Posted on 21 January 2017 with categories: ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept., Currently Watching:

I admit that although I think ACCA is one the most solid show this season and I in particular like how they set up the settings and the events to come, the first two episodes didn’t grab me that much personally. As a result, in prepare for this post, I went ahead and watching them again, and I picked up a fair amount of new details this time and the show did grow a bit on me. Many of our characters seem to have hidden agenda, heck, nearly all of them have, from our main character Jean Otus, his sister, his best friend Nino, Mauve, and the five heads of ACCA. There is an uprising about to come and the higher-up suspects Jean has a vital role in the middle of all this, which whether it’s true or not remain to be seen.

The kingdom of Dowa remains one of the most intriguing settings this season have to offer. Dividing up into 13 states where each of them have their own authority and maintaining peace for 99 years after a vicious civil war ain’t a small feat at all. So exactly how did the king managed to unite all these bastards to create peace? At the moment, I guess there are some conditions the king promised back then, and those conditions have to do with 100 years and the upcoming coup d’état. ACCA is created to supervise the day-to-day operations of other districts; and how their propaganda put it; a symbol of peace itself. There’s still so much details hidden underneath the surface but at this moment the show quite succeeds on hinting these bit by bit. No, I don’t trust everything that I’ve seen in this world. That Dowa kingdom is like an old expired cake, beautiful from the outside, rotten from the inside.

But the way the show tells its story marks how confident they approach the material. The show follows Jean who perform his everyday job and we get to see him doing his jobs, smoking, and meeting with everyone around his circle. Jean himself is a question mark because most of the time he doesn’t say much about what he thinks or even express his feeling at all, but I say he’s quite an interesting lead. As of now, the five heads of ACCA suspect he’s involving in the upcoming uprising so they decided to have him monitored by his best friend Nino no less. For everyone thinking he was ratted out by his best friend, I say that it’s not always the case because first, they are close friends from way back, even to the point now that Jean really relies on Nino for gathering information (the anonymous tips on episode one was likely from his source, as was as Jean’s lighter incidents), and second, the true motive of Nino is pretty much unclear. In fact, except from the obvious crush from agent Rail to Lotta which I see as genuine, I don’t trust any other characters of ACCA either, even Lotta seems to have something hidden underneath her cheerful personality.

And that might be the show’s most distinctive feature and might be the show’s greatest weakness too. It keeps the audience at arm’s length. I don’t trust what I see so far, be it the façade of this peaceful world or the character’s motivations, thus now I can see why I have a hard time personally connect to it. Everything so far is intriguing and fascinating for sure, and Madhouse approach this series with confident pacing and styles, but its emotional distantness will keep the audience more admiring than outright loving it. The character designs are attractive, although many supporting characters like the ACCA representatives in Jumoku have a Tintin-esque styles that completely out of place. I’m sure things will get greyer and darker as the story moves on, and I suspect that is when the story really get interesting. For now, I’m totally fine with its rich worldbuilding and Jean smoking and buying/eating breads. There’s a whole bread culture in there.

Posted on 18 January 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu

It was inevitable that Yotaro’s past with the Yakuza would come back to haunt him but boy did it really bite him in the ass. I was wondering as to how the show would work with Yotaro and give him conflict but then this episode comes along and gives him plenty to worry about. He’s having trouble finding his old style and is mimicking his masters and acting as a surrogate father for Konatsu’s child when the father appears to have returned at episodes end. Yotaro’s performance in this episode was hard to watch but I really love how Rakugo never has someone on the sidelines to inform us that the performance wasn’t going well. Just by watching and listening, even though I don’t know Japanese, made it clear how well it was going. Helped by showing the audience’s reaction and Yotaro’s own panicking nervousness. Rakugo seems like a temperamental art, much like comedy.

The mood of the audience can kill a performance and in Rakugo’s case, bore them to death. You can tell Yotaro is really trying with his performance but as the audience loses interest his moves grow all the more desperate. Even changing the voice of the housewife character mid performance as Yakumo complained about it earlier. When Yotaro unwittingly reveals his Yakuza tattoo in front of the audience he knows right away that he made a bad move. Still as painful as this is I certainly remember a fair share of Yakumo’s terrible performances. Though what certainly isn’t terrible is the new opening and boy if it isn’t a unique way to start this show. I am a little on the fence over the song but the visuals are fantastic. I love the imagery of Sukoroku opening his shirt to reveal a ribcage. I originally thought this season was going to be primarily about Yotaro but the opening puts Yakumo in the spotlight and shows his worries and the things that haunt him well. It worries me though as the opening is not very happy and could foreshadow this season being quite depressing. All things considered I would prefer a more heartwarming end to this story and more moments like Yakumo consoling Yotaro over his past.

Speaking of which Yakumo is not doing so well either. He’s not doing much to help out Konatsu with the child and it’s clear that he has long grown tired of his life. His cold attitude towards Konatsu and disinterest in the child is somewhat understandable. As I doubt Konatsu wants him anywhere near him. Konatsu is still just as hostile to him which is sad as Yakumo at least tries to throw some kindness her way. The scene with him reciting one of Sukoroku’s old bits that put her to sleep. I almost believed that this could be the start of them at least growing closer together as a family. Though Konatsu burns that bridge fast by reminding him that he lead her parents to their death. All things considered I think Konatsu isn’t really being fair. After all if anyone is to blame for what happened it would be her mother. Yakumo then reveals his desire to die and to take Rakugo with him. So in that regard Yotaro may have saved Yakumo’s life when he declared to be taking up Sukoroku’s name. So in one episode we have essentially declared the problems the protagonists will be dealing with for likely the majority of the season. And here I thought that the end of season one only signaled a rise for Rakugo in the future. Life truly is never that simple.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Little Witch Academia

I may regret choosing to cover this series as what makes it great is a quality that cannot really be held up to professional scrutiny. Much like Triggers other works, it’s not what’s being presented that matter but rather how it’s presented. You can make the argument that Trigger doesn’t necessarily innovative but rather take old tried methods of storytelling and polish it with great animation. Though one has to wonder if that might be actually enough as to capture the feeling of the old and perfect it is no easy task. It’s difficult to call their works original but there’s no denying that they are fun. I like to see them as the Nintendo of the anime industry in that they stick close to old sensibilities and in doing so keep the simple enjoyment and wonder that seems so rare nowadays. Little Witch Academia so far still has the magic and with hope they can keep it for it’s full 25 episode run. The opening of this series was mixed for me as it is a much more mellow tune when compared to Triggers other works. However it’s growing on me and I happen to like the starting buildup and imagery. For a series like this it is rather suitable that the opening is more easygoing.

I often see Little witch compared to Harry Potter which does seem like a flimsy comparison. Sort of like that joke where you say it’s like Skyrim with witches. Harry Potter is the obvious popular example for comparison but the two actually hold not much in common. Really both have a wizard school and if you ignore actual personality and gender you could compare Diana to Malfoy. This is more a feel good magical adventure when Harry Potter was more written like a mystery with the three often trying to figure out some incident going on at Hogwarts. If we want to play the comparison game then Little Witch Academia holds much more in common with a book series called The Worst Witch. Admittedly I primarily know it from the TV series that aired in 1998 but it certainly is surprising the parallels the two have. Also before you go saying the Worst Witch is a knockoff of Harry Potter it’s important to note that the first book was published in 1973 so if anything Rowling took inspiration from them. This may be a moot point but I wanted to point out that just because Rowling popularised the idea of a wizarding school does not mean she invented the idea. I seem to remember before Little Witch that people referred to Familiar of Zero as anime Harry Potter too.

Based on these past two episodes it does seem like there will be a certain formula which I hope doesn’t become stale. My biggest fear for this series is that it’s predictability could water down it’s charm. The big issue would be the deus ex machina stick, Chariots wand, which can do pretty much whatever the plot requires it to. It does seem to have conditions for its activation which look to involve being charged with magic but I say that later episodes shouldn’t rely on it’ too much. Though it might not be a detriment as Gurren Lagann essentially solved all its battles with fighting spirit and yet didn’t become stale. Diana so far has been made a lot more reasonable as in the OVA she was a lot more confrontational but here she was a lot more reasonable. Still prideful and standoffish but not obnoxious. Her lackeys took to be filling in that role. I particularly like how she noticed Akko’s hair that Susy cursed with a potion and while showing off with the bringing the statue to life she uses it to dispel the magic on her hair. As well as trying to admit that she wasn’t the one who saved the tree. Akko and Diana’s relationship in this show could have a lot more to it here and really could become quite interesting. After all I believe Diana is still a closet Chariot fan and I wouldn’t be surprised if she has the last card Akko was missing from her collection.

