- Listed under "N": Prince of Tennis, aka. The New Prince of Tennis OVA vs Genius 10
- Not reviewed: Pokemon XY & Z, although I did watch the associated movie
- It's a movie, but I've reviewed it anyway: Pokemon movie #18: Hoopa and the Clash of Ages, which was surprisingly bad
- It's a movie, but I've reviewed it anyway: Pretty Cure All Stars: Spring Carnival, which is kiddie nonsense and brilliant
- It's a movie, but I've reviewed it anyway: Psycho-Pass: The Movie, which underwhelmed me, but then again I'm not wild about Psycho-Pass
- Doesn't count because it's a movie: Persona 3 the Movie #3 Falling Down
- Pankis! 2-jigen
- Pankis! 2D
- Season 1
- Episodes: 24 x 4 minutes
- Keep watching: no
- One-line summary: problem schoolboys
We begin with a silly comedy headmaster, drawn in chibi style. He's worried about some students with bad grades.
We meet them. They look like cartoon animals. There are five of them, coming across as stupid in a swaggering male way that made me dislike them immediately. Four don't even care about whether their results are good or bad. The fifth does actually work hard, apparently, but has other problems instead.
...and that's it. Our bumbling headmaster has a disciplinarian lady sidekick with a whip. Am I expected to want to watch this? I might have continued had the characters been girls, but they're not. Not even remotely tempted.
- Peeping Life
- Season: lots and lots
- Episodes: 12 x 23 minutes
- Keep watching: no no no no
- One-line summary: improvisation given life with creepy CGI
I don't know what season this is. I''ve lost track. Earlier seasons have been called Peeping Life
: The Perfect [something], with the "something" being Edition, Emotion, Evolution, Extension, Explosion, etc. There's also World History, 5.0ch, WE ARE THE HERO and generally too many to count.
The animation is apparently far better than it used to be. I can believe it, but it's still horrible. It's blatant CGI where the figures are in constant motion, even though they're standing still. It's like human seaweed under the sea or something.
The official description is:
"This 'slow-life anime' is part of the datsuryoku-kei (ennui-style) genre of comedy that depicts the minutiae of everyday life. The series observes the daily lives of Heroes from the worlds of Tezuka Production and Tatsunoko Production, 'evolved' for their modern TV appearances, and combines motion-captured improvised acting with computer animation into a series of comedy shorts."
These voice actors aren't very good at improvisation. The quality ranges from "time-wasting" to "stupid". The episode's jokes include Astro Boy trying to claim that termites knocked a huge hole in the wall, or a female character being shocked that a girl might get charged for having someone fix her bicycle.
The real joke, of course, is that these are famous manga characters in everyday situations. I'm shamefully underacquainted with Osamu Tezuka, but even I know about Astro Boy and Black Jack. As for Tatsunoko Production, that was founded by Tatsuo Yoshida and created Gatchaman, Speed Racer, Yatterman, Casshan, Time Bokan and lots more. (They're still active today, incidentally. They worked on Gatchaman Crowds and Psycho-Pass II, to name a couple.) The girl in the villain leotard in this week's episode is one of theirs: Doronjo from Yatterman.
There's a simple test for whether you should watch this show. Do you think "Black Jack goes to the doctor with flu" is inherently funny? The premise is amusing, yes, but this episode struck me as unwatchable. (Nothing to do with nudity or voyeurism, by the way. I don't know where they got that title from.)
- The Perfect Insider
- Subete ga F ni Naru
- Everything Becomes F: The Perfect Insider
- Season 1
- Episodes: 11 x 24 minutes
- Keep watching... um, okay
- One-line summary: superintelligent professors and students being talky
- I've since finished it and... it's a bit drab, but intelligent
The key thing to know is that this is a Fuji Noitamina show. That's a regular Thursday night slot on Fuji TV, set aside for more mature, challenging shows that aren't just going for the usual young/otaku male demographic. That's "mature" as in "aimed at intelligent audiences". They're not fanservice shows. Some shows in this slot have included The Tatami Galaxy, Moyashimon, Eden of the East, Princess Jellyfish, Bunny Drop, Psycho-Pass, Silver Spoon and Terror in Resonance.
