One more new show, then a couple ep2-3s

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Nice blue sky to begin Merc Storia, though I don’t really know why someone’s saying that. The show just started.

Merc Storia: Mukiryoku Shounen to Bin no Naka no Shoujo stars Yuu, the son of a man who heals monsters (makes them less nasty) and is gone most of the time. One time when he returns he brings Yuu a jar of liquid, and one day a cute little fairy thing called Merc pops out of it. The rest is fairly straightforward–Yuu has to use his healing powers for the first time to protect a monster from attacking the village. And he and Merc set out on a journey, though for what reason I forget, accompanied by a fluffy friendly little monster thing that’s very fond of Yuu, though Yuu actually has a fear of monsters.

mercstoria1-1Another voyage of discovery for a young hero tale, maybe cuter than most. Not great, not bad. Yuu is an inoffensive lad who seems to take his healing powers seriously and doesn’t brag about it, like some young heroes. The animation is adequate, some nice light shows. Argh, I have nothing more to say about it. Sorry.

akanesasu2-1So I’ll move on and see how the episode two shows I want to watch are faring. For Akanesasu Shoujo, I was worried that the show was going to be all about Asuka and the other Asuka, stuck in our world, manage to hide the latter, bond, and make for a boring series. I was wrong. This time around, after a misleading opening bit with some other girls, Nana gets a new frequency number from a “fortune teller” (actually that possibly evil girl from last episode), the get whisked off to 696.9, which turns out to be one where all girls have to get married when they’re 17. Nana finds herself stuck with this world’s set of girls, freaks out, etc, while our set of girls learn what’s going on from the other Asuka, who just happens to be there. It also allows Nana to blow up in front of her otherworld parents about her second father, something she’d like to do in her own world.

akanesasu2-2But just to make the episode fun, Nana is to be married to a handsome celebrity heartthrob who actually seems to like her … maybe this world isn’t so bad after all! … So it looks like every girl in the batch is going to get a world to get confused by, and while I’m relieved that it won’t simply be Asuka/Seriouska’s story, I’m worried that the show will get too insipid with its now-obvious “reveal each girl’s problems and sort of fix them” structure. But the surprise later on leaves me optimistic.

akanesasu3-1I’m even more optimistic after episode 3, a great load of nutty fun. While the girls figure out what to do, Nana decides she doesn’t want to get married because her name will sound like “Choco-banana.” But the marriage enforcement department comes in, looking like special forces, and drag her off. There’s a nice scene between her and her second father, who tries to make amends by returning something she threw away, which leads to memories of her original father, and the concept of crystals separating darkness from brightness, or something, it’s ridiculous. So Nana’s head’s on straight. Meanwhile the other girls get another Asuseriouska infodump about bunnies (bad), clutters (worse), and “King of Twilight” (world-destroying bad), we learn that the wedding’s been pushed up, and Asuka meets another herself, who is shocked in an Asuka way.

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The blushing bride.

Which leads us to a classic story bit, the rush to break up a wedding. It starts in the usual way, switching from the vows to the pandemonium outside, back and forth. Nana does the right thing, “I refuse to get married!” and all hell breaks loose. Aseriouska breaks in, and we discover an interesting fact about the groom. Now we got a superpower-battle in that yellow universe, and just when it looks like it can’t get any weirder, Nana finds the power to transform, more lightshows (the day-by-day events animation isn’t very good, but the battles are excellent), etc. What makes me so happy about this episode is that they dealt with the personal issues Nana’s experiencing, as expected, but the story went insane doing it. I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch this series, but if they keep up this balance then I’m on board.

slime2-1Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken 2 is more development. He swaps names with Veldora and becomes Rimuru, he “eats” Veldora and wanders around the cave for way too long a time acquiring more powers until he finds a door, which conveniently opens when some adventurers we’ll probably get to know later come in. After s switch to some humans talking politics we switch back and Rimuru encounters a bunch of terrified goblins and finds himself helping them out against a pack of direwolves. Really, this all took way too long–we didn’t even get to the battle. Maybe next episode things will pick up.

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At least he’s out of the cave and the goblin village.

