- Wakaba Girl
- Season 1
- Episodes: 13 x 8 minutes + an OVA
- Keep watching: ahhh, why not?
- One-line summary: generic but modestly amusing slice-of-life schoolgirls
- I've since finished it and... it's rather good
It's sort of nice, in a forgettable way. It wouldn't hurt to watch it. You wouldn't miss anything if you didn't. I'll probably keep going, though.
It's about four schoolgirls. Nothing really happens beyond them meeting each other, but that's no great surprise in eight minutes. There's the title character, Wakaba, a rich-but-dim girl who's going to an ordinary school because she's too stupid to get into the prestigious academy everyone expected. She's not snobbish at all, though, and in fact her ambition is to be a regular schoolgirl like everyone else. (The word she uses means something else, but no one tells her.)
Her new friends are Moeko, Mao and Nao. They all had personalities, but the only one that particularly jumps out at me was the "boy in a girl's body" Nao. She uses masculine language. Her voice actor is even speaking in a boy's voice. She's a boy... except for the minor matter of being a girl.
...and that's it. Did I enjoy it? Yes, in an almost content-free sort of way. Can I remember anything that happened in it? No, but I can remember two of the main characters and that's not too bad in eight minutes. I'm happy enough to keep going.
- Wakako Zake
- Season 1
- Episodes: 12 x 2 minutes
- Keep watching: no
- One-line summary: woman in bar rhapsodies about salmon and sake
Anime often does foodgasms. I've never understood it. Anime characters will go into rhapsodies about something they've just eaten, usually sounding like a highbrow restaurant critic who's being given oral sex.
This short-form anime's main character is like that, but without the "orgasm" bit. She sits there like a rock, while we listen to her inner monologue about salmon skin and Japanese sake. When a man sits next to her, she walks away because he commits the crime of ordering rice with his salmon.
That's it. Not only do I not want to keep watching, but I don't understand why other people might want to.
- Wish Upon the Pleiades
- Wish on the Pleiades
- Houkago no Pleiades
- Season 1
- Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
- Keep watching: yes yes yes
- One-line summary: a magical girl show that feels fresh
- I've since finished it and... it's gentle, nice and deliberately old-fashioned
I assumed I'd be watching all of this series as soon as "Gainax" appeared in the opening credits. By the time I'd finished, though, I wanted to watch it for the simpler reason that it looked amazing. It's a magical girl show, but it could almost convince you that it's the first such show ever made and that everything in it was invented afresh, instead of having been done to death in anime over decades.
Subaru is a girl who likes telescopes. She owns one and she describes it as "precious to her". She carries it to school and she's looking forward to a meteor shower tonight. However when she's trying to go into her astronomy club's classroom, magic blossoms from her footsteps, from her key when she puts it in the lock and from the door itself.
What's through the door is now Key Gardens. Later she'll meet a blue water-blob, meet four witches and fly through the air like a fireworks display.
I think it's amazing. It's a magical girl show that's genuinely magical. It has a sense of wonder. The script and its story beats are fairly standard (although there's something interesting between Subaru and her childhood friend Aoi), but the animators are creating a world you'd want to read to your children at bedtime. It's beautiful. The girls flying into the evening sky is to die for. The magical pinball ricochet effect that saves them from plummetting is a delight. Absolutely lovely. It's early days and I'm basing my hyperbole entirely on the animation, not the story, but so far this looks as if it deserves to be as famous as Ghibli.
- Wooser's Hand-to-Mouth Life: Phantasmagoric Arc
- Wooser no Sono Higurashi Mugen-hen
- Season 3
- Episodes: 13 x 8 minutes
- Keep watching: I've watched the first two seasons, so I suppose so.
- One-line summary: yellow rabbit alien in nonsense random stuff series
- I've since finished it and... I enjoyed it more than Seasons 1-2, but that's not saying much
Bewilderingly normal. For Wooser, anyway.
This show's first two seasons were random gag series that weren't really funny and only lasted three or four minutes an episode. Wooser is a cute mascot animal with scuzzball opinions. The show could be imagined as disjointed low-key ramblings in animated form.
This series, though, has eight-minute episodes. Will the longer format accommodate the fractured style of Wooser? Are they even planning to stick with that, or is this the start of something new? So far, it looks like the latter.
This episode actually has a coherent eight-minute storyline, with a protagonist overcoming obstacles. That's so weird. What's more, it has a retcon of Wooser's uncharacteristically heroic death at the end of Season Two, which is downright perplexing. Why did they bother? The show had never cared about continuity before. Are they planning to go back and retcon Wooser's (multiple) deaths from Season One too?
Anyway, Wooser goes to heaven, meets five incarnations of the Japanese superhero Ultraman and then returns to Earth in 1980s video game graphics mode. Eventually he gets home... but his friends are gone! Or are they? Also, Ultraman is still watching! We then see a title sequence animated in collage style and you'll think, "Aha, that was just the pre-credits sequence"... but in fact what you're watching now are the closing credits. Eh? What? Did I miss something? The end.
Don't watch this show. It's not very good. I'll watch it for you and report back.
- Season 3
- Episodes: 13 x 24 + a double-length Christmas special
- Keep watching: obviously
- One-line summary: charming workplace slice-of-life comedy
- I've since finished it and... it's still a charming light comedy and I like it a lot
It's Season 3 of Working!!!
I'd watched and greatly enjoyed both the 2010 and 2011 seasons, so there was no chance of me missing this.
