Winter 2020 3

I’m not sure what this is supposed to be.

In Jibaku Shounen Hanako-kun we first learn that a certain high school has seven mysteries … well, they all seem to, but anyway, and one is that a girl named Hanako haunts a certain bathroom stall in the old building (all high schools seem to have an old building, too). A girl named Yashiro Nene goes to ask Hanako a wish, which will take something from her, of course, and we all discover that Hanako’s a boy. He tries to help her get her wish (a boy, natch), but it doesn’t quite work out the way either of them planned, though Nene does realize something about herself in the process. In the end, she becomes Hanako’s human assistant, to what end we don’t know.

I normally don’t care for these wish shows with morals attached, but this one is different. First, in spite of the scariness the show toys with, Hanako is just an eccentric boy-apparition who’s difficult to dislike. Nene would be a duller character except for the excellent voice work of Akari Kito with her shouts, screams, and comic timing. The two characters make a great team. Plus, the show is great to look at. The animation is fairly limited but the art is rich and colorful. It’s also written and directed well, telling us what we need to know both visually and verbally. My only hope is that it doesn’t become a “wish of the week” show but finds a longer story arc, and they’re hinting at that. There’s a lot unexplained about Hanako-kun.

It’s not a bullseye, I don’t think. It has to do with numbers. I think.

Rikei ga Koi ni Ochita no de Shoumei Shite Mita starts with two highly analytical graduate students working on stuff and calmly insulting each other. Then the woman, Himuro, calmly announces that she’s fallen in love with the man, Yukimura. Ah, but is this actually love, and how does one prove it. The two proceed to gather data on Himura’s feelings, and when that doesn’t satisfy them, run experiments, like the wall-slam, the chin lift, the sleeve roll(?), and check Hiumruo’s heart rate, since it’s about the only numerical data they have. They are observed and helped by 4th-year Kanade, who thinks the whole thing is ridiculous. And there’s a girl asleep on the couch who doesn’t wake up until after the closing credits. I guess we’ll meet her next week.

Not bad at all. It’s fun watching the two soberly try to study the situation while giving subtle hints that what they really want to do is throw themselves into each others’ arms. But that wouldn’t do, because it’s clear that Yukimura’s calm, deliberate side is an important factor in Himuro’s attraction, and probably vice-versa. On the negative side, they throw a lot of math at us, even giving us a lecture on null-hypotheses by Rikekuma, the Science Bear, but while it’s a tad distracting, it’s not a deal-breaker. But are we going to get a whole season of this? Even with Kanade around (and there are other characters to introduce as well) it might get repetitious. Indeed, the wall-slam experiment took too much time. Still, I’m looking forward to another episode.

Railgun wants you to know.

I thought Toaru Kagaku no Railgun T would start with a stand-alone episode where everyone is re-introduced and get to show off their powers, but instead we get right to the story, though we get the re-introductions too. Basically, all the schools in Academy City will participate in the Daihasei Sports Festival, and upper-level people are being recruited to join for reasons not revealed yet. So we meet most of them, who take the invitations well (Kongou) or not (Accelerator). Misaka is undecided, and after an altercation, the only action we get, it’s decided to pass her over in favor of someone else. Hmm …

Misaka doing what she does best.

Well, I’m glad it’s back. I missed the Accelerator series, and I worry that I might be missing the plot, but this franchise is so confusing that it probably doesn’t matter. Everyone seems to be in fine form. They touch on a few of the old tropes, such as the powered and powerless–Uiharu tries to break up a fight between two espers way more powerful than she is. Misaka chats up a Sister (they will have big role to play, I understand), Kuroko’s still perverted (Really, Misaka, is it necessary to shock her when she’s recuperating in the hospital?), everything’s set except Touma, but he appears in the ED so I’m sure he’ll be around. So let’s develop that story, but try not to make it too confusing, please. … Fat chance.

