Bakuon!! (“Bike Club”)

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a manga series of Cute Girls Doing Cute Things… er, with motorbikes.

(There’s also a recently-released OVA where they visit hot springs, but 95% of the screentime is devoted to the road trip, because of course it is.)


Hane, the naive newcomer who had no interest in motorbikes before entering high school, and thus can be explained everything. It doesn’t take much to convince her : it sure would be more convenient than her bicycle to climb the huge slope to school, and the show is all about motorbikes being cool as heck. Also, she’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer. (With their parents abroad, it’s her little sister who handles the finances.)

Onsa, on the other hand, is an old hand at this ; she even chose the school deliberately because its rules allowed coming to school by motorbike. The show gives her a running gag of going off in long, rambling and passionate speeches about her passion, only for her to get quickly ignored by her friends. I’m not sure it really works, although the payoff at the end of the episode is cute.

Both of them (at Onsa’s impetus), join the school’s ill-defined Bike Club, with only the one member left before they come in. The joke is that she keeps her helmet on at all times and never talks (onscreen).

Rin is another classmate whom Hane meets at driving school ; she’s a Suzuki fangirl, and seems affluant enough to wear a bike suit.

Production Values

Okay enough. It’s clear that most of the care went to depicting the bikes as lushly as possible.

What did I think of it ?

While the central idea is cute, such a show lives and dies on the execution of its jokes. Unfortunately, there’s quite some misses here (Onsa’s whole shtick, in particular). Other could get old quickly, like having Hane’s bike being voiced by Kikuko Inoue with a very dirty mouth. (What is it with slife-of-life gag series this season being unexpectedly raunchy ?)

Still, there are enough decent jokes here to make me give it a second episode to find its feet. We’ll see how it goes from there.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2016 – Page 3

Re:ZERO -Starting Life in Another World- (Re:Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu)

(25 episodes, the first one double-sized)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a light-novel series about a loser shut-in who gets to start a new life in a fantasy world… but without any of the protagonist perks those stories usually entail. Wait, doesn’t this feel awfully familiar ?


Subaru, our shut-in protagonist, somehow went from buying groceries at night to finding himself in a med-fan world with just his tracksuit, some pocket change nobody here accepts, a cellphone without reception, a bag of chips and some instant noodles. There’s nobody around to explain to him how and why he’s been brought here (and certainly no cute and helpful girl). He doesn’t suddenly know any magic. And he’s wandered off into a dark alley where he’s immediately mugged by three toughs.

“Satella” (totally not her real name) is the girl who saves him (after a fashion). She’s really after a thief who stole her badge, but she’s got chronic tsundere hero syndrome, and thus can’t stop herself from taking the time to heal Subaru up. (She’s an half-elf with ice and healing magic, plus a catlike familiar.) And then she helps a random lost kid to find her mom. On the one hand… there’s no way she finds her badge back at this rate, right ? On the other hand, Subaru is much of the same mold, and thus insists on helping her track it down.

Felt, the thief, is a smart kid who knows that it’s better to hold sale negotiations with the backup of a half-giant with a big stick who lives in the slums. She’s going to hold a tough bargain when they finally get there.

Production Values

Wow, pretty ! I’m not so sure about the rough CG passerbys in the background, but this is otherwise gorgeously animated and pops out full of life.

What did I think of it ?

Oh, nice one. At first it indeed feels a lot like a gentler KonoSuba, with characters who are actually quite likeable and don’t feed off each other’s misery. But that’s only to lull the audience into a false sense of security ; the show is much darker (and bloodier) than the heroes’ easy-going hijinks initially let show. There’s something quite sinister going on in the background, and the swerve is handled rather well. Indeed, this is a very good use of the first episode’s double-length.

It was already quietly growing on me, but now I must keep watching to learn what the heck is going on here. Well done, show.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2016 – Page 2

Girl Meets Bear (Kuma Miko)

(12ish episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a slice-of-life manga series about the young priestess of a remote Japanese village where bears coexist with people.


Machi, our 14-year-old heroine, is a bit fed up of living in this small village in the middle of nowhere, without cell reception, barely any stores, and so on. She’s also not too fond of her position as the priestess of the local shrine to the bear god. Especially as it means interacting daily with…

Natsu, the shrine’s bear. Who can talk. (And not just to Machi ; more on that later.) He’s a bit of a father figure to her, and she’s at the age where she starts rebelling.

