Kantai Collection

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of an online card game where you battle through girls who are moe anthropomorphizations of naval ships. It’s a franchise with an impressively big, Touhou-like fandom, which has also spawned light novels, manga, and now this anime series.


Fubiki is our naive newcomer protagonist who’s just joined the fleet (whose headquarters are basically a boarding school with luxury leisure facilities). A bit clumsy and slow, she has trouble conveying that she’s never seen combat before. Still, she’s admirative enough of her seniors that she vows to improve and reach their level.

We’re introduced to various other members of her squad, including her two roommates (the nice one and the slightly snarky one), and the three oddball sisters in the adjoining dorm room.

Akagi is one of the MVP of the fleet, whom Fubiki becomes admirative of and imprints on as a rolemodel. As an aircraft carrier, she’s a member of the archery club (and her arrows morph into fighter planes once they near their target).

When they’re deployed, the girls/ships are basically sliding over water, with bulky equipment depending on their class. It’s a weird visual indeed. They fight against a dark fleet who are basically their evil counterpart.

Production Values

Quite good indeed, although it never really manages to turn its odd character designs into really engaging visuals. It looks okay, but it doesn’t have the creativity to do anything really cool or interesting with it.

Overall Impression

Zzzz… The characters are one-note and quite dull so far, the battles aren’t anything special, and overall it feels like a wacky high concept in search of a story to be developed around it, and dramatically failing. What works for an online cardgame just falls flat in this format.

Nothing to see here, pass your way.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Winter 2015.

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.

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.

Date A Live

(12 episodes + a bonus OVA)

What’s it about ?

Dating sim mixed with a sentai show. Adapted from a light novel series.


Shidou, our generic male lead. He’s exactly what you’d expect from a dating sim protagonist : a normal high school boy squabbling with his little sister, he’s got the mandatory perverted best friend, and he’s utterly oblivious about some pretty girls starting to stalk him. Oh, sure, there is some background noise about vast tracts of lands being levelled by “spacequakes” over the last 30 years, but that’s just colour setting, right ?

His life changes when he meets a Mysterious Girl In A Skimpy Outfit at the epicentre of the latest spacequake, which happened right down the block. It turns out that spacequakes are actually the result of MGIASOs landing on Earth, so obviously the authorities are hunting them down on sight. The MGIASO escapes in the confusion before they can catch her.

Origami, the school genius, who was stalking Shidou earlier, is one of the mecha-musume that are the frontline defense against MGIASOs, doing this because her family got killed in a spacequake 5 years ago. She urges him not to tell anyone about this side-job.

Kotori, Shidou’s sister, is actually the commander-in-chief of the local anti-MGIASOs defense force. No, seriously. That’s what her masochist adult subcommander says, so I’ll take his word. They’ve got a spaceship HQ hovering 15,000 km above the city.

The big twist is that the mecha-musume corps isn’t quite cutting it (the MGIASOs have way too much firepower), so our heroes have to resort to a new strategy : have Shidou romance them ! (Why him ? I have no clue.) Cue dating-sim training montage…

Production Values

It’s a bit hard to judge from the eyebleed-o-vision, but I’m not convinced this has much of a budget. The CG is obvious, the character designs are beyond generic, and the animation’s no great shakes.

What is clear is that the fanservice level is noticeably high. We get a bit too much focus on Kotori’s panties for my taste, and these aren’t the only buttshots in this episode. Also, the camera is very interested in the MGIASO’s breasts.

Overall Impression

Well, I’ll grant it that : for a show made exclusively out of stock clichés, it actually manages to put them together in a way new enough to be distinctive. It’s a joke that gave me a chuckle.

Is it actually good ? Good lords, no. It’s impossible to take the rare attempts at emotional impact seriously, given how stupid the premise is. The characters are one-dimensional cardboard cutouts, and none of them look like they’ll rise above their archetypes. (Although I’ll admit the not-nurse is fun to watch.) It’s a show with one joke, and I can’t see it lasting for 12ish episodes without becoming tedious.

In another season I might have given this a bit more of a chance for the fun trainwreck factor, but I just can’t be bothered.

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

Vividred Operation

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

The war on pants is back.


Akane, grand-daughter of the mad genius who invented the free, clean energy generator located nearby. As perks, she also got a flying bike, as well as the means to fight the bad guys.

Grampa, though, seems to have had a falling out with his former associates, as they don’t seem to be getting much money from the generator’s operations. And he buries nearly everything he’s got into more random mad science projects, leaving his family barely pennies for the food.

(Said family seems to be limited at this point to those two and a little sister, who’s the one who hunts bargain bins and has to resort to creative cooking.)

Aoi, Akane’s best friend, is returning to the island the series takes place in after a long absence. Just in time for her plane to get caught in the crossfire between the authority and a giant mechanized war machine suddenly attacking ! Akane saves her just in time.

Production Values

From the director of Strike Witches ! As you’d expect, the show uses the tiniest excuses to have characters in bloomers, and the camera loves ass shots. It’s more than a bit distracting, especially as the show is quite good-looking aside from that.