Posted on with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

If you ever get the opportunity offered to install Windows 10 on your PC: don’t do it! My computer got more and more unstable until it finally decided to give in and crash completely and I had a lovely beginning of 2017 trying to recover the files I hadn’t backed up only with a small success. That’s the reason this post is a bit late because I also had to rewrite my impressions of the earlier episodes I watched.

As usual this is a list of just my impressions and impressions alone, they’re not meant to be reviews, just to put my thoughts on paper and perhaps help those who are in need of a biased overview of the latest season. I did not look at any previews or information beforehand, so these are purely my first impressions. This season is not as good as the previous autumn season, but it might contain a few keepers:

Ai Mai Mi – Surgical Friends

Before I started, a little voice in me knew that I shouldn’t bother with this, that you shouldn’t judge anime by its cover, even positively. And yet something in me kept gullibly hoping that with a title as “surgical friends”, there would at least be SOMETHING about a hospital in this. Well yeah no, this is just a school show about cute girls. The premise of this one is that it tries to be a comedy (emphasis on “tries”), and there are a bunch of weird blob-like girls that the rest of the characters have to take care of and interact with. It unfortunately is another one of those series which never seem to have had a 101 on basic storytelling so the entire episode was jumbled up from scenes that just kept jumping into each other without any proper buildup and jokes just come from nowhere. The creators are pretty much hoping that if you yell hard and fast enough, the audience won’t notice your jokes are actually terrible. No.

Akiba’s Trip The Animation

Last year I had the fortune of visiting Japan, and while there I also paid a visit to Akihabara. And look, I get it. How crazy the the area is, I can see a series that celebrates it work. It’s gonna have a ton of fanservice because hey, it’s Akiba. However, even with that, you need good characters. This show doesn’t have that. The male lead is really badly acted and not fun to watch at all and his antics really scream trying too hard to be in on the joke, like this middle aged executive producer was desperately trying to be part of the “cool kids”. Beyond that, I also don’t really think that this show was that good at really showing what Akiba is like. There are some shows here and there, but there’s nothing really abut the history of the street, why it became the way it is, and the first episode proceeds to just destroy everything around it, more in the way of a disaster movie that picks famous landmarks to destroy just because of audience familiarity (although granted, this series does score points in trying to maintain its continuity). When I realized that, then this isn’t really a show that celebrates Akihabara anymore, and this turned into one of the most pandering shows I have ever seen. Like seriously it has everything: Snarky NEET Otaku main character who is surrounded by sexy characters, Akihabara, a younger sister for the lolicon crowd, a ditzy girl, a tsundere, lots of inconsequential fighting, the main character dying, the main female reviving him with a kiss with which he suddenly has these crazy superpowers that are for some stupid reason dependent on him stripping everyone to their underwear. Pure and utter wish fulfillment. Next!

Masamune-kun no Revenge

Series like this are the reason I try to give every single series at least the chance of a first episode. This is the kind of series that I would never have given a chance otherwise, and yet this episode impressed me. It looks so much like your generic harem, and yet every time it went into just another direction from what I expected. The show loves to toy with the normal conventions of the genre, in a way that feels fresh, and every time where I found myself thinking “oh god, not again”, it proved my fears wrong by going into a different direction. Now it obviously needs to keep this for the entire series, but I dig the idea of a series about a guy who Neville Longbottomed his way through middle school and now is at the point to take revenge, and the main character succeeds in not being a Gary Stu: he has his own weaknesses and the series makes it very clear that while he thinks that his revenge will be glorious, there will be massive downsides to it. It has struck that balance so far. Now, show. Whatever you do: DO NOT DEVOLVE into a generic will they won’t they after this!

Fuuka

Dear creators of anime: for the love of god, could you please stop trying to introduce female characters by their underpants? This is getting ridiculous. With this series, I’d also like to add another thing to the list of overused tropes that should not be used anymore: the three sisters. First 3-Gatsu no Lion came with its Minami-ke clone, and now this show too: show some creativity dammit! In any case about this show, it’s not THAT bad. It’s basically your first romance show about two awkward teenagers discovering that they might have feelings for each other, and while not that interesting, the cast also isn’t that annoying. What this show did really well was portraying that awkward feeling of first love: instead of glorifying it with lots of hearts and flowers and sparkles like what most series usually do, this is ugly and weird and nobody really knows what to do; I felt awkward along with the characters. But here’s the thing: was it really worth it to make a show about this? Don’t we already have enough romance shows? Ultimately this episode was just dull, nothing really caught my attention, it just adequately went along like the lowest common denominator. If it were a school grade, it’d be a 5,5; passable, but only barely. I see no reason to continue watching, especially how this episode hinted that this is going to be a love triangle and that a locally famous idol is going to enter the ring, so this show is pointless.

Minami Kamakura Koukou Joshi Jitensha-bu

Remember the previous season’s All Out? Well, they’re doing it again! Cute girls on bikes! Although this one seems to be more casual, like K-on with bikes. The lead female may not be as ditzy, but she’s getting there. Note that none of that is positive, although I do have one very big compliment for this series: the backgrounds! For some reason beyond me the creators decided to hire some really good background people, and it shows. I mean it’s no Porphy, but the lush background of the Japanese coastlines, mountains, oceans, it’s all amazing, and they actually move subtly, with a use of CG that actually feels perfectly natural for once. Apart from that, this show thankfully isn’t that bad. My main complaint really is how generic it is: this has all been done many times before, but in terms of execution, the characters are decently written and not trying too hard to be cute. There are a few bits here and there where the characters have an interesting chemistry between them, so if you’re dying for something light-hearted yet heart-warming, I think that this will actually be a good pick, provided that they do the cycling scenes better than what they did in the OP. Seriously that was bad.

Ao no Exorcist – Kyoto Fujouou-hen

Ah, Ao no Exorcist, that’s a long time ago. The premise seems rather annoying, why did I like this show again? Well, the answer to that question came in the second half of the episode: the side characters. That’s where the show got a bit down to earth again, and there you could see some very interesting character dynamics between the main character (who is the son of Satan) and his classmates. Before that though, he was pretty annoying and I related more to his twin brother for having to keep up with this brat and his antics. It’s weird to see how much I myself have changed ever since I watch this, but Rin is still the same brat he ever was. But thankfully the second half used his struggles in an interesting way compared to his powers that tend to go out of hand. But that’s also the problem: why does this show have to keep finding ways to distract from this guy’s antics? Can’t he just… be a good character right from the start? Naruto had the same problem: sure when it comes down to it he’s a good guy and all, but do you really want to watch this brat being a brat for most of the time to get there? It works for side characters because they don’t have too much airtime, but a main character?

Youjo Senki

I… um… yeah… okay, let’s start with the beginning. Remember Izetta of the previous season? Set in an alternative version of WWI Europe, but with slightly different countries and a mage lead character, folling a German-ish country on its way to victory. This show does that too. However Izetta was very well made: the common soldiers who were fighting were given a personality. Izetta had her flaws, so it really drove home that even though mages are incredibly powerful in a war setting, the common people are still incredibly important, and it’s a situation where death really sucks, yet is unavoidable. And while it took many liberties, you could still see the alpine influences. This show though, holy god. It has some MAJOR tonal differences. War! Murder! Death! Officers missing limbs! Cute girls! Really, what is this kid doing there? And don’t give me that “it’s magic”-schtick, the creators knew full well what they did. Every single soldier is ugly and gritty, and there she comes with her shiny hear and pupils looking extremely out of place. That other girl looked out of place too, but at least she wasn’t such a blatantly insulting Mary Sue for most of the episode, I hated her. Also, on a side-note: nice job on using chess pieces on a strategical war map guys! I see what you did there, that’s very advanced symbolism you have there! In any case though, what surprised me the most is how I found myself reacting to the end of the episode. Like, is she supposed to be the villain? Are we meant to hate her? Is she supposed to be this ridiculously powerful demi-god and will they use that against her in the future? Why the hell am I invested in this? Why did that finale hit me? What’s going on!?

