Project ARMS

(26 episodes)

What’s it about ?

A high school student is stalked by both a creepy transfer student and a team of men in black. Maybe this is linked to his weird right arm (which hasn’t been the same since a mysterious incident years ago)…


Ryo, our protagonist. Kind-hearted, a bit of a slacker… and owner of incredibly 80s sideburns. His right arm is definitely not normal, what with healing ridiculously fast and transforming into something else at the end of the episode.

Katsumi, totally not his girlfriend, and typical bossy tsundere material. Spends most of the episode either in distress… or with Ryo thinking she’s in distress (while his opponents couldn’t care less about her). She’s actually less annoying than this sounds.

Hayato, the creepy transfer student with his left arm bandaged. The kind who single-handedly defeats a dozen bullies offscreen. His left arm is actually a weird claw-with-blades thing, and he’s somehow able to make Ryo’s arm vibrate by “resonance”.

There are quite a few men in black circling around Ryo and Hayato while delivering cryptic exposition. They want to capture the two ARMS subjects, but there’s probably more to it.

Production Values

Not a lot of budget, but enough directing tricks to somewhat disguise it as artistically-motivated. Good use of colour to build the atmosphere, too.

Overall impression

This is actually quite decent : the characters have a lot of chemistry, the atmosphere is well set, and it moves at a decent clip. The character design’s a bit retro, but you get used to it quickly.

The problem is that I don’t care about the story. At all. It’s a bit of a cliché, and despite the quality of the execution I can’t see this series going anywhere interesting.

 That's quite a skin condition Hayato has got there...
That’s quite a skin condition Hayato has got there…

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2001 – Page 7.


(26 episodes)

What’s it about ?

A top-flight assassin meets an amnesiac high-school girl who’s even better than her at killing people. After a fashion, they decide to team up to investigate the mysterious links between the two of them.


Mireille Bouquet, elite French assassin. Very intrigued by the whole thing, although she’s clearly the type not to accept bullshit as an answer. She’d have shot Kirika five minutes into the episode if the latter hadn’t produced a watch playing a lullaby that triggers random flashbacks to Mireille’s (presumably traumatic) childhood.

Kirika Yumura, Japanese high-school girl, although it’s immediately made clear that both her name and background are fake. She woke up amnesiac a few days ago, got hunted by mysterious men in black for whatever reason (she quickly disposed of them), and then got in contact with Mireille because that’s one of the few hints about her past she’s got. She’s a true killing machine, instinctively making some very impressive acrobatics.

Production Values

Very impressive. The OP has a wonderfully fluid sequence of Kirika kicking ass in silhouette, and this standard is maintained for the few fight scenes she’s involved in during this episode. There’s mercifully barely any fanservice, and it manages to avoid showing any panty shots despite Mireille’s tight miniskirt and Kirika somersaulting around.

There are long dialogue-less sequences, letting the animation and the music do the storytelling. And the score is absolutely glorious, injecting tons of atmosphere into the series. Sometimes it goes a bit overboard (do we really need a blaring Italian choir when Kirika is just leaving school ?), and there are some false notes like a terrible eye-catch jingle that seems straight out of the 80s, but overall the music is an absolute joy to listen to.

Overall Impression

Well, that’s an impressive beginning, I’ll say. Tons of style and a good starting point for a story.

But this is not the first time I watch this series, and I regret to say that it becomes lost into a dull mystical conspiracy plot that takes ages to go anywhere, interspersed with “hit of the week” episodes that quickly become repetitive. I gave up after 10 episodes, and I’m in no hurry to retry.

Which is too bad, because I can admire what it was trying to do.

Kirika strangling a dude by his tie. Hardcore.
Kirika strangling a dude by his tie. Hardcore.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2001 – Page 6.


(13 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Our protagonist’s mother’s just been killed, but not before stabbing him herself. He’s barely been rescued from the grave by his sister (or is she ?) that she’s kidnapped. He goes to the rescue, but another faction’s interference allows the kidnappers to escape.


Kyosuke, our protagonist, seems to be an unkillable mutant capable of transforming into a giant monster. He has no clue why all this bizarre stuff is happening to him or who all these weirdoes are, but he’d really like to find out.

