Anime from 2000 : Post-Mortem

You know what ? I haven’t been entirely idle during the couple of months this project fell by the wayside. I’ve actually been watching a good number of the shows I had selected.

So, without further fanfare, a few comments regarding each of these shows :

Miami Guns
It quickly becomes apparent this follows the Excel Saga formula of parodying a different type of cop show in each episode. As a result, it’s more than a bit uneven, and the attempt to inject a bit more of serious drama in the last stretch doesn’t really work. The show really is at its best when it’s unashamedly stupid.

And this shows nowhere better than in the second episode, which is by far the best of the lot (and worth watching by its lonesome). It’s a recap episode that plays as though this was a long-running series that’s been on the air for ages, and as such much of the (completely fake) earlier material being recapped feels quaint and at odds with the “current” set up (such as the Chief being black because the writers hadn’t decided yet he was Lu’s father, and major characters in the magnificently retro “original” OP sequences have been written out long ago). It’s also a series of smaller vignettes within the framing device, allowing each joke to run its course quickly, without outstaying their welcome.

Boys Be…
So, as it turns out, this is halfway between an anthology series (“a different couple each episode !”) and a more traditional romance series with continuing plot threads (as the four leads – Kyoichi, Chiharu, Makoto & Yoshihiko – are usually involved in turns). This allows for quite some variety (as not all pairs go anywhere, or are even romantic), while letting some room for some decent character development to occur. The way the series juggles with everything is actually quite impressive, from a structural point of view.

… On the other hand, it’s been two months since I’ve watched it, and I’ve already forgotten about most of it. So, while it’s a pleasant way to pass time, it’s not exactly memorable.

I didn’t think this show would turn out to be so depressing.

What really got me was the impressively realistic depiction of Mayuko’s abject poverty. (And it’s not like her close circle of friends and acquaintances are much more better off.) As the series goes on, this is clearly taking a toll on her, leading her to both reject NieA for her obnoxiousness, and then blaming herself when the alien disappears. Even the relatively pat ending can’t make up for how raw an emotional roller-coaster this is.

The wacky hijinks end up being gallows’ humour : desperate attempts to let out steam to avoid everyone collapsing into clinical depression. That was quite a harrowing watch indeed, and not exactly what I expected.

Strange Dawn
Wow, you really weren’t kidding about the “no ending” thing ; on the other hand, it plays quite well with the themes of the show. Our two heroines’ presence in this fantasy world progressively makes the political situation deteriorate faster and faster, and there’s very little they can do about it. The series ends with them making an empty symbolic gesture akin to throwing a tantrum in despair at the cycle of violence, and them being suddenly whisked back to Earth by a deus ex machina. And of course, this solves nothing for the natives, and if anything leaves the ones the viewer has grown most fond of in a terrible situation.

I don’t have a problem with this. Oh, sure, the original 50-episode plan would have been interesting to watch, but there’s something fascinating with the idea that the two teenagers from Tokyo didn’t make the fantasy world a better place just by showing up, and didn’t lead any kind of uprising against the terrible status quo. (They kind of tried, but it quickly petered out and if anything it made things worse.)

Love Hina
In many ways, this is the platonic ideal of wacky harem comedies : archetypal, borderline one-dimensional characters (especially in the supporting cast) ; many episodes going into random tangents for the heck of it ; and a main romantic thread that makes very slow but definite progress. The slightly surreal atmosphere helps it out, giving the impression that anything can happen if it looks fun enough. And it usually does.

As it is, the series is decently entertaining, with the couple of TV specials bringing it to an adequate conclusion. I wasn’t blown away by it, but it was fun enough.

… And then I watched Love Hina Again, and argkfgerfgrg. This goes wrong in every possible way : the art direction has taken a turn for the worse, as the new designs are ugly and barely animated ; most of the characters see their character development regress (or get derailed into wholly unlikeable territory, such as Keitarou turning into Seta 2.0) ; and worst of all they introduce a creepy incestuous little sister character who’s not only super-annoying and unwelcome, but warps the whole show around herself.


