Sometimes the trip to another world isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. And these two shows are making a case for why… in veeery different ways, it seems.
Voyager: Wait, wait, let me guess. I will rue the day I ever challenged you to this battle and so on and so forth.
EvilBob: Now, see, that’s just rude. But not untrue. Because this time I have a secret weapon.
Voyager: Oh? And what might that be?
EvilBob: A mother’s love.
EvilBob: Aha! You weren’t expecting that, were you!
Voyager: I think I actually would’ve more expected the Spanish Inquisition… or the Third Reich… or both.
EvilBob: Success! On to the opinions!
Voyager: Uh… yeeeah.
EvilBob: Okaasan Online’s first episode is a delight. It’s a standard Isekai with the lead’s mother joining him on his adventures. Which makes all the difference. One of the things I should point out is how they sped up the first episode by only including the events from after the school day. It’s a nice touch that sped up the introductory episode tremendously. It’s also fun to note that Mamako acts younger than her own son. She seems like the child sometimes while he seems mature I think their relationship is gonna be fun to watch.
Voyager: Well that was… unexpected. Is no show starting out the way their source material did, this season? Because like Isekai Cheat Magician, before it, Arifureta is once again just completely skipping out on the intro. And I’m honestly not overly certain that was a change for the better as a huge part of what makes Arifureta work is the utter dismantling of our lead before his eventual rise. It’s not just one big cataclysmic thing, like with Shield Hero. It’s a compounding of multiple things just tearing this guy down. And we don’t really get to see that coming to fruition. That said, the episode wasn’t bad at all, and I do think people are vastly overblowing things for the sake of having a whipping boy for the Summer season. This episode did showcase a pretty drastic, but mostly competent character transformation and handled its exposition reasonably well, while also delivering some solid (if somewhat difficult to see, at times) action in that cave. Overall, a pretty solid episode.
Voyager: All right, let’s get this out of the way. The character section is coming up-
EvilBob: Okaasan Online.
EvilBob: There’s only one character in yours so far. And tell me. How interesting is he, really? Sure there’s not a lot to Masato or Mamako, but at least they’re entertaining. And Mamako’s name is a dad joke! C’mon, that’s priceless!
Voyager: …Are you seriously giving the show points… for the lead character’s name… being a pun?
EvilBob: Why not? Worked for literally all of Dragon Ball.
Voyager: …dammit, he’s right.
EvilBob: Meanwhile, your brilliant main character decided to blame his entire class for one scumbag’s actions and, oh, we also barely know anything about him prior to any of this since they skipped out on the introduction like you mentioned a second ago.
Voyager: Well… yeah, but…
EvilBob: The thing that sells Okaasan Online is absolutely the chemistry between Mamako and Masato. A smothering but adorable mother and her embarrassed son make for a highly entertaining combo in a setting like this, riiight?
EvilBob: All right. I have the advantage. Now I’ve just gotta close this one out with one more category win. At the end of this day, one shall stand and one shall-
Voyager: Repeat jokes?
Voyager: Well, speaking of falling, hope you brought a cushion.
EvilBob: I’ll go ask the Spanish Inquisi- wait. No…
Voyager: So let’s talk about that character development.
EvilBob: No no no…
Voyager: And how the first episode of Arifureta basically manages to fit an entire mini-arc into about 20 minutes.
EvilBob: Stop it!
Voyager: It even sets up a reasonably interesting kinda-sorta mystery and shows a complete character transformation, all in just the first episode! That’s honestly pretty impressive, despite the show’s other flaws, at the moment. Meanwhile, what’s accomplished in the first episode of Okaasan Online? What an aesop about learning to be nicer to your mother? Even though that very lesson is likely to be forgotten by the very next episode?
EvilBob: …Must you always hit below the belt?
Voyager: No. But it’s more fun that way.
Voyager: And now to close this out with a reverse sweep… again.
EvilBob: Not today!
Voyager: You really do insist on being incorrect, don’t you?
EvilBob: Just because you’re correct, doesn’t make you right.
Voyager: Did you just-?
EvilBob: Have you seen Okaasan Online? Its visual style is excellent and so polished. Look at Arifureta, though. You can barely even see most of the episode. Everything’s so dark. And even when it isn’t, the stuff we can see isn’t that impressive.
