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.

Summer 2012 capsules

Because I didn’t have anything better to do while waiting for the big premieres tomorrow, I checked out some of the OVA that surfaced over the last couple of weeks. This might have been a mistake.

Most perplexing is probably Ai Mai! Moe Can Change!. It’s an adaptation of a “moe-girl raising” game, where the key gimmick is that the player can change their clothes ad nauseam. None of this here… well, except that the girls keep changing clothes. Seriously, they rarely keep the same ones for more than a minute, thanks to a magical phone app (although its inventor later shows she can produce the the same effect with cakes !). There’s barely any plot in sight here, just sadistic barely-developed characters tormenting each other. Who the heck enjoys this kind of brainless drivel ?

Mahou Tsukai Nara Miso o Kue! (“Eat Miso if you’re a sorcerer !”) is barely any better. It’s basically a 12-minute trailer for an award-winning light novel… which is so painfully generic one wonders who thought it’d deserve any awards. The plot is a cliché-storm (down to the opening scene having a short bratty girl crashing into generic male lead’s flat), the characters have no personality beyond their archetypes, and the jokes are well-worn indeed. It’s the kind of stuff you’d expect to be parodied in Genshiken, except without any indication the writers know that. And did I mention it’s padded out with facepalm-inducing lingering candid shots of the main female characters ?

Don’t bother with either of those.

via [In which I review] New anime, Summer 2012 – Page 4.

A few words about Chitose Get You!, yet another series of shorts adapted from 4-panel manga. And well, whatever you think about its one joke (an 11-year-old girl with a crush on some random adult dude), at least it’s got some decent direction to sell it and make it somewhat watchable. Which is better than I expected.

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

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.

Shining Hearts – the Bread of Happiness (Shiawase no Pan)

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Generic fantasy RPG setting. Starring bakers.


Rick, a promising young breadmaker, whose shop is starting to get great business. No personality beyond “the reasonable one”.

His three interchangeable “cute” employees, who barely share a personality (and a brain) between the three of them. And let’s not even go into those terrible outfits those girls are wearing.

Alvin, the ruler of the local elf-forest our heroes get lost in halfway through the episode. He’s a dick. He’s got a sister who’s more amiable but no less irritating.

There’s no plot whatsoever in sight. Alvin mumbles a bit about the red moon being a bad omen, but there’s no indication it’s anything other than a sign announcing bad weather the next day.

Production Values

Terrible. The character designs are generic crap, the music is off-the-shelf and just ridiculous whenever it goes for the dramatic, and the whole thing feels like it has no soul whatsoever.

One point that sums the whole show up : there are numerous female characters, played by a variety of more or less popular voice-actresses. There are only two male characters of any note, and both of them are voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya.

Overall Impression

Look ! It’s generic soulless crap ! At least Sengoku Collection had a joke (however stale it was) and sketched out the plot within its first episode ; this is just a big pile of nothing, with no tension, no plot, no characters and no jokes.

I’m sure you can make a decent series about making bread, but this isn’t it. There’s absolutely nothing worth watching here.

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

Sengoku Collection

What’s it about ?

Gender-swapped Sengoku warlords thrown into the modern world.

Adapted from a cardgame app, because that’s a thing now.


Nobunaga Oda, the only girl who really shows up this episode. She’s shangaied away from her parallel world because… er, it’s not quite clear… and drops from the sky into current Tokyo. She eventually learns she’s not the only one and she’s gonna have to battle others like her to get back to her world, but most of the episode is spent on the culture shock.

She quickly shacks up with a poor random wage-slave dude, who’s somewhat bemused by this weird girl who won’t take no for an answer.

And that’s basically it for the cast this episode.

Production Values

Surprisingly good for this sort of thing. There’s a care to the animation that’s entirely wasted on such a project. (I guess Brains Base had to pay the bills and couldn’t find anything better to do…)

Overall Impression

Gender-swapped Sengoku warlords ? It’s been done already. Girl from a magical world who falls on some guy’s lap and experiences some “hilarious” culture shock ? Done to death too. This series is proof that bringing the two concepts together creates absolutely nothing of worth.

Of course, this show could have been saved through superior execution. But we don’t get that here : the characters are the same boring archetypes as usual, and there’s no spark whatsoever to this. The animation’s good, but that’s not enough to overcome the tediousness of the whole affair.

Pass along, nothing to see here.

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

Persona 4 – The Animation

(25 episodes)

What’s it about ?

The anime adaptation of a cult videogame… which I’ve never played (I don’t own a PS2).

