Ushio & Tora

(26 episodes, + another season already scheduled for Spring 2016 after a break)

What’s it about ?

Calvin & Hobbes, shonen style ! Well, kinda.

Adaptation of a manga series from the early 90s that already got a few OVAs at the time. I have no clue why the franchise is seeing new life now, nearly 20 years after it ceased publication.


Ushio, our protagonist, is the young heir of a temple that supposedly hosts an enchanted lance that can drive out demons and other mystical nasties. Not that he cares ; he’s mostly concerned with playing around and leading a normal life. Your typical jock kid, really : good at sports and athletics, terrible in other school subjects.

Daddy, the current priest, isn’t the best role model anyway. He keeps droning on and on about the temple’s legacy, but never actually explained it properly to Ushio. Also, his sudden island vacation this morning (“the third time this month, Dad ?”) means that he’s not around to provide any exposition when the plot actually kicks in.

Today Ushio discovers that Sacred Spear is indeed hidden in one of the temple buildings’ basement ; it’s trapping there an ancient, powerful demon who would really like him to remove the spear and free him. He would me more convincing without the mwahahah-ing and his promises to kill the kid afterwards. So Ushio just leaves him there and goes to school.

Asako (standard issue tsundere, and maybe as strong as Ushio himself) and Mayuko (more open about liking him) are the two of his classmates we get to know a bit. And they happen to be visiting just as a number of small-fry demons, attracted by Ushio unearthing the trapped monster, start roaming around. Well, crap.

So Ushio frees him to get his help… and promptly gets backstabbed for his trouble. Fortunately, he’s still got the lance, which makes it clear who’s in charge here. He nicknames his new familiar “Tora” (because it vaguely looks like a tiger) and has it dispatch most of the small demons, finishing them off with the lance. (Which somehow gives him super-long hair while wielding it. I have no clue why.)

Ushio forces Tora to stick around, as more minor demons are bound to show up for a while ; they’re both obviously planning to backstab each other. (Ushio sealing Tora back for good, and Tora killing Ushio somehow for the humiliation.) And of course, since only Ushio can see Tora, it looks to the likes of Asako & Mayuko that their friend is talking to his imaginary pet. Eh.

Production Values

Wow, early ’90s character designs ! But hey, they’re decently animated, so no complaints from me.

Overall Impression

Well, this is kinda fun, in a very dumb way. The retro style works. And it’s amusing how everyone is terrible as hiding how little they think of others.

But I think I’m done. It’s a rather generic shonen show all told, and I’m not in the market for those, really. Especially as it’s going to be running for a while.

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

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 ?

#32 : Brigadoon : Marin & Melan

(26 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Hey, it’s Sunrise making another flavour of mecha anime ! How surprising ! (Here’s, it’s a crossover with the mons genre.)


Marin, our protagonist, is a very energetic and cheerful middle-schooler. Also, an orphan, living with her grandma and helping out the finances by working part-time jobs such as delivering newspapers. With a bit of collateral damage, or course.

I could do without so much screentime being spent on the “joke” of bullies lifting up her skirt and embarrassing her. (It’s as unsexy as possible, but still.) But apparently it’s plot relevant, as a giant spaceship then starts blocking the skies, and a killer robot makes a beeline for her. Cue long chase scene.

Melan is another robot she activates accidentally (its small “at rest” form was hidden in a shrine she crashed into) ; it’s very polite and effortlessly destroyed the attacker. And he’ll be sticking around, as the next-episode preview promises more evil robots showing up in a quick succession.

Production Values

Quite good, and very colourful. Some unusual shading work, too, as we get spots of white to show off light instead of darker shades. It’s a bright series. And of course you can always rely on Sunrise to make mecha look good.

Overall Impression

Hum. On the one hand, there are many lovely bits of cartooning here. It showcases two different bike chase-scenes, and yet they never get repetitive nor boring.

The problem is that Marin leaves me entirely cold. I find her perpetual cheerfulness more annoying than endearing. So a whole series of her and her pet mecha fighting drones with little personality isn’t a prospect I find particularly attractive.

I’m probably just a bit too old for this.

