Ushio to Tora … not bad.
The grumpy son of a local priest is told to air out the storeroom, and he trips over a basement door, goes down, of course, and meets Tora, a demon who’s been stuck there for 500 years because of the Beast Spear pinning him to the wall. Ushio isn’t stupid, though he has moments (Tora being even more stupid about his motives gives him away), and he goes back upstairs, well, until youkai start swarming the place, attracted by Tora, and threatening two girl classmates, including the tsundere love interest Nakamura. So Tora gets released to help out and some mayhem ensues.
Not really my thing, but there’s stuff to like here. Tora would gladly devour Ushio, but the kid’s still got that spear, and Ushio needs Tora to drive the youkai away–at least for a while. Tora goes from nasty looking demon to cringing doggie, and Ushio goes from average boy to badass, grinning, long-haired warrior when the spear possesses him, and both are fun to watch. When they shout at each other it’s even more fun; you can tell the seiyuus are having a good time. It’s apparently an older work, so it looks dated, but there’s nothing seriously wrong with the animation. It could be an entertaining watch, but, as I said, not my bag.
Next we have Gate, where Youji, your average otaku is on his way to an event in Tokyo when a gate looking like a roman building appears downtown and a whole mess of demons, fighting pigs, Roman legionaries, oh, and dragons, start pouring out and attacking people. Youji, who’s been a goof until now, snaps into action and starts directing traffic and ordering police around, and I’m wondering where the hell he got the authority. But the show also slips in interesting bits, like two invaders wondering where the hell they are and if this was a good idea. Also, dragons turn out to be no match for military helicopters with machine guns, much less the forces on the ground, and the invasion is soon over. But the gate is still there …
This show could be dreadful or it might be all right. It starts dreadfully since we didn’t know Youji was on the Special Defense Force, but once we learn that it gets more interesting. Japan regroups and now its their turn to go through the gate. Will they meet opposition? Well, yes. Will they meet some fairlyland people who aren’t into all this invading? Possibly, judging from the elf-girls the show teases us with. But I don’t really know what to expect, and that’s a good thing.
Joukamachi no Dandelion has finally showed up. We start with a big, happy family waking up, having breakfast, fighting over the one bathroom, the usual, and then we learn that the father is king, and that his nine-odd offspring are all royalty. They live in a modest suburban home to give the kids a normal upbringing, though why they couldn’t have one more bathroom is beyond me. What’s more, the King has declared that his successor will be chosen by popular vote, and there’s much to-do in the country with monthly rankings. AND, all the kids have their own super-power! Camera-shy Akane can fly, and when she does, people can look up her short school uniform skirt.
Yeah, it’s an odd mix. Maybe the oddest thing of all is that they’re going the happy domestic comedy route rather than murder and intrigue route with this whole successor business. Everyone seems well-adjusted apart from Akane, and she’s just a little shy. They don’t begrudge each other their popularity rankings and cheer each other on during a silly television game show they’re forced to do. For that reason this series might turn out pretty dull. Right now the only thing that stands out is the weird setup. But it’s a cute, happy show, so I might watch it for a while.
Here’s another odd setup: Classroom Crisis.
With a title like that you expect a high school romcom series, and you’d be partly right, except this class is in the future, after more of the solar system has been terraformed. Still, they’re excited about a transfer student. Meanwhile, the CEO of the corporation that runs the school’s brother or son or something has been taken hostage way off on an asteroid mine and there’s no way to get the money there fast enough. But the intrepid kids of class A-TEC, with their engineer homeroom teacher find a way, no, scratch that, the monotoned Iris takes an experimental rocket there, but there are complications …
So it starts out as a hostage story, switches to romcom, then there’s a mad spaceship dash, and the surprise at the end that the hostage probably wasn’t worth rescuing. That’s a lot for an episode to juggle, but it does it well, in spite of some silly science they toss in. The show thought through how hard it would be to pay a ransom to criminals with no bank accounts; details like that make me take notice that this show might not just goofing around (though that’s fine too) and wants to give us a complex futuristic society, albeit with old-school looking spaceship capers. But it also ignores things for story–how did Iris get that ransom money to deliver in the first place? There’s also the conflict it’s setting up about putting people first vs a person’s worth to a company. Some good points, some bad points. Could be interesting. Don’t know if I want to spend a half hour a week watching Kiryu, or hear Sera’s speeches, though Iris is a lot of fun.
Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai (Shimoneta from here on out), set in a Japan where not only porn is banned (there goes the economy), but dirty words or even references to sex. Our hero, Tanukichi, enters the most moral high school of them all to get closer (platonically, he swears) to student president Anna. But he also runs into a indecent terrorist named Blue Snow, who tosses dirty cards to passers by and seems to be the only character in the show who’s enjoying herself. And guess who the student VICE president is?
This is the first show this season that made me laugh out loud. Repeatedly. And it wasn’t the dirty jokes–most of them are bleeped out. They set up Ayame’s transition from stern VP to laughing terrorist perfectly. Suddenly she’s grinning, and you KNOW something isn’t right. And once she’s revealed she’s great fun to watch, with her slightly crazed expression and her rich-girl laugh. Tanukichi starts as a dull male lead but turns out to have excellent straight-man timing. Then they throw in Hyoka, the science girl who’s far too into learning how reproduction works (since the students are not told and so have some weird ideas), and it gets even better. The gags mostly work, the direction and timing are spot-on, and it leads to a terrorist event involving dirty cards, a video of flies mating and ridiculous imagery including Godzilla … Even if dirty jokes aren’t your thing, you might enjoy this.
Finally for this installment it’s Durarara! x2 Ten, where our favorite weirdos and lowlifes sort of meander around waiting for plot to happen. Izaya’s recovering in the hospital, even so he tries to mess with people, setting up a fight with Shizuo, getting the police to call Shinra and ruining the man’s date with Celty. Meanwhile, the spectre of his assailant, Jinnai, grows larger. He’s got Yagiri industries listening to him, and we know Yagiri’s up to no good. And Izaya is confronted by a new character who doesn’t seem to be weird at all, only formerly suicidal.
Basically the show is reintroducing everyone again, thought it wasn’t that long since last season, having them think to themselves about this or that issue, and the incredible yesterday was. Masaomi wants to see Mikado and Anri again, that twin-tailed girl whose name I forget gets some screentime, everyone’s waiting for the new story, or stories, and so are we.