OP: 「PUNCH LINE!」 by しょこたん♥でんぱ組 (Shokotan ♥ Denpa Gumi)
Goofy, ecchi, silly, quirky, and without a lick of sense in sight, Punch Line is either the triumphant return of old school GAINAX-style anime (of the FLCL vintage), or an incomprehensible mess. Or both.
What The Hell Just Happened?
“I don’t get it. How does that have anything to do with an asteroid?”
“You don’t have to overthink it. If you don’t want to end humanity, don’t get excited. That’s all that matters.”
Well, you can’t fault the show for not being self-aware.
I have a feeling Punch Line will be extremely dependent on personal taste. That’s true of all things, but this isn’t a situation where people will say “It’s good, but it’s not for me.” It will either be “Wow, that was fun!” or “What the fuck did I just watch?” Punch Line strikes me as more style and attitude over substance (also, pantsu), where the plot is senseless to an intentionally bad degree.
Case in point: the exchange I quoted above. It feels like they’re covering up for lazy writing by hanging a lampshade on it (trope!), and to be clear, that doesn’t make it any better. It does sort of work, though. (Or not! Your mileage may vary (trope!)) It’s clear they’re being goofy, and saying “Don’t get caught up in the details. Just have fun!” Whether you can do that is totally up to you. Me, I can dig it to a degree—this first episode didn’t exactly wow me, but there were some fun parts, and a few things that hinted at something more, so I’ll watch another episode or two at least. (Plus, pantsu) I don’t think I’ll ever have to engage my brain, though. Not when main character Iridatsu Yuuta (Inoue Marina) can travel back in time every time he accidentally destroys the world, which robs the story of any kind of tension. Which is probably the point.
Art, Animation, Characters, OST
If the plot is kookoo for cocoa puffs, what about the rest? Whether you like the character designs is up to you, but they hearken back to old school GAINAX animation as much as the bonkers plot does, so sign me up for the nostalgia train! (Also, pan—boobs) The animation was fluid and well done, so no complaints there. I especially liked the OST—I’m not usually one to notice the soundtrack, but there were moments where it was striking without distracting from the scene. Turns out getting a big name in Komuro Tetsuya to do the music was a good idea (see the preview for more info).
As for the characters, they remain largely one-dimensional so far, but not entirely. From Hikiotani Ito (Kotobuki Minako) watching the bus hijacking to intently to Daihatsu Meika (Kugimiya Rie) making a good luck charm for her friend Narugino Mikatan (Amamiya Sora), they both introduced us to the characters swiftly and are laying down the foundations necessary to flesh them out, should they decide to do so. (And yes, the good luck charm was mostly so Meika could get stripped, but it was still touching and whatnot.) Plus Chichibu Lovera (Tomatsu Haruka) on the moaning, eyecatches made me laugh! You’re trying too hard, Tomatoes. Dial it back.
Looking Ahead – That’s Twice Now
Earth has already been destroyed twice now, because Yuuta got too excited, and those things are linked because REASONS. (Don’t think about it too much, Stilts. Nothing good will come of it.) I’m not planning on blogging this weekly, but I’ll probably be watching it, so feel free to follow me on twitter to see my impressions.
tl;dr: @StiltsOutLoud – Goofy, silly, ecchi, & w/out a lick of sense, #punchline is either the return of old school GAINAX-style anime, or a mess. Or both #パンチライン
- Not sure about Inoue Marina in the main role. Unlike a Shiraishi-Ryoko-playing-Hayate kind of situation, I don’t think Yuuta is supposed to be girly, so his voice sounds off. I mostly got used to it, though.
- Mashiro-tan, what are you doing as a ca—ahhh, who am I kidding. That’s perfect casting right there.
- After so many magical girl shows playing the transformation sequence trope straight, it does my heart good to see someone spoof it.
- The ED is super cute. I like it a lot.
My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now available in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel short story. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: Cut away the boring bits, Sheet music, Wage Slave Rebellion is officially in print, and From LEGO to author.
ED: 「蜜蜜蜜」 (Honey Honey Honey) by Ayumi Kurika Maki