Summer 2013 capsules

Turning Girls is the latest web-thingie from Studio Trigger. Now, you may remember this studio was founded with much fanfare by the mad minds behind TTGL & Panty & Stocking w/ Garterbelt ; they also produced the wonderfully-animated Little Witch Academia one-shot for the Anime Mirai project earlier this year. But they’ve yet to produce an actual full series, and won’t until this Fall. In the meantime, all they’ve given us are shoe-string-budget shorts like Inferno Cop and now this.

Inferno Cop had some zany charm, but I quickly got tired of it. This is noticeably worse : an attempt at satire that’s not really funny, and has nothing more to say than “[female stereotype of the week] are annoying and terrible people, dur dur”. Also, it looks absolutely horrible, like something that was quickly thrown together between proper projects (which it probably was).

Don’t watch this crap. Especially when there are non-terrible takes on similar themes (such as the all-fujoshi new season of Genshiken) due out this very summer.

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

And now for something completely different : a few words about the first instalment of Ghost in the Shell : Arise.

This is a series of four one-hour OVAs, the first of which was released on DVD/BluRay AND debuted in theaters about a week ago. The pitch is that it’s a prequel about how the Section 9 team got together, so you don’t really need to know anything about the previous movies & series in the franchise.

The good news is that it’s very good indeed. The plot for this opening chapter may be a bit too convoluted for its own good, and it certainly deserves a rewatch to make sure all the pieces fall together, but then the same could be said about many SAC episodes. And it’s certainly got a clever twist that puts everything under a new light… and makes the Major look even more awesome in retrospect. It’s also great-looking, with impressively-animated action sequences that contribute a lot to conveying the stakes.

In many respects this is a fanservice project (“so this is how the Major met Aramaki…”), but it’s well done enough not to feel too contrived. (And it refrains from having the whole of the team coincidentally investigating the same initial event.)

I should probably mention that all the roles have been recast with different voice-actors. It doesn’t jar too much ; sure, Maaya Sakamoto is easily recognizable, but she recaptures a lot of Atsuko Tanaka’s original performance (and there’s precedent for her to play a younger Major anyway). Also, Miyuki Sawashiro seems to have a lot of fun playing a Tachikoma Logicoma, which is delightful.

The next episode is due in November ; it’s going to be a long wait…

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

I give up : I can’t muster the will of giving Gifuu Doudou!!: Kanetsugu to Keiji (“Dazzling Sengoku Period Story: Kanetsugu & Keiji”) a full review. It’s going to be hard to beat as the most mind-numbingly dull show of the season. It may be a cultural thing, but those “legendary” men spending their time monologuing in poetry about the beauty of the world, and patting each other in the back on how awesome they are, just bore me to tears. And this ain’t helped by the retro-ish artstyle that makes all those 6-feet-tall forces of nature look the same to me.

via [In which I review] New anime, Summer 2013 – Page 2.
A few words on Yami Shibai first : it’s a series of horror shorts with peculiar collage-like artstyle… and it doesn’t really work for me. Maybe because the first tale is so deliberately obtuse. (I think I get what the twist is supposed to be, but would it have killed the creators to spell it out ?) It’s not like it’s doing anything particularly original, anyway. But nice artstyle, still.

via [In which I review] New anime, Summer 2013 – Page 11.

Code Geass: Akito the Exiled (Boukoku no Akito)

(4 50-minute episodes ; next one’s out in March or something)

What’s it about ?

This is a side-story to the main Code Geass anime, apparently set at some point between the two seasons. Remember how that was mainly a struggle between the Brittanian Empire and occupied Japan, with the Chinese Federation meddling in ? Well, there was also a third superpower that was supposed to be kinda equal to those two, but never really got any screentime : the EU. The point of this story is to shed some light on those guys.


The titular Akito is one of the many Japanese people who fled to the EU when Japan got conquered by Brittania. Unfortunately, the EU is about as racist a society as Brittania, as it keeps them into camps where they barely survive and uses those non-citizens as cannon fodder for its war. Akito himself is an unbelievably talented mecha pilot, and has a bit of a death wish.

Our actual protagonist here is Commander Leila Malcal, who leads his unit. Because we can’t have an EU character who isn’t a jerkass, she’s actually adopted from a disgraced Brittanian family. She’s a tactical genius, sympathetic to the Japanese plight and all-around awesome ; her main flaw seems to be a tendency to avoid confrontation until it’s a bit too late (she lets another commander nearly botch the opening mission and get about her whole squad slaughtered before she takes the initiative to have him removed ; and then there’s the issues with her adoptive brothers…).

