Norn9: Norn+Nonet

(12ish episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a sci-fi “otome” visual novel. Interestingly, according to the Wikipedia description it seems to have switched point-of-view characters from the very young dude (who’s yet to show up) to one of the girls (which feels much more conventional).


Koharu is a girl who’s forgotten nearly everything about herself (it takes the whole episode for her to remember her name), who one day feels to compel to head for a shuttle that leads her to THE WORLD. Not the stand, but a huge ship (big enough to host a town and some bits of lands inside) that travels across the globe… and maybe spacetime, if the appearance of Koharu’s hometown is any indication (The World looks much more futuristic).

The only crew (and inhabitants) of The World are about a dozen teenagers, who seem to have been recruited similarly. (The big difference is that Koharu somehow got her hands on an uniform before she even got inside.) They spend most of their time on the chores required to living on The World (fishing, growing crops, etc.), and frankly I have no clue how they do this with so few people given the sheer size of the thing. On the other hand, The World appears to be self-driving, randomly relocating itself to whatever crisis they are meant to solve. (The show remains mysterious as to what those are yet.)

Oh, and a tower explodes at the end. Good way to keep my interest up, show !

(It’s apparently called “Norn9” because there are 9 dudes aboard, and somehow the three girls – including Koharu – don’t count. Whatever)

Production Values

Quite sharp-looking ; it’s certainly very good at selling The World as a setting with a huge scale and on a completely different technological level from anything else.

As you’d expect for the source, there’s a decent amount of manservice, mainly in the form of a bunch of the guys spending noticeably more time than narratively necessary swimming around.

Overall Impression

Usually I’m not in the audience for otome adaptations, but I have to give points to this one for sheer ambition. Sure, it spends most of its time faffing around with nothing particularly interesting happening, and the main characters don’t deviate much from the usual archetypes, but it almost feels like there’s an actual plot and purpose to the show.

I’m probably going to be disappointed, but I’m giving this a second episode.

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

Prince of Stride – Alternative

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

“Stride” is a fictional sport that’s basically a five-people relay parkour race (with a sixth person coordinating them by radio). So this is a sports series (complete with the classic “save our club” narrative)… adapted from a female-targeted, male harem visual novel.


Nana, our heroine/audience stand-in, loves Stride and enrolled into this high school because she watched a video of their Stride club having perfect form… But that was a while ago, the members she saw are on the verge of graduating and already left it, and there are so few members left it’s on the verge of disbanding (they certainly don’t have enough people to properly enter races right now). She wanted to be the manager (aka the traditional female role of a sports team that’s a glorified gofer), but she’ll do as their Relationer (the radio coordinator).

Heath, the club president, at first looks like a slacker that gave up, but he did ensure the club’s temporary survival by merging it with the shogi club, and made sure that the members kept in shape. He even deviously trained Ayumu, the shogi club’s president, despite his stated disinterest into the sport.

Hozumi, the third “veteran” member, is the super-enthusiastic cute-looking guy. If you’ve ever watched a male harem, you know the type.

Takeru is another freshman who’s joining the club for the same reasons as Nana… except he’s way more obsessive and creepy about it, already seizing up potential recruits before he even enters the club room.

Riku is the victim candidate he’s pounced on. You can easily see why : he’s so fast that all the sports clubs want him, and his impressive amateur parkour run when he’s late for his first day in school makes him a shoe-in. Unfortunately, he’s a bit reluctant and seems to have some history with the club somehow (I suspect he’s the brother to one of the seniors who left in bad blood or something). Cue 2vs2 race between the seniors and the freshmen to settle this… And to his credit, Takeru doesn’t throw the race at all. The seniors are that good.

Production Values

Quite good. Atsuko Ishizuka (of No Game No Life fame) is directing this, and you can tell by her signature oversaturated colours. It’s nice to see her handling a show that doesn’t require creepy incestuous fanservice. (And even the manservice here is relatively tame, compared to, say, Free!)

I’m slightly warier of the race sequence being slightly bigger on impressionist little touches than proper scene-setting, which makes me worry about the show’s actual animation budget. But maybe they’re saving up for the proper races later on ? At least they still flow quite well.

