Welcome, one and all, to the third first round match-up of Crunchyroll of the Dice 2018! This time around, I have two very different shows that have a loose shared theme. First up we have Gonna Be The Twin-Tail, an action-based comedy about a teenage boy that can magically transform into a girl with twin-tailed hair to fight invading space creatures. Then we have Recovery Of An MMO Junkie, about a 30-year old woman who has chosen to be a NEET and is embarking on a new MMORPG as a male character. So, though the stings are very different, I shall call this one … The Battle Of The Gender Switched Heroes! Let’s begin …
Gonna Be The Twin-Tail!!
Genre: Action, Comedy
Studio: Production IMS
- We open with a school entrance ceremony, revealing that our hero Soji Mitsuka likes girls with a twin-tail hairstyle. In fact, he’s borderline obsessed with the style. Of course, this leads to him failing to complete his papers properly, leading to an amusing bit of embarrassment. That it’s made me laugh already is a good start.
- Opening theme is okay. It fits with the so far light-hearted nature of things. The video gives a glimpse at the cast and some of the action too which is cool. Let’s see how easily they work it in.
- Back with Soji and he’s walking home with his best friend Aika Tsube, who appears to be more than capable of giving him a run for his money martial arts wise. The way they tease each other feels pretty natural. Soji’s mum turns up and makes a suggestive comment hinting that she knows Aika like Soji. As you do. Random fan service from a newcomer (Twoearle) in Soji’s family restaurant. And then loads more. So, I’m guessing she’s bringing the majority of the rude jokes to the show.
- The explanatory section about Elemaliens stealing people’s love for twin-tails is actually quite wonderfully b-movie. It’s silly and only really works to set up the theme of the show, but it hits that the point that you kinda accept it easily.
- This is the first time I’m noticing backing music. It fits with the b-movie thing quite nicely. Then a space lizard turns up to further that. He defeats the ‘ultimate twin-tail’ with ease, and Soji gets angry. Big heroic blast of music and he turns into a twin-tail girl himself. I did laugh when they acknowledged that there’s no logical explanation for this.
- I just noticed that the alien horde is wearing y-fronts on their heads. Ha!
- The battle doesn’t start well for Soji, but he soon starts to find his feet against the pervy lizard. I love how over the top this is. It’s got the right balance of being silly without going too far or underselling it.
- The ending theme makes it look a little more genuinely heroic than it is, but that’s fine. That was an easy watch; entertaining and well-paced.
Recovery Of An MMO Junkie
Genre: Romantic Comedy, Slice of Life
Studio: Signal MD
- Straight into the opening video. It’s quite stylised and the song is interesting. Looks like we’ll have a decent sized cast to meet. Really nice lighting effects in the opening scene. It looks like our lead, Morioka Moriko, is not happy with her lifestyle. She obviously really attached to MMOs, which I’m guessing stems from a boredom with life. She builds a male character for a new MMO and we get some Zelda-esque game music. She’s gone for the name Hayashi.
- Lots of death for poor old Hayashi. That was pretty funny. A more experienced player called Lily joins in, making Morioka happy. A bit of teamwork goes a long way, and the nefarious giant hamster is soon defeated. There’s a bit of an online romance brewing there.
- Morioka seems quite obsessed already. She’s almost creepy with those facial expressions.
- Hayashi is part of a guild now, it seems. They seem like a likable bunch. There’s a bit of development too with Morioka wanting to get Lily an in-game present for Christmas. Also, the fact that you can’t tell someone’s gender was mentioned which makes me think that Lily may be male in the real world.
- Morioka’s reaction to Lily and not understand girls despite being one amuses me. As does her vehemently anti-couple sentiment in the store. Her empty fridge and hungry tummy is a sad sight though. She ahs an embarrassing moment with an office worker too which was also funny. Hayashi and Lily have a sweet moment too, rounding of a good little run of scenes.
- I quite like the ending video, showing Morioka as reflected I her computer monitor, then cutting to the other characters IRL. I’m gonna guess that the businessman she met in the store is Lily. In all, that was also a very easy watch.
