Spring 2014 capsules

So, first, a few worlds about Insufficient Direction (Kantoku Fuyuki Todoki), a series of Flash-based shorts adapting the autobiography of Hideaki Anno’s wife. If you think that sounds interesting, you’ll be disappointed by the final product. It’s the perfect example of a private joke taken too far. For one, there’s no actual explanation of the premise at any point in it ; I only discovered it later on when I did a bit of research to write this. For two, she’s inexplicably depicted as a toddler throughout. Since this first episode covers their marriage ceremony, that’s more than a bit disturbing. But the most damning flaw of this thing is that it doesn’t seem to have much more insight to offer than “otaku are weird and kinda creepy” ; the Director character could be just about anyone and it wouldn’t change a thing.

Don’t bother with it.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2014.


Mushishi is the same as it always was. Great mood piece, intriguing world-building, and nothing much for me to actually say about it. Well, except that this first episode is way less depressing than average.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders is a whole different kind of awesome. This is a textbook example of how to animate bigger-than-life characters. It seems to have gotten a budget upgrade too, which isn’t unwelcome. (Although really, part of the charm of the 2012 series is how they used colour and framing to compensate for the lack of animation.)

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2014 – Page 2.

Because I certainly don’t want to spend any more time than strictly necessary covering the sea of mediocrity we got this Monday.

Hero Bank, Dragon Collection and Oreca Battle are all kids’ shows bases on videogames (respectively for the 3DS, a social network, and arcades). All three of them feature an annoying redhead kid and his bland friends, fighting stuff with their collectible assets. (Hero Bank sets up some sort of permanent VR tournament, while the other two are the old “transported to another world” gimmick.)

Hero Bank is the least watchable of the three, partly because it’s a full 22-minute show, but mostly because everyone is just so annoying.

Dragon Collection has a slightly less annoying protagonist, and his initial sense of wonder at being transported to a fantasy world is decently done, but the only reason it doesn’t overstay its welcome is that it’s only 11-minute long.

Oreca Battle at least seems to have fun with its weird monster design. (Flying octopi that rain tomatoes onto kids ? WTF ?) This one actually suffers from being a bit rushed at 11-minute-long, completely losing me with a journey to a fantasy world that seems to come from nowhere. Especially as it’s way less interesting than the “monsters come alive out of this card game and run wild into our world” premise it’d been initially setting up.

So, yeah. Three show I’m thrice too old to watch, and I won’t be bothering with.

The Comic Artist and Assistants (Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to) is a different deal altogether. Again it’s a shorter format (11-minute-long), but the similarities end there. It adapts a comedy 4-panel manga, and manages to fit four sketches in its first episode. As the title lays out, it follows the hijinks of a quirky manga author, his assistant, and his editor. (More characters presumably coming, according to the OP & ED ; aside from the manga author, they’re all female.)

The problem here is that this show’s only joke is that the manga author is a pervert who sexually harasses his colleagues. And then makes puppy eyes for them to forgive him. It’s endless variations about the same theme : he wants some reference of breasts being groped, he launches a debate about how much panties should be revealed, and he buys tons of female underwear, again for “reference”. (You can guess what kind of manga he draws.)

Yeah, no thanks. The joke is already tired by the episode’s end, I can’t bear anymore of it.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2014 – Page 5.

It’s almost painful to watch the slow demise of studio Gainax. With most of their key staff having gone off to the greener pastures of Khara and Trigger, it’s now reduced to a shadow of its own glory, taking any bizarre project that might get them some direly-needed sponsorship money. Remember when they did a short magical girl show that was a glorified (and impenetrable) ad for Subaru ?

Well, Magica Wars (Mahou Shoujo Taisen) is a similar project : a series of 26 shorts starring magical girls who represent the various prefectures of Japan. Not that the premise is obvious from the first episode, which showcases the not-very-funny slapstick hijinks of an incompetent magical girl chasing small blobs.

It doesn’t even have any kind of novelty value ; it’s just boring and pointless.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2014 – Page 6.

