Aokana: Four Rhythm Across the Blue (Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm)

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Oh, another visual novel adaptation which crosses over with the sports genre ! Except this one has a male target audience.


Interestingly, our main character for now is Asuka, the ditzy cheerful girl. She’s just now getting into Flying Circus, a sports that involves sommersaulting around with flying shoes.

The game’s male lead, Masaya, is relegated to a support role for now : he’s brooding in the background about how he used to be good at FC until a fateful incident two years ago, and offers a few useful pointers (as well as recognizes Asuka’s innate talent).

There are other girls. Kinda tells you how much I payed attention, eh ?

Production Values

Well, it certainly does the job of selling a definite sense of wonder about flying in general, and Flying Circus in particular.

Also, magic skirts are thankfully in effect.

Overall Impression

Zzzzzzz… Sorry, I just don’t care. The characters are very boring, Masaya’s angst is laughable, and the spectacle inherent to the gimmicky sport isn’t enough to carry the show on its own.

I’ll pass.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Winter 2016 – Page 4

Girls Beyond the Wasteland (Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu)

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a visual novel about highschool students producing a visual novel.


Buntarou, our male lead, is your usual “helps out everyone” aimless high-school student, but at least he’s got good banter with his friends. Since this is a VN adaptation, it takes the slow approach of making us spend a lot of time with him just going about his day before the plot finally gets introduced. We do learn that he has some decent writing talent, but moreover he’s good at taking charges during crisis and making everyone work together while assuaging egos. All skills that should be invaluable later on.

His close friends include Yuuka, his tomboy childhood friend with a talent for acting, and Atomu, the third wheel who’s doomed to fade into the background.

Kuroda is a weird girl who keeps checking him out. After a tense not-date, she eventually reveals she’s been scouting him for her VN-making circle. She’s very driven about it, viewing it as her future career rather than just something to keep busy during high school. That, er, may be a bit over-optimistic, but hey, this is a wish-fulfilment fantasy.

Production Values

Perfectly okay.

Overall Impression

It’s your average “school club” series, basically. Its origin means that it’s more interested in setting up the long game than rushing through particularly noteworthy sequences ; as a result, it lacks some punch to really catch the audience’s attention.

I’m willing to give it a second episode to see whether it picks up a bit, but as a Thursday show it’s facing fierce competition for my time.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Winter 2016 – Page 3

Norn9: Norn+Nonet

(12ish episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a sci-fi “otome” visual novel. Interestingly, according to the Wikipedia description it seems to have switched point-of-view characters from the very young dude (who’s yet to show up) to one of the girls (which feels much more conventional).


Koharu is a girl who’s forgotten nearly everything about herself (it takes the whole episode for her to remember her name), who one day feels to compel to head for a shuttle that leads her to THE WORLD. Not the stand, but a huge ship (big enough to host a town and some bits of lands inside) that travels across the globe… and maybe spacetime, if the appearance of Koharu’s hometown is any indication (The World looks much more futuristic).

The only crew (and inhabitants) of The World are about a dozen teenagers, who seem to have been recruited similarly. (The big difference is that Koharu somehow got her hands on an uniform before she even got inside.) They spend most of their time on the chores required to living on The World (fishing, growing crops, etc.), and frankly I have no clue how they do this with so few people given the sheer size of the thing. On the other hand, The World appears to be self-driving, randomly relocating itself to whatever crisis they are meant to solve. (The show remains mysterious as to what those are yet.)

Oh, and a tower explodes at the end. Good way to keep my interest up, show !

(It’s apparently called “Norn9” because there are 9 dudes aboard, and somehow the three girls – including Koharu – don’t count. Whatever)

Production Values

Quite sharp-looking ; it’s certainly very good at selling The World as a setting with a huge scale and on a completely different technological level from anything else.

As you’d expect for the source, there’s a decent amount of manservice, mainly in the form of a bunch of the guys spending noticeably more time than narratively necessary swimming around.

Overall Impression

Usually I’m not in the audience for otome adaptations, but I have to give points to this one for sheer ambition. Sure, it spends most of its time faffing around with nothing particularly interesting happening, and the main characters don’t deviate much from the usual archetypes, but it almost feels like there’s an actual plot and purpose to the show.

I’m probably going to be disappointed, but I’m giving this a second episode.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Winter 2016 – Page 2

Prince of Stride – Alternative

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

“Stride” is a fictional sport that’s basically a five-people relay parkour race (with a sixth person coordinating them by radio). So this is a sports series (complete with the classic “save our club” narrative)… adapted from a female-targeted, male harem visual novel.