Yoshio, Machi’s older cousin, is a town employee. His prerogatives involves taking the kids that have turned 9 to the shrine so that they can learn the village’s secret (the tribe of friendly talking bears living there) and the folklore legends about them. Which, like all good fairytales, involve bestiality.

… Yup, the show cheerfully goes there. Machi is very embarrassed about this and quick to note that her priestess position has NOTHING to do with the “maidens offered to the bears” of the legends, so PLEASE stop picturing it. Pretty please.

Production Values

Well, it’s got the bear body language down pat, and those are some lovely pastel backgrounds for the countryside. You can’t really ask for more, eh ?

Also, that’s a lovely visual gimmick for the ED sequence.

What did I think of it ?

That’s totally the wrong (sub)title for the show ! Machi has known Natsu all her life, and the first half of the episode involves her trying (and failing) to leave him. … Or so I thought until we got to the second half introducing the legends. That’s, er, way more raunchy than I expected this cute show to be, but overall that’s a pleasant surprise. I’m all for coming-of-age stories acknowledging that sex exists, after all.

Still, this is a bit uneven, and some of the jokes in the first half relied on cultural knowledge I don’t possess. (I get the “Suica” gag, but what the heck was the “Marui” thing all about ?) Let’s hope it goes on with the more accessible (and funnier) trend of the second half from now on. I’m willing to give it a go for a while, at least.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2016 – Page 2

My Hero Academia (Boku no Hero Academia)

(13 episodes)

What’s it about ?

The latest adaptation of a Weekly Shonen Jump manga series, this time around centered about a superhero high-school.


The big idea of the setting is that from a given point, most people started being born with superpowers ; we’re now (at least) in the fifth generation, and 80% of the general population has powers. Only a minority become actual superheroes (or villains), of course, but it’s obviously the preferred career choice for kids growing up, to the point that the elite UA school, which apparently has this as its main focus, has become a dream for many.

Enter Midoriya, our pointy-haired protagonist. He’s a rare kid who seemingly doesn’t have any powers, and is thus the bullied laughingstock of his middle school. That doesn’t stop him from dreaming and applying to UA anyway, though. And he’s a complete fanboy about superheroes, and keeps comprehensive notes about all those he’s encountered. His true idol, though, is…

All Might, one of the top and most famous superheroes around. Midoriya has been obsessing about the Youtube vids of his exploits for at least a decade. When he finally does get to meet him in person, there’s something not quite right, though. (Not that our kid notices.) At the very least, he’s hiding some health issues (how long has he been operating, anyway ?).

Bakugou is a kid who’s been bullying Midoriya for years, although I don’t think we quite get to see what his powers are yet. He’s the only other person in his class who’s set his sights as high as UA, and takes the powerless dweeb aiming at it too as a personal insult. In short, he’s a complete asshole ; but at least he’s a moderately entertaining one.

The opening credits features tons of clips of various superpowered people, who will presumably be introduced properly when the story actually gets to our hero and his rival entering UA.

Production Values

Quite good ; the superheroing action looks fine, and the character designs are striking enough to get the “bigger-than-life” feel the story requires. On the other hand, I’m less fond of some scenes getting a dark filter that muddies up what’s happening for no good effect.

What did I think of it ?

Eh. This has the misfortune of coming hot on the heels of One Punch Man, which built itself off similar concepts but in more striking ways. Here, it looks like we’re going into a well-trodden school setting instead, and the generic earnest Jump protagonist is already getting on my nerves.

I’m giving it a second episode, but it really needs to pick up the pace and sell me on the actual Hero Academy before I lose my patience.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2016 – Page 2


(24 episodes)

What’s it about ?

“Original” show about a teenager being transported to a medieval-fantasy land. That’s never been done before !


Shun, our teenage high school protagonist has one passion : gems (and assorted pretty rocks). That’s all he ever thinks about. Well, that, and being a bit angry at Dad for being so busy at his vaguely futuristic lab that he forgets his own birthday. Hey, what’s that pretty gem in that case near Dad’s desk ? *WHOOSH*

Emilio is the son of the former king of the land of Endora. He learned years ago that the current king had his father killed, has been training for years to achieve his vengeance, and now he ruins it all on a half-baked assassination attempt that fails very predictably. (I’ll note that the “usurper” is surprisingly chill about all this and seems intent on keeping Emilio alive for some reason.)

