2017
07.16

Battle Girl High School: Battle Girl Project

The next generation of Wake Up Girls, where they bring up the Srebrenica Massacre instead of 9/11.

The next generation of Wake Up Girls, where they bring up the Srebrenica Massacre instead of 9/11.

BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!

…Pfft, okay. What’s the real name of this show?

Wait, this show is seriously called “Battle Girl High School: Battle Girl Project”?

…BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Okay, so, BGHS:BSP is exactly what you think it is. It’s an anime about a bunch of girls who fight battles in futuristic armor against some alien threat while also going to a high school where they learn how to fight battles. It’s painfully dull and I found myself resisting the urge to open up another tab and just scroll through Tumblr on multiple occasions. No, scratch that. I gave into that urge about halfway through the first episode because everything was such a slog. One big problem is that the first episode quickly introduces us to about twenty girls and makes it impossible to learn anything about a single one of them outside an archetype such as “gamer” girl or “slightly cuter than the other girls” girl. Another is that the episode doesn’t give us anything to latch onto and care about as an audience. Oh, the girls are fighting worse than they usually do? But they still beat the threat in a curbstomp battle, so why should we care? Oh, these two girls are going to get their respective clubs shut down by the school? Wait, nevermind, a friend is going to pull some strings for them. Oh, the episode ends on the shock reveal of another battle girl? I certainly can’t recall the names of any of the girls as it is, so why are you giving me another one?

“Battle Girl High School: Battle Girl Project” is nothing but a commercial for a smartphone game. It’s not a good show. It’s not even bad in a humourous way. It’s a lame show that’s exactly what it says on the tin. Most of you have probably been ignoring this show or weren’t aware of its existence. You may continue doing that. Those that are contemplating watching it right now? Do what you like, but trust me when I say your time is better spent elsewhere. – RacattackForce

In Another World With My Smartphone

There is no way out of here. It will be dark soon.

There is no way out of here. It will be dark soon.

As you can surmise from the obscenely long (but not as long as that forgettable WorldEnd garbage from last season) title, this is based off a light novel. A light novel where a dorky NEET dies in a freak accident and then gets reincarnated in a fantasy land where a bunch of women immediately fall for him and RPG cliché parody hijinx ensue. In other words….. its Konosuba….again.

What’s worse…its the BAD version of Konosuba…

.

..

HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE??? KONOSUBA WAS ALREADY THE BAD VERSION OF KONOSUBA!!! WHAT DOES THAT MAKE THE GOOD VERSION?!? TANYA THE EVIL??? PLEASE DON’T SAY YES. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD…

(ahem)

Well anyway, normal guy gets sent to magic land with one request, to be able to use his phone despite having no coverage whatsoever (surprisingly despite being in the title, that fact barely comes up in the plot at all). He quickly shacks up with a pair of Rem/Ram clones and goes into freelance monster hunting because isn’t that what you’re supposed to do RPG-pastiche lands like this. Infodumps and moe follow punctuated by absolutely awful eyecatch-esque transition cards. Splendid.

There is nothing worth watching here and I say that as somebody who tried to watch Konosuba past the first episode and crawled into a fetal position as a result. Its like somebody read Konosuba, said “Hey you know what this needs to be more like? Sword Art Online!”, and this was the result. Take out the blatant sexism and cringecom and replace it with a bland overpowered protagonist and a bland overpowered battle harem (as opposed to the underpowered, mentally challenged harem of that other show). And just for zest give main dude Kirito’s coat but flip the colors because we don’t want to give it away ahahahahahahaha…Yeah no. – Lord Dalek

Koi to Uso

But they're like an open book.

But they’re like an open book.

What if, to fight declining birth rates, the Japanese government assigned everyone a marriage partner as soon as they turn sixteen by way of genetic matching? And what if two teenagers who are in love with each other find themselves matched with other people? Well, you’ll get an interesting wrapper for your love triangle story.

I’m a bit weird when it comes to romance works in that I have yet to nail down what elements I’m fine with been added on top of the story. It’s the reason why while everyone else was heaping praise upon “Your Name” last year, I was sitting there wondering why the hell they added time travel to body swap romance story. I’m not sure how I feel about the inciting incident for story being the result of government mandated marriage (something which actually leaves a lot of plot issues up in the air all on its own). But that might actually be secondary to the fact that this first episode didn’t do much for me in wanting to see Nejima and Takasaki become a couple. I’m not saying that they don’t have chemistry, but I am saying that the show’s introductory episode failed to let us know enough about these two for me to actively root for their attempt to get past some asinine babymaking system. They may look cute together, but they developed crushes on each other because Nejima gave our main heroine half an eraser several years back. I need a bit more than that before you can tell me that these two are meant to be.

