Posted on 11 January 2019 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Doukyonin wa Hiza, Tokidoki, Atama no Ue.

Short Synopsis: An unsociable mystery novelist adopts a cat, which takes better care of him than he does of it.

Aidan’s review:
I stick to my original assessment from the preview that this series is cute. Not the brand of cute that moe show try to peddle by making teenager girls act like five year olds. Instead the kind that warms the soul. Admittedly the first half of this episode from the humans standpoint was less interesting than the viewpoint from the cat but once it switched things got significantly better. This show manages a nice balancing act between being silly and cute with some small emotional gut punches thrown in. Animation and adaption both seem to be quite solid so no problems on that front. It makes for likely the best “healing” show from the season and might make for a good show to brighten things up after watching something more dark and intense, like Promised Neverland. If you are a cat lover it’s certainly a show to stir the soul and should prove for an enjoyable watch.
Potential: 70%

Wooper’s review:
Do you like cats? If so, you’ll probably dig this series; if not, you’re significantly less likely to enjoy it. There’s not much more to Hizaue (the portmanteau used by the official website) than that. The story is certain to incorporate a healing aspect, given the tragic backstories of both the human and feline main characters, and there are other people hanging about for the author to grumpily converse with, but the show is mostly about the relationship between a man and his cat. This episode had a neat POV-based gimmick, telling a simple story from the human’s eyes in the first half, then replaying the same events with the cat as the narrator. There was some reused footage during the latter segment, but not as much as I expected, which was nice. Despite that pleasant surprise, the visuals were plain, with much of their charm coming from stylized stills with thick outlines and exaggerated facial expressions. Still, the cat is cute, which is the most important element of a series like this. I’m in for at least another episode.
Potential: 50%

Mario’s review:
It’s a story about an exclusive writer and the cat and how they begin a relationship together. Well, I’m not at all kidding about what I just said because the show went there. It’s fluffy, but it’s the right kind of fluffy because these two characters are an unlikely duo. The writer’s negative patterns can get on the nerve from time to time, but his interaction with this cat is awesome. What makes this show “special”, is that during the last half it tells the story in the cat’s eye of view (with narration to boot) and that when we get a full picture of two individuals who try to understand each other. This one is a keeper.
Potential: 40%

 

5-Toubun no Hanayome

Short Synopsis: A boy is hired to teach a family of quintuplet girls.

Aidan’s review:
It’s fine. As far as anime goes this is a decent watch. As far as harem anime go this is above average as it makes much more of an effort besides putting some tits on a screen. What makes the concept work is that our protagonist is someone with an ego and bounces nicely the the varied personalities of the five girls. A snarker like Sakuto from bunny girl but a bit more on the savage and blunt side as he quite literally does not care what anyone has to think. Unfortunately the animation is lesser tier with the series itself not looking too impressive but at least being passable. The comedy of the manga has also suffered immense adaption decay making some of the witter lines fail to land an impact. I say for what it is this is a good show for those looking for something of an in between show that doesn’t really require much of a mental commitment. PS: Miku is still best girl. My Logic is undeniable.
Potential: 40%

Mario’s review:
It’s one of those cases where you don’t judge book by the premise. The concept of a boy and 5 harem girls might allure you to a basic eroge game, but so far it sells its concept with flying colors. The biggest strength of it is that the jokes keep coming at you, mostly based on how each girl bounces off with the main guy, producing endless snappy interactions and they all spark different chemistry to our male lead. The production is on the weak side and I heard the anime so far doesn’t translate quite well all the jokes from its manga source. I do feel the main guy needs to work more to be more than just a self-insert faceless lead, and we can all guess how this story is going to span out, but if it keeps this level of strong chemistry between its cast (and pray that the production value don’t drop significantly), we’ll have for ourselves a comedy of the season here.
Potential: 50%

 

Circlet Princess

Short Synopsis: A gamer girl enters the world of virtual Esports.

Mario’s review:
Surprise. Surprise. Circlet Princess is a sport show. Well, it introduces a new battle game as sport and it runs all the templates that we’ve seen before in other, better anime. A protagonist who has no idea about the sport who accidentally gets sucked in the game, but somehow she learns all the skills necessary like Mozart learns about music. A story about some students who try to revive a lost club which happens to be that same sport? A sport where these girls wear super sexy armor and a story where it starts right in the middle of random battle and feature many out-of-nowhere fanservice. It’s a textbook story and the characters never raise above their own established tropes. I give it points for some nice action sequences and the scene where girl adjusting her panty (it was really well animated).
Potential: 10%

Wooper’s review:
Watching this show seems to have altered my brain chemistry. Where once I possessed some tolerance for terrible anime, there is now an aversion so strong that I physically can’t sit through a full-length episode. If you’re going to attempt to view this trash, I recommend doubling or tripling the playback speed, as suffering for the full 24 minutes might be hazardous to your mental health. Circlet Princess was so bad that, starting next season, I’m not going to do first impressions for shows that don’t immediately interest me, just to avoid having another experience like this. There wasn’t a single second I didn’t hate, from the holographic arrows that literally pointed the protagonist in the direction of the plot, to the still images laced throughout a combat sequence that was supposed to be intense and fun. The female characters look like they were designed by a newly pubescent boy, and their implausible dialogue is aimed directly at the show’s audience. By the time the mid-episode timeskip rolled around, I was on the verge of giving up, but I pressed on, and my perseverance was rewarded with… nothing. Seriously, why spend time watching, thinking about, or writing about shows like this? Out of some compulsive need to sample every series from every season? That’s a waste of time. I don’t need to be an industry expert to understand that most of the talent is concentrated on a handful of projects each quarter, and everybody else gets the scraps. On balance, though, it’s not the amount of lousy anime getting produced that has me so pissed – it’s the fact that this one failed even to amuse me.
Potential: 0%

Posted on with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Revisions

Short Synopsis: A school is transported to a dangerous world and a group of friends must fight off robotic monsters.

Aidan’s review:
Well an impression of this show may be needless as you can watch the show in it’s entirely due to all 12 episodes being out on Netflix. No dub as of yet though. Now as stated before this is a show from the mind that brought us Code Geass and in a way you can see his style in the episode. The animation is full CGI but they at least seem to have realised that limiting the frames per second does not make it look like seamless 2D. The CGI isn’t what I would consider on the same level as Houseki and can be a bit too distracting at times but you can get used to it. The story itself has a good setup as well with a main protagonist with a big hero complex and a group of friends who are distinct enough to potentially become good characters. The only character I found rather off would be Milo, the futuristic cyber stripperarmour lady who’s so textbook that she might as well say “Come with me if you want to live.” The setting looks like it could lead to something interesting but I kept getting this feeling that this story could very easily take a nosedive considering who’s behind it. But so far I consider this at least a good start but maybe wait for people to watch the remaining episodes and get word online before giving it a shot.
Potential: 60%

Mario’s review:
My very first impression of this show is that I can never get used to this clunky CG model. It reminds me of Ajin few years ago which was the main reason why I dropped it. As for the story itself, at least in this first episode it fares much better. Yep, the main lead has a hero complex (and his tendency annoys the hell lot from his friends) but there’s a solid reasons behind that. The 5-member cast has some solid chemistry and the flashback has some neat moments here and there. It’s also neat to see how despite the main guy prepares everything for this very day, when the moment comes he’s freezed out of scare. What I’m not too sure is the present where it evolves into some sorts of mecha battles between the good guys vs bad guys, which is a road well trodden at this point. Surprisingly to say the characters’ chemistry, and not the sci fi settings or “saving the world” premise, is what I’m interested in. I will give it some more chance.
Potential: 30%

 

Meiji Tokyo Renka

Short Synopsis: A girl who can see ghosts is transported to the past to flirt with pretty boys

