(12ish episodes ?)

What’s it about ?

Er, fuck if I know. The title seems to be a play on “kizuna” (“bond”), and there’s some talk about achieving world peace ? Anyway, it’s the latest original show by studio Trigger (but without Imaishi involved).


Agata, our protagonist, is your ordinary student at one of those public high schools where nobody does much studying, and the teachers don’t care. Strangely, he doesn’t feel pain much ; which means that whenever he gets bullied (and it happens often), he just lets it happen and waits it out.

One day, he’s approached by a strange girl named Sonozaki, who starts a long and not particularly coherent spiel about him being part of a modern version of the Seven Deadly Sins, who are the key to achieve world peace. Also, she pushes him down some stairs.

When he wakes up, he finds himself with five other classmates :
– Chidori, his not-girlfriend who always wants him to either step up against the bullies, or at least bring the teachers in ;
– Tenga, the big guy who crushed the bullies earlier on, because seriously ;
– Hisomu, the self-absorbed playboy who thinks he’s way cooler than he actually is ;
– Niko, the chuuni weirdo who keeps getting distracted by her own imagination ;
– and Maki, the high and mighty ice queen who thinks herself above all those losers.

Sonozaki explains that they were all abducted gathered by her agents, and have been given implants to become “Kiznaivers”. The most obvious practical effect is that whenever one of them gets hurt, each of them receives a portion of the pain (which limits the injury for the one actually struck).

How any of this is supposed to achieve world peace, I have no clue. But then, Sonozaki and her crew seem to be into really weird research indeed. And there’s the obvious question of why there are only six of them given the “Deadly Sins” theme (my immediate suspicion being that Sonozaki herself is the 7th). Oh, and I highly suspect Agata’s condition might be due to already having another set of Kiznaiver links inside him (if the cryptic flashbacks are anything to go by).

Production Values

Well, it’s studio Trigger, so expect lots of hyperkinetic action and bold colour choices… and actually, it looks like there’s less shortcuts in their animation than usual. And there’s tons of neat little visuals, from Tenga’s dynamic entry to the mascot-like appearances of Sonozaki’s crew.

What did I think of it ?

Well, that’s certainly intriguing. The plot outright makes no sense, but then it seems to run on nightmare logic more than anything else. It’s fast-paced enough to pull it off, quickly sketching out the main characters with remarkable economy. I’m especially impressed by the “show, don’t tell” approach for Sonozaki : we know nothing about her, but her speech paints a fascinating picture.

This is one of the most interesting shows of the season ; I definitely want to watch more to learn what’s going on here.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2016 – Page 5

Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto (Sakamoto desu ga?)

(13 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a gag manga series.


Sakamoto, our lead character, is awesome. Whatever you throw at this otherwise ordinary highschool student, he’ll not only take it in stride, but also look cool while dealing with it. And he’ll never get angry against whoever caused it ; he’s way above such petty shit.

And, er, that’s pretty much it. The episode is split between the tale of three delinquents in his class trying to bully him (hahaha, nope), and the one of the handsome teenage model getting jealous that all the girls think that Sakamoto is cooler than him. (Also, some other random assorted segments to pad things out, like Sakamoto saving a bird during a storm.)

Production Values

Now this has studio Deen putting some effort into it ; it certainly succeeds into making Sakamoto looking like the coolest dude ever. The jazzy score helps a lot in that regard.

What did I think of it ?

Well, it’s not a bad joke. On the other hand, that one joke is all the show has ; can it sustain itself for a full season ? I have some doubts. It runs the risk of getting old very quickly, unless it finds some new crazy stuff for Sakamoto to do.

But hey, I’m willing to give it at least another episode to see where it goes.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2016 – Page 5


(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Osomatsu-kun was a 60s family-friendly gag manga which got an anime adaptation at the time, then another one in the 80s. This year would have marked the 80th anniversary of its creator, so here’s another go at it. But freshening it up for a modern audience is by all measures an uphill challenge, for reason I’ll get into just below.

You can just hear the producers behind this revival loudly shouting : CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.


So, the gimmick here is that Osomatsu is the eldest of sextuplet teenagers. And the gag was that they’re indeed all identical, with only their voices and personalities barely helping the audience to call them apart. Well, that and their really dated 60s-pop-culture-derivative catchphrases. Let’s even politely not talk about the supporting cast, a bunch of ridiculous-looking stereotypes. There’s no way modern audiences will want to watch this, right ?

