Random Curiosity

Mikakunin de Shinkoukei – 05 »« Mikakunin de Shinkoukei – 02

Mikakunin de Shinkoukei – 03, 04

Episode 03:

「ラブコメの波動を感じる」 (Rabu Kome no Hadou o Kanjiru)
“I Can Feel the Love Comedy Waves”

I changed my mind. I really don’t have the time to blog another show, but screw it – picked up. I’m enjoying this too much to not talk about it.

Good Comedy, Consistent Comedy

The reason I was originally not going to cover this is because, as opposed to say Sakura Trick, is that it’s hard to write about. The comedy in Mikakunin de Shinkoukei is solidly good every episode, from Benio’s delusions to Mashiro’s love of Western food to Kobeni’s reactions to everything, but there’s not much to say about it. If you like the jokes you like the jokes, but they’re not so far out there as to make me go “Whoa!” They’re good, solid, warm, relaxing, and funny. Which I love to watch, it’s just hard to write about without getting repetitious.

A Reveal Already?

Then there’s the reason why I’m going to continue covering it anyway. Most shows would have saved Kobeni learning about how Hakuya saved her as a child, but this one threw it out there in the third episode. I can’t comment on my expectations because obviously I’ve seen Episode 04 by this point, but I can tell you that it was niggling at me all week that I wasn’t covering the show. It deserves it, but I really don’t have the time! I have work to do, a book to finish, all these other things!

But screw it. Better to be busy than to regret. Show picked up. Onto Episode 04!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – “Kobeni already learned about her past with Hakuya? How dare this show get even better right when I decided not to blog it #mikakunin 03″ < -- Whoopsie! I spoke too soon.

Random thoughts:

  • Kobeni’s kobenis are not a handicap, they’re the dreams of humanity! Also her hips are amazing. That can’t be said enough.
  • Rocket launchers!! Seriously though, I promise not all my random thoughts will be about Kobeni’s oppai. Probably.
  • That cooking animation. I haven’t seen cooking so lovingly animated since Gin no Saji. I want some scones now.

 

Preview

 

Episode 04:

「あれはただのへんたいです」 (Are wa Tada no Hentaidesu)
“That’s Just Being a Pervert”

For what started out as such a relaxing love comedy (with emphasis on the comedy), this show isn’t afraid to dive into the weeds of romance and really develop the situation.

It’s Benio’s Fault

Not to put too fine a point on it, but bullshit. The whole situation is broadly faultless as we know it. Kobeni tripped by accident, no one pushed her. Hakuya tried to save her from that accident of his own free will, so it’s not her fault he got injured too. Neither is it Hakuya’s fault she got injured when it was, once again, an accident. Of them all though, Benio’s guilt seems the silliest. She did nothing wrong by wanting to play with her friends and suggesting her sister go play with a boy her age when she should have been in no danger whatsoever. The guilt they all feel was silly, even if it did lead to the cute scene where Kobeni and Hakuya both kept trying to take on the blame. D’aawww!

That is, until you put yourself in their shoes. They all know their guilt is silly, except for perhaps Hakuya, though there seem to be extenuating circumstances for that. The thing is, I can think back to similar instances from my own childhood (and adulthood, for that matter) where I did or said something out of no malice and with no intent to harm, and yet I still feel guilty. It’s irrational, but it’s a very human kind of irrational.

Supernatural Love Comedy

It’s a tricky thing, adding in supernatural elements where they aren’t expected. To use a recent Western example, I was watching The World’s End with a friend, and he reacted with surprise and alarm when the dramatic pub crawl turned sci-fi. Yet where that was jarring – though I would argue to good effect – here the supernatural elements have slowly leaked into the rest of the story in such a way that they seem natural. Or rather, they haven’t changed the fundamental DNA of the series. This is still the same warm romcom it was during Episode 01. The direction it is taking has just somewhat changed.

All that said, damn this show continues to impress me. I’ve talked about this before, but I feel it’s better to go quickly and to continually surprise and delight one’s readers (audience), even if it means the story will be shorter. I keep expecting them to stretch out these revelations like any other show would, but by the 4th episode they’ve already taken care of one big reveal that I thought it would take the whole season to resolve. That’s why I had to cover this – because they’re doing storytelling right. I have to encourage that.

As for what kind of “ambiguous” creatures the Mitsumine household is made up of, I think it’s clear that they’re some kind of wolf or dog youkai. (Or something of that sort.) We’ve seen hints of this before, but this time not only gave us more, but also featured Kobeni continually describing Hakuya in dog-related ways. How this eventually comes out – and what it will mean for Kobeni and Hakuya’s fledgling relationship – is where the fun will be.

Kobeni x Hakuya – The Problem With Hakuya

Pardon me while I indulge in a little light shipping, but Kobeni x Hakuya hnnnngg!! Okay, it’s mainly cute because of Kobeni and her reactions, but any guy who can get those kinds of responses from a girl like Kobeni deserves part of the credit. Not much, but some. Kawaii!

That said, I know some people are already sick of Hakuya, and the more he comes into the spotlight, the trickier this balancing act becomes. The problem with Hakuya is that he doesn’t seem to try. I wrote a post about this matter just this week, but it’s not the characters who succeed that we love, it’s the ones who try. Kobeni is an excellent main character because she’s always trying, and now that she has decided that she needs to (or, let’s face it, wants to) get closer to Hakuya, she immediately went about doing exactly that, even when she didn’t exactly know how.