Overall Impression

This is way better than I expected. Sure, the cast are walking clichés, ticking all the classic male harem archetypes, but they still show a decent degree of personality and have good chemistry. Moreover, the show has communicative enthusiasm for its madeup sport, as showcased by the whole school preparing the obstacle course and watching, which may be a bit overkill for a club on the verge of disbanding. But who cares ? It makes Stride look cool and fun, which is all that matters.

Good enough for me to give it a bit of rope… and it’s not like there’s anything else on Tuesdays anyway.

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

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

Fall 2014 capsules

Hmm. For some reason Karen Senki wasn’t even on my checklist. I can’t even find any hint it’s actually airing in Japan. But hey, it’s at the very least a Japanese co-production by the creators of Sakura Wars, and Crunchyroll is streaming it, so close enough for a token mention in this thread.

This is quite an odd series. For one, it’s 12 half-length episodes. For two, it’s full-CG. And for three, I can’t tell whether the plot being so disjointed and making no sense whatsoever is intentional.

It follows the adventures of Karen, who wages an essentially single-woman war against robots, who have taken over society and killed her cute young sister. (Or so she claims ; the flashbacks show nothing of the sort.) But the robots’ rule doesn’t seem that drastic, as everyone else seems to be carrying on normally, aside from whenever they have to deal with the collateral damage of Karen’s battles. Her being randomly attacked by killer-bots seems to be the exception, not the rule. One of her associates seems perfectly fine having a robot lover. And frankly, Karen just doesn’t sound entirely sane.

Or this may just be because the series as a whole is an excuse to string along elaborate action sequences. Now, they’re quite well-directed ; the problem isn’t so much that they’re hard to follow, but that they don’t fit with their context. But the real issue here is that the actual character animation is goddarn awful. People don’t move that way ! They can emote decently, but just about anything else about them is awkward. This is massively distracting, and doesn’t help the series’ case.

I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt, and a second episode. But I dread it’s going to test my patience quickly.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2014.


Anyway, let’s say a few words on I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying (Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken). It’s a series of shorts adapting a 4-panel gag manga series. Basically, it’s about a wife being flummoxed by her husband’s ultra-otaku ways. It’s mildly funny, but most of these jokes have already been done to death, and you often wonder why those two even got married in the first place. (That’s actually addressed immediately, but her reasoning is more than a little evasive.) This is a perfectly inoffensive show, but I doubt it’ll hold my attention for long unless it gets significantly better soon.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2014 – Page 2.


As it turns out, I just can’t make a proper review of Fate/stay Night – Unlimited Blade Works. Too much of my viewing experience was influenced by my foreknowledge from the DEEN series & movie, as well as Fate/Zero. It’s not like I can remember exactly who’s a Master (and of which Servant), especially as we’re in a different route and things might change around a bit, but I still know more than a few incoming twists that make it impossible to offer a “virgin” preview. (And I do have doubts on whether the series is aimed at anyone but people who’ve already seen either or both of these previous shows.)

Still, this is a good start. Way less infodumpy than Fate/Zero, and with some actual impressive battles right off the bat in this opening double-length episode. It helps a lot that it features Rin as a protagonist ; as someone who actually has a clue what’s going on, but not the details of who she’s fighting, she offers a more interesting and proactive perspective than Shirou did the first time around.

So far, so good. I was wondering whether I had lost interest in the franchise, but this looks fun enough to be worth watching.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2014 – Page 2.


Mysterious Joker (Kaitou Joker) might be at least partially to blame for my sleepiness. It’s a kids’ show about a quirky Gentleman Thief… and if you’re wondering what’s the difference with Magic Kaitou, it’s the targeted age group : this show aims much lower. All the characters are highly annoying and SHOUTING all the time, the jokes fall flat, and I literally couldn’t follow the plot because I was falling asleep every couple of minutes. Something about the protagonist recruiting a “ninja” fanboy kid ? I don’t care at all, and it really doesn’t help that another show with similar themes which is superior in every way is airing concurrently. Pass.

