Based on what I’ve seen of reactions to Free on the internet, it seems like a large quantity of people are ruling it out with one glance at the promo material rather than 20 minutes of episode time. It’s becoming increasingly obvious how much of a shame that is, because this show is complete in ways it didn’t even have to be to be an enjoyable ride.
Instrumental anime openings are fairly rare. So I decided to take a look at the ones I knew. As usual when I examine a list of more than ten things, a few points jumped out at me. So I thought I’d share.
Short version: Instrumental openings often succeed. Because they try harder. They have to; they’re taking a risk, going against a current that carries lots of proverbial fish. And also because the people who tend to take that risk generally tend to be talented people. But they’re not a guaranteed winner for a show by any means.
Yoshida Motoi is an irregular manga artist who makes up for his bi-quarterly release pace with the best aesthetic concepts this side of Yusuke Murata and a detail-fixated, thorough art style.* It’s fitting, then, that the manga he’s currently drawing, Natsu no Zenjitsu, deals with art itself.
As the title suggests, this particular chapter focuses on the male lead’s sense of touch, and aims to convey how it factors into both his life and his paintings to the readers. Part of that goal is accomplished in conventional means via the script, but the chapter also provides a clinic of how to incorporate the sense of touch into seemingly flat pages of manga. Nor does it just run an art clinic; these depictions are intimately related to a growing and somewhat contradictory set of emotions in the manga’s male lead.