Hakuya though, is very, very passive. It’s not that he never talks to Kobeni, it’s that he doesn’t seem to try. That makes it harder to cheer him on, and if he were the primary character it would have killed this show long ago. Fortunately he is not, and as with the main male character in most love comedies, it’s less about Hakuya and more about how Hakuya actually seems to be a pretty good fit for Kobeni. Since she’s the focus it’s still working. Plus, to me Hakuya is saved by the fact that he’s clearly not human, which gives him some leeway.

It’s interesting to think of how we would likely respond if the tables were turned and Kobeni were the male lead and Hakuya the female lead. I imagine far fewer people would have a problem with female-Hakuya being passive. I’m not passing judgement – personally I prefer to see both the male and female love interests being proactive – it’s just something to keep in mind if you’re totally hating on Hakuya. But I don’t completely blame you even so.

Looking Ahead – Loli Mama Incoming!

Damn, can you believe I said this show was hard to write about? Not this episode! Regardless, the big question at this point is how long it’ll take for this next big revelation to come to the fore. Personally I hope the arrival of someone who is going to “check up on” Hakuya and Mashiro draws some more reactions from Hakuya. That boy needs to be flustered more often if him and Kobeni are going to get anywhere!

tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Supernatural elements, in my warm love comedy? Yesplz. In other news: I’m weak. Show picked up #未確認で進行形 #mikakunin 04

Random thoughts:

  • But seriously Benio, you’re way too much of a siscon. That’s supposed to be the onii-chan’s job y0.
  • Only in anime do girls look cuter while sick. In the real world they look all achy and snotty and whine a lot. The guys too, I just never think they’re cute.
  • Seriously though, damn! Just, yes. More please! Whoa. I need to go lay down.
  • For once it’s the girl chasing after the guy! D’aaaaww~
  • Here, have some pictures of Kobeni blushing. Those are almost as delicious as her rocket launchers and child-bearing hips, yum!
  • He just out and said it! Daaaamn, Hakuya can be daring as long as you prompt him.
  • I wasn’t fond of how Mashiro basically started trying to coerce Kobeni into taking Hakuya, mostly because it’s not an effective way to go about it. (Sorry, still a marketer.) It does make me wonder why they’re so desperate about Kobeni being with Hakuya, though.
  • Probably my favorite part of the episode was how Kobeni has learned to read Hakuya’s expressions. They’ve already got a sort of language that only the two of them understand, d’aaawww!
  • In the two years and one month I’ve been writing for RandomC, I’ve never done a double post before today. I’ve never been late or unable to find someone to cover for me. I find it fitting that my first double post isn’t because I finally had a late post, but because there was a show I just couldn’t not blog, despite my best efforts. M! Stilts is an M because he can’t not blog!

Check out my blog about storytelling and the fantasy novel I’m writing at stiltsoutloud.com. The last four posts: I can quit anytime, so I don’t have to, Admiration & those who try, Dogfights, battleships, & sword fights, and Combo counter update – It’s going well, it’s going not so well. My current combo counter: Editing chain, 19 days long. Writing chain, 3 days long.

Full-length images: 06, 19.

 

Preview

January 30, 2014 at 12:58 pm
68 comments »
  • January 30, 2014 at 1:20 pmAnonymosity

    Mikakunin post on RandomC? We get to see stilts going on about Kobeni’s rocket launchers! Life has meaning again!

    But seriously, I completely understand you, this show has really surprised me with how well it’s telling it’s story.

    How this eventually comes out – and what it will mean for Kobeni and Hakuya’s fledgling relationship – is where the fun will be.
    With the current pace, it will be resolved within the next 2 episodes.

    • January 30, 2014 at 1:52 pmStilts

      Kobeni’s rocket launchers are amazing \o/ And realistic. Take that Maken-ki! This is how you do amazing oppai right!

      And tbh, I would be happy if they did resolve Kobeni x Hakuya in 2-4 episodes. Then we’d get to enjoy them actually being together for a while. That would be delicious :3

      • January 30, 2014 at 5:08 pmTaiyo

        Probably not going to happen considering sauce ingredient is a 4koma.

      • January 31, 2014 at 12:53 amn30nl16ht

        I had a feeling someone was going to pick this show up at RC eventually, but hot damn it was stilts of after all, you sir just affirmed my liking to this show hehe.

        its cute, its loli inducing, its interesting and intriguing and man the subtle fan service, the OP (not just the music btw). Awesome.

        and your right stilts, Maken-ki and dare i say DxD, Senran, and all those harem shows, has nothing on kobeni’s marshmallows.

      • January 31, 2014 at 4:58 amKF

        Boobs aren’t fat! They’re filled with men’s hopes and dreams!

  • January 30, 2014 at 1:21 pmP Ko

    http://i.imgur.com/aAkZDdG.gif

    So cuteeeee….

    Every episode just solidifies this as my favourite series of the season.

  • January 30, 2014 at 1:25 pmLonghaul

    Mashiro is such a bad liar.

  • January 30, 2014 at 1:26 pmx

    I didn’t expect much out of this one (just thought it would be yet another slice of life with a romcom twist or something), but at this rate, this might be considered my favourite this season XD. The storytelling and the execution are just superb. The art and animation are simply delicious :p.

  • January 30, 2014 at 1:31 pmHalfDemonInuyasha

    Man, Kobeni with her hair down reminds me of Maki from Love Live!, lol.