Aidan’s review:
You know when it comes to writing child trauma, maybe it’s best when the trauma makes sense? I mean this girl is ostracized cause she decided to openly talk to her little spirit friends at her own birthday party. So I am sitting here wondering how the goddamn parents neglected to tell her not to talk to her imaginary friends in front of her real ones. Also how is it that this girl never noticed that no one could see them before her fifth birthday? Well realism this series certainly isn’t going for but if it was the poor animation would break it in an instant. But the soundtrack is also just sickeningly saccharine and well our protagonist is an indistinct piece of wood. And yes, the pretty boy harem are disturbing violating her personal space. The first one introduced has barely known her for a minute before he’s feeling up her legs under the pretense of “Checking for wounds” Oh and our main girl has amnesia because of course she does. For Otome protagonists always have convenient amnesia for one reason or another. Honestly this Otome anime has the same problems as any otome anime, cheaply made, a self insert protagonist, a cast of stock pretty boys and a plot that only serves as a vehicle to interact with said pretty boys. Unless you have a fondness for these kinds of shows, I would give it a pass.
Potential: 0%

Lenlo’s review:
Ah, the obligatory hot-boy harem show of the season. Meiji is definitely not the most inspired of the genre, that’s for sure. From the the amnesia to the spurned from childhood for a ridiculous reason, this show is nothing but cliches. Granted some people like those cliches, and in that respect, Meiji serves it purposes well enough. Personally, I detest this genre, which makes me a particularly poor individual to do a first impressions on it. But I am the best you got! Suffice to say, if you like Male Harem shows, Meiji isn’t bad. However if that isn’t your fare, it’s best to stay away. Just like every other harem out there.
Potential: 5%

 

Girly Air Force

Short Synopsis: A teenage boy is rescued and kissed by an attractive female pilot, then gets the sudden, inexplicable urge to join the JASDF.

Aidan’s review:
Better call me a plane cause my mind was in auto-pilot for this one. It’s not as if I had high expectations from an anime called Girly Air Force but I wasn’t quite prepared for how inexplicable bored it made me. I quite literally fell asleep after the episode due to just having no interest whatsoever. It’s clear that the writer can’t write worth a damn with the story being so rote and cliche along with a slight undercurrent of racism. I mean the enemies a enemy group called the Xi who seem to have turned China into a hellscape where people are escaping the great and peaceful Nippon! The writer has jets pointless fight the super planes just to show how cannon fodder reguler planes are and why we need waifu power planes. Painted in shocking pink because why the hell not. But a bit of advice, if you wish to keep you super plane a secret maybe don’t just stroll it around town when it’s the most noticeable colour possible. I facepalmed when our blander than oatmeal protagonist just so happened to catch sight of the plane while he was busy moaning over that plane that saved him in the past. Plot contrivance is just all over the place with this one and whenever the author tries to inject drama he does it in the most predictable way possible. Random emotional hissy fit in the middle of an argument complete with exposition over why they be sad. On top of this the dogfight music sounds like something from a rave. Trite, predictable and boring would be the perfect one sentence review for this one.
Potential: 0%

Wooper’s review:
This is one of the worst anime I’ve ever seen. Usually, when a series is remarkably bad, I can shit on it and derive some amount of pleasure from the act, but Girly Air Force’s production feels like a cry for help. In my mind, this premiere is already a lock for Worst First Episode of 2019. Here are some things that I hated about it. The chaos at the start of the story attempts to depict the alien antagonists as threatening, but the hastily-sketched looks of confusion on their victims’ faces render the whole scene ineffective. The bedheaded main character’s obsession with the JSDF appears to spring from a kiss he shared with the female pilot who saves the day, despite the fact that they had never met before. The CG planes move through the air like they weigh as much as kites, and the interior backgrounds are lazy templates. The tension between potato-kun and his childhood friend is awful, with his petulant rejection of her concern reading like an allegory for the author’s frustration with his own mother. But the worst part has to be the minutes-long technical explanation of what recharges the magical red plane from the start of the episode. Spoilers: it’s the MC’s dick.
Potential: 0%

Posted on with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Yakusoku no Neverland

Short Synopsis: As an old friend leaves, two kids begin to realize the truth about their orphanage.

Aidan’s review:
Well this knocked it right out of the park. Clearly the best first episode of the season so far with a banger of an opening and a ending episode hook sure to nab anyone checking this out. The episode itself does a good job of laying out the characters and their particular gimmicks as well as alluding to small details and having are rather unnerving atmosphere. You know that something isn’t right here but you can’t quite put your finger on exactly what. Also props for not resorting to narration to explain what the setting was and instead showing enough for the viewer to figure things out by themselves. I originally pinned Boogiepop as my contender for season winner but sadly due to direction that ended up going wrong. This one the other hand is getting the care and attention it deserves so I can at least say that if you are not watching this in this season, you probably should be.
Potential: 90%

Lenlo’s review:
You know, I was really worried that I had ruined this series for myself by reading up on the manga. I can say now that even with the foreknowledge of what will happen, Neverland will hit its mark. It did a fantastic job of slowly ratcheting up the unease throughout the episode. Starting with children joking about eating each other. Games of tag and strategy. A creepy fence, to no one sending back their letters until a little girl gets walked out under a haunting tune. Slowly but surely Neverland ticked the dial forward scene by scene to really nail the ending, and nail that it did. The animation, camera angles and haunting yet hopeful vocals all blended perfectly, on to smash cut mid song. Fantastic. As Aidan said, Neverland did a great job laying out the setting and characters without a word of exposition, even managing to layout the central conflict and how it is mental rather than physical. As far as I am concerned, Neverland is a must watch of the season, of which I can only count 2 others.
Potential: 95%

 

Kemurikusa

Short Synopsis: A group of red-haired girls search for water and fight robotic bugs on a ruined island in the middle of nowhere.

Mario’s review:
This is basically a spiritual successor of Kemono Friends, in a season where the actual Kemono Friends sequel also airs. A near-apocalyptic settings where our cast fighting against Bugs? Check. A human appeared out of nowhere who doesn’t know why he got there? Check. Cute anthropomorphic/ non human designs? Check? Abandoned bus? Check. On that vein I’m mildly curious on how this one will go. I regard the settings in Kemono Friends where it hints that they might live within a dead world its greatest strength, so I’m more than happy to see this one further explores on that theme. The characters are hit-or-miss at the moment. I don’t mind the main cast (even the quadruplets), but the moment that human boy hits the screen everything goes for more cliche path. Of course he will become some needed brain in the group, right? It doesn’t help either that the dialogue is’t that great. The visual remains dark and grim so far, and the CG aesthetic could take some time to get used to. At the end of the day I don’t mind these shortcomings. Despite its inconsistency in both characters and story, it could offer something interesting and different than what we normally get these days.
Potential: 40%

Wooper’s review:
Kemurikusa is a mess. Its story is unclear, its would-be cute characters come off as stilted instead, and its CG visuals are incompetent. There’s a moment early in this episode where a character dips her hand into a pool of water, and it looks more like it’s phasing through a cement floor. The cast’s modeled walk cycles clash terribly with their dull, blue-gray environment, and the action scenes are handicapped by their limited range of motion. What else could you expect, though, given the look of director Tatsuki’s previous work? I’m in no mood to explain his past success by overpraising this new series, but there are a couple things about it that you might like: a watery N64-era soundtrack with a mysterious vibe, clone quadruplets in maid outfits, the sense of being totally lost as an audience member. That last one is where I struggled most with this premiere, because while I’m not a fan of needless exposition, I also need a reason to come back each week, and a story that seems to be set nowhere in particular isn’t going to provide that for me. Kemono Friends was a smash hit in Japan, but I have my doubts about Kemurikusa’s viability, especially since there’s no lovestruck penguin to provide a bunch of free publicity this time around.
Potential: 10%

 

Kakegurui xx

Short Synopsis: By the magic of Gambling God, heirs from powerful gambling families all attend this high school to fight against our main character.