But then, what are you going to do ? Stunt-cast A-rank voice-actors, the likes of Takahiro Sakurai, Hiroshi Kamiya, Jun Fukuyama & Daisuke Ono, to play the sextuplets ? Turn them into a colour-coded boys’ band attending (*snicker*) “BL Academy” ? Have them act out awful cliché personas that are wildly out of character for them ? Have the supporting cast turned into more “cool” clichés, such as the delinquents or the Awesome Rival who’s totally not the French caricature from the original show ?

This naked commercial grab is a complete disaster, as the characters end up being completely exhausted and direly long for the commercial break to come. Even the most gratuitous Attack on Titan parody ever, or downright blatantly copying famous shonen shows, can’t stop this from falling apart. It’s just… not what them, you see ?

And so the show ends with the sextuplets still grasping for an answer to their conundrum. And they’ve been at it for so long that they’re now all in their mid-20s ; which is a new status quo that should give the writers enough rope to tell new stories.

At least, they really hope so.

Production Values

Studio Pierrot have outdone themselves here. The fake-retro opener, in a B&W 4/3 format with tons of artefacts, feels true to the original show. The parody section that constitutes much of this first episode both feels true enough to work, while still having enough weirdness in the background to sell that this is all a sham. And the final designs it settles on are decent modern upgrades that feel true to the source.

Overall Impression

For the record, I don’t believe this episode is really indicative of what’ll come next ; it’s here to make a point about how anime has changed over the decades (and not always for the better), while acknowledging that just slavishly copying either what was done in the 60s or what’s popular now just wouldn’t work. It’s the writers clearly stating that nostalgia alone can’t carry the show.

It’s also absolutely hilarious from start to finish, with impeccable comedic timing, even when they have to deliver bad jokes on purpose. This is metafiction on steroids, but done really well. And since it’s a gag show, they can totally get away with it.

Now, there are worrying signs. The joke may have gotten a bit overextended to fill the whole episode ; not all of the gags land. I still can’t tell too many of the sextuplets apart. (There’s Osomatsu, the “leader” ; Choromatsu, the straight man to most of their ramblings ; and maybe Todomatsu, who’s the “youngest” one ? The others are still a bit of a blur.) And most importantly, there’s no evidence yet that the writers have solved their central quandary, i.e. how to tell modern stories with these characters without losing their soul in the process. Can this premise actually support a full season ?

But hey, this first episode was fun enough that I’m willing to give them a bit of rope to see them try.

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

Summer 2015 capsules

Out first show of the season is My Wife is the Student Council President (Okusama ga Seitokaichou!), a series of 8-minute shorts adapted from an erotic comedy manga series. I have to say I feared the worst from the title. An underage wife ?

The good news is that the premise doesn’t involve any actual marriage yet and merely involves the student council president being, er, very “sex-liberated” (condoms for everyone !), and aggressively pursuing her vice-president. So far, he’s not receptive at all to her stalker ways ; which anyone would be even without the huge stick in his ass.

The bad news is that it isn’t really funny. I just can’t laugh with the show, as I find the title character more horrific than cute. And the boring, by-the-numbers point-of-view character doesn’t help matters.

Don’t bother with looking this one up.


Wakaba Girl is a typical adaptation of a 4-panel gag manga as a series of 8-minute-long shorts (extended OP sequence included). It’s basically a “cute girls being cute” affair, with the central gimmick of its heroine Wakaba coming from a very high-class family and being delighted to attend a normal high school where she can make normal friends. Cue many jokes from her being more than a bit sheltered.

It’s cute, reasonably well-paced and funny, and doesn’t overstay its welcome. That’s plenty enough reasons for me to keep watching.

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


Wakako-zake is a series of 2-minute (OP included) shorts about a woman who eats out at restaurants, with the constant in her menu being alcohol. And, er, that’s it. Not much in the way of jokes or story (aside from a couple of dudes trying to pick her up), just some food porn. Pass along, nothing to see here.


Sequel Watch !
Dragonball Super picks up a few months after the Majin Buu arc, which means we’re ignoring Z’s epilogue with Uub and its timeskip. (To say nothing of GT.) The good news is that no knowledge from the recent movies seems to be required ; the new antagonists are introduced properly and seem to be heading towards their first meetings with the heroes. The bad news is that it’s a very slow start, reintroducing the dozens of members of the supporting cast and what they’re up to now. Even then, I think we missed Krillin & family, as well as most of the minor useless members of the Z-fighters ; we’re mostly focused on the extended Son/Briefs/Satan households for now. There’s little in the way of actual plot right now, aside from the Supreme Kais worrying about new villains showing up anytime now. But then they always do. Since I actually like the more slice-of-life comedy segments of Dragonball, I’m not complaining. (Although less Goten/Trunks screentime would be a relief.)