Source: [In Which I Review] Anime series from 2000 – Page 9

Summer 2014 capsules

But before all that, a few words about Sword Art Online II : well, so far, it’s not doing a bad job of not rubbing me the wrong way, like Alfheim Online did. The writing is still pretty poor (go, go, tepid exposition !), but the setup of bringing in Kirito to investigate a bizarre murder spree in a new game setting is a decent one. (Also, anything that marginalizes the absence of chemistry he’s got with Asuna is welcome.) I might still watch this after all.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Summer 2014 – Page 3.

A couple of shorts before moving on to the full Monday shows…

Mobile Suit Gundam-san is yet another of those comedy SD skits Sunrise puts out occasionally. (This one adapted from a 4-panel gag manga.) It starts off by an Austin Powers-style naked dance by Char, which should give you an idea of the high level of humour we’re dealing with here. It’s mildly funny, but nothing to go out of your way for.

Secret Princess Himegoto adapts a manga about a pretty boy being blackmailed into crossdressing by the student council. It’s got a main character called Unko (“Poop”). That kinda sums up my opinion of it.

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

So, Persona 4 The Golden Animation. I reviewed the original series back in 2011 ; this is a weird spin-off that adapts an updated rerelease of the game.

The selling point here, apparently, is a new character being added to the main cast, Marie. The script thus chooses wisely to fast-forward through a very bare bones version of the plot (skipping all the business related to Konishi), so that Marie can get 5 minutes or so of screentime after the end credits. To say that her introduction feels very forced an unnatural is an understatement ; she’s just dropped in without any explanation by the gamemaster. The core problem here is that this series is at its best with deadpan weirdness, and Marie’s way too melodramatic to fit in. So, well, it doesn’t quite work.

(By the way, the whole thing seems to have been reanimated from scratch, with a somewhat higher budget ; every single scene is slightly different from the previous series.)

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

Black Butler – Book of Circus spends its first episode re-establishing the premise with a “Day in the Life of Sebastian Michaelis”… Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as it’s a charming setup, and the script does get to play a bit with clever ellipses. I’ve got no clue where this would fit in continuity, but it’s not like this franchise ever sweats this kind of fine detail.

Anyway, this is good fun, and I’m glad it’s back.

(Also, no Grell whatsover for now, which is a definite plus in my book.)

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

Hey, someone finally fansubbed the first episode of Fran♥cesca : Girls Be Ambitious, more than a week after it aired !

… Having had a look at it, I can easily see why nobody bothered to do it for so long.

The high concept is that this is a series of 11-minute episodes built around a recently-created mascot character for Hokkaido, the titular Francesca. Who happens to be some sort of undead idol or something. But she barely shows up at the end of the first episode ; in practice, it mainly features the head of the anti-undead Hokkaido forces (of course a cute sassy girl) investigating killing the shit out of a recent surge of zombies rising from the ground. Also, tons of jokes that probably make sense to people who know of Hokkaido’s culture, but are completely impenetrable to me.

As far as promotional vehicles from tourism boards go, this one at least has the merit of originality. But that’s pretty much it ; it looks badly-animated (is this Flash-based ?), and at its core it’s comedy where I don’t get most of the jokes. (Which don’t look that funny, anyway.)

I’ll pass.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Summer 2014 – Page 8.

Spring 2014 capsules

So, first, a few worlds about Insufficient Direction (Kantoku Fuyuki Todoki), a series of Flash-based shorts adapting the autobiography of Hideaki Anno’s wife. If you think that sounds interesting, you’ll be disappointed by the final product. It’s the perfect example of a private joke taken too far. For one, there’s no actual explanation of the premise at any point in it ; I only discovered it later on when I did a bit of research to write this. For two, she’s inexplicably depicted as a toddler throughout. Since this first episode covers their marriage ceremony, that’s more than a bit disturbing. But the most damning flaw of this thing is that it doesn’t seem to have much more insight to offer than “otaku are weird and kinda creepy” ; the Director character could be just about anyone and it wouldn’t change a thing.

Don’t bother with it.

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


Mushishi is the same as it always was. Great mood piece, intriguing world-building, and nothing much for me to actually say about it. Well, except that this first episode is way less depressing than average.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders is a whole different kind of awesome. This is a textbook example of how to animate bigger-than-life characters. It seems to have gotten a budget upgrade too, which isn’t unwelcome. (Although really, part of the charm of the 2012 series is how they used colour and framing to compensate for the lack of animation.)

