Concrete Revolutio ~A Superhuman Fantasy~ (Choujin Gensou)

(13 episodes)

What’s it about ?

It’s like half a dozen superhero shows mixed together into a single one.


Kikko, our heroine, is a teenage waitress who’s suddenly told a spy drama is about to unfold in her restaurant, and is thus asked to stop this scientist for leaking state secrets to this very shady-looking guy in a suit that does scream “spy”. Actually, he’s an alien spy, and the exchange is about something else entirely. But nevermind ! We also learn that Kikko is a magical girl, complete with cute talking mascot hidden in her cleavage. Her powers are a massive help in the ensuing chase scene.

Jiro, the guy with the bizarre haircut who asked for her help to bust the spy, is from a secret agency to monitor and protect superheroes. Cue sudden flashforwards to five years later where he’s on the run and she’s the one leading an agency taskforce to chase him down. Er, sure, whatever.

The actual point of the whole spy-busting thing, besides preventing whatever the aliens’ nefarious plan is, was to draw out Grosse Augen, a super-famous sentai-style superhero who’s been helping humanity out for a while. However, the agency deems him to dangerous to exist, so he has to go. (Much to Kikko’s dismay, as she’s a fan.)

Presumably a side benefit was to bring Kikko into the fold, as her wildly versatile magical girl powers should be a tremendous help.

Production Values

Gorgeous ! This looks really neat, with wildly unnaturalistic colour work that makes everything pop. There’s also tons of creativity around Kikko’s powers, such as the time she manifested a giant arrow to point out where the giant-size Gross Augen & alien spy were fighting, as normal human Jiro couldn’t see them while they were out of phase. And then he transformed his car into a giant mecha and threw the arrow at the spy.

Overall Impression

If the above summaries sounded wildly disjointed and completely insane, well, I’m trying to convey what watching the show is like. It’s a crazy mashup of at least four different superhero shows (the alien spy ring, Kikko’s magical girl thing, Grosse Augen’s sentai trappings, and the paranoid dystopia flashforwards), all gleefully colliding together into utter chaos.

It’s more than a bit disorientating, and I can understand being irritated by this scattershot approach. But it’s so gloriously bonkers that I can’t help getting caught into its kitchen-sink universe, trying to find a method to the madness.

I’m hooked.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2015 – Page 2

Comet Lucifer

What’s it about ?

Light-hearted mecha show.


Sogo, our teenage protagonist, has a hobby of looking for rare crystals, mostly in that giant gaping hole in the middle of the city. Mostly to prove a point : supposedly his (missing ? late ?) mother had seen something there, and he wants to confirm it. He’s also driving around a lot in his flying bike, pushing its speed up to widely unsafe levels.

Kaon, his female friend, doesn’t help when she shanghais him into helping her run away from her persistent (and unwanted) fiancĂ©. Cue wild car chase. Then end up falling into the hole, and then even deeper into unexplored caves.

There they find the giant red crystal Sogo had been looking for ; it reacts to a smaller one he’d picked up earlier on, and explodes into… freeing a girl that was encased inside ? Well, she’s unconscious and can’t answer their questions yet.

There are a bunch of serious people in military-like mechas who were also looking for the crystal ; their excavations were partly responsible for digging it out. They soon burst in, and they don’t look like they want witnesses. Uh oh.

But never fear : another mecha jumps out of nowhere, as though summoned by the crystal, to protect our heroes ! Who wonder wtf is going on.

Production Values

Very nice ; it’s a brightly coloured show, and the action setpieces are well-animated.

Overall Impression

That was fun ! It’s got a kinda kids’ adventure vibe that’s a hoot to watch, and endearing characters who bounce off well each other. I’m not sure where this is going, but if it keep up the energy, that should be good enough for me.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2015 – Page 2

Punch Line

(11 episodes)

What’s it about ?

“Once he sees underwear, humanity is destroyed!?” is the tagline for this project. It’s as good a description as any of the plot of a series that also features sentai super-heroes, ghosts, and time-travel. And panties, of course.