That was… interesting. The first episode was so dense that there’s a few major points I didn’t get until a bit later :
– The female warship who captured our few male protagonists are actually pirates, and thus only loosely associated with the female homeworld ; this explains why they have a less hostile attitude to the dudes than average.
– The male warship being inaugurated was actually a refurbished relic from ages ago, and something really bizarre happened when the female warship docked with it ; they kinda fused together, and it also changed the mechas (from both sides) inside. None of the science makes any sense, but then this is a very soft SF show that’s clearly using all this for metaphor. (And a very obvious one, given all the “combining” going on.) I like that none of the technical crew have any clue how any of this works, and after a fashion they just go along with it.
– The combined warship somehow got transported by a space wedgie to the other side of the galaxy, and they’re several months away from getting back to their two home planets. This means that the show takes a very episodic travelogue format, with our heroes stumbling onto a number of other planets with normal male-female coexistence, making Tarak & Marjale an anomaly rather than the norm. Which is a great framework to focus on the crew and give them fodder for character development. (With the looming threat of the Harvesters giving the plot a bit more direction.)

Anyway, this was a great show. Often very silly, but a fun exploration of gender roles, with likeable characters and a clear idea of what it’s doing. I really enjoyed spending time with these people and sharing their struggles, and isn’t that the whole point ? One could quibble about the combining mecha being a really stupid plot device, but they’re used in a fun way that’s really all about the pilots.

Sakura Wars.
This turned out to be quite a disappointment.

At the time of the review, I was actually quite pleased by the absence of an obvious player character avatar dude. Well, he shows up in episode #4, and is very bland indeed. He’s not even mucking the series up by romancing the girls or anything like that : he’s just a generic competent field commander with the charisma of a cardboard cutout.

No, the real issue I have with the series is that it completely ignores the potential of its intriguing setting. The elite mecha unit somehow doubling as a Takarazuka Revue-style theatre troupe ? Never really explained, aside from some lip service as “concentration” training. It’s just the thing the girls do whenever the main plot is on hold. But at least this part of the show is mildly entertaining, if mostly irrelevant aside from the team dynamics.

What really brings it down, though, are the villains. The awful, boring, cliché villains. Including a femme fatale who doesn’t get to do much, a groaning strong dude with no personality, and a creepy annoying kid with mind-control powers that allow him to slaughter redshirts by the dozen. (And of course he’s voiced by Akira Ishida on autopilot self-parody.) You just stop caring by the first time they’re randomly resurrected (and lose any personality or plot relevance they showed before.) Worse than all of them combined, though, is the “main villain”, the turncoat who betrayed humanity 5 years ago for barely explained reasons. I might have cared about the connected characters’ angst about his betrayal if the guy wasn’t just a one-dimensional evil dude who smirks a lot and never shows a hint of depth. (He even unironically calls himself “Blue Satan” ! Seriously ?)

This just doesn’t work. The antagonists are just this traitor, a few zombie generals he keeps reviving, and tons of monstrous mooks. At first it looked like the enemy was slowly crossing over from another dimension, but after a while it turns out that nope, this is all of them. No clash with a parallel world : once the Big Bad is disposed of, that’s it. It’s like all the world building was flushed down the toilet.

At this point I must ask : are the various strings of OVAs (which are set in a parallel continuity, as far as I can see) any better ? I’m not exactly looking forward to trying them out…

Anime from 2000 : The Final Tally

So, that’s it. 35 shows reviewed (+ 11 I couldn’t find and 6 sequels). How does the tally go ?

Must Watches (4)
Those were so promising I’m going to watch them asap :
– Niea_7
– Strange Dawn
– Vandread
(Boogiepop Phantom would be here too.)

Good Enough For Me (10)
I’ll catch up on these decent shows down the line :
– Miami Guns
– Saiyuki
– Sakura Wars
– Boys Be…
– Love Hina
– Sci-Fi Harry
– Android Kikaider
– Ghost Stories
– maybe Argento Soma
(Tsukikaze Ran would probably be here too.)

Not My Thing (12)
There’s nothing really wrong with these shows, but either I’m not the target audience, I don’t care for their subgenre, they’re too long for me to invest time in, or they just didn’t do anything for me :
– UFO Baby
– Gate Keepers
– Kaitō Kiramekiman
– Hamtaro
– Brigadoon
– Descendants of Darkness
– Hajime no Ippo
– Gravitation
– Gear Fighter Dendoh
– Legendary Gambler Tetsuya
– Inuyasha
– Hiwou War Chronicles

That Was Just Bad (9)
Those shows had way too many problems :
– Candidate for Goddess
– Shinzo
– Hero Hero-kun
– Platinumhugen Ordian
– Transformers: Robots in Disguise
– Yu-Gi-Oh! Duel Monsters
– Ceres, Celestial Legend (with hindsight)
– Hand Maid May
– Tri-Zenon

Frankly, that’s not bad at all, overall. I got twelve-ish new shows on my plate, which I appreciate. Aside from that, I got to have a taste of more than a few series I vaguely knew about (Hajime no Ippo, Gravitation, Hamtaro…) and can now have a slightly more informed opinion of. And heck, there are quite a few shows I’m glad I was exposed to, even if they weren’t my thing.

