Summer 2020 Week 1 Check-In

Hey gang, Tofu here! This season, I’m debuting weekly check-in posts for the blog. Every Saturday, I’ll post an update on what I’m watching, what’s good, bad, and other on an episode-by-episode basis, and all that jazz. In this post, I’m just going to give you a look at what I ended up watching this week, so it’s a lot of info all out here at once. The following weeks may be a little different in format – we’ll just have to find out!

The God of High School

With some excellent visual comedy, fantastic animation overall, and a simple, engaging premise backed by a fun cast of characters, the first episode of The God of High School is an absolute blast to watch. I was a little concerned about a series just throwing us into a longform tournament from the first episode while establishing very little about it, but that actually proved to be one of the best things about this show’s debut. All we really know is that we’re watching some young folks beat the shit out of each other for sport, and it has the visual chops to make it fun to watch. Whether it’s giving us an excellently-choreographed high-speed motorcycle fight/chase, or a massive battle royale cage match brawl, The God of High School really knows how to make an impression with its first episode. I’m very excited to keep up with this as the season unfolds.

Deca-Dence

Gang, Deca-Dence kicks ass. The premise in and of itself isn’t exactly new – some strange breed of monsters, the Gadoll, appeared one day and wiped out most of humanity. Now, the remains of mankind live aboard the moving fortress Deca-Dence and try to live out their existence in relative peace. Our protagonist, Natsume, wants to join the Gears force – soldiers that fight the Gadolls. Due to an incident where she lost her arm as a child during a Gadoll attack, she is stuck working as a repairman for the armored hull of Deca-Dence with her surly new boss, Kaburagi.

Even though it’s not exactly a new concept, that does not make Deca-Dence a derivative sort of show at all. The setting and premise are fun and interesting, and they’ve managed to make the characters feel somewhat fleshed out and endearing very early on, but what makes me want to continue watching this the most is just the visual style and the animation. Everything in this show is so gorgeous and fluid, especially when the gears set out to fight the Gadoll in the zero-gravity fights that are standard, apparently. Honestly, it reminds me of the first time I saw the Survey Corps fighting titans with the 3D Maneuver Gear in AoT, and my god, is it fun to watch. Do yourself a favor and give this a shot.

Monster Girl Doctor

Monster Girl Doctor is, to put it simply, absolute, unadulterated dogshit. Why did I decide to watch it? In my defense, the summary of the show that I saw went along the lines of, “Whether receiving a marriage proposal by a centaur injured in battle, palpating the injury of a mermaid, or suturing the delicate wounds of a flesh golem, Dr. Glenn performs his job with grace and confidence. But when an unsavory character seeks to steal a harpy egg, how will the unflappable Dr. Glenn respond…?” Given that summary, I figured we might have a fun, wholesome kind of twist on the monster girl genre of shows. I did not expect for the show to actually be “everyone wants to fuck awkward young human doctor while his lamia assistant whines and fights every living and non-living thing for his virginity.” Really, though, that’s on me, and I should have expected as much. 

The fact that Monster Girl Doctor is an ecchi series isn’t the problem here – there are some genuinely good series that fall into that category. For example, last season’s Interspecies Reviewers (rest in peace) had fun characters, gorgeous visuals and musical score, a total curveball of a premise, and pretty much all of the horny content that anyone seeking that kind of thing could ask for. Monster Girl Doctor has none of those. The characters are bland, its use of 2D and 3D are both pretty poorly implemented, and the only thing I can even remotely remember about the soundtrack was a weird amount of shitty brass instruments. It’s really a shame, because the central premise of looking at monster girls from a medical, physiological perspective is a really cool twist, and one that could be genuinely interesting to watch if half the show wasn’t moaning, awkward advances on a skilled but emotionally dense doctor, and snake girl whose personality is “jealous”. This show is obviously going to be a hit for some folks, but I’m not one of them.

Lapis Re:LiGHTs

If you’re interested in idols, magical girls, a pinch of yuri, or any combination of the above, Lapis Re:LiGHTs is the show for you this season. The premise is really something else – our main girl, Tiara, journeys from her small-town fantasy home of Bristol to the big city, Mamkestell, to attend the magical Flora Girls’ Academy in order to become a witch. However, becoming a witch at Flora also involves getting placed in a group with other girls and, basically, forming a performing idol group. Magical girl idols, yeah, wild, right? While we haven’t gotten deep into the performative aspects of the show just yet, the first episode definitely worked to give us a look at some of the girls we’ll be spending the season with. Lapis is by no means the most engaging show of the season, but its beautiful animation, charming characters, and interesting premise are enough to keep me around for a few more episodes to see if it picks up.

