Spring 2018 #4

Ah, thanks for the info. Still a stupid name, though.

Let’s see … Skipping High School DxD HERO (sequel) and Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori (too many cute men, though the tea shop aspect had me briefly interested), so it’s time for Last Period – Owarinaki Rasen no Monogatari-. Where a kid named Haru, who is a “Period,” meaning he has some superpower or another, along with what’s left of his guild after someone steals all their money, go after “Spirals,” your typical nasty creatures. He’s joined by Liza, who also has a superpower I couldn’t figure out, and Campanella, who hits things with his sword, and whom I couldn’t figure out the gender for until later. Oh, also Choco, a laconic, white-haired thing who hangs out with Haru, though their relationship isn’t explained yet. They do a mission for Stingy Village, which lives up to its name, and encounter a team of rivals who call themselves “Wiseman,” who are much cooler than our heroes are, and get to do the ending credits.

lastperiod1-1I appreciate how this series skips all the backstory. Normally it would start off as Haru, seeking his fortune, coming to the city and meeting all the characters episode by episode. Here they’re already together. Sadly, none of our heroes interested me that much, though they each had moments. I liked Choco’s comments about the writing quality, and Liza had some good barbs as well. Alas, Haru is a total bore. As I mentioned, Wiseman were a lot more fun. They’ll probably do a face turn a few episodes down and become less so. I enjoyed the cynically capitalist attitude the show has, not only with Stingy village, where the mayor manages to hire two teams to defeat spirals, turn them on each other, and sell tickets for the big battle, but with people leaving Haru’s guild the moment they discover the money is gone. And some well-timed gags. I’ve seen better kids shows, but this one isn’t bad.

Ah yes, that slightly brownish tint Steins;Gate is so fond of.

Stein’s Gate needs no introduction. The only questions for the 0 sequel is would I remember all the characters and exactly what happened, not to mention that I watched only the happy ending. However, it wasn’t hard to figure out the main difference–Kurisu is dead. Anyway, we watch a much more sober, serious, and less fun Rintaro as he goes about being normal, undergoing therapy and taking medication, while Mayuri keeps an eye on him, well, everyone is, really. Old friends (Daru, John Titor, er, Suzu, etc) are introduced, and we are gently reminded that this timeline is going to go straight to hell if Rintaro doesn’t do something, and he has no intention of messing with time again. He attends a conference and encounters a new regular (I’m assuming) character, Maho, and then is shocked out of his skull when a lecture brings up a theory by Kurisu. And I’m confused already, because while it’s a coincidence, it doesn’t change anything. She’s still dead …

Rintaro, shocked, as he should be.

Well, anyway, this is a good enough opening, and it dispels some of my fears. It looks and feels like the same world, even if they make some conscious changes to differentiate it: it’s Winter, not Summer, Rintaro wears black, not his white lab coat. Speaking or Rintaro, while his new behavior and desire to be normal are understandable (and his mental instability underneath is well-depicted), I can’t wait for him to bust out of his constraints and get back into “crazy mad scientist” mode, full of bluster and humanity, the thing that makes him one of my favorite male characters in anime. In fact, and again, it’s understandable, the episode feels understated, with only some comic antics from Daru and the girls. However, Maho looks to be a fun new character. She’ll fit right in. Of course I’m going to keep watching. This was, for me, the second-best series of 2011, the best single year of anime I have watched so far, and it looks like this season needs a heavy hitter.

Nisone to Masotan tosses us into a high school setting, then yanks us right out of it in less than a minute.

Hisone to Masotan stars Hisone, a girl who considers herself a social pariah because she runs off at the mouth a lot, and chooses the Special Defense Forces as a career because she can’t think of anything else to do. She’s told to deliver a document to hanger 8, which doesn’t seem to exist, but with the help of a Yakult lady (Yakult ladies know everything) she finds it, and then a dragon appears and swallows her. Turns out the dragon is an “organic transforming flier,” (OTF), and since the dragon took such a shine to her, Hisone is transferred to hanger 8 to become a pilot. Her life gets steadily worse from there until the inevitable breakthrough moment comes, and she and the dragon are flying!

That’s the second time today!

This was an excellent first episode, the best I’ve seen so far this season. There’s a light touch to everything about it, bright artwork, simplistic yet evocative character designs, and a witty, fast-paced script that jumps over unnecessary bits that would make it drag. Hisone’s tendency to speak her mind turns out to be as much a virtue as a curse, as her verbal outburst midway through said all the things about her situation that I wanted to say. The animation is surprisingly vivid for something that looks like it’s intended for children. It got a little more traditional, and tiresome, near the end while Hisone is learning how to fly the thing, but by that point I was having so much fun watching that I didn’t care too much. Okay! So maybe this season has TWO heavy hitters so far.

Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii begins with Narumi waking up.

Wotaku ni Koi wa Muzukashii stars (I think) Narumi, waking up late, rushing to get ready, doing everything but the toast bit, only she’s not in high school, she’s an office lady starting a new job today. When her cool senpai with big boobs Hanoko is showing her around they bump into a childhood friend of her, Hirotaka, who asks her if she’s doing anything for Comiket. Oh No! Her otaku secret is out, except no one else reacts. So our future lovebirds start hanging out at izakayas and insulting each other’s otaku tastes (she’s into yaoi, he’s a gamer). And it turns out that Hanoko is a famous yaoi cosplayer and they’ve admired each other for a while, and Tarou, the guy who’s going to wind up with Hanoko, well, we don’t get his proclivities yet.

wotaku1-1Looks like a double-romantic series with no real speedbumps for either couple. Maybe because these are adults, not high school kids. Narumi keeps saying it would be weird to date an otaku like Hirotaka, but when he does a gamer-term confession to her she has absolutely no problem saying yes. It’s almost TOO smooth. Apart from that it comes off as a good, low-key romcom opening episode. The only thing that bugs me is I don’t care much for Narumi’s often shrill voice, though that’s a personal preference, and her mood swings come across nicely. Good basic first episode. We’ll see how it goes.

Isekai Izakaya starts in an appropriate place.

Next it’s Isekai Izakaya, where your average izakaya has a door that opens up on a fantasy land, which would be a cool, original idea except there was that show last year. Anyway, an off-duty palace guard is taken there by his coworker, and he marvels at the wondrous food served there, such as, this episode, potatoes in oden, with a bit of mustard on the side, oh, and edamame and beer. He goes nuts for all of them, and the chilled beer mugs, and for the cute, cheerful waitress.

