#45 : Invincible King Tri-Zenon (Muteki Ou Tri-Zenon)

(22 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Yet more mecha ! But not by Sunrise, and boy does it show.


Akira, our kid protagonist, has had it enough with his father being hounded by his creditors, so he takes all the family’s few possessions (including his little sister Ai) and goes in search of the legendary treasure their ancestors supposedly left them a map for.

Dad and Akira’s not-girlfriend Kana eventually converge to the spot in their pursuit.

Also converging to the same spot : an old couple who turn out to be from another branch of the family, and also want to lay claim to the treasure. They apparently have a deed for half-ownership of the spot. (Which is basically a wasteland in the country.)

Also coming there : a serious-looking dude with green hair who actually seems to have a clue of what’s hidden down there, and has enough money on hand to try and buy the spot.

Of course it’s Akira, Ai and Kana who fall head-first into the titular “Tri-Zenon” mecha as they dig it out. (Apparently it fell from the sky centuries ago.) Maybe they’re going to help against the alien-looking mecha that are wreaking havoc nearby, as the army seem to have trouble even containing them. (As they always do in this kind of series, of course.)

Production Values

Not very good. The character designs for the main characters are particularly garish.

Overall Impression

That’s an impressive collection of annoying characters you’ve got there, show. It doesn’t help that the plot is kept wafer-thin as an effort to build to a joke that’s really not funny enough to deserve so much screentime.

What makes the show actively painful to watch are the terrible subtitles in the only copy I could find, apparently translated from the Chinese (they don’t even get Akira’s name right !). Not that there was anything of interest there, really.

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

#39 : GEAR Fighter Dendoh

(38 episodes)

What’s it about ?

More mecha from Sunrise ! Here it’s the more oldschool kind (that looks a bit like sentai without the costumes), clearly targeted for children. You can tell by the obvious product placement.


Hokuto, our generic kid protagonist, whose family has just moved into the city. Decent book-smarts.

Ginga, another kid he meets later on, does lots of martial arts training. It’s mild irritation at first sight, so of course when the nasty giant robot aliens attack, they have to pair up to pilot the Earth Defense Force’s own new mecha. In a synchronised fashion, of course.

Susumu, the official pilot for said mecha, is very confused : who are those kids and how could they even enter the cockpit ? And why is the mecha now denying him entry, despite him having trained for this for years ?

The mysterious masked woman who seems to be the field commander has no such qualms : she artfully manoeuvres the kids into defeating the Alien Mecha of the Week. (Too bad the aliens aren’t moron and immediately send tons of footsoldiers at once.) … And come on, even without recognizing Kotono Mitsuishi’s voice, she’s obviously Hokuto’s mom with a blonde wig and a fancy visor.

Production Values

Nice enough for this kind of thing ; although there’s a clear emphasis of how cool those programmable remotes for mecha are (despite the kids using them, you know, INSIDE the mecha…).

Overall Impression

Well, that was quite fun. I don’t really care enough for the characters and the toyetic aspects enough to really watch the show, but Sunrise know their stuff and how to spin a decently entertaining series out of a generic premise through sheer enthusiasm alone.

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

#36 : Vandread

(13 episodes, + 13 for the second half a year later)

What’s it about ?

Space opera. With a literal war of the sexes ! For a few generations there’s been a complete separation between the Male Empire and its female counterpart, with enough hysterical propaganda to keep the war going for a while.


Hibiki, our protagonist. A third-class citizen in the Male Empire, his job involves building parts for mecha. He made the foolhardy bet with his co-workers/bullies that he could steal a completed and brand new mecha from the cargo hold of the warship about to join the front ; and he might have gotten away with it if the jingoistic commander-in-chief hadn’t ordered a launch two hours ahead of schedule. On the other hand, he’s resourceful enough for an attack of the female forces on the ship to be enough to spring himself out of the brig. (Into a warship full of female shock troops easily overpowering the taken-by-surprise male crew, but them’s the breaks.)

Other noteworthy members of the crew include the cowardly heir of the Food Company (more interested in shilling his crap than acting like a real soldier), and a tall loner who makes a point of peacefully engaging their captors (“I’m a doctor”) and looks like he’s got an agenda.

