As usual, these aren't reviews of entire series, but just my first impressions of first episodes.
- [REVIEWED UNDER "G" ] Gonna be the Twin-Tail!! (Ore, Twintail ni Narimasu)
- [REVIEWED UNDER "W" ] Wolf Girl and Black Prince (Okami Shojo to Kuro Oji)
- Oneechan ga Kita
- My Big Sister Has Arrived
- Season 1
- Episodes: 12 x 3 minutes
- Keep watching: I've already finished
- One-line summary: short-form comedy about a girl who fancies her step-brother
- I've since finished it and... I liked it, although it needs to be longer.
Silly, but funny. I'll be finishing this series, if only because it won't take long.
Tomoya is a 13-year-old boy whose father has suddenly remarried, giving Tomoya a 17-year-old stepsister, Ichika. Can you say "incest obsession"? Admittedly they're not related by blood, but Ichika seems to want to become Tomoya's devoted stalker.
This is funny because they're not playing up the sexual angle, but instead the Weirdo Freak Sister angle. Ichika breaking into Tomoya's bedroom annoys him not for any salacious reason, but simply because anyone would be annoyed at having their big sister continually showing up in their bedroom. Maybe the show will get inappropriate at some point in the future, but so far it hasn't and I'm happy to give it the benefit of the doubt.
Ichika also looks odd, which helps distance the show further from what it's not. She has rectangular eyes and a mouth that's either a pointy triangle or an upturned "V". I'm looking forward to more of this.
- Orenchi no Furo Jijou
- Merman in My Tub
- Season 1
- Episodes: 13 x 4 minutes
- Keep watching: I've already finished
- One-line summary: short-form comedy about shirtless mermaid boys in the bath together
- I've since finished it and... it's not really worth it.
Long-suffering bloke (Tatsumi) has a mermaid in his bathtub. I know what you're thinking, but no. It's a male mermaid. I'll be watching all of this, in large part for the same reason as Oneechan ga Kita
. It's quite funny and the episodes are super-short, so why not?
Our merman, Wakasa, is a handsome blonde with an impressive (upper) body who's very sensitive and talks as if he thinks he's our hero's wife. He's a girl, basically. Technically he's male, but his voice, dialogue and mindset are those of a delicate maiden. He doesn't want to return to the river because he likes Tatsumi's bath.
Obviously this is rich in homoerotic subtext, but that's all it is. There are no gay jokes. When Wakasa suggests that they bathe together, Tatsumi's only grumpy because he's used to having the tub to himself and it would seem that their shared bathing is uneventful (if cramped).
I enjoyed it. It's a bizarre idea that's inherently funny. Another for the "to watch" list. (Admittedly when I watched the whole show I ended up a little less impressed, but here I'm just talking about first episodes...)
- One Piece
- One Piece
- Season 17
- Episode 629
- Keep watching: I still have some of the movies in my to-watch pile, actually
- One-line summary: mega-franchise about wacky pirates
I'm no expert, but I'm moderately familiar with this franchise. I own the first 24 volumes of the manga and I've seen a few of the movies. What I'd never done before now was get started on the 700-odd (so far) episodes of the TV series. My impression: it's okay. It's One Piece
. It's more or less what I'd expected, although the regular cast has grown so big as to make me wonder if it's not a bit unwieldy, while I was less gripped during the scenes with just the villains and their sidekicks. I'm sure the latter would have meant more to me if I'd been watching regularly, though.
The show as a whole is about the happy-go-lucky Monkey D. Luffy and his pirate gang. Luffy ate a Devil Fruit and those give you superpowers, so Luffy has a rubber body and can throw a thirty-metre punch. At this point in the franchise, the gang includes Luffy the loon, Zoro the cool samurai, Nami whom I hate, Usopp the liar, Sanji the cook, Chopper the reindeer, Nico Robin the archeologist, Franky the cyborg with blue pigtails and something not unlike American Football armour, Brook the walking skeleton and possibly one or two others who aren't jumping out at me from wikipedia. I've lost track. Anyway, that's too many. Kill some, please. This particular episode actually juggles them fairly well, but that'll be because there's no plot right now and everyone's just sitting around talking. They've caught a villain and they're negotiating to return him to his naughty chums.
