Nobunaga Concerto

(12ish episodes ?)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of yet another manga where a random Japanese teenager travels to the past and switches places with Nobunaga Oda.


Saburou, our lead character. Not very bright, shallow, terrible at Japanese history (he vaguely remembers about this Nobunaga dude) : the perfect protagonist for this kind of story ! How he travels to the past is refreshingly unexplained (it just happens suddenly).

Nobunaga himself happens to be passing by, on the run from servants who want him to stay at home. Hey, random weird lookalike, want to take my place for a while ? I’ll give you this cool sword. Saburou’s all “hey, cool sword” (after a bit of “where’s the camera filming this, anyway ?”), but quickly realizes that Nobunaga’s early life was a bit prison-like, and wants to go home.

Kichou, Nobunaga’s wife. “Wait, he had a wife ? She’s cute !” And so Saburou decides to stay around a bit more. She’s all too happy from the attention, after him seemingly having forgotten all about her. (“I know it was an arranged marriage, but still…”)

Nobunaga’s servants are baffled by their master’s bizarre new behaviour, despite his renewed healthiness. Has he lost his mind ? One of them lets himself be convinced it’s better to just kill him off, but Saburou somehow manages to deflect this. And hey, he can’t die now ; this would totally wreck history and stuff ; after all, Nobunaga’s supposed to conquer Japan or something. The servants then marvel at their master’s “hidden ambitions”.

Noboyuki, Nobunaga’s younger brother, sees the occasion as his chance to get rid of him. After manipulating that servant failed, he tries something against Kichou… but it doesn’t work out ; he winds up being sent off to an asylum for his trouble.

From now on, Saburou is taking this a bit more seriously. He’s started reading his history book (although it’s way too imprecise to be of much use). Anyway, he’s going to try his best ; Nobunaga totally conquered Japan and lived happily after, right ? (Ahah, no. We even had the history lesson at the episode’s beginning reminding us how it’s supposed to end ; Saburou didn’t pay attention, as usual.)

Production Values

Cell-shaded CG characters everywhere ! You ever love it or hate it ; I think it works quite well, giving the anime a bit of an “historical painting come to life” look. It helps that the CG backgrounds are gorgeous. And there are some nifty stylistic touches here and there.

Overall Impression

For a premise so well-trodden, this is a surprising breath of fresh air. Part of it is that it’s played entirely straight by most characters, with the comedy resulting from the clash of cultures. But the real selling point here is the sheer charm of Mamoru Miyano’s performance, perfectly convincing as this little git way out of his depth. It’s impressive how you end up rooting for a character so punchable.

It’s fun, it’s charming, and it looks great. I didn’t expect to enjoy this at all, but it turns out I did. I’m in.

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

Spring 2014 capsules

So, first, a few worlds about Insufficient Direction (Kantoku Fuyuki Todoki), a series of Flash-based shorts adapting the autobiography of Hideaki Anno’s wife. If you think that sounds interesting, you’ll be disappointed by the final product. It’s the perfect example of a private joke taken too far. For one, there’s no actual explanation of the premise at any point in it ; I only discovered it later on when I did a bit of research to write this. For two, she’s inexplicably depicted as a toddler throughout. Since this first episode covers their marriage ceremony, that’s more than a bit disturbing. But the most damning flaw of this thing is that it doesn’t seem to have much more insight to offer than “otaku are weird and kinda creepy” ; the Director character could be just about anyone and it wouldn’t change a thing.

Don’t bother with it.

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


Mushishi is the same as it always was. Great mood piece, intriguing world-building, and nothing much for me to actually say about it. Well, except that this first episode is way less depressing than average.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders is a whole different kind of awesome. This is a textbook example of how to animate bigger-than-life characters. It seems to have gotten a budget upgrade too, which isn’t unwelcome. (Although really, part of the charm of the 2012 series is how they used colour and framing to compensate for the lack of animation.)

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

Because I certainly don’t want to spend any more time than strictly necessary covering the sea of mediocrity we got this Monday.

Hero Bank, Dragon Collection and Oreca Battle are all kids’ shows bases on videogames (respectively for the 3DS, a social network, and arcades). All three of them feature an annoying redhead kid and his bland friends, fighting stuff with their collectible assets. (Hero Bank sets up some sort of permanent VR tournament, while the other two are the old “transported to another world” gimmick.)

Hero Bank is the least watchable of the three, partly because it’s a full 22-minute show, but mostly because everyone is just so annoying.