Dita is a pilot amongst the female forces who crashes her fighter halfway into the starship (oops). She then runs into Hibiki, whom she seems to be trying to catch as a pet. (The language barrier seems a bit inconsistent ; those two clearly don’t understand each other, and only a few elite female soldiers can decypher male script ; on the other hand, the female troops don’t seem to have too much trouble handling their prisoners…)

And then the male commander-in-chief triggers the warship’s self-destruction (from the half of it that safely detached itself) ; most of the female forces manage to evacuate in time, but Hibiki, Dita and a couple of her teammates get sucked into a space wedgie…

Production Values

Fairly impressive. The CG integration looks a bit clunky nowadays, but it isn’t too distracting, and the traditional animation shows off some good cartooning skills, with tons of little gags always happening in the background.

It’s thus a bit disappointing that, under their entirely sensible and suitably alien-looking spacesuits, the female soldiers wear weirdly fan-servicey clothes.

Overall Impression

Wow. This is a dense first episode, introducing its premise and a good number of characters while still moving the plot along at a brisk pace ; it’s also packed to the gills with world-building. (For example, there’s a throwaway line between male extras that suggests they can somehow have children together ; this is a stark contrast with the female “let’s capture some dudes” tactics, which itself is clearly at odds with the Male Empire’s propaganda that demonizes females so much I can’t see it having the same needs. There’s just so much implied about this universe’s bizarre politics in all this, I’m really curious.)

As a result, the episode sometimes devolves into montage, such as this curious scene where the screens behind Hibiki broadcast a flashback of his as he’s busy infiltrating the warship. It feels like something from a Shinbo anime, symbolic and weirdly surreal… and hey, if it helps making the exposition more fun and visually interesting, I’m all for this kind of thing. You just go along with it ; it’s not as though the show is particularly realistic anyway. I get the impression it’s something of an indictment of modern Japanese jingoistic politics… because like all good S-F, it’s more interested in commenting on the present than predicting the future.

As you can probably guess, I found this lovely. It’s not flawless, but there’s enough going on here to keep me enthalled. And, you know, it’s very funny indeed.

Source: [In Which I Review] Anime series from 2000 – Page 10

#32 : Brigadoon : Marin & Melan

(26 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Hey, it’s Sunrise making another flavour of mecha anime ! How surprising ! (Here’s, it’s a crossover with the mons genre.)


Marin, our protagonist, is a very energetic and cheerful middle-schooler. Also, an orphan, living with her grandma and helping out the finances by working part-time jobs such as delivering newspapers. With a bit of collateral damage, or course.

I could do without so much screentime being spent on the “joke” of bullies lifting up her skirt and embarrassing her. (It’s as unsexy as possible, but still.) But apparently it’s plot relevant, as a giant spaceship then starts blocking the skies, and a killer robot makes a beeline for her. Cue long chase scene.

Melan is another robot she activates accidentally (its small “at rest” form was hidden in a shrine she crashed into) ; it’s very polite and effortlessly destroyed the attacker. And he’ll be sticking around, as the next-episode preview promises more evil robots showing up in a quick succession.

Production Values

Quite good, and very colourful. Some unusual shading work, too, as we get spots of white to show off light instead of darker shades. It’s a bright series. And of course you can always rely on Sunrise to make mecha look good.

Overall Impression

Hum. On the one hand, there are many lovely bits of cartooning here. It showcases two different bike chase-scenes, and yet they never get repetitive nor boring.

The problem is that Marin leaves me entirely cold. I find her perpetual cheerfulness more annoying than endearing. So a whole series of her and her pet mecha fighting drones with little personality isn’t a prospect I find particularly attractive.

I’m probably just a bit too old for this.

Source: [In Which I Review] Anime series from 2000 – Page 9

#19 : Sakura Wars (Sakura Taisen)

(25 episodes + tons of OAV spin-offs)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of (a series of) videogames, part tactical-RPG, part dating sim. It’s set in an alternate version of 1920s Japan that has gone in a decidedly steampunk route.


