Mad catch-up time: Re:Creators, Youkai Apts, Isekai Shoudou

After an amusing recap episode where Meteora displays a better sense of humor than she normally shows, and where the show misses a chance to point out that creations were talking to their creators’ creators (and mocking their creators in order to amuse us), Re:Creators gets back to more heavy planning. The artists and writers are dragged into a super project that will connect all the stories and have them duke it out with Altair in a stadium, and naturally we get creative differences. Not to mention that all these changes will have to get accepted by the fans. Interesting to point out that Altair is pretty much a fan-based creation herself and thus is beyond the capabilities of the good guys to change.

Just the new character we need.

All said, #14 wasn’t terribly interesting. #15 is better. It was nice to get some background on Blitz, some idea of why he happily follows Altair, and it gives their conversation at the end a compelling twist. The two have bonded in a father/daughter way that works as a nice contrast to the one we have on the good guys’ side, to the point where Altair doesn’t want Blitz to participate in the melee. Another good twist is the appearance of Sho, who has perfectly good reasons to hate Yuya, even if that puts him on the wrong side, as Blitz hints. The Alice/Magane conversation had no meaning to it I could see, but I’m sure that something will come of it later. And finally there’s Hikayu, who really shouldn’t be there, but I’m glad she is because the show needs some more lightness right now.

Youkai Apato no Yuuga na Nichijou seems to be as much about Yushi’s development as a person as it is a story about hanging out with Youkai. Episode 2 throws a variety of characters at us, human and spirits, at the apartment and at the school (well, no youkai at the school–yet), including a psychic named Ryu who gives us a long speech about how things change, a nice enough scene but it seemed out of place, until we switch to Yushi’s school friend Tashiro and the episode becomes actually frightening. I don’t know how Yushi got that ability, and I don’t think he really needs it, but hopefully they’ll just take his distress-sucking and use it as a story tool to demonstrate how he has changed.

Episode 3, follows the same pattern. Though it’s supposed to be about the boy, Kuri, and Shiro the faithful dog, it turns to Yushi and his still undealt-with grief at losing his own parents. The extreme difference between his happy childhood and Kuri’s completely rotten one is too much for him to handle. Then there’s the fact that Kuri’s mother haunts him even though Kuri’s already dead (I didn’t know ghosts can be haunted), even though she’s become something barely remotely human, which leads Yushi to speculate that there is more to it. Perhaps there is, but he can’t do anything about it, which makes him feel even more helpless.

A satisfied customer.

Still so far behind that new episodes will be out a day after I write about these, but I’ll finish with Isekai Shokudou. Like Youkai Aparto, its main strategy, so far, is to put people in a foreign but welcoming situation where they can reflect or perhaps heal a little, except that the people here are fantasy characters and it’s a normal restaurant doing the cooking, er, healing. Also, there are a lot more characters to take care of, not just the one, so it can only show them at a superficial level. In episode 2 we get Sarah, a bounty hunter who makes a connection to a past mentor through a delicious minced meat cutlet. After that we learn the story of Seeleman, who, starving and desperate, stumbles into the restaurant and eats fried shrimp, giving him the strength to continue his flight to the capital to warn of the advancing Mothmen.

A soon-to-be satisfied customer.

In episode 3 we learn a little more about how the proprietor does business, as he exchanges his proceeds for fantasy-land food to alter the tastes of his recipes. Frankly, I think old Alfade has got a pretty sweet deal going, all that cash plus a free meal in exchange for a sack of common vegetables … And finally, young, beautiful, and ailing Adelheid discovers a connection to her nice old gramps with a chocolate parfait she first ate on a visit years ago. It’s getting to be a little routine, strangers shocked and then delighted by this mysterious restaurant, not to mention that every single one of them talks like a food critic when they eat … “The breading cooked in quality oil gives way to the juicy meat underneath …” that sort of thing. Well, once all these people become regulars, and it’s already happening, maybe they can mix it up a little. As it is, it’s not a bad show, just one in a rut.

2017 6, the last

Hajimete no Gal is off to a bad start.

In Hajimete no Gal we meet Junichi, a typical high school second year who wants to get laid, though efforts are made to demonstrate that he has a decent side. He might get farther in his quest if he didn’t hang out, and actually listen to, his three loser buddies, who tempt him with a dirty mag right when Yukana, who looks like an easy slut, notices and humiliates him. Naturally the friends then force Junichi to confess his love/lust to Yukana. After humiliating him some more (at least no one’s around this time), she says yes, and so our story begins.

