「如月アテンション」 (Kisaragi Atenshon)
I really don’t want to come off that I’m hating on MEKAKUCITY ACTORS. In fact, I want to give it praise, but only when it is deserving. Let’s examine episode two to see what went right and what keeps falling through.
First: the beloved insert song, Kisaragi Attention. If you haven’t watched the original music video, I highly recommend doing so here. The Kagerou Project would be nowhere where it is now without the music that brought it there, so it’s definitely a nice touch to have Momo Kisaragi’s (Kashiyama Nanami) character song included. I personally would’ve preferred IA’s original recording, but Haruna Luna also does a good job covering the song. It’s a nice nod to the target audience, as well as utilizing a good song in itself!
Second: the episode was superb in fleshing out Momo’s backstory, which included original material. The eerie focus on Momo’s isolation and objectfied people in Momo’s flashback is quite appropriate and effective as a visual cue. It’s definitely important for Momo to establish her loneliness despite her massive attention, since this trait is an important link for her to emotionally connect with the other characters later on. She may have all the world’s eyes on her, but in reality none of them are looking at her. This exposition actually explains a lot as to why Momo is an idol in the first place. If the show continues to develop characters in this manner, the show will be all the better for it.
As a side note, Momo wasn’t the only character that got introduced today. We won’t introduce his name here to avoid spoilers, but it is interesting how they introduced the boy who ran with Momo much earlier than expected. Could we see an early introduction the videos of Moon-Viewing Recital and Kagerou Days? MV fans, what do you guys think?
Finally, the ED. It’s simply animated, but it’s clean, tasteful, and the song is lovely. I do like theforeshadowing based on the placement of characters in the scene–a gentle nod to the future that I’m sure veterans will appreciate.
However, let’s now address the aspects of the show that are ‘wanting’. First, animation.
A commenter last episode labeled the animation best as, “A poor man’s Monogatari.” SHAFT has great potential and I believe that they will continue to make stellar works. However, I feel that MEKAKUCITY ACTORS isn’t going to be one of those, especially animation-wise. It’s undeniable that there is significant influence from Monogatari, but the difference comes from the cleanliness. I have nothing against simple designs and simple settings, as long as it’s cleanly done. Monogatari, in all of its minimalism, does this well. Focus less on the background, focus more on short character animations and smart wordplay. MEKAKUCITY ACTORS on the other hand has simple designs that look similar to Monogatari’s, but the character scenes are then given too much attention given their quality. Oftentimes, the shot is either a long-distance view that looks really sloppy or a close-up on one of the character’s faces (which I don’t mind as much as the former). The key animation itself is of acceptable quality, but the subtle frame-skipping of key scenes to presumably save on resources prevents the show from looking as great as it could, and overuse of these scene shots gets repetitive. Look only to the running scenes during Kisaragi Attention for an example.
Finally: the script and composition. I’m disappointed in both the original creator Jin and Yase Yuki in how they’re handling the pacing of the show thus far. Much of Momo’s scenes seemed to drag on longer than they should have. The jokes just fall pretty flat without comedic timing and most scenes don’t lend themselves well to developing the setting or the story. I wouldn’t particularly mind it if these scenes were visually pleasing or scripted well, but even as I close my eyes, the energy of the show just seems…lacking. Perhaps it was a mistake to have two novices be in complete control of the storyboarding and scripting. As another commenter pointed out last episode, Jin may be good at making music and recruiting animators to make music videos that blend well with the lyrics, but in terms of actual scripting for an episodic format…he has a lot to learn.
I still am willing to give this show a try though, despite all my personal gripes about it. To see a different interpretation of a story you love is always an interesting endeavor, and hopefully from here on out, I’ll have to complain less about logistics, and more gushing about how the characters and plot are painting an interesting narrative.
ED: 「days」 by Jin ft. Lia
I’ll probably be blasted for this and be bombarded with a crap load of negatives but I think this series is awful so far. I just feel like it’s bad compared to pretty much… everything else this season.
