Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress (Koutetsujou no Kabaneri)

(12ish episodes, noitaminA)

What’s it about ?

Steampunk zombie apocalypse, by most of the same people who brought you Attack on Titan‘s adaptation.


Most of the world (as we can see it) has already been overwhelmed by the zombies ; there are only a few pockets of survivors, built like fortresses, and connected only by armoured trains. Even then, they’re falling one by one, and there’s a sense of growing desperation and paranoia among both civilians and soldiers. They’re certainly checking thoroughly everyone who comes out of the trains for traces of infection.

Ikoma, our protagonist, is a lowly engineer working on train maintenance. His pet project, though, is building steam-guns that can actually kill zombies (as opposed to the current ones that only kill people and barely repel zombies). He’s all about taking a rational approach to fighting off the infestation (“it’s not a curse, guys !”), but I have to say that his “cure” method looks really, really dumb.

Mumei looks like someone very important, most probably the daughter of the lord of another fortress. She’s certainly important enough for her and her minder to avoid the mandatory inspection after coming by train. At first she looks like a sheltered free-spirit who’s super-bored about her own diplomatic mission, but when the shit hits the fan she displays some unexpected determination and awareness of the stakes.

On the other hand, I totally understand her disdain for the rulers of this settlement. The local lord lets his paranoid soldiers go way overboard in their paranoia, and his first reflex after a breach is to head for the one available train to escape. (And you just know there’s a fat chance of civilians getting allowed in.) His daughter seems okay, though, if very sheltered indeed.

Production Values

Budget ! And very bombastic indeed, but then that’s what you get with Araki directing and Sawano scoring.

What did I think of it ?

Warning : this show is very, very dumb. Most of the characters act like morons, and some of the big moments look very silly indeed.

If you can get over that, though, there’s actually a lot to like here. Ikoma’s more brainy and less shouty than your average protagonist, Mumei is tons of fun, and it’s hard not to get swept up in the show’s escalating momentum.

It could very well collapse under the weight of its ambitions, but I’m in for the ride.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2016 – Page 4

The Lost Village (Mayoiga)

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

An original horror/mystery series about people going to the titular village to start their life anew. Yeah, like that ever goes well…


I’m not going to run down all the characters in the show, because there’s literally a bus-full of them, and some of them are obviously one-note jokes and/or cannon fodder for whatever comes next. Basically, those are 28 people who “won” some sort of ARG and got offered a trip to the mysterious Nanaki village, which doesn’t exist on any map and has been fodder for tons of (often contradictory) urban legends.
If you add in the guide (clearly out of his depth) on loan from the company sponsoring this, the folklore college student who actually found the place (and is more than a bit creepy herself), and the bus driver who’s progressively getting angry at those arrogant youth, that’s 31 characters.

“Mitsumune” (everybody here uses aliases, leading to a nice joke where three people happen to use the same one and fight over it) is our de-facto point-of-view character ; he’s a runaway high-school kid who keeps for himself the reasons why he wants to start over. Why he seems to be nice enough on a surface level, there’s obviously quite a lot he keeps bottled in.

“Speedstar”… okay, even he can’t bother and lets his seat neighbour Mitsumune call him “Hayato” (which may or may not be his real name). While some others have decent reasons for wanting to start over (don’t invest into the FOReing currency EXchange market, kids !), he’s among those who think the whole thing is a scam, and wants to investigate it.

“Masaki” is a fragile girl who’s so adorably vulnerable (immediately attracting Mitsumune’s attention) that you can’t help but thing there’s something else going on there.

“Lion” is a taciturn hooded girl who keeps to herself and definitely won’t tell her deal to Mitsumune. She can see right through him, though.

And so on ; I presume that other characters will get the spotlight when necessary, and/or get weeded out.

They still haven’t actually gotten to the village yet by the end of the first episode, by the way.