The big mystery is why Yukana said yes, and no doubt we’re going to find out she’s a bit of a romantic underneath, or something like that, and/or Junichi will rise above his lusts and become a decent boyfriend, and so this will be a more sensitive show than we think, but it’s hard to imagine that with the boob and panty shots, not to mention Junichi’s fantasies, that the show tosses at us at every moment possible. It got so annoying that I skipped ahead a few times and found they were STILL at it. Plus, Junichi’s internal monologues, almost all of them about sex, got old really fast. There might be a good story underneath all that, but I don’t have the patience to find out.

Gamers! is another show that starts with an airplane for no reason at all.

Gamers! features a nerdy but decent high school boy named Keita, who, while looking at a sexy dating sim with blonde girls at the store, is approached by Karen, the beautiful school idol, who, by the way, is blonde. Turns out she’s a gaming freak too, and tries to recruit him for her school club. Sounds perfect, but the club is hardcore and they play games to win. It’s a bit much for Keita, who just likes to play games for fun, so he very reluctantly bows out, leading to a public scene where Karen acts like he’s just broken her heart.

The usual embarrassed boy scenes and the usual set-up-the-story scenes aside, this was a good first episode. I was actually surprised that Keita turned down the club, but I admired how he did not succumb to Karen’s attraction, and stated good reasons for not joining. There’s also that Momo character he plays online who we know next to nothing about, so his reasons for gaming might be more complex than he states in the show. Too soon to say anything about the other characters, apart from another couple we meet, who manage to be funny with their own story. What I liked most, however, is that the direction often tells the jokes in a variety of ways, often through foreshadowing subtitles for instance (so we’re not just getting Keita’s POV but the creators’, too) as well as the mundane ones like witty internal monologues or good timing. In other words, the creators are actually working to make scenes good and not just tossing them out at us.

This is a TV show countdown.

Finally for this season’s previews, one I missed, Action Heroine Cheer Fruits (a coworker recommended it because she thinks all I care about are cute girls, and while I certainly like them, well …), where, er, I didn’t get her name, and her sister are excited about a live show featuring TV action heroine Kamidaio, that will take place at Hinano City (“city” is exaggerating a little) festival, only someone screwed up and it got cancelled. Kise (I looked it up)’s sister is devastated, so Kise promises to have Kamidaio appear next week, bringing her super-genki friend Akagi in to help try to recreate something they cannot possibly recreate. There follows a lot of dull scenes of them practicing, and then it’s performed to some youngsters, who see through it but appreciate the cool moves. And then the tower collapses …

There goes the tower.

There’s lots of other girls around, too. We meet a few of them early on, in side scenes, but all that did for this episode is distract us from the main story, which, admittedly, wasn’t much. When the side characters weren’t getting in the way, the pacing interfered; it was often lazy. On the good side, I did not expect that tower to collapse, and the episode had a couple of other clever bits that surprised me, or, in the case of Kamidaio’s product placement bits, allowed the creators to wink at us. Doubt I’m going to watch it though, since this cute girl show had its share of ogling, and a panty shot. They didn’t need to put that in.

That’s all for the previews. I could watch a couple more, but I don’t care, and I have more-or-less chosen the ones I will watch, plus catching up with the holdovers from last season … Thank you for reading, and I hope to catch up soon!

2017 Summer 5

Centaur no Nayami starts out sexy.

Centaur no Nayami seems to be a high school comedy where everyone is a mythical creature. We start with rehearsals for the school play, where Hime, a centaur and our heroine, rehearses the class play where she has to kiss her good friend Nozomi, a demon, I suppose, and there’s an incident during the performance … centaurs are pretty heavy, you know. Then a bewildering lecture about all the different races there are now and how amphibians all have six legs, plus a stern warning about discrimination. Then the girls run a marathon, but Kyoko lags behind, and midterm test results. Slice of life stuff.

Nozomi’s face is red because she’s thinking back to the kiss.

