The Fall 2017 Anime Preview Guide Yuki Yuna is A Hero season 2
How would you rate episode 1 of
Yūki Yūna wa Yūsha de Aru: Washio Sumi no Shō ?
What is this?
How was the first episode?
Though this series is listed as season two of 2015's Yuki Yuna Is a Hero, it's actually a very unusual case, as its first six episodes are a prequel to the original series whereas the last six episodes will be a sequel. The prequel part, which begins with this episode, looks to have a relationship to the original series similar to Fate/Zero's relationship to Fate/stay night; you can follow it just fine without having seen the original series, and anyone familiar with magical girl series will quickly settle into what's going on. At the same time, watching it first will incur massive spoilers for the original series, starting from the very first scene. So I would recommend watching the original series first, but there's technically no need to do so if the spoiler issue doesn't bother you.
For any newcomers, the scenario and execution seems to be very standard. Sure, there's a more religious overtone to the premise, but the business about being transported to an alternate space, fighting strange creatures, and undergoing elaborate transformation sequences is all par for the course. (If this series follows the pattern of the original, these introductory transformations will be less elaborate and time-consuming as the series progresses.) What makes this series stand out is the incredible art design of the border world and the intensity of the action scenes. This series decidedly falls on the action side of the genre, and it already shows signs of being among the best in magical girl action, like its predecessor. Even if the trio of girls don't have the most novel personalities, they're nonetheless clearly defined and eminently likable by the end of the episode, with a good rapport already developing between them. There is a slightly goofy aspect afoot here, but the final scene of the episode also carries a more ominous undertone. Combine that with good technical merits and a strong musical score and you have the makings of a promising series. The one significant concern is that the transformation scenes are more racy than they need to be.
First series spoilers follow...
The most pleasing aspect of this opening episode is its indications that pretty much everything that made the original series great—the action scenes, the natural character interactions, the soundtrack, and the visuals—have returned. Seeing the two carry-overs from the original series in their younger and more innocent forms takes a bit of an adjustment, especially in the case of Sonoko, and seeing the trio member who never appeared in the original series is a treat. It definitely makes you wonder what happened to Gin, though we won't have to wait more than five episodes to find out. Seeing the bridge intact instead of in its later ruined form is also interesting, as is the classmate of the heroes knowing about their role, which either wasn't the case in the original series or wasn't shown. The principal production staff looks to be the same (although Seiji Kishi is now the Chief Director instead of just Director), so I'm expecting good things out of the prequel.
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