Spring 2020

Fugo Keiji Balance: Unlimited (Studio Cloverworks)


This show was a curiosity pick for me, even though its clean aesthetic and fun looking characters had my interest peaked, it was the synopsis that had me sold. The premise of a show based on the antiques of a wannabe Sherlock Holmes, whose main problem-solving skill is being rich, is a fun one. This is Batman, except if Bruce Wayne did all the sleuthing and then proceeded to defeat the bad guy of the week through the power of overwhelming financial power. The show also benefits from the strength of two very well written co-leads that play off each other to some great comedic delight. It is too bad that other supporting characters do not yet shine quite as well and that the world hasn’t been more fleshed out but otherwise this is a good show if you are looking for some unbridled fun or an interesting twist on the buddy cop formula.

DIGIMON ADVENTURE (2020) (Toei Animation)


Digimon adventure (2020) has a tall legacy to live up to. I, like so many more, grew watching and loving the original Digimon adventure. It is thus inevitable that the worth of the 2020 iteration will be bear on whether it can recapture the magic the characters had back in the 90s. The first 2 episodes, unfortunately, do not disclose much of how character dynamics will work as the only 2 Digidestined we encounter are Tai and Izumi. However, these 2 offer a strong showing in their interactions and initial character impression, making things seem optimistic for the future. As to the plot, it was a surprise to see this remake start off by a familiar story, albeit one completely different from the one we were expecting. Choosing to start with ‘Our War Game’, originally a movie sequel to Digimon Adventures, is undeniably a gamble that might pay off in a big way by building anticipation for future intrigue, or let down the pacing by delaying the start of the ‘adventure’. All in all, I have enjoyed these 2 first episodes but I cannot help but feel quizzical about how the show will develop going forward. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that there is a hook to the story that both fans of the original and newcomers could get behind, whether this develops into a tale worthy of its predecessor is to be seen.

Gleipnir (Pine Jam Studio)


At first glance, your typical super-powered glazed battle royal Gleipnir manages to retain its audience attention through the interesting power set of its protagonist and its not-so-subtle yet effective innuendos. Admittedly, I was wholly expecting this show to be a quick throw away but I’ve seen myself coming back mostly due to the compelling synergy between our two protagonists which entertainingly mixes the hazards of burgeoning adolescent sexuality with the antics to be expected from a death game. Although the battle royal itself has not proved to be overly enticing yet, the murder mystery that is the focus of our protagonists offers enough intrigue to help retain our attention. This may end up being a solid show this season based solely on the strength of its leads, although it may just as well get bogged down by a weaker premise and pacing.

Tower Of God (Telecom Animation Film)


Tower of God is an oddity. The adaption of works not originating from the land of the rising sun are exceedingly rare in the anime format, but that is not to say that Tower of God (“TOG”) does not carry the same DNA as your traditional shounen treat. Indeed, TOG checks a lot of boxes of your typical shounen anime and from the first few episodes, it would seem that these are implemented in a structurally sound way to form the foundation of a thrilling battle anime. Immersive lore, expansive world, intricate power system and interesting ensemble cast are part of the recipe that has made the success of many classical shounen such as One Piece or Naruto; TOG does not slack in implementing these as from the get-go a strong intrigue is built concerning not only our main character but also the world he evolves in. Although the protagonist does lack presence at the start of the story, this is amply remedied by the great variety of side characters we are introduced to. The first few episodes have proved to be action-packed and the battles the protagonist is thrown into contribute to building up the characters, as well as the intrigue as to what is actually going on, as the viewer slowly discovers from the perspective of the protagonist. Overall, this is a show to be on the lookout for as it definitely has the potential to offer an interesting twist to the usual formula, perhaps sufficient to raise it to the level of the shounen battle anime greats. My main criticism would be concerning the sometimes spotty animation, that is not to say that it is bad, but as we have seen with shows like Kimitsu No Yaiba, stellar animation can really elevate a show to the next level!

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