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Fall 2017 is here! And along with it comes a host of new shows, bloggers (mostly just me) frantically writing up first impressions, and watchlists being updated. This season is actually looking quite healthy, with a grand total of twelve shows I’ll be keeping an eye out on as the season goes. Planning to stick to the three episode rule before dropping shows completely, so I expect that list to narrow down by quite a bit.

For now however, we’re jumping into the season with Black Clover, Konohana Kitan, Juni Taisen, and Love is like a Cocktail!

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It’s another shounen for the season and after seeing the studio that’s working on Black Clover, I’ve got high expectations! To me, Studio Pierrot is the king of shounen, working on titles such as Naruto, Bleach, Hunter x Hunter, and so many more. Add in a healthy dose of magic, fantasy, and action?

I’m completely sold.

Going into the first episode, I was really looking at our two main characters relationship, Yuno and Asta. A healthy rivalry that doesn’t separate one of the two as a “good” guy and “bad” guy. I honestly want the two rivals to be working together towards the same goal for once, not as rivals, but as partners. Maybe that doesn’t fit in well with the genre, but it’d be a nice change that I hope Black Clover’s going for.

And… nope, Yuno’s being a bum for some reason.

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Still, we get to learn a little more about the world and our protagonists. Asta shows the typical traits for a shounen protagonist. Having no magic at his disposal whatsoever, he seems to get by through sheer willpower, strength, and optimism in the hopes that he’ll attain some magical power during some kind of “coming-of-age” ritual. Though I usually dislike characters who start out stubbornly optimistic (Naruto), I’m liking Asta so far. Maybe it’s because his determination comes off as almost comical, but despite his optimism, I think there’s a small sensible side to him. A pariah to those around him we’ll probably see Asta overcome many of his magical and social obstacles through dogged determination alone.

Yuno on the other hand is a gifted wizard, especially after receiving a rare grimoire. Taller and much more mature than Asta, he definitely seems like someone you can rely on. Again, I was looking forward to a healthy rivalry between Yuno and Asta, however, Yuno treats Asta more or less like the rest of the town. Some dropped flashbacks here and there indicate they were pretty close when they were younger but something changed. Still, his attitude towards Asta is almost one of contempt, but we’ll see if that changes as the show continues.

Magical grimoires that enhance one’s magical abilities, a fantasy setting where magic is implemented into everyday life, and the magicless anomaly known as Asta. It looks like the first few episodes will be laying down the groundwork for the worldbuilding before we hit the road following the typical shounen formula. Does that downgrade from the experience? Not a bit because in the end, I’ll still be hooked onto the action.

Though lets just hope there won’t be as many filler episodes.

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When I first read the summary of Juni Taisen: Zodiac War, I thought it’d be another Fate ripoff. Twelve symbolic characters square off in a free for all to grant a single wish? Sounds familiar. I couldn’t be any more wrong, as the first episode lacks any of the character development, world building, and even emotion that drew me into the Fate series. We’re introduced to a sadistic woman holding two machine guns walking towards our “battle royale’s” meeting point while horribly timed flashbacks attempt to inform me about her past. In reality, it seemed like an attempt by the writers to say “Look at her, feel sorry for her. NOW.” The scenes were so out of place that it was jarring. Honestly, I’d be more pissed off if anything worthwhile was even happening before those flashbacks – Nope, just her walking up the stairs. So thanks for filling up the screen time with information about someone I don’t care about yet.

And whoop, she’s dead. Guess we should move on.

The designs for the rest of the cast though interesting, hold little appeal (to me). The Chicken’s outfit is cute, Monkey and Sheep has a somewhat distinctive look, but they feel underdeveloped. Ox is playing the stoic and strong trope, and the rest I honest to god, don’t care about.

And oh-god is that a buff man in bunny cosplay?!

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Maybe I’m missing something so I’ll give it the three episode treatment before dropping it, but I really don’t know how the future episodes will continue. Are they just going to feature one character per episode and kill them off like they did with boar? And if so, why should I care?

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Got a lot of wholesome vibes from the first episode, quickly becoming my “Flying Witch” for the season. Konohana Kitan starrs a host of fox-eared girls serving at a hot spring inn, the show follows Yuzu, a new employee sent to work at the inn. Cheerful and hopelessly oblivious, we get to watch her adjust to the daily routine at the inn. The characters introduced so far are cute, with some nuances that leave a little room for intrigue – A raven-haired foxgirl who’s all-too serious about work, a pink-haired foxgirl who’s seemingly friendly on the outside, and a foxgirl who’s always spacing out from work. Yes, they’re all cute foxgirls and yes, I love them all. But there’s one character I absolutely adored in the first episode.

This dude.

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A wandering pharmacist who stayed at the inn for just one day, this lovable bear-creature turned the show from just “cute (fox)girls doing cute things” to a wholesome, adventure-like experience. And I’m hoping it carries on that way. I want to see more interesting characters wandering into the inn, telling their stories to our naive Yuzu and recounting their journeys through the land. It’s an awesome way to set up worldbuilding, while still retaining the usual slice of life setting. Slice of lifes often force us into a small area with a lovable cast, completely disregarding the equally interesting world around them. It’d be a nice change to that formula, especially with the world of Konohana Kitan already filled with curiosities and wonder.

And foxgirls.

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I feel like this short and simple show has become the most mixed (pun intended) show so far. Love is like a Cocktail is a short about a girl who loves drinking and becomes adorable when drunk; a secret to everyone but her husband. The first episode introduces you to the main character, making it obvious that she loves to drink but has to hide that fact from her coworker for… reasons. After that, we get to see the recipe for the drink they’re making/drinking and a cutesy interaction that doesn’t really amount to much.

And that’s it.

Now I could throw out the “It’s only 3 minutes!” argument, but frankly, there have been worse three minutes shows that have gone further with their first episode. Does the episode deserve the hilariously low scores on Crunchyroll? Probably. But as a show? Sure it was a disappointing debut, but I’m thinking it’ll warm up to us within the next few episodes (I honestly hope so). So in the spirit of competition, I’ll oppose Karandi’s review on this show and forge on til episode three.

And if I end up being wrong, I’ll come back to declare Karandi the victor, with all the imaginary perks that come along with it.