That's one hell of a line-up. I don't like all of those shows, but they're definitely demanding more of their audience. This one's based on a novel. No, not a light novel series, but an actual proper novel.
The main two characters are Professor Souhei Saikawa and a first-year student in his department called Moe Nishinosono. The episode is basically them talking, although there's also some stuff about a morose genius who's one of the world's greatest scientists but also murdered her parents when she was a girl. (Probably. Moe talked to her and got told that the real killer was a doll.) They're both really clever. You know how sometimes a story contains characters who are supposedly brilliant, but the writer's clearly nowhere near intelligent enough to write them like that? That's not this show. The original novelist (Hiroshi Mori) is clearly that clever too. He's completely inhabiting these fiercely smart people.
That's it, though. Was this episode entertaining? Not really. I suppose I'll stick with it, though. Apparently it turns into a murder mystery. Let's see where it goes.
- Season 1
- Episodes: 13 x 15 minutes
- Keep watching: if I can find more of it, yes
- One-line summary: educational anime about the Cambrian era
- I've since finished it and... I enjoyed it, albeit largely for the prehistory.
It's pretty thin dramatically, but the educational side is cool. We see the Cambrian era! I've never seen the Cambrian era! To be honest, until now I'd have been a bit hazy on exactly which pre-dinosaur era was which. However I've now had a little lecture about the Cambrian explosion, in which life on Earth went from being "single-celled and simple" to "wow, lots of cool stuff swimming around".
Lots of trilobites, but the show doesn't bother with those. We all know what a trilobite fossil looks like. They're more interested in showing us a Pikaia (a leaf-shaped swimming worm), an Anomalocaridid (carnivore, up to a metre long) and other things I'd never heard of.
The rest of the episode is fun, but a bit kiddified. It's the future. Human scientists have built a "dimensional printer" (i.e. time machine) and they're going to go back to the Cambrian era in it! Who will be the pilots for this dangerous mission of world-shaking importance? Why, two fourteen-year-olds! They even have colour-coded bio-suits: blue for the boy and pink for the girl! There's also a villain and a brief live-action bit with someone called Andrew Parker taking fossils from a drawer in the Natural History Museum, London.
I'd like to watch more of this. I'd never seen a Pikaia before. I hadn't even known what a Pikaia was! However even if I'd seen millions of fossils and artist's renditions, I might well still have been getting excited about the chance of seeing an animated one swimming about...
- Plastic Memories
- Season 1
- Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
- Keep watching: yes
- One-line summary: a gentle, suburban Blade Runner
- I've since finished it and... it's very good. They nailed the ending.
It's the future. Androids are indistinguishable from humans, although that's the only way you'd realise it's not the present day. No flying cars or anything. These androids are quiet, well-behaved and capable of jumping off buildings without damaging themselves, but they have a suspiciously precise lifespan of 81,920 hours. Presumably it's planned obsolescence from the company that builds them, to force customers to upgrade to the latest model. If I were an android, I wouldn't be happy about this... but then again, I suppose you should be able to program an android to accept anything.
These androids are remarkably human, though. They even eat and use the toilet. Isla is so scared of the disintegration of her memories and personality that she's crying when we first meet her, despite normally seeming emotionless. (What's cool and funny about her, though, is that she's also a complete doofus.)
Anyway, Isla's one of our heroes. The other is Tsukasa Mizugaki, a human who's been assigned to work alongside her in Terminal Services. They recall androids that are approaching their expiration date. When the time comes, they also erase memories and personality, in what you could choose to see as either resembling euthanasia or an execution.
