Yagate and Index III 4-6

Maki has seen something he shouldn’t.

Yagate Kimi ni Naru 4 sets up a new surface plot, involving a student council stage show, an abandoned tradition which Yuu and Maki oppose, and around it continues the real story. It looked like it was going to be a little more of the same–Touko gets Yuu alone and comes onto her while Yuu tries to figure out her feelings, but this time they’re seen by Maki. Being a gentle show, he has no intention of telling anyone, except Yuu. It’s a nice sequence. We go inside Maki’s brain a little and learn, though an appropriate metaphor of a stage, that he likes helping from the sidelines and observing, to the point that when one of the people he once watched confesses to him, he walks away from it. I wonder if the show will give him another opportunity to star in his own love story? Anyway, he provides another little plot-push when he informs Yuu that he can see that she likes Touko, forcing Yuu to confront her feelings.  Maki apparently likes to sneak onstage to meddle from time to time.

yagatekimi5-1In episode 5 the student council plot stuff is put aside so we can have a “studying for midterms together” story instead. Oh, Maki pokes his nose in a couple times but that’s because he can’t help himself. At first it’s Yuu being nervous that Touko is studying with her, but things are switched around when the tests get nearer, the library is too crowded, and Yuu invites Touko to her house. Touko becomes a nervous wreck, and Yuu perversely takes advantage. That honestly surprised me. I didn’t think Yuu was capable of that, but maybe she’s just doing the same thing that Touko is, trying to know the other person better. At the same time, it’s become clear now that Yuu is actually the stronger of the two. Well, Touko has not kept her feelings hidden, and Yuu’s current inability to return those feelings might give that impression. A minor subplot involving Koyomi and the novel she’s written helps to reveal one of Yuu’s weaknesses: she feels she has no direction, no goal in her life. Koyomi wants to write, Maki knows at least that he belongs on the support staff of whatever he winds up doing; Yuu feels she is behind them.

yagatekimi6-1Episode 6 came in moments after I wrote the above, so while I thought a break from these heavy, uncertain emotions would be good, I couldn’t resist watching it right away. Yes, the emotional twists are heavier than ever, but plot-wise we return to the stage show, where Yuu lies about knowing someone who could write a script, gets called out by Sayaka about it (that emotional subplot is still simmering away–Sayaka considers Touko’s hidden weaknesses her responsibility and resents Yuu taking her place). Meanwhile we get a Hyouka-type mystery about why the student council records are missing for one year, the one where they stopped doing the stage show, but the answer’s simple–Touko’s older sister was the SC prez but died tragically. Basically, Touko’s been imitating her sister ever since. Yuu won’t have it, she thinks it’s bad for Touko, but she won’t go back. In the end, in yet another sunset scene, the two sort of agree to lie. Yuu is lonely too and has decided to need Touko, because Touko’s the same, yet Touko is afraid of what will happen if Yuu finally falls in love. Episodes like these make you think the whole thing will end in tragedy, unless both girls wise up and knock off the over-thinking.

index3-4So let’s leave these confused, earnest kids trying to sort out their feelings and their futures together and return to Toaru Majiutsu no Index III, where the adolescents usually have super-powers, or at least guns, and aren’t afraid to use them for, er, whatever they’re up to. In episode 4 we learn about several “informal” groups of mostly villains, known as GROUP (Accelerator’s group), ITEM (those girls from Railgun 2), also SCHOOL, MEMBER, and BLOCK. SCHOOL hires a hitman to snipe Monoka, that nice old lady who got shot in ep1 but got better, I guess, but it fails. ITEM gets involved, chasing SCHOOL and its nasty killer kid around, while a member of GROUP infiltrates BLOCK, rather on the fly, to figure out what they’re after. Turns out it’s a telescope controlling a satellite which has an air-to-surface laser. So after a story arc with all sorts of magic, we now get one which is purely science and espers–but not a single look at Touma or Misaka, so it’s not all that fun, in spite of Accelerator. Well, we do get to see Dr. Frog …

The story has become incomprehensible, so let’s enjoy a moment with Accelerator.