  • January 30, 2014 at 1:41 pmoliviaven

    So possibly demigods? My personal problem about Hakuya is that his voice doesn’t suit him at all! Hatano Wataru should have used a younger voice (which he is clearly capable of judging from his past roles), not a middle aged guy’s voice.

    @Stilts, Thank you! I knew you couldn’t resist!

    • January 30, 2014 at 1:53 pmStilts

      Yeah, I still think Hatano-san was a miscast (even though I like his work in general), but by this point I’ve mostly gotten used to it. Just note a great role for him.

      • January 30, 2014 at 4:22 pms_w

        I keep wanting his Hakuya to start calling her Haruka instead of Kobeni. >_>a And any moment, the maids and the little sister will peer around a corner, wearing bear costumes or something. (Yes, I hear Hakuya and think Yuuto.)

        Honestly, at first I thought this show was going to be a total dud, but it has turned out well so far. The basic idea isn’t particularly new (which put me off at first, TBH), but the execution has been great so far.

  • January 30, 2014 at 1:49 pmcreaothceann

    The whole situation is broadly faultless as we know it.

    I think deep down they are just unhappy that that incident is a dark spot on their shared past. They simply don’t want the other to think badly of them. Normally that feeling is related to guilt, hence their need to apologize (even though they know that nobody’s responsible) because they can’t express it another way.

    • January 30, 2014 at 1:55 pmStilts

      True. The main feeling is actually regret, but saying “I regret that happened” sounds so false. “I’m sorry that happened” sounds much better, and splices in some proper Japanese humility to boot. That’s one trait I really respect, so I don’t hate them for that, even if some of them ought to dwell a little less.

  • January 30, 2014 at 1:54 pmTrapMaster

    Yes! Stilts has officially picked up Mikakunin de Shinkoukei!! Just when I was in despair when the 4th episode of Mikakunin de Shinkoukei came out and still no post, and then BAM! celebrations all around :3

    I mean come on, who doesn’t love a proud loli and Kobeni with her amazing PLOT and them great child bearing hips! and to top it off, the animations are nothing to sneeze at either, some of the best animation I’ve seen in romance comedy anime!

    Looking forward to a fun ride with you all :)

    • January 30, 2014 at 1:57 pmStilts

      Yar! Like I said, that cooking animation in 03. Who lovingly animates all of the little shards of buttery dough? Dogakobo, that’s who. Romcoms deserve good animation too!

      I look forward to the rest of the season too. Please take care of me m(_ _)m

    • January 30, 2014 at 2:11 pmLonghaul

      Mikakunin does seem like a dark horse of the season for many, myself included.

  • January 30, 2014 at 2:23 pmWanderer

    YES! Thank you thank you thankyou for picking this up! It’s been turning into my favorite for the season because the characters and the storytelling were all just being done so right, and it felt almost criminal that it wasn’t being covered.

    I’ve never seen a 4-koma adaptation that’s felt this solid, this… cohesive (having trouble figuring out the word I’m looking for). Even though there’s comedy here, this feels to me more like a singularly-written story, rather than a collection of gags put together for comedy, which is what many 4-koma series feel like. Not that either way is “bad,” per se, but I think that solidity may help make this series easier to write about.

    PS: Kobeni is truly awesome waifu material. I totally want to marry her myself.

    • January 30, 2014 at 2:51 pmStilts

      Very true. The gags are still good, but I had honestly forgotten it was based off of a 4-koma by this point! Though honestly, those are my favorite kind. It makes the story more “punchy” in that there’s almost always a gag every minute or so, but it gives us something more substantial to enjoy as well. Great storytelling indeed!

    • January 30, 2014 at 4:56 pmruicarlov

      It reminds me a bit of Kotoura-san, for two reasons: 1) being far better than I ever expected it to be; 2) Being based on a 4-koma and still look like a singularly-written story.

      • January 30, 2014 at 7:06 pmStilts

        I agree. Hopefully it’ll be even better though :D

  • January 30, 2014 at 2:29 pmTez

    I’m pretty sure I witnessed the cutest Loli dance of all time.

    • January 30, 2014 at 7:12 pmbriex

      I agree. I rewatched that dance scene more than five times.

      Looks like next episode we will get to know the reason why Mashiro’s future PLOT looks grim.

    • January 30, 2014 at 8:28 pmSoliloquy

      Loli dance is serious business. Seriously I wish this show gets bigger because it’s doing great so far.

      • January 30, 2014 at 10:02 pmTez

        LOL IKR, she was serious about that dance, I think that’s what I like about it the most.

  • January 30, 2014 at 2:29 pmSaphirio

    Kobeni changed her eyecolor.
    As a kid (probably before the accident):
    Show Spoiler ▼

    As a kid (probably after the accident):
    Show Spoiler ▼

    She’s also having the same eyecolor as Hakuya (after the accident):
    Show Spoiler ▼

    Don’t know if it’s significant, but it probably has a meaning.
    Maybe something about how Hakuya can only be together with Kobeni?

    • January 31, 2014 at 4:16 pmCroos

      Show Spoiler ▼

    • January 31, 2014 at 5:27 pmBeedle

      semi-serious speculation: Hakuya is a pirate! It’s why he keeps the other eye hidden!

      But yeah, something’s up with their eyes.

  • January 30, 2014 at 2:35 pmPancakes

    Was wondering how long you would hold out Stilts after seeing episode 4 earlier today. The switch into serious mode gives this series depth often lacking in more “traditional” (i.e humour-centric) romcoms.

