One more new show, then a couple ep2-3s

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Nice blue sky to begin Merc Storia, though I don’t really know why someone’s saying that. The show just started.

Merc Storia: Mukiryoku Shounen to Bin no Naka no Shoujo stars Yuu, the son of a man who heals monsters (makes them less nasty) and is gone most of the time. One time when he returns he brings Yuu a jar of liquid, and one day a cute little fairy thing called Merc pops out of it. The rest is fairly straightforward–Yuu has to use his healing powers for the first time to protect a monster from attacking the village. And he and Merc set out on a journey, though for what reason I forget, accompanied by a fluffy friendly little monster thing that’s very fond of Yuu, though Yuu actually has a fear of monsters.

mercstoria1-1Another voyage of discovery for a young hero tale, maybe cuter than most. Not great, not bad. Yuu is an inoffensive lad who seems to take his healing powers seriously and doesn’t brag about it, like some young heroes. The animation is adequate, some nice light shows. Argh, I have nothing more to say about it. Sorry.

akanesasu2-1So I’ll move on and see how the episode two shows I want to watch are faring. For Akanesasu Shoujo, I was worried that the show was going to be all about Asuka and the other Asuka, stuck in our world, manage to hide the latter, bond, and make for a boring series. I was wrong. This time around, after a misleading opening bit with some other girls, Nana gets a new frequency number from a “fortune teller” (actually that possibly evil girl from last episode), the get whisked off to 696.9, which turns out to be one where all girls have to get married when they’re 17. Nana finds herself stuck with this world’s set of girls, freaks out, etc, while our set of girls learn what’s going on from the other Asuka, who just happens to be there. It also allows Nana to blow up in front of her otherworld parents about her second father, something she’d like to do in her own world.

akanesasu2-2But just to make the episode fun, Nana is to be married to a handsome celebrity heartthrob who actually seems to like her … maybe this world isn’t so bad after all! … So it looks like every girl in the batch is going to get a world to get confused by, and while I’m relieved that it won’t simply be Asuka/Seriouska’s story, I’m worried that the show will get too insipid with its now-obvious “reveal each girl’s problems and sort of fix them” structure. But the surprise later on leaves me optimistic.

akanesasu3-1I’m even more optimistic after episode 3, a great load of nutty fun. While the girls figure out what to do, Nana decides she doesn’t want to get married because her name will sound like “Choco-banana.” But the marriage enforcement department comes in, looking like special forces, and drag her off. There’s a nice scene between her and her second father, who tries to make amends by returning something she threw away, which leads to memories of her original father, and the concept of crystals separating darkness from brightness, or something, it’s ridiculous. So Nana’s head’s on straight. Meanwhile the other girls get another Asuseriouska infodump about bunnies (bad), clutters (worse), and “King of Twilight” (world-destroying bad), we learn that the wedding’s been pushed up, and Asuka meets another herself, who is shocked in an Asuka way.

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The blushing bride.

Which leads us to a classic story bit, the rush to break up a wedding. It starts in the usual way, switching from the vows to the pandemonium outside, back and forth. Nana does the right thing, “I refuse to get married!” and all hell breaks loose. Aseriouska breaks in, and we discover an interesting fact about the groom. Now we got a superpower-battle in that yellow universe, and just when it looks like it can’t get any weirder, Nana finds the power to transform, more lightshows (the day-by-day events animation isn’t very good, but the battles are excellent), etc. What makes me so happy about this episode is that they dealt with the personal issues Nana’s experiencing, as expected, but the story went insane doing it. I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch this series, but if they keep up this balance then I’m on board.

slime2-1Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken 2 is more development. He swaps names with Veldora and becomes Rimuru, he “eats” Veldora and wanders around the cave for way too long a time acquiring more powers until he finds a door, which conveniently opens when some adventurers we’ll probably get to know later come in. After s switch to some humans talking politics we switch back and Rimuru encounters a bunch of terrified goblins and finds himself helping them out against a pack of direwolves. Really, this all took way too long–we didn’t even get to the battle. Maybe next episode things will pick up.

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At least he’s out of the cave and the goblin village.

Things pick up in episode 3, though it still dallies a bit, like in the name-giving section. And I’m getting an idea that this is going to be a long series.Rimuru hangs out with the goblins, defeats and makes peace with the wolves, and sets out to find the dwarves, which sounds like a busy episode but completely left out of this episode were the political angles they teased us with last time, and the adventurers. Mostly it’s because the show, while generous with the infodumps, still has Rimuru learn everything through experience, such as the business with running low on magicules. And then he has to respond and experiment with every new thing. While it’s kind of fun to see him gain all these new powers, I’d like to move forward with the plot a little more. Is he going to hang out with the goblins and wolves the whole time?

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Fall 2018 4

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Um, that’s a night sky, I think.