Nothing seems to happen in either episode. Maybe there’s something I’m not getting or something I should of watched/read before I began the series which would allow me enjoy it more, but it’s really hard care when it’s something this dull ;/ Hopefully somebody can shed some light on why I feel it’s so bad and why everybody around the webs are creaming their pants to it.
Personally I think it’s because it’s SHAFT. Like anything KyoAni does, everybody will claim it being the second coming of Jesus.
But eh, who knows. It might pick up next episode. If not, then I’ll stick to the 3 episode rule for this.
Now… bring on the Black Bullet post! (^▽^)
Lol, I suppose you weren’t here last week or read my post. I think I addressed those reasons fairly thoroughly.
tl;dr – people were hype for it because SHAFT + Kagerou Project, both of which are pretty good. However, it’s pretty bummer for a lot of people because of poor directing, pacing/storyboarding, and a sense of neglect as compared to other SHAFT offerings. The source material itself is very interesting stuff, but the transition into television has been less than stellar.
Also, not everyone is hailing it as the coming of Jesus. If you were here last week, you’d see the mixed response it got. Hell, even my fellow officers at anime club are feeling the lukewarm reaction.
Finally, I’m not in charge of Black Bullet, but it sounds like Takaii has a nuanced reaction to the show.
Is it really that bad? I would say this series is at least a meh. To say it sucks is a bit too much not that I’m implying it sucks…
Well really, it depends on your perspective. As I stated below, the show is really polarizing, where you have people in every category–loving it, pleased, meh, disappointed, or outright hating. I happen to fall into somewhere between meh and disappoint myself, but I understand that there are lots of other people who fall into other boxes, either because of familiarity with KagePro, familiarity with SHAFT, comfort with Shinbou’s directing, and well, a whole slew of other factors.
I encourage you to share your opinion freely–I want to see the other side of the coin here too :).
I feel asleep on halfway in this episode. I wonder why.
A weak episode compared to the first, it dragged considerably starting around the middle. The main issue seems to be plot progression and properly linking the different segments together as so far everyone unfamiliar with the series is not likely to know what is going on. Unless we get something concrete soon this show is going to fall into the basket of shows trying hard to be psychological and mysterious, but failing miserably.
As for the animation it’s passable. Too many are quick to blame Shaft when they forget what we see is what they were paid to produce. The party funding this adaptation likely just either want to maximize their returns or never expected the returns to be large enough to justify putting more cash into the project.
I agree wholeheartedly with your first observations–the show definitely is trying really hard to create this mysterious aura, but without any “meat” to that aura, it comes off as being empty. I do hope that the show picks up after all the character introductions.
As for animation though, I believe detractors have good reason to blame SHAFT–they’re acting out of ‘character’. SHAFT may not always deliver the greatest of stories to us (I recall Sasami-san getting a lukewarm reception), but despite the project, they deliver more than a “passable” on animation. When they trip up, of course there are going to be people who are wondering what’s going on. It doesn’t matter that this show may have been produced to ‘maximize’–if SHAFT took up the charge, they better hold it to standard, or else red flags and criticism will arise. Not bashin mind you, but valid criticism and questions as to why this happened.
To illustrate, just imagine if KyoAni spit out a show that had ‘passable’ animation. The same reaction there is very similar to this situation.
Probably should have worded my second point better 😛
Shaft does share some of the blame for how they handled what they got to produce this, but not all the blame. Too many only look at the studio hired to produce the work and not whose funding the whole thing. In this instance Mekakucity Actors looks like a case of a party in over their head when it comes to adapting a preexisting work and a studio who have used their budget as an excuse to skimp out on and simplify what should have been handled better (insert Nisekoi remarks here).
Cheaply rushed is the probably the best way to sum this show up so far.
