“OH SNAP! It’s another post on this show! Like, what happened to you saying that the previous post was possibly the one and only regarding this anime, Shoka?!”
I feel like I’ve one-upped both of you in the English game because allow me to clarify:
When I was younger, I was told that there is a clear difference between the words probably and possibly. When used as the first word in a sentence that is in no way related to maths, probably leans more towards certainty whereas possibly means that it can happen. Just to make it even simpler; probably covers the 50 to 100% chance while possibly covers 0 to 100%. Yes, it really does cover the zero percent chance too, but that is only because you are unsure. Otherwise if you’re absolutely certain that something will not happen, impossible is the only word to go.
It’s one of those words that truly gives away your personality.
Right, that’s it for the English lesson from a person whose first language is not English!
I fell in a trap
As mentioned in the previous post, I have indeed fallen into a full on cringe trap set up by the first episode. I was too much into ranting I have forgot to even mention the fact that first episode of Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni. is absolutely one of the weakest for the Summer Season. Hell, make it this year. I legit make sure to not include the first episode into the list whenever I re-watch this show, that’s how bad it really is.
The show however did not go on to become my Isuca nightmare, so allow me to lay the credits where they are truly due.
…Not so fast!
Let me dig up some insights first because anime like this needs them to save you from going insane.
Now there are two, or three, or a hundred…
I have already made statements on how:
- Silhoueska Elze and Linze are practically Fujibayashi twins rip-off.
- The sound director is not really doing this show any big favor.
And these still ring true after halfway through the season. However, once I get off my high horse it is actually quite easy to see the positives.
Aren’t you supposed to be happy now that there are more of the irresistible bold and shy twin sisters? In a different setting, this is actually an opportunity to witness valuable possibilities shall Fujibayashi twins really end up going on an adventure!
As for the sound direction (if there is actually one), I’m glad that he has absolutely no impact on the opening and ending songs; those are made with talents from the singers and voice actresses–I love them a LOT.
You probably have little idea on how popular the opening song for this show is in Japan, compared to every other openings in this season. The ending song is even more popular than the opening. I’m not surprised.
The background music is still generic as hell and what’s with the special song for every single time Touya uses his abilities while out of combat? Sound wise, it’s trying way too hard at being epic, if anything it gets me having epic laughs.
The thing with cliches
We love to bash on them. But since when has everyone been trying to revolutionize anime?
We humans are extremely obsessed with the idea of novelty; we seek things that make us unique. There are not a lot of choices when it comes to anime as you are watching a show that’s either mainstream or not. Underdogs eventually enter the main stream as the fortunate few who’ve seen them sang praises for years. So when a show like this appears out of the blue, it will naturally be bashed to the ground because at first glance, it doesn’t look like something that is trying to be different from the already existing shows bearing the exact same concept. IseSuma however goes next level by containing cliches for just about everything that makes up the show and exists as the ultimate bait for critics.
I admit into bashing the director for the show’s first episode. However most of it changes as the show goes on to redeem itself. Let’s not forget that IseSuma is his first work to be a combination of non ecchi and is of a 24 minute per episode show, coming from a person who directed lots of short-length hentai shows.
Sadly, not everyone is willing to give this poor man a chance.
It does not take brains to know that not everyone can miraculously pump out a masterpiece as their first work, let alone the second, third or even fourth. Just look at Makoto Shinkai! How many years and number of works do you think it took for him before he went from niche to being pressured as he is now being misguidedly labelled Miyazaki 2.0?
You have to start somewhere, even if it is a copied layer of something popular.
The problem is not the show; it’s you, the critic.
Undoubtedly the sole reason you should never take score based review seriously, ever. It will pay you surprising favors to actually read what reviewers have to say.
Sure, this anime is by all means generic and average at best ONLY when you start comparing it to other shows.
No, seriously. Why are you comparing it to other shows?
A lot of people usually don’t realize until it is way too late, but they tend to set their standards by using either their favorite anime or just anything that has high rating on MyAnimeList. So when something new presents itself as being clearly inferior to an older show in many ways, they simply cut corners and convince others that it is better to just watch the older show since that is obviously the wiser choice. Just for this one time, I will not be speaking for anyone, only for myself.
