The novelty of living here has faded into a work routine with open evenings. So beginning last week or before, with days off when I had to teach, I have tried to watch every new show when not counting the days before Madoka shows up again. Okay, not every show. I didn’t watch season one of Kaiji, so I’ll give the new one a miss. And I think there’s a new Gintama which I won’t watch for the same reason. And Maria-Holic, because I don’t like it. And Qwaser, becauses it’s Qwaser.
So here we go, in the order that I watched them.
Sengoku Otome – Momoiro Paradox
An idiot nicknamed Hideyoshi finds herself hundreds of years in the past watching a village burn and gets threatened by the people responsible, then rescued by big-boobed female versions of famous warlords. Ep1 was inept, with a trip to the shrine scene that felt plugged in at the last minute, but especially later when Oda sends Hideyoshi off with some money only to follow and bring her back. This is supposed to demonstrate Oda’s caring nature, but instead leaves the viewer wondering why she let the girl leave in the first place. And in between this bit was a lot of backstory and Hideyoshi still not getting it. Dropped.
Like Hideyoshi, our hero, blond, blue-eyed Cornwallian gymnast is transported to another world, in this case to be the hero of Biscotti in their last-ditch stand against the forces of Galatte, led by Leonmichele, a Eucliwood Hellscythe clone with cleavage. I did not spot the clues the show handed to me, like Leonmichele’s not-so-cold-blooded declaration that she “ … will make the dog princess and her knights cry,” so when we learn that the whole war is fought without bloodshed and has color commentary, I was taken by surprise. But ep2 added nothing but a dull battle only livened up by the tsundere Eclair. I think it will wear thin very soon.
Tiger and Bunny starts out great. Product placement-endorned superheroes pursue bank robbers on a live reality TV show. From car chases to airships colliding with, er, ships. To top it off we get a superheroine Pepsi Nex commercial. There’s nowhere to go but down. Not that it’s bad; “Wild Tiger” Katetsu comes off as a nice guy with some age and bad luck going against him, and I like what we learn about the culture of this superhero industry. Ep2 is more routine. Katetsu and new teammate Barnaby argue, a kid is redeemed, etc. We get a nice conflict between commercial cynicism and the true goals of a hero, but I don’t know how far they can run with that angle.
Nichijou 1 was better than the dull preview episode, I’ll give it that. The sketches don’t last as long, but they’re still rarely funny. The flying weiner bit wasn’t bad. I feel some sympathy for Nano the robot’s angst. The ED sequence is nice. But most of the time the humor feels forced. “WE’RE BEING QUIRKY NOW!” I liked the ep2 preview featuring her big toe. I’ll give it a couple more episodes to see if all those quirks can line up and be effective. Besides, it’s KyoAni.
Ohana is a high school girl who wants a change in her life, and just like that, she gets it. Her mother and her boyfriend run off and dump her at a hot spring resort where they work her like a dog and most everyone hates her. We get inevitable scenes with her screwing up and getting punished or yelled at (ep2 eased up on that a bit). Okay, it’s not as unpleasant as I’m making it sound, but Ohana does have some adjustments to make. The first two episodes were put together well. The characters interact naturally; you learn as much about them by how they react as you do when they say something. It looks great. My only beef is that Ohana sometimes says or thinks things too mature or clever for a girl her age. And what’s with her two meltdowns, first in the van and then to Minko and Nako? Well, nevermind. I think I’m going to like this a lot.
Ore-tachi ni Tsubasa wa Nei
When ep1 ended I said out loud “What the fuck was that?” After someone encounters a TV of seemingly infinite channels in some alternate universe, we get a typical before-school harem situation, then jump to some losers trying to gather girls for a mixer, meet some unemployed loner guy, a street vender, and a blonde girl who either knows too little Japanese or just enough, oh, and another vender, and then (with more channel flicking) we’re back to the harem story and learn the male is from another world where he’s a brave knight, roll the fantasy-laden credits. I expect this batch of confusion is to get us to watch next week so we’ll find out what’s going on. I guess it works. Each scene worked pretty well as a send-up of the genre it uses … and I AM kind of curious.