Release the Spyce starts with a bunch of cute girls leaping about and making a raid on a factory, and we’re introduced to them too fast. Meanwhile another girl, our hero Momo, spots them escaping from a great distance. She’s spotted back. Jump to next day at school where Momo, trying to make friends, is befriended by two of the raider girls, though she doesn’t know it yet. We learn that Momo has an unnatural talent of sense. She can taste physical and emotional states and, and can smell the spices in the curry, though that’s not all that strange when you think about it. Anyway, her dad was a cop, killed in the line of duty, and now she sees another cop about to be killed by more bad guys. She overcomes her fear, is about to be killed, but the Tsukikage (the, er, Spyce Girls) show up, big chase scene, and she winds up joining them.

spyce1-1I want to like this show, but I was a little underwhelmed by the first episode. I don’t mind the opening-episode clumsiness where they have to set things up, introduce characters, and no story arc is visible yet, but I thought the action was going to be a bit wilder and more stylish. This episode, while certainly not bad, was mundane. Just an action-adventure series involving cute girls doing SF-ninja type things. The characters seem all right, mostly recognizable types–the quiet girl, the jealous girl, etc. I like how they all befriend Momo from the start–sure, they’re recruiting her, but you get the idea that they like her anyway. I’m also curious as to how they’re going to fit Momo’s abilities in with the rest, since they mostly do combat. Well, in spite of my mild disappointment this is good enough for me to watch episode two.

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Anima Yell! opens with a nice springtime sky.

Next it’s Anima Yell!, where an overly genki and helpful girl named Kohase is entranced by a bunch of cheerleaders practicing by the river and decides to join the cheer club at her high school when she enters, only to find there isn’t one. Yes! She will make one of her own. Coincidentally, one of the cheerleaders is the new class rep, Hizume, but she’s one of those “talented at something but won’t do it for some dark reason” characters, mainly, she was forced out of her middle school squad for being too good. Most of the episode is Kohase pestering Hizume and conquering her own fear of heights to show how serious she is, and finally Hizume is overcome. Now they only need three more members!

animayell1-1Yeah, a pretty basic setup, which is to be expected, so the question here is execution: how well did they do the expected stuff? It’s a mixed bag. Kosase is TOO genki for my tastes, and I can’t blame Hizume for lashing out at her, even without her dark past. However, I did like the main thrust of the episode, that while Hizume was forced out of a club for being too good, that’s the very reason why Kohase wants to be with her. I thought Kohase’s helpful side was used well, and the running gag of mispronouncing “cheer” as “chair” was a good gag, because it was fun to see the type of chair each character imagined–it gave us a quick clue of the character’s nature. It’s all cute and harmless, so I might keep it on my list.

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This first shot ought to tell you what Conception is about.

Next we got something called Conception, where Itsuki meets his best friend Mahiru on the school roof and learns that she’s pregnant. Than a weird light appears and sucks them both up and to to a wonderful magical land called Granvania, where Itsuki has to fight a demon that comes out of Mahiru (she’s expelling an impurity, you see) with a sword that magically appears in his hand. Then we got a floating raccoon lech who introduces them to the kindom’s something-or-other and they go to meet the king, who tells them they’re both here to save the world. Itsuki finds himself tied down and a sexy nurse named Reone tells him the whole story. There are twelve girls representing constellations, and he has to have sex with each one of them in order to drive away the impurities that threaten the land. Guess what? Mahiru’s one of the twelve (Virgo, of course), so the episode ends with them having sex. Eleven to go.

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This normally doesn’t happen when you tell someone you’re pregnant.

Yes, it’s terrible, everything about it, the script, the art, the animation. The camera angles are set to display as little movement as possible. When the king moved his mouth to speak I was surprised. Itsuki and Mahiru seems hardly surprised at all by any of this, the magical land or what they have to do to get back. The show’s setup is so weird that the raccoon urges the viewer to visit the website for more information. There’s no reason for you to watch it, but I might keep doing so, because I haven’t watched a really awful show in a while, and FOR NO OTHER REASON.

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Actually, I don’t know what the significance of this is …

Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto Dakedo Imouto ja Nai is the story of Nagami, average high school boy who wants to write light novels but can’t make the shortlist in competitions. He has a little sister, Suzuka, who is absolutely perfect and a tad bossy about it. Turns out that the latest competition that he failed at, Suzuka won, with a one-off novel about a girl who loves her old brother. But she’d get in trouble with her school and her dad if they found out, so Nagami reluctantly acts as her stand-in. He goes to the award ceremony and meets his/her editor and illustrator, both of whom force him to fondle them. Oh, and there’s his ecchi coworker at the bookstore, who’s my favorite character so far.

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Nagami lets this all sink in.