But at the same time, I can’t be too hasty here. Romance stories are slow burns by their very nature of needing such relationships to develop over the course of weeks and months within the narrative. If you rush it, then it doesn’t feel as real as it should be. And so I hesitate on passing substantial judgement on “Love and Lies” right now. Especially since, despite what I’ve said about not feeling invested, I don’t think the show has a bad start. Just an average one that is a bit hampered by a silly premise. Maybe things pick up in the second episode? Maybe not. All I know is that the government marriage thing just sounds like eugenics. I mean, the show itself even says that part of the goal is to increase overall IQ. That should probably be acknowledged by someone in the show, just saying. – RacattackForce

Made in Abyss

Rude.

Rude.

One of the things that I pay close attention to when reading, watching or playing fantasy or science-fiction works is how they go about explaining the nature of their world within the first five minutes, and how well they accomplish such a task. After all, these are genres that not only have the task of establishing the tone of the piece and introducing us to the current situation, but also relaying what makes this world so different from ours. It’s a huge task that can be easy to screw up, resulting in our audience losing interest. Too much explaining and you’ll find your reader/viewer/player bored out of their minds. Too little, and they’re confused. Finding out how much you need to immediately make clear, and the proper method to give this information, is a difficult tightrope act. And considering how “Made in Abyss” was the only show this season whose description piqued my interest, I’m happy that it manages to pull it off.

“Made in Abyss” takes place in an alternate world where exists an island in the South Sea that hosts a kilometer-wide pit that goes only-God-knows how deep into the Earth. The characters reside in a town on the edge of this hole known as the Abyss, with the sides of said pit being host to a beautiful forest world that’s full of ancient treasure to discover and monsters to encounter as you go deeper down. It’s an enticing call to adventure that’s tinged by the fact that this is also a world where stringing up naked children at the top of a building for disobedience and forcing the more rowdy ones to live in actual torture chambers. In this way, the world of “Made in Abyss” is at once alluring yet fills you with a sense of apprehension, immediately priming the viewer to expect the narrative to become darker and more serious as things progress. It is a welcome warning that is communicated well and makes me curious as to what exactly will be happening as we uncover the mystery of what this hole in the ground is, where Regu the robot boy came from, and just what happened to Riko’s mother.

The skill with which the tone of the series is established extends to other aspects of the universe as well. Terminology is dropped with just the right context such that the audience can understand what the characters are talking about. Characters are introduced to the audience in a natural, low-key way, either through simple conversation or short actions that perfectly communicate who these people are and the history they have with each other. Any questions raised as you watch the program are either answered in short measure or are mysteries that the characters themselves are searching for the answers to. Oh, and this isn’t a narrative thing, but this is almost worth watching just for the visual design alone, with background and character designs that wouldn’t look out of place in a book of fairy tales. Watching the first episode of “Made in Abyss” was an incredibly pleasant experience, especially in comparison to some of the show this anime season, and I happily recommend you check it out. – RacattackForce

Mahoujin Guru Guru

3rd Gig still never happening. ;-;

3rd Gig still never happening. ;-;

(my apologies to Italian weeaboos who grew up with this show)

No, seriously. Someone stop with these time slips. I already had to deal with early 2000s softcore yaoi, now I have to go through pre-Pokemon 90s children’s anime that spoofs Super Famicom JRPGs? I can’t wait for what next season of anime unfolds. Maybe a mecha show that hearkens back to the Voltes V and Daimos, or a Rose of Versailles pastiche, or perhaps that Gridman show can come out early? Just something else that captures that memory of going to a Chinese supermarket and finding VCDs of anime I had never heard of, alongside those used copies of Dragonball GT where Baby Vegeta looks off model on the cover, and the Mandarin subtitles are burned in.

Anyway, about this show? They keep saying “yuusha” over and over again, almost as if it was a verbal tic, or they were begging for that Maoyu Mao Yuusha show to come back. They say it in almost every sentence, and I almost wanted to mute the audio so I didn’t have to hear them say it again. Maybe it’s meant for the kid audience who won’t get what this show’s about unless you repeat it a hundred times. Or some in-joke to some early internet meme I was never made privy to. But it’s probably the former, since they rush shit so hard in this show. I can’t help but think this was an entire season of that old 90s show adapted into a single episode, because this show needs to sit down for a time out, possibly get some Ritalin or some other bootleg medication to that effect. It’s annoying, candy-colored, loud, and makes me want to hide in a corner until some brave dubbing company gives it a gag dub like that Shin-chan thing from a decade ago. Because this is giving me back a couple childhood memories I didn’t want back. Now please go away. – BloodyMarquis

My First Girlfriend is a Gal

Now its dark.

Now its dark.

When shows are “highly anticipated”, its usually due to a lot pre-existing hype. Either because its an adaptation of a very popular work, its a sequel to something that did rediculously well in its last go around, or it has a bunch of all-star names working on it. In this case, its an apparently very popular manga. I wouldn’t know. I’ve never heard of Hajimete no Gal until it got announced a couple months ago. So I’m out of the loop here and have to go on what I see before me. And what I see…is complete garbage.

I’m going to be perfectly honest here. HnG is the second coming of Eiken. Oh sure its not over the top disgusting as Eiken but its Eiken none the less. Boobs! Pervs! Skanks! Torture! Shame! Indifference! Its like a death march through an endless oppai gauntlet. Only television censorship of the quality seen in another piece ecchi hell I remember from years past called “Imoucho” keeps me from feeling like I’m going to jail for creeper bait.

