DanganronpaDetective ConanAbe no SeimeiJapanese
Anime 1st episodes 2016: D
Including: Dagashi Kashi, Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School, DAYS, 91 Days, Descending Stories: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Season 1, Detective Conan, D.Gray-Man Hallow, Digimon Adventure Tri, Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters, Dimension W, The Disastrous Life of Saiki K., Divine Gate, Dragon Ball Super, Dream Festival, Drifters: Season 1, Durarara!! x2
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2016
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2016 >>
Keywords: Danganronpa, Detective Conan, anime, SF, fantasy, gangster, detective, historical, superhero, Abe no Seimei
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 17 first episodes
Website category: Anime 1st eps
Review date: 2 July 2017
Doesn't count because it's a movie: Detective Conan movie 20: The Darkest Nightmare
Doesn't count because it's a movie: Doukyuusei, aka. Classmates
Couldn't find: Duel Masters Versus Revolution Final (woe is me, my world will end)
dagashikashi
Dagashi Kashi
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: dunno, maybe
One-line summary: sweet shop in tiny rural town
I've since finished it and... the show's good-natured, but you probably need to love dagashi to get much from it
Kokonotsu Shikada wants to draw manga, but his dad wants him to inherit the family business. This would be more attractive if it weren't a tiny sweet shop in a village in the middle of nowhere, with more rice fields than people. (The word "dagashi" means "cheap sweets".) You'd probably get about four customers all day and one of them would be a dog.
Then a purple-haired and slightly threatening stranger shows up. From outside? Wow. Her name's Ayana Taketatsu and her father owns a dagashi company. She wants Kokonotsu's dad to come and work for them, but he refuses to until Kokonotsu has officially taken over the store. Ayana thus says she's going to hang around in Arse End Of Nowhere until she's convinced Kokonotsu to do the decent thing.
That's it, really. It's slice-of-life, I suppose, or perhaps an understated comedy. There's a nearby cafe, run by a girl who likes Kokonotsu and her annoying brother. The character designs tend to have staring, disturbing eyes, which I might have assumed was village inbreeding if Ayana hadn't had something similar. (She also has big spiral pupils, though.) I'm not sure if I'll continue with this show. There's not much here so far and it hardly looks worth bothering with, but it also looks peaceful and low-resistance. It's anodyne. I've just been googling online reviews and I didn't read anything conclusive in those either.
Maybe I'll watch ep.2 and decide after that. It was okay, I suppose.
danganronpa 3 despair
Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School
Danganronpa 3: The End of Kibougamine Gakuen
Season 2 of Danganronpa (Despair Arc)
Episodes: 11 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: prequel series, before the killing started
I've since finished it and... it's not a separate series, but one intertwined half of the full 24-episode Danganronpa 3.
It's more Danganronpa! I love Danganronpa, but even more importantly I love the idea of learning what the hell's going on. There's a lot I still don't know after watching the 2013 anime series, although I'd be better placed if I'd played the original games.
GAME #1: Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc (2010) -- adapted as 2013 anime
GAME #2: Danganronpa: Monokuma Strikes Back (2012)
GAME #3: Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair (2012)
GAME #4: Danganronpa Another Episode: Ultra Despair Girls (2014) -- 2016 anime goes around here?
GAME #5: Danganronpa: Unlimited Battle (2015)
GAME #6: Cyber Danganronpa VR: The Class Trial (2016)
GAME #7: Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony (2017)
This isn't the third Danganropa anime, despite having "3" in the title. It's the second, it's wrapping up the Hope's Peak High School arc. However I don't think it's an adaptation of a game called "Danganronpa 3", because there isn't one. I'm confused. Anyway...
This series contains 24 episodes, split into:
Despair Arc (prequel, 11 episodes)
Future Arc (sequel, 12 episodes)
Hope Arc (single episode)
...plus a one-episode OVA, called Super Danganronpa 2.5: Nagito Komaeda and the Destroyer of Worlds. This is the Despair Arc. Cheerful. We're told at the beginning that we're going to see the events leading up to the Biggest, Most Atrocious Despair-Inducing Incident in Human History. (They're not joking, by the way. We heard about this in the 2013 series and we saw the blood-splattered classroom, although we never learned the details.)
Better brace myself for a dark ending, then.