Nana, our heroine/audience stand-in, loves Stride and enrolled into this high school because she watched a video of their Stride club having perfect form… But that was a while ago, the members she saw are on the verge of graduating and already left it, and there are so few members left it’s on the verge of disbanding (they certainly don’t have enough people to properly enter races right now). She wanted to be the manager (aka the traditional female role of a sports team that’s a glorified gofer), but she’ll do as their Relationer (the radio coordinator).

Heath, the club president, at first looks like a slacker that gave up, but he did ensure the club’s temporary survival by merging it with the shogi club, and made sure that the members kept in shape. He even deviously trained Ayumu, the shogi club’s president, despite his stated disinterest into the sport.

Hozumi, the third “veteran” member, is the super-enthusiastic cute-looking guy. If you’ve ever watched a male harem, you know the type.

Takeru is another freshman who’s joining the club for the same reasons as Nana… except he’s way more obsessive and creepy about it, already seizing up potential recruits before he even enters the club room.

Riku is the victim candidate he’s pounced on. You can easily see why : he’s so fast that all the sports clubs want him, and his impressive amateur parkour run when he’s late for his first day in school makes him a shoe-in. Unfortunately, he’s a bit reluctant and seems to have some history with the club somehow (I suspect he’s the brother to one of the seniors who left in bad blood or something). Cue 2vs2 race between the seniors and the freshmen to settle this… And to his credit, Takeru doesn’t throw the race at all. The seniors are that good.

Production Values

Quite good. Atsuko Ishizuka (of No Game No Life fame) is directing this, and you can tell by her signature oversaturated colours. It’s nice to see her handling a show that doesn’t require creepy incestuous fanservice. (And even the manservice here is relatively tame, compared to, say, Free!)

I’m slightly warier of the race sequence being slightly bigger on impressionist little touches than proper scene-setting, which makes me worry about the show’s actual animation budget. But maybe they’re saving up for the proper races later on ? At least they still flow quite well.

Overall Impression

This is way better than I expected. Sure, the cast are walking clichés, ticking all the classic male harem archetypes, but they still show a decent degree of personality and have good chemistry. Moreover, the show has communicative enthusiasm for its madeup sport, as showcased by the whole school preparing the obstacle course and watching, which may be a bit overkill for a club on the verge of disbanding. But who cares ? It makes Stride look cool and fun, which is all that matters.

Good enough for me to give it a bit of rope… and it’s not like there’s anything else on Tuesdays anyway.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Winter 2016

Fall 2014 capsules

Hmm. For some reason Karen Senki wasn’t even on my checklist. I can’t even find any hint it’s actually airing in Japan. But hey, it’s at the very least a Japanese co-production by the creators of Sakura Wars, and Crunchyroll is streaming it, so close enough for a token mention in this thread.

This is quite an odd series. For one, it’s 12 half-length episodes. For two, it’s full-CG. And for three, I can’t tell whether the plot being so disjointed and making no sense whatsoever is intentional.

It follows the adventures of Karen, who wages an essentially single-woman war against robots, who have taken over society and killed her cute young sister. (Or so she claims ; the flashbacks show nothing of the sort.) But the robots’ rule doesn’t seem that drastic, as everyone else seems to be carrying on normally, aside from whenever they have to deal with the collateral damage of Karen’s battles. Her being randomly attacked by killer-bots seems to be the exception, not the rule. One of her associates seems perfectly fine having a robot lover. And frankly, Karen just doesn’t sound entirely sane.

Or this may just be because the series as a whole is an excuse to string along elaborate action sequences. Now, they’re quite well-directed ; the problem isn’t so much that they’re hard to follow, but that they don’t fit with their context. But the real issue here is that the actual character animation is goddarn awful. People don’t move that way ! They can emote decently, but just about anything else about them is awkward. This is massively distracting, and doesn’t help the series’ case.

I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt, and a second episode. But I dread it’s going to test my patience quickly.

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


Anyway, let’s say a few words on I Can’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying (Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken). It’s a series of shorts adapting a 4-panel gag manga series. Basically, it’s about a wife being flummoxed by her husband’s ultra-otaku ways. It’s mildly funny, but most of these jokes have already been done to death, and you often wonder why those two even got married in the first place. (That’s actually addressed immediately, but her reasoning is more than a little evasive.) This is a perfectly inoffensive show, but I doubt it’ll hold my attention for long unless it gets significantly better soon.

