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The last round of Crunchyroll premieres featured A Sign of Affection, The Unwanted Undead Adventurer, and Classroom of the Elite season 3. There were no transitions between any of these premieres, which felt incredibly awkward shifting from a sweet romance series like A Sign of Affection to suddenly getting a promotional video from Ryōta Suzuki talking about his work as the lead character Rentt Faina in The Unwanted Undead Adventurer. It made for a pretty big case of tonal whiplash.
A Sign of Affection
I’ve seen a lot of excitement behind this series from some of the shojo fans I follow, and it’s not too hard to see why. This series follows a deaf college student named Yuki who has her first experience with a crush when she is saved from dealing with a stranger by another student from her college named Itsuomi. Much of the premiere involves Yuki attempting to get closer to Itsuomi, who not only works as a bartender but has studied several languages and has a much easier time talking to people than she does. That gap in life experience serves as a source of anxiety for Yuki. Still, despite their differences, Itsuomi starts to find himself interested in her, and the episode ends with him asking if the two of them can get closer.
What stood out to me the most with this premiere was how gorgeous it looked. Everything from some of the subtle character animation to the color palette gave this show a strong sense of atmosphere and made it almost impossible not to be charmed by it. I also liked that while communication was a pretty strong theme during the premiere, it never drew any more attention to Yuki’s disability than it needed to, with the most being using a lot of muted sound in its opening scene to help show the world from her perspective. Instead, it focuses more on her getting swept up in the feeling of first love and all the excitement and awkwardness that comes with it, which makes for a pretty delightful time. While this show was on my radar before, I walked away even more impressed than I was expecting, and it’s now one of the shows I’m looking forward to the most in January.
The Unwanted Undead Adventurer
Even putting aside the whiplash of getting swept up in how charming A Sign of Affection was, only for the screening to abruptly switch to a PR video for this was a pretty big step down in enjoyment. This series follows a washed-out adventurer named Rentt who’s been doing his best to scrape by on a mediocre existence until he takes one wrong turn down a secret passageway in a dungeon and gets eaten by a dragon for his troubles. This ends up turning him into a member of the undead as a skeleton, and much of this premiere is him coming to terms with his new existence and how to make the most of his new body.
And when I say “come to terms,” I really just mean spending the entire episode narrating about all the new ways he has to fight and providing buckets of info-dumping. It’s pretty dull, and Rentt gives so much unneeded commentary on every little thing that even a scene featuring him awkwardly duking it out with another skeleton while they barely manage to hold their bodies together comes off as incredibly boring, and that feels like it should be illegal. Even the angle about Rentt being jaded about the adventuring life doesn’t make the show interesting, as any sense of relatability that might provide is drowned out by the fact that he never stops talking. The only exciting thing is that Rentt eventually gets into enough battles for his body to evolve into a ghoul, meaning that while he might have flesh now, he can’t talk beyond barely coherent sentences and zombie noises.
If he were to be left in this state for the remainder of the show, I could see that potentially being pretty funny, but the rest was so bland that I’m not too optimistic. It also doesn’t help that while the human character designs for the show look pretty decent, the 3DCG skeleton model used for Rentt over most of the episode looks pretty clunky and just ended up further draining up the experience. The nicest thing I can say here is that this show seems perfectly inoffensive, and nothing here was outright bad, but the only thing worse than being bad is being boring, and there was nothing here that gave any desire to watch more.
The Classroom of the Elite Season 3
Having finished season two very recently, I was pretty confused with how this kicked off as it ignored season 2’s cliffhanger to abruptly move to Class D going on a school field trip as part of another test. Actually, I guess I should be calling them Class C because, apparently, they got bumped very recently. While it is eventually explained later in the episode as the result of Class C’s antics last season, it feels jarring, considering that the incident had been mostly covered up. Ayanokoji had stated that he planned to move his class up a rank for one of his schemes, as though it was something he was actively planning rather than something that happened to fall into place. The big cliffhanger from season 2 also takes a while to get brought back up. While Sakayanagi is clearly aware of Ayanokoji’s real identity, she has decided to ignore him to focus on destroying Class B instead. Between that and Horitaka’s brother deciding to call in a favor and request that Ayanokoji continue to aid Horikita behind the shadows, it seems like the story has more or less returned to the status quo for now.
Aside from that, this opener seems to be set up for future events. Horikita attempts to win Kushida over to her side, even though she still clearly despises her as much as ever. At the same time, Horikita’s brother also tasks Ayanokoji with dealing with the new student council president, Nagumo, who he fears might abuse his power to get students expelled at an even greater rate than before. Of course, for all the back-and-forth maneuvering between these characters, anyone who’s stuck around with the show this long is probably just here to see what kind of 4D chess Ayanokoji pulls to stay ahead of everyone else, and it seems like it’ll probably be another episode or two before we see the payoff of his newest plan. Having recently sat through the entire season-long arc of him emotionally manipulating Karuizawa to mold her into his tool, I’m rooting against him now. I am personally for him to eventually get knocked down a few pegs or preferably a flight of stairs. For anyone who’s not me, though, if you’ve enjoyed Classroom of the Elite up to this point, this is more Classroom of the Elite, and there’s plenty here that seems like it’ll set the stage for what’s to come.
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