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

Because I certainly don’t want to spend any more time than strictly necessary covering the sea of mediocrity we got this Monday.

Hero Bank, Dragon Collection and Oreca Battle are all kids’ shows bases on videogames (respectively for the 3DS, a social network, and arcades). All three of them feature an annoying redhead kid and his bland friends, fighting stuff with their collectible assets. (Hero Bank sets up some sort of permanent VR tournament, while the other two are the old “transported to another world” gimmick.)

Hero Bank is the least watchable of the three, partly because it’s a full 22-minute show, but mostly because everyone is just so annoying.

Dragon Collection has a slightly less annoying protagonist, and his initial sense of wonder at being transported to a fantasy world is decently done, but the only reason it doesn’t overstay its welcome is that it’s only 11-minute long.

Oreca Battle at least seems to have fun with its weird monster design. (Flying octopi that rain tomatoes onto kids ? WTF ?) This one actually suffers from being a bit rushed at 11-minute-long, completely losing me with a journey to a fantasy world that seems to come from nowhere. Especially as it’s way less interesting than the “monsters come alive out of this card game and run wild into our world” premise it’d been initially setting up.

So, yeah. Three show I’m thrice too old to watch, and I won’t be bothering with.

The Comic Artist and Assistants (Mangaka-san to Assistant-san to) is a different deal altogether. Again it’s a shorter format (11-minute-long), but the similarities end there. It adapts a comedy 4-panel manga, and manages to fit four sketches in its first episode. As the title lays out, it follows the hijinks of a quirky manga author, his assistant, and his editor. (More characters presumably coming, according to the OP & ED ; aside from the manga author, they’re all female.)

The problem here is that this show’s only joke is that the manga author is a pervert who sexually harasses his colleagues. And then makes puppy eyes for them to forgive him. It’s endless variations about the same theme : he wants some reference of breasts being groped, he launches a debate about how much panties should be revealed, and he buys tons of female underwear, again for “reference”. (You can guess what kind of manga he draws.)

Yeah, no thanks. The joke is already tired by the episode’s end, I can’t bear anymore of it.

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

It’s almost painful to watch the slow demise of studio Gainax. With most of their key staff having gone off to the greener pastures of Khara and Trigger, it’s now reduced to a shadow of its own glory, taking any bizarre project that might get them some direly-needed sponsorship money. Remember when they did a short magical girl show that was a glorified (and impenetrable) ad for Subaru ?

Well, Magica Wars (Mahou Shoujo Taisen) is a similar project : a series of 26 shorts starring magical girls who represent the various prefectures of Japan. Not that the premise is obvious from the first episode, which showcases the not-very-funny slapstick hijinks of an incompetent magical girl chasing small blobs.

It doesn’t even have any kind of novelty value ; it’s just boring and pointless.

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

I’m not making a full review for Marvel Disk Wars : the Avengers, but I do want to note that it’s much better than I expected. Especially since it involves a bunch of kids using the titular disks to summon Avengers and fight bad guys. The chief reason the show manages to make that premise less terrible is to spend the first episode without it, instead devoting it to pure set-up. And it does a good job of selling this as a recognizable version of the Marvel Universe, with the Avengers behaving like they should throughout. The Disks are Stark Technology Gone Wrong ™, baddies try to steal them, the Avengers presumably get stuck in them next episode. And the kids are given plausible explanations for being around, which is a relief.

Let’s put it this way : I’m open to watching a second episode, which is more than I can say for just about any of the other marketing-driven kids’ shows this season.

Also, a few words about Inugami & Nekoyama, an adaptation of a 4-panel gag manga about a dog-like girl who likes cats, and a cat-like girl who likes dogs. That’s basically the whole joke, so it’s a good thing that it’s a series of 3-minute shorts. Sure, that’s a bit of a “stop-start” paced format, but the episode packs just enough content, and I’m not sure the source material could support a full-length adaptation anyway. As it stands, it’s perfectly pleasant to watch.