I was most interested in not only the teacher’s lecture, how it’s almost shouted at the students, how unity is more important than personal freedom (with two shadowy authorities listening from the door), and Kyoko’s comment later how even talking about this sort of stuff is illegal. Seems a bit extreme to me, and it makes this seemingly benign high school less so. As for the other things, none of the characters interested me very much, the jokes were unfunny and dragged out. The episode dragged as much as Kyoko in the marathon. I will cut it some slack for being a first episode–they have to explain the world to us, of course, but I can’t see myself watching too much more.

Princess Principal has a flashback to start us off.

Princess Principal sounds like the story of royalty running a school, but while the girls do attend school, they are actually spies for the British Commonwealth, as opposed to the British Kingdom, who they’re cold-warring with (the wall runs through London). For starters, they help a would-be defector escape from, I don’t know, police or something, and sneak him into their exclusive boarding school until they can get him across the wall. They’re aided by their spynetwork of course, but also the mysterious glowing substance called cavorite, which can lift cars and dump them and presumably other things as well, but then there’s the defector’s sister, suffering from cavorite poisoning and needs an expensive operation, and thus the plot gets complicated.

Cavorite at work.  Love this image.
Two of our girls blending in.

I’m not sure if the intrigue stuff is going to live up to expectations, too soon to tell, but I’m going to keep watching for now because so far it does. It’s a smart script that, at least in this episode, plays around with the concept of lying, since spies do that a lot. One character, Ange, lies so often that even her teammates often don’t know when she’s telling the truth. Also, the show looks great. There’s a nice steampunk feel to it with the foggy London streets and the odd machinery they use. Finally, it’s directed well. The chase scene at the beginning is one of the best moments of the new season so far. Let’s see if the refugees of the Black Lizard Planet can keep it up.

Kyo playing guitar to start off Tenshi no 3p!.

Tenshi no 3P! has Kyo, rapidly become a NEET who does little but upload music, uploading some more while at school a blond girl defends him. This goes on for about half the episode, until Kyo gets an email from an admirer who wants to meet him. Kyo is afraid at first but finally agrees because he wants to talk music. You probably already know who the mysterious Goto Jun really is. And we get a song at the end that I could do without, but if I keep watching this show, I better get used to it.

Not that I’m going to keep watching. The premise is vaguely disgusting, and, EVEN WORSE, the show lags so much that I thought about skipping ahead, especially when the girls show up. Every conversation is done in slow-motion, and it gets worse when the quiet, sleepy Sora has to say something. Also, I can’t get over the fact that they have rare valuable instruments and amplifiers hidden away in a secret room under a statue, not to mention that the ten year-old girls can play them so well, or that Kyo is only mildly surprised by the fact. I could wave it away except that the first half of the story seemed devoted to showing Kyo as a boy who needs help, and what that means to his friends and classmates, and had a far more serious feel about it.

Starting out with a conversation with God.

Next, Isekai no Smartphone to Tomo ni, which starts with God apologizing to a boy named Touya over killing him way too early in life. To make up for it he sends the boy to a magical land with augmented physical and magical abilities, also his smartphone, which can do everything it used to do except call home. It can call God, however. Touya wakes up in the magical world and things fall his way immediately, with a man offering to buy his clothes for too much money. He rescues/befriends/adds to his harem the twins Elze and Linze, finds he’s good at everything, and invents ice cream as a favor to another girl, who will no doubt be another harem addition.

The twins are as amazed by Touya’s abilities as we are, well, we’re not amazed at all.

There are many out there who will object to Touya finding everything so easy, but I don’t really mind it. This is basically a harem series in a magical world, so the important things will be the girls. Also, this looks to be a nice, brainless series I can watch without having to think too much. Mind you, I might change my mind. Touya is bland and the twins aren’t much better, but we’re just getting started with the harem building. We’ll see how it goes, and if I get bored.

2017 Summer 4

Made in Abyss gets off to a lovely start.

We start this session with Made in Abyss, and a young girl named Riko, who with her friend Nat is excavating for old artifacts, and, in spite of the area being pretty much picked clean (this is a training session for apprentices), she finds quite a few, but then a dragon, about to eat an knocked-out Nat. She distracts it with her red whistle (whistle color signifies status) and before it can eat HER something blasts it. Turns out to be an unconscious robot boy. The rest of the show follows Riko, Nat, and their Shiggy as they try to hide the robot from their mean orphanage director, etc, getting in more trouble as they go, until the robot wakes up and wonders what the hell is going on and who he is, the usual philosophical questions when you’ve been overzapped with electricity.