Sakura, our protagonist, is a country bumpkin and a new recruit to the Imperial Floral Division, part of the forces defending the capital against… some offscreen “evil” forces we have no real exposure to yet. Sure, she’s clumsy and has trouble following instructions, but she compensates it with overenthusiasm (which often gets her into more trouble). But she’s completely nonplussed when she arrives at the rendezvous point : why do headquarters look like a theatre ? Why are her new teammates performing a play ? (That she proceeds to make a mess out of, of course.)

Said teammates :
– Maria, the taciturn one who thinks the newbie won’t cut it and thus won’t bother talking to her
– Iris, the creepy kid who talks to her teddybear
– Sumire, the “star” who takes personal offense at Sakura’s bumbling (which gets worse as she tries to apologize)
aren’t very welcoming, to be polite. While they may be overreacting, you can see their points.

The brass, on the other hand, are delighted by Sakura’s arrival. Sure, there might be some initial problems, but she’s from a famous and powerful lineage, we need her… Oh dear gods her aura’s so powerful it made the mecha in the basement randomly activate, traumatizing her. (And of course it’s Sumire‘s mecha that gets trashed.)

I think there are more members due to join the team soon, given the OP & ED sequences.

Production Values

This looks quite good indeed : nice animation, and lots of attention to detail to sketch out this past Tokyo with some good verisimilitude.

Overall Impression

Well, I didn’t expect this : a non-standard setting, with a very weird setup that leaves me more intrigued than frustrated by the lack of explanation for it. The characters are sketched enough not to be annoying, and it does have the budget to support its ambition.

I want to know what’s going on here, and to watch more of this. Mission accomplished, then : I’ll pretty sure I’ll come back to this series later this year.

Source: [In Which I Review] Anime series from 2000 – Page 4

#18 : Transformers: Robots in Disguise (Transformers: Car Robots)

(39 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Do I really need to give an overview of the Transformers franchise ?

As far as this series goes, it’s a complete re-imagining of the concept, divorced from any of the previous animated series ; it got retooled a bit for the US broadcast in 2001. And that is what I’m watching, as I couldn’t find the version that went on Japanese airwaves.


Megatron, leader of the Predacons (no, not the Decepticons) is an EVIL tyrant from space who wants to conquer Earth and drain its energy. Oh, and he’s a transforming machine, of course.

Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots, is here to show that not all transforming machines are evil ! They’ll fight Megatron and his henchmachines ! (The fact that not only have they infiltrated Earth, disguised as common vehicles, but also set up a secret network of tunnels that allow them to go anywhere in the world, is not creepy at all.)

Dr Onishi is the leading human authority on energy (and archaeology, because one needs hobby) ; he attends some world conference in the US and gets targeted by Megatron. Being a good man, he refuses to cooperate.

Koji, his son, is obviously distressed seeing his dad being captured on live TV. (Er, why are you calling his cell ? And how the heck is he answering ? Is Megatron patiently waiting while the professor takes the call ?) I have no clue why Megatron goes to the trouble of retrieving the kid in Japan and bringing him to the attack’s location, as he’s worse than useless.

Production Values

Decent enough ; I presume the weird background music and the clunky CG transitions were added for the US version, as they don’t fit well.

Overall Impression

… Why does the English dub sounds like it’s voiced by LittleKuriboh ?

Seriously, this is full of terrible acting, always on the verge of underlining on the plot holes, but not enough for it to feel deliberate. And dear gods, are there many plot holes indeed ; it’s hard to take what’s happening seriously.

I have better things to do than spend hours mock-watching this crap, however unintentionally hilarious it might be.

Source: [In Which I Review] Anime series from 2000 – Page 4

#13 : Platinumhugen Ordian (Ginsoukikou Ordian)

(24 episodes)

What’s it about ?



Yuu, our protagonist, is a highschool dropout who’s involved in… gangs ? low-grade terrorist groups ? Between the obtuse exposition and the crap subtitles on my version, it’s hard to tell. (It’s mostly offscreen.) Anyway, he’s aimless and wondering what those strange flashbacks about piloting mecha mean.

Ryo, his “best friend”, has noticed this and invited him into INO, the big military organization around (and the only one to have those top-grade mecha). He’s a squad leader there, but a complete maverick who regularly gets disciplined. To say nothing of hanging around with terrorists on his paid leave, or putting his civilian pal into his mecha’s cockpit for a training exercise. I mean, sure, Yuu does have the skills (somehow), but…

Nanna, a random bridge bunny in INO who happens to be a childhood friend of Yuu’s, and on whom he stumbles as Ryo gives him the tour.

