New shows Fall 2017 #2

Urehara begins with a flash-forward.

Urahara stars three girls who hang out in a shop in Harajuku that is “the physical manifestation of their dreams,” i.e, it’s all very cute. They’re in high school but seem to work there, I’m not sure. Anyway, a strange customer comes in and praises the creativity of the place and exits. Next thing you know, there are aliens invading and sucking up Earth’s cultural landmarks, and now they’re headed for Harajuku! An escape pod lands in front of the girls and out comes a cute little girl and a talking fried shrimp who gives us the backstory: the aliens cannot create culture so steal it from other planets. The girls each take an “amatsumara,” which the little girl stole from the aliens before escaping and the girls transform into super-heroines and drive off the aliens.

In other words it’s perfectly normal people confronted by evil aliens, befriended by a mascot character, gain powers, win the day. Except it’s all cute and full of bright fashion and lots of sweets, especially donuts for some reason. That would be fine, but it’s incredibly boring. At the beginning they try to feature each girl at length, especially Rito, but fail to make them interesting. They talk endlessly, with endless little agreement lines that drag the episode down. Really, the script needs a serious trim, though it was clear they had nothing to replace it with. It looks very pretty and they try to be stylish with a lot of multiple camera at once, but it can’t hide the fact that the show has next to nothing going with its animation. It’s also confusing. What was that at the end with the defense missile which was turned into a parfait by the girls’ defense system, or whatever? The show tries very hard to be stylish but there’s nothing there.

A girl, studying, to begin Just because!.

In Just Because! we watch as a boy named Eita moves with his father into a new place near where he used to live four years ago, meaning he might meet some of his old middle school buddies in high school, except it’s midway through their third year and most of them have other things on their minds, entrance exams, job interviews, etc. While he and his dad visit the school we meet a lot of the regular students who go about with their usual stuff, including old buddy Haruto, and a couple of girls who recognize him. There’s a girl named Natsume who is obviously going to be significant. Oh, everybody uses Line a lot.

It takes a while to figure out exactly what’s going on because it hops about to new characters a lot, and it didn’t help that there was a flashback with Haruto that I didn’t realize was a flashback at first (“Wait, why are they in middle school?” I thought). But it does a decent enough job of clarifying through normal, infodump-free dialogue that I got the gist of it in time, and I appreciate a show that doesn’t overexplain. As for what’s going to come later, I have no idea. A romance maybe, some bittersweet slice of life about lives and friendships changing … Maybe a little of both, and more. It’s maybe a little too sedate, but we’ll see what ep2 brings.

Shuumatsu’s first moments aren’t interesting, but you can also hear water dripping.

Shoujo Shuumatsu Ryokou has two girls, Chi and Yuu, in a little tractor, puttering about a huge, ruined building looking for a way out, which they eventually find, and we discover the world here doesn’t have much life in it except for them. Only more ruins, mostly war-related. We get a flashback of them being evacuated by an adult man but that’s the only reference we get. They wander around some more, discover some guns but while Yuu can shoot, there’s little point to it. They find a plane, find rations (the most important thing) and later fight over them. They wonder why people fought wars and where they can get more food. That’s about it.

The first episode was impressive, but I wonder how much they can keep it up unless something or someone new enters the story. Chi and Yuu are interesting friends but they can’t carry a series on their own. I would also like some backstory, I mean, it’s not just that everyone died; there aren’t even any bodies around. What the hell happened? I wonder how much we’ll get because the girls obviously know very little about what happened themselves. In the meantime, I suppose I can always look at the lovely if slightly depressing art. All the ruins look good, and while there’s a minimum of music, the pieces they used were elegant. Interesting to see how this one pans out.

It took me a while to realize that’s the remains of a campfire.

We move on to another show about two people traveling with guns: Kino no Tabi, a remake or spinoff or something from the original Kino’s Journey, which along with Haibane Renmei, is one of those great anime that I have not yet watched. Well, this new version will do for now. After a fireside scene where Kino speculates on why he keeps traveling, he and his bike Hermes (that confused me for a while) come to a country where there is no prohibition on killing, and they are confused to find it a rather happy, orderly place with huge crepes. Eventually we find out the reason, and Kino cheerfully moves on.

