Blood Blockade Battlefront (Kekkai Sensen)

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a shonen manga series by the author of Trigun.


Leonard, our protagonist, has the most boring voice ever ; I’m pretty sure his narration put me to sleep at least once. Anyway, he’s come to New York City Jerusalem’s Lot, the City of Miracles, where half the population are aliens because of something weird that happened a few years ago. (By now, everybody’s gotten used to it.) He wants to make a living as a cub reporter, but that’s not really working out.

He stumbles into the secret organization Libra, who briefly confuse him with their latest recruit. They are :
– Mr Klaus, the guy in charge, who looks half-gorilla and may well be. Cool dude, though, and impressive in a fight.
– Zap, an abrasive asshole who of course gets partnered with Leo for half the episode. He uses a smaller version of Mr Klaus’s blood weapons.
– Chain, our token woman, who seems to have super-agility powers that allow her to exit the scene quickly and have nearly no screentime whatsoever.
They’re basically an underground vigilante force working against the likes of…

Femt, a cackling madman who looks more like an opportunity for Akira Ishida to chew scenery than somewhat with a coherent agenda. He takes over the airwaves and warns the city that he’s planted a “gate” that’s about to wreak havoc ; those gates are what made JL so weird in the first place, so that sounds bad.

Fortunately, a previous encounter with a gate (I’m not sure if it’s the big original one or a smaller, later one) has embued Leo with super-sight powers, allowing him to find the real gate (as opposed to the decoy planted by Femt that everybody was running after).

There’s a framing sequence set six months later with Leo’s sister reading a letter narrating all this… Which makes no sense whatsoever since the aforementioned event made her blind. WTF ?

Production Values

This is a show that puts a lot of work into making this altered version of NYC feel real and lived-in, with all the weird aliens looking completely at home. I’m less enthused by the color design, which is drowning in greys and browns until the super-powered action brings in flashes of bright colours ; I can see what the art directors were going for, but that makes most of the show look rather drab.

Overall Impression

Why the heck can’t I enjoy this more ?

On paper, I should love it. It’s got a great concept for a setting, colourful action, some decent comedic timing, and it even tries to do something clever with non-linear storytelling.

But there’s something that just doesn’t quite work. Maybe I’m just a bit tired, but the plotting felt like an impenetrable mess. (I had to watch it twice to get a better sense of what was going on, and Femt’s plan still makes no sense whatsoever.)

I’m giving it another episode to turn me around, but it had better shape up quickly.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015 – Page 2.


(13 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a smartphone rhythm videogame (with some raising sim elements).


Cyan, our highschool protagonist, spends the first five minutes of the show thinking she’s in a K-ON! clone : so shy she agonizes for ages over joining the light-music club, and moping over her guitar every evening that she couldn’t find her nerve. Sorry, girl, that’s the wrong show : so witness your phone suddenly crapping out and suddenly transporting you into a psychedelic digital world. As a gothic lolita catgirl, of course.

She lands in the middle of a concert by super-star band Trichronika, who were completely rocking it out until some monster showed up and shifted them to a parallel combat world. Apparently that’s a thing that often happens ; at least bystanders are safe, since only people with musical ability are affected… How, wait, Cyan was also standing there, right ?

… And that’s a good thing, as Trichronika were completely overpowered and she totally saved their bacon.

Amazingly, Cyan is then recruited not by Trichronika (who are grateful), but by the far less successful band Plasmagica, who nabbed her first after the battle. They’ve got a bunny girl, a dog girl and a sheep girl. Their manager is an egg.

So Cyan’s lost in bizarre world she has no clue about… but hey, she’s in a band now ! Score !

(There’s also a stinger another rival band showing up, and another with a mastermind plotting evilly and cryptically.)

Production Values

It should be pointed out that for the battle sequences, the musician characters are shrunk in size and rendered in CG ; it looks all the more weird as they have no mouths. They return to more humanoid designs for the more mundane scenes… well, aside from the egg with a moustache.

Overall Impression

What is this I don’t even…

Well, I have to give it to this show : it fooled me completely over what genre it was going to be, and it’s a well-executed swerve. It’s also bursting at the seams with weird ideas and designs. That Cyan’s character arc doesn’t get lost in the shuffle is a near miracle.

… But there’s only so far energy and sheer weirdness can carry it ; I fear it’s going to collapse into a unholy mess very quickly. I’m pretty sure I won’t stick with it, but I suppose I’ll at least give it a second episode just to be sure. It’s at least earned that.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015 – Page 2.

