Brief catching up: Kuromukuro 12-15

July 22, 2016 Leave a comment

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Kuromukuro 12 has a bit of plot at the beginning, where the bad guys think up a new evil plot, which we return to after the closing credits, with the girl with the Magneto helmet sneaking into the atmosphere with some burning debris from the ISS (what happened to it? Did the show mention?). In between we get a series of basic training scenes. Not much to say. Yukino gets stronger eventually, while Kennosuke probably didn’t need it. I wish they’d just give up on Akagi though. I was happy he broke his ankle and had to withdraw from training, so we didn’t have to keep watching him. Oh, in spite of the evidence that Ken might have implanted memories, they take his collar off anyway, and return his sword, with Yukino’s line about death being the only nod to his character we get this week. Not sure we needed this episode, really.

Geez, I wrote the above over two weeks ago!

Excellent.

Excellent.

Anyway, episode 13 has a conclusion that made all the school festival dithering worthwhile. Fully tired of watching Ken, Yukina, et al, doing your average HS festival prep scene, wondering what the “debate” was going to be all about, watching armor girl wander around the city not being conspicuous at all, wondering if that was the Mirasa the top bad guys were talking about or whether that was the purple-haired girl nursing her wounds in the forest, tapping my fingers at Jose’s stage fright business, finally armor girl makes her move and executes one of the series’ best plot maneuvers yet. Not only is Ken wounded, but he’s wounded by a woman who might be the actual princess he worshiped in the past, and if so, why is she fighting with the bad guys? … And why DO all the bad guys look Japanese? Interesting comment in an artistic format where we’re told every looks “normal,” though there plenty of foreigners at both the base and the high school …

I see the creators aren't fond of Tateyama mall.

I see the creators aren’t fond of Tateyama mall.

Episode 14 isn’t much, but it’s amusing. We get the mysterious “demon,” probably Yukina’s dad, showing up and fighting off Muetta (Yukihime), chasing her around until the story’s forgotten about him, and we learn about Ken’s almost magical healing abilities which makes him able to get into the Black Relic and battling with Muetta. It gets fun here, as we discover that the bad guys are egotistical and willing to trip up the other in order to claim the glory of the kill for themselves. In contrast, Sophie and Tom show up, and with an insight from Yukina, show excellent teamwork. I must say the GAUS pilots have improved a lot since the show began. My big question is whether Muella also went off to do all this against orders as well. Hasn’t anyone on the bad guys side ever heard of teamwork?

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Hey, doctor, weren’t you in Letter Bee?

Finally, with #15 we get a break from the fighting and plot twists. Just as well, as I’m getting burned out. In terms of story, a lot of the people at the base, and their children enrolled at the high school are moving back to their home countries, including Carlos (no loss there) and Sophie (Huge loss–she’s one of the show’s best characters), though it looks like Sophie will disobey orders after a brave speech from Ken about ice cream, not that I expected her to leave. Carlos probably won’t go either, alas. Meanwhile, Yukina keeps asking what Ken will do after he rescues the princess that tried to kill him, not really considering the sheer weirdness of she and Muetta looking exactly alike. I’m more interested in the reasons for that than for Yukina’s concern for Ken. Is she an ancestor? What about her father? Oh, the show finally gets back to him, even if it’s an “I must go” and nothing more.

Categories: Kuromukuro

Rewrite 3, Tattoo 2-3, HxH and Bijutsubu 2

July 19, 2016 Leave a comment

I just wrote about Rewrite 2 yesterday, so might as well get three out of the way …

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I don’t know if it’s a good thing or not, but this is a busy show. In this episode Kotarou informs us all about the Harvest festival, meets a guy, apparently Chihaya’s butler, who hates him, gets on a mission to find a tsuchinoko, which they actually catch (well, Chihaya does), leading to a brief meeting with an office lady with a fishing rod, disrupts class with his buddy, sees what’s underneath Chihaya’s eyepatch, gets beaten up by Lucia twice and gets a lecture on recycling to boot, sees Ribbongirl, meets a nasty person who sets off a devil hound to eat him, but he’s rescued by someone, meets a guy named Esaka at a ramen stand, who tells him things, then the butler guy tells him he hates him again. Not to mention all of Kotarou’s forays into lust, insulting one-liners, and general supportive lines. Things never stand still in this series.