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 took the points …
BEST CHARACTER: So, in terms of Gonna Be The Twin-Tail, the only characters we spent any real time with were Soji, Aika, and to an extent, Twoearle. Of these, I kinda thought that Aika had the most potential as she at least had some real affection for Soji going on to balance out the more aggressive attitude. Twoearle didn’t do enough to interest me as yet, and Soji seems very single-minded. On the flip side, there wasn’t really anyone in Recovery of an MMO Junkie that came across as unlikable. The other guild members do need some more development going forward, but they clearly have some different traits to explore. Morioka was a very interesting lead though. She may have chosen the NEET lifestyle, but her reactions make her seem like she isn’t entirely happy in life. At the same time, the way her online and offline persona differs made for some interesting viewing. For being the most three-dimensional character between the two shows … THE WINNER IS: Morioka Moriko (Recovery Of An MMO Junkie)
BEST INDIVIDUAL SCENE: This is a tough one to judge. The reason for that is that neither show had one scene that leapt out above all others, but both had some great light-hearted moments. Recovery of an MMO Junkie did a really great job at showing Morioka’s awkward side, and scenes like the shopping debacle and her lack of understanding with social interactions made great viewing. That being said, I really liked the self-aware nature of Gonna Be The Twin-Tail when it acknowledged that the reason for Soji turning into a girl was a mystery. That fit so well with the general feel of the show. And so, … THE WINNER IS: This Makes No Sense (Gonna Be The Twin-Tail!!)
BEST ART AND ANIMATION: This one is a little easier to judge. There’s nothing particularly wrong with Gonna Be The Twin-Tail. The character designs are fairly standard but do fit the genre well, and the animation is well-done during the action scenes. There were some moments during talking scenes that it felt a little lazy, with very simplified mouth movements (or in one case in the opening scene, no mouth movements at all), but otherwise it was fine. Recovery Of An MMO Junkie fits aesthetically with the look that I’ve been enjoying recently. Putting aside personal preference though, it’s very good at playing with light, and the contrast in colour between Morioka’s real world and the MMO world is quite nice. The character designs are less flashy than its foe’s but that fits with the story just fine. Particular attention was obviously given to Morika’s facial expressions too. As such, … THE WINNER IS: Recovery Of An MMO Junkie
BEST SOUNDTRACK: I do think that Recovery Of An MMO Junkie was a little better in terms of ambient sounds here. It also had a soundtrack that fit in well with the scenes where it popped up. However, Gonna Be The Twin-Tail went out of its way to play up on the sort of music that you used to get in everything from Western b-movies to Japanese giant monster shows. It was over the top and added a lot to the general feel of the show, which is more than deserving of praise. For not only fitting in with, but elevating how the show comes across, … THE WINNER IS: Gonna Be The Twin-Tail!!
BEST OPENING EPISODE: Neither show was bad. I’d say that Gonna Be The Twin-Tail maybe hit some points that I’m not as fond of though; fan service for the sake of it and little in the way of character depth reared their heads here. I am happy to accept that they’re standard parts of the genre though, and the overall sense form the show is that it doesn’t need to be too deep. On the other hand, I felt that Recovery Of An MMO Junkie tried hard to present itself in a very different way. It’s not going to be full of high octane action all the time, and will focus more on character interactions, and a potential blossoming romance. Honestly, I didn’t dislike either episode, but one did make me want to see more a little more than the other. That means that … THE WINNER IS: Recovery Of An MMO Junkie
Final Scores: Gonna Be The Twin-Tail!! – 4 points, Recover Of An MMO Junkie – 6 points
And so ends a surprisingly close battle. Going into this one, I was aware of both shows from reviews, but I couldn’t really remember too much about either. The contrast in styles was certainly interesting though, and neither one made me despair for spending my time doing this. Will I continue with both? Who knows. For now though, Recovery Of An MMO Junkie is marching into the semi-finals, where it will face the winner of The Ancient Magus Bride and Flowers Of Evil.
What about yourselves? Have you seen either show? What did you think? Do you agree with my final scores? Let me know below!