Dragon Collection has a slightly less annoying protagonist, and his initial sense of wonder at being transported to a fantasy world is decently done, but the only reason it doesn’t overstay its welcome is that it’s only 11-minute long.

Oreca Battle at least seems to have fun with its weird monster design. (Flying octopi that rain tomatoes onto kids ? WTF ?) This one actually suffers from being a bit rushed at 11-minute-long, completely losing me with a journey to a fantasy world that seems to come from nowhere. Especially as it’s way less interesting than the “monsters come alive out of this card game and run wild into our world” premise it’d been initially setting up.

So, yeah. Three show I’m thrice too old to watch, and I won’t be bothering with.

The Comic Artist and Assistants (Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to) is a different deal altogether. Again it’s a shorter format (11-minute-long), but the similarities end there. It adapts a comedy 4-panel manga, and manages to fit four sketches in its first episode. As the title lays out, it follows the hijinks of a quirky manga author, his assistant, and his editor. (More characters presumably coming, according to the OP & ED ; aside from the manga author, they’re all female.)

The problem here is that this show’s only joke is that the manga author is a pervert who sexually harasses his colleagues. And then makes puppy eyes for them to forgive him. It’s endless variations about the same theme : he wants some reference of breasts being groped, he launches a debate about how much panties should be revealed, and he buys tons of female underwear, again for “reference”. (You can guess what kind of manga he draws.)

Yeah, no thanks. The joke is already tired by the episode’s end, I can’t bear anymore of it.

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

It’s almost painful to watch the slow demise of studio Gainax. With most of their key staff having gone off to the greener pastures of Khara and Trigger, it’s now reduced to a shadow of its own glory, taking any bizarre project that might get them some direly-needed sponsorship money. Remember when they did a short magical girl show that was a glorified (and impenetrable) ad for Subaru ?

Well, Magica Wars (Mahou Shoujo Taisen) is a similar project : a series of 26 shorts starring magical girls who represent the various prefectures of Japan. Not that the premise is obvious from the first episode, which showcases the not-very-funny slapstick hijinks of an incompetent magical girl chasing small blobs.

It doesn’t even have any kind of novelty value ; it’s just boring and pointless.

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

I’m not making a full review for Marvel Disk Wars : the Avengers, but I do want to note that it’s much better than I expected. Especially since it involves a bunch of kids using the titular disks to summon Avengers and fight bad guys. The chief reason the show manages to make that premise less terrible is to spend the first episode without it, instead devoting it to pure set-up. And it does a good job of selling this as a recognizable version of the Marvel Universe, with the Avengers behaving like they should throughout. The Disks are Stark Technology Gone Wrong ™, baddies try to steal them, the Avengers presumably get stuck in them next episode. And the kids are given plausible explanations for being around, which is a relief.

Let’s put it this way : I’m open to watching a second episode, which is more than I can say for just about any of the other marketing-driven kids’ shows this season.

Also, a few words about Inugami & Nekoyama, an adaptation of a 4-panel gag manga about a dog-like girl who likes cats, and a cat-like girl who likes dogs. That’s basically the whole joke, so it’s a good thing that it’s a series of 3-minute shorts. Sure, that’s a bit of a “stop-start” paced format, but the episode packs just enough content, and I’m not sure the source material could support a full-length adaptation anyway. As it stands, it’s perfectly pleasant to watch.

No full review for Escha & Logy’s Atelier either ; I fell asleep watching it and have no wish to try it again. It’s very boring indeed, with flat characters and a complete lack of any kind of narrative tension. You’d think a JRPG adaptation would have more punch, but no.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2014 – Page 7.

No Game No Life

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a series of light novels starring a pair of NEETs being transported to a world where everything’s a game. Yay !


Sora, one of the two players behind “Blank”, a team of characters overpowering everyone in MMORPGs. Are they cheating ? Well, yeah, probably. Also, they’re NEETs who never leave their room, and stay in a constant state of sleep deprivation. He’s the face of the pair, and does have some charisma as a sarcastic bastard.

Shiro, his little sister, is the other half of the team. She’s an analytical genius, who can do stuff like memorize all possible chess board patterns and casually beat any computer program at the game. They work best as a pair, though ; he knows better how to handle actual players.

Tet, a “god” who suddenly transports them to his game world. They’re in no hurry to leave, as it’s much better than that shitty game called reality.