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


As it turns out, I just can’t make a proper review of Fate/stay Night – Unlimited Blade Works. Too much of my viewing experience was influenced by my foreknowledge from the DEEN series & movie, as well as Fate/Zero. It’s not like I can remember exactly who’s a Master (and of which Servant), especially as we’re in a different route and things might change around a bit, but I still know more than a few incoming twists that make it impossible to offer a “virgin” preview. (And I do have doubts on whether the series is aimed at anyone but people who’ve already seen either or both of these previous shows.)

Still, this is a good start. Way less infodumpy than Fate/Zero, and with some actual impressive battles right off the bat in this opening double-length episode. It helps a lot that it features Rin as a protagonist ; as someone who actually has a clue what’s going on, but not the details of who she’s fighting, she offers a more interesting and proactive perspective than Shirou did the first time around.

So far, so good. I was wondering whether I had lost interest in the franchise, but this looks fun enough to be worth watching.

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


Mysterious Joker (Kaitou Joker) might be at least partially to blame for my sleepiness. It’s a kids’ show about a quirky Gentleman Thief… and if you’re wondering what’s the difference with Magic Kaitou, it’s the targeted age group : this show aims much lower. All the characters are highly annoying and SHOUTING all the time, the jokes fall flat, and I literally couldn’t follow the plot because I was falling asleep every couple of minutes. Something about the protagonist recruiting a “ninja” fanboy kid ? I don’t care at all, and it really doesn’t help that another show with similar themes which is superior in every way is airing concurrently. Pass.

Also falling flat : The Circumstances in My Home’s Bathtub (Orenchi no Furo Jijo). Now, this type of series of shorts based on 4-panel gag manga often have the problem of only delivering the same joke over and over, never really amounting to anything. Here, the issue is that I can’t even see the joke. Dude brings a merman to his bathtub by mistake, and that’s pretty much it. They don’t even have much banter. I just don’t get it.

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


Sometimes I’m baffled by weird gimmicky series of shorts. Such as Hi☆sCoool! SeHa Girls, where anthropomorphic personalizations of Sega’s consoles enter a bizarre dedicated school ; it’s mostly an excuse to string along “nostalgic” allusions that most often fly completely other my head (as I was more of a Nintendo fan). It’s a better use of full CG animation than we usually get for these, but it’s still a niche gag series where I’m not part of the audience.

Oh, and since I’m pressed for time, I’m going to quickly skip over Gundam Build Fighters TRY : long story short, it’s very promising, doesn’t require any knowledge of the first season thanks to a time jump and a different cast (although Mr Ral still makes a cameo), and I’m pleased to see it has the girl as a true fighter and the leader of the team.

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


No full review for Ronja the the Robber’s Daughter, as as I fell asleep watching the first episode and don’t care to give it another try. This Ghibli adaptation of a Swedish fantasy book is just very, very dull, and the uninspiring full-CG animation doesn’t help. (Those characters emote way too exaggeratedly for my tastes.) Don’t care, won’t watch any more.

Bonjour Sweet Love Pâtisserie has a completely different problem : it’s a generic shoujo “male harem” romance show that barely gets to breathe in the 5 minutes or so of screentime per week it gets. As a result, all the characters are walking clichés, and the “glamourous baking academy” setup feels completely artificial. Not really worth your time, this one.

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

A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd (Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai)

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a dating sim visual novel (which spawned a small franchise with five different manga adaptations, some light novels, and now this).


Kakei, our male lead, has the power of being super-boring. And, as an aside, to have random prescient flashes, but mostly being really, really boring. He’s got this monotone narration that would put anyone to sleep. He’s the only regular member of the library club, which means his main hobby is reading books alone.

Takamine, his mandatory lecherous best friend. And only friend, by the look of it. Since Kakei is inexplicably a chick magnet (thanks to genre conventions), he tags along and goes for the leftovers.

Shirasaki is a shy big-busted girl that Kakei saves from a traffic accident… and of course he ends up with his hand grabbing her chest. She spends half the episode chasing him… to thank him. And she wants him for her “make life fun” project. She doesn’t have anything but the name, but please help her ? At least until Golden Week ?

Sakuraba is one of the many irrate people who hunt Kakei down after pictures of the incident get passed around. But since she’s a pretty girl, she gets to mellow quickly and join the cast as the token tsundere.

Mochizuki, the Student Council President, cuts in to mention that she already has views on Kakei… er, strictly as a potential Student Council member, of course. Yeah, right.

As for the Shepherd, it’s a mysterious person sending emails with either some gossip (such as the aforementioned pictures), or cryptic garbage. A scene at the end implies they may actually be a group, with eyes on headhunting Kakei as their next leader.