Also falling flat : The Circumstances in My Home’s Bathtub (Orenchi no Furo Jijo). Now, this type of series of shorts based on 4-panel gag manga often have the problem of only delivering the same joke over and over, never really amounting to anything. Here, the issue is that I can’t even see the joke. Dude brings a merman to his bathtub by mistake, and that’s pretty much it. They don’t even have much banter. I just don’t get it.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2014 – Page 4.


Sometimes I’m baffled by weird gimmicky series of shorts. Such as Hi☆sCoool! SeHa Girls, where anthropomorphic personalizations of Sega’s consoles enter a bizarre dedicated school ; it’s mostly an excuse to string along “nostalgic” allusions that most often fly completely other my head (as I was more of a Nintendo fan). It’s a better use of full CG animation than we usually get for these, but it’s still a niche gag series where I’m not part of the audience.

Oh, and since I’m pressed for time, I’m going to quickly skip over Gundam Build Fighters TRY : long story short, it’s very promising, doesn’t require any knowledge of the first season thanks to a time jump and a different cast (although Mr Ral still makes a cameo), and I’m pleased to see it has the girl as a true fighter and the leader of the team.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2014 – Page 5.


No full review for Ronja the the Robber’s Daughter, as as I fell asleep watching the first episode and don’t care to give it another try. This Ghibli adaptation of a Swedish fantasy book is just very, very dull, and the uninspiring full-CG animation doesn’t help. (Those characters emote way too exaggeratedly for my tastes.) Don’t care, won’t watch any more.

Bonjour Sweet Love Pâtisserie has a completely different problem : it’s a generic shoujo “male harem” romance show that barely gets to breathe in the 5 minutes or so of screentime per week it gets. As a result, all the characters are walking clichés, and the “glamourous baking academy” setup feels completely artificial. Not really worth your time, this one.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2014 – Page 6.

Yona: The girl standing in the blush of dawn (Akatsuki no Yona)

(25ish episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a fantasy shojo manga series.


Yona, the titular 16-year-old spoiled little princess. About a third of her dialogue involves fussing over her (admittedly unusually bright red) hair. Daddy the King has covered her in presents and attention ever since his wife’s death, and the only point he’s being a bit strict on is who she’ll marry.

Soo-won, her cousin and childhood friend, is especially verbotten. He’s grown to be a handsome man and Yona has definitely noticed, but Daddy says no. It’s not really clear why, although his talk of the attackers killing Mommy has convinced Yona that it’s being in the royal family that’s dangerous, and thus Daddy is trying to protect Soo-won. I’m pretty sure something else is going on here.

Hak, young general and friend to both of them youngsters, agrees with me and smells a rat. He doubles the guards around the palace and leaves Yona to Soo-won, because he’s not blind and knows his place.

… Maybe he should have been even more paranoid, as Yona soon stumbles on Soo-won slicing through Daddy with his sword. What. The. Heck ? Hak arrives just in time to protect her, but we’ll have to wait until the next episode at least for an explanation.

The OP & ED sequences show Yona on the run with Hak and a few more attendants, so I guess that’s the direction the story will go with.

Production Values

Quite nice. And all the dudes are handsome because shojo, of course.

Overall Impression

Well, I’m a bit intrigued, but I suspect the answer to this is quite pedestrian (naked power grab by an idiot who should just have waited a few months to get to the throne painlessly), and there’s something vaguely unpleasant in the atmosphere here. It doesn’t help that Yona herself is more than a bit annoying at this early stage of her character arc.

I’ll pass, as I just don’t see myself watching 25ish episodes of this.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2014 – Page 4.

Kamigami no Asobi: Ludere deorum

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

An adaptation of a female-targeted visual novel, with a male harem to romance. You know the drill.

The hook here is that, aside from the player-insert protagonist, they’re all gods.


Yui, the stand-in for the audience. She’s from a shrine family, and good at fencing ; she stumbles on the plot while investigating the storeroom in the back, and touching the shiny glowing sword. She’s immediately transported to a parallel world.

