Proof positive that visuals alone do not make the anime.
On paper, this is the kind of show I’d normally be all over. I love a solid fantasy, especially those set in alternative-historical universes, and even more so when they’re not afraid to explore the darker side of human nature – part of the reason why titles like Fullmetal Alchemist are so near and dear to my heart. Unfortunately, as stylish as it (mostly) looks and sounds, Fairy Gone just didn’t make a great first impression on me. Starting any story off with large chunks of exposition that as yet mean very little to the audience is never a good way to get me invested, and in general the storytelling seemed all over the place here, with flashbacks scattered almost at random throughout the episode, uneven pacing, and dialogue that felt uninspired and wandering. Action fans might have had a more enjoyable time than I did, as the fight scenes were definitely competent, but it takes more than that to actually interest me in a story or its characters, who I saw no particular reason to care about one way or the other in this case.
Stylistically, Fairy Gone has far stronger game. The mix of traditional animation and CG might throw some viewers off, but I felt it was done thoughtfully and impactfully. The art style as a whole is sleek and eye-catching, with unique and appealing character designs paired with some very nice animation… when it’s actually present. In point of fact, the episode is littered with still frames, which is extremely noticeable when placed smack in the middle of a long action sequence. Meanwhile, the music is probably my favourite single aspect of the show, with a rock-heavy soundtrack and a pretty catchy OP. Too bad even this wasn’t enough to elevate the experience to anything above completely average for me. I’ll likely be giving this one a pass.
Kimetsu no Yaiba
I came out of this first episode with surprisingly little to say and no strong reaction one way or the other. On the one hand, there’s nothing in particular I can pinpoint that was wrong with it – the story was pretty straightforward but not uninteresting in and of itself, with a very classic shounen vibe and impressively smooth visuals to back that up. For all my apathy when it comes to Ufotable and their particular brand of storytelling, they do know how to integrate CG into their anime far better than most other studios tend to, and Kimetsu no Yaiba is clearly no exception. Paired with sharp character designs and a soundtrack courtesy of Kajiura Yuki, one of my favourite anime composers of all time, you’d think I’d be a little more enthused about the prospect of watching more. Instead, I find myself oddly ambivalent about the whole thing. I have absolutely no basis for the belief that this will become one of those predictable, monster-of-the-week kinds of shows, but that’s exactly the impression I get nonetheless, and I could already feel myself growing slightly bored by the halfway mark as a result. I’m not not recommending this to people, but for whatever reason, it just doesn’t seem like my thing. Besides, with Dororo continuing on to its second cour, I already have a perfectly decent demon slaying anime on my weekly watch list.
Question of the post: What were your first impressions of Fairy Gone and/or Kimetsu no Yaiba? Which of the two did you prefer from a visual standpoint?
7 thoughts on “Anime Taste Testing: Fairy Gone and Kimetsu no Yaiba”
Fairy Gone is decent for me, but no more. The CGI isn’t something I like, but I can live with it. The characters aren’t especially endearing, but neither do I hate anyone. The great advantage the show has is the setting, but they haven’t been making the most of it yet. It doesn’t help that the auction reminded me of a lesser Mahoutsaki no Yome. I’ll see where this goes.
Kimetsu no Yaiba was even blander for me. I didn’t like the way the characters blended with the environment; at some point I stopped noticing it, and I have no idea if it got better, or I just got used to it. So we start straight with our protagonist trying to rescue his siter, so when they then went back a little in time, all his family pretty much had obvious death flags planted on them. And from then on it plodded onwards in a predictable manner. I wouldn’t normally mind this, but other than Fairy Gone, I’m really not even into the style here. I find the show wavering between dull and ugly to look at. (I didn’t notice the soundtrack, though I normally love Kajiura. I probably wasn’t paying attention.) I’ll probably choose Fairy Gone over this – they air so close together that I don’t need both of them.
The setting can really make or break a story for me, but it means absolutely nothing if not populated with characters that are at least interesting. If I don’t have any reason to care about their actions or the consequences stemming from them, I’m not likely to watch at all. In comparison, I think Kimetsu no Yaiba had far more competent storytelling – it’s just that I wasn’t particularly interested in the story itself.
Yaiba has a pretty dark streak, especially in the violence department and backstories of certain villians; otherwise it follows typical shounen beats.
That said, clearly it was able to scratch an itch of WSJ’s readerbase. Otherwise it’d have been cancelled long ago – competition’s tough there. Not bad for a first-time female mangaka.
I can’t lie, I’ve never been a WSJ fan – the stories mostly just aren’t my thing, and even when they are, they tend to drag out until my patience is worn too thin to care anymore. If Yaiba follows the same typical shounen beats then I’m not likely to watch, no matter how much violence is used to spice up the material.
Fairy Gone… Left me interested, but fairly cold. Lots of promise, but lots of nothing in this episode. And frankly, the animation was borderline.
I think the animation was fine, still frames aside, but I was much more interested in the character designs. That being said, if the characters themselves aren’t interesting, the artwork isn’t going to compel me to continue watching.
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