Production Values

Quite good ; the show manages to nail its atmosphere, a mixture of foreboding and quirky characters quickly getting onto each other’s nerves. It’s also already getting some interesting dream sequences in.

What did I think of it ?

A shadow loomed over this project : Another, director Tsutomu Mizushima’s main previous attempt at a horror series. (Let’s also politely forget about Blood-C.) Those two shows worked against his strengths as a director, forcing him into a straitjacket of deadpan seriousness that he couldn’t help but make look ridiculous. Here he seems much more at ease, especially paired with an experienced writer who’s smart enough to play to his strengths.

Remember the one very good scene from Another, that hilarious daydream sequence ? This is exactly what Mizushima is channelling here, with his impeccable comedic timing and surreal tone are put to very good effect. The impressive “introductions” sequence where the whole cast are sketched out in less than four minutes is quite impressive indeed, in particular. I’m quite fond of the way the huge cast is juggled throughout, with some character beats echoing smoothly from one scene to another.

This is promising in may ways that the aforementioned two shows weren’t ; third time’s the charm ? I definitely plan on sticking with it to find out, at least.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2016 – Page 2

Ultra Super Anime Time Block (Spring 2016)

In case you don’t remember last quarter’s explanation, USATB is basically a standard-sized time-slot shared by three different (and mostly unrelated) series of 8-minute shorts. It’s a nice idea to fit into the schedule some gimmick shows that benefit from having enough room to breathe without overstaying their welcome.

So this Spring, our three shows are… Oh, wait. Rage of Bahamut – Manaria Friends, a random magic-school spin-off from the same videogame franchise that gave us a surprisingly good adventure romp show a year and a half ago, was for some reason pulled from the schedule at the last minute without any explanation ; and I have no clue what, if anything, is supposed to replace it. So we only have two USATB shows this quarter.

Kagewani is returning after a first season last Fall ; I didn’t care much for this rotoscoped horror show, but if you enjoyed it, there’s more of it.

The true star of the timeblock, though, is Space Patrol Luluco, studio Trigger’s latest offering ; it’s created, directed and written by Hiroyuki Imaishi himself (unlike the other Trigger show this season). And it’s really an excuse for him to go nuts and produce the kind of random nonsense that wouldn’t be out of place on Adult Swim.

The series follows the titular Luluco, who aspires to be a normal middle-school girl despite (1) attending school in a middle of the Alien Coexistence Zone (so everyone else there are aliens), (2) having Dad working at the Space Police, and (3) being forced into becoming an “undercover” agent by said Space Police because of reasons.

It’s unashamedly stupid, but the kind of endearing rapid-fire nonsense we’ve all come to love from Imaishi. His style works well with the limited budget here, of course. And the key point : it’s actually quite funny. It’s got tons of cute visual gags, from the Space Police Chief being on loan from a different show, to Luluco’s outrageous gun, and it’s just a joy to watch.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2016

Fall 2015 capsules

Also deserving a mention is Lupin III: L’avventura Italiana, the first new proper Lupin III TV series in ages. As it turns out, the franchise has been very popular in the Italian market, so why not make a new series that’s actually set there for maximum pandering ? (It’s already been airing over there for the last couple of months.)

This is actually better than it sounds, since Lupin III’s shtick involves globe-trotting as a matter of course anyway. I thus have no issue whatsoever for his gang to show up in Italy for a random caper, and then stick around there for a while. The token new Italian semi-regular character does bring some added spice into the well-worn character dynamics, too.

This is the point where I have to admit I haven’t watched much Lupin III at all ; it got big well before my time and I’ve always found the franchise’s sheer size a bit intimidating. I do plan on checking out the highlights such as Castle of Cagliostro in due time, but so far my exposure is mostly limited to The Woman Called Fujiko Mine, which was very atypical indeed.

This series is a much more conventional entry point, with pleasant kid-friendly adventures that have enough of an edge to entertain adults too. And heck, I’m a sucker for heist shows anyway, so I have every reason to watch this. (Miyuki Sawashiro voicing a very delicious Fujiko is the cherry on the cake.)