The plot, as much as I can discern so far : a few high-schoolers living in a little town in the middle of nowhere discover they can enter TVs into a parallel world where they fight monsters (the game’s a RPG with heavy visual-novel/dating-sim overtones, from what I’ve understood).


Narukami, the player character. As such, he has no personality whatsoever and speaks as little as possible. He’s going to live in Littletown for a year with his uncle (conveniently a senior detective, thank you conservation of cast !) because his parents are busy abroad. He gets weird dreams and voices talking to him, eventually leading him to walk into a giant-screen TV in the local mall. There, a passing friendly monster helpfully gives him glasses that allow him to summon a giant avatar to fight nasty beasties. It has to be said that the glasses make him look 200% more badass.

Hanamura, the token perverted best friend. Son of the mall’s owner, and only here for six months. Part of the initial party, although all he’s done so far is freak out and piss himself.

Chie, the tomboy. You can tell she’s important because she wears a bright green sweater instead of the dull grey school uniforms of nearly everyone else in the class. Also part of the initial party.

Konishi, a quiet girl who seems as the center of things : she discovered the corpse of a gory murder, and the “girl in the haunted TV channel” urban legend looks a lot like her.

Production Values

This series has one of the best opening sequences of the year… despite having spent no budget on it whatsoever (it’s just geometrical shapes intercut with snippets of the prologue -our protagonist coming to Littletown in train). But the tune is very catchy indeed. (Same deal with the ED.)

I’d love to say that the same sense of style permeates the episode… but alas, no. The soundtrack alternates between the quite good and the ill-timed ; and there’s something slightly off with the rhythm of most scenes. It feels… very visual-novelly, for lack of better term ; characters exchange dialogue in a slightly disjointed fashion that makes it look like a direct adaptation of the original game’s VN scenes (although I have no clue whether the game was actually like that).

I love a lot of the stylistic quirks here (such as the calendar shots to mark the passage of time), but it doesn’t quite click.

What did I think of it ?

Well, it’s more than a bit rough, but I can’t quite fault a show for trying to be a bit stylish and falling slightly short of the mark. It’s certainly got atmosphere, and I’m interested in where the dating-sim-meets-dungeon-crawl story is going.

We’ll see how it goes from here.

via [In which I review] New anime, Fall 2011 – Page 4.


What’s it about ?

Twelve young idol wannabes learning the job at their production company. (It’s an adaptation of a series of simulation games where you’re the producer and have to build them into proper stars.)


I’m not going to go into much detail about each idol : there’s the girl-next-door, the super-timid one, the annoying twins, the hick who loves animals, the trust-fund-kid who’s in it to get adored, the troll, the serious one who just wants to sing, the sleepy one…

We also see a bit of the production staff… and of course one of them’s an ex-idol.

In this episode, a new producer is put in charge of grooming them up to stardom… but he spends most of the episode pretending to be a cameraman filming a documentary on them (he’s actually trying to get to know them better, without them sucking up to him too much).

Production Values

Very average. Most of the episode uses the framing device of being some sort of documentary/realTV show… with a lot of “candid” moments that actually feel horribly manufactured, like all realTV to me. Also, for some bizarre reason the “cameraman” ‘s questions are shown only in subtitles (as if this were a game)… despite producer guy getting proper dialogue at the end. It’s quite baffling.

Overall Impression

Wow, this is terrible. The approach of developing all the characters at once is very unwieldy and the realTV framing device feels horribly artificial. None of the girls rise above their archetypes, and all told it’s a very boring watch.

If anything, this has made me slightly interested in the actual games (I like simulation games, and this sounds as good a concept as any other). But watching a full TV series of this, without any player interaction ? Get out !

via [In which I review] New anime, Summer 2011 – Page 6.

Zone of the Enders – Dolores, I

(26 episodes)

What’s it about ?

A space trucker finds out that the dodgy shipment he’s carrying back to Earth is a hotly sought-after experimental mecha.


James, our protagonist. A war veteran (or so he claims) stuck into a dead-end space-trucker job, he’s at least well into his forties and got a not-so-loving family waiting for him back on Earth (at the very least, his teenage daughter wants nothing to do with him, and his son doesn’t even return his calls). The series goes out of its way to depict him as a washed-out loser, miserably failing at flirting with girls half his age, and drowning himself in booze. He does get some sort of epiphany halfway through the first episode, although given that his idea of reconnecting with his family involves purchasing an overpriced cat for his daughter and burying himself into self-help books (with his cabin increasingly looking like a pigsty as he does so), I’m not too optimistic on his chances of success.