We also meet a group of Japanese gunrunners/terrorists who are very angry indeed. Predictably, Leila recruits them after they try kidnapping her mentor figure for ransom.

Our top villain for the overarching story seems to be Shin Hyuuga Shaing, who takes over the closest Brittanian outpost by the episode’s end. That he shares a last name with Akito is probably significant. To make things worse, he’s got exactly the same Geass as Lelouch, which feels very strange to me (didn’t every Geass user in the original series have a completely different power ?).

None of the characters from the main series have shown up so far, although the next episode preview already promises appearances by C.C. and Suzaku. From what I vaguely remember of the original plot, there’s a strong possibility of the latter slaughtering everyone at the end (which would explain why none of those new characters have any impact on R2).

Production Values

This doesn’t deviate much from the Code Geass aesthetics : noodle people, and baroque costumes.

The one big departure is for the mecha fight scenes : they’re fully CG animated now. They might have been rendered a bit too dark, but the animation is a thing of beauty, making the OVA worth watching on its own. Akito’s spider-mecha is dancing around at high speed, with a level of detail to every single movement that forces the admiration ; the camera’s wild movements and the spastic jazz soundtrack make it even more dynamic and enthralling.

(And as logic made me wonder why we didn’t see any of this fantastic mecha action in R2, I remembered that most of mecha combat has gone airborne by then, making such ground combat obsolete.)

Overall Impression

A lot here depends on how much time you have for Code Geass‘s glorious dumbness and awkward Japanese nationalism. If you didn’t enjoy the ride then, there’s little chance you’ll appreciate this, as it’s pretty much in the same vein.

The big question mark on this OVA series was that, well, it focuses on the part of the setting nobody cared about the first time around, and doesn’t feature Lelouch at all (as his charisma held the original show together). The good news is that it does work and feels like a worthwhile addition to the story, instead of just a random cash grab (hello, Nunnally in Wonderland !).

I’m definitely on board for whenever the next instalment comes out.

via [In which I review] New anime, Fall 2012.

Summer 2012 capsules

Because I didn’t have anything better to do while waiting for the big premieres tomorrow, I checked out some of the OVA that surfaced over the last couple of weeks. This might have been a mistake.

Most perplexing is probably Ai Mai! Moe Can Change!. It’s an adaptation of a “moe-girl raising” game, where the key gimmick is that the player can change their clothes ad nauseam. None of this here… well, except that the girls keep changing clothes. Seriously, they rarely keep the same ones for more than a minute, thanks to a magical phone app (although its inventor later shows she can produce the the same effect with cakes !). There’s barely any plot in sight here, just sadistic barely-developed characters tormenting each other. Who the heck enjoys this kind of brainless drivel ?

Mahou Tsukai Nara Miso o Kue! (“Eat Miso if you’re a sorcerer !”) is barely any better. It’s basically a 12-minute trailer for an award-winning light novel… which is so painfully generic one wonders who thought it’d deserve any awards. The plot is a cliché-storm (down to the opening scene having a short bratty girl crashing into generic male lead’s flat), the characters have no personality beyond their archetypes, and the jokes are well-worn indeed. It’s the kind of stuff you’d expect to be parodied in Genshiken, except without any indication the writers know that. And did I mention it’s padded out with facepalm-inducing lingering candid shots of the main female characters ?

Don’t bother with either of those.

via [In which I review] New anime, Summer 2012 – Page 4.

A few words about Chitose Get You!, yet another series of shorts adapted from 4-panel manga. And well, whatever you think about its one joke (an 11-year-old girl with a crush on some random adult dude), at least it’s got some decent direction to sell it and make it somewhat watchable. Which is better than I expected.

via [In which I review] New anime, Summer 2012 – Page 7.

Le Portrait de Petite Cossette (Cossette no Shouzou)

(3 36-minute episodes, 2004)

My previous exposure

After the success of Bakemonogatari and Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Akiyuki Shinbo barely needs any introduction, and his name should be reason enough to revisit his earlier works. Especially after stumbling onto The Soultaker last year in my half-joke “Spring 2001 in review”, which showed that his directing skills were already impressive more than a decade ago.