Another predictable story that will live or die by execution. It’s done pretty well. Nagami is a decent fellow, an unashamed nerd who is still quite normal. I can’t believe he took the news that his kid sister won a competition that he couldn’t without a trace of jealousy or self-loathing, but otherwise he’s okay. Suzuka crosses nicely from perfect and disapproving to “onii-chan wo daisuki!” And, as I said, the coworker is a lot of fun. I hope we see more of her. And the mentioned but not developed side characters look interesting too. I’ll probably keep my eye on this one.

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We open with Beelzebub’s adorable feet.

Beelzebub-jou no Oki ni Mesu Mama is the story(?) of Mullin, at his new job in Pandemonium, there the fallen angels hang out. He’s eager to be the assistant for the legendary Beelzebub, but turns out she’s an extreme fluffy-fluffy thing and not fearsome at all. The episode consists of Beelzebub going around being distracted by cuteness and occasionally going about naked while Mullin plays the sensible assistant and occasional tsundere and closes his eyes in embarrassment a lot. I should point out that Beelzebub is good at her job, sort of the interim head while Satan is away (where?), even if she is constantly distracted by cute things. Hell itself looks like a nice Tokyo suburb, full of friendly townspeople, well, except for the hostess club district. And there’s a hint of romance between Beelz and Mullin …

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Pat pat pat …

I didn’t expect a show taking place in Hell to be this light and fluffy, but never mind. This being a first episode of a comedy where not much is going to happen, probably, it’s hard to tell if it will be any good. It is extremely cute, and in fact that tends to slow situations down a little as we have to watch Beelz pat or stroke every cute thing she sees. That could be a problem with her in that she’s one-track. Mullin has more depth, as he deals with her proclivities while trying to do his job efficiently and fight off whatever urges he might get watching her. We don’t see much of any regular side characters this episode, maybe those other two attendants, and those girls that Beelz has a slumber party with during the ED. Don’t know about this one, yet.

Fall 2018 3

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Yagate Kimi ni naru starts with some credits.

To start part three we have Yagate Kimi ni Naru, which starts out with solo piano, so we already know it’s a love story. It stars Yuu, first year girl, who dreams about the heart-skipping, tingly feelings of love but hasn’t encountere it yet and wonders if there’s something wrong with her (to which I shout “NO!”). She encounters a girl named Namami being confessed to and politely turning the poor lad down. Apparently it’s the 10th time, not the same guy though. Nanami is a popular senpai and in the student council, so Yuu joins, maybe because she thinks Nanami is cool. Imagine Yuu’s surprise when Nanami confesses to HER! Ah, so it’s THAT kind of love story! Meanwhile, the solo piano has been joined by small ensemble. However, Yuu still isn’t feeling the heartbeat or tingles …

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Nanami throws Yuu a meaningful side glance.

I haven’t watched a lot of Yuri, but this looks like a standard-issue one. It kept me watching. The characters all have a stock anime-girl appearance but there will be quick closeups of eyes narrowing, or odd angles showing a face full of shock or tension that set me back. Yuu is stuck with reacting to people most of the time, except when she has to make a decision about a boy who confessed to her a while back. But relationships, especially yuri ones, are new to her, so I can cut her some slack. While it’s told through Yuu’s POV, we can see things she perhaps can’t, that maybe Nanami’s pulling back after her confession was that she’s just as confused and embarrassed as Yuu is, but part of Yuu’s goal right now is trying to figure out this alluring senpai and what she’s thinking, so I think together they’ll figure things out. Will I want to watch as they do? It was a good first episode, so I’ll probably watch a second. Besides, I want to see what makes Nanami tick, too.

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Academy City, at night!

I did not expect another season of To Aru Majutsu no Index, but I am delighted! Now, if I can only remember all the characters and relationships … As I expected, episode 1 starts silly, re-introducing various characters (Hi Uiharu! Look, it’s Maika the rotating maid!), showing Touma’s misfortune in various ways, Mikoto’s tsundere routine, etc, while a little story begins to bubble up. It seems there are tensions betwen Academy City and the Roman Catholic Church (when is there not?), and later a nice old lady who buys Index a crepe takes Touma away at gunpoint and says Academy City is behind it, and only he can stop it. She is then shot by Tsuchimikado, and Touma is whisked away–to Paris, jumping out of a jet, in order to steal the Document of Constantine. One episode in and the story is already ridiculous. Yep! It’s Index all right.

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Touma again runs into trouble from you-know-who.

I’ve said that this franchise has everything good and bad to be found in Anime. Bizarre plots, too much talk, panty shots (except Mikoto and her sensible shorts, of course), but fun, odd characters, great action and thumping music to go with it. I don’t mind any of it because that’s Raildex’s style. By now you’re on board with it or you’re not. I certainly am. The show looks the same, maybe a little crisper than before. All the characters are in fine form. I’m already scratching my head at the story. Nothing much has changed. But please tell me that they didn’t just leave that old lady there to die. She’s Oyafune-sensei’s grandma! I hadn’t seen a series this season that I felt I have to watch, but this one I do.