It's the same as before. All the gang are still working in the Wagnaria family restaurant and they're still loons. This time, I found myself noticing the parallels more than before. Souta Takanashi has sister problems and fetishises little, younger things (children, puppies, kittens), while Aoi Yamada has brother problems and fetishises older things (i.e. anyone she's identified as a parental substitute). They'd be perfect for each other if only Yamada were smaller... well, ideally also less lazy, untrustworthy, destructive, incompetent (and almost proud of it), attention-seeking, manipulative, weird and bubbleheaded.
Oh, and the optimistic space case Yamada Kirio's mission in life is looking for his sister Yamada Aoi (who lives in Wagnaria), while the optimistic space case Otoo-san's mission in life is looking for his wife (and he owns Wagnaria).
It's another funny episode, but it's noticeable that people have moved on a good distance from where they'd been when the series started. Inami seems to have mostly cured her man phobia. She serves two male customers without punching them, then later hangs out with Yamada Kirio with no signs of significant terror. Souma is still gleefully manipulative, but for altruistic purposes. No one's even particularly concerned about Souta getting glomped on to by that tiny child he helped back in Season 2 ep.5. They're not worried that he might be a paedophile. Weird, but not a paedophile. Indeed, Popura starts getting fidgety about being displaced as Souta's Tiny Cute Pet.
It's great, as always. Well, I suppose "great" is an exaggeration. It's warm and nice. It made me laugh.
- World Break: Aria of Curse for a Holy Swordsman
- Seiken Tsukai no World Break
- Season 1
- Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
- Keep watching: yes
- One-line summary: yet another magical fighting school light novel adaptation
- I've since finished it and... it's terrible. Don't watch it. Don't make my mistake.
Genre is a funny thing. There's horror, SF and the stage musical. Now, though, anime has given us the more specific genre of "light novel adaptation about a holier-than-holy male protagonist who goes to Magical Fighting School, partners a pink-haired princess with flame powers and acquires a harem". They're all over the place. You can't turn around without accidentally watching two or three such shows. Never let it be said that Japan doesn't have fads. Just from 2015, we've already had three with this show, The Asterisk War and Chivalry of a Failed Knight, plus near-misses like Absolute Duo. (Julie Sigtuna has silver hair, doesn't use fire and isn't a princess, but otherwise it fits the template.)
I've watched all the others in that list, so I'll be watching this too. That goes without saying. Even if it's a train wreck, it'll be interesting to compare them. A few preliminary impressions...
1. Satsuki Ranjou's a bit different from the usual tsunderes. I like her. She's a lively, outgoing girl who's comfortable with people, but has some mildly distinctive personality flaws. She gratuitously starts a fight with a bullying creep, gloats at him and then gets her arse kicked. She later admits that she picked that fight not out of righteousness, but simply in an attempt to look cool. As for our hero, she introduces herself with a headbutt, but is soon all over him after recognising him as her beloved brother from a past life. No prickliness or self-consciousness at all. It's quite refreshing. Were they incestuous? Do you need to ask? "Our love won't be a taboo this time!"
She's pink-haired, obviously, and the title sequence suggests flame powers. Was she a princess in that past life?
2. The harem angle, on the other hand, is going full blast within the first five minutes. Satsuki's already in love with her "brother" and has zero inhibitions. This is a girl who'll walk naked down a corridor, seemingly not having realised that she's forgotten to put any clothes on. However there's also Shizuno Urushibara, who thinks she used to be Generic Anonymous Hero's wife and likes nothing better than pushing his head between her breasts.
3. Generic Anonymous Hero is... um, what was I talking about? Oh, and he might be secretly the greatest warrior in the world! Shock horror! "You're the guardian of the holy sword! The most powerful knight!"
4. There are dragons! They look cool, actually.
5. The episode's opening is incoherent. We see dragons and a wizard writing spells in the air with his finger. We then jump to a school setting and a headmistress in a witch's hat. "You've inherited the memories of your past lives."
6. Why does magic practice require swimsuits?
7. I quite liked Offensive Cock. Obviously he's just there to be beaten by Generic Anonymous Hero, but the episode at least tries to make him less throwaway than usual. He crushes Satsuki like a bug and is doing the same to our hero until a last-minute magical reversal.
It looks fun. The "past life" angle is unusual. Some of the characterisation has potential, although not unfortunately the hero. The harem stuff should be eye-rolling, but at least we know what to expect from the beginning. Let's see how it goes.
- World Trigger
- Season 1
- Episode 13 of 73
- 24 minutes
- Keep watching: no
- One-line summary: alien-fighting Border Agents
I remember thinking ep.1 was okay. This is the show's first episode of 2015 and it's okay too. I could imagine watching it, but... well, 73 episodes.
Mankind is fighting aliens! They're called Neighbours and the only thing stopping us from being overrun are the Border Agents. (These are teenagers with superweapons, rather than, say, passport control officials at Heathrow Airport.) However one of the Border Agents is himself a Neighbour! Will the world end? (Hint: no.)
The episode's first half reminded me a bit of Attack on Titan: Junior High. (Looking back, I notice that ep.1 reminded me of Attack on Titan.) It's going for laughs in a similarly self-parodic way, with its Defenders of Mankind being silly and/or goofing off. One Border Agent group spies on another's breakfast and cooking habits. One character makes another re-enact The Karate Kid for laughs, thus demonstrating that Reality Doesn't Work Like That.
"I lost to a capybara."
After that, though, we get Border Agent politics and a Mexican stand-off. This is a bit more serious. Overall, I get the impression that I'd probably quite enjoy this show, but I think I'd want it to feel a bit less throwaway before I watched 73 episodes of it. Nothing much wrong with it, though. It passed the time just fine.