I can’t compare this to the original, but I liked much of it. It’s great to look at, lovely background art, and it moves at a patient, sedate speed, yet the events in ep1 show that this isn’t simply going to be a “stop and smell the roses” show. The scenery might be beautiful but the people can be terribly violent and ugly. I’m worried that the show might wind up giving little moral lessons for each country Kino visits, but at least in this first country it’s not really a moral but a sort of paradox. Well, if nothing else, Kino only spends three days in each place, so the settings will change.

Forbidding clouds open Dies Irae.

Finally for this post, Dies Irae, where some evil blond guy takes a long walk through a nasty palace until he’s floating above modern-day Tokyo doing a staredown with an average anime boy. We jump back in time and … not sure, really. 1939 Berlin, and the blond guy, called Heydrich is a star minister of the Reich, advised by a clairvoyant named Krafft, who knows more than he’s letting on. Oh, there are two crazy people with powers fighting in the streets, and a building burns down, three women Valkyries join up with Heydrich but have difficulty with the two crazies until Krafft manages to persuade Heydrich to use his full potential …

Please try.

I hear the visual novel is really good. I can’t say the same for this episode. It’s another example of having a character show up and not explain anything about him or her because, hey, the true fans know him already, right? The hell with those of us who haven’t read it. It’s not that they don’t explain who everyone is, but they don’t do enough to show us why such-and-such a character is meaningful. What resonates for the fanboy doesn’t reach us at all, and we stare at the screen, a little bewildered, wondering what the fuss is all about. Not only that, but while much of the art is okay, the animation sometimes takes considerable time off and characters freeze. That aside, it’s nice and gothy if you like that sort of thing.


The Reflection 1, Aho Girl and Tsurezure Children 2-3

The Reflection starts with candle boats in a river, though you can’t really tell from this.

One more new show: The Reflection, which starts with a solemn and lovely ceremony of floating candles down a river, which goes on a bit long, then we turn to four schoolgirls watching the boats from a bridge, and then one of them shows the other a live clip of some carnage going on in New York City, so on we go to watch a robot-guy, sorry, “I-Guy,” battling a turtle guy and a bat guy in the sky, while on the ground a ninja guy battles some other weirdos while a girl takes photographs. Both battles go one a bit long. The bad guys are defeated but escape thanks to some more super-powered people. Meanwhile we’ve been learning that a weird event three years ago effected a lot of people, now known as “reflections,” and now it looks like they’re rising up, at least some of them.


The art style is interesting, reminding me sometimes of American superhero comics, well, when they start adding “wham!” and “zap!” to the screen the influence is obvious. I’m not sure whether they’re poking some fun or tipping their hat, perhaps a little of both, and I should point out that Stan Lee (Excelsior!) is involved in this production. But the schoolgirls at the beginning suggest that this is going to be more of an American comic style story. All that aside, I’m not sure I’m interested in this one. While it’s colorful and has full of action, I mentioned that some scenes took too long. There are more moments like that littered throughout, whether it’s a character staring at something (there are a lot of those), or the camera doing a 360 around Times Square, twice, it felt like the episode didn’t have enough material so they decided to go arty with the pauses. I’ll look at episode 2 if I have the time, which I almost certainly don’t.

Moving on to less arty shows, I then watched #2-3 of Aho girl, and discovered that my theory about the show being the perfect length is correct. By the time the second short had finished, I was sick and tired of Yoshiko, and Sayaka for putting up with her, and this is despite of Yuuki Aoi doing her best. In fact, the entire voice cast is excellent, but since half the lines are screams, especially from Yoshiko, it wears you down. It may then come as no surprise that my favorite bits came in the first episode I watched, with the kids, and later with the disciplinary committee girl, when I was still relatively fresh.

Two episodes of Tsurezure Children is a bit much, too, but here it’s because there are a ton of couples to keep up with, each of them with their own ability to screw things up, like go out for a year without realizing you’re a couple. We meet four or five new couples in #2-3, plus some from the first episode. My favorites of the first episode, Furuya and Minagawa, start things off in great fashion by introducing Horaru, Furuya’s devoted and jealous little sister, performed with gusto by Haruka Tomatsu. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before, clingy imouto, etc, but everything after that is a slight step downhill. But I’m also getting to like Takano and Sugawara. The misunderstandings about their subject might get tiresome after a while, but Takano’s disinterest in love and her belief that no one could possibly like her anyway is sweet when you notice she’s beginning to respond to Sugawara without her even realizing it, baking him cookies and the like.