No full review for Escha & Logy’s Atelier either ; I fell asleep watching it and have no wish to try it again. It’s very boring indeed, with flat characters and a complete lack of any kind of narrative tension. You’d think a JRPG adaptation would have more punch, but no.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2014 – Page 7.

Dragonar Academy (Seikoku no Dragonar)

(12ish episodes ?)

What’s it about ?

As the title implies, this adapts a light novel about an academy in fantasy-land where the students train with their dragon familiars.


Ash, our protagonist. Wait, how many origin stories does this guy need ? There’s an opening prologue where as a kid he helped a girl (his sister ?) do something in an ominous location, and lost his arm for it ; leading to a dragon restoring his arm out of pity and giving it some cool tattoos. That’s fine. And then there’s a modern scene of him getting raped by a succubus-like woman that I really doubt is truly a nightmare. And then there’s this episode’s events, where he finally gets a familiar. That’s a bit overkill. Anyway, he’s got a generic Nice Guy personality, aside whenever someone badmouths his familiar (or lack of any), which makes him flip out. Obviously, he’s got a terrible reputation as a troublemaker.

Raymond, his perverted best friend. Aside from being an endless supply of exposition and gossip, his core purpose so far is to lend out his familiar to Ash, who’s one of the rare few people who can actually use others’. Of course he is.

Silvia, a princess from a neighbour country, with an attitude to match. She seems even more hated than Ash, which is saying something. They quickly start bickering over nothing, leading to a challenge to outmatch each other at the next dragon-riding race. Which he loses conclusively, but he’s had enough fun helping her out against bullies that he doesn’t mind.

Milgauss, an agent from the enemy country nearby (Ash : “wait, isn’t there a ceasefire ?”), who’s investigating some random relic when Ash inadvertently crosses his path. After gloating for a bit, he orders his teenage ninja girl to get rid of the witness. She’s not very good at it, to the point that Ash actually prevents her from falling down a ravine… only for him to stumble down in her place. Oops.

Story’s not over, though : that’s the moment his familiar chooses to finally manifest. Except it’s some girl instead of a dragon.

Production Values

Perfectly adequate, and it’s got some decent designs for the dragons, but it’s all functional rather than imaginative.

Overall Impression

Oh dear gods, the script. In better hands, this might have worked ; but the dialogue and narration are so consistently awful that it drags the whole show down as a result. The worldbuilding is marred by cumbersome exposition that buries everything else down. It’s not helped by trite jargon that merely sounds pretentious. And it’s just impossible to take seriously this protagonist who has to rediscover every aspect of his daily life all the time.

I’m not the audience for this kind of wish-fulfilment light novels anyway, but the level of writing in this adaptation is so terrible that there’s no chance I’ll bother with watching a second episode.

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

Winter 2014 Capsules

Double Circle is quite a bizarre project. It spends most of its short screentime introducing its cast of quirky oddballs (that aren’t too interesting yet), until the reveal that they’re actually a sentai hero team. This is quite a gear change, to put it mildly. Apparently this series was produced by Toshiba to promote its clean-energy and environment-friendly projects ; that it’s barely visible in the final product might speak of a core problem. Anyway, it’s fairly generic and the irregular release schedule makes it pretty sure to fall off my radar by the time the next episode is out.

Pupipo! is more conventional stuff. This manga adaptation tells the story of a gloomy girl who’s the only one who can see the many ghosts surrounding her. Presumably they stick around her because she’s the only one who can interact with them ; unfortunately, they’re quite jealously demanding her attention, and she has to fend off any attempts from kids her age trying to be friends with her, lest they get attacked. This understandably puts a crimp onto her social life. This all changes one day when (1) she meets a girl too stupid and stubborn to back off like everyone else, and (2) she finds “Po”, a mysterious creature that looks like a fuzzy pink ball and is scary enough to make the ghosts start behaving a bit.

It’s a standard coming-of-age story, clearly aimed at young girls ; but it’s decently done, and quite good at developing its atmosphere. The gloomy protagonist has a striking design, as well. And it’s short enough not to overstay its welcome ; I could quite see myself sticking with it for the whole season.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2014.

