Nonon’s Otaku Theater: Spring Anime 2022, Week 1

Never has a Winter season made me feel the kind of despair in seasonal anime I felt this time, and that’s even beating last year. I was able to find a lot to enjoy in My Dress-Up Darlingbut I ended up overanalyzing Slow Loopand we won’t be talking about that other show anymore…ever again. I know that I could have decided on some other winter shows that might have made me feel differently. I will definitely be checking out Akebi’s Sailor Uniformas that received a lot of good reviews, and I might even bite the bullet and find one of the isekais to watch.

This Spring season won’t be having any of that though. In fact I chose all sequel seasons of franchises I already enjoy. On one hand, that decision may see me as a little biased; this is meant to be an opinion/review column after all. Well as we all know, many-a sequel season has ruined a franchise. Let’s just not hope we’ll get that here.

The Demon Girl Next Door season 2 Episode 1

The Demon Girl Next Door

Our first episode of season 2 starts off with what is essentially the whole franchise in a nutshell: Shamiko challenging Momo to a duel, with her seeing it the wrong way and thinking they’re just hanging out in town. Shamiko is struggling to write her menacing invitations, and turns to her teacher to help her write something that looks more like a love letter than anything else. One plot point that I think this season is going to bring is the arrival of Mikan, who moves into the same rundown apartment complex as Shamiko. In case you forgot (I don’t blame you if you did), Mikan is a magical girl who was given a curse that brings misfortune to others when she gets highly emotional. Momo’s sister Sakura is still missing, and it’s evident that she is going to be central to bringing the houses of Light and Dark back together. Is her return even going to happen in this season though? I’m being truthful when I say that I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t.

The direction of the show has not changed much though. It has incredibly fast pacing, and there are some times where I struggled to keep up. Back when I watched season 1, this was something I didn’t really mind because this was the kind of show that suited quick paced gags. Now that hasn’t changed here, so maybe it’s just a matter of me needing to catch up with it all again.

The Demon Girl Next Door

There is something that does bother me though. This first episode is meant to lead directly on from what we saw at the end of season 1, but does everyone even remember everything that happened then? That show is 3 years old, and to be honest I had to look back and try to remember what happened too. So this 3 year gap can be a little frustrating. The show centers around both Shamiko and Momo, and the secondary characters we see once again are people I had to think hard to remember who exactly they were.

Does this all mean that I’m going to have to re-watch season 1 again, to remind myself what happened? I hope not. By that I mean that I don’t want to think that my potential enjoyment of season 2 is being hampered by the fact that stuff in the show can get confusing precisely because of the 3 year gap.

The Demon Girl Next Door

One other thing I want to add is HIDIVE itself. The Demon Girl Next Door is a gag show that uses a lot of text to present jokes or to help viewers understand them and it doesn’t help that they have decided to translate pretty much everything we see, meaning the screen can be completely covered with text at times. This was something I remember seeing when they aired Revue Starlight, although its reason was a slightly different one. I don’t quite know why HIDIVE choose to do this, because to be honest us sub watchers aren’t really that fussed about every piece of text being translated, especially if they’re only to convey small emotions.

I gave season 1 a good score when I reviewed it here, and for a good reason too – several in fact. I have faith that pretty much nothing’s going to change in this season, and so I’m hoping this second season isn’t going to fall flat. But what about another sequel season I’m following here? Will that be falling flat too?

Kaguya-sama: Love is War season 3 Episode 1

The answer is no. In fact I’m absolutely loving the fact that a franchise I have grown to love so much in such a short amount of time is back once again.

Kaguya-sama: Love is War

Interestingly though, this opening episode also picks up exactly where the last one from season 2 ended. Miko is now a permanent member of the council, Yuu is still a part of the Cheer Club, and then there’s Kaguya and her new phone. I bring that up because that’s one thing I remember especially in that last episode. She had been using her old phone for years and had old photos on there, but when it broke, she was pushed into getting a smartphone…and she still has no idea how to use it. And it’s going to get even worse now she’s desperate to LINE message her beloved Miyuki.

We’re back to the tried-and-tested sketches that Kaguya-sama is well-known for here in episode 1, and so we can see that not much from past season will change – that much is as clear as day. But as for what kind of linear story this new season will have is a complete mystery to me. Season 1 was effectively an introduction to the characters, and season 2 had both the student council election and a tragic backstory for Yuu. We already know and love these dorks, so what ongoing story is going to happen here?