I’ve had mixed luck with Shinbo’s back catalog in the past (Soultaker was impressive, Negima!? okay, but I couldn’t get through more than a few episodes of Pani Poni Dash and Hidamari Sketch), but this is a short OVA series, so why not try it out ?

What’s it about ?

Our generic male protagonist mans his uncle’s antique shop while the latter gallivants the world. One day, he stumbles in his inventory onto a cupboard hiding the portrait of a girl. Also, one of the glasses inside allows him to see the image of said girl… and to talk with her.

From that point starts a very creepy relationship, to the increasing concern of his few friends and the local psychic. And that’s before the bodies start piling in.

What did I think of it ?

With the routine use of peculiar angles, the thoughtful composition of every shot, and the use of editing as punctuation, there’s an hypnotic quality to Shinbo’s directing… and by this I mean it often makes me drowse and lose focus if I’m not quite hooked by the story. In his good series, there’s usually a sudden jolt in the plot that forces me to pay attention (Bakemonogatari‘s sudden child abuse flashback, Soultaker‘s descent into insanity, Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei‘s social commentary, everything in PMMM). Here, it’s the twist about the portrait… but that’s in the third episode. So I’m left with two episodes of creepy atmosphere that I couldn’t make much emotional attachment to, and a very good ending that puts a completely different spin on the previous happenings but still makes perfect sense.

So I’m a bit conflicted about this one. The ending was very good indeed, and Shinbo’s craft shines throughout, but I can’t ignore I couldn’t quite care about the first two-thirds of it.

via [LTTP/WIW] Various anime from the 00s and beyond – Page 13.

A Town Where You Live OVA (Kimi no Iru Machi)

(2 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a 18-volume (and counting) romance manga. Obviously, some degree of compression and creativity was needed to fit some of it into such a short format.


Haruto Kirishima, our generic male lead. Lives in a small country town.

Yuzuki Eba, a Tokyo girl who randomly decided to live at Haruto’s (the flashback is too vague to determine the exact circumstances), to his irritation. Presumably one thing eventually led to another, because the actual story here is that she’s now gone back to live in Tokyo, and they have kept a long-distance relationship over the last few months. Today he comes to Tokyo on a class trip, and they’re planning on finally meeting again.

Nanami Kanzaki, a classmate of Haruto’s whom he used to have a crush on. After presumably months of awkward love triangle, she eventually settled for them being just friends. Anyway, she’s also part of the class trip, and asks him to play the role of her boyfriend while she meets with one of her friends (to whom she bragged a bit too much). There’s absolutely no way for this to backfire !

Akari Kaga, said friend. It’s obvious she’s not entirely fooled by Nanami’s stunt.

Production Values

Perfectly serviceable. Some nice bits of scenery porn, even.

Overall Impression

Let’s be frank : the first half of this episode is fairly dull, as the two leads struggle to set up their meeting in a very boring way. Neither of them come off as particularly interesting here.

But this completely change once Nanami enters the picture. It’s charming how she scrambles to reinvent a happy relationship with Haruto despite things not having turned some well (as some judiciously chosen flashbacks show while illustrating her unreliable narration). There’s some genuine chemistry and drama in this very well-designed scene, even when you can plainly see the inevitable cliffhanger coming from the moment it starts.

It’s always a risky choice to adapt a long-running manga by choosing a storyarc set quite late in the overall story ; you can alienate a lot of potential viewers with convoluted relationships between characters they’ve not gradually grown familiar with (hello, Wandering Son !). This OVA avoids nicely the trap by focusing on the essentials of the relationship between the three leads, and making its particular story stand on its own. While it does matter that those three have a lot of history together (presumably detailed in numerous manga volumes I haven’t read), all you need to know is summed up perfectly in a way that seamlessly builds into the plot. The more I think about it, the more I can’t help by admire it.

Hopefully the concluding episode will live up to such a promising start.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2012 – Page 2.

Crying Freeman

(6 52-minute OVA, 1988 to 1994)

My previous exposure :
I stumbled on the first three episodes while channel-surfing on late-night TV as a young’un (despite being somewhat under the advised age). It left quite an impression, to the point that I’m now revisiting it properly despite it being quite outside my advertised preferred time period. Oh, well.

What’s it about ?