The Heroic Legend of Arslan (Arslan Senki)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a series of fantasy novels by the author of Legend of the Galactic Heroes. They already got adapted into a couple of anime movies and a short OVA series in the early 90s ; this revival is inspired by the recent new manga adaptation illustrated by no less than Hiromu Arakawa (of Fullmetal Alchemist & Silver Spoon fame).


Arslan, our title character, enters the series as the 11-year-old Crown Prince of the kingdom of Pars. As such, he’s lived a very sheltered life. He’s a bit of a wimp, but comes of as a kind person who actively wants to get out of the warm cocoon sewn by the many people trying to protect him so that he can learn new perspectives. that’s quite admirable, and the people seem to love him all the more for it.

King Andragoras, his father, is beloved for a completely different reason : he seems to always be off to another battle to protect the kingdom and its allies, and he manages to win some impressive victories with very few casualties on his side. Thanks to him, Pars is very prosperous, and its capital quite safe.

Queen Tahamine, despite living in the palace full-time, seems to have even less time than her husband for Arslan. Mind you, she’s also very cold towards Andragoras himself ; something tells me he’s been sleeping on the (jewelry-incrusted) couch for a while.

What clearly becomes apparent is that Pars’s prosperity wasn’t built merely on its king’s pure awesomeness ; it’s also because they enslave whoever they beat on the battlefield. Arslan doesn’t see much of a problem with this : submitting to slavery still gets you a better meal everyday than in whatever hellhole country the slaves came from. But his viewpoint his challenged by the attitude of the latest captives, Lusitanians, whose faith in a staunch anti-slavery religion brings them in direct opposition to the Pars system. They’d rather die than submit.

Half the episode is spent on a massive chase scene, as an unnamed Lusitanian kid escapes captivity by taking Arslan hostage. Who doesn’t actually mind that much, and saves his captor a couple of times (and even goes out of his way to allow him to escape). Again, it’s all an opportunity to learn different viewpoints, however dangerous that may be.

The episode closes on Arslan musing that he still has a lot of time to learn and grow into the role of the future king, what with his father probably keeping on being an awesome king for a few more decades… Hahahaha, no way. Cut to a mere few years later…

Production Values

This is an epic production, and it almost looks like so. Certainly it’s got a good attention to detail in the world-building. It’s just a shame that the CG armies look so lifeless and awkward…

It does have the cool LoGH gimmick of putting up an introductory caption whenever a major character first shows up in a given episode, which is well-appreciated given the size of the cast and the number of so far interchangeable captains in the Pars army.

Overall Impression

This episode had one job : selling me on Arslan as a protagonist I want to follow, as epic stuff happens around him (and it takes him some time to really shape up enough to actively participate). That’s a success : he’s just such a nice guy that you can’t help cheer for him. He’s not perfect, and he’s certainly got his cultural blinders on, but he’s willing to improve, and that makes up for a lot.

This is far from my favourite genre, but I’m willing to give it a go. Let’s see what it’s got in store.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015 – Page 2.

Ultimate Otaku Teacher (Denpa Kyoushi)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a comedy manga series.


Junichiro, our protagonist, used to be a teenage prodigy ; submitting impressive research papers before even leaving high school, and apparently figuring out how to build a teleporter (although actually making it from his blueprints won’t be possible for another century). The problem is that he’s now completely bored with science (he’s already done anything he ever wanted to in that field), and has devolved into a NEET focus on his one true passion : anime, and the popular culture around it.

Suzune, his younger sister, won’t settle with his wasting his life and wants him to get off his ass and get a job. Look, she’s found him a part-time teaching job at his former high school, where he still has enough of an aura for them not ask too many questions about the whole year he spent as a NEET. He just has to put on a labcoat so as to look vaguely teacher-like. If he doesn’t go, he’ll have a taster of her bat.

Minako is our first problem student of the week. Well, only a problem as far as she’s obviously bullied by her former kogal friends, who aren’t taking lightly her breaking away from them. Especially as she’s turning a lew leaf by… training to become an anime voice-actress, which they deem childish. (Junichiro has the opposite view : the field is so competitive that she has a snowball’s chance in hell of making it. That lands him her fist in his face.)

There’s a girl observing his humiliation of the bullies from the darkness of an unlit car. She looks more silly than ominous. But then, this is a very silly show.

Production Values

Okay enough for a gag show. Not too much fanservice on display, actually.

