BerserkvampiresJapanese
Anime 1st episodes 2016: B
Including: B-Project Kodou Ambitious, Bakuon!!, Bananya, Battery, Battle Spirits Double Drive, BBK/BRNK, Berserk (2016 anime), Beyblade Burst, Big Order (TV series), Bloodivores, Bonobono, Brave Witches, Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV, Bungou Stray Dogs: Season 1, Bungou Stray Dogs: Season 2
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2016
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2016 >>
Keywords: Berserk, anime, SF, fantasy, vampires, superhero
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 14 first episodes
Website category: Anime 1st eps
Review date: 12 September 2017
Listed under "C": Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu LOVE! LOVE!, aka. Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! LOVE!
Listed under "C": Bishoujo Yuugi Unit Crane Geeru Seasons 1 and 2
Listed under "E": Boku dake ga Inai Machi, aka. Erased
Listed under "M": Boku no Hero Academia, aka. My Hero Academia
Listed under "M": Bernard Jou Iwaku., aka. Miss Bernard said.
B Project Kodou Ambitious
B-Project Kodou Ambitious
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: boy idols
This tested my willingness to watch the first episode of everything. Dancing pretty boy idols. They were singing at me. It was only the opening titles and I was already fast-forwarding, so that's a bad sign.
B-Project = "Boy Project"? They're beautiful, they love themselves and there are ten of them. The drama in the episode's first half involves learning that their upcoming TV appearance has been cancelled. Someone else has been inserted into their slot! Oh, woe, the universe will end. They also don't seem too intelligent, given how long it takes them to react on being told this news.
However there's also a girl. The episode's title is "BOYS MEET GIRL". Her name's Tsubasa and she's been hired as their new A&R, despite knowing nothing about music or the music business. Why choose her, then? Maybe she gives great blow jobs? (No, just kidding. She'd never do that, since she's the audience viewpoint character in what's very very very obviously fetish fuel for a certain kind of fangirl.) She's very useful to whoever wrote this anime, though, because she needs everything explained to her. What's an A&R, for instance? She wants to know too. Despite her nerves, though, she manages to spot a dissonant harmony in the background tune of a recording she attends, which was a relatively good bit in the episode.
I'd sooner eat live spiders than watch more of this anime, but it's not excruciating. It becomes watchable after about ten minutes, although it lapses again four minutes later when someone starts singing. It was mildly interesting to see the music production process. However that's clearly not the reason we're meant to be watching this show. Watch this show if you fancy the idea of an episode where the last thing we see is a naked pretty boy looking at us from (his?) bed, saying "the bad end isn't so bad; good night, my Cinderella." (Of course this is just a gender-flipped equivalent of any number of equally bad anime that objectify girls, but that doesn't make it any more watchable.)
bakuon
Bakuon!!
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: schoolgirl motorbike club
There was absolutely no chance of me continuing with this. Motorbikes. Girls on motorbikes. Why should I care? It might be funny if they all got squashed under a lorry in ep.12, but otherwise I can't connect at all.
"I'm going to ride for as long as the road goes on!"
Yeah, yeah. Have fun burning up yet more of the world's fossil fuels to no purpose.
That said, though, the show's not bad. I liked it more than I'd expected. It's being much more specific about its motorbikes than, say, The Rolling Girls. The writer's clearly a motorbike freak and full of opinions about them, e.g. making cracks about Honda and Suzuki. (One of the girls worships Suzuki and won't hear a bad word said about their bikes, even the ones that everyone agrees are terrible.) This show isn't just "ooooh, motorbikes", but instead a bike nerd saying lots of detailed, knowledgeable things on the subject, which was entertaining even for me.
The episode's also reminding us of their downsides. "There are plenty of reasons not to ride bikes." They're dangerous. Someone has a bike accident, albeit a harmless one during practice. "All bikes break down to some degree or another." There's an awareness that they're not particularly cool, at least if you're a schoolgirl riding one to high school. If you're a girl, they're heavy.