Sakura Quest 7, Saekano Flat 6, Hinako Note 7

Sakura Quest 7 finishes it’s two-episode arc in a predictable manner. The reason Shiori didn’t want to house to burn down was because she used to hang out with a nice old lady there in the past. The way that Yoshi learns about this and her overreaction was more unexpected, but since these are two adults it’s handled in an adult manner, with the movie plot adding an odd metaphor to the whole thing: the house was a portal between our world and some other world, and in a way, that’s what it meant to Shiori. At least the old lady is given a thank-you in the credits. The other big issue has Maki trying to come to terms with her current life and her desire to act, and not really succeeding this time, though she does participate in the movie and “burns” one of her past demons. Of course, complex emotions or anxieties aren’t dealt with that easily, and this show is smart enough to know it; it allows her to take a few steps toward reconciliation, both with her past with her father.

Saekano Flat 6 has Tomoya facing a choice: take care of a sick Eriri or rush to get the game completed by the printer’s deadline. Assuming Eriri’s work couldn’t be transferred easily, I think he made the right choice, meaning he made the sacrifice for Eriri that Megumi admonished him for last episode. At any rate, it made for come cute recovery scenes, Tomoya and Eriri playing video games and talking like they used to. I can’t think of a better way for her to recuperate. The big story now is Megumi’s anger (delivered, of course, calmly) toward Tomoya about keeping her out of the loop over the Eriri crisis after her repeated offers to help, and why DIDN’T Tomoya answer his phone in the car? Iori makes a comment that Tomoya is trying to keep Eriri to himself; that might be part of it. Or it could be the idea that Tomoya tries to do too many things himself, ironic for a team effort like their game. Anyway, I assume next that the show will deal with Megumi’s hurt. With the game finished, the show doesn’t have any other goals now.

I don’t know if Hinako Note is going to start another major story arc or just dither around (which this type of show has every right to do), but it’s appropriate to have a dithering episode after an arc, so we get a beach episode. Sorry to say that it doesn’t add much to the tradition. The swimsuit buying scenes went on for way too long, and the getting lost business was a bore. Besides, how the hell do you get lost on a beach? There’s ocean on one side or another, you just walk back. But somehow Mayu and Hinako both pull it off. About the only entertaining stuff in the episode was Kuina’s constant trying to scare Hinako with sharks.

Stumbling to catch up: Sakura Quest and HInako note 2-3

Sakura Quest has settled into it’s cute slice-of-life routine without a misstep and with much efficiency. All four of the side girls had been introduced by episode two, and at the end of episode 3 they became members of Yoshi’s court. Meanwhile, Yoshi herself has accepted her role of queen, in spite of the daily verbal abuse she gets from Ushimatsu. Nothing we didn’t see coming. What I personally didn’t expect was for Yoshi to come to the conclusion that the town really didn’t need economic stimulus or any sort of change. For a moment I wondered then what the show would do next? If there’s no overall goal to the series, apart from getting Yoshi to love the countryside again, what’s she going to do apart from showing up for events? But it struck me that while the townspeople are fine with things as they are, the town still has a problem with its dwindling population. I don’t know what Yoshi and her team can do about that, but should be fun to see her try.

Note Yua’s look of joy.

I caught up with Renai Boukon, but I have nothing to say about it, apart that the crazy, nearly random atmosphere I liked in episode one might be a bug, not a feature … So it’s on to Hinako Note. Eps 2-3 with this show aren’t filling me with hope, either. I know shows like this need to stop everything for the sake of cuteness from time to time, but episode 2 stretched things too far. They decide to form a theatre club, which we already knew from ep1, and there’s a very long and dull flashback to Hinako’s childhood scarecrow days. I’m already sick of that joke, I hope they retire it soon. Things get a little better in episode 3, where they finally start school, and Kuu (my favorite character right now) manages to cover Hinako’s scarecrow reflex as a joke. Meanwhile, all the girls join another theatre group at the school. How many do they need? But a new character, jealous (over Chiaki) tsundere Yua, tries to outshine Hinako, who stupidly takes it as a kindness. Still, we need a tsundere to liven things up in this show.

