(Impressions based upon the first 3 episodes)
I stumbled by chance into this new anime, and i feel it was meant to be, given my love for Romance Of The Three Kingdoms i’m not gonna skim over a new anime with good ol’ Zhuge Liang (AKA Kongming) as the protagonist, especially since it’s not a historical tale, but a sort of isekai-ish story where, after his death by illness in the Wuzhang Plains, sees him reincarnated as his young self in modern Shibuya during Halloween.
He gets drunk as a skunk and enjoys the party life that night, then the next day he’s helped by a young girl, an aspiring singer called Eiko, realizes what actually happened to him, and decides to help her back by serving as her “career strategist”, but first he needs a job to secure some “war funds”.
Luckily Eiko works and sings at a club run by a huge ROTTK nerd, so “ya boy” Kongming is hired as a barman.
It’s a typical “fish out of water” set up applied to a peculiar choice in character and setting that’s bound to turn some heads, and honestly it’s pretty fun.
The first episode makes a very good impression, with Kongming getting the privilege to see how the Three Kingdoms events were passed down in future generations, how Shu fell, getting surprised by modern common appliances, and even almost getting scammed into blockchain shit. XD
The comedy continues to be on point, with Kongming overzealous old-fashioned “tactical approach” to everything, but it also uses that to quickly tackle tackles how the music/club biz can be cut-throath, rife of fierce conflict and enemies, so a cunning mind and a clever strategy still are useful tools, regardless of the battlefield.
But also, on the other hand, it handles the complexities of the business, as in, not every already established talent in the field it’s necessarily a ruthless villain, so even backhanded formalities might just be a way to scout and assess the situation for themselves and guard their own interest in a legitimate way, without antagonizing others in the fields for the sake of cheap narrative conflict.
I honestly think it could serve as a decent waypoint if you ever had any vague interest in Three Kingdoms stuff, but didn’t wanna jump into the – admittely – very long book itself, Kongming it’s exactly the enigmatic and wise beyond belief strategist he’s commonly portrayed as, and the juxtaposition of the Three Kingdom references with the night living party crowd helps it stand out a lot.
Also, they don’t set up a random romance between Eiko and Kongming, at least they don’t in the first 3 episodes (upon which these first impressions are written), and there’s a good balance between some of Kongming’s emotional baggage from his previous “canon” life and silliness like seeing him in full historical robe but also with “star glasses” boozing up people with shots he himself prepared.
The characters are quite likeable too (especially the owner of the club), my only big complain i can level so far is that the episodes might end up pretty formulaic (Eiko has a gig, Kongming devises a superb strategy often inspired by the many stratategems he devised to ensure her success in spite of the gig being very unfavorable to newcomers, etc) and thus eroding the novelty factor of the premise, but the opening hints at some “antagonist singer group” ya boy will have to face, and regardless, we’ll just have to see as the series proceeds to properly assess that.
Animation by P.A. Works it’s quite fine so far, nothing incredible but definitely also nothing outright mediocre or bad, at all. I’ll examine it in case of a full lenght review of the series, i can say it’s definitely more than serviceable, at the very least.
The opening it’s a banger, being very “90s dance music” and the opening song being an eurobeat japanese remix of bulgarian song “Bulikiraly” by Jolly makes total sense, it’s a throwback to that style of early 2000s european disco, it’s a nice change of pace and it totally fits the series itself.
And having the characters do a dorky-ish dance it’s just a fun thing that never gets old, so i would be quite surprised if at least the opening doesn’t end in many 2022’s anime top 10 opening lists.
Either way, i’m gonna follow this one proper, might even do a full lenght review of it when it ends, regardless i’m liking it a lot so far and i’d recommend giving it a try.