Hey guys! I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be helping Ariana and Moeronpan out with First Impressions for this season. For those of you interested in my Disk Wars Avengers reviews, I do intend to continue those as soon as possible, and I apologize for the long break. I’ll also be helping Moeronpan blog Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works. I hope to pick up one additional series from the First Impressions I’ll be doing. And here is the first of those:

Our main cast in their club room

Sou is a high school student and astronomy fan, who has been obsessed with stars since childhood. He also lives with Kaori Sasaki, a popular girl, whose homework he constantly copies (as he spends so much time looking through his telescope that he forgets to do it).

Sou and Kaori are also part of the Astronomy Club, the other members being the hot-tempered president (Airi) a calm and elegant girl who has a large fanclub (Nagisa)  and a loud foreign student (Kenny). As the school festival approaches, the clubs are being rowdy and difficult, even getting into fights in the middle of the school day. For that reason, the Student Council President asks the Astronomy Club to “maintain order” until the festival. However, the club is too busy preparing for the festival, for which they plan to create a classroom-sized planetarium, to take his request seriously.

Airi, the only one actually interested in “maintaining order”, attempts to break up a fight between the judo club and the karate club. However, when Kaori gets knocked over, it turns into an all-out brawl with Airi emerging as the victor.

The next night, the club goes stargazing together to get inspiration for their planetarium, and all wish together on shooting stars. The next day, while alone with him in the club room, Kaori manages to confess her feelings to Sou, though a nervous Sou does not give her an answer.

While walking home, Kaori drops some of her belongings, walks into the road, and is hit by a bus and seemingly killed. During the closing credits, we see one of the club meetings from earlier in the episode. I initially thought that this was a flashback until the scene ends differently, with an earthquake-like sound coming from outside and the club running to investigate as Nagisa smiles at a mysterious glowing cube and Sou discovers a naked white-haired girl lying unconscious on the floor.

Super High School Level Ninja Nagisa Hanamiya

This episode started out incredibly slowly, with nearly the entire twenty minutes dedicated to rather generic high school shenanigans. The premise seems to be fairly standard, with the setting being a school where clubs are Serious Business, getting into fights over who gets more time to present at the school festival and other such trivial items. The Astronomy Club also spends a lot of time sitting around and talking about astronomy, with the actual (beautifully animated) stargazing scene only lasting about a minute.

I actually found myself liking a lot of the characters. Sou is likable for a harem-esque lead (Ushinawareta does not seem to be going the “harem” route so far, but it is based on an eroge with multiple routes), though that may just be because I enjoy astronomy myself and quite liked his geeking out about stars and planets. Nagisa and Kaori are decent enough, with Nagisa being “the mysterious one” but also playful and outgoing, and Kaori actually successfully confessing her feelings in the first episode, instead of just blushing and pouting all season. Kenny is hands down my favorite character so far; he’s goofy and speaks terrible Engrish at times, but his cheery enthusiasm in any situation made some of the dull moments seem a little more exciting. Airi, on the other hand, between constantly calling Sou a pervert and being the source of multiple panty shots within a single episode, did not impress me nearly as much.

Fight Club? No, this is Club Fight. Where clubs fight to….get more time at the school festival. Yeah.

Then, of course, came the twist in the last few minutes – or rather, several twists. I do feel that this episode tried to shove too many twists (Kaori’s dead! No she’s not! Nagisa has a mysterious artifact! Naked girl showed up!) into too few minutes. Kaori’s death was an effective shock, but I would have liked to see more than a few seconds of the characters grieving before time mysteriously reset. I might sound terrible for saying this, but Kaori’s death on its own would have interested me more than this time-travel-or-loop story and the introduction of Mysterious Unconscious Naked White-Haired Girl (Because we’ve never seen one of those in anime before. Ever. Also, I bet the time-alteration means that Sou forgets Kaori’s confession and we go back to blushing and pouting. Groan.) I get that Ushinawareta was trying to go for a “shock” ending, but I would have liked to see the twists come a bit earlier, especially if they wanted to fit so many in one episode. The school antics went on too long, and the plot appeared well after I was already bored by all the nothing that happened in the first seventeen minutes.

In conclusion, the twist was not enough to make up for the dull majority of the episode, but (most of) the characters were fairly interesting and the animation is very pretty, especially the scenes of the night sky. I likely won’t blog this, but I’ll give it another episode before I make my final decision.

Out of 5 Dios, this episode gets:

dio  dio 1/2

Kenny for most adorable character

A mysterious unconscious naked girl with strangely colored hair…nope, never seen one of those before.

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