Summer 2018 4

It’s embarrassing that I’m still working on episode ones when some shows are up to episode threes, but nothing I can do about it.

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Karen in the darkness, watching a show.

Shoujo – Kageki Revue Starlight starts off normally enough, with our ditzy heroine Karen dragged to school by her shy friend Mahiru, where they prepare for morning ballet practice at the prestigious performing arts school for girls Seisho Music Academy. We watch a bunch of girls enter and interact and learn about the upcoming production of Starlight, which they will do at the school’s 100th festival.

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Looks mundane enough, right?

But a transfer student, Hikari, enters, who’s really good at everything, prompting some good-natured jealousy from the others (nice to see them supportive of each other, for now). Karen and Hikari knew each other twelve years ago, but now Hikari is aloof, though it seems to be shyness. Karen has a weird dream where Hikari pushes her off the top of Tokyo Tower … Okay, that’s kind of weird, but nothing is made of it until Karen, looking for Hikari, takes an elevator that she didn’t know the school had … NOW it gets really weird, and magnificent, but why a giraffe?

starlight1-3It reminds me of something by Kunihiku Ikuhara in the way it drops from a relatively normal situation into strangeness, like Penguindrum, and the stylized combat of Utena with military officer tunics, with brass buttons replacing roses, though the look of Starlight is more traditional, and no, he’s not involved in this. Also, I can sort of see where this show is going. These eight girls will probably settle their personal scores and professional jealousies in combat, one per episode, but Karen says more than once that they will all become Starlight together, meaning she will support the team, not an individual, not even herself, or maybe she was talking about her and her childhood friend Hikari, center stage and all that. Karen might be the kind of brave, dynamic girl to make that work. This first battle, in fact the episode, was fluid and very well-done. Well, I’m a fan of grounded weirdness in anime, so I think I’ll give this one a shot. Besides it gave me the first “Holy Shit!” moment of the season.

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High Score Girl begins in a smoky old arcade.

In High Score Girl it’s 1991, and we follow a boy named Haruo, great at arcade games, who finally meets his match in his smart, popular, and rich classmate Akira. He gets so frustrated that he does a low move (“Turtling with Guile” in Street Fighter 2), getting him a punch in the jaw. Later he plays against a couple who throw tantrums, decides to back off, so Akira beats their ass instead, in the game and in real life after they beat on poor Haruo for a while. Then they play together at a candy store to pass the time until it stops raining, and to keep the storekeeper off their backs for not buying anything. Haruo is further abused, but maybe in love. As for Akira, she’s too weird for us to tell.

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With buttons missing?!

Great fun. I thought I would find it annoying, but I warmed up to Haruo’s internal monologue immediately–not sure why. And Akira is so odd that it’s impossible not to like her. She doesn’t say a word; her actions and incomprehensible face that provide the only clues as to what she’s thinking. And it’s another educational show. We learn a lot about early 90s arcade games. My only question is, why is turtling with Guile considered such a breach of courtesy? It’s in the game–you should use it. I only hope that the show gives us a big story arc. Right now it looks like it’ll have a few little stories an episode, each based on a different game.

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Lord of Vermillion starts with a red moon. Go figure.

Lord of Vermillion Guren no Ou starts in the ruins of Tokyo, I guess, where some superpowered young folk are flying around killing each other while spouting lines, until they’re all dead. The end. Well, maybe, but after that we meet Chihiro, college kid who was taken in by a nice kendo dojo owner and his son and best bud, Kotetsu. They head to campus when a weird noise and red mist happens and everyone collapses. Chihiro has a dream where a girl quotes Shakespeare (Tempest) at him, and wakes up five months later, and we see huge plant-tentacles all over the city, which is closed off. He returns to the dojo where the nice old man has turned into a huge monster …

vermillion1-1I am intrigued by the mystery of it all, and the event thirteen years ago that a reporter keeps asking Chihiro about. However, I wasn’t terribly thrilled by anything else. All of the characters are dull, except for maybe the rude nurse, and Chihiro is the dullest. Also, it looks like it’s going to be about a lot of people with superpowers trying to kill each other. That doesn’t interest me. It looks okay and it has some nice supernatural light shows, but it’s all in bloody red. I’ll pass.