Episode 5 is so confusing that I have no idea who is working for who anymore. We start with MEMBER making a move on two guys, Accelerator and that evil blonde guy. Both attempts don’t fare well. Meanwhile 5000 mercenaries are ready to attack either the satellite facility, or the prison where Awaki, or Move Point’s old comrades are being held. Turns out she’s the target because she can transport into the “Windowless Building” where Alesteir lives. Helicopters show up and kill a lot of mercenaries. GROUP goes into the reformatory, an Aztec magician shows up to fight what’s his name out of revenge, but her attempt to meld with a grimoire before undoes her. Awaki is almost done in by a soldier but manages to overcome her hangups over telporting, even when she finds her leg stuck in the concrete, and defeats her. So GROUP wraps things up. However, the evil blonde roughs up an ITEM member and gets the info as to where they can be found, so the story arc will go on awhile. I went to an Index wiki to try to figure this all out, and it seems we’re getting a very brief version of a much more complicated story. I suppose they can’t do all the stuff from the books, but it makes it more confusing to us. Oh well, it’s fun to watch something where you have no idea what’s going on, sometimes. Just give us familiar characters and that excellent BGM, please.

Didn’t know Hamazura had it in him.

I’m such an idiot that while Last Order was babbling to Uiharu about the “lost child,” it didn’t occur to me that she was referring to Accelerator (says Peter, knocking himself on the head). But I’m also glad, because it made the episode’s grand climax much more powerful. Indeed, as fun as the confusing storylines can be, the show’s great power comes when it boils down to two familiar characters duking it out. We start with Hamazura, trying to protect Takitsubo from first Kakine (or Dark Matter) and then Mukino. This hapless, failed villain from Index II takes a lesson from Touma’s old speech and shows some gumption and care for another’s life. The confrontation with Mukino was effective; he stopped running and charged headlong at Mukino, and he deserved the victory.

index36-2But it’s almost forgotten when we switch to Kakine trying to find Last Order to draw out Accelerator, which indeed happens. Now it’s a battle between Accelerator’s vectors and Kakine’s dark matter, with lectures on the true nature of villainy laced through it. Accelerator has been going on about how no one is the villain he is, but I wrote it off as a comment on style. After all, he does his best not to hurt any of the people in the vicinity of this Level 5 on 5 battle. But when Kakine injures Aiho, who had almost forced Accelerator to calm down, Accelerator goes beserk and becomes an actual “villain,” that is to say, insane. Then comes Last Order’s great appearance. After some fruitless raging, Accelerator again becomes a villain in style, not of substance. Oh, there is some stuff in the end about Alesteir’s “Underline,” a nano-communication system in Academy City’s very air, but that’s while the credits roll. Good enough, I think everyone could use a rest now.


Spyce 2 (and done), Conception 2, Akanesasu and Slime 3-6

How’s training going, Momo?

After two episodes I’m still not sold on Release the Spyce. The second has the inevitable training of Momo by Yuki, the taciturn one with the scar on her eye. It goes exactly as predicted. Momo can barely keep up with the regimen, the running and chatting up of people, but gets better and manages to pass the final test, a game of tag with Mei, where she suddenly demonstrates great leaping and acrobatic abilities that she couldn’t possibly have picked up in a couple months, and thanks to some prep work, manages to win by maneuvering Mei into a dead-end. Meanwhile, the bad guys drive around (all they do in this episode is drive around) and act evil, and apparently there’s a traitor among the Tsukikage. That’s intriguing I suppose, but I wonder if it’s not a double-agent kind of thing. Anyway, villains aside, I could sort of predict everything that’s going to happen this episode, and it dragged, too. Though the Tsukikage underground headquarters is kind of cool. Don’t feel like watching episode 3 at the moment …