Mario’s review:
This new season of Kakegurui starts off on a strong note. Its production is noticeably more polished than ever (the OP is a visual highlight, for example), and it successfully establishes the cores of Kakegurui in this premiere. The game they play this week, for example, ups its stake to an insane level. But saying that, embracing its core isn’t necessary brings out all its good aspects. There’s often the case the whoever challenges our lead girl has some sorts of “cheat” and the moments they spell out their advantages it loses all the thrills for me. Secondly, it has a totally useless recap (with the song from first season’s OP so at least there was something I can still enjoy) that in no way the new audience would understand anything except for “stuffs happened in the past”. It also introduces a whole new set of opponents that pretty much set what this second season will be about. I’m not sure if I will follow this second season, given I’m not that fond with the first, but this episode’s production is something I need to give praise for.
Potential: 40%

Wooper’s review:
Hey, it’s more Kakegurui. This episode had more lens flare and color filters than ever, thanks to the jarring music video/recap they inserted midway through the proceedings. And check out the simulated shaky cam movement during the latter portion of the guillotine game, which feels about as natural as the show’s premise. Kakegurui packs in plenty of detail where it counts, but these production techniques really snapped my strings during this episode. These gripes are personal, though; if you’ve already seen the first season, you should know whether it’s worth the trip to your favorite torrent site to get the sequel. If not, this episode actually works as a decent jumping-off point. Gambling Chicks isn’t much more complicated than, “Insane girl out-gambles student council every week,” and the closing scene spoon-feeds us the names and appearances of all Yumeko’s future opponents. I don’t feel as though Kakegurui’s simple format lives up to the ‘psychological’ tag it often receives, but if you’re down with the show’s concept, you’ll probably have a good time.
Potential: 50%

Posted on 9 January 2019 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Dororo

Short Synopsis: The cursed child of a Samurai Lord must hunt down the demons to whom he was sacrificed to in order to reclaim his body and confront his father.

Lenlo’s review:
Alright Dororo, I am in. This is the first of the season that I am legitimately excited about. The episode sets up the world, the story, the characters and none of is simplistic. We have the demons/ghouls that it appears our lead must fight, slowly earning back parts of their body and ruining their father Daigo’s wish. We have Daigo himself who will no doubt hunt down our lead now that his wish is in peril and he learns his son is alive. And finally we have the cursed child who fights blind, deaf and with no real limbs, and a charismatic thief kid. Honestly I loved every second of it and was sad to see it end. The story is rich, thanks no doubt to Tezuka, and the animation is crisp and stylish, thanks to MAPPA. It also helps that Dororo, because it originates as a 1960’s manga, just feels different than everything else coming out. It is a story from a different era of the medium, with none of the modern trappings, written by one of the greats. Bring me more Dororo!
Potential: 95%

Mario’s review:
It’s a pretty solid start for Dororo. As expected from the source material of the great Osamu Tezuka, this first episode already provides some moral complexity to its world. This premiere serves more as a prologue to a story to come but it does extremely well of setting up the conflict and introduces the main characters in play. We have some memorable characters, and the main duo in particular could serve as an interesting leads to follow. Visually, it looks stylish with memorable character designs and some striking shots. This could prove to be the breakout hit of the season.
Potential: 70%

 

Watashi ni Tenshi ga Maiorita!

Short Synopsis: A college-aged woman becomes smitten with a fifth grade girl and bribes her with sweets so she’ll model different outfits for her.

Wooper’s review:
Doga Kobo is on a roll with these pedo-baiting comedies. Uzamaid went off the air just two weeks ago, and Watashi ni Tenshi has already arrived to fill the void. To be fair (if fairness is even required when talking about a show like this), Doga Kobo’s usual cutesy production works in Wataten’s favor, with softened backgrounds and an emphasis on character movement to keep things visually interesting. These elements might also create an innocent atmosphere that lessens the strangeness of the show’s premise, depending on who you ask. Since this is my review, I’m going to assume you’re asking me, to which I’ll answer, “No they fucking don’t.” No amount of conflicted internal monologuing about the “funny, squirmy feeling” in your chest can make me like your perverted character, especially not when she’s characterized with such an insultingly dumb mix of tropes: totally kawaii with no friends, baker extraordinaire, closeted cosplay geek. This is practically a Hallmark movie for lolicons. Not only does she fall in love with her little sister’s friend at first sight, but the weird level of attachment between the sisters themselves could only be considered subtle by Japanese standards. Both the series’ key visual and the ED promise more elementary school girls for the MC to creep on, so if you love this sort of anime, you’d better get down on your knees and thank Satan for the bounty you’re about to receive.
Potential: 5%

Mario’s review:
Do you find any of this funny?? Just right after UzaMaid we have another show about older woman who has strange obsessions to primary school kid. It has a nice, soft art styles and some nice animated overreactions, but apart from those it leaves the bad taste in the mouth. This older girl acts exactly like a creepy otaku who is even shyer than her 6-year-old little sister and the source of humor comes mostly from how awkwardly this little-Reina-chan behaves. It tries hard for being cute both with her several attempts of “get close” to this poor girl, and for this young girl and her love for sweets. If you find these two elements funny the you’re gonna be fine with this show, others might steer away.
Potential: 0%

 

Rinshi!! Ekoda-chan

Short Synopsis: The private life of a 24-year-old woman, Ekoda-chan.

Mario’s review:
So we have 4-minute length of actual episode and the rest is a interview footage from the director and Ekoda-chan seiyuu. For that I believe it should be considered as actual part for this anime adaptation. It was frankly a joyous 4-minute short I’ve seen in recent memories with a lead that has so much “naked” personality and mature but realistic humor. The fun here is how she sees the world and people around her, at the same times feel a bit insecure about her love life and this episode nails it with its visual and its “rhythm”. The bigger chunk of this episode is about the interview with the crew involved including the director and the Voice Actress and by that we can see how their own views on Ekoda-chan, some of their personality and especially their chemistry together. It was a whole lot fun to watch, and although I would love for more actual animated content in the episode, I will definitely tune in to watch this every week.
Potential: “feel like New York”

Wooper’s review:
As Mario mentioned above, this is a short series with a lengthy real-life conversation stapled to the end. As Ekoda-chan is set to have a different director and voice actor for each episode, this could be a treat for fans of specific seiyuu or the creative process at large. Neither of those labels applies to me, though, so I bailed halfway through the real life segment. The anime itself was much more interesting, centering on a 24 year old hostess “looking for love and a better life,” in her own words. Her job is suffocating, her boyfriend is a wet blanket, and her friends are getting paired off left and right, but Ekoda-chan seems more interested in life’s mundanities than she is worried about its troubles. She’s too busy wrestling with her favorite dog, trapping house-invading lizards, and running over a horde of crabs in her family’s truck to succumb to despair over the state of her existence. I expect that her quirkiness will be peeled back in future episodes to reveal a much more neurotic young woman, but due to the revolving door of directors, there’s no way to know that for certain. This one, at least, has some snappiness to it thanks to Akitarou Daichi, whose past experience with short comedies like Sexy Commando Gaiden and Gag Manga Biyori served him well here. One episode isn’t enough to judge whether this series will be any good, but the atypical format and unique main character have me on board for now.
Potential: ???

Posted on 8 January 2019 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari

Short Synopsis: A college student is transported to another world, where he must train to defend a medieval kingdom with nothing but an enchanted shield.

Lenlo’s Review:
For the required Isekai of the season, it’s surprisingly not a terrible fare. Shield Hero surprised me by taking the general premise where the Isekai Hero starts OP and above everyone else and throws it out the window. I like that our hero has to work from the bottom, with the potential for power in the sword, but clear deficiencies in combat and being behind everyone else in terms of gear, money and respect. He basically has to be a tank. So long as Shield Hero doesn’t try to turn him into some combat badass and keeps him in the support role, the unflappable tank who only sets up the win for other characters, I think I could really enjoy this. To address the Animal Girl in the room though, I am not inherently against the slavery aspect. The hero is already at the bottom rung of society, so he can no doubt relate and connect to the slaves. That’s basically what he is with these “Waves”. So I think the slavery aspect could make for some interesting character relationships. What bothers me is that the first/main companion/slave is an animal girl that will no doubt eventually fall for him, ala Stockholm Syndrome. I think that is an icky, creepy relationship to focus and build on and I really hope Shield Hero has more restraint than that. We will have to wait and see. Finally, visually, Shield Hero isn’t anything special. There is some smooth motion when fighting the balloon monsters, but we have yet to reach any kind of set piece. So I would call it average in this department so far. Regardless, it has my interest enough that I am gonna keep up with it for at least a few more weeks.
Potential: 45%

Mario’s review:
Why do these isekai anime love game mechanics so much? Everytime these game mechanics spelled out, they basically lost me. “Status options” on the screen; level up? For most of Tate double-length premiere it runs as a typical isekai, and that’s exactly the point because up to half-an-hour mark the show reveals its hands. It’s a good thing that our protagonist hits rock bottom and we see how he eventually becomes cynical. Has to gain the power, respect and even companion himself without any “cheat” is always a welcome. What worries me however is the end. Not necessary about the “slavery’ aspect, but more that it’s still self-fulfilling in the end: he still gets a comrade who happens to be bloody hot (demi) girl. So what makes or breaks a show is how well it makes him suffer because the more he goes through some real drama the more earned his efforts will be. Visually it doesn’t impress me but knowing this is from Kinema Citrus I have my full trust. I’m also worried that characters can fall into common tropes since aside from our titular characters, the others are quite stock characters. Considered that was the point before the “twist”, we will have to see how well-developed of this new girl in the next episode.
Potential: 30%

 

Ueno-san wa Bukiyou

Short Synopsis: A genius schoolgirl attempts to attract her clubmate’s interest via lewd inventions and situations.