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Grand Blue starts with a lengthy essay about how these are fictional characters and kids shouldn’t drink, etc.

Don’t know if I’ll pass on Grand Blue or not. In episode one Iori returns to the beach town where he used to live to begin college. Sounds like a romance story right there, right? All those childhood friends and all. But instead he’s chased around by naked men who want him to join their scuba club and drink way too much alcohol, to the disdain of his cute cousin, Chisa. Thanks to these drunks, he gets in and out of trouble all episode, and ropes in another new student only to get the heat off him, oh, and in exchange for some clothes, though at least he has trunks on.

grandblue1-1Here’s the thing, if the show was only going to be about drunken college capers I’d ditch it right away, but there is the scuba angle, which they barely explored in ep1. I don’t know about romance, however, since both the girls we meet here are cousins of his. Next week it looks like they’ll actually dive, and we’ll see how that balances with the excessive partying.

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Yuuna-san starts in a hot bath, where our hero will doubtlessly be beaten up numerous times during the season.

Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san starts out with a guy named Kogarashi, somewhat trained in getting rid of nasty ghosts (all he knows is punching them, but he’s good at it), starts a happy new life in an onsen town at a haunted boarding house, fully expecting that, when the ghost shows up, he’ll punch them and he can enjoy the low rent and free hot spring all he wants. The ghost indeed appears, while he’s in the water, only it’s a sexy young girl who keeps falling out of her yukata. How can he punch that? Worse, once she realizes this boy can see everything, she’s embarrassed no end and beats him up. Waking up, he meets the other tenants, all suspicious, sexy girls, and then the ghost, Yuuna, who’s actually quite sweet and wouldn’t hurt a flea, good thing, too because they’re sharing the same room … Oh, there’s some talk about her turning evil, and Kogarashi gets beaten up by the other tenants for falling into their bath.

yuragisou1-1Need I say there’s a lot of fanservice in this show? Well, that’s okay. This is no masterpiece by any measure but it wasn’t that bad, either. Kogarashi is no wimpy harem lead–he jumps into the fray when another exorcist tries to banish Yuuna and apart from Yuuna he’s quite confident. Which is nice because it looks like the harem is going to treat him like this is Love Hina, especially the falling into the girls’ bath thing. The episode flows along with no missteps, doing what it has to do in establishing characters (the harem girls might actually be interesting) and overarching story, the regret that keeps Yuuna stuck here. We’ll see if it can keep up this acceptable first episode.

Nothing else really interests me, so that’s it for now.   Now on to episode twos (and threes) Thanks for reading!

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Summer 2018 3

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A spooky beginning to Jashin-chan Dropkick

In Jashin-chan Dropkick we get the setup from the OP. Jashin wants to kill her summoner, Yurine, for summoning her. So the episode begins and she spends all her time trying to do just that, to the horror and resignation of some fellow demons and angels who hang out at Yurine’s apartment. Let’s see we have Medusa, the sweet one, whose hair is quite normal, and Minos, a cowgirl of some kind, and Pekola, who’s an angel so disapproves of all this demon ruckus, but doesn’t have the nerve to stop it. And of course, Yurine, a goth girl with eyepatch who’s pretty much one step ahead of Jashin. In the first half, Jashin-chan gets chopped for hot-pot because she was greedy and ate all the beef. Then there’s an attack with a crowbar, and finally a birthday party where the taser falls into the wrong hands, so it’s more Jashin-meat for the hot-pot!

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The only decent screenshot of all the characters I could get comes in the ED.

