Mobile Suit Gundam – Iron-blooded Orphans (Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans)

(25ish episodes ?)

What’s it about ?

From the people who brought you Toradora and AnoHana ! And it’s indeed almost, but not quite, entirely unlike those shows.


Oh, dear. This has the very common modern Gundam flaw of introducing all at once dozens of characters in various factions, speaking in exposition only they can understand, and I spend half the episode trying to catch up. I don’t care that this is more “realistic”, as it’s bloody awful storytelling.

Anyway, as best as I can discern : this is the future, and there are colonies on Mars extracting stuff. The political landscape is a bit of a mess, with some people wanting independance from Earth, and some Earth factions wanting to squash this in the egg.

Kudelia Aina Bernstein is the young face of the independence movement. Which is ironic, considering she comes from a rich family which made its fortune from its links with Earth. Today they sell her out, giving the anti-independence faction intelligence about her visit to a random Mars settlement, and thus ample opportunity for something unfortunate to happen.

Said settlement does have a PMC hired to provide protection to her, but most of the senior officers run away after the super-modern mecha start showing up to attack. So it’s up to the teenage orphans making up the bulk of the grunts to try and stand their ground.

Orga is their de facto leader. He’s awesome, and a great tactical thinker. It’s very impressive how he manages to stall the attackers despite his pals having much inferior equipment.

Mikazuki, his best friend and loyal follower, is named in the promo material as the actual protagonist, but so far I’m not really seeing it. He does save the day by piloting the relic Gundam they had rusting in a basement, though, but that’s just following Orga’s orders ; he barely gets three minutes of screentime overall.

Biscuit, the heavyset guy with impressive technical know-how, is a much more active and initiative-taking member of the group. He’s a lot of fun, and I like how he contributed to setting the attackers onto the cowards who abandoned them.

Production Values

It’s Sunrise doing mecha, so of course it’s very competently executed. Also, for some reason all the kids are piloting their vehicles shirtless.

Overall Impression

Urgh, that first half…

But once the attack starts and we get to see Orga in action, the show finally clicks together. Suddenly the kids’ chemistry shines, the obscure political manoeuvring becomes crystal clear, and I actually start caring what happens to our protagonists.

I’m watching all of Gundam anyway (see my sig), but there’s a decent chance I’ll actually enjoy this one.

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

Fall 2014 capsules

Hmm. For some reason Karen Senki wasn’t even on my checklist. I can’t even find any hint it’s actually airing in Japan. But hey, it’s at the very least a Japanese co-production by the creators of Sakura Wars, and Crunchyroll is streaming it, so close enough for a token mention in this thread.

This is quite an odd series. For one, it’s 12 half-length episodes. For two, it’s full-CG. And for three, I can’t tell whether the plot being so disjointed and making no sense whatsoever is intentional.

It follows the adventures of Karen, who wages an essentially single-woman war against robots, who have taken over society and killed her cute young sister. (Or so she claims ; the flashbacks show nothing of the sort.) But the robots’ rule doesn’t seem that drastic, as everyone else seems to be carrying on normally, aside from whenever they have to deal with the collateral damage of Karen’s battles. Her being randomly attacked by killer-bots seems to be the exception, not the rule. One of her associates seems perfectly fine having a robot lover. And frankly, Karen just doesn’t sound entirely sane.

Or this may just be because the series as a whole is an excuse to string along elaborate action sequences. Now, they’re quite well-directed ; the problem isn’t so much that they’re hard to follow, but that they don’t fit with their context. But the real issue here is that the actual character animation is goddarn awful. People don’t move that way ! They can emote decently, but just about anything else about them is awkward. This is massively distracting, and doesn’t help the series’ case.

I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt, and a second episode. But I dread it’s going to test my patience quickly.

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


Anyway, let’s say a few words on I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying (Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken). It’s a series of shorts adapting a 4-panel gag manga series. Basically, it’s about a wife being flummoxed by her husband’s ultra-otaku ways. It’s mildly funny, but most of these jokes have already been done to death, and you often wonder why those two even got married in the first place. (That’s actually addressed immediately, but her reasoning is more than a little evasive.) This is a perfectly inoffensive show, but I doubt it’ll hold my attention for long unless it gets significantly better soon.