Yuuta, our protagonist, is in a bit of a pickle. He had a near-death experience in the course of his bus being taken hostage, and unfortunately something has taken over his body. So he’s stuck as a ghost, looking for a way to retake his body.

Chiranosuke is a friendly neighbouring cat-ghost who gives him a lengthy explanation about this, and gives him some pointers about a book that could help him. (Nope, I don’t trust him either.) Also, he informs Yuuta that while seeing underwear and getting excited will super-power him, doing it twice in quick succession will doom humanity immediately. Like, meteor falls and everyone dies. Fortunately, as a ghost Yuuta can tell causality to take a hike, and go back in time to retry a better path as many times as he needs. Since that involves navigating through an apartment complex with a number of female tenants, that’s going to take more than a few tries.

Mikatan is one of his neighbours. He’s been introduced to her a few months ago as just a semi-famous singer, but secretly she’s Strange Juice (sic), defender of justice ! And she doesn’t do that bad a job of it in that bus hostage crisis the series opens with.

Meika, who seems to run the building, also helps her out as mission control. Which might explain why Mikatan’s got a secret entrance to an underground base in her flat.

There’s also Lovera, the dodgy medium (who by a suspect coincidence was also on that bus), and Ito, the NEET.

And then there’s this cocky dude who seems to have orchestrated the bus hostage-taking, and is already at it again that night. I wonder how he fits into all this.

Production Values

WOW. Studio MAPPA have become known for drowning their latest projects in budget and producing impressive animation, but they’ve outdone themselves here. The bus hostage crisis is by far the most gorgeous and well-paced action sequence of the season so far. And then there’s the camera loving to move around in any shot to convey Yuuta’s disorientation, an effect that can’t be cheap to animate.

Also, kick-ass soundtrack. Apparently that’s from the most successful music producer in Japan.

Of course, there’s no going around the fact that much underwear is on display here. At least it’s varied and never boring.

Overall Impression

Well, that was weird. But it’s utterly manic in a way that agrees with my sensibilities : it knows how to use each and every second of screentime to display something awesome, funny, or both. And it’s got great comedic timing. (Best joke of the episode : Chiranosuke turning to his laptop to complete his exposition, and having to shut down a window with cat porn before resuming without missing a beat. Second best joke : Mikatan doing an elaborate transforming dance, only to finally put on her Strange Juice costume the old-fashioned way, while Meika just rolls her eyes.)

After a while, the underwear fanservice even becomes a portent of DOOM rather than actually titillating… Which is of course the central joke of the series. It a show that wants to eat his cake and still have it, while having the audience cheer it on. For me, it works.

This is just as good as I was expecting. No way I’m skipping it.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015 – Page 4.

Triage X

(10 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a very fanservicey manga series about hospital-themed vigilantes.


Arashi, our brooding protagonist, and pointman of the vigilante team. Also a high-schooler, because fuck plausibility. His tragic backstory : both him and his best friend Ryu were caught in a terrorist attack, and the only reason he’s the lone survivor of that is that the surgeon used parts of Ryu’s body to piece him back together. So now he’s regularly having visions of kid!Ryu, acting as a sort of moral compass.

By the way, the surgeon was Ryu’s father, and is the one who founded and directs the vigilante team Black Label. (They need to excise the cancers of society ! he exposits with a completely straight face to a team that must have heard that speech dozens of times already.) Other members include :
– Mikoto, Arashi’s direct partner, who drives him around on a motorbike, if possible with crazy stunts. Such as erupting into a room from a window… on the fourth floor. (How she managed that is left refreshingly unexplored.)
– Oriha, the bomb maniac, who also does stuff like an impromptu musical idol number in front of utterly bemused goons. The camera does its best to ensure we know she wears panties.
– Yuuko, a spotter who shows up sunbathing in a bikini during the opening mission. Her boobs are the first thing the episode opens with.
– And several more boring members. All of them in some kind of nurse/doctor-themed outfit.

