Fate/stay nightPrisma IllyaGrisaiaJapanese
Anime 1st episodes 2015: E-F
Including: Le Eden de la Grisaia, Etotama, Fafner in the Azure, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 2wei Herz!, Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works: TV Season 2, Folktales from Japan ep.143, Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2015
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2015 >>
Keywords: Fate/stay night, Prisma Illya, Grisaia, anime, SF, fantasy, magical girl, harem
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 7 first episodes
Website category: Anime 2015
Review date: 6 November 2016
It's a movie, but I've watched it anyway: Eiga Go! Princess Precure Go! Go!! Gouka 3-bon Date!!! (obviously for children, but I still greatly enjoyed it)
It's a movie, but I've watched it anyway: Eiga Precure All Stars: Haru no Carnival (yet more PreCure and even more bonkers than Gouka 3-bon Date)
Doesn't count because it's a movie: Eiga Crayon Shin-chan 23: Ora no Hikkoshi Monogatari - Saboten Daishuugeki
Listed under "D": Fist of the North Star: Strawberry Flavor (DD Fist of the North Star)
Listed under "K": The File of Young Kindaichi Returns season 2 (The Kindaichi Case Files)
Couldn't find: Eikoku Ikke, Nihon wo Taberu (Sushi and Beyond)
Couldn't find: Funassyi no Funafunafuna Hiyori
Couldn't find: Future Card Buddyfight
Le Eden de la Grisaia
Grisaia no Rakuen
Season 2
Episodes: 10 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: rehabilitation of a killer
I've since finished it and... it's an excellent show.
It's the sequel to The Fruit of Grisaia, which I liked a lot. I'd been going to watch this no matter what, but the good news is that it's looking strong in its own right.
It's picking up from the Labyrinth of Grisaia special, continuing the material from the game that wouldn't fit in 47 minutes. In other words, at last we're meeting Asako. We're still working through Yuuji's childhood and here we're meeting the most important person in his life. She's a hard-drinking mercenary and hitman who takes in this damaged boy and raises him as a combination of mother, big sister and sergeant-major. She's funny, e.g. her idea of home cooking. However she also understands him. She turns him into a functional human being, at least in certain basic respects.
If you've been watching Grisaia from the start, this is huge. It doesn't have the horror of Yuuji's life before this, but it's still transformational for both characters. I also don't think it feels like an ordinary first episode. It hits the ground running, getting straight into the meat of the story... although admittedly we're talking about emotional development rather than supervillains, assassins or other superficial action. Well, I suppose that's not so surprising for a season two.
I like it. I like Grisaia and more specifically I like this episode. I'm definitely continuing.
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: tempted, but it looks full of badness
One-line summary: the signs of the Chinese zodiac are girls living with a boy
I was sooooooo close to continuing. I trawled the internet. I read other people's reviews. In the end, I ditched the show, but it was a close thing until I started listing all the reasons not to watch it.
All the signs of the Chinese zodiac are girls. They go around in a gang and do a lame comedy thing that involves asking a passer-by to recite all the Chinese zodiac. If this passer-by doesn't name you, you lose.
Nya-tan is a cat-girl, which means she's not one of the main twelve. However she'd like to be. What she does is show up in the house of Generic Male Protagonist (real name: Takeru Tendo) and pester him in sexually suggestive ways, despite being underage. He tells her to get lost. This fails so badly that it seems he's going to end up living with all thirteen girls. Not sure how that works, but apparently this isn't one of those "lots of girls in love with one boy" harem shows. That's what the internet says, anyway. They'll just be living with him.
I have my reservations about that, though, given Nya-tan's dubious antics this week. Even if no one's in love with anyone else, I bet there's going to be more ecchi. A further problem is the fourth-wall-breaking. Generic Protagonist calls someone an exposition character and people mention the fact that the advert break's coming up. Nya-tan's trying to choose a character type for herself.
Looking at someone else's review of the whole show, he says "Good comedy (if you're a fan of fourth wall breaking)". I hate fourth-wall-breaking.
A baddie appears, blows up Generic Protagonist's house and has a battle scene with Nya-tan simply because the episode wants to have a battle scene. Nya-tan asks Baddie why they're fighting even while they're fighting. Baddie says "you wouldn't understand", then afterwards reveals that it was just a play-acted battle anyway.
Why was I in any doubt? It looks harmless, but... no, run away.