The cast are... (a) Onsa Amano, a manic bike fan with a slightly old-fashioned character design. Looking at her reminded me of 1990s anime. That was quite nifty, actually, since the character herself is quite retro with her conviction that bikes are cool. (b) Hane Sakura, a bit of a space case who knows nothing about motorbikes but knows that it's hard work riding a bicycle up a hill. (c) The Stig. That's not her name, but she's the Stig off Top Gear. She never talks and she's never seen without her helmet. (d) Rin Suzunoki, of the blind brand loyalty to Suzuki.
There's some mild but blatant fanservice, if that's not self-contradictory. The camera's liable to pan up and down the girls' bodies, with particular attention on their boobs. Everyone's fully clothed, but it's still hardly subtle.
My copy's subtitles also had an annoying quirk. They translate "bike" as "bike"! Shocking. I can see why they did that, mind you. It's not wrong. If you're a translator on a deadline, it's the obvious choice. Japanese uses the English word "bike" as a loan word... but with a more specific meaning. In Japanese, it's specifically a motorbike. You can't use it for bicycles, or even for other similar motorised vehicles like scooters or mopeds. In English, though, "bike" is a more generic word that might be assumed to mean "bicycle" if it's not clear from context. In later episodes I'm sure that context will be clear, but ep.1 has ordinary bicycles as well (e.g. Hane) and it's comparing them with motorbikes. In short, I hated that translation choice.
I've seen this show called "K-On! with motorbikes", suggesting that it's not so much about motorbikes as it is about cute girls having fun in a club. I can imagine that, although the writer clearly has lots to say on his chosen subject. It probably is quite fun. I still won't be watching it, though.
"Only a fool can ride a motorbike!"
bana nya
Bananya
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 3 minutes
Keep watching: why not?
One-line summary: cats inside bananas
I've since finished it and... it's inoffensive, but there's nothing there.
Cats live inside bananas.
We see a banana in someone's kitchen. It peels itself. A kitten sticks its head out and starts hopping around in its banana, like someone travelling from room to room without leaving their sleeping bag.
This is the kitty who lives in a banana. It's also the end. Well, what did you expect for a three-minute episode that can't even afford hand-drawn animation? It's all cel-traced CGI. The episode's all set-up for the premise and contains no character, comedy or drama, so I can't even make any judgement on whether the show as a whole is good or bad. The concept seems fairly loopy, though, so I'll continue and report back.
I told Tomoko about this episode. She wasn't interested. I told her its punning title. She groaned.
batte.ry
Battery
Season 1
Episodes: 11 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: baseball
The title's a baseball term. "Battery" is a collective word for the pitcher and the catcher. It's got nothing to do with electricity, physical assault, a group of guns or music. The main character's a 12-year-old star pitcher who's moving to a new school. His name's Takumi Harada and he's arrogant enough for his mother to have a go at him about his attitude when he's being particularly rude over dinner. He tends to be dismissive.
Later, someone says to him, "It seems like 'I'm not interested' is your favourite phrase."
The catcher he's presumably going to partner with is Go Nagakura, a local boy who happens to be a fan of his. It seems that Takumi's famous among elementary school baseball players, or at least famous enough that Go's heard of him. (Takumi's got a cool grandfather who lives here and is the ultimate baseball guru.) Takumi also has a younger brother who wants to play baseball too, but isn't strong enough to do so. Maybe it's an age thing, or maybe he has health issues. I was assuming the former, since Grandad refuses to teach Takumi how to pitch a sinker on the grounds that Takumi's too young for it and it would be bad for his elbow.
It's slightly less baseball-y than most baseball anime, probably because it's based on a series of children's novels that won a literary award a few years ago. It's not just another baseball manga. The title sequence is oddly reluctant to include any baseball at first, as indeed is the episode. However it's still about baseball, with a cold protagonist to boot. Even if I'd been a baseball fan, think I'd have needed to know about that literary award to be persuaded to keep watching. This isn't for me.