Stephanie, the heir of the local kingdom… Oh, wait, the late king willed the crown to be given out in a tournament, so she has to win to claim her inheritance. It doesn’t help that she’s terrible at playing games, and her opponent is a first-class cheater. Sora gives her a piece of advice out of pity ; it seems like she didn’t act on it, as she’s left naked by the end of the episode.

Production Values

There’s a nice effect at play for the game world : all the outlines are now red, and the colours have become oversaturated. That’s a good way to sell the otherworldly setting.

Overall Impression

It took a while to get the hang of the main duo, but by the episode’s end it turned out that I quite liked them. They’re obviously close (but thankfully not in the wrong way), they have some decent banter, and the way the con their way up the social ladder within minutes of getting into the gameworld is quite fun.

I’ll give it another episode to see if it goes anywhere.

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

Kamigami no Asobi: Ludere deorum

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

An adaptation of a female-targeted visual novel, with a male harem to romance. You know the drill.

The hook here is that, aside from the player-insert protagonist, they’re all gods.


Yui, the stand-in for the audience. She’s from a shrine family, and good at fencing ; she stumbles on the plot while investigating the storeroom in the back, and touching the shiny glowing sword. She’s immediately transported to a parallel world.

Zeus is the one who organized all of this. He’s picked up a few gods from each of the struggling old pantheons, and Yui’s going to teach them about humanity. Why her ? Well, she found the sword. Let’s be honest, Zeus is a complete dick here.

So cue many prettyboy gods. Clueless Baldr and devious Loki. Angsty loner Hades and obviously-main-guy Appolon. And others. They all become a bit same-y after a while.

Production Values

Quite nice ; the flowery backgrounds as each god gets introduced might be a bit overkill, but they’re a staple of the genre, and I do get the impression we’re reaching self-parody.

The ED sequence dispels any doubts about this being anything else than an excuse to display juicy manflesh.

Overall Impression

This first episode is quite alright : it’s decently paced, it’s got a sense of humour about itself, and Yui has more of a clue and a backbone than average for her archetype.

But I have no confidence that this isn’t going to quickly devolve into standard harem hijinks, and I’m not the target audience anyway. I’ll pass.

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

Log Horizon

(25 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Players trapped in a MMORPG world. Which is on the verge of becoming its own subgenre.


Shiroe, our protagonist. Technically a mage, although his core role in the party is the strategist : the guy who keeps his cool, stays at the top fo things, and finds the best tactics for everyone. Which is a lot harder when you’re busy fighting monsters in the flesh and have trouble focusing on the menus.

Naotsugu, his mandatory perverted best friend. A fighter. Not too bright. The comic relief of the group. He’s damn happy to find his old pal : he hadn’t played the game for two years, and certainly wasn’t expecting this. (Not that anyone was expecting this, instead of the announced “update”.)

Akatsuki, the assassin. Unfortunately, while Shiroe just about gets by now having the body of a character a foot taller than he used to be, she just can’t deal now having a male body twice her former size. (Hey, it’s a fantasy game. You don’t have to play what you are.) The good news is that she remembered Shiroe had a (very rare) shape-changing potion that solves the problem. Since she insists on repaying him, they have her join their party. (She seems to be a hardcore roleplayer who takes the “lone ninja” thing seriously, however impractical that may be in these circumstances.)

Marielle, leader of the Crescent Moon Alliance. Cutesy and teasing… but clearly an old friend of Shiroe’s. They go and see her because of course networking for information is the thing to do at this point, but our heroes aren’t joining ; they don’t do guilds. (Cue talk of Shiroe leading the most badass non-guild group some time back, before they disbanded.)

They’re some dude with the head of a cat lurking in the shadows. Presumably he’s important.

Production Values

Not bad, although we’re far from the highest budget in the season.

The OP features some mightily old-school rapping. You’ve been warned.

Overall Impression

Let’s start with the elephant in the room : how does this compare to Sword Art Online ? Well, of course it looks nowhere as good. But it already feels like a better show on all other levels : it takes more time to explore the novelty of the setting, and gets some good jokes out of it. It’s got decent comedic pacing. The characters have more personality and charisma, and the leads already have some good chemistry. And it doesn’t look like it’s going to feature any of the creepy NTR that made that other show so painful to watch.

Now, let’s be clear : this isn’t a masterpiece. But it’s a perfectly pleasant show, and that’s all I’m asking from it.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2013 – Page 6.

Outbreak Company

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

The ultimate otaku-pandering fantasy.


