Things are greatly looking up with some potential winners on our hands.
Dance Dance Danseur
What’s the opposite of the law of diminishing returns? Whatever it is, that’s what I personally got with this premiere – it started off feeling a bit so-so and then got far more interesting and nuanced throughout its run. Junpei’s struggle with balancing a genuine and instinctive passion against gender norms and peer pressure came across as very natural to me, and while not immediately a wholly likeable character, the potential for character growth here is obvious from the get-go. The flashback scene between Junpei and his now-deceased father was especially well done, hitting all the right emotional notes without being obnoxiously in-your-face about it.
I could have done without the weird obsession that Junpei apparently has with thinking that Miyako is super into him (it’s played for comedy, complete with an implied panty shot, but just comes across as rather cringy), and I honestly don’t love the character designs. The present-day ones are okay I guess, but the childhood flashback ones make the eyes so big and so shiny that the characters look borderline possessed to me.
But hey, overall, I was pleased with what this episode had to offer and am looking forward to more, especially if the series ends up covering several years of Junpei’s burgeoning dance career rather than only the first few weeks/months.
Spy x Family
I wasn’t necessarily expecting all that much from Spy x Family, having never read the manga and typically being more into slice-of-life material than action or comedy. Boy am I glad I ended up giving this premiere a chance, as it’s far and away my favourite new anime of the season thus far. And I honestly think it’ll be difficult to top – the pacing is fast yet doesn’t come across as rushed or slapdash, the comedic timing is completely on point, and Anya might just be the best child character I’ve seen in years (her wonderful facial expressions alone are worth watching for).
Part of me wants to downplay things a tad so that I don’t get too excited, just in case Spy x Family can’t keep up the same kind of momentum throughout the series, but I had a really good time with this one, and I think it’ll appeal to a really wide audience as well. It’s intentionally dumb enough to be wildly entertaining, smart enough to keep viewers guessing where it counts, and yes, somehow still emotionally impactful enough to blink the tears back from time to time.
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