– Speaking of reintroducing dozens of supporting characters, Durarara!!x2 (Middle Part) feels it was the time to introduce more new characters. And hey, it does makes who comes to try and finish Izaya off in his hospital room a genuine surprise. A nice callback to his introduction, but still unexpected. Aside from that, it’s mostly a matter of positioning all the pieces back in place.

Symphogear GX – Determination to Fist has a positively metal opening action sequence that’s going to be hard to top. It does unfortunately show again that Aoi Yuuki is miles behind Nana Mizuki & Ayahi Takagaki in singing talent, but them’s the breaks. At least we get another Nana Mizuki/Yoko Hikasa duet. Not feeling the new antagonists yet, but I’ll give them time.

Gatchaman CROWDS Insight… I have no clue where they’re going with this new team member and the alien. But it’s certainly very energetic and colourful as usual, and Hajime is still very fun. (“Berg, shut up-su!”)

– As for Working!!!, I’m fearing the ship may have sailed. I quite enjoyed the first two seasons, but this reintroduction episode left me quite cold. Maybe it’ll pick up steam later on, but this wasn’t a good start.

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


I’m sure that, like me, you rolled your eyes when Bikini Warriors showed up on the schedule, especially as an adaptation of a line of “sexy” figurines. The good news is that this series of comedy shorts makes its tired cliché of a premise the central joke. Yes, those bikini-style armours are ridiculous and can’t protect much ; let’s have fun with that ! And frankly, the few chuckles it raises are enough to overcome the rudimentary animation and the obnoxious fanservice. It just about gets away with it, and that’s the best it could have ever hoped for.

Million Doll is an adaptation of a web manga series as 8-minute shorts. It’s an exploration of idol fandom culture that just rubs me the wrong way. I think that’s because it seems to lionize its shut-in protagonist and agree with her contempt of the more dilettante fans who are quick to move on from an idol group to the next… never mind that she’s already much creepier and unhealthy than all of them combined. It’s a show that requires you to adhere unconditionally to the glamour of the idol subculture (and dismisses its unpleasantness as coming from a few icky fans), and that’s not something I can get into. It doesn’t help that it’s barely animated, and suffers from a downright ugly CG-animated dancing opening sequence. Avoid like the plague.
SuzakiNishi the Animation is a weird beast. It’s notionally an adaptation of voice-actresses Aya Suzaki & Asuka Nishi’s radio program, where they discuss business models. In practive, this is a series of “comedy” shorts depicting them as new transfer students in high school. The gags are trite and there’s just nothing here that builds upon its name characters or the original premise. Really don’t bother with this.
Kurayami Santa is a bizarre oddity : a series of horror shorts set in the 60s that’s half animation looking like it came from that period, and half actual vintage live-action footage from then. It features a demon looking like a creepy child who punishes evidoers, but in cruel and circuitous ways that make you shudder more than applaud. While I’m intrigued at how this came into being, there’s a gap between that and actually finding it entertaining ; it’s just too weird for me.
Danchigai is an adaptation of a 4-panel gag manga about five siblings rough-housing each other. (Well, they mostly all gang up against the one boy, second oldest of the lot.) It’s very mildly funny, but nothing to go out of your way for.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Summer 2015 – Page 5


(13 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a smartphone rhythm videogame (with some raising sim elements).


Cyan, our highschool protagonist, spends the first five minutes of the show thinking she’s in a K-ON! clone : so shy she agonizes for ages over joining the light-music club, and moping over her guitar every evening that she couldn’t find her nerve. Sorry, girl, that’s the wrong show : so witness your phone suddenly crapping out and suddenly transporting you into a psychedelic digital world. As a gothic lolita catgirl, of course.

She lands in the middle of a concert by super-star band Trichronika, who were completely rocking it out until some monster showed up and shifted them to a parallel combat world. Apparently that’s a thing that often happens ; at least bystanders are safe, since only people with musical ability are affected… How, wait, Cyan was also standing there, right ?

… And that’s a good thing, as Trichronika were completely overpowered and she totally saved their bacon.

Amazingly, Cyan is then recruited not by Trichronika (who are grateful), but by the far less successful band Plasmagica, who nabbed her first after the battle. They’ve got a bunny girl, a dog girl and a sheep girl. Their manager is an egg.