Lenlo’s Review:
The only short I have really finished to completion was last season’s Honda-san. And even then, I found myself not all that enthused by it at the end. That puts Ueno-san already at a disadvantage, because I find it visually and thematically inferior to Honda-san in every way. The topic of a middle-schooler trying to get a boys attention is dull, the dialogue is dull, the visuals are washed out. At least Honda-san had an interesting style, it generated colorful and engaging screens, even if they didn’t move much. Ueno-san though is just… dull. I keep saying that word, but it’s the best way to describe it. It took me 30 minutes to finish a 10 minute short because I had to force myself through it. Suffice to say, this is a hard pass for me.
Potential: 0%

Wooper’s review:
I’m a fan of half-length anime comedies, but given how cheaply produced and one-note they tend to be, what counts the most is often their subject matter. In Ueno-san’s case, we’re dealing with a girl who wants a boy to notice her, but can’t think of a way to attract his attention apart from using him as a guinea pig in her perverted science experiments. This isn’t a bad premise in isolation, but the series is so invested in the shy, unable-to-confess -dere trope that it dominates the proceedings. Ueno-san’s inability to tell her crush that she likes him doesn’t offer any commentary on young love beyond, “It’s hard to admit that you like somebody.” Her red twintails and white-pupiled eyes make for an attention-grabbing design (the one redeeming feature of this episode), and if the ED is any indication, plenty more girls will be introduced in the coming weeks. If that’s your bag, Ueno-san might be worth 11 minutes every week, but based on this premiere, it isn’t worth mine.
Potential: 10%

 

Pastel Memories

Short Synopsis: Four girls working in a manga cafe try to find a collection of lost manga.

Lenlo’s Review:
Pastel Memories managed to successfully draw me in, get me interested, and then lose me completely all within the same episode. I was all for the fluffy concept of bringing back Otaku culture one series at a time. Scouring a dead series or genre to bring it back, because it meant something special to someone. That is an interesting, episodic concept to me and gives them a lot of freedom to play around with. They could animate different or present each story differently, in the style of the manga or series they are hunting down that week. But then at the end they randomly become magical girls fighting some virus? And this virus is no doubt responsible for the death of Otaku culture no doubt I am sure. It’s like a completely different show and it confuses the shit out of me. Not to mention that this supposedly failing cafe run by children somehow has enough revenue to not only support 10 employees, but to have them running around looking for manga all day. Pastel Memories had the base for a fun, wholesome, episodic series about Otaku culture and proceeded to completely ignore it for the lowest common denominator magical girl tripe. Color me surprised with a healthy dose of pastel, cause I am done and not coming back.
Potential: 0%

Mario’s review:
It’s another anime set in Akihabara that aims squarely on the otaku culture. While I can safely say that I’m not within the target audience, the very concept of reviving a lost culture is an interesting one for me. So the part where the team searches for the full collection of the manga works well enough for me. Sadly though, I’m never sold on the setting itself. The cast works in an otaku cafe where they hardly have any customer, but I counted like 10 people working there. There isn’t a clear time set (how many years since it loses its fandom?), and I find it strange that these manga stores don’t have some sort of network before. But the most head-scratching part comes down at the end, where supposedly the girls have to go the another dimension to destroy virus? Where the heck does that part come from? It feels like another show entirely. It’s jarring no matter how you look at it.
Potential: 10%

Posted on 6 January 2019 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Boogiepop wa Warawanai (2019)

Short Synopsis: A teenage boy meets his crush’s costumed alter ego, Boogiepop, as rumors about disappearing girls spread through their high school.

Lenlo’s Review:

Ah, a new year, new season, time for a new first impressions post. What’s this, a mystery thriller about an urban legend and an angel of death? Why I would love to! A full explanation on what the Boogiepop is from an unreliable narrator? A split personality that appears in women, and then proceeds to murder or kill the thing murdering other young women? Social gossip? Well sure, sounds good I- wait, what’s happening? This is a lot of talking and not much really happening. Why does this entire episode suddenly feel more like a standalone than a series introduction? What is even happening anymore? Suffice to say, Boogiepop intrigued me at the start and then, over the course of 25 minutes, proceeded to completely lose my interest. It raised a bunch of questions, answered them unsatisfactorily and then basically shoved off. Its like Boogiepop thinks throwing you straight in the deep end of psychological disorders, myths and legends, and murder is a good way to start a show. I like it enough to give it another chance with the next episode or two, but as is, my interest in the series is lower than it has been since it was announced. Here’s hoping that’s just first episode blues for a notoriously hard genre to pull off though.

Potential: 40%

Wooper’s review:

I never got into the original Boogiepop adaptation, which first aired 19 years ago. Based on the first few episodes, my impressions were that it was gloomily lit, oppressively moody, and quite difficult to follow. For fans of the 2000s series who loved that challenging atmosphere, the fear surrounding this newer version must be that it will become too accessible. Those fears can be put to rest, however, since this first episode was an understated, non-linear collection of conversations that promised no easy answers. Though the premiere offers an explanation for who or what Boogiepop is, it’s not a complete one – in fact, it seems downright misleading. There are quick cuts to bits of murderous violence at several points throughout the episode, which echo the gossip swirling throughout the school where the episode plays out. The desired mood here is clearly unease, and the show does a few things to achieve it: hiring Kensuke Ushio to compose a droning electronic score, setting many of its scenes during the late afternoon to give its characters an odd glow, etc. Some of these efforts are hamstrung, though, by jerky animation, instances of muddy dialogue, and character designs (immediately recognizable as Parasyte knockoffs) that don’t seem to fit the series’ mystery-laden mood. Word on the street is that the second episode (which is already available online) is an improvement, so seek it out if you’re interested. As for me, after just one go, I’d say the series has my interest, but not my enthusiasm.

Potential: 50%

Aidan’s review:

Boogiepop started this season with a double episode premiere and as you likely seen from my preview, I walked into this one with great expectations. The first episode was slow, the animation of was surprisingly underwhelming(I don’t understand why it was decided to make extras faceless.) but at least it was fairly accurate to what I read from the novel and considered the double episode premiere to be a good move considering how the story works as a slow burn. Then I walked into episode two and just what in the holy hell happened here? What was supposed to happen was that we would see events from the new protagonist but instead it appears they opted for a different method for showing the rest of this story. Which is by chopping up the rest of the novel and rearranging in a manner to make it as confusing as possible. Truly I am flabbergasted. I don’t see the artistic expression of making your narrative harder to follow and in many ways it kills the story as characters are no on screen long enough to grow attached to, the story leaps back and forward in time with no abaddon and it’s hard to become invested when you are too busy figuring out just what the hell is going on. The focus should have been on showing the inner thoughts of the characters through animation, not on this ridiculous editing for the sake of…whatever they are trying to accomplish. I am hoping that this was a one episode thing or that once a new arc starts that they come to their senses and realise this is idiocy. And maybe I can see that beautiful animation that the first PV showcased appear.

Potential: 30%

 

Egao no Daika

Short Synopsis: A 12 year old princess ascends to the throne of a prosperous country, not knowing that it’s at war with the neighboring Empire.