Anime from 2000 : The Leftovers

Over the course of this project, there were a number of show I decided not to cover, or just couldn’t. Those were :

  • Sequels to earlier shows (and thus not NEW shows). There’s a few spin-offs I still chose to try and cover for significance reasons, but overall I skipped most of them.
  • A good number of kids’ shows that just weren’t available in any form (even in massacred English dubs). Those I had no option but to skip entirely.
  • Also, I didn’t do OVAs and movies. Sorry, FLCL.

So, here follows a list of everything I didn’t review :

#03 on the list is something called Mon Colle Knights, adapting some collectible cardgame. It’s the first of the many kids’ shows I just couldn’t get any hold of for this project. Not that I’m really heartbroken about it.

#05 is OH! Super Milk-Chan, a sequel to a 1998 comedy kids’ show.

#08 is Ojamajo Doremi #, the second season (out of four) of the magical girl franchise that eventually left way for Precure.

#10 is Digimon Adventure 02, which feels enough like a straight sequel of the original (unlike, say, Tamers) that I am not covering it.

#14 is Hidamari no Ki, an adaptation of a late Osamu Tezuka manga about the friendship between a samurai and a doctor in the Edo period. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a copy of even the first episode of it. A shame, as it sounds quite interesting.

#15 is Doki Doki Densetsu Mahoujin Guru Guru, a sequel to a 1994 kids’ show adapting a manga lampooning Dragon Quest-style RPGs. It actually sounds quite fun, but it’s outside the scope of this project.

#21 is Inspector Fabre (Fabre Sensei wa Meitantei), another kids’ show I couldn’t lay my hands on.

A few words on #22, Banner of the Stars. It’s basically part two of a trilogy of anime adaptations of a light novel series, so it’s outside the scope of this project. But I should note that it’s the weakest chunk of this S-F saga. Crest kept things close and personal to its lead couple ; Banner II also had a tight focus as they dealt with a prison planet. Banner, on the other hand, throws them in the middle of a massive military campaign, depriving them of agency and relevance in their own series. It’s got its moments, but I found it distinctly less enjoyable.

#23 is yet another unavailable kids’ show, Taro the Space Alien, adapting a children’s manga.

#28 is something called DinoZaurs: The Series, which is apparently a sequel to a few OVAs that were bundled with a toyline that’s also known as “DinoZone”. Anyway, I couldn’t find it, and I had no inclination to dig too much.

#29 is Medarot Damashii, the second season of the adaptation of the Medabots RPG videogame franchise.

#35 is Mr. Digital Tokoro, a full-CG-animated series of shorts (130 3-minute-long episodes) based on comedian Tokoro George. (A guy famous enough to lend his name to half a dozen Mahjong videogames ; he also dubs Homer Simpson.)
Frankly, this sounds dreadful, but I couldn’t find even one of them.

#43 is Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Children, an adaptation of that RPG franchise’s attempt at emulating the success of Pokémon, with simpler gameplay more accessible to kids. It got a sequel in 2002, adapting a further game (and apparently having a troubled production). Anyway, I couldn’t find it.

#44 would be Baby Felix, a spin-off from the old Felix the Cat cartoons (which were apparently popular enough in Japan). Again, I couldn’t find it.

I thought I had gotten my hands on #50, Dotto Koni-chan, but my copy has no subtitles. It’s a comedy kids’ show about kids messing around and getting into hijinks. It’s mostly notable for being animated by studio Shaft before they became SHAFT, and directed by Excel Saga‘s Nabeshin himself. It does look kinda fun.

#51 should be Pipopapo Patrol-kun, a kids’ show featuring a friendly neighbourhood cop that might have been educational if I could have laid hands on it.

