Short Synopsis: A bow-wielding terrorist crosses a lifeless desert in order to meet a doctor specializing in illegal mushrooms.
Wooper: Sabikui Bisco may be the most ambitious anime of the winter season. It’s set in a future where rust is spreading across both planet Earth and the bodies of its inhabitants; its far-out costume design has half the characters dressed in masks and/or cloaks; and its fixation on mushrooms dips into the realms of both medicine and combat. More than its setting or visual themes, though, the main thing I noted about this premiere was its habit of jumping between locations and conversations. From a man trying to hide his identity from a pair of border guards to a black market mushroom dealer haggling with a food stall owner to a teenage doctor operating out of a brothel, Sabikui Bisco did a more than decent job of keeping things connected despite its plethora of characters and ideas. It ended on a strong note as well, with two people who we’d seen on opposite ends of a desert finally meeting in the episode’s last scene. I’m less enthused about the show’s production, unfortunately, as the eye-catching scenery isn’t sufficient to distract from the stiff character animation or the shortcuts taken when depicting Bisco’s mushroom barrages (rather than sprouting, the toadstools simply appear in frame with a cluster of airborne rubble hiding their point of origin). I’ll be sticking with this show for a while, but it’s got a lot more to prove if it wants to be truly memorable.
Armitage: I love this world. I mean, not our own, obviously, but the world that Sabikui Bisco paints across the densely packed 24 minutes of its runtime. Desert dunes and retro-futuristic cities. Traders of skin and automaton lizards for car rides. It’s all just dripping with cool while never feeling overly moreish. It almost feels like Xam’d lost Memories went on a cyberpunk bender and was found on the side of the road the night after. The character writing here isn’t going to win any awards and like Woop mentioned the actual character animation is not all that great. But these are all issues I am willing to overlook if we can get a deep dive into the underbelly of a world that for now appears to be a living breathing thing of its own. Hopefully, this will FINALLY be an LN adaptation that doesn’t crash and burn after a promising start.
Short Synopsis: An assassin cons a bounty hunter into going on a date with him by doing her job for her.
Lenlo: I’ll be honest, there’s nothing in Koroshi Ai I haven’t seen done better elsewhere. Visually it’s pretty weak, but in a season as bad as this it’s still probably in the upper half. The storyboards are uninspired and everything looks like it’s lit from a singular source from directly above at all times. It’s just not that good looking. Meanwhile narratively the premise of competing assassins/spies/whatever falling for each other is fine but I can’t help but think of works that have done it far better. Stuff like the currently releasing (and soon to get an anime) Spy x Family. Koroshi Ai is trying for something darker than that, true. But I don’t think it has the chops to pull it off if this episode is anything to go by. It couldn’t sell me on the assassins, it couldn’t sell me on the romance, and it couldn’t sell me on it being a visually interesting watch. And if you can’t sell me on any of those… Why bother watching?
Mario: In a rather weak season – the weakest in recent memory actually – Koroshi Ai remains one of the most promising shows, but I still have heaps of issues with it. I feel like I’m in the minority who buys into this “creepy” advance of Ryong-ha Son, an assassin who has the hots for our lead girl. He’s unpredictable for one thing, and he can be over-the-top and still fit into the premise. But my interest in the chemistry between them doesn’t hide the fact that the show looks pretty bad at times. Furthermore, for the pulpy mystery elements I’m feeling a bit mixed. The show doesn’t tone down the violence on any of its killing scenes, but why is that exactly? Wouldn’t it need to go much darker later on? Despite some issues, I’m in for a few more episodes to see where the lead relationship goes from here.
Kenja no Deshi wo Nanoru Kenja
Short Synopsis: In a riveting turn of events, an MMO player decides to change his character’s appearance from male to female.
Wooper: Full disclosure: I bailed on Kenja no Deshi’s premiere halfway through the episode. Once you get a look at its first two images you’ll understand why – this is an anime for people so addicted to MMOs that they feel uncomfortable watching any other sort of story unfold. It opens with a bunch of narration explaining the lore of the game, and follows that up with scenes of characters praising it as though they were part of an in-game advertisement. The OP sounds like the sort of karaoke song that would only be selected if somebody got really drunk and picked it by mistake. The mid-episode battle scene is so poorly laid out and relies on such unattractive CG that it’s a wonder nobody pulled the plug on the entire show after seeing it. (Then again, the people who greenlit this show probably don’t care.) Usually I can get some satisfaction out of dunking on these greasy light novel adaptations, but this one was so hideously unimaginative that I couldn’t make it through. Do not watch this anime.
Lenlo: You know, I thought Wooper was exaggerating. I thought that I could come in here, make an MMO joke, something about “Just go play FF14” since that’s been my addiction lately. But when I watched the episode it was… it was one of the most aggressively mediocre things I have ever seen. Even people who like the Isekai MMO genre will find nothing here. Everything Wooper said above is true and more. Just go watch Leadale. Or Log Horizon. Or hell SAO, at least that one looks pretty decent most of the time. Just don’t watch this.
Potential: Why does this exist %