What did I think of it ?

Urgh. The plot and the characters aren’t interesting enough to make up for the tediousness of the constant ass shots. Even ignoring that, it’s fairly generic anyway.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2013 – Page 6.

Busou Shinki

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Cute sentient dolls action figures doing cute things.


There’s a token generic dude who owns the show’s starring dolls, but he’s so superfluous and lacking any personality that he disappears offscreen for most of the episode.

Not the three main dolls have much personality either. There’s the generic main one, the jerk and the pushover who likes maid outfits. They spend most of the episodes “comically” unpacking the guy’s stuff after they just moved back into Tokyo. They meet a fourth one in a park. A fifth one shows up at the end of the episode.

Frankly, it’s a pain to describe such bland characters, especially as they do virtually nothing for 24 minutes.

Checking out the cast list on ANN is utterly depressing, as it promises appearances by dozens of other dolls, in what looks like a catalog of nearly every currently at least mildly popular voice actress. I’d hope they at least get a decent paycheck for this, but considering how the numbers are in favour of those merely being glorified cameos…

Production Values

Mostly okay, although be advised that the dolls are in leotards (and thus don’t wear pants). Fanservice isn’t too obnoxious, though.

What did I think of it ?

Oh gods please shoot me. This isn’t awful, but it’s terminally boring if you’re not an action figure fetishist. This was really a chore to watch to the end, and I’m not wasting any more of my time on another episode.

Which is disappointing, considering how the short ONA was actually decent and had semi-interesting ideas (although Angelic Layer did it better a decade ago). None of which are on display here, leaving just a empty pile of nothing. Avoid.

via [In which I review] New anime, Fall 2012 – Page 3.

Busou Shinki Moon Angel ONA

(5-minute episodes)

What’s it about ?

10-centimeter-tall mecha-musume fighting each other.


This series doesn’t even bother naming its main characters. I know screentime’s at a premium, but come on !

Anyway, our protagonist is a white-clad living action figure who escapes from a lab (and from the pursuit of a black-clad counterpart). Wounded, she’s eventually discovered by a loner grade-school kid.

Production Values

I was pleasantly surprised. Those 5-minute web-thingies are usually on the lower end of budget ranges, but this actually looks quite good. The fight scenes are very well animated, and much lower on fanservice than you’d expect.

What did I think of it ?

Well, it’s the first 5-minute webseries from the last couple of years that I’m considering watching on the strength of its first episode. (Fireball Charming doesn’t count.) I’m especially impressed by the pacing : none of it feels rushed, in many ways this feels like a proper anime series… but it’s still a complete chunk of story despite its short length.

It’s not particularly original, but it seems to have the potential to be fun, without outstaying its welcome. I’m cautiously optimistic about this one.

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

Angelic Layer

(26 episodes)

What’s it about ?

In the future, the latest Serious Business fad is a combat through hi-tech dolls sport called “Angelic Layer”. Cue start of your standard battle series. But since we’re adapting a CLAMP manga, all the fighters (and their dolls) seem to be female.


Misaki, our 12-year-old ingenue protagonist, fresh off the countryside and new to the whole thing. It’s heavily implied that her long-estranged mother (whom she hasn’t seen since kindergarten) is the current Angelic Layer champion. She was brought up by her grandparents, but has come to Tokyo to live with…

Shoko, her aunt. But don’t call her that, or she’ll agressively point out she’s still in her twenties. It’s obvious she doesn’t approve of her sister’s behaviour regarding Misaki.

There’s a quirky scientist dude (introducing himself as “Icchan”) stalking Misaki at the train station, and helping her buy her own Angelic Layer doll (you can apparently buy them at your local mart). He’s kinda creepy, to be honest, although the charitable view is that he’s betting on her to be a future champion (he knows about her mother). He does get hauled off by the cops halfway through the episode, as a store clerk did find him quite creepy too.

The OP and ED sequences suggest that Misaki is going to make some friends at her school and start going into tournaments, but we’re not there yet.

Production Values

It’s a Bones series, so it was bound to look at least good (although this is one of their lesser efforts). I’ve always found their work polished but a bit artistically sterile, and they certainly seem to overpower the CLAMP influence here.

Overall Impression

It’s a battle anime. It’d have a hard time convincing me to continue watching it on any day.

Now, it does quite a lot to sell me on Misaki as a character, and her broken family background does hold some interest. The creepy scientist at least makes the exposition a bit less clunky than usual, and there’s a genuine sense of wonder about the whole Angelic Layer system. It certainly sounds like a fun toy.

But, at the end of the day, it’s a battle anime. Certainly above average, but it’s obvious the series will continue into the obligatory tournaments, with our underdog prodigy quickly moving up the ranks (thanks to her deep connection with her doll) until a cathartic reunion battle with her mother. I feel like I’ve already watched the whole series, and thus I can’t bring myself to really care.

Still, points for trying.

 Misaki fascinated by her new toy.
Misaki fascinated by her new toy.

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