Girl Meets Bear (Kuma Miko)

(12ish episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a slice-of-life manga series about the young priestess of a remote Japanese village where bears coexist with people.


Machi, our 14-year-old heroine, is a bit fed up of living in this small village in the middle of nowhere, without cell reception, barely any stores, and so on. She’s also not too fond of her position as the priestess of the local shrine to the bear god. Especially as it means interacting daily with…

Natsu, the shrine’s bear. Who can talk. (And not just to Machi ; more on that later.) He’s a bit of a father figure to her, and she’s at the age where she starts rebelling.

Yoshio, Machi’s older cousin, is a town employee. His prerogatives involves taking the kids that have turned 9 to the shrine so that they can learn the village’s secret (the tribe of friendly talking bears living there) and the folklore legends about them. Which, like all good fairytales, involve bestiality.

… Yup, the show cheerfully goes there. Machi is very embarrassed about this and quick to note that her priestess position has NOTHING to do with the “maidens offered to the bears” of the legends, so PLEASE stop picturing it. Pretty please.

Production Values

Well, it’s got the bear body language down pat, and those are some lovely pastel backgrounds for the countryside. You can’t really ask for more, eh ?

Also, that’s a lovely visual gimmick for the ED sequence.

What did I think of it ?

That’s totally the wrong (sub)title for the show ! Machi has known Natsu all her life, and the first half of the episode involves her trying (and failing) to leave him. … Or so I thought until we got to the second half introducing the legends. That’s, er, way more raunchy than I expected this cute show to be, but overall that’s a pleasant surprise. I’m all for coming-of-age stories acknowledging that sex exists, after all.

Still, this is a bit uneven, and some of the jokes in the first half relied on cultural knowledge I don’t possess. (I get the “Suica” gag, but what the heck was the “Marui” thing all about ?) Let’s hope it goes on with the more accessible (and funnier) trend of the second half from now on. I’m willing to give it a go for a while, at least.

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

Ace Attorney (Gyakuten Saiban: Sono “Shinjitsu”, Igi Ari!)

(25ish episodes ?)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of the first two Phoenix Wright – Ace Attorney videogames, featuring the trials and tribulation of a young defense attorney.


Phoenix Wright, our protagonist, is just fresh out of law school. Not everybody would start off their career with a murder trial, but he insisted because the defendant in this case is his childhood friend…

Larry Butz. Let’s be honest, he’s a complete idiot with terrible luck and even worse manners. But he claims to be completely innocent of the murder of his top-model girlfriend (who totally hadn’t just dumped him), so what else can his best friend do but try and defend him ?

Mia Fey, head of the Fey & Co Law Office, and Phoenix’s boss. She’s here to be the helpful mentor who pushes Phoenix to make the right deductions. Don’t get too attached, though, she’s only here for the tutorial case.

Because clearly this is merely an appetizer before meatier cases ; the culprit’s identity is revealed from the start, and the whole thing is resolved under twenty minutes of screentime.

Production Values

Not very good, unfortunately. The animation is bare-bones, the character designs haven’t aged that well, and there’s a lot of awkward staging. I’m a bit puzzled by the choice to use exactly the same introduction boxes as the game ; it doesn’t look very good. At least the random dynamic character insets work a bit better. And they seem to have nailed the body language (that bit with Larry sitting was genuinely funny), which is essential in a show that could easily devolve into talking heads. Decent update and expansion on the game’s score, too.

Crunchyroll have made the interesting choice of providing two different subtitle sets, with our without translating character names. On the one hand, the American localization of the games is rightfully iconic (which is why I’ve been using it above), especially considering the pains they’ve taken to translate the punny names for everyone. On the other hand, even they started to run into trouble with their attempts to relocate the setting to Los Angeles, and this is compounded in this show, with many distinctly Japanese establishing shots, to say nothing of the victim’s plainly Japanese passport and her trip to New York (exactly 14 hours of timelag away) being major plot points in the case. This simulcast can’t just subtly alter the visuals like the games did, and so a “straight translation” subtitle track makes a lot of sense, especially with the more localized one as an alternate option.

What did I think of it ?

I’m a die-hard fan of the games ; of course I’m going to watch this to the end, regardless of actual quality. Especially if it spawns sequels for the later games.