ACCA-13, Maid Dragon, Youjo Senki 11, Seiren 12 (finale)

Good point.

ACCA-13 11 gives us the promised intrigue in Furawau in two ways. First there’s the promised attempt on Jean’s life, in the midst of doing the same thing he’s been doing all around: accepting cigarettes. … Rather a nice touch, to signify “we’re with you on the coup” by offering Jean a single cigarette. I should have noticed it earlier. Wonder how long it took Jean to figure it out. Naturally, it’s Nino who takes the bullet, glad to find out he’s not dead. The second intrigue from Furawau is Lilium finally spilling the beans to Grossular (for no reason) about how his district will run the entire country, due, i suppose, to their oil. Grossular is mad enough about it that I’m sure he’ll do something in the final episode. As will Jean; that line about needing a final push is oblique enough to be intriguing. We also get a much-needed, sober speech by Warbler, in Badon for centennial party, who thinks everyone in on the coup is making a terrible mistake, and when you hear the higher-ups talk about it, all the the talk about protecting the citizenry sounds like empty promises a dictatorship uses to justify itself. I’m glad someone said it. As for me, and probably everyone else reading this, I’m looking forward to next week’s Anniversary celebration!

Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon 11 felt like a finale episode for a while. I guess holiday episodes often feel that way. It’s because there’s a lot of reflection here around the New Year. Everyone thanks each other (Kobayashi thanks Tohru a lot). Also, all the side characters show up at the shrine and at K’s place afterward, like it’s a big farewell. Turns out there’s at least one more episode to go. As for the episode, I’ve rarely seen one concerning New Years where so little happens (winning a kotatsu nonwithstanding) but remains interesting up to the end.

From one viewpoint, Youjo Senki 11 was a major disappointment. The enemy, with that crazy guy, has Tanya and her crew in dire straits, and we’ve actually seen a few of them shot down, the first time I’ve seen them take causalities apart from that potato. But they regroup, Tanya survives a ton explosions at point blank range and kills the crazy guy. What’s more, all the soldiers shot down are alive. And the Empire wins the war. Yay, I guess. I was rooting for the other side. And naturally, we get a lot of shots of Imperial people being smug and marching down the arc de triomphe, or whatever they call it in this show. What a letdown.

Well, since the show has moved into WWII territory, we can hope that the Republic’s Dunkirk maneuver means there will be more resistance. Perhaps the United States of Arkansas will join the fray. Meanwhile, we can enjoy Tanya being upset because she couldn’t go and bomb that port and REALLY end the war, and wonder if a bit of genuine patriotism hasn’t infected her. And we can laugh at Being X for his latest failure at the god-job.

Seiren 12 polishes off the third romance in not terribly inspiring fashion. The best moment is before the opening credits, where Shouichi appears with dramatic western music, to display his determination. Later, he and Kyouko meet up on the roof and have a perfectly normal and sane conversation with a few oddities thrown in, such as the fact that he’s carrying around the underwear she made him (later she wears them, making you wonder what went on between). And then they kiss. The rest of the episode is filler, the Miss Santa competition, the Swim Club’s oden, venison, etc. Amusing, but underwhelming.

That’s what she’s into.

Seiren had its moments, but it never really came up to the level of Amagami SS. I liked some of the recurring themes and the innuendo, the venison and the rabbit hutch to name two, but Amagami felt much more playful; it had more fun with the characters and the situation and would get inventive when it turns out one of the girls is a bore. Seiren had no such tricks up its sleeve, and none of the girls really stood out in terms of interest, well, maybe Tsuneki. Also, and I’ve said it before, Souichi is no Junichi. The latter was more active, daring to assert his desires, and was more kinky (remember when he complimented the breasts of the entire girls swim team?). Shouichi was just a boy, and an overly passive one to boot. Overall, while it had potential, Seiren rarely took advantage.

