Winter 2022 3

Kaijin Kaihatsubu starts with a fearsome-looking demon general coming through a door.

Ever wonder where those monsters that the Kamen-type guys fight come from? Kaijin Kaihatsubu no Kuroitsu-san has the answer–the R&D department of Agatsya, which looks like an ordinary corporation. Indeed, Kuroitsu is a researcher who, with her somewhat lazy boss Hajime, cranks out villains for their leader, Lady Akashic, a loli. We watch as Kuroitsu has to give a presentation of a really lame villain to the board, because of deadline crunch. The presentation is depicted sort of as a battle, as most lame presentations are. Rejected by Megistus, the fearsome chief of staff, who then goes to their lab in threatening form … and tells them they’re working too hard and need to take rest days. Then they work up a good monster, Wolf Bete, but Akashic thinks it’s not cute enough and forces them to make it female, to the chagrin of both the researchers and Bete, who then goes out and nearly defeats Blader, the hero in this part of Japan, who keeps killing their monsters, when he’s confronted with a naked girl one.

I don’t know if I’ll keep watching, but this episode was fun. It mocks and embraces the villains and heroes of kids’s adventure stories. Many are shown in the first scene, obscure heroes from all over Japan, which we are told, really do exist. So the show is partly parody, but it’s also to satirize corporate R&D woes, overwork, budgets, and deadlines. Not something you often see in an anime. Kuroitsu is our focus, overworked and trying to cope with a BoD full of villains, not to mention the loli CEO, and worried about both her head and her salary. Megistus, with his threatening voice and concern for employee morale, manages to balance on the tightrope. His visit to the lab was the funniest scene for me. Well, you’re not expecting an evil, armored, powerful villain to worry about his staff. I don’t know how far they can take this but it’s a good start.

Sabiki Bisco starts with Fuji-san for some reason.

Sabikui Bisco takes place in a future Japan after everything got blown up for some reason. We meet a pilgrim at the checkpoint to Gunma, where we get some backstory about the mysterious, wanted Bisco, mushroom terrorist so they say, who can sprout giant mushrooms wherever his arrows land. That’s bad because the spores cause a disease called rust. Switch to a seedy part of some city where kind Milo, “Dr. Panda” treats people with the rust in a whorehouse. He also illicitly buys them to do research for a cure. Then Bisco shows up, everything goes mushroomy, and he confronts Milo for reasons we’ll figure out later, I guess.

And her inactivity has made her rusty. Get it! BWA-HA-HA-HA!

Sounds relatively straightforward, but it’s hard to piece it together when the show jumps from one place to the next, and we get little scenes, like the old madam’s story, that don’t seem to have anything to do with the story. All we can figure out is that Milo is a nice guy, his sister Pawoo is a dedicated mushroom-keeper hunter, thus putting her at odds with Bisco. … And everyone else is just trying to get on with life in a dystopian world. I’m not sure what to make of it. It captures the seediness of the city and its people well, the characters are interesting, but everything was told in such a roundabout way I was more than a little confused. Well, it certainly wasn’t bad, and as I said, the characters are interesting, so it might be worth a watch.

A close-up of that cross that’s in the sky in Fantasy Bishoujo.

In Fantasy Bishoujo Juniku Ojisan to we meet two 32 year-old men who have been friends for life, the tall, handsome Tsukasa, who distrusts women, and the average slacker Hinata, who doesn’t. In typical anime style, the drunken Hinata claims he wants to be a cute bishoujo, and who should appear but the goddess of love, who changes Hinata to his dream girl form (she leaves Tsukasa alone) and sends them to a fantasy world to defeat a demon lord, and, after they understandably say a couple of sarcastic things, curses them both so they find each other attractive. The rest of the episode is them trying to sort out these new feelings while hiding them from the other, and fighting a monster.

So I guess this is all about whether they’re cursed to be attracted to each other or have been all along. We don’t know the nature of the curse, so it could go either way. The trouble is they spend so much time with one or the other doing long interior monologues about how they feel, and cursing at themselves or the other person, that I got bored midway through. There’s only so far you can take this situation, finding the other person attractive and trying to resist it, being bros and all.. They had better get the plot rolling and introduce some of the other characters they teased us with, or find a new angle on the love/not-love story.

The mighty kingdom of Natra!

Tensai Ouji no Akaji Kokka Saiseijutsu takes place in the medieval backwater country Natra, where the king has fallen ill and the lazy Prince Wein rules in his stead. He’d rather be doing anything else and wants to sell off the country and live in peace somewhere, but reality gets in the way. The neighboring country of Marden is invading, so Wein decides to lose a battle and sue for peace. But his army fights beyond expectation and wins. He then decides on the foolhardy scheme to invade and take Marden’s gold mines, a foolhardy plan, but they wind up succeeding anyway.

The problem for me is I thought Wein would be more sinister and scheming in his attempt to ruin things. But first thing he does is give a rousing speech and hold off an invasion. Why did he suggest the empire (wherever they are) train his troops and give them supplies in the first place? Who set up that ambush that kills the enemy general? Wein wants to ruin the country but keeps acting like a capable ruler instead. I get that that’s part of the joke, that his schemes backfire on him and make Natra more prosperous, but he hardly tried to succeed to fail. Though I admit it’s funny when he realizes he’s accomplished what he didn’t want to, but I would like to see something crazier come out of his mind. Elsewhere there’s not much about the show. Wein is okay but the other characters are dull, and I get sick of the fawning-over Wein gets. This is a “see how I feel about it next week” show.

This whole episode felt like a loading screen.

Then I got really busy and couldn’t watch anything for a while, and I had only one new show left to watch! Had I known what Kenja no Deshi o Nanoru Kenja was going to be like I would have posted this three days ago … Anyway, we start with an overly long voiceover talking about the online game Ark Earth Online and how it has no rules or guidelines. So players amassed armies and started conquering. A country of mostly mages, Alcait, depends on elders who defend them. We meet the main one, Danblf, who has an overly long and pointless chat with the ruler, Solomon, and then goes out to defeat an army of monsters in the dullest battle I’ve seen in a while. We meet some other folks, and the next thing you know, Danblf is changed into a young girl, so we get a talkless scene or three with her wandering around, while we see some other characters, as if the show itself was bored of the girl, and that’s it.

The mighty Danblf!

This whole episode felt like an afterthought, like the creators had to do something for a first episode so they tossed together various fantasy RPG tropes but had no time to worry about pacing or coherency. So it was a lot of either voiceovers, barely-needed scenes, and people wandering around with no purpose. Now, I figure it will get more interesting when the plot kicks in, but if this first episode is any indication, it will be clumsily and dully executed.

And that’s it for the new shows, sorry for the delay. I’m still not sure if I’ll write about anything this season. I’ll have to check my notes and see if anything catches my interest at all …

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