I skiped a few, then I TRIED watching Uchi no Maid ga Uzasugiru!, but the first ten minutes got on my nerves so much that I stopped. I’m not sure why–it’s no different from a lot of other shows. Maybe that’s the reason.

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You can pretty much figure out the situation from Kishuku Gakkou no Juliet’s first shot.

So we move on to Kishuku Gakkou no Juliet, where we are immediately brought to a fight between rival clans at a posh high school, the White Cats, led by Juliet, and the Black Dogs, led, I think, by Romio. From the fighting and the names you can already tell where this is going. We follow Romio around for awhile as he laments that he loves Juliet though she’s an enemy. Juliet, on the other hand, does not want to be thought as weak. She’s a noble but won’t get any power because she’s a girl, unless she can change the world. She’s abducted by DOgs, gets rescued by Romio, and later in the cutest duel I’ve seen in a while, gets over his fear and confesses. And so a beautiful but secret romance is born! Yay.

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This is a confession scene.

An odd show, because the animosity is real and you get the idea that someone could really get hurt, but at the same time it’s built around rom-com slapstick. Two of the abductors are too stupid to put eyeholes in their masks, but a third one has pepper spray and a box cutter … Well, even so, maybe no one is really going to get hurt here. It feels too much like a romcom, with some fighting added. I didn’t enjoy the violent parts too much, apart from the duel at the end, and that was because it was actually a confession scene. The romcom bits worked well, maybe because of the contrast, but also because the timing and also the voice actors are very good. This is another “wait and see” show.

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Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara starts with fireworks reflected in the water.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara has a girl named Hitomi living in Hiroshima, in a world where magic is commonplace and can be purchased at little new-agey shops. Hitomi’s depressed because she apparently can’t see colors, so her nice grandmother sends her 80 years into the past, to our time, to try to get it back. There’s some difficulty because she materialized in a boy’s room and is spotted sneaking out, but the observers are nice enough only to giggle for the boy. Meanwhile, Hitomi meets her grandma’s grandma at the magic shop and is taken in. And then she sees the boy drawing on a pad and we get a lovely, colorful sequence like out of a painting.

irozukusekai1-1The show’s art is just amazing. There are bright colors everywhere, in the fireworks, the bright-red candy apples in the festival stall, and then there’s the moving painting scene at the end, and they contrast harshly to the monochrome view that Hitomi sees (and we do from time to time). It almost overwhelms everything else in the show, which looks to be a typical PA Works affair, maybe more subdued than usual. That’s what worries me. The actual story could turn out to be another Glasslip or Nagi no Asu kara, mundane stories with dull characters with a magical frosting. However, this one looks so good that I’ll probably watch it anyway.

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This line is the most interesting thing in the show.

Next we have a run-of-the-mill kid fantasy called Radiant, starring Seth, a boy who wants to grow up to be a sorcerer like his guardian Alma. But he’s crap at magic at the moment and causes more problems than he prevents. Worse, the local village are suspicious of sorcerers because they’ve been tainted by “nemesis,” monsters that fall out of the sky and cause ruin, mayhem, etc. That only sorcerers can fight nemesis isn’t something they can understand. Anyway, a nemesis egg falls into the village, Alma’s not around, and so Seth tries to fight the monster alone, and nearly dies except for the sudden appearance of the “Bravery Quartet,” a team of sorcerers. End of episode.

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This bit went on forever.

There’s nothing new or remarkable about this show at all, but I’m not the target audience. They want to attract kids who haven’t already seen all the other shows. However, that doesn’t make ME want to watch it. Also, while I understand the show has to set up the characters and the situation, the episode seemed to drag. Things take a little too long to happen, conversations, action bits, etc. Add that to the predictable humor, and the traditional story, and I was drumming my fingers and checking the time a lot. But some kids ought to like it.

Fall 2018 2

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Sora to Umi wastes no time explaining the story.

To begin round two, we get Sora to Umi no Aida, where a ditzy high school girl (and there are so many in anime) named Haru is heading off to become a space fisherman, because all the fish vanished from the oceans and so we’re raising them on watery satellites in Earth’s orbit, of course! There follows a long and deadly sequence where Haru hops all over town, looking at the sights, while we wait for her to realize she’s late and/or lost. She then gets roped into forming a trio with two other girls to go space fishing, even though they’re not good enough, says their sexist male senpai. Guess what? They’re not! And Haru, who hasn’t even begun basic training, nearly gets them killed. Well, that’s straightened out, and I guess next week we’ll get to know the two girls she was supposed to team up with, who have been waiting for her for hours.

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That IS what you wanted, right?

