Uragiri wa Boku no Namae o Shitteiru – First Impressions

Rundown: Mysterious teenager has a fantastic dream, wakes up in normal Japan. He was found in bushes and grew up in an orphanage. When he touches others, he can feel their emotions, leading to reactions that can confuse or anger those people. He receives death threats, but is saved from an attempt on his life by someone in weird clothes claiming to be his brother.

Like Ookamikakushi last season, this show doesn’t reveal much in its first episode; a lot is still wrapped in mystery. I even felt a tinge of Escaflowne-ness in the cross between the kid’s cheesy Final Fantasy dream and reality, though elements from the former show up in the latter before long. The kid himself is not that interesting yet, girls love him, kids love him, rival guys loathe him; nothing out-of-this-world. But I’m intrigued enough with the buildup thus far to keep watching for now. Rating: 2.5

Yojou-han Shinwa Taikei [The Tatami Galaxy] – First Impressions

Rundown: A college student in Kyoto is vexed by his inability to enter meaningful romantic relationships with the fairer sex at university. Egged on by his antisocial and mischievous friend, he has spent much of his college life as a “black cupid,” intervening and spoiling other students’ pairings. Despite this, he develops a liking to a quirky yet cute freshman girl. One night at a roving ramen stand, he meets a so-called “god of matchmaking” who says the girl will be bound to either him or his odd friend. He must get serious, shed the black cupid act, and act on his feelings for the girl, or risk losing her.

Ye gads, I thought Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei was hard to keep up with. This show combines an almost constantly-changing animation style and color palette with rapid-fire narration and dialogue that goes by so fast, even the subtitles lag a bit. Like Mr. Despair, watching this show is a workout, but once you find your comfort zone, its a gorgeously presented and highly entertaining account of a student’s college dreams deferred. Living in Kyoto, he was bound to run into a god of some kind, and he does – one who’s offering him a chance at a wife. The girl’s reaction to a moth landing on her face was priceless. You may want to brush up on your speed-reading beforehand, but I reccomend you watch it!