Pretty much all you need to know.

I guess we’ll find out if it’s as entertaining as Isekai Shokudou. The palace guard guy was a total bore; guys like that remind me of the three guards in John Scalzi’s masterpiece fantasy Shadow War of the Night Dragons, but he’s sort of entry level, to get us accustomed to the situation. No other fantasy characters yet. The food is handled well, though I’m not really an oden fan. The waitress girl IS cute. The chef has no personality so far. It was about fifteen minutes of a guy swooning over oden, oh, and a real life chef guy at the end provides us with oden variations while a voice-over makes comments more entertaining than anything in the actual show.

Invisible Victory begins with a big swooping.

Full Metal Panic returns with Invisible Victory. We start with Tessa visiting her parents’ graves, and Leonard showing up and telling her that his side, Amalgram, were going to get real serious now, forget those two other series. We then meet some asshole on Amalgram’s team who tells Leonard that he needs to get real serious. Then a visit to the high school where fan guy (forgot his name, and what the hell he does in the series) is about to graduate and gives Sousuke a heart-to-heart. Then Sousuke and Chidori walk to her place, where they might get real serious in a different way, only to find Leonard there. He warns them that Amalgram is about to get real serious. Sousuke calls Mithril to warn them, and then things get real serious, and we’ve got an escape scene coming next week.

fmp1-1I don’t remember FMP being so boring before. There was the original series, then the all-out fun of Fumoffu, and the much more serious but still entertaining Second Raid. This first episode just lays there. Boring dialogue, no life to anything. Even seeing old familiar characters didn’t give me the smile of recognition that another show might bring, though to be fair, it’s been so long that I’ve forgotten many of them. Chidori’s great fiery temper is nowhere to be seen, so Sousuke has no one to turn his deadly seriousness into comedy for him, so he comes off as dull. There’s a lot of CGI used here, so characters don’t have as life to them and we get weird camera swings for no reason. Maybe things will liven up next week, but I’m not counting on it.

There! Finished only a week behind!


Spring 2018 #3

Hinamatsui, oddly enough, begins in a completely different time and place with a different Hina.

Sometimes during these runs of new shows I get a moment where I want to stop; nothing looks good, or the descriptions of some shows fill me with boredom and sometimes dread. I was afraid Hinamatsuri would be one of those shows. Happy yakuza guy reluctantly takes in a 13 year-old girl. It’s going to be charming and sweet, right? Well, problem is, the girl, Hina, has psychokinetic powers and isn’t afraid to use them if she doesn’t get her way. Good thing Nitta is rich. Anyway, we get the usual What are you doing here, first day of school, and shopping for clothes scenes. Also, she helps him out when he gets in trouble with his boss.

hinamatsuri1-1You can probably guess by my opening that this is my first pleasant surprise of the season. They manage to make the inevitable and necessary scenes listed above interesting in one way or another. After Hina breaks Nitta’s valuable vase collection, well, he’s upset about that, but this yakuza tough-guy is also peeved that she puts the pieces in with the burnable garbage (Nitta also displays good straight-man skills, something the show is going to need since Hina speaks in a dull monotone) She falls asleep in class and no one notices except the girl sitting next to her. When she finally settles down it’s partly because Nitta isn’t ordering her to kill someone, and when she does it’s done as a favor. There’s a nice, breezy feel to the whole thing. Maybe I’ll keep watching this season after all.

Akkun to Kanojo starts with the top of Non’s head.

In Akkun to Kanojo we have the titular character acting extremely cold toward his so-called girl friend. “You suck” is about the nicest thing he says–to her face. But when she’s not looking he’s stalkerly obsessive of her, stealing pictures of her and admiring her humming. When his pal Masago asks why he doesn’t just take a photo when they’re together, Akkun has lines about getting too close to angels, which doesn’t make sense since they ARE actually dating. The girl, Non, doesn’t care at all. His sneers are smiles to her and sets her into a dreamy-dreamy mood. And there you have it.

Most of what you need to know.

Kind of like that Takagi show last season, except there’s even less of a setup here. Boy is extremely tsundere to a girl, who likes him anyway. I wondered how they were going to get through a whole episode of this when the time ran out–it’s only three and a half minutes long. Considering that, this might be acceptable, if they can add enough clever variations or bring in more characters.

Let’s see, Gurazeni sounds interesting, but it’s a sports anime and I’m behind, I never finished the second season of WIXOSS, Mahou Shoujo Site … glanced at it, don’t really want to watch cruelty for the sake of it every week. Boku no Hero Academia … didn’t even watch season one, then it’s ANOTHER baseball anime, AND a sequel to boot, so no Major 2nd for me. I might break my rule and watch Amanchu!~Advance~ but probably won’t write about it …

Devil’s line begins with an appropriate night sky.

After spilling a lot of blood in the opening scene, Devil’s Line settles down and watches a college girl named Tsukasa thinking, rightly, that there’s been somebody trailing her recently. Meanwhile, special police are working to catch a vampire who’s killed three woman recently (the victims in the prelude were all men, so we’re talking about a different vampire serial killer), and squelching any of it to the media, making it an urban legend. Anyway, after we see a special force member killing a vampire (mercy killing), we go back to Tsukasa and her would-be boyfriend, and the stalker, and what follows you could see a mile away, alas.

Tsukasa, looking confused, and she has every right to be.

A lot of this doesn’t really make sense. If a little scrape on Tsukasa’s cheek turns him on that badly, what about all those buckets of blood he must see all the time on the job? Tsukasa getting turned on didn’t exactly make me suspend my disbelief, either. However, the previews and promotional material show that they become a couple, so whatever. I did like the idea of vampires being like addicts always in danger of giving in and getting a fix, plus the twisted erotic overtones, suggesting what kind of addiction we’re talking about, and how the vampires virtually indistinguishable from regular humans. I also liked the flight and fight involving Jill. It was fast and would have been more fun to watch if they had lit it up a little more. So, some good use of the vampire motif, some decent action, and a little kinkiness, but the stories might be a little silly. We’ll see.

Cutie Honey Universe begins with … well, c’mon, it’s Cutie Honey.

Skipping more stuff I come to Cutie Honey Universe. I’m not a big retro anime fan, and I’m not watching the new Lupin III, but for some reason I watched Cutie Honey. This maybe tells you more about me that I’d like to admit … Basically we have a nasty looking woman named Sister Jill (an old character I later learned), leaving her harem and announcing that she’s going to destroy the Panther Claw, which would make her one of the good guys. Then it’s off to visit Honey and her friend Nat at their private school that gives off huge yuri vibes, but Panther Claw has taken over a jewelry vault, and once there Honey meets a new boss named Genet, who is obviously Jill. Stuff happens. Jill shows up with her whip, most of Honey’s clothes come off, the usual.

