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Spring 2024 Impressions: Tonari no Youkai-san, Blue Archive the Animation, The Fable

Tonari no Youkai-san

Short Synopsis: In the small town of Engamori, Yokai and humans live together as they have for generations, working together to protect their easy going way of life.

Lenlo: Tonari is… fine? Wholesome? Dull? It’s a really basic “Rural town Slice of Life” style story where we watch these Yokai and Humans live regular lives side by side. The issue though is that these Yokai really don’t change anything about the setting or story. There’s nothing all that unique about them beyond them not looking human. You could replace their looks with those of normal people and the episode doesn’t feel like it would change at all, it’s meaningless flavor for those who think looking at a cat or a Tengu is more interesting than actual people. And you know what? I get it, it is more interesting watching a cat sit like a person and drink from a tea cup. But that novelty wears off fast and what you’re left with is a run-of-the-mill country slice-of-life. I’m sure for some people that will be enough, something relaxing to watch after a long day. For me though? It’s way too slow and uninteresting. Still, I wouldn’t call it bad. Definitely has more going for it than most of the season.
Potential: 10%

Blue Archive the Animation

Short Synopsis: A quintet of firearms experts protect their abandoned high school from invaders.

Wooper: Blue Archive was a last minute addition to our seasonal docket, but I’m glad it got added, as it provides a timely reminder that not all gacha game adaptations are utterly soulless. I’m never going to download the app, and there’s almost no chance that I’ll watch another episode (though I’ll probably rewatch the OP at some point to admire its abundance of beautiful animation), but this one wasn’t bad at all. The main reason for my favorable impression here is the series’ sense of restraint – though it prioritizes the cuteness of its five female characters, it’s not distasteful about it, nor is the script in a rush to over-explain itself. That left me with plenty of questions, of course, such as, “Why is it important that the girls protect an abandoned school building?” and, “Why do they all have differently shaped halos?” and, “Why are all the background characters animals?” But for fans of Blue Archive, those questions don’t need answering, and for the rest of us, they can either provide a reason to keep watching or serve as simple aesthetic quirks. Speaking of aesthetics, the compositing here is really nice, with thin lines and a bit of blur providing a soft bed for the show’s blood-free gunplay – gunplay which is mostly well-drawn, especially as it relates to the characters positioning themselves on the battlefield. A lot of the dialogue is trivial, and the lone male character transparently exists for player self-insertion, but apart from those issues, this is a well-made premiere that’s sure to please existing Blue Archive devotees, and maybe earn a few converts, too.
Potential: 35%

Lenlo: I’ll admit, when I read Wooper’s bit above about how Blue Archive actually wasn’t that bad, I didn’t believe him. It’s a gacha game adaptation from a series that, as far as I’m aware, is notorious for how many loli’s it has. But having watched it… Well I still wouldn’t call it good, it’s definitely a gacha game with its focus on color-coded cute girls and the story doesn’t actually make a lot of sense yet, but I think I can understand why fans of the game would actually enjoy this. There’s some effort here, both in its visuals and the cast. Had I more time this season I may have been willing to see where it went. As it is, I’m going to chalk it up to a pleasant surprise and a win for Blue Archive fans, but little else as I doubt it’s going to convert anyone who isn’t already a fan.
Potential: 25%

The Fable

Short Synopsis: Infamous prodigy hitman known as “Fable” must go undercover as a normal person, doing his best to not kill anyone.

Lenlo: The biggest issue with Fable isn’t its emotionless protagonist, uninteresting setting, or bland direction. No, the biggest problem I have with Fable is that it simply looks terrible. The lighting, the character designs, the background art, the animation. It’s all bad! It’s clearly trying to be “realistic”, with real world proportions and such. But I feel like it’s gone too far in the direction without the detail necessary to back it up. As for the narrative itself, it’s… Fine? I guess? It was very dry. The opening was a little exciting, but the weak production made it fall flat, and the rest of the episode was a bunch of talking between uninteresting and uncharismatic characters. There’s a chance Fable can do something, a solid criminal underworld story could work well. But I won’t be bothering to stick with it.
Potential: 1%

The post Spring 2024 Impressions: Tonari no Youkai-san, Blue Archive the Animation, The Fable appeared first on Star Crossed Anime.

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