The villains have lots of presence. The worldbuilding is... odd. "There are only seven Warlords in the world. They are the pirates who were chosen and given carte blanche for robbery by the World Government in exchange for their overwhelming strength and prestige."
Broadly speaking, I'm ambivalent about this franchise. I dislike the apparent suggestion that piracy is a morally neutral activity, but all of its manga and anime that I've experienced to date has been good, sometimes even impressive. I don't bristle, except of course at Nami. I particularly love Eiichiro Oda's art. That said, though, there appears to be a consensus that it got dragged out too long, even if recently it's apparently had a bit of a recovery. (It's currently the best-selling manga series of all time, so of course no one's been in a hurry to kill the cash cow.) This particular episode isn't anything special, but I don't hold that against it since it's clearly a mid-adventure lull. I watched it. It was okay. I don't feel the urge to watch ep.630.
- One Week Friends
- Isshuukan Friends
- Season 1
- Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
- Keep watching: YES
- One-line summary: a girl has a problem; a boy wants to help her
- I've since finished it and... it's excellent.
I knew a lot about this show before I started watching. It's a Brain's Base anime, so of course I'd known I had to watch it all, and it has a quiet but imagination-grabbing premise. It's almost impossible to discuss the show as a whole without spilling the beans on that... but here I'm just talking about episode one, which keeps us in the dark nearly until the end. Therefore, for the purposes of this discussion, I'll avoid spoilers. I'll go into more detail when I review the whole show, I promise.
Yuu Hase is a boy in high school who likes a standoffish girl, Kaori Fujimiya. She's always alone. One day he says he'd like to be her friend... and she says no. (He wasn't asking for a date or anything. All he said was "friend".) Yuu doesn't give up and it seems that Kaori wasn't kidding. If he comes on to the roof when she's eating lunch, she'll stop eating and walk away.
It doesn't seem to be anything personal, though. She's like that with everyone.
Yuu sticks at it, though, and soon Kaori will at least accept his presence. He sits with her when they eat lunch. She actually seems to be quite a nice girl, albeit unwavering in her insistence that the two of them aren't, can never be and mustn't be friends. While she's saying that, they sort of become friends. If you look carefully, you might even glimpse her smiling.
There's a reason for her behaviour, of course. The rest of the show will be about how Yuu responds to that. It's a fascinating notion and I see reasons for questioning, perhaps, what Yuu's planning to do. I'm expecting this show to be delicate, sombre and probably heartfelt. I'd recommend it to anyone who doesn't mind quiet, action-free anime and I'm looking forward eagerly to seeing where it goes.
- Oreca Battle
- Monster Retsuden Oreca Battle
- Season 1
- Episodes: 51 x 12 minutes
- Keep watching: no, but it's not bad
- One-line summary: another anime for small boys based on a game
Monster Retsuden Oreca Battle
is a Japanese trading card arcade game by Konami. Your life will not be enriched by knowing how video games and trading cards go together. The answer, of course, is "money". The game also has an associated manga, which here became an anime.
Anyway, in the world of this anime, Oreca Card Battles are the world's most exciting contests! Kids love the game! Piss right off! We begin with our hero being a hero because he's good at video games. A crowd is watching and saying lines like, "He pressed the button too soon!" Soon, though, squashed tomato monsters are flying through the sky, dropping red bombs on the children even though the adults can't see anything out of the ordinary.
Our hero's name is Fire-kun, by the way, and he has spiky red/orange/yellow hair that could perhaps be argued to look like fire. However I was wondering if those were cat ears, or perhaps (despite his macho male voice) ribbons. I'm going to tell myself it's the latter.
The show gets mildly interesting, believe it or not. It's more original and fun than I'd expected. Monsters are disappearing from everyone's trading cards. We meet a dinky magical whale called Oreca (or Orca?) and a talking treasure chest with teeth called Pandora. It's all a bit Pokemon, actually. Our hero is told he's going to have to fight a real-life Oreca Battle
, then a massive CGI dragon appears just before the end credits. Cliffhanger!
Will I be continuing? No. If I wanted to watch this kind of thing, I'd start with more Pokemon. However it looks pretty good for what it is and it looks unlikely to rot your children's brains. No objections so far.