Two quick reviews, because those 3/4-minute shorts don’t warrant a full writeup :
Morita-san wa Mukuchi (“Morita is taciturn”)
This revolves around Morita, a high school girl who barely ever talks (although she’s got some interior monologue, which kills the effect a bit). And that’s it, that’s the entire joke. It was already outstaying its welcome at 3 minutes long, I can’t imagine watching anymore of this.
Speaking of one-shot jokes that can’t be sustainable, even in 4-minute shorts : this stars a cat that’s been bitten by a vampire (as a way to save its life). This is even less entertaining than the previous series : it tries way too hard to hit the “cute cat doing cute things cutely” button, and fails spectacularly at being even a single bit endearing. It’s way too artificial to work, and the high concept wasn’t even promising to begin with.
I usually don’t say much about OVA or sequels, but I figured I’d say a few words about Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kira, the first episode of which was recently released.
Now, the thing with Higurashi is that, while it’s a very good story, the plot got conclusively resolved at the end of the second season, in a way that leaves no room whatsoever for straight sequels. The first OVA series, Rei, got around it by featuring an interesting story hook that brings a new light over the wider picture, trying to tie it a bit more to the overall When they Cry franchise (probably as an tie-in to the then-debuting Umineko anime)… but in a way that’s self-canceling, and again leaves no room for further elaboration. Also, Rei was padded up with a couple of random comedy episodes that were kinda cute but didn’t bring anything new to table.
Well, the first episode of Kira makes it look like it’s going for the “random comedy” episodes route, except with even more fanservice. The first half of the episode is literally the male cast (Keiichi, Ooishi, Tomitake & Irie) fantasizing about “punishments” they could inflict to the whole female cast as part of the “penalty games”. Not only doesn’t it do much for me, but it gets quite uncomfortable when it reaches the younger members of the cast (Rika rubbing the windows with her ass ? Really ?). The second half is slightly more fun, not really because the female cast gets to retaliate (that’s nearly as tedious as the opposite), but because it actually makes an effort to tie the whole thing into the wider plot (however ridiculous that may sound). It doesn’t quite succeed in canceling out the bad taste left by the first half, but at least I don’t feel like I completely wasted my time.
Is this worth watching ? Well, no. It doesn’t look like Kira is going to add anything to the plot ; it feels like a cash-grab exercise, or at best an opportunity for the creators to have fun with the most lighthearted aspects of the premise. (The preview for the second episode certainly looks like it’s going to be entertainingly bonkers.) You can’t really put a clearer sign for “out-of-continuity zaniness” than featuring the Soul Brothers in a major role. I’m a die-hard fanatic of the franchise, so I’ll probably keep watching this, however pointless it is, just out of affection for the characters ; but you probably shouldn’t bother.