The Scarlet Fragment (Hiiro no Kakera)

(26 episodes)

What’s it about ?

It’s an adaptation of an otome game. You see those romance-simulators where the player can chose between a harem of characters ? This is the female-oriented version, where the player-stand-in is surrounded by a bunch of pretty boys.


Tamaki, our generic female protagonist. With her parents off doing cooperation work over in Africa or something, she’s moving back to the countryside to her grandmother’s estate. Which is very convenient, because she’s the next in line to be the Local Princess Protector Of Stuff, and Granny’s about to retire. She has no clue what this is all about, although she does seem to have the innate skill required to cast spells against the random creepy things crawling around the place.

Takuma, the mandatory gruff bishie who begrudgingly escorts her the whole episode (voiced by Tomokazu Sugita, impeccable as always). There seems to be no depth whatsoever to him besides that. He just grumbles and reluctantly gives some exposition from time to time.

Tamaki enrolls at the local high school, and there are a bunch of of female classmates that might have gotten a chance at becoming supporting characters if Takuma hadn’t dragged Tamaki out of the classroom within 30 seconds so that she could meet more bodyguard bishies. There’s the short one with a size complex, the quiet deadpan one, and the handsomer-than-the-others glasses dude.

Just in case you’re wondering whether there’s actually a plot here, the last minute shows us Tamaki’s Evil Blonde Counterpart and her squad of underlings. Not that they do anything yet, mind you.

Production Values

Slightly better than you’d expect. The random monsters do look suitably creepy and menacing, at the very least.

Overall Impression

This could have been worse. Sugita pulls off his character without being too annoying. Some of the jokes work. (I like that Tamaki’s bodyguards are called “The Five” despite there only being four of them.) The monsters look good.

But the key issue here is that it’s dreadfully unoriginal. There’s nothing to set it apart from any other series in the same genre. None of the characters display any dimensions beyond their respective archetypes. To put it bluntly, I just don’t care, and I can’t see myself bothering with another episode ; nearly everything else this season looks more interesting than “Generic Otome Game Adaptation #1642”.

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

Winter 2012 capsules

Some quick notes :

Amagami SS Plus basically resumes where it left off : each of the 6 main girls gets 2 more episodes set after their original arcs. We start off with Ayatsuji (the verbally-abusive class president). Frankly, at first it’s more than a bit self-indulgent (a perverted bath scene that turns out to be the MC’s erotic dream ? Seriously ?), but it does pick up after that, and the new plot is actually a lot of fun. Got me worried for a while, though.

I’d gotten the impression that Nisemonogatari would star the Araragi sisters, but that’s only in the loosest sense of the term ; this is really a straight sequel to Bakemonogatari, with new arcs focusing on said sisters. Well, “focusing” may be too strong a word ; the arc is titled after Karen, and she doesn’t even show up this episode (while Tsukihi gets less than 5 minutes). The bulk of the episode is devoted to an extended prologue that I fail to see what it’s got to do with anything, and a long talk between Araragi and Mayoi that often makes me uncomfortable whenever he’s making a joking pass at molesting her.

Don’t get me wrong : the direction is still as impressive as ever, and the dialogue is on fire ; but this isn’t quite gelling together yet. (But then, I’ve never been that impressed by Bakemonogatari ; it’s good, but there are huge chunks that leave me cold.)

And maybe I should say a few words about Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki, a series of 3-minute shorts where a round cat gets adopted by a family. I’m getting the impression those shorts aren’t for me, because there’s barely any meat there ; although this one gets point for being faster-paced than most and managing to get in quite a few jokes. But that’s a few chuckles at best, and I’m not going to bother with any more of it.

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

Pure White Symphony ~ the color of lovers ~ (Mashiro-iro Symphony)

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Yet another date-sim adaptation. The hook here, if you can call it that, is that a previously all-girls high school is starting to let boys enroll.


Shingo, our generic male lead. As blandly nice as you’d expect.

Sakuno, his sister. She’s more than a bit mentally-challenged, and easily gets lost. Or distracted. I hope she doesn’t have a route, but considering how she’s unaware that they may be a bit too old to bathe together…

Airi, daughter of the principal, and vehemently against boys enrolling. We also get to see her nice side when she helps Sakuno get unlost.

We don’t get to see much of the rest of the cast. The obligatory pervert best friend isn’t actually that perverted, there’s a girl that spends her whole screentime sitting in the grass cuddling a bizarre cat-thing, and somehow the high-school’s got a maid.