I won’t bother to ask why-questions for this show; the reason they’re farming fish in space is because the creators wanted girls underwater and in space in the same show. At least they’re not wearing skimpy uniforms, but it’s early yet. And once they got to the waterworld in orbit and started fishing, we got some action and the show improved a bit. But WHY (I lied) would anyone start a series with such a long series of pointless walking around when we KNEW what was going to become of it? I almost stopped watching right there. The other characters seem okay–we don’t get much time with them except for the grouch Namino. The little pods they travel in look cool, oh, I forgot all about the deities! Don’t even ask me about those! This show, if I choose to watch episode two, better shape up as much as Makiko wants the girls to …

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That’s pretty much me when I realized I wasn’t watching episode 1.

I looked at RErideD – Tokigoe no Derrida … Interesting, I thought. They throw you right in the story and give you tantalizing hits of a backstory, Derrida and his father, also a mysterious girl named Mage. A fight in the museum. I didn’t like the animation or art very much, but it looked to be an interesting time-travel mystery … Then I realized I had watched episode 5. The show has been running for a month. Still, it was an interesting exercise in expectations. Maybe I’ll catch up to it one day …

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If you look closely, you can see a corner of a room.

Speaking of mysteries, we have Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume o Minai, where a high school boy named Saguta sees a bunny girl in the library. No one else can. The girl, Mai, goes to his school, so later he chats her up. Turns out she has phases where no one can see or even remember her. Saguta himself has mysterious scars on his chest, and his kid sister Kaede develops unnatural cuts on her body. It’s known as “adolescence syndrome,” apparently. Sugata goes around having dry conversations with various people while getting to the bottom of this. Mai is tagging along because he’s the only one who can see her much of the time. While she’s a celebrity on hiatus and is used to attention, not being noticed at all is a bummer, especially since she can’t buy anything.

seishunbuta1-1While it’s a supernatural history, it’s also an examination of high school social politics. These three kids (so far) are something like outsiders in this world. Other kids in the school have either rejected them or are afraid to get close to them, though whether the syndrome is the cause of these attitudes or vice versa is anyone’s guess. It’s also, for all the strangeness, a rather quiet show. It’s basically a bunch of scenes of Sugata talking to people in a calm voice. What I can’t figure out is the diary that he kept to remind himself that it all happened, like he’s going to lose his memory, or forget about Mai. That could be the main story arc, but it suggests time travel, and that feels out of place with what we’ve seen before.

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A sunny sky to begin Zombieland’s misleading intro.

In Zombieland Saga, a nice high school girl named Sakura runs out of the house to start her second year of high school–and is immediately hit by a truck. We get numerous shots of her body flying through the air as the credits roll and metal music plays. Next thing she knows she’s stuck in an old house being chased by zombie girls. Turns out they’re all there to become an idol group, managed by a guy named Kotaro. But the other girls are still lurching zombies, not conscious ones like Sakura, so they’re taken to a venue where they do a metal act and bite the crowd a lot. Later, they wake up, but they’re still zombies. Cute zombies, but still …

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First day of rehearsals.

Not sure about this one. It’s certainly not bad, extremely silly, of course. Kotaro’s comical enthusiasm to “save” Saga, where this all takes place, contrasts nicely with all the blood and biting. But I wonder why he bothers to put make-up on them to make them look alive when a zombie idol group would clearly become a big hit. Much is made of Sakura wanting to be an idol, and she’s going to get her wish, but with the idols woken up now, will it turn into yet another idol anime, albeit with zombies? Well, next week we’ll get to meet the other girls, who all seem vaguely unpleasant, and not just the undead thing.

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Tonari begins with a nice moon.

Tonari no Kyuuketsuki-san starts with a girl named Akari who is investigating and urban legend about a “doll-girl” who lives in the woods (Akari loves dolls) and is now hopelessly lost. However, a kindly vampire named Sophie flies her to her own home, and Akari has a new instant friend. She starts hanging out all the time, rather to the annoyance of the vampire, though she has to admit that Akari kind of brightens up the place. Next thing you know, Akari’s moved in, with her parents’ blessing …

tonarino1-1Too soon to tell with this one. Episode 1 was all about the two girls meeting and feeling each other out, and that makes for some dull moments, especially when the gag is going to be predictable. However, Sophie’s droll straight-man work often saves it. I’m not too keen on Akari. She’s an idiot for one thing, and very pushy. Poor Sophie doesn’t know what to do with her, which is part of the joke, I guess. But Akari has a pack of friends at school, and they’re sure to get more screen time. I’m counting on it, because Akari and Sophie don’t have enough to make the show interesting.

Fall 2018 1

Hello again, and welcome to my take on the very few new shows I’ll be watching this season. As usual, I’ll be following the Random Curiosity preview page and the shows I choose will come roughly in that order. Also as usual, I won’t watch shows that are sequels to shows I didn’t watch in the first place. And probably no sports anime, though I broke that rule last season. I won’t watch shows that are obviously bad, which means I’ll probably miss the sleeper hit of the season … Fanservice and stupidity are not deal-breakers. And finally, I’ll continue with my tradition of including a screenshot of the show’s very first moment, unless it’s totally black or something, and then I’ll wait a few seconds. So here we go!