Things pick up in episode 3, though it still dallies a bit, like in the name-giving section. And I’m getting an idea that this is going to be a long series.Rimuru hangs out with the goblins, defeats and makes peace with the wolves, and sets out to find the dwarves, which sounds like a busy episode but completely left out of this episode were the political angles they teased us with last time, and the adventurers. Mostly it’s because the show, while generous with the infodumps, still has Rimuru learn everything through experience, such as the business with running low on magicules. And then he has to respond and experiment with every new thing. While it’s kind of fun to see him gain all these new powers, I’d like to move forward with the plot a little more. Is he going to hang out with the goblins and wolves the whole time?

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Fall 2018 4

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Um, that’s a night sky, I think.

Release the Spyce starts with a bunch of cute girls leaping about and making a raid on a factory, and we’re introduced to them too fast. Meanwhile another girl, our hero Momo, spots them escaping from a great distance. She’s spotted back. Jump to next day at school where Momo, trying to make friends, is befriended by two of the raider girls, though she doesn’t know it yet. We learn that Momo has an unnatural talent of sense. She can taste physical and emotional states and, and can smell the spices in the curry, though that’s not all that strange when you think about it. Anyway, her dad was a cop, killed in the line of duty, and now she sees another cop about to be killed by more bad guys. She overcomes her fear, is about to be killed, but the Tsukikage (the, er, Spyce Girls) show up, big chase scene, and she winds up joining them.

spyce1-1I want to like this show, but I was a little underwhelmed by the first episode. I don’t mind the opening-episode clumsiness where they have to set things up, introduce characters, and no story arc is visible yet, but I thought the action was going to be a bit wilder and more stylish. This episode, while certainly not bad, was mundane. Just an action-adventure series involving cute girls doing SF-ninja type things. The characters seem all right, mostly recognizable types–the quiet girl, the jealous girl, etc. I like how they all befriend Momo from the start–sure, they’re recruiting her, but you get the idea that they like her anyway. I’m also curious as to how they’re going to fit Momo’s abilities in with the rest, since they mostly do combat. Well, in spite of my mild disappointment this is good enough for me to watch episode two.

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Anima Yell! opens with a nice springtime sky.

Next it’s Anima Yell!, where an overly genki and helpful girl named Kohase is entranced by a bunch of cheerleaders practicing by the river and decides to join the cheer club at her high school when she enters, only to find there isn’t one. Yes! She will make one of her own. Coincidentally, one of the cheerleaders is the new class rep, Hizume, but she’s one of those “talented at something but won’t do it for some dark reason” characters, mainly, she was forced out of her middle school squad for being too good. Most of the episode is Kohase pestering Hizume and conquering her own fear of heights to show how serious she is, and finally Hizume is overcome. Now they only need three more members!

animayell1-1Yeah, a pretty basic setup, which is to be expected, so the question here is execution: how well did they do the expected stuff? It’s a mixed bag. Kosase is TOO genki for my tastes, and I can’t blame Hizume for lashing out at her, even without her dark past. However, I did like the main thrust of the episode, that while Hizume was forced out of a club for being too good, that’s the very reason why Kohase wants to be with her. I thought Kohase’s helpful side was used well, and the running gag of mispronouncing “cheer” as “chair” was a good gag, because it was fun to see the type of chair each character imagined–it gave us a quick clue of the character’s nature. It’s all cute and harmless, so I might keep it on my list.

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This first shot ought to tell you what Conception is about.

Next we got something called Conception, where Itsuki meets his best friend Mahiru on the school roof and learns that she’s pregnant. Than a weird light appears and sucks them both up and to to a wonderful magical land called Granvania, where Itsuki has to fight a demon that comes out of Mahiru (she’s expelling an impurity, you see) with a sword that magically appears in his hand. Then we got a floating raccoon lech who introduces them to the kindom’s something-or-other and they go to meet the king, who tells them they’re both here to save the world. Itsuki finds himself tied down and a sexy nurse named Reone tells him the whole story. There are twelve girls representing constellations, and he has to have sex with each one of them in order to drive away the impurities that threaten the land. Guess what? Mahiru’s one of the twelve (Virgo, of course), so the episode ends with them having sex. Eleven to go.

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This normally doesn’t happen when you tell someone you’re pregnant.

Yes, it’s terrible, everything about it, the script, the art, the animation. The camera angles are set to display as little movement as possible. When the king moved his mouth to speak I was surprised. Itsuki and Mahiru seems hardly surprised at all by any of this, the magical land or what they have to do to get back. The show’s setup is so weird that the raccoon urges the viewer to visit the website for more information. There’s no reason for you to watch it, but I might keep doing so, because I haven’t watched a really awful show in a while, and FOR NO OTHER REASON.