I’m not making a full review for Marvel Disk Wars : the Avengers, but I do want to note that it’s much better than I expected. Especially since it involves a bunch of kids using the titular disks to summon Avengers and fight bad guys. The chief reason the show manages to make that premise less terrible is to spend the first episode without it, instead devoting it to pure set-up. And it does a good job of selling this as a recognizable version of the Marvel Universe, with the Avengers behaving like they should throughout. The Disks are Stark Technology Gone Wrong ™, baddies try to steal them, the Avengers presumably get stuck in them next episode. And the kids are given plausible explanations for being around, which is a relief.

Let’s put it this way : I’m open to watching a second episode, which is more than I can say for just about any of the other marketing-driven kids’ shows this season.

Also, a few words about Inugami & Nekoyama, an adaptation of a 4-panel gag manga about a dog-like girl who likes cats, and a cat-like girl who likes dogs. That’s basically the whole joke, so it’s a good thing that it’s a series of 3-minute shorts. Sure, that’s a bit of a “stop-start” paced format, but the episode packs just enough content, and I’m not sure the source material could support a full-length adaptation anyway. As it stands, it’s perfectly pleasant to watch.

No full review for Escha & Logy’s Atelier either ; I fell asleep watching it and have no wish to try it again. It’s very boring indeed, with flat characters and a complete lack of any kind of narrative tension. You’d think a JRPG adaptation would have more punch, but no.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2014 – Page 7.

Winter 2014 Capsules

Double Circle is quite a bizarre project. It spends most of its short screentime introducing its cast of quirky oddballs (that aren’t too interesting yet), until the reveal that they’re actually a sentai hero team. This is quite a gear change, to put it mildly. Apparently this series was produced by Toshiba to promote its clean-energy and environment-friendly projects ; that it’s barely visible in the final product might speak of a core problem. Anyway, it’s fairly generic and the irregular release schedule makes it pretty sure to fall off my radar by the time the next episode is out.

Pupipo! is more conventional stuff. This manga adaptation tells the story of a gloomy girl who’s the only one who can see the many ghosts surrounding her. Presumably they stick around her because she’s the only one who can interact with them ; unfortunately, they’re quite jealously demanding her attention, and she has to fend off any attempts from kids her age trying to be friends with her, lest they get attacked. This understandably puts a crimp onto her social life. This all changes one day when (1) she meets a girl too stupid and stubborn to back off like everyone else, and (2) she finds “Po”, a mysterious creature that looks like a fuzzy pink ball and is scary enough to make the ghosts start behaving a bit.

It’s a standard coming-of-age story, clearly aimed at young girls ; but it’s decently done, and quite good at developing its atmosphere. The gloomy protagonist has a striking design, as well. And it’s short enough not to overstay its welcome ; I could quite see myself sticking with it for the whole season.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2014.

Okay, I tried watching Future Card Buddyfight, but there’s only so much I can stand from a blatant cardgame advertisement. Everyone gushing about how awesome Buddyfight is ? Check. The whole world revolving around it, to the point that this cop offers a criminal a choice between surrender, and duelling him at a cardgame ? Check. School classes that include unpacking new cards at the start of the lesson ? Okay, that’s a new one for me, but whatever. Blatant token introductions for a dozen of bit characters that are obviously going to be featured later on ? Par for the course.

Sigh, I’m just not in the market for this. It actually looks quite fine, and there are some decent jokes, but I just can’t get any enthusiasm into watching this. The two annoying protagonists (good samaritan kid and his new dragon-buddypet that just can’t stop complaining about everything) just get on my nerves way too much.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2014 – Page 2.

I tried, but I just can’t gather the will to write at length about Robot Girls Z. It’s a very gimmicky show (mecha-girls patterned after mecha from vintage shows such as Mazinger Z) that falls completely flat for me. I have no nostalgia for those old series (they were before my time), and the actual machines are what I find the least interesting in that genre anyway ; crossing them with moe girls doesn’t help. And it’s not like these shorts really do anything with the premise aside from pure fanservice.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2014 – Page 4.

Strange+ is yet another of those shorts adapting a gag manga. (Not a 4-panel one, though.) It follows the wacky hijinks of a team of “detectives”, and while it’s far from subtle, it did get a few laughs out of me. It looks terrible, but that’s par for the course for this kind of thing.

