Top Anime

Summer 2024 Impressions: Giji Harem, Ramen Akaneko, Days with My Stepsister

Giji Harem

Short Synopsis: A new drama club member adopts a host of different personas for the amusement of her senpai.

Lenlo: I feel like I just watched Saori Hayami have a stroke, in the best way possible. A harem show where every “girl” is the same schizophrenic chick in different hair styles acting like different people to flirt with her Senpai, all while Saori Hayami voices each one of them differently? That’s actually kind of clever. Giji Harem can keep it simple and cute with the MC being in on the joke and playing it up, or it can get crazy and have a love triangle and shit between the different personalities, who knows! I doubt it will go that far, keep it wholesome and cute, but even keeping it simple it’s pretty fun. The fact that, like the Russian Girl show, the MC is capable of bantering with the main girl without sticking his foot in his mouth or shitting his pants also goes a long way towards making this enjoyable. Pair that with expressive designs, this being about a drama club there’s a lot of focus on their faces and emotions as they talk to each other, and there’s a lot to enjoy. The dialogue is pretty clever as well. Honestly, this is the first show of the season so far that I’m actually going to keep up with after the first episode. This feels fun and cute.
Potential: 75%

Wooper: The challenge of adapting a manga with super short chapters is figuring out how to stitch those chapters into full length episodes. That’s only if you accept the challenge in the first place, though, which Giji Harem definitely did not, at least in this premiere. This was just a bunch of trope-driven vignettes laid on top of each other, then placed into an episode-shaped container, and I had seen enough by the time I was halfway through the stack. It started off well enough, quickly establishing the female lead’s acting chops and introducing her persona-swapping gimmick as a fun way to combat her nervousness around her senpai. We met one of her characters, then another and another, until she’d formed a small stable to draw from. The question then became what else the show might do with them, apart from providing amusement for her upperclassman; no answer was provided, and none likely ever will be. I watched with increasing impatience as the male lead fretted over her facial expressions, snapped pictures of her playing different characters, and requested that she trot out specific impressions at a moment’s notice. By the time senpai-kun started contemplating which outfits he wanted to assign to his kouhai in her various forms, I felt as though I’d developed restless leg syndrome – not exactly an experience I’m eager to revisit.
Potential: 10%

Ramen Akaneko

Short Synopsis: A young woman is hired to work in the back room at a ramen shop run by cats.

Lenlo: Ramen is a very inoffensive, relaxed, nothingburger show. All about a bunch of cats that run a ramen shop and a young girl who somehow gets roped into a job there, despite watching 20 minutes I couldn’t tell you a single thing about what happened in this episode. Yes, it was inoffensive, yes it was chill, but so much so that it never really dared to do anything. It’s just… boring. So much so that I don’t think even Slice of Life fans are going to find much to be engaged by here.
Potential: 0%

Wooper: I’m more of a cat liker than a cat lover, but I still tend to sample all the cat-themed anime that release each year. Unfortunately, Ramen Akaneko made one of the weakest first impressions of all the shows I can remember in that category. My biggest issue here is its habit of switching between hand-drawn characters and 3DCG models, even for rudimentary tasks such as the sole human cast member brushing her feline coworkers’ hair. Combine that with the slapdash background art (especially the hideous establishing shot of the street outside the ramen shop), and it’s clear that this show was produced entirely out of obligation. As far as the writing goes, we learn about human character Tamako’s anxiety surrounding her new job, and witness her difficulty in cooperating with one of the pricklier cats on staff. These stories helped sustain my focus for 20 minutes, but I’d say the show’s flavorless tone is a bigger issue than whether or not it can spin a couple yarns per episode. Its premise is thinner than the noodles served at its in-universe restaurant, after all, so it’ll need a much more distinctive atmosphere if it wants to stay open for business.
Potential: 5%

Days with My Stepsister

Short Synopsis: Two teenagers talk out their soon-to-be sibling relationship after their parents get engaged.

Wooper: Of all this summer’s new anime premieres, Gimai Seikatsu will likely have the fewest amount of cuts. This show likes its long takes, and uses mostly medium shots to create a slow, thoughtful mood. I’m a fan of this style, especially in animation, where close-ups often fly by one after another, so this episode was a breath of fresh air – though it’s adapting a step-sibling romance light novel, so I’m not sure that “fresh” is the right word. I’ve enjoyed other taboo-based anime in the past (Koi Kaze, After the Rain), so it’s not impossible that I’ll find something to like here, but it’s got a mountain to climb despite its pleasant pacing. There was at least one instance of the show reaching for sensitivity a bit too aggressively (a mid-episode montage of the characters unpacking backed by soft piano and crooning vocals), but we also got an effective moment of humor to balance it out (the protagonist’s father clumsily welcoming his fiance and stepdaughter to their new home). The backgrounds are sparse, but characters are usually well-positioned to reinforce the feeling of each scene. To put it simply, I’m mixed on this one, but I’m leaning toward giving it another shot, especially since there are a handful of side characters we haven’t even met yet.
Potential: 50%

Lenlo: I am much less positive on Seikatsu than Wooper it seems, as I found the pacing and presentation rather dull. Wooper is right that most anime cut a bit too fast, with scenes flying by, but jumping to the opposite end of the spectrum like this was not the answer. It feels novel I suppose, relaxed, but that soft piano perpetually in the background felt overly sentimental and like Seikatsu was holding up a sign telling me how to feel rather than actually earning it, so to speak. Credit where it’s due of course, for a gross underage sibling romance Seikatsu actually handled it pretty well. There were no ecchi shots, no fanservice, it didn’t have them walking in on each other in the shower or falling on top of each other naked or anything, though there was one joke involving a bra. It feels like Seikatsu might actually care about the story it’s trying to tell, might actually be genuine, and I’m just not responding well to the over the top sentimentality of it all. If Seikatsu could cut down a bit on all of that I think it could be pretty good. As is though, it’s difficult for me to get invested despite everything pointing in the right direction.
Potential: 30%

The post Summer 2024 Impressions: Giji Harem, Ramen Akaneko, Days with My Stepsister appeared first on Star Crossed Anime.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.