Shinichi, our protagonist, is your stereotypical otaku, including all the nastier aspects (the lewd proclivities lurking behind the Nice Guy façade, the lolicon tastes, the tendacy to spout cliché quotes, the inability to have normal social interactions for more than a token amount of time…). One day, he finds an ad for an otaku-targeted job, including a 200-step otaku-culture quizz, and can’t believe his luck.

Mr Matoba, the interviewer, is all sugar but quite evasive about what the job actually is about. Well, at least until he drugs Shinichi’s coffee and has him transported to a high-fantasy world. Which the JSDF has found recently and is trying to establish good relations with. This includes setting up an otaku-culture export company, as apparently that’s what the locals are most interested in. Unfortunately, somehow previous attempts by government representatives have failed, which is where Shinichi comes in : he’s to be the new manager of this company.

Myusel, the half-elf maid, is one of the perks of the job. She fits just about every stereotype you’d expect : submissive, shy, a bit clumsy… Frankly, it’s all a bit awkward.

Koganuma is a deadpan JSDF soldier who’s there to make sure he doesn’t get into too much trouble, and provide some more exposition. (Include the fact she’s a F-cup.)

Eldant III, ruler of the kingdom, summons our protagonist the very next day, which is frankly a bit too early in his acclimatisation process. So of course he immediately perpetrates the blunder of calling her a “little girl” to her face. She’ll have you know she’s 16, for starters. (Also, there are hundreds of her knights in the room. Oops.)

Production Values

Perfectly okay. The character designs (as well as the setting as a whole) is more than a bit on the generic side, but then that’s the point.

Overall Impression

I’m conflicted about this one. On the one hand, it does have a good central joke at its center, and makes a good job of following through on it. It’s a very silly premise, but there’s certainly been some thought applied to make it work ; Matoba & Koganuma make it clear that this is a dangerous situation that could go wrong horribly quickly. They’re taking it very seriously, and humouring Shinichi’s quirks when they’re inoffensive enough. It’s relatively well-paced, and it’s got some good jokes.

On the other hand, this is still a massive bit of otaku-pandering, with a very annoying main character. (It could do without Myusel, too.) It kinda rubs me the wrong way, to be honest.

There’s a good chance I’ll give up on this very quickly.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2013 – Page 6.

Arata Kangatari

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Fantasy show with a protagonist displaced from our world.


Arata is the last heir of his clan, which is a bit of a problem since they were supposed to produce a female heir to replace the current Queen, who’s been reigning for 60 years (the clan already missed the original deadline 30 years ago). Their zany plan is to send him in drag to buy time for a few days while they find a suitable replacement. The problem is that the Queen’s 12 super-bodyguards murder her right in front of him as they stage a coup. He barely escapes alive, but he’s now a wanted “murderer”, as the bodyguards use him as a fall guy.

Arata is a random high-schooler who suffers from a particularly bad case of bullying. His middle school nemesis is carrying on as always, the one friend he thought he’d made is quick to deny any actual friendship, and he just wants to be gone from this world.

He gets his wish, as the two Aratas get switched up somehow. (It seems this kind of thing routinely happens in the cursed forest fantasy!Arata had taken refuge in.) Despite modern!Arata still being depicted in his school uniform, everyone seems to see him as fantasy!Arata, and just think he’s gone mad and/or lost his memory. While he’s not particularly thrilled about this development, he clearly sees the bodyguards attacking the clan for the bullies they are, and stands up against them. Fortunately for what would otherwise be a very short story, he can use the ancestral clan weapon that’s lying around…

Production Values

Sharp contrast between the colourful fantasy world (even the Queen’s blood looks shiny !) and the brown-ish modern world. Which works very well. It helps that the animation’s quite nice and does some good work on the details and facial expressions.

Overall Impression

This is actually quite fun. There are some gaping holes in the plot (what were the clan hoping to accomplish in three days that they couldn’t do in the last 30 years ?), and the transitions between the two worlds are far from smooth ; but once the switch happens it all makes sense : the potentially annoying bullied Arata is actually quite more interesting when his issues get imported into the (much more fun) fantasy setting.

I’m actually interested in watching a second episode of this to see where it’s going, which is more than what I thought at the start of the episode. Mission accomplished ?

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2013 – Page 10.

Problem Children Are Coming From Another World, Aren’t They? (Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo?)

(10 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Super-powered teens are whisked away to a parallel world devoted to gambling.