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Actually, I don’t know what the significance of this is …

Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto Dakedo Imouto ja Nai is the story of Nagami, average high school boy who wants to write light novels but can’t make the shortlist in competitions. He has a little sister, Suzuka, who is absolutely perfect and a tad bossy about it. Turns out that the latest competition that he failed at, Suzuka won, with a one-off novel about a girl who loves her old brother. But she’d get in trouble with her school and her dad if they found out, so Nagami reluctantly acts as her stand-in. He goes to the award ceremony and meets his/her editor and illustrator, both of whom force him to fondle them. Oh, and there’s his ecchi coworker at the bookstore, who’s my favorite character so far.

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Nagami lets this all sink in.

Another predictable story that will live or die by execution. It’s done pretty well. Nagami is a decent fellow, an unashamed nerd who is still quite normal. I can’t believe he took the news that his kid sister won a competition that he couldn’t without a trace of jealousy or self-loathing, but otherwise he’s okay. Suzuka crosses nicely from perfect and disapproving to “onii-chan wo daisuki!” And, as I said, the coworker is a lot of fun. I hope we see more of her. And the mentioned but not developed side characters look interesting too. I’ll probably keep my eye on this one.

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We open with Beelzebub’s adorable feet.

Beelzebub-jou no Oki ni Mesu Mama is the story(?) of Mullin, at his new job in Pandemonium, there the fallen angels hang out. He’s eager to be the assistant for the legendary Beelzebub, but turns out she’s an extreme fluffy-fluffy thing and not fearsome at all. The episode consists of Beelzebub going around being distracted by cuteness and occasionally going about naked while Mullin plays the sensible assistant and occasional tsundere and closes his eyes in embarrassment a lot. I should point out that Beelzebub is good at her job, sort of the interim head while Satan is away (where?), even if she is constantly distracted by cute things. Hell itself looks like a nice Tokyo suburb, full of friendly townspeople, well, except for the hostess club district. And there’s a hint of romance between Beelz and Mullin …

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Pat pat pat …

I didn’t expect a show taking place in Hell to be this light and fluffy, but never mind. This being a first episode of a comedy where not much is going to happen, probably, it’s hard to tell if it will be any good. It is extremely cute, and in fact that tends to slow situations down a little as we have to watch Beelz pat or stroke every cute thing she sees. That could be a problem with her in that she’s one-track. Mullin has more depth, as he deals with her proclivities while trying to do his job efficiently and fight off whatever urges he might get watching her. We don’t see much of any regular side characters this episode, maybe those other two attendants, and those girls that Beelz has a slumber party with during the ED. Don’t know about this one, yet.

Fall 2018 3

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Yagate Kimi ni naru starts with some credits.

To start part three we have Yagate Kimi ni Naru, which starts out with solo piano, so we already know it’s a love story. It stars Yuu, first year girl, who dreams about the heart-skipping, tingly feelings of love but hasn’t encountere it yet and wonders if there’s something wrong with her (to which I shout “NO!”). She encounters a girl named Namami being confessed to and politely turning the poor lad down. Apparently it’s the 10th time, not the same guy though. Nanami is a popular senpai and in the student council, so Yuu joins, maybe because she thinks Nanami is cool. Imagine Yuu’s surprise when Nanami confesses to HER! Ah, so it’s THAT kind of love story! Meanwhile, the solo piano has been joined by small ensemble. However, Yuu still isn’t feeling the heartbeat or tingles …

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Nanami throws Yuu a meaningful side glance.

I haven’t watched a lot of Yuri, but this looks like a standard-issue one. It kept me watching. The characters all have a stock anime-girl appearance but there will be quick closeups of eyes narrowing, or odd angles showing a face full of shock or tension that set me back. Yuu is stuck with reacting to people most of the time, except when she has to make a decision about a boy who confessed to her a while back. But relationships, especially yuri ones, are new to her, so I can cut her some slack. While it’s told through Yuu’s POV, we can see things she perhaps can’t, that maybe Nanami’s pulling back after her confession was that she’s just as confused and embarrassed as Yuu is, but part of Yuu’s goal right now is trying to figure out this alluring senpai and what she’s thinking, so I think together they’ll figure things out. Will I want to watch as they do? It was a good first episode, so I’ll probably watch a second. Besides, I want to see what makes Nanami tick, too.