It certainly could be worse. It’s utterly faithful to the games, covering every nook and cranny of the murder trial’s argumentation and somehow managing to cram the whole first case into a single episode without feeling too rushed. It even found the time to seed some flashbacks in that won’t be actually explored until the fourth case, as well as fit in a few additional character bits here and there. It’s also nice to see more thought given to how the AA trials actually look like beyond the limited perspective of the games.

There’s no way this could be as fun as actually playing the games, and frankly it could have been a lot more polished, but it’s decent enough for my purposes.

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

Winter 2016 Capsules

Sushi Police has exactly one joke : an elite police task force regulating the quality and authenticity of sushi. Unfortunately, the execution is rather dismal : few of the gags land, and the animation style is an acquired taste at best. You probably shouldn’t bother seeking it out.


Old Man & Marshmallow is an office romantic-comedy about a middle manager who loves marshmallow. One of his underlings keeps teasing him about him in a way that makes it clear she’s flirting with him ; he’s oblivious. Nothing great here, but it’s paced decently, mildly funny, and rather okay overall. I may stick with it.


Oh, and I’m giving up on Assassination Classroom. The first season had huge pacing and consistency issues ; mostly, it wasn’t that funny. So this new season really had to hit it out of the park to keep my interest… It didn’t. It’s a below average episode with nothing particularly interesting happening ; it might have worked partway through the season as a breather, but something much more punchy was needed at this stage.

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


I’ve given up on writing a full review for Divine Gate. This is an adaptation of a smartphone game where characters aligned with six different elements fight against each other. The show makes it darnedest to try and build up my interest into the token plot and make it look visually interesting, but I just don’t care. I just can’t summon the energy to take interest into whatever is going on here, and the characters certainly aren’t appealing enough to carry the show.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Winter 2016 – Page 3

Sequel watch !

Durarara!!x2 had a very good start for its last third. Most of it is taking stock of the story so far, as Celty desperately tries to get an explanation of what the heck is going on and WHAT ARE ALL THOSE PEOPLE DOING IN HER HOME, but superbly executed. Izaya & Shizuo also get good scenes, so I’m perfectly content with this.

Koyomimonogatari are the latest instalment of the -monogatari franchise, this time around as shorts only available on a mobile-app. (So ready your eyepatch if you want to watch it.) It adapts a bunch of short side stories, so it’s not that great a loss if you miss it. “Koyomi Stone”, the first one, is set before Bakemonogatari and fun enough, as an insight into Ararararagi’s early character development.

By the way, Snow White with the Red Hair is still as fun and engaging as before the break, it’s the one bright spot on Mondays.

I’ve Had Enough of Being a Magical Girl is basically a similar premise to Nurse Witch Komugi R, i.e. a magical girl parody, except as 3-minute shorts and actually half-way engaging. Nothing to write much home about, though.

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

KonoSuba – God’s Blessing on this Wonderful World! (Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo!)

(11 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of yet another light novel series about a gamer dude being transported to an heroic-fantasy world with RPG-ish mechanics.


Kazuma, our protagonist, was your typical obsessive and reclusive teenage gamer, barely getting out of his flat once in a while to buy the one store-exclusive special edition of a game. On one such fateful day, he saw a female classmate of his about to be run over, and jumped to push her out of the way. And died. Well, technically she was in no actual danger from the slow-moving tractor, and he died of cardiac arrest, so it was a really stupid and pointless death. Nethertheless, he wakes up in the afterlife in front of…

Aqua, one of the goddesses dealing with triage. Once she can stop sniggering at his totally lame death, she mentions the standard deal : either he goes to heaven (really boring, with no games), or gets reincarnated as a blank slate. Or he can take the special offer : see, there’s this one heroic-fantasy world under the threat of a terrible Demon-Lord, to the point that few of the locals want to reincarnate there. So the offer is for Kazuma to reincarnate there, with his memory and skills intact, PLUS a special bonus ; here’s a list of possible talents, he can choose anything in here.