Zeus is the one who organized all of this. He’s picked up a few gods from each of the struggling old pantheons, and Yui’s going to teach them about humanity. Why her ? Well, she found the sword. Let’s be honest, Zeus is a complete dick here.

So cue many prettyboy gods. Clueless Baldr and devious Loki. Angsty loner Hades and obviously-main-guy Appolon. And others. They all become a bit same-y after a while.

Production Values

Quite nice ; the flowery backgrounds as each god gets introduced might be a bit overkill, but they’re a staple of the genre, and I do get the impression we’re reaching self-parody.

The ED sequence dispels any doubts about this being anything else than an excuse to display juicy manflesh.

Overall Impression

This first episode is quite alright : it’s decently paced, it’s got a sense of humour about itself, and Yui has more of a clue and a backbone than average for her archetype.

But I have no confidence that this isn’t going to quickly devolve into standard harem hijinks, and I’m not the target audience anyway. I’ll pass.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2014 – Page 2.

Diabolik Lovers

(12 15-minute episodes)

What’s it about ?

This season’s token “otome game” adaptation : it’s a well-defined genre where the female protagonist can romance a variety of boys.

Trigger warning : rape. Plenty of it.


Yui, our teenage female protagonist and audience surrogate. Her father has sent her off to live in this mysterious creepy mansion, without much of an explanation. There are hints that she may unknowningly be more than an ordinary teenage girl (at the very least, she didn’t know she was adopted), but that’s news to her. She has enough sense to try and run away (as well as phone for help) once she catches on what kind of place this is, but of course it’s all for nothing.

The mansion is inhabited by six creepy prettyboys, covering the usual stereotypes : the angry one who casually punches walls, the childlike one, the one with glasses, the aloof one who seems to be in charge, the borderline rapist… Wait, scratch that : since those brothers are all vampires, they all take turns invading her personal space. Their casual ability to teleport makes it even creepier.

Production Values

This may be an effect of the reduced running time, but this looks quite good : it’s got lots of atmosphere, and sells the spookiness of the setup all too well. The character designs aren’t particularly original, but they’re not offensively generic either.

Overall Impression

Are there any otome games that aren’t about rape ?

Okay, there may well be, but this certainly aren’t one of them. It takes all of three minutes for Yui to be assaulted, and the guys keep going at her throughout. No actual sex yet, of course, and I doubt there will be any, given the transparent vampiric metaphor. But there’s no mistaking what this is all about. The characters are shallow and the plot a mere excuse for as many assaults as possible in the short running time.

It’s a relatively pretty package, but there’s no disguising that it will only appeal to a very narrow audience who enjoys this kind of stuff. I’m not part of them, so I’ll pass.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2013.

Brothers Conflict

(13 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Look, the official abbreviation for this series is “BroCon”. Do I really need to spell it out ?
(Adapted from a series of shojo novels, which of course got otome game adaptations.)


“Chi”, our female main character… wait, her real name’s never actually uttered at any point in the whole episode ? Wow. Way to make her even more generic. Anyway, her father has just remarried, and so she moves in with her new family, i.e. 13 brothers. (Daddy and new-Mommy actually live elsewhere because work.)

Juli, her pet squirrel. For some reason she can talk with it. It’s very overprotective of her, what with her now living with 13 men. Very annoying indeed.

The various brothers don’t really get to show off more than one personality trait each, and they’re all generically handsome.

Production Values

Perfectly okay for this sort of thing.

Overall Impression

Let’s be frank : this is an incest-bait show. I’m not sure how seriously the more proactive brothers are supposed to pursue things, but at the very least there’s some insistant teasing. (And just to round things up, the two twin actors also act out a gay scene, because “fun” misunderstandings.) It doesn’t help that the –ing squirrel keeps issuing warnings to the MC even when everyone’s acting perfectly innocent.

There might be a very narrow audience that finds this kind of show riveting. I’m not part of it.

via [In which I review] New anime, Summer 2013 – Page 2.


(13 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Fabulous characters fighting a demonic conspiracy in a victorian-style setting.


