Welcome, one and all, to the second first round match-up of Crunchyroll of the Dice 2018! Today, we’re looking at two shows with short episode run times. Historically, this sort of show hasn’t done too well in the tournament. In 2016, Yamishibai: Japanese Ghost Stories defeated fellow short-run show Orenchoi no Furo Jijo then fell to the overall runner-up Flying Witch in the quarter finals. Last year, Nyanko Days lost out in the first round after a close battle with the eventual winner, Beautiful Bones. Can either of today’s shows, Mangirl! and Tsuredure Children do any better and reach the final? Let’s find out as we watch … The Battle of Diminutive Running Times!
- We open up with a picture of a storyboard about a proposal to run a Manga magazine being approved. All the while the characters talk in the background, we get new versions of the art, ending with the final piece. That was a nice touch actually.
- Bouncy theme song that I’m gonna guess is sung by the characters. We get introduced to Editor-in-Chief Hana and Assistant Editor-in-Chief Torii Aki, as well as a bunch of other characters. The size of the cast does worry me a little given the running time, but we’ll see how it goes. It all looks inoffensive enough though.
- Our two leading ladies clash immediately as Torii wasn’t aware of her role. The blushing when Hana says she wants to do this with her gives a little nod in the yuri direction, and we then see some blackmail about an unknown event called White Autumn. The rest of the staff are recruited through a mix of advertising and a tempting trail of snacks.
- Some nice use of bar charts to explain how profit works. Things get off to a bad start when they initially fail to gather enough artists, but a brief time skip means we can skip that and get back to them after some successful recruitment.
- And that’s it. I’m not certain whether there were enough laugh out loud moments for me to consider this a comedy just yet, but it was fine for what it was.
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Studio: Studio Gokumi
- Straight in with the opening credits. Looks like a big cast again, and I’d guess that they’re showing the various potential couples. I notice that this has a slightly longer running time that Mangirl! too, which may bode well for it.
- Nice piano music as a guy in a scarf walks through the snow, thinking about how he was called over by his crush. He’s expecting a love confession, but ten minutes later, he’s freezing and still waiting. Ha! They get in a bit of a muddle here that’s … it’s not funny in the way that makes me laugh uncontrollably, but the humour and the surprising realism of it do make me smile.
- Upstairs in the school, a girl named Minagawa is watching the two instead of doing her job as class rep. She’s open about liking her co-rep, Furuya, though he thinks that she’s messing with him. Cue awkward conversation about things of a more carnal nature. As the two continue to explore whether they like each other, there’s a sweetness here. Minagawa is so unashamedly playful though, that I do think Furuya is going to struggle to get the words out for a long time. He just seems so serious.
- Meanwhile, Kaji has been spotted smoking by the student council president Akagi. He’ll let her off in return for a kiss. Kaji has an odd reaction to this, and apparently would kiss anyone for money. Things get a bit dark, but they stop short of kissing when Akagi says she stinks of tar. The two do kiss in the end. I’m not certain how to view that exchange yet.
- Up in the Astronomy Club, we see Yukawa, a third year. Sasahara wants to confess her feelings for him because he’ll be graduating and leaving her behind soon, but she’s made a joke of it so many times before that he doesn’t really believe it. I don’t get the impression that Yukawa is actually interested in her so far. I love the shine in the eyes in this series. We cut to the end theme as Sasahara cries. Aww, he does like her. In all, that was a really well executed episode.
Let the battle commence!
I will now compare each series on several different aspects. The winning series in each category gets two points, and both series get one point in the case of a draw. The battles will be:
- Best Character: which character, whether leading or background, drew me in, or at worst annoyed me the least?
- Best Individual Scene: which scene stands out the most in my mind?
- Best Art And Animation: which show did the best job in terms of overall art quality?
- Best Soundtrack: which show shone in the sound department?
- Best Opening Episode: which show did a better job of creating intrigue or setting up the series going forward?
So, let’s see who unlocked all achievements, and who failed to clear the tutorial …
BEST CHARACTER: It’s not impossible to create a likable character in a short episode. In fact, there are a few shows that do it really well. The problem for Mangirl! is that it didn’t really give enough focus to the four characters that we met. And the reason for that is simple: it had about three minutes to split between them. On the other hand, Tsuredure Children had about as much time dedicate to each pairing, and as a result, was able to do a lot more. So, for looking like she’s gonna provide plenty of fun, good-natured teasing going forward … THE WINNER IS: Minagawa (Tsuredure Children)
BEST INDIVIDUAL SCENE: The snack trail in Mangirl! did make me smile. That was probably the biggest laugh that the show gave me, actually. Tsuredure Children had plenty of moments that stuck out though. In particular, the opening confession failure really did a good job of drawing me in. So, … THE WINNER IS: Can’t Quite Say It (Tsuredure Children)
BEST ART AND ANIMATION: This is actually a little closer than you may think. In terms of style, Tsuredure Children put me in mind of a mix of Haruhi Suzumiya and Summer Wars, but with shinier eyes. If I could criticise it for one thing though it would be that it felt like less attention was given to the design of the male characters than the female ones. Mangirl! is a fine example of doing things well too. It may not be as smooth as its foe, but there wasn’t anything inherently wrong with it. In fact, if anything, it was better than I expected. For being more stylish though … THE WINNER IS: Tsuredure Children
BEST SOUNDTRACK: This is an easy one. The opening theme to Mangirl! was okay, but I can’t really remember much else about the audio. I’m sure there was backing music, and nothing leapt out as out of place in the ambient stuff, but it was largely forgettable. Tsuredure Children meanwhile had a very good soundtrack. While nothing comes to mind about ambient sounds, the music pieces complimented the scenes nicely. For standing out like that … THE WINNER IS: Tsuredure Children
BEST OPENING EPISODE: This was a lesson in time management, I think. Mangirl! was likable enough, but the short running time harmed it in my opinion. The characters were introduced very quickly, and while I am curious as to how things will go for the group, it wasn’t enough to make me want to hunt down free time to watch it. Tsuredure Children had more time to play with, and utilised that well to introduce more characters, but in a more focussed way. I’m not entirely sold on all the pairings as yet, but the humour landed better for me, and the awkward sweetness of most of it makes me want to see more. As such … THE WINNER IS: Tsuredure Children
Final Scores: Mangirl! – 0 points, Tsuredure Children – 10 points
That score makes it look like Mangirl! was pretty bad. It really wasn’t. It was okay. But nothing more than that. Tsuredure Children did a really great job with the time that it had though and earned the victory in style.
What about yourselves? Have you seen either show? What did you think? Do you agree with my final scores? Let me know below!