So instead, for some reason, I watched Conception 2, where things did not quite go like I expected. First, it turns out that conceiving Star Children doesn’t involve actual sex …

conception2-1The main girl this week is Ruka (Aries), who isn’t very warlike at all; instead, she’s a stock tsundere. But she’s a tsundere who knows what’s going on, so when he comes on to her she’s fine with it, to save the world, you know. Meanwhile the show plays with the idea of teaching Itsuki techniques to woo women, and promptly forgets about it. So now we have two star children, neither of whom are really capable of fighting anything, as their visit to the labyrinth and Itsuki gets routed and the star children turned into pods … So maybe he’s going to get serious about this and really get the girls excited to produce really strong star children? I figure one girl per episode, so this puts them behind schedule. A more interesting plot point is Mahiru’s forgotten promise and her obvious, drunken jealousy. I wonder if the show will play that up too, or whether she’ll just get shoved aside when it’s convenient for Itsuki, like the show has already done to her.

akanesasu4-1So on to Akanesasu Shoujo, where the girls get a new frequency, not sure how, and find themselves in the wild west, er, with a few cars, cell phones, and broadcasts of gun-duels, which is the standard way of settling disputes here. And so we have our story. It’s an unjust system where the person who’s the better shot will win any legal dispute. Mia, the key tries to find justice in this world as a deputy sheriff, while Asuka is a bounty hunter and Chloe and Nana are the criminals. No subtlety this time–the girls repeatedly run into each other, and soon our Chloe and Mia are captured and the criminal ones are planning another robbery with our Asuka and Yuu, in order to make money for kids left bereft when their parents die from duels. And we have a good idea who the Clutter is, too, and by dealing with her, they can change this world for the better. So we’ll have Mio fight her, become stronger, and I’m sure the others will find themselves in the dueling arena before the end, for kicks.

akanesasu5-1Yep, a duel to conclude the arc, well the start of a duel, then a duel between clutters and two heroes of justice. It would have been quicker if Nana hadn’t had her walkman taken away when she, and everyone else except Mia got arrested. Since they laid out the moral dilemma last week there wasn’t much to do this time except let the plot work itself out. The only surprise was the sheriff being a second clutter. Well, there was also Sexy Yuu putting the moves on Asuka, and Asuka not minding too much. The only real character development came from Mia’s decision to be a hero rather than just stand back and be cute like everyone wants her to do, but that was the point of the arc and we saw that coming a mile away. So that’s Nana and Mia taken care of. Who’s next? They’re probably saving Akusa for last, since she’s the center of the currently-dormant big story arc. They might delay Yuu, too, because of that Sexy Yuu interfering with things. That leaves Chloe, so expect a Chloe arc starting next time.

akanenasu6-1Yep again, episode 6 is Chloe. It’s also a beach/swimsuit episode. Basically Sexy Yuu takes the girls to a fragment which is all little islands and beautiful beaches, with an AI service that delivers everything they want. The rest of the girls goof off a lot and play with cellphones while Chloe enjoys herself on a separate island. The key of the episode is that she likes to spend time alone, something the other girls reluctantly accept but worry about. So does Chloe, now that she’s living in a more communal place than Paris. Is it really okay to be alone much of the time? Meanwhile, there’s actual plot going on underneath. The girls are slowly being brainwashed by their phones, and maybe by the beautiful surroundings. Chloe, by herself, is the one to discover this. Meanwhile, I’m somewhat intrigued by Sexy Yuu. Earlier in the season she seemed like a threat, and she is of a sort, but she’s also driven by more childish impulses such as hedonism and lust, which makes her less dangerous but more fun. Whether she’s aware of the danger this fragment is threatening the girls with is anyone’s guess. She might have just wanted to ogle Asuka in a swimsuit.

It’s a good episode for Rimuru.

Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken 4 brings Rimuru and some other guys to Dwargon, where dwarves and other types hang out. Naturally there is a complication at first as some goons wrongly take Rimuru and Gobta to be weak enough to beat up. That lands them in jail, where it just so happens that there is a need for healing potion, which Rimuru happily supplies. Then a blacksmith desperately needs to make twenty longswords made of magic ore, which Rimuru happily supplies in exchange for help for the goblins. That leads him to a elf-hostess club, and it’s all happy. Nothing seriously bad happens in this show, and Rimuru has a knack of being in the right place at the right time, also those superhuman abilities. Even so, it’s fun to watch. Rimuru is a likable slime who isn’t above some elf-lust.