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Academy City, at night!

I did not expect another season of To Aru Majutsu no Index, but I am delighted! Now, if I can only remember all the characters and relationships … As I expected, episode 1 starts silly, re-introducing various characters (Hi Uiharu! Look, it’s Maika the rotating maid!), showing Touma’s misfortune in various ways, Mikoto’s tsundere routine, etc, while a little story begins to bubble up. It seems there are tensions betwen Academy City and the Roman Catholic Church (when is there not?), and later a nice old lady who buys Index a crepe takes Touma away at gunpoint and says Academy City is behind it, and only he can stop it. She is then shot by Tsuchimikado, and Touma is whisked away–to Paris, jumping out of a jet, in order to steal the Document of Constantine. One episode in and the story is already ridiculous. Yep! It’s Index all right.

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Touma again runs into trouble from you-know-who.

I’ve said that this franchise has everything good and bad to be found in Anime. Bizarre plots, too much talk, panty shots (except Mikoto and her sensible shorts, of course), but fun, odd characters, great action and thumping music to go with it. I don’t mind any of it because that’s Raildex’s style. By now you’re on board with it or you’re not. I certainly am. The show looks the same, maybe a little crisper than before. All the characters are in fine form. I’m already scratching my head at the story. Nothing much has changed. But please tell me that they didn’t just leave that old lady there to die. She’s Oyafune-sensei’s grandma! I hadn’t seen a series this season that I felt I have to watch, but this one I do.

I skiped a few, then I TRIED watching Uchi no Maid ga Uzasugiru!, but the first ten minutes got on my nerves so much that I stopped. I’m not sure why–it’s no different from a lot of other shows. Maybe that’s the reason.

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You can pretty much figure out the situation from Kishuku Gakkou no Juliet’s first shot.

So we move on to Kishuku Gakkou no Juliet, where we are immediately brought to a fight between rival clans at a posh high school, the White Cats, led by Juliet, and the Black Dogs, led, I think, by Romio. From the fighting and the names you can already tell where this is going. We follow Romio around for awhile as he laments that he loves Juliet though she’s an enemy. Juliet, on the other hand, does not want to be thought as weak. She’s a noble but won’t get any power because she’s a girl, unless she can change the world. She’s abducted by DOgs, gets rescued by Romio, and later in the cutest duel I’ve seen in a while, gets over his fear and confesses. And so a beautiful but secret romance is born! Yay.

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This is a confession scene.

An odd show, because the animosity is real and you get the idea that someone could really get hurt, but at the same time it’s built around rom-com slapstick. Two of the abductors are too stupid to put eyeholes in their masks, but a third one has pepper spray and a box cutter … Well, even so, maybe no one is really going to get hurt here. It feels too much like a romcom, with some fighting added. I didn’t enjoy the violent parts too much, apart from the duel at the end, and that was because it was actually a confession scene. The romcom bits worked well, maybe because of the contrast, but also because the timing and also the voice actors are very good. This is another “wait and see” show.

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Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara starts with fireworks reflected in the water.

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara has a girl named Hitomi living in Hiroshima, in a world where magic is commonplace and can be purchased at little new-agey shops. Hitomi’s depressed because she apparently can’t see colors, so her nice grandmother sends her 80 years into the past, to our time, to try to get it back. There’s some difficulty because she materialized in a boy’s room and is spotted sneaking out, but the observers are nice enough only to giggle for the boy. Meanwhile, Hitomi meets her grandma’s grandma at the magic shop and is taken in. And then she sees the boy drawing on a pad and we get a lovely, colorful sequence like out of a painting.

irozukusekai1-1The show’s art is just amazing. There are bright colors everywhere, in the fireworks, the bright-red candy apples in the festival stall, and then there’s the moving painting scene at the end, and they contrast harshly to the monochrome view that Hitomi sees (and we do from time to time). It almost overwhelms everything else in the show, which looks to be a typical PA Works affair, maybe more subdued than usual. That’s what worries me. The actual story could turn out to be another Glasslip or Nagi no Asu kara, mundane stories with dull characters with a magical frosting. However, this one looks so good that I’ll probably watch it anyway.

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This line is the most interesting thing in the show.