So Cyan’s lost in bizarre world she has no clue about… but hey, she’s in a band now ! Score !

(There’s also a stinger another rival band showing up, and another with a mastermind plotting evilly and cryptically.)

Production Values

It should be pointed out that for the battle sequences, the musician characters are shrunk in size and rendered in CG ; it looks all the more weird as they have no mouths. They return to more humanoid designs for the more mundane scenes… well, aside from the egg with a moustache.

Overall Impression

What is this I don’t even…

Well, I have to give it to this show : it fooled me completely over what genre it was going to be, and it’s a well-executed swerve. It’s also bursting at the seams with weird ideas and designs. That Cyan’s character arc doesn’t get lost in the shuffle is a near miracle.

… But there’s only so far energy and sheer weirdness can carry it ; I fear it’s going to collapse into a unholy mess very quickly. I’m pretty sure I won’t stick with it, but I suppose I’ll at least give it a second episode just to be sure. It’s at least earned that.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2015 – Page 2.

Death Parade

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Remember Anime Mirai / The Young Animator Training Project ? It started as a way for the Japanese government to subsidize the training of a new generation of animators through series of of random high-concept one-shots. But by the third year of it, you could see that studios were using it to test the waters for pilots of longer stories. (Especially obvious was Arve Rezzle, which didn’t have a proper story at all.) Now, for the 2012 edition everyone was focused on Little Witch Academy, to the point of overshadowing the other high-point of the year : Death Billiards. Which is now getting a TV series, two years later.


The unnamed Barman of the Quin Decim is our recurring host. He’s here to deadpanly lay out the rules to whoever enters what is clearly some sort of purgatory : you must play a random game as though your life was on the line ; and only after that are allowed to move on. He wouldn’t advise refusing to play. (Cue shot of many bodies hanging in a back room.)

Our “clients” this week are a newlywed couple who died in a car accident. As they play a bizarre game of darts (with each hit on the target hurting their partner), it turns out that he’s a jealous asshole who had strong suspicions she only married him for his money, and is pregnant with somebody else’s baby.

There are a couple of waitresses who’ll round out the regular cast, but they barely appear yet.

Production Values

Rather good ; it can certainly sell the atmosphere, and make even a game of darts epic.

Overall Impression

Uh oh. Death Billiards was a perfect introduction to the premise, to the point I’m wondering why they didn’t just re-broadcast it. Instead, they’ve produced a whole new “let’s explain the concept slowly” first episode, and it really suffers from the comparison. It covers most of the same beats with more histrionics and less subtlety (including the bemusing decision of clarifying the final fate of the couple), as well as drastically reducing the screentime of that fun sardonic waitress.

This is a bit worrying. Hopefully this was a one-off misfire, and the next episode will hit the ground running now that the exposition’s out of the way. There’s a lot to like here, but it can’t just tell the same story again and again, with diminishing returns.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Winter 2015 – Page 2.

#11 : Gate Keepers

(24 episodes)

What’s it about ?

This adapts a Playstation RPG videogame. The overall plotline is classic “vaguely governmental agency recruits superpowered teens to fend off alien invasion” fare, with the oddity that it’s set in 1969, with Japan still busy rebuilding itself after WWII.


Shun, our protagonist, is your typical teenage hothead, angry at his dad for getting himself killed and leaving Mom with a serious case of depression and two brats to feed. Aside from that, he’s quite a decent dude, getting on well with the supportive neighbours. He’s the kind of guy who refuses a place on the kendo team (and the potential scholarship attached) because he’s rather start working part-time right now and put some food on the family table. On the other hand, he instantly loses points for constantly comparing his life to a sports manga. (Which is too cute to be funny the first time around, and gets more aggravating as it goes on).

Ruriko is the first superpowered teenage agent of A.E.G.I.S. (the good guys), but they hope to recruit more down the line. Her core powers involve healing, but as that’s not enough she can also channel them to fire white arrows of death at the enemy. Her mission here is to escort a bus transporting some big macguffin, and of course it goes sideways just as Shun happens to be passing by. Obviously he had dormant powers, and after she kickstarts them he’s able to destroy the immediate threat. (Also, he then realizes they were neighbours ten years ago, because what’s one more gratuitous plot contrivance at this point ?)

I’m not really sure how the logistics of the alien invasion work out. Apparently they’ve infiltrated every layer of society and are ALL THE ASSHOLES ? (The punk harassing honest business-owners, the boss firing his secretary after having his fun, and so on…) But then they all go out in bright daylight, transform, and combine into a massive black ball of weaponry that attacks the goodies ? The heck ?