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In Taboo Tattoo 2, Izzy, or Bluesey Fruesey, goes slightly against orders by not dragging Seigi to America forcefully but instead invites him to join her group, the, er, Team Blue Moon, and tells Tom that she’ll get him used to his powers before putting him in danger. Alas, the show doesn’t want to waste any time, and by the end of the episode, nice Touko is been converted into a mad killer who wants to kill him (this is what happens when you follow protagonists in violent action series around, silly girl!), Tom is maybe dead, but I doubt it, and Izzy is fighting a battle of her own with a sadist, at the loss of much of her clothing. I must say, the new ruler of that country, Aryabhata, doesn’t waste any time. This is after Izzy, of course, transfers into Seigi’s class and other high school comedy hijinks. It’s straightforward, and while I expect the good guys to counterattack quickly, it’s a credit to the series that I’m curious as to how they’ll do it. I’m betting on the rabbit.

Oh look, here’s TT 3 just down the pipe.

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As I figured, the good guys beat off the bad guys, and in doing so we learned a little more about both sides. Iltutmish, the little blonde thing, was given a chance in life by that nasty princess, so now she’s a cold-blooded killer who spouts strange-logic lines about justice and what it means to her, the usual bullshit to justify her insanity, perhaps not knowing that the guy she’s fighting is actually named Justice. Iltutmish also keeps stray and hurt animals, while the show works on two concepts: “The weak must be put out do die,” vs. “The weak must be protected.” I think she’s got a moral dilemma coming up. Meanwhile, for the good guys, Touko now has a tattoo! Not sure what it does yet, but no doubt it will come in handy some day. Plus the usual infodumps, and more of Izzy’s motives for keeping Seigi a secret, even though the bad guys even know all about him. Oh, and we meet a new character who will probably die next week.

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You know, I probably should drop Masou Gakuen HxH, but after two episodes of pretty much the same material I still can’t bring myself to do so. It helps that episode 2’s opening scene was maybe the funniest of the season, with Reiri, the principal, announcing to the class that the earth is in grave danger, and so Kizuna will be required to sex up all the girls in the school. This is accompanied by shots of Kizuna looking shocked, or in action with Aine, and was so ridiculous I couldn’t help but laugh. After that the girls of his squad (he’s the captain now) bicker over him in various ways, we get an infodump, and we meet the American ace, Yurishia, and then a mission to an island to get samples of something, and of course a bad guy or twelve appears, Yurishia’s power is low, and we welcome a new member of Kizuna’s harem. Now she, like Aine, sneaks into his room for some fun. Assuming we get a new girl every week it’s going to get awful crowded in there.

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I’m close to dropping Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru!. Last time I said that the three characters’ traits had already gotten tiresome, but that new characters might improve things, but this week they didn’t even bother to introduce any. Instead, we got a handful of unfunny sketches with the same old group, with Subaru’s 2D love pretty much dominating things again, except perhaps for the first one, where Usami’s latest labor of love is ruined by the guys’ idiocy, and their attempts to cover it up, so to speak, made it even worse. There was a sweet bit during the missing girl scene, where he draws the girl’s mom, but then it was back to unfunny loli stuff. Bring in that new girl ASAP, or any one of the others that Usami hangs out with when she’s not wasting her time at that club.

Delta 14-15, Rewrite, Orange, New Game, and Amaama 2

July 16, 2016 Leave a comment
Power's back up.

Power’s back up.

Now that the new shows are no longer new I can afford the time to catch up with Macross Delta. What we got in episode 14 is that island spaceship that evacuated along with the big mecha, and the former is running out of food, water, air, and patience. And CHAOS, it turns out, is a civilian entity, so there’s no reinforcements racing to help, as far as I understand. I would expected that part of the government’s colonies being invaded would prompt such a thing, but there you go. Worse, the power is failing, and they keep losing air into space because of … something or other. Basically, this unpleasant situation devolves in the second half to downright crisis. Hayate and Mirage must turn a stubborn valve in zero gravity, for which they take most of their clothes off .. didn’t get that part either, but with some turning and Walkure’s singing things work out okay. Of course, the bad guys rule much of the galaxy now, and they’re handing out the apples and water, so I don’t know what the good guys are going to do …

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Episode 15 is one of those episodes where the bad guys are triumphant and making big speeches all the time while the good guys get their asses kicked a lot. Not a lot of fun to watch, so we start looking for little clues that things aren’t exactly perfectly awful. You find them here and there. One is in the shock we see when Roid announces that they’re no longer just out to “liberate” their part of the galaxy; they want the whole thing. This doesn’t go down well with Cassim, for one, but he’s a minor bad guy so it’s hard to say how that will pan out. Same with the Heinz/Keith business, unless Keith is going to go full Windy, for want of a better term, and go against orders or something. There’s also Mikumo’s “I’ve seen that before” line. She’s been a little weird ever since they were on that one planet and she found those ruins. Other than that, I can’t think of anything. I hope there’s a half-decent counteroffensive soon. I’m getting tired looking at all that drab pomp they use in that backwards little planet.

Several, actually.

Several, actually.

