I've reviewed the first episodes of lots of 2015 anime shows that began with "B", not counting the following:
- Doesn't count because it's a movie: The Boy and the Beast, aka. Bakemono no Ko (but it's one of the best anime movies I've seen)
- Doesn't count because it's a movie: Boruto: Naruto the Movie
- Doesn't count because it's a movie: Beyond the Boundary: I'LL BE HERE: Past (compilation of Beyond the Boundary (TV))
- It's a movie, but I've watched it anyway: Beyond the Boundary: I'LL BE HERE: Future (terrible)
- Listed under "C": Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu Love (Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!)
- Baby Steps
- Season 2
- Episodes: 25 x 24 minutes
- Keep watching: no
- One-line summary: tennis
I remember thinking Season 1's first episode was quite good. This was too. I enjoyed it. Personally I'm not into sports anime, but I'd recommend it to anyone who is.
Eiichirou Maruo's made amazing progress since I last saw him. Then he was playing tennis for the first time. Now he's in Florida at a tennis academy for two weeks' training, as part of his goal of turning professional. He gets flattened, obviously. Tennis has been turned into a science here, everyone is either a professional or studying full-time to become one and he's never played against the likes of these guys before. I admired Eiichirou's reaction, though. He's happy! He doesn't see it as humiliation. He knows that playing the best players is the only way to move forward. He wants to analyse everything (because he's Eiichirou) and work out how to take his game to the level he sees around him.
I liked the characters. Some of the character designs are still a bit cartoon-freak-ugly, but I don't mind that. (What did grate a bit was Mike's accent.) It does have the potential obstacle of being all about tennis, but if you don't mind sports anime then it looks like a good show.
- BAR Kiraware Yasai
- Season 1
- Episodes: 13 x 90 seconds
- Keep watching: maybe
- One-line summary: two vegetables walk into a bar
- I've since finished it and... it's fairly pointless. Mildly amusing occasionally.
It's based on a four-panel gag manga about unpopular vegetables. Celery and parsley argue in a bar about which one of them is more hated, but the barman (in live-action) reassures them that they're both widely despised. The end.
Other vegetables in later episodes include an eggplant, a bitter gourd and something red that I'd guess might perhaps be a tomato. (If so, people are mad. Tomatoes are great, especially little cherry ones.) Anyway, this episode has been animated really cheaply and didn't really do anything for me, but I've also heard that ep.2 is better. Ninety seconds. I might continue. Maybe.
- Battle Spirits Burning Soul
- Battle Spirits Rekka Tamashii: Burning Soul
- 7th Battle Spirits series
- Episode 1 of Burning Soul, or Episode 300 of the Battle Spirits franchise
- Keep watching: no
- One-line summary: yet another trading card game anime
It's another merchandise-driven anime, produced to encourage children to spend money! Hey, kids! Buy our trading card game! It's sort of vaguely competent as these things go, but I hated half the cast and there's absolutely no way I'm watching any more.
The original Battle Spirits game is a two-player battle game that seems to have been very successful, but I don't think this anime has yet been licensed or dubbed abroad. Golly gee. On the upside, though, it's a standalone story with no links to any of the previous six series. the people we meet here are:
(a) Yukimura Rekka (protagonist), who has amazing anime hair. It's as if his head's on fire. He's okay.
(b) Kanna Kuroda (sidekick), a little girl with pink hair and a dog-styled hoodie. She's deadpan. She's the only girl so far and I actually liked her.
(c) Sasuke Akatsuki (who's apparently going to be a regular), a cocky small boy who mouths off to everyone and needs punching. In the face, repeatedly.
(d) some thugs that Sasuke challenges, even though he's a Battle Spirits newbie. He mouths off at them a lot. They're unpleasant thugs and I think we're supposed to be cheering for Sasuke, but... yeah, well.