I LOVE this screenshot, but I’m not sure why.

If this season remains as dismal-looking as it does now I MIGHT watch another episode, but really this is just more of the same, just kinkier than I remember the 1973 series to be, and the strange movie. It’s old school in the character designs AND the rather leaden pacing. Things get a little better in the battles, when the visuals get low-budget psychedelic and they play some good synth background music, but it’s not enough. The animation is nothing to write home about, and neither is the rest of the art. The only thing that interests me is Jill’s dual personality. She’s obviously got a thing for torturing Honey, but to say she’s against Panther Claw is a nice twist, that or there’s some backstory I never saw …

Actually, Caligula begins with several seconds of darkness, so I decided to wait until they turned the lights on.

… Checking my notes for Caligula, which is SO DEEP that I had to watch over a span of two days because it was so overwhelming! Right, so we got Ritsu Shkishima, high school boy of an intellectual bent, hanging out with his less intellectual but still dependable friends while he ponders things like the definition of happiness and the Johari Window and wondering what’s in that lower-right box, and then things start going weird on him. His buddies turn into zombie like people who go and fight some weird guy, he hears hidden messages (never a good sign) in the latest pop song by Miu, etc. Meanwhile, his friend Mifue is having some reality issues of her own, with her anorexic mother getting replaced by another, and Miu, floating and glowing, outside her window. Then it’s graduation time and all hell breaks loose, or does it, because we saw an earlier scene …

It gets to be too much for Ritsu.

Well, the art is not good, the character design is adequate at best, the animation is pretty awful, and god knows what’s going to happen with the story, but I was entertained by episode one. It made a point of sidestepping every assumption I had about how the story was opening up while sneaking things in while I wasn’t noticing, like the repetition of sentences (“books are good, but make sure you study,” or the whole thing about extra stomachs for ramen), so until the end I wasn’t sure if reality was breaking down or Ritsu and Mifue were just going nuts. Alas, the chaos at the end suggested the show was going to slide into a more traditional story from now on, and that’s the last thing this show needs. Everything about episode one was crap apart from the writing, which was excellent. I’ll keep watching this is the storytelling remains good.

Knock knock.

Piano no Mori starts with a goofy-looking guy playing Chopin at a competition, while various characters we will probably meet later look on. Then we flash way way back to another guy, Shuuhei, who wants to become a pianist, transferring to a new school where he meets the much-younger goofy guy, Kai, and a few bullies. He hears about a haunted piano in the forest, which Kai shows him later. But the only one who can get notes out of it is Kai. Bring in teacher and former (tragic accident) pianist Ajino, who declares Kai the chosen one. Oh, and Kai has a hot mom, as Shuuhei discovers to his embarrassment and poorly-hidden delight.

pianonomori1-1I’m on the fence with this one. Any show that will play a piece of classical music (even a brief one like the Chopin etude they did here) in its entirety deserves some respect. Unfortunately they then play variations on “Little Brown Jug,” and now I never want to hear that song again. They CGI the piano playing so it looks accurate but gets close to uncanny valley territory. Also, while I can believe that Kai is a prodigy, I can’t believe he can play so well with no formal training at all … well, it IS a magic piano. On the plus side, while I’m not terribly interested in Kai’s journey in music, his friendship with Shuuhei works well, and the fact that Shuuhei is NOT the chosen one is bound to complicate their friendship.

Golden Kamuy is kind enough to tell us when it is.

Golden Kamuy brings us “Immortal Sugimoto,” whom I’ll call Saichi, a war veteran who hears a story about missing gold, the whereabouts of which can be decoded from the tattoos of some missing prisoners. When the guy telling him the story sobers up and decides Saichi now knows too much and tries to kill him, Saichi gets an idea that this weird story might be for real, especially when the man’s corpse (watch out for bears) has the tattoos. There are more bear issues, but a young Ainu woman named Asirpa helps him out, and naturally they team up to find the gold.

By the way, that’s a giant dead bear lying on top of him.

Good, nicely-paced episode, with the infodumps and Ainu lore coming out naturally. Saichi is an interesting mix of reasonableness and ferocity, and the show takes pains, in case you believed he was just interested in getting some money, to give him a sympathetic reason for doing so. He also takes one look at the diminutive Asirpa in action and decides this is a person he can trust. Right now, Asirpa comes off more of a monotoned, unschooled “noble savage” type, though she looks cool as hell. Not sure I want to see a show where people get skinned for their tattoos every week, but there was absolutely nothing wrong with this first episode.

jikkenhinbegIn Jikkenhin Kazoku we follow Tanis, the one “normal” person in a family full of genetic experiments. Brother Snow can turn into a dog, we also have a spider girl, a plant girl, and a mind-reader, and they’ve been in an institution until recently. Now pushed a bit by Tanis, they try to do normal things, in this episode that means going out to a Chinese restaurant. Fifteen minutes.

jikkenhin1-1There are serious overtones at work here with the public perception of what they are, and how much they should really try to conform to society, because they ARE freaks, after all, and it nearly drives Tanis to despair. However, much of the episode was inept. There were long pauses that can’t be waved away as reaction takes, and every member of the household, apart from the plant girl maybe, was unpleasant in one way or another. So while they might explore some interesting themes, I really don’t care what happens to any of the characters, and I find “fish out of water” shows tedious anyway.

A lovely image to start Fumikiri Jikan.

Finally, in Fumikiri Jikan, two girls, Ai and Tomo, wait at a railroad crossing. Ai believes that waiting like this every day is a waste of her youth, while Tomo plays straight man. Turns out, their youth (love, heartbreak, etc) is NOT being wasted at this railroad stop, for Tomo at least …

fumikiri1-1Three clever minutes. While they made it clear early on what the situation here was (Tomo likes Ai), the show handles it well, and I didn’t see the irony of supposedly wasting youth coming. This could be a nice palate cleanser.

There.  Now I think I’m only a week behind …

Spring 2018 #2

Your average high school atop a hill to start 3D Kanojo.