Next we have a run-of-the-mill kid fantasy called Radiant, starring Seth, a boy who wants to grow up to be a sorcerer like his guardian Alma. But he’s crap at magic at the moment and causes more problems than he prevents. Worse, the local village are suspicious of sorcerers because they’ve been tainted by “nemesis,” monsters that fall out of the sky and cause ruin, mayhem, etc. That only sorcerers can fight nemesis isn’t something they can understand. Anyway, a nemesis egg falls into the village, Alma’s not around, and so Seth tries to fight the monster alone, and nearly dies except for the sudden appearance of the “Bravery Quartet,” a team of sorcerers. End of episode.

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This bit went on forever.

There’s nothing new or remarkable about this show at all, but I’m not the target audience. They want to attract kids who haven’t already seen all the other shows. However, that doesn’t make ME want to watch it. Also, while I understand the show has to set up the characters and the situation, the episode seemed to drag. Things take a little too long to happen, conversations, action bits, etc. Add that to the predictable humor, and the traditional story, and I was drumming my fingers and checking the time a lot. But some kids ought to like it.

Fall 2018 2

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Sora to Umi wastes no time explaining the story.

To begin round two, we get Sora to Umi no Aida, where a ditzy high school girl (and there are so many in anime) named Haru is heading off to become a space fisherman, because all the fish vanished from the oceans and so we’re raising them on watery satellites in Earth’s orbit, of course! There follows a long and deadly sequence where Haru hops all over town, looking at the sights, while we wait for her to realize she’s late and/or lost. She then gets roped into forming a trio with two other girls to go space fishing, even though they’re not good enough, says their sexist male senpai. Guess what? They’re not! And Haru, who hasn’t even begun basic training, nearly gets them killed. Well, that’s straightened out, and I guess next week we’ll get to know the two girls she was supposed to team up with, who have been waiting for her for hours.

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That IS what you wanted, right?

I won’t bother to ask why-questions for this show; the reason they’re farming fish in space is because the creators wanted girls underwater and in space in the same show. At least they’re not wearing skimpy uniforms, but it’s early yet. And once they got to the waterworld in orbit and started fishing, we got some action and the show improved a bit. But WHY (I lied) would anyone start a series with such a long series of pointless walking around when we KNEW what was going to become of it? I almost stopped watching right there. The other characters seem okay–we don’t get much time with them except for the grouch Namino. The little pods they travel in look cool, oh, I forgot all about the deities! Don’t even ask me about those! This show, if I choose to watch episode two, better shape up as much as Makiko wants the girls to …

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That’s pretty much me when I realized I wasn’t watching episode 1.

I looked at RErideD – Tokigoe no Derrida … Interesting, I thought. They throw you right in the story and give you tantalizing hits of a backstory, Derrida and his father, also a mysterious girl named Mage. A fight in the museum. I didn’t like the animation or art very much, but it looked to be an interesting time-travel mystery … Then I realized I had watched episode 5. The show has been running for a month. Still, it was an interesting exercise in expectations. Maybe I’ll catch up to it one day …

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If you look closely, you can see a corner of a room.

Speaking of mysteries, we have Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl Senpai no Yume o Minai, where a high school boy named Saguta sees a bunny girl in the library. No one else can. The girl, Mai, goes to his school, so later he chats her up. Turns out she has phases where no one can see or even remember her. Saguta himself has mysterious scars on his chest, and his kid sister Kaede develops unnatural cuts on her body. It’s known as “adolescence syndrome,” apparently. Sugata goes around having dry conversations with various people while getting to the bottom of this. Mai is tagging along because he’s the only one who can see her much of the time. While she’s a celebrity on hiatus and is used to attention, not being noticed at all is a bummer, especially since she can’t buy anything.

seishunbuta1-1While it’s a supernatural history, it’s also an examination of high school social politics. These three kids (so far) are something like outsiders in this world. Other kids in the school have either rejected them or are afraid to get close to them, though whether the syndrome is the cause of these attitudes or vice versa is anyone’s guess. It’s also, for all the strangeness, a rather quiet show. It’s basically a bunch of scenes of Sugata talking to people in a calm voice. What I can’t figure out is the diary that he kept to remind himself that it all happened, like he’s going to lose his memory, or forget about Mai. That could be the main story arc, but it suggests time travel, and that feels out of place with what we’ve seen before.

