Anime Mirai 2013

This might be the time to give some thoughts about Anime Mirai, aka this year’s iteration of the Young Animator Training Project. For those who don’t know, it’s a group of four one-shots funded by the Japanese government and produced by notable studios as training grounds for new animators. They’re always at least watchable, and there’s often a gem hidden among them. (See last year’s Wasurenagumo, for example.)

This year, everyone is looking forward to Studio Trigger’s contribution, Little Witch Academia. (They’re the TTGL/Panty&Stocking/Redline people, hence the hype.) And, well, it isn’t as visually distinctive as those, and certainly isn’t breaking any new ground. It’s just a very well-told and well-animated story made from stock elements, with enough enthusiasm and care to the details to make it very fun indeed.

On the other hand, I’m puzzled by Arve Rezzle. It’s a decent sci-fi premise (dude finds out his comatose sister’s body is now inhabited by another person (who’s amnesiac and can’t explain), and then commandos start attacking. The thing is, this is clearly a pilot for a longer story ; nothing whatsoever is resolved by the end of it. Which kinda defeats the purpose of these shorts, really. It’s okay, just incomplete.

(I’ll comment on the other two when subs surface.)

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

2011 Young Animator Training Project

Hey, remember the Young Animator Training Project ? Basically, it’s the Japanese government funding the training of a new animators over a set of 4 one-shot episodes ; the 2010 edition was apparently a good enough experiment for it to be renewed in 2011 ; the 4 new episodes aired in March and are now slowly trickling down through the usual channels.

The first one, Buta, was mostly forgettable. Anthropomorphized-pig samurai in a very generic story that’s perfectly decent but fails to bring anything fresh to the table. Perfectly skippable.

The second one, Wasurenagumo, on the other hand, is a completely different matter. It’s yet another take on the “cute eldritch abomination” meme that’s been going strong recently with the likes of Nyarko-san, but way better at striking the right balance between charming and –ing creepy. It’s a very effective tale, this, and especially well served by direction and animation that sells the big moments perfectly.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2012 – Page 21.

Kyousogiga ONA

(one-shot 25-minute episode, aired on the web a few days ago)

What’s it about ?

A girl has gotten stranded with her two younger brothers on a wacky parallel version of Kyoto. They’re kinda wreaking havoc on it through demented chase scenes, but the higher-ups of the place think she may be the reincarnation of their Divine Creator figure…


Koto, our heroine. Somehow she got her hands on a weird transparent mallet with colored balls inside. Anyway, she wants only one thing : to go home, and doesn’t care about anything else in the plot.

Myoue, one-third of the triad in charge, who took the three siblings under his wing (although the property damage exasperates him a bit). Doesn’t think she’s a reincarnation either.

Yase, the second third of the triad in charge (the third one’s a bit of a non-entity), and the big proponent of the “reincarnation” theory. She really wants to make it work, despite Koto’s obvious disinterest.

By the way, the original Koto was the mother of the triad.

Rounding up the cast are a couple of law enforcement people who are ordered to stand down and can only bemusingly watch Koto and her brothers’ rampage.

Production Values

The selling point here is clearly the demented and hyperactive animation… so it’s then quite a shame for it to air over an eyebleed-o-vision webcast. There was clearly a lot of money spent on this, but it’s wasted on this format. The eventual BluRay should look great, though.

Overall Impression

I have watched a short anime tour-de-force with impressive production values that managed to skillfully and unobtrusively weave exposition about its rich world into an enthralling chase scene. But that was Noiseman Sound Insect, more than a decade ago ; Kyousogiga clearly aims for something similar but doesn’t quite manage it.

I think the problem is that it’s so wrapped up in its energy that it forgets to deliver crucial exposition (Koto is stranded in a parallel workd and wants to go back !) properly until the halfway point ; the stakes are thus muddled for far too long for me to really care. One-note characters are kind of a given in this type of exercise, but they fail to entertain much even on that level.

It’s a shame, because there was potential for a fun mindless piece here ; but the screenplay definitely needed a few rewrites to streamline it and make it more compelling. As it is, it’s just kinda there.

via [In which I review] New anime, Fall 2011 – Page 19.

2010 Young Animator Training Project

(Four stand-alone episodes)

Government-sponsored shorts to showcase new talent.

Grampa’s Lamp (Ojisan no Lamp) has the titular grandfather tell the story of how he rose from pauper orphan kid to successful lamp seller… and what happened next. It’s a nice little country tale, perfectly making its point in the 24 minutes it’s got. It doesn’t have groundbreaking animation or art, and you can probably see where it’s going from a mile off, but it works.