3D Kanojo Real Girl stars Tsutsui, your average high school loser otaku, mocked by all but his good friend Ito, who wears animal ears all the time, so he’s not any more fortunate. Tsutsui is made to clean the pool one day with the class slut Iroha, who must also look down at him, right? This being a love story, she doesn’t, but instead humors his antisocial ramblings about how antisocial the world considers him to be. Later she discovers Tsutsui and Ito being abused by some unpleasant girls and stands up for him, and after that he rescues her from some asshole by getting beat up. After that, after more bitterness from Tsutsui and patience by Iroha, they become a couple, though she’s transferring in six months. Oh, and she visits the hospital, so there’s some sad stuff coming.

3dkanoko1-1While I’m sympathetic to the put-upon nerd getting a sexy girl story, I’m not crazy about this one. Tsutsui’s bitterness is understandable, but off-putting, maybe because that’s all there is to him, well, that and his perfect academic record. Iroha is somewhat better; her honesty and ability to cut through bullshit is admirable, also the sense that she sees something in Tsutsui that resonates with her. The show around them is often inept. The scene in the WacDonalds with mean girl Mika (who, since she’s given a name, might return later) was not only completely unrealistic, I mean, in real life, do you really think Mika would go out of her way to insult some loser from her past, but also blatant: “We have to give the audience concrete evidence that he gets abuse in order to justify his nasty personality.” Nothing really stands out as new or fresh, at least in episode one, well, apart from that magical girl character. The bits with her were usually fun.

alicetoalicebegAlice or Alice … perhaps the less said the better. However, I did find it kind of cute, and it’s only three minutes long.

Note the plane. Probably Teresa’s on it.

Juushinki Pandora … can’t find at the moment, so I’ll turn to Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai, an honest-to-god original series starring Mitsuyoshi, out and about taking photos when an odd little blonde foreigner thing named Teresa keeps crashing his shots, acting strange and being something of a homeless waif. So he takes her to his family’s cafe where we meet some fairly normal people, and an idiot named Mitsuyoshi, until Teresa’s friend Alexandra shows up. Turns out they live next door, and they’re transferring into Mitsuyoshi’s school!

tada1-1Not bad. Nothing really new in it but it’s put together well. Mitsuyoshi could be a dull character but seiyuu Yuuichi Nakamura is too experienced for that; instead, we have a potentially great straight man. Teresa is too much of a ditz right now, and I’m not crazy about the voice Manaka Yuuichi gives her right now–it sounds too forced. The side characters are all the usual types. I like the dependable, scolding little sister Yui the most. For the moment, there’s nothing seriously wrong with this show, and since it also has a cute cat, I’ll try another episode.

Comic Girls is one of those shows that wants to make sure you know what show you’re about to watch. But why not kata?

Comic Girls is set in a dorm where women draw manga. We follow Kaos (her cool penname), a struggling newbie who wants new life experiences, as she moves in on her first day, gets nervous about her talent, what the other girls are like, and everything else. She meets her nice, silly roommate Koyume, and then the relatively worldly-wise dorm-mates, the intense, boyish Ruki, and Tsubasa, who draws pervy stuff though she’s quite normal. Together they work together to help Ruki get through a deadline, while Kaos tries to not screw up too much.

Kaos can’t handle this manga-ka shop talk.

There are moments here where the conversations get too ridiculous–like whenever Kaos and Koyume look up to their senpais. In addition, Kaos’s constant anxiety and whining got on my nerves a few times, though her relatively new seiyuu Hikaru Akao otherwise does a fine job. And did the scene where Kaos tries to find the dorm have to be so long? On the good side, a lot of the dialogue is fun and playful, jumping from one manga topic (genres, anxieties, editors, drawing styles …) with the odd gag thrown in, and it moves at a high speed with good comic timing. It’s all a bit silly, of course, but it could be a lot of fun to watch.

The funniest line in the new season so far.


There’s a ring falling to the ground here somewhere, but like most of the interesting scenes it’s too dark to figure it out.

Megalo Box, no (sports anime) … Next it’s Saredo Tsumibito wa Ryuu to Odoru. It starts with a quantum physics discovery lecture that essentially tries to explain why are magic, dragons, cute elf girlfriends, basically the whole European fantasy world experience, set in a modern-day city, somewhere. Then we watch two guys, Gayus Levina Soleil and Gigina Jardi Doruk Meleios Ashley-Bufh dispatch two nasty dragons, the second one nasty enough that they get a bit of a reputation but very little pay, because they’re idiots, well, Gigina is. They’re also “offensive Yushiki,” or so we’re told. Then it’s political intrigue time with cardinals, hot emperesses and other weirdos scheduling mysterious meetings. A Yushiki gets killed in the streets by a really nasty woman, Gayus walks around being poor and later making out with his elf-girlfriend, and finally that nasty woman kills another Yushiki. That makes four. Oh, and our heroes are going to be hired by that cardinal I mentioned later.

saredo1-1In other words there’s a lot of backstory and world-building to be done here; unfortunately, episode one doesn’t do all that good a job. I don’t mind hopping from one storyline to another, in fact the show did an okay job with that, but the dialogue was so intent on filling us in about everything that it became unrealistic. WHen it wasn’t trying to do that it tried to set up character relationships, also fine, but every character so far is deadly dull. Gigina and Gayus of course don’t always get along, with Gayus being the put-upon guy, yeah yeah yeah. We’ve seen almost all of it before, and so most of the conversations are dull. Finally, the fight scenes are so murky-dark that you can’t make out much of what was going on. I hope that wasn’t deliberate because the animation quality isn’t much … I haven’t watched a supernatural thriller series for a while, but I’ll pass on this one.

Inuzuma Eleven, more sports anime … (Tsuduku)

Spring 2018 new season #1

Welcome once again to my thoughts on the new season, well, at least the shows I decide to watch, which won’t be a hell of a lot. Time and circumstances and all that. As usual I’ll go by the Random Curiosity preview order, unless it’s wrong (and it already is), and I won’t watch anything I don’t want to, so there. Oh, and as usual I’ll give you the first image of each episode for the hell of it.

Pretty Derby doesn’t waste any time getting started. Also, I’m tempted to add a “first show out of the gate” line here, but I won’t.