I honestly feel sorry for the direhard fans of this who already claim there’s nothing wrong with this rendition…its like some people never take off those rose-colored glasses. Honestly, not bashing Shaft but this was a show that they should have stayed away from. Reading the first few chapters of the manga…they made the anime series x10 more complicated/draggy than it should be (the initial first few chapters were pretty straight forward but I’m cringing at how they’re going to treat the “initial meeting” next episode…I seriously can’t handle all of these visual metaphors, as I see them enough at art college). I can say they’re doing an excellent job with Nisekoi…but this…this…
Well to be honest, for me who have not seen anything related to the music video, I don’t have too much of an expectation coming in to this, relying only on the praises it has been getting everywhere on the internet, so I have to say, while it is a bit stale, and lacking of energy (not sure if it’s the right word) but I would say it is still decent, and I don’t see why there is so much hating on the anime adaptation of mekakucity actors.
But first episode definitely was pretty slow, but I feel this episode is starting to seem more natural, if I had to describe it, like although the pacing was still fairly slow, it felt better than the first episode. Overall, still looking forward to this series :3
This is definitely a polarizing show, where every side has a different reason as to why they’re raving or ranting against it. Of course, there’s people in the middle who are confused as to why it’s so polarizing, and that’s okay–having a third view or more is great for balancing things out here.
Having different opinions here is good. It allows us to see all sides of the coin and forces us to see the show through different perspectives. At least, that’s how it feels for me anyways. It feels good when people agree with my analysis, but I learn far more when people suggest new perspectives, directly conflicting or not :).
I have no problems with people who genuinely disagree with me, so long as they’re willing to have a conversation about it if I’m curious. ^^
Omg, did we watch the same episode? The comment about the similarities of Monogatari’s art direction is laughable at best. I could make a VERY convincing argument that Monogatari completely rips off Revolutionary Girl Utena and THEN say that Utena ripped off another series and devolve from there, but I won’t.
I personally thought that this episode was amazing and the symbolism, direction and storyline were thrilling to watch. It really saddens me that the reviewer didn’t go into detail about some of the powerful imagery/coloration scenes in this episode. This is the downside about making adaptations of a beloved storyline. It clouds their vision and forces them to be overtly picky and critical. This makes them fail to see what the story was: a complete glimpse into Momo’s life. In that respect, years of her story were told sufficiently and powerfully in a 30 minute episode.
This is one of the best new series to come out right now. Am I crazy for saying this? Am I mad? Personally, I was waiting a whole week to see the review of this episode because I thought that, as a whole, it was better than the majority of the crap that has come out in the past year. I wanted to see the enthusiasm, but more so, I wanted to see the analysis. Oh well, c’est la vie.
No, please do expand. We’re here to share our opinions, but if you leave me hanging like that, I won’t be able to see your side clearly and/or be swayed.
Also, I’m not arguing that Monogatari is originally animated. I don’t really care. It just happens to be the most salient comparison that I can make given that the animation production is from SHAFT.
I didn’t go much into the symbolism though, so I’ll give you that. It was very interesting to see the usage of color indicating Momo’s loneliness, as well as the usage of inanimate objects to represent how disconnected she is from the rest of society. She can’t connect with objects, even though they might be spouting some noise at her. It’s a sad scene, and although I did make mention of that in my post, perhaps I should’ve focused on that more. It was well done after all and deserved more praise.
However, I do disagree that the rest of the episode had any of that charm. I don’t want to hear an enlongated discussion on Momo’s grade in class when it could’ve been summed up in half the time. I definitely don’t want to see animation sequences that loop for 15 seconds just because Kisaragi Attention is playing. It’s really lifeless.
Also, you are entitled to think that this is the best series to come out and that it has amazing symbolism, but please don’t claim that I’m “clouded” or unenthusiastic about this show. The reason I’m being critical is because I AM enthusiastic, I have followed the material, and I had very high hopes and expectations of SHAFT+Kagerou. I’ll grant that I should probably improve my analysis, but please don’t claim that I’m unenthusiastic. I want to see the good, but what I see from my personal perspective isn’t much…so far. That’s why I always state that I’m hopeful that things improve, such that I can focus on the character dynamics that I look forward to in this show.
Pretty much agree with ya Zani-chan. The introduction of Momo was better than most of episode 1 to me – I actually started to care about a character a little bit – but the energy and pacing were off, and the animation is still meh. At least the insert was nice.