Fafner in the Azure: Dead Aggressor: Exodus
Soukyuu no Fafner: Dead Aggressor: Exodus
Seasons 1 + 2
Episodes: 26 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: schoolchildren in mecha defend the world against aliens
The reviews of this one suggest that I might think it's rather good if I stuck with it, but I bounced off this episode and for now I won't continue. I might watch it one day. However its main problem for me was intense heroes in space battles that had me struggling to stay awake. I get this sometimes. It's a bit embarrassing. If something I'm watching is too one-dimensional and there's nothing meaningful in the story or characterisation, my eyelids get heavy. This upsets Tomoko when we're trying to watch something together. Anyway, this show's macho fighty scenes were giving me absolutely nothing to engage with. I saw grim, one-note characters showing not an iota of anything that could be called a personality.
It's the 22nd century, Earth's been stomped by some aliens called the Festum and there's no Japan any more. Our heroes are living on a tiny island. There's a bit where heroes "shoot their allies", which I think means nuking a city before all the civilians had had time to evacuate. This sounds good, but I think would have been more powerful if I'd been able to believe that the speaking characters were human beings rather than plot dispersal units. I like melodrama, but this is flat melodrama.
After that, we meet some schoolchildren at school. This is better. However it then goes back to the intense one-dimensional fighter pilots.
It's a mecha show, which doesn't excite me to begin with. It's also Season 2 of a show that had last been on TV in 2004, when some were calling it one of the best mecha anime of the decade. (Mind you, it's also been called "another Evangelion rip-off", or "good but nothing special".) It also had anime films in 2005 and 2010, though. I'm mildly curious, but not enough to make me watch 26 episodes of mecha that might send me to sleep.
Not to be confused with Unlimited Fafnir, an unrelated 2015 series that involves a boy in a school full of girls who are really dragons.
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 2wei Herz!
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya: Season 3
Episodes: 10 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: lesbian magical girls
I've since finished it and... I loved it, as expected with Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya
It's the third season of the magical girl alt.universe spin-off from Fate/stay night. I wasn't grabbed by the parent show when I tried its first episode last year, but I'm hoping for better from magical girls. What the hell. Let's give it a whirl.
Don't expect taste, mind you. I think someone said they're elementary schoolgirls (i.e. at most 12 years old), but they have a "magical recharge" method that involves blushing, private time and deep kisses with tongues. This is observed by a flustered third girl, who then gets into a conversation with a fourth who's also part of the magical recharging scene. (It's a sort of triangle, but these girls appear to believe in open relationships.)
Meanwhile the start of the episode is all about going shopping for swimsuits. Two girls torture a third by trying to make her wear something risque, then their exhibitionist friend walks past in it.
The girls also have a big brother and tease him.
There are references to earlier seasons. "I can't believe there's an eighth card when there used to be only seven!" Okay, fair enough. The magical girls also have flying, talking rosettes.
It looks fun. It's lively, although also quite filthy. The girls are far too young for any of this, but the good news is that at least they only appear to be targeting each other. Looking at my old reviews, I see I was tempted to continue when I watched the start of Season 2 last year. Let's take the plunge now.
Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works
Season 2
13 episodes
Keep watching: definitely
One-line summary: magical deathmatch battles, including some gold-plated bastards
I've since finished it and... yow, bleak.
I've become a Fate-slash fan. Fate/stay night, Fate/kaleid line Prisma Illya, etc. Season 1 of this series is great and there was almost nothing this episode could have done that to stop me from wanting to watch part two of the story. (It is part two, though. Don't start here. Go back to Season 1 ep.0.)
We begin with SPOILER's vaguely sexualised captivity at the hands of SPOILER, which isn't nice. We already knew that SPOILER was evil, though.
The SPOILER-SPOILER relationship is explored in conversation and then in a more shocking twist than we saw in the Season 1 finale. I have a theory that SPOILER was actually doing it to try to save SPOILER's life, but it's still a bombshell. What follows that is fallout.
Sorry about the SPOILERS. I don't want to spoil the plot, obviously. This is a strong series of death, betrayal, etc. as the magical Masters and their superpowered Servants try to kill each other. I won't say any more, but trust me; it's good.
Folktales from Japan
Furusato Saisei Nippon no Mukashi Banashi
Episode 143
24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: children's anime with folk tales
There's little point in watching more than one episode of this, unless you're a small child or interested in Japanese folk tales. It's a children's show. Each episode is split into three segments, each with a slightly different simplistic art style and the kind of storytelling you'd expect from fairy tales. That said, though, fairy tales can be kind of disturbing and I often got the uneasy sense that these tales might not be interested in happy endings or conventional morality.