After skipping Gegege no Kitarou Season 6 (because of the “6”–no sequels to shows I haven’t watched) and Nil Admirai no Tenbin (it actually starts next week), we start with Uma Musume Pretty Derby, where a nice girl named Special Week (Spe for short) enters a prestigious academy for horse girls, yes, horse girls. They all have ears and a tail. The details on how you come up with horse girls is not explained, and I don’t think I want to know. Anyway, she’s there to race, of course, she joins a team, has a seemingly aloof but actually shy roommate named Silence Suzuka, does weird training with the team’s idiot trainer, and at the end of the episode, breaks her maiden. Oh, turns out she’s also an idol-in-training, but she didn’t know that.

derby1-1… and it’s done by PA Works. I couldn’t believe it when I saw their name on the credits. This bit of silly fluff isn’t anywhere near the kind of show they normally do. Well, since they ARE involved it explains how tight the first episode is. It’s energetic, bright, colorful, and doesn’t take itself too seriously, shown by Spe’s “late for school” dash except instead of toast it’s a carrot. The animation level is also higher than it might have been had another studio done it. Not to say this is a masterpiece, it’s actually kind of stupid and had a boatload of “first day of school” clichés. There’s nothing special here, except the production is better than average. But if you like this sort of show, it’s reassuring to know that the production will probably not screw up.

Mahou Shoujo Ore starts with a view of some planet or another …

Up next, and no less silly, is Mahou Shoujo Ore, where we meet Saki, an incredibly unpopular idol, and her friend, the taciturn Sakuyo, who can at least sing a little. We see a fantasy dream involving magiacl girls, see Saki and Sakuyo perform, rather badly, and learn that Sakuyo’s big brother Mohiro is actually a very popular idol in his own right. By now half the episode is over and I’m getting bored. Things liven up when Saki goes home and encounters a Yakuza trying to coerce her mom to … return to being a magical girl. Mohiro, Saki’s crush, is captured by demons, so she agrees to taking over for her mom, and transforms, as you probably know by now, into a man in a dress.

Still, he’s probably more trustworthy than Kyubey.

If the horse-girl show was predictable but raised by production values, Ore has some clever moments and nice voice work marred by often inept direction and poor animation. Did they really need to show so much of both those songs? What was up with that ship going/not going under that bridge? All right, be fair, I liked some of it. The idea of a Yakuza type being a mascot character, whipping out a dubious contract and all, was funny. The comments during the dream sequence about the black and white confusing the viewers was sort of funny, and much of the dialogue works well, but otherwise, things felt off, not timed right. That can be fixed, I suppose, and I’ll probably watch another episode to see if they do.

Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi is one of those rare shows that starts its run with the actual opening credit sequence.

Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi stars Aoi, a young woman who can see spirits but otherwise has a normal life, well apart from her mother deserting her, almost starving to death, etc, but otherwise pretty normal. Then she gets abducted to the spirit realm by an ogre named Oodana, and she learns that her nice grandpa who raised her put her up as collateral for a debt (100,000,000 yen). Okay, maybe not so nice, as now this ogre intends to marry her. She offers to work it off but can’t find a job in the spirit realm until the nice fox spirit (choice #2 in Aoi’s male harem), inspired by her omrurice, suggests she open a restaurant in a building near the inn.

… as Aoi searches the fine print.

Of course, she’d have to work at that inn for a long time to make up the money, so this is essentially a story of which already romantically attracted person is going to cave in to the other’s wishes first. With some food involved, which is good because so far it’s paced at romance-anime speed, meaning everything takes about twice as long to happen than it normally would, at least for people who like me who don’t much care for romance stories. Food would be good, like an Isekai Shokudo with a love story. Yeah, that’s it! However, I suspect that they’ll focus more on the romance and the harem than the food, and the connection between the two. The show bandies about the concept of “being eaten” a lot.

Okay, next is Captain Tsubasa. Sports anime so I’m not interested. Gundam Build Divers is part of a franchise I can barely comprehend (All I’ve seen is the original series) … Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Die Neue These Kaikou … can’t find it yet … so it’s Tokyo Ghoul:re, but that’s a sequel to a show I dropped …

tachibanabegSo now it’s Tachibana-kan To Lie Angle, where a girl named Hanabi, first year high schooler, moves to a dorm she thought was fancy, but it’s not, but she sees a naked girl, and that makes her feel better, and we know what kind of show we’re getting. She meets some other residents who come tease her in various ways, including a childhood friend named Konomi, whom she’s forgotten and possibly won’t be forgiven for it, at least not for a couple episodes.

tachibana1-1It could be worse in all respects, animation, art, fanservice, in other words, it’s pretty much what you’d expect from the yuri premise, but not blatant. Also, it’s only three minutes long. This is good because I frankly don’t think any of the characters can hold up their end for any longer than that at a time.

Winter 2018 #5

Takunomi opens with Tokyo Station, which is a place for transferring, so many people don’t know it looks like this outside.

Sharing the half hour with Dagashi Kashi is Takunomi, where a young woman named Michiru comes to Tokyo for the first time, runs into trouble, gets freaked out, falls asleep on the train, freaks out some more, but is finally taken to her new home by Kae, the motherly one of the all-woman hostel. The then meets Nao, drunk already, and we learn how to pour Yebisu beer, and a secret about its label. Also, good food is prepared, but they didn’t have brand names. Looked delicious, though. And that’s about it.

I suppose as Dagashi Kashi is for snack food, Takunomi is supposed to be for drinks. Not sure we need it, but why not?  Did we need Dagashi?  Only with hindsight do we say “hell, yes!”  It’s too early to tell how good this show will get yet, but I noticed that I really didn’t get interested until drunken Kae talked about how she got her lost hopes and dreams back thanks to a special Yebisu beer label, and all I can figure is that her life wasn’t turning out the way she wanted so she turned to drink, but presented in a more surreal way.  So maybe it’s a show about adult failures, and why not?  At least the other women at the hostel think Kae drinks too much, though they can all put it away. Not sure about this one.

Fairy-tale opening placard for Hakume to Mikochi.  Yes, they are tiny.

Hakumei to Mikochi is about the titular, diminutive women, as they live and work in a forest somewhere. It’s a good life. Mikochi cooks minestrone, they both ride beetles when they get tired, and they make friends with enormous (for them) birds who you think would just eat them. In the second half they visit a busy market and Mikochi (the sensible one) loses her wallet, but since she’s good friends with all the shop people it just means she and Hakumei get lots of freebies. They find the wallet, anyway, and they eat and drink a lot.

Mikochi and Hakume, in the enormous grass.

Hadn’t seen this one coming. A quite nice episode where nothing really bad happens to anyone, and I don’t think anything will in the future. So it’s a stop and smell the roses show, perhaps, with bright and colorful artwork that looks like it comes out of a children’s picture book. The main characters have the same dynamic we’ve seen elsewhere, Mikochi is sensible, Hakumei less so, but practical and caring. You wonder just how the two met up and how they became so close. You’ll also wonder about the world they’re in, but I think the show will be more than happy to show us more in future episodes.