The assassin codenamed Crying Freeman used to be an ordinary Japanese potter until he stumbled onto proof of the Chinese Mafia’s bad deeds, and was foolish enough to take them on. The organization (called “the 108 dragons”) in retaliation brainwashes him into the ultimate assassin, leaving him the only freedom of crying in despair after he kills someone. (The “Freeman” part is obviously ironic.) Years later, history repeats itself as a young woman called Emu stumbles onto one of his assassinations, and as a crucial witness becomes a hostage between the ambitions of the police, the 108 Dragons and the Japanese mafia. When Freeman goes and tries to assassinate her, she just has one wish : she doesn’t want to die a virgin…

At least, that’s the initial plot of the first OVA. You’d normally expect some standard “having sex breaks Freeman’s conditioning and he rebels against the 108 Dragons” plot… but that’s not what happens next at all. The 108 dragons are a surprisingly accepting bunch, see no problem in sparing Emu, and even promote the two of them to being the new leaders of the group at the beginning of Episode #2. To say that it’s a jarring change of gears is a grand understatement ; and it’s not for the better, as much of the ambiguity and tragedy of the original premise goes right out of the window as Freeman basically becomes a generic 90s antihero.

… Who likes to fight in the buff. Not only is it a very bloody series with tons of graphic violence, but there’s also a lot of nudity and it often veers into softcore porn. Not exactly the kind of stuff young!me was supposed to be watching at that age…

What did I think of it ?

There’s no two ways about it : it’s a trainwreck. But at least it’s an (unintentionally) hilarious one, so I didn’t mind spending a few hours revisiting it.

As stated above, it has the germs of an interesting (if somewhat well-troden) premise, but it then chooses to completely disregard it in favour of something much more bizarre. Shifting Freeman into a position of leadership is just a baffling move (especially since he’s a Japanese outsider in a Chinese organization), and it’s thus no surprise that one of the major leaders balks and betrays the 108 Dragons immediately. (Of course, the dude then allies with the Camora, who immediately backstabs him, but that’s the kind of things that happen.) Even more surprising is the introduction of Bayasan, the obese adult womanchild and black sheep of the 108 Dragons who tries to wrestle the organization’s control. She fails, obviously, but there’s something endearing about her incompetent enthusiasm. And she sticks around as comic relief, which contributes to make some of the latter episodes less boring (if not actually funny – this series can’t really do humour).

The most bizarre episode is probably the third, because of its weird pacing : at its heart, it tries to transition Emu into less of a damsel in distress, by giving her some training and having her pick up a magic evil sword… but then in the middle we get 35 minutes of Freeman fighting a random African crime syndicate (who tries to hijack a plane he just happened to be on), and in the process sleeping with two other women (one of whom permanently joins his harem). And it’s not even the most sexist episode (it’s a toss-up between rape-tastic #4 and evil!self-made-woman-who-spends-all-her-screentime-masturbating-at-Freeman #5).

Another weird thing about the series is that the 108 Dragons are suddenly whitewashed into being a somewhat honourable group, despite all the assassinating going around in the first episode (and the leader of the Japanese Mafia pointing out that they don’t deal drugs, unlike that Chinese scum !). From then on, it’s just a series of rival groups trying to take them over. Episode #6 is the only other one where the 108 are depicted like an actual criminal group (although that’s mostly slander by the bad guys of the day). Mostly, they’ve become passive and reactive, with an incredibly high internal body count for an organisation that was supposed to be so frightening in the first episode. This isn’t a ringing endorsement for Freeman’s leadership… (Although, conveniently, most of the old guard dies quite early on, so who’ll complain ?)

This series is a mess on so many levels it’s laughable. The plot makes no sense (and is inconsistent from one instalment to the other) ; Freeman as a character is stripped of all drama very early on, leaving the “Crying” gimmick as an artefact of a forgotten plotline. The artwork is very much a product of its time, stiff and emotionless. The fight scenes are okay, but hardly worth watching (and they progressively lose in creativity as the series goes on). The sex scenes aren’t as gratuitous as they could be, but they’re not of much interest either (and the sexism of the whole thing makes them all the less palatable).

If you’re ever planning to watch this for a laugh, stick with the first three episodes. The last three are distinctively more boring, as the writers were clearly struggling to find new plots.

via [LTTP/WIW] Various anime from the 00s and beyond – Page 3.

Summer 2011 capsules

Two quick reviews, because those 3/4-minute shorts don’t warrant a full writeup :

Morita-san wa Mukuchi (“Morita is taciturn”)

This revolves around Morita, a high school girl who barely ever talks (although she’s got some interior monologue, which kills the effect a bit). And that’s it, that’s the entire joke. It was already outstaying its welcome at 3 minutes long, I can’t imagine watching anymore of this.