This features a self-described mad scientist named Kyouma, or Rintarou, maybe. He always wears a lab coat, so from the start you know that he’s either a genius or insane (right now he’s could be either, though he leans toward the latter), and either way he’s going to act very serious about everything, even if at times he seems to mock himself. We follow him as he attends a press conference, buys his witless friend Mayuri a toy, encounters a scientist named Kurisu, who gets stabbed, only suddenly everyone but Mayuri vanishes, there was no press conference, maybe Kurisu is not dead, and what’s with that satellite that crashed into the building? You might think that you’re watching the hallucinations of a nutcase, and ep1 (constantly in Kyouma’s POV) likes to play that angle, but the microwave does do interesting things to bananas, and it does seem that Kyouma managed to send a phone message to the past. The show does a good job of introducing characters and setting up the story without over-explaining. It also has more humor than I expected. This could be quite good. I only wish they’d do away with all that atmospheric static noise.
Average transfer student encounters some weirdos from a club which tries to solve student problems. You know where this is going already; the question is will it be entertaining? For the most part, yes. The club’s three oddballs have a good rapport. It’s fun watching them interact. As for the new student Teppei, he will be the club’s normal member and the one who makes all the straight-man asides. But the show turns the tables on us (using a clue I should have picked up) and some of my predictions about the show fell flat. The bad news for me is that it looks to be a “problem of the week” series, and I’m not fond of those. On the other hand, if they can keep it as lively as ep1, I won’t care too much.
Dororon Emna-Kun Meramera
Apparently this is a remake of a 70’s series, and you see it in the art and character designs, but I wonder if the original had a granny spinning her tits at high speed, or a face-eating demon who attacks with his dick? Maybe it did. I’ll keep watching for now, but I think this series will tire me out before long. It’s by no means a bad show, but it’s loaded with jumps in music and silly noises every time there’s a gag, and there’s one every few seconds. Some of them work, and others are just, as I said, tiring.
Ep1 was fifteen minutes long. Good thing. Any longer and I would have stopped watching. A shame because it’s certainly different from most anime shows you get. But I don’t really want lots of stories about flies breeding in ears or flaps showing under panties.
30-Sai no Hoken Taiiku
It’s by coincidence that I chose this show after Hen Zemi. It’s a little less unsavory and the delivery (a 30 year-old virgin is visited by an annoying God to help him with his love woes) is more straightforward. It does have a nice ED, and the best line of the new season: “Experience a God’s butt!”
A-Channel shows promise. Rather than just having a settling-in episode they start by featuring one girl, Tooru, and her reaction to the fact that she now has to share the girl she’s devoted two with other friends. We also learn that the object of her affections (or whatever) and focal girl of the series, Run, is a friendly nitwit. As for Nagi and Yuuko, it’s too early to tell. It’s also too early to see if this series can stand out from the other slife-of-life shows featuring a handful of girls. In the first episode they repeated one gag three times; not a good sign. But we’ll see.
Yondemasu Yo, Azazel-San
I was watching this cheerful demon-detective episode 1 and I glanced at the time. “Wow! This show goes by fast!” Then I realized it’s only thirteen minutes long. That might be okay. We’re dealing with a comedy about a demon-summoning detective, his assistant (and protagonist) Sakuma, and a series of dimwitted demons who do their bidding and usually fuck things up. I don’t think an episode really needs more than twelve minutes.
Hoshizura e Kakaru Hashi
I could write a entry full of sarcasm. A boy goes to live in a rural town where he once stayed years before and finds himself surrounded by fetching women and having constant embarrassing encounters with them, not to mention flashbacks of one girl in particular, like GEE HOW ORIGINAL I CAN’T THINK OF A SHOW REMOTELY LIKE IT CAN YOU?? But let’s be fair and judge ep1 on its own merits, shall we? … Er, the boy, Kazuma, has a younger brother who’s sickly, so we’ll get some story arcs out of that. It had a monkey. … I can’t think of anything else.
At its core this is a straightforward love story between Ritsu (protagonist) and Takano, but it has a couple of other things going for it. First, the characters are all adults in the professional world, too mature, or as Ritsu says, jaded, to believe in pure love. Second, they’re in the world of shoujo manga publishing. Ep1 was as much about the publishing business as it was about budding romance. As for the romance itself, it might turn out to be highly amusing. At the moment Ritsu is more concerned about his career than love, and Takano is both intimidating and eccentric. This might be pretty good.
I don’t mind the unsavory premise (well, I do, but I try to not let that affect my opinion), but the first episode, except for one thing, was totally lifeless. That one thing being Rie Kugimiya, funny and energetic as usual. Here she stands out especially because everything else is so dull. The episode just dragged and plodded along, with not one but two poorly-inserted exposition speeches to slow things down further. Not to mention a soundtrack that only gets interesting when a grand magical thing happens. I can’t bother to watch a show just because one of the actors is good. Dropped.