It’s all nutty, bloody, and alas, I didn’t laugh very much. I like how they skipped the origin stories and just stuck it into the OP so we don’t have to bother with it. But while I liked some of the bloody hijinks, it’s obviously a show where one person will try to outdo another person and fail every week with their tail in a hot pot, maybe several times an episode. They’ll add little stories about the side characters from time to time, but they frankly didn’t interest me too much. Also, I had problems with how it all flowed. They spent too much time on the angel Pekola being tempted by meat in scene one, for example. And why focus on her and not Yurine? I did like the fourth wall breaking, but that probably won’t be enough for me to watch episode 2.

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Phantom of the Twilight starts with London at night.

In Phantom in the Twilight we get two Chinese students arriving at London (a cozy, picturesque London) to begin studies. While wandering around the tourist traps a blurry thing steals their luggage and other stuff, including a keepsake ring that belonged to our heroine Ton’s great-great-great-great grandmother, or something, Sha Rijan, who once called London her home. Anyway, Ton bravely chases after the blurry thing which only she can see, until she does a magic spell which leads her to a bishie guy cafe, where she walks through a mirror. The magical bishies figure out the deal and they wind up fighting the goblin in Hyde park. Ton discovers she has MORE magical powers, and afterwards Vlad (head bishie guy) hypnotizes her so she doesn’t remember a thing. What fun is that? Well, her friend Shinyao’s gonna get kidnapped next week, as the tag cheerfully tells us, so she’ll be back in action soon.

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Oh, she just walked through a mirror while chasing a paper airplane. Nothing suspicious.

Another one I feel torn about. It’s maybe a reverse harem for one, and frankly, visually, it feels a little crude and lifeless. On the other hand, I enjoyed just about everything else. The bishies are less annoying than most, more fatherly in their attention toward Ton. I liked how Ton leaped into whatever trouble around her–passive females are almost as bad as bishie males. The story was laid out fairly well, though I didn’t care for how Shinya dropped out of the picture when the action started, and there was that dull train conversation. On the other hand, it kept me interested in Ton’s g-g-g-grandma’s history and what Ton will discover about herself. I might watch another episode.

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The sky over Kyoto.

Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes starts with a quick flashback (A girl named Aoi visits an antique shop in Kyoto) jumps to now (Aoi now works there), then jumps back, to her first meeting with Kiyotaka, known as Holmes. In the present day a guy brings in a bowl for Holmes to appraise and gets upset when Holmes calls it a fake. He doesn’t get any happier when Holmes goes into a, er, Holmes-like appraisal of the man himself, analyzing his clothes and behavior and basically saying the man knew the item was fake all along. He does the same thing to poor Aoi in the flashback, telling her how long she’s been in Kyoto, and at times seems able to read Aoi’s mind. And so begins the weekly deductions of Holmes, while Aoi looks on in awe.

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He’s kind of weird, actually.

There might be an overriding story arc involving that one man, but this feels like it’s mostly going to be a bunch of standalone stories. I’m not crazy about those. Holmes is an interesting character just for his deductive abilities, but Aoi’s a bit dull and shallow. On the other hand, it’s educational. In one episode we learned a little about Karatsu ware, and a little about the life of Hakuin Ekaku. And despite the show’s sedate, slightly dull nature, the presence of forgeries and forgers gives the show a dangerous edge. This is one of those shows where I’ll wait to see if I feel like watching another episode next week.

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Tensai Bakabon doesn’t look like it’s changed … Heh.

Tensai Bakabon returns after eighteen years with a new series. I’m not familiar with it but the show is kind enough to reintroduce the characters. In the starter, Papa realizes that they haven’t changed at all in those eighteen years and goes about changing things, especially himself. He holds auditions for a new voice actor, transforms himself into something out of Onihei Hankachou, then a WOMAN out of Onihei Hankachou. He orders that Tokyo be filled with Hooters, turns Bakabon into six Bakabons and then into bystanders, turns Rerere into a rhoomba, etc. Until Mama puts her foot down and things get back to normal for episode two.