Lenlo’s Review:

Ah, the lolibait of the season. This time with a princess idol who battles in robot mecha chess. I’ll be perfectly honest, I have no idea what I just watched. Egao no Daika is trying to do… everything really. Mystery plot over this “incident” and her parents, romance between her and her bodyguard, action with giant mecha battles. It’s all over the place. That said, the mecha battle itself actually… wasn’t terrible. If you can ignore all of the context around everything that happens in this show and just enjoy the mecha battles, you may have fun with it. If not though, just skip it. Egao no Daika’s author just shoved every trope they could find into one story, so I am sure you can find something you like better elsewhere in the season.

Potential: 5%

Wooper’s review:

Why is a 12 year old princess entrusted with the fate of an entire country just because her parents died?
Why does her first address to the nation look like an idol concert, complete with glow sticks and ridiculous crowd reactions?
Why are all the outfits and hairstyles so needlessly elaborate (and therefore difficult to animate)?
Why are there twin characters whose last name is literally “Vanquish”?
Why does one of them oppose the princess’ rule on the grounds of her naiveté, only to be charmed by that same trait fifteen seconds later?
Why do two high-ranking, ostensibly well-informed members of the government suddenly explain their country’s history to each other, complete with a holographic display that looks like a video game menu screen?
Why was there a need to refer to a futuristic-looking game with a green 6×5 board and pushpin-looking pieces as “chess”?
Why doesn’t the princess have anything better to do than to watch her bodyguard engage in a CG simulated mech battle with the Vanquish twins?
Why does she suddenly become a strategic genius midway through the battle, despite having lost horribly to her advisor at “chess” (and then questioning whether strategic thinking was “really something she needed”) just thirty minutes earlier?
Why are anime characters still vowing to “protect her smile” in 2019?
Why did I watch this show?

Potential: Why?

 

W’z

Short Synopsis:  A middle-school boy moonlighted as DJ in the virtual world and attracts fair share of enemies who are Hand Shakers

Lenlo’s Review:

I just got tricked into watching a sequel to Hand Shakers. What the hell.

I won’t even say watch this if you liked Hand Shakers, because no one liked Hand Shakers.

Potential: 0%

Mario’s review:

So this is indeed a sequel of HandShakers. It features the new cast so you don’t need any prior knowledge to watch it. Although the question remains: why bother watching it? As you might aware HandShakers is a rare anime that fails in arguably every single department (it fails so hard that it belongs to so-bad-it’s-good camp, but that’s another matter), and so far with W’z it doesn’t look like they’re gonna change. It has the exact same aesthetic as the screen in bathed in bluey filter. Characters look the same and they never talk like real human. We haven’t gotten into the fights yet so I’m not commenting on the CG battles yet, but the CG background characters stick out like a sore thumb. Even the main plot now is nonsensical. The only way you can enjoy this show is to set your expectation to be as low as HandShakers.

Potential: high chance of becoming the worst anime of 2019 by a landslide

Aidan’s review:

Honestly this is truly impressive. GoHands, never have I seen a studio so utterly full of confidence in their own style…and so utterly oblivious to their own failings. Try searching for my old impression of a series called K that they made before. Everything I said there applies here. They are repeating, every single failing. The pointless starting fight scene, the crap CGI, the BL baiting, the utter overuse of filters and lighting that washes out the screen along with characters so stock they still got the wrapping paper on. At this point a studio would learn, if they didn’t then they would at least learn after making one of the worst anime trainwrecks in Hand Shakers. But not only have they learned nothing…they made a sequel to Hand Shakers. What should be a complete black mark on their history and they made a bloody sequel to it. I don’t understand. Do they not want to be successful? Do they not want to make money? Are they under some mistaken impression of being animation visionaries? Because under all the scum of this series it does feel like there is genuine effort being put in but it’s all for naught when the package is an utter disaster such as this.

Potential: When are you declaring bankruptcy GoHands?

Posted on 13 October 2018 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-san

Short Synopsis: A skeletal bookstore employee fields requests from perplexed parents and foreign fujoshi.

Lenlo’s Review:

This was the most amusing power point presentation I have seen all year. Sure, you could probably dig into the symbolism of a character’s head and how it connects to their personality or world view as the show goes on. You could talk about the stereotypes of the guests and how Japanese society views them. Instead, I am just going to leave you with one simple fact. This single 10 minute short had me chuckling almost the entire time. Honda-San is grounded absurdism and you know what? I love it. The delivery, the pacing, the power-point levels of animation. I have no idea why it resonates with me so, maybe because I worked retail for a year, but I love the story of this poor decayed book-store clerk.

Potential: This is my crack

Wooper’s review:

This is a half-length comedy about a skeleton named Honda who works at a bookstore. His co-workers include (in order of appearance): a guy with a bag over his face, a man with a cartoon rabbit’s head, somebody wearing what I assume is a stylized Daft Punk helmet, a woman wearing a helm from a medieval suit of armor, a character named “Mr. Sales,” and a girl wearing a Noh mask. There are many more to come, if the ED is anything to go by. Honda is the only one whose strangeness extends below the neck, however. Sometimes his jaw falls off when a customer surprises him with a strange request. Though he gets nervous around the store’s gaijin clientele, he still does his best to assist them however he can. Please support him by watching Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda-san.

Potential: Worth a chuckle or two

 

Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto dakedo Imouto ja Nai

Short Synopsis: A girl wins a light novel contest with an incest story, and decides to use her brother as a public proxy.

Aidan’s review:

To contrast Wooper’s post below I have decided to only remark on the positives of this series in order to give a fair objective view of this anime. Well to begin the animation and character designs are…terrible..but ah the story, right the story is very…well…um….Alright you see this is clearly satire commenting on the nature of this incest fad with light novels. Sort of like a manga I knew called Oniichan Control which was about a brother who loved his sister but it turned out the sister was putting up a little sister front and is actually a psychopathic yandere grooming him to like her. Thus being a subversion on the arcitype and this show decides to shake things up by…playing it straight and sincere..alright so it’s not satire but it’s obviously a parody based on that one joke in the criticism of the main character’s work…even though the rest of the episode actually seems to be parading the LN state of being overrun with incest. (Screws eyes shut) Okay then this is actually postmodern experimental commentary on the nature of anime and incest which focuses on the preparation of archetypes to appeal to a mass demographic which demands the safe and familiar over creativity ingenuity or quality writing. It shows this by making use of exaggerated tropes pushed to the limit of absurdity like big titted women whose breasts are having seizures based on that jiggling, loita managers and obsessed brocon sisters. Thus all this trashy lazy setup is a metaphysical commentary criticising the appeal of familiar norms with conceptual taboo which in turn leads to the degeneration of mass media pandering towards teenage fantasy sexual desires and this is because….well it’s because…that’s all because….

(Sighs and stares blankly)
….this anime is shit.

Potential: Light Novels were a mistake

Wooper’s review:

Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto dakedo Imouto ja Nai opens with a series of 13 close-ups on little sisters who appear to have been ripped from 2000s visual novels, all of whom address their older brother using different cutesy honorifics. Once they’ve finished, they all cry out in unison, “I love you, big brother!” This turns out to have been the main character’s dream, but even after he wakes up, Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto dakedo Imouto ja Nai doubles down on the otaku baiting. For your viewing pleasure, the series features:

  • a perfect little sister who does all the housework,
  • a flat-chested loli co-worker who’s actually of legal age,
  • panty shots,
  • fantasy scenes where the main character imagines his imouto in provocative poses,
  • censored nipples which will be uncovered for the Blu-ray version,
  • a curvaceous editor who relentlessly flatters the MC and volunteers her boobs for groping at any time,
  • tons of dialogue discussing the wonders of light novels,
  • a big-breasted illustrator who nearly orgasms when her appearance is complimented,

and the list goes on. All of this is just gravy, however, compared to the fact that our hero’s little sister is totally in love with him. We witness that love in the form of excerpts from her light novel, entitled “This is the Tale of a Little Sister Who Loves Her Brother Too Much to Cope.” She also rolls around on her bed while scheming up ways to become his girlfriend and shrieking with glee. Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto dakedo Imouto ja Nai covers all of this with a veneer of plausibility by making its lead character totally relatable. For example: he can’t imagine that his lil’ sis (who has just confessed to writing a story where the female lead loves being petted by her older brother) secretly lusts after him, because that would be totally weird! Am I right, fellow normal guys? Plus, he gets tongue-tied whenever sexy women grab his hands and use them to massage their chests. What a common situation in which to find oneself as a typical high schooler! Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto dakedo Imouto ja Nai is the perfect gateway to the wonderful world of incest anime, because it keeps it [100 emoji] with the audience. We’re not elitist snobs who need fancy animation or a well-crafted soundtrack in our animes. All we need are older brothers and younger sisters who love each other more than anything in the world. That, and some tig ol’ bitties.