Being a rules-lawyering gamer to the extreme, Kazuma choses to take Aqua with him. Cue hilarity as it’s technically a valid choice, and she gets shanghaied with him against her will. Her only way back is for them to defeat the Demon Lord. And hey, a goddess is bound to be useful, right ? As it turns out, not much, actually. She’s got no combat skills, knows next to nothing about the world because she never bothered with the small stuff (Kazuma barely gets by on genre savviness alone), and she didn’t have time to get any money. Also, INT and LUCK were her dump stats, if it wasn’t already obvious. (In contrast, Kazuma has very puny stats asides from INT, and a super-high LUCK which is actually said to be useless in this setting.)

The OP sequence playing at the end suggest our heroes are going to be joined by a Paladin and a Mage in their quest very soon.

Production Values

This is another Deen show that looks much better than the studio’s reputation would have you think. It’s especially good at body language and facial expressions, which is essential to selling the jokes.

On the minus side, the camera seems to be quite obsessed with Aqua’s crotch and ass. Especially her half-see-through skirt.

Overall Impression

Hey, this was really funny ! The two leads have amazing chemistry together, and there were actually a few jokes I hadn’t seen before (such as the starting town having no weak mobs to grind with anymore, as they were wiped out ages ago). Even the usual ones are sold by the very good comedic timing.

This looks like a ton of fun ; I’m in.

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

Rainbow Days (Nijiiro Days)

(25ish 13-minute episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a shojo romance manga series. Interestingly, it seems to follow the point of view of the boys.


Natsuki, our protagonist, is your standard highschool student, of the nice guy (bordering on Nice Guy) mold. He has three friends (Tomoya, Keiichi & Tsuyoshi) who mostly spend time being a jerk to him, each in slightly different fashion. (The credits suggest that they’ll each get their own arc and love interest in further episodes.)

Kobayakawa is a girl who he keeps running into and he’s fallen in love with. There’s no sign whatsoever she’s into him ; indeed, there are hints she’s having a tryst with the math teacher (also Keiichi’s older brother), although that could all be a misunderstanding.

Production Values

Perfectly okay ; especially the attention to body language and facial expressions to build the mystery about Kobayakawa.

Overall Impression

This turned out to be a lot of fun. The half-episodes help keep proceedings tight and and to the point, the cast have good chemistry, and the gags flow well enough.

It’s not like there’s a flurry of non-harem romantic comedies this season, so there’s a good chance I’m going to stick with this one. It’s fun.

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

Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Komugi started her life as a minor (if colourful) side-character in Soultaker, a 2001 anime series mostly notable as an early example of Akiyuki Shinbo developping what would become his signature style. (As a Shinbo fan, I loved it, but it’s a convoluted multiple-conspiracy paranoia-fest that often ends up lost into its own ass, and thus a bit of an acquired taste.)

In the following years, studio Tatsunoko inexplicably released a few OVAs starring Komugi (maybe the merchandise sales for her were strong or something), without Shinbo (now off to transform SHAFT into what it’s today), and recasting her as an actual magical girl. (In Soultaker, she was a looney experiment who behaved like a magical girl. It’s the contrast with everything else that made the joke work.) Some of the wider ST cast got randomly converted into supporting roles, with way too many inside jokes for the show’s own good. The end result was a parody of the genre which just wasn’t very funny.

And now, more than a decade later, for some unfathomable reason, we’ve got yet another retool of the concept, starting with the origin story. Can they make it work this time around ?


Komugi is now just an ordinary energetic middle-school girl, with a barely burgeonning idol career on the side. (As in, she’s doing advertising outside local shops, and her fanbase are those three old dudes.) She keeps dreaming about hitting the big time, though.

Kokona, her best friend, is arguably close to there. She’s PERFECT at everything at school, the student council president, has a decent idol career, and has even branched out into acting recently. She’s super-nice, too.

Usa-P is a weird critter stalking Komugi and coercing her into becoming a magical girl. He’s obnoxious and kinda creepy, of course.

The supporting cast is kinda big, between Komugi’s family, the people at the girls’ talent agency, their classmates, the two other critters who are obviously going to power Kokona and another girl up too… as a result, none of them rise above being one-dimensionally generic.

Production Values

Okay, I guess. At least the fanservice levels are positively subdued.

