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Yoru no Yatterman – 01

OP Sequence

OP: 「Kyokugen Dreamer」by SCREEN mode


“The World is in Total Darkness”


「世界は真っ暗闇」 (Sekai wa Makkura Yami)

Exceeding Expectations:

No one has been talking about Yoru no Yatterman going into this current season, and that’s partially because it’s been difficult to know just what type of anime this was going to be. All I knew this was loosely tied to the original Yatterman series from the 70s, but that watching the original wasn’t necessary. I expected some slapstick comedy with goofy characters and a monster-of-the-week type of storyline; something harmless but pretty mediocre. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

In fact, I’d go as far as to say this was the best first episode of the season (up there with Death Parade). The main plot details had been kept from us (well, we did get a vague and downright confusing synopsis) and so when the curtain was pulled back and we got this, well, I was blown away. I just hope everyone gives this a shot, otherwise they miss be missing out on something special.

An Emotional Story:

It’s been a long time since a first episode has made me tear up – the last time would be Ano Hana, which turns out is my all-time favourite anime, so that’s certainly a good sign. I was not expecting an apocalypse to take place, nor was I expected the story of a pregnant and widowed wife living in a land of poverty. Dorothy (Itou Shizuka) instantly comes across as warm and genuine, with her two companions, Voltkatze (Hirata Hiroaki) and Elephantus (Miyake Kenta), sell themselves as a perfect comedy duo. In only a few minutes it feels like we’ve nearly gone through a decade, seeing Leopard (Kitamura Eri) being born, growing up, and then celebrating her ninth birthday. It’s sweet, it’s touching, but there’s something sombre about the whole affair, as we learn of Dorothy’s poor health.

They way the original anime has been weaved into the story here is surprising, but effective. It may have been easy to just assume that this was a modern remake of the same story, but these characters are in fact decedents of the main characters of the very first Yatterman. There’s only mere hints as to what led the current story to where it’s at – like how the originals were banished from the Yatter Kingdom, a country ruled by the almighty hero Yatterman. The details still to be cleared up may have been addressed in the original anime, but for now I’m just going with what we’re told here. We get some well-woven exposition in the form of a child’s storybook, but the idea of heroes and villains flips itself by the end when in search for help for her mother’s illness, Leopard, Voltkatze, and Elephantus head towards the mysterious wall and encounter those from the Yatter Kingdom, who turn out to be evil. It’s not the most shocking twist, but it’s effective, especially with the transition into Dorothy’s death. The whole sequence between mother and daughter was beautiful – the animation was simple, effective, and I had a tear in my eye.

Drama vs Comedy:

If there is one potential worry I’ve heard that I can sort of understand, it’s the balance between drama and comedy, and how it will work. I – and I assume many others – were expecting something silly and slapstick, but as it turns out we’ve also got a powerful story on our hands here, with three very diverse characters ready for an adventure. I found myself chuckling quite hard at moments of comedy here and there, but I do also wonder where the balance is going to lie from here on out. I suppose my expectation of something goofy was delivered when the trio came out in their cheap superhero costumes, but tacky as they may be, the garments are just as endearing as the characters that wear them. For now I deeply enjoyed both the serious and silly sides that were in this episode, even if I understand the opposite opinion.

Overview – What’s Next?:

All things considered, this was a superb first episode. It blew away my expectations, delivered some very fun and sympathetic characters, and set up an ambitious adventure into the unknown. The trio don’t know what awaits them and neither do we, and I, for one, am very excited to see what awaits.

Note: Because this episode was so fantastic, it’s thrown a wrench in my blogging plans. If next week’s episode is just as impressive as this one, then don’t be too surprised if I decide to pick this up.

 

 

Information Digest:



 

Details Digest:

The World They Live In:

  • It seems like the raining down of meteors at the beginning was in our modern time, so I’m interested to find out how the world got to such a desolate state.
  • I’m also intrigued by the skull and the laughing voice as the destruction take place.
  • And there’s also the walls keeping them out of the Yatter Kingdom. I’m curious about them as well.