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It would take too long to explain what’s going on here.

Ahem, I don’t think the original Tensai Bakabon was this weird. I’m sure it will settle down next week, but this episode was a hell of a lot of fun. Everyone is completely aware that they’re in an anime, and that it’s been eighteen years, and the creators have a lot of fun playing with it. Countless art styles, changing the aspect ratio with physical force, cameos by Nozawa Masako and Jun Fukuyama (the latter has to play Papa in both male and female forms), not to mention Black Jack, and a nod to the late manka-ka, Akatsuka Fujio. I spent more time looking up references than I did watching the episode. That might be a problem for some people. At least in this episode, newer viewers like myself won’t catch all the references. I doubt that I’ll keep watching when the show hits its routine, but I’m glad I watched episode 1.

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An intense face to begin this one.

Tenrou: Sirius the Jaeger is the latest PA works production, and since their shows are generally smarter than average I decided to give it a try. The episode hops from one thing to another. We get a declaration of a new offensive from some vampires who then bloodily munch on the nice girls brought in, and then the good guys show up. Our central character (unless he died at the end of the episode), Yully, gets a little obsessed with smells and goes after the vampires himself, to the annoyance of his comrades. His group, the Jaegers, head to pre-war Japan, poorly disguised as trade magnates, where we get some internal infighting between this government faction and that. Then more blood, and a chase at the end where Yully maybe buys it, but at least he hacked a couple limbs off the nasty Agatha.

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Our heroes.

I said the episode hops around. It does so sometimes in the middle of scenes, and figuring out the continuity can get confusing, but I figure we’ll figure out the whole story eventually, though I don’t really know why they brought in that murderer guy when he’s not needed except to distract the police. Also there’s that nice girl Ryouko … If you don’t know much about pre-war Japan, and I don’t, I’m sure there are things that will go whoosh over your head. On the other hand, it looks great, and the animation is up to PA Works standard. There’s a splendid, vivid car chase near the end that’s worth watching on its own. So, a little hard to get into, but it might be worth it for what could be a well-told story and the eye candy. And the gore. Lots of gore.

Summer 2018 2

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An appropriate view for the start of Harukana Receive.

Harukana Receive, the second sports anime I’m looking at this season (I normally don’t watch them at all) features Haruka, high school girl who moves to Okinawa, where her cousin and new roomie Kanata picks her up. On the way to granny’s house, they stop on the beach so that Haruka can splash about in the water a bit, and then she spots two high school girls practicing beach volleyball. One of them, Ayasa, is friendly enough, but Narumi is full of competitive fire and resentment, especially when Kanata shows up. There’s some history there but the show only teases us with it. Anyway, they have a “friendly” seven-point match where they hit to ball to Haruka every time, and she fucks it up every time but the last, when Narumi is shocked by her jumping ability (Haruka is as tall as Kanata is short). They agree to a revenge match in seven days, if Haruka can learn the rules, and then it’s revealed that Narumi and Ayasa are the high school champions. Still, that’s not going to stop Haruka.

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Duh-Duh-Dunnn!

It’s not bad, but after it became clear that Kanata and Narumi have some issues with each other everything else in the episode went out the window with me. I suspect it has to do with the shrine they have at the house to a girl who might have been Kanata’s beach volleyball partner. Everything else is straightforward sports anime first episode stuff, meaning partly that I can’t wait for Narumi to lighten up. Though I did enjoy Haruka’s reaction to everything. She’s delighted to be there in Okinawa, eager to learn beach volleyball, and she makes Narumi step back once or twice out of sheer, uncomplicated enthusiasm. She wants to have fun, and “fun” seems to be something Narumi has forgotten about. The whole show is pleasant enough, full of bright sunshine, not to mention all the fanservice we get from the girls, and let’s be honest, that’s going to be a selling point for the show. Don’t know if that’s enough to get me watching a sports anime, though.