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A city at night to begin Double Decker

First on my list is Double Decker! Doug and Kirill, which already has TWO episodes out. Well, I’ll talk about the first. We got a young cop named Kirill who has possibly hopeless aspirations about getting promoted and being a heroic figure. He’s constantly in trouble with his boss because of this. Anyway, on a day off while searching for his landlady’s cat he stumbles on a hostage situation involving a thug who takes a body-morphing drug called “Anthem.” And Kirill’s best buddy on the force is there and wounded. Time to save the day, but how. Fortunately a special agent for Seven-O named Doug, who normally handles these things gives Kirill a chance to be hero, which involves taking off his clothes and being a time traveler. But it manages to work, and Kirill is transferred to Seven-O to start an exciting new career! Yay.

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The guy in the back WOULD be the hero, but he’s stuck, you see.

Not bad. It has a Kekkai Sensen feel to it, though it’s not nearly as crazy. I also hear it’s related to Tiger and Bunny, a good thing, but apart from the artwork I didn’t see any connection. It is, however, funny in spots. I liked how Kirill is a fish out of water with the situation, but doesn’t back down when it’s time to be brave. He just need experience. I was relieved by that; I don’t want to watch a wimpy cop. As for the other characters, we’ll see–nothing wrong with any of them yet. Also, no over-arcing plotline yet–I hope it’s not a crime-of-week type of thing. So I’ll check episode two as soon as I get these other shows out of the way.

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Not sure why Akanesasu Shoujo starts with a tower, unless it’s a radio tower.

Next it’s Akanesasu Shoujo, where a batch of average high school girls who sometimes cause a little trouble, go to a tree every day and, inspired by an urban legend, prays to be transported to another place at exactly 4:44, with a little radio tuned to that frequency. Nothing happens when they do. However, one of the girls deduces that their time is wrong, and when they try it again they’re suddenly in this gold sand world where cute yellow bunny-things gang up on them. They are rescued by a warrior girl who looks like and has the same as Asuka, our heroine. Things happen, and the warrior Asuka gets sent back to our world along with the girls, where some bonding occurs, and it becomes clearer that they are the same person, especially since they have a dead younger brother who I think will become important later. Oh, and there’s another warrior girl too, but all she does this episode is lurk in a tree and smirk.

akanesasu1-1On one hand there are some tantalizing mysteries going on. What’s with those crystals Chloe finds? Who’s that other girl? How are the two Asukas connected when they appear to be the same age? What’s with that other world, anyway? On the other hand, the episode feels all over the place, like they have so much to set up that we don’t know where the story will take us. Will it focus on the two Asukas’ friendship? What about the other girls–they get so much time that you know they’ll have things to do as well, but what? And there’s that alien world and the business with the radios and cassette players. I’m going to give it a chance, partly because it looks good. Warrior Asuka’s battle with the snake thing was excellent. The characters seem interesting and I’m curious so see how they will fit in. Hopefully the creators won’t fumble the ball and they don’t.

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A weird glowing symbol forms on a street about to be bombed.

Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken, after a bewildering scene of WWII bombing and a boy being whipped up in a firenado, settles down in modern-day Tokyo and follows Satoru, an average salaryman who at age 37 is a virgin and has never had a girlfriend, yet he’s pretty content with his life. He meets a kouhai and his cute girlfriend and then out of nowhere gets stabbed by some guy. As he dies a computer voice starts talking about the powers it’s adding. After rather too much of that he awakens as a slime in a cave. As he gets his bearings the computer tells him things about his new form. Apparently he’s a very able slime. Also in the cave is Verudora, a sealed dragon who turns out to be a tsundere, and they strike up an odd friendship.

slime1-1The slime Satoru is amusing, a good voice (nice transition from his human form’s), and it was fun watching him figure out things he can and can’t do in his new body. I was worried that we’d have to watch him in his slime form for the whole season, but the ED shows him transforming into a human. Verudora’s turn from threatening dragon to a lonely, tsundere one was pretty good too. But the show twice falls into episode-one infodumps twice, first during his dying moments with the computer, and then Verudora giving him the rough story of the world and what’s there, plus long speeches about “summons” and “summoners,” how it’s rare for reincarnated people to wind up here, and other things we really don’t need to know right now. These scenes, however, did not drag down the show entirely. It’s all amusing, and it is, after all, a first episode. Let’s meet some more characters before deciding.

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Here’s another pretty city at night scene to begin Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fruite Iru.

In Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fruite Iru, we watch as a young man effortlessly runs away from shouts of “thief!” but another guy catches up on a bicycle and asks him if he likes to run. Next thing you know, the lad, Kakeru, is being introduced to his new housemates in a disheveled dorm, a procedure which takes too long because there are nine of them, not counting the landlord. There follows a loud welcome party where we and the bewildered Kakeru watch the others show off their character traits, and then Haiji, the guy on the bike announces that actually they’re now in their university’s track and field team, and they’re going to run the Hakone Ekiden, to everyone’s surprise and consternation. A flashback to Haiji’s view of the earlier chase, and then a bit of Haiji’s motivation for running the race, and Kakeru’s past.

