BY! THE! GUY! BEHIND! DARKER! THAN! BLACK!
And here's a show that's not much like it. But at least I got everyone's attention. NISEKOI
Oh well. By now, I'm no longer sure why these romance comedy thingies even exist. They have absolutely no merits and don't really ever go anywhere and this one is based on something that has a very, very bad reputation for doing exactly that. Not to mention how the anime will never get so far anyway, so there goes your reason for watching it. Do yourself a favor and watch KoiUta instead.
This is JUMP and SHAFT and I can only assume that said two factors out-cheapened each other to the point of giving rise to an actual budget. Minus and minus is plus or so they say. At least I suppose that's what happened here. I have no other explanations for this. So yes, to everyone's surprise, it was actually well-animated. That's actually all sorts of hilarious, considering how SHAFT should be in a very, very miserable state these days with their scheduling problems and work overload and whatnot but what do I know.
Anyway, it's so totally not good? Generic through and through at that. It even started out with a childhood promise regarding marriage but the protagonist has too much of a plot sickness to properly remember which girl he fell in love with and made the promise to back then, so there's amnesia too. Never not have amnesia in a romance to rewrite crap on the spot and cause as many misunderstandings combined with bad drama as possible while throwing around terms such as "fateful encounter" and whatnot. But generictaxi did not come to a halt here, oh no, it went all down the rabbit hole. Main girl crushes into the protagonist on her way to school with a toast in her mouth. Then, not even six minutes in, there's that new transfer student and boy, guess what, it's her and everyone goes nuts for her. Wouldn't expect otherwise from a student from overseas! Mysterious, exotic overseas beauty genes at work once again! That aside, due to discrepancies, the protagonist hates her and she hates him and so they get to sit right next to each other! And it turns out they have to pretend to be in a relationship for the next three years! Boy, the clich s! Want me to beat the lot of you at my favorite thing ever, the guessing game? Okay, so hear my suspicions: Despite the mutual hatred, they'll get closer to each other much to third wheel girl's disdain and then things willnot progress. And when they do, get reset. And keep not progressing until the show is over. I think I've already won this bet.
Eh, I guess the protagonist could be worse and so could the visuals be. It's still SHAFT though having a fetish for having close-ups of irrelevant body parts of people while they turn around, highlighting parts that don't matter while people do something and it generally looks lame. But at least there's budget. That helped somewhat. Not so much the pacing though. Half of this episode was about people looking for something and not finding it and only at the end of the entire thing had we arrived at the beginning of the premise blurb. Fantastic. Even more so with the prospects of everything coming to a still stand by the beginning of episode 4. SEKAI SEIFUKU: BOURYAKU NO ZVEZDA
See? This is how you do an in medias res flash forward. That gets people interested. Particularly with the contrast between the heaps of trash around the statue and the shining city far, far away. Generally helped by the flash forward being atmospheric. Hooray for something.
And as it's always the case with separate, vastly different segments, the atmosphere hardly carried over to the actual content of the episo- oh, wait, it did. I feel like lauding this for not going "Here, have a hook so we can ascertain you that things are going to get drastic at some vague point in the future and now let's get back to being lame." but that would be too much of a sad thing to do. I'm generally decently surprised by this as it was a fairly fine thing. Not that it was without its flaws. While the protagonist is not annoying and can talk back (to some degree that is), he's still a loser and gets punched by the main girl. Who happens to be a loli, so he's certainly not winning any points there for either standing his man or not. Okay, she's a future world-leader and stole all his food but my point still stands. Also, thought-narration. Not so good. At least it was very short but ever so absolutely pointless, I assure you.
There's little to say about this considering how it's so very fond of remaining mysterious and not revealing its cards this early in the game but for what it's worth, it at least set up some basic markers and made me care. Even about the protagonist since hey, that one is a homeless guy due to being a runaway kid. You don't have that every day with anime protagonists. Aaaaand there's a martial law applying sometimes with everything getting closed and the army moving out to fight some monsters (imagine the following: the army is actually competent and a threat and beat the monster all on their own!). Note how that was apparently some norm yet we weren't told about it which was fairly mean but successfully caught me off-guard and certainly got me interested. Also, war happening close-by and those two taking a stroll through the city while having their little actually interesting chit-chat certainly deserves some points I suppose. It certainly helped that the entire ghost town thing wasn't only an interesting idea but also somewhat atmospheric. The all-around good BGM totally helped out and so did the backgrounds which are kind of reminiscent of, say, Tsuritama or Uchouten Kazoku. Maybe I'll actually figure out the term for that one day. We'll see.
The loli is far less annoying than expected and I was actually a bit amused by her every now and then. Her being expressive and energetic did some good when it came to following two people walking around doing nothing but talking. That could have been so terribly boring, so thank goodness that it wasn't. Well, never let it be said the dialogues weren't decent. Furthermore, the other characters also positively managed to leave an impression that's not "Eww, gimmickry sidekick freaks I could not care less about." so I'd call that a winning point. I'm generally surprised by how this decided to go for a more serious tone after all instead of opting for unambitious wacky fluff. Also, referencing Lincoln in an anime. Did not expect that here of all places.
Uh, I'd recommend checking it out? I, for one, am interested in what it is all about and how they'll end up conquering the world. Check that out, an in medias res episode that got me hooked, that's, like, fulfilling its purpose. And a rarity for that matter. So miracles do happen.