First impressions: Hi! School: Love On, Sailor Moon Crystal, & Worldshaker

hsloHi! School: Love On (Episodes 1 – 2)

Synopsis: After saving high school student Shin Woo-Hyun from a pre-mature death, guardian angel Lee Seul-Bi unexpectedly becomes human. Posing as a student, how will Seul-Bi survive the torments of high school youth and first love? Will she find her way back to angelhood? (Will she want to?)

Thoughts: What a cute little quirky drama! And the summary, while brief but accurate, doesn’t do the show justice. There’s no way it can account for atmosphere, but I feel that the angel-turned-human stranded in high school with a budding love triangle makes it a little too easy to dismiss as second-rate. I walked in not knowing what to expect and left very pleasantly surprised. Kim Sae-Ron’s portrayal of Lee Seul-Bi is positively adorable, and the acting works well with the direction to depict Seul-Bi’s wonderment of her first human experiences. However: considering that episodes one and two end in similar cliffhangers, I do hope this doesn’t turn into a regular ending theme. Even so, it’s a drama that lingers well after an episode finishes and leaves me wanting more.

>> Watch: DramaFever, Viki


Sailor Moon Crystal (Episodes 1 – 2)

Synopsis: Sailor Moon Crystal is a reboot of the original 1992 anime adaption based on Naoko Takeuchi’s manga series, Pretty Soldier Sailor Moon. It centers on fourteen year old Usagi Tsukino as she and her talking cat, Luna, search for her Sailor Soldier comrades and the Legendary Silver Crystal to combat the evil Queen Beryl.

Thoughts: As a ’90s child, I grew up on Sailor Moon, so needless to say that the franchise in general is very important to me. It was a special time in my childhood full of Girl Power where we could eat all we wanted, where we could cry and be clumsy and fail, but still kick butt and look fabulous doing it. Sailor Moon is iconic, and my eight year old self wanted to be her. (Okay, I was more of a Sailor V fan, but you get the idea.) When I got word that a reboot was soon approaching, I felt overwhelming zeal but not without high, high hopes.

While the first adaption strays from its manga roots (and was marred by the North American English dub), SMC has proven itself faithful thus far — which, honestly, makes me like it even more. That’s not to say I look forward to Chibi Usa’s Dark Lady switch and subsequent attempt to romance her father (because, honestly, that always irked me), but we will see a trustworthy adaption *gorgeously animated. Who has never wanted to see an aesthetically appealing adaption that follows almost page-by-page? No one. I am, however, disappointed by CGI-heavy Sailor Scout transformation scenes that make me desperately nostalgic for the original. (And I am still not done grumbling over the show’s bi-weekly schedule, but what’s a fan to do? Cry a lot, basically.)

(*I take that back, completely.)

>> Watch: Crunchyroll, Hulu


Richard Harland’s “Worldshaker”

Worldshaker (Worldshaker #1) (Chapters 1 – 8)

Synopsis: Sixteen year old Col Porpentine lives in a world of assured privilege. When his grandfather names him successor to the juggernaut Worldshaker, his bright future brims with great prospects and ambition — until a Filthy seeks refuge in his cabin, and the acquaintanceship makes Col question everything. Filthies are doltish creatures unfitting to be called human who live below deck, so then why doesn’t this Filthy — an intelligible quick girl named Riff — fit the image? Hmm…

Thoughts: Hit with a bad dose of Reader’s Block, I like that Worldshaker is easy to jump into and engage… but with its way overdone premise, I’m already willing to abandon ship. I’m a sucker for steampunk, but good steampunk, and good steampunk should entail traits that make any story good. Where Worldshaker is concerned, the story feels forcefully directed and without novelty. I also can’t buy the set up because I’m unwilling to let facts slide. I mean: we’re supposed to believe that Filthies — trapped in the deep, dark bottom deck — survive, grow, and reproduce without (I’m assuming) sunlight?! How do they manage? I haven’t allowed Harland to explain this one yet, but I’m not expecting him to provide logic either. For me, this is mostly a matter of flat storytelling that can’t hook my interest. Either I carry on or go for a new pick, and I think we all know which option I lean toward.


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