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A sunny sky to begin Zombieland’s misleading intro.

In Zombieland Saga, a nice high school girl named Sakura runs out of the house to start her second year of high school–and is immediately hit by a truck. We get numerous shots of her body flying through the air as the credits roll and metal music plays. Next thing she knows she’s stuck in an old house being chased by zombie girls. Turns out they’re all there to become an idol group, managed by a guy named Kotaro. But the other girls are still lurching zombies, not conscious ones like Sakura, so they’re taken to a venue where they do a metal act and bite the crowd a lot. Later, they wake up, but they’re still zombies. Cute zombies, but still …

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First day of rehearsals.

Not sure about this one. It’s certainly not bad, extremely silly, of course. Kotaro’s comical enthusiasm to “save” Saga, where this all takes place, contrasts nicely with all the blood and biting. But I wonder why he bothers to put make-up on them to make them look alive when a zombie idol group would clearly become a big hit. Much is made of Sakura wanting to be an idol, and she’s going to get her wish, but with the idols woken up now, will it turn into yet another idol anime, albeit with zombies? Well, next week we’ll get to meet the other girls, who all seem vaguely unpleasant, and not just the undead thing.

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Tonari begins with a nice moon.

Tonari no Kyuuketsuki-san starts with a girl named Akari who is investigating and urban legend about a “doll-girl” who lives in the woods (Akari loves dolls) and is now hopelessly lost. However, a kindly vampire named Sophie flies her to her own home, and Akari has a new instant friend. She starts hanging out all the time, rather to the annoyance of the vampire, though she has to admit that Akari kind of brightens up the place. Next thing you know, Akari’s moved in, with her parents’ blessing …

tonarino1-1Too soon to tell with this one. Episode 1 was all about the two girls meeting and feeling each other out, and that makes for some dull moments, especially when the gag is going to be predictable. However, Sophie’s droll straight-man work often saves it. I’m not too keen on Akari. She’s an idiot for one thing, and very pushy. Poor Sophie doesn’t know what to do with her, which is part of the joke, I guess. But Akari has a pack of friends at school, and they’re sure to get more screen time. I’m counting on it, because Akari and Sophie don’t have enough to make the show interesting.

Fall 2018 1

Hello again, and welcome to my take on the very few new shows I’ll be watching this season. As usual, I’ll be following the Random Curiosity preview page and the shows I choose will come roughly in that order. Also as usual, I won’t watch shows that are sequels to shows I didn’t watch in the first place. And probably no sports anime, though I broke that rule last season. I won’t watch shows that are obviously bad, which means I’ll probably miss the sleeper hit of the season … Fanservice and stupidity are not deal-breakers. And finally, I’ll continue with my tradition of including a screenshot of the show’s very first moment, unless it’s totally black or something, and then I’ll wait a few seconds. So here we go!

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A city at night to begin Double Decker

First on my list is Double Decker! Doug and Kirill, which already has TWO episodes out. Well, I’ll talk about the first. We got a young cop named Kirill who has possibly hopeless aspirations about getting promoted and being a heroic figure. He’s constantly in trouble with his boss because of this. Anyway, on a day off while searching for his landlady’s cat he stumbles on a hostage situation involving a thug who takes a body-morphing drug called “Anthem.” And Kirill’s best buddy on the force is there and wounded. Time to save the day, but how. Fortunately a special agent for Seven-O named Doug, who normally handles these things gives Kirill a chance to be hero, which involves taking off his clothes and being a time traveler. But it manages to work, and Kirill is transferred to Seven-O to start an exciting new career! Yay.

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The guy in the back WOULD be the hero, but he’s stuck, you see.

Not bad. It has a Kekkai Sensen feel to it, though it’s not nearly as crazy. I also hear it’s related to Tiger and Bunny, a good thing, but apart from the artwork I didn’t see any connection. It is, however, funny in spots. I liked how Kirill is a fish out of water with the situation, but doesn’t back down when it’s time to be brave. He just need experience. I was relieved by that; I don’t want to watch a wimpy cop. As for the other characters, we’ll see–nothing wrong with any of them yet. Also, no over-arcing plotline yet–I hope it’s not a crime-of-week type of thing. So I’ll check episode two as soon as I get these other shows out of the way.

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Not sure why Akanesasu Shoujo starts with a tower, unless it’s a radio tower.