Meanwhile Rewrite 2, at half the length, is just as messy and nutty as episode 1. In it, we get Kotarou and all the girls joining the Occult Research Club, not that any of the girls have any reason to. Kotarou just wants to get Ribbongirl to stop haunting his dreams and gumming him at night, which Akane might have helped with, or maybe he did himself. This is the type of show where he can get an enemy girl to turn by groping her. As for the other girls, well, the show needs a harem and he might as well take it to the club. Meanwhile, none of the weirdness from episode one is resolved, apart from maybe Ribbongirl. In fact, no one believes him when he talks about dimensions, sprites, and monsters in a storage shed. As for the challenge from Akane to prove that the paranormal exists, which is a contradiction right there, who cares? The show merrily follows whatever weird plotline is in front of it and gets distracted a lot which is not necessarily a bad thing.

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Orange 2 is about as pure shoujo as you can get, with Naho making Kakeru a bento and then being too wimpy to give it to him, then doing it after school. Actually, scenes like this drive me up the wall. It gave me an unpleasant flashback to Kimi ni Todoke’s Valentines Day. And I can’t frankly see any fun in watching the soccer team practice, but these are shoujo girls after all … On the good side, the show raises an important question, voiced by Naho: Can the letter force her to change her personality? Should it? And by changing the past so that they don’t lose Kakeru, is she actually going to change herself? Who is the letter actually trying to help? I also liked, after the rather extreme story of Kakeru’s mother, how they play out the earlier comment “You’re just like a mom,” by having Naho sort of assume that role for Kakeru. Good stuff.

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New Game! 2, after some early scenes where the characters and jobs get more formally introduced (Aoba’s working on characters and 3D), we learn about Hifumi’s pet hedgehog and then it’s time for Aoba’s first drinking party! Actually, Aoba isn’t 20 yet so she can’t drink anything, but she does order for shy Hifumi and later orders an orange blossom thinking it was a juice. This is, she considers, something that you must do in order to become an adult. I’m rather pleased by how Aoba is handling herself. She has to do the scrub jobs, being the newbie, but she is eager to learn, getting so wrapped up in her work that she almost forgets about her own party.

Cheer up, Kotori.  They're coming back.

Cheer up, Kotori. They’re coming back.

My only serious complaint about Amaama to Inazuma is that it pushes the cute sentimentality more than I’d like. Whenever Tsumugi gets overly happy Kouhei gets a weepy look that I’m growing to dislike. I understand that he’s overwhelmed by Tsumugi’s feelings, and memories of his late wife are probably welling up, but it feels manipulative. It doesn’t help that Tsumugi seems designed to be nothing more than a bundle of cuteness. On the other hand, Kotori is really growing on me, I think partly because I don’t quite understand where her deep-rooted feelings are coming from. Maybe it’s the fear of losing the restaurant she grew up in, or that her mother is constantly away (though, happy to say, still attentive). Having Kouhei come for dinner helps satisfy some of her needs. Whatever the reasons, these obvious needs, mixed with her nervousness over her sensei is absolutely charming to me.

New shows Summer 2016 #5, the last

July 12, 2016 4 comments
That city is about to get blown up.  Just a warning.

A bomb is going to land less than a second after this shot.

This time we start with Qualidea Code, where we start with everything getting blown up and two kids, one crying, one reassuring. The angelic music for the second kid was a nice touch. Flash forward to after they’re pulled out of cold sleep with new superpowers. The boy, Ichiya, is extremely talented and blowing up the monsters, but is a dick. The girl, Canaria, is still reassuring, but otherwise a ditz. Ichiya keeps saying “All we need is me!”, insulting his peers and obsessing about his ranking (#4) while the #207 guy gets the better lines. Together they, and little battalions of snipers, witches, Macross-style songstresses, and one girl with the most power but lousy aim, sort of make a mockery of a battle with an alien incursion.

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Ichiya and Canaria

Well, I for one enjoyed it. The mass destruction at the beginning looked frightening, and while the mood was anything but after that I still enjoyed seeing all the different forces at work. Ichiya is annoying as hell, and I was afraid the whole thing was going to be about his supremacy in battle, but the show had fun knocking him off his pins. There’s also his unacknowledged bond with Canaria, which gives him some humanity. The other characters in his group actually have personalities, from genki to morose and in-between. For the cause, they have too much. It looks like the show’s plan is forge them into an actual team. Plus, there was one genuine laugh, when the word gets out that Tenkawa was about to “get serious,” and forces on BOTH SIDES run the hell away. Enough to keep me watching.

Clouds to start    .  There will be much more water vapor later to obscure various body parts.

Clouds to start Ange Vierge. There will be much more water vapor later to obscure various body parts.