I’ll say right out that this is worth at least one more episode. The early scenes are wonderful. The later ones are marred by the situation, kids getting into trouble and hiding from their teachers, but even then we get to discover more about the strange world they live in. If you don’t count Riko’s explanations to Reg (robot-kun) there is only one infodump, it comes at the very end of the episode, and it only makes me want to learn more about the world, the mysterious hole, and its artifacts and monsters. There’s a certain amount of preciousness about it, the show obviously intended for young viewers, but not enough to keep me from watching more. Finally, the art is fantastic. The childish character designs clash with it a bit, but not enough for me to care.

One more. I can’t resist.
18if’s gaudy opening.

Next it’s 18if, where after we watch a purplish opening bit, we get someone who calls herself the Witch of Thunder who cavorts with her minions, and convert two not-cute strangers into more minions, then a boy named Haruto, who wakes up in a dream world, and then that witch is popping out of his cell phone. He’s rescued by a girl in white named Lily, but wakes up in the same dreamland, more adventures with that witch, and a cat-guy who is a scientist investigating this world, until Lily shows up and there’s a big confrontation with the witch, who apparently is a real girl who went into a self-induced coma after some classmates were awful to her. Next week, Haruto, Cat-guy and Lily will presumably rescue another stuck person.

Bleh. It tries to look modern but look too closely and you can see how cheap this show is with poor background art and character designs, and its stumbling narrative. Since it’s a dream world, anything goes, however, a lack of rules doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have internal consistency. Every character (except maybe the cat-guy) is a bore. Nobunaga Shimazaki (Haruto) is wasted in this show and sounds bored, like he’s simply waiting to say his next line. I’m a little curious about who Lily really is but not enough to keep watching.

We’ll probably see a lot of candles in Vatican Kiseki.

Vatican Kiseki Chousakan stars Roberto and Joseph, two young priests and apprentices to the Vatican group that goes around verifying miracles. After an opening bit where a nightwatchman chases off some demon-summoning kids and then sees a crucified blond guy floating in the air, we get our heroes being sent to South America to check on a virgin birth story, but they’re really there to gather info on this suspicious church and a tile that fits into another with a Satanic saying on it, which, really, one of those kids could have dropped. They wander around the enormous church/school/hospital grounds and gather information, while some of the folks there act weird, especially the one who bites the sausage. Dolores, the pregnant girl, has stigmata too, but Roberto and Joseph just wave it off as common. And a priest is then murdered, a statue of the virgin cries, etc etc.

Hey look! I got a stigmata!

No standalone story here. I guess they presume we already know all this Catholic stuff already. They spend more time introducing everybody. Really, does anyone who speaks a word in the show need his name put up there for us to note? On the good side, they set up the overly heavy atmosphere of big churches and rituals quite well, which is good because the animation doesn’t look that impressive. They take their time with the story, I think a good thing in this case, laying out clues here and there, and they scatter the scary stuff around almost like a spice. There’s a sober mood to the whole thing. Not bad, but not really what I’m after these days.

Altair starts with ruins.

In Shoukoku no Altair is set in the sort-of fictional land of what the translators call Turkiye, where Mahmut, young genius kid, is becoming the youngest person to achieve the rank of Pasha. He’s motivated by seeing firsthand the horrors of the last war with, er, (checks notes) the Balt-Rhein Empire. He begins his tenure as Pasha by kicking a hot dancing girl out of his bed and learning that a Balt-Rheim guy was murdered at the border, they say, by Turkiye assassins. He races off to uncover the conspiracy and save his mentor, who’s name I didn’t catch.

What we got her is intrigue, possible war, conspiracies, with lots of pseudo-Ottoman and pseudo-European trappings. It worked well as an introductory episode, a standalone story that also introduced the problems Mahmut and Turkiye are going to face in the future. I especially liked Mahmut’s elderly mentor, who feels responsible for that old war and will do anything, even give away his life, to prevent a new one. Hope it doesn’t come to that. I, however, didn’t much like the superficial treatment of the two empires, and the capture of the baddies was a trifle silly. Still, silliness has rarely hurt an anime before. I understand that the story is quite long, and I don’t know if I want to get involved with a two-cours (at least) series of this nature at the moment, so I’ll pass.

