The summer’s most anticipated series kicks off with a bang, or at least a vicious slap (~uu~). Have the tables been set for another thriller, mystery masterpiece from 07th Expansion and Studio DEEN? Or are we in for an underwhelming experience like the latest Higurashi OVA? I have no clue. That was just a rhetorical question. It is just the first episode. Thus, this is a pretty spoiler-free writeup. Normal format will follow in the subsequent weeks.
Fansub group: Coalguys/gg
Things I liked:
- Rie Kugimiya as Shannon. I didn’t recognize her at first. Man, I love her non-screechy loli voice. There was a noobier time in my life where I couldn’t get enough of Kugimiya’s tsundere-loli voice and wondered how others didn’t love it. Now I have grown and matured and stepped across that proverbial line into anime umm, manhood, or whatever it is.
- So the ~uu~ turned out not to anywhere near as cute a catchphrase as ~uguu~ or ~hauu~ or whatever else Hocchan has done. But the scene in which Rosa smacked Maria was pretty intense. I liked Battler’s reaction, stepping in without trying to pry too much into family business, it probably would’ve mirrored my own. I don’t think Maria deserved the slapping, but it was a very annoying sound. I don’t know if it was intentional, but she sounded like a seagull. Regardless, I think this is a good sign for the future. It’s only episode one and people are already flipping the $&%# out.
- I know the whole cousin love is ok in Japan, but I sort of cracked up at the Battler’s awkward ogling of cousin Jessica.
Things I didn’t like:
- I suppose my only criticism is that the characters so far seem like cardboard cutouts, and there was such an overload of them, it’s hard to tell who I’m supposed to care about and who I’m not (right now I only care about Battler and Jessica). From what I’ve read from some others is that several scenes from the VN have been cut out, which led to the rushed pacing and some missed opportunities to fill out all the characters. Unfortunately, that probably comes with the territory, because there’s such a huge cast and I’m guessing a bunch of them will start dying off soon. Some background info would’ve been nice, but I trust 07/DEEN.
Random other thoughts:
I haven’t read the VN, so I don’t know what I’m missing out on, but I thought the first episode was solid enough. It introduced all the characters, it filled us in on the background, it established the dying grandpa as batshit insane, and teased us with some hints of supernatural activity. Like I mentioned above, it felt a bit rushed, but not to the extent where I thought I was missing really important information. On the contrary, I feel like I’ve just sat through a 00 OVA, and am now looking forward to watching them get deeper into the actual story and the characters.
Interestingly, Daisuke Ono went with his higher-pitch Koizumi-type voice, versus going with his deeper Sebastian-type voice. I suppose that’s a sign that Battler’s a relatively normal guy? Regardless, every time I see images of him pointing at someone I think of Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney! I hope that finger has powers, like Keiichi’s bat or Rena and Mion’s needles.
I’m looking forward to seeing where this series goes. Whether it’s a by-the-book murder mystery with supernatural elements, or whether we’ll also see the familiar Higurashi mind-warping moments along the way.
Decision? My decision has been predestined by Oyashiro-sama. Umineko will lead, and I will follow.