The first episode might be too little, too early to judge airing anime, but I’ll do so anyway.
Bus Ride (Mayoiga)
Okay, the first episode was a fair bit better than I had initially expected. The cast is indeed a bit too big for me to keep track of, but maybe they’ll die or fade into obscurity. I am not super sold on the main character, yet. He has some dark past and some foretelling powers, but eh. Actually, apart from Masaki, I am not really sold on any character, yet.
So, here’s what I liked:
- Atmosphere: The anime did a good job of creating a foreboding, but not over bearing atmosphere. The speeches given by the cast, the transitions and the surreal dreams main kid had all hammered in the fact that this is a thriller and we should be expecting slightly scary things. The very excellent creepy nursery rhymes being sung (e.g. the singing of the unlucky hippopotamus song) really helped with this.
- A frightening cast: One of the interesting things about the cast is that they are immediately relatable (most of us want to escape our lives and start anew) and yet all of them are slightly wonky and surely have a screw or two loose. It’s a bit too early to say the characters are /good/, but thanks to the atmosphere and this slight edge, all of their conversations and interactions are sort of surreal and frightening. You don’t really know if two characters will have a normal conversation about food or if one will suddenly pull a knife and go crazy.
- Some humour: All good thrillers need a bit of humour (sometimes campy, sometimes dark) and this anime definitely seems to have some. The stories recited by the cast, some of the reactions to those stories and a girl barfing all over the driver were all funny and more importantly contributed to the scary, surreal atmosphere. I liked the online nicknames. I also liked a few of the character backstories like the overly in love couple who started making out on the bus (I wish they had shown a bit more on screen).
- Good Character animation: The character animation in this first episode was pretty on point. The characters make good faces, are mostly on model and look good. I am a fan of the generic, but still cute, character designs, but even if you aren’t, the character movements are very well done (e.g. the vomit scene).
- MASAKI IS THE CUTEST THING. Seriously, this Masaki girl hits a lot of check marks on the Reiseng cute 2D Waifu checklist. I am very sad that a potential waifu is starring in an anime that I probably won’t watch too much of. Very sad. Just look at this perfect creation:
Ridiculous. How dare an anime, that’s otherwise not my type, pander to me so hard. Ridiculous. Absurd. (And yes, I naturally want to ship her with MC, or better yet me.)
Pompadour Ride (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure – Diamond is Unbreakable)
I have read the manga, but the opening of the episode totally caught me of guard. It was the kind of introduction Bethesda might have wanted to use for a Fallout game. That is to say, it was the absolute best way to be introduced into the suburban horror that is JoJo Part 4. Fantastic.
No, but really, it was pretty good. The character models fell in quality on rare occasion, but other than that, it looked pretty good too. Another really cool thing the anime did was hint at future villains (Shinmaru made this observation on twitter). The intro did that for the main villain of the series, but it wasn’t the only hint!
Another thing I liked a lot was well Josuke’s character came through. When he is introduced he is super meek and lets bullies pick on him and more importantly, he lets them hurt an innocent turtle! But then, it is revealed that the only reason he let them get away with hurting the turtle was because he knew he could heal it right up. Josuke, by default, is this goofy kid who hates conflict. Insulting his hair flips a switch and get you beat up though.
At some point in Part 4, the two polar opposite halves of Josuke begin moving closer together. You know, as meek as he is, he still stands up for his friends and to an extent justice as well. This anime is gonna be rad! I can’t wait for the other cast members to start showing up. Oh, and Josuke’s mom is totally perfect.
Actually, one complaint I did have was Josuke’s hair. The point at which his hair ends and his hat begins has always been a mystery, but here, it is just ridiculous. In Part 3, he wore a black hat, so the ambiguity made sense, but in Diamond is Unbreakable, it looks like a fine piece of censorship. What are you hiding in their Jotoro? Do I need to buy the Blu-Rays to figure it out?
For reference, here is the Stardust version:
Space Ride (Space Patrol Luluco)
Cute, wacky and really well animated are the first three things that pop to mind when I think recall this short. That’s it, actually. That’s all you really need to know about this. I am glad this is a short because while I am enjoying its zaniness, it hasn’t quite gripped me, so anything longer than what it is would be bad. Actually, there appears to be an alien boy x main girl ship lurking in wait for us. I am looking forward to that.
Ace Ride (Ace Attorney)
Ace Attorney…doesn’t look all that great and didn’t feel super gripping. Something was probably lost in translation from having to figure out the mystery yourself in a game to having it explained to you in anime form.
Still, the transitions, over the top reactions and objections are very cute. Its sense of humor is pretty great and fluffy, so I will watch another couple of episodes. If I have time, this will probably be a light anime I watch now and then though it is just likely to end up forgotten somewhere down the line. Sorry about that Ace Attorney. I give you props on trying though!
Endride has an ambitious setting, fleshed out characters, not outright terrible visuals and 2 cute-ish boys and a cute girl. And yet, somehow this first episode fell flat. Very flat. There was no energy, no PUZZAH, no enthusiasm or anything. Sure, there was a decent story being told, but I ended up not caring for it at all.
The battles are super boring and the weapons are badly designed and just not cool. Apart from maybe the ending song, the sound direction and background music is pretty lacking.
I’d claim that it feels like a waste of potential, but I had this feeling ever since I saw the PV, so maybe it was to be expected. It is a bit of a shame, I suppose. Anyway, for now, I have dropped EndRide, but who knows, maybe a miracle will happen and the second episode onward will be good enough to warrant renewed interest.