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Summer 2024 Impressions: Oshi no Ko S2, Alya Sometimes Hides Her Feelings in Russian, Shinmai Ossan Bouken-sha…

Oshi no Ko S2

Short Synopsis: Aqua attends the first several rehearsals for “Tokyo Blade,” the stage play in which he was recently cast.

Wooper: I watched all of Oshi no Ko’s first season and came away viewing it as junk food – a purported deep dive into Japan’s entertainment industry that was really just a pulpy teen drama. As an anime-only viewer, I’ve got no way of knowing whether this season might change that opinion, but it’s off to a pretty good start after this episode. Most of it takes place in a single room – a rehearsal space for the cast of the stage play around which this season will revolve – qualifying it for the “bottle episode” label. Assistant director Kuniyasu Nishina got the most out of this limited setting, however, dimming the backgrounds with different brightness levels to bring out the characters’ line readings, and even representing a particular clash of wills with metaphorical paint being splattered on the walls (which put me in mind of the Araragi vs Suruga fight from Bakemonogatari). The laser focus on acting, and on several of the performers’ different approaches to the trade, actually gave the series a bit of an ‘inside baseball’ feel – more so than in 2023, anyway – and the last-minute request from the in-universe source material’s author poses a complication that ought to help the show stay on track. All in all, having seen this season premiere, I’m more interested in continuing with Oshi no Ko this year than I thought I’d be.
Potential: 70%

Mario: Oshi no Ko picks up right where it left last season (as if “episode 12” wasn’t a clear indication), meaning that if you are new to this parade, you’re most likely lost amongst its big cast. For the rest of us, this new season will be focusing on the “2.5D play,” which is apparently an adaptation of a popular manga, and is very much within its DNA. We get the “inside knowledge” of the production of a stage play where the cast rehearses for their parts, the staff members who rationalize their artistic choices… but what I find unusual is that Aqua is not necessarily the main focus here. We hear his monologues, but so far he’s removed from the stage production itself. Instead we learn more about it through the people around him, especially his “girlfriend” Akane. This is pretty much a setup episode, but it does provide a good cliffhanger at the end, so I’m sure to tune in for the next episode (my guess is that the author wants to kill the main love interest and bring Akane’s character to the forefront).
Potential: 40%

Alya Sometimes Hides Her Feelings in Russian

Short Synopsis: A beautiful student council member and her otaku seatmate flirt with each other.

Wooper: Alya-san is such blatant nerd bait that the “too old for this shit” part of me wants to dismiss it out of hand, but honestly, it isn’t that bad. In fact, before we got to the part where the Russian hottie asked her classmate to slide her thigh high sock up her leg, I was ready to label it ‘kind of good.’ The premise of her smugly flirting with him in a language that he can’t admit he understands is a good one, since it gives incomplete power to both characters, and though the protagonist is a Literally Me redditor-type, he’s also normal enough to refer to an attractive classmate as a friend without stuttering about it. There are a couple good gags in here (e.g. an ikemen’s phone slipping from his hand due to shock, then pausing in midair before falling to the ground), and the character animation is more polished than I expected. Eventually, though, you reach the scene where the main dude’s hand brushes against the cute girl’s crotch while he puts on her sock, and though the show carried on from there without missing a beat, that was the point where I pulled the cord to get off at the next stop. Still, if you’re looking for a light ecchi romcom this season, you should probably be watching this.
Potential: 40%

Lenlo: Wooper basically has the right of it, as far as ecchi romcoms go you could do a lot worse than Alya. While I can’t speak to the quality of the Russian, it is an interesting hook and leads to some pretty cute interactions. That plus the MC being a generally well adjusted human, capable of holding a conversation without melting into himself, does a lot to make Alya watchable. Does that make Alya good? Not really, not for me at least, as it’s still pretty trashy and fetishy with stuff like the leggings and the crotch touch. The blatant love-triangle being setup with the other girl, Suou, doesn’t do much for me either as I’d much prefer this be a wholesome and straightforward romance. If romcoms are what you’re looking for, you should probably give Alya a shot, as it definitely stands out against the normal romcom fare. If that isn’t your genre though, nothing about Alya is going to change your mind.
Potential: 30%

Shinmai Ossan Bouken-sha…

Short Synopsis: Apparently 30 years old is middle age, and also too old to be an adventurer. Unless you were trained by super adventurers and are basically Saitama from One Punch Man.

Amun: I get it if this show isn’t for you. In fact, you’ll probably need to have experienced a very specific set of circumstances to appreciate this show: being a part of a group who is significantly more skilled than you at something. I’ve had the (dis)pleasure of this experience: you really do end up with a confused sense of normal. Shinmai Ossan does a surprisingly good job of conveying that confusion when you encounter someone who is “normal” to the rest of the world. The frustration and anxiety that comes from not being able to measure up against your peers, who are beyond exceptional, comes across quite well here. Also, what’s with calling 30 old…first Kaiju No. 8, now this show. I must admit, I do enjoy having an old man in a young man’s game – it makes for a nice gimmick. Now, the animation isn’t top shelf, and the character designs look a little dated, but I quite enjoy the premise, so I’ll be sticking around for a while.
Potential: If you like the shtick, 70%. If not, 10%.

Mario: I reckon that this episode can resonate to most late-bloomers out there (myself included) – whether it’s is your career or hobby, the show suggests that it is never too late to turn over a new leaf for what you really care about. I just wish that they handle all the other parts surrounding that message a bit better. The whole premise boils down to a one-liner joke – that he’s OP despite his age and his stats – and it gets stale even before the episode ends. The writing is clumsy – remember the duel where they have to give one “condition”? Well, they kinda forget it here partway. Our main guy is as bland as white paper and as thick as the slime bag he punches… I suppose that the show will get more straightforward as it goes, i.e. this elite group will save the world with him as the main contributor, but that would also kind of defeat this show’s very premise.
Potential: 10% (can confirm I do not like the shtick)

The post Summer 2024 Impressions: Oshi no Ko S2, Alya Sometimes Hides Her Feelings in Russian, Shinmai Ossan Bouken-sha… appeared first on Star Crossed Anime.

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