According to this anime, you play Battle Spirits while hovering on an anti-grav platform. The episode's mostly just card battles, although fortunately they explain the rules quite well. That's good. I felt I knew what was going on. Unfortunately I was already bored of the game before the end credits rolled.
There's not much more here, really.
- Beautiful Bones: Sakurako's Investigation
- A Corpse is Buried Under Sakurako's Feet
- Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru
- Season 1
- Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
- Keep watching: undecided
- One-line summary: unlikeable but very clever lady investigates crimes
- I've since finished it and... I was wrong, I soon liked Sakurako a lot and it's an excellent series.
Not sure about this one. It looks well done and a solid, efficient work of storytelling, but not particularly likeable or friendly. I could continue. I'm sure it would be okay.
The title character, Sakurako, likes bones. She doesn't like people, even though for some unexplained reason she has a fiance. (The story purpose of this will be to stop the audience from expecting a romantic pairing between her and her male co-star, Shoutarou, aka. her long-suffering assistant.) She doesn't like relationships. What she likes is death. She's a pain in the neck, frankly, but she loves digging up dead things and taking lots of clever inferences about them.
As for Shoutarou, he thinks he lives in a stagnating city where time's almost stopped. That's metaphorical, not literal. This isn't SF. He just thinks it's a sleepy backwater.
The plot involves Sakurako bullying Shoutarou into digging up bones on a beach, then trying to hide a skull from the police. It's not about trying to protect the murderer or anything. The skull's 100 years old. She just likes skulls. The police then show her two corpses who seem to have committed suicide together and she explains why this theory is wrong.
That's it, really. It's based on a mystery novel series. Sakurako's super-clever. I'm sure the show's probably pretty good, but I'm not particularly fussed about whether or not I watch any more.
UPDATE: I've just consulted my anime-watching friend at work. He likes this series. I'll stick with it, then.
- Bikini Warriors
- Season 1
- Episodes: 12 x 4 minutes
- Keep watching: it should theoretically be unwatchable, but yes
- One-line summary: as you'd expect from the title, except even worse
- I've since finished it and... it's a rather good AD&D parody, actually. I liked it a lot.
It's offensive boob-ridden exploitation nonsense, but it's also making fun of boob-ridden exploitation nonsense. I thought it was quite funny.
The Bikini Warriors
are fantasy adventurers! They go in dungeons and fight monsters! If they were men, they'd be wearing full plate mail, but in accordance with genre tradition these ladies wear super-skimpy bikinis that aren't even fit to wear on the beach. They're strip-o-kinis. Imagine tiny dribbles of fabric being waved in the approximate direction of your boobs. That's their "armour". Actual nudity would be less exploitative.
However the show also makes jokes about this. The girls discover that bikinis don't protect you against anything whatsoever, so they go back and buy proper armour... but it's more strip-o-kinis. Only one of them sees anything odd in this.
You couldn't call this sophisticated comedy, but it's enough for four minutes. It amused me. Let's watch more offensiveness!
- Blood Blockade Battlefront
- Kekkai Sensen
- Season 1
- Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes + an OVA 13th
- Keep watching: yes
- One-line summary: superpowered battles in monster-ridden New York
- I've since finished it and... it's action-packed and cool, but it never got around to making me care.
I'm a bit nervous because it reminded me a little of Baccano and I've seen other people comparing it to Baccano. I don't like Baccano. That show has two great characters (Isaac and Miria), but everyone else I wanted dead. However this show looks a bit better than that and it's certainly wacky enough to be worth a look. It's not written by Ryougo Narita, anyway, so that's the main danger averted.
It's set in a New York where anything can happen and half the people walking down the street are outrageous alien monsters. Apparently a Gate opened three years ago. The city's now called Hellsalem's Lot, which is one of the more unsubtle names I've seen.
