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Second Impressions Digest – Somali to Mori no Kamisama, Rikei ga Koi ni Ochita no de Shoumei shitemita


Somali to Mori no Kamisama – 02

“Somali” is definitely one of those shows I find myself wanting to like, and never quite being able to pull it off.  There’s some nice stuff here, principally the art – though honestly there is a bit too much vanilla even to that.  It’s an interesting bit of world-building, and one of the titular characters (I’ll let you figure out which one) is likeable enough.  But the circuit simply refuses to close.

Most obviously the other title character is a problem.  She was less insufferable this week but that’s only because she was on-screen less (and Golem more, as well as a couple of newbies, which did help).  Building a series around a character like that is a minefield to begin with, but Somali to Mori no Kamisama – and Minase Inori – have chosen to go with every shameless moe cliche in the book.  Going forward that’s going to be a lot to try and get past.

Funnily enough I could sum up my problems with this series by referencing someone who isn’t even involved in it – Satou Junichi.  I’ve liked series he directed very much, but only when they were written by other people – Princess Tutu, Ikoku Meiro no Croisee.  Those shows were built around cute little girls too but their authors (the mangaka in the latter case, Yokote Michiko the former) imbued them with a little acidity to cut the sweetness.  Anything Satou actually writes comes off as very saccharine to me – a dessert which looks great on the table but whose flavor profile is one-note (sweet).  One or two bites and I’m pretty much done – and that’s how I feel about Somali right now.

I’m not going to give up just yet, because the first two side characters to get any real time – the two healer oni Shizuno and Yabashira – were pretty successful (though Shizuno too borders on moe pandering), which suggests the ones to follow may be too.  And because Golem’s situation presents some interesting narrative possibilities.  It also offers the potential for descent into maudlin and sappy manufactured melodrama, but it could go either way so at least that’s something.

 

Rikei ga Koi ni Ochita no de Shoumei shitemita – 02

Yeah, I know that there are four episodes of Rikei ga Koi ni Ochita no de Shoumei shitemita out there but who has that kind of time?  It’s basically taken two for me to figure out it’s not for me anyway, at least in blogging terms.  The first episode established a pretty good joke, but as I feared the series seems to be a one-joke enterprise. And two episodes of it was about my limit in terms of finding it really amusing.

The thing about series like this is they have to establish some reason to care about the characters as people to really work, at least for me.  Wotakoi is the obvious example of one that did, and very effectively too – it’s quite a canny and nuanced series.  Gag comedies can work with nothing else to support the gags, but rarely where romance is concerned – Ueno-san would be a rare exception, and that was well-served by being a short.  Maybe I’d find Rikei more sustainable if it were five minutes long, but as a full-length series I don’t think it has the legs.

 

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