Channelling the Originals:

  • I really like that the new trio ties nicely in the way it does. You could almost call it a homage.
  • There’s even a pet pig in both groups! A pig that can talk, no less.
January 11, 2015 at 4:26 pm
33 comments »
  • January 11, 2015 at 5:10 pmL002

    http://randomc.net/image/Yoru%20no%20Yatterman/Yoru%20no%20Yatterman%20-%2001%20-%20Large%2042.jpg
    I think Catwoman must have made a decedent with Bruce Wayne. It would be nice if the other two happen to be the descendents, that turned good, of Bane and the Joker.

  • January 11, 2015 at 5:10 pmSDFGS

    Go for it! This is the darkhorse/sleeper hit of the season. Its a shame about those who’ll overlook this show…and a deeper shame for those who hated it (but I tend to group them in the “other” demographic). One thing is for sure, while reading some official character bios on upcoming characters/team members I can safely say this show does not pull back on its dark drama/serious tone.
    That opening song/animation was fantasic, I enjoy having a varying age amongst the main trio and I really do hope they can find some form of happiness at the end of this. Also thumbs up for not sexually glorifying the 9-year old! Now some may argue her new outfit does that, but in a sense, it doesn’t because they could took it to a whole new-low level some shows do(like make her bottom bikini-size).

    • January 11, 2015 at 5:14 pmSamu

      I do hope the future episodes/characters have the same sort of tone as we saw here. Also, I agree on your comments of sexual glorification. I would shudder at the thought of many anime handling a 9 year old girl as its main character, but it’s flawlessly done here. She’s believable for her age and as you say the contrast between her and the other two is nice to see as well.

  • January 11, 2015 at 5:33 pmTripleSRank

    I was already wondering, but now I feel almost certain that I went into this episode with the wrong mindset. It felt a bit rushed, and I wasn’t sure what to expect as it kept progressing, but I’m having a hard time taking the premise seriously. The contrast of drama and comedy seems weird to me.

    Plus… I mean, the world just isn’t as simple as the little girl made it out to be, so when that’s juxtaposed with the super hero(?) (I thought their ancestors were thieves/villains) outfits, it kinda smashed the expectations for a more serious narrative that had built up over the course of the episode. Maybe I’m crying foul too quickly though?

    I’m glad I read this and got another perspective.

  • January 11, 2015 at 6:19 pmDvalinn

    I quite liked this first episode as well, especially as I wasn’t expecting much of it going in. Reboots of old 70′s shows are prevalent in anime nowadays, after all, but a lot of them (like Magic Kaito) are a bit too childish for me to truly interest me. As Yatterman was a more comedy focused show, as far as I know (I never watched it, only know the characters from fighting games) I expected something more along those lines as well.

    This first ep, however, manage to establish a rather charming narrative around Leopard and her mother’s loyal swabbies. I can appreciate the darker twist on the franchise (descendants of old villains now have to fight dictatorial former heroes) and it did enough to make us immediately root for the protagonists. Kind of reminded me of what they did to Casshern, really (though that show was super-dark, figure they’re going to keep the lighthearted moments here). I can’t really predict where this one’s going to go now, but I like its style and atmosphere, so I’m certainly going to give it a chance. Nice little surprise, this.

    Also, that opening’s pretty catchy.

  • January 11, 2015 at 6:25 pmstarss

    Oh hey. Miki’s still finding work!

  • January 11, 2015 at 7:02 pmDaBanzaiFish

  • January 11, 2015 at 7:08 pmRadam

    I’m most curious to find out what happened to the Yatterman. How did they go from righteous heroes to shooting at unarmed little girls? Were the Yatterman always bad and their reputation as heroes just a lie? Were the originals truly good and their descendants just grew corrupt over time? Are they somehow being manipulated by a third party? Were those glowing red eyes just an artistic visual or does it have relevance to the story like being androids?

    • January 11, 2015 at 7:35 pmdeVaras

      Well we are seeing this from a 9-year old girls point of view so it is understandably one-sided right now. Hopefully they will give us the Yattermen’s perspective, but it is hard to justify trying to murder a little girl with lasers.