Seiren

Oh god no! The hentai game adaptations! They’re back! I finally thought they were gone, but here Seiren comes yet again with a show featuring six girls and a generic spineless guy. Especially the OP: couldn’t they at least try to not make it so obvious there? Anyway, after 20 minutes of watching yet another horny teenager navigate through high school, I’m having a bit of trouble evaluating what this series really is going to be: will it go Clannad, pick one storyline and simply ignore the other girls, or will it spend a few episodes per girl in a wishy washy love triangle that makes no sense? It can go either way at this point, but if I had to be pressed, then I’d say that Fuuka had the better episode here between the two. The reason is that while both deal with awkward teenagers, Seiren had characters pull really weird leaps in logic that I’m still trying to puzzle out. One moment it’s trying really hard to be realistic, and then the next we have the main character staring at the main female’s butt-print after sitting on a desk. One moment it tries to show a teenager trying to find his place in life, the next there is this really weird misunderstanding about his crush and a middle aged guy. It just doesn’t fit, it’s like this uncanny valley of awkwardness that just feels so unnatural. Like a bunch of aliens pretending to be humans or something.

Urara Meirochou

Judging a book by its cover again: when this episode started, my thoughts were overall positive: it wouldn’t be my kind of series, like at all, but I could see this have appeal for the people who like series about “cute girls doing cute stuff”. It seemed to have the right ingredients, it was more colourful than usual, it had a nice selection of cute animals around, I could see it have a legitimate audience. When I started watching however, this turned into one of the worst first episodes of the season so far. Most other episodes so far were mostly just boring; this was painful. A lot can be written down to how the lead character is one of the most dim-witted characters I’ve seen in a long while. Really, to be THIS air-headed is a skill, and she just keeps going on and on. The cute animals could just as easily have been stuffed, that’s how much they actually did here, and it also has the dumbest excuse for fanservice so far, and that includes the stripping superpowers of that Akiba show. Like showing your belly in order to apologize? Really? It’s obvious what you’re doing there, there’s no need to be all cute about it. The rest of the cast basically is one giant straight man for this lead character, but even they are just completely annoying whenever they open their mouth. It’s the result of everything trying waaaay too hard to be cute. If it’s just that for the entire 20 minutes it’s obviously going to lose it’s value. Remember to balance dammit!

Spiritpact

A Chinese show with a Japanese dub, Korean OP, English title and ED. Quite the international production here, and it shows. This series looks incredibly cheap, but at the same time this show is not bound by the cliches that plague modern Japanese productions. I’m not against that though. The big disadvantage of modern productions is that they put budget over everything, and you hardly ever see the series that try to creatively use their limited budget to do really good things anymore. This is a fine attempt: the acting is very wooden, but it actually made me laugh quite a bit. It wasn’t amazingly funny, but it was consistently sharp throughout this first episode. Due to its simplicity it could offer a lot of time to just the chemistry between the two main characters, and it works: the two work quite well together. The whole premise that when you turn into a ghost, the version of you where you were the most happy is the form you take. I like that! It has a lot of potential for interesting stories. But yeah, the creators need to do something about the wooden acting. They made the mistake to main character depend too much on his quirks: he just keeps goofing off and off to the point where it gets annoying. But in that way I see this series as more something for the future: this is the product of an emerging industry that’s still trying to find itself next to its gigantic cousin. This is valuable experience into the right direction. With the right people, who knows what they’ll make next?

Demi-chan wa Kataritai

Yes! When it comes to “cute girls doing cute stuff”-series, this definitely was the way to do it right. I genuinely enjoyed this episode, rather than trying to find silver linings here and there like what I usually do. The key here is that for once, I felt like I was watching characters with actual life breathed into them. The entire series is set up with the basis of wanting to get to know each other more, which is such an important detail which often is just delegated to one of the side-issues even though it literally makes or breaks characters. It’s a bit like a character study in that way. I mean normally I’d cringe about a show that has half-monster-half-girls, but here they created a whole believable setting around it: they’re all just living alongside regular people, and you run into them once in a while. They receive their own government benefits, and apart from that they’re just regular people with a few quirks here and there. This show has a ton of post-discrimination themes which also were very interesting to watch, and yet it remains fun and light-hearted. The characters really play well off each other, great chemistry. My only complaint so far is the complaint I seem to have for most things nowadays: did you have to make it sexual? But yeah, here it actually does fit in a coming-of-age theme. It’s not the annoying kind of fanservice thankfully, but did you have to make one of the teachers a succubus? Out of all the legendary creatures and monsters you could have picked…

Chain Chronicle – Haecceitas no Hikari

Ah, I remember the good old days of game adaptations. They were either incredibly good, with interesting premises, twists and a lot of creative freedoms, or incredibly bad, the kind that gets so bad that it’s hilarious. This is more than 10 years ago at this point. After a while though, things just started to get generic, rather than anything else. The golden age is unfortunately over. Here comes Chain Chronicle, and with this series I’m seeing a new development: they take the generic format, but try to do the best they can with it. The result is a generic storyline (remember, one of the difficult things of animating a game is that it’s impossible to take the quicksave feature along with you!), but with well acted characters, it really tries its best to seem epic, and not skimp on any of the characters of the huge cast. It actually kills off characters with character-designs, and it also spends a bit of time on what the war means to the regular peasants just living their lives. It doesn’t take any risks but it just wants to tell its story. While I’m not happy with how save it is, it is a step into the right direction. It will stand as a foundation for the series of the future, who can build further upon the execution of this series, but actually do something interesting with it!

Idol Jihen

Idol Jihen is the product of oversaturation. It happens when there’s just too many people wanting to do the same thing. The obvious ways to do it have been done, the parodies and subversions are also out of everyone’s system, every single normal angle has been already explored, so what now? That’s the point where you get to the stupid stuff, and that’s why this joke of a series got made. In an attempt to one-up the stupid idol shows that already exist, it brought idols to a place they totally do not belong and we now have idols in parliament. This first episode still had the chance to turn this into a parody, but it played things completely straight, so that’s also off the table. If you want idols to pwn politicians you also need to be more over the top. Because there has already been a series in which idols fight aliens with music, it’s just not special anymore, it’s just another day in the life of an idol. Also, dear translators: “Idol Dietwomen”?! Couldn’t you really come up with something catchier? Idoliticians! There, it’s not that hard!

Nyanko Days

Crazy Cat Lady: The Anime! Really, this is just silly. The episodes are just two minutes long so even for a short episode series this was nothing. But really, I’m glad. Unlike the onslaught of series that we were bombarded with during the past Autumn season, this one actually isn’t bad. It’s just a girl and her cats who in her mind are like chibi cat blob imaginary friends. It’s nothing more than that, but for what it is, it’s cute. This would have been a welcome change back then!

elDLIVE

And another series that I would not have given a chance if I didn’t give every series a chance. This show looks terrible on paper: it’s the same old show of a normal kid with hidden superpowers meeting up with some sort of organization, this time with aliens, and the kid himself is of the wimpy variant. Pointless fanservice here, annoying characters there. I really thought that I would find this mediocre at best, and yet I really enjoyed this episode. The build up was a bit long, but things came together surprisingly well at the end, and I think the reason for that is the supporting cast: this series has a really big collection of colourful characters to work with, and they do their job of “support” incredibly well. They really bring home the message of “aliens are fun!”, even though they sometimes make some weird leaps in logic, do things that don’t make any sense, not to mention that the whole back-story behind this series is pretty stupid. But I guess I found that okay because of what an enjoyable bunch they are. The main character is also not that bad. I guess he’s one for the schizophrenics out there, sort of. At the end of the episode he did demonstrate that he can think on his own, despite being a kid. The question of course is if the creators can keep this up. I can see this very easily fizz out after such an episode, so the creators have the challenge of keeping this show fresh. Show us the wonders of the world you have in mind!