Production Values

Decent enough for this kind of thing. The direction tries livening up the proceedings, but it can’t overcome the boringness of it all.

Overall Impression


You may have inferred I found this a bit boring. The protagonist has no charisma whatsoever, the plot is sluggish, the hijinks beyond stale, and the Shepherd thing feels bizarrely underused despite being the one point that makes the show somewhat distinctive. Also, I’m a bit nonplussed by the setting. (50,000 students in the academy ? 650 per class ?)

My interest in this is close to nil.

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

Le Fruit de Grisaia (Grisaia no Kajitsu)

(12ish episodes ?)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a generic dating sim visual novel… OR IS IT ?


Kazami isn’t exactly your generic dating sim protagonist. An orphan in unspecified circumstances, he’s in the employ of some secret governmental agency, in what looks very much like hitman-style jobs. He’s asked to be able to live a “normal school life” in his downtime, so his bosses send him to this elite academy… with only five other students.

Much of the humour comes from his deadpan bafflement at this bunch of girls acting out the classic dating sim archetypes :
– Sachi, the doormat who’s been tricked into wearing a maid uniform ;
– Makina, the foreign-looking kid ;
– Michiru, the tsundere who struggles under his heavy trolling ;
– Amane, who has no qualms about him walking in on her as she’s half-naked (hey, that’s his room !), and is vying to become a big-sister figure ;
– and Yumiko, the aloof girl that will totally cut you if you get too close.

Frankly, it’s a bit embarrassing how they try to act so stereotypically, and he’s not above making a bit of fun out of them (especially Michiru). But this is a thoroughly weird setup, and his paranoid constant vigilance looks more and more appropriate as time goes by.

Like, how exactly did Amane enter his room ? Did she pick the lock ? Why are several of them mumbling about having identifying him ? Are those bombs Sachi is making in her room ? And in that light, Yumiko’s “I will cut you” antics take a more sinister look…

Is it still paranoia if they’re really out to get you ?

Production Values

For some reason, the whole thing is shot in a widescreen aspect ratio. Well, whatever. Anyway, this seems to be drowning in budget, as the camera keeps moving around in fancy ways to stray from the cliché visual novel shot (you know the one), although it still shows up a lot anyway. (Amusingly, the girls often act out cliché “quirks” as though the camera was stuck to Kazami’s viewpoint.) There’s quite some scenery porn, too.

And, well, the camera also finds a way to show off repeatedly the panties of each and every girl, because dating sim adaptation. And there’s Amane’s half-naked scene, of course. (Ah, convenient bulbs of light…)

Overall Impression

Usually, it’s a bad sign for a harem romance show if I find every possible option creepy and/or unlikeable. This show achieves the remarkable feat of turning that around and morphing into a thriller where the protagonist will need to fight for his dear life. It helps that Kazami (the always impeccable Takahiro Sakurai) does have charisma and a personality, which is more than 95% of dating sim protagonist. We do root for him, despite his being a paranoid jerk with much blood on his hand.

I have to admit I was fooled : this really looked like a generic dating sim adaptationwith crappy cliché girls who can barely read their script. I was entertaining the thought that the whole thing was a prank on him, but as a joke, not as the actual premise. Have a cookie, show, you were clever enough to get my attention.

Don’t waste it, though ; you’re still on a thin line for those gratuitous panty shots. So get to the point and don’t try to have your cake too much while eating it.

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

À la Recherche du Futur Perdu (Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete)

(12ish episodes ?)

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a dating sim visual novel.


Sou, our dense and clueless male lead. He seems to be only interested in astronomy, to the intense frustration of the girls clustering around him. I’m with them, so much (deliberate ?) inattention to his surroundings is quite annoying.

Kaori, his longtime childhood friend. Why she’s leaving in the same house is left completely unexplained at this point. Anyway, she’s effectively been friendzoned, and she responds in pure tsundere fashion, alternating between pouty passive-aggressiveness and hopeful wishful-thinking.

Airi, the president of the astronomy club, also has a thing for Sou, and does have better chemistry with him to the point that Kaori feels threatened… But Airi is intent on playing matchmaker so that she can move on. Also, she’s not entirely defined by her relationship with him ; her main thing is to play “mediator” between any troublemakers at school by beating the crap out of them. (For some reason, the Student Council even encourage her.)

Nagisa, the senior in the club, has the uncanny ability to show up out of nowhere (“I was here from the start”), which has obviously helped us gather blackmail material on just about everyone. Which helps a lot to smooth things over after Airi’s bursts of violence.