I have therefore come to the conclusion that this is supposed to be some sort of prequel to Prison School. This is the only way to explain the hellish depravity on display here. I can only take solace in the idea that the male protagonists are going to end up getting whipped to death by women with bigger cup sizes than this horrific lot. Now somebody out there fly to Japan and throw this show into the same furnace that Doraemon ’71 ended up in. It would be a fitting punishment. – Lord Dalek

 

Princess Principal

THE OMELET WAS A LIE.

THE OMELET WAS A LIE.

THE HORROR. THE HORROR.

I knew nothing of what it is was that I had I clicked on. All I had was a title: “Princess Principal”, clearly an adaptation of some dating sim. I bet they were all the player character’s sister or something. But then a single name came on the screen and my face became pale and numb. I could not feel a single bone in my body for the amount of terror had canceled out every nerve and every neuron in my body. It was a name I had seen many years before. The first time was on a show where a very thin man did some sort of hand trick and made his eye glow, it had been very popular but its fans contracted conjunctivitis some time later and all died. Then there was a show about a guy named Shoe who’s pop idol girlfriend was actually his sister leading to Oedipus complex or something. And then there was this show about giant robot vampires who had to rape each other to survive because amnesia or something. This last show was the one. The one that made me want to die most of all. And he wrote it. This man…this “Ichirou Ohkuchi” was one of the banes of my existance. Only Reki Kawahara and Nisio Isin had caused more emotional distress and feelings of guilt and self-loathing. Knowing this I wanted to turn away, but I had to press on and for my sins I did.

The show was set in a steampunk world not too disimilar from that of the author’s earlier work involving codes and gasses. Little girls from a Black Lizard Planet (a scary sounding place as any) were trying to escort a man in a bowler hat out of the country. Actually they were all just spies, exactly for whom I did not know. It was ultimately just a harem show with thick bodices and goth lolitas. People talked and talked but nothing made sense. Nevertheless there was an eye condition causing mental instability so it clearly fit in with the writer’s previous works. The outcome too was predetermined, the little girls killed everyone and I felt nothing. I am no fan of loli assassins, and this example was one of the more…how would you say… “half-assed”.

Princess Principal was bland, drab, and soulless. It was nothing more than a stream of half-baked cliches I had seen in other works. I found myself unable to write much on it so the only way was to do some sort of Conrad/Lovecraftian pastiche on the matter. I had reached that level of uncreativity that the show itself was already existing on. It was only a matter of time that I would want to watch something like Unbreakable Machine-Doll again. And that thought was the one that made me wretch.

THE HORROR. THE HORROR. – Lord Dalek

2017
07.09

18if

18if.png

18if.png

This is perhaps the single most bizarre show I have yet done in the five years since I’ve started writing articles for the seasonal clusterfuck. Watching I had absolutely no idea what was going on, who any of the characters were, or where the hell it was supposed to be going And yet… I simply couldn’t take my eyes off of it. That is how utterly absurd 18if really is. It simply dares you to look away and not in the car accident in progress style of Hand Shakers or something of that ilk. No this is just…what?

Sooo this is about an asshole who gets stuck in a dream world dominated by witches who come out of his cellphone. Said witches are really just tsunderes who wish to punish him for his lack of sincerity. Killing the witch kicks them out of the dream world and our jerkface keeps repeating the process until…I don’t know…SOMETHING! Also there’s a talking cat played by Koyasu that the Tsundere Witch of the Week ™ turns into a cake and eats.

If I were to be offered a guess, I would think this was Gonzo’s attempt at a Modoka/Date-A-Live hybrid with a little Persona thrown in for zest. That makes it far from the most original show around and yet it kinda feels a bit refreshing. It seems to me that this is largely due to the OTT presentation and not its rather limpid production values (of course it looks like crap, its Gonzo!) I cannot say for the life of me if this was a good show (leaning towards “It was ok”) but I am vaguely intrigued enough to come back.

Also Theron hates it. It must be good! – Lord Dalek

Akumajou Dorakyura

1387574288552

Wow this is the moe hit of the season! A gender flipped tsundere named Vorado Tepeshu isn’t too happy when his wife gets burned at the stake! A bara named Rarufu Shi-Berumondo is hired to make friends with him because Vorado’s temper tantrums are turning the sky red! However a yandere named Cipher Farnandez wants to date Rarufu too! And what’s this? Vorardo has a hot son?!? OOOOOH LOVE TRIANGLE!!!

This is apparently an adaption of an old Family Computer vidcon from the 1940s or something. I’ve never heard of it! And who the heck is Ko-nami? I though they only made pachinko! Why can’t they make an animu of my favorite pachinko game Metaru Geah? Everybody knows that game didn’t get good until they added ZOOOMMMBIES! Hur hur hur!