I don’t know why Ballroom no Youkoso starts with a plane, but whatever …

Ballroom no Youkoso, if you couldn’t figure out already, is about ballroom dancing. Basically we have an aimless middle-schooler named Fujita who wants to love something, “so I can change!” Through events not worth mentioning here, he winds up in a new ballroom studio run by the charismatic Sengoku and has a nervous trial lesson. That wasn’t enough to make him sign up (way too expensive anyway) but watching the dvd another teacher slipped into his case (the show’s most vivid moment–“Look at me!”), gets him interested indeed. So he goes back and begs for lessons. Fujita immediately develops a ridiculous work ethic, a lot of blisters, and grudging admiration from Sengoku and the cute classmate who’s already training there.

I think we all know what’s going on here. Determined kid works his butt off to achieve what looks to be an absurd goal while meeting friends and rivals. I wasn’t crazy about how quickly Fujita became a fanatic, and even if you can buy that, dancing all night is ridiculous. However, Sengoku is a lot of fun, both supportive and a tad egoistical. Too soon to tell about the girl yet, and we have yet to meet any other dancers. The dancing itself is nice to look at. Though the necks and limbs seem absurdly stretched, it feels consistent with the show’s aesthetics. I guess it boils down to if you want to watch ballroom dancing.

2017 Summer 3

Appropriately, wedding bells begin Koi to Uso.

Koi to Uso takes us to a happy modern Japan where everyone, upon reaching age 16, is assigned a marriage partner whether they like it or not. We start with some high schoolers discussing this, both with “I don’t wanna!” and “I wonder who he/she is like?” and one boy, Yukari, railing louder than anyone. Since he’s almost sixteen he decides to confess to the girl he’s been in love with since high school, Misaki. There follows the usual nervous second-guessing and blurting out of nonsense for quite too long, until Misaki confesses right back, been in love ever since he gave her that eraser, etc. Ding ding! It’s midnight! It’s midnight and two government officials approach them (they’re in a park, not at home, but they knew where to find him anyway) and says his future wife has been chosen, and it’s not Misaki, OR IS IT? There was a strange text message right before that, you see …

I forget, she’s either crying with joy or she’s upset because he got his notice.

That mysterious text message, which was conveniently gone from his phone when the govt people (who are given names, so I think they’re regulars) show up, was a interesting twist in an otherwise completely mundane love triangle story, or square, since there are four people on the poster. As I mentioned, the confession business could have been pulled from thousands of other high school shows and/or manga. That they’re being forced to marry other people is a complication used in stories for, I dunno, thousands of years. The hint at supernatural happenings (and that look of utter gloom on Misaki’s face near the end) is thus the only new thing here. Never mind newness, you say? Well, there was nothing about the romantic things we saw to make it stick out. Also, quite frankly, I don’t like the character designs at all. If you like classic high school romantic stories, you might like it.

This modern city scene is quite unlike the mood of the series.

In Isekai Shokudou there’s a popular western-style restaurant that, one day a week, is closed to the general public and instead open to people and creatures from another world of the generic fantasyland variety. We watch some warriors, a wizard, and a lizard thing argue over what food goes best with white rice, then later a dragon in voluptuous human form comes to visit, and then Aletta, the first regular character apart from the chef, a cute demon girl, wanders in when it’s closed and gets a job as a waitress. That’s it.

The first episode is charming. The focus is on the delicious food and the pleasure of eating as much as the strange characters, a food porn show with supernatural elements. I wonder if the characters, especially in the first scene, would be bitter enemies in their own world but put aside their differences to enjoy some curry or croquettes together, as if to make the point that dining is a civilized act and must be respected. I also wonder if the door they use to enter the restaurant moves about, appearing before those who need it the most, like Aletta. I don’t know if they can keep the concept fresh for a full season, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

Aho girl actually begins with opening credits. That’s pretty rare these days.

Aho Girl is a short about a very stupid girl named Yoshiko, her long-suffering neighbor and classmate who they call A-kun, and other characters who occasionally get drawn into the orbit of Yoshiko’s jawdropping stupidity. Yoshiko has a thing for A-kun, and he responds to her advances (and whatever else she’s up to) with incredulity and often violence.

Pretty much everything boils down to this for Yoshiko.

Yes, I laughed. Yoshiko is played by Yuuki Aoi at full power and so is almost always fun, especially when the topic gets around to Yoshiko’s one true passion: bananas. A-kun is Sugita Tomokazu, so he’s not bad to listen to either. I have a feeling I’d get warn down by the premise if the show was a full half-hour–Yoshiko is extremely intense, but it’s only half that, just right.