Think I’ll skip Hakyuu Houshin Engi because I seriously doubt I’ll watch more than one episode even if I like it, and I’m behind again …

I’m so sorry, apparently I didn’t take screenshots of Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens!  Anyway, takes place in Hakata, Fukuoka, where we are told that maybe up to three percent of the population are professional hitmen. With all the dead bodies we see in episode one, the place lives up to its reputation, We follow a few of the killers around, a crossdresser who keeps getting sent off to kill more people and is really tired of it, also some shady people hanging around the mayor, his son, I believe, who just kills for the fun of it, and some other guy who’s never killed anyone before and really isn’t up to the job. We got detectives, too, namely Banba, who is looking into the death of another detective until the crossdresser shows up to kill him, or not.

It’s all very confusing; it’s one of those shows where the creators just toss you right in without telling you much of anything. When the show loops back to the opening scene of the crossdresser watching TV in Banba’s office I gave a sigh of relief–something I recognized. I suspect it will stay hard to follow because they introduce a lot of characters and give us very little information about them, and the intrigue will probably get more convoluted by the minute. These aren’t bad things, and I don’t mean to suggest that the show is handing the material badly, but viewers will probably have to do a little guessing and remembering to figure things out, at least early on.

Beatless starts with words slowly forming about loving souless beings.

Beatless takes place in a future world where there are a lot of servant androids about, known as hIEs, and it stars a high school boy named Arato who knows they’re not real and are trying to mimic human emotions for usually business reasons. Also, there’s been some sort of event at a nearby facility and several highly-modded hIEs are going about causing destruction and smirking as they do it. Who taught them that? It’s boring.  Anyway Arato meets a nice hIE he knows in a parking lot but she goes crazy and tries to kill him, until he’s rescued by another hIE, of the, er, Lacia class. They do a formal contract thing, mostly because of the crazy cars that are now trying to kill him, and now he owns her, and must accept all responsibility for whatever mayhem he tells her to do. I think that last bit is going to be very important later on.

Having a super android girl who can stop insane cars is useful.

No reason to like it especially, it boils down to sexy android girl who obey whatever command you give her, but I did anyway. I wonder why the hell Lacia showed up to save him all of a sudden, and if she was one of the renegade hIEs, and if so why Arato? Except there was this brief flashback where Arato as a boy watches a surgery/tuneup of another android explode. We also don’t know what the evil grinning hIEs want, except the one who produces nanobots like flower petals from her dress suggests that Arato is implicated somehow. He’s a nice chap, overly kind, perhaps, but he has a goofy sister and some nice friends to ground him. Right now, just the right balance between domesticity and weird violence.

Killing Bites, ha ha, no … Gin no Guardian, another season 2 of an unwatched season 1 …

Not sure if those are petals or bits of bird feathers …

So the last show I’m going to watch this season is Darling in the FranXX, with its hero actually named Hiro, except he’s actually called 016 because he’s a subject in a facility that raises pistils (pilots) to command giant mecha in female form (at least the one we see this week) and fight monsters of various kinds. The twist of this very generic setup is that you need a male and female pilot to bond, become the two wings of the franXX. Hiro has bombed out of the program, unfortunately taking a nice girl named Naomi down with him, and while he has special permission to stay (for unknown reasons, heh) he elects to leave the facility, but before he does he catches sight of a naked, strange, feral pistil named, er, 002, who takes a liking to him as she catches a fish in her mouth and he stares at her body. The inevitable happens: monsters attack the facility, 002’s darling (partner) is killed, and Hiro’s powers are awakened as he takes his place, well, that and a sexy kiss.

Now gimmie a kiss.

So we got a mish-mosh of many different mecha shows, going back a decade or two, and I’m not a big mecha fan anyway … Yet I’m going to keep watching this for a while. I don’t know why. I watched it this morning then went to work, and from time to time I tried to figure out what about it appealed to me. Maybe it’s the unspoken situation of the students there, that if they fail there’s no going back home, though no one knows where they go. I figure in a place like that there is a strict limit on resources, and if they can’t pull their weight, so government/society issues … Or maybe it was 002 and 016’s self-perceived status as lonely people who can’t get along who find someone that just might accept them for what they are. That’s hardly new either, but it seems to resonate here, and again, I don’t know why it does. Maybe it’s Trigger’s contribution to the animation, making everything seem more like a drawing exploding out of reality at times. … I don’t know what it is, but the episode appealed to me and I will watch the next episode at least.

Speaking of which, now’s the time I have to decide which shows to keep and which to drop. But THIS season I’ll hang around and write about a few!  Thank you for reading.  Agreements, disagreements, let me know!

Winter 2018 #4

Basilisk -Ouka Ninpouchou- … don’t follow the franchise, so next is Gdgd Men’s Party, but I can’t find it, Yowamushi Pedal Glory Line … not following that, either, so it’s Overlord 2, and while I hear Overlord 1 was pretty good, I didn’t watch it, and I have no intention of watching DamexPrince … Ah!

Not sure, but I think it’s someone’s back.

Kyoto Animation has been pushing Violet Evergarden for a while now. It starts with Violet, who we quickly learn is a robot used for combat in a bloody war which is now over, is recuperating and having her letters fly out the window and travel great distances, when former Lieutenant Hodgins comes to pick her up. She keeps asking about Gilbert, her former commander, and Hodgins keeps distracting her. He takes her to a household where she doesn’t fit, and so goes to work at Hodgin’s letter-writing and delivery service. In the meantime she tries to figure out what she ought to do now that her main purpose is fulfilled and her commander gone. and in the end tries to focus on what the hell “love” is. Good luck with that.

The episode is more coherent than my description. It’s just that it’s a long story we’re embarking on, and KyoAni is too sophisticated to settle for a simple narrative. Also, they fill the episode with detail, both visually (yes, this show is amazing to look at. Did you expect anything less?) and in the narrative. There’s too much to simply retell here; I’m amazed it all fit into 25 minutes. Which is not to say this is a perfect episode. For one thing, why on earth don’t they just TELL Violet that Gilbert is dead? Of if he really isn’t and there’s a dark secret here, at least give us a hint of it, because I spent much of the time muttering “Just TELL her!” and getting distracted from the dazzling visuals and lovely character designs KyoAni was so obviously desperate to show off to us. Well, she and we will figure out what’s going on eventually. In the meantime, I have no idea what episode 2 has in store for us. That’s neither a good or bad thing, but how many times can you say that about a show after episode one?