Next is Ange Vierge and another character who likes to forge ahead in spite of teammates’ warnings, only Saya is doing it out of a lack of personal esteem and a desire to get to the next level. She’s UC now, whatever that means. Anyway, aliens show up, she forges ahead, nearly gets killed, is backed up by her teammates (introducing themselves one by one as they fight, of course), and they win. Then they discuss it in a hot tub. Meanwhile, their senpais also discuss the battle, from THEIR hot tub. Then Saya, after arguing with team leader Amane, walks off to a third hot tub. For about twelve minutes, no one in this show wears any clothes. The only reason they put them on again is a mock battle to help the UC girls get experience points. The get their ass kicked, but nicely. I assume it’s back to the hot tub after that, but we’re out of time.

The girls about to get their asses kicked.

The girls about to get their asses kicked.

Nudity aside it was entertaining enough for a first episode, and it’s an interesting contrast to Qualidea Code. Here, the characters all seem to like each other, but like Qualidea many of them are frustrated by their ranking and bicker over who gets the most chances to hack and blast the enemy. True, the characters here obviously based on a card game, but there’s a nice variety of powers at work here. The backstory, where they have to save all five dimensions from coming together and blowing up or something, is ridiculous, but as one character puts it: the enemy comes and we fight it. I’ll add that they’ll also spend a lot of time naked. Dunno if I’ll keep watching, but it’s harmless enough.

Mob Psycho 100 has a surreal opening that the rest of the episode can't really top.

Mob Psycho 100 has a surreal opening that the rest of the episode can’t really top.

Finally, it’s Mob Psycho 100, where we watch a fake psychic/con man named Reigen take the money of a stupid couple and face an evil spirit, who, it turns out, isn’t much. Still, Reigen calls in his apprentice and the story’s real hero, Mob, who easily dispatches it and gets his pay of 300 yen. Then the two go to a tunnel and meet a lot of nasty spirits. Again, Mob does all the work and Reigen takes the credit. All the while, Mob’s explosion level goes up to 27%. Now you know what the 100 in the title means. In between exorcising, we see that Mob is a pretty useless middleschooler, but his family is pretty nice.

Mob about to get eaten.

Mob about to get eaten.

The best parts are when Mob actually goes into action. The art and animation is fluid and imaginative, but that doesn’t happen very much. Plus, we spend way too much time watching Reigen try and cover up the fact that he’s a charlatan. What makes it worse is that Mob is such a naive person that he doesn’t see through Reigen, which makes me feel less sorry for this poor, used kid. Since the original work is by the One Punch Man guy, the character designs remind me of that series and make me smile. Hard to say if this show will be as good; one thing is has is the countdown to Mob’s explosion. Looking forward to that. Let’s wait and see if they bring in something that will let us see more of Mob and less of Reigen.

Did I miss anything? Well, I missed a lot, but that’s all the new shows I’m going to try this season.

New shows Summer 2016 #4

July 11, 2016 Leave a comment
This place gets blowd up pretty quick.

This place gets blowed up pretty quick.

Regalia – the Three Sacred Stars has a giant mecha battle at the start where it looks like a lot of people got blowed up, or just vanished, hard to tell, and then we presumably flash-forward to the happy, pseudo-European empire of Enastoria, where we meet little Rena and her little sister Yui, though the latter is much taller and apparently more mature than the former. They agree to meet at a cafe later, but then Rena meets an old nemesis or something, and then this asshole comes out, transforms into a mecha, and announces they’re going to have a fight. Rena reluctantly quotes a lot of Latin, transforms, and is losing the fight until Yui shows up, and they both girls are in the cockpit and they win.

Yui is a little surprised by all this.

Yui is a little surprised by all this.

They drop little hints and clues as to what’s going on as they go, but it doesn’t work here any better than it did for Xechs. On the other hand, the episode leans heavily on the bond between the girls, and with this as a spine the episode is more interesting to watch, so we don’t care about the admission that Rena isn’t really human, Yui’s the empress, or what that delicious-looking bacony thing Yui prepared for breakfast was. Maybe I got so hungry looking at that I didn’t pay enough attention to the show. The battles looked okay, a little jerky, but the rest of it dragged as much as Kurimomo or Momokuri did. First episode clumsiness, maybe, and I’ve seen worse starts, but it’s not enough to keep me watching.

A nice balcony view to start.

A nice balcony view to start.

Kono Bijutsubu ni wa Mondai ga Aru! stars Mizuki, a member of her school’s art club, along with Subaru, her crush, and deadbeat president, er, didn’t get thename. Subaru is extremely talented but all he wants to do is draw is his potential 2-D waifu. Most of the gags revolve around that, or Mizuki’s endless furious reactions to that, or her panties which she accidentally showed when posing for him, or the deadbeat president taking pictures of them, etc. When she actually paints or draws, Mizuki paints only apples, it seems.