The OP & ED sequences showcase a few more members of this nascent teenage brigade, but they’ve yet to show up. This first episode is busy enough already, after all.

Production Values

Unfortunately, this is a production which lacks the budget (and maybe the visual creativity) to support its ambition. Everything looks slightly too cheaply animated, and way too often the director substitutes a dutch angle or a random close-up on eyes for actual movement. (And not in the aesthetically pleasing way Akiyuki Shinbo has become famous for.)

And of course, a good chunk of the character designs (especially Ruriko’s “modern” student uniform) look completely out of place for what starts as a period piece.

Overall Impression

I think I can see what this is going for. Rather than taking itself seriously, it’s a madcap romp that keeps upping the batshit insanity. Of course none of this makes any sense ; who needs coherence when the good guys have a tourist bus (with their elite field agent as the guide) that can convert into a super-armoured tank, chased by a big ball of combined aliens ? This is stream-of-consciousness delirium.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t click for me. Part of it is the clash between the madness and the relatively grounded world surrounding Shun at the start ; the show can’t quite pull off the contrast. Indeed, the set pieces often feel like they’re missing the design sense needed to really bring them to life. And then, there’s the protagonist who actively drags my enjoyment down whenever he shows up.

As a concept, nice try ; too bad the execution is so lacking, and discouraging me from pursuing it any further.

Source: [In Which I Review] Anime series from 2000 – Page 2

Love Bullet : Yuri Bear Storm (Yuri Kuma Arashi)

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Kunihiko Ikuhara’s new project, after Utena & Penguindrum. As the title implies, it involves lesbians and cute bears all trying to eat each other, and defies description.


Lulu & Ginko are two bears who managed to pass through the Extinction Wall humankind has erected to protect itself from their kind after they gained sentience ; they’re posing as transfer students at the Arashigaoka Institute, which offers plenty of delicious teenage (and female) prey. Lulu is the one who waxes rhapsodic, while Lulu is merely voicing her constant hunger.

Kureha, a student here, seems to be our protagonist. Apparently she smells even more delicious than her classmates, but walks too rarely alone for the two bears to attack her. And then she starts carrying a hunting rifle around, as despite the teachers’ many warnings the next victim was…

Sumika, Kureha’s lover. Cute as a button, and thus the perfect sacrificial lamb. (If she is indeed dead, as it all happens offscreen.)

Yurizono, the charismatic class representative. (Yes, we have several students whose name starts with “Yuri”. Including the bears’ cover identities.) She was already a friend to both Kureha & Sumika, and is determined to investigate the latter’s murder. As the episode ends, she stumbles on the bears eating more victims and immediately identifies them as the new transfers student, so I guess that cat’s out of the bag already.

There’s a long weird sequence where an otherworldly court passes judgment on the two bears (for crossing the Wall and eating Sumika), with the final verdict that it’s normal for bears to eat humans, and so they can proceed with eating Kureha (who they had captured just before). And then Kureha wakes up, completely dumbfounded.

(Said court are the only presence of the Y chromosome in the whole show.)

Production Values

Gorgeous. It’s even more colourful than Penguindrum, with rounder character designs that contrast with the gruesome subject matter. The mad architect is also back, with immense symmetrical buildings and endless staircases everywhere.

There’s a bit of fanservice with some female flesh shown, and an improbable absence of nipples.

Overall Impression

This is just lovely. Sugary as heck with really dark undercurrents, not a single wasted scene as the show marches on through tons of exposition and character introductions without feeling rushed, and a pregnant atmosphere of weirdness and unease that makes it feel like anything can happen. (And it does, as I didn’t anticipate Sumika biting it so quickly.)

For me, this lives up to the hype : the master is at work again, and I’m in for the ride.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Winter 2015.

#01 : Boogiepop Phantom

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Sanity slippage, the anime. (Adapted from a light novel series.)


The titular Boogiepop is an urban legend bogey(wo)man ; everyone has vaguely heard spooky stories, and many of the strange happenings in the city are rumoured to be linked to her. In true horror anthology fashion, she barely shows up for a couple of minutes at the end of this first episode, killing off the monster and quickly explaining the plot. If you want to push it, she could just be a “normal” high school girl with advanced knowledge of the occult and wearing a fancy coat and hat over her uniform… but what are the odds of THAT ?

