Anime-Gataris – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Just as soon as she enters Sakaneko Private High School, Asagaya Minoa is dragged into the anime club by her classmate, Kamiigusa Alice, even though she knows next to nothing about anime. A classmate, Kouenji Miko, along with other anime-loving senpais, quickly turn her into an anime fan. Fighting off the incessant shut-down threats of the student council, and completely oblivious to the coming apocalypse, the anime club talks about anime in the club, at Akihabara, at anime Meccas, and at hot springs. (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Anime-Gataris offers up a slow premiere. While we get glimpses into the series,’ potentially, far more quirky nature with really the last third of the episode finally hitting that stride, the rest plays like a dangerously generic club-focused anime. In fact, it’s so borderline generic that the biggest appeal in this first episode is spotting all the off-brand anime titles.
Linny: It’s so generic, it starts off with the protagonist, Minoa waking up late for her first day of school. I was genuinely surprised that she didn’t run to school with a piece of toast in her mouth. And then when she makes it to school, we are introduced to the oh so popular and overdone ‘oujo-sama’ character, the rich, pretty, popular and snobby classmate, Alice, admired by all yet distant and aloof.
Tom: Our lead, Minoa, is pretty standard stuff. She’s the classic middle of the road heroine, understanding, not terribly judgemental. Very ‘normy’ as some of these shows might describe. We catch glimpses of the rest of our cast, including a few of the more colorful characters. But the majority of our attention is devoted to Alice, the popular rich girl and closet anime fan. Once you get her going about anime, she talks a mile a minute and while that kinda reveal isn’t terribly original, it’s still fun. She also has a butler to follow her around in near all situations, which can be cute and silly in itself. It’s these fleeting glimpses at Anime-Gataris’ more colorful characterization that give me hope the series isn’t quite as bland as the pilot.
Linny: Anime-Gataris is indeed most bland when it sticks to being realistic. It’s summary blurb makes it sound like a lot of it is going to be cliche kids doing club related activities. Heck, it even mentions that they’re going to go to a hot spring so you’re ‘guaranteed’ a fan service episode right from the very start. It sounds like an average show at best. However, in the last minutes of the episode is when things get rather meta and strange and more in line with some of the bizarre parts in the show’s description. First off, the girls encounter a creature that looks like an over stylized cat plush and walk all over it without a second thought. Then it’s revealed that no, this is an actual cat and both the girls are aware of it, yet neither of them ever apologize and it makes them come off like sadistic monsters for just stepping down hard on a living being without any remorse or hesitation. Also, even though this is an anime and things obviously don’t look like real life, the cat is so out of place and strange compared to the girls that it’s a little hard to accept that apparently this is how cats look in the world of Anime-Gataris.
Tom: As if entirely aware that the first episode is underwhelming, the bizarre cat character, Neko-senpai, begs viewers not to give up the series just yet. I initially wanted to give this a recommended, because I feel like the series has shown me glimpses of its more colorful persona. That said, what’s here in this first episode is nothing but promises and the generic. I think it’s a series to keep an eye and so while I’m not ready to say it’s something you should check out for the Fall season, it’s something to keep in mind.
Linny: Anime-Gataris didn’t have the strongest start, failing to come off as anything more than yet another generic school anime about kids in a club doing generic club related activities. I’d hoped that having anime as its club’s theme would add some extra charm to the show but for now, the only fun it adds is laughing at some of the more clever renaming of actual anime titles referenced in the episode. However, the very extreme switch in tone towards the end suggests that Anime-Gataris has the potential to win over anyone seeking a mix of mundane and maniac content revolving around an anime club but I’d caution that they head in with tempered expectations.