Next it’s Akanesasu Shoujo, where a batch of average high school girls who sometimes cause a little trouble, go to a tree every day and, inspired by an urban legend, prays to be transported to another place at exactly 4:44, with a little radio tuned to that frequency. Nothing happens when they do. However, one of the girls deduces that their time is wrong, and when they try it again they’re suddenly in this gold sand world where cute yellow bunny-things gang up on them. They are rescued by a warrior girl who looks like and has the same as Asuka, our heroine. Things happen, and the warrior Asuka gets sent back to our world along with the girls, where some bonding occurs, and it becomes clearer that they are the same person, especially since they have a dead younger brother who I think will become important later. Oh, and there’s another warrior girl too, but all she does this episode is lurk in a tree and smirk.

akanesasu1-1On one hand there are some tantalizing mysteries going on. What’s with those crystals Chloe finds? Who’s that other girl? How are the two Asukas connected when they appear to be the same age? What’s with that other world, anyway? On the other hand, the episode feels all over the place, like they have so much to set up that we don’t know where the story will take us. Will it focus on the two Asukas’ friendship? What about the other girls–they get so much time that you know they’ll have things to do as well, but what? And there’s that alien world and the business with the radios and cassette players. I’m going to give it a chance, partly because it looks good. Warrior Asuka’s battle with the snake thing was excellent. The characters seem interesting and I’m curious so see how they will fit in. Hopefully the creators won’t fumble the ball and they don’t.

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A weird glowing symbol forms on a street about to be bombed.

Tensei Shitara Slime Datta Ken, after a bewildering scene of WWII bombing and a boy being whipped up in a firenado, settles down in modern-day Tokyo and follows Satoru, an average salaryman who at age 37 is a virgin and has never had a girlfriend, yet he’s pretty content with his life. He meets a kouhai and his cute girlfriend and then out of nowhere gets stabbed by some guy. As he dies a computer voice starts talking about the powers it’s adding. After rather too much of that he awakens as a slime in a cave. As he gets his bearings the computer tells him things about his new form. Apparently he’s a very able slime. Also in the cave is Verudora, a sealed dragon who turns out to be a tsundere, and they strike up an odd friendship.

slime1-1The slime Satoru is amusing, a good voice (nice transition from his human form’s), and it was fun watching him figure out things he can and can’t do in his new body. I was worried that we’d have to watch him in his slime form for the whole season, but the ED shows him transforming into a human. Verudora’s turn from threatening dragon to a lonely, tsundere one was pretty good too. But the show twice falls into episode-one infodumps twice, first during his dying moments with the computer, and then Verudora giving him the rough story of the world and what’s there, plus long speeches about “summons” and “summoners,” how it’s rare for reincarnated people to wind up here, and other things we really don’t need to know right now. These scenes, however, did not drag down the show entirely. It’s all amusing, and it is, after all, a first episode. Let’s meet some more characters before deciding.

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Here’s another pretty city at night scene to begin Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fruite Iru.

In Kaze ga Tsuyoku Fruite Iru, we watch as a young man effortlessly runs away from shouts of “thief!” but another guy catches up on a bicycle and asks him if he likes to run. Next thing you know, the lad, Kakeru, is being introduced to his new housemates in a disheveled dorm, a procedure which takes too long because there are nine of them, not counting the landlord. There follows a loud welcome party where we and the bewildered Kakeru watch the others show off their character traits, and then Haiji, the guy on the bike announces that actually they’re now in their university’s track and field team, and they’re going to run the Hakone Ekiden, to everyone’s surprise and consternation. A flashback to Haiji’s view of the earlier chase, and then a bit of Haiji’s motivation for running the race, and Kakeru’s past.

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Kakeru’s the one in black, about ten o’clock.

The thing I find hard to believe is that some of these people are even capable of running. One chain smokes, others don’t have the build for it. Also, why would they run, apart from the cheap rent and free meals they get by living there? I’m with the law student who immediately threatens to sue. Kakeru’s past isn’t that interesting, what we know of it. He was a great high school runner, then stopped. Also, I didn’t much care for the introduction scenes–so many people to take in at once. The party scene wasn’t bad only I think the creators tried too hard to show these guys as being wacky, drunken college students. But that’s an issue with the script alone. There’s nothing really wrong with any of the characters; they feel real. And the show looks good. I might look at episode 2.

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!

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.