The descriptions made this sound like the characters were going to aim for the championships, but the first episode mostly used a straight gag format, so I don’t know what’s going on. Some of the gags worked. Most were predictable but done with decent timing. I did not expect so many cows.
The World God Only Knows 2
After all that it’s a relief to come to a show where I know what to expect. WGOK isn’t a great series; it falls into the “not bad” category. I’ll ignore for now the fact that the best episodes in season one were the fillers because it’s pleasant to see the characters in action again. Keima rises above his presupposed wimp status by dogged perseverence; when he meets a setback he simply refines his plans. Elsie, alas, is still Elsie. Their first victim, er, girl, Kasuga, looks like Keima’s biggest challenge yet until the show exposes her basic flaw (a little too early), but I said this show wasn’t great. The new OP isn’t as good as the old one, but maybe it’ll grow on me.
Hidan no Aria is a typical normal guy / tsundere girl high school romance story, with possible harem potential, except the high school trains them to be skilled fighters, Butei, sort of like Index’s Judgement, I suppose, except Index’s characters are more fun. Apart from the fact that they can shoot things and jump around, just about everyone is boring. The first episode started with a decent chase, but the subsequent “I … I made you a bento” scene was as dull as the chase was exciting. No, duller. Rei Kugimiya, again, manages to make you forget what clichés her characters are. But what was with that last line? “Become my slave!” What do they think this is? Toradora?
After that I need some noitaminA get my brain working again.
C – The Money of Soul and Possibly Control
Here we get a fine example of how to get me interested in a series. Start with a frustrated man trying to withdraw money from an ATM, then switch to some dreamworld to watch a battle with plenty of eye-candy in it. I love it when I don’t know what to expect next. When the show settles down, unlike Hidan no Aria, it doesn’t get terribly dull, just sets up the hardworking life of Kimimaro, a college student who doesn’t want to be a millionaire but wouldn’t mind some extra cash now and then, like we all do. And did I mention the eye-candy?
When you start a show with some happy people talking about happy things, then have something horrific happen, it makes the events at the prison (sadistic G-cup prison guard, weird white-haired girls, indeed, the whole prison/theme park) seem rather silly by comparison. But the overall mood is dark enough that I’m interested to find out what happens next. I know some of the manga talent behind also did Eureka 7, so that must be why Ganda looks and sounds kinda like Renton, Shiro sometimes has a Eureka look, and Nirgilis does the ED song, er, what?
Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko
A show whose premise doesn’t fully describe the actual show. We got a boy, Niwa, moving to the big city to live with his hot aunt, Mene, and discovering he’ll also live with a girl, Erio, who thinks she’s an alien. You think you know what this show’s about. What you could not predict is Niwa’s ironic, self-aware way of thinking. Instead of saying “What the hell’s going on?” all episode, Miwa inwardly speculates and grumbles in a manner worthy of Kyon. Neither could you have predicted the way, upon meeting, that Miwa and Mene would immediately lapse into subtext-laden banter which they both recognize as such and play with, or that Erio would spend most of the first episode with her upper half wrapped within a futon, spouting alien-babble in a cute voice, which Mene cheerfully ignores and Niwa dutifully analyzes. It all adds up to a thoroughly enjoyable first episode. I almost wish they hadn’t removed the futon at the end. I was having a great time as it was.
I’m at a disadvantage here; I know nothing about Japanese history, nor the codes and etiquette of the Warring States time period, or any movies or literature set there. To me it’s just guys with swords looking intense. I can figure out this story, sort of. But I can’t tell which parts of the show are meant to be serious and which are send-ups. On the other hand, I was not bored. It looks great, and both Sasuke and his warlord boss are interesting characters.
Ano Hi Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai
(Or something like that. From now on I’ll call it Ano Hana like some fansubber did)
Maybe I’m brain-dead after watching so much, but it took me forever to realize no one could see Menma except for Jintan, or Tadomi, whatever. It’s too early to tell if this is going to be good or not. Since it’s the other show in the noitaminA timeslot I predict it will be. Only one false note in ep1—the scene with Yukiatsu and Tsuruko felt more like exposition than confrontation. My main fear is that it will get too sentimental, but I’m not too worried.
Ao no Exorcist is a run of the mill occult story, livened up by our hero Rin. Sure, he’s the son of a demon, “and not just any demon . . .” but ep1 takes pains to show that he’s not only a decent fellow, but a sad sack type, kind of like Touma, so I wound up rooting for him. Otherwise it looks like it’s going to be a straight good vs. evil story, so I’m hoping some good magical battles will keep me interested.
There. I can’t believe I watched all that.