Our final and 52nd entry would have been Suteki! Sakura Mama, a series of shorts I could find nearly no information about. A bit anticlimactic, eh ?

#49 : Hiwou War Chronicles (Karakuri Kiden Hiwou Senki)

(26 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Clockpunk show set in the Meiji period. It also has the honour of being the first show ever animated by studio Bones after their split from Sunrise.


For no obvious reason, the series opens with a few German merchants/tourists on a boat nearing the coast of Japan, expositing at length on this being the Meiji Era and what this entails on a geopolitical level… only for the rest of the episode to completely ignore this context, and showing that this version of Japan is actually full-on clockpunk.

Hiwou, our protagonist, is the bratty and plucky kid who’s at the center of the youngsters’ social club in his rural village (including his younger siblings). The big thing with this village is that they’ve been producting tons of clockwork dolls, mostly for entertainment purposes.

Enter the Wind Gang, a bunch of paramilitary thugs who swiftly conquer the village by surprise, capturing all the adults… but not the kids, who were off exploring a cave at the time. There, they find a clockwork proto-mecha that allows them to escape.

… But maybe not for long, as some of the kids want to double back to try and save their parents. That sounds like a really stupid idea, considering how they barely managed to escape the first time around.

Production Values

You can always count on a Bones production to be reasonably polished, and this is no exception.

Overall Impression

Well, this was inoffensive enough, I guess. The problem is that the first episode didn’t manage to make me care about those kids, or even the fate of the village. It’s got some decently-paced action sequences that are all about the flash and carry little substance. Really, it’s just a bit too bland.

I’m not really interested in watching any more of this.

Source: [In Which I Review] Anime series from 2000 – Page 13

Spring 2015 capsules

A few words on Vampire Holmes, first. It’s an adaptation of a… smartphone game app (!) as a series of barely-animated shorts ; the premise is that this Holmes completely sucks at using reason… not that it stops him from solving the crimes. It’s supposed to be funny, but this one joke is way too slight to support even a 3-minute short, let alone a whole season of it. Don’t bother with this one.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015.


Oh, frack it, I’m not doing a full review of Wish Upon the Pleiades (Houkago no Pleiades). For one thing, I already reviewed the pilot web-thingy 4 years ago, and this first episode is a slightly abbreviated version of the same story. I think Gainax reanimated the whole thing thanks to that sweet Subaru money, but I can’t be arsed to track the original version down to compare.

Anyway, it’s still as boring and utterly bizarre as a use of a sponsor’s money (the magical girls’ brooms roar like motorbikes ! The main character is named Subaru ! And, er, that’s it for product placement…) ; I can only fathom that the few people left at Gainax needed the money, no questions asked.


On Sunday aired a short called Rainy Cocoa (Ame-iro Cocoa), about a bunch of handsome dudes running a café. It’s a string of mediocre jokes and stereotypical characterization that just abruptly stops because we’ve hit the 2-minute mark. (There’s technically a cliffhanger with a dude suddenly showing up, but come on now.) Nothing to see there.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015 – Page 4.


A few words on a couple of shorts, first.

BAR Kiraware Yasai features a bunch of vegetables having a drink and complaining about how nobody likes them. It’s mildly cute as a concept, and at least it’s a joke that fits the “series of shorts” format, but there’s nothing particularly compelling in the execution to make me come back next week.

Urawa no Usagi-chan is *COME TO URAWA CITY* a series of shorts featuring a girl called Usagi *PLEASE COME, WE’RE DESPERATE ENOUGH TO COMMISSION THIS* who has utterly normal fri- *NO SERIOUSLY, WE NEED YOUNG PEOPLE TO COMPENSATE OUR POPULATION’S AGING* -ends *TOURISTS ARE FINE TOO*…

Excuse me, please wait a second.

/Shoots the representative from Urawa City’s tourism board.

Now, that’s better. Unfortunately, while there’s enough budget to make this look decent, the producers forgot to include anything like a plot, characters doing anything, or even the glimmer of a single joke. It’s just a scene that lasts for more that three minutes and accomplishes nothing in that duration.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015 – Page 4.


No full review for Saint Seiya : Soul of Gold. I’m not sure whether this is a proper sequel or just a side-story ; the premise is that a good chunk of the supprting cast sacrificed themselves in the Hades arc (which I haven’t watched), and now at least some of them find themselves surprisingly not dead (or maybe undead), in Asgard of all places. And of course there’s something nasty going on there.