Nai, our “protagonist”, if you can call that a character who starts the episode in bondage and barely gets any more agency over the course of the episode. He’s a wimp, desperately looking for his seme protective friend Karoku (last seen as just some drops of blood and his precious bracelet). He’s not completely useless, though, as he seems to be able to hear electronics or something.

Gareki, a thief who was infiltrating this rich-looking mansion on the city’s outskirts, and ended up finding (1) a tied-up Nai in the master bedroom and (2) the mistress of the place transforming into an unholy abomination to fight him. The shit having hit the fan, but Nai’s bracelet looking very interesting indeed, Gareki takes him with himself in his escape. To escape the authorities, they jump onto a passing train…

… which happens to have been taken hostage by a bunch of workers dissatisfied with their boss (who was on a trip with his innocent granddaughter). It doesn’t help that everyone mistakes Nai’s bracelet as the sign of him being a member of Circus, the elite magical cop force.

Hirato & Tsukumo, actual members of who came to the mansion too late (its mistress having been disposed of by her boss) and arrive to defuse the train hostage crisis because they have nothing better to do, I guess. They curbstomp the hostage-takers without breaking a sweat, although Nai’s superhearing and Gareki’s bomb defusing skills do come handy too.

Production Values

A white-haired pretty boy who spends a good chunk of the episode in handcuffs ? Elaborate, classy outfits for everyone ? Well, I guess there’s nothing wrong with aiming for the female audience, I guess. And the show as a whole does look very pretty indeed.

What did I think of it ?

What a novelty : an anime that features some actual ambitious storytelling ! (It’s not really non-linear, as all the scenes are in chronological order ; it’s just that we swiftly cut back and from without warning to the various subplots before learning how they mesh with the core story.) This has to be commended, especially as the pacing is pitch-perfect and manages to stay coherent and tie all its subplots niftly together despite having tons of stuff happen.

Let me be clear : this isn’t heady stuff. It’s a straight action piece in a setting that appears to value flash over substance. It’s just that it’s very cleverly put together, and seems to be having a lot of fun in the process. And it looks great.

This one is definitely a keeper.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2013 – Page 4.


(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Ontological mystery meets male harem romance. Adapted from a visual novel, and boy does it show.


Our main character doesn’t actually get named at any point (the ancillary material calls her “Heroine”, for what it’s worth). As the title of the show suggests, she suffers from a severe case of amnesia, unable to remember anything about herself (or anything else, for that matter). She’s completely shell-shocked by the experience, and is barely able to string two sentences together. It probably doesn’t help that she’s also the only one who can see and hear…

Orion, a very talkative sprite who claims to be the (accidental) cause for her amnesia, what with having lodged himself into her soul by accident. He’s very sorry, and spends the episode giving her “helpful” hints on how she can get better. Gods forbid she seek any medical help ! What she really needs to do is to pretend she’s perfectly fine, and keep talking to her “friends” like she remembers anything about them. That’s how she’ll recover her memories !

Said “friends” are a parade of generic pretty boys : the aloof one, the nice one, the slightly creepy one… Also, she seems to have been working at a maid café.

By the end of the episode, she rans afool of the mandatory bitch squad, who’ve been stalking her all day and are angry about something she has no clue about.

Production Values

Pretty ! Besides Nekomonagatari (Black), which barely counts, this is the first show of the season that displays some style and artistic ambition. There’s a lot of work on colour and atmosphere, and everyone’s dressed in ridiculously stylish borderline-cosplay clothes for some reason. This is definitely a show with budget…

Overall Impression

… It’s a just shame it’s wasted on a –ing otome game adaptation, especially one which makes no effort towards disguising its nature. Orion is very obviously your game assistant, and one of the characters even pauses once to give a tutorial for the parfait-making minigame. This could have some charm, but the big problem here is the annoyingly moppy and useless “protagonist”, who seems to stumble onto every single “wrong” option available in her menu.

Still, it is very pretty, and I’m vaguely intrigued by some of the setup. I’ll give it one more episode for the heroine not to get too much on my nerves.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2013 – Page 5.