Kaguya-sama: Love is War
Kaguya-sama: Love is War

A comedy franchise I love so much is back, and considering the last season I had, this is the perfect antidote. Having seen this first episode though, I see it more as a sequel to season 2 than a continuation of the whole story. A lot of plot points and memorable little moments that happened in that season; too many for me to count. And it’s like so many of them have come back here. Noting two examples:

  • Kaguya has developed a habit of touching her cheek briefly to calm her emotions around Miyuki, and it’s something that returns here. Some viewers wouldn’t understand this if they hadn’t seen season 2.
  • The constant referencing of modern music in the show. There were times in season 2 where we could make out songs like Madonna’s “Vogue” and Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)”. Well they come back here, with Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” noticeable to hear. The reason why? Well let’s just say that the sketch is perfect for it.

Do I think that SHAFT have come back to help though? I honestly don’t know. The franchise director, Shinichi Omata, is SHAFT alumni himself. Back in season 2, we noticed a significant change in animation and script quality, and that’s something that is echoed here in season 3. So I wouldn’t be surprised if they did. We did get 2 serious episodes then (concerning Miko and Yuu), so seeing some more serious ones here in season 3 would not only be welcome but unsurprising.

Oh, but Chika’s head tilt does come back, so…

Kaguya-sama: Love is War

While I struggle to remember things from The Demon Girl Next Doorthings from Kaguya-sama are all stuff I can easily memorize. Could it simply be because I preferred this franchise to the other one? That could well be it, but I should never count The Demon Girl Next Door out. This is only the first week after all.

Komi Can’t Communicate won’t be coming our way for another few weeks yet; The delay is three weeks for this season instead of two, but I can easily wait. In the meantime, I’ll head on over to my new out-of-season show.

Iroduku: The World in Colors Episode 1

Iroduku was a PA Works show that I missed out on. One reason for this may have been because it was hidden away on Amazon Video at the time. It’s since moved onto HIDIVE, so far more people can get a glimpse of it. Having finished episode 1, I’m not totally sure what to think so far. I think another reason might have been that because its plot wasn’t really as open as past PA Works shows have been, I wasn’t really sure what exactly it was about. Well now’s my chance to find out.

Iroduku: The World in Colors

Hitomi Tsukishiro comes from the year 2078. For reasons we aren’t really told yet, we discover that she is colorblind…literally. She’s unable to see colors and can only see the world in grayscale. She also comes from a long family of witches, and yet despite knowing how to cast it, hates magic. On first impression, I wasn’t really sure whether Hitomi would make a good main protagonist, but I think that as episodes go by, there’s going to be a lot more to discover about her.

The premise itself is something I really like. The combination of technology and magic is better done here than in something like Mahouka, where it went so above and beyond that it just looked ridiculous. To help her granddaughter and end her suffering, Hitomi’s granddaughter decides to send her 60 years into the past to meet her 17-year-old self. She isn’t told why, with her only clue being that she’ll find her mission when she gets there. 2018 sees her struggling with old technology and customs, and she is forced to turn to members of the Photography & Art Club in the school she herself goes to in 2078. By the end of episode 1, we get a taste of what’s to come in episode 2. Hitomi is staying with her granddaughter’s granddaughter in the magic shop she lived in anyway in the future, and the other main protagonist, Aoi, looks just as introverted and withdrawn as her, which means they are destined to be together. Don’t ask me why, it’s just anime law.

Iroduku: The World in Colors
Iroduku: The World in Colors

There’s a lot of things in Iroduku that I’ve gotten so interested in. Some opening episodes fall flat for people, and I think that this show didn’t warm to everyone either. PA Works shows haven’t all given off a big spark in me in their first episodes; even the last one I watched, The Aquatope on White Sand, didn’t do it for me. In that I just saw a selfish brat and a listless idol, but I actually want to know more about Hitomi, about her time trip, about Aoi, about the others in the Photography & Art Club, and how magic has been woven so well into society in the show. I don’t know what to expect in the other episodes, but I’m very much looking forward to seeing what is in store.

I think that I could see what I had in the winter season as a good chance to catch up on a lot of things that I missed out on last year perhaps…and I know there were plenty of shows that I could have picked up for Otaku Theater but just didn’t. Here for Spring, at least I won’t have to despair that much. But with what I saw in the return of The Demon Girl Next Door, will I have to re-watch season 1 too, to remind myself of everything that happened? Perhaps I will, just to be sure.

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