Little Witch Academia

Aaah, so they managed to make a TV-series out of this. This is an excellent way to get the more artsy series off the ground, Kyousogiga did the same: first make a bunch of pilots, then a bit more, until you have enough to actually get your full length off the ground. It’s a great way to ensure creative freedom, because after all, if it’s not enough like the original pilot, then people will be disappointed and the execs are smart enough that that’s not the best idea. As a note: I have not seen any of the previous versions of Little Witch Academia, so I do not know how redundant this episode was. I also have yet to finish any series produced by Trigger. I mean, I definitely see the potential in them, but I still haven’t found a series of theirs to actually “grab” me. Little Witch Academia could be the one. With its grounds in the Young Animator Training Project, it is a really good marriage between the old and the new. The old generation has made sure that this was a solid production, with solid direction, and a ton of tricks to make it more engaging: this show for example really knows how to use scarcity. Everything is a challenge in this series, and the characters are portrayed in such a way that you feel the struggles along with them. The new can be seen in all of its ideas and energy. This really feels like a passion project that everyone involved wants to make work. Plus, you can really see that these people grew up with Harry Potter. This episode featured tons of small details that paid homage to it. Of course it’s not like this is a bad fanfic of course, it really has its own story to tell that has nothing to do with its British cousin, and that’s how a homage should be done: little hints here and there, without ripping off.

Gabriel DropOut

One thing I haven’t seen in these first episodes yet is character development. Granted, it is hard to pull this off within just the first 20 minutes of your series, but it has been done before. Enter Gabriel DropOut, who actually does it by having its main character pull a complete 180 in terms of her personality. Normally I’d congratulate a series for that, but unfortunately that is about the only positive thing I can say about this series. The rest… is bland. It’s another installment of the “cute girls doing cute stuff”-genre, and this is about middle school hi-jinks of a bunch of angels and devils who have to live in the human world, with the twist that the angels are horrible people and the devils are actually quite innocent. Yeah, it’s another series that turned a half-minute joke into an entire series, and this episode didn’t really do anything interesting with it. It mostly was just predictable set-ups for jokes that ultimately just weren’t funny. It never really got really bad. Just one big meh.

Shiruran – Nibun no Ichi

Shiruran: 2 minutes of Shinsengumi chibis trying desperately to look cool! Yeah, it’s not good. This series makes the mistake of thinking that making characters yell and overact is enough to make it “funny” and “quirky”. Characters get mad for no reason, characters behave like assholes for no reason. I know you only have 2 minutes but that is no reason to forego basic storytelling rules dammit!

ACCA – 13-ku Kansatsu-ka

This series definitely has the best OP and ED of the season so far. Inspired, artistic, fun to watch. That also is an insult to the rest of the shows this so far though, because until now every other OP and ED has been bloody generic. And really, this show in general is exactly what I’ve been waiting for. Regardless of whether this series is going to be any good or not, this is the type of anime that we need more of: it creates its own world, setting and themes, makes a point of going into its own direction rather than what is popular at the moment, and it does so with a cast of varied and colourful characters. Future creators: use the philosophy behind this series and build further upon it! SCREW THE GENERIC! *ahem* About this episode, do not expect anything amazing or exciting here. What you can expect though, is very good build-up. This episode did a fine job of alluding that something big is going to happen, while at the same time introducing the world, its rules, the position of the main character, why he’s important, what he’s like, the people he has to work with – both his subordinates and his superiors. This was building the foundations. I enjoyed it a lot, it’s interesting and mysterious, and the creators also avoided an entire episode of introduction by still having some things happen. Plus, at a certain point it was just fun watching the characters play off each other, or just themselves, or the heaps of food that they manage to wolf down in these 20 minutes. Seriously the amount of consumables in this show is astounding!

Hand Shakers

Oooh, GoHands is trying something new again! More please! Again, even if the story of this series turns out to be absolute bollocks, this is the type of series we need more of. Here we actually see creators taking a risk! Compared to all of the generic moe or bishie shows about nothing we have each season, I’d much, much rather have many series like this. They may not always work. They may crash and burn spectacularly, but this kind of ambition is what anime is made for, instead of the way too safe crap that has flooded the market for many years now. I’m not denying that Hand Shakers won’t turn out to be a bit of a bummer in the end because honestly, storytelling has always been one of GoHands’ troubled areas, but I actually liked this episode a lot so far. I mean for starters the animation was incredible. There was so much movement everywhere! And while the use of CG is obvious, they did it in a way I have never seen before, and they also did it in a way where it gets hard to actually pinpoint which parts are done in CG and which are traditionally animated. The music also is the best soundtrack of the season so far, which makes this a real orgasm for the senses. The story is a standard “boy meets girl”-story, but I like it so far. It’s got a main theme of hand holding, which is actually really cute when just about every other series seems to think that the only way to flirt with a girl is to stare at her underpants and grab her by the boob. It also uses this vague type of storytelling, where a lot of stuff is just implied, we’re just expected to assume some convenient plot devices and a lot of time is spent on showing, instead of telling. But yeah, Gohands… have you found enough actually decent writers in the meantime? Let’s avoid people stupid enough to mistake a fighter jet for a crow, mmmkay?

Kemono Friends

Look, I am a completionist. I really try to give every series the benefit of at least one episode, and with every show I at least try to complete their first episode. Even the bad ones, and the really bad ones. Even that show with that annoying fox girl, I finished its episode in its entirety. Kemono Friends though, is the one that broke me. Right from the start, every fiber in my being started screaming to turn it off. There would be no way I would manage a full 20 minutes of this thing, everything just rubbed me the wrong way. It’s another “cute girls doing cute things”-series, but to make matters worse EVERYTHING is in this horribly awkward CG thing and trying to watch the characters emote is actually exhausting. They all move so incredibly awkward and jilted, and the voice acting is absolutely horrid! The worst of the season. The main actress just keeps yelling and yelling, even when she’s supposed to be mellow. Combine that with how everyone in CG has these really awkward botox faces… make it stop! Turn it off! No more pain!

Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon

After retiring and being tired of being summoned all the time to wish people back to life, the dragon from Dragonball Z found himself a new calling in life: being the maid of an office worker in Tokyo! Oh Japan…. Also props to the OP. Finally we’re getting some creativity again in that area. Kobayashi’s maid dragon is a sitcom where the gimmick is dragons that transform into dim-witted people, like pets really, and all of the antics that come with it. As a comedy, it did its job here: it made me laugh quite a bit, and I’d at least recommend the first episode for people looking for a quick laugh. However at the same time, this is a pattern I’ve seen many times before: after a while all the dragon jokes got a bit one-sided: there’s only so much death and destruction after things get boring, and they still need to fill eleven or twelve episodes with this. Good comedies fill this with a wide variety of characters, good and engaging main characters, a bit of variety, but that was all just too basic here. Even though the next episodes will introduce new characters, I can already predict that episode 1 will be the best episode of the series, or at least one of the best, surrounded by a lot of duds. All the signs are there, unfortunately.

One Room

This is just a fucking dating sim! How thinly veiled can you be!? Heck, it’s even worse because in a dating sim you have to press space every once in a while to get to the next dialogue, even that is done for you in this way. What do you hope to achieve with girls that act as wooden as they do here? I mean at least dating sims are excused because they don’t have the budget to really animate everything, so they have to get by with just a few pictures and dialogue. What the heck are you doing emulating that style?! Also, I’m not sure whether the camera is supposed to be the guy she’s talking to, because it keeps shifting positions. One moment we are looking into the girl’s eyes as if she’s talking to a mime, but the next show we’re focusing directly at her butt. At the very least pick one option!

Piace – Watashi no Italian

Another mini-series and – gasp! It’s not bad! The ratio of bad shows thankfully is much lower than last season with its onslaught of terrible short episode series. And it’s not like this is really good or something, but it’s enjoyable enough not to get on my nerves. It’s a cute story about a girl who starts to work at an Italian restaurant, and while she is an airhead the rest of the cast is actually strong enough to make it work. They play well off each other, and what also helps is that the creators actually read a bit into Italian cooking. If you want quick slice of life then this is actually a pretty decent choice.