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Kakeru’s the one in black, about ten o’clock.

The thing I find hard to believe is that some of these people are even capable of running. One chain smokes, others don’t have the build for it. Also, why would they run, apart from the cheap rent and free meals they get by living there? I’m with the law student who immediately threatens to sue. Kakeru’s past isn’t that interesting, what we know of it. He was a great high school runner, then stopped. Also, I didn’t much care for the introduction scenes–so many people to take in at once. The party scene wasn’t bad only I think the creators tried too hard to show these guys as being wacky, drunken college students. But that’s an issue with the script alone. There’s nothing really wrong with any of the characters; they feel real. And the show looks good. I might look at episode 2.

Finales: Saibou and Revue Starlight

I know, the new season has started, but lemmie finish the old one first, dammit!

hatarakusaibou13-1In Hatarku Saibou the title of final episode, Hemorrhagic Shock #2, tells you all you need to know. Turns out our new Senpai and Kouhai were not sucked out of the body, but most of their red cell buddies were, and with not many cells left, they’re stuck delivering O2 to cells as fast as they can, possibly knowing that it won’t be enough. We learn that with this shock, blood pressure increases, not good for the cells stuck transporting on the side of a cliff with no room to go but down (or out). Also, body temperature goes down, so our girls are carrying their boxes through a snowstorm, where we get the “It’s useless” speech from the kouhai, and the “fight-on” speech from our favorite. Meanwhile, I’m waiting for the tranfusion, which, when it comes, is amusing enough. The new cells are confused, as are the locals, but the day is saved for whatever body this is, not to mention the trillions of cells doing their job every day. There’s a happy segment where we meet everyone again, and that’s how the show ends–happily.

hatarakusaibou13-2It was all predictable, because this was a predictable show. Most episodes start happily, there’s a threat, and the threat is disposed of. Along the way the creators roll out predictable side stories, like the Sensei/Kouhai bit in this last story, the cells training to be white cells, or Killer-T’s and nearly failing to make the grade, all the stories with roots that go way back in storytelling and weren’t told very cleverly here. One exception was the allergy episode with the mast cell and the antibody coming to blows was the exception, and that was the funniest episode. The show had to lean on its novelty of humanizing the cells (which was often amusing) and putting their daily routine using symbols we can understand. I think the red cells being the dependable delivery folk we see in Japan every day summed it up the best. And I learned some things about how our body worked, though it meant stopping the action for monologues. Still, even if I expected to be bored by the story every week, I still enjoyed watching. It was cute, happy, and occasionally clever.

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One more of, of course, a platelet, giving us good advice.

revuestarlight12-1Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight finishes with imagery and symbolism I can only begin to figure out. What I got, however, is that Hikari, believing that grasping for a star, big, little, or both, is a sin, and by shutting herself off in that pink desert she is atoning for the sins of all the others who have tried. Part of that means losing her memory, making herself Claire in the story. Karen manages to break Hikari out of her Sisyphean routine of building a hill out of pink stars and having a big star swing down and destroy it (little idea what that’s supposed to mean with the stars), but once she gets her memory back it means another battle, and Hikari wins again. All of this is cut off from time to time by passionate declarations by the giraffe and cuts to the other girls making nabe at their dorm and setting places for the two missing girls …

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Wait … what?

All of this is entertaining enough, but then the show turns the weirdness up further, and we get a spectacular rebirth of Karen, the pillars shining an image of Tokyo Tower, only to be smashed up by the big Tokyo Tower, which forms a bridge for Karen. The giraffe expounds excitedly about this being a continuation of the ending, i.e, a break from the cycle of grasping only to be cast down. Wakarimasu! However, for me, wakarimasen. While I love stories where such cycles are broken, I saw nothing from Karen that would allow such a rebirth–it came from nowhere. I get that Hikari realizes that Karen herself is the star she was trying to grasp, but I didn’t catch anything before that would lead to that.

revuestarlight12-3Well, nevermind. The girls return and eat nabe and take up the two lead roles in a production that now has a happy ending. It didn’t entirely sink under the weight of its symbolism though it came close, and I like puzzling shows. I guess that’s why Revue Starlight and Planet With were my two favorite shows this season. Apart from the weirdness, the show did a fine job of fleshing out all of the characters, to the point where one of them was maybe more compelling than the stars. Also, it was great to look at. The camera was always taking an interesting angle to view things and the battle scenes were fluid and exciting. I understand that this show is part of a franchise and no one apart from the creators expected much from it, so for the anime to turn out this well is a testament to the people who made it. Well done. Now, on to the new season!