I don’t know why its in English though. Who are those people?!? Why is that guy played by a dwarf? Definitely 10/10 show will watch again! Now why do none of the buttons on my tv work?!? DO YOU HAVE TO EXPLOIT A FLAW IN THE SYSTEM!?!? — DarkSydePhivator

But seriously folks…

Castlevania is FUCKING AWESOME. Its written by Warren Ellis and stars Richard Armitage as the coolest Tevor Belmont ever. In fact the whole cast is awesome. Kinda makes me sad this is just animated as it would be the best video game movie of all time. Only drawback is that its only four episodes long and doesn’t even get very far into the plot of Castlevania III which this is an adaption of. But hey! Netflix liked what they saw and have already greenlit a second season. Best anime of the season and I don’t care if it was actually made in Texas. — Lord Dalek

Convenience Store Boyfriends

Episode didn't load. So fuck you, here's a poem.

Episode didn’t load. So fuck you, here’s a poem.

Pry open the doors, and I enter my
Oral Sanctuary.
O, Convenience Store.
Full of chips, drinks, and wings.
Lukewarm pizza, stale nachos.
Makes my arteries sing.
And my blood into gazpacho.
Cashier looks at me like a dog looks at its master.
I wish to pet him, but my hands are only for buffalo, not for dogs.
I demand this wage slave give me wings.
Wings by the dozen. Wings by the barrel.
I am beyond a mortal man. I am a god of wings.
I stare as he places each wing into a box.
Each treasure into a chest.
But then he gives me one extra wing.
One extra wing.
One extra wing.
Insert verse that vaguely involves politics.
One extra wing.
My feelings change. He is no longer a dog.
He is now my lust.
I move to give him a kiss.
But his soft lips reply to me,
“What the fuck are you doing, you freak?”
He smacks me, pushes security alarm on the back.
My hands grab the box. My mind steals the wings.
But he has stolen my heart.
His anger. Only a delay in my path. Only a delay.
Soon, cashier will be as easy to chew as a wing.
When I have him as my wing,
I can finally fly
Flexing my wings, buff and low.
– Nozomi

Fate/Apocrypha

Twin Peaks: "The Return Part 8" Director: David Lynch, 2017

Twin Peaks — “The Return: Part VIII” Dir.: David Lynch, 2017

As I write this I’m already hard at work on another one of my semi-monthly editorials about what grinds my gears about the anime biz at home and abroad for Geek Soul Brother. This month’s subject is about what I perceive to be how various streaming companies are, in their effort to clamp down on various fansub groups and 5th market streaming sites, basically shooting themselves in the foot through egomania and baffling decisions as to when and where you’ll be able to watch shows legally. Case in point: Fate/Apocrypha, the latest installment in Kinoko Nasu’s ever popular waifu-bait franchise which will be hitting our shores… IN NOVEMBER from Netflix. And what has this managed to accomplish? Why dragging an officially dead subgroup out of the crypt in the shape of UTW of course! Great job Netflix, you’ve brought us back to the good ol days of 2004. No wonder Saiyuki got a new season!

Well might as well get it out of the way I guess. In an alternate universe where Indiana Jones is apparently canon, the Holy Grail War ended when the Nazis stole the bloody thing in the Third War back in the 40s. That hasn’t stopped various factions to stage their own sad pathetic knockoff Grail Wars for…honestly I’m not sure. However, a nefarious organization called Yggdillennia led by the now-immortal nazi responsible for the Grail’s initial disappearance has arisen and challenged the forces of good to a seven on seven Grail War for control of the genuine article. To make matters worse, said Nazi has surrounded himself with an army of off-brand Trade Federation battle droids and poor schlubs stuck in bacta tubes for easy mana. Ultimately though its just an excuse to introduce our new Saber, now commanded by some burly dude who seems to have had a run in with Wolverine or something. Hint hint, she kinda killed her mom.

If that description seems sketchy at best its because literally nothing happened in this episode. And by that, I mean nothing but infodumps. We’re introduced to several characters we know next to nothing about except for one dude who I think is Waver and a priest who bares a very strong resemblance to Shirou Emiya…albeit with Kotomine’s hair cut. Hmmmm. Otherwise its basically the first episode of Fate/Zero again albeit with one major drawback…its half as long. While Zero had a whole hour to develop the various factions descending on Fuyuki City, this show throws us in head first requiring either a viewing of any of the previous tv series (well except Prisma Ilya) or suffering through the actual game. Its disorienting to say the least.

Production wise, Apocrypha is a big, and I mean BIG, drop from Unlimited Blade Works. With Ufotable still making their Heaven’s Feel movies, Type-Moon had to farm this one off to A-1 and the results are not pretty. Remember that dynamic feature film quality animation? Well its gone now. In its place is the usual stiff low frame rate crap we’ve come to expect from the perpetually overrated A-1. And while never quite reaching the abyss that was Deen’s work on the franchise you’d be compelled not to think this wasn’t some cheap Hong Kong knockoff of Fate, maybe made by Tencent.