ChaoS;Child

I was never one of the people who hated the Chaos;Head anime. For what it was, it had its moments. I liked how it actually portrayed a NEET as a mentally unstable shut-in, compared to how they usually get glorified (ever since NHK ni Youkoso finished this topic kept returning every now and then) It wasn’t great or anything, but I enjoyed it and I don’t regret watching it, I had many more problems with Robotics;Notes and Occult;Nine. Nevertheless, Chaos;Child doesn’t make a very good case for it by starting with a very bad recap of the entire series before it goes on with its own story, but when it gets going it has its moments. It’s trying to be less edgy and more edgy at the same time, it seems. The container seems to have made ways fr just another high school club, but on the other hand it really tries to kill people in creative ways here. And by god did a lot of people die in these 50 minutes. I suspect that part of the target audience was people who just laugh at horror movies, because while I do laud creativity, some of these murders were just completely ridiculous in how they were carried out, like they got a 14-year-old to describe them or something. Also while usual horror series build up for the gore scenes, especially in its first episode, there was nothing of the sort here. It jumped right into the gore and death without really seeming to care about its atmosphere. It’s an interesting approach, and at this moment I cannot say yet whether it’s going to work or not. There are no big red flags yet, so that’s good, although I will say that the acting in this series isn’t that good. Character animation is a bit awkward and cheap, and isn’t really that good at emoting. But hey, Chaos;Head was the same so points for consistency I guess.

Marginal#4 – Kiss kara Tsukuru Big Bang

Giving Marginal 4 a fair chance was really difficult due to the utterly abysmal CG performance scene with terrible singing and dancing, but I survived. But even if that scene would not have been there, I don’t think I would have been impressed by this show, because it really is scraping the bottom of the barrel here. On top of being yet another idol show, halfway through the episode it took a break from the idol stuff to focus on high school hijinks. The only thing that set this apart is that the four characters were slightly more ditzy and feminine than what you usually get with these kinds of series. It’s pure fanservice. I’m also surprised that the award for most annoying dialogue of the season doesn’t go to a “cute girls doing cute stuff”-series, but instead to this “cute boys doing cute stuff”-thing. Seriously especially that red-haired kid just would not stop yapping! Next!

Kuzu no Honkai

“Okay, Noitamina! The final new show this season! Hit me with your best shot! Make it count! No, don’t start at a high school, you’re not the timeslot for that! Oh, okay, this does seem more solid than usual. Oh. What? WHAT?! WHAT!?! No! The abysmal incest trend has finally died, don’t you dare and bring it back, Noitamina!” – Like seriously, even if you wanted to take a serious look at incest, we have Koi Kaze for that. The only other reason I can think of that would warrant that is that while Koi Kaze was told from the male perspective, Kuzu no Honkai is from the female perspective. Okay, fair enough; fine in theory. But there is one very important detail it misses here: realistically incest can only happen if brother and sister didn’t grow up together, otherwise healthy brother and sister relationships develop the Westermark Effect, in order to prevent inbreeding and stuff. Koi Kaze makes it a point that both grew up in totally different circumstances. Kuzu no Honkai’s characters had a perfectly normal childhood. And I’m not saying that in extremely rare circumstances it couldn’t happen, but that takes me back to that incredibly annoying period in anime where it was more likely for a brother and sister to have the hots for each other than not. Any kind of shock value you want to have with this kind of twist is completely lost at this point if you want to do it this way. And this is a real shame, because aside from that little detail, this is an incredibly honest series about romance. And I really mean exceptionally honest. I know very few other shows that are this willing to get down and dirty, to deal with all the terrible feelings that come with unrequited love. Obviously all taboos are in, even the subtle ones (I mean, when was the last time anime portrayed main characters in an actual relationship that was actually realistic? I can name Fune wo Amu, but apart from that? And Fune wo Amu’s was like the complete opposite of the relationship in this series). So why the incest? This show could have worked just as well if they weren’t related dammit!

So, that’s the season. A little tl;dr summary:
Maybe: Masamune-kun no Revenge, Youjo Senki, Spirit Pact, Ao no Exorcist, Hand Shakers, Chaos;Child, Kuzu no Honkai, Piace, elDLIVE.
Good: Demi-chan wa Kataritai, Little Witch Academia, ACCA
Great: Uhmm… Classicaloid from last season? I may want to go and marathon that Shouwa series’ first season quite quickly…

Posted on 17 January 2017 with categories: 3-gatsu no Lion, Currently Watching:

This week we have 2 disjoined chapters, which are different in tones and more importantly in their point of view. We go through the first section from Smith-san perspective detailing his own thoughts towards the match against Gotou, and the latter part Rei took the stage, being on his way to challenge Gotou in next match, except things weren’t go according to plan either. If there is any mutual theme out of these two chapters, it’s this: know your own place in the shogi world.

3-gatsu no Lion sure has a very slow pace, and it’s most apparent here in the first 6 minutes when all the actions can be displayed in one brief sequence in other anime, but the show goes on and on, both in a good and bad ways. Look, for a show that relies heavily on building up and tender atmosphere, it makes sense that some scenes they need to drag out a bit longer to provide the mood; but truthfully, I don’t get the recap here. We don’t need that, tell me something else instead. The latter part, in contrast, followed Smith-san having breakfast (eating fresh, whole tomato!) played like a gif animation with its jerky movement and upbeat music and I’m digging it very much. If you decide to go off the track, then make it with styles. Thank you Shaft.

But to be honest, spending an entire chapter focused on Smith-san feel like a filler, side story because at the end of the day it doesn’t add up much to the mother narrative. Smith-san has never been anything other than Rei’s shogi-mate before so it’s hard to relate to him more than that. Telling the story in his point of view, however, still has its purpose because one-part of 3-gatsu is still stories about the life of shogi profession players anyways, and Smith-san’s perspective provides a more mature look at shogi than Rei’s, as he’s now in the middle of his career path. It’s true that when one becomes a professional, the only thing he knows best is his own ability comparing to others. This isn’t simply the lack of confident, but more in terms of actual level, the actual talent that separate those great players and the rest. Here in this chapter, Smith-san went all he got despite knowing full well that gap; but in the end what he found really was that he still has a long way to reach to the top, to perfect his style. It’s fine though, since not only he found these things, but a black tray cat in need of aid as well. Kudos for the show’s consistency of providing the world full of cats. Hungry cats, stray cats, owl cat, warrior cats, you name it.

It’s Rei, on the other hand, who needs to learn a hard lesson about knowing his own place in this shogi world. As his mind was occupied by the provocation of Gotou, he steps into the match against Shimada the 8th dan with his head in the cloud. The show smartly conveys that sense of thoughts as we see Shimada as a shadow, unimportant figure until Rei pays full attention to him. I love the smart storytelling that later fleshing out Shimada in his best possible way in just few details, both underlines how he truly cares about the kid Harunobu (“I want you to split Rei’s head in half”. What a great friend Harunobu is), and how good he’s actually is in shogi (well, he’s in 8th dan for a reason); leading Rei all the way to his destruction without him realizing it. Rei does need something like that (I don’t mean that splitting head in half metaphor. Too graphic! I’ll go with slapping in the face) for him to know that he isn’t that talented to underestimate other players and there is a long way for him as well to be ready for that fateful match. This is a minor 3-gatsu episode, but even so there’s still plenty good moments to recommend.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Saga of Tanya the Evil

As I initially thought, this series becomes a whole lot better when you can see the disparity between the main protagonists thoughts and how those around her view them. The first episode jumped ahead in the story to where Tanya had established herself somewhat and I believe the intent was to mislead the audience with her character. This episode takes it back to the beginning and truthfully would have made for a much more engaging start to the series. We see now that Tanya was a Japanese salaryman who managed to annoy god enough for him to throw out some cruel and unusual punishment. The animation studio seem to have taken liberties with the meeting god scene as both the manga and light novel frame it in more comedic light. There god is represented by his standard look of an old man with a bread in a white gown.

God in that seems more exasperated and annoyed with the salaryman’s outright dismissal of him. Admittedly there is some value in that version but I find the version in the anime to be far more compelling and interesting. There time stops and the god that questions the salaryman feels more mysterious and authoritarian. It even doesn’t outright admit itself to being god and in some ways makes it seem like he was purposefully pushing the protagonist to give him a reason to punish him or prove his own theory on why people no longer need faith. It’s one hell of a way to start a series which makes it all the more questionable as to why they didn’t just go with this instead of the actual first episode.