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This is another show with first-episode syndrome. They introduce only the core characters, and there isn’t enough in their characterizations yet to give us more than basic quicks. Thus, the constant gag, that of Subaru looking like he’s going to say something romantic or profound only to have him say an otaku line, got old quickly, and it actually ruined what was a genuinely sweet moment late on, when Mizuki was going to confess her feelings but winds up just crying instead. The president taking a photo of Mizuki’s panties was also a problem. Why is she even in that club? Well, she says most of the other members have quit. I wonder if they did so because of sexual harrassment? Well, next week they’ll bring in more characters. Maybe it will improve.

The view of the ocean is appropriate for Amanchu.

The view of the ocean is appropriate for Amanchu.

In Amanchu! we meet Futaba, on her scooter, as she stops to take in the sea and strike melancholy poses. Then it’s overly perky Hikari, who is off to scuba dive and whose face turns muppet-like when she gets happy about something, which is most of the time. The next day they meet at their new high school, Hikari more or less overwhelming shy Futaba, asking her thinks like what textbook smells the best. It’s clear that they’re smitten with each other, though Futaba might deny it at the moment.

... by a life-size green-haired Raggedy Ann doll.

… by a life-size green-haired Raggedy Ann doll.

A good start. It’s done by Amano Kozue, so there’s something Aria-like in its delivery. It loves to take its time, stop and smell the roses, enjoying every passing thing, etc. Every season needs a show like this so I’m glad of it. It’s also gentle with the characters. In the wrong hands Futaba could come off as cold and aloof, but they make it clear that she’s just shy and lonely, missing her middle-school friends and a little intimidated by her future. Hikari is a little TOO nutty for me; I actually liked her the most when she wasn’t in muppet-mode, but it wasn’t a major distraction. Now that Flying Witch is done with it’s good to have an equally quiet, restful replacement.

Lovely trees to begin Aldermin, though most of it is at sea.

Lovely trees to begin Aldermin, though most of it is at sea.

Nejimaki Seirei Senki: Tenkyou no Alderamin, or Aldermin of the Sky, looks to be a long story about two countries at war. On the Empire’s side, a bunch of young folks board a ship to take them to a big military exam. Our hero is the lazy and sarcastic commoner Ikta, with Yatori, from a famous military family. We learn about the others as they enter the cabin and introduce themselves. Then another one comes in and everyone introduces themselves again. This goes on for a while. It’s made bearable by how the people react, and by Ikta’s silly behavior. Oh, everyone has a little sprite with them, but they basically stay out of the situation unless they’re needed, thank heavens. Then there’s a shipwreck and our heroes find themselves caught behind enemy lines along with a princess.

A long intro/infodump scene needs all the levity it can get.

A long intro/infodump scene needs all the levity it can get.

Well, a clumsy opening to what wants to be an epic fantasy/adventure series. On the other hand, it all made me curious about what’s going to happen next. That’s a good sign. None of the characters interest me much, but I’m curious about how Ikta’s going to make the journey to become one of his country’s best generals. He shows flashes of strategic brilliance when he’s not lazing around. Not crazy about the character designs or the art in general; it looks too crude. It’s also nice that none of these characters so far aren’t showing much in the way of petty jealousy or other childish behavior, apart from the very young princess, and that’s written off as “acting her age.” So some good and bad. I’ll wait until next week and see if I still want to find out what’s going on, and make my decision then.

Time Travel Shoujo starts with a pretty sky, for no real reason, but why not?

Time Travel Shoujo starts with a pretty sky, for no real reason, but why not?

Next, after deciding I didn’t want to follow a gritty tale of American prohibition gangsters, I watched Time Travel Shoujo, the only similarity to 91days being that it partly takes place in the past. We meet Mari, ditzy daughter of a scientist and a patissiere, who … well, it’s hard to explain. She winds up in England, year 1600 talking with William Gilbert. There’s a time-travel book, you see, and she has a weird pendant her missing father gave her …

Some books shouldn't be opened by girls wearing certain pendants.

Some books shouldn’t be opened by girls wearing certain pendants.

Mixed up in all this is a boy who gets hit by a ball and goes into cariac arrest and is revived with an AED (electricity is a running theme in this series, apparently), and Mari’s friend Waka who’s all tsundere about the boy and wants to bake him a cake, and Waka’s smart med school brother, who goes into Mari’s dad’s old lab to investigate Mari going poof and vanishing and thus sets some sinister people to work … It’s a mess, but it could be worse. This is meant to be an educational show, going into the past to meet scientists, and so could be deadly dull; making it into an adventure series isn’t such a bad idea. We’ll see how all these different storylines unravel eventually. And I approve of a show that promotes rational thinking. I just hope it will all make sense.

This show starts by telling you who's responsible for it.