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Chio-chan’s OP has her in a game.

Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro stars Chio, your average high school girl, and her misadventures walking to school every day, or at least that was what episode one was about. In the first half, she’s already late and her shortcut is cut off by construction. After some doubts, she climbs up walls and roofs, having various things happen to her along the way, especially the fear of being noticed because she wants a quiet high school life. Naturally, she IS noticed, but she doesn’t notice the noticers so I guess it’s okay. In the second half she winds up walking with the popular Yuki, who is actually being nice to her for no reason (apart from them being classmates and it’s a natural thing to do), and we get a boatload of social anxieties from Chio, who considers herself below-average. Happily, both parts turn out all right, and Yuki is going to be a regular side character.

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Chio-chan’s most important goal is to go unnoticed.

I am seriously torn about this one. On one side, I found both parts excruciating at times, with way too many waiting moments and Chio’s endless internal monologue, like waiting for the tooth-brusher to finish, or trying to figure out what to say to Yuki-chan. That would be enough to turn me off completely, but I’m also interested in Chio-chan. She wants a normal life but, inspired by the games she plays way too much, she goes into “assassin” mode at the drop of a hat. Her wild imagination constantly interferes with her needs and desires, not to mention practicality, but she makes it all work. And there are brief moments of delight mixed in, like the balloon pulled down by the pebble. We’ll have to see what happens when enough side characters arrive for them to bounce off each other. Another episode or two.

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Some of these objects have already been explained in episode 1.

Hataraku Saibou stars, I think a new red blood cell, named AE3803, as she goes about her daily duties of delivering oxygen, CO2, and nutrients to various parts of her world, i.e, someone’s body. In the first episode she’s menaced by a pneumococcus, gets rescued by a heroic, taciturn white blood cell, gets lost on her way to the lungs (giving us glimpses of various organ, such as the spleen, which looks like a cozy tea shop), meets some adorable little platelets, gets menaced again, but is rescued by the same white blood cell who lures it to a spot where it’s sneezed out of the body, using a rocket launching metaphor. AE3803 is smitten by the white blood cell, but there are so many of both types that they’ll probably never see each other again. Well, back to work for both of them.

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red and white blood cells sit to watch the launch of a sneeze.

It’s all very clever in how it describes various cell functions in metaphors we can understand. The red blood cells are like delivery people seen in Japanese offices nationwide, for example, but sometimes it doesn’t work and we don’t care, like a white blood cell stabbing a bacteria to death, with lots of blood(?), or both the red and white blood cells helping the platelets unload supplies–I don’t think you’d see two different cells like that cooperating in a real life body, but again, who cares? It’s cute. It’s also educational. I kept stopping to look up various cell types and organ functions–human biology wasn’t my best subject in school. On the other hand, can they make this interesting for a whole season? Well, there are lots of organs and other body bits they can explore. I’m especially looking forward to learning about that cozy little spleen.

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Lovely moon.

Hyakuren no Haou to Seiyaku no Valkyria is yet another story of a modern-day person being tossed into a fantasy world. Hear it’s Yuuto, who has risen to the role of Patriarch of the Wolf Clan, and thus leads them into battle against other clans, like Horn, and Hoof. We see them in battle, well, he stays on a cliff with his sexy assistant Felicia while the men fight using a phalanx formation, which he got from his smartphone … and that’s sort of new for this sort of series. Not only can he wiki up important things, but he can also call his little sister in the real world. Anyway, the Wolf Clan wins and he goes back to the capital where he gets the defeated Horn clan leader Linnea to submit to being his sister (better than a dog, which is what Felicia and Run are), then learns of an invasion that he must fight off.

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She’ll say Yes soon. They all seem to.