Not that the last episode was bad at all. But I think this series really benefits from the dry tone of Tanya’s inner voice when contrasted with her psychotic tendencies. It goes to show that the truly evil do not think of themselves as evil. In Tanya’s case she’s just doing what she can to get a cosy desk job in order to spite god. A smile just comes to my face seeing her lying in the hospital bed putting up a front with everyone who’s impressed with her while in her mind she’s saying “Oh crap, I impressed them too much.” For Studio Nut’s first work this is a remarkably well animated show so far which could put them on the map.

Though reason for this may be due to the staff being made up of former Gainax/Madhouse employees, though that does need confirmation. At least that’s what I heard. The female character designs take some getting used too though I have grown accustomed to Tanya and her delightful crazy smiles.  Her subordinate on the other hand I don’t think I will ever get used to. The soundtrack isn’t quite to my tastes either but it is suitable for the show. If it can manage to keep things interesting this could well be another great show in what looking to be a strong season.

Posted on 16 January 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Some Quick First Impressions

Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2

Short Synopsis: Kazama stands trial after accidentally blowing up a lord’s manor while saving the town.

This show certainly hasn’t lost it’s charm. I had the biggest smile on my face while watching and it even managed to get me laughing out loud at points. I will admit that the art team may be taking advantage of how KonaSuba’s bad character art lends to the shows comedy a little too much as the characters looked off model a lot in this episode. Also the lie detector scene was pretty much a joke stolen from the Simpsons though I loved how Kazama started abusing his position after the lie detector temporally cleared him of wrongdoing. The star wars recap joke was novel but admittedly overused a bit too much in other non anime shows. Other than that though this episode was a whole lot of fun and I hope this time Studio Deen is giving this more than ten episodes as if it can keep this up then they will have two potential best of year anime before the year has even really started.

Potential: 80%

Mario: For anyone who enjoy the first season of KonoSuba, the fun continues to live on. While KonoSuba certainly has a lot of issues, most notably Kazuma’s terrible traits which tend to drag everything down with him, looking at the show as pure comedy and you’ve hit gold mine. The comedic timing, for example, is even sharper than the first season. The character designs are purposely off-model most of the time to really illustrate the off-putting mess our 4 mains are in. The show seems to throw gags after gags at full speed and most of the time those jokes land well. The two Aqua and Megumin still pretty much stole the scenes every time they appear and if the rest of the second season remains as hilarious as this we sure are blessing in this wonderful world.

Potential: 70%

 

Chaos;Child

Short Synopsis: A group of teenagers happen across one of a series of murders.

First I will point out that no one should ever watch the Chaos;Head anime. If you want to get started on the series then play the visual novel as it is a far better experience. That said it is still a very disappointing story that I think people rate too highly. Go back years ago and I was a fellow who was just getting into visual novels and decided to give this “Chaos;Head” thing a shot. After a pretty fantastic opening scene I was well hooked for whatever the plot had in store. But much like any other semi-colon series, it starts strong but the longer it goes on the dumber it gets. Soon I found the story is wasting my time, introduces magical super swords which push the most interesting aspect, the new gen murders, out of the story completely and ends like one big shounen adventure that made me want to punch the screen. My guess is that many just concluded the later half of the game as just being in the delusional protagonists head, thus giving it a free pass. I however do not. This brings me to Chaos;Child which is a sort of sequel to Chaos;Head. This is by a different writer and frankly I would applaud an attempt to take the parts of Chaos;Head that worked and make a better story out of them. So far that seems to be exactly what he’s doing as the new Gen murders are once again in the spotlight. However it’s been too soon since Occultic;Nine so I plan on seeing what the end consensus is on this series after it’s finished before giving it a chance. As for new viewers, I don’t think the recap at the beginning of this series does a good job of getting people up to speed but it could be possible to start Chaos;Child without it as it doesn’t carry any of the same characters. It has some interesting aspects but I will leave this up to your own judgment.

Potential: 20%

Mario: First I have to say the recap episode of Chaos;Head was really helpful to pick up what had been going on in that universe, but I admit just right after Occultic;Nine I ain’t really in the mood for these semicolon series, at least for now. The main protagonist is a tad improvement from other main characters since he’s at least not annoying. These freak murder mysteries are all right so far, should be good enough to pique interest from those who love mystery out there. There’s a bunch of characters but apart from the guy’s older sister and that yellow hair girl, the others are dead weight right now. I don’t really think we will have a satisfying conclusion either based on what they did with Occultic;Nine but at least the mystery presented was strong enough so anyone who found the cases interesting by all mean continue to watch it. For myself I will need to cool down a bit before approaching any semicolon series ever again.

Potential: 20%

 

Marginal#4 KISS Kara Tsukuru Big Bang

Short Synopsis:

Dear readers allow me to be blunt for a moment. Sometimes when a show like this comes up I am tempted to briefly skim the thing and write down some two cents. For we all know exactly what my impression is going to be and quite frankly you have written off this show before it’s even aired. And rightly so because it’s exactly what you think it is. For one I am convinced these main characters are all genetic clones because the only differencing factor is their hair colour. The one positive factor I can say from this first episode is that I was able to shave a few minutes of the runtime by skipping the song and dance sequence. A small mercy when it comes to idol shows. So we have a school setting where our main characters are setting up a club and plan to kiss the stars in the universe or something. Which is stupid because clearly you would suffocate and freeze to death before you could get vaporized when kissing a luminous sphere of plasma. I supposed they mean it metaphorically but even as a metaphor I can’t seem to suss out the meaning. Anyway the characters are completely dull, the story is uninteresting and the comedy falls so flat that it was probably run over by a steamroller. It will air, then disappear and eventually be forgotten about for all eternity, just like it should be.

Potential: 0%

Mario: Gosh, I am actually glad that I only need to give impressions on 2 idols shows this season (We still have Bang Dream but it won’t air until a full week later) because boy how nonsense and uninspiring those idols shows are. So, after this episode we learn 3 things about those guys. First, as an idol, they aim to shoot the stars and kiss the universe or whatever it is. Second, asking an idol about his old time means exactly like asking a previous relationship so it’s a sensitive issue because now they are one. Third, those guys are still high school students so apart from being idols (which actually eat up a lot of your time already), they really need to form a club because that’s what being high school students is about, doesn’t matter which activities they’d do as a club. You see, all those are uninteresting, I hate idols the most, I hate high school settings the second so really the show just represents all those things I dislike so I said it’s a no, no and NO.

Potential: 0%

 

Scum’s Wish

Short Synopsis: Two classmates with doomed loves decide to go out with each other to fill the void.

Before I said that Fuuka would be starting fires in episode discussion threads but honestly this show could beat it in terms of that later down the line. This is a full on soap opera which could be your thing but when I read the manga I remember being very mixed on it. It has things I wish a lot more romance anime would have, like having character be in an actual relationship instead of teasing a will they won’t they situation. As well as going into the more darker aspects of romance. However it does result in some bad aspects later on in the story. So far this is a pretty good start and is very well made. Though I find myself uninvested in the struggles of the main characters as what they considering love just feels ridiculously superficial to me. This kind of love is often heavily glamorized in media but I feel that a connection which is grown over time between two individuals interactions is much closer to true love than a one sided affection which is almost primarily based on lust. If anything the co-dependance our two protagonists have is closer to love than the love they are chasing after which may be an intentional story element. I recommend watching this and deciding if it’s up your alley. But if you decide to continue it then be prepared as this isn’t going to be an easy ride.

Potential: 50%

Mario: Let’s end these first impressions up with the noitaminA slot, Scum’s Wish. Look, I normally have no qualms when dealing with shows that gradually put me into uncomfortable zone (see my intense love for Flowers of Evil for example) because after all, the rawer the feeling it evokes, the more the viewers can personally responds to it. But all these uncomfortable feelings have to come from the understanding of its characters and their situations. You must have something you really want to say to make it resonate. Scum’s Wish’s first episode understands that, focusing the doomed love entirely from a perspective of Hana. There are two angles the show is currently exploring, the first theme is the pain of unrequited love. Those characters keep chasing their “true love” and their true love keeps chasing god-know-who and the cycle repeats itself, and that aspect truthfully makes me hesitate the most. It’s no fun to see doomed love getting doom after all. The other aspect though; about the very unhealthy relationship when the two jump at each other for comfort, while at the same times aware how corrupted it was; is given with great insight and sympathy in this episode. The way the show uses panel really add perspective to those characters, as these moments of jealous, of longing are often unsaid and unnoticed by their targets, the use of panel also underline the distance between Hana, Mugi and their true love. As of now I don’t really know which direction the show ultimately takes (maybe bit of both) because the show can really go north or south depending on which road it takes, but I can’t deny I respond to this show the most out of everything airing this season, not necessary in a positive way though.