A school desk to open Tsurezure Children

Another short, Tsurezure Children gives us not one but four confession scenes of varying awkwardness but consistent humor. In the first, the girl is so awkward that they both nearly freeze to death in that romantic snow, and the boy doesn’t know how to respond when she asks “Do you a crush on somebody?” because the answer is her. In the second confession the girl so straightforward that the boy doesn’t know how to react, which she thinks is cute, in the third, a hard-ass student council rep comes on to the school deliquent, and the fourth is more of a goodbye confession under the stars.

Since the episode is so short they don’t have time to dilly-dally with the confessions, a point in the show’s favor. I hate thumpity-thump moments if they go on too long, and they usually do. The emotions for both characters in each scene feel natural, and there’s often a fun little twist, someone blurts out something stupid, or the logic of the conversation leads to absurd conclusions, but once we get the idea that each confession will be a success we get to enjoy four fun couples. Or three. Not sure about the last girl yet.

Shangri-la, I think.

I don’t know Journey to the West, except it’s a bunch of guys on a mission and one of them is a monkey, but that’s about all I needed to know to watch at least episode of Saiyuki RELOAD BLAST. In this slightly modernized version (guns and a jeep, etc), demons have broken loose and life is pretty much hell for humans, especially in the west of Shangri-la. Our heroes break up a demon attack and are taken to a secluded village where they act like bros, drop exposition, and generally annoy the neighbors until the demons reach them, and there’s more bloody fighting.

Hard to tell if it will pan out because this was a typical opening standalone episode where we meet the characters and see how they fight. The story arc starts next week. It looks good, but the fight scenes consist mostly of still shots with a shaky camera, and they’re a bit confusing unless you know who is doing what. I liked the bro aspect; the four of them have fought together for years and know, trust, and tease each other easily. But for me at least there wasn’t much more that stood out.

A show that tells you everything from the start.

More bromance coming up, I think … Yep. Dive!! is the diving adventures of Ryo. When he was a young boy walking his dog on a hot summer day he sees an older boy, Yoichi, diving from a “dragon,” i.e., a diving board, and he is transfixed. Yoichi invites the lad to give it a try, and his diving days begin. Now in middle school, he’s training with two amiable buddies and pretty much ignoring the nice girl who wants to hang out with him. Meanwhile, the club is in financial trouble and there are rumors that it will be shut down. At the end, they all meet a new instructor, the sexy Kayoko, who gives them a goal, the Olympics.

Destiny, or something.

It looks solid enough. The first episode scattered little plot points around while establishing Ryo’s adoration of Yoichi a little too much. The dives are done pretty realistically, only hampered by the frame rate. The problem will be that they happen so quickly, under two seconds, that all the dramatic moments will have to happen before and after them. Might be interesting to see what the creators will do with that. But while the animation is good, it’s not on the level of the last water-sports based franchise we saw–Free!, and it might need to be. And, of course, we get a ton of shots of men and boys standing around in swimsuits, if that’s your interest.

We watch him run for way too long.

Konbini Kareshi follows some kids around as they enter high school, especially a boy named Haruki and his annoying, freeloading friend Towa. Haruki likes a girl named Miharu, whom he once knew, though she seems to have forgotten, and they often (literally) bump into each other at the convenience store near the school. Towa likes to tease a shy, reserved class rep named Mami, who supposedly hates him, but you know how that will turn out. They also visit the convenience store. We get a lot of looks of other kids who are in the credits, but we don’t learn anything about them this week. No time. I presume that they also frequent the convenience store.

Actually, considering the title, they don’t spend a lot of time in the store. Most of the scenes are at school or home. When they do use the store, they usually read a magazine while waiting for someone, or get discovered reading something surprising. Oh, and to get lunch or a popsicle. As for the show, it feels a bit leisurely to me. Did they have to have a close up of both boys swiping their subway card? Did we really need that much of Haruki running around in the flash-forward that begins the episode? The characters are all right, a little dull, but we don’t really know them yet. Except Towa’s schtick gets old very fast, and I can’t blame Mami when he treats her so disrespectfully.

2017 Summer 2

Luck & Logic starts with a view of the pretty high school obviously intended for girls.

