Welcome, one and all, to the first second round match-up in Crunchyroll of the Dice 2018! As we move onto episode two of each anime, the competition is heating up. We’re in an interesting place here too as the first entrant, Tsuredure Children is in an odd spot. No short episode anime has made it beyond round two of the tournament so far. Yet this is technically a semi-final match. So, it’s gone further than any other short episode series, yet in reality no further than any of the previous first round winners. Then there’s 91 Days, which is coming hot off a win earlier in the month. But who will win out between love and death? Let’s find out in … The Battle of Della Morte Del Amore.
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Studio: Studio Gokumi
- The opening video is short, as you’d expect from a series with shorter episodes. We do get to see the cast though, and their personalities are put on show effectively.
- We open with Hotaru, who thinks it’s a shame that he brother is so serious he can’t get a girlfriend. Until she sees him with Minagawa. I’m honestly not sure whether to take it that Hotaru loves her brother or is just really possessive. Anime has pulled the siblings thing too often for me not to think it could be the case. Still, her near zombified face at times during this was pretty funny.
- So, Kaga has no real interests, and Sasahara wants him to be interested in the astronomy club. She tries hard, mind you, but Kaga is pretty impenetrable in terms of interests. He’s also pretty perceptive about Sasahara. She does seem to be flailing a little without Yukawa. I kinda hope she can break Kaga out of his morose though.
- Gouda ponders why Kamine avoids him and thinks that she won’t even look at him, but she does when he’s not looking at her. There’s a sweet awkwardness here, especially as Gouda is pretty oblivious to what Kamine’s saying. It’ll be interesting seeing how they function as a couple.
- Takano has no umbrella, so Sugawara offers her his, then faceplants. She seems to be more closed off than the other characters, bar maybe Kaga, and has a very dim view of herself. That’s actually really sad. Sugawara has taken a real shine to her, though she doesn’t see to accept that. I hope he can get through to her.
- It strikes me that there’s a big focus on ‘confessing’ in Japan. It’s an odd turn of phrase, and must surely make it more difficult to do? Like, it almost makes it seem like a crime. Still, good episode again.
Genre: Crime, Drama
- The illegal booze trade continues with the opening car journey. I really don’t care for the CG car being superimposed onto the traditionally animated backdrop. The scene does do a good job of showing what prohibition was like though. The show is very good at knife fights so far too. The scenes are kept simple, but that plays into the realistic style of it all.
- First look at the opening video and the vocals remind me a little of the theme from Tokyo Ghoul. I’m all for anime theme style J-Rock, but I do feel that something more vintage would have fit better here and been in keeping with the setting.
- Like there. The band playing the wedding fits with the era. A darker form of that style of music would have done well. Or something similar to the old gangster movies. Corteo looks set to be long-suffering, I think.
- The mafia politics with Nero and his family is a good scene. I know that the show is built around the idea that Angelo is out for revenge, but Nero hasn’t actually done anything himself to made him a true antagonist yet.
- It’s an odd thing to pick up on, but I really like the variety of nose shapes on display in 91 Days.
- More underworld politics leads to Angelo being hired to do a hit. Turns out Fango likes a bit of the ol’ whipping. The fight here is good again, with Fango making his escape over the rooftops. The resultant execution is suitably brutal too.
- Ah, and then we get the reveal of the names of the three who killed Angelo’s father. The ending theme is actually closer to what I expected the opening theme to be. The post credit scene leaves it on a good cliffhanger.
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? Which one progressed the most compared to the first episode?
- 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 Story Progression: which show did a better job of pushing the story forward?
So, let’s see who excelled at what …
BEST CHARACTER: Angel did less for me in 91 Days this time, though it was nice to see a little more about Nero. I’m not sure I’d class it as progression per se given he was starting form a blank to begin with, but he’s clearly done some bad things while aiming for positives for his family. It was nice to catch up with some of the Tsuredure Children cast while still introducing other new characters. Minagawa was a hoot again, this time teasing Jun Furuya’s little sister rather than him. I was hoping she’d continue to be playful like that. So … THE WINNER IS: Minagawa (Tsuredure Children)
BEST INDIVIDUAL SCENE: There were a couple of really stand-out moments this time around. The various fights in 91 Days were great, as were the political-driven moments. Tsuredure Children meanwhile had plenty of digestible chunks, with Gouda’s denseness being quite sweet. The closing couple were also stand-out as Sugawara’s attitude towards herself was quite heart-breaking. I want to know what happened to make her feel that way. So … THE WINNER IS: DRAW
BEST ART AND ANIMATION: The aesthetics of 91 Days continue to shine, but the CG car is a definite negative for me. The authenticity of the designs and the different nose shapes are great though. Tsuredure Children is actually more consistent, I think. The style itself isn’t as stand-out, but the characters are all different enough in appearance to be recognisable, and it does a great job with facial expressions and mood setting. It’s close but … THE WINNER IS: Tsuredure Children
BEST SOUNDTRACK: Tsuredure Children continues to work with music that compliments what’s going on, albeit all very subtly. While the opening scene felt out of place though, 91 Days takes it here. The ambient sounds, the background music and the closing theme all shone. Which mean … THE WINNER IS: 91 Days
BEST STORY PROGRESSION: Tsuredure Children does have some good story progression but given that it’s sort of based on multiple smaller arcs than an overall story, it’s at a disadvantage here. The short running time also means that this approach takes baby steps. Meanwhile, 91 Days set up a lot of stuff, with some reveals about Angelo’s targets and the back room politics. This easily goes to … THE WINNER IS: 91 Days
Final Scores: Tsuredure Children – 5 points, 91 Days – 5 points
A draw means that we go into sudden death overtime with both shows squaring off on bonus categories until we have a winner. We’re starting with …
BEST VA: The cast in 91 Days are pretty strong. The problem that they have is that the script tends to focus on one particular feel rather than showing the full range of the voice actors. Tsuredure Children is similar in that the short chunks we get only really allow the characters to show small parts of themselves. That being said, Kana Hanazawa is very good as Minagawa. I mostly know her as Anri (Durarara) and Mayuri (Steins;Gate), and this is a very different character for her, almost like a toned back version of her performance as Roka (D-Frag). For being consistently stand-out … THE WINNER IS: Kana Hanazawa as Minagawa (Tsuredure Children)
Final Scores: Tsuredure Children – 7 points, 91 Days – 5 points
That was a lot of fun. Tsuredure Children becomes the first short episode series to not only clear round two but reach the final, and 91 Days joins the list of eliminated shows that I want to watch through anyway. What I really like here is that I likely wouldn’t have watched Tsuredure Children any time soon were it not for the tournament. It’s got a real sweetness to it though, which is great.
But what about yourselves? Have you seen either show? What did you think? Do you agree with the result? Let me know in the comments below.