When it comes down to it though, the main problem with Fate/Apocrypha is right there in its title. Its simply aprocryphal. In no way are you getting a decent Fate experience out of this episode. Maybe that’s why it won’t be available legally until November. Aniplex didn’t want you to complain about having to wait 7 days for another half hour of nothing. Sounds like a plan. – Lord Dalek

Dive!!

Don't get your hopes up.

Don’t get your hopes up.

Dive!! is this season’s noitaminA show. Remember noitaminA? That awful fake-artsy josei block that we all kinda forgot about after Ranpo Kitan? Well now they’ve dumped the fake-artsy part and gone full on fujoshit. And what better way to do it than ripping off the most popular piece of fujoshit around, Free! I mean its so timely, everybody loves Fre-

…I’m sorry, I’ve just been informed Free! hasn’t been popular in over five years and we’ve all moved on from gay swimmers to gay figure skaters. Smooth Fuji TV, real smooth.

Well anyway… here’s a show about gay platform divers! Local Shota Tomoki wants to get it on with his sempai Youichi but he’s got a problem. The diving club both are members of has hit rock bottom in both finance and morale. But Tomoki’s too busy moping over his memories of when Youichi’s pecks gave him the courage to jump into their amazingly badly done CGI pool. There’s also some girl who’s trying to cock block that yaoi but like any of that matters.

This show is bad. Very, very bad. The animation (by Zero-G, whoever the hell they are) is stiff and lifeless, proving KyoAni really are the masters of hot pecks hitting cool water in anime. But then again KyoAni actually animated their water. The entire platform is CGI and terrible CGI at that. It reminded me of that Alice & Zouroku show from last year and you all remember how greeaaaaaaaat the CGI was in that show. But the main problem with this episode is its pretty painfully dull. Nothing really happens until the last 30 seconds and by then I have completely checked out from Tomoki staring at Youichi with his drippy blue eyes. And that reminds me of another major problem with this show, the character designs. They’re butt ugly! There hasn’t been a cast of disfigured creeps this bad since Ping Pong I swear.

Come back Pimp-Kun, all is forgiven! – Lord Dalek

SAIYUKI RELOAD BLAST

YOUR CHILDHOOD SUCKED.

Saiyuki enters the Post Attack on Titan-era

Well well well, look who came crawling back. You know honestly, I cannot believe I’m actually writing up a season of fucking Saiyuki. You know how long ago the last one was? 2003! I WAS A FRESHMAN IN COLLEGE! Marquis was probably learning arithmetic! Lum was probably still sucking off his mother’s tit! FIFTEEN FUCKING YEARS! Hell both companies that released this shit went out of business and one of them almost killed the industry altogether! That’s how far apart we are from the awful anime of that era. Therefore the only way to crown this awful era is to make brand spankin new Saiyuki Reload!

So in case you’ve banished this chapter of your Anime Club life to the back of your memory, a brief refresher. Gensoumaden Saiyuki is a very loose retelling of Journey to the West set in a vaguely modern day world and replacing the three anthropomorphic animals with pretty boys, and the pretty boy priest with a not-so pretty boy who smokes too much. Also they now drive a hummer instead of riding horses because horses are shit now. To be fair the show recaps all of that because again ITS BEEN FIFTEEN FUCKING YEARS, but as there’s hardly anything else to talk about I needed the filler.

So Priest Sanzo, Son Goku (yes THAT Son Goku), Hakkai, and Gojyo are still hunting demons, unable to go back to Shang-ri-la until they’re all dead. This clearly hasn’t been working out for them though as they’re currently starving to death and forced to depend on the “hospitality” of yet another dumpy village with a deep dark secret(tm)…which really doesn’t matter because they quickly split after killing some demons. Shaky cam! Grainy effects! Blood splatters! Butt rock! Its like the Bush years never ended!!!

If I can say anything at all about this show, its that its a pretty textbook reintroduction episode. No plot, basic characterization, enough to give you a basic taste of a standard Saiyuki episode without dumping the baggage of Saiyuki’s ongoing storyline on top of you. In that regard its a roaring success with one small problem…this is Saiyuki and Saiyuki was NEVER GOOD. The Sanzo party is a bunch of unlikable ciphers who either crack crappy jokes or argue insistently with each other. The village is just as forgettable, a mere pit stop that the gang has to visit in order to wash up for their new tv contract. No better is this illustrated than in the reaction of one of the town elders going “WTF was that about” as they drive off into the sunset. I feel his pain. I really do. – Lord Dalek

Vatican Kiseki Chousakan

CORRECTION: You can show that in a Christian manga!

CORRECTION: You can show that in a Christian manga!

Did I wander into a time portal again? Because this feels so early 2000s, I felt as if I was watching this on the AZN Network. Flashy art. Obsessive subtitle naming of every character (except some of the women). Unsubtle yaoi subtext. Christianity allusions that are well researched but still feel off somehow. Angsty shower scenes where somebody flashes back to their ailing little brother. I know some of those tropes aren’t confined to that specific time period, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen them all at once like this. Maybe it’s meant to be a throwback, to appeal to older disillusioned anime fans. But they couldn’t think of anything actually interesting, so they just made what was popular back over a decade ago and expected people to latch on purely through indirect nostalgia. To the kind of people who made Trinity Blood AMVs with whatever Evanescence song they had in their folder.