This is a perfectly alright on all levels : it looks alright, it quickly establishes the premise and the first miniboss, and even takes the time to allude to the Lion Gold Saint’s origin story as a stab to make him engaging as a protagonist. There’s even a weird cliffhanger to make the viewer question what’s really going on. Quite competent all around… It’s just that unlike the Latin-American market who demands the franchise to be revived every few years, I have no particular nostalgia for Saint Seiya (easy “endless stair-climbing” jokes aside), so I don’t particularly care about this project. Not for me, I guess.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015 – Page 5.


Now for the final straggler… and there’s no way in hell I’m doing a full review of Ninja Slayer From Animation.

The signs should have been obvious. It’s adapted from an elaborate prank (an alleged “traduction” of an American novel, serialized on Twitter). Episodes are barely 12-minute-long, and broadcast only on NicoNico over in Japan. (They’re in a goddarn 4/3 format !) They got the Inferno Cop guy to direct it. Of course it was going to turn out to be a no-budget, no-plot “gonzo parody”.

The thing is, this is actually much worse than Inferno Cop. I may not have liked it, but that show had personality and embraced its own lunacy. It wasn’t boring like this crap, and its shorter episode length made for much better pacing. Ninja Slayer, on the other hand, has an even thinner premise (“dude who hates ninjas gets reborn as a ninja who kills ninjas”), characters with no depth whatsoever, and just piles on cliché after cliché without ever doing anything interesting with them. It doesn’t even have the guts of going all paperdoll-style like Inferno Cop, instead having random bursts of semi-decent animation that make it look even more boring.

The only kind thing I can say here is that it’s got good colour design, and an okayish soundtrack. Everything else about it is pure, unadultered crap. Congratulations, Ninja Slayer ! You’re easily the worst show this season, and by far.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015 – Page 6.

Yamada & the Seven Witches (Yamada-kun to 7-nin no Majo)

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a comedy manga series, the first episode of which features a conspicuous lack of witches. Hm.
Apparently it also got a short-lived live-action TV adaptation back in 2013.


Yamada, our protagonist, is nearly the platonic ideal of the “delinquant” high-schooler : a barely-contained ball of anger who’s rude, violent, and terrible in his studies. Fortunately, before he can get onto my nerves, he suddenly swaps bodies with…

Shiraishi, the best student in his class. Who doesn’t have much of a clue how this happened either, but wants him to wait until after school for them to sort this out, as she can’t afford to miss any more classes. So Yamada spends the rest of the day as her… and learns that she has more depth than the “boring honor student” he’s always dismissed her as : he now sees the creepy harassment from some of the boys, the intense bullying by some of her female classmates, and the fact she has no friends whatsoever. And you can clearly see his own personal growth that comes with this nascent understanding. Also, he has to deal with the fact that Shiraishi refuses him to resort to his go-to answer to everything (i.e. violence), especially as he’s still in her body.

Miyamura, the student council vice-president, who quickly guesses what’s going on and seizes this opportunity to revive the Supernatural Studies Club (of which he was the only member left). Yamada & Shiraishi had already figured out they switched bodies whenever they kissed ; Miyamura is the one leading the experiments that led to the discovery that Yamada could apparently do it with anyone. (One guess how. Shiraishi was surprisingly enthusiastic at the prospect.) Anyway, this lets everyone have a room where they can discreetly swap bodies, provided they occasionally help the student council out.

As I wrote earlier, no witches in sight. The OP sequence goes out of its way to try and frame Shiraishi, the head bully, a tentative applicant to the club who shows up at the end, and four other girls as the titular seven witches, but that feels more symbolic than implying any actual witchcraft at play here. (And if they do turn out to be real witches, that’d be a really surprising twist.)

Production Values

Quite good. It’s a show that relies on comedic timing and a good understanding of body language to sell its central concept, and it handles that well. The exaggerated way Yamada walks may be a bit too much, though.

Overall Impression

This is way better than I expected it to be. The core reason is that it spends very little time dwelling on the obvious jokes, and instead focuses on building everyone into stronger characters and finding fun ways for them to abuse the strange premise. That’s quite refreshing, really.