Nice umbrella image. Too bad the rest of the show isn’t as pleasant.

In Boku no Tonari ni Ankoku Hakaishin ga Imasu, we have a high school boy named Koyuki, who sits near Kabuto, who wears an eyepatch to seal the evil powers within him, etc. Koyuki doesn’t want anything to do with him but Kabuto keeps dragging him into his fantasies, with the help of a third boy, Utsugi, who seems to be in it for the laughs. If the three can’t get their average grades up in the exams they will have to plan the class trip, a fate no one wants, but the other two are incapable of acting normally, or studying …

This may be your average high school comedy, but frankly I had a hard time figuring out what was going on. The dialogue is often so fast that I’m not sure where the jokes went. All I know is that I couldn’t stand any of the characters, even poor Koyuki. Okay, well, he gets some sympathy from me–I’m a person who finds it impossible to study if there’s a lot of talking around me. But while I also sympathize a little with his pet peeve of being forced to reply in a certain way, say, offer sympathy, when someone else is fishing for it, it leads to Koyuki getting really nasty, at least internally. Plus, we know he will never escape from this situation, and that makes it worse. I don’t really know if I want or need to see another episode of this.

Thanks for the warning.

Ishuzoku Reviewers features Stunk and Zel, a human and an elf, in their heroic quest to have sex with as many different species that their fantasy world can provide. While out doing actual adventuring they rescue an angel named Crim, whose halo is broken and can’t return to heaven until it heals. They befriend her, er, him, and naturally take him straight to a catgirl brothel, where she/he is more thoroughly defiled. Stunk and Zel make money by posting reviews of their exploits, and soon Crim is along with them, reluctantly. It pretty much goes on like this for the entire episode. Sometimes a hafling joins them.

Crim isn’t used to Stunk and Zel’s jokes yet.

This isn’t going to have an ongoing story arc, obviously. The show is too lewd and cheerful to have anyone actually fall in love. In fact, I’m not sure what they’re going to do every episode except to introduce a new species to have sex with. This might be all right if you have low expectations; I rather liked the argument they have over who is sexier, a 500 year old elf girl or a 60 year old human woman. If they can keep up the ecchi imagination this might be fun to watch. I should add that while the nudity is edited out, there is plenty of lewd behavior in this show, though it’s presented in a lighthearted way.

Kyokou Suiri starts with a flashback where a young girl is asked by someone to be a goddess of wisdom. Five years later the now 17 year-old Kotoko chats with a boy whose life she saved before, basically from a minor fall, and why doesn’t he remember her. She knows most things about him, like that his long-term girlfriend just broke up with him, so why not take Kotoko as a replacement, she asks. The boy, Kuro, is less surprised to hear about this stalkery behavior than you’d think, even giving her the full story of the breakup (a kappa). Later, yokai show up and ask Kotoko to stay away from that boy, but she his smitten, and then there’s a confrontation in the library where we learn the extent of Kuro’s powers. Even Kotoko is surprised.

A good start to what looks like a mundane human-yokai mystery series. The overall situation doesn’t strike me as anything new, but the characters add a dimension other shows don’t have, and I’m really just talking about Kotoko. She’s charmingly blunt and says the most direct things in a matter-of-fact voice that takes Kuro off-guard. It also allows her to give bits of backstory for our benefit quickly and efficiently. The story itself was told well, mostly. Early talky scenes are saved by our surprise that this girl is saying them at all, and to a boy whose reaction feels off. Later, during the fight with the monster, the pacing falters as they talk about the situation without actually doing anything about the monster attacking them. As for Kuro, he’s pretty much a cipher now. He would be dull except we don’t know the details of his own backstory and that the yokai are terrified of him. At the end we learn a little more about him, and now he’s in danger of being just dull. But with Kotoko around it might not matter.

I was going to talk about one or two more, but I don’t want to wait around for them. So I am declaring my Winter 2020 previews finished! Only three posts this time …

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