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2015


Hacka Doll the Animation is a series of shorts adapting… a news phone app ? Seriously ? It’s certainly not a ringing endorsement, as it stars a trio of bumbling AIs who completely fail to be of any use to their hapless owner. Which is actually mildly funny, all told, as they’ve got good comedic timing together. Very dumb, but entertaining enough for me to give it another episode. (After all, it’s only 8 minutes a week.)


Oh, and Noragami is back ! It’s still as stylish as ever (that god-tier Taku Iwasaki score !), although this episode spends a lot of time recapping the premise, the main characters, and the basics of the Hato/Bishamon feud which is apparently going to take center stage. But so far, so good.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2015


Lovely Muco (Itoshi no Muco) are 12-minute shorts about the daily life of the titular dog, Muco. There were actually two previous anime series adapting this manga, but only as 2-minute shorts padding the schedule ; this is a back-to-basics reboot that requires no previous knowledge. And in any case, the OP sequence displays just about everything you’d want to know about the character dynamics (including from the cast who have yet to show up).

It’s a very simplistic, family-friendly show about Muco being a cute dog, and the communication failures with her laid-back master. It’s mildly entertaining, but I keep having the nagging feeling I’m at least two decades older than the target audience. The animation is very limited, but sells the jokes well enough for a gag show. And it certainly knows how to make a dog look expressive.


Kagewani are 8-minute horror shorts about a crypto-zoologist investigating monster sightings instead of, you know, actually teaching his college classes. But most of the episode is devoted to one of those “celebrity” monster hunters who’s busy faking one such sighting until things go very badly when his team encounter the real thing.

What makes this show stand out is the rotoscoped animation ; together with the overbearing colour filters and the nervous shakycam often at awkward angles, it gives off a strong “found footage” flavour. Unfortunately, it also looks like crap. (Which, I guess, completes the “found footage” look.) And frankly, it’s not particularly compelling, funny or scary ; it just doesn’t work for me at all.


K – Return of Kings if off to a rather mixed bag for its second season. It’s even more visually impressive than ever (how much budget do they spend on those super-kinetic fight scenes ?), although I’m getting tired of the camera switching to pervert mode whenever Awashima’s on screen. But the script seems intent on being as confusing as possible, starting off with an overly-long gratuitous fight scene that’s set before the first series, for some reason (as evidenced by the presence of the dude who got killed in the first episode), and then it switches without warning to the post-movie status quo. (Which, admittedly, isn’t very complicated ; “the gothloli is the new Red King, and the Greens are now attacking everyone and being jerks for some reason”.) Hopefully it’ll find its footing back soon enough.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2015 – Page 2


Young Kindaichi’s Casefile Returns Again has been off to a good start. Actually, I’m slightly weirded out that we start immediately on the trail of the recurring villain introduced at the end of last season (Kindaichi’s usually more about one-off mysteries than ongoing storylines), but it’s a good way to keep the stakes high, especially as the supporting cast are all there and have something to do. And, well, I have a sweet tooth for mysteries, so I’m all for this.


Speaking of which, Owarimonogatari opens with a double-length episode that’s basically a lovely done-in-one closed-room mystery. It’s awesome. And despite how much Ararararagi has become the weak link in this show over time, he’s actually quite fun here, as Ougi leaves him absolutely no room to fall back on his usual excesses. This was a very good opener indeed, and setting a high bar for the season.


Attack on Titan – Junior High is very, very stupid. It probably doesn’t make much sense unless you’ve watched the main series. (Or, heck, read the manga, if the Ymir/Krista material is any indication.) What it does right, though, is being at least mildly funny most of the time ; and it’s having a lot of funny playing with Sawano’s bombastic score and the original anime’s direction for maximum comedic effect. At least for one episode, the joke works.