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One more of Banana.

Saibou and Starlight 12, Planet With finale

hatarakusaibou12-1Hataraku Saibou begins their final story arc, a two-parter, and it doesn’t look very cheerful. It STARTS cheerful, with our Red cell getting another Red cell as a Kouhai. The new sempai is barely able to find her way around by herself, so much of the comedy is having her try to act like a senpai while screwing up, while the kouhai, obviously much more capable, politely defers and gives advice. On their way we meet the usual lot. The kouhai is appalled by the White cell, “distributing violence instead of justice,” delivering real-world judgment in a cellular world. Where is she from, anyway? But since the episode is entitled “Hemorrhagic Shock,” you know things are going to get bleak. We don’t know what happens, but it’s a disaster like the body hasn’t seen since …, well, last week with the heatstroke. While it’s nice to see senpai get a hold on herself before the kouhai does, we’re just waiting for the worst to happen, but we don’t really know. Just the tattered hat and gloves found by White, and nothing else. They weren’t going where the other cells were, so it seems more of a mystery than a real cliffhanger, especially when you hear Kana Hanazana in the preview bit for next week.

revuestarlight12-1In Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight 12 we follow Karen in the weeks and months after Hikari’s betrayal, if that’s what it is. Karen makes countless efforts to reach her, and as the 100th performance comes up, she finds she has lost her mojo, her “shine,” if you will. It’s dragging the other performers down, and so while they’re sympathetic to her, there’s nothing more they can do and there’s talk of removing her from the show (Maya and Claudine have snagged the top spots, by the way). She tries to read the original book but the English is too difficult, so she spends all her time translating it word by word. Oddly, the other girls are very supportive of this, like they know something Karen doesn’t, that or it’s better than her moping. Meanwhile, I’m waiting for the “Aha!”

revuestarlight12-2It comes when she gets to the end and discovers that one of the girls in the book was imprisoned for reaching for that star, meaning they’ve been performing a show with a different meaning. Karen figures that Hikari was imprisoned somehow, maybe not to steal Karen’s shine. Karen breaks the elevator door (revealing stairs), and in a return to the show’s heavy symbolism walks down while the other girls each individually show up, spouts a strange line about being a stage girl and says they’ll see her on stage. Then there’s what looks like a futuristic memorial plaque, and inside it, presumably, is Hikari in a desert. Sorry about the straight plot synopsis; I usually try to avoid that, but I was trying to get my head around this episode, partly because you could argue that it’s actually Karen who is imprisoned, by her need for Hikari and her refusal to let go, though the latter is Banana’s job. Or maybe it’s both of them. But I believe the show intends us to know that Hikari deliberately chose that path, getting the wish and refusing to use it, so that Karen can shine on her own, but Karen can’t, not right now. So one more episode to go to reconcile the girls, then there’s that show to do, though it doesn’t seem very important now.

planetwith12-1Planet With 12 ignores the appeal from the Paradise Person that last week’s episode ended with and goes straight into the battle, mainly, the Nebula Forces (nyan) and those other guys (wan) along with various aliens who are to supply the psychic power to hinder whatever the dragon does. With great effort (the scene aided by more heroic fanfares) they manage to get the dragon near the dimensional hole. The dragon, Azrabarakura, gets Souya to dream about his homeworld being destroyed and tries to get Souya to hate, want revenge, and be the dragon’s heir, but in a bit of anticlimax, Souya says “Nope, sorry,” and so the dragon is pushed into the hole–along with all the folks we know, who all get out except for the dragon and–you guessed it.

planetwith12-2Now the forgiveness bit the last show hinted at so heavily returns. Ginko tearfully thanks the dragon (who now looks like some ancient tree-thing) for saving her home planet, Souya thanks it for that dream, etc. But it looks like they’ll be trapped in the hole as well, which would have made a logical, but unsatisfactory end–self-sacrifice is heroic and all, but Souya has people to live for now, like Nozomi, and you don’t want to break her heart. So in one more closure scene, the PP shows them the way out–the surface of Souya’s destroyed planet. Having spotted a flower and made peace there, the dogship appears to take them home. Really this is sort of an ending you see in anime, the two adversaries meeting and talking, the apparent doom of all the heroes to save the universe, and rescue appearing, to everyone’s surprise.

planetwith12-3In other words, this often was like a standard anime battle show. The only differences were in the trappings, the aliens looking like company mascot figures, except for one maid-girl and a couple others, and the convoluted opening episodes when you didn’t know what side you should be rooting for. I guess you could say that these differences amounted to little more than a smokescreen for a traditional show, except that they gave the show a weird angle that made it more fun. The writing made it wittier than others as well. But in the end it all comes down to a boy pilot who doesn’t really want to fight unless he’s given a reason, and then who finds one. I normally don’t really care for such stories, but Planet With’s silliness sweetened the medicine for me.

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Yes it is, weird alien cat.