Production Values

Perfectly okay, but the character designs are typical date-sim fare : colorful and immediately forgettable.

What did I think of it ?

A pretentious opening prologue about the color of love. Half the episode spent on Sakuno being lost. A dramatic cliffhanger where Airi announces she’s against dudes in the school. This is a joke, right ? A parody of how bland and devoid of stakes the genre has become ? But alas, no, this is played entirely straight throughout, and the show really expects us to care about its hackneyed premise.

I don’t care, and neither should you.

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

Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!

What’s it about ?

Darned if I know. The story focuses on a school where quarrels between classes are solved through massive martial art battles – this episode’s campaign between classes S and F involves more than 500 combatants on each side. But somehow, despite this episode being an extended fight scene, it looks like we’re heading for a harem setup. Sigh.


The cast is absolutely massive : discounting the red shirts, there’s at least 10 apparently important characters on each side. Very few of them get any depth, obviously.

Yamato, our de-facto protagonist, is the tactical coordinator for class F. He’s quite good at it (with assistance from the geek squad), but completely crap in an actual fight. He’s been harbouring for years a love for…

Momoyo, whom supplementary material assure me is NOT his sister, despite him addressing her as such throughout. But they’ve been childhood friends for so long that she simply cannot see him that way. She’s a superb martial artist, one of the “Great Four” (whatever that means), and decided to side with class S just because. Frankly, they do need her.

Hideo is the leader of class S, and as such the main target. He’s an arrogant moron, and you won’t be surprised when he’s defeated because of terrible tactical choices made through overconfidence. (There’s a limit to how much his underlings can cover for).

Class F’s top fighters include a set of four elite female champions who all seem to pine for Yamato ; as well as Hideo’s sister, for some reason. Their “leader” is a completely inept girl who needs permanent care.

Class S also has a set of sub-commanders who do all the work… and an entire squad of girls dressed as maids, for some reason.

There are two weird women (one of them covered in bandages) hovering on the sides of the fight and apparently looking for Momoyo. They’re our only clue of a wider plot being around.

Production Values

Mostly okay. I’ve never been been fond of the “still shot after a martial art move” cost-cutting device, but it’s not used too much as to be grating.

This is surprisingly low on fanservice, despite most females wearing bloomers and some clothing damage being implied half-way through. Indeed, the only character who spends most of the episode half-naked is Hideo.

What did I think of it ?

What. The. Heck ?

I’m really not sure what to make of this. The school battles are decently executed, but don’t feel like they can sustain a whole series (cf. also BakaTest). The sheer number of named characters makes it hard to care about most of them. The romance stuff makes me roll my eyes. And I have no clue what the deal with the two women is.

I’m tentatively giving it one more episode to see whether a coherent direction emerges, but this seems like a mess.

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

Uta no☆Prince-sama♪ Maji Love 1000%

What’s it about ?

Male harem romance in an academy grooming pop idols and composers.


Haruka, our generic female lead. The kind that arrives late because she was busy helping a random little girl. She joined the Academy because she dreams of composing music for her favourite idol. Voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro, whom I didn’t know could sound so boring and unsexy.

As per the rules of the genre, there are half a dozen prettyboy stereotypes just tripping over Haruka. There’s the boy-next-door, the rich-but-charismatic guy, the brooding dark dude, the childish one… and the mysterious guy who’s a dead ringer for Haruka’s favourite idol, but displays a completely different personality (angry loner instead of clown).

Rounding up the cast are Tomo, Haruka’s roommate (the female equivalent of the “perverted best friend who handily provides exposition about everyone” cliché), their homeroom teacher (an androgynous senior idol voiced by Yuuichi Nakamura)… and the FABULOUS principal, a retired idol who funded the creation of the academy with his royalties, and voiced gleefully by Norio Wakamoto – his entrance ceremony speech just has to be seen to be believed.

Production Values

This looks pretty good, if you don’t mind technicolor day-glo. The character designs for the dudes look beyond generic, though, and Haruka’s dead eyes are just plain creepy.

I quite like the opening sequence with all the guys doing a boys’ band routine : sure, it looks stupid and awkward, but there’s a certain charm to it, and the tune is annoyingly catchy (“Let’s song !”).