Voyager: Ah, yes. That much is certainly true. You’ve got me there. Except you really don’t. It’s not like Arifureta’s style is bad. Sure it’s not as aesthetically pleasing as Okaasan Online, but that’s kinda the point. It’s dark because the series is dark. Plus he’s in a literal cave. As for the other stuff, let’s talk about fluidity, real quick. Because the action sequence, while a bit dark and tough to see in detail, was still pretty great. The effects were solid, for the most part, and the movements flowed really well despite the less polished style. Actually, I think it’s generally easier for less polished styles to have more fluid animation since it allows you to break model a lot more.
EvilBob: But look at how gorgeous the world of Okaasan Online is!
Voyager: Yeah, that’s true. It’s a very pretty world, from what we’ve seen. But we’ve also barely seen anything in motion. And a world’s beauty shines its brightest when we can see it actually brought to life through motion. There aren’t exactly a ton of sweeping shots or anything like that to give us a sense of that. As the series goes on, maybe we’ll see a lot more of it because Okaasan Online does genuinely have a very nice style to it. One that I think might actually be a major boon to it in the future. It might even take a round or two away from Arifureta, with it. But for this first episode? Yeeeah. Nah, mate. Sorry.
EvilBob: …That’s just not fair, man.
Voyager: Git gud.
EvilBob: …I hate you.
Voyager: Get in line. Chalk up another win for yours truly. And it looks like this round goes to me!
Voyager: Three down. One to go. Don’t fret, though, best buddy. You’ve got three whole weeks to put yourself on the board.
EvilBob: Oh, I will. You can count on it. I’ll finally surpass you, this Summer. I’ll finally win it all!
Voyager: Ah. He’s psyching himself up again. Kawaii. Anyway, what do you guys think? Should Okaasan Online have taken the gold, on this one? Or was Arifureta rightfully crowned the Round 1 champ? Let us know, down below!
EvilBob: Thanks for letting us waste your time, people.
Voyager: And thanks, as always, for reading. Keep up the Awesome!
EvilBob: And keep it Classy.
Voyager: Take Care.
I didn’t much like either of these first episodes and while I’m stubbornly not dropping Arifureta, it is a terrible first episode. Taking away everything I know about the character from reading the source, this episode is just dull. A character we don’t know gets put in a bad situation and transforms into an angry overpowered something. It’s too abrupt and rushed and we have zero reason to care. While Okaasan Online didn’t do much for me, it is more that it is clearly intended to be a comedy and that doesn’t really appeal to me. I can certainly see why other viewers would enjoy it though. Arifureta it is difficult to see why anyone would enjoy that because that first episode just does nothing but decontextualise what should be a pivotal character turning point and rush through it.
Yup. I do indeed have some questions as to why they chose to do things this way. I couldn’t say, myself, having also read a good bit of the LN. I’ve heard it was something to do with the studio itself having some issues, but I’m not sure. And I do find it really weird that, like, 5 shows in the season are really straying from their sources in the first episodes. Isekai Cheat Magician did it to, albeit not anywhere near the same extent. And Bob read the Vinland Saga manga and has told me that one’s more or less completely rearranged its story order. It’s just kinda bizarre.
Changing the source doesn’t bother me so much. If they made sensible choice to make a better anime by changing the source, I’d fully support it. However, they essentially just ripped the whole reason I liked Arifureta out and threw it away and what they replaced it with was another generic edgy opening sequence with a character we hadn’t me and gave me no reason to want to really get into it. Then episode two has given me really nothing to praise about the show. If I hadn’t read the source I’d have dropped the show already.
I haven’t watched episode 2 yet, so I couldn’t say anything about that. We’ll be talking about that one, this weekend. I don’t generally have the reason to care issue, as I’m more often than not invested anyway unless I’ve actively made a decision not to be. But I get you. That’s actually what I was getting at with Isekai Cheat Magician. It’s very much the same problem, just to a much lesser degree. Ripping out parts leading up to where they began sort of decontextualized the lead characters and left them both feeling kinda hollow, at least for now. Alas, I can’t drop anything for a few weeks, given our format, so I may as well *try* to BS my way to a win. XD
You’re gonna lose this one, believe it!