    Personally I have no problem with Hayuka, I just imagine him smoking a few joints, hotboxing the room every night, and letting the bong sing him the song of its people :P More seriously though he is similar to the brother from Non Non Biyori given a voice. People probably are jarred by him as most male leads in anime seem to either be the androgynous bad-a*s or the weak and flatly characterized harem boy. Hayuka is one of the rare MC introverts who keeps his conversations internalized.

    The main difference is in how they act. Hayuka simply doesn’t, which to me implies a fear of acting rather than being oblivious or lazy. After all, he stood by Kobeni when she was sick, and ran off saddened thinking he had hurt her. Like Kobeni, Hayuka just doesn’t know what to do, but unlike Kobeni, we only see what he shows to the world rather than what he wrangles with internally. This becomes a problem for some because for the standard romcom we expect the guy to eventually get inside the mind of the quiet girl; it’s unheard of for the girl to have to take the lead to get inside the guy’s mind and indeed could be interpreted as “unnatural” (especially over here in the West). Compounding the issue of course is how Hayuka’s thoughts are NOT shown to us.

    This surprisingly is turning into a good little SoL/romcom show that somehow is straddling the line between comedy and seriousness very well so far. It’s the healing needed after the explosion of yuri that is Sakura Trick is finished with you :P

    • January 30, 2014 at 2:55 pmStilts

      The only problem is that this heals me before I get to Sakura Trick. Then my keyboard explodes while writing out Log Horizon, and then it’s the whole thing all over the next week!

      But as for Hakuya, I agree, though like I said they’re definitely walking a line. Earlier in the episode I was starting to get miffed, but then he was standing outside Kobeni’s door, and that says something. It’s clearly not that he doesn’t care for Kobeni – definitely not, after his blunt admission in this latest episode! – he just doesn’t act like many others do.

      What we really need to see if for Hakuya to keep trying / making moves in his own special way. It’s okay if he’s weird and quirky and even unsuccessful sometimes, we’ve just got to see him try. He’s walking that line, I just hope he doesn’t retreat.

    • January 30, 2014 at 6:14 pmPancakes

      I agree, since this show is not going to have Hayuka as the primary focal point we are going to need to see him act. In effect Hayuka’s character simply needs more fleshing out to counterbalance his outwardly eccentric personality. So far though it’s looking good that this will happen if episode 4 was anything to go by.

  • January 30, 2014 at 3:56 pmthedarktower

    yes, finally you picked that up!
    I was really surprised when you stand the temptation of not blogging it, but glad you picked it up. this is indeed a worthy.

    this show demonstrating some pure elements of good romcom, more like the comedy, but with a touch of SoL/school-life and indeed the fine tuning romance part that wrap up everything, and it’s working. bizarre as this story may sound to us (seriously, try to briefly say something to describe this show..and you got something that sound utterly bizarre), but this doesn’t feel much ridiculous or something like that to me.

    I like it how the romance comes and goes in small doses. not rushing itself. now, it may seems it’s not moving on, but the show keeps developing it, we aren’t here for the regular romcom, this has something different in that context. although Kobeni is engaged to unidentified, there is still the feeling of something quite natural with the developments of romance. maybe a bit cliche for you, but it works. those blushes and embarrassment looks once in while, along with naivety of characters and taking care. it’s the little doses that makes it work.
    I think they made a wise decision in telling about the accident. this was kinda expected for something like that.
    and it seems this show still have some sakura tricks under its sleeve with Hakuya super-speed (what was it suppose to be..sonic the hedgehog?) and other “mysteries” of what the whole thing with the how the families connected and their power and so…I will let them handle when to surprise me and reveal more stuff, because so far they are handling that well.

    the whole point behind Hakuya is that he is passive.I think that’s what makes it so…refreshing to me. the MC guy isn’t chasing after female girl X and ending up with Y. yet the narrative pretty much directing us that he truly loves her. he wants the best for her. but he isn’t confident about himself whether he is good enough for Kobeni.
    but now it’ll be even more interesting when someone will come for a check-up. he will need to be a little more active (if he wants to prove results).
    and it happens in the best families. that..involvement. we still don’t know how it will be…but we already got dose of it (with Kobeni’s family and/or Mashiro’s involvement) and that is an extra for this show.

  • January 30, 2014 at 4:46 pmmac65

    First, thanks for following this.

    Second, this show is really well written – but I hate to say it, though,
    it feels like it’s headed the Tamako Market way. I mean, there’s a solid
    progression going on and that’s the good part, but it almost seems like,
    even though we’re given a lot of info in each episode, it doesn’t feel like
    there’s a whole lot of weight behind it. Not trying to be negative, but
    like Tamako Market, we’re given a lot of distant story connections, but we
    don’t actually get to visit with them (e.g. his family), if you know what I mean.

    But I enjoy the series for what it is, and what it has done so far it has done really well.

    • January 30, 2014 at 10:49 pmStilts

      I disagree. Tamako Market’s problem was that it couldn’t focus – it was very episodic, and it bounced its focus from character to character, some of which worked (Midori once, Anko once, the dad), most of which did not.

      This is remaining focused on Kobeni x Hakuya and on the same general kind of comedy that it was doing in the first episodes, it’s just developing the plot more. It has far more in common with Kotoura-san and your typical Dogakobo slice-of-life comedy – GJ-bu, Love Lab, etc. – than it does anything KyoAni has done in years (or really, ever).