It's back in the days when Hope's Peak High School was still a school, with lessons and teachers. However it's still pretty weird, with "super high-level students" who don't have to attend class so long as they score well enough in their practical exams. I'm glad I'm not their teacher. That would be the unlucky Chisa Yukizome, who's just graduated from teacher training and is being assigned a class of these eccentrics and louts. She's conscientious. She's going to make sure she has full attendance. She announces that her goal is to bring HOPE!!!, which is blackly ironic and very Danganronpa. She's going to end up dead... ah, well, maybe not. She's happy to beat her students and threaten them with edged weapons, so she should fit in fine.
The episode's basically just an introduction to another massive Danganronpa classroom. They're nearly as extreme as the last lot. The hairstyles are less deranged, but the boobs are bigger. One thing I quite like is that they all have a one-line description (their special talent), but this is generally being offset by a personality that goes in a completely different direction. Thus the traditional Japanese dancer is also super-negative, the super-chef is also a ghastly pervert, etc. There's an Ordinary Schoolboy who's worried that he doesn't belong here. (Good call.) There's a Jurassic Park reference.
I'm a little nervous about this one. Danganronpa is highly entertaining pop art fun, but it comes with a body count and it's all about hope vs. despair. No prizes for guessing which we're being led to expect here. I'm still looking forward to it, though.
danganronpa 3 despair
Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School
Danganronpa 3: The End of Kibougamine Gakuen
Season 2 of Danganronpa (Future Arc)
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: sequel series, after Danganronpa: The Animation
I've since finished it and... I LOVED IT. (But wow, it's dark.)
I've watched these the wrong way around. The Future and Despair arcs were broadcast together, expecting the audience to follow both a prequel and a sequel series simultaneously, but the former went out on Mondays and the latter on Thursdays.
Future Arc ep.1 ("Third Time's the Charm") = 11 July 2016
Despair Arc ep.1 ("Hello Again, Hope's Peak High School") = 14 July 2016
In other words, Future Arc ep.1 was meant to be watched first. What's more, you can tell. "Hello Again, Hope's Peak High School" follows on from the end of "Third Time's the Charm", with a little introductory scene that puzzled me at the time. Now it makes more sense. (It's still a bit of a headscratcher, but we now have some important context.)
However watching my way round gave me a much nastier shock, so I suppose there's an upside to everything.
Alas, that's almost all I can safely say about this episode. Almost anything would be a spoiler for Danganronpa: The Animation. I can't give any names. I can't describe where we are. I can't say how many people or talking entities survived the previous series. (Was it zero, one or more?) I can say that the episode's palette is usually monochrome and bleak, as opposed to the 2013 show's pop art styles and colours. You'll probably also have guessed that there's going to be death. It's Danganronpa. It feels like a direct sequel, which is what I'd wanted, but it looks as if something bad might have been done by SPOILER in the interim. I want to know what's going on there now.
Which looks grimmer so far? Despair Arc or Future Arc? Answer: both of them, in different ways. Despair Arc is setting up horror, but Future Arc is more immediately soul-crushing. I wouldn't have called the 2013 series grim, but let's see where this goes. Let's hope for hope...
dayz
DAYS
Season 1
Episodes: 24 x 24 minutes + two OVAs
Keep watching: it's very good, but no
One-line summary: soccer
I enjoyed the episode a lot. It's funny. Tsukamoto's adorable. However I won't be continuing, because it's about football and there's only going to be more and more football in it as the series goes on.
The pre-credits sequence is just a football match, so I was fast-forwarding inside the first minute. I think that's a new record for me. However it started being about people after the opening credits, so I returned to watching normally.
Our hero is Tsukamoto, a young-looking and easily flustered boy who's starting a new high school. He doesn't look athletic and he's never played football before, but he gets asked to play in a game anyway because someone's dropped out. The asker is Kazama, a long-haired pretty boy who's nice and looks like a girl, but is also tall and slightly intimidating. They get on well and towards the end of the episode, there will be a moment where Kazama is blushing while holding Tsukamoto in his arms. "I decided to wear these cleats only when I'm playing soccer with you."
Presumably this is fangirl bait rather than any serious sign of gay romance, but you never know. They certainly do go well together. Browsing on the internet, I see there's a scene later in the series where Kazama thanks his mother for giving birth to him because that let him meet Tsukamoto.
Returning to ep.1, there are quite a lot of girls! This pleasantly surprised me. That's both in class and at the football club, although the anime's only going to follow the boys' game. Tsukamoto has a female childhood friend called Tachibana, who sticks with him throughout this episode and is always encouraging him.
The important thing about the episode, though, is Tsukamoto. He's lovely. He's also rubbish. He fails at almost everything he does, inflicting comedy injuries on himself time after time. His first is a blow to the groin and it only gets worse. At one point, they realise that he's lost a toenail and his boot's covered in blood. However he's almost supernatural in his refusal to give up, with his greatest triumph being a match-winning header of both the ball and the goalpost. I laughed aloud.