I know some of you were waiting for my take on pupa, but what is there to say ? I already had an inkling of what I was in for, and anyway the first episode barely gets anywhere, what with clocking at barely four minutes long. For what it’s worth, it’s a straightforward horror series about a girl who gets transformed into a cannibalistic monster ; we don’t even get to the part where she starts eating her brother. Still, it’s good at building atmosphere, and that’s what really matters. I’ll probably keep watching to see where it goes.

Z/X Ignition is a full-length show, but it was so boring I literally fell asleep halfway through ; and I have no wish whatsoever to try rewatching it to get a better sense of the plot. From what I can gather, a bunch of dark portals appeared all over the world, spawned monsters and “destroyed civilization” ; somehow civilization seems mostly fine a few years later, with some people having somehow domesticated monsters. There’s a lot of impenetrable exposition about monster classification and so on, because of course this is adapted from a card game.

To be honest, I have no clue whatsoever which of the characters I’m supposed to be rooting for. They’re all very generic, I seem to have missed out the part where their motivations get explained. Not even a lead role for Miyuki Sawashiro (whom I’ve surprisingly heard nowhere else this season) can make me pay attention to this crap.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2014 – Page 5.

Summer 2013 capsules

Turning Girls is the latest web-thingie from Studio Trigger. Now, you may remember this studio was founded with much fanfare by the mad minds behind TTGL & Panty & Stocking w/ Garterbelt ; they also produced the wonderfully-animated Little Witch Academia one-shot for the Anime Mirai project earlier this year. But they’ve yet to produce an actual full series, and won’t until this Fall. In the meantime, all they’ve given us are shoe-string-budget shorts like Inferno Cop and now this.

Inferno Cop had some zany charm, but I quickly got tired of it. This is noticeably worse : an attempt at satire that’s not really funny, and has nothing more to say than “[female stereotype of the week] are annoying and terrible people, dur dur”. Also, it looks absolutely horrible, like something that was quickly thrown together between proper projects (which it probably was).

Don’t watch this crap. Especially when there are non-terrible takes on similar themes (such as the all-fujoshi new season of Genshiken) due out this very summer.

via [In which I review] New anime, Summer 2013.

And now for something completely different : a few words about the first instalment of Ghost in the Shell : Arise.

This is a series of four one-hour OVAs, the first of which was released on DVD/BluRay AND debuted in theaters about a week ago. The pitch is that it’s a prequel about how the Section 9 team got together, so you don’t really need to know anything about the previous movies & series in the franchise.

The good news is that it’s very good indeed. The plot for this opening chapter may be a bit too convoluted for its own good, and it certainly deserves a rewatch to make sure all the pieces fall together, but then the same could be said about many SAC episodes. And it’s certainly got a clever twist that puts everything under a new light… and makes the Major look even more awesome in retrospect. It’s also great-looking, with impressively-animated action sequences that contribute a lot to conveying the stakes.

In many respects this is a fanservice project (“so this is how the Major met Aramaki…”), but it’s well done enough not to feel too contrived. (And it refrains from having the whole of the team coincidentally investigating the same initial event.)

I should probably mention that all the roles have been recast with different voice-actors. It doesn’t jar too much ; sure, Maaya Sakamoto is easily recognizable, but she recaptures a lot of Atsuko Tanaka’s original performance (and there’s precedent for her to play a younger Major anyway). Also, Miyuki Sawashiro seems to have a lot of fun playing a Tachikoma Logicoma, which is delightful.

The next episode is due in November ; it’s going to be a long wait…

via [In which I review] New anime, Summer 2013.

I give up : I can’t muster the will of giving Gifuu Doudou!!: Kanetsugu to Keiji (“Dazzling Sengoku Period Story: Kanetsugu & Keiji”) a full review. It’s going to be hard to beat as the most mind-numbingly dull show of the season. It may be a cultural thing, but those “legendary” men spending their time monologuing in poetry about the beauty of the world, and patting each other in the back on how awesome they are, just bore me to tears. And this ain’t helped by the retro-ish artstyle that makes all those 6-feet-tall forces of nature look the same to me.

via [In which I review] New anime, Summer 2013 – Page 2.
A few words on Yami Shibai first : it’s a series of horror shorts with peculiar collage-like artstyle… and it doesn’t really work for me. Maybe because the first tale is so deliberately obtuse. (I think I get what the twist is supposed to be, but would it have killed the creators to spell it out ?) It’s not like it’s doing anything particularly original, anyway. But nice artstyle, still.

via [In which I review] New anime, Summer 2013 – Page 11.