Okay, I tried watching Future Card Buddyfight, but there’s only so much I can stand from a blatant cardgame advertisement. Everyone gushing about how awesome Buddyfight is ? Check. The whole world revolving around it, to the point that this cop offers a criminal a choice between surrender, and duelling him at a cardgame ? Check. School classes that include unpacking new cards at the start of the lesson ? Okay, that’s a new one for me, but whatever. Blatant token introductions for a dozen of bit characters that are obviously going to be featured later on ? Par for the course.

Sigh, I’m just not in the market for this. It actually looks quite fine, and there are some decent jokes, but I just can’t get any enthusiasm into watching this. The two annoying protagonists (good samaritan kid and his new dragon-buddypet that just can’t stop complaining about everything) just get on my nerves way too much.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2014 – Page 2.

I tried, but I just can’t gather the will to write at length about Robot Girls Z. It’s a very gimmicky show (mecha-girls patterned after mecha from vintage shows such as Mazinger Z) that falls completely flat for me. I have no nostalgia for those old series (they were before my time), and the actual machines are what I find the least interesting in that genre anyway ; crossing them with moe girls doesn’t help. And it’s not like these shorts really do anything with the premise aside from pure fanservice.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2014 – Page 4.

Strange+ is yet another of those shorts adapting a gag manga. (Not a 4-panel one, though.) It follows the wacky hijinks of a team of “detectives”, and while it’s far from subtle, it did get a few laughs out of me. It looks terrible, but that’s par for the course for this kind of thing.

I know some of you were waiting for my take on pupa, but what is there to say ? I already had an inkling of what I was in for, and anyway the first episode barely gets anywhere, what with clocking at barely four minutes long. For what it’s worth, it’s a straightforward horror series about a girl who gets transformed into a cannibalistic monster ; we don’t even get to the part where she starts eating her brother. Still, it’s good at building atmosphere, and that’s what really matters. I’ll probably keep watching to see where it goes.

Z/X Ignition is a full-length show, but it was so boring I literally fell asleep halfway through ; and I have no wish whatsoever to try rewatching it to get a better sense of the plot. From what I can gather, a bunch of dark portals appeared all over the world, spawned monsters and “destroyed civilization” ; somehow civilization seems mostly fine a few years later, with some people having somehow domesticated monsters. There’s a lot of impenetrable exposition about monster classification and so on, because of course this is adapted from a card game.

To be honest, I have no clue whatsoever which of the characters I’m supposed to be rooting for. They’re all very generic, I seem to have missed out the part where their motivations get explained. Not even a lead role for Miyuki Sawashiro (whom I’ve surprisingly heard nowhere else this season) can make me pay attention to this crap.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2014 – Page 5.


(13 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Demons start appearing in downtown Tokyo. Fortunately, there’s an app for that.

Adapted from a DS strategy-RPG. From what I gather, the various games in the “Devil Survivor” series are mostly unrelated plotwise (much like the “Persona” games), which is why adapting the second game makes any sense.


Hibiki, our protagonist. He’s the cold, emotionally-detached type, and very good at processing the plot. Which comes really handy here.

Daichi, his wacky best pal. He hooks them up on a bizarre cellphone app that predicts their imminent death in the very subway station they are currently in… but offers them a second chance at life. They just have to fight off some demons with whatever their phone app can summon.

Nitta, a random girl in the same high school that Daichi is a bit infatuated with, happens to be in the same place at the same time, and also got the app. She’s a bit damsel-in-distress-y so far.

Emergency services have no idea what the heck. Fortunately, the Meteorology Agency (no, seriously) quickly take over the scene, having predicted the whole thing for thousands of years. They’re especially impressed by the super-demon Hibiki can somehow summon.

Hovering on the fringes of the plot, there’s a white-haired pretty boy ™ who looks very interested in the whole thing.

Production Values

Decent, I guess ? It looks very generic, though, and the very basic designs for those first few demons don’t help. The ED sequence rocks, though.

Overall Impression

I am not impressed. The obvious comparison point is Persona 4, what with being adapted from a game from the same company, and having the same director. And however flawed that one was, this is noticeably worse. It just lacks spark ; the plot is nothing new and really piles on the clichés, the dialogue isn’t much good, and the atmosphere doesn’t work.

Unless you’re a fan of the games, I have trouble recommending this one.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2013 – Page 3.