This show starts by telling you who’s responsible for it.

Hitori no Shita: the Outcast starts with a drunk stumbling into a graveyard in the middle of the forest, and then everything goes crazy. Interestingly, he doesn’t get killed himself, but calls the cops who find a grave opened the the rest a mess. Then a woman named Baobao, the long-lost granddaughter of the missing corpse shows up, and later Chulan the grandson. He visits the grave at night, finds Baobao digging something, then she tries to kill him in the most ridiculous buried alive scene ever, I mean, the grave is only three feet deep and he could easily leap out the other side if he wasn’t so busy screaming. Then zombies (natch) show up, then it gets a little weird.

Meet Baobao, our heroine, I think.

Meet Baobao, our heroine, I think.

Okay, the Zhang family has a lot of interesting secrets, and Chulan might have a few himself, though I got so tired of him complaining that I don’t care much. Baobao is much more interesting in that she is both an excellent zombie-killer and a simpleton. And she’s going to follow Chulan around for a while even though he’s back at college. The whole episode felt weird, maybe because the source material is Chinese–it doesn’t follow the standard anime mode. That’s not to say it’s better or worse. It’s refreshing to see, but there are some problems. I think the script could be tightened up. It feels messy. However, it looks pretty good, but there are a lot of night scenes. Mixed bag. Probably not.

New shows Summer 2016 #3

July 9, 2016 Leave a comment
Scared beings with a walk up dark stairs.

Scared beings with a walk up dark stairs.

Scared Rider Xechs (think “scar-red,” not scared) starts with a guy practicing guitar on a rooftop and throwing his pick over the edge in disgust, which makes another guy calling him stupid. Turns out the second guy is part of a team of Riders, who transform into silly suits to fight the enemy, who hasn’t invaded in four years so things are a little dull. Also a ditsy blonde teen who’s going to be the boy’s new trainer. And we get a uniformed woman named Okazaki initiating the transfer of a Dirigent to the Riders’ base and shooting a guy when he complains about it. Meanwhile, guitar guy, Ryousuke, I believe, has to sit out the attack that starts probably because they’re transporting the Dirigent there, because he can’t transform, only of course he does when he and the Dirigent (cute girl in a pod) are about to get blasted or taken by the aliens, who are sort of either slugs with limbs or pterodactyls, both as ridiculous as the Riders, except for their boss, who actually looks pretty cool.

The other guys in the outfit.

The other guys in the outfit.

I understand and appreciate the approach here. Rather than infodump us to death they throw in little clues as to what’s going on and allow us to tie it together, but here it’s just a mess. They manage some continuity with the bored Riders hanging out, bored out of their skulls, waiting for an invasion that may never come, and then it comes, but that’s about it. The blonde girl and, er, Fernandes, whatever the hell he was, were just distracting. Ryousuke has a chip on his shoulder and a sad past that I couldn’t care less about, maybe because he tries to play the same song over and over. Why did Okazaki shoot that guy? That’ll just make his agency even more upset than they’ll be already. And while some parts look good, the crappy monsters (known as “Nightfly O’Notes”) were terrible to look at. I suppose we were supposed to be dazzled with all the stuff they threw at us, but I was just annoyed. Pass.

So if Scared Rider tried to be smart and clever and came out looking silly, maybe Masou Gakuen HxH would looks silly and turn out to be pretty good, right?

Maybe not.

Maybe not.

We figure out during the first couple minutes, as a boy named Kizuna is sexing-up a girl named Hayuru in order to recharge her “Heart Hybrid Gear” fighting abilities, while other girls with even bigger breasts await their turn. After the OP we flash back to Kizuna entering the school (forced by his sister) even though he doesn’t have very much HHG power himself. He’s insulted by various large-breasted girls (the same in the preview) and then the aliens attack, the silver-haired Aine is knocked out of the sky, and he gets directions via intercom from his own sister about feeling Aine up so she will regain her powers.

Be fair, some of this show is actual plot.

Be fair, some of this show is actual plot.

I’m not going to say this episode was a pleasant surprise, but compared to Scared Rider it looked okay, if you can get past all the sex and those huge boobs everywhere. For one thing, the battles and the aliens look a lot better. I wonder what message it’s sending when it’s repeated that Kizuna’s own HHG abilities are subpar but the ladies don’t seem to mind, and I suspect they’ll be mining other sexual metaphors as we go along. But make no mistake, this show is all about groping women with impossibly large breasts to orgasm with some SF battling thrown in. Doubt I’ll watch another episode.

Looks like your average high school opening, but it's not.

Looks like your average high school opening, but it’s not. ¬†She graduated.