I agree with Stilts-nee-chan.
Despite being a SHAFT fan boy, I have to admit that thus far, it’s rather been mediocore at best. Pales in comparison to Ef, monogatari, madoka magica and nisekoi.
I am hoping that it’ll not turn into another Araragi Under the Bridge. That was pure torture to sit through.
There was supposed to be jokes in this episode?
The artwork, and this week’s character, remind me of Sasami-san Ganbaranai. The backgrounds are like Gatchaman’s crew doing it as a “night job” or on vacation from their normal work day.
The main problem with this series is its narrative. If you’re not familiar with the series at all, this show is not going to be friendly with you.
I didn’t like the fact how it didn’t even transition from the first episode to the second (since perspectives change completely, as it goes from Shintaro to Momo.) I thought that would be confusing to new viewers. And they definitely did drag out all these scenes. I was really disappointed that the person in the end wasn’t introduced by the middle of the episode. The pacing was just… really awkward overall.
The good thing about this episode was the extra backstory on Momo, as a look into her past and family was really nice, as it gave more depth to her character, compared to the manga and light novel. A little sad that it didn’t at least mention Shintaro–since he’s the main protagonist–seeing as he was in the frame. (That’s my personal opinion though.)
Not too bad, but not too good either. I’m not blaming Jin for too much, since he’s the original creator and he’s the one deciding on how this is being carried out, so it must be a lot to take in. I just wish things were more understandable, to new viewers and old fans.
Thanks again for writing up on this episode, Zanibas! Looking forward to future posts~
(And forgive me for any grammar mistakes wwww//orz)
Story, execution, flow… Wow. Everything was firing on all cylinders at 110%. Very impressive was the author’s ability to convey the sheer irony of Momo Kisaragi’s life and how her family left her all alone in contrast of her special ability to garner everyone’s ability. The song’s placement was perfect as well.
So what if the animation left a lot to be desired. Honest to goodness, I couldn’t care less. It was sufficient and portrayed the Characters and their moods well enough to compliment the story, and that’s all I can ask.
IMO, it was Momo’s story was amplified by the SHAFT imagery.
Objectifying others around her was still fine by me. Kinda conveyed her world view of others. But one that I found rather unsettling was representing the idol scout as a balloon holding bear on a harpsichord or what ever that was. And the dark contrasting shadows….
Looking at it, the scout seems to be portrayed as someone who seeks put these girls, coming of age perhaps, entice them with the prospects of being a magic girl, bestowing them the powers of magic girl yet at the same time, there’re hidden agendas or conditions. If Momo ever falls into deep despair… She’d be the devil that’ll rewrite all existing law of the universe…
Wait…. Am I commenting on the right post?
Show Spoiler ▼
More head tilts.
Looks like Shinbou hit his quota of two Gahara head tilts per episode this week, too.
ALL HAIL SENJOUGAHARA HIME SAMA!
None shall dethrone her. All others are pretenders to her throne!
The only thing that was great about this episode was the use of Momo’s song. Other than that… everything just fell flat. It might just me not really caring about Vocaloid in general (never understood the hype tbh), but everything about this series is really off. The animation is very subpar for a SHAFT series, the supposed jokes are not even funny, and the pacing is so off.
I remember an old NBC slogan to sell its summer reruns as something fresh because, “If you’ve never seen it before, it’s new to you!”
I’ve seen all of this from Shinbou in just about everything he’s done for SHAFT since 2004.
The thing with the teddy bear? He does that in every series to some degree. He did it in Sakura Trick, Hidamari Sketch, and in Monogatari. The objects he use are different, but the trick is the same.
I think this series would have been better with an unknown director to cover up the weak writing. I’m just not fooled by the same ol’ same ol’ in the visuals. (What it really needed was a pro writer to help this guy out.)
The setup is interesting this ep– a girl who can’t help but be the center of attention. But she’s so ignorant, I get distracted wondering how she got into junior high, let alone high school (or how she manages to use common kitchen utensils for that matter), so I didn’t connect with her as much as I should have. That’s just bad writing.