The characters are... um, well, there's a bloke who's dictating a letter to his sister over a montage of superpowered monster battles. He's the main character and he has super-vision. She's in a wheelchair and we saw her in a flashback. Bloke #1 runs into Bloke #2 and Bloke #3 due to a case of mistaken identity and a desperately macho gorilla man beats up a SWAT team. Don't ask me for more details. I'm still a bit vague on what's going on and what I'm watching. Hopefully the anime's planning to clarify that soon.
Joyful news: it's set in New York, but there's no gratuitous English. Everyone's speaking Japanese, thank goodness.
It looks great. Your eyeballs will be stimulated. It's cool, if you like that kind of thing. I like freaky monsters, anyway. Let's give it a whirl.
- Bottom Biting Bug
- Oshiri Kajiri Mushi
- Season 4
- Episodes: 10 x 5 minutes
- Keep watching: no
- One-line summary: children's cartoon about bugs that bite bottoms
It's pretty much the same as the last time I saw this show. It's amusing. If I were five, I'd watch it.
This week's episode is about our bottom-biting hero's uncle! Farting will save the world! Uncle has built a machine to help farts solve the energy crisis! A blonde TV reporter comes to interview him, but unfortunately she's foreign and so speaks in gibberish non-syllables and no one can understand her. Uncle though is undaunted! Look! A giant robot rocket, powered by lots of straining people with pipes on their bottoms!
This is Rocket 2, by the way. Rocket 1 was wrecked by Tasuke's farts being too smelly. However the available Tasuke-less fart power is insufficient, so Uncle asks Bottom Biting Bug
to make Tasuke fart and save the day! Bite that bottom! Hurrah! (There's a promise in the show's title that absolutely has to be delivered on.) The dental stimulation makes a fart that makes the rocket lift off and save the world... um, actually, no. Tasuke's fart is STILL TOO SMELLY, so the rocket explodes.
"I can't breathe!" say some aliens in flying saucers. "Let's give up on invading the Earth!"
The end. I won't be continuing, but I approve of shows like this.
- Brave Beats
- Season 1
- Episodes: 22 x 24 minutes
- Keep watching: no
- One-line summary: kiddie show about superpowered alien dancing battles
It's the latest kiddie dance anime from the production team who gave us Tribe Cool Crew. I only watched one episode of its predecessor because it's about breakdancing, but I liked it a lot and found it charming. This one's less tempting and a lot sillier.
We begin with dance-loving aliens on the planet Danceworld. Breakin challenges the King of Dance, who sadly doesn't look like Elvis Presley! It's a dance-off! Can you breakdance, man? But, golly gosh, the King's going to send Breakin to the dance-loving planet Earth!
It took me about zero seconds to remove this show from my to-watch list.
Meanwhile, on Earth, we meet Hibiki and his junior school chums! Hibiki has a curvaceous mother, an annoying comedy headmaster and a near-inability to get up in the morning. The school assembly includes a groovy dance trio. Hibiki is some kind of weirdo freak because he doesn't like dancing, but of course he's the show's protagonist and so he's going to get given magical dancing superpowers by Breakin! (Aliens turn into cute robots when they land on Earth and everyone assumes they're the latest kind of clever toy. Even though they can talk and turn small children into superheroes. Well, it is Japan.)
There's a cool bit when Hibiki's speedster pal gets turned evil. His power will be doing the moonwalk backwards at half the speed of sound. This causes Hibiki to combine with Breakin (but in a family-friendly way), with dialogue like:
"Let your soul combine with me! I'm Flash Beat!"
"Collect all the dance stones and become King of Dance!"
I can't say I'm tempted, despite Hibiki's mum. The show looks fun, though. The art style is lively, kiddie-friendly and easy on the eyes. The show's formula is presumably going to be a lot like bog-standard magical girl or shounen fighting shows, with a magical transformation sequence to fight a monster of the week. There's nothing wrong with it... if you can live with the show's adulation of dancing, dancing, dancing, more dancing! That said, though, the show was cancelled after only 22 episodes and replaced by a Gundam show.
"Those who live for dance!"