Unusually, I'll have watched every show in this list. This wasn't always wise, though.
Listed under "S"
: I Was Abducted by an Elite All-Girls School as a Sample Commoner (Shomin Sample
- I Can't Understand What My Husband is Saying: 2nd Thread
- Danna ga Nani o Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken 2-sure-me
- Season 2
- Episodes: 13 x 4 minutes
- Keep watching: yes
- One-line summary: short form comedy about having an otaku husband
- I've since finished it and... it's still funny and nice.
It's season two of I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying, which is: (a) made up of super-short episodes, (b) funny. I liked season one, so of course I'm going to watch season two. I knew this before I started.
What's the set-up? Kaoru is the office lady wife of a massive otaku, Hajime... or at least that's the premise. However this is season two (albeit with no mention of a baby or of Kaoru's pregnancy), so Hajime has developed socially to the point of having a job. He's a web designer and even earning more than Kaoru. (This is a bit of a shock for her. I think that's another example of mild bit of gender role reversal in this show.)
Anyway, to celebrate they go off to eat ramen. Hajime wonders why they don't eat something better, but Kaoru wants to track down a particular ramen place she remembers from when she was younger. They do. The end. I'm sure that doesn't sound like much, but it's fine. The characters feel well realised and it's nice to spend time with a show with the confidence to let us simply hang out with its characters.
I don't think I laughed, but it's a likeable waste of four minutes. It's a warm show. It's not really significant that Hajime isn't being too much of an otaku this week. This is more of a Kaoru episode. I have no problems with continuing this.
- THE iDOLM@STER Cinderella Girls
- Season... um, 1? 4?
- Episodes: 25 x 24 minutes
- Keep watching: gyaaaaaaaah, okay
- One-line summary: clueless producer and his idol group
- I've since finished it and... it's one of the best anime of the year.
I'm torn. It's about idols. It's the fourth anime series based on a video game franchise called THE iDOLM@STER, which has hundreds of characters. Just this Cinderella Girls thing on its own has 25 episodes, i.e. too many. None of that's encouraging me to keep watching. However this episode was very good and I enjoyed it, so I'm reluctantly going to give Cinderella Girls a whirl. I'm not promising to watch all the other iDOLM@STER series, though.
First thing I see: idols singing on TV, doing the heart-shaped hand sign and generally being media vermin. Where's my rat poison?
Girl #1: Uzuki Shimamura. She wants to be an idol and she's practicing alone in a dance studio when she's approached by Huge Menacing Bloke. (I'll call him HMB, since we don't know his name yet.) Fortunately he's not a baddie. He's holding out a business card and he's asking if she'd like to join his new Cinderella Project. Uzuki is thrilled, accepts immediately and then is pathetically eager to be a good and dutiful idol even as HMB's plans keep going nowhere.
HMB: does he have any clue at all? Is he just some bloke who wandered in off the street and is going around asking girls if they'd like to be idols?
Girl #2: Rin Shibuya. She has no interest in idols. She keeps saying so to HMB, yet he won't leave her alone and keeps trying to recruit her. (He says it's because he likes her smile, but he's never seen it.) Rin ends up having to protect HMB from the police, because they're suspicious of this huge scary lump with no people skills who's stalking a fifteen-year-old schoolgirl.
It's quite funny. All the characters are entertaining together, thanks to their very different personalities and desires. Also Rin's presence is pointing up some of the shallowness of being an idol, as even Uzuki realises when asked about her reasons. Presumably HMB won't always be this pathetic, but right now he's a laugh. "It's currently in the planning stage."
- Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
- Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka
- Season 1
- Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
- Keep watching: yes
- One-line summary: boy + girls in a Dungeons & Dragons fantasy world
- I've since finished it and... it's fun. I liked it.
I've heard good things about this, but I suspect this wasn't the show's best episode. I'll be continuing, but at the moment the most prominent thing is a whiff of Light Novel Adaptation.
It's set in a Dungeons & Dragons world. No, not any old tabletop RPG. It's level-based, making it either D&D or a system clone. Our first-level hero (Bell Cranel) gets told off for going into a fifth-level dungeon and running into a minotaur. That incident put me off right at the beginning, by the way. A dungeoneer called Aiz Wallenstein kills the poor monster in a shower of gore, which is seen as normal and as having no moral dimension at all (although this is admittedly in itself very Dungeons & Dragons). Kill monsters and harvest their magical gems! No negotiation, no mercy. Adventurers do this full-time. The body count must be genocide-level, although normally there's no gore and instead the non-human murder victim disintegrates in a cloud of audience-friendly dust.
Then there's the Light Novel aspect. Our hero is dungeoneering in order to meet girls and immediately falls for Wallenstein. That's Girl #1. However he also lives with a goddess called Hestia who has big boobs, wears a tiny dress and is all over him with innuendo and come-hither dialogue. (No, calling her a "goddess" wasn't metaphorical. She's literally a deity. Only one worshipper, but still a deity.) Anyway, Hestia gets jealous of other girls and is a classical anime Magical Girlfriend. She's coming on a bit heavy, to put it mildly, but even so I have no idea why Bell's looking elsewhere for a girlfriend when he's got a goddess at home. All I can think is that romance doesn't work that way between humans and deities, although if so then clearly no one's told Hestia.