Maya claims to be his little sister (that he’s never heard of), although she looks older than him. She’s identified as a Flicker, whatever that means (from what I understand, she got transplanted memories). There’s a possibility she’s got multiple personalities, although she gets too little screentime to judge (she becomes a macguffin everyone fights over barely six minutes in).

Shiro is an enigmatic world-weary badass who helps Kyosuke for unexplained reasons (he seems to be allied with Maya). He delivers most of the exposition, although he’s no slouch in the action sequences either.

Maya was kidnapped by the Kirihara corporation, who are apparently a big deal in this world. They’ve got a huge military-scientific facility nearby, patrolled by tons of heavily-armed faceless goons. A no-nonsense, level-headed scientist seems to be in charge, and she certainly knows to shoot before monologuing (not that it’s any use against Kyosuke) and to bolt with the booty when the odds are against her.

The Hospital, represented by a raving mad doctor (also a powerful mutant) and his nurse (who wields giant syringes as a weapon) are wild cards also looking for Maya. They seem to belong to a completely different show (the art style in their scenes reminds me of Soul Eater).

Production Values

Constant chiaroscuro ? Frequent close-ups to feet and eyes ? Odd camera angles ? The frame sometimes gets reduced to a small portion of the screen ? Frantic quick shots that look like the editor is overdosing ? A superb use of color to keep the action clear despite the overall chaos ?

“Directed by Akiyuki Shinbo.” Well, that explains it. This is a feast for the eyes indeed, with every single shot having something interesting happen.

The only false note is the score, which doesn’t always feel up to snuff. I must question the sentai-like theme tune when Kyosuke powers up, as until then this series felt deadly serious despite the insanity, and it kinda ruins the mood.

Overall Impression

Okay, now we’re talking. This is very impressive indeed, with awesome visuals and a very tight script that packs a convoluted plot and three different fight scenes under 23 minutes. And this highly artificial style isn’t gratuitous : it helps merge together the somewhat grounded conspiracy plot and the weirdness of the Hospital characters, and the frantic editing keeps the pace going (the sequences between the action set pieces often feel like montages, but it works).

Now, there are lots of way this could go bad. It goes so fast that it could become repetitive. There’s a risk of losing the precarious balancing of the tone. The actual plot could go either way. The style could get so overpowering that the emotional resonance gets lost. But this is a really promising first episode, and I’m very curious how it goes from there.

 Shiro's so badass that his cigar burns through his newspaper.
Shiro’s so badass that his cigar burns through his newspaper.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2001 – Page 4.


(24 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Current day setting, but with a lot more weirdness. Our protagonist witnesses a murder that doesn’t seem to have actually happened, attends a lecture that was canceled, and somehow sent text messages into the past. Also, a satellite crashed into the place he was (he doesn’t seem worse for the wear). Despite already having a few screws loose, he’s more than weirded out by the whole thing.


Okarin, aka Rintarou Okabe, aka Kyouma Hououin. Our paranoid protagonist. Self-proclaimed mad scientist, although this might just be the crazy talking (his actual inventions are far from impressive). He heads a college research club that dabbles into weird science, such as time travel theory. He constantly babbles about a conspiracy orchestrated by something called the Agency, but there’s no real sign of it actually existing.

Mayuri, his sickeningly sweet childhood friend. She seems to have no science background whatsoever (she’s stated to be into sewing cosplay outfits), and probably sticks around because she likes Okarin. The obvious twist would be that she’s an Agency plant.

Taru, SUPA-HACKA ! and reclusive geek, the third and last member of Okarin’s research club. A welcomed source of snark to counter Okarin’s mad ramblings.

Kurisu Makise, a gloomy girl Okarin meets at a time-travel-related lecture, and wants him to explain what he meant (he has no clue what she’s talking about). He finds her bloody corpse a bit later… but she shows up perfectly fine at the end of the episode.

Production Values

A bit hard to judge, considering I’ve watched a crappy streamed version. Still, it’s quite good at setting up a creepy claustrophobic atmosphere with some weird camera angles, and Okarin’s body language is impressive.

Overall Impression

Wow, this is very intriguing indeed. The storytelling borders on the incoherent, especially with a protagonist who isn’t entirely sane, but it still manages to hang together somewhat and set up an intriguing mystery. A lot of the series’s charm comes from Mamoru Miyano’s impressive performance as the lead character, managing to perfectly convey Okarin’s delusions while still making him an engaging character.

