A new year has arrived and with that the start of the winter season. Also, as is my usual custom, I end up dropping a ton of shows that end up being popular. Prepare to be amazed at my disappointing taste in shows I keep around. There was also a bit of a dead period early in the week where I actually caught up on some of my backlog. This will be a long post indeed.
Currently Airing Top 5
Maoyuu Maou Yuusha
Maoyuu was a title I was somewhat familiar with having read a bunch of the manga. What really works for this series is two things. First, the relationship between Demon King and Hero (all characters in this show have extraordinarily generic names) is very much believable. They are willing to give themselves up for each other in the name of a larger goal and as this episode showed, they really care for each other. Second is the way that the world is filled with ambiguity. All characters have different motivations for acting the way they do. Hero probably had the most simple way of thinking until he was persuaded that ending the war now would be the worst thing for everyone. This isn’t going to be the most action filled series around, but the production values are superior to anything else so far this season. Continuing
Space Brothers returned with an episode that began with the promise of new beginnings, for Mutta as an astronaut, and for the rest of the crew at JAXA to provide logistics and training to the men and women they selected. However, by the end, there was an instance of foreshadowing in talking about the deceased Brian Jay, and Hibito’s and Damian’s near miss on the moon. Unfortunately, distracted driving later on meant this episode concluded with the slow descent into a crater, Thelma & Louise style. I was terribly spoiled about this part of the story when I watched the live-action movie two months ago, so I knew it was coming. Expect lots of focus on the dangers of space ahead in the coming weeks as Hibito’s situation plays out.
Ore no Kanojo to Osananajimi ga Shuraba Sugiru
Oreshura, as this one is shortened to, is very ordinary. There’s no little sister character involved in this, thankfully. However, the story will revolve itself around Masuzu’s growing closer to harem lead Eita, and his childhood friend Chiwa’s need to catch his attention. Early on in this episode, it did at least look like it was trying something different. Main character with a real goal who was above the typical high school experience. However, by the end it sort of turned into a variation of Chu2koi where he was desperately accepting being Masuzu’s fake boyfriend to keep his delusional past hidden. What I did like was the early interaction between Chiwa and Eita, which made it seem as though the 2 of them were pretty much married because they knew each other so well. However, the plot twist takes the show in another direction. Continuing
So Low Budget’s Minami-ke is back for a fourth season. It doesn’t really get going in this first episode until the end. A large amount of time is spent reintroducing characters from the previous season, even if it isn’t as overt as it was for the main trio. Also notable is that there was no Makoto/Mako-chan or Hosaka segments in this episode. I think I’m going to end up continuing to watch. Also, by the end I expect all of the action to be played out by hand puppets filmed using a Super 8 camera. Continuing
The Jun Maeda experience returns with people conveniently forgetting about characters. Where have I seen that before? Anyway, Riki has to deal with Nishizono’s problem of her fading away from people’s memories. She spends the day with him and he tells her about the Little Busters. Only for the other Nishizono, going by Midori, to show up and point out that neither of them have a shadow. Riki wakes up after one of his trademark collapses, then discovers that Midori had taken Mio’s place. And he has to come to grips with his own fading memories of Mio. This is a rather reused plot that has been employed many times in Key anime before. I don’t think it was done any better here, to be honest. I can’t wait until this show becomes absurd.
