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.

Bakumatsu Gijinden Roman

What’s it about ?

Robin Hood in the end of the Edo period.


Roman, our protagonist. By day, he’s a lazy bum barely making a living as a helping hand around town. By night, he’s a Robin Hood figure, robbing the guilty rich and distributing it to everyone else, through crazy schemes, “high-tech” devices, and raw nerve.

Koharu, his little sister. By day, she’s the one actually paying the rent with as a bizarrely-specialized craftswoman ; by night, she helps him out on his adventures.

They also seem to have a dog, who helps them out on their cons. It’s that kind of show.

Production Values

Character designs come courtesy of Monkey Punch, aka the Lupin III guy. It really shows. This looks quite good, but decidedly old-fashioned.

Overall Impression

Yawn. This doesn’t seem to be a bad show by any objective criteria, but there’s something about it that just made me tune out. I can barely remember anything about it, and I really don’t care to try watching it again. It’s not really my kind of thing, anyway : way to old-fashioned to hook me.

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

Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera (“*Bamf* It’s Enma ! *Crickle Crackle*”)

What’s it about ?

The wacky adventures of Enma and his Demon Brigade, in charge of hunting down demons who’re wreaking havoc on Earth’s surface.


Harumi, our point of view character. A young girl whose friends get attacked by a face-stealing demon and calls on Enma & co for help. Very snarky indeed (to the point that she snarks at her own tendency to snark on inappropriate occasions), and quite bemused by Enma’s antics.

Enma, our idiot hero (and that’s quite an understatement). A fire demon. Wears a talking hat.

Yuki, his purported love interest (although it’s obvious they’ve known each other for so long that they’re getting on each other’s nerves). An ice demon. Maybe the most sensible of the bunch, although by a fairly narrow margin.

Kapaeru, a kappa. Mostly there to deliver exposition and horribly dated impersonations, although he does get to save Harumi from drowning at one point. He might be the most heroic of the bunch, which of course makes him a target for abuse.

Production Values

All over the place. There are some gorgeous pieces of animation, especially in the hell house with its wonderfully gorgeous backgrounds… and then there are a few shots drawn with crayons. WTF ?

Let’s be clear, this is an aggressively retro series, especially with the character designs ; but then, what do you expect of a remake of a 70s Go Nagai series ?

Overall impression


Why did someone greenlight a remake of a random 70s series, without updating much besides the animation ? (It’s even set in the 70s.) It’s not bad or anything (it’s standard inoffensive shounen fare), but it’s so obviously a nostalgia piece that I can’t bring myself to care. Especially as its tone doesn’t do much for me (this kind of constant hyperness tires me out very quickly).

I’m bemused. This show obviously has quite some money behind it ; is the market for it really that big ?

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2011 – Page 7.

Project ARMS

(26 episodes)

What’s it about ?

A high school student is stalked by both a creepy transfer student and a team of men in black. Maybe this is linked to his weird right arm (which hasn’t been the same since a mysterious incident years ago)…


Ryo, our protagonist. Kind-hearted, a bit of a slacker… and owner of incredibly 80s sideburns. His right arm is definitely not normal, what with healing ridiculously fast and transforming into something else at the end of the episode.

Katsumi, totally not his girlfriend, and typical bossy tsundere material. Spends most of the episode either in distress… or with Ryo thinking she’s in distress (while his opponents couldn’t care less about her). She’s actually less annoying than this sounds.

Hayato, the creepy transfer student with his left arm bandaged. The kind who single-handedly defeats a dozen bullies offscreen. His left arm is actually a weird claw-with-blades thing, and he’s somehow able to make Ryo’s arm vibrate by “resonance”.

There are quite a few men in black circling around Ryo and Hayato while delivering cryptic exposition. They want to capture the two ARMS subjects, but there’s probably more to it.

Production Values

Not a lot of budget, but enough directing tricks to somewhat disguise it as artistically-motivated. Good use of colour to build the atmosphere, too.

Overall impression

This is actually quite decent : the characters have a lot of chemistry, the atmosphere is well set, and it moves at a decent clip. The character design’s a bit retro, but you get used to it quickly.

The problem is that I don’t care about the story. At all. It’s a bit of a cliché, and despite the quality of the execution I can’t see this series going anywhere interesting.

 That's quite a skin condition Hayato has got there...
That’s quite a skin condition Hayato has got there…

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2001 – Page 7.

Great Dangaioh

(13 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Giant combining mechas fight for the survival of mankind against one of the most generic evil armies I’ve ever seen.


The three pilots : Hitomi, the hot-blooded girl ; Mishiou, the cold, analytical other girl ; and Kuya, the stoic silent guy (he only gets one line that’s not a mecha command). Not much beyond the archetypes at this stage.

The evil army is led by an old bearded dude, seconded by a toady mad scientist and four clichés generals (who all appear to be robots or cyborgs of some sort). In a semi-interesting twist, they’re all dead by the end of the first episode, and their floating fortress destroyed.

The good guys seem to be some paramilitary group whose leader has history with the big bad evil guy. There’s another notable female officer who seems to have foreboding visions (the opening scene has her as a teenager, ten years ago, at ground zero of some city-obliterating disaster which turned into a contact event for her).

Production Values

Decent. The art style for female characters is a bit weird and took me some time getting used to.

Overall Impression

Bo-ring. I nearly fell asleep while watching this one. Most of the characters are one-dimensional, the mecha fight scenes are beyond cliché, and the show takes itself so seriously that it’s rather baffling.

I’m told this is a sequel to a late-80s OVA, but I fail to see any obvious link from the latter’s synopsis.


 Yes, the bottom mech has just split into two feet so all three could combine.
Yes, the bottom mech has just split into two feet so all three could combine.

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2001 – Page 6.