Overall Impression

Well, that’s certainly better than I anticipated. Not that it’s actually any good, mind you ; the harem romance is as cliché as possible, and neither the female lead nor any of the dudes look like they’ve got any potential to rise above their genericness. But there’s some decent entertainment to be had out of the setting, as both the homeroom teacher and the principal are FABULOUSLY camp and nearly make the episode worth watching from their few minutes of screentime alone.

I expect myself to get bored of it very quickly (especially if the harem plot gets too much screentime), but I’m surprising myself by giving it a tentative second episode.

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

A Bridge to the Starry Skies (Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi)

What’s it about ?

Generic dating-sim adaptation.


Kazuma, our protagonist, is moving back to the countryside with his sickly little brother for the latter’s health’s sake. Cue every single dating-sim cliché happening to him.

The girls… There’s the one he slips onto and accidentally kisses, her outraged best friend, the maid at the inn they now live in… and, for the older ladies lovers, the owner of the same inn, whose behaviour verges on sexual harassment.

Production Values

Minimal. The backgrounds are okay, but the character designs are horribly generic and same-y.

Overall Impression

Zzzzzzzzzzz… Excuse me, I nearly fell asleep there.

I’m amazed they’re still making those. Fortune Arterial at least had a hook by mixing in vampires, and Yosuga no Sora had the sick-and-wrong twincest ; this, on the other hand, has no selling point whatsoever to distinguish it from the myriads of other dating-sim adaptations. It’s so incredibly generic that it hurts.

What’s the point, honestly ?

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2011 – Page 10.

Without Wings -under the innocent sky- (Ore-tachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai)

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Fuck if I know ; I can’t make head nor tails of the plot. I’ll say “fanservice-heavy harem comedy with a dash of heroic fantasy” to err on the safe side, but even that fails to accurately describe it.


Takashi Haneda is the protagonist of a ridiculously cliché harem, with various girls (his little sister cousin, the aggressive one, the athletic one who lets her mind wander, and a fourth one I can’t quite get a hold of yet) fighting over him before he’s even stepped five feet towards school. Also, we get numerous panty shots and even naked shots of their breasts when they push themselves onto him. And he’s got whiny narration by Hiro Shimono (when did his career devolve into “cliché harem lead” ?). But the lot of them only get 5 minutes of screentime.

The rest of the episode is dedicated to a trio of loser dudes unlucky in love, and desperately trying to set up a drinking party with whatever girls they find. One of them is 35 and owns the bar they hang around at ; the other two look high-school/college-aged. Anyway, the only girls who accept the invite are the part-time waitresses. Overall, it’s a very pathetic scene that makes me loathe everyone involved.

But wait ! Just before and during the ending credits, we see all of them in a heroic-fantasy setting, fighting monsters and the like ! Is this a MMORPG or an actual parallel world they’re escaping into ? I have no clue ! (And why would Haneda need escaping anyway ?)

There’s also a bizarre framing device with radio/TV shows (including an outrageous American-accented DJ) shown in a rapid succession… and I’ve got no clue why they’re doing this.

Production Values

Decent, I suppose. The very heavy fanservice whenever a girl’s on screen is quite annoying, though.

Overall Impression

What the heck is this shit ?

Now, I can understand trying to be a bit creative when adapting yet another harem dating sim. But this is just incoherent crap, with three different narratives that completely fail to coalesce into any coherent whole. It’s probably trying for the “self-parody” angle, but that just makes it more obnoxious.

I hate every single character and it makes no sense whatsoever : avoid like the plague.

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


(24 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Current day setting, but with a lot more weirdness. Our protagonist witnesses a murder that doesn’t seem to have actually happened, attends a lecture that was canceled, and somehow sent text messages into the past. Also, a satellite crashed into the place he was (he doesn’t seem worse for the wear). Despite already having a few screws loose, he’s more than weirded out by the whole thing.


Okarin, aka Rintarou Okabe, aka Kyouma Hououin. Our paranoid protagonist. Self-proclaimed mad scientist, although this might just be the crazy talking (his actual inventions are far from impressive). He heads a college research club that dabbles into weird science, such as time travel theory. He constantly babbles about a conspiracy orchestrated by something called the Agency, but there’s no real sign of it actually existing.

Mayuri, his sickeningly sweet childhood friend. She seems to have no science background whatsoever (she’s stated to be into sewing cosplay outfits), and probably sticks around because she likes Okarin. The obvious twist would be that she’s an Agency plant.

Taru, SUPA-HACKA ! and reclusive geek, the third and last member of Okarin’s research club. A welcomed source of snark to counter Okarin’s mad ramblings.