Spring 2013 capsules

It’s Tuesday, and for some reason this means we get a deluge of shorts. (Okay, the first one actually airs on Sundays, but it took a bit to get fansubbed).

Bloodtype-kun (Kitsuekigata-kun) is built around the stereotyped personalities that are associated with the various bloodtypes. I might get more out of it if I actually was familiar with them, but it’s actually somewhat fun even for the uninitiated, in part thanks to a very strong cast who could make the phonebook entertaining. (Jun Fukuyama, Akira Ishida AND Yuuichi Nakamura ? For THIS ?)

AIURA illustrates the perils of doing a very relaxed, well-animated slice-of-life show taking a lot of time to enjoy the little things of life… because in three minutes, it doesn’t even get close to any kind of point. The characters are reasonably fun to follow, but this is completely the wrong format for this. It’s just intensely frustrating.

Sparrow Hotel is the complete opposite, packing tons of jokes in its short running time… except barely any of them are actually funny. And this looks like complete crap, with a horrible character design for its lead character, and barely deserved to be called “animated” at all.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2013 – Page 11.

I’m not going to bother doing a full review for Yuyushiki, a 4-panel gag manga adaptation following three high-school girls whose name start with “Yu…” (yes, that’s the entire premise). It’s very vaguely funny if you squint, the animation budget is more than spartan, and it’s so generic and unremarkable on every level that I just can’t muster the will to write any more about it.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2013 – Page 12.

Winter 2013 capsules

First, let’s get a couple of shorts out of the way…

My Little Sister talks like an Osakan Mom (Boku no Imouto wa “Oosaka Okan”) surprisingly isn’t incest-bait, unlike the immense majority of series with “Imouto” in the (long-winded) title. Instead, it’s terrible in a completely different way : it features horrible cheap Flash animation and revolves around a “wow, the Kansai dialect as spoken by this girl is weird and kinda nonsensical” joke that’s mostly impenetrable to Western ears and doesn’t sound that funny to start with. Apparently it’s adapted from a language guidebook, which really shows (with “helpful” translation recaps explaining the jokes slowly all the time).

Inferno Cop is a weird little short series coming from Studio Trigger, aka the people behind Gurren Lagann, Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt and Redline. Alas, despite the pedigree this is objectively mindless garbage, with no budget whatsoever. Obviously this is part of the joke, but it’s not that funny. (Even P&Sw/G at its most poop-joke-obsessed lows had more depth and looked way better than this crap.)

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2013.

Anime shorts are hard to review. In some lucky cases, they’re so terrible it’s easy to dismiss them immediately (see above ; although Inferno Cop‘s second episode had such gonzo charm that I’m starting to reconsider it). But in some case, there’s so little content it’s hard to judge how they’ll end up going.

Case in point : Encouragement of Climb (Yama no Susume). It’s about a high school girl who used to love mountain climbing but has been traumatized by a bad fall ; one of her elementary school friends tries to take her back to her old hobby… and won’t take no for an answer. It’s actually quite a promising start : it’s got some decent animation (including a slightly jarring CG-background shot at the beginning that isn’t half-bad), the plot progresses at a good clip, and it’s got more than one joke. Nothing earth-shattering, but good enough to be worth watching.

I’m more wary about Mangirl. It’s a comedy about young women setting up a new manga magazine. The problem is that it’s not really funny ; the basic joke is that they’re terrible at it, but the show features random bursts of offscreen competence so that they can be in business for more than one episode. And if you’re interested in the behind-the-scenes of manga publishing, this looks much more superficial than, say, Bakuman (which is, you know, still airing).

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2013.

Ai Mai Mi is yet another series of shorts adapting some comedy 4-panel manga. It’s notionally about a high school manga club, but really the three title characters spend most of their time or acting out terrible jokes. At least Mangirl had a plot ; this is just unfunny, horrible-looking crap. Avoid.


I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Nekomogatari (Black) somewhere, now that I’ve watched the whole of it (the four episodes aired just before the New Year, but took a bit to get translated).