I am grateful that we skip the first two years of Yuuto’s life in, er, Yggdrasil and go straight to him being the boss. Otherwise there’s not much here. I suppose it’s too early to really develop whatever intrigues his older and jealous cabinet members may have for him. Not to mention politics with the other clans. There’s also the harem aspect. Felicia makes it quite clear that she will do whatever Yuuto wants to do with her, same with Run, in fact, they’d enjoy it. Linnea, the defeated leader, is coming around to the same idea, and there’s also Mitsuki, who knows Yuuto from our world and is the show’s tsundere. There’s also a hint that, like that other show, Yuuto needs to show himself off as a badass to people, though here it’s out of political necessity and not a social survival thing. The first episode stumbled along, setting up this and that story inter-spaced with flirty girls, which, given by the ED, is going to be the show’s main point. Mmm … Nah.

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Asobi Asobase starts with the girls’ legs before a misleading OP.

The OP of Asobi Asobase has three young girls in summer dresses looking around dreamily around while a nice song plays. Then the episode begins with a story of how Kasumi has learned to hate to have fun, and now two of the girls are playing around and irritating the hell out of her in the classroom. We also learn that Olivia the blond American has spent all her life in Japan but pretends to be a dumb foreigner to mess with Hanako, the other girl. Kasumi rather nastily tries to get Olivia to teach her English, though Olivia is bad at it too. They end up playing a lot of games to decide who will do what. Meanwhile Olivia still won’t admit she doesn’t speak English.

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Why they’re in swimsuits here isn’t worth mentioning.

I’d like this better if all three of the characters weren’t so unpleasant and childish. Why Olivia won’t fess up is never explained, nor why she plays the dumb foreigner even with the teachers who know better. Hanako would probably ditch both these girls if it gave her a chance to be in with the popular girls. And Kasumi comes off as bitter, bitter, bitter. I got the impression that the games aren’t the matter for any of these girls as much as it is the chance to stick it to the other two. Meanwhile, are we presented with a variety of grotesque facial reactions from all of them. That said, some of their biting comments are genuinely funny, as well as the snarky side comments. So in the end I’m not sure. It’s probably going to be game after game in that classroom with as many ugly thoughts as the creators can dream up. Not sure I want a season of that, but we’ll see.

 

 

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Planet With begins with a fiery bad dream.

Planet With, so far the weirdest opening I’ve watched, has a boy named Soya have a bad dream, wake up, greet a maid-girl and a big cat thing who eats cabbage, and heads off to school like nothing’s wrong. Conversations with, er, (checks notes) Takamagahara, the kindly class rep reveal that he has lost his memories. Then they’re evacuated because a UFO, a giant cat-thing with “Peas” written on it, glides nearer the town, and a fighter jet pilot has a weird encounter. A team of heroes gather to meet it and transform. Ginko (the maid-girl) and Sensei (the cat (nyan)) tell Soya that he must defeat the heroes, not the UFO. Well, it’s too late to save the UFO but Soya’s weird mecha does steal one of the heroes’ powers later. So, um, that’s it for episode one.

 

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Oh yeah, there’s also a bit of “boy mecha pilot” thrown in.

In spite of the weirdness there’s a tongue-in-cheek aspect I enjoyed, such as Soya’s deadpan explanation about his memory loss, as if the creators knew what a cliche it is and so have some fun with it. I liked a little less the common thread some of the characters have. They have experienced painful things and need to find some release and closure. The giant cat (not Sensei. Nyan) seems to offer them a peace, but it’s too perfect, an illusion. Soya’s own memories begin to wake up as well, but they seem to make him angry more than anything. Meanwhile, he’s possibly fighting for the wrong side. Not sure what to make of it all, yet. It sort of reminds me of Zvesda, a show I liked a good deal. We’ll see how this holds up after another episode or two.