Now, it’s perfectly possible this series could eventually disappear into its own arse when it’s time to explain what’s actually happening. But so far, I’m in.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2011 – Page 3.

Tiger & Bunny

(24-ish episodes)

What’s it about ?

In the future, there are super-powered people called “NEXT”. The most prominent ones are garish, megacorp-sponsored superheroes who fight crime in a Reality-TV show.


Kotetsu “Wild Tiger” Kaburagi, our protagonist. He’s a veteran superhero who is definitely past his prime (he rates barely above the joke who never does anything, and no self-respecting kid buys his trading cards). He’s in it because he believes in making good (and he needs the money for his wife and kid), but he’s kinda bitter with the whole thing, obviously. It doesn’t help that his sponsor just got bought out, and the new guys want a format change. Which includes teaming up with…

Barnaby Brooks Jr, who somehow has the same powers as Wild Tiger (flying brick for 5 minutes). The dude shows out of nowhere in the “season finale” to hog the spotlight, and makes it clear he’s a “new breed” of superhero, unafraid of showing his true identity to the world. Incidentally, he does less collateral damage than Wild Tiger, which probably endears him to the higher-ups even more.

There are six other super-heroes competing in the show : Blue Rose, the current superstar with impressive ice powers but who’s a bit of a coward ; Rock Bison, the only one Kotetsu could call a friend ; Origami Cyclone, who never does anything but stay in the background for product placement ; Fire Emblem, flaming gay stereotype ; and two others who don’t matter at this stage.

The supporting cast is rounded off by Agnes Joubert, the TV show’s producer, who only cares about ratings, and certainly not civilian lives. (“Nice cliffhanger entrance, Wild Tiger ! Can you just do nothing for 30 seconds while we run some commercials ?”)

Oh, and there’s our threats for the week : a group of bankrobbers who are ridiculously underpowered to face superheroes, but manage to run around for most of the episodes thanks to the latter’s incompetence.

Production Values

Superbly fluid animation for the action sequences (which comprise half of the episode) : this show’s got budget and ain’t afraid to show it. It’s also very good at spoofing Reality-TV shows, including the utterly obnoxious product placement on the superheroes’ character designs.

Overall Impression

Wow, this is AWESOME ! I grinned like a madman from start to end while watching this : it’s very, very funny indeed. Combining superheroes with Reality-TV works beautifully, and there’s a nice balance between enough cynicism to keep things grounded and still some idealism to keep it from being too depressing. It’s a very stupid series, but it’s got enough energy to pull it off.

The preview I’d seen didn’t look very promising, so this is a very nice surprise.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2011.

Level E

What’s it about ?

An average high school student’s routine is suddenly disturbed when a self-proclaimed alien crashes into his pad.


Yukitaka Tutsui, our protagonist. Fresh coming to this country town because he’s been scouted by the baseball team of the local high school, and it’s as good an excuse as any to start living on his own. Very annoyed by this freeloader who just. won’t. go. away.

The alien doesn’t actually get a name in this episode, but I’m told he’s called “Prince”. Which is appropriate, considering he looks like a blonde long-haired bishonen. He’s partly amnesiac and a bit in a bind since the local scientists are investigating his crashed spaceship. Seems like a master of offscreen teleportation (you know, the kind where you lock him outside and the next moment he’s just behind you). Despite his deadpan annoyingness, he’s showed to have a heart near the end of the episode – he gets injured rescueing a kitten from car traffic !

Miho Edogawa, the pretty girl next door, who just happens to be the daughter of the chief scientist investigating the alien spacecraft, of course.

Production Values

This looks really good, with some slick animation and pretty scenery porn backgrounds. The OP is awesome, with a fun little rock number, a very nice use of colors, and some good comedic timing. On the other hand, the ED’s crap.

Overall Impression


On the one hand, there’s a lot to like – some good jokes with impeccable comedic timing, nice production values. But it feels like it should be more, if you see what I mean ? Some of the jokes feel repetitive, and it feels a bit slow as a result. It needs more meat.

I feel like I should like it more, somehow.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2010-2011 – Page 12.