It's great. I'd recommend it to anyone, assuming they don't mind 26 episodes of soccer.
91 dayz
91 Days
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: Prohibition-era gangsters
I've since finished it and... it's a top-quality piece of work, but you're unlikely to care about anyone
It's classy. It feels real. Painstaking evocation of the historical era, a mature treatment of the subject matter and plenty of blood.
Angelo Lagusa is at a birthday party. (It's obviously the 1920s or 1930s, but I spent a while mistakenly thinking this was Italy because of all the Italian names.) Unfortunately someone's dad has mafia connections. Bad things happen, even by mob standards.
Seven years later, Angelo's all grown up and calling himself Avilio Bruno. He also hates gangsters, unsurprisingly. He gets involved with a bootlegger who makes top-quality booze and the gangsters who are trying to muscle in on it. These guys are unpleasant. They're the kind of people who might assume the worst even when you're trying to give them what they want. They regard violence as the equivalent of punctuation, obviously, to be sprinkled into conversations whenever someone's getting bored, but Angelo's more than ready to respond similarly.
There have been other gangland anime, of course. One might compare this with Baccano, for instance. Both are lovingly detailed animation recreations of organised crime in the Prohibition era. However the difference is that Baccano (and other shows, such as Gangsta) is pure fantasy. This, on the other hand, feels historical. I think it's a revenge story. Should be a good one.
Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
Descending Stories: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
Season 1
Episode 1: 48 minutes
Episodes 2-13: 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: performers in a Japanese theatre tradition called "rakugo"
I've since finished it and... it's understated and intelligent.
You'd never expect anyone to watch this. It's about theatre performers. There's no fighting, no sex and no SF/fantasy elements. It's just the story of some people who want to make a living by sitting in front of a live audience telling rakugo stories. (At first I assumed it was some kind of traditional Japanese equivalent of stand-up comedy, but in fact it's more like a funny radio play where you can see this one actor doing all the voices.)
This show had to be well-written, because otherwise it would have been as boring as hell. Fortunately it's good. In fact it has a stellar reputation (although that might conceivably be in part due to a self-selecting audience) and I'm definitely planning to continue. Apart from anything else, I didn't realise that I was watching a double-length episode until I had only ten minutes left to go.
It's the 1970s and Kyoji's just got out of prison. He's penniless, but he has a dream. He wants to perform rakugo. (I don't think he has any theatrical experience, but at least it's better than going back to his old gang boss.) Kyoji's plan is to go crawling to a famous rakugo performer who never takes disciples and to beg to be accepted as his disciple. This is not a good plan. However it works, to the shock of everyone who knows the performer in question (Yurakutei Yakumo). Over the course of these 48 minutes, we get bit of an idea as to why. We also get to see actual rakugo being performed, which at first just looks like a shaggy dog story but in fact can indeed be funny. It made me laugh.
We meet a girl who lives in Yakumo's household (Konatsu), who's the daughter of another rakugo artist who had a completely different style. (He's dead. Konatsu has opinions about that.) We see how different performers can approach the same material. We gape in shock at Yakumo putting the completely inexperienced Kyoji on stage in front of an audience. Yakumo isn't the easiest person to get on with.
It looks well-written. So far it also looks quite drab. It's pleasing to see mature, unflashy anime like this getting made, though, and I'm keen to give the show a chance.
conan
Detective Conan
Case Closed
Episodes 804-805: "Conan and Ebizou's Kabuki Juuhachiban Mystery"
9-16 January 2016
Two double-length episodes, i.e. 2 x 48 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: genius detective in a six-year-old body
It's my annual watching of Detective Conan. I'm fond of the series, but not enough to start watching it regularly. I'm 800 episodes behind, for a start. Unfortunately these were double-length episodes to mark the anime's 20th anniversary, on top of being a two-part story as usual, so I had even more to wade through than usual.
This one's a crossover story, with kabuki. The famous kabuki actor Ichikawa Ebizou XI is a character in it, voiced by the man himself.
Oh crumbs. I've just seen that his wife died of cancer two weeks ago, aged 34.
I can't think of anything to say.
Anyway... anime.
It's a murder mystery, as usual, but it takes a while for anyone to die. Conan gets involved in the story on seeing a car speed past dangerously while bleeding brake fluid. This show tends to be a bit more hands-on than most whodunnits, with the baddie here at one