Sasami is the second-cutest hikkikomori I’ve ever seen (sorry girl there’s no use trying to unseat Kiri Komori), with a doting brother who quite happily does literally everything for her; dressing, feeding, bathing…it’s not that Sasami can’t do these things on her own, but rather that she can’t be bothered (‘ganbaranai’ means ‘won’t try’). Her brother, who seems to be a teacher, does suggest now and then that she attend school – whilst never forcing her – but Sasami is overcome by terror whenever she tries to set foot outside. That’s not to say she never gets to see outside, though. Somehow or other (and boy do I hope how she did it gets explained), she has set up an Older Brother surveillance System so that when her brother goes outside, she can watch his every move, including the people he interacts with each day. Said people are a ditzy, possibly mentally challenged girl who may have a crush on him, A loli-ish and spunky teacher with a penchant for ero games who may have a crush on him, and a slightly reserved female student who doesn’t appear to have a crush on him at this stage but might in the future.
Which sounds pretty straight-forward, and it is, until suddenly THE ENTIRE WORLD TURNS INTO CHOCOLATE AND SAID THREE GIRLS START BATTLING THE CHOCOLATE IN A HUGE DRAMATIC BATTLE WITH MAGIC AND BOOB-CANONS TO TURN IT BACK.
Here we are, the show I was looking forward to the most in this whole season and boy did it defy my expectations. To be honest I wasnt really sure exactly what to expect but I’m pretty sure its safe to say that the second part of this episode defied basically everyone’s expectations unless they’re familiar with the novels it’s based on (assuming SHAFT’s adaptation is faithful, too.). Because…I highly doubt anyone expected that to happen. The whole thing was so psychotically weird and it was the first time in a very long time that I’ve sat through an extended sequence of an anime thinking ‘wh…aaaaat…’. It’s confusing. It’s monstrously, completely and utterly stupid. It’s unapologetically insane.
You see, this is how you can pull off a ‘wacky shit happening!’ anime without it being overbearingly obnoxious. It confused the hell out of me, but it does it with such gusto (SHAFT’s animation helps of course) that it left me wanting to know more and definitely wanting to know where things are heading. Much like Tamako Market, there is more than one story happening here, and I’m going to have to wait and see what on earth the second one is all about (all the girls except Sasami definitely know, that’s for sure.) and what it has to do with Sasami and her brother.
As usual, SHAFT have given the show a sharp visual flair that’s a little different to what I’ve seen them do before – mostly all they’ve done is stick textures over most of the indoor scenes to give a mysterious mood – but it works really well. The character designs are appealing, particularly Sasami…although I’m also fond of her brother, whose face is never actually shown. Instead of it being shadowed out or always off-frame, he is actually intentionally holding something in front of it whenever he’s on-screen (usually his brief case). It’s somewhat amusing that he has probably the most lines in the whole episode (he just doesn’t shut up about how great Sasami is) yet doesn’t have a face – which might annoy anyone who thinks male anime characters in otaku-ish anime have less and less of a presence nowadays…but, his way of censoring his own face creates the illusion that he actually has a brief-case for a head. I am actually a huge fan of object-heads (especially if they’re in suits as well) so this is perfectly fine with me (although it would be even better if he literally did have the briefcase as his head – SHAFT have made this visually weird enough as it is, it probably wouldn’t make a difference and they could just call it symbolism.)
Here’s hoping this stays just as intriguing and doesn’t disappoint. Most likely I’ll be blogging it, unless my last First Impression manages to be even better (which I somewhat doubt.)