Adapted from light novels, as you can guess from the ridiculously plain and long title.


All three main characters share the same personality : full of themselves and sarcastic. They are quite clever, but they never stop letting us now it. Anyway, there’s Izayoi, generic loner antihero with telekinetic powers, who does stuff like begrudgingly “saving” guys being bullied by stereotypical delinquants ; Asuka, authoritarian upper-class snob with hypnosis powers ; and You, a “friend to all animals” who can talk with them.

They’re suddenly transported to another world by the Black Rabbit (actually a busty human-rabbit hybrid), who claims to have done that because they’re elite and deserve to participate in those high-stakes, high-reward gambles. Obviously she’s got ulterior motives, and as they’re smarter than her they’re quick to call her on it. (They do agree to participate, as they’re hopelessly bored by their regular life and this sounds slightly more interesting.)

The gambling world is populated by tons of hybrid races, some of them with superpowers.

Production Values

This looks very cheap, with generic character designs and even more generic fanservice. The OP playing at the end is quite well put together, though.

Overall Impression

This actually ain’t as bad as I originally feared after the uninspired “real world” initial scenes and the introduction of the Black Rabbit (who’s a face-palm-inducing character on every regard), mostly because of the strength of the three leads’ personality. Admittedly they all share the same one, but I liked how they take no shit from the Black Rabbit and cheat like crazy at her game after carefully listening to the rules.

I’m mildly curious on where this is going, and willing to give it one more episode.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2013 – Page 8.

Ixion Saga: Dimensional Transfer

(24 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Loser gamer is somehow sucked into a fantasy RPG world. The usual jokes ensue.


Kon, an avid MMORPG player who suddenly gets sucked into the game (or something) after falling for a honey trap. The guy is a despicable moron, and only survives the episode from a combination of dumb luck and dumb luck.

He stumbles upon the adventuring party of Ecarlate, very young princess chased by the baddies ; Sainglain, badass sword-wielding knight ; and Mariandale, gun-wielding maide… wait, that’s a dude ? HOW ?

It’s never properly explained why the baddies want to prevent Ecarlate from reaching her destination and marrying the prince of whatever, but it’s not like this series cares about the details much. It seems much more concerned about making horribly bad puns, such as the Big Bad’s initials being short for “erectile dysfunction”. (Also, the “DT” series acronym is apparently also short for Kon’s virgin status.)

Production Values

Remember how I said before that Brain’s Base bring a baseline of quality to every project they touch ? Well, this is the exception. It looks like crap throughout, and the fact that it’s probably on purpose isn’t an excuse.

What did I think of it ?

Sleep deprivation must be making strange things to my taste, because I don’t immediately want to drop this, despite the shoddy production values, the lame story and the stale jokes. Am I so easily amused by Jun Fukuyama playing a drag-queen with gusto ? Or is it just the basic lampooning of RPG clichés as our “heroes” beat up everyone in sight so that they can take their stuff ?

Despite my better judgment, I’m at least giving it a second episode.

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

The Ambition of Oda Nobuna (Oda Nobuna no Yabou)

(12ish episodes ?)

What’s it about ?

Gender-swapped sengoku warlords, because there must be one of those in every season.


Yoshiharu, our generic male lead. The narrative wastes no time and has him already thrown to the past (or whatever parallel world this is) by the episode’s start. The gimmick here is that he’s an avid player of videogames set in the Sengoku era, and can thus predict just about everything that’s going to happen. Well, aside from the fact that nearly every single major character is now a girl. Anyway, he stumbles on Hideyoshi getting killed way ahead of schedule, and has to take his place and become the servant of…

Oda Nobuna, our female lead, just starting on her quest to conquer the whole of Japan (and beyond). It’s a bit painful to see her reduced to a generic tsundere.

… But not less painful than seeing some of the other major historical figures now being 10-year-old (at best) girls that can barely speak ye olde Japaneseth. Urgh.

For some reason, Saitou Dousan is still a dude. Presumably he won’t matter beyond this first episode.

Production Values

Perfectly okay ; it’s always a shame to see the budget wasted on those things.

Overall Impression

Terrible. It’s a weak concept that’s been done before, and better. (Seriously, even Sengoku Otome was better executed than this.) None of the characters have any charisma and the protagonist’s gimmick kills any suspension of disbelief you might have (seriously, how the heck do exactly the same events keep happening despite the obvious differences in the setting ?).

Don’t bother with this one.

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