      This show may still flounder, but I don’t think it’ll be because of any similarities to Tamako Market. If nothing else, Dogakobo hires a LOT better storytellers than KyoAni does nowadays.

      • January 31, 2014 at 9:05 ammac65

        Maybe Tamako was a bad comparision — and I did
        say what they’ve done so far has been excellent.

        I jusr have this feeling that the engagemnet will
        be nullified by some sort of mutual consent and
        not really flesh out anything about a romantic
        relationship.

        Be nice to be wrong, though…

        …just MHO…

  • January 30, 2014 at 4:54 pmVagaries

    Long time reader, first time post.

    Thanks you very much for picking this program up.

    This show has been growing on me week by week, keeping up a fairly constant high standard of writing, animation, and Mashiro. It may well end up being my pick of the season. However, it felt a little sad to not see it having some sort of discussion on RC especially as the plot evolves. So, cheers for taking on the extra work.

    Actually, after reading RC for a few years, this season is the first where I’ve felt a real difference in interest between me and the current RC blogging list. While the shows chosen for blogging all have their points of interest, and for the most part are some of the better crafted shows, I find that the shows that I’m tracking (for both good and bad reasons) are nowhere to be seen.

    This show was top of my list – which has now been address. Others include:

    Witchcraft Works – Which is working really hard to replicate the manga – line for line of dialogue and including it’s amazing visual density. However it draws a lot of fan ire because it is currently the antithesis of the male teenage power fantasy. Been really interesting to watch how they are pulling things together with its overload of visual detail. Not to mention the best Ending animation.

    D-Frag – Which has some brilliant crazy random material to draw on, but is struggling to find its feet. Pacing is a real issue, and it is cutting out great swaths of material to push things deeper into the narrative (if you can call the highly random overall plot a “narrative”). So not a stella show, but a great one to discuss and analyse in terms of how you translate the feel of a manga into anime. And it may yet find its feet.

    Sekai Seifuku ~Bouryaku no Zvezda~ - Is just too much fun for me. Excellent animation and design, and some really interesting ideas/debate buried in the eclectic mix of things. For instance last week’s anti-smoking diatribe that went a whole episode was a hoot. The grandiose secretly-wished-you-could-say-such-things-in-public speeches; how they push the debate through to irrational extremes or referenced slyly some of the root causes of the issue. And while it seemed to favour one side of the discussion, it still had its subtle digs at the other side. There’s some really interesting thinking going on behind this show. And I can’t believe Stilts is not following the diminutive lead of this show!

    There were a couple of others that I thought might have shown promise but have failed to impress like Nisekoi (Shaft was just stylistically the wrong studio to do this. Everything feels like the creators are just working by the numbers.) and Wizard Barristers Benmashi Cecil (Really interesting premise but majorly short-circuited itself with a ditzy lead character).

    Not that this is a complaint. I’ve always appreciated the effort that goes into blogging a show and applaud the work of all the writers here. It’s just this season, there happens to be little discussion which overlaps with what I’m following. However, the inclusion of Mikakunin de Shinkoukei goes a long way to filling the gap.

    So thanks once again for your efforts and good luck with the rest of the season.

    • January 30, 2014 at 7:15 pmStilts

      Glad that you’ve started commenting, and that you’ll be following along on this one : ) And I shall now, because I nearly put myself into a food coma with dinner and need to do something before I pass out, will respond to your other shows with a few comments of my own! Since, ya know, not bloggin’ em and all, lol

      Witch Craft Works – I’m enjoying it so far, and magical action is sort of my thing, so this was one I considered following. I didn’t end up picking it up because A) Other stuff I wanted to cover more and B) …I don’t know, to be honest. Most of the fun comes from seeing Ayaka torch people and the antagonists, but the protagonists are kinda boring. Takamiya is alright, but Ayaka is a brick wall. It’s still fun to watch, but in a decidedly low calorie I-wunna-see-the-kabooms way for me.

      D-Frag – Good stuff, but traditionally pure comedies are hard to cover. What do you say other than “This is funny” or “This wasn’t funny (to me)”? I almost didn’t cover this because it was largely acting as a comedy before this episode, and that one is definitely pure comedy. I am enjoying it in the same way I’m enjoying Seitokai Yakuindomo though. (And I have no idea how takaii keeps writing about all these pure comedies. He’s nuts!)

      Sekai Seifuku ~Bouryaku no Zvezda~ – This was the original I was looking out for, and it’s interesting so far, but it’s got a little…once again, I don’t know. I don’t know why this show isn’t working for me as much as I wish it was, but it is. Probably the show I was most likely to blog after the ones I am blogging though, if only because I love originals. Even if I’m a bit gun shy on blogging them after Gen’ei :X

      As for the others you mentioned, I’m only watching Nisekoi, and honestly it’s always starting to annoy me. Just try out the damn keys already!!

      Note: I know you weren’t demanding answers or anything, I thought I’d just give you a peak into the way at least I decide what to blog. And watch too, though with me the two are interconnected now. I always be bloggin’!

      I look forward to seeing you around more : )

      • January 30, 2014 at 9:40 pmVagaries

        Many thanks for the reply.

        Good see behind the scenes, and I agree with you about talking about comedy ( and I also did recall you discussed that issue in earlier blog entries). Comedy is indeed a highly subjective beast (try Stuart Lee – British Comedian – and see how you fare).