It’s also an impressive performence showcase. Admittedly, not really from Ryota Osaka ; his Shiraishi-as-Yamada is just kinda flat. But Saori Hayami really gets to stretch herself here ; her Yamada-as-Shiraishi is hilarious, either as a hoarse default-mode or as a parody of feminimity ; and even her normally flat Yamada can turn out to be surprisingly playful and fun. Between this and the 2:15-minute rant, I’m getting more and more appreciately of her range.

This show had me laughing non-stop nearly throughout its first episode. It must be doing something right. Anyway, I’m sure I’ll keep watching it to the end. (And probably catch on that OVA episode that got released a few months ago.)

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015 – Page 5.

#48 : Ghost Stories (Gakkou no Kaidan)

(20 episodes)

What’s it about ?

A horror show that’s not adapted from anything. Apparently the English dub took vast liberties with the script to make it into more of a black comedy, but that’s not what I’m watching.


Satsuki, our fifth-grader heroine. Her dad moved the family back into their mother’s hometown after she died, apparently because the in-laws could provide them with affordable housing. Anyway, that means Satsuki (and her younger brother Keiichirou) are going to a new school from now on. While it looks perfectly decent, they get sidetracked when their cat goes into the creepy abandoned older building…

Hajime, the bratty neighbour kid who tries to prank them (with his bespectacled best pal Reo), only to get a lot less confident once the lot of them get stuck inside.

Momoko, the nice sixth-grader whose hat got lost inside. Totally not a ghost. By an amazing coincidence, she spent some time in the same hospital where Satsuki’s mom spent her last days. And it’s looking less and less like a coincidence when it turns out that (1) Satsuki’s grandmother was a former headmistress of the school and (2) Mom left behind a manual of how to handle ghosts.

That thing comes in really handy, as the old school building is truly haunted. One could have ascribed the sudden opening and closing of the front door to the wind ; the chain repositioning itself, less so. And the various ectoplasm manifestations soon destroy any possible doubt.

Production Values

Quite good, actually. There are lots of slow panning CG shots of the corridors that must have been expensive at the time, and still look quite good while establishing quite the creepy atmosphere. So this is a rare 00s Pierrot show that looks good. I’m as surprised as you are.

Overall Impression

Hey, this is quite fun ! The kids are a good mix of personalities, the plot moves along at a decent pace, and the closing punchline is hilarious. There’s a good chance it’s got a proper ending, too.

I could definitely see myself watching this in full down the line.

Source: [In Which I Review] Anime series from 2000 – Page 13

Punch Line

(11 episodes)

What’s it about ?

“Once he sees underwear, humanity is destroyed!?” is the tagline for this project. It’s as good a description as any of the plot of a series that also features sentai super-heroes, ghosts, and time-travel. And panties, of course.


Yuuta, our protagonist, is in a bit of a pickle. He had a near-death experience in the course of his bus being taken hostage, and unfortunately something has taken over his body. So he’s stuck as a ghost, looking for a way to retake his body.

Chiranosuke is a friendly neighbouring cat-ghost who gives him a lengthy explanation about this, and gives him some pointers about a book that could help him. (Nope, I don’t trust him either.) Also, he informs Yuuta that while seeing underwear and getting excited will super-power him, doing it twice in quick succession will doom humanity immediately. Like, meteor falls and everyone dies. Fortunately, as a ghost Yuuta can tell causality to take a hike, and go back in time to retry a better path as many times as he needs. Since that involves navigating through an apartment complex with a number of female tenants, that’s going to take more than a few tries.

Mikatan is one of his neighbours. He’s been introduced to her a few months ago as just a semi-famous singer, but secretly she’s Strange Juice (sic), defender of justice ! And she doesn’t do that bad a job of it in that bus hostage crisis the series opens with.

Meika, who seems to run the building, also helps her out as mission control. Which might explain why Mikatan’s got a secret entrance to an underground base in her flat.

There’s also Lovera, the dodgy medium (who by a suspect coincidence was also on that bus), and Ito, the NEET.

And then there’s this cocky dude who seems to have orchestrated the bus hostage-taking, and is already at it again that night. I wonder how he fits into all this.

Production Values

WOW. Studio MAPPA have become known for drowning their latest projects in budget and producing impressive animation, but they’ve outdone themselves here. The bus hostage crisis is by far the most gorgeous and well-paced action sequence of the season so far. And then there’s the camera loving to move around in any shot to convey Yuuta’s disorientation, an effect that can’t be cheap to animate.