Battle Spirits
Battle Spirits Double Drive
Anime series 8 of the Battle Spirits franchise
Episodes: 51 x 21 minutes
Keep watching: I enjoyed it, but no
One-line summary: trading card battle game anime
Battle Spirits is one of Japan's most popular trading card games, so it has spin-off anime. There are many such shows. However what makes this one a bit different (i.e. watchable) is that it's set in a fantasy world. The dragons are real dragons. The quest for the Twelve God-Kings is a real quest. The cast are sword-and-sorcery heroes, whereas I've come to expect this kind of show to be about nerds in Tokyo who live and breathe a trading card game, hang out together in gaming shops and would sell their internal organs to get more money to spend there.
Furthermore it's also light, amusing and mildly subversive of heroic stereotypes. It's still a children's show, of course, and all of its non-villainous characters look about eight. That's not a problem, though, and I quite liked it.
It starts amusingly. "They mustn't get their hands on the precious card that has protected the village for generations!" This world's people play that trading card game, you see. That's their equivalent of war. "Protect" means "win lots of card games" and so prevent, um, something. Later I almost laughed aloud when a small child called Mei was challenged in battle by the Dark Battler who's planning to resurrect the Evil Imperial God... and they started by dealing some cards.
The theme music is so macho that it's unintentionally funny. "WE ARE FIGHTING, GO GO! WE ARE FIGHTING, YEAH YEAH!"
The first baddie we meet is Sandrat, a man who's about 50% afro. He's like a walking mushroom cloud. He keeps candy in there. He's riding a Mad Max bike through a wilderness and he's the kind of lovable semi-villain who'll be trying to steal from small children, but never by force. It doesn't occur to him. He's about four times the height and thirty times the weight of his victim, yet the only tactics Sandrat can think of are to plea, lie and wheedle. Welcome to children's TV. Mei thus never realises that Sandrat isn't his best friend, which can be funny.
There's also a party of four child heroes who do nothing of significance. I presume they'll be important in future episodes. At least one of them (Shunta) is from Japan, but he's in the Spirit World now. Their most memorable scene involves Shunta grumbling about a long walk and going crazy about food, which again I found amusing in how it undercuts the genre.
I enjoyed this episode. I'd defend it. I won't be watching the rest of the series, but this episode was still a laugh. Admittedly I enjoyed it partly in an ironic way, e.g. this episode's God-King being called "Glorious Sheep". (Yes, it's a sheep. Truth in advertising.) However the card game battle was quite fun, even if you're like me and normally fast-forward through these things. The characters entertained me. The writers are happy to let the baddie win.
Bubuki Buranki
BBK/BRNK
Bubuki/Buranki
Seasons 1-2
Episodes: 24 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: I got as far as ep.2
One-line summary: superpowered teenagers, but with a complicated SF justification and mecha
Is this series good? I don't know. I watched ep.1 and I don't think it's given me enough information to judge yet. Might be good, might be bad. I'll continue tentatively.
We begin with two twins on what we'll learn later is their eighth birthday. There's Kaoruko (girl, dangerously positive outlook) and Azuma (boy, mildly negative outlook). They're living in a world with Buranki, which are ground-shaking giant robot things. "They walk around in their sleep," says Mum.
What if the Buranki wake up? Well, in that case Mum will do something. She's vague about exactly what this is, possibly because she's physically frail and "doing something" might be life-endangering for her, but we'll learn from Dad that she and the children have a power that he doesn't. This might be how Kaoruko is able to wake up a Buranki deliberately, because she's trying to help Mum. She didn't think this could go wrong. The technical term for this is "too much optimism".
I think this is the end of the world.
TEN YEARS LATER
It's Tokyo and those eight-year-olds have presumably grown up to be eighteen. We're following Azuma, the less interesting one. It looks as if Mum's actions ten years ago mean she's now regarded as the perpetrator of the apocalypse and the government would love to get their hands on Azuma's Bubuki Heart. They arrest and interrogate him, but then some other teenagers get involved. The male one (Hiiragi Nono) is arrogant and wants slapping.