Overall Impression

Hum. I’ve always said that what really counts for a comedy is the ability to make me laugh. This show has its moments, but a good chunk of it I just found mildly irritating. Part of the blame resides on Junichiro himself, who’s far from compelling enough to get my sympathy. (Excuse me as I have little time for his ennui.)

Obviously the shadow of GTO looms large on this, and it’s unfair to compare it to a show that doesn’t even pretend to have the same kind of edge. Still, I’d have much more time for this if the jokes landed more often.

Against my better judgement, I’m giving it a second episode. But it better find its feet quickly.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015 – Page 2.

Magical Lyrical Nanoha ViVid

As it turns out, I won’t be doing a full review of Magical Lyrical Nanoha ViVid ; it relies way too much on prior knowledge of what happened in StrikerS (the third anime season in the franchise). Gods know what a newcomer would make of our kid heroine’s Vivio ability to transform into an adult body, or of the Numbers in general. Or the whole “your majesty” thing. Quite frankly, I’m tempted to go and rewatch StrikerS myself. (After all, it’s a perfectly okay show only let down by being a sequel to the notably superior A’s second season.)

So, let’s take the point of view of someone who’s watched all three prior anime seasons, but hasn’t bothered reading the ViVid spin-off/follow-up manga. Is this worth watching ?

The good news is that it’s surprisingly relatively light on loli fanservice. Oh, it’s there ; we get a few gratuitous shots of Vivio’s underwear, and a lingering transformation sequence that takes the time of having her every garment explode. But I was expecting much, much worse from this manga’s reputation. As it is, it’s a bit of an annoying distraction but still tolerable. First season level, basically.

The show itself manages to be just entertaining enough for me to keep watching. Vivid is cute, and her interactions with her two moms is heartwarming. (Lol on the writers still being coy about the Nanoha/Fate relationship, but then the series is from the point of view of a 4th-grader.) It even makes a game attempt at giving the Numbers distinct personalities, helped a bit by half of them being in jail at this point. (But I hope not in Jail, that would just be gross.)

What really makes the show interesting to me, though, is reading between the lines of Vivio’s narration and dialogue, in the light of the context provided by StrikerS. That gives a completely different dimension to Fate’s freaking out over Vivio’s adult form, for example. The constant tight rope act of doublethink between Vivio’s innocence and the viewer’s foreknowledge is quite stimulating indeed.

There’s not much of a plot yet, aside from a crazy girl randomly assaulting people as a background thread. But that’s good enough as a starting thread, and leaves plenty of room to reintroduce the rather complex premise and the tons of characters ; which is what this opening episode really needed to do. (StrikerS was 8 years ago, after all.)

So far, so good.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015.

Plastic Memories

(12ish episodes ?)

What’s it about ?

This is a rarity this season : a show that isn’t an adaptation or a spin-off of anything. Is that even allowed ?

Anyway, it’s S-F exploring the impact of human androids on society.


Tsukasa, our protagonist, somehow landed a job at the Terminal Service department of an android production company without having any clue of what they do there. He’s heard of the impressively human-like “Giftia”, but never actually seen one ; and he certainly didn’t notice they were three of them in the office.

Ms Kazuki, the sub-manager (whom the actual manager swiftly pawned the newb to) explains : Giftia have a life expectancy of a bit more than 9 years, after which their memories and personality start breaking down, and Bad Things happen. The role of the Terminal Service is to make rounds of all the owners as the time limit nears, trying to persuade them to relinquish the Giftia back to the company. (A later scene shows that they can get either a partial refund, a discount on a new Giftia, or even the same Giftia back, but with a new OS and a blank mental slate.)

Michiru is the co-worker who’s been tasked with his on-the-job training. It’s a bit awkward at first, especially as she’s barely been a year here and is younger than him. Anyway, it’s their partner Giftia (in her case, the kid-looking Zack) who does all the negotiating job ; the humans are there to supervise.

Isla is the Giftia assigned as Tsukasa’s partner, as the only spare one. (And even then, Ms Kazuki was reluctant and trying to keep her off active duty.) She’s got years of experience and a reputation of being very good at it… which makes it all the funnier when her attempts this episode turn out to be entirely inept. Repeatedly. (My suspicions are that either she’s starting to break down, or, more probably, that she’s just been wiped clean.)

We get to see a few Giftia owners this episode ; not all are accepting of the Terminal Service showing up. Which is understandable, given several of them seem to be using the androids as substitute children/grand-children… or lovers, as implied about the dude who made a runner with his.

Production Values

Good enough. And I commend the director for going out of his way to sell the jokes ; there’s some great comedic timing here thanks to some well-executed shot-to-shot transitions.