Potential: Ore ga Sick of this Shit dakedo Shit Keeps Getting Made

 

Conception

Short Synopsis: A highschool boy and a pregnant girl are transported to another world and must screw in order to save it.

Aidan’s review:

Wow. I mean when I heard about the whole aspect of making babies to save the world I was under the impression that the process actually didn’t involve sex. As a matter of fact in the games that appears to be the case as the ritual is not really elaborated on but obviously heavily implied to be sex. In the second game it appears they just place their energy inside some urn or something. Not here. Here they remove all ambiguity and go full on sex. Honestly I find myself both disgusted and somewhat impressed at the complete lack of shame in this. I mean I suppose it’s nice to see a protagonist with a sex drive and them just tossing aside the harem hijinks to just have them boink. But this has to be the trashiest Isekai I have ever seen, the animation is bare bones and the anime itself decides to do worldbuilding by literally linking a website. This is a story that gives no fucks at all besides it’s tituar concept of becoming a hero by banging girls. It knows how dumb this all is and it doesn’t care cause hey, it’s a game where you bang chicks to gain RPG powerups. Dare I say it, I may even play the game on steam due to morbid curiosity. The anime on the other hand…well I think they would have been better off just making hentai instead of this.

Potential: What am I doing with my life?

Lenlo’s Review:

An isekai of a harem game. Guess i’ve seen it all now. I’m done, I’m retiring. This show killed me. I don’t even wanna bother writing up a full paragraph, just read Aidans instead. God damnit.

Potential: Can I be done yet?

Mario’s review:

And I originally thought this season was already bad enough with rapes and loli sexual assault, now here’s the premise that can’t be topped: pregnating a harem team, one of them is your cousin. Yuck. If there is one praise I have for this show, it is that I admire it for its shamelessness. The opening sequence pretty much strips out all the pretense and gives you what this show is about (half of it anyway), a vintages of silhouetted naked girls. The other half is your cliche isekai world that the show doesn’t even bother to build it properly. Everything is fanservice to your teeth. We have girls already lining up to him to have sex (they literally say that), we have creepy mascot who trying to help our boy by molesting a girl for him, we have him tied up in chain with only underwear by a busty doctor. Even with the actual sex scene, there’s an overlong moment where the guy clumsily takes of the girl’s strap. It’s so badly framed that at one point it becomes unintentionally hilarious. Look, by now you know what you’re getting into so if this is your thing then go right ahead.

Potential: Anime again brings me down.

Posted on 11 October 2018 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Release the Spyce

Short Synopsis: A girl is scouted to join a bunch of high school girls being ninjas.

Aidan’s review:
The opening scene of this episode had me feeling like I was in the 90’s again watching a really crappy version of the matrix. This show is certainly trying hard to look cool but so hard that it just comes across as really dumb. The science behind everything here is ridiculous and I am not sure if the writing itself is aware of it. I mean the “Spyce” in the shows title appears to be a drug based on the whole “Humans only use 10% of their brains” myth and the main character seems to have a supernatural sense of sight and smell but even more ludicious, the ability to diagnose physical and mental problems by licking people. This show seems to be targeting two conflicting demographics, those who want cute girls doing cute things and those who want action. The two are obviously at odds and it doesn’t help that the action is just painfully trying too hard. This show desperately wants you to think it’s cool and just as expected comes off as rather lame instead. I am not sure about a show which glorifies drug use either as this spyce turns girls into superheroes with seemly no negative consequences. This is just a really dumb poorly written show.
Potential: 0%

Mario’s review:
Release the Spyce is pretty much what you expected, a nonsensical fun ride. This episode spends its amount of time into two subplots: cute girls having their normal everyday school life and cute girls moonlighting as spies – or more as ninja, or more as heroes in cute outfits. Some details might stretch its credulity a little (ninja frog? Hell, yeah! Licking to sense other person’s personality?), but to its credits it doesn’t take those seriously. I suppose the main character Momo embodies the first episode’s strengths and weaknesses so far. On the narrative level, her role works as she’s a qualified addition to the cast. Unlike other main helpless protagonists who usually get sucked to the case all by accident, Momo gets there all by her ability and her determination to fight crimes. Her hesitation when it comes to action, her inspiration comes from her late-police father, all work by that glance. On the negative side, she never feels like a real person to me. Her ability is nonsensical and there isn’t much subtext going on in this chick flicks. The cast fares much worse as for now they fall into archetypal roles, and the villains are clearly evil and maniac. It’s too simple and straightforward for its own good.
Potential: 40%

 

Ulysses: Jeanne d’Arc to Renkin no Kishi

Short Synopsis: A wannabe alchemist searches for a way to grant his childhood friend immortality.

Lenlo’s Review:
Ah, my first bamboozling of the season. It feels… bad. I went into this expecting something completely different than it turned out to be. Based on the description and some promo art, I was expecting some kind of historical epic during the Hundred Years’ War, maybe with some fantastical local elements ala Mahoutsukai no Yome thrown in there. Instead I get a high school harem series set in the 14th century, with a bunch of cliches that don’t belong there. I’ll be frank, I lost my interest when I saw 3 anime girl stereotypes in the same shot 1 minute in, all staring at our bland male leads empty seat. Color me disappointed and move on. There are better series in this season.
Potential: 0%

Wooper’s review:
How much longer will it be before the average Japanese animator loses all ability to draw walk cycles? If the premiere of Ulysses: Jeanne d’Arc too Long Title is anything to go by, it could happen before 2019 hits. This episode was chock-full of awkward and aborted motion, from sword fights that freeze at inappropriate times to characters that are supposed to be entering a room, but appear instead to be marching in place. The low budget appearance is just what this story deserves, as its historical setting is squandered on a cookie cutter harem setup. There’s even some fetish baiting, with the most nervous of all the same-faced girls peeing herself because a bird startles her in the middle of a dark forest. Fear not, however, as our gentlemanly lead character proclaims that he’s got a little sister (of course he does), so he’s totally used to spontaneous urination. If you want to write a series this insultingly bad, why not just set it during the modern day? A quick Google search reveals that the link between the Hundred Years’ War and alchemy is tenuous at best, so you could have just made this another high school battle harem rather than dragging Joan of Arc’s name through the mud. There’s a time skip twist just before the credits, which is the only decent part of the episode, but it’s not worth the price of entry. Do yourself a lifelong favor and never, ever watch this show.
Potential: 0%

 

Anima Yell!

Short Synopsis: An excitable high school girl attempts to start a cheerleading club.

Lenlo’s Review:
Ah, the seasonal entry into “Cute Girls doing Cute Things”. This time that thing is Cheerleading, a traditional highschool activity. Anima Yell looks competent enough. The art isn’t bad, the animation is enough that for a few shots I was actually surprised with how the well the Cheerleading worked. Anima Yell even took the slow approach of gathering the club members and not just overloading us with everything all at once. Most of all though, it was actually kinda funny. It’s not my proudest moment, but I giggled at the “Chair” joke the first 2 times it came up, I’ll admit it. Basically, if you want a show you can sit back, relax, not have to think too deeply about the philosophical meaning of and just enjoy, you could do a lot worse than Anima Yell. Yeah, it’s not my cup of tea, but I’m the kind of asshole who enjoyed Ergo Proxy, and I can say Anima Yell is at the very least, competent in every way that matters.
Potential: 30%

Wooper’s review:
This is another high energy club anime in the vein of Anime-Gataris or Comic Girls, which should tell you everything you need to know. If you like pink-haired protagonists and would cite “irreversibly cheerful” as your mood of choice, Anima Yell was made just for you. The character designs won’t win any awards for originality, but they’re moe enough to make your teeth fall out. The animation isn’t exactly top shelf, but it’s competent, even for a series that revolves around a movement-heavy sport like cheerleading. The plot point of gathering five members to start a high school club won’t set the world on fire, but it’s a good jumping-off point for some decent character work, should the show be so inclined. One thing Anima Yell does better than a lot of its contemporaries is striking a balance between earnestness and clumsiness in its main character. When both of these traits are present in one person, they typically vie for dominance, when they should be harmonizing instead. This series takes the latter approach, which makes for a pleasant watching experience. Anima Yell’s lack of ambition and familiar template will discourage a lot of fans from picking it up (myself included), but it looks to be one of the year’s better entries in this genre.
Potential: 30%

Posted on 10 October 2018 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Radiant

Short Synopsis: A young sorcerer takes on a giant monster without his teacher’s help.