Onsen Yousei Hakone-chan is a gag manga adaptation about a childlike hotsprings fairy meddling with teenagers’ love life. In three minutes it makes its point, namely that it’s the same romantic comedy beats I’ve already seen hundreds of time, without any particular spark. Pass.


Miss Komori Can’t Decline! (Komori-san wa Kotowarenai!), on the other hand, does manage to spin a few decent laughs out of its premise. Unfortunately, it looks like crap and barely lasts 2 minutes. Oh, well.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2015 – Page 2

Dance with Devils

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Ah, the standard romance show with a heroine surrounded by creepy and devilish-looking handsome boys. Except this isn’t a shoujo manga or visual novel adaptation but an original project. And a musical.


Ritsuka, our protagonist, is your ordinary, slightly naive high school girl. She lives alone with her writer/translator mother, as her older brother is busy being ordained in England. If that last bit wasn’t already eyebrow-raising, then there’s the whole deal with her Mom being very insistant she wear a fresh new talisman every week. Considering it saves her bacon twice this episode, that sounds like a reasonable precaution.

One day she’s suddenly summoned by the Student Council, a quartet of creepy boys of various strikes. There were rumours she had broken some school rule, but they refuse to be more precise. Since her talisman prevents them from doing anything too nefarious, she’s just dumbfounded at this group of jerks and their unfounded accusations.

As she comes back home that evening, she sees a bunch of hooded thugs ransacking the place, and her mother motioning her to stay away. Of course, by the time she comes back with the police, everything is back to normal (aside from her mother being mysteriously absent), and they don’t believe her. As a perfectly sensible precaution, she decides to stay the night at one of her friends. However, than plan is hijacked by…

Rem, jerk student council president, who “rescues” her from the thugs attacking her again and… wait, did he just incinerate two of them while she wasn’t looking ? Anyway, he escorts her back to his mansion, supposedly for her own safety. He claims the student council are investigating a circle of devil worshippers at school, and initially mistook her for one of them… but I have a hard time taking anything he says at face value.

Production Values

As mentioned above, this is a musical. It opens with a glorious villain song featuring an evil Greek chorus being ominous as crap, goes on with Ritsuka going to school like she’s a Disney princess under the cherry trees, and also has the student council being introduced as super-creepy in their library den. It’s thus slightly disappointing that there’s so much plot setup that we don’t see anymore of those musical numbers in the second half of the episode. Hopeful the next episodes will balance them better, as they’re gorgeous-looking and the clear highlight of the show, both musically and visually. (Though the rest of the show looks quite good too.)

Overall Impression

From previous reviews, you may have notice I have very little time for this genre, especially if the numerous prettyboys aren’t particularly distinctive. But this pulls of the stops to get me onboard with a series of glorious musical numbers that are so over-the-top they’re incredibly charming. Which is a feat, for a series about rapey boys.

I’m less sold about the actual plot and characters (although I have seen much worse heroines than Ritsuka), but if the show can keep the musical numbers as impressive as this opener, then, to my complete surprise, I’m in.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2015 – Page 4

Summer 2015 capsules

Out first show of the season is My Wife is the Student Council President (Okusama ga Seitokaichou!), a series of 8-minute shorts adapted from an erotic comedy manga series. I have to say I feared the worst from the title. An underage wife ?

The good news is that the premise doesn’t involve any actual marriage yet and merely involves the student council president being, er, very “sex-liberated” (condoms for everyone !), and aggressively pursuing her vice-president. So far, he’s not receptive at all to her stalker ways ; which anyone would be even without the huge stick in his ass.

The bad news is that it isn’t really funny. I just can’t laugh with the show, as I find the title character more horrific than cute. And the boring, by-the-numbers point-of-view character doesn’t help matters.

Don’t bother with looking this one up.