Just like that Altair show airing on the same day. Even though they look completely different, they blur together for me. Mostly because nothing really stands out in either of these shows, besides the occasional fanservice, phallic imagery, or odd animation. They’re the hot pockets of pretty boy anime, not even actual hot pockets, but the knockoff hot pockets you buy at a 7/11 because you want to pretend that you’re living dangerously when in fact you’re giving yourself stomach pain for no good reason. Ironically fitting that a Christian anime is as boring as actually going to church. You’d probably find more amusement from those cartoons Christians make that rerun alongside Bibleman and Gina D’s Kids Club.

I guess give it a watch if you want something that makes Catholicism less interesting than an episode of Mother Angelica. Or if you’re really horny but also patient horny so you can wait 12 weeks for potential gayness, then be disappointed that it’s just implied instead of outright there so you feel like you wasted your life on an anime about gay priests. – BloodyMarquis

2017
07.05

Sup, NEETs? We're back for more.

Sup, NEETs? We’re back for more.

Aho-Girl

You can't even get out of bed on your own, you'll forgive us for being skeptical that you can wipe yourself.

You can’t even get out of bed on your own, you’ll forgive us for being skeptical that you can wipe yourself.

Aho-Girl succeeds where Aoyama-kun fails. It takes a character defined by their exaggerated quirk and pushes the limits of what you can do with them in creative and unpredictable ways. Maybe it’s helped by its 11-minute runtime, but I didn’t tire of the comedy even though there’s a clear formula: Yoshiko does or says something stupid, there’s a banana joke or sexual harassment or both, and then Akkun hits her. It’s a really obvious formulaic structure that they just repeat a few times throughout the episode, but each time they execute it in a way where the repetitiveness doesn’t distract.

Yoshiko is such a larger than life idiot that everything she does defies common sense and your expectations of how dumb she can get. Poorly pasting her face onto pictures of models in a porn mag so Akkun will get aroused? It’s just so dumb, but her honest enthusiasm in everything she says and does, no matter how inane or mean-spirited, somehow makes her more endearing than obnoxious. It helps that she receives regular comeuppance from Akkun’s physical and verbal put-downs. These admittedly tip-toe the line into uncomfortable domestic abuse territory, but here it always feels justified and was hilarious in how over-the-top and dramatic they’d be.

Aho-Girl is the kind of mean-spirited one-joke comedy that you’re either going to find hilarious or horrendous. I like my comedy a little mean and love seeing sociopaths screw around, so I fall on the former side. I got some real great belly laughs out of this episode and love the kind of kooky character Yoshiko is and the great sarcastic sardonic contrast provided by Akkun. It might wear out it’s welcome in a marathon, but a short weekly 11-minute dose of it stands to be a great pick-me up after a grueling Tuesday workday. Aho-Girl is good dumb fun, and while it’s no Konosuba, we can always use one of those kind of shows every season. – LumRanmaYasha

Clean Freak! Aoyama-kun

Aoyama-kun either must have a really dirty ass, or really like it up his.

Aoyama-kun either must have a really dirty ass, or really like it up his.

Aoyama-kun is trying to take a Sakamoto-esque inhumanly “perfect” character and make him the lead of a shonen sports comedy. It’d be interesting if it committed to one direction, because the execution flounders on both fronts. Aoyama-kun’s jokes are predictable and repetitive series of Aoyama obsessively cleaning things, people over-reacting and yelling really loud, and devolving into a super-deformed chibi-style. The latter is usually a pretty good sign that a series’ sense of humor is pretty unoriginal, because it’s banking on the fact that the audience will find chibi sequences inherently cute and humorous simply from the aesthetic. Instead it just feels trite, and the series overuses these moments to the point of formula. Even the episode’s punchline, where it’s revealed that Aoyama only attended the school because their toilets had bidets, is so obvious that it just doesn’t land. The series seems really fond of taking one joke based around a character’s quirk, like Aoyama’s obsession with cleanliness or the rival’s obsession with his pecs, and running that joke into the ground with incessant repetition. Aoyama-kun’s jokes are rarely funny the first time, and far less every time they’re repeated.

It doesn’t work as a compelling sports narrative either. While Aoyama proves he’s dedicated to playing soccer by the episode’s end, most of the runtime is him either being literally untouchably perfect or frustratingly immobile, so he’s not a particularly compelling protagonist. Maybe we’ll learn why he’s even playing soccer when he’s such a germaphobe in the future, for the moment he just doesn’t seem dedicated or motivated enough in a way that a sports series protagonist really needs to be.