I liked this a lot. It's philosophical, sombre and thoughtful, but also funny. Isla can be a total goofball, but in a deadpan, very serious way. There's clearly a story behind the interactions of some of Tsukasa's new colleagues. The show can also give you a jolt, e.g. with the reason why Terminal Services insist on an android's owner(s) being present for its deactivation. It's about data protection, probably demanded by SAI Corp's legal department. An android will contain nine years' worth of potentially memories, so it's important to preserve the customers' data privacy and to be seen to do so.
It's also dealing with strong emotion. If you're asking a grandmother to assent to the execution of her granddaughter, she's not going to thank you for it even if that little girl is actually a machine with a service warranty.
I'm excited about this one. Really looking forward to it.
- Season 2
- Episode 1 (of Season 2) or 39 (of the whole show)
- Keep watching: bwahahaha
- One-line summary: silly even compared with other idol shows
I saw the first episode of PriPara
last year. It was ludicrous, but entertaining enough that I was tempted to keep watching anyway. Since then, it's got sillier.
We begin with our heroine, Laala, working in her family's pizza restaurant. Her father's dialogue is entirely comprised of weak Japanese puns based on Italian food. There will be more untranslatable Japanese wordplay later.
I think I also saw a CGI-animated dancing idol with an uncanny valley so wide that it could shelter the Death Star. I now want to write an idol anime horror parody in which the show's target audience of small girls get their souls sucked out by all that CGI-animated dancing and become the living dead. (That said, though, in fairness the motion-capture CGI dancing at the episode finale is quite well done.)
Laala is an idol! Her friends are also idols! They have fans! They've been told by Cute Older Boy In Glasses that their idol team is going to be disbanded, but don't worry! The PriPara
idol academy has a new competition instead! In the PriPara
Dream Theatre, there's going to be a PriPara
Dream Grand Prix and a chance to appear in the PriPara
Dream Parade! Wow! This will last all year and everyone will compete in this by doing live stage shows. They also get given Cyalume Charms, which might as well be subtitled "remember, kids, buy this merchandise!" (Or is it a reference to the original video game? Hardly a vital point, anyway.)
It's massively silly and camp, but it knows it. Laala has two purple ponytails, each larger than her torso. Several characters have an annoying-Finn speech defect-Finn that makes them talk like this-Finn. Except saying something other than "Finn". The flying bear says "kuma" (which means "bear"), the flying rabbit says "usa" (short for the word for "rabbit"), the girl who deserves to die says "puri" and the angel says "nano" (although in fairness at least this one is actual Japanese).
In Japan, to my horror this appears to be considered cute, rather than evidence of brain damage.
You didn't misread that, by the way. An angel and a devil show up at the closing credits, as yet more schoolgirl idols. I think. The devil and her demonic aura are actually quite funny. This show's over-the-top approach to character design does score the odd hit (e.g. the girl with a little top hat), alongside its luridly funny atrocities (the second outfit in the dance finale). I also liked the very deep, masculine voice on the girl with dark purple hair.
All the girls have the same face and you can only distinguish them by hairstyle, costume and colour coding. It's fluffy nonsense, yet another example of Japanese idol-worship being raised to the level of religion. I think it's time we started blurring the Japanese definition of "idol" (cute girl singing and dancing) with the more conventional one (mindless object of religious worship). I'm being flippant, yes, but so is this show. I wonder if it's not knowing self-parody, going over the top so fervently and wholeheartedly that it's turning this into a huge, long-running anime franchise. (PriPara
is a continuation of the Pretty Rhythm arcade games and anime, which ran for 164 episodes, not counting the movie.) It's quite funny, if you're in the mood. Here's some sample dialogue:
"Why did it change colour?"
"Because it expresses your appealing charm. The pink colour means Lovely. Laala's charm attribute went up thanks to her Live."
- Prison School
- Kangoku Gakuen
- Season 1
- Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
- Keep watching: yes
- One-line summary: Ilsa She-Wolf of the SS as Japanese schoolgirls
- I've since finished it and... it's repulsive, exploitative and awesome. The live-action drama's great too.
Abandon taste all ye who enter here. It's pretty broken. Looks fun, but probably kind of hard going for almost anyone.