That's Girl #2. Then there's the waitress who's coming on to Bell and makes him promise to come and eat at her pub tonight. That's Girl #3 and I'm not even counting all the female dungeoneers who don't wear armour and instead dress as if they've just come from the beach. (Male dungeoneers wear armour, though. Hurm.)
Oh, and there's an assumption that attracting women is synonymous with physical strength. To make a woman fall in love with you, be stronger than her and save her from danger! Uh-huh. Maybe the intention was for this to get subverted by having Aiz (a girl) save Bell (a boy) from the minotaur, but I have my doubts since the rest of the episode is playing the "hero wants to be stronger" card completely straight. Obviously this means a murder rampage (killing monsters).
On rereading, though, that sounds more negative than it should have. I don't mind this show. I have various niggles with it, but they're not showstoppers and they could be argued to be practically inherent to anime and/or sword-and-sorcery RPGs. The cast seem nice. Hestia is cute and I quite like how far away Bell has started from conventional heroism. The worldbuilding is quite interesting, with an intriguingly literal portrayal of Dungeons & Dragons tropes (e.g. the tattoos on your back) and a big wrinkle in the form of gods on earth. What's more, everyone says the show gets better. I'll give it a whirl.
- Is the Order a Rabbit??
- Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka??
- Season 2
- Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
- Keep watching: I know it's an empty nothing, but yes
- One-line summary: schoolgirls still running that coffee house
- I've since finished it and... doing so was a slightly painful mistake. It's a waste of time and it'll kill your brain cells.
I watched Season One, which was probably a mistake. It's fluff about schoolgirls running coffee houses in a Generically Pretty European Town where magazines and menus are mysteriously written in Japanese. The show exists to be cute and nice. All meaningful content has been removed. Nothing happens.
I'll watch Season Two. What the hell.
Let me summarise this episode. We see a girl (Chiyo) walking down the street with a talking rabbit blob (Tippy) on her head. Cocoa wants to take photos of everyone to send to her family, which is a natural way of reintroducing us to everyone. There's very, very mildly amusing business with each girl's response to being photographed, which isn't even in the same universe as "funny".
However Chiyo doesn't want her photo taken! Cocoa wants Chiyo to smile and Chiya tries to help her by doing a bad standup routine. (All these C-names are less confusing in Japanese.) The second half of the episode is about write-ups in a magazine of the town's different coffee shops. There's another amusing scene, with Chiyo's friends giving her practice in being pestered by paparazzi.
And that's it. The closing credits are cute, though.
I'd sooner eat twigs from my garden than recommend this show. It's pointless. However I've got to know the characters and it's sort of sweet. My brain will fall out if I watch too much of it, though.
- Season 1
- Episodes: 10 x 24 minutes + an 11th OVA
- Keep watching: yes, but I shouldn't
- One-line summary: bad-looking demon-fighting show with lots of fanservice
- I've since finished it and... I actually quite enjoyed it, even if it does end up as a harem-ish fanservice show.
The reviews I've seen of this have been toxic. It sounds bad. It's a fanservice show first, second and third, with characterisation and plot secondary. Obviously there's no point in watching anything but the uncensored Blu-ray version, so that's what I did.
We start with a woman in a raincoat flashing a boy (Shinichirou Asano). We're less than a minute into the episode and already we're being shown nipples. The woman then transforms into a centipede demon (as you do) and is about to eat Shinichirou when a girl kills it with arrows. That's the introduction.
The next day, we meet our hero at school and learn that he's a copy of all those other personality-free anime heroes, but worse-written. There's something about him that says "cliche written by committee". 1. His parents have gone abroad. 2. His best friend at school can't stop talking about boobs. 3. His only flaw is a desire to tidy up. 4. His teacher at school jokingly offers to marry him when they're alone. 5. He looks like an ordinary boy, but he might have supernatural powers!
The demons return. Shinichirou is of course pointless, but I appreciated the fact that this is also true in-story. He can't fight. That job goes to Sakuya Shimazu (demon-slayer) and a cleavage-showing cat demon. Those two get on as badly as you'd expect, but then an even worse demon pops up. It fights with: (a) clothing damage attacks, leaving Sakuya more exposed with every blast until eventually she's only wearing knickers, and (b) a life-draining attack that gives its victims orgasms. Did I mention that this was a fanservice show? Oh, and Shinichirou seems prone to landing in compromising positions. There's one "face in groin" and one accidental "lying on top of a nearly naked girl with locked lips".
The end credits are even more shameless.
I'm expecting the show to be bad. The hero's terrible. Normally I can handle bland anime heroes, but here my brain rejects the idea that Shinichirou is a person. However I like the girls, who are much more important and vivid. The fanservice is silly, but at least it's just nudity and the girls aren't all in love with him. That makes it more tolerable for me than the likes of To Love-Ru or High School DxD, anyway. This show's almost certainly junk food, but I'll give it a go.