After much consideration (including looking at the response made to my query about the matter a few days ago), I have made a few decisions about how I will do reviews this season.
86 episode reviews will continue.
This was probably a given.
I will not continue with Mushoku Tensei reviews.
While I did enjoy reviewing the first season for Anime News Network, I originally volunteered for the series primarily because, based on the Preview Guide entries that season, I was very concerned about whether or not anyone else on staff at the time would give the series fair consideration. After reading Kim Morrissy’s first episode review for this season, I no longer have that concern. I think she’ll do a great job with the series, so I will fall back to just making short comments about it in the “Other Shows I Am Following” section.
I will review The Faraway Paladin weekly, starting with episode 3.
I was interested in doing this title anyway, and it being the most frequent name to come up in responses to my query sealed the deal. Because that title airs on the same day as 86, it will be posted on a couple of days of delay on most weeks.
Time allowing, I will do a rotating feature on other titles.
Basically, I’ll choose 1-3 other titles a week to make more substantial commentary on, to an overall writing total about equal to one full review. Expect Irina, The Vampire Cosmonaut, Banished From The Hero’s Party, Mushoku Tensei, Yuki Yuna Mankai Chapter, and Taisho Otome Fairy Tale to be in this rotation, but others are possible. And yeah, I’ll probably have to say something about Fena: Pirate Princess after its last episode airs. To get things rolling on that. . .
Muv-Luv Alternative: episodes 2 and 3
I can see now why the series debuted with a sort of prequel episode detailing a minor (in a storytelling sense) incident from the backstory of the game: the series was trying to draw in newcomers with something more approachable than what episodes 2 and 3 turn out to be. I am dubious that the series will be successful on this, for a number of reasons.
The biggest problem is that episode 2 begins by clearly dropping viewers into the third stage of an established parallel world-jumping plot line. (This makes sense, given that Alternative is a sequel to the original game.) To its credit, the storytelling does at least make a serious effort to establish enough context for newcomers to be able to follow along, but it cannot in the slightest escape the impression that newcomers are lacking important context to sufficiently appreciate everything that has transpired. These two episodes regularly short-cutting events to get to the main points doesn’t help on that. Maybe this “something’s missing” impression will fade as the story progresses more into events that Takeru hasn’t experienced before, but how long will that take?
The other big problem is the technical merits. The mecha look fine, but holy hell, the character designs and animation are weak! The base character designs are not all that appealing to begin with (I especially am not a fan of the way breasts are portrayed for the young women when they are in combat suits), and on top of that, episodes 2 and 3 in particular have more trouble staying on-model than just about any series that I have seen recently. The normal visual factor which might keep the series afloat just aren’t there.
I might give this one one more episode to impress me, but so far it looks like one of the weakest of the mecha offerings this season.