Potential: 70%

Posted on 15 January 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Some Quick First Impressions

Onihei

Short Synopsis: A captured thief joins the police to hunt down his old leader.

For a studio’s first work this is quite a solid offering. The beginning reminded me of samurai champloo though this seems more a traditional samurai story. Animation isn’t anything too impressive but it does the job and there is some great music. This is looking to be a more episodic series which each episode dealing with it’s own case and thanks to Joker Game I am not keen on that idea.If anything turns me off this series it’s the Edo period setting which I never found all that interesting. Thanks to amazon prime you may find this series hard to find but if you can check it out it is worth a watch. It’s certainly better than the usual superpowered teenagers in magical high school shows. Not to my taste but if you are a fan of samurai movies and the setting this might catch your eye.

Potential: 60%

Mario: Wonders indeed will never cease because I found Onihei to be the most solid new episode I’ve watched this Winter season. Given a period settings, along with quite mature storyline and somewhat muted promotions, I can only imagine this one fly under the radar for most of regular anime watchers (which actually make me want to blog about it more, but let wait and see until I check them all out). The characters, especially the mains, are wonderfully recognized just based on the way they talk and they carry great chemistry together. The story in this first episode is simple enough but speaks right to the code of honour as the main overarching theme. From what I gathered the show’s going to be an episodic detective serial, which if this first episode indicates anything then it’s gonna be a wild ride. The art is a bit of a weird part though, as I spotted some CGI animation (especially in establishing shots of local people walking), main hand-drawn animation for most parts and at some points a rotoscoping animation as well. At least those techniques give the show an unique appeal and don’t distract us much from the story. Not everything is perfect here (I found the last part lacking and I sensed a bit of Joker Game’s vibe here) but overall I say people should watch out for this.

Potential: 80%

 

Gabriel DropOut

Short Synopsis: A pure hearted angel is corrupted by human society, hijinks ensue.

I think this has the same problem as Omari-chan in that the protagonist is completely devoid of likeable traits and is a genuinely horrible person for the sake of comedy. Anyway the core foundation of every joke in the series is this, the angels act demonic and the demons act angelic. The contrast works for a little while but soon the jokes became predictable. Eventually the angel and demon thing doesn’t really matter all that much. It more or less becomes an excuse for the characters eccentric personalities and we got a regular gag show with cute girls. If you are looking for a show that you can shut your brain off to and just unwind this isn’t that bad an option. Overall something to tide you over until the better shows air.

Potential: 20%

Mario: I came to this episode completely blind so I found that early “twist” quite well-earned and hilarious, well it isn’t really a twist because after all it’s up there in the premise: the angels are bunch of manipulating brats and the devils are their helpless victims. With that in mind the rest of the episode plays out as the variations of how bad those angels are and how innocent those devils behave (AKA they’re terrible at their jobs), which is well, I have a fun times this episode but the jokes if continue like this will get pale very fast. There is some good comedic timing here, and I found the cast bounce off each other relatively well but if they don’t have a concrete plot then it won’t go far. Could be a breather series to watch pass time but I don’t see it as anything more to recommend than that.

Potential: 20%

 

ACCA – 13-ku Kansatsu-ka

Short Synopsis: A branch working man investigates corruption within a supposed utopia.

I still remain unable to really gauge this show as it does seem to be something that is well executed but just doesn’t appeal to me personally. I am reminded of Ghost in the shell Stand Alone complex in a way as that is a show that I recognised as good but just didn’t like personally. This episode was slow but it had nice world building and is something quite different from our usual kind of anime. My only major criticism is in how the main protagonist someone managed to figure out everything based on a five minute delay and a report from the day before. I generally don’t like it when a show keeps the inner workings of investigation to itself as it makes it like the main protagonist is pulling his answers directly from the script. Other than that we have an intriguing setup for a potentially great series. Though it may not be everyone’s cup of tea.

Potential: 50%

Mario: This one falls right in the middle for me. On one hand I love the world-building. The nation Dowa is peaceful, stable and I like the idea of 13 Districts with their own style of living (like in The Hunger Games); basically that world is rich in details and I love to know more about it. But there’s something trouble underneath its fake peaceful façade and everyone seems to expect this show is a slow-burn story that detailed how Jean progress to find out the ugly truth. Think again because the actual case in this episode happened so quickly, with evidences we have no knowledge of before so yeah I don’t trust this show’s detective case at all. There’s also a tonal disjoined as the lighter moments of the division’s members enjoying cakes don’t seem to fit well with the rest; then we also have an overpowered element in the name of ACCA 5 Chiefs with for now are all over the top. As of now, just like the division ACCA itself, it’s hard for me to judge the show because I don’t know the role of Jean in a big narrative sense, but everything else from the Dowa world to the productions are handled very well. Still the premise is intriguing enough for me to check out more of it.

Potential: 60%

Posted on 13 January 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Some Quick First Impressions

Hand Shakers

Short Synopsis: A boy holds the hand of a girl he finds in a hospital room and ends up in a supernatural battle to the death.

GoHands, you know what would be great? If you know, instead of slapping on lens flares and colour filters all over the place, you just don’t do that? For I can at least see some good character animation here underneath all the horrible CGI and distracting visual effects. Well except for that class president girl with breast physics that likened her chest to jello in zero gravity. Seriously, I think if I slapped these things they would jiggle in perpetual motion for all of eternity. We also have another girl in this episode who spend the episode being chained up and surely her acting direction was to moan like she was in a porno and not much else. This seems like an anime experiment of the bad kind as Hand Shakers has the characters in 2D animation and animated the backgrounds completely in 3D. Considering that the main character’s catchphrase is to saying things are meshing or not it seems unintentionally ironic than the 2D and 3D of this show doesn’t mesh at all. Plus this makes the same mistake as K in that the show decides to introduce itself by shoving the viewer into a full on confusing series of action sequences of which we have no idea what the stakes are or what is even going on. What is particularly annoying is that they repeat these animations at the end of the episode where we are at least up to speed so why even bother putting it at the start in the first place. A confusing mess, a visual disaster and considering the blatant fanservice(Oh look, the main heroine has a bath scene next episode), a rather trashy show. Still it’s not Occultic;Nine so I suppose that’s one point in it’s favor.

Potential: 0%

Mario: And I thought we can’t possibly get any lower than Spiritpact here comes Hand Shakers. The show is one rare anime that consistently messy, all over the place in almost every department. Where do I start first? Let’s talk about characters. All the characters are unmemorable at best, irritating at most of the time and just trash at worst. Our main guy has that stupid quirk, behaves like a doll with no real personality whatsoever, but worst is how the show portraits the female casts: his best friend talked while her boobs juggling, the main girl didn’t have a single dialogue this episode and that other girl was chained, tortured, lying on the ground, while her guy stepped on her stomach and used her power and talked bullshit. WHAT? Now that’s offensive! I can tolerate all other awfulness but if you treat your characters like trash then it’s hard for me to take you seriously, Hand Shakers. Then the story. What’s the story really as this is the most awkward pacing I’ve ever seen. Why include the scene of him fixing some stranger’s car? These shifts of tones are often jarring, like how the series showed his drama with little sister then jump to the action scene in the next minute. Finally, the visual. What utterly incompetence the visual was. Those chains were so out of place that a ten-year-old boy would do a better job at this, and those sparkling out of nowhere? Everything looks stiff and everything looks ugly. Even the idea of holding someone’s hand for the rest of their life scare the life out of me so really there’s nothing that hold me back here. In fact, keep delving on how awful this show is would require a whole length of Gone with the Wind novel so I highly recommend you guys to watch it for yourself to be stunned and amazed.