Aidan’s review:
This was certainly quite different from the French manga I read and I was concerned that the Japanese animation studio decided to go anime original with the product. However it seems the creator of the original french manga(Yes, French) decided that the first 5 episodes would be a rewrite of the story. This could be due to the general consensus that I heard that Radiants first two volumes are too formulaic shounen and not very interesting. However it seems that most agree that once this story gets into its first real arc then it improves dramatically. Of course the question is, how long is that going to take and will it reach that point in a 21 episode run? I don’t think what I seen this episode is bad, as a matter of fact I would say that out of most recent efforts this show captured the spirit of golden age shounen quite well. The big problem is that everything you see here is very much an echo of shounen you have seen before. Thus your opinion on this show very much depends on your exposure to shounen anime. As someone who has seen a large share of Shounen anime I would say this show is fine and I have seen shounens that didn’t work as well as it did. The animation is certainly better than something like Black Clover as well. There is potential for this one to surprise but that’s if it can keep viewers interested long enough to pull out it’s big guns and if those guns can truly blow people away so that they forgive a slow start.
Potential: 60%

Wooper’s review:
I’ll be blunt – I didn’t enjoy a single thing about this premiere. Some people are excited for the cultural broadening of anime that Radiant represents (the source material is French), but if tired shounen copycats are the type of non-Japanese works that get selected, the net change is hardly significant. This show features a loud, spiky-haired magic user who can punch things really hard, and who must deal with discrimination based on his sorcerer status. He has a teacher who’s strict but secretly kind-hearted, and he even saves a young boy from a frightening monster in the very first episode. Is any of this sounding familiar? The series boasts strange character designs, verdant backgrounds, and European music, but these elements aren’t enough to distract from how safe and shallow the final product feels. There was only one image that interested me in these 23 minutes: a wide shot of the teacher’s airship against a moonlit sky. Apart from that, my eyes were starving for visual stimulation. My funny bone fared even worse, nearly disintegrating at the attempted physical comedy on display. For the sake of French comic authors everywhere, I hope that Seiji Kishi butchered this adaptation, so they can put all the blame on him and try again some day with a different director at the helm. If you’ve never met a shounen you didn’t love, this will be right up your alley. Otherwise, steer clear (no pun intended).
Potential: 20%

 

Goblin Slayer

Short Synopsis: A party of adventurers take on a quest to rescue some girls from goblins.

Aidan’s review:
Well that was dark, both figuratively and literally considering the full episode took place in a cave. The first ten minutes or so played a long con of showing a bunch of characters who looked to be main cast worthy and their first job of taking on goblins. What follows is the perfect example of what not to do for anyone who’s played an MMO or RPG. Like not damaging the quest giver who recommended that you wait for a higher ranked adventurer before going on the quest. Or remembering to take potions. Or not leaving behind your mage and healer while running on ahead. Or bringing a longsword to fight in a cramped cave. Or the tank swinging his sword wildly making it that the main dps couldn’t help out. So this episode mainly serves to do two things, one is showing how goblins are irredeemable assholes and two is showing how badass goblin slaying batman is. Believe or not considering how graphic this was it was toned down from the manga which was rather gratuitous with showing the rape and violence. White Fox took the more tasteful route of not directly showing rape but still making sure we knew what was happening offscreen. For a first episode it does the job of setting up the premise and the only real hiccup was White Fox replacing Goblin Slayer with a CGI model at times and thinking viewers wouldn’t notice. I hope that doesn’t become a common occurrence.
Potential: 75%

Lenlo’s Review:
Ah White Fox, we meet once again. Your 2 for 4 with me right now, so time to break the tie. So far, Goblin Slayer is preeetty good. I saw the bait and switch of the adventuring team coming a mile away, but it still worked. I found the light foreshadowing of the longsword and the cave walls/ceiling to work well. And most of all, I enjoyed how the Goblins were suitably threatening. So often anime, and fresh DnD DM’s, forget that just Goblins being weak stat wise means they have to make up for it in other areas, such as cleverness and numbers. Being underestimated. It makes me think that our lead will face some real challenges going through the series, even if I have no idea what the central plot may end up being. The fact that Goblin Slayer didn’t just cut his way through the horde either was appreciated. He used a very pragmatic approach of traps, using his resources, knowledge and the geography of the cave. As Aidan said, he is closer to a sort of Batman than a general overpowered MC. The two aspects that bugged me, that will most likely become a reoccurring thing if its being used this much in the first episode, is the CGI model of the Goblin Slayer and the rape. One of these things is less concerning than the other. I don’t think we are escaping that. But you know what, I don’t care. I am in for the season Goblin Slayer. Don’t disappoint me.
Potential: 70%

 

SSSS.GRIDMAN

Short Synopsis: A boy with amnesia has to turn into a giant robot to fight Kaiju.

Aidan’s review:
Allow me to be blunt. I have absolutely, positively no idea how to react to this one. The inspiration certainly seems to be along the lines of Tokusatsu shows like Kamen rider, in fact this does seem to be a sequel to a lesser known one. However the episode itself seems to be half school life and half giant monster fighting. What throws me off so much however is the nature of the dialogue which some have deemed realistic but I myself find rather quirky. I wish I could react to a giant monster ripping apart the town with as much nonchalance as these characters do. In fact these characters seem to react to any supernatural incident with mild disinterest. The main character has amnesia(Tired trope indeed) and both he along with everyone else treats it like he stubbed a toe. “You got amnesia? Well that’s odd but eh, you will get over it” That’s what is throwing me off throughout this episode because the characters seem to care very little about the events of the plot, causing a strange disconnect between myself and the story unfolding. Thus I cannot get invested in any of it but even then I just think this isn’t the kind of show for me. I feel this is more for fans of the original Gridman or other Tokusatsu media.
Potential: 0%

Lenlo’s Review:
If nothing else, I have to give Gridman props for trying something interesting. Not with the story, that’s some standard Super Sentai Kamen Rider fare, though I do like the monsters being carved and created. Not the characters, because amnesia is a played out trope that every anime fan is probably tired of. No, I have to give it props for its direction. In just this first episode Gridman tried a number of interesting shots, even if they failed. The single frame cuts during a conversation, as if time is passing for awhile and its just cutting to the start of each sentence. Or the long pause after the ball knocks the sandwich to the ground. I’m not sure either of them worked as intended, but I give props to Trigger for trying something new like always. As far as the actual show goes though, I am personally not interested. I grew out of Power Rangers a long time ago, and I am not familiar with the source material of Gridman enough to truly care. As Aidan points out, the characters react to everything like they have seen it a thousand times, even the giant Kaiju showing up out of nowhere. It’s the same offbeat style Trigger is known for, but here it bugs me. Still, if you like Sentai Shows and if Gridman keeps up some of these interesting directional choices, you might enjoy it.
Potential: 15%

Posted on with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Dakaretai Otoko Ichii ni Odosarete Imasu

Short Synopsis: A beloved actor loses his #1 spot to an industry newcomer, whose attraction to him complicates their relationship.