Moto, our actual point of view character for this episode is an angsty, self-conscious high school girl. She’s got issues over her best friend Yasuko becoming more socially proficient (and sexually active), and regrets not pursuing her crush on Yasuko’s former middle-school boyfriend further.

Saotome, said ex-boyfriend, has recently disappeared, and only shows up in flashbacks. Whatever happened to him (Boogiepop claims to have killed him), the thing that Moto stumbles on and has taken his form definitely isn’t him. She’s very lucky Boogiepop was in the vicinity to take out that man-eating monster.

I’m pretty sure that’s the end of Moto’s story, with each subsequent episode focusing on a different character that intersects briefly with the others’ path. As Moto’s narration says, what happened to her was just a ripple effect of a bigger story.

The credits prominently feature (and name) three characters :
– Touka is the only one who gets any actual screentime here ; she’s an ordinary student at Saotome’s highschool who crosses paths briefly with Moto and tries being helpful, despite Moto not wanting any help.
– Nagi is another student at that highschool, although she spends most of the OP looking grim in leather and riding a motorcycle. She doesn’t even show up at all here, although it’s said Saotome had a crush on her. Everyone knows her to be bad news.
– And then there’s some older guy in a trenchcoat, who doesn’t appear at all either.

Production Values

Atmosphere ! This show is all dull greys and browns, which is great at setting up the mood, but not so much at making the characters easily distinguishable (especially as the non-supernatural characters have naturalistic designs). Still, it’s very good at selling the alienation and the anything-could-happen nature of the setting.

Aside from the rocking OP/ED sequences, the soundtrack has very little actual music, instead playing up sound effects for maximum otherworldliness. What little music there is in the action sequences, is disrupted and fragmented. (In a good way.)

Overall Impression

As it happens, the first show on the list is the one I’ve already seen twice, and one of my all-time favourites. The shifting-POV, non-linear storytelling at play here is a thing of beauty, as each subsequent tale builds into a cohesive bigger picture. It’s relentless, it’s creepy, but it still leaves a ray of hope at the end of the day, thanks to Boogiepop herself.

I love this show, and I’m really tempted to rewatch it right now. That’s going to be a tough act to follow.

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

Mekakucity Actors

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

This is an adaptation of the Kagerou Project, which started as a series of Vocaloid songs before being spun-off into light novels and manga series. (I’m not quite sure why the animated version gets a new title.)


Shintaro, our protagonist. He’s a shut-in NEET who hasn’t come out of his room for at least a year, and isn’t in any hurry to do it again. Unfortunately, he’s spilled some soda on his keyboard, and the inconveniently-timed holidays prevent any shipping for at least 5 days, so the agoraphobic has to go to the mall.

Ene, the computer program a “friend” installed on his computer a couple of years ago, and who just. won’t. shut. up. Show, you really shouldn’t tease me with a mute button for Kana Asumi if it doesn’t work. (I kid : her usual “bubbly exuberance” shtick is a perfect fit for the character, and she makes a good foil for Shintaro.) Also, she’s downloaded herself onto his smartphone, so she can follow him on his shopping trip. Did he think he could escape ?

Since this was a bit too uneventful, the mall is taken hostage by a group of criminals. Who’ve taken over the centralized security network of the place, and are very smug about it. I smell a theme. Now, if only someone had a super-computer-program on hand to wrestle control back from the thieves…

There’s a couple of weird guys in hoodies who like the look on Shintaro’s face, and offer to help untie him and provide a distraction. Presumably we’ll learn more about them next episode.

The episode opens on a weird flashback where a girl in a high school uniform talks to Shintaro. With both of them sitting on a giant clockwork mechanism. Hmmm…

Production Values

Head tilts ? Careful composition of shots that tell a whole story without the need for animation ? (And gratuitously gorgeous animation when it’s funny ?) Sprawling landscapes where the mad architect has overdesigned everything ? Random cinemascope format ? Non-realistic colours bordering on chiaroscuro ? That flashback ? I am shocked to see SHAFT & Shinbo’s names on the credits.

Overall Impression

This is SHAFT at its SHAFTiest : not only the overpowering style, but also the endless conversations and the recurrent themes (including the playful otaku-bashing). The good news is that it works : the setup is simple enough to avoid confusing the viewer, and the direction only adds depth to it. It certainly helps making Ene less irritating than she could be.

Moreover, it feels like the staff are having a lot of fun making this, and it’s communicative. (Unlike, say, Nisekoi, which is the perfect example of SHAFT on autopilot.) I’m game : bring it on.

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