I'm a bit vague on the technicalities, but it looks as if the big Bubuki are associated with little Buranki. These are the SF equivalent of magic fairies and give our teenagers superpowers. They look cute. Unfortunately there are some flashily dressed grown-ups who also have Buranki and don't like our heroes. They express this with bullets and explosions.
Did that teenage girl just kill two cops?
...and that's it. I don't know what the show's going to be like. I liked the children, but that was ten years ago now. I'm luke-warm on the teenagers, especially Hiiragi, but there's nothing wrong with what we see here. The episode seems fine. I neither loved it nor hated it. I'd have been more excited about a series about the eight-year-olds, but the timeskip hasn't wrecked the show or anything. It's all-CGI, unfortunately, but it's cell-shaded and quite well done. The faces are reasonably expressive and there were only a couple of points where the emotions weren't being portrayed strongly enough. I have no objection to the show, anyway.
EPISODE TWO
Okay, I've seen ep.2. Definitely not continuing.
Good things: Kogane-chan and Migite-chan are cute. Bad things: lots of action. It's well animated, but there's enough of it that to me this episode felt empty. I remember giant robots, the arrogant cock, fighting and an evil laugh.
Plus of course it's all-CGI, which is hardly a plus even if it's not a good enough reason on its own to stop watching.
I've seen enough.
beruseruku
Berserk
Season 2
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: ...yes
One-line summary: infamously dark fantasy
I've since finished it and... it's proper, authentic Berserk (i.e. gruesome), but also entertaining and watchable. I'll be continuing with the 2017 season.
I hadn't been expecting to continue with this. I can't say that I enjoyed its 1997 predecessor. "Slogged through", "endured" and "survived" would be better words. Nonetheless here I am, planning to watch more of Guts and his medieval fantasy butchery in the land of "All Goodness And Light Is Doomed To Despair".
It's a sequel, but it's not. It's using the same voice cast as the 2012-2013 films, not the 1997 TV series. However it's adapting the manga arc that follows on from them, so it feels like a sequel. I watched them back to back and it feels like the next episode in the story, which was definitely a factor in getting me to continue. However there are some differences:
1. The art. Everyone hates the art. It's all-CGI and the production misjudged it so badly that it's become a landmark in anime history. In fact, though, it's not that bad. The shadows are pretty ugly, but I got used to it.
2. The tone. The story underneath is still brutal and soul-destroying, mind you. It begins with hanged corpses, rows of severed heads and a woman being dragged off to be raped or worse. Two important characters in the episode are a monk and a little girl. Don't expect to enjoy what happens to them. Guts is still the kind of barbarian who can kill innocents, then laugh while looking at the corpses and say "only the weak get themselves killed in someone else's battle". He likens death to stepping on ants. That's the hero, by the way. The tone, though... well, there's cool music that almost makes the swordplay exciting, while the cast includes a smart-arse fairy about two inches high who gives the impression of being introduced to attract a child audience.
This makes me itchy. It's not Berserk. Making the show more watchable like this feels as if they've sold out... but being more watchable will be part of why I'm still watching. Hurm. There's a paradox for you.
It fits. I accepted it as the next episode, although I did notice that it has more magic-users than usual (a wizard and a fairy) and that Guts now has a machine-gun crossbow. On a more philosophical level, Guts has a pseudo-debate with a monk about religious matters (the afterlife and the morality of being a professional killer). I liked that. Guts has that side to him too, although he doesn't often show it. The episode's tone feels lightweight, but someone who hadn't seen the 1997 series would think I was some kind of psychopath for saying that.
beyblade-burst
Beyblade Burst
3rd incarnation of the Beyblade franchise
1st season of Burst series
8th season of Beyblade in general
Episodes: 51 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: hahahahahahaha
One-line summary: spinning top battle game anime
There are a million shows like this. Small boys play a rather dumb-looking game and worship it as if it's the most important thing in the universe, giving it so much machismo and posturing that you'd think it must be called Blood Murder Testosterone Deathmatch or something. These shows are basically toy commercials, sponsored by the toy companies and aimed at their immature potential customers.