On to Hina Loji ~from Luck & Logic~, where we follow some cute girls around a fancy high school where they train their magical powers. They are all “logicalists,” and they form contracts with otherworldly people named “foreigners.” A girl named Lion seems to be the main character, or maybe she’s just this week’s focus, and we watch her conjure up her foreigner (Rosa), though the contract was actually settled years ago. We also watch a mock battle, meet the supertalented Nina, who desperately needs friends, and various other people via some long speeches. Oh, a bathing scene and hanami.

Lion is the one with her head on the desk.

This is supposed to be a sequel or spinoff, but I don’t remember the original or never saw it. It doesn’t matter as the show takes care to explain everything to you in dull infodumps. While these are magical girls, apart from the mock battle there’s no fighting or even a threat this episode. Instead we’re told more than once how peaceful things are now. So maybe this is more of a cute girls doing cute things show more than an action one, which is okay, but some of the scenes dragged on even when the comic bit had been exhausted, and so far I don’t see a character I particularly like. Nina looks interesting, but she’s going from tsun to dere too quickly. I don’t know about this one.

… Skipping a few sequels and spinoffs …

Modern day Tokyo to begin Knight’s and Magic, but we won’t be here for long.

Next is Knight’s and Magic, not a typo, and an genius programmer named Kurata who is a mecha nut, gets killed by a car and awakens in the body of a prince boy in a medieval world with monsters in it. Knights piloting giant suits of armor protect the land, and young Ernesti (Kurata) becomes obsessed with them, somehow remembering his past life, it seems. He studies, meets buddies, enters a Knight Runner school with the worst uniforms in the world, impresses everyone, and the flashback finally catches up with him and his training camp getting overrun by monsters.

First, I appreciate how the series zips through the arduous training, and that how the prodigy Ernesti doesn’t act like a brat, probably because inside he’s the mature adult he was before. But the show goes the other extreme. He never has any problems with anything, at least until the cliffhanger at the end, but even there he’s not daunted, and there’s little doubt that he’ll save the day. But apart from that one mecha pilot’s cleavage it IS a show for younger viewers, with simple, cartoonish characters and storytelling, and it’s not bad in that respect. Not sure I’m interested in watching, though.

Aoyama-kun’s appropriate opening shot … well, there are no cleaning supplies visible.

Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun is about a gifted and dedicated high school soccer player named Aoyama, and his cleanliness fetish. In the first half we watch and hear about him in dialogues between jealous teammate Kaoru and Miwa, the coach, meanwhile Aoyama cleans things and avoids contact with anything that will make him dirty, yet he still plays soccer. In the second half a team from another school come to play a match and pry Aoyama away from this school and into theirs, and there are plenty more cleanliness gags and soccer exploits to show us.

This show was pretty much dead to me after the first ten minutes or so. I hung around hoping for a good punchline or two and getting stale ones about cleanliness instead. It’s also not thought-through very well. Surely his teammates would know by now not to try to hug Aoyama after a goal. Now, I understand that shows with a limited gag setup will live by its supporting characters, like listless Tanaka-Kun’s show did, but that show had two core characters who could carry at least part of an episode, while with Aoyama-kun, I don’t seen any characters I want to follow, apart from the girl with the stuffed animal. Maybe I’ll hang on and she what she can contribute. Oh, and bonus points for the throwback ED.

Now, Battle Girl High School. With a title like that, how can it possibly be bad?

The big tree for Battle Girl High school, and I think it has some significance to the story.

Well, it’s not bad, but it’s pretty close. We meet Miki, awakening from an unpleasant dream in class, then off to see an idol show with her two friends, except some monsters are spotted and the girls have to go to work destroying them. They’re joined by maybe ten more girls, each saying a cute line before or during their attack. The two idol girls are also fighters but they’re busy performing. Priorities, you know. While they dispatch the monsters, there’s talk at HQ about how the girls are losing their touch. So after some cute school scenes between countless girls, they train, and are then introduced to a transfer student, who looks intense.

Nothing much here. Similar to Luck and Logic in that its scenes go on far too long an aren’t funny enough for a payoff. Also, they fling so many girls at us that it’s hard to keep track of them, and the show’s desire to showcase every one of them slows things down even more. However, I will give the show credit for delivering the funniest line of the season so far, at least for me.

Well, *I* laughed …
Youkai Aparto begins around graduation, hence the cherry blossom.