Kizuna Ichigeki is a very energetic tale of a prodigy kung-fu girl and her family… and that’s pretty much it. The artstyle is very rough, although it works out well in the (numerous) fight sequences. Still, there’s not much substance there, and the comedic tone can only carry it so far.

Wardrobe Dwellers (Tansu Warashi) is a very charming little tale where a young Office Lady receives from her mother a magic wardrobe housing little servants that teach her adult skills she’d never got the hang of before (cooking, make-up, sewing, basic security…). It’s, er, not exactly the most progressive story, but it’s got enough charm to get away with it.

The one I found most enjoyable, though, was Super Veggie Torracman (Bannou Yasai Ninninman). Technically it’s an “Eat your veggies” morality tale, but it’s so full of delirious imagery and bizarre symbolism that I couldn’t help but loving it. It’s got superb voice acting, too (Mami Koyama makes for the scariest mom ever).

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2011 – Page 5.

Nana & Kaoru OVA

What’s it about ?

Softcore bondage porn… without any actual porn.


Nana, the female lead. Over-achieving high-school student, extremely popular, nearly top of the class… especially since she’s recently found a new way to relieve her stress.

Kaoru, the male lead. He’s an ugly runt with a face that perpetually looks creepy. Very impopular, with a reputation of perversion. In contrast, his voice sounds perfectly normal and reassuring, which is essential when guiding Nana through her new experiences… i.e. bondage and S&M play.

Production Values

Very cheap. There’s no OP or ED animation, and the animation doesn’t hesitate to cut corners. It tries a bit too much to ape the original manga’s artstyle, which sometimes looks a bit awkward when animated (especially when cross-hatching shading is involved). Still, it does the job.

The soundtrack is firmly stuck into porno synth mode, although not to the point of being distracting.

Overall Impression

Well, it’s a very faithful adaptation of a borderline-hentai manga. You know the drill.

Still, I like the choice of focusing entirely on Nana’s viewpoint. This episode is entirely about her and how she discovers she actually likes this perverted stuff. Kaoru is just a catalyst, someone who gives her access to this new world and challenges her when she’s not being honest with herself. If you pay attention to the flashback early on about their first session, you’ll notice that it’s Nana herself who initiated it all by stumbling on a fetish outfit of his and trying it on. (You might wonder why he happened to possess expensive leather clothes that fit her perfectly. Good question.)

Now, the corresponding manga chapters had a much deeper look into Kaoru’s thoughts and motivations during all this, but this first episode isn’t interested in that angle at all, keeping it firmly in the background (you might get hints from how his reaction shots contrast with his perfectly calm and in-control voice, though).

Overall, it’s an interesting adaptation that gets to the emotional core of Nana’s character. On that plan, it’s a success.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2011 – Page 4.

Afterschool Pleiades (Houkago no Pleiades)

(6-minute-long webisodes, although since they’re released 4 at a time it’s a lot like a standard 24-minute episode)

What’s it about ?

Magic-powered schoolgirls battle against a wrong-headed prettyboy for fragments of an interstellar drive.


Subaru, our naive newcomer viewpoint character. A bit slow on the uptake, but not too annoying. Seems naturally gifted for this, to the point of randomly stumbling into the hammer-space rooms where all this stuff is happening (which surprises everyone else). The fourth episode gives a decent reason why.

Aoi, Subaru’s “friend” and de facto leader of the girls (technically the “Club President” is the alien blob whose spaceship they are trying to recover the engine’s pieces for, but she seems more or less in charge). Very reluctant to bringing Subaru into all this stuff she had hidden from her, but you know how these things go.

The three other girls don’t rise above stereotypes : there’s a monotone one dressing in witch’s clothes for some reason, a kind one and an energetic one.

Minato, the guy, was hit by a fragment (or is it an actual star ?) two years ago and hasn’t been right in the head ever since. He wants to gather the engine pieces for his own purposes. Which makes him the de facto baddie.

Production Values

It looks more or less okay, but there are some bits of limited animation here and there that jumped to my eyes. No OP ; the ED is inoffensive fluff playing to production sketches.

Overall Impression


I have to hand it to GAINAX : they find new ways to troll every day. This time, it’s not so much the actual contents of the show (a by-the-numbers magical girl series), than the announcement that this is a co-production with SUBARU, of all people. I have absolutely no clue why, apart from the protagonist sharing the company’s name, and the logo briefly appearing at the start. If there’s any product placement here, I completely missed it.

Anyway, taken at face value, it’s a very generic show without much to recommend to it. The setting is slightly puzzling, but that’s it. I can’t find any clue only whether these four episodes are it all, or if there’s any more planned. I know I won’t bother to seek it out.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2010-2011 – Page 25.