Kurisu Makise, a gloomy girl Okarin meets at a time-travel-related lecture, and wants him to explain what he meant (he has no clue what she’s talking about). He finds her bloody corpse a bit later… but she shows up perfectly fine at the end of the episode.

Production Values

A bit hard to judge, considering I’ve watched a crappy streamed version. Still, it’s quite good at setting up a creepy claustrophobic atmosphere with some weird camera angles, and Okarin’s body language is impressive.

Overall Impression

Wow, this is very intriguing indeed. The storytelling borders on the incoherent, especially with a protagonist who isn’t entirely sane, but it still manages to hang together somewhat and set up an intriguing mystery. A lot of the series’s charm comes from Mamoru Miyano’s impressive performance as the lead character, managing to perfectly convey Okarin’s delusions while still making him an engaging character.

Now, it’s perfectly possible this series could eventually disappear into its own arse when it’s time to explain what’s actually happening. But so far, I’m in.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2011 – Page 3.

Comic Party

(13 episodes)

What’s it about ?

After an inspirational trip to Comiket, a group of high-school friends decides to start producing doujinshi.


Kazuki, our protagonist… although given how much he’s yanked around during the first episode, that’s being a bit charitable. At first he’s sceptical about the whole comiket/doujinshi thing, but he does get taken in by the enthusiasm of those he meets there. Has an art background.

Mizuki, his cliché tsundere childhood friend. Absolutely hates Comiket, but given how she gets trampled over twice before being dragged offscreen for most of the episode, I give her some slack.

Taishi, their “friend” who dragged them to Comiket in the first place, and spearheads the doujinshi project. He’s prone to Gratuitous English, loud speeches, and narration. Very, very annoying.

Inagawa is an already active doujinshi artist that Kazuki meets at Comiket. They quickly hit it off, and she’s the main reason he starts enjoying it a bit. She’s from Kansai (with the inevitable accent and paper fan), but thanks to the power of plot convenience she transfers into everyone else’s high school at the end of the first episode.

There are a few other characters that look like they’ll be recurring – a clumsy girl lugging packages around, and the head of Comiket security. Neither gets much development yet, though.

Production Values

Very, very cheap. The animation is subpar, and this really looks like a product of the 90s. The terrible background music doesn’t help.

Overall Impression

Well, Genshiken this is not. This is broad comedy with barely a hint of subtlety (I do like the notion that the “elevator school” setting allows those people to screw around without care for their studies). It’s quite hard to get attached to any of the caricatures calling themselves characters, as they spend most of their screentime screeching annoyingly.

There’s a bizarre dream sequence before the opening credits where Kazuki finds himself in a typical school harem setup (without realizing it), with everyone mistaking him for the protagonist. While it did raise more of a smile than the rest of the episode combined, I fail to see what the point was.

Bottom line : it’s not nearly as funny as it wants to be. Maybe it improves later on, but I don’t care.

 Because Mizuki getting trampled over never gets old !
Because Mizuki getting trampled over never gets old !

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2001 – Page 2.

Starry Sky

(13 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Reverse harem setup : formerly exclusively male academy is now co-ed, although there’s only one female student right now. Each episode focuses on a different male student, with a parallel to the zodiac constellations (although they’ve introduced a 13rd one for some reason). Apparently this school only teaches astronomy- or astrology-related fields.

Characters :

Tsukiko Yahisa, our female lead. Nearly no screentime so far.

Yoh Tomoe, Capricorn. This is a pseudonym : his actual name’s Henri Samuel Jean Aimee (sic). Half-French, choosing to go back to Japan in order to find a girl he fell in love with a decade ago. His parents approve (it’s implied his father did something similar way back when).

There are other various classmates, including a very enthusiastic Mr Exposition, but none of them got any names yet.

Production Values :

Low. It’s a net anime, and the animation is quite minimal (not to the degree of Nyaruani, though). It doesn’t look particularly good, but this could be my personal distaste for standard shojo character designs. Also, the episodes are only 11-minute-long.

Overall Impression :

Dull, dull, dull. There’s no real conflict yet, and the plot barely gets started at all. I can’t sympathize with Capricorn-guy, and the girl is a non-entity so far. Frankly, I doubt I’d manage to watch another episode without falling asleep.

But then, I clearly don’t care for the genre ; if you’re more into it than me, you could find some value to this show (it’s got a pretty impressive voice cast, for example).

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2010-2011.