Mario’s review:
Oh boy, they go for *hardcore* borderline-porn BL. Oh boy, it’s the usual boy force-kisses the other, and of course the victim finds the predator too charming that they can’t do anything but be swept away. Damn it. I have to kick myself for watching this in public, as I don’t know how the people around me would think when the lines “I want to have sex with you” flashing repeatedly on the screen. Damn it. It would’ve been a powerful love story if they don’t rely on those uncomfortable tropes. One thing this show works quite well is that it portrays the male lead in an interesting way. He’s a mountain of personal conflicts: he hates this guy and loves him at the same time. His actions sometimes contradict with his thoughts, but they all reveal a deeper side of him. That he tries his earnest to help “his rival” with his experience makes him an interesting character to follow. The main draw of this series, however is the hot, burning hot passions from two sexy “huggable” naked boys, and for me, it’s just way too hardcore for me to fully embrace. It might be one of the better shounen ai titles, but it’s strictly for the fans of this genre.
Potential: 10%

Wooper’s review:
This would be a hard review to write if I danced around the subject, so I’ll make it short: there’s an attempted rape scene around the midway point of this episode, and it’s kind of played for laughs. An up-and-coming actor takes incriminating cell phone footage of an older co-worker, who says he’ll do “anything” for it to be deleted, and the younger man’s request is sex. The older guy’s refusal is ignored, and he has to construct a literal barricade of furniture, potted plants, and a flat screen TV to trap his attacker in the bathroom. A rowdy, vaguely flamenco-influenced guitar tune plays intermittently throughout this scene, which is in remarkably poor taste. What’s worse, the initial awkwardness this causes quickly gives way to an amicable relationship, which eventually features consensual sex. Based on the terrible message at the heart of its plot, I’m tempted to label this entire series a dumpster fire, and for many viewers it will be. But I do want to praise the internal monologue of the lead character (the victim of the aforementioned assault), whose arrogance and narcissism create an interesting lens through which we view the entertainment industry. His love for himself is equaled only by his love of his work, which is expressed in the form of both scathing criticism and smart advice. He’s a funny, worthwhile character, conceived with more purpose than a lot of the useless teenage protags that populate anime right now. Shame about the visually boring, morally repulsive show surrounding him.
Potential: 20%

 

Kishuku Gakkou no Juliet

Short Synopsis: Legitimized Highschool gang warfare in the style of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, but now with Tsundere’s.

Aidan’s review:
As far as this story is concerned this was likely the best opening episode it could have. I will even admit to being a bit of a sucker for a good confession scene. Of course this is pretty much as good as it gets as we already have a second girl her whose feelings are doomed to be unrequited along with the other girls about to come along. For this is my most hated kind of harem, the one that keeps adding characters despite the fact that the main couple has already been decided. I mean the point of a harem is having a bunch of girls go after the main and each having at least a slim chance of winning. Here every girl after this has no chance so what is the bloody point? Outside of the relationship between the two leads this show has nothing really to offer besides cliche. It’s decently watchable so far but as someone who rea don in the manga I can say that whatever charm it has wears thin quite fast. Not to mean the constant competition between the two houses just gets really annoying as they constantly repeat how much they wanna kick the crap out of each other. I say for some this could prove to be a decent show to pass the time with but otherwise there isn’t that much to it.
Potential: 20%

Lenlo’s Review:
So, as has happened all too often this season, I have no idea what to make of this one. Based on the title, it looks like Kishuku is supposed to be some kind of Romeo and Juliet story, once again revamped for high school in some fictional Not Europe country? If so I really don’t know what to make of it, because it takes the basic premise of Romeo and Juliet and then proceeds to just ignore Shakespeare and go off on its own thing. On one hand that’s refreshing, in that its not the same story over and over again. On the other, there is a reason Shakespeare is still performed today hundreds of years later. Looks like another generic “Will they, won’t they” rom-com to me. Dull.
Potential: 0%

 

Irozuku Sekai no Ashita kara

Short Synopsis: A passionless depressed witch gets sent back in time to experience life with her young Grandmother.

Mario’s review:
I’m not hard-pressed to say that Irozuku is the most gorgeous production in this season so far. It has rich background arts, expressive characters, fluid animation and it’s so goddamn striking in everything it does. The fireworks scenes are beautiful both in color and in muted black & white through Hitomi’s point of view, and the train sequence is impressive. In fact, its production values are too great that it kinda overwhelms the narrative. I like the meat of the story, a girl who loses her passion for magic, and for the colors of life, literally, but what sold me on her characters and the world so far is purely on the visual level, not the narrative. Her character is passive, not in a good way. She’s passive in a way that she seems lost and always waits for the plot brings her along. In addition, while I appreciate the way her Grandma brings her back to this world, the manner the show does it is way too contrived with a vague explanation that “it has been decided. You will understand”. I’m not too sold with the story so far, but the natural chemistry between the cast, and the rich art designs in both worlds more than make up for its more familiar story.
Potential: 70%

Lenlo’s Review:
You know, I am starting to think I was wrong about this season, that it just might have a decent set of shows. Irozuku is one of the prettiest series I have seen so far, as Mario said. The backgrounds are full, the colors pop and I was never visually bored. Narratively I am concerned, as the female lead Hitomi isn’t very compelling with how passive she is. The contrivance to start the plot, “It was decided” and “You’ll understand” bug me more than anything else though. I figure we can give it another few episodes to see how that and her relationship with her grandma works out however, as the crux of the series seems to be a metaphor for overcoming depression and finding magic and color in your world. Those kinds of things tend to be slow starters, with how dependent they are on the characters. I personally have been watching March Comes in Like a Lion recently, and while Irozuku doesn’t quite measure up narratively, it is a subject I am in the mood for. I see no reason not to stick it out for a few more episodes and see how the relationships play out.
Potential: 60%

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Mix – 11 [Try Pitching]

Good news for all you Mix fans out there: the show is likely to be two cour, as the Wikipedia page for its timeslot doesn’t have a replacement listed until October. That means three more months of baseball, romance, and mystifying Japanese puns before Hero Academia S4 kicks Mix off the air for the fall […]

Kimetsu no Yaiba – 11 [Tsuzumi Mansion]

Welcome to another episode of Kimetsu no Yaiba! This week we finally meet the rest of our leading group, find a new Demon and deal with some… odd tonal issues. Lets dive in! Starting off, Zenitsu. I have to say, whatever Yaiba is planning with him, so far I am not impressed. The man was […]

Fruits Basket (2019) – 11 [A Really Wonderful Hot Spring]

Fruits Basket gets a bit better this week, though not by a wide margin. This week is a return of Momiji, the most childish character we’ve seen so far in this show (until we learn that he’ll reach high school next year). The White Valentine approaches, and he wants to bring Tohru to the onsen […]

Sarazanmai – 10 [I Want to Connect, but I Can’t]

The body count keeps rising up in the final stretch of Sarazanmai. With this episode we get to the end of Reo and Mabu’s pair, and it’s certainly a bittersweet experience. As it turns out, we eventually learn that Mabu sacrifices his “desire” to Reo in order to physically stays behind him. So it’s Reo […]

Carole & Tuesday – 10 [River Deep, Mountain High]

“Do the gravity bounce?” Once again it’s GGK’s performance becomes my favorite of this week, and Angela’s style still is too mainstream for my taste. With the pacing of this episode I am more certain that this Brightest Mars competition is gonna take up the first half of the series. Things don’t look good for […]

Serial Experiments Lain – 7 [Society] – Throwback Thursday

Hello all and welcome to another episode of Serial Experiments Lain! Apologies for the lateness and brevity on this one, was/am feeling rather sick as this week wrapped up. Oddly enough, the addled state of mind may have helped me understand Lain better. As this week we get a lot of answers, the Knights become […]

One Punch Man S2 – 9 [The Ultimate Dilemma]

Sigh, it was nice having a free week of no OPM. No disappointment, not falling opinion of an acclaimed manga series. Just free time and no post I had to write. Now we are back though, and JC Staff has once again screwed it up. So join me as this week we talk music. For […]

Dororo – 22 [The Story of Nui]

Another week, another episode of Dororo. This time we follow up with Nui, the mother, Hyakki falls off the deep-end and Tahomaru gets one up on his brother. Lets dive in! Starting off, recently I have been skipping the production portion of these posts. 22 episodes in, you know what your getting at this point. […]

Fruits Basket (2019) – 10 [It’s Valentine’s Day Afterall]

It’s Valentine’s Day for Fruits Basket, although in this episode the actual Valentine isn’t the main focus. It’s another week of “I wish something major happens” for me. At this point, I have come to believe that follow the manga’s structure stall the pacing for me, as the show pads out its material way too […]

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