Also, kick-ass soundtrack. Apparently that’s from the most successful music producer in Japan.

Of course, there’s no going around the fact that much underwear is on display here. At least it’s varied and never boring.

Overall Impression

Well, that was weird. But it’s utterly manic in a way that agrees with my sensibilities : it knows how to use each and every second of screentime to display something awesome, funny, or both. And it’s got great comedic timing. (Best joke of the episode : Chiranosuke turning to his laptop to complete his exposition, and having to shut down a window with cat porn before resuming without missing a beat. Second best joke : Mikatan doing an elaborate transforming dance, only to finally put on her Strange Juice costume the old-fashioned way, while Meika just rolls her eyes.)

After a while, the underwear fanservice even becomes a portent of DOOM rather than actually titillating… Which is of course the central joke of the series. It a show that wants to eat his cake and still have it, while having the audience cheer it on. For me, it works.

This is just as good as I was expecting. No way I’m skipping it.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015 – Page 4.


(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

A comedy show about the the cat being left out of the Chinese zodiac… Wait, Wikipedia claims a manga adaptation of this started publication in 2013. How long has this TV show been stuck in the pipeline ?


Takeru, our male protagonist, found a cheap house to inhabit. Unfortunately, it’s haunted by…

Nyaa-tan, the personification of the Cat zodiac sign. Which doesn’t exist in the Chinese zodiac, of course. (She blames the Rat.) She intends to reclaim her rightful place by… actually, I fell asleep halfway through this, so I have no clue what her zany plan entails. The only thing I can see is that the house is no longer standing by the end of the episode.

Takeru is also harassed by all 12 of the other zodiac signs. There’s a running joke of nobody remembering those past the Snake, so I’ll take that as a cue not to bother listing them all. The only one with a degree of distinctiveness is Chuu-tan (ie the Rat), who smirks in the background while wearing a dominatrix outfit. Of course she does.

Production Values

Nothing to write home about. It’s okay, I guess, although some of the signs’ outfits are more than a bit fanservicey (especially Moo-tan !).

Overall Impression

Ah, the token series that completely puts me to sleep in spite of its hyperactivity. But then, those one-note characters are unengaging, the central joke isn’t particularly funny, and I just can’t bring myself to care.

Next show, please !

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015 – Page 4.

#47 : Inuyasha

(167 episodes + a few movies and OVAs + a 26-episode conclusion series)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a fantasy manga series by Rumiko Takahashi, of Ranma 1/2 fame.


Kagome, our protagonist, is an ordinary teenage girl. One day she falls at the bottom of a weird well in the backyard of her family’s property, and ends up in a world that looks like Feudal Japan, except slightly more fantasy-ish.

Inuyasha, a dog-man spirit stuck to a tree, is the first thing she sees outside the well. She doesn’t know he’s been trapped there 50 years ago by Kikyo, the head priestess of the nearest village, and is thus probably bad news ; the local villagers don’t take well to Kagome trying to free him.

Kaede, Kikyo’s apprentice and now the village elder, calms things down a bit. For one thing, Kagome does look a bit like Kikyo (which would mean more to me if Takahashi could draw more than one young female face). For another, she seems to be able to effortlessly spot supernatural stuff, something even Kaede has trouble with. (I get the impression that Kaede is trying her best to carry Kikyo’s legacy despite not having much of any natural talent for it.)

A serpent-ish monster then shows up, having followed Kagome from the well ; it’s after the small orb of power that’s somehow in her body. Ultimately, only an alliance of convenience with Inuyasha can defeat it… only for him to immediately turn on Kagome. Wait, isn’t the title character supposed to be a good guy ? [Actual text from the next-episode preview.]

Production Values

Decent for a daytime shonen action show of the time (it’s definitely not Pierrot-like), but the shortcuts are easy to spot.

Overall Impression

This is okay, I guess. Decent setup for the classic “stranded in a parallel world” plot, with characters sketched out enough to be pleasant to follow. Obviously Inuyasha isn’t going to be a long-term antagonist, but at least his initial heel persona makes the start of this a bit fresher.

But there’s no way in hell I’m going to watch 200ish episodes of this. The initial TV series obviously got padded to hell and back (not that Takahashi needed much help, considering how the manga ran for 12 years), and it’s just not compelling enough to justify this kind of time investment to me.

Source: [In Which I Review] Anime series from 2000 – Page 13