Short Synopsis: Our lead character really likes tea.
I really have no doubt that this will be the most underrated show of the season. It’s just completely void of just about any trope that you usually see in the popular anime: there is no moe whatsoever, nor any bishies. Instead the lead characters are all in their thirties; there is no youth in this show whatsoever. Meanwhile, takes place during the samurai age, yet there are hardly any battles, with this instead being a dialogue-centred series. On top of that, this is Bee-Train, so there is a lot of focus on talking heads. The soundtrack is completely weird and unconventional and the characters all tend to make silly faces. And I absolutely loved this first episode. It’s completely unlike any other series set in the Samurai Age, especially the main character is unique, with his really weird combination of silly facial expressions and down to earth dialogue. Steins;Gate’s lead looks just ordinary compared to this guy. Still, his characterization is excellent, and with Bee-Train, the build-up also was just terrific. Most of this episode was quiet, but the climax of this episode was already amazing. And you know what the best part is? This will go on for 39 episodes. When was the last time that a series of this caliber got more than 13 episodes? Let alone 26!
OP: Quiet and laid-back, with interesting visuals.
ED: I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Bee-Train OP or ED like this. Again really relaxed.
Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji: Hakairoku Hen
Short Synopsis: Our lead character has money problems.
Kaiji is a show about Gambling, but this first episode of the sequel didn’t have any of that. It was just meant to build up, and introduce the next arc, and it was actually very good in doing so. For Kaiji standards in particular, a lot happened here. The creators really wanted to show how deep one could fall if you get on the wrong side of the mafia. They lure you in with the promise that one day your debt will be over, but use very dirty tricks to just push that deadline back and back. This episode did a great job of breaking apart Kaiji’s spirit with basic psychology. That’s the big difference between Akagi and One outs: those are shows to see how well a superhuman can pwn just about everyone around him and their lead characters are more than aware of their own abilities.. Kaiji is at the complete opposite: he’s completely flawed, makes the most stupid decisions, only standing out because he can struggle like no other. Of course, at this point I can’t yet comment on whether this second season has improved the pacing issues of the first season. The only criticism I have at this point is that the narrator is a bit too enthusiastic. Even describing the most mundane activities are announced with that over the top voice of his. But then again, why am I expecting subtlety from this series?
ED: WTF. Just… wtf…
Short Synopsis: Our lead character lands is just an average schoolgirl who winds up amongst famous people from the Sengoku Era.
Sengoku Otome’s biggest sin is its blandness. I wouldn’t call this bad.. it just fails to stand out in any kind of way. Just about everything about this show screams “been there, done that”. It has nothing that really sets itself apart of that is actually remotely good. The creators to me just didn’t seem to care here. The premise of a random teenager ending up in a fantasy world has been done a ton of times before, so you really need to set yourself apart in this genre. So what do the creators do? They choose a complete airhead as their main character. They turn it into self-insert fan-fiction amongst famous historical figures. They gender-swap said figures into females. They put no effort whatsoever into the character designs. And okay, the character-designs aren’t as bad as with Dog Days, but they still are pretty bad here. This entire episode just followed one cliche after the other, with nothing really to make up for it. If the characters were likable then this could be forgiven, but even there this show doesn’t do anything. The lead character is beyond annoying, and the rest of the cast is just completely one-sided and uninteresting.
OP: Like the show, bland, both in terms of visuals and music.