A white-haired dude who ticks all the “rival” checkboxes, including the opening flashforward where he’s in an intense mecha battle against Yuu.

Production Values

Decent enough, but the art director really likes his darkness and chiaroscuro. Good for mood, bad for storytelling clarity.

There are occasional bursts of fanservice, including booth babes for a mecha expo (briefly mentioned on the news) and the all-naked ED sequence.

Overall Impression

I have no clue what is going on here.

I’m serious. This is an atrocious failure at world-building. INO seems to exist into a bubble detached from the world surrounding it… which itself isn’t even sketched out. What are the other powers at play ? Who is INO fighting against, to have so much weaponry on hand ? How’s “normal” society outside it going ? What’s that group Yuu & Ryo were involved in ? Does anyone have any family ? Fuck if I know. And that’s before going into the show’s official mysteries, such as Yuu’s mecha proficiency and white-hair’s agenda.

Show, you have to give me something to get invested in you. Your characters are too busy talking in riddles to get a good handle on, and the stakes remain thoroughly obscure. Even if there’s a big surprise shake-up down the line, you needed to establish some ground rules much faster than this to carry the show in the meantime. It really feels like you learned all the wrong lessons out of Eva.

This is way too frustrating for me to keep watching, even without accounting for my desire to punch the fansubbers for getting every third sentence wrong.

Source: [In Which I Review] Anime series from 2000 – Page 3

#02 : Candidate for Goddess (Megami Kouhosei)

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Unfortunately, the protagonist isn’t actually a candidate to become a deity ; that would just be too interesting. This is is instead a run-of-the-mill space opera show, where the mecha are called “Goddesses”.

Adapted from a manga series. In typical fashion, I’m told the anime ends on a cliffhanger and never resolves the plot.


In the Star Year 4084, the only thing preventing the annihilation of humanity at the hands (?) of the Victim (sic) is a 5-strong team of mecha defending our last planet. Unfortunately, while the current pilots are quite good at it, it’s acknowledged that they won’t last long due to the toll the task entails on their bodies, and so the system needs a constant input of fresh bodies.

Said five current pilots don’t get the occasion to rise above their archetypes : the casanova hounding the one girl of the team (who’s said to be by far the best of them), the nearly-mute one, the philosopher, and the jerkass. They’re all teenagers despite being veteran fighters, because of course.

Zero, our protagonist, is one of the candidates to replace them eventually. He’s lucky one of the main requirements is some genetic predisposition, as it’s certainly not his brains that qualified him. Nor his personality, as he’s more than a bit of an obnoxious twat. As these things happens, he immediately gets lost in the training facility and stumbles into the mecha hold… and then into the first cockpit on sight. Totally an accident, seriously, he’s just THAT clumsy. (Also, sick in zero-gravity.)

There is some suggestion that the Goddesses are somewhat sentient, with this one explicitly leading him to itself (and allowing him to bypass security). The process of synchronisation doesn’t look too pleasant, even accounting for the fact he’s not the official pilot.

Also seen early on are a few other teenagers who are obviously other Candidates : the sullen dude who takes every word as a personal insult, and the guy in glasses who speaks only in exposition. But then, that seems to be a plague affecting everyone in this world, from the jaded instructor who’s seen too many youngsters put to the grinder, or the mysterious figures in shadow running the show.

The OP/ED sequences showcase a much larger supporting cast, with the suggestion that each pilot gets a thematically-appropriate technician partner.

Production Values

The mecha and spaceship scenes might have been the cutting edge of CG work at the time (I have my doubts), but they certainly look clunky and dated by now. And they jar quite a bit with the pedestrian character designs and animation that make up the bulk of the show.

Overall Impression

This was a dreadfully unpromising first episode. (Technically “Curriculum 00”, but seriously now.) It accumulates the mecha & S-F clichés at… well, not great speed, as the constant exposition makes it look even more uneventful than it actually is. None of the characters shown so far are much likeable, and certainly not our protagonist.

There’s literally nothing here that’d make me come back for a second episode : it just feels uninspired through and through.

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

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.