Overall Impression

There’s always at least one show each season that comes from nowhere and takes me completely by surprise ; the one that makes this entire project worthwhile just by existing. This amazingly hilarious S-F comedy often had me in stitches, and the premise feels strong enough to be developed over a full series.

Clearly, this is this season’s hidden gem. Even the terrible stinger joke can’t ruin it for me.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015.

Gunslinger Stratos – the Animation

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of an… arcade third-person-shooter videogame ? Admittedly, based on a idea written on a napkin by Gen Urobuchi and developed by his pals at Nitroplus, so there’s at least an actual high-concept to adapt.


Tohru, our teenage main character, is the archetype of the “don’t rock the boat” philosophy. He knows this futuristic Japan is even more rigged towards the powerful than the current-day, and loves to hammer the nail that sticks out ; so he purposely avoids being at the top of the class so as not to stick out.

Kyouka, his classmate and obvious love-interest, has the opposite viewpoint, and no qualms about excelling. But then, she comes from a powerful family. Anyway, she’s acting very sweet in her attempts to woo him (foiling his attempts to avoid the most popular girl in class), and much more forceful against whoever gets in her path.

Kyouma, her brother, is top among them. How dare this low-class, orphan scum dally with his precious sister ? (Nevermind that she’s the one actually coming onto Tohru.) He’s also pissed off that the guy purposely lost to him in gym class. (Which involves paint-guns and energy swords, because 3PS.) He’s accompanied by a groupie who alternates between supporting him blindly and realizing that hey, wouldn’t it be better for Kyouka to be out of the way ?

By the way, the teacher (what are you wearing, m’am ?) has totally noticed what Tohru is doing. She’s clearly got an agenda, here.

The plot kicks off when Tohru witnesses a computer mirage of crows attacking his little sister (something he’s also been dreaming of)… despite him not having a sister ! The chase scenes leads to Tohru and a following Kyouka to fall into a whole underground city neither of them had a clue was there.

Here, some people are having bloody and spectacular gunfight/parkour battles (which I presume is the meat of the game). Our heroes are stuck in the crossfire with only their harmless PE guns and blades, as well the one gun from a nearby corpse (which thus can’t have been that effective)… Yup, they’re screwed.

… Or they would be, if the guy closing in on them didn’t have an obvious reason to keep them alive. (At least, I assume so ; the cliffhanger ending is WTF-worthy on its own.)

Production Values

Gorgeous. The action sequences are well-animated and a lot of fun, and the characters know how to act even when the focus isn’t on them.

Overall Impression

Well, that was fun. This is the first show this season to have a well-designed killer cliffhanger that makes me actively want to know what the heck happens next, and enough going on in the background to keep me awake even when Tohru’s narration is droning on exposition. It helps that Kyouka’s shtick is quite funny indeed. Actually, I kinda like all the characters in this.

I enjoyed this quite a lot. It’s on a good track to keep me onboard.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015.

Seraph of the End (Owari no Seraph)

(12 episodes, + the second half this Fall)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a post-apocalyptic manga series featuring vampires as the villains. Which actually doesn’t happen that often these days, so it’s quite refreshing.


For reasons that are left vague on purpose, a good chunk of humanity suddenly died one day. The vampires claim it’s a virus unleashed by humanity themselves ; allow me to take that with a grain of salt. Anyway, children under 13 were immune, so the vampires came in and took in as many kids as they could. Not out of charity, of course ; they’re cattle.

The series follows a group of orphans that were in the same orphanage and considered themselves family, and have been captive for four years ; the oldest are now 12. I’m not even bothering to remember all those names, as this is clearly the kind of series where they’re doomed to nearly all be killed horribly.

Yuichiro, our protagonist, is one of the oldest, and the lone wolf of the group ; he joined last, and has some sort of horrible backstory (why the heck would his mother call him a monster ?). His pathetic attempts to lash out against the vampires are borderline suicidal, and he’s only still alive thanks to…

Mikaela, the other oldest, who’s decided that voluntary offering himself to some noble vampire was the best way to protect his siblings and keep them decently fed. And he was merely buying his time ; today he’s stolen a gun and a map that can lead them outside. They’re all escaping tonight.

Of course it’s a trap, laid by said noble, Lord Ferid. Dude likes to toy with his food, it seems. On the other hand, he’s slightly too cocky ; Mikaela sacrificing himself allows just barely Yuichiro to take him out… but only after he’s killed everyone else. Yuichiro can only escape alone, in an effort to make his family’s death mean something.