I know I’m being critical, but I had moderate expectations for this, and it’s really disappointing on pretty much every level. I’ll give it one more week, and I’ll try to reset my expectations.
So I actually was shocked at the amount of criticism regarding the first two episodes. Having no prior exposure to any of KagePro I was really interested and put this on my to watch list! The second episode was better and I enjoyed watching Momo. The whole stereo thing was super cool.
Then I got curious and read the manga.
I read the first two chapters and…I see the problem. The first episode was pathetic in comparison. Characterization and even certain seemingly important details were cut all together. Really sad about this.
I hope they figure this out. If not, I’ll read the manga.
I honestly can’t understand this anime. I like the drawing style, yes. I like the characters as individuals, they have strong characterization. I like the way metaphors are thrown here and there. But I can’t completely relate the scenes from each other. Can someone give me a no-brainer and simple idea of what’s happening in this anime? I want to understand it better because I can a see a good future to it.
Currently, we’re looking through the lens of two people with weird situations. First is through the eyes of Shintaro and his anomaly of a program Ene. The second is through the eyes of Momo and her strange ability to attract people. These two people are actually connected to one another in some way, which will make sense later as the story progresses.
There is a group of people who seem to be seeking out these people with anomalies. We don’t know why, but there definitely is a group of them starting to contact possible members. The same group has come into contact with both Shintaro/Ene and Momo, and most likely the two of them will come into contact soon enough through this group.
Going forward, we’ll learn the nature of this group. I can’t say what exactly will happen moving forward both due to spoilers and due to highly unpredictable nature of where this is heading, but I will bet that we still are far from introducing all the characters we’ll see thus far.
Thanks for that, Zanibas! It feels like gunslinger a bit. I really have high expectations from this anime since it’s release. It really caught my attention (actually it’s Ene who caught my attention, she somewhat looks like Miku). Thanks thanks!
For some reason I didn’t like the ending song all that much. I was expecting something like Ayano’s Theory of Happiness or Summertime Record. Though there’s the possibly that I’d end up liking the song.
A good episode, but by no means great at all. I enjoyed the extension to Momo’s backstory, but the direction of the shots just screamed Monogatari so loudly that it was painfully distracting. The symbolism was nice and all, but for some reason when they did a flashback of Momo in her class room, it seemed almost exactly like some of the Nadeko class room scenes from Monogatri season 2. Also I was curious as to how they were going to incorporate the character’s songs in this anime. I had initially thought they would just use them as ending themes for each episode, but I wasn’t expecting what happened here. Sure its appreciated, but I wish it wasn’t inserted so…Awkwardly. None the less this is one of the few series this season that makes me interested to see what happens next, and although Shaft’s signature style is frankly getting old, I am liking some of the changes which they are doing here (fleshing out characters, and introducing others a bit earlier). Totally agree with your comment on the ending theme here too; simply beautiful.
I’m not familiar with the source material, so I wonder when the connection with the monster girl in the post-ED sequence will come into play. Definitely some relation with glowing red eyes.
Also needs more Mary. There’s a sore lack of Mary.
Mary, come to us pls ;_;.
What if I told you SHAFT is beyond the point of having to prove its worth to anyone?
My personal positive natured bias aside, there is already a sizable dedicated fan-base that would eat anything that they make up, regardless of content.
Recently on RC all the taglines of the posts on shows such as Mahouka have just been trying to find fault with the show more than necessary. Honestly seems like you guys have so little to go on when you’re not collectively trying to sidetrack and force people to accept your opinions.
Force people to accept my opinion? I certainly do have an opinion, but espousing it isn’t equal to forcing it down anyone’s throat. Please don’t marginalize opposing views by claiming they’re try-hards, especially when we back our views up with examples.