Potential: 0%

 

Kemono Friends

Short Synopsis: A human child ends up in a park filled with humanoid animals.

I am fairly certain this isn’t the kind of show for anyone who reads this blog. I am not really sure on how to judge it either as I am clearly not the main demographic. Basing this on if I was about twenty years younger, I say I would watch this episode but not really seek to continue the show. It has a very happy go lucky feel to it and the whole thing just felt very safe. The CGI wasn’t too jarring so visually it’s decent. Overall just a rather mediocre kids show.

Potential: 0%

Mario: Being a kid’s show (actually the only new kid show this season), of course my standard of giving my two cents is different too. There’s not much for us adults to take out from: the storyline is simple, the character designs are even simpler and the CGI animation is easily the simplest. But on the other hand, judging the show by how well it will entertain children, then actually I think the show does a decent job. The sense of fun is there, and even try to pick out what types of animals those girls are is amusing. The aesthetic isn’t much ­as everything appears quite plain and stiff, but I don’t fault it for that either. Only those Ceruleans are out of place but I guess those monsters are something akin to four enemies that try to catch Pac-man. Speaking of which did I mention that this show is based on the free-to-play game? For it being a children’s show I won’t treat it harshly like Hand Shakers up there (but really, this is a better show) as there’s nothing truly bad about it, it’s just forgettable so no, I’ve done the job for you to check it out so you don’t need to watch it yourself.

Potential: 10%

 

Kobayashi-san Chi no Maid Dragon

Short Synopsis: A dragon falls in love with a human girl and vows to become her personal maid.

You know it’s a fairly long time since we got a truly hand drawn animated dragon instead of the usual CGI dragon. Which is a pity because those are generally the best kind. So how my heart weeps that the show to fulfil this desire is cheap gag slice of life. My biggest problem with this show is that it’s getting the attention to detail and level of quality it truly does not deserve. A series about a dragon that turns into a lesbian maid.  I will give credit that the dragon girl openly admits that she is sexually interested in Kobayashi which from my knowledge even Yuri on Ice was too afraid to do. But the problem is that this is an utterly mindless gag show with no real substance. Or at least what little substance it has is bound to be phased out in time as more dragons are introduced. Yes it’s not bad but it’s just so average that I can’t bring myself to care about it. If you have the time and like these kinds of shows it’s not a bad choice but truthfully you would be better off watching Demi-chan instead.

Potential: 10%

Mario: I guess your enjoyment out of this show will depend entirely on how you like Tohru the dragon maid and more importantly the dry humor of the show. As such I’m not a big fan of either. Given I already liked half of its jokes, from Tohru chewing the laundry to her roasted tail, I found it’s lacking in overall tones because in truth it’s a fan-service show from head to its tail. The premise is kind of lazy one as she just suddenly appeared in front of Kobayashi’s house and declared that she’d like to be a maid. Compare it with Demi-chan who actually give a lot of its heart to the characters and this is pale in comparison. The visual is attractive though, so are the character designs. I know after a spectacular Sound! Euphonium 2, KyoAni needs something light-hearted like this but aside from Tohru and the gags about her perspective towards this mundane, “inferior” world, this show is more a missed opportunity to me. If you have to pick one slice-of-life monster moe pick Demi-chan instead.

Potential: 20%

Posted on 12 January 2017 with categories: Currently Watching:, Some Quick First Impressions

Little Witch Academia

Short Synopsis: A normal girl goes to attend a academy for witches

You know if the remaining 24 episodes are as great as this one this anime may end up on of my all time favorites list. Animation is great and full of personality, story is simple but fun and I had a blast while watching it. It’s a big joke to say that Studio Trigger is saving anime but the level of quality on display here actually lends credence to that claim. My biggest worry is whether they can keep up this quality for the remainder of the show and just what they plan on making the main storyline of the series. Though I am most certainly interested in finding out. Look, watch this. I give it the highest recommendation out of everything this season.

Potential: 95%

Mario: Apart from the show being a reboot, meaning that we have to go through the introduction and some of “don’t know how to use magic/ witch blood” situations all over again, which I’m kinda feel overdone at this point, everything else is what to be expected here (and I did expect a hell lot from this). For those of you who unfamiliar with its shorts, think the best elements of Harry Potter (which is its world-building) without all the dark, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named bullshit. Little Witch Academia is all about adventure and what an adventure the cast have been through this first episode, getting lost in the forbidden forest to hunt rare giant fire-breathing chicken. Already in this episode our three main girls have a great chemistry together, the visual is wild but creative as expected from Studio Trigger and the show never lose its sense of fun. If you’re about to watch just one show this season (hopefully you aren’t) make it this one and rest assured that even if this show will be released all at once by Netflix, one of us will cover it regularly for your own pleasures.

Potential: 80%

 

Idol Jihen

Short Synopsis: A farm girl enters the world of politics by singing on a stage.

Ah, the idol industry. The soul sucking demon which takes adolescent girls and treats them like mere commodities for making cash. Idol Jihen may be trying to dress it up like most anime do but quite frankly the only thing produced by Idols is crap music, destroyed childhoods and fanatical fans. I really do love how this show avoids talking about actual idol skill and instead we have these “aura” which apparently decides how good an idol is. Yep you can perform perfectly but you are doing something wrong because of your “aura”. Anyway the premise of this show is ridiculous with Idols somehow being politicians as well? My guess is the political side isn’t going to get explored much and instead idols will sing the corruption away. I can only imagine the fallout once they aged past the point where they are no longer suitable for idol business. There may be novelty value in the premise but all we really have here is yet another idol show.

Potential: 0%

Mario: Politics Idols? I admit that it sounds amusing on paper but when you actually mix them together the show just falls apart. First, the 2 tones are vastly different that it often feels like two different shows; and none of them work. The politics are decidedly in your face with corruption, stupidity (death by food choking?); whereas as much as the series show us the danger causes of this world, guess why the main girl decided to run for election? To make people happy. Yeah, that might be noble but that doesn’t fit with what you were selling us, Idol Jihen. The girls aren’t memorable and you can probably list a dozen other characters with that same traits. Afterall, the only thing remotely similar about politics and idols world is they are just for show so we appropriately can just take it at face value. An easy skip.

Potential: 0%

 

elDLIVE

Short Synopsis: A boy is randomly abducted and pushed to become an space police officer.

Considering this is a studio pierrot offering, the animation is fairly decent but the story is as inoffensive shounen as it was in the manga. If you are a fan of pretty standard shounen this checks the boxes in that regard. But I still say this is essentially the premise of Space Patrol Luluco with none of the fun. Our main character is apparently ostracized because he keeps talking to the pokemon that has taken residence within his body. Which would be tragic if he couldn’t just stop talking out loud to it. It didn’t take long for Migi and Shinichi from Parasyte to figure out that talking out loud to each other is a bad idea. So seeing as you spent your entire life with this and still are making this mistake that kills any sympathy I would have had for this plight. So he’s dragged kicking and screaming out of his normal life to be pushed into a life or death situation by superiors who clearly don’t care if he lives or dies. It’s played off comically but all things considered these policemen such are vicious. At one point when they shoved him into a spacesuit they even considered cutting off the oxygen to the suit if he refused. Though I am just looking at it far too seriously and it is a rather harmless show. Still if I wanted to watch space police take down alien criminals on earth then I would just watch Birdy the Mighty Decode again.

Potential: 10%

Mario: elDLIVE is Men in Black, anime-style. Not really. If I compare it to MIB than I give this show too much credits. Apart from Space Police which could be a fun angle to delve on, there’s not much else to recommend. Let see, how this kid was chosen in a first place? Because he WAS CHOSEN. And then they throw him back to his town for a test, but guess who figure out the alien? Not him, his “inner voice”. Who was the one that capture the alien? His inner voice. Who was the one that have superpower? His inner voice. In other words, this guy didn’t do any damn things except talking to himself, and that not even count the time when his complex kick in. That weird voice that come out from his chest gives me a creep to be honest, so no this isn’t something worth checking out. 10% comes purely on the weirdness of that mascot, because for the life of me I wouldn’t dare to imagine what my inner voice would look like in physical form.

Potential: 10%

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