The Rest of the Week
Boku no Imouto wa Osaka Okan
While this may seem like yet another little sister incest show from the title, it’s actually a really lazy informational show. You know those comedians who have long been mocked for jokes that rely entirely on racial and ethnic stereotypes. This is pretty much as close as that lazy as it can get. It relies entirely on reflecting on how strange people from Osaka are compared to everyone else in normal (read Tokyo) Japan. Dropped
I know this is supposed to be dumb comedy, but I just can’t bring myself to laugh at the jokes. Also, I know that it is supposed to look like it was made cheaply, but I think it comes at the expense of then making me care about what is actually happening. So that bullet bouncing scene in the 2nd episode, I was paying more attention to the fact that Inferno Cop was still staying lit underwater. Then the fact that the bullet killed the transformed baby on the 2nd bounce when it was supposed to be immune. This type of comedy may work among friends, or while drinking heavily, but it doesn’t work for me. Dropped
Yama no Susume
There are a hell of a lot of 3-5 minute short series airing this season. This one is probably the only one I’ve seen so far where the format just doesn’t work. They could do this in 2 full length episodes and have it work. So it’s the story of 2 girls and a promise to climb mountains, only one of them is crippled by heights after an incident when she was younger. It’s not terrible by any sense of the word, but I think the format lends itself to getting stuck in recaps and trying to force story into 1 minute of the episode. Dropped
A group of girls form a new manga magazine, and it’s all going to work out just fine in the end. This is a more traditional use of the short format, trying to cram as many jokes as possible into the time space. Unfortunately, I think it ends up serving as a sad reminder of how terrible the publishing industry can be. Yet, the plot progresses to the point where they have a full slate of artists almost immediately. The recruitment itself should have been a whole episode. Dropped
Ai Mai Mi
Another short series about girls and manga. This series decided to completely chuck out trying to have a story and went with cute girls doing funny things. However, the budget is very, very poor on this. So it just turned into badly animated jokes on how chuunibyou they all are. Way behind the trend, and not very funny. Dropped
Cuticle Detective Inaba
A normal length show, and how I wished this was only 3 minutes. As my will to live dropped watching this story of a werewolf turned detective who had an obsession for hair, I wondered what better things I could be doing for entertainment. Standing out in the cold staring up immediately came to mind. It’s a comedy series in the biggest stretch of the word. Even the normal character playing the straight man to everything made me want to punch him in the face. The only thing that I seemed to enjoy was the goat named Valentino getting repeatedly shot in the head leaving pools of blood in every scene. I don’t think I want to go through this every week. I’ll take hypothermia. Dropped
Kokoro Connect: Michi Random
The final arc of this story was released months after the main series concluded. This time Heartseed decided to have their internal thoughts blasted at random times to random people within the group. There are two separate plot lines in this arc. The one driving the story is the need to keep Gotou as their advisor for the coming year, as they believe they are in competition with the Jazz Club to retain him. However, the main focus is once again on this group of characters. It all kicks off with Iori turning down Taichi’s confession. Then it wallows around in wondering what’s wrong with Iori. Before finally, everything conveniently falls into place where Inaba can end up with Taichi and Iori gets a new friend who she can talk to about her problems. Though this series only works one way, it did it very well. (81.42/100)
The -gatari franchise goes back to near the beginning as sequels prepare to air later this year. This was the story of that Golden Week period that was alluded to in Bakemonogatari and what Hanekawa did that week. The story is pretty simple, she found the cat oddity, turned into the cat, and proceeded to wreak havoc and destruction on people to relieve stress. Koyomi tries to first stop her then wants to die for her only to be foiled by Shinobu who ends the crisis. It all ended up being rather entertaining for me as a viewer even though I ended up disliking every character who all seemed so narcissistic. Koyomi is driven by lust as always, but his sister’s are just as much. Also, Hanekawa is too damn perfect. I liked her better in Nise to be honest. (80.96/100)
Otome wa Boku ni Koishiteru: Futari no Elder
I had left this unfinished for a while, and with not a whole lot to do I finally bit the bullet. I was not rewarded. The forced melodrama at the end of this made Kokoro Connect‘s look perfectly natural. So our crossdressing character Chihaya had a twin sister who died, and has lived his life trying to fulfill what she wanted. That it sprung out of seemingly nothing made it laughably bad. Then came the time of the election of the school’s elder, the most ojousama of the ojousama at the school. And conveniently it ended in a tie between the two main characters after two rounds of the process. At least at that point this OVA was conveniently over. (64.4/100)
The DVD specials that came with The Daily Lives of High School Boys were much the same as a lot of the 3-minute shows I watched this week. Very much hit or miss depending on what the topic was. Of the 3 remaining that I had not seen prior to this week, the only one that really worked was of course the one featuring Ringo. Funny how in a show that is about boys the female characters shine. (70.66/100)
Kyouryuu Tankentai Born Free
Combining multiple types of animation in the 1980s never worked out well. Guess what kinds of animation they threw together here? Don’t answer that. This is a shortened film adaptation of a 25 episode series from the late 70s, and this felt far too long even for that.
This is set in a post-apocalyptic world where dinosaurs and pre-historic plants come up from underground. A group of people try to save the dinosaurs from danger. After failing to tranquilize it, eventually they get it into a giant cage from the blimp that they happen to have flying overhead the entire time. It looks appalling. It’s basically guys in suits combined with action figures hitting toy cars and the hand drawn animation comes from repeated stock footage and stuff drawn on the live action .
The only real enjoyment I got out of this was the ridiculous amount of expense that was saved by reusing roars from dinosaurs and from the dog mascot to the point where the dinosaur roars underwater. They don’t have to breathe either, apparently. Also the line delivery is up there with some of those youtube videos when you search for “worst line delivery.” I’d only recommend it to the completist terribad fan. Everyone else, stay away. (5/100)