Wakaba Girl is a typical adaptation of a 4-panel gag manga as a series of 8-minute-long shorts (extended OP sequence included). It’s basically a “cute girls being cute” affair, with the central gimmick of its heroine Wakaba coming from a very high-class family and being delighted to attend a normal high school where she can make normal friends. Cue many jokes from her being more than a bit sheltered.

It’s cute, reasonably well-paced and funny, and doesn’t overstay its welcome. That’s plenty enough reasons for me to keep watching.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Summer 2015


Wakako-zake is a series of 2-minute (OP included) shorts about a woman who eats out at restaurants, with the constant in her menu being alcohol. And, er, that’s it. Not much in the way of jokes or story (aside from a couple of dudes trying to pick her up), just some food porn. Pass along, nothing to see here.


Sequel Watch !
Dragonball Super picks up a few months after the Majin Buu arc, which means we’re ignoring Z’s epilogue with Uub and its timeskip. (To say nothing of GT.) The good news is that no knowledge from the recent movies seems to be required ; the new antagonists are introduced properly and seem to be heading towards their first meetings with the heroes. The bad news is that it’s a very slow start, reintroducing the dozens of members of the supporting cast and what they’re up to now. Even then, I think we missed Krillin & family, as well as most of the minor useless members of the Z-fighters ; we’re mostly focused on the extended Son/Briefs/Satan households for now. There’s little in the way of actual plot right now, aside from the Supreme Kais worrying about new villains showing up anytime now. But then they always do. Since I actually like the more slice-of-life comedy segments of Dragonball, I’m not complaining. (Although less Goten/Trunks screentime would be a relief.)

– Speaking of reintroducing dozens of supporting characters, Durarara!!x2 (Middle Part) feels it was the time to introduce more new characters. And hey, it does makes who comes to try and finish Izaya off in his hospital room a genuine surprise. A nice callback to his introduction, but still unexpected. Aside from that, it’s mostly a matter of positioning all the pieces back in place.

Symphogear GX – Determination to Fist has a positively metal opening action sequence that’s going to be hard to top. It does unfortunately show again that Aoi Yuuki is miles behind Nana Mizuki & Ayahi Takagaki in singing talent, but them’s the breaks. At least we get another Nana Mizuki/Yoko Hikasa duet. Not feeling the new antagonists yet, but I’ll give them time.

Gatchaman CROWDS Insight… I have no clue where they’re going with this new team member and the alien. But it’s certainly very energetic and colourful as usual, and Hajime is still very fun. (“Berg, shut up-su!”)

– As for Working!!!, I’m fearing the ship may have sailed. I quite enjoyed the first two seasons, but this reintroduction episode left me quite cold. Maybe it’ll pick up steam later on, but this wasn’t a good start.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Summer 2015 – Page 3


I’m sure that, like me, you rolled your eyes when Bikini Warriors showed up on the schedule, especially as an adaptation of a line of “sexy” figurines. The good news is that this series of comedy shorts makes its tired cliché of a premise the central joke. Yes, those bikini-style armours are ridiculous and can’t protect much ; let’s have fun with that ! And frankly, the few chuckles it raises are enough to overcome the rudimentary animation and the obnoxious fanservice. It just about gets away with it, and that’s the best it could have ever hoped for.