Don't watch them. However this example is particularly bad, because the game itself is so ludicrous in this context. I can comprehend people getting caught up in, say, a trading card game. Beyblade, though... well, it's a spinning top. The players hold a gun-like thing horizontally above the ground, then pull a string. Your Beyblade will then fly out of the gun and go spinning around a small crater-shaped arena. You have no further control over it. All you did was launch the little thing. At least with marbles you're sending your marble in a straight line, like billiards or snooker, but here it goes round and round until it hits your opponent's Beyblade. That looks random to me. You might as well be pulling names out of a hat. Anyway, the winner is the Beyblade that manages to knock over the other Beyblade.
How can you make a game out of this? If you actually made me play Beyblade, I can imagine it being vaguely amusing for about twenty minutes. That would be my limit. That said, though, I know someone who used to play Beyblade a decade ago, when they were a child, and they remember it being huge for the month when everyone was into it. You could hurt someone with those launchers, which will always appeal to small boys. Besides, the game's clearly been around for years, so it must have something going for it. In the context of this TV show, though, it doesn't work for me. They're spinning tops and there's no skill. It might as well be eeny meeny miney mo. I just laugh when the show tries to make a Beyblade battle look awesome. (When someone's about to win a Beyblade battle, imaginary demons appear. They're not really there, unfortunately. It's just imagery to look cool.)
There's also an idiot hero, Valt Aoi. That's not just me being rude about Beybladers. Valt Aoi is the kind of player who shoots his mouth off all the time... but he's a newbie and on being told to master the Beyblade basics, thinks this means strength training. On the upside, though, the show isn't afraid to let Big Mouth Hero tell everyone how he's going to win... and then lose, lose and lose. I appreciated that. He's also far more likeable than many such protagonists, being nice to everyone and even getting a thrill out of the experience of being beaten. "I love Beyblade more than anyone!"
Season two in 2017 has a brilliant title: "Beyblade Burst God". The show seems reasonably harmless... but you'd still have to nail me to a chair to make me keep watching it. It was a struggle just getting through this episode.
"He used his instincts! He could be a genius Beyblader!"
big-order
Big Order
Season 1
Episodes: 10 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: wish-granting fairies would be a bad thing
I've since finished it and... I liked it a lot and now I want to read the manga too.
It's based on a manga by Sakae Esuno, the creator of Future Diary. This is good. However I've seen some pretty hostile reviews of the full series, to the extent that I'm wondering if this anime flopped so hard that it killed the original manga.
Manga: Nov 2011 to Sept 2016 (ten volumes)
Anime: April-June 2016 (ten episodes)
This episode's quite interesting, though. An "Order" is someone who can have their wishes granted, although I think it's a bit more complicated than that. An "Order" will have a specific power, e.g. infinite regeneration that gives de facto immortality. Let's ignore the technicalities, though. It's the core idea that's terrifying. There are fairies that can make your wish come true. Sounds great, right? Now imagine that these fairies are liable to visit any human being at whim, no matter how immature, criminally inclined or self-destructive. Our hero's hospitalised little sister, for instance, would have chosen to have her parents resurrected and for them all to live together forever, which I bet would warp into your worst nightmare.
Ten years ago, Eiji Hoshimiya destroyed the world. Whoops. Well, sort of. The planet's still there and human civilisation actually seems to have picked itself up okay, but lift your eyes to the skyline and you'll see that it looks a bit post-apocalypse.
Unsurprisingly, "Orders" aren't looked on fondly. Eiji is terrified of two things: (a) hurting more people with his powers, and (b) having everyone learn that he's an "Order". He wants to keep his head down. This wish isn't going to be granted.
I liked this episode. I like Future Diary and this is similarly based on a scary big idea. I'm bracing myself for all the bad things that I presume are coming my way in later episodes, but I'll still be continuing with this.
blood-vores
Bloodivores
Time Prisoners
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: why not?