Kenny, the foreign exchange student who seems to have no real purpose in the story beyond being weird and randomly funny. Maybe he’s a figleaf so that the Astronomy Club isn’t just Sou’s harem ?

Now, things get weird towards the end, as Kaori finally finds the nerve to confess to Sou, only to be hit by a truck. No, seriously. Except everything’s back to normal in the next scene, as we seem to have slided back in time slightly… and then a naked girl shows up in the next room over from the Astronomy Club’s. The heck ?

Production Values

Perfectly decent. I could do without Airi flashing her panties whenever she kicks people, but it’s a blip in an otherwise fairly tame series.

Overall Impression

Well, that was weird. This looked like an utterly forgettable and generic romance series until the episode’s bizarre conclusion. That definitely got my attention. It does help that it wasn’t actually bad until then ; the characters had some likeability and were better written than average for this type of thing.

On the other hand, I’m wary of the gratuitous Proust reference in the title, which feels more than a bit pretentious. (Especially as the subtitle is complete gibberish.) Can the series really follow up on such a start without messing the landing up ? That remains to be seen.

Still, it bought itself a second episode, which is more than I thought going in. Don’t waste it.

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

Kamigami no Asobi: Ludere deorum

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

An adaptation of a female-targeted visual novel, with a male harem to romance. You know the drill.

The hook here is that, aside from the player-insert protagonist, they’re all gods.


Yui, the stand-in for the audience. She’s from a shrine family, and good at fencing ; she stumbles on the plot while investigating the storeroom in the back, and touching the shiny glowing sword. She’s immediately transported to a parallel world.

Zeus is the one who organized all of this. He’s picked up a few gods from each of the struggling old pantheons, and Yui’s going to teach them about humanity. Why her ? Well, she found the sword. Let’s be honest, Zeus is a complete dick here.

So cue many prettyboy gods. Clueless Baldr and devious Loki. Angsty loner Hades and obviously-main-guy Appolon. And others. They all become a bit same-y after a while.

Production Values

Quite nice ; the flowery backgrounds as each god gets introduced might be a bit overkill, but they’re a staple of the genre, and I do get the impression we’re reaching self-parody.

The ED sequence dispels any doubts about this being anything else than an excuse to display juicy manflesh.

Overall Impression

This first episode is quite alright : it’s decently paced, it’s got a sense of humour about itself, and Yui has more of a clue and a backbone than average for her archetype.

But I have no confidence that this isn’t going to quickly devolve into standard harem hijinks, and I’m not the target audience anyway. I’ll pass.

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

White Album 2

What’s it about ?

Adaptation of a dating sim, because there must be at least one each season.

Don’t let the title fool you : this is a free-standing series, nearly completely unrelated to the 2009 White Album anime or the game it spawned from (aside from a few token elements making it clear they’re set in the same universe).


Kitahara, our high-school protagonist. Last remaining member of the Light Music Club, after the diva vocalist quit in a huff and the other members just stopped coming. Being the backup guitarist, he was content with just practicing separate from everyone else, but he’s ready to call it a day. While he does have a bit more personality than his ilk, that’s mostly because he’s a sanctimonous git. His “friends” keep him around because he does help around and gets stuff done, but I don’t get the impression anyone’s really close to him.

Ogiso has been the winner of the School Idol Contest for the last two years, but frankly she never wanted to participate, and this time around she finally finds the nerve to tell the SIC Committee about it. Having no clue how to deal with her (losing her would put a crimp on the Contest’s appeal), they call on Kitahara, who’s not even a member anymore this year, but has enough presence that you can understand why she mistakes him for the Committee Chairman. Anyway, to everyone’s consternation, he lets her go.

Our third main character is the mysterious piano player who’s playing together with Kitahara despite being in the next room. It’s perfectly obvious to the viewer that she’s the dark-haired girl who’s always sleeping in his class, but he doesn’t know that. Anyway, one day someone on the roof joins in, singing the song they’re playing… and of course it’s Ogiso.

There’d be a lot more suspense about where this is going if the first episode didn’t open with a flash-forward showing the three of them performing at the School Fair (with dark-hair playing the bass, for some reason), and having an awkward love triangle.

Production Values

Well, they’re certainly not trying to disguise this story’s origins, what with the numerous shots in classic VN perspective. Perfectly alright, though, and it does have some decent music. No OP/ED sequences at all.

Overall Impression

This certainly won’t rock your world. Everything about it is generic and instantly forgettable. It’s mildly pleasant to watch, but that’s it.

I’m not sure I’ll bother with another episode.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2013 – Page 7.