World Trigger

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a sentai-ish shonen manga series.

The plot involves invaders from another dimension (mostly giant monsters) wreaking havoc in town until the Border organization shows up out of nowhere to contain the threat, through their “Trigger” powers.


Mikumo, our point-of-view character, is an ordinary and slightly nerdish middle-school kid. He does have enough charisma (or so the script claims) to intimidate the bullies, and he makes a point of going out of his way to help the weak out. (Not that this always works out well for him.) Anyway, he’s on the lookout for any Border activity.

Kuga is a weird transfer student (who even transfers into such a disaster zone ?) who barely makes any attempt to hide his Trigger powers. (They’re linked to his “ring” helper who offers constant discreet help.) The big obvious twist is that he has no direct link to Border ; he comes from the other dimension !

The OP sequence heavily features two other kids : an older dude and Border agent who briefly shows up early on and leaves a big impression on Mikumo, and a girl in another class. Presumably the four of them are going to team up.

Production Values

Quite good-looking indeed ; the battle scenes are clear and fun to look at. Also, the constant succession of Kuga’s funny faces is a hoot.

The Kenji Kawai scores does a lot to give the show some well-needed atmosphere.

Overall Impression

That’s much better than I expected. It’s got some clever writing, as well as a rare narrative infodump that actually works and doesn’t overstay its welcome. The characters’ interplay is already fun, despite half of them barely being around.

I’m not sure how long it can keep the momentum up, but so far, so good. Looks like a fun ride.

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

Rowdy Sumo Wrestler Matsutaro!! (Abarenbou Rikishi!! Matsutarou)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a sumo wrestling manga that started in the 70s and ended more than 10 years ago. I have no clue why anyone would greenlight such a thing (transforming it into a de-facto period piece, set decades ago), but there you have it.


Matsutaro, our protagonist. Despite being an adult, he’s still in middle school. And failing it badly. He bullies everyone else in his class, including the teachers. Let’s not mince words : he’s a complete asshole.

His mother is busy offscreen, working many jobs to bring some food back to her numerous children. Matsutarou bullies them too, even stealing candy from the baby’s hand because the big oaf is that hungry.

Old man Nishio seems to be his only “friend” ; Matsutaro even helps him out working at his little mine, showcasing his immense strength. Unfortunately, the mountain is getting razed down, so he’ll soon be out of a job.

Any amount of sympathy I might have left for the little big scamp goes right out the window after the two steal a truck, get drunk, and kidnap the pretty teacher at his school. It’s quite satisfying to see them in jail at the end of the episode, because seriously.

Production Values

Barely animated and with terribly oldschool character designs, but then that’s pretty much the only approach you can take with such source material.

Overall Impression

If you’re wondering what any of this has to do with sumo wrestling, well, yeah. I can only presume that he’s eventually going to start that career and set himself on the straight and narrow, but fuck it : this episode has made a very good job of unselling me out of following his adventures. That the teacher is somehow going to follow him to the big city and become his love interest (if the OP & ED sequences are any indication) only adds insult to the injury.

No way I’m watching any more of this.

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

Majin Bone

What’s it about ?

Generic kids’ tokusatsu show, tying in with a card game.


Shogo, our generic teenage protagonist. His most prominent character trait is that he really likes reading his porn mags, because teenager. Aside from that, he’s completely nondescript, for perfect audience identification.

He’s got a decently-sized supporting cast, with a generic bossy father, a generic sarcastic older sister, a generic childhood friend who’s obviously attracted to him, and her generic mother. Also, her generic dog.

The plot involves “meteorites” falling onto Earth, but those are actually baddies (?) in techsuits. One of them happens to fall in childhood friend’s backyard, kicking off the plot : after touching it, Shogo is shocked to learn he can swap into a techsuit too !

There are three mysterious dudes hanging around in the margins, fighting some of meteorites when nobody’s looking. They seem quite interested by Shogo becoming a potential ally.

Production Values

Quite good, overall. Unfortunately, while the action sequences are well-animated, the samey character designs for both sides of techsuits make it impossible for me to tell what’s going on in them.

Overall Impression

BO-RING. It’s an average Tuesday Morning Cartoon, and there’s absolutely nothing to make it stand out from the pack. It’s not particularly bad, but I can’t see myself returning for a second episode. It’s not like I had any enthusiasm for writing this review.

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

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.