Take your shoes off and let me wear them, for now.
Have you ever thought maybe… just maybe, that I like my food to be cheap?
…that I drink both Coke and Pepsi?
…that I have respect for efforts into making things like cheap food, Coke and Pepsi?
Being in a bandwagon is one thing, but being in a hate-train is another thing entirely. I can see this happening a lot in anything that involves two strong contenders, Samsung v.s. Apple being one. FYI, I am using a Samsung Galaxy S8, but even then I can appreciate why some people are heart-tight with their iPhones.
My thing with cheap food is that I am also able to enjoy an objectively average show. Do you seriously get all prideful and satisfied when your stomach is filled with $15 French fries from an expensive restaurant–or in relation–when your anime list is only filled with shows rated as very good (8.00 in MAL) or better? Because that is some superiority complex there.
That said, having seen something better should not be the main reason for you to avoid IseSuma. And for the love of God, please don’t go into an expensive restaurant just to order French fries.
If you happen to be one of those people who participate in an act of using an anime show to set your standard on purpose, where do you see yourself in that?
I’m dead sure that you have your own voice so don’t let an anime show speak for you.
However if you still insist on letting an anime show speak for you, let us look deep into the comparison. And no show is better to be in this spot other than KonoSuba.
One of my biggest pet peeve with the anime community is how stuck up some people can be when it comes to ‘taste’. I have already written a post about how your taste ≠ others’. IseSuma instantly appears to be a KonoSuba rip-off to many, which is actually a disappointing sight. Little do they know that once they pull their heads out of their asses, they will be able to see that even a masterfully crafted show like KonoSuba does not offer everything that is expected of an Isekai type anime. I won’t go so far and call them flaws because they really aren’t. Unsurprisingly, a lot of people and even bloggers I talk to say that they enjoy IseSuma because it offers the things KonoSuba does not.
What they may be, you ask?
It’s time to lay the credits, for real.
The credits: Settings
It will take serious pride to blind you from seeing what IseSuma does well with cliches. Say, both you and I are given a Coke can each. If you take pride in being unique then it is expected that you don’t outright drink the can. Cool kid you are.
Have you actually notice the one common trait among protagonists in Isekai anime?
Yeah, the few times they all think that they should not exist in the other-world.
Like, no matter the world you live in, it is only as good as you make it out to be!
Now, even KonoSuba could have taken this chance to become a full on relaxing adventure Isekai show since its title screams along the lines of Blessings in the other-world but it ended up being a slapstick comedy on repeat, which had me gone through lots of great laughs. IseSuma grants the chill adventure vibe. Despite being a harem show tending to male audience, I’m willing to guess that the show is also popular among female viewers since barely anything about it is present to make your testosterone level skip ropes. In other words, this is the kind of stuff that makes diehard battle shounen fans vomit in agony. Away you go~
Right off the bat we already have a protagonist whose personality is the embodiment of all things moral. Touya looks at the bright side of everything, unlike many others from the Isekai genre. He seeks goodwill, does the good, doesn’t take the goods but ends up having them forced on him anyway because it’s good!
Yeap. It’s basically a young man’s journey (in the other-world) to make everyone happy, totally not cliche!
Don’t mistake it for Slice of Life. IseSuma is quite relaxing but it is NOT Slice of Life by a long shot. Adventure in this show is the one thing that’s moving forward non-stop. Touya is always doing something new, like picking a new target for an ability he is notorious for: Slip.
Count Balsa gets it twice, he’s clearly the trippin’ winner.
We’re hardly given any time where he thinks deep about his time spent in the other-world, so there is that.
The credits: Visuals
One could argue that the overall art for IseSuma is average at best. Though, it does not take brains to figure out that the show obviously has lower budget put into. After six episodes and leaving the first episode aside, I was just saying to myself that, “I feel sorry for the animation director…”
Because frankly, the animation and especially the voice actresses in this show are currently the only two factors that keep on shining. So on top of the overall movements of the show, I have a serious impression that the animation director has to also keep up with seiyuu’s exciting talents by matching the characters’ movements and expressions.