      If the Yattermen have not had any direct contact with these people (Leopard’s family) in the many years since the apocalypse that the Dorombo Gang may have caused (judging by the big skull explosion we see in the opening, their calling card) it is understandable they might have build up a fear of them. Leopard did mention seeing a similar giant wall over the mountains, so I assume the Dorombo families are completely walled off from the outside world. It is natural that generations of people in the city would think they are a bunch of monsters.

  • January 11, 2015 at 7:15 pmdeVaras

    Agreed this is the best first episode of the season, the characters fit together well and were all likable, her mother’s death was perfect. What a great job taking a older lighter series and going in a different direction. Hope you keep blogging this.

  • January 11, 2015 at 8:08 pmStormyAngel

    I was curious enough from the preview to give it a shot, so glad I did! For all the shows we’ve had this season this one is quite unique, and I’m interested to see where it goes next.

    At the end of the episode when Leopard was standing in front of the painting and then suddenly the two adults were standing behind her, I thought they were going to be mature and tell her it was a stupid plan…boy was I wrong! Just like with the motorboat, one has to wonder what they’re thinking? Are they indulging Leopard despite their best knowledge? Or are they really just that childish…

    • January 11, 2015 at 9:05 pmdeVaras

      I doubt they have much in the way of educations, Leopard seemed to only be educated because her mother could teach her. They live in crappy place as punishment for crimes they did not commit, just watched their friend die when she could have presumably easily been cured, and had the little girl they have shown they care about almost get murdered. I bet they were pissed and really have nothing worth losing.

    • January 16, 2015 at 6:32 pmSleepymess

      are you, are you, coming to the tree…

      • January 16, 2015 at 7:48 pmStormyAngel

        I get the reference, but I’m afraid I don’t really understand the relevance. Righteous indignation?

  • January 11, 2015 at 11:49 pmBeedle

    While I’m sure (given the premise) that the evils of the current Yattermen will be more evident as the series progresses, I can’t completely side with Leopard’s cause at the moment. One thing is for sure, though: the Yattermen are no longer feel like heroes but, instead, enforcers. I’m curious how this series plays out.

  • January 12, 2015 at 2:32 amsas

    just another yatternman that will never get subs

  • January 12, 2015 at 3:59 amMartianMage

    I’ve never watched the old Yatterman but I still found this first episode to be quite predictable. Nevertheless I still liked it and I’m going to continue watching.

  • January 12, 2015 at 6:45 amlorenzo

    Even here in Italy, everyone 35 and younger remembers the original Yatterman (or Yattaman, as it was imported) from their childhood, or at least from popular culture, as one of the first anime series to be dubbed, together with most other Tatsunoko series and the classical Mecha series like Mazinger and Gundam.
    What I find really brilliant is the reversal of roles from the original concept. This particularly struck me in the fighting sequence during the op, with the evil shadows/mooks taking a creepy form of the original hero (http://www.animeclick.it/prove/serie/Yattaman/Yattaman5.jpg).
    This is looking to be a very interesting deconstruction.

    • January 12, 2015 at 6:52 amlorenzo

      Also, on a deeper analysis, in the original series, the Doronbo trio got all the sympathy and the rooting from the viewers, but were doomed to fail every time because of the narrative laws imposing that the good hearoes should always win. This time around, they’re the protagonists (well, their descendants at least), and it’s like they were given the chance to get their truly deserved victory.

      • January 12, 2015 at 5:28 pmVoyager

        Plus, the Doronbo trio were never really that evil to begin with.
        They were searching for parts of a rock that would reveal a secret place with great treasures, if I recall correctly. Yes, they were using illegal means and scamming people to get money for their missions, but that’s it. I always felt like the Yattermen were overdoing their job, and never really liked them… they didn’t actually save anyone, just obsessing with the Doronbo gang.

        I’m glad this series started the way it did.

        random toughts:
        - the little pig was in the original series too, he/she was a fortune teller but always predicted bad luck :)
        - I loved the little details like the piggy waving goodbye with a handkerchief when she lost her grip, being immediately rescued by Elephantus, all happening in two or three frames, I almost missed it.