New Game! nearly slipped past me. It appears to be about making a video game, but this time it’s not passionate kids but adult professionals. Our hero is Aoba, new recruit with the appearance of a middle-schooler, on her first day. She introduces herself a lot, gets intimidated, gets freaked out by panties and other things, is told to learn 3D, makes a few mistakes, but has a generally good time getting started with a company with no looming deadlines at the moment. I only wish the show would tell us what her exact job title is.

Aoba meets her new boss.

Aoba meets her new boss.

I’ll probably watch it because I like learning how anime and games are made, though I’m not sure the show will give me much of an education there. It’s more of a gag-related show, more Sore ga Seiyuu than Shirobako. Plus there were the panties–this show sneaks bits of fanservice in, though they keep it light and it’s usually part of a gag. Too early to tell with the characters; interesting that they’re all women. Also interesting that they stuck Aoba in a work situation where the deadlines are far enough away they can afford to relax a little. Curious to see how they’ll handle the inevitable deadline scenes. One thing worries me, though: I didn’t find it very funny. Well, it’s light and friendly, so I’ll be patient.

Looks like they didn't quite finish the opening title to Ozmafia in time.

Looks like they didn’t quite finish the opening title to Ozmafia in time.

Ozmafia stars, er, didn’t catch the name, but he gets lost in a forest on his first day at a new school, gets chased around by a guy who thinks he’s a spy, and the meets some of the faculty at the place. The end (It’s a short).

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And we are told absolutely nothing about the situation, why he’s transferring there, just a bewildering speech after the credits delivered, maybe, to us the viewer, which also doesn’t explain a thing. I know it’s only four minutes, but they really ought to tell us something.

This opening shot is a little misleading ...

This opening shot is a little misleading …

Bananya is not on RC’s list, but I decided to watch it anyway.

OMG THIS IS THE BEST ANIME SERIES EVER EXCEPT FOR TEEKYUU!!!

OMG THIS IS THE BEST ANIME SERIES EVER EXCEPT FOR TEEKYUU!!!

Really, the shot there is all that happens. Bananya just hops around and says “nya” a lot while a narrator bores us. But the concept is so profound that I must watch. HAVE I FINALLY FOUND A REPLACEMENT FOR TEEKYUU?!?!?!

Momokuri opens with a shot of Momo's house.

Momokuri opens with a shot of Momo’s house.

Momokuri wasn’t on the RC list but a coworker watched it and said it was cute … Anyway, our heroes are Momo and Yuki (Kurihara … get it?). They’re a couple in middle school, or high school, not sure. They’re new to the lovebirds game and the show spends a lot of time watching them being awkward around each other. Momo really likes Yuki and tries to act older in front of her, etc. As for Yuki’s opinion of Momo …

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Which leads her to cutely stalk him everywhere. Their friends all see this and think it’s cute, and I suppose it is. There you have it. A young boy falling in love with a slightly older girl who’s obsessed with him, while their friends (who often have the best lines, especially Yuki’s friend Norika) watch with amusement or bewilderment, depending on the level of Yuki’s obsession or Momo’s embarrassment. The only trouble I have with the first episode is that it moves at a snail’s pace. They seem to put an extra second between lines to make the pace drag. Hopefully they’ll pick things up when more friends are introduced. Maybe next week.

New shows Summer 2016 #2

July 6, 2016 4 comments
showbyrockshortbeg

Kind of creepy, really.

Don’t know if I really want to start this post with a report on Show by Rock!! Short!!, but I’m waiting on a couple episodes. Anyway, the girls appear on a talk show and show their, er, tails. That’s it.

Hi girls!  Good to see you again!  How you been?

Hi girls! Good to see you again! How you been?

Basically a way to reintroduce the girls. I was one of the people who actually enjoyed the original series, so I’ll probably keep watching this. I just hope they bring in that visual kei boys band for contrast. Moving on …

Nice pretty tree to open Fukigen.

Nice pretty tree to open Fukigen.

Fukigen no Monokean stars Hanae, just starting high school but is having no fun because there’s a fuzzy youkai on his back. After too many scenes of him trying to make to school only to collapse from exhaustion at the gate, the shoe lockers, etc, he meets a grumpy exorcist named Abeno who helps him out. Turns out the youkai is a former pet, and since Hanae could see him, clung to him for love and attention. But now he has to pay off the debt for the exorcism, and there you have it.

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It could be simply first episode syndrome, where the inevitable setting up of situation and characters gets in the way of telling an effective story, but this show did absolutely nothing for me. Hanae seems like a decent character, but there’s nothing much about him. Meanwhile Abeno is a jerk. The episode’s story, where Hanae learns that supernatural creatures who attach to him and suck his life force have feelings too, didn’t thrill me very much. I figured there was an angle to the fuzzy thing acting like this and impatiently waited for the show to reveal it. It feels like a completely mundane anime series, so I’ll leave it at episode one.

