Sell Me in 20 Minutes: Selector Infected Wixoss, Akuma no Riddle, and Stardust Crusaders

I’m not blogging stuff seasonally anymore, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the 2-week airing period where every show is tasked to grab viewers with the most compelling start it can manage. I’ll be posting very brief summaries of how much the Spring 2014 intros pulled me into their respective shows as the season goes on.

Selector Infected Wixoss was a show I didn’t have extraordinary hopes for going in, but it impressed considerably in a small-things way. The intro made good use of this neat fixed-camera mechanic that put the female lead up against large, well-drawn, drab city scenery as she headed home in a way that spoke to a level of smart scene construction. The plot elements, a flavor of tournament battle shonen (particularly Law of Ueki, though in that series was a single-elimination tournament to grant any wish rather than a triple-elim like this one) with a bit of a more drab/foreboding touch, have potential to go in an interesting direction. This one gets 2 more episodes at least.

Akuma no Riddle had a first episode that didn’t inspire as much confidence. It was chock full of lazy facial closeups and melodramatic pauses that didn’t add any real fun element to the whole high school student+murder game stock premise it’s built around. At this point, the entire cast feels like one-trait characters that are taking themselves far more seriously than they should be. Maybe that changes as the action ratchets up, but I don’t feel compelled to stick around and see.

Stardust Crusaders brought in just a little bit of cinematic flair for its intro, opening with the precursor-to-carnage coffin scene and a camera pan around tokyo tower for the intro narration. It’s not quite the upping-our-game experience chuu2koi Ren opened the gate with last season, but it was a respectable token effort. Beyond those touches, the approach to the series was largely what it was in season 1, with visible sound effects and deliciously exaggerated reactions all over the place. Even though they switched out two seiyuu GOAT candiates in Hiroaki Hirata and Tomokazu Sugita while setting up the voice cast, I’m giving this one three more episodes on my way to plowing through the season.

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