Kamisama Dolls

What’s it about ?

A young man tried walking away from his village full of conspiracies and deadly man-controlled robots… but it all comes back to bite him in the ass.


Kyouhei, our protagonist. He used to be a controller for one of those big mind-controlled robots they call “Gods”… but after a traumatic event, he decided to quit it all and become an ordinary salaryman in the big city. Yeah, like that ever works. The elders let him go, but it’s made very clear they’re still in charge of his life, whatever he thinks.

Hibino, the woman’s Kyouhei’s had a crush for a long time. I’m sure that he going to the same high school and joining the same company is totally coincidental. Not like he ever works up the nerve to ask her out, though (despite numerous opportunities in this first episode). She’s from his village too, although she wasn’t aware of the whole conspiracy/robots thing. He goes to live with her and her father after his flat gets destroyed halfway through the episode (at their invitation), which is totally not awkward at all.

Utao, Kyouhei’s little sister, has taken over his former role as robot controller. She comes in out of the blue, presumably to protect Kyouhei from…

Aki, another member of the village with a God robot in tow, and a complete psychopath (if that flashback with a dozen corpses is anything to go by). He was kept under heavy lock until someone made the mistake of mentioning Kyouhei had skipped town, at which point he escaped and started stalking him (with the “randomly and gruesomely kill someone in an elevator minutes before Kyouhei steps in it” kind of stalking). He’s not actually belligerent against Kyouhei, ranting about how the village elders are the real monsters, and Utao probably overreacted when she bombed Kyouhei’s flat (and Aki inside) to kingdom come. (Not that I believed for a second that Aki’s bodybag handled the village’s MIB was any proof of his death…)

Oh, and there’s a cryptic prologue with a couple of kids fighting off… something… that I can’t make head or tails of. Presumably they’ll explain it properly at some point.

Production Values

Pretty good animation, and the abrupt mood change from “drunken office party” to “oh my god is that a corpse in the elevator” is well handled. I also like the way how the hovering robots sing whenever they move ; it’s a nice way of making them otherworldly.

Is this the first show this season with a decent OP in graphics as well as song ?

Overall Impression

Well, this first episode does a good job of raising my interest in a premise I didn’t quite care for initially. Mission accomplished, I guess. The plot has potential, but it doesn’t grab me as viscerally as, say, Deadman Wonderland did last season. We’ll see how it goes.

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

[C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control

(11 episodes ?)

What’s it about ?

A loser boy’s adventures into the world of EXTREME trading-card gaming, with fight scenes in a fancy holographic parallel world and an ethereal guide to advise him.


Yoga, our college protagonist with realistic (if messy) hair. He works two part-time jobs to make ends meet, although that doesn’t amount to much given the current economic crisis. At least he’s sensible about his expenses.

Hanabi, Yoga’s not-girlfriend who still supports him quite a bit. (But when he works up the courage to ask her out for dinner, she points towards her boyfriend, who’s waiting for her. Harsh.)

Masakaki, the supremely irritating dude who makes Yoga an Offer He Can’t Refuse and. Just. Won’t. Go. Away. The offer involves unlimited funding, with the provision it has to be spent in the Financial District… which does not look like a real place but some rather like sort of parallel digital world. Yoga eventually relents.

We spend most of the first half of the episode with the former owner of Yoga’s membership into the Financial District… and considering how he ends up jumping in front of a train, we can see the Deal does not always end well.

We also see various people in the Financial District, including a quirky cab driver, a couple of elf-like girls, and the badass dude who creams out Mr (Rail-)Roadkill in a duel.

Production Values

Impressive. The Financial District has obvious CG everywhere, but it works, as it makes it all the more otherworldly. I also like the snazzy effect when subtitles and the like are incrusted on screen.

Also, there’s some very cool Taku Iwasaki music.

Overall Impression

Umm. On the one hand, it’s certainly got some very good production values, and I like the grim description of our protagonist’s life. It’s a very atmospheric series indeed.

On the other hand… Well, the centerpiece of this episode has two characters in a glorified Yu-Gi-Oh-style duel, summoning virtual critters and launching spells to hack at each other’s life points bank accounts.

I’m not sold yet, really.

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