Fall 2013 capsules

Miss Monochrome has a bizarre genesis. This is a virtual idol character, a bit like Hatsune Miku… except she’s voiced by proper idol/VA Yui Horie (with some mighty autotune, if the end song is any indication). Anyway, this is a series of 4-minute shorts starring the character, trying to become an idol.
The good news is that, after a bit of a dull start, it manages to place some good deadpan jokes. It’s genuinely funny, which is more than I expected of such a gimmick show.

On the other hand, I can’t make head nor tails out of Super Seishyun Brothers, another series of 4-minute shorts starring (unlike the title suggests) two brother-sister pairs. It actually started airing a couple of weeks ago, but I was (unsuccessfully) waiting for a second episode to get translated to get a better feel of it.
So far, it’s a gag show that barely raises a smile at all. It utterly failed to make it clear whether there’s any premise beyond “here are four character with outlandish (but generic) personalities.” I’m giving it a second episode just in case, but it looks completely skippable.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2013 – Page 4.

Hey, there are still more new shows getting released !

Admittedly, that means the like of Gaist Crusher : a kids’ sentai show adapted from some collectible card game. It’s the blandest and most generic piece of crap I have watched for a long time, which is saying something. From off-the-shelf one-dimensional characters to nearly absent world-building (what are the heroes even fighting ?) to character designs that would have been rejected by any self-respecting Saint Seiya clone… There’s absolutely nothing to recommend in this, and no way I’m bothering with a full review for it.

(That I watched this with terrible subtitles that seem to have gone through several languages before reaching English probably didn’t help. But even a decent translation can’t save this show.)

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2013 – Page 14.

Ace of Diamond

What’s it about ?

High-school baseball.


Eijun, our protagonist, is still technically in his last year of middle school, but he’s already being scouted Seidou High School, a Tokyo school that’s been recruiting the most promising baseball players all over the country. Since he sucks at exams and his violent outburst during his team’s final match is bound to get him blacklisted from most high schools, it’s not like he has many other options ; his family can’t believe his luck. But since he’s an arrogant little fuck who really needs to be taken a peg or two down, he’s still looking this gift horse in the mouth.

Miss Takashima, the Seidou recruiter, is plenty weird herself. Under her outward appearance of professionalism, she has a core determination to recruit someone she sees as a prodigy, and won’t take no for an answer. Since this is a shounen sports series, she’s most probably right.

Azuma, Seidou’s star batter, rubs Eijun the wrong way when our hero (?) comes visiting a training session (at Miss Takashima’s insistance). You can see his point, as the guy is a massive asshole who bullies his younger pitchers. Cue showdown after Eijun calls him on his bullshit (and throws in some fat jokes, for good measure).

Miyuki, one of the younger catchers, volunteers to catch Eijun’s balls against Azuma, because he finds the new loudmouth interesting (and he’s not afraid of challenging the bully). You can clearly see the cool-rebel-who’s-not-actually-a-rebel checkboxes being ticked.

Eijun’s pals at his middle school (including his not-girlfriend) get quite some screentime, but if the OP sequence is any indication, both he and the show will quickly forget about them, however much he may be protesting he wants to stay with them and not move to Tokyo. Yeah, right.

Production Values

It’s a shounen sports series that’s probably going to run forever : of course it doesn’t look to great, even in this showcase first episode.

Overall Impression

Darn, baseball. Must not fall asleep watching the most boring sports ever… Oh, wait, they hardly play any baseball in this, instead focusing on the melodrama. Fine by me.

This show must be doing something right. I originally had no interest in watching any of it beyond the token preview, but it hooked me enough to make me want to check out next episode’s resolution to the showdown. Admittedly, most of the suspense resides on whether Eijun is worth the hype (something even he doesn’t really believe) ; while crushing Azuma would certainly be satisfying in the short term, I don’t think this is where the series is really going. At least, I hope so, as Eijun is such an irritating little git that I wouldn’t be able to stand everything going his way just because he’s that good. (Also, it’s going to be quite hard to properly justify him moving to Tokyo and leaving all his friends behind.)

You get one more episode. Don’t waste it.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2013 – Page 9.

Chousoku Henkei Gyrozetter

What’s it about ?

Sentai show with cool transforming cars.


Kakeru, our hotblooded young protagonist. Since this is The Future, all the cars come with an AI, which explains how he’s now getting his license despite being 14 at best. He’d probably have gotten it earlier if he wasn’t pissing off his teachers with his acrobatic (but perfectly mastered) driving. Anyway, the people in charge (pulling double duty as both school officials and members of the secret organisation that saves the world) have found a Rosetta-like stone prophetizing he’s the chosen one, and so give him a car that transforms into a giant robot so that he can fight off the baddies with it.