For those who aren’t aware of it, this is a prequel to 2009’s Bakemonogatari, a very peculiar mix of harem romance, supernatural horror, self-indulgent dialogue and Akiyuki Shinbo being weird for the hell of it. That was a very good show indeed (if only for being a visual masterpiece), but it’s not for everybody. Nisemonogatari, its sequel last year, was basically more of the same, with even better technical quality but also even more self-indulgent.

The question with Nekomonogatari (Black), like any prequel, is whether there’s any point to watching it, considering how the events of “the Cat incident in Golden Week” have already amply been described in the main series in its “Tsubasa cat” arc. I’ve actually rewatched those four episodes to make sure, and yes indeed Nekomonogatari (Black) does cover a lot of (until now) relatively unexplored territory. It helps that this is a lean narrative (by -monogatari standards), making its point very efficiently at a pace that never feels idle. And the visuals are as striking as they’ve ever been.

This obviously whets my appetite for Kizumonogatari (the prequel people are actually looking for, describing “the Vampire incident on Spring Break” we’ve only very briefly flashbacked to until now), whenever that comes out ; and the “second season”, apparently slated for later this year.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2013 – Page 2.

Chihayafuru 2 was off to a good start, with the start of a new school year and the introduction of new club members feeling like a strong enough move forward to avoid repetition of what the first season did, and update the formula somewhat. (To say nothing of complicating the love dodecahedron a bit more.)

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2013 – Page 8.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by Senyuu, a series of shorts parodying heroic-fantasy RPG games. Hilariously mean-spirited, and served by some impressive voice work from Yuuichi Nakamura. It’s got a shoe-string budget, but that doesn’t prevent it from being lots of fun.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2013 – Page 9.

I won’t bother with a full review for Straight Title Robot Anime (Chokkyuu Hyoudai Robot Anime). Notionally it’s supposed to be the first anime series fully animated with Vocaloid-type software, but that just makes it look cheap and generic. As for the story, it’s basically three “girl” androids failing to grasp the concept of humour for 12 minutes. I don’t just mean it’s tedious and unfunny (although it certainly is) : that’s really the plot. (They’re trying to recreate human humour long after humanity has vanished.)

I wouldn’t recommand watching this crap to anyone.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2013 – Page 11.

Fall 2012 capsules

I have no clue what all the fuss about Hayate the Combat Butler! Can’t Take My Eyes Off You “not being a sequel” was about, because it’s totally the same series continuing. No reboot, just more adventures in about the same setup. I don’t know where this falls chronologically, but it’s not like Hayate ever cared much about continuity before. Anyway, it’s still a perfectly okay gag series, without the self-indulgence of the recent movie (which nearly made me lose all interest in the franchise).

I’m not sure what to make of the Lytchee Light Club shorts. It’s about a sadistic high school secret society, the joke being that they kinda suck at being sadistic. Okay so far, but can it carry 26ish episodes, however short they are ?

I’m also torn on the Wooser’s Hand-to-Mouth Life shorts. On the one hand, it’s barely mildly funny. On the other hand, I always have time for Mamoru Miyano as a “cute” animal making pompous monologues.

via [In which I review] New anime, Fall 2012 – Page 2.

Some quick other notes :

The second season of Bakuman had a great opening episode, which was immediately mitigated by the second one jumping back to the tepid and sexist romance the series occasionally features. Well, you’ll be glad to see that the third season skips right past to the sexist bits. Hopefully it’ll go away quickly, as it always does, but that’s not an auspicious start.

I refuse to give a full review for the Teekyuu shorts. It has terrible-looking Flash animation (that seems to go out of its way to make my eyes bleed), and none of the “jokes” work. Avoid with prejudice.

via [In which I review] New anime, Fall 2012 – Page 5.

I’m not going to bother with a full writeup for Aoi Sekai no Chuushin de. In theory, it’s a fantasy fighting show where the characters are based on classic console franchises (with the main factions being the kingdoms of Sega & Nintendo). In practice, the gimmick stops at some characters’ names, and I couldn’t discern any jokes related to the premise. Or any jokes period : it’s a straight fantasy fighting show that takes itself dreadfully seriously and ends up being utterly boring. It’s obvious the producers have welded the high-concept onto a completely unrelated show just to give it a selling point. If you’ve been planning to check it out for the novelty value, don’t bother.