Some (human) dude catches him just outside the vampire city, and tells Yuichiro he’s going to make him the ultimate anti-vampire weapon. Sure, bring it on.

Cut to four years later, with our hero all grown up and in nicer clothes, and… why the heck does the next-episode preview show some sort of high-school-like setting ? Please tell me that’s a joke. Or a pre-apocalypse flashback for our new character.

Production Values

Quite nice. Hiroyuki Sawano’s bombastic score is perfectly at home here, especially as he’s adapting himself to better fit the mood.

Overall Impression

Well, subtle this ain’t ; but it’s remarkably effective at setting up the protagonist’s backstory, however predictable the end result may be. That helps smooth over Yuichiro being a bit annoying in those early stages, but only up to a point ; a lot depends on what happens next and how it builds a proper supporting cast.

Still, it bought itself a second episode ; let’s see where it goes from here.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015.

Re-Kan (“Sixth Sense”)

(12ish episodes ?)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a 4-panel comedy manga series about a girl who can see and interact with ghosts.


Amami, our main character, has always been able to interact with ghosts, and knows all the one haunting the neighbourhood. (She can also talk with cats.) They can be a bit annoying at times, always demanding her attention, but they’re mostly benign and sometimes even helpful. Amami is genial enough to have gotten used to it.

Inoue, one of her new highschool classmates, is our actual point-of-view character for this episode. She claims not to be believe in ghosts, and is thus quite irritated by Amami’s behaviour… but the truth is that she’s got a weak sixth sense and can thus sometimes see the ghosts a bit if she squints. That doesn’t sit well with her, and she spends most of the episode in denial.

Most of Amami’s other classmates have gotten used to her quirks rather quickly (although some of her stories still give them cold sweat once in a while).

Production Values

From some of the people that gave us Survival Game Club ! It’s decently animated, although the computer-painted backgrounds give it a weirdly empty and almost SHAFT-lite atmosphere. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

The fanservice levels are almost surprisingly low.

Overall Impression

Inoue, shut up. Seriously, the show would be far more enjoyable without your outbursts ; the quirky ghosts, their interactions with Amami, and your classmates’ reactions are fun enough not to need you shouting all the time. Just calm down, please ? It’s obvious you’re in denial over your own abilities, and the sooner you accept it the better.

The next-episode preview promises that next week will focus on another classmate besides Inoue, and I breathe in relief ; I wouldn’t bother with a second episode otherwise. As it is, it’s the show’s last chance to convince me to keep watching.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015.

Food Wars (Shokugeki no Souma)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a shonen manga series proving that food porn can go to far.


Souma, our protagonist, is the son of the owner of a small eatery. While not as good as his father, he can still produce food delicious enough to make customers orgasm on the spot. (This is not an euphemism.) He also inherited a competitive streak, as well as the willingness to experiment with some very dubious new recipes. Well, you learn from your mistakes and all that.

Their restaurant is under attack from a group of very conspicuous real estate sharks, who want to get their hands on this price spot. This is the kind of show where they can seriously barge in and demand our kid hero to prepare a meal, just after making sure to spoil all the meat in stock. Cue a mwahahah or two. Souma of course takes them up on their challenge, and manages to still produce something incredibly delicious. Now get lost, and never come back !

This is the moment Dad chooses to come back from a trip and announce he’s closing shop anyway, and sending Souma off to a cooking high school for training. But not any cooking high school : an elite one where barely 10% of the students make it to graduation.

The OP & ED sequences show off a bunch of Souma’s future schoolmates… wait, why does one of the dudes wield a chainsaw ?

Production Values

The big selling point here is the intricate fantasy sequences whenever people eat food. They’re borderline pornographic ; you know what you’re in for when you’re hit barely a few minutes in by someone eating a terrible squid-peanut butter combination, and it turning into tentacle rape. (And of course there’s a brick joke with the girl actually enjoying the experience…)

You won’t be surprised by the fact that most of the fantasy screentime (or even the “real” food orgasms) is devoted to women. Because of course.

Overall Impression


I’ll give it to this show : it doesn’t commit halfway ; it takes the “food porn” moniker and goes to town with it. It’s got decent comedic timing, and the score knows how to emphasize the (well-animated) action.

But dear gods, that’s some creepily obnoxious fanservice indeed. Well-executed, but there’s no way I can recommend watching this, unless you’re really into that kind of thing. I knew from a few minutes in that I’m not, and won’t be bothering with another episode. One was hard enough to watch.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015.