Rinne, his totally-girlfriend, is already an assistant teacher for driving classes despite not looking any older. (Her student looks 10 at most.) Also, did I mention she’s driving a Prius (c) (r) ™ ? She spends a good chunk of the episode in distress mode (mostly because she’s not at the wheel when the villains attack), but she gets her own transforming car/robot in the second episode.

In pure sentai tradition, the OP/ED show that the team is eventually going to be five-strong, with the fat-comic-relief, the stand-offish rival and the other girl presumably joining us soon.

Also in this episode : an over-enthusiastic TV reporter who spends all his screentime shouting exposition at us or telling us how awesome the action is.

Production Values

Very nice : there’s way enough budget to sell the action sequences, whether the car chase scenes or the giant-robot fights. It’s obviously a toyetic tie-in to something, but at least they’re not half-assing it.

I have to admit I laughed out loud at the ED sequence taking the piss out of the current trend of CG dancing sequences.

What did I think of it ?

This is actually quite fun. It’s a nearly complete checklist of every single sentai cliché ever, but played with enough enthusiasm and energy to be watchable. (Although Jouji Nakata can’t pull off his “gung-ho old scientist” role to save his life.) Let’s be clear : despite not displaying a single original idea, this isn’t a “so bad it’s good” show ; it’s enjoyable unironically. There’s a reason those clichés were used in the first place, after all.

In less busy a season, I could have seen myself sticking with it in the long run ; as it is, I don’t think I’ll be watching beyond episode 2. Still, nice try.

via [In which I review] New anime, Fall 2012 – Page 10.

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic

What’s it about ?

A fresh take on the Arabian Nights.


Alibaba is our point-of-view character through most of the episode. At this stage, he’s a snivelling coward barely ekking out a living. (Yuuki Kaji should voice more snivelling cowards, as he’s very good at it.) Still, he’s got some shreds of decency left under the smarm.

One day he meets Aladdin, a strange kid who was eating his merchandise. Kiddo’s got an awesome flute that summons a giant powerful djinn, but he only uses it when Alibaba shows some spine and does the right thing.

Our villain of the week is Budel, a generic evil merchant and slaver Alibaba is initially working his debts off for. Of more interest is his boss Jamil, who exudes more charisma in a single minute of screentime than his underling over the whole episode. Presumably he’s going to be important.

There’s also a redhead slave that our heroes make token efforts to break free throughout the episode. In a dark bit that I hope is intentional, they completely forget about her at the end as they ride towards the sunset.

The overall plot involves “Dungeons”, big inexplicable towers full of traps and treasure that are sprinkled all over the place. Aladdin found his flute in one of them, and wants to “free” more of those djinn containers. Alibaba’s perfectly happy to tag along with the kid, because treasure ! (And it’s probably safer to stay with the kid who managed to successfully infiltrate one of those.)

Production Values

I’m not too keen on the way our heroes’ face contort round when the show goes for comedy, but it can’t be denied that it’s not afraid to use distinctive character designs.

What did I think of it ?

This is fun. It takes a while to hit its stride, but there are some nice gags, the stakes are reasonably high, and Aladdin’s use of his deus-ex-machina djinn feels appropriate enough.

I’m game for more.

via [In which I review] New anime, Fall 2012 – Page 5.

Explore Driland (Tanken Driland)

What’s it about ?

Dungeon crawler fantasy anime. Adapted from a mobile phone RPG.


Mikoto, princess of the Elua kingdom, who is set to rule it when she comes of age (her parents are already dead), but couldn’t care less. What she wants is to explore the wider world and fight stuff, like any good RPG protagonist. She’s definitely Level 1 material, though.

Bonny, an experienced adventurer who mentors Mikoto on the sly whenever she’s passing through the country. Basically the tutorial NPC, given how high-level she looks.

Wallens, Mikoto’s long-suffering bodyguard (“She’s gone off to wander on her own into a dangerous cave AGAIN ?”). Since this episode is the first time she really gets into actual trouble, she gets to see his l33t hand-to-hand fighting skills for the first time.

The OP/ED show two more dudes in the party, but that’s presumably for further episodes.

Production Values

Bright and shiny colours, with all characters drawn in super-deformed character designs that make their age hard to determine. On the whole, it mostly works, and the fighting scenes are well choreographed.