Aoyama-kun could’ve worked if it committed to its comedic angle and took Aoyama-kun’s obsession with cleanliness to absurd extremes. But the series breaks its commitment to its premise by the end of the first episode, showing that Aoyama is capable of getting dirty when he needs to. That really removes the only thing providing a sense of stakes to the sports aspect of the series and mitigates the grounding of the comedy. It’s not unwatchable, and you might get something out of it if you really like chibi-style comedy and shirtless dudes. But I was actually in the mood to watch a soccer anime after reading Shudan!, and it wouldn’t have taken much to get me on board for one. If Aoyama-kun couldn’t endear me, it’s unlikely to impress anyone else.

I do like the ED, which plays homage to classic sports anime aesthetic. If the show was centered around that gimmick, then maybe it’d at least have more charm. – LumRanmaYasha

Fate/Apocrypha

Well, be careful what you wish for...

Well, be careful what you wish for…

This sure was the first episode of a Fate show. Lots of exposition, over explaining the grail war, a needless convoluted conflict between multiple factions, all ending with the summoning of the servants with the final shot being, of course, Saber showing up. Except she’s not the same Saber, but her descendant Mordred, who’s apparently more of a tomboyish shonen character I guess. Honestly, whatever. I liked Fate/Zero and all, but everything else related to the Fate franchise hasn’t impressed me, and I find it hard to believe an A-1 pictures adaptation of a light novel spinoff of the series is going to win me over. At least not in the first episode, which again, is literally just the first episode of every Fate show ever. Hopefully future episodes will make me start caring about the characters and what’s at stake, because right now this just feels like a less visually impressive re-tread of the same story again. – LumRanmaYasha

Fox Spirit Matchmaker

BLAH BLAH BLAH JOKE.

BLAH BLAH BLAH JOKE.

BLAH BLAH BLAH TENCENT

BLAH BLAH BLAH MANHUA

BLAH BLAH BLAH FOX DEITIES

BLAH BLAH BLAH ARRANGED MARRIAGES

BLAH BLAH BLAH FORCED COMEDY

BLAH BLAH BLAH ITS JUST SPIRIT PACT

BLAH BLAH BLAH……………………….AGAIN — Bob Loblaw

Kakegurui

Would you fuck me?

Would you fuck me?

Oh shit, a first episode that I liked! I was genuinely not expecting to enjoy this so much. So Kakegurui, or Compulsive Gambling, is a high school show all about the machinations and agonies of gambling huge amounts of money. People who seem sweet at first become utterly demonic when playing cards, sacrificing millions of yen just to have a chance to mentally break their enemy. Nobody’s really your friend. The caste system is in full effect. Money and the ability to own other people is so important that it goes beyond the evils of regular capitalism and right into old school feudalism. Your future and your debt can rely entirely on underestimating a situation. And the only things that can save you are luck and a miraculously good poker face. In other words, a metaphor for regular high school.

I was astounded by how this episode made a game of rock, paper, scissors horrifying. Every move was treated like a nuclear ultimatum. And what’s worse, the characters enjoy it. They make these disgusting faces, and voice actors normally known for cutesy little sister roles are now hamming it up as megalomaniacs. Hearing Saori Hayami go from sweet sounding to crazed when she gushes over how great it is to gamble away fortunes for the mere thrill. Crazed, calculating, but not exactly yandere so you’re not sure where you stand with her. Kudos to the direction. It felt like one of those wrong hentais but with the sex scenes replaced with card games. Honestly makes me wish more anime took some lessons from porn like Euphoria. I’m not even trying to be facetious. A show that can make children’s games resemble sexual assault in tone knows its influences well.

Oh yeah, the opening and ending are great too, along with the soundtrack. The jazzy undertones and Shinbo-ish imagery really strike at you to show what kind of series this is. – Bloody Marquis

Double Tap

Case in point: Kaiji, Akagi, early Yu-Gi-Oh!, Stardust Crusaders episode 35, and now this show.

Case in point: Kaiji, Akagi, early Yu-Gi-Oh!, Stardust Crusaders episode 35, and now this show.

I’m a sucker for crazy girls who make grotesque faces and over-the-top battles of wit and strategy, so Kakegurui perfectly caters to my tastes. Set in a high school where the social hierarchy is centered around gambling, and you become a slave if you lose all your money, you can either win big or lose big. I love how the main character, Jabami, presents herself as this passive-aggressively polite person even when she’s lost millions of yen, gets off on the thrill of the game, and can bluff her way out of a desperate situation in a way that’d make Jotaro Kujo blush. The antagonist Mary is also such a wonderfully disgusting bitch who’s an unabashed cheater and the faces she makes are just as delightfully disgusting as her personality. This show really feels like if you took the D’Arby poker game in JoJo’s, mixed it with the early parts of Yu-Gi-Oh!, and had Chiaki Kon draw all the faces. It’s a great combination of stylish visuals, great voice acting, snazzy music, and a dark atmosphere that makes this show such great trashy fun. The opening directed by Sayo Yamamoto is the perfect encapsulation of it’s sexy, seductive style. Man, why did Netflix have to pick this up? This is the one show this season that perfectly enraptured me in the thrill of it’s game, one that I highly recommend you give a play. – LumRanmaYasha

Katsugeki! Touken Ranbu

Hasn't Flashpoint taught you that it'll just lead to a really shitty story?