(Also, the schedule seems to be “one episode every few months”, so you’ll probably have completely forgotten about it by the time episode #2 airs.)

via [In which I review] New anime, Fall 2012 – Page 10.

Summer 2012 capsules

Because I didn’t have anything better to do while waiting for the big premieres tomorrow, I checked out some of the OVA that surfaced over the last couple of weeks. This might have been a mistake.

Most perplexing is probably Ai Mai! Moe Can Change!. It’s an adaptation of a “moe-girl raising” game, where the key gimmick is that the player can change their clothes ad nauseam. None of this here… well, except that the girls keep changing clothes. Seriously, they rarely keep the same ones for more than a minute, thanks to a magical phone app (although its inventor later shows she can produce the the same effect with cakes !). There’s barely any plot in sight here, just sadistic barely-developed characters tormenting each other. Who the heck enjoys this kind of brainless drivel ?

Mahou Tsukai Nara Miso o Kue! (“Eat Miso if you’re a sorcerer !”) is barely any better. It’s basically a 12-minute trailer for an award-winning light novel… which is so painfully generic one wonders who thought it’d deserve any awards. The plot is a cliché-storm (down to the opening scene having a short bratty girl crashing into generic male lead’s flat), the characters have no personality beyond their archetypes, and the jokes are well-worn indeed. It’s the kind of stuff you’d expect to be parodied in Genshiken, except without any indication the writers know that. And did I mention it’s padded out with facepalm-inducing lingering candid shots of the main female characters ?

Don’t bother with either of those.

via [In which I review] New anime, Summer 2012 – Page 4.

A few words about Chitose Get You!, yet another series of shorts adapted from 4-panel manga. And well, whatever you think about its one joke (an 11-year-old girl with a crush on some random adult dude), at least it’s got some decent direction to sell it and make it somewhat watchable. Which is better than I expected.

via [In which I review] New anime, Summer 2012 – Page 7.

Spring 2012 capsules

Naruto SD – Rock Lee & His Ninja Friends was better than I expected. It’s thoroughly accessible, providing enough exposition about the setting (“teams of apprentice ninjas get various tasks to perform as part of their training”), the main character’ shtick (“Rock Lee is an apprentice ninja who can’t do any ninjutsu”) or whatever guest star happens to be passing (such as what Naruto can do). For someone like me who barely knows anything about the Naruto universe, this was very welcome.

Now, is this actually worth watching ? Let’s not get carried away. It’s mildly funny, but some of the running gags were getting tired even before the end of the second of the two skits in this episode. (Even Tenten herself is getting bored of always going “there’s no way anyone’s going to fall for Lee’s incredibly stupid plan… wait, it worked ?”) Also, the first skit relies heavily on poo jokes.

One episode was enough for me.

I was pleasantly surprised by Here Comes the Black Witch! (Kuromajo-san ga Toru!!). I’m not a big fan of anime in short formats, but this is a longer one (7 minutes), and properly paced for it. The premise is simple enough (middle-school occult fangirl invokes a demon by mistake, who’s going to teach her how to become a Witch whether she wants it or not), but it manages to get some good jokes out of it (our heroine MUST clean her room everyday… because leaving any hair or skin behind makes malicious voodoo body control possible).

This looks like a fun little gag show (and it’s not like this season promises many of these). I’m willing to give it at least a few more episodes to see whether it stays funny.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2012 – Page 5.

Some thoughts on more short series I won’t be making full reviews of :

Gakkatsu (“Homeroom”) is very bizarre indeed. The abrasive class rep organizes a debate about some inane topic (today : “what’s the name of that bump on your arm that’s equivalent to the ankle ?”), except she discards any argument she doesn’t like. It’s rapid-fire comedy building to an utterly stupid conclusion, but I’m not sure I actually find it funny. I’ll need a couple more episodes to decide.

