesting characters. Creepy rapist sister, and annoying trying to be an old woman little sister just bug me too much. Give the male some more emotion, and the main relationship could make for a good show, but it’s a lot of hurdles to overcome.

  • January 15, 2014 at 10:10 amnegimagi

    hmm they come from deep out in the country the main has almost no pressence and yet is right there when kobeni need saving. and aperently they come from a family with enough power to bend the rules. i’m calling it right now the main is a ninja.

    i might be wrong but from what i’ve seen and from what mashiro (like being unoticeed on the mains back for who knows how long) is able to do i’m thinking they came from a noble ninja family.

  • January 15, 2014 at 6:29 pmSirius

    Wow, everyone likes Benio. I feel so alone.