We begin with five boys in prison uniforms, getting abused, brutalised and mistreated. However their jailers are girls and one of them has Stupidly Big Boobs. Seriously, she's deformed. They'd make you roll your eyes even in a hentai. She's also practically topless. Technically that's her school uniform and she's just showing a few square miles of cleavage, but I can only think that her nipples have crawled around the sides of her breasts or something.
We then jump back a few days to when the boys were five ordinary perverts. They're the only male students at an elite girls' school, so of course they're a bunch of drooling freaks. (Could they have possibly been normal in an anime like this? Ahahahahaha, no.) One of them talks as if it's the 17th century. Another has a head like a hot air balloon and a face the size of a postage stamp. Only one of them is capable of having a conversation with a girl and even (gasp) manages to do so, but he's still too weak-willed to prevent a "Peep Into The Girl's Showers" spying mission. He even participates.
So our main characters are scum, scum, scum, scum and a sympathetic loser who needs punching. The peeping mission is going to end in catastrophe, of course. The whole thing is set up to make the audience uncomfortable.
They get caught, more or less. What they didn't know is that this school has an Underground School Council (eh?) and a prison. Any girl who talks to a boy will be punished. However that's nothing compared with what awaits any boy who... um, breathes.
Thus we're back to the sadistic torture by a dominatrix so busty that it's actually kind of horrible to look at. The boys enjoy this. It then gets worse.
What's interesting about all this is that it's not what you'd think. It's not funny and it's certainly not sexy. It's grotesque. The only sympathetic-ish characters end up with the boy trying and failing (through his own cowardice) to tell the girl that he participated in the Peeping Mission and saw her naked. You can respect the guy's instincts, but he's being portrayed as weak and pathetic. You could imagine a Bland Nice Guy Anime Hero in the same situation, but this series is doing it for humiliation and to undermine its own lead character.
It's going too far. It's also clearly doing it deliberately. It's not trying and failing to be, say, mainstream and socially acceptable. The show's actually trying to be this gross and freakish. Given that, it's a riotous success and I'll be watching uncomfortably to see what they're planning to do with it.
- Punch Line
- Season 1
- Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
- Keep watching: I've got no choice, have I?
- One-line summary: panty shots that can destroy the world
- I've since finished it and... it's odd. Silly at first, then increasingly less so.
In English, 'Punch Line
' sounds like a superhero fight anime. In Japanese, not so much. It's more like "panty line" or "panty flash", although it's also capable of being the English word "punch line" (of a joke).
The show's also mental, by design. It's proud of this. It's standing astride the battlements of Castle Mental, waving its flag of Loopy Mentalness to show the world it's as mental as humanly possible.
It begins with a bus hijack and a pink-haired action bike girl. She boards the speeding bus and gives a bad guy one of the more flamboyant kicks you'll ever see. It sends him flying from the bus and dumps him on the bike. Her name's Strange Juice and she does a weird posing combination of idol and magical girl. All this looks pretty spectacular.
However there's also a boy called Yuuta on the bus. Yuuta sees Strange Juice's panties and has an extreme reaction. A minute later, he's a ghost and back in his boarding house, watching himself being streamed on the internet in real time. A ghost cat (who watches cat porn on the internet) explains to him that someone's stolen his body. To get it back, he has to get some mystical Indian book that is apparently also in this boarding house. However if he gets sexually aroused by seeing girls' panties, then an asteroid will strike the Earth and wipe out mankind.
This happens twice in this episode. Seriously. The Earth's a smoking cinder. Fortunately ghosts can go back in time and try again.
This might sound mental, but you're still underestimating this show. It's more mental than that. It's silly, but in a way that makes you laugh just discussing it with people. It's a show built around panty shots. Pretty much every creative decision has been taken with an eye to trying to make someone laugh in the pub afterwards. It does have characters and a plot, but being able to go back in time and undo any mistake suggests that they're not taking the whole "plot" thing too seriously. To be honest, I'm not wild about the panty shots, but anything this crazed is pretty much a must-watch.