Yurumates 3Dei has no 3D whatsoever, it’s just that there were two OVAs before this series ; fortunately, this looks like a fresh start. Unfortunately, this takes most of its three minutes to establish the premise (a condo house in the suburbs of Tokyo where former high school students go to prepare another go at college entrance exams ; there’sno privacy whatsoever and the place looks a bit run-down) and the characters don’t get much depth. I was vaguely interested in the subject matter, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be going anywhere interesting (and even Acchi Kocchi looks more satisfying as far as 4-panel gag manga adaptations go).

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2012 – Page 6.

Sequel watch !

As it turns out, I won’t be making a full review of Saki: Achiga-hen – Episode of Side-A. It’s more of the same from the original : cute girls with little personality playing mahjong as though it was calvinball. It makes a stab at building drama around the formation of an underdog club, but it falls flat due to the dullness of the writing. And that’s when it doesn’t just go for utter stupidity (actual dialogue : “wait, you’ve been cleaning this unused club room alone for two years on the vague hope we’d come back ?”). Also, given Saki‘s sluggish pace, I really doubt these people can get to the national level within 12 episodes.

Fate / Zero is back after three months’ break, and jumps straight back to where it left. Frankly, there’s no point in starting watching it now, you’ll want the 13 episodes of setup to have a hope in figuring out what’s going on.

Phi Brain S2 didn’t even take a week’s break, but it does go out of its way to reintroduce the supporting cast, the premise and the first season’s relevant events so that it can be a good jumping on point. Since the evil POG organization has been comprehensively dismantled by now, we’re getting a new set of villains to challenge the cast with more stupidly dangerous puzzles. Since they’re already more personality and charisma (hello, Hiroshi Kamiya and Tomokazu Sugita !) than the POG, I’m not complaining. This looks as fun as ever, so I’m in for the ride.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2012 – Page 7.

Okay, I’ll be using my “no reviews of sequels” escape clause and skip writing a full review of Eureka Seven Ao. Not because I was lost or anything (I didn’t see the original, but that’s no obstacle to understanding the gist of the plot here), but because the first episode bored me to sleep. Neither the flat characters, nor the rather generic events happening to them gave me any reason to care. Sure, it looks good, but I just found it very dull, and thus can’t summon any energy to cover it in any more detail.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2012 – Page 10.

Winter 2012 capsules

Some quick notes :

Amagami SS Plus basically resumes where it left off : each of the 6 main girls gets 2 more episodes set after their original arcs. We start off with Ayatsuji (the verbally-abusive class president). Frankly, at first it’s more than a bit self-indulgent (a perverted bath scene that turns out to be the MC’s erotic dream ? Seriously ?), but it does pick up after that, and the new plot is actually a lot of fun. Got me worried for a while, though.

I’d gotten the impression that Nisemonogatari would star the Araragi sisters, but that’s only in the loosest sense of the term ; this is really a straight sequel to Bakemonogatari, with new arcs focusing on said sisters. Well, “focusing” may be too strong a word ; the arc is titled after Karen, and she doesn’t even show up this episode (while Tsukihi gets less than 5 minutes). The bulk of the episode is devoted to an extended prologue that I fail to see what it’s got to do with anything, and a long talk between Araragi and Mayoi that often makes me uncomfortable whenever he’s making a joking pass at molesting her.

Don’t get me wrong : the direction is still as impressive as ever, and the dialogue is on fire ; but this isn’t quite gelling together yet. (But then, I’ve never been that impressed by Bakemonogatari ; it’s good, but there are huge chunks that leave me cold.)

And maybe I should say a few words about Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki, a series of 3-minute shorts where a round cat gets adopted by a family. I’m getting the impression those shorts aren’t for me, because there’s barely any meat there ; although this one gets point for being faster-paced than most and managing to get in quite a few jokes. But that’s a few chuckles at best, and I’m not going to bother with any more of it.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2012 – Page 4.

Fall 2011 capsules

Just watched the first Chibi Devi! episode, although I don’t feel like making a full review. It’s yet another flash-animated 5-minute web-thingie. The premise : a bullied, lonely high-school girl suddenly gets a baby-devil dropped on her. Basically, Beelzebub without the delinquent angle… Frankly, there’s not much of interest there. The protagonist is boring, the jokes aren’t original (or funny), and it barely gets anywhere.

As skippable as any the recent similar stuff.

via [In which I review] New anime, Fall 2011 – Page 9.