You can guess that he probably shouldn’t have done that.

Episode 5 brings the trouble that episode 4 warned about, but it pretty much turned out all right. Minister Vesta comes to the elf-club, pours a drink on Rimuru, and Kaijin the blacksmith punches him. So it’s a trial, where things get a little complicated. It’s a sham trial (the second once this post!), but Gazel Dwargo, the big boss, asks Kaijin to work for him again, but Kaijin is committed to Rimuru now, so it gets changed to exile, which is what they all wanted anyway. It’s obvious that Gazel has great fondness for Kaijin but can no longer help him, or vice versa–there’s a backstory here that the show will obviously return to it, if the anime is renewed, that is. And Vesta, in a strangely emotional scene, is dismissed from service, another plot point that will be of use … someday. What will happen sooner is Gazel’s mistrust of Rimuru, that “monster, like Veldora.” Probably a running, backstage story arc. Oh, I think they forgot Gobta again. No great loss.

slime6-1Well, in episode 6 Gobta is shown to have some summoning power, so he might be of some use after all. Otherwise, it’s primarily an episode to introduce Shizu, the masked fire-expert, and the one who Rimuru is destined to be with, though she doesn’t know that yet. Behind her scary mask she’s actually quite sweet, and we spend some time learning her backstory–she was summoned to this world when she was about to get killed during an air raid, though the don’t explain why she gets taken away as a child and appears as a young woman. Next week we’ll learn more, I’m sure. Oh, and the three hapless adventurers show up again, but I can’t figure out if they’re going to participate in the plot or just pop in now and then for an infodump. And slowly, perhaps too slowly, a long story arc is forming.

2-3s: Bunny Girl, Index, Yagate Kimi (yes, I’m way behind)

bunnygirl2-1Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume no Minai 2 makes me wonder where the story is going to go. Obviously it’s about puberty syndrome and they could do a lot in that direction, with our not-so-happy couple, Kaede, or Shoko the vanished girl (I wonder if Shoko suffered the same fate that Mai is suffering now?). In other words, Sakuta could go around trying to help everyone who’s got the syndrome. That’s what I thought it would be about when Mai announced that she was returning to show business and people could see her again, so her story would be a mini-arc to begin the series, like Araragi helping out Hitagi in that other series. But now people are forgetting Mai as well. Will the entire series be about her issues? I wonder if that will be enough to sustain the entire show, asides from the lab girl talking about the cat and other side bits. Also, partly, and to the credit of the series, I seriously want Mai to escape from the syndrome (which I think has something to do with how people observe adolescents and how that makes them observe each other), in spite of her often unfriendly behavior. They’ve done a nice job of making us feel for her situation. But again, is it enough?

Guess we’ll find out in episode 3.

bunnygirl3-1So it looks like this show will indeed meander around looking at adolescence syndrome on others, though probably through the eyes of Sakuta. This episode is really in two parts–the first concerning Rio the Lab Girl’s hypothesis that people are forgetting about Mai partly through sleep–it helps to stabilize the mind or something, so it’s a long and impossible twelve minutes where Sakuta tries to keep awake AND take midterms. In a sweet and sad scene, Mai helps him study, slips a drug into his coffee, and says goodbye. But Sakuta and possibly Mai have left behind clues, one is Sakuta’s written account and the other, various kanji about responsibility and protecting, which Mai teaches him and indeed comes up in the exam. So we have a rush of memory, and Sakuta’s embarrassing attempt at “fighting the atmosphere” at school–embarrassing but it works. Too bad about his exam scores. So Mai is back. I’m glad about that. Now I wonder if Mai will actively help Sakuta as he helps to unravel the next adolescence syndrome difficulty, or if she will, to refer to Bakemonogatari, act like Hitagi, hanging around but staying on the sidelines saying snarky things as Sakuta does the work.