Million Doll is an adaptation of a web manga series as 8-minute shorts. It’s an exploration of idol fandom culture that just rubs me the wrong way. I think that’s because it seems to lionize its shut-in protagonist and agree with her contempt of the more dilettante fans who are quick to move on from an idol group to the next… never mind that she’s already much creepier and unhealthy than all of them combined. It’s a show that requires you to adhere unconditionally to the glamour of the idol subculture (and dismisses its unpleasantness as coming from a few icky fans), and that’s not something I can get into. It doesn’t help that it’s barely animated, and suffers from a downright ugly CG-animated dancing opening sequence. Avoid like the plague.
SuzakiNishi the Animation is a weird beast. It’s notionally an adaptation of voice-actresses Aya Suzaki & Asuka Nishi’s radio program, where they discuss business models. In practive, this is a series of “comedy” shorts depicting them as new transfer students in high school. The gags are trite and there’s just nothing here that builds upon its name characters or the original premise. Really don’t bother with this.
Kurayami Santa is a bizarre oddity : a series of horror shorts set in the 60s that’s half animation looking like it came from that period, and half actual vintage live-action footage from then. It features a demon looking like a creepy child who punishes evidoers, but in cruel and circuitous ways that make you shudder more than applaud. While I’m intrigued at how this came into being, there’s a gap between that and actually finding it entertaining ; it’s just too weird for me.
Danchigai is an adaptation of a 4-panel gag manga about five siblings rough-housing each other. (Well, they mostly all gang up against the one boy, second oldest of the lot.) It’s very mildly funny, but nothing to go out of your way for.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Summer 2015 – Page 5

School-Live ! (Gakkou Gurashi!)

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of yet another slice-of-life manga series… Er, wait, not quite.


Yuki, our protagonist, loves attending her high-school. She’s even a member of the “School Living Club”, who stay the night in an empty classroom on campus instead of going home. She’s a bit airheaded, to put it mildly, and you can quickly sense that her friends are a bit worried about her.

She has basically two sets of friends. Her classmates, of course ; the go from the completely forgettable to the bad girl who comes to school wearing a collar. And the School Living Club :
– Yuuri, the motherly club president, who spends most of her time cooking or gardening on the roof ;
– Kurumi, the one who gets most angry at Yuki’s antics and is never seen without her trusty showel ;
– and Miki, who’s technically more junior than Yuki but seems to have a better head on her shoulders.
(They also have a dog whose running around causes much hijinks.)

After a while, you get the feeling that something’s not quite right. Aside of Yuki, none of the School Living Club members seem to go to class. Whole areas of the building are cordoned off, and nobody ever sets foot outside. And there’s the worrying fact that, Yuki aside, the two sets of characters never really interact (although the show does its darnedest to camouflage it).

The twist, which comes to light at the end of the episode, is that the school is in the middle of a zombie apocalypse ; Yuki has snapped and is entirely delusional. None of her classmates or teachers are alive (there’s the striking visual of a half-torn collar on a desk in her classroom), and the other members of the School Living Club are merely indulging her, hoping she doesn’t do anything dangerous in between attending empty classes and talking with non-existent people.

Production Values

Quite good ; there’s certainly a lot of effort put into foreshadowing the twist with background details, before finally pulling the rug and showing the actual state of disrepair for the school.

Points for the misleadingly cheerful OP sequence that does go out of its way to only never actually show other people onscreen with the main four characters, except in Yuki’s solo spots.

Overall Impression

Hmm. I had seen enough promotional material about the show to be mostly spoiled on the premise ; watching the episode was mostly an exercise on spotting the hints and waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Even with that additional layer, there’s no escaping that this first episode is rather boring, all told. With the rest of the School Living Club staying mostly in the background (or entirely deadpan, in Miki’s case), it’s up to Yuki to carry the show, and she doesn’t quite have the shoulders for it. It doesn’t help that the twist that makes her at least somewhat interesting is relegated to the last couple of minutes. It’s an entire episode of slow build while nothing really happens (so as to preserve the surprise), and that’s not really thrilling to watch.

Of course, there’s no way the show can keep going like this ; but I have no clue where the balance will fall between brainless slice-of-life (i.e. Yuki’s perspective) and an actual examination of the consequences of the setting, and its emotional baggage. Surely Yuki is going to snap back to reality at some point ? (On the other hand, the manga is still ongoing, so…)

I’m giving it a second episode to see where the chips fall, but there’s a lot of work yet to do in order to transform it into an actual watchable show.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Summer 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

Seraph of the End (Owari no Seraph)

(12 episodes, + the second half this Fall)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a post-apocalyptic manga series featuring vampires as the villains. Which actually doesn’t happen that often these days, so it’s quite refreshing.


