Geno Studio is new to the scene, with Kokkoku being its very first anime series. Just look at that flashy self-promotion 5 seconds into the episode!
It was effective though, because I went and looked up the studio just because of that. Kokkoku‘s EP. 1 had parts that intrigued me a bit, but was frankly kind of mediocre in most aspects. Let’s run everything down!
Fair drama: The opening minutes were pretty well-done. We get a glimpse of Juri’s character and her struggles in life through her unpleasant job interview, and a mysterious woman and supernatural force are introducedin juxtaposition with Juri’s daily life. A conflict is created when Juri’s brother and nephew get kidnapped for ransom, and our protagonist’s exposure to the supernatural follows quite reasonably. After that, a monster and a villain are thrown in respectively. There’s nothing to criticize about the set-up, really, and there are certainly enough mysteries introduced to keep the plot going for a while.
Fair and that’s it?: It’s not that I found the plot predictable or yawned throughout the episode, but I felt like it was lacking in something. All the events unfolded so reasonably at a pace that is neither fast nor slow (but I can’t compliment it for being well-timed either). I guess Ojiisan being the hero of the episode is quite the reveal, judging from how drastically his image changes, but not even that felt hyped enough. The characters kind of went “ok, Jiisan, do your thing” and followed instructions quite obediently. I am optimistic that the series will have more to say once the plot gets a chance to develop further, but I’m also not super hyped for it right now.
Emerging adults: We see that in Juri, and will probably see it in her brother Tsubasa as well – there was a nice shot of Tsubasa being pensive about his trashy state of being, so I’m calling it. I actually like that, because our protagonist is not your high school student who only needs a fulfilling youth, but someone who actually faces external judgment and practical concerns in life. Not that I don’t like high school dramas, but a series tagged as a “mystery” and “psychological drama” is usually a lot more convincing with a cast like this.
Family drama?: I do enjoy a good family drama, so if Kokkoku can deliver this, I’ll be happy with it. We’ve got three generations in a family with some weird bloodline (if bloodline is what gave them special abilities) – pretty promising. So far I find it hard to say.
Not yet memorable: I’m saying this with the assumptions that our characters will become more interesting as the series goes on. Juri is a sincere and driven character, and Ojiisan is a wise patriarch. I can describe what each character is like with no issue, but nothing about them moved me, entertained me, or made me relate to them. I’m sure we’ll be able to appreciate them more once they start figuring out their relationships with the superpowers. The bad guys were worse – none of them were horrific or even threatening in looks (blue shirts with collars, seriously?), so there’s the chance that the leader of the enemy team isn’t actually the main villain, but none of them succeeded in making me care.
Average art: like other aspects of the episode, I thought the art was very acceptable and nothing more. Character designs are alright – only that blonde lady in the beginning stood out to me. Oh, and the monster looked kind of neat!
Fair animation: there were many paneling shots that drew attention to things suspended in air during the time pause, but I felt like there were a bit too many of them, and got a little tired of how unnatural it felt when everything happened to be suspended in midair.
Could pick up the pace: though there’s nothing wrong with it as it is, I feel like this episode might benefit from a quicker pace. The brother and nephew are kidnapped and are going to be killed, and the characters all decide it’s the best idea to sit at a table and talk about a stone? I mean, we do see that they have good reason as explained later, but the fact that they just stand around and then sit there for the first minute or so frustrates me a little. Likewise, the rescue didn’t feel intense at all (Ojiisan even specifically says that they’ve got all the time they need). Perhaps their leisurely attitude is supposed to make the enemy intrusion more unexpected and dramatic, but the villains were so boring that I couldn’t really feel much.
Voice-image dissonance: I felt this the most strongly when hearing the dad speak. His seiyuu was so into it when his son got kidnapped, but the expression we see is so toned down… Expressions can do a lot (look at Attack on Titan), and this episode didn’t really use that to its advantage.
Alright OP/ED: Not my cup of tea, I guess. I found both to be okay (but then I’m someone who’s opinion on theme songs is almost always guaranteed to change depending on my enjoyment of an anime). I liked the swinging pendulum animation during the OP though.
So that’s what I thought. I had expected to be able to point out more good things about the show, but the good aspects of it fell in the mediocre category for me. I believe that being of a plot-focused genre, the anime definitely has potential if given more episodes, but with my limited time for anime, I don’t think I’ll watch the rest of it unless there isn’t a show I like more than it in this season (other than Sora yori mo Tooi Basho, which I was pretty satisfied with).
Oh, and on a side note, I just reached 100 followers! Thanks for the love, people~ (bows