Youkai Apato no Yuuga na Nichijou stars Inaba, whose parents died three years ago, forcing him to live with other relatives, who weren’t really unkind, but… Trouble is, his new High School’s dorm burns down and he has nowhere to stay for six months, until he meets a kid in the park who tells him about a realtor, who shows him a good, cheap place–with free food! As you can probably figure out, the apartment building is actually full of ghosts, a couple of humans, and other things. Inaba is freaked out, of course, but it’s pretty clear that he’s going to stay. Where else can he go?

Once you got the gist of the story, episode one is entirely predictable, especially Imada’s first night there. He sees spooky things, take bath in a cave where he meets the scary ooya-san, and naturally has nightmares. But there’s plenty to like. It’s made clear from the start that the building is a friendly hangout for the living and the dead. Truly evil spirits are exorcised by Akine, one of the humans. Inaba, who has no prior knowledge or prejudice concerning spirits, is made to feel welcome if he can just get used to the weirdness. It looks like it’s going to be a slice-of-life series but with ghosts and things. So far, a surprisingly happy show.

2017 Summer 1, and a quick apology about the template

I was thinking about trying out a new template and accidentally triggered this one.  Might go back, if I can figure out how to do it.  Sometimes the best changes are done by accident.

I don’t like the green lettering …

Anyway …

Here we go with the Summer anime season 2017, part 1. For those of you who don’t know or remember, I will give quick rundowns on all the shows I might watch. I probably won’t watch any sequels to shows I didn’t finish in the first place, and other shows depending on my tastes. The order here is presented roughly in the order of Random Curiosity’s preview page. Also, I will include the first comprehensible image from each episode I cover, for no other reason except it’s tradition. Here we go!

The new season begins with an impressive cherry tree.

The season stumbles out of the gate with Enmusubi no Youko-chan, where, after a fox spirit cons some kid and a depressing OP with lots of creatures either looking or fighting, we watch the fox spirit catching a young apprentice spirit (Suusu) and then thowing her aside, claiming Suusu has to marry this certain guy. Suusu goes off to match up a couple of other people, apparently it’s the job she’s in training for, and then we switch to the guy, Haku, who’s trying to nab a girl for his own, and as much food as he can, and appearing on a matchmaking show until he’s confronted by the Unificiation League, because if he DOES nab a girl it sets them back 500 years. Then Suusu lands on his head, but Haku likes that she has candy, and then one of the panelists is revealed as a matchmaking interest, and the other is a dog. More supernatural people show up to confuse things more, there’s a lot of crazy fighting and nothing makes any sense.

One of those shows that throws you in the middle of the action and promises to explain later, only the action is silly slapstick with a complex backstory that will take time to unravel, and I’m not sure I have the patience. All I can figure out is that there are three fox spirit clans going around messing with people, and they don’t like each other much. Not sure where Haku fits into all this, and since I found him annoying I don’t really care. On the other hand, Suusu is played by Kana Asumi, so she’s entertaining whenever she speaks, and the character’s cute bumbling is fun to watch. However, I’ve almost never watched a series because of a single character, and as much as I like Asumi, even she’s not enough to make me try with this show.

Kakeguri’s high school sign, as the camera swoops up.

Next it’s Kakegurui, where we see a rich high school where all the kids gamble, and, as our narrator (don’t know if he’s a regular or not) discovers when he loses too much, can be quite nasty about it. The dominant gambler is Mary, quite cruel and twisted, but there’s a new girl in town, Yumeko, who is quickly invited by Mary to an imaginative version of Rock-Paper-Scissors. Most of the episode is about the match, with explanations, asides, and scams at work, and so the new girl makes a statement.

Who’s crazier? Candidate #1 is Mary.

 

And here’s candidate #2, Yumeko.

This could be great fun to some people. From the moment Mary breaks into her first insane look, you know this show will be twisted, and the tasty OP only proves the point. And as sick as Mary can look, Yumeko beats her with intent. Yumeko is truly insane and doesn’t enjoy playing unless she actually has a good chance of losing, like she does in the ep1 match. She actually thanks the person responsible for trying to rig the match for making it more exciting for her. So if you’re in for a lot of tense gambling scenes, complete lack of morals, and truly wicked facial expressions, give this one a try. As for me, it’s not to my taste, so I won’t cover it here.