I won’t be fully back until quite some time, if ever, but right now I have the time to look at the new shows and tell you what I think about the ones I choose to watch, which means certainly not all of them. As usual I probably won’t watch the horror or sports stuff, good as they might be. Same with excessive fanservice, well, maybe. Stupidity isn’t an issue either. As usual, I will start each review with a screenshot of the show’s first comprehensible moment unless the blackness goes on for too long, which should tell you something about the show, anyway. Here we go!
We start with, er, Katsute Kami Datta Kemono-taci E, where we get a brief history lesson about two WWI-era countries fighting, along with a long battle scene with lots of blood, severed limbs, until a bunch of soldiers in spotless white just walk up to the wall, turn into monsters, and the battle is over pretty quickly. The army should have sent them in before all those other soldiers got killed, but anyway. We then get some background on the special force, known as Incarnates, how they were developed thanks to a scientist called Elaine, who likes a Sergeant called Hank. But an incarnate later goes berserk and kills people on both sides, and so Elaine, on the brink of peace, decides to kill all the incarnates before they can do the same, only she’s betrayed by a colleague who goes by the name of, heh, Cain Madhouse–with a name like that you’d think they’d know better, and months later what she predicted is happening, Hank vows to take out the monsters himself … and the daughter of a fellow soldier ends the episode with a gun and a gleam in her eye.
I suppose it’s not terrible. I suppose Hank and that girl will go through the series hunting down the incarnates who we were introduced to early on, average soldiers who are nice enough when not on the battlefield, except they’re going to go berserk and all that. But we didn’t get enough time to really get to know them, so it’s hard to work up any sympathy now. Hank is interesting because he’s an incarnate too, could go berserk, and knows it. I guess the main story starts next week with that girl, but I’m sure I really care that much. The animation is okay but the character designs are only average. If you don’t like blood and gore this is not a show to watch.
Next it’s Tejina Senpai, where a dull-looking high school boy, required to join a club at his new school, wanders into the chemistry prep room now Magic Club headquarters, where an overenthusiastic bumbler named, er, Tejina I guess, tries to show off a few magic tricks but winds up vomiting out of stage fright or getting herself literally tied up in compromising poses. The boy is appalled by Tejina’s awful magic but intrigued by the things high school boys are usually intrigued by. And so we get a series of sketches where Tejina tries to do magic tricks and screws up (okay, the key in the melon pan wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t really a magic trick), while the boy observes and does occasional damage control.
The description on Random Curiosity suggests that this is a story with character development and all that, but it’s set up as a series of gag sketches of failed magic tricks. That might change once we get the other characters they tease into the story. Tejina sort of reminds me of Dagashi’s Hotaru in how she introduces a new thing in every sketch and riffs on it (only here it’s not snacks but magic tricks), but Hotaru is steely-eyed and capable in her insanity while Tejina is just a bumbler. Watching Tejina fail over and over got dull with only the occasional ecchi bits redeeming it. The boy redeems things a little because he doesn’t put up with much shit. He even locks Tejina in a box for awhile. The whole thing might have gotten on my nerves more but the episode is only about thirteen minutes long.
Also that long is the next show, Sounan Desu ka?, where four high school girls find themselves stranded on an island after their plane crashes. One of them, Homare, learned survival skills from her father, and soon she’s crushing fish for their juices and eating bugs while the other three act disgusted, but we’ll assume they’ll get used to it. Between these gross moments and the light fanservice it seems the series will build from basic things (finding water, etc) to building a place for themselves in the middle of nowhere.
I don’t know how much of the disgusting stuff I can handle–this show tops all the blood and gore in Katsute, but the show knows how gross it is and tries to make it fun. All the other aspects are lighthearted and a little silly. Apart from survivalist Homare we get the smart one, the jock, and the spoiled rich girl, none of which knew the others in school, oddly. Right now Homare dominates the scenes, which makes sense, but the other girls seem fun and I hope the show begins to focus on them and just give Homare the odd lecture or two when we need one. Overall, in spite of the danger and the grossness, this is a cheery little show, and we’ll learn some survival lessons to boot.
Kanata no Astra starts with a scared girl floating in space who is then apparently rescued, then there’s a flashback as to how she got there. Turns out Aries Spring (the girl) is off to a five-day camp on another planet. There’s a too-long scene at the space terminal where her bag is stolen and then retrieved by a boy we later learn is the Kanata of the title, and then there’s a meeting with the other campers, all of them unpleasant. Bickering, they arrive at the planet McPa, where an unexplained glowing ball sucks them in and flings them out to elsewhere in the galaxy, where there is, rather conveniently, a ship they can get to, after rescuing Aries. Having caught up with the flashback the dysfunctional gang are forced to team up and planet hop until they can get back to Earth, or at least rescue.