We don't get many side views of balconies in opening shots.

We don’t get many side views of balconies in opening shots.

A possibly good food porn series next. Amaaama to Inazuma stars Inuzuka, high school teacher whose wife died half a year ago, leaving him to take care of his young daughter Tsumugi alone. He’s doing his best, spending all the time with her that he can in spite of his being very busy, but cooking well got left out of the picture, it’s mostly conbini bento for them both, and she’s getting tired of it. Through some strange circumstances he winds up taking her to a restaurant where there’s only his sometime student Kotori, some rice, and no one really knows how to cook.

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An interesting setup. Kotori, seeing how happy the rice makes the father and daughter, asks Inuzuka to cook and eat with her, and Tsumugi. Her own mother, who does the cooking at the restaurant, maybe has as little time for her as Inuzuka has for Tsumugi, since Kotori can’t cook anything, so we have two people who can help each other, and the bond is food. They can learn to cook together and then they get to eat. The importance of eating with people was the main theme of Koufuku Graffiti (part of the OP looks exactly like something from Shaft’s show), and with Amaama to Inazuma might bring us the cooking aspect that Koufuku often didn’t stress. The three characters are all good to watch; I especially like Kotori’s shy reluctance, though I can’t believe she can’t even cook RICE! Tsumugi might be a little TOO adorable, on the other hand they’re avoiding (so far) making her and the situation too emotional.

We're fallllinnnggg!!

We’re fallllinnnggg!!

In Taboo Tattoo we’re in a future Japan where there’s a new geopolitical power called Selinistan around, though that’s just boring backdrop for the story where a decent lad named either Seigi or Justice, I’ll stick with the latter, lives up to his name by saving a man from a thug and gets a weird tattoo on his hand as thanks. This is discovered by a girl named Izzy, American, I presume, who tracks him down and beats the crap out of him. Eventually, through some infodumps, we learn the tattoos are American weapons that have gotten into the wild and she’s trying to get them back. Why she didn’t do it the first time I don’t know, but she’s intrigued by this boy … Then there’s more fighting, etc.

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The story might not be so great but I rather enjoyed the first episode. First we see Izzy brutally killing someone, then we switch to Justice in a battle, and we think it’s going to be gory battles all the way through, but his fight comes with a bit of humor at the end. This show likes to inject silly gags and chibi characters in to keep things from getting too ridiculously silly-serious (unlike Berserk). There’s also Touko, Justice’s friend, who is good for some normalcy, like deciding on dinner. The fight scenes look good; I suspect the show’s budget can’t go overboard, with all the still shots they throw in, but it’s directed to be exciting. I might get tired of this series eventually, but for now …

This show starts by telling us what it is.

This show starts by telling us what it is.

Now another short: Fudanshi Koukou Seikatsu, where highschooler Sakaguchi loves all sorts of BL manga, but he’s totally not gay, really! We see the embarrassment he undergoes at the bookstore buying a volume, with the assumptions that staff and other customers make, and then he complains about the whole thing to his longhair friend, who’s got problems of his own, mainly getting groped and Sakaguchi tweeting about it.

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Doesn’t sound like much, but it has an easygoing feel to it that I liked. Sakaguchi’s troubles at the bookstore might have been embarrassing to him, but it was just a minor occurrence in a day-to-day life. Both him and his buddy seem like decent characters and they have a good rapport. Sakaguchi tries to explain the appeal of BL to us, but I didn’t get it, but that’s okay. Kind of a slice-of-life with BL as the overall theme, and totally not gay, understand?

Servamp starts with Mahiro's mother's funeral.  But things lighten up after that.

Servamp starts with Mahiro’s mother’s funeral. But things lighten up after that.

Servamp stars Mahiro, high school boy who wants peace and quiet and simplicity and so takes on the troublesome jobs no one else wants to do because it’s such a pain to argue over it, sort of a different take on Tanaka-kun, really. So he picks up the stray cat at the station because no one else will. Guess what? It’s a vampire. Not only that, but Kuro really can’t be bothered to do anything either. I suppose if Mahiro’s going to get linked to a vampire this one is compatible. But Mahiro, cognizant of the fact that he’s where he is because others took the trouble for him, can’t just run away when another vampire shows up, no matter what Kuro thinks of it.

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Shounen story with vampires and less moody atmosphere than most. There is plenty of that, but the show throws in a lot of slapstick and silly jokes as well. The trouble is that Mahiro is a bit of a stick-in-the-mud and Kuro is a lazy thing who mutters insults most of the time, neither of which is terribly interesting to me. The villain vampires are just as bad; they’re the laughing-insanely type who gruesomely murder people for no reason while grinning a lot. Not much subtlety there, and pretty boring. Going to miss this one.

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