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


As it turns out, I just can’t make a proper review of Fate/stay Night – Unlimited Blade Works. Too much of my viewing experience was influenced by my foreknowledge from the DEEN series & movie, as well as Fate/Zero. It’s not like I can remember exactly who’s a Master (and of which Servant), especially as we’re in a different route and things might change around a bit, but I still know more than a few incoming twists that make it impossible to offer a “virgin” preview. (And I do have doubts on whether the series is aimed at anyone but people who’ve already seen either or both of these previous shows.)

Still, this is a good start. Way less infodumpy than Fate/Zero, and with some actual impressive battles right off the bat in this opening double-length episode. It helps a lot that it features Rin as a protagonist ; as someone who actually has a clue what’s going on, but not the details of who she’s fighting, she offers a more interesting and proactive perspective than Shirou did the first time around.

So far, so good. I was wondering whether I had lost interest in the franchise, but this looks fun enough to be worth watching.

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


Mysterious Joker (Kaitou Joker) might be at least partially to blame for my sleepiness. It’s a kids’ show about a quirky Gentleman Thief… and if you’re wondering what’s the difference with Magic Kaitou, it’s the targeted age group : this show aims much lower. All the characters are highly annoying and SHOUTING all the time, the jokes fall flat, and I literally couldn’t follow the plot because I was falling asleep every couple of minutes. Something about the protagonist recruiting a “ninja” fanboy kid ? I don’t care at all, and it really doesn’t help that another show with similar themes which is superior in every way is airing concurrently. Pass.

Also falling flat : The Circumstances in My Home’s Bathtub (Orenchi no Furo Jijo). Now, this type of series of shorts based on 4-panel gag manga often have the problem of only delivering the same joke over and over, never really amounting to anything. Here, the issue is that I can’t even see the joke. Dude brings a merman to his bathtub by mistake, and that’s pretty much it. They don’t even have much banter. I just don’t get it.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2014 – Page 4.


Sometimes I’m baffled by weird gimmicky series of shorts. Such as Hi☆sCoool! SeHa Girls, where anthropomorphic personalizations of Sega’s consoles enter a bizarre dedicated school ; it’s mostly an excuse to string along “nostalgic” allusions that most often fly completely other my head (as I was more of a Nintendo fan). It’s a better use of full CG animation than we usually get for these, but it’s still a niche gag series where I’m not part of the audience.

Oh, and since I’m pressed for time, I’m going to quickly skip over Gundam Build Fighters TRY : long story short, it’s very promising, doesn’t require any knowledge of the first season thanks to a time jump and a different cast (although Mr Ral still makes a cameo), and I’m pleased to see it has the girl as a true fighter and the leader of the team.

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


No full review for Ronja the the Robber’s Daughter, as as I fell asleep watching the first episode and don’t care to give it another try. This Ghibli adaptation of a Swedish fantasy book is just very, very dull, and the uninspiring full-CG animation doesn’t help. (Those characters emote way too exaggeratedly for my tastes.) Don’t care, won’t watch any more.

Bonjour Sweet Love Pâtisserie has a completely different problem : it’s a generic shoujo “male harem” romance show that barely gets to breathe in the 5 minutes or so of screentime per week it gets. As a result, all the characters are walking clichés, and the “glamourous baking academy” setup feels completely artificial. Not really worth your time, this one.

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

Gundam – Reconguista in G (G no Reconguista)

(26ish episodes ; the first two were aired together)

What’s it about ?

Happy 35th anniversary, Gundam ! For the occasion, we’re getting a new TV series by the franchise’s original creator, Yoshiyuki Tomino. Since his last turn at the helm was 1999’s brilliant Turn A Gundam, there are reasons to be excited.

This is nominally set in the far-future of the original “Universal Century” continuity, but the ties are token enough for this not to matter : it’s a series that can be jumped into without any foreknowledge.


Bellri “Bell” Zenam, our protagonist, is a young prodigy among the mecha pilot trainees. Also, son of the Director of Operations, but he doesn’t let that go to his head. His squad’s mission is routine maintenance of the space-elevator/space-station, but of course unexpected stuff happens.

