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