The Misfit of Demon King Academy

When I watched the first episode of The Misfit of Demon King Academy, I thought that I was hallucinating and watching a re-skin of Mahouka. Really, it’s not that far off. Take Big Brother Jesus who can overpower anyone, swap him out with The Literal Demon King Reincarnated, put the show in a fantasy high school setting instead of Mahouka’s magic science schtick, and you’ve got Misfit

Our demon king Anos is reincarnated, grows up to be about high schooler age in the span of a month, and goes to attend an academy whose sole purpose is to try and nurture potential reincarnates of the demon king himself. There, he makes friends with a near-emotionless girl with high magic aptitude; he fights some noble in an aptitude test and kills him, revives him, and kills him over and over until it’s honestly just hilarious to watch; he breaks a magical aptitude crystal because he was way too much power when it registers him; and he wipes out a whole cohort of royal guards and nobles when the poor sap that challenged him earlier comes back for revenge with his older brother.

In short, it’s a magic high school with a protagonist that is so hilariously overpowered that there is no possible way for there to be any stakes whatsoever. And it’s because it set that precedent so early on that the show is so fun to watch. It’s by no means a high priority for me this season, but I’ll absolutely be willing to keep up with it this season for some ridiculous fun.

Re:Zero Season 2

Look, I knew that we were going to get right back into Real Suffering Hours with this new season, especially after subjugating the White Whale, but man, Re:Zero is back with a gut punch to kick off Summer 2020. If you watched the first season of Re:Zero and enjoyed it, you’ll be right at home here. If you haven’t watched it, then go back and watch it. What’s wrong with you?

Oregairu Season 3

Somewhat related, you know what show I expected to make me suffer from the get-go, but didn’t? Oregairu S3. Yes, we did resume smack dab in the middle of the conversation between Hachiman, Yui, and Yuki that closed out season 2, so reliving all of that and then expanding a bit on it nearly gave me a panic attack. However, most of the episode actually revolved around Hachiman’s relationships with his sister Komachi and his classmate Saki. And y’all? It was cute as hell, and it was a breath of fresh air. Re:Zero had already hurt, and I was prepared for this to perhaps hurt even more, but this relatively low-stakes reintroduction is perhaps the best way to slide back into Oregairu. Give us a little break, and then hit us hard later. I’m unbelievably excited to get back into this.

Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!

Basically, take the general premise of Teasing Master Takagi-san, but tweak it a little bit. Our lead Sakurai is a college junior that just wants to hang out by himself, and Uzaki, who appears to have been on the high school swim team with Sakurai previously, wants to hang out with him and rid him of his, as she puts it, “loner lifestyle.” Sakurai plays the straight man to Uzaki’s loud, boisterous, and nightmarish disposition, and it makes for a genuinely delightful dynamic between the two. In a season that’s starved for any dedicated comedy series, Uzaki-chan is a lot of fun, and definitely worth giving a shot.

Rent-a-Girlfriend

If I take sequel seasons out of the equation, then Rent-a-Girlfriend is the show that I’m currently the most excited for this season. Twenty-year-old college student Kazuya gets dumped by his girlfriend of one month, downloads Diamond, a girlfriend rental service app, rents a date with Chizuru, who works through Diamond to help pay her way through college, gets way too attached to a girl that’s just trying to do her job, and gets mad when he finds out that, surprise, other people have dated her and had a great time. In a fit of impotent rage, Kazuya gives her a bad review, schedules another date to try to tell her off, and gets his ass handed to him when he tries to do so on the date. Through a wild series of events, Kazuya and Chizuru run into both of their grandmothers in the hospital, and have to pretend that they are both, in fact, actually a couple. Once they are able to get away from all of it, they talk things out, have some actual self-reflection, and decide that they’ll just tell their families that they broke up. Whether or not that will be the case, however, remains to be seen.

The premise is just so fascinating, and the cast is endearing from the get-go. Yes, Kazuya is a shitlord, and yes, he did deserve to be called out for being shitty to a girl just trying to do her job, but by the end of the episode, he seems genuine in his apology to Chizuru, as well as in his own self-reflection and realization that he feels a constant need to be with someone, otherwise he’ll be crushingly depressed. In much the same way, Chizuru feels like a fascinating character in and of herself, and we have only been able to scratch the surface of that in this first episode. It feels like there’s a lot of room for some interesting conversations about love, companionship, and human rental industries to be had by this show, and I can’t wait to see what more this show has to offer!

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