        Much to discuss in response, but instead I’ll just note a background connection I’ve just come across (though this info is probably well known to most of you).

        Series director for Mikakunin de Shinkoukei is Yoshiyuki Fujiwara – who also been doing some episode direction and key animation in the series so far.

        Past work includes being series director, key animator and story boarder for GJ-bu, episode director and key animator of Love Lab, and a few more series.

        Reading that made a few things go click. The slice of life comedy with fluid animation similarities became really obvious, especially with Love Lab (another favourite of mine).

      • January 30, 2014 at 10:22 pmStilts

        Or, to simplify your point, they’re all Dogakobo anime : )

        I’ll tell ya, someday we’ll figure out to stop underestimating Dogakobo anime. Or better yet, we won’t. Then they’ll always be pleasant surprises!

      • January 31, 2014 at 5:10 pmricz

        Witch craft, Seifuku, D-frag, Mikakunin these four are really entertaining so far

      • January 31, 2014 at 5:19 pmCroos

        Truly I tell you, Seikai Seifuku gets repetitive as episode goes.
        As for WitchCraft Works – The ED still stuck in my head.

  • January 30, 2014 at 5:37 pmZen

    My first impressions:

    I was bored last night and so I decided to marathon the first four episodes of this show on a whim. I expected it to be mindless B-romcom fluff- but ended up being quite pleasantly surprised. Comedy is a major part of this show- for many rom-coms it tends to predominate at the expense of everything else- but this show places an equal emphasis on the personality of its characters. With many romcoms comedy segments tend to be strictly comedic with little to no utility in terms of character development or plot. One of the worst offenders was Arakawa Under the Bridge where literally all of its comedy was based around a small number of quirky personality traits belonging to each character doing more or less nothing to develop their personas beyond these quirks. And while things were indeed funny when the emphasis of Arakawa was comedy due to the fact that some of these quirks were quite interesting it became jarring and uninteresting whenever things got serious because it was difficult to see the characters as anything more than mere caricatures- about 90% of that show was comedy and the only aspect of its characters’ personalities developed by said comedy was batsh*t crazy quirks with which nobody identifies. Arakawa’s characters couldn’t deliver any significant emotional impact because when it came time to get all dramatic they simply didn’t feel like real people.

    And here is where this show does it right where Arakawa got it wrong. Frequently comedy is used by the writers of this show to convey new and interesting, and more importantly human and identifiable personality traits and nuances of the characters to the audience by means of a cleverly crafted comedic situation which is made to arise organically out of these identifiable, human, non- batsh*t personality traits of the characters. One of the best examples of this would be that one scene where Kobeni accurately interprets all of Hakuya’s seemingly blank expressions. The whole scenario is undeniably a very comedic one- but it also serves the double purpose of developing Hakuya as a character, humanizing him by showing the audience that he is in fact a real person with real emotions in spite of his apparently expressionless face. And there is a certain pleasant naturalness to the comedy because it arose organically as a function of Hakuya’s persona.

    Another example occurred back in the first episode when Kobeni met the Mitsumine siblings for the first time. At first she is a little distraught but she quickly gets over the initial shock and instead begins worrying over not having enough food in stock at home to feed her family now that it’s grown by two members. This was quite funny in of itself especially with Hakuya misunderstanding things and thinking that she had stormed off in rage- but besides being comedic this scene served as a powerful implement of character development. It portrayed to the audience Kobeni’s caring/kind and domestic nature- it showed us that she is the kind of person who can’t hold anything against others for long and highlighted the fact that she is an extremely domestic-minded person whose primary concern is the welfare of her family and contributing to that welfare through household chores such as cooking and cleaning- and the comedy naturally and organically arose from this aspect of her persona.

    And as a result of all this character development which is made to occur simultaneously with comedy even at this early stage of the show most of the major characters are already beginning to feel like real human beings with whom one can get emotionally invested- a far cry from the pale caricatures of Arakawa- in spite of Mikakunin being rather heavy on comedy.

    Of course it cannot be said that this in of itself makes Mikakunin a great show- just like how it cannot be said that Arakawa was a bad show overall just because it failed to develop its characters through comedy. Legitimate criticisms can still be leveled against this show- most of its characters are still rather unoriginal and fall neatly under the umbrellas of cliched character archetypes, although for a few characters cliched character traits are used in uncommon combinations (Like Benio, the star student also being a quirky siscon and the strict one being an imouto). And the most concerning thing of all is the male lead’s (Hakuya’s) distinct lack of screen time in these first four episodes which sometimes made me feel like I watching a K-ON! type all-girls show instead of a romcom. How Mikakunin is ultimately remembered will depend on many other things such as how it deals with the aforementioned problems (Whether it be by adding interesting nuances to otherwise cliched characters [Which is has done a little of.] or by simply giving Hakuya more screen time.) and how the actual plot plays out in the long term. In other words I give no final verdict as to Mikakunin’s overall quality at this premature stage, but I do commend it (Big gold star) for how cleverly it develops its characters through comedy…

    • January 31, 2014 at 1:50 amintroverte

      I’m not too sure about calling Arakawa Under the Bridge a RomCom, or even comparing it to Mikakunin. While it is true that it is a comedy, and that there is just a little bit of romance in it, I feel that it’s missing some other vital components that are necessary to RomComs. To me, I view AUtB as a full-out gag series, similar to Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. Such series as these two put character development and reasoning second to generating laughs from absurd humor. I suppose a good way of describing them is that they don’t take themselves seriously at all.