Shun conveniently pops up right in front of Emilio’s cell, somehow dispatches the guards by summonning a ridiculous sword (the big gimmick of the show, it seems), and then both are off getting out of dodge.

Production Values

Ouch. At best, it looks painfully generic and uninspired. At its worst, we get nonsense like whatever the new king is wielding. Also, the “epic” score probably should be applied more delicately ; a montage of Shun doodling at school or going to the library isn’t quite the most appropriate moment for it to be blaring at full volume.

What did I think of it ?

Well, this is certainly an aggressively bland show indeed. The characters are one-dimensional, the plot is wafer-thin and an excuse for uninspired sword-fights, and every element of the show feels utterly painted-by-numbers.

I just don’t care. Next show, please !

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2016 – Page 2

Ace Attorney (Gyakuten Saiban: Sono “Shinjitsu”, Igi Ari!)

(25ish episodes ?)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of the first two Phoenix Wright – Ace Attorney videogames, featuring the trials and tribulation of a young defense attorney.


Phoenix Wright, our protagonist, is just fresh out of law school. Not everybody would start off their career with a murder trial, but he insisted because the defendant in this case is his childhood friend…

Larry Butz. Let’s be honest, he’s a complete idiot with terrible luck and even worse manners. But he claims to be completely innocent of the murder of his top-model girlfriend (who totally hadn’t just dumped him), so what else can his best friend do but try and defend him ?

Mia Fey, head of the Fey & Co Law Office, and Phoenix’s boss. She’s here to be the helpful mentor who pushes Phoenix to make the right deductions. Don’t get too attached, though, she’s only here for the tutorial case.

Because clearly this is merely an appetizer before meatier cases ; the culprit’s identity is revealed from the start, and the whole thing is resolved under twenty minutes of screentime.

Production Values

Not very good, unfortunately. The animation is bare-bones, the character designs haven’t aged that well, and there’s a lot of awkward staging. I’m a bit puzzled by the choice to use exactly the same introduction boxes as the game ; it doesn’t look very good. At least the random dynamic character insets work a bit better. And they seem to have nailed the body language (that bit with Larry sitting was genuinely funny), which is essential in a show that could easily devolve into talking heads. Decent update and expansion on the game’s score, too.

Crunchyroll have made the interesting choice of providing two different subtitle sets, with our without translating character names. On the one hand, the American localization of the games is rightfully iconic (which is why I’ve been using it above), especially considering the pains they’ve taken to translate the punny names for everyone. On the other hand, even they started to run into trouble with their attempts to relocate the setting to Los Angeles, and this is compounded in this show, with many distinctly Japanese establishing shots, to say nothing of the victim’s plainly Japanese passport and her trip to New York (exactly 14 hours of timelag away) being major plot points in the case. This simulcast can’t just subtly alter the visuals like the games did, and so a “straight translation” subtitle track makes a lot of sense, especially with the more localized one as an alternate option.

What did I think of it ?

I’m a die-hard fan of the games ; of course I’m going to watch this to the end, regardless of actual quality. Especially if it spawns sequels for the later games.

It certainly could be worse. It’s utterly faithful to the games, covering every nook and cranny of the murder trial’s argumentation and somehow managing to cram the whole first case into a single episode without feeling too rushed. It even found the time to seed some flashbacks in that won’t be actually explored until the fourth case, as well as fit in a few additional character bits here and there. It’s also nice to see more thought given to how the AA trials actually look like beyond the limited perspective of the games.

There’s no way this could be as fun as actually playing the games, and frankly it could have been a lot more polished, but it’s decent enough for my purposes.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2016 – Page 2

The Lost Village (Mayoiga)

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

An original horror/mystery series about people going to the titular village to start their life anew. Yeah, like that ever goes well…


I’m not going to run down all the characters in the show, because there’s literally a bus-full of them, and some of them are obviously one-note jokes and/or cannon fodder for whatever comes next. Basically, those are 28 people who “won” some sort of ARG and got offered a trip to the mysterious Nanaki village, which doesn’t exist on any map and has been fodder for tons of (often contradictory) urban legends.
If you add in the guide (clearly out of his depth) on loan from the company sponsoring this, the folklore college student who actually found the place (and is more than a bit creepy herself), and the bus driver who’s progressively getting angry at those arrogant youth, that’s 31 characters.