This was a double-length episode. I really don’t like it when shows start this way. They usually drag. This one did at times. I already mentioned the terminal scene. Then were seemingly endless repeats of a tragic event in Kanada’s life–once or twice would have been fine but I think they did this one five times. We get it already! Elsewhere the pace just dragged and I began to get tired of most of the characters. However, when they start cooperating, like when they saved Aries and Kanada, things got better. We began to see some decency and resiliency in them that I enjoyed. I expect we’ll get more bickering and cooperating as they get to each planet and use whatever resources they find there to replenish and move on. It could be a fun show to watch, and maybe the story will tighten up when the episodes go to normal length.
Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru? stars Hibiki, a high school girl who loves to eat and so is beginning to overfill her uniform. She swears to lose weight and so tours a new gym where she meets Akemi, the school idol. Hibiki is put off by the bodybuilders, but it turns out Akemi has a muscle fetish, and the trainer Machio is handsome–and ripped, so both girls are after him. After that we learn about the bench press and squats, Hibiki is tormented by both, so gets a lot of advice and pep talks. That’s about it.
Well, it made ME want to exercise, and I’m the laziest person around. Apart from that the show is just what you’d expect. I was surprised and pleased that there are few gratuitous body-part ogling bits. There is a little, but how can you do a squat without showing off your butt. When the show does lean toward naughtier thoughts, like in the photo above, it’s done for laughs. However, if you want male fanservice this is the show for you. It also does a good job at slipping information in without distraction, like the calorie count of everything Hibiki eats, or a quick explanation of whatever muscle Akemi is drooling over. They also show us how to do the exercises, and mocks the cliche infotainment content it’s forced to use. In other words, a very light and silly show about strength training, always encouraging and positive. Could have been a lot worse.
Maou-sama, Retry!, stop me if you’ve heard this before, well, no don’t, or you won’t finish this paragraph, has a guy who runs an RPG and plays a demon lord named Hakuto Kunai in it, and before he can shut it down, gets transported to that very world, where he has to figure out what to do next. He immediately meets a young girl named Aku who is running from a demon that Kunai defeats easily. Because Kunai is about the only person in that world to ever treat her nicely, Aku leads him to a shrine full of bodies and an oracle that grants him an evil ring before she crumbles to dust. Then Kunai and Aku go to Aku’s filthy village, and are now on their way to the capital to figure out what’s going on.
Sure, it’s like a half-dozen other shows out there, and its opening episode is not really different. Our hero, or antihero, has to get his bearings in a world that is familiar but strange, check his levels and strengths, etc. The twist in Maou-Sama is the balance between happy, cute fantasyland with its cute girls and the really shitty situation that many of the inhabitants live in, and that our hero as demon lord is responsible for their miserable lives and bloody deaths, at least up to now. In fact, he was summoned here possibly to do more of the same, at least, that’s what the evil ring hits at. So we’ve got evil intentions and human decency both tugging at Kunai, though I doubt the former will have much chance. Too early to tell if the show will pan out, but apart from Kunai not being shocked but more annoyed by appearing in the Kingdom of Holy Light, the episode was solid enough. Kunai could be a lot of fun. Aku is too generic right now. Worth watching again.
Finally for this installment we have Uchi no Musume no Tame naraba, Ore wa Moshikashitara Maou mo Taoseru kamo Shirenai, where an adventurer named Dale, out on a minor quest to tide things over, has a small demon girl stumble up to his campfire. She leads him to where her dead presumed father lies, and Dale surmises by the girl’s broken horn, that her dad had committed a crime and were exiled. The girl doesn’t speak his language and is unbearably cute and helpless, so Dale feeds her and takes him to his town, where he and the owners at the inn (Rita and some guy) dote on her, finds out her name is Latina, and tries to figure out what to do with her. Inevitably, cuteness wins, and Dale decides to adopt her, even though he’s an adventurer and gone a lot of the time, and she’s a demon, after all …
Another European style fantasy series, only with excessive cuteness overwhelming it, which is a shame. I wanted to know more about the relationship between, say, the demons and humans, and there’s the intriguing fact that the devil language Latina knows is the origin of the spells Dale uses for magic. But I don’t think the show will bother to explain any of that beyond the basics. This is an adorable little girl series and most of what we’ll get is adorable little girl hijinks. Before the episode ended I was already getting weary of that. The world they’re in is one of those happy old city places where mostly everyone is nice, and while I’m a fan of peace and quiet such places get boring fast. The OP suggests that Latina will help Dale defeat monsters later on, but I am not sure I have the patience to get there. Well, if you like cute little girls, you’ll probably like this show.