You’re right. SHAFT doesn’t have much to prove. They’ve established themselves. However, they do have something to uphold. It’s foolish not to call them out if they don’t. I am in no way “actively” trying to find fault with this show. I am not a “try-hard” to find ways to slander MEKAKUCITY ACTORS. I report what I see, both good and bad, and if that makes it seem like I’m side-tracking the discussion, I’m sorry that you can’t see my perspective, which I tried to make as balanced as I could.
I was only referring to all the taglines of the three posts that I saw here.
“but overall the show still has a lot to prove.”
“this episode left me scratching my head.”
“I’d call this a great episode, except for that one scene.”
I was merely stating my opinion based on the hooks that you write your taglines with which imply that every show has glaring flaws. I understand an author may be at odds with sensationalist headlines to draw people into reading and the boring reality of opinion writing, but you guys should find better ways to convey your opinion that doesn’t involve putting any perceived flaws onto the firing range.
But…we aren’t trying to be sensationalist. We’re putting out what we truly believe in those taglines. Perhaps I should show you others from the same authors that don’t have said “glaring flaws?”
Please don’t selectively choose your evidence to label us as sensationalist. We write what we feel, independent of purposefully roping in views.
honestly i cant bear the coloring scheme of the adaptation… the source material definitely is a kick ass, but the way it is adapted, is unacceptable… i would rather see a quality like those kagepro MVs in niconico (example: kisaragi attention and imagination forest) because its much better…
either way i’m still hoping the quality of story adaptation would compensate to its unbearable animation as the series goes. im a kagepro fan so im still sticking to this despite all what i have said.
The nice thing about the KagePro MVs is that the lyrics actually match with the actions. It’s one thing to just hear the song alone, it’s another to watch the video without understanding the lyrics, but it’s a magical thing to put the two together. It’s like a musical storytelling that’s not a musical.
I don’t think we’ll get that kind of synchronization here, but I do hope that the show does integrate more of the KagePro songs into the story.
As someone who has only had minimal exposure to the source material, I’m keeping an open mind. Yes there was hype for this but because I hadn’t had much exposure I wasn’t even thinking that this might be good. I would hope that there would be an unbiased analysis of the series with your own opinion forming with the series finale review. I’m not saying you are doing a bad job or a good job but this is just my own opinion. In fact I like your style of reviewing more than some of the others on the site. Mekakucity actors is an interesting show with throwbacks, oh so many throwbacks, to the monogatari series. Comparing the two is a mistake though based on just the two being animated similarly. I for one will wait on deciding whether or not this series was worth it at the end.
If it were only the animation-comparison, I wouldn’t feel so bad about the show. In fact, the comparison to Monogatari is a very minor problem. If the show had been completely Monogatari-styled, it would’ve been better, GIVEN that they kept up the quality. So really, my side gripe animation-wise is SHAFT = less than stellar performance. They’ve done a good job preserving the character designs, but in terms of actual animation, it just feels rushed.
In later episodes, I hope to focus less on animation, hopefully more on the positive, but still focusing on the quality of directing, storyboarding, and script.
Do you have suggestions though on what I could be doing better in my reviews? Please let me know ^^.
I hope the show itself gets better as well since it did get hyped quite a bit on its story telling through its original medium. As for your writing style I don’t have any real problems since you are one of my favorite bloggers on this site.
I do get the feeling this is Shinbo’s side project, with his attention more on Nisekoi and the upcoming Hanamonogatari mini-series, as well as plans on the still unreleased Kizumonogatari movie.
That said, from the cinema and BD/DVD sales of the Madoka Magica movies, Shaft has loads of money to burn to afford a “miss” as this (based on current reactions, though it may still change). Just hope they bounce back quickly.
I’m kind of disappointed with this episode since I expected much more energy coming from momo (it’s referencing kisaragi attention afterall! I don’t want to blame the quality all to the studio but either the in-betweeners are paid too small or they just going on ‘whatever’ for quality check. The pacings are weird too, just like you said. There’re too many useless character shot which makes it seems flat and boring
I do like how they represent the mob as things though
but all in all I’ll still follow this series cause my love for kagepro is just that much I’m fine being masochist ;7;