You can just make out a book about to open.

Next it’s Marchen Madchen, where a shy girl named Hazuki suffers from what she calls “story syndrome,” which we would call escaping into a book whenever her stressful real life (mother died, father remarried) gets to be too much for her. She’s reading one when a girl in a robe bumps into her and runs off, leaving her bag behind her. Hazuki, for reasons I can’t figure out, follows her and sees the stranger do actual magic stuff! She follows some more, finds she has a book in her own bag she didn’t know about, gets transported to a new, magical land, and, because this is an anime fantasy story, is soon naked and running for her life. And it turns out she’s a marchen, or maybe it’s madchen, which impresses some of the girls there. Apparently there are no men.

Judging from what I saw, this show is going to have a lot more fanservice. Yumelia, the girl chasing Hazuki around, switches to a string bikini for no reason at all, and the OP and ED are full of cute girls in various … attractive outfits. Which may not be a deal-breaker for you, so I’ll talk about the story. Basic fantasy stuff about books, and how wonderful reading is, which is fine, we need more reading in the world, but I have a feeling the stories are going to be precious fairy stories that young girls are supposed to like, and I don’t know if I can handle too much of that. Too soon to tell, though. I’ll think about it next week … oh hell, it IS next week.

Modern-day Tokyo, but the series won’t be there long.

Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku stars Suzuki, I think, game debugger guy working on the third day or so of his latest “death march” at work, who finally gets a little shut-eye and wakes up in a fantasy world that looks like two of the games he’s working on slammed together. Okay, he thinks. Dream. I’ll play along. Some lizardmen shoot arrows at him so he brings down a meteor storm which not only wipes them out but raises all his levels (Log Horizon style, he gets all the windows and notices a player would get) life points, and cash to extreme levels. He plays around with all this for awhile, sometimes wondering why he hasn’t woken up yet, when he sees a dragon attack a group of soldiers and rescues a warrior maiden of sorts, who will probably be pissed off and slap him next episode.

Another “modern-day guy stuck in a video game or generic fantasy world” story, which isn’t necessarily bad, just that it will be harder for it to find variations on the theme. Well, for starters, he’s the only modern-day person there, and I doubt there will be more. Yes, he has a cell phone, but he can’t call god, though he’s so powerful he probably wouldn’t have to. But judging from the ED we’ve potentially got a harem series in the making. Almost all girls except for Satou, Suzuki’s player-name. There’s a lot of cgi-heavy action that doesn’t quite look realistic, but it’s not nearly as bad as some other shows, and in fact the art looks very good. I might watch next week, if only to see if the girls slaps him.

Yet another blue anime sky …

In Koi wa Ameagari no You ni we have a high school girl named Tachibana who, apparently was a member of the track team, but sustained an injury bad enough that she had to be operated on. Now she seems to mope about (maybe she always did) and work her part time job, where she’s got a serious crush on the manager, a hapless fellow named Kondou, constantly apologizing to customers, writing little notes to himself, who was nice to her just after the injury, and has become vaguely aware that this lovely young girl has a thing for him. The EP suggests that it’s going to be more than a thing, but watching these two not stupid people go through the day I’m not so sure. Also there’s an idiot boy chasing Tachibana who I want to kill.

Believe me, that’s the last thing she wants to do to you.

The age difference might be worrisome, but the show shows no indication that it’s going to get tawdry on us. Though shown as largely a fool, Kondou obviously knows the situation and while he’s lonely and plays with the thought, he’s not getting his hopes up, and maybe hopes rather that Tachibana will find a boy closer to her age. Tachibana, meanwhile, is an extremely serious girl, and is absolutely certain but unsure how to go about it, which makes her unsmiling demeanor and bullheaded actions kind of adorable, and her gaze can pierce steel (“Is she glaring at me?” Kondou asks himself more than once). Not sure how this one is going to work out, or if it SHOULD work out, but I think we’ll get a sincere, believable story either way.

A mummy show that starts in the desert.

Next it’s Miira no Kaikata, where a high school boy living at home, named Sora, gets a strange package from his traveling father. Other packages have contained dangerous, cursed things, so Sora is a little surprised to find it’s a tiny little mummy that was sent in a coffin with a cross on it, go figure. The little critter is eager to please but isn’t much use except for swelling up in disgusting ways when it gets wet, barking like a dog when it has to, and making squick sounds when it walks. Sora calls it Mii-kun; there’s also Pochi the dog (the critters in this show have unimaginative names), and presumably Sora’s sister, Kaede, who sadly spends the episode locked in her room on a deadline. Oh, and Sora’s friend Tazuki, who wants to “try things out” on Mii-kun; I approve.

That was about the lamest, most uninspired first episodes I’ve seen in a while, and I say that while acknowledging that it had to set up the premise and we (and Sora) have to learn what it eats, how to wash it, etc. But I spent most of the episode wondering when the episode would end. Mii-kun didn’t strike me as being cute. Sora was in the position of voicing his inner monologue because there was nothing else to do, and that gets dull very fast. Maybe if we had seen more of Kaede, or Tazuki had gotten his with it would have been a better episode. Also, I was somewhat reminded of the baby from Eraserhead …

Dagashi returns with Saya’s mouth.

Happily, next comes a perfect palate cleanser, the return of Dagashi Kashi! First we get …

Hotaru is in fine form.

Later it’s …

So is Saya.

We’re only getting half episodes this time, but in the first episode at least they squeezed in three or four dagashi, though only the two above are featured. We start with a strange Winter(!) scene where Saya asks Kokonotsu why his shop is so run down these days, and we learn the dad has run off, but after that it’s back to hot summer days, and the great Hotaru being summoned to satisfy Kononotsu’s and later Saya’s hankerings. Hotaru is at full force, posing, gesturing, bravely shouting inane things (“Your father is a Youtuber!”–I mean, yeah, there was a Youtube thing first season, but why shout it now?). Saya has less to do, but she gets her share of crazy faces and adorable blushing, so it’s okay. The question is, will this once again be the most educational show of the season? This time it’s going against a ramen show plus one about camping and another about exploring. Well, I already know those two won’t be as funny.

Winter 2018 #3

Mitsuboshi begins with a girl running to headquarters to report a panda cat.