“Mitsumune” (everybody here uses aliases, leading to a nice joke where three people happen to use the same one and fight over it) is our de-facto point-of-view character ; he’s a runaway high-school kid who keeps for himself the reasons why he wants to start over. Why he seems to be nice enough on a surface level, there’s obviously quite a lot he keeps bottled in.

“Speedstar”… okay, even he can’t bother and lets his seat neighbour Mitsumune call him “Hayato” (which may or may not be his real name). While some others have decent reasons for wanting to start over (don’t invest into the FOReing currency EXchange market, kids !), he’s among those who think the whole thing is a scam, and wants to investigate it.

“Masaki” is a fragile girl who’s so adorably vulnerable (immediately attracting Mitsumune’s attention) that you can’t help but thing there’s something else going on there.

“Lion” is a taciturn hooded girl who keeps to herself and definitely won’t tell her deal to Mitsumune. She can see right through him, though.

And so on ; I presume that other characters will get the spotlight when necessary, and/or get weeded out.

They still haven’t actually gotten to the village yet by the end of the first episode, by the way.

Production Values

Quite good ; the show manages to nail its atmosphere, a mixture of foreboding and quirky characters quickly getting onto each other’s nerves. It’s also already getting some interesting dream sequences in.

What did I think of it ?

A shadow loomed over this project : Another, director Tsutomu Mizushima’s main previous attempt at a horror series. (Let’s also politely forget about Blood-C.) Those two shows worked against his strengths as a director, forcing him into a straitjacket of deadpan seriousness that he couldn’t help but make look ridiculous. Here he seems much more at ease, especially paired with an experienced writer who’s smart enough to play to his strengths.

Remember the one very good scene from Another, that hilarious daydream sequence ? This is exactly what Mizushima is channelling here, with his impeccable comedic timing and surreal tone are put to very good effect. The impressive “introductions” sequence where the whole cast are sketched out in less than four minutes is quite impressive indeed, in particular. I’m quite fond of the way the huge cast is juggled throughout, with some character beats echoing smoothly from one scene to another.

This is promising in may ways that the aforementioned two shows weren’t ; third time’s the charm ? I definitely plan on sticking with it to find out, at least.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2016 – Page 2

Ultra Super Anime Time Block (Spring 2016)

In case you don’t remember last quarter’s explanation, USATB is basically a standard-sized time-slot shared by three different (and mostly unrelated) series of 8-minute shorts. It’s a nice idea to fit into the schedule some gimmick shows that benefit from having enough room to breathe without overstaying their welcome.

So this Spring, our three shows are… Oh, wait. Rage of Bahamut – Manaria Friends, a random magic-school spin-off from the same videogame franchise that gave us a surprisingly good adventure romp show a year and a half ago, was for some reason pulled from the schedule at the last minute without any explanation ; and I have no clue what, if anything, is supposed to replace it. So we only have two USATB shows this quarter.

Kagewani is returning after a first season last Fall ; I didn’t care much for this rotoscoped horror show, but if you enjoyed it, there’s more of it.

The true star of the timeblock, though, is Space Patrol Luluco, studio Trigger’s latest offering ; it’s created, directed and written by Hiroyuki Imaishi himself (unlike the other Trigger show this season). And it’s really an excuse for him to go nuts and produce the kind of random nonsense that wouldn’t be out of place on Adult Swim.

The series follows the titular Luluco, who aspires to be a normal middle-school girl despite (1) attending school in a middle of the Alien Coexistence Zone (so everyone else there are aliens), (2) having Dad working at the Space Police, and (3) being forced into becoming an “undercover” agent by said Space Police because of reasons.

It’s unashamedly stupid, but the kind of endearing rapid-fire nonsense we’ve all come to love from Imaishi. His style works well with the limited budget here, of course. And the key point : it’s actually quite funny. It’s got tons of cute visual gags, from the Space Police Chief being on loan from a different show, to Luluco’s outrageous gun, and it’s just a joy to watch.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2016

Brotherhood – Final Fantasy XV

(5 11-minute episodes released on the web on an unknown but presumably monthly schedule)

What’s it about ?

