GoHands’ Momentary Lily Is What We Expect from the Studio, For Better or Worse

GoHands’ Momentary Lily Is What We Expect from the Studio, For Better or Worse
Image via Momentary Lily anime’s X/Twitter account

© GoHands/松竹・もめんたりー製作委員会

This might be one of the worst anime premieres I’ve ever seen. GoHands productions need to be studied to some extent. They can look very technically impressive with many experimental animation techniques, unique lighting, and ambitious use of camera movements. However, their shows are also a perfect example of what happens when you inject a project with loads of style and ideas with minimal direction. Every time a new project from GoHands is announced, I hope it will be the one where they finally put all of their resources to proper use. Unfortunately, based on Momentary Lily‘s first episode, I’m not holding my breath.

This was an assault on the senses. As early as the first 10 seconds, I wasn’t sure what I was looking at. It seemed like we were dropped in the middle of an action set piece; the editing and scene transitions were styled like the show’s promo video, only to continue into the actual episode. There is not a single moment of silence in the entire twenty-two minutes. When things are not exploding, the characters talk incessantly. There were dozens of times when the characters would talk over each other or say random things as if everyone was in the middle of a separate conversation. I felt like I was having keys dangled in my face while multicolored bleach was poured into my eyes.

Producer Toshio Iizuka and director Katsumasa Yokomine discussed after the premiere that the show was originally conceived because the head director had a fun idea, and they wanted to do everything in their power to bring that idea to life. They never really specified what that overall idea was. The action is undoubtedly ambitious, but everything moves around so quickly, and the camera angle shifts every three seconds to the point where I genuinely don’t know what is happening or where the characters exist in space.

The series takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where humanity seemingly just disappeared one day due to the appearance of giant alien creatures. The only survivors are six girls. I will hand it to the staff that all of the characters are distinct from each other. Still, that’s only because they all embody one prevalent character trait. One is the gyaru, one is the gamer, one is the stoic samurai, one’s the leader who always deals the finishing blow, and one is the big sister who will constantly remind the audience that she is the big sister in the group and our final member is this young girl with amnesia.

Another aspect that the staff wanted the show to focus on was…cooking. Halfway through the episode, there is a seemingly random focus on the girls preparing a nice meal for each other using the scarce materials left from humanity suddenly disappearing. Remember those Dr. Stone science segments from the anime? Make those segments about cooking, and multiply the speed by ten. That is what these cooking segments felt like. It was certainly a unique idea to try balancing the over-the-top action and girls being cute with cooking. Not only did those two things not mesh well together, but the whole show is plagued with this sense of never slowing down so that we can appreciate any of it. This was my last event of the day, and I was dead exhausted, so I could’ve used an adrenaline-filled rush. Instead, all I got was a lot of frustration and head-banging.

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