“Reg! You’ve even forgotten about the Abyss? This great pit is called the Abyss. And I found you in the depths of the Abyss. Thought that maybe you came up from the bottom of the Abyss, Reg! I mean, I’ve never seen any kind of robot like you before! That’s gotta be right! You must have come from the bottom of the Abyss which no one has ever seen.”
–Riko to Reg, Made in Abyss, Episode 1
A lot of people like to condemn Naruto and I’ve never understood the appeal, although its overwhelming popularity and ubiquitous presence in anime fandom at large does make it an easy target. There’s something relatable about Naruto Uzumaki’s dorky nature which translates surprisingly earnestly within the series itself.
I personally enjoyed my time in the Naruto fandom. When I became bored with the pace of the anime, I turned to fanfiction. Time passed, I became interested in other types of anime, and whenever I thought back to Naruto, I checked in with what happened in the manga, never really caring about spoilers since I was long past wanting to watch or read it immediately.
Then a friend told me that Masashi Kishimoto had begun writing a sequel: Boruto. She also told me that it was hilarious.
The opening scenes of Alice & Zouroku involve poorly-done computer generated cars, a dramatic escape, and a Tokyo Tower scene that is eerily reminiscent of Sakura Kinomoto in Cardcaptor Sakura.
In fact, many things in the opening scene of Alice & Zouroku reminded me of other anime series — echoes of Cardcaptor Sakura, Madoka Magica, and Elfen Lied.
Yet what I latched onto was the nickname given to our titular Alice (Sana Kashimura): “The Red Queen.” Subsequent references to Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There reminded me of another first episode experience — one that is near and dear to my heart — Kyousougiga.
Oh, so this is my problem.
When we first meet Tohru of Miss Kobayashi’s Dragon Maid, she is unmistakably a dragon. With green scales, yellow eyes, and a body that doesn’t even fit within the series itself — only parts of her are shown until she raises her head above the forest and takes off in flight — Tohru is massive and clearly strong.
Yet, for most of the series, Tohru appears as the young woman above — a cute, busty cosplayer with seemingly limitless energy. She appears as what she believes will be the most desirable physical representation to her soon-to-be employer, Miss Kobayashi.
“Million Clouds” sung in dulcet, relaxing tones by Maaya Sakamoto is the perfect opening song for Amanchu!. As Futaba Ooki looks out at the vastness of the ocean while waves lap at her feet in the sand, it’s clear that Amanchu! is going to be another Kozue Amano property in the similar vein of Aria — allowing viewers’ cares to melt away throughout the episode, or with each beautiful note of the opening song.
I was initially going to write about Futaba’s first day in school, comparing Amanchu!’s focus on establishing the seaside setting of Ito on the Izu Peninsula as a main character of the series alongside Hikari Kohinata and Futaba. When revisiting the opening, I was struck by how pointed the visuals were, especially having watched the first episode entirely.