      In these series, there is often a very large cast of characters as a result of starting off with nothing but introducing strange and radical character personalities. Rather than attempting to deeply develop these personalities or create a proper story, the authors receive near-complete freedom of content. The trade-off it is no longer possible to go in a direction with serious development without warping the character personalities and the nature of the series itself. While Hayate the Combat Butler was also once a full-out gag comedy, it’s ended up as something much different, with some actual seriousness and continuity of the story (Hata probably moved it in this direction because, although he lost a little freedom with what he can do, such pure nonsense-gag comedies are heavily unsustainable).

      On the other hand, Mikakunin is much much more comprehensible and is of a completely different nature. While the content of the show isn’t “serious”, it’s not completely ridiculous. The characters are much more balanced and stable, compelled by common sense and reasoning, and there is a coherent story going on. I suppose I’m nitpicking at that AUtB and Mikakunin aren’t really comparable because of their different natures, and that AUtB didn’t fall a bit short because of poor execution, but because of inherent issues with gag comedies in general.

      And I just realized that this comment is hardly about Mikakunin at all but whatever.

      • January 31, 2014 at 3:20 amZen

        Your comment leads into my opinion that Arakawa should have ditched what little abysmal drama/romance that it had and gone for the all-out gag approach. I get where you’re coming from when you say that Arakawa shouldn’t be classified as a romcom because its romantic component was significantly less prominent than its comedic one but the fact remains that Arakawa was initially advertised as a romcom and is generally perceived to be a romcom (Evident through the “Romance/Comedy” genre classification listed for it on prominent sites like ANN, Wikipedia and MAL) and therefore should be directly comparable to Mikakunin in the minds of many- who do not share your generally contrarian view about Arakawa’s proper genre classification.

        Arakawa is a romcom (And that’s probably even what the author would tell you if you asked him/her about the proper genre classification of his/her work given that the manga is also listed under Romance/Comedy on various manga sites)- because it possesses something of a bare-bones but nonetheless central underlying plot driven by a small but significant amount of romantic elements- albeit a romcom containing the bare minimum amount of such elements requisite to being classified under the genre with the execution of said scarce elements being generally terrible. Arakawa’s bad romance component was dead weight which ultimately held back the show’s strengths (the gags) by forcing the author to compromise some of the nuttiness in order to allow for a small measure of drama- sacrificing a little of what s/he does best for something cr*ppy. Likely the author’s original intent was to go for pure gags but s/he recognized that

        pure nonsense-gag comedies are heavily unsustainable

        like you pointed out above and not having the b*lls to take the risk (Or maybe the pansy was the editor) decided to put in a bare-bones romance component- giving us a rather confused series with something of an identity crisis; it wants to be all gags but forces in a dash of contrived romance preventing the gags from attaining their full potential in the process- likely for reasons of fiscal sustainability….

        …AUtB didn’t fall a bit short because of poor execution, but because of inherent issues with gag comedies in general.

        No where did I say that this was the sole reason why Arakawa show “fell short.” Indeed, I did not even state that I thought Arakawa fell short in terms of overall quality nor did I make any claims to the contrary- no opinions about Arakawa’s overall quality were expressed above. I just said that this was one of its prominent flaws- which might by the way be very plausibly outweighed overwhelmingly by other strengths leading to a stellar verdict in terms of overall quality- not saying that this is actually the case here- but it could be the case…

    • January 31, 2014 at 3:08 pmStilts

      @ Zen

      I can’t comment on Arakawa since I haven’t seen it, but as for what Mikakunin is doing right…

      I couldn’t have said it better myself.

      • January 31, 2014 at 5:40 pmZen

        Thanks! :)

        And I’m really glad that you decided to blog it, Stilts. Like many other readers here after having seen how generally competent these first few episodes were I thought to myself, “Hmm, this has the potential to be some kind of sleeper success, shame RC isn’t covering it.”

  • January 30, 2014 at 6:22 pmricz

    Thx for picking it up again lol

    Its too good to be ignore XD

  • January 30, 2014 at 6:22 pmtsukioniisan

    Kobeni running around blushing during her PE = cute. Mashiro dancing in front of the TV = CUTE. Benio = still as creepily funny as ever.

  • January 30, 2014 at 6:49 pmJ_the_Man

    Nice catch. I completely was unable to pick up on the mystical elements that were possibly being hinted at.

  • January 30, 2014 at 6:57 pmzztop

    I’m here for the mystery of the Mitsumune family. :) Something supernatural is afoot!

  • January 30, 2014 at 7:07 pmThe Story You Don’t Know

    Good to know you’re picking this up. I watched episode 1 because I had nothing to do at that time but boy was I surprised. This must be the best random pick up I’ve ever watched.

  • January 30, 2014 at 7:42 pmGinobi47

    Wow… that was the loliest dance I have ever sceen…. Diabetes Ahoy!

  • January 30, 2014 at 7:48 pmKuntzy

    Yay, Stilts picked up best surprise show of the season!

    Though I’m not sure if the show will introduce supernatural elements to tell you the truth. I kinda figured Hakuya was like a ninja or something. Lack of presence, really fast, doesn’t show emotions and then, of course, the arrow being used to send a letter thing, so I kinda just figured, “must be a ninja.”

    Would be rather interesting if they did though (so long as they don’t go the Twilight route).

