Oregairu – 01

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After Hikigaya Hachiman writes an unpleasant essay detailing his antisocial views on high school life, his teacher conscripts him into the Volunteer Service Club, which only seems to have one member: Yukinoshita Yukino, whom he deems to be the most well-known student in the school, due to her good looks. It falls to her to solve his “problem”, even if he doesn’t think he has one. When a third student, the ditzy Yuigahama Yui, asks the club to taste her cookies, she is impressed by their honesty and the advice they give her, and inspired to try harder. After his dealings with Yukino, Hachi becomes open to the possibility of being friends with her.

– I’ll change the world and everyone in it.
– That’s a seriously crazy goal.
– Maybe, but I still think it’s better than being dead inside like you.

After OreShura, we’re kind of wondering if its worth it to delve into another rom-com focusing on “anti-love” characters who may well end up together in the end after much stress and strain. And Hachiman’s opening monologue about how he detests those who enjoy their youth is a bit doesn’t have nearly the punch it would if we hadn’t already heard a similar spiel last season. Still, after watching the episode there are sufficient differences between both obnoxiously long-titled to justify giving it a go, and so we shall. We’ll just have to resign ourselves to the fact comparisons will be often and unavoidable.

For instance, like Eita, Hachiman’s worldview is based upon a past trauma, but while Eita’s folks abandoned him, Hachiman has simply tried the normal school life, was hurt by the rejections of girls he liked, and scared of being hurt again. Like Masuzu, Yukino treats her beauty as a burden, creating just as many potential enemies as friends, so she stays above the fray. We even saw a little Chiwa in Yui-Yui, as they’re both orange-haired, bubbly, and comfortable around Hachi (or Hikki, as she calls him). But there’s not yet any indication of this turning into a harem; Yukino seems determined to maintain emotional distance. She will probably not succeed.


Rating: 6 (Good)

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Hataraku Maou-sama! – 01

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The Devil King Sadao is on the cusp of conquering his world when he is suddenly beaten by Hero Emilia and a coalition of human forces. He and his general Alsiel escape through a gate and end up in modern-day Tokyo. They take on the human names Maou Sadao and Ashiya Shirou, and as Shirou investigates way to restore their power, Maou pays for their modest living expenses with job at a MgRonald restaurant. He rises fast, but one day when he almost uses magic, he’s later confronted on the street by none other than Hero Emilia, who knows who he really is.

Even while enjoying the fast-paced and slickly-animated prologue, we were a little nervous about cracking open a series about Maou and Yuusha just a week after finishing another one, but the episode quickly jumped from the world of fantasy to the ordinary world and a highly entertaining and funny fish-out-of-water story. Like MJP, this first episode was a lot of fun, and while it contained quite a bit of plot to get things moving along, that plot never weighed it down; it had a lovely casual flow. It’s brimming with creativity, impeccable comic timing, and a nice helping of slice-of-life.

It’s great to see how fast these two dark lords get the hang of Japanese society, and while their ultimate plans are world domination, in the meantime, Maou is just a pleasant, decent, kind guy, who takes his MgRonald job very seriously. Also, his co-worker Sasaki Chiho is adorable. Shirou is a little worried that his boss might be getting too comfortable in this world, so he’s working feverishly on a way to get their magic powers back. But they might both be SOL if the hero (here a heroine) has anything to say about it.


Rating: 8 (Great)

Stray Observations:

  • This was directed by Hosoda Naoto, who also did Mirai Nikki.
  • The cab-hailing scene was pretty funny.
  • I tellya, that MgRonald doesn’t seem like that bad a place to work. The break room is downright livable!
  • Something tells us Emi planned to have Maou and Shirou move in to that initially seed flat that they eventually make their home. Perhaps she and that weird Witch of the Waste-looking landlady are in cahoots.
  • Maou looks a little like Okumura Rin from Blue Exorcist, but thankfully doesn’t sound like him. For the record, he’s voiced by the same guy as OreShura’s Eita.

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