Kemono Friends 2 episode 1 -- That was pretty good. Unfortunately, at least for now, it's absolutely impossible for this sequel to escape comparisons with the original, which is where "pretty good" doesn't feel like enough.
The core of the problem is that this came across as a standard anime production. On its own, that's fine--99% of anime falls into that mold. The original Kemono Friends wasn't standard anime, however. It was felt different and special. Kemono Friends 2 might be good but that first episode never felt different or special.
For one, the characters in the original were constantly in motion with very pronounced body movements that gave them a lot of personality. It was a unique animation style, I understand that, but it worked perfectly. More importantly, the dialogue in the sequel just screams "standard anime" dialogue. The way the characters in the original spoke naturally was very quirky and extremely charming. It made you like them and it let the voice actresses really interject a ton of personality into the parts they were playing. I can't believe the executives behind this don't understand that.
However, the charm of the different character types is still there. I loved Duck and Pangolin. That's enough for me to keep watching, and I hope I stop thinking about the original every episode, but I can't help but miss that lost magic.
Was curious why Shield Hero generated controversy already, since it started off like Isekai #XXXX. I got it after that twist in the second half though...I can see why Western sites that buy into the "Believe all women" thing would take issue with this episode. Seems stupid to me but whatever. Personally I thought the messed up situation was a good backdrop for the MC and made him that much more relatable. I'm looking forward to that eventual grudge match...hopefully it stays interesting!
With that, I'm at 12 shows this season, including my four carry-overs from 2018, and only one potential drop right now. Pretty stacked compared to usual.
I didn't know it was controversial until I read a couple of "OMG MISOGYNY!!" reviews and "IT TRIVIALIZES SEXAUL ASSAULT" comments. Holy freaking cats, people can be so idiotic. Murder and evil can be all over the place, but having a female character lie about sexual assault seems to be infinitely worse. And, somehow, they hated the main character for what happened? Talk about an agenda.