Together, they fight crime ! Their initial target was the corrupt head of a construction company ; the other half of the episode is devoted to his son, who is intent on inheriting the family business, and kidnapped an accountant about to talk to the cops, as well as his daughter. Why his daughter ? Because he needed someone to gratuitously torture, and the accountant just wouldn’t do !

Tatara is a grizzled cowboy cop who showed up slightly before the heroes in that second case, and without the backup needed to handle the dozens of goons in the building. Frankly I have no clue how he hoped to arrest the son on sheer bravado… which really doesn’t work here. I think we’re supposed to believe his interference fucked everything up, with the accountant getting shot and the right-hand-man managing to escape, but frankly I’d rather blame our “heroes” for being more showy than effective and bungling this on their own.

Hinako is a schoolmate of Arashi’s who’s got a crush on him, but clearly her flat D-cup has no chance against the likes of Mikoto (who also attends the same high school). Poor girl.

There’s a stinger with a bunch of other villains (most of them female) plotting something in some room where they forgot to put on the lights. Since they’ve got distinctive character designs and some behaviour quirks, I presume they’re gonna be important ; but it’s left to future episodes to give us a clue as to what they’re actually up to.

Production Values

This is the kind of show where the adverts promise that the DVDs & BluRays won’t have any of that pesky steam or random white light. On the other hand, the gratuitous shower scene is the only point where that comes into play ; and it’s only the tip of the iceberg for the fanservice here, with most of that uncensored.

Overall Impression

What makes me roll my eyes here isn’t the obnoxious fanservice. It’s how drab and serious this tries to look despite how ridiculously exploitative everything is. Arashi is drowning in angst, Ryu’s father seems to actually believe in his rants, and I’m apparently supposed to take Tatara’s feelings of impotence somewhat seriously. Ahah, no. Alas, there is such a thing as being too deadpan, and the show crossed the line. I really hope the manga author had his tongue firmly planted in cheek ; unfortunately, that nuance is lost in adaptation.

One episode of this trainwreck was enough, thank you.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015 – Page 4.

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.

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.

#41 : Sci-Fi Harry

(20 episodes)

What’s it about ?

More paranoid sci-fi ! Adapted from a short 1995 manga series.


Harry, our title character, is a complete loser. The somewhat nerdy guy at the bottom of the feeding chain in American highschool. And it’s not like he has a winning personality to compensate ; he’s the shy dude in the corner who’s a smoldering little ball of resentment and anger.

Catherine, one of the popular girls, has caught his eye… not that he’d ever act on it. She’s way out of his league, with one of the jocks being her kinda boyfriend. What’s more intriguing is that she actually seems to have some interest in the geek (to the bemusement of her “friends”).

John, said boyfriend, seems to be a decent guy. He stops some of his teammates from beating Harry up after he messed up during basketball practice, and he’s genuinely worried for Catherine after a bunch of hoodlums steal his car (with her still waiting for him inside).

What saves her from being raped and murdered, though, is Harry stumbling on them… and having some emerging telekinetic powers he can’t really control. Harry is terrified by the state he leaves the assholes in ; Catherine is fascinated.

There’s no way this can end well.

Oh, and there’s a couple of cops investigating a number of bizarre murders in the neighbourhood that look suspiciously like Harry’s latest outburst. Wait, had Harry’s power incontinence already killed a few random people, or are there other people like him roaming around ? Neither option sounds good…

Production Values

Grey ! Brown ! Because we can’t do paranoid sci-fi without drowning in murk, right ?

Points for the character designer going out of their way to make everyone look American, though.

Overall Impression

How do you manage to make a 20-episode anime series out of a 1-volume manga ? By stretching it out a lot, apparently ; this is far for swiftly paced, and it looks like it’s only going to get worse from now on. Still, at least this allows the show to lay out the atmosphere very thick, and on that level it succeeds. This is creepy and unpleasant, as it should be.

I’m tentatively curious enough to continue watching at some point.