One-line summary: vampires rob a bank
I've since finished it and... it's amateur hour.
Everyone seems to hate this one. Or is it just that everyone hates Chinese-Japanese co-produced anime from 2016? There were quite a few of them all of a sudden and they tended to be absolute bilge, it seems. This episode, though, seems okay. I don't see the problem. I didn't think it was brilliant or anything, but I'll probably watch ep.2.
We begin with a car chase involving police and flash grenades. This is a world of bloodivores. These are vampires without saying the V-world, created as a side-effect of drugs. Since this fairly generic-looking setting appears to be China, I think we can write that off as just a slightly worse than usual health scare. This isn't the only China-ism, incidentally, some of which appear to have disconcerted Western audiences. There's also the police's habit of clustering around someone for a mass beating with batons, not to mention the criminal justice system's gift for delivering death sentences faster than a Pizza Express.
Anyway, our heroes are Mi Lui, Anji, Lee Shin and Lou Yao. They're vampires. They seem like jerks, to be honest. They rob a bank and one of them tries to kill a child for the crime of having seen his face, although the other three don't let him do it.
They also all wear D-GPS collars (?) that are liable to start blinking and allow the police to track you. What triggered this? Why that one and not the other three? I've no idea, although presumably it's a government thing. (Hello again, China, although in fairness I think any vampire-infested country would want electronic surveillance of them. Alternatively, maybe it's monitoring the mental or physical state of its wearer and raising the alarm if it detects thirst?) Our heroes flee, of course, but this doesn't turn out as it would in an American series.
It's nothing special, but it seems okay. I've got no beef with it. I don't particularly like the cast, but it looks as if they're about to run into bastards a hundred times bigger than they are. I'll see what's in ep.2, anyway.
bono bono
Bonobono
Series 2, but Series 1 was in 1995
Episodes: 38 x 6 minutes in 2016
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: looks like a children's show
Apparently the manga it's based on won a Kodansha Manga Award. It had an anime TV series twenty years ago, plus two anime films. However it looks as if it's for small children and it's about the adventures of a cute animal, playing with his animal friends in the forest.
Bonobono himself is a blue... something. My first guess was "seal", but he has arms, legs and a tail. He can walk along normally and he has a pointy-egg head with no ears and a mouth like a scrotum. Apparently he's a sea otter. Meanwhile his friend, the raccoon, can come across as a bit violent and abrasive, but seems decent enough. They play in the sea. The raccoon enjoys being thrown around by big waves.
That's it. It's not for me.
brave-witches
Brave Witches
World Witches Series: 502nd Joint Fighter Wing Brave Witches
Season 3 of the Strike Witches franchise, but the first of this spin-off series
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes, plus a 13th OVA episode
Keep watching: I'm not too bothered either way
One-line summary: girls as WW2 fighter planes
I've since finished it and... it's quite good, actually.
World War Two fighter planes are Japanese schoolgirls. Their boots make their legs look like surface-to-air missiles. They also use magic that makes them grow a tail and cat ears, while their school uniform involves forgetting to wear your skirt.
Furthermore, this is an alternate history. ALIENS invaded the world in 1939 and they've taken over almost all of Europe! Now, in 1944, Japanese schoolgirls are going to have to save the world from the ALIENY ALIENS FROM SPACE who couldn't possibly be surrogate Nazis at all! (They're called Neuroi.) There's an entire subgenre of anime that effectively recasts Japan as the heroes of World War Two, but with schoolgirls. (These girls may or may not be Japanese, but they have Japanese names like Hikari and Takami Karibuchi.)
I'm not sure whether or not to continue. It's a coin-toss. I was so undecided that I was googling other people's reviews to see whether they liked the show as a whole. The show's probably sort of okay-ish, but my life wouldn't end if I ditched it. All the ideas in this episode are ridiculous, but the actual episode is a perfectly watchable magical schoolgirl show. Hikari's bad at magic, although we see her go running and she has good stamina. Her sister Takami's coming back from Europe! Yay! However it looks as if she's going to be deployed to Europe again, to fight more Neuroi! Hikari wants to join her there (i.e. in a warzone). This sounds like a bad idea. She's not just a schoolgirl, but also a schoolgirl who's bad at magic. Undaunted, though, she takes part in a two-girl race to qualify for... um, the right to be sent into combat against aliens.