To begin our third installment we have Mitsuboshi Colors, where we meet three cute girls, Yui (the nice one), Kotoha (the quiet, smart one who says disturbing things), and Sacchan, the genki one with a poop fetish. They do adorable things like run around Ueno park trying to keep their city safe for the people, and animals, and in doing so get into numerous minor scrapes and surprisingly succeed in just about everything they do, especially exasperating and assaulting the long-suffering police guard, Saitou, who sort of looks after them. Also around is Pops, who has a store of cool weird stuff.

I can’t say it did much for me. First of all, it’s the premise. I can’t believe those girls would be allowed to run amok in one of the biggest tourist areas in Tokyo, and have a hideout there to boot. But even accepting that, I found very little of what they did entertaining, bothersome would be a better word. I have much more sympathy for Saitou the guard than any of the girls, and the fact that he puts up with their antics nominates him up for sainthood. “Pops,” as the translation called him, the store owner, has some good points, both encouraging and messing with the girls a little. On the other hand, you could say that both he and Pops are doing what little they can to keep an eye on the girls, but in the end, I want to see more side characters if I’m going to keep watching this.

A generic anime sky to open Gakuen Babysitters.

Gakuen Babysitters is about Ryuichi, middleschooler, and Kotaro, is very young brother, who enter a new school together after their parents die in a plane crash. The headmaster is this old bag whose motive for letting the kids into the school was to have Ryuichi run the school daycare center, which is fine with Ryuichi. Naturally, the kids are all unbearably cute and run roughshod over poor Ryuichi, with plenty of heartwarming moments. Even the old bag headmaster shows a softer side–actually I’m a little disappointed about that.

Meet the kids.

So it’s Hanamaru Kindergarten with personal tragedy mixed in. Also some possibly inappropriate parenting behavior when Hayato, another middle schooler, hits one of the kids (it’s his younger brother, but still …). I hope they follow up on that. The big theme, at least for the first episode, and which is stated perhaps too clearly, is that no one is truly alone, and while you think you can handle crises by yourself it’s okay to lean on other people, which is something both Ryuichi and 2 year-old Kotaro both need to learn to do. The kid won’t even let on he’s got a fever for fear of troubling his big brother. Overall it’s a happy, mostly positive world with cute kids. Kirin is probably my favorite right now. If they can keep the maudlin parts to a minimum and not beat us on the head with the week’s theme this show might be a lot of fun to watch.

Juri goes home after another failed interview.

Let’s see … Zoku Touken Ranbnu -Hanamaru- … not interested in the franchise, so next it’s Kokkoku, where a young woman named Juri returns to a screwed-up family after failing yet another job interview. A NEET brother, fired father, single-mom sister, only ojiisan and the kid Makoto are worth much. For some weird reason some thugs decide to kidnap Makoto as the brother walks him home, and before we can figure out why anyone would want to try this, the grandfather is having everyone touch a stone and dripping blood into it. And time stops. But before they can haul the captives out of the kidnappers’ lair, additional thugs who CAN move show up and start beating the good guys up, ojiisan starts teleporting–badly, some bored-looking guys also show up to watch and mutter stuff, and finally a big monster who is about to kill one of the bad guys, and they run out of time.

You aren’t supposed to teleport UP, you know. You’ll just come back down.

Stylistically it’s the best-looking show so far this season–while the character designs aren’t anything great the background and weirdo effects are great to look at, that goes especially for the OP. The story is full of surprise moments–I hadn’t counted on more thugs showing up–and there’s a good, naturalistic feel to Juri’s family that made me feel like this would be a gritty slice-of-life story rather than a horror-fantasy, had it not been for an opening bit. But I don’t know if the story is going to live up to the good job they did setting up the family, but future episodes will tell. However, I don’t much like the unpleasant tone of the whole thing. Everyone aside from Juri and the boy Makoto is unpleasant and screwed up. But again, so far I haven’t seen anything like this episode this season. Dunno.

Ryuuou begins with a big Ryuou.

Next it’s Ryuuou no Oshigoto where we meet Yaichi, Japan’s newest shougi champion, and the youngest. Now two months later, he is trying to overcome both the backlash and the slump he’s been in since his grueling, health-threatening final where a nice little girl helped him out by bringing him water. And guess who shows up at his apartment? It seems he sort of agreed to make the girl, Ai, a disciple. Turns out she’s a prodigy, and she’s adorable, and has a girly crush on Yaichi. The rest of it is all fluff and shougi shop talk, and sadistic “sisters” showing up right when there’s a naked elementary school girl running around the apartment.

Apart from that last bit I found myself enjoying this show quite a bit. Mind you, there’s absolutely nothing new to it, but there’s a warmth and good humor to everything. And while the Yaichi/Ai relationship borders on creepy (Yaichi isn’t the type to take advantage, but Ai has a twisted, jealous side), I had fun watching Ai square off against the scary Ginko, and her ridiculous exchange of threats with another player–you could tell they were both having fun. Yaichi is kind of a bore, but since he is a champion he’s shown he has some inner strength. I might watch another episode.

Takagi-san begins with nishikata plotting.

Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san is about a middle school boy named Nishikata, whose one goal in life is to “get” Takagi, the cute girl who sits next to him in the back of the classroom. He comes up with all these schemes–pop-ups in pencil boxes, erasers with secrets, weird faces, only to discover that she’s miles ahead and the joke is on him. And naturally, there’s the implication that they actually LIKE each other and, being middle-schoolers, this is how they act it out. Right now, that’s about it.

Nishikata is still plotting. Takagi seems amused.

On its own there’s not much to it. We get the idea the moment Takagi asks Nishikata to open her pencil case, and nothing much changes after that. It’s also slowly-paced, full of Nishikata lines like “hehe, this time I’ll get her for sure!” that aren’t needed, especially when we see how it will turn out. There’s a little fun to be had with HOW Takagi nails him–the eraser bit was clever. But it all gets repetitive and you begin to wonder why Nishikata is trying so hard and why Takagi is being so cruel to him. However, I’ve tried to read some of the manga, and the stories in there are longer form, not in the classroom, and the point was NOT Nishikata trying to get Takagi (I believe it had something to do with Takagi playing matchmaker for two other friends), so it’s possible they’ll break the routine.

I had trouble looking for Ashita wa Doyoubi until I realized I had already watched it. It was those three girls at the end of Takagi-san. Two shows in one! Alas, they did very little for me; their best bits came in the Takagi section with their stunned reactions to the teacher punishing Nishikata.