Overall Impression

I was surprised to see this isn’t a kids’ show (it airs at 11:30pm), because it certainly looks like one. It’s perfectly inoffensive but very generic indeed. The main characters barely deviate from their well-worn archetypes at all, and there’s no twist whatsoever to the fantasy RPG formula.

I’ll pass, thank you.

via [In which I review] New anime, Summer 2012 – Page 11.

Spring 2012 capsules

Naruto SD – Rock Lee & His Ninja Friends was better than I expected. It’s thoroughly accessible, providing enough exposition about the setting (“teams of apprentice ninjas get various tasks to perform as part of their training”), the main character’ shtick (“Rock Lee is an apprentice ninja who can’t do any ninjutsu”) or whatever guest star happens to be passing (such as what Naruto can do). For someone like me who barely knows anything about the Naruto universe, this was very welcome.

Now, is this actually worth watching ? Let’s not get carried away. It’s mildly funny, but some of the running gags were getting tired even before the end of the second of the two skits in this episode. (Even Tenten herself is getting bored of always going “there’s no way anyone’s going to fall for Lee’s incredibly stupid plan… wait, it worked ?”) Also, the first skit relies heavily on poo jokes.

One episode was enough for me.

I was pleasantly surprised by Here Comes the Black Witch! (Kuromajo-san ga Toru!!). I’m not a big fan of anime in short formats, but this is a longer one (7 minutes), and properly paced for it. The premise is simple enough (middle-school occult fangirl invokes a demon by mistake, who’s going to teach her how to become a Witch whether she wants it or not), but it manages to get some good jokes out of it (our heroine MUST clean her room everyday… because leaving any hair or skin behind makes malicious voodoo body control possible).

This looks like a fun little gag show (and it’s not like this season promises many of these). I’m willing to give it at least a few more episodes to see whether it stays funny.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2012 – Page 5.

Some thoughts on more short series I won’t be making full reviews of :

Gakkatsu (“Homeroom”) is very bizarre indeed. The abrasive class rep organizes a debate about some inane topic (today : “what’s the name of that bump on your arm that’s equivalent to the ankle ?”), except she discards any argument she doesn’t like. It’s rapid-fire comedy building to an utterly stupid conclusion, but I’m not sure I actually find it funny. I’ll need a couple more episodes to decide.

Yurumates 3Dei has no 3D whatsoever, it’s just that there were two OVAs before this series ; fortunately, this looks like a fresh start. Unfortunately, this takes most of its three minutes to establish the premise (a condo house in the suburbs of Tokyo where former high school students go to prepare another go at college entrance exams ; there’sno privacy whatsoever and the place looks a bit run-down) and the characters don’t get much depth. I was vaguely interested in the subject matter, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be going anywhere interesting (and even Acchi Kocchi looks more satisfying as far as 4-panel gag manga adaptations go).

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2012 – Page 6.

Sequel watch !

As it turns out, I won’t be making a full review of Saki: Achiga-hen – Episode of Side-A. It’s more of the same from the original : cute girls with little personality playing mahjong as though it was calvinball. It makes a stab at building drama around the formation of an underdog club, but it falls flat due to the dullness of the writing. And that’s when it doesn’t just go for utter stupidity (actual dialogue : “wait, you’ve been cleaning this unused club room alone for two years on the vague hope we’d come back ?”). Also, given Saki‘s sluggish pace, I really doubt these people can get to the national level within 12 episodes.

Fate / Zero is back after three months’ break, and jumps straight back to where it left. Frankly, there’s no point in starting watching it now, you’ll want the 13 episodes of setup to have a hope in figuring out what’s going on.

Phi Brain S2 didn’t even take a week’s break, but it does go out of its way to reintroduce the supporting cast, the premise and the first season’s relevant events so that it can be a good jumping on point. Since the evil POG organization has been comprehensively dismantled by now, we’re getting a new set of villains to challenge the cast with more stupidly dangerous puzzles. Since they’re already more personality and charisma (hello, Hiroshi Kamiya and Tomokazu Sugita !) than the POG, I’m not complaining. This looks as fun as ever, so I’m in for the ride.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2012 – Page 7.

Okay, I’ll be using my “no reviews of sequels” escape clause and skip writing a full review of Eureka Seven Ao. Not because I was lost or anything (I didn’t see the original, but that’s no obstacle to understanding the gist of the plot here), but because the first episode bored me to sleep. Neither the flat characters, nor the rather generic events happening to them gave me any reason to care. Sure, it looks good, but I just found it very dull, and thus can’t summon any energy to cover it in any more detail.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2012 – Page 10.