Seiren 2, Youjo Senki 2-3, Demi-chan and LWA 2

Catching up with second, okay, and the third week, starting with Seiren, where we left our hero Shouichi getting freaked out by a girl crawling into his bedroom late at night. Turns out to be Tsuneki, of course. Her parents threw her into this study camp and she tried to escape. Soon Shouichi is lending her his sweats, leading to lewd rumors about the two, which Tsuneki happily plays up, partly for the fun, mostly for the fun of messing with Shouichi. I thought for a while the theme for this romance would be aromatic sweats, but it might be domestication. Not only does she cook for Shouichi (okay, and Ikou and that nice girl who looked a little disappointed when she learned her new friend wasn’t a slut), but she does his laundry, too. Well, she’s been wearing it … On the romance front, the two have bonded and you can see romantic thoughts forming, but nothing tangible yet, no belly-button kissing. Okay, unfair to always compare this to Amagami, but I have to say that Shouichi still has some work to do catching up to Junichi.

Think again.
Think again.

Youjo Senki 2 gives us the inevitable backstory, where we learn that Tanya was once a modern-day salaryman and complete asshole on our world, cheerfully firing people and plotting his way to the top, until one of the fired people decides to push back, so to speak. There follows, frozen in our time, a strange conversation with God over the existence of God–which for some reason pisses God off–and he awakens as baby Tanya, and Yuuki Aoi’s voice takes over, an amusing contrast.


Little Tanya is about as nasty as the salaryman was, but all she wants is a quiet, easy life. Ironically that means joining the military, no lessons taught him about the disparity of wealth. The best scene comes later, while on a training mission she gets her first taste of battle. Some odd moments here, among them Tanya’s brief lapse into despair until her blood-lust awakens, her ability to out-fly five more experienced soldiers, but mostly the self-destruct thing that she does later. Not only did she not self-destruct, but she said as she fell that looking like you fought hard and then leaving the battlefield is the best way to get by, but she DID fight bravely, and sustained injuries. They were right to give her that medal; why was she so surprised? Well, it was a good episode.


Episode 3 has Tanya being transferred to an instructional division, which she likes, but it means she has to test new magic jewels, which she doesn’t, especially when the damn things prove to be unstable and blow up in the sky. She manages to get those experiments shut down, but that leads to God getting pissed off and fixing it by “blessing” the jewels so that she has to do a prayer in order for them to work. Whereupon I started rooting wholeheartedly for Tanya. A god that demands faith and punishes those who refuse to worship aren’t fit for the office of deity.


Demi-chan wa Kataritai 2 shifts the focus to Kyouko the dullahan. It’s about as sweet as the first episode. Takahashi is nice to her, after the initial shock, and Kyouko quickly gets a crush on him. Hikari can’t help but meddle and soon Takahashi is doing an experiment (actually a date), but with Kyouko’s head only. Hikari is messing around with Kyouko’s body. It sounds dirty but it isn’t, though the show does briefly tease the thought of the advantages and disadvantages of sex with a dullahan. They also touch on interpersonal relations on a more mundane level, like the initial shock and discomfort that strangers might feel, and as a side note I’m surprised that the people Takahashi and Kyouko see on their “date” don’t do more double-takes; there are only three in the world, after all. The other thing that bothers me is that Takahashi is a little quick to explain things that Kyouko ought to know already, like how to hold the head while walking to prevent motion sickness. Surely Kyouko knows this already.


Little Witch Academia 2 has Akko starting classes, interesting and boring, and news that no one knows where Shiny Chariot is and no one really cares, especially the talented rival Diana Cavendish. Naturally this inspires Akko to defend Shiny’s honor and the humiliation that comes with it. All expected. Then, also expected, she gets some redemption, with the sick Jennifer Memorial Tree. Episode twos are often this uneventful–introduce some side characters, maybe the rival, make hints about the main story arc if there is one. As for the latter, much more interesting than that tree, we know SC is missing and Akko never collected that one card. Though I’m much more interested in that tower near the school. It’s been a long time since I saw the original show, so I forget what it’s all about.

Kuromukuro 24-5, Delta 25, bye-bye Sousei

Kuromukuro 24 has the big battle, but it felt rather small. I said last time that I wondered what the rest of the world was doing while the Efidolg was busy getting ready to upload the hinge stone. Maybe they haven’t been checking out their answering machine because this battle was between all the regulars with some extra soldiers thrown in. You knew the battle would go well when these soldiers aren’t treated like cannon fodder but actually deliver timely shots that save GAUS pilots’ butts, and so the whole thing is a success. No one had to make a noble sacrifice and die honorably, though just about every character made such a declaration at one point or another in the episode. Well, apart from Kennosuke and Yukina, who trusted their lives to each other, a nice moment made silly by his marriage offer, which, of course, everyone hears. In fact, they gain a life, since Sebastian returns (at just the right time to bail out Sophie–this battle has a few too many “in the nick of time” moments).