      • January 13, 2015 at 3:55 amlorenzo

        It’s nice having someone that remembers those things better…
        In the end, the concept behind this show is basically: we all rooted for Zenigata over Lupin, or Wile E Coyote over the Road Runner. That’s the idea.

  • January 12, 2015 at 8:09 amRick Anime

    Really enjoyed the first episode. Seems like a breath of fresh air. It is always a plus to see adults as part of the main cast as well. This doesn’t feel like the typical high school anime so far. I plan to watch because this had the strongest opening so far (right up there with Death Parade)

  • January 12, 2015 at 10:14 amDuzz

    I watched this on a whim because I thought it might be funny seeing as how Aldnoah Zero turned out that pissed me off. What I got instead? Punched in the god damn fucking feels! What the fuck! Seriously! What the FUCK! ARgghh… In the span on one episode I connected with the character and feel sad.

    Seriously! Right in the god damn feels!

    • January 13, 2015 at 8:46 amRick Anime

      Yeah I’m going to backburn Aldonah Zero. I always felt the story went in a seriously bad direction as soon as Urobuchi let go of the reins. This opens up a slot for creative shows like this one for me to follow. Unfortunately it appears RandomC won’t be covering it so will have to hook up with the community at reddit or somewhere to discuss the weekly eps

  • January 12, 2015 at 7:14 pmGrahav

    I haven’t watched the original series, but I had an interest in the Doronbo trio. To me they are the grand daddies of the terrible trios (litrally in this anime).

    The victorious becoming decadent in thei assured morality. Innocents associated with evil losers growing with resentment. Every war in the world.

    Good start.

  • January 13, 2015 at 7:29 amricz

    Wow just wow
    I did watch some part of yatterman when I was a teenager but I never really finish them

    But this one is really different(so far)
    And I’m enjoying it! This is by far my favorite new series this season…hopefully it will continue it’s goodness

  • January 13, 2015 at 2:57 pmchromenova

    Watched it when I saw this recommendation, and I’m definitely satisfied with what I saw. Endearing characters and a nice blend of emotions and comedy for the first ep. I was tearing up a bit when the mother’s death came. I do have some worries about how the anime will go about it’s journey from here on out. Will it be mainly comedy? Or will there be some nice drama/character development as we go along? Hopefully a mix of both, just like this first ep :)

    Also, I think it would be interesting to see how Leopard will grow, right now she only sees the world in black/white, the yatterman being bad because they shot at them and didn’t help her mother. But, who really knows who is bad?

  • January 13, 2015 at 11:56 pmsupercanon

    Interesting because I’ve seen the original anime and the those two were the heroes.

  • January 14, 2015 at 3:28 pmSolaris

    Nobody else got Zvezda vibes from this? I hope this succeeds where the former failed.

    • January 14, 2015 at 5:06 pmRick Anime

      You mean World Conquest Zvezda? Nope, not at all. Granted, I never finished that series. Made it to episode 3 or 4.

    • January 15, 2015 at 3:35 amSolaris

      Zvezda also has a similar role swapping between heroes and villains, but Zvezda became too much surreal and its original purpose was lost at a certain point.
      Show Spoiler ▼

      Given how, basically the old Yatterman also was told from the baddies (not so baddies after all) point of view and wasn’t really a real role swapping, I think they evolved into the concept of anti-hero quite nicely this time.

  • January 17, 2015 at 2:31 ambakumon11292

    there seams to be sleeper series every season so thank god for reviews like these to be honst who has time to watch every anime? i love these kind of series you never know what to expect until you find gold

  • January 20, 2015 at 10:11 amSamu

    Update: Unfortunately I’ve decided against blogging Yoru no Yatterman weekly. I will however be writing about it in the Monthly Impressions posts, so check them out. I know I showed a lot of enthusiasm with this first episode, and I still am really digging this show, so don’t think I have sudden dislike for it – it’s just that I promised I’d only pick this up if the second episode was as impressive as the first, and honestly it wasn’t for me.