Welcome, all, again. As we enter a new viewing season, I shall today make a few observations about two new shows that might be getting attention for entirely different reasons. Mind you, at just one episode in apiece, I’m certainly not attempting any sort of review. But Black Clover and KONOHANA KITAN have both caught my interest, so I wanted to share a few thoughts. . .
Let us begin with Black Clover, a much-anticipated arrival due to the popularity of its ongoing manga run in Weekly Shonen Jump. This series had some serious preceding buzz, but sadly it was the buzz-saw voice acting for one of the two protagonists that stole the show. Lead character Asta, voiced by veteran VA Shun Horie (iDOLM@STER, Whistle!, and others), screams his way through almost the entire first episode, and it gets old very quickly. Now, we realize that he’s hyper. And we also realize that he’s frustrated, being the only person around who cannot perform magic. But none of that excuses what we viewers endured (or tried to). So now I have to ask: if Horie was searching for Asta’s voice, why didn’t he get better guidance? Aren’t there a number of production and sound staff present during recording sessions? This was a big disappointment, especially considering the pretty artwork and solid story: two frenemies who’ve grown up together as church-reared orphans come of age in a land ruled by magic–which only one of them can wield. Let’s hope that fan complaints (already saturating the internet) can help fix this problem and salvage what should have been an early favorite show! (I actually liked the show itself, all except for Asta’s grating vocalizations.)
Meanwhile, KONOHANA KITAN–about which I heard barely even a whisper before its sudden appearance–is as muted as Asta is loud. But, wow! Oh, wow! I never knew that pastels could be so vibrant! Just looking at this show is an experience to be savored–the artwork is exceptional, and often effulgent. The story seems (superficially, at least) quite similar in plot and setting to Hanasaku Iroha, but in a less-modern age and with a hotel staff of Kitsune. And that pretty much covers it: cute fox-girls working at a quietly elegant hotel are joined by a new staff member; training and other life experiences ensue. Soft voices, slow story pacing, and absolutely mesmerizing artwork combine to relax and seduce the viewer. This show’s first episode was a joy to watch, and I’m already re-watching it. And, yes, I’m also already planning to purchase the series when it becomes available–it’s just that gorgeous! So please give this show a chance. Even if it turns out that it’s not your thing, I doubt that you’ll regret watching.
And that’s it for now. I’ll probably do another post along these lines before I start trying to actually review any of the new shows–you know, give them time to get up-and-running. If you want to check out Black Clover, I seriously suggest watching on “mute” with subtitles engaged. Asta’s constant screeching is that horrendous. But get good and comfortable for watching KONOHANA KITAN, as you might be in no hurry to leave. . .