The show also won the Japanese government's Children's Cultural Welfare Prize. It says so in the opening credits, probably to encourage parents to make their children watch this instead of One Piece, Cardfight Vanguard, etc.
PART ONE: "The Bunbuku Teapot"
A tanuki (aka. racoon dog) takes a liking to a poor man who's helped him. In return, it offers to help him scam money off strangers! It'll transform itself into a scary wrought-iron teapot that could probably be used as an offensive weapon, get sold for lots of money and then run away as soon as their victim's not looking! Wahay! The poor man doesn't want to do anything so horrid, but the tanuki guilt-trips him into accepting. Remember, kids, stealing is harmless and fun!
Their chosen victim is a monk. Presumably they couldn't find any blind orphans. Fortunately the monk has his servant fill the teapot with water and boil it on the fire, which is exactly what the tanuki deserves even if the voice actor is making no effort whatsoever to make "ouch" sound painful. (It's that kind of children's show.)
To my surprise, the story had a positive ending. However this is only after the tanuki gets stuck as a teapot and bemoans not being able to play tricks on people any more.
PART TWO: "The Anbarayami Horse"
An old man has a horse. He's nice to it. You like them. You're less keen on the oni (demon) that jumps out of the horse's stomach and says it wants to live in there for a year, causing it pain. Apparently it's played so many tricks recently that it needs to lie low for a bit until the heat dies down. This must be a bad sign.
The oni does exactly what it said it would. No tricks. I was flabbergasted. It carries out its promise to the letter, which means the old man and the horse don't have a fun year. They're more than compensated afterwards, though.
PART THREE: "The Stone Door of Heaven"
This is a tale of the Japanese gods who created the world. There's Susanoo, who likes going crazy and breaking things. He's big, hairy and looks like bad news. In the original myths, he and his sister Amaterasu have a bunch of children together (using magic items) before he goes berserk with rage, destroys her rice fields and kills one of her attendants. They've toned that down a bit here. He's upset about his late mother. You shouldn't laugh, though, because what he wants is to join her.
He also cried all day and got the sack. I didn't know that gods could be fired from the post of being a god.
Anyway, Amaterasu hides in a cave and puts a rock over the entrance. Since she's the sun goddess, this plunges Japan into darkness. Bad news. Ame no Uzumi does a dance to persuade her to come out, wearing a completely transparent dress that would have been a lot more interesting in a less child-oriented art style.
Susanoo then gives up on meeting mum for now and goes off to have new adventures. As it happens, these will include an eight-headed dragon, but I'm going to have to find other Susanoo episodes of Folktales from Japan if I want to see for myself.
I'm glad I've sampled this. It's not actually that absorbing to watch, but I did find it mildly disturbing at times and I'd watch a Susanoo series.
Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma
Shokugeki no Soma
Season 1
Episodes: 24 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: food-crazed manga with "so silly that they're funny" foodgasms
Souma Yukihira is a fifteen-year-old boy who loves cooking. Practically worships it. Only the tiniest portion of his brain isn't focused entirely on food, he wants to study cooking full-time as soon as he leaves middle school and he wants to spend his life cooking in his father's restaurant. He's not alone, though. Everyone loves cooking. His dad loves cooking. Cooking is the reason for the universe's existence.
Cooking is so wonderful, in fact, that eating food gives people super-foodgasms. I've added the "super" because anime has lots of ordinary foodgasms. A girl can eat a fried egg and suddenly be moaning, blushing and almost passing out. Here, though, that's supercharged. Even horrible food gets sexualised. Eating squid in peanut butter is like being tentacle-molested, hentai-style. Souma's potatoes in bacon will make your clothes burst off as you swoon in a sea of sparkles, screaming that you want to keep tasting his meat juices.
Incidentally the manga artist, Shun Saeki, used to draw hentai.
It's so silly that it's funny. For me, though, the bloodlust-like cooking intensity had already been silly before the foodgasms. It's burning hotter than some shounen battle manga. Land sharks will swear to leave you alone forever if they can just get their lips around some more of your meat.
That said, though, apparently it's really good. My anime-loving work colleague says it's his favourite show. I believe all the praise. I'm sure Souma's cooking adventures are indeed excellent, with boo-hiss antagonists and lots of impassioned wok-work. Apparently the original manga's even written in collaboration with a chef. However so far I don't think the show's for me. The super-foodgasms and the manic cooking hysteria don't do anything for me. It's too far removed from anything I can process even as a fictional reality. I spent 25 minutes saying "this is silly" and "but it's just food". However if you think you can cope with that (and some very prominent boobs), apparently the show's a stonker.