Sell Me in 20 Minutes: Hamatora, Mikakunin de Shinkoukei, and Chuu2koi Ren

Since Tuesday was mainly a day where I compiled LN sales charts, I’m lumping the one show of consequence that aired yesterday with Wednesday’s slate post.

Hamatora pretty much had me by the throat within the first 90 seconds when it used an existential piece of dialogue to cover up the fact that a bank was being robbed around the guys having the conversation. As a whole, the show was stylish and comedically athletic, with a cast that clearly gelled each other and knew exactly how to mess around as a group. Birthday messing around in Doc’s glove box was the obvious highlight there, but their patter was generally top notch. While it fall short of what Tuesday’s longer-running show has, the power system involved is interesting enough, and the fight scenes were above-average caliber. I saw nothing to dislike and so much to like in this intro that I just can’t see myself watching for less than three more episodes.

Mikakunin de Shinkoukei was a bit of an enigma. On one hand, it opened with scenery and a bit of characters-playing-off-each-other comedy of the sort that worked for Non Non Biyori. But, unlike NNB, where the only male character had zero dialogue, this does seem to be sneaking in a romance element as well, something especially evidenced by the flashback in the opening minutes. It was well-handled; the director is a young guy, but also one with no small skill at making this kind of material work (GJ-bu was one of my favorites of last year), and the writer is a respectable veteran. I’d have liked to have a better handle on whether it’ll have ambition or not – right now it feels like the scenery element will be dialed down and we’ll wind up with a show pitching a less wild version of Acchi Kocchi’s 80-20 comedy-romance ratio. Which would really be fine by me; I’m gonna float it out on this one for two more episodes.

I talked about Seitokai Yakuindomo a couple of days ago as a sequel that made a business as usual, low-stakes high-payoff return. Chuu2koi’s return was a lot less a businesslike San Antonio Spurs and a lot more Indiana Pacers; “Everybody had to come back next season having made a major improvement to at least one part of their game.” Not that they *had* to in the absolute sense, but it’s definitely important for the show to post 10k average numbers again if they’re going to be hefting the load of the risks Kyoto Animation will be shouldering as they continue to handle their own projects (this and Free are their credit line right now). With that in mind, it feels like the cast went through a fictional version of Paul George’s quote, and more or less the entire cast added something to their repertoire without losing their original charm. Yuuta’s mastered pretending to be Dark Flame Master bantering with Rikka, Isshiki’s got crazier hair, Kumin’s making extremely lame puns, Shinka’s carrying weaponized anti-Dekomori cheese, and what have you. The actual direction of the plot this episode was a fakeout, but it was also of no real consequence. What mattered was that the cast that carried season 1 came back feeling fresh, and that aspect was a slam-dunk success. Much like SYD, I expect to be watching this straight through the season.

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