Speaking of one-shot jokes that can’t be sustainable, even in 4-minute shorts : this stars a cat that’s been bitten by a vampire (as a way to save its life). This is even less entertaining than the previous series : it tries way too hard to hit the “cute cat doing cute things cutely” button, and fails spectacularly at being even a single bit endearing. It’s way too artificial to work, and the high concept wasn’t even promising to begin with.

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

I usually don’t say much about OVA or sequels, but I figured I’d say a few words about Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kira, the first episode of which was recently released.

Now, the thing with Higurashi is that, while it’s a very good story, the plot got conclusively resolved at the end of the second season, in a way that leaves no room whatsoever for straight sequels. The first OVA series, Rei, got around it by featuring an interesting story hook that brings a new light over the wider picture, trying to tie it a bit more to the overall When they Cry franchise (probably as an tie-in to the then-debuting Umineko anime)… but in a way that’s self-canceling, and again leaves no room for further elaboration. Also, Rei was padded up with a couple of random comedy episodes that were kinda cute but didn’t bring anything new to table.

Well, the first episode of Kira makes it look like it’s going for the “random comedy” episodes route, except with even more fanservice. The first half of the episode is literally the male cast (Keiichi, Ooishi, Tomitake & Irie) fantasizing about “punishments” they could inflict to the whole female cast as part of the “penalty games”. Not only doesn’t it do much for me, but it gets quite uncomfortable when it reaches the younger members of the cast (Rika rubbing the windows with her ass ? Really ?). The second half is slightly more fun, not really because the female cast gets to retaliate (that’s nearly as tedious as the opposite), but because it actually makes an effort to tie the whole thing into the wider plot (however ridiculous that may sound). It doesn’t quite succeed in canceling out the bad taste left by the first half, but at least I don’t feel like I completely wasted my time.

Is this worth watching ? Well, no. It doesn’t look like Kira is going to add anything to the plot ; it feels like a cash-grab exercise, or at best an opportunity for the creators to have fun with the most lighthearted aspects of the premise. (The preview for the second episode certainly looks like it’s going to be entertainingly bonkers.) You can’t really put a clearer sign for “out-of-continuity zaniness” than featuring the Soul Brothers in a major role. I’m a die-hard fanatic of the franchise, so I’ll probably keep watching this, however pointless it is, just out of affection for the characters ; but you probably shouldn’t bother.

via [In which I review] New anime, Summer 2011 – Page 11.

Appleseed XIII

(13 episodes, distributed on streaming and as OVAs)

What’s it about ?

The adventures of a SWAT squad in the future, fighting terrorists and conspiracies.


Deunan, our protagonist. Trained to survived in the wilderness by her father since her early childhood, she’s the gung-ho rookie of the squad. I’ll give this to Maaya Sakamoto : she’s got enough charisma to pull off her character whining non-stop for the full duration of the episode and still not have her be too annoying. Although she comes very close here.

Briareos, her BFF since forever (or maybe more ?). After a bad accident, he had to be turned into a cyborg to survive. He’s still following her devotedly to protect her (especially from her own reckless behavior).

Dia, an innocent bystander who turns out to be a special cyborg or something, and will presumably be important to the plot later on.

The plot of the week involves a bunch of terrorists (“the Argonauts”) storming the Russian Poseidon embassy to retrieve one of their agents. (Did I mention there’s a heavy Greek Mythology theme permeating everything ?)

Production Values

This is a full CGI series, with some degree of cell-shading when people are involved. To be frank, it looks terrible. The character designs for people don’t quite work, and most importantly the body language looks awfully off. It’s not a problem when everyone on screen is in power suits, but the humans move like creepy ragdolls, pushing them deep into the uncanny valley. It looks like cheap videogame cutscenes (you know, the ones that aren’t pre-rendered), which is all kinds of disappointing.

The backgrounds and the scenes without humans look much more impressive, but that’s only a fraction of the overall screentime.

Overall Impression

Ouch. I don’t know anything about the Appleseed franchise, but this is a decidedly underwhelming offering. The artstyle is a complete failure, and Deunan is obnoxious beyond belief. I think there may a decent story beyond those roadblocks… and then I realize I’ve seen this kind of story done much better with Ghost in the Shell – Stand Alone Complex. Which had the advantage of not making my eyes bleed.