All of it on a relatively low budget!
IseSuma really shows that the animation director Masahiro Sekiguchi is working to the best of his ability given the shitty spot he is being put in. The lad has experience, lots of it too. Just check out some of the legendary works he was involved in as an episode animation director and key animator, some of them being Madoka and NGE.
IseSuma may be mostly relaxing, however when it is not, you can expect some ass-kickery moves.
There are also times when I noticed unusual spike in frames. Masahiro-san is seriously being tested on whether he knows where to put the budget.
Extra touches here and there
My man Remy always has the eyes for extra details. That is not to say that I do not have them! The first five episodes showcased five different versions of the ending song, sang by different voice actresses for each of the heroines. And along with them are the girls on feature, depending on which version you are watching/listening to.
Though, I have played around with Adobe Photoshop to have myself a memory of the harem~
I obviously put the best girl in the front layer…
And screw Lean; late bird gets no worm!
And you thought that the animation director’s job was over before the ending credits?
Outside of the anime itself, have you actually visited the official site of this show? I have to admit that the people behind IseSuma site design are hella witty! Being a show about (being in another world with a) smartphone, the user interface is of no other than a smartphone (or in this case a tablet, pfft)!
There is even a message saying that they recommend you using the site with your smartphone. So I tried.
It feels like this is the home screen to my phone lol!
Everything, your way
Why is it that we enjoy Shiba Tatsuya kicking ass in Mahouka?
Satisfaction comes straight from the fact that you have absolutely nothing to worry about, not even when your comrade gets a limb through her.
This is surprisingly the one huge factor that a few people find KonoSuba to be appalling, because that show relies heavily on the characters to be stupid in order to make comedy. In the end it creates a very lousy and obviously stupidly humored show. You are left to wonder whether Darkness will stop being a masochist. When will Aqua stop goofing around and even for the most sane member of the party, when will Megumin actually become useful outside of her Explosion™?
Funnily, IseSuma does have comedy. however they are all light-hearted ones and not even remotely forced. You have to be living a depressing life to not at least smile after six episodes of this show.
Having everything go your way is obviously a wish that your heart makes. If it comes true then you wouldn’t be enjoying this show as much, let alone Mahouka. So, like girls wearing makeup, we watch this kind of show to fulfill the things missing from what we establish as personal perfection.
Perfection is highly subjective, too! But one thing is clear; not everybody is in for a masterpiece template.
But in the end, it is a harem show
Do you know what flat out harem shows do best? More importantly, why do they still exist despite easily being the most hated among the Western community?
You can read the post that I have written, or I will just repeat the answer right here.
The female characters in IseSuma are one dimensional perfections. It is pointless to go and look for their flaws as there is never an intention of developing them to begin with. This leaves us viewers to do the one thing that is expected of harem fans; we fight the war for the best girl!
Comes the profit and everything through merchandising. Remember, it is a harem show like this which sits high on popularity poll in Japan. Little do they care about complexity of the story writing because at the end of the day, having a waifu to physically stand in front of them means the world.
I can already see the two heroines that will rake in profits for IseSuma…
And that is just the beginning of it all. I have been looking across YouTube for things related to this anime and all I’m seeing are positive comments in Japanese. It just goes to show the true difference in opinions, depending on the community. Two character song collections have recently been released and they are already getting a favorable reception.
So, what to take from my ramblings?
This is not a dire recommendation for you to watch the show, however:
- Please don’t avoid this show just because you have seen something ‘better’.
- If you have a lot of free time, this show is just about right to waste some of it. I mean come on, twenty four minutes of your week. How bad can it be?
- Peer pressure is legitimate; please see it for yourself if that’s the only thing stopping you from actually taking a peek.
- As mentioned earlier about being prideful, it does not hurt to have a relatively average show in your list. In fact, having more average shows in your list (given that you have actually seen them and not just giving thoughts based on the first three episodes) goes to prove that you have what it takes to be vocal when it comes to subjective matters.
Somehow I feel like this is all incomplete. Maybe, just maybe… a seasonal review should get started…