Raraiya Monday is the first unexpected factor. She’s a mysterious girl who got dropped off during a skirmish with space pirates. Unfortunately, she seems to have suffered brain damage from performing atmosphere reentry in a mere skydiving suit, so she’s having trouble communicating. Anyway, for some reason she’s kept captive aboard the space elevator.

Aida Rayhunton, a space pirate who attacks the space-elevator aboard the titular G mecha to rescue her. After a fierce battle in which Bellri takes no small part, she’s eventually subdued. (I’m amused that someone complains that the name she gives is obviously made-up, because seriously this is a Gundam series.) She boasts that she’s locked the mysterious G’s cockpit and only she can open it again… wait, Bellri, how did you do that ?

Rounding up the supporting cast are many pals of Bellri’s, including Luin Lee, his amiable senior and best pal ; and several members of the high school cheerleading squad, who hitched a ride with the cute mecha pilot trainees to get some. Most prominently : Noredo Nug, who’s clearly set her sights on Bellri ; and the gung-ho Manny Ambassada. (But Aida is still obviously the one with a made-up name.)

Production Values

There’s something slightly old-fashioned in the character designs, which is compounded by the beautiful pastel watercolor-ish backgrounds. Still, the CG elements are well integrated, the animation is fluid overall, and it’s a great-looking package.

The OP & ED sequences feature the entire cast dancing for some reason, which hints at a bright and fun series. That’s certainly what it looks like so far.

Overall Impression

Fuck yeah ! This is as promising as I hoped for : fun characters having colourful hijinks with barely any angst around. There’s a lot of exposition flying around the first episode that’s a bit too dense to entirely parse, but the second episode helps it all sink in. And there’s just tons of charm from watching those kids fooling around on cool tech in the middle of a battlezone. It has the same sense of innocence that Turn A had, and that’s a relief from the more grim-and-gritty norm for mecha series.

This looks like one of the season’s highlights. No way I’m skipping it out.

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

Summer 2014 capsules

But before all that, a few words about Sword Art Online II : well, so far, it’s not doing a bad job of not rubbing me the wrong way, like Alfheim Online did. The writing is still pretty poor (go, go, tepid exposition !), but the setup of bringing in Kirito to investigate a bizarre murder spree in a new game setting is a decent one. (Also, anything that marginalizes the absence of chemistry he’s got with Asuna is welcome.) I might still watch this after all.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Summer 2014 – Page 3.

A couple of shorts before moving on to the full Monday shows…

Mobile Suit Gundam-san is yet another of those comedy SD skits Sunrise puts out occasionally. (This one adapted from a 4-panel gag manga.) It starts off by an Austin Powers-style naked dance by Char, which should give you an idea of the high level of humour we’re dealing with here. It’s mildly funny, but nothing to go out of your way for.

Secret Princess Himegoto adapts a manga about a pretty boy being blackmailed into crossdressing by the student council. It’s got a main character called Unko (“Poop”). That kinda sums up my opinion of it.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Summer 2014 – Page 4.

So, Persona 4 The Golden Animation. I reviewed the original series back in 2011 ; this is a weird spin-off that adapts an updated rerelease of the game.

The selling point here, apparently, is a new character being added to the main cast, Marie. The script thus chooses wisely to fast-forward through a very bare bones version of the plot (skipping all the business related to Konishi), so that Marie can get 5 minutes or so of screentime after the end credits. To say that her introduction feels very forced an unnatural is an understatement ; she’s just dropped in without any explanation by the gamemaster. The core problem here is that this series is at its best with deadpan weirdness, and Marie’s way too melodramatic to fit in. So, well, it doesn’t quite work.

(By the way, the whole thing seems to have been reanimated from scratch, with a somewhat higher budget ; every single scene is slightly different from the previous series.)

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

Black Butler – Book of Circus spends its first episode re-establishing the premise with a “Day in the Life of Sebastian Michaelis”… Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as it’s a charming setup, and the script does get to play a bit with clever ellipses. I’ve got no clue where this would fit in continuity, but it’s not like this franchise ever sweats this kind of fine detail.

Anyway, this is good fun, and I’m glad it’s back.

(Also, no Grell whatsover for now, which is a definite plus in my book.)

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

Hey, someone finally fansubbed the first episode of Fran♥cesca : Girls Be Ambitious, more than a week after it aired !