A glorified trailer for the next Final Fantasy game ; it won’t be out until September, so in the meantime SquareEnix starts hyping it up with this prologue broadcast on their Youtube channel.


Noctis is the (adopted ?) son/heir of the Lucis kingdom. He was on a road trip to his marriage when the nearby rival Empire invaded and conquered the kingdom. Since he has no real news about his family in the capital and wouldn’t be able to do much there anyway, he decided to keep on with his road trip to check on his fiancĂ©e.

Fortunately, he’s not alone, as he’s with three friends with more street smarts than him : Ignis the serious mother hen, Gladiolus the big guy who’s always mouthing off at the latter, and Prompto the hyper, younger one. And since they’re a FF hero party, the four of them are plenty enough to handle the dozens of robotic Empire shock troups on their way (although they’d rather avoid them as much as possible to get to their destination quickly).

Production Values

The bland competence that you’re used to see studio A1-Pictures bring to the table when they’re not particularly inspired. And of course the character designs are the kind of over-designed nonsense you get in FF games these days.

I really hope that the hordes of identical robots are supposed to barely react to our heroes and politely attack them one by one, because their behaviour certainly looks laughable.

What did I think of it ?

It’s utterly inoffensive, and instantly forgettable : the platonic ideal of the skippable prelude for hardcore completists of the franchise only. It does a decent job of sketching out the main characters and their quest, but not to the point of selling me on actually buying the game. It’s also doomed by the foreknowledge that it can’t resolve anything major, as that’s presumably the game’s job. (Especially as all I’ve heard about it is that it is wholly about those dudes’ road trip.)

I may get around to eventually watching the next few instalments of this… or just completely forget about it by the time they do come out.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2016

Winter 2016 Capsules

Sushi Police has exactly one joke : an elite police task force regulating the quality and authenticity of sushi. Unfortunately, the execution is rather dismal : few of the gags land, and the animation style is an acquired taste at best. You probably shouldn’t bother seeking it out.


Old Man & Marshmallow is an office romantic-comedy about a middle manager who loves marshmallow. One of his underlings keeps teasing him about him in a way that makes it clear she’s flirting with him ; he’s oblivious. Nothing great here, but it’s paced decently, mildly funny, and rather okay overall. I may stick with it.


Oh, and I’m giving up on Assassination Classroom. The first season had huge pacing and consistency issues ; mostly, it wasn’t that funny. So this new season really had to hit it out of the park to keep my interest… It didn’t. It’s a below average episode with nothing particularly interesting happening ; it might have worked partway through the season as a breather, but something much more punchy was needed at this stage.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Winter 2016 – Page 2


I’ve given up on writing a full review for Divine Gate. This is an adaptation of a smartphone game where characters aligned with six different elements fight against each other. The show makes it darnedest to try and build up my interest into the token plot and make it look visually interesting, but I just don’t care. I just can’t summon the energy to take interest into whatever is going on here, and the characters certainly aren’t appealing enough to carry the show.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Winter 2016 – Page 3

Sequel watch !

Durarara!!x2 had a very good start for its last third. Most of it is taking stock of the story so far, as Celty desperately tries to get an explanation of what the heck is going on and WHAT ARE ALL THOSE PEOPLE DOING IN HER HOME, but superbly executed. Izaya & Shizuo also get good scenes, so I’m perfectly content with this.

Koyomimonogatari are the latest instalment of the -monogatari franchise, this time around as shorts only available on a mobile-app. (So ready your eyepatch if you want to watch it.) It adapts a bunch of short side stories, so it’s not that great a loss if you miss it. “Koyomi Stone”, the first one, is set before Bakemonogatari and fun enough, as an insight into Ararararagi’s early character development.

By the way, Snow White with the Red Hair is still as fun and engaging as before the break, it’s the one bright spot on Mondays.

I’ve Had Enough of Being a Magical Girl is basically a similar premise to Nurse Witch Komugi R, i.e. a magical girl parody, except as 3-minute shorts and actually half-way engaging. Nothing to write much home about, though.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Winter 2016 – Page 4