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The current season of anime isn’t inspiring me greatly at the moment. In fact a significant chunk of the series premieres left me cold to the point of not even bothering to finish the episodes. On that basis I’m limiting this to the shows that I’m still considering watching.

More details under the cut.

1. Descending Stories: Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju

Rakugo Shinju is back and once again I cannot for the life of me work out how this got greenlit. I’m grateful that it did, but how did this get money in the current anime market again?

There is so much about Rakugo Shinju that is at odds with the general state of anime. From the character designs to the classic tragedy delivered as a Rakugo performance that was the season 1 story[1], Rakugo Shinju is something special in modern anime.

Based on the first episode, season 2 or Descending Stories will also be a serious story. Season 1 did raise the issue of maintaining a traditional art such as Rakugo in a changing world with new diversions and entertainments, but mostly left it there as foreshadowing.

However the rejuvenation of Rakugo looks to be a central theme of Descending Stories, along with some social commentary on the Showa era. Overall I’m looking forward to this one.

2. Interviews with Monster Girls

I really wasn’t expecting a lot from this, which may explain my generally positive reaction. Limited numbers of demi-humans now live in society, including the obligatory happy high school life. Biology teacher Tetsuo Takahashi has never met a “Demi” but is fascinated by them. Tetsuo, as the series title suggests, wants to write a thesis based on interviews with Demis, assuming he can find any.

Then the new maths teacher turns out to be a succubus, and three Demis enrol as new students.

Despite the premise, Interviews with Monster Girls is surprisingly UN-creepy and even more surprisingly funny, with a genuine human touch. Tetsuo seems to be a nice guy, and that’s carrying the show so far.

3. Fūka

Another anime season, another idol show with bonus romantic triangle. Despite how clichéd it sounds, and despite how unbelievable it is for a 16 year old girl today to not have a mobile phone, Fūka still has potential.

If it can tone down the fanservice.

IF.

Due to his parents moving to the US, Yū Haruna and his younger sister Chitose move to Tokyo to live with his older sisters Maya and Hibiki. Yū is a twitter addict, and runs into the eponymous Fūka Akitsuki whilst out shopping. This is exactly the sort of Meet Cute and Accidental Pervert scene that will have many viewers rolling their eyes.

Fūka is unsure of what she wants to do with her life, although her parents seem to be fairly supportive types, and obviously the first two episodes cover the start of the friendship and Fūka discovering that she wants to become a musician.

Oh, and Yū’s childhood friend Koyuki Hinashi is a big idol at the moment, still has a huge crush on Yū, and gets back in touch with him just as the series starts.

Finally, all three of Yū’s sisters are Miss Fanservice at home but think it’s OK because it’s just family. Yū, to his credit, is rather less impressed and wishes they’d put some clothes on.

Despite the negatives here, and there are a lot of negatives here, I still found Fūka to be worthwhile viewing, and I’m currently regarding it as borderline. I’ll keep watching for the moment, but I’ll end up dropping it if the fanservice doesn’t get toned down some; it just doesn’t fit the tone of the story and feels forced.

4. Minami Kamakura High School Girls Cycling Club

This would be the “Cute Girls Doing Cute Things” show, complete with a supposedly Cute Clumsy Girl lead who has be taught how to ride a bike in the first place. It seems I’m a bit over that trope, and there seemed to be a few too many Male Gaze oriented cuts. Not to mention the still shot at the end of the episode[2].

The live action scene with a pair of (presumably) Seiyuu getting advice on how to select road bike components was amusing, but might well wear out its welcome fairly quickly. It’s also a sign that this show doesn’t have enough story to occupy a full episode, which isn’t particularly inspiring.

I’ll need to be bored to watch this, but it’s the last item I might watch at this point.

Summary

That’s about all I’m going to be watching this season, and at least two of those are borderline at best. I’ve also missed a fair few, the recent outages on CR didn’t help there. If there’s a really good show (or a trashy one you think I might like) that I’ve missed, sound off in the comments!

[1] I had a lot of trouble trying to review Rakugo Shinju S1, I may try to rewatch it this season to finally deal with that.

[2] I’m not sure spines work that way.