… Having had a look at it, I can easily see why nobody bothered to do it for so long.

The high concept is that this is a series of 11-minute episodes built around a recently-created mascot character for Hokkaido, the titular Francesca. Who happens to be some sort of undead idol or something. But she barely shows up at the end of the first episode ; in practice, it mainly features the head of the anti-undead Hokkaido forces (of course a cute sassy girl) investigating killing the shit out of a recent surge of zombies rising from the ground. Also, tons of jokes that probably make sense to people who know of Hokkaido’s culture, but are completely impenetrable to me.

As far as promotional vehicles from tourism boards go, this one at least has the merit of originality. But that’s pretty much it ; it looks badly-animated (is this Flash-based ?), and at its core it’s comedy where I don’t get most of the jokes. (Which don’t look that funny, anyway.)

I’ll pass.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Summer 2014 – Page 8.

Gundam Build Fighters

(50ish episodes ?)

What’s it about ?

Why bother with a space opera plot ? Let’s just have some kids play around with Gundam models.


Sei, our protagonist. He’s very good at building Gundam models, including custom ones ; on the other hand, he’s complete crap at this “Gunpla Battle” VR fighting game that’s all the rage.

Sazaki, his rival. This kid oozes smugness ; he’s good enough at Gunpla Battes to beat Sei without breaking a sweat, despite having way worse models to play with. He’d love to partner up with our hero : between his skills and Sei’s top-class models, they’d be a force to be reckoned with. Sei refuses, on the ground that Sazaki is a jerk who treats models badly.

Reiji is a foreign-looking dude that Sei randomly bumps into in town. He’s the kind of alien who’s never heard of Gundam Battles (despite a street ad playing right in front of him), and has trouble with complex customs such as paying for the food he takes. After Sei saves him from an angry foodseller, he promises to always be there for his rescuer, giving him a magical pebble to summon him. That promise comes handy when Sazaki is laying yet another virtual beatdown on Sei : Reiji comes out of nowhere, and wins the match within minutes despite never having played it before.

Supporting characters include Sei’s mom (hello, Kotono Mitsuishi), who’s bravely tending to their modeling store despite not being too well-versed into those things (it’s his currently-not-around dad who used to be into it, even competing nationally). Also, Mr Ral shows up as a guest referee for the climactic match. No, seriously, this is a thing that happens.
[For those who haven’t been following my Gundam marathon : Ramba Ral was a minor but memorably badass villain in the original Mobile Suit Gundam series.]

Production Values

You can bet Sunrise is making the mecha battles look as good as ever : this is a glorified toy commercial, after all.

Overall Impression

This must be the stupidest thing ever associated to the Gundam name I’ve ever watched. And I’ve been through Mobile Fighter G Gundam.

But hey, it’s gloriously fun to watch. I’m not exactly the target audience (I watch Gundam for the plot, not the mecha ; I have trouble telling apart the various Gundam models, let alone recognize what the heck Sazaki is using – that’s a doll model from Wing, maybe ?) ; but it is a pleasant-looking show that goes through all the usual toy commercial tropes with gusto.

A niche product as far as most of you are probably concerned, but I’m in.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2013 – Page 11.

Mobile Suit Gundam AGE

(50 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Gundam for kids. The world is under attack from Unknown Enemies (sic), the good guys’ only hope are their awesome mecha.


Flit, our generic teenage protagonist. His mother conceived the mecha and gave him the key when she died in an attack several years ago ; which is very helpful when the official pilot gets injured during today’s attack and he can jump into the cockpit.

Emily, his generic love interest. If she has a personality, or an actual purpose in the plot, she hides it well so far.

There are other characters, but to be honest I can’t be bothered listing them. They’re the usual stereotypes : the officer in charge, the old wacky mechanist, the heroic actual pilot…

Production Values

The character designs obviously hark back to some sort of cross between Tezuka and Matsumoto, but I can’t say I’m convinced it works. It certainly doesn’t help assuaging the blandness of the whole thing.

The mecha fights do look nice, though. It’s Sunrise, after all.

What did I think of it ?

Yawn. The plot is boring, the characters are bland, the enemies are purposefully faceless, and the artstyle does nothing for me.

Don’t bother with this one.

via [In which I review] New anime, Fall 2011 – Page 7.