I may look at Tentacool in a whole new light now…
Although that’s kind of doubtful.
Wow. This was… awesome. Just pure awesome. I’ve watched a lot of the new shows this season, and I’ve liked quite a number of them, but this honestly blew everything completely out of the water. It was funny, the animation was good, the music was good, the characters were awesome, and, perhaps most importantly, it had a lot of heart. The josei heritage is clear here, based on how the girl geeks have been handled the the absence of any anime freaks entirely. Stuff about female anime otaku have become a dime a dozen, but, excepting Genshiken, I’ve seen nothing before this that portrays the lady otaku in such an honest (read: non-idealized) light.
I would love to live with these women. This to me is fairly indicative of the care that has been put into crafting these characters, even in just the first episode – what looks like very basic and shallow characterization to begin with is actually a more subtle start for us as viewers to get to know the cast. Yes, their fandoms are front and center in their characterization, but it is done in a soft-handed manner such that these characters are no reduced to mere cliche. Perhaps the best indication of the fact that the show intends to go beyond a one-dimensional level are the scenes of the women spending time all together. Its a nice touch, and it really helps make one feel like they’d like to get to know these women.
The variety of passions is also really awesome – this isn’t a troop merely of BL freaks (in fact, the only one apparently almost never appears to others). No, we’ve got a train otaku, a Three Kingdoms otaku, a doll otaku, a jellyfish otaku, and an old-man otaku (I’m pretty sure that’s what she’s in to, at least). And they aren’t the cutesy Haruka Nogizakas of the world, either, as I previously stated. Yet they are humanized, and its wonderful.
And of course, into this den of female loserdom comes a beautiful woman. Who is actually… a pretty boy. Who when asked if he is a transvestite replies indignantly that, no, of course not, he’s very normal!
At first, I’ll admit that this irritated me slightly – saying he’s normal to deny the notion that he is a transvestite? Great, more of the faux tolerance so common in anime and its surrounding fandoms. But it occurred to me that none of the characters in the show qualify as societally ‘normal’, and so it ends up heightening the absurdity of his would-be defense. There already seems to be a theme of not judging books by their cover anyway, as one of the other women in the house freaks out when she sees a pretty woman in the apartment’s bathroom – augh, scary!
By the way, on a very specific note, I loved the way the OP was handled. The beat of the music is not one I’m used to seeing in OP’s, and it works very well with the animation; the music in general is perfect for the tone of the show. The homages are pure love, although I don’t see how anyone could possibly hate a nod to Singing in the Rain.
Like I said before, I’d love to move in with these women. They seem like such a fun bunch, and their lack of self-consciousness about their hobbies is quite refreshing. It really shouldn’t be, but it is, as generally this lack of self-consciousness is left up to male otaku characters in different shows and manga.
Something I definitely don’t want to neglect to mention is how funny this episode was. There’s actually quite a bit of humor this season, but I laughed more at this than anything else (although, as I’ve mentioned before, Otomoe Youkai Zakuro turned out to be much funnier than I was expecting). But I sat here guffawing my way through several of the scenes, such as jellyfish-adoring Tsukimi’s run-in with the pet shop worker and the reveal moment at the end, amongst others. There’s clearly a lot of humor to be mined here.
I’m so excited to see where it all goes from here. I wish it was going to run for more than eleven episodes! Looks like I’ll be tracking down the manga…
EDIT: I didn’t actually read his overview of the first episode until after I finished mine, but psgels has almost exactly the same thing to say as I do about anime about otaku; in fact, we even both used the phrase ‘dime a dozen’, although I suppose that really isn’t shocking given how prevalent of an idiom that is in the English language. Worth checking his out for his assessment of our beautiful cross-dresser.