(Q) Did I like the characters? (A) They're fine.
(Q) Do I approve of the premise? (A) No, but that's not enough to stop me continuing. I've watched Kantai Collection.
(Q) What did I think of the fanservice? (A) I wouldn't really call it fanservice, actually. Admittedly there's a scene of Hikari and Takami in the bath, but those skirtless uniforms are being worn with what looks like a school swimsuit. It's navy blue. It's a slightly silly look, but on reflection it seems fairly practical for someone going into combat.
An attempt is being made at recreating a 1940s era. I liked the period car. The episode's opening witch battle made me start laughing. However I'm not engaging with the premise so far and I'm tilting faintly towards dropping the show. It's the kind of ep.1 that makes you think you'd need to watch ep.2 to make a judgement. Maybe I'll do that?
FF XV
Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV
Season 1
Episodes: 5 x 10-15 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: anime spin-off of Final Fantasy XV
Apparently it's quite good. Lots of people watched its official YouTube releases and the critical reaction has been strong. I really have a problem with it, but equally I'm not sufficiently bothered to keep watching either.
It's based on Final Fantasy XV (released 2016) and it's telling some of the story the production team came up with, but felt didn't fit into the game itself. We start with a scene of random fighting, then after that we're following four men in a car. They're cool. They banter. Their names are Noctis, Gladiolus, Prompto and Ignis. Noctis is the kind of person who takes the lettuce and tomato out of his burger before eating it, which I realise is hardly criminal but still made me regard him as a spoiled weirdo freak. (His friends just think he's a picky eater.)
This is at a fast food place, where in addition Picto manages to spray ketchup everywhere. These people are not grown-ups.
However there's also some fairly dark backstory with the world around them, involving turbulent government and the death of the royal family. The Imperial Army took the Crown City or something. This sounds fine. Noctis is personally involved in all this. After that, some robots show up and there's a cool fight.
I might have kept watching if: (a) they'd been girls, (b) they hadn't eaten like children, (c) the show had been based around something more interesting than fight scenes. The latter are very well done, though, and I'm sure the show's basically fine. It's also so short that you're losing nothing by checking it out. Feel free to do so and ignore my prejudices.
bungo stray dogs
Bungou Stray Dogs
Seasons 1-2
Episodes: 24 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: famous authors from history were actually detectives with supernatural powers
I've since finished it and... it's good.
It has nothing to do with dogs.
An eighteen-year-old boy is lying next to a river and saying he's about to die of starvation. He's fine, although it's true that he's hungry. He says he's going to rob people. That also fails. Instead, he ends up rescuing someone who's about to drown and getting told off for it, because the chap was trying to commit suicide and he was very happy upside-down with only his legs sticking out of the water.
The boy is Atsushi Nakajima (1909-1942), so theoretically that should mean it's 1927. In real life, this was a Japanese author who wrote one major novel and some short stories. In this story, he's a goofball whose life has strong similarities with one of the real Nakajima's most famous stories. As for the person he saves, that's Osamu Dazai (1909-1948), another Japanese author who in this story is one of the more whimsical members of the Armed Detective Agency. There are quite a lot of them, judging by the closing credits, and they have superpowers. I was surprised. Mind you, they're all old Japanese authors and so the only one I'd heard of was Edogawa Ranpo. Yeah, call me an illiterate.
I enjoyed it. It's funny. Dazai is indolently amusing, while his partner Doppo Kunikida (1871-1908) is a short-tempered, schedule-loving freak. Hmmm. Looking at the dates, I presume we're not meant to be taking this too seriously. (The superpowers also suggest this.) The show's idea seems bonkers and so far it's been a laugh. I'm happy to continue.