Summer 2018 1

Time to start the anime summer season, hurrah! Because of this and that I wasn’t able to watch as many shows last season as I wanted, like, only four. This time I hope to do a bit better. For those of you who don’t know, or actually care, I should explain that I’m not going to watch everything, or even most things. I have my favorite genres as much as anybody else. As always, I will go mostly by the Random Curiosity preview page. And I always start each review with a screenshot of the show’s first comprehensible moment. So off we go!

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Island starts with a box of things that will probably be important later.

We start with Island, where a guy wakes up naked on an Island called Urashima with just pieces of memory, like he’s a time traveler and he has to save a girl, and kill someone. He is discovered in embarrassing fashion by a girl named Karen, and the irritable mayor (and Karen’s dad) tells him to get the hell out. No outsiders here. He sneaks away, discovers Karen again, then is spotted by another girl, Rinne, who can’t go out in the sun and claims to be a time traveler too, takes him to her mansion and makes him a maid. Meanwhile he keeps getting flashbacks of mostly unpleasant things. Also, he keeps hearing that “Setsuna must die,” which just happens to be the name Rinne gives him. Then there’s another girl, a shrine maiden named Sara, who cutely tries to kill him. Also, someone named Rinne vanished two years ago, and other weird and mysterious things. Also, people tend to cry for no reason they can figure out.

island1-1An intriguing start, and I might watch episode 2, but frankly I found myself a little bored by episode one. Not sure why. I tend to like shows where they drop hints of mysterious things left and right, and I rather liked the businesslike tone the episode set, with the amiable but slightly ecchi Setsuna trying to put everything together. But it left me impatient for something, maybe answers. Or maybe it was the constant sounds of the sea in the background, along with the almost absent background music. Anyway, it looks like Setsuna will begin to build a harem of girls too young for him, who will either help him or try to kill him, or both.

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Hanebado! starts with Nagisa not having a good time on the court.

Next is Hanebado!. I’m not really into sports anime, and I’m sure I’m missing a lot by having this view, but the excellent Sakuga Blog suggested there might be something interesting to see, at least visually. We start in a six-month flashback where we watch a girl getting destroyed in a badminton tournament match, mutterins things like “why am I even doing this?” A sentiment expressed by her mostly unseen opponent as well, as she wins 21-nil. Flash forward to the future and we see the loser, Nagisa, her school’s team captain, bullying anyone who can’t keep up with her. It’s so bad that possible new members are too scared to join, and the others are ready to quit. Switch to the tennis courts where another girl has joined the team and is having fun. Turns out her name is Ayano, and she’s the one who kicked Nagisa’s butt that day. A friend drags her, almost kicking and screaming, to join the badminton team, but she doesn’t want to join. Of course, in a move that even the characters admit is right out of a shoujo manga, Nagisa challenges her in one of those “You lose, you join” things. End of episode, please watch the exciting match in episode two.

hanebado1-1Well, I’m still not going to watch it. The story was laid out nicely enough, and in my synopsis I left out a lot of things, like Nagisa’s understanding best friend, and the nice job they did depicting the matches (I don’t like that new coach, though), and the comparison between the big, imposing, and scary Nagisa and smaller, nice (though we get a couple of excellent death-stares out of her, thanks to Nagisa’s painful memories) We see that Ayano, a natural and gifted talent, has some personal battles she’s going to fight through, and Nagisa will struggle to reach Ayano’s level … But really it’s all routine for a sports anime, and the thrill of sports competition, no matter how well depicted, doesn’t make it for me. Not to mention the boob and butt shots … But really, nothing’s wrong with episode one if you like sports anime.

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Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu starts by telling us what game everyone’s playing.