Hasn’t Flashpoint taught you that it’ll just lead to a really shitty story?

This is probably going to be one of the go-to action shows of the season. Ufotable delivers on exciting, visceral action choreography. The actual premise of the show doesn’t matter. Basically sword-wielding time-travelers fight against creepy, crappy CGI monsters interfering with the past. One of the leads is an optimistic altruistic shonen hero and the other is a seasoned badass. There’s a conflict between the two leads in the middle of the episode when a fire threatens to incinerate a village whether they should do something to help, and then they do something to help. Again, the plot doesn’t matter as much as the spectacle does, and for what it’s worth this show is some pretty fine action eye-candy. There’s not much of substance, but it’ll definitely satiate any cravings for over-the-top action schlock you’d want to watch this season. And it’s a hella of a lot better than that other Touken Ranbu show from last year too. – LumRanmaYasha

Knight’s & Magic

Don't be easy, or your beau'll be squeezy.

Don’t be easy, or your abuser be squeezy.

A Japanese geek gets killed by a car. Check.
Japanese guy gets reincarnated into a fantasy society. Check.
He grows up into a cute trap. Check.
His society has giant robots that conveniently look like the ones he obsessed over in his past life for some reason. Check.
Because of his skills as a Japanese man, he has a leg up on the competition. Check.
He’s so skilled that he can invent new forms of magic while he’s still a kid. Check.
Best friends are bastard children from a royal bloodline. Check.
The phrase “I have a bad feeling about this.” is uttered. Check.

Why is it called Knight’s & Magic, as if & Magic was something said Knight owned? Like it was a restaurant chain or a hick shop like Sneed’s Feed & Seed? Oh yeah, grammatically incorrect title. Check.

But besides naming the cliches this show produces faster than most A-1 Pictures factories, this show doesn’t leave much of an impression. It feels like we’ve adapted all the good light novels, then all the legendarily bad light novels, and now we’re stuck with the bad but unremarkable books stuck on the bottom shelf and labeled for clearance. The kind you would use as paperweights instead of actual items worth reading. Besides making some mecha toys to sell, why even make this? There’s no conflict whatsoever. The main character’s born in royalty, has trusted friends, is a genius, and his main dream to ride a robot is near his hands by the first episode. What’s the hook? It’s also weird to see him on the cusp of improving society with his Japanese programming skills, like the mighty white savior trope but it’s now a Japanese guy using his superior knowledge to improve a faux-European society. I can’t tell if that’s better or worse. But given how immature the rest of the writing is, maybe I can count on this show to become as woefully bullheaded as GATE. – BloodyMarquis

Restaurant to Another World

Who knew Smaug really loved beef stew? Maybe if Bilbo had brought him a pot he wouldn't have tried to incinerate him.

Who knew Smaug really loved beef stew? Maybe if Bilbo had brought him a pot he wouldn’t have tried to incinerate him.

I can’t say this slice-of-life fantasy cooking show is as fun as its premise suggests. The concept of fantasy world inhabitants visiting a restaurant in the real world whose door mysteriously appears invites boundless opportunities for fun hijinks. We do kinda see that in the opening sequence where a wizard, two muscly dudes, a lion-man, and a lizard guy start arguing over what goes best with rice. But the series is really laid back, so the comedy never elicits big laughs and the cooking/eating scenes don’t salivate as much as they should. There’s a decent thematic center about food bringing people together and the pleasure of sharing a meal in company, but if that’s all there is to the series then I could point to plenty of better fantasy cooking shows that say the same things in more interesting ways.

I do like the heroine, though it’s kinda cheating since a starving outcast is nearly always sympathetic. Her genuine appreciation of the chef’s kindness and his restaurant’s food might add some more flavor and heart to the show. Not to mention that there’s this Smaug-esque dragon lady who considers the restaurant her “treasure” because they make great beef stew, and her overprotectiveness of it might cause some actual conflict to happen later down the line. So there’s potential here, and even though very little happened in this episode, the show’s laid-back atmosphere and charm was the kind of iyashikei I could see myself relaxing to. If you just want a show that you can just sit down and relax while watching, then this show promises to be satisfying enough option. – LumRanmaYasha

Tsurezure Children

Something tells me you won't have to...

Something tells me you won’t have to…

Tsurezure Children is a breath of fresh air as a rom-com. Rather than focus on frustratingly dense people who can never seem to express their true feelings, it presents a series of vignettes about actual couples. This first episode features not just one, but several couples actually getting together, a step that takes most anime an entire series to do. This show promises to actually explore the awkward in’s-and-out’s of dating from several perspectives and multiple couples. These characters’ feelings feel genuine and seem like good matches for one another, making you want to see how their relationships develop. The show is just infectiously adorable, and I’d bet these sweet series of romances will put a smile to even the most aromantic of souls. Without a doubt, this will be the go-to romance anime of the season, and even with its short-form format it might very well have the potential to go down as one of the best overall. – LumRanmaYasha