OP: 「Never say Never」 by アフィリア・サーガ (Afiria Saaga)
After taking the time to preview the show for our Winter Preview, I personally fell in love with ISUCA. It was your typical harem building with magic show but something about the interactions between the main cast were so inviting that I couldn’t help but keep reading. Fast forward a few dozen chapters later and I was completely enthralled with its simple premise. Sure there were times where I questioned why such an interesting manga kept using the fanservice card when it really didn’t need it, but it was so insignificant that I immediately leap on the opportunity to cover it. So, after hyping the show up both in my mind and on the preview, does the anime adaptation manage to do the series justice? Hint: Sort of, but not really.
If there was one complaint I had about this first episode, it would have to be the decision to shift things around compared to what happens in the manga. The beginning starts off the same with Shinichirou looking for a part-time job to cover living expenses that his estranged parents should be helping with. But once he enters that lonely classroom to tidy up, things became vastly different. Instead of properly introducing us to my favorite character (Tamako) and giving us a little foreshadowing behind just how integral Shinichirou really is to the story, we were instead bombarded with a lot of nonsensical talking and a ton of Japan’s famous black censor fog. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that any kind of adaptation gives the people behind it some creative freedom but compared to the source material, ARMS’s offerings pales in comparison. Without any sort of buildup, the decision to skip straight to the action gave us a rather lackluster fight that just didn’t feel satisfying. Tack on how any empathy I would have felt for anyone was lost with a bunch of poorly timed fan service and you end up fight that lacks any impact.
For the most part, I was a little underwhelmed with this first episode. I was looking for the magic that I felt while reading the source material and no matter how many times I watched it, I just couldn’t find the magic I was looking for. The decision to change the introduction and move plot points around fell flat in my opinion and the liberal use of fanservice shots only helped make things feel more awkward since we have no idea who anyone is yet. All in all, I thought it was a weak and impressionable first episode that had a lot going on in the end nothing was gained.
That said, I still have hope that ISUCA’s anime adaptation can turn things around and right the ship. I’m a firm believer in the three episode rule and for the show I’ve been anxiously waiting for, you can bet I’ll give it a chance. (No promises for afterwards though.)
I’ll catch you guys next week and hopefully there’ll be more good things to talk about :/
ED: 「Somebody to love」 by TWO-FORMULA