I’ll give it another episode to check whether the heroine gets less annoying and I can enjoy it for the plot, but I’m not optimistic.

via [In which I review] New anime, Summer 2011 – Page 11.

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.

Winter 2011 capsules

A few words on the first episode of the second season of Kimi ni Todoke… Well, it’s actually “Episode 0”, for an obvious reason : it’s a recap of the first season.

Now, there was a truly awful recap episode in the middle of the first season, bringing nothing new to the table and saddled with a tedious and downright bizarre Greek chorus. But this is different : after all, it’s been nearly a year since I watched all this, so I don’t mind the plot refresher.

And moreover, the whole thing is from the point of view of Ume “Kurumi” Kurumizawa, Sawako’s unlucky bitchy rival for Kazehaya’s affections. While I don’t think we learn anything new here, it’s a nice change from Sawako’s viewpoint. And I admit I loved the gag around Kurumi’s Death Note.

On the other hand, there is the slight issue that Kurumi’s such an egotist that we barely get any insight into any of the other characters… and moreover, it completely skips the whole Chizuru/Ryuu thing, in which she had no involvement. But presumably all this is going to be covered in the series proper if needed.

The new OP & ED are nothing to write home about, and certainly less epic than the originals. I did get a chuckle out of the implication of Ayane/Pin in the OP, though.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2010-2011 – Page 4.

I’m not going to do a full review of the Supernatural – The Animation series of OVAs, but here are my thoughts on the first episode : it’s perfectly okay, but I’m not sure I’m going to keep watching. You can really see the “standard American TV series” setup (two brothers on a road trip investigating weird stuff in a new location each episode). The two leads have good chemistry, it’s got a decent sense of style, and it’s pretty good at what it does (paranormal thriller). On the other hand, the open-endedness of the premise (it adapts “the first two seasons of the TV show”, plus various original stuff) makes it clear there’ll be no real resolution in those OVAs.

Still, if I was more interested in the genre, I’d probably give it more of a chance, but I’m already watching too much stuff.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2010-2011 – Page 28.


I’m horribly late as is on most of this stuff, so I’ll keep it brief.

Hen Zemi #1 (of 2) (“Abnormal Physiology Seminar”) is a prelude (or whatever) to a full TV series airing next spring. The premise is that a normal college girl attends a special course about “sexual perversion” (for credit, I presume), and gets tons of ludicrously embarrassing assignments from it. And that’s without going into the six other weirdoes attending the class or the very creepy teacher supervising it.

It’s actually better than it sounds – the fanservice could be much worse, Kana Hanazawa is as adorable as ever as the lead, and I’m all for a series that doesn’t demonize bizarre sexual quirks as long as they’re consensual (in other words, it’s miles better than MM!).

The problem is that it’s “nearly funny”, which doesn’t quite cut it. I did smile here and there, but that’s it. It may yet improve, so I’ll try getting the other OVA (out within a couple of weeks) and keep an open mind for the TV series, but I’m not too optimistic.

Mirai Nikki (“Future Diary”) is a 9-minute-long trailer testing waters for a potential future series. The gimmick is that our high school protagonist finds on his cell phone a detailed diary of his next 90 days (given by enigmatic paranormal entities). Various other people were given the same thing, and the whole thing is a game, won by the last person standing.

On these grounds, I’m sold. It’s an interesting premise, the atmosphere is built appropriately (it definitely feels very creepy), and I loved how dysfunctionally the relationship with the obligatory love-interest-with-a-diary-too started off. This reminds me of the best aspects of Death Note, although it’s different enough to be its own thing.

Yuri Seijin Naoko-san (“Lesbian Citizen Naoko-san”) is a 6-minute-long adaptation of a gag manga about… I’m not sure, actually. An sarcastic alien maid stalking a high-school girl and sniffing the skirts of any passing girl because she claims that’s the only way to get good reception from the stars. Also, she can randomly summon trains in the middle of a little street.

This is a very baffling short indeed. The key thing, though, is that it’s not funny at all, and that’s what kills it for me.

Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu: Matsuri #1 (of 2) is a bridge OVA before a proper second season next summer. It’s basically the same as ever, with a “cultural festival” backdrop to riff on the usual recurring jokes. It’s good fun, and I loved the multiple endings, but don’t bother with this unless you watched and liked the first season.

via [In which I review] New anime, Winter 2010-2011 – Page 29.