Source: [In Which I Review] Anime series from 2000 – Page 12

#40 : Argento Soma

(25 episodes + 1 OVA)

What’s it about ?

Hello again, Sunrise ! This time around we’re going for the “paranoid sci-fi thriller” brand of mecha.


Takuto, our protagonist, was an ordinary electronics college student until he tried investigating the disappearance of his girlfriend. Not that their relationship looks particularly great anyway from an outside point of view ; he feels a bit possessive and dismissive of her own aspirations. (Being voiced by Souichiro “K1” Hoshi doesn’t help.)

Maki, said girlfriend, already had made an habit of burying herself into work as the assistant to one of the professors. (Healthy relationship, I said !) As it turns out, she just accompanied him when he went to ground after his research became too hot. They did leave a trail on purpose for Takuto to follow, as they want him on board to complete their micro-team (as they’re bio-engineers).

Dr Noguchi is the kind of scientist who names his resurrected alien mecha “Frank” and shouts “It Lives !” during the reactivation process. (Points to Chafurin for hamming it up to hilarious levels.)

It won’t surprise anybody that the reactivation is a disaster, and Takuto is the lone survivor of this mess.

There’s a coda with a blonde girl finding Frank in the mountains, because obviously we’re not done with it.

Production Values

Perfectly okay ; again, you can’t go wrong with Sunrise doing mecha action.

Overall Impression

Well, this was certainly intriguing. It’s all well-trodden territory, but apparently we’re still early into the setup phase, as the synopsis I can find for the show hint towards something a bit more complex than what we’re seeing yet. Hopefully they’ll find a way to make Takuto compelling enough to carry the show now that the rest of the cast is dead.

What worries me a bit more is that this is a conspiracy show, and those tend to do badly with regards to delivering a satisfying ending. 25 episodes should give it enough rope, but I’m still a bit on the fence.

Source: [In Which I Review] Anime series from 2000 – Page 12

#26 : Ceres – Celestial Legend (Ayashi no Ceres)

(24 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of an urban fantasy manga series, by the creator of Fushigi Yuugi.


Do you know of the tale of Ceres, the angel who got captured by some guy and was forced to marry him ? How romantic ! And totally the kind of story you tell a girl when she’s just a toddler.

Aya, our protagonist, still starts off as a perfectly normal high school girl. She’s got generic friends, goes to karaoke, and so on. Sure, a kooky old fortune teller predicts her doom and she’s been having creepy dreams, but that’s teenage life, right ?

Aki, her twin brother. They bicker quite a bit, but it’s clear they do care for each other.

There’s a mysterious dude who miraculously saves her from being run down by a car after falling from an overpass. And of course by the time she finds her wits to thank him, he’s already disappeared.

Then, on their 16th birthday, Aya & Aki are suddenly brought to a huge family gathering. Every single distant uncle and aunt is there, looking grim and saying nothing. It’s more than a bit spooky, and looks more like a cult than a birthday celebration. A box is given to them… and suddenly Aya gets shivers and just can’t open it. Aki opens it in her stead… it’s some mummified hand that explodes and shlashes him, drawing blood.

Gramps announces that AKI is thus the True Chosen Heir of Ceres, and the now useless Aya must die.

… Okay, I did not see this twist coming.

Production Values

Oh, hello again, studio Pierrot ! I see you’re still having trouble putting any actual animation in your shows.

… Which is a shame, since there’s some actual directing skill at work here, trying its best to extract tense and moody atmosphere out of a lacking budget.

(Also, no fanservice worth mentioning.)

Overall Impression

Hmm. The crappy animation is very distracting indeed. On the other hand, I’m quite intrigued by the premise, and the seemingly effortless way the show quickly builds up an oppressive and eery mood. As such, I’m curious on where this is going.

I’m a bit on the fence here ; I guess a lot depends on whether the anime got a proper ending resolving the plot. There’s a decent chance of that (it started to air just after the manga concluded), but I wouldn’t be averse to some confirmation.

Source: [In Which I Review] Anime series from 2000 – Page 6