July 6th, 2015.
Ushio’s nose is really bugging me. It’s really bugging me. The lines are quite rough, in an older manga style, a tad reminiscent of Ranma 1/2, or again, Hunter x Hunter. There’s not that much animation, mostly relying on stills, semi-deformed comedic shots, or on stark lighting. It’s not necessarily impressive from a technical standpoint, but it’s still striking. The almost-CG sections, such as the floaty demons are the weakest part. The dark shadows when Ushio dropped down, or after releasing Tora? Very striking.
The art-style, the callback to early 90s shounen is unmistakable, there were quite a few things that made me think of Hunter x Hunter, from the art-style and Ushio’s character, his smile as he played soccer, the elasticity of his interactions with Nakamura, Ushio’s hair, and of course, his father being voiced by Leoric’s voice actor.
The music when the episode ended, that small tune? I liked it. It was neat.
OP – It’s definitely trying, and has energies, but it leaves me cold. Eh.
ED – Good vibe, but the electronic beat doesn’t really mesh well with the rest of it, I think. Boring visuals.
Story / Theme:
I liked the humor. Yes, it was silly, but they actually sold the serious mood quite well, and it didn’t feel contrasted, conflicted, or complemented by all the silliness, but both felt distinct and worked well on their own. It was enjoyable and I could see seeing more of it.
Seems we’ll have a theme dealing with the nature of self-sacrifice, what it means to be human, and the distance between monster and a monster hunter, who might have to become a monster to slay them. Tora spoke of how the samurai who hunted Tora had to give his soul, but to me it seems as if it might be the hunter himself who becomes the next demon? Hmm.
Overall, an enjoyable first episode that went by very quickly, and which was sometimes silly in a very manga-sense, and already managing quite well the darker and more serious atmosphere at other points.