For reasons that are left vague on purpose, a good chunk of humanity suddenly died one day. The vampires claim it’s a virus unleashed by humanity themselves ; allow me to take that with a grain of salt. Anyway, children under 13 were immune, so the vampires came in and took in as many kids as they could. Not out of charity, of course ; they’re cattle.

The series follows a group of orphans that were in the same orphanage and considered themselves family, and have been captive for four years ; the oldest are now 12. I’m not even bothering to remember all those names, as this is clearly the kind of series where they’re doomed to nearly all be killed horribly.

Yuichiro, our protagonist, is one of the oldest, and the lone wolf of the group ; he joined last, and has some sort of horrible backstory (why the heck would his mother call him a monster ?). His pathetic attempts to lash out against the vampires are borderline suicidal, and he’s only still alive thanks to…

Mikaela, the other oldest, who’s decided that voluntary offering himself to some noble vampire was the best way to protect his siblings and keep them decently fed. And he was merely buying his time ; today he’s stolen a gun and a map that can lead them outside. They’re all escaping tonight.

Of course it’s a trap, laid by said noble, Lord Ferid. Dude likes to toy with his food, it seems. On the other hand, he’s slightly too cocky ; Mikaela sacrificing himself allows just barely Yuichiro to take him out… but only after he’s killed everyone else. Yuichiro can only escape alone, in an effort to make his family’s death mean something.

Some (human) dude catches him just outside the vampire city, and tells Yuichiro he’s going to make him the ultimate anti-vampire weapon. Sure, bring it on.

Cut to four years later, with our hero all grown up and in nicer clothes, and… why the heck does the next-episode preview show some sort of high-school-like setting ? Please tell me that’s a joke. Or a pre-apocalypse flashback for our new character.

Production Values

Quite nice. Hiroyuki Sawano’s bombastic score is perfectly at home here, especially as he’s adapting himself to better fit the mood.

Overall Impression

Well, subtle this ain’t ; but it’s remarkably effective at setting up the protagonist’s backstory, however predictable the end result may be. That helps smooth over Yuichiro being a bit annoying in those early stages, but only up to a point ; a lot depends on what happens next and how it builds a proper supporting cast.

Still, it bought itself a second episode ; let’s see where it goes from here.

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


(10 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a supernatural action manga series.


Shinichiro, our generic male lead. A completely unremarkable high school student. He’s even got the mandatory perverted best friend to make him look better.

Sakuya, a classmate of his that goes around shooting shape-shifting nasties with a bow and arrows. Apparently her family has been doing this for many generations. She gets progressively more annoyed as Shinichiro keeps getting in her way. Especially regarding…

Tamako, a catgirl (with a maid outfit in the credits) who is NOT the gigantic feline going around killing students. That’s a completely distinct monster, and Sakuya would have executed Tamako by mistake if Shinichiro hadn’t jumped to her defense.

The cast list includes an actual character named Isuca, but she’s yet to show up (or her significance to be explained).

Production Values

This is from studio Arms, and as usual for them this is borderline softcore porn. The pervert camera is on full force here. Mind you, I’m pretty sure Sakuya getting heavy clothing damage and magically raped during the climactic fight scene were in the source material too.

And of course there’s some clumsy censorship for the TV broadcast.

Overall Impression

Remember how I was saying that this season was pretty good, with at worst a few very boring and generic light novel adaptations ? As it turns out, the token creepy fanservice-fest just decided to premiere late. (Not that it really impacts on the season’s overall quality.)

Even disregarding the problematic content, this show has very little going for it : the characters are one-dimensional, the basic plot is nothing special and has been done better elsewhere, and the tone is all over the place (going from “comedy” hijinks to gruesome horror and back). Aside from having some relatively decent animation, it’s terrible on just about every level.

Really don’t bother with this one.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Winter 2015 – Page 2.