Laia, James’s up-to-no-good contact who sets him up with his shipment. It’s hard to look more shifty than this dude, and James has enough history with him to know better than taking the gig. But overpriced cats cost money, so he eventually relents. (It helps that Laia’s backup trucker wound up mysteriously shot dead mere hours after taking the job – although Laia’s not telling this to James, of course…)

Dolores, the cargo. A fifty-foot-tall mecha that behaves and speaks like a teenage girl. No, seriously, she’s even shy about having a man “down there” (into the cockpit).

There are of course some shady people looking into taking hold of Dolores, with enough connections to infiltrate the UN space patrols.

Production Values

Perfectly watchable, and there’s been a lot of care put into background details to make the setup feel grounded in reality. The score is a bit dated and MIDI-ish, but it does the job.

Overall Impression

Wow, that was fun. I don’t know if it’s the novelty of having a “mature” dude as a protagonist, but I really enjoyed this. It’s not exactly deep or subtle, but this looks like a madcap romp in a relatively grounded space sci-fi setting. Despite being a loser, James is a compelling protagonist, and he’s already got lots of chemistry with Dolores.

Google tells me this is a sequel to an OVA that itself spun off a videogame franchise, but it seems to stand perfectly well on its own.

James in his natural habitat.
James in his natural habitat.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2001 – Page 7.

Galaxy Angel

(26 episodes)

What’s it about ?

A squad of women can perform any mission if you pay the price… This episode : finding a lost cat. No, really.


Ranpha, the hot-tempered blonde who complains about everything. Only Yukari Tamura’s charisma can keep her from being too annoying.

Forte, her tall and snarky partner, whom I mistook for a dude until I saw the frankly embarrassing cleavage hole in her clothes. Urgh.

Milfeulle, a girl they encounter during their mission and who just happens to have found the precise cat they’re looking for. She’s got insane amounts of luck, although it seems to mostly be the ironic kind. Presumably she’s joining the team soon.

There are a couple of other women on the team, plus their elderly boss, but they don’t contribute much to this episode.

Production values

Not very good, to tell the truth. It’s got decent comedic timing, and that’s all I can really say for it. Forte’s costume aside, the fanservice ain’t too obnoxious, but it’s still quite present.

Overall Impression

That… wasn’t very good, was it ? While the characters have some decent chemistry, there’s no plot in sight, and even the characters complain about the inanity of the premise in the very first scene of the episode. The comedy is decent, but nothing you haven’t seen done better elsewhere.

This got three sequel seasons ? Really ?

Now, which cat's the right one ?
Now, which cat’s the right one ?

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2001 – Page 6.

Star Ocean EX

(26 episodes)

What’s it about ?

While investigating bizarre occurrences in a remote star system, a spaceship crashlands on a planet after encountering an unexpected asteroid field. While exploring, a member of the crew finds a portal that transports him to a fantasy world, where a local hails him as the Hero of Legend…


Claude, our protagonist. Son of a hero admiral who saved the galaxy 20 years before. Daddy takes him along on his trips, but does not take him seriously (and given how the brat has yet to display any shred of competence, I kinda agree). Anyway, our “hero” is prone to fits of whiny narration that do absolutely nothing to endear him to me.

Daddy The Admiral himself seems to be a decent sort (and he’s certainly good at saving his ship from random asteroids), and respected by his crew (which seems to consist of only five people, himself and his son included). However, despite him investigating a somewhat interesting plot (did someone send a death-moon to hit a planet ?), it looks like the series will focus on his annoying son’s trip to a fantasy world instead.

Rena, a female elf living in the fantasy world. Mistakes Claude for the Hero of Destiny as she sees him defeat a monster with his raygun (which looks like a sword of light to her). She looks dumb as a sack of bricks.

Production Values

I was under the mistaken impression that this show had a budget, what with the decent CG sequences of space action at the beginning. However, the fantasy action sequences soon resort to still images animated by shaky-cam, and I realized that they’d blown all their cash on the first ten minutes.

Overall Impression

Gods, this is terrible. I didn’t have many expectations from an adaptation of manga that’s itself the sequel of a videogame, but this is by far the second worst show of the season so far. I especially appreciated the bit where it starts as a somewhat decent space opera (despite some warning signs like the insufferable protagonist), and then suddenly jumps into generic-fantasy-land. Way to kill my interest, show.

 Blur effects shouldn't be a substitute for actual animation.
Blur effects shouldn’t be a substitute for actual animation.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2001 – Page 3.