Overall Impression

Oh, dear gods. They’ve somehow managed to make it even worse. It’s blander and less energetic. In an effort to map more closely to actual magical girl shows’ structure, it’s become tedious and boring. It doesn’t even have the weirdness of the bizarre Soultaker cameos (which admittedly nobody would get now), instead replacing them with more generic Tatsunoko sight gags (which aren’t particularly funny either).

It’s terrible on every level. The jokes are beyond trite, and sparse on the ground. But it’s too self-aware to work as an actual magical girl show, either. And it’s just not funny, which is the worse sin a parody can commit.

Stay well away from this one.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Winter 2016 – Page 3


(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a romantic comedy (with a strong emphasis on “comedy”) manga series about the heir to a sweets shop.

The title is a pun, by the way ; “Dagashi” are traditional (cheap) Japanese sweets, but it can also be read as “but still…”.


Kokonotsu, our male lead, is the heir to a rural sweets shop, but to his father’s despair, he’d rather draw manga instead. Until one day, comes a girl who looks just like one of his drawings…

Hotaru is from that one famous sweets-making dynasty. She’s here to headhunt Kokonotsu’s father, as the company would really enjoy his expertise. While he appreciates the offer, he does need his son to agree to take over the shop when he’s gone. So she takes for her new mission to convince Kokonotsu. A good chunk of the humour comes from the contrast between her headstrong personality and her sheltered upbringing, as this is her first trip to the countryside.

Saya is the barrista at the local coffee shop, and obviously crushing for Kokonotsu. But she’s too tsundere to say it outright, and he hasn’t picked up the hint. Of course, she takes very badly to Hotaru hovering around him.

Production Values

Decent enough. What makes the show visually distinctive are its character designs, and they mostly work in context.

Overall Impression

This is a perfectly okay romantic comedy. There are some good gags, some bits of awkward pacing at the story skips from a scene to another, and the characters have good chemistry together.

In any other season I’d be gladly enjoying the show. With such a busy schedule and heavy competition ? It may fall into the cracks.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Winter 2016 – Page 3

Ultra Super Anime Time Block (Winter 2016)

Ultra Super Anime Time Block is an interesting timeslot broadcast by TokyoMX for the last few seasons. Basically, rather than a normal 24-minute-long anime series, it’s a collection of three completely unrelated shorts, each 8-minute-long. I’m all for this kind of thing, as there’s room for shows that can’t sustain a whole 24-minute episode, without falling into the other extreme of 2/3-minute episodes that end up being rather unsatisfying (but are very common because that’s easy to fit somewhere into the schedule). Of course, that depends on the actual shows proposed being any good. So how’s this season’s selection ?


Please Tell Me! Galko-chan adapts a gag web-manga where the gimmick is that the narrator goes out of her way to ask (rather crude) questions to the cast. The joke is that while main character Galko looks the part of the classic truant “gal” girl, she’s actually mostly normal and there are mundane explanations for her gal-like outbursts. Oh, and everyone has puns for their names. (Otako is the otaku-like girl, and so on.) As a whole, it’s mildly funny, if a bit overreliant on gross hygiene gags. There are worse ways to spend 8 minutes.


Sculpture Boys (Sekkou Boys) is an original concept about a bunch of male idols… Well, the first episode is mostly focused on their new manager, just fresh out of art college. With not much artistic talent, and completely burned out of painting sculpture after sculpture after sculpture, she moved on to a field where she would only deal with actual people. Or so she thinks, as her new charges are… a quatuor of classical busts. Talking (and presumably singing) busts. (After all, as the agency’s president says, there’s no danger of them sleeping around, so that’s one less headache to deal with compared to “normal” idols.)

The premise is patently absurd, but the show manage to sell it by ignoring the actual title characters for most of the episode, and instead building to the manager’s inevitable freakout. Even if you’re aware of what the series is about beforehand, the joke is so well-paced that it still works. I’m not sure there’s 12 (even short) episodes of material here, but I’m willing to give it a try.


Tabi Machi Late Show is about professional cooking or something ? It’s deathly dull and barely animated at all. The only good news is that it’s only 4 episodes, so its slot will be taken over by something different in February (a new iteration of the Kono Danshi franchise) and March (a remake/extension of Makoto Shinkai’s 1999 short She & Her Cat, of all things ?).

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

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