Well, it LOOKS formidable, but ...
Well, it LOOKS formidable, but …

Apart from those moments it’s a pretty good battle, maybe for me because I didn’t really know what the good guys were up to. Why were Ken/Yukina fighting alone? What about the GAUS people? And so the strategy worked. The necessary people showed up to bail out the ones who needed it (in the nick of time! Over and over), while the others snuck in to the still fully functional headquarters and rebooted it. Frankly, Efidolg didn’t fight very well. Typical bad-guy arrogance. I don’t think they expected the enemy to have improved, not only in skill but with firepower; I mean, in episode 2 those shots would have bounced right off. The two efildog robots fusing to make the Final Boss made me think that casualties would finally occur, but they (thanks to Yukina, of all people, perhaps channeling her inner Yukihime. I hope they remember to explain that) defeat it with little trouble. I’m a little shocked. Did ANYONE on our side die in this fight? I figured Tom might. Well, it’s all good. Now to figure out what those 220-odd cycles amount to before the next invasion.


And in #25, the battle is won! Hooray! Now things can get depressing. Everyone in the show has to figure out what to do next, starting with the high school buddies, most of it predictable. Nice to see Ryoto is still determined to pass exams and join the mecha military. I’m also not worried about Jundai; it’s not that he has an overreaching goal in life, but his desire to film and broadcast minute-by-minute will keep him moving toward something. Wish Mika had an idea, but there’s nothing to say a highschooler should know exactly what she wants to do with the rest of her life. As for Jose, who cares? Then we move on to adults, including Tom, now not fully human but fine with it, burning some unseen orders and having to work with Liu again, to his, er, delight.

Well, yeah, but ...
Well, yeah, but …

Then it’s the main characters’ turn, and it gets more unpleasant. The UN, having won for now, is pushing people around. Hiromi is canned, poor Muetta has a hard time, forced to wear a neck thing like Kennosuke once had, and being (mis)treated as a spy. Almost as sad is Zeru, whose work is done and wants to return to his home world and fight there. But the giant earth forces stand in his way. Kennosuke is disgusted by all of this, and so we reach the big emotional moment, when he decides to go off with Zeru and fight, if they can. Being a samurai this is appropriate for him, but also he decides not to take Yukina along. As Ryoto said earlier, in a rare moment of clarity, she shouldn’t have to live her life on a battlefield. Of course, Yukina isn’t very happy with this decision, and once again in this series, we see how powerless she is. In this episode we see this is true for everyone.

A bit of cuteness before bad stuff starts happening.
A bit of cuteness before bad stuff starts happening.

Macross Delta 25 is a long, deep breath before the big fighting begins. First we have to take care of a few matters. We learn that Hayate’s dad, told to destroy the protoculture ruins with that dimensional weapon, actually carried it away to lessen the casualties. Berger tells them more things, much of it steeped in franchise lore that I never learned or have forgotten, but it makes us all wonder, not for the first time, just who the hell Lady M is and what she’s on about. Oh, NUNS is going to blow up Windemere and our fleet is ordered to Ragnak because that’s the other important ruins site for galactic control, which is lucky because the captive Mikumo, still in thrall of that phrase, is ordered to sing and so all the NUNS fleet goes boom with their own weapons. This is right at the end, and after a long introspective session where everyone swears they will protect or defend something, much like he Kuromukuro guys did, come to think of it, only we’ll have to wait for next week to see it. Lots of angles to play at, but I think Walkure will have to rescue Mikumo somehow, and maybe Heinz with him. Oh, Hayate’s fight with Keith for a bit, and Bogue will take another shot at Freyja.

Bye guys.
Bye guys.

And finally, I’m going to say goodbye to Sousei no Onmyouji. I let out a sigh last season when I learned it would run for another, but now I learn they intend to keep it up for a whole year. Sorry, I don’t like the show that much, and with my time strictly limited now–I don’t even know if I’m going to watch any shows next season (though things will hopefully lighten up next year)–it’s time to prioritize.

BTW, sorry, but I may not cover the new shows for the Fall season. But I’m not abandoning this blog entirely.