    • January 30, 2014 at 10:23 pmStilts

      But then there’s that soft black fur, and all those dog references.

      Well, we’ll see : )

      • January 31, 2014 at 7:38 amKuntzy

        Actually now that I took a quick gander through the episode again, I do think you’re right (Granted, he could end up being a dog-man ninja I guess). Mashiro’s reaction to Kobeni saying Hakuya reminded her of a large dog pretty much sealed it. Conveniently (more like inconveniently I guess), that’s the exact scene that I took my eyes of the screen due to this absolutely god-awful potato salad I took the first bite out of (that sh*t seriously tasted like someone dumped some soda on it) and proceeded to swear to never eat store-bought potato salad ever again (curse my laziness!).

        Now that they’ve introduced supernatural elements into the story, I do hope it has a point. I’d hate for the show to just add that in and not really do anything with it beyond explaining character traits for Hakuya. I don’t know why, but with the show’s setting and rom-com-ish mood… it just kind of feels pointless to add that in imo. I’ll keep watching in the hope that that opinion changes though, because I’m really enjoying it.

        I do have to give the show credit though. Despite being a 4-koma adaptation, it doesn’t really feel like one. Usually 4-koma’s are pretty much like “what you see is what you get” at the beginning of the story (or I don’t watch enough 4-koma adaptations, that’s entirely possible). The scenes also flow together really well, but that might be due to me watching Seitokai Yakuindomo comparing the scene transitions a little too much.

        I’ll just end off by saying that fail-vaulting Kobeni was moe as all get-out. The hngh was strong with that scene.

      • January 31, 2014 at 9:06 amStilts

        I think the difference between this and something like Seitokai Yakuindomo is that while both have the punchiness of a gag 4-koma, Seitokai frequently switches up the scene entirely after a gag, whereas this continues with the same scene. Take the gag where Hakuya and Kobeni are shopping, & Hakuya takes all the damage getting the sale item. They do that gag…and then they’re still in the store for another gag (the rice bowls + Hakuya being burned out). To me, that’s what keeps it flowing so nicely.

  • January 30, 2014 at 10:00 pmewok40k

    screw my free time, picking this up…

  • January 31, 2014 at 1:00 amKyosuke

    I knew this series would be a hit and have been advocating it for so long.. wish we could’ve fanboy’d about it together! :’(

    Btw
    Kobeni Best Waifu award TAKE IT!!!
    Benio is hilariously sexy
    Mashiro MOE-blob loli-sis galor! Yum :3

  • January 31, 2014 at 6:08 amleatherhead333

    Hmmm i kind of feel like there is a lot of convenient writing going on here. First we have the obligatory amnesia which always seems to rear its ugly head in romance related anime. While it’s not necessarily a bad thing (see Golden Time) i just don’t like the delivery here. Hakuya is still a rather dull character to me and i was wondering how on earth he was going to win over Kobeni since he really doesn’t have much of a personality. But of course the fact that he saved her in the past is now going to make her feel obligated to be indebted to him. But wasn’t he worried about how he wanted her to love him on her own and not out of dedication? But seems to have dropped that issue since that isn’t what he was worrying about this episode. Eh i’d prefer if this anime stayed more comedy oriented and just had a little romance on the side because i honestly feel like Benio whenever I see the typical romcom scenes in this show (in other words sick to my stomach).

  • January 31, 2014 at 7:33 amGoukaRyuu

    You’re covering this? Excellent. I was convinced into looking into this show on the TV Trops Forums and have been enjoying it.

    And yeah, it’s no wonder Kobeni is popular with the guys.

  • January 31, 2014 at 9:53 amExis

    STILTS !!!!!! i know you can’t resist those rocket launchers of mass destruction + sick and sweaty kobeni !!!!! T___T thank you man you just made my day

    • January 31, 2014 at 2:40 pmStilts

      No problem : ) Glad to hear it!

  • January 31, 2014 at 3:34 pmMagoiichi

    I didn’t notice the rope around the tree with the doggish looking thing scene in this episode. Which episode was it?

    The only hints I got were the obvious ones. Hakuya and Mashiro are either godlike wolves or flatout dog gods. Who knows, Japan has a lot of myth creatures. They most likely live in a shrine in the mountains.

  • January 31, 2014 at 4:30 pmCroos

    Kobenie is actually d***.
    and what we are s**i*g n** is actually a c*** of the o*******l.
    Thus explaining why the p****** Kobenie actually doesn’t r******r.
    Mashiro please don’t spoil the series. T^T
    :D

    • January 31, 2014 at 5:22 pmBeedle

      @Croos: well, I didn’t expect that. Kinda a bummer, but it does explain so much. Hurrah supernatural romcom!

      btw, c*** or c****?

    • January 31, 2014 at 5:46 pmZen

      Well you probably got the “she died so she doesn’t remember” part right. For the rest of it, remember how she has that scar on her back? I speculate that it might be one of those Dragonheart type situations where Hakuya gave her his heart/power, reviving her in the process…well, we’ll find out eventually…speculation’s usually wrong…XP

    • February 1, 2014 at 8:09 amMaya

      @Cross: I don’t understand what you’re saying. I think I got the first one but not the rest. Have you read the manga? I couldn’t find any online.

  • February 3, 2014 at 4:02 amewok40k

    I love how Nadeshiko (the vice-pres) keeps putting Benio back under control by whatever means necessary… And how Mashiro gladly went with her for tea nad sweets.