Index, Index, Index …

In Toaru Majutsu no Index 3 2 … er, right, so Stiyl is interrogating two people and learn that the Document of C can make Roman Catholics believe whatever the pope tells them, hence their anger at Academy City. Meanwhile, Touma falls to earth and meets Itsuwa, from the English Puritan Church, who tells him that the document is actually in Avignon, and the pope is using geoducts to communicate with it. So they go around avoiding mobs of Catholics and looking for the Geoducts. But also there’s the Right Seat of God, who have diluted original sin so much that they almost have the power of angels. Touma and Itsuwa run into one as the episode ends. I’m not sure how they’re connected with the Document of C … Did I leave anything out? Undoubtedly, even with all the notes I took. Oh, surely Itsuwa’s clothing must have dried out by now. She doesn’t have to keep wearing that revealing top. *Sigh* Index, Index, Index …

Any fan of the series can finish Touma’s sentence.

In episode 3 we get more infodumps, as convoluted as the last episode’s. Let’s see, the Right Hand of God people want to refine their abilities to become greater than God. HsPS-15s power suits can be disrupted somehow, not that that’s important. There’s something about “Light’s Execution,” which may or may not be put into use by the church now that they’ve killed Terra for victimizing innocent people while refining it. Nice to see some Church folk have a conscience, even if they’ve formed an alliance with the Russian church and are thinking of invading Japan. But the majority of the episode was spent with Touma squaring off against Terra and doing the things that make him fun to watch. He gets roughed up, spots Terra’s weakness, gives a righteous speech, and punches him in the Jaw. That’s Index’s standard arc-climax, and I haven’t gotten tired of it. One disappointment–Accelerator shows up but doesn’t do anything except interrupt Terra’s important speech about Imagine Breaker. Well, he does direct the Academy City bombers(!) to focus on the cathedral and not the entire town, to spare lives. Looks like both sides have humane people in them.

Moments after the kiss.

Yagate Kimi ni Naru 2, in slow and delicate Yuri fashion, sets up the girls in a basic relationship and works at least one side character, Saeki, in as well. She is hurt because Touko chose Yuu to be her campaign manager instead of her. Touko’s explanation, that Yuu, being a first year, will hopefully get more first years interested in the election, isn’t a great explanation, but it will have to do. Fortunately, because this is the kind of show this is, Saeki does not get irrationally jealous of Yuu, and instead lends her her full support–for now. As for our main couple, there’s one kiss out of the blue, with speeding trains and wind in the background. And, surprisingly, Yuu clasps Touko’s hand when they get jostled together posing for a photo, which surprised Touko. But despite that Yuu returns to her original line. She can’t fall in love, or doesn’t feel love. Touko says that’s fine–she’ll just love Yuu with no hope of return. You wonder if she means that, or she plans to win Yuu over. I think it’s the former. In spite of her appearance of having everything together, Yuu can be as awkward about things like this as any high school kid.

yagatekimi3-1More slow and delicate in episode 3, but it’s complicated slightly by the elections and the speeches. Funny that normally such scenes, with the potential of a character screwing up, makes me a little anxious, but I had no worries about Yuu. Sure, she was nervous, but she sucked it up and even appended the speech to affirm that she would join the student council, too, for Touko’s sake. Yuu is showing more strength that I had thought. The scene right before it, when Touko revealed her own, more vulnerable side, so that Yuu had to comfort her, is another example. So it looks like their roles might be switched. Elsewhere, Yuu hangs out with some pals and sees through Akari’s lie concerning her own romantic woes. And the show plays around with the word “special” for a while. Yuu has no one special for her, Touko says that she wasn’t special at all as a child, but Yuu finds Touko’s admission of weakness as special. More little lights for the home planetarium Touko bought her.

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

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.

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.

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?

Fall 2018 4

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 …

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

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 …

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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 …

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 …

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.

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 …

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.

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.