Full disclosure: I’m mainly just checking this out to be thorough.
Points in favor:
PV had plenty of visual style.
Anime-originals generally get to have more focused and purposeful production/stories.
Madoka also hid its goals in its advertising.
PV still looks pretty standard magical-girl-ish.
Madoka was a collaboration between Gen Urobuchi and Akiyuki Shinbou. This is a collaboration between the series composer of Ro-Kyu-Bu and… well, the director of Ro-Kyu-Bu. And Dog Days. And Sekirei. Sure, Nanoha’s in there too, but… seriously. Ro-Kyu-Bu.
So yeah, not holding out for much here. But I’d love to be surprised – and it’s not like there isn’t precedent for it. I think C3-bu was even lower on my expectations list, and that’s the show that’s most impressed me so far this season. So let’s give this thing a shot.
0:59 – Alright, so that “I’m late-must help pregnant woman-I forgot I was late” is efficient if obvious characterization, and I like the character’s coherent visual theme.
2:42 – Pretty standard OP, but again the purposeful, stylized designs and really dynamic color palette are both good signs
3:33 – Tarot’s a pretty distinctive and well-established system to base magical rules on. If battles are actually going to have dramatic weight for reasons beyond thematic ones (unlike Madoka), an established system of rules will be necessary, and tarot seems like as good a system as any
4:36 – I like the contrast between these fortune teller’s distinctive and kinda wacky character designs and their laid-back conversation. I’m liking a lot here visually, actually
6:18 – “There’s no doubt. The Wheel of Fortune has started moving.” Bleh. Dumb anime and their dark mystery-conspiracies that all end up the same
9:11 – Avoiding mention of her hobby, declining to have her fortune read… that Fuyuna must be into some serious shit
10:40 – They laugh at your academic focus now, Fuyuna, but that tarot bubble will be popping any day now. Soon the last laugh will be yours
11:51 – “If I thought about all the positive and negative consequences before I started, I wouldn’t be able to do anything. And I’m not gifted, so this is the best I can do for people.” Surprisingly grounded perspective for a fortune teller
12:15 – Is this seriously going to be the third show in two seasons with scissors as a weapon? What is going on over there, Japan?
12:41 – “You’re always so bright like the sun.” Her visual motif is so obvious even in-universe characters notice it
13:14 – I GUESS YOU DIDN’T PREDICT THAT TRUCK, DID YOU?!?
13:40 – “The tower! Misfortune and trouble!” “But depending on how you look at it, you could rise above it and start something new!” Oh really, you can interpret any result in either a positive or negative direction, and it could basically mean anything at all? I guess fortune telling is kinda tricky like that
Man, mocking fortune telling… I am REALLY going for the low-hanging fruit today…
14:30 – Those screen distortion tricks are pretty neat
17:11 – Holy shit! A body count already?
18:05 – And then she’s just erased? That’s even worse. Goddamn, show!
18:44 – Ahaha and now they burn the building down. Obviously
21:04 – Well, they certainly didn’t waste any time introducing the whole magical girl team
Well… hm. I liked the visual design throughout, and I’m sort of interested in that whole erasing-her-cousin thing, but that’s about all that’s grabbed me so far. The plot itself looks pretty standard, and I’ve had enough of generic dark prophecies to last me a lifetime. I don’t really find magical girl shows interesting just because they’re “dark” (I mean, aren’t there plenty of shows like that? Madoka wasn’t good because it was dark, it was good because every element of its production was fantastic), and while this show didn’t confirm my worst suspicions, it also didn’t rise to the point where I feel that compelled to push onward. I think I’ll probably hold off and see what the buzz is like in a couple episodes.