Skipping a few that I might come back for, I watched Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu, where a shut-in mook in our world is the reigning demon lord of a MMORPG called Cross Reverie. You can already guess what happens next. Yup, he’s transported to the game itself by buxom-elfen Shera and catgirl Rem, to be their slave, but he’s so powerful that the magic backfires and they become his slaves instead. They take him to a town while everyone tries to figure this all out. He meets Celes, the head mage for the city, and thus learns that Rem has the top evil boss trapped inside her. He agrees to help her out, and then some jealous mages challenge him to a fight and get beaten up. He still isn’t sure what the hell is going on, but anyway.

demonlord1-1There are of course a lot of shows where characters get thrown into their games, smart shows like Log Horizon and goofy ones like KonoSuba. This one’s angle is that Diablo (the mook demon lord) isn’t used to dealing with people in general, much less girls, much much less really cute girls with a ton of fanservice thrown in. In order to get by, he has to play his evil Diablo role, yet he just isn’t that evil inside. So his demeanor is haughty but his actions are decent. He can’t bring himself to Ravish poor Rem (well, that’s partly his introversion) and agrees to help her with her problem. So this show will partly be about Diablo learning to interact with people. It is also, partly, an excuse to have countless girls in compromising positions, with, as I said, a ton of fanservice. That last bit might turn some people off, but I don’t mind fanservice if the story is good. This first episode is all right. I like the mix of arrogance and social inability that Diablo has. Too soon to say about the other characters.

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There’s a prince floating around in that ether somewhere.

Yume Oukoku to Nemureru 100 Nin no Ouji-sama stars, well the show keeps calling her Princess, but the RC preview says she’s Haruka, so I’ll go with that. Anyway, we start with a bishie guy floating in a purple place until he’s summoned by Haruka to this magical land. Haruka just got there herself, and since she’s an office lady in real life, she’s terribly confused, especially when this cat thing introduces himself as her butler and calls her “Princess.” Anyway, this world lives on drams, and there are dream-eater monsters going around ruining things. A lot of princes fought the monsters and got sealed into rings, and it’s Haruka’s job to free them so they can try again. They meet another bishi, Kiel, a more carefree type with memory loss. Naturally, he and the first prince, Avi wind up bickering all the time.

yumeoukoku1-1Well, I probably wouldn’t watch this even if the first episode had been any good. Not a fan of bishie harems. Worse, the episode just plods along, not trying to find anything new in its routine setting. Haruka is a bore, so is Navi the talking stuffed animal, and Avi isn’t much better. I will say that I enjoyed Kiel’s seiyuu work–it was about the only lively thing in the episode. However, the Princes’ bickering that we are supposed to think is cute and endearing got tiresome after the first bicker. The art and animation are just average, and the BGM often sounds like it came from a toy synthesizer. Not for me, thanks.

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Shichisei no Subaru starts with a boss battle, only it’s kind of lame.

Shichisei no Subaru is another look at MMORPG gaming except that no one is trapped inside one, well apart from maybe … Well, this game is called Unite (at first), and an elite team of adventurers named Suburu, basically a pack of elementary school kids, who are damn near unbeatable. A little too much time is spent introducing them as they decide on a new, particularly nasty quest. While fighting the boss, one member, Asahi, sacrifices herself to save Haruto, probably because of her crush (we get a lot of character dynamics from the start–so and so likes so and so, and so on). Later, the kids learn that Asahi had died in real life at just the same time. Haruto blames himself and stops gaming until six years later a friend convinces him to try with the new version, ReUnion. He reluctantly joins them, they reach a weird dungeon and a treasure box. What’s inside it? Asahi!

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You never know what you’ll find in a treasure box.

So it’s different from most of these animes about gaming in that, like the Hack franchise, the characters still have active real lives. Also, the character relationships are a bit more mature, and it will be interesting to see how the characters work together after six years and the weight of the death has on them. But there’s also the sheer weirdness of Asahi in the box. Are the game developers that sick-minded? I get the idea that Haruto has to confront the past, but what an odd way to go about it! That last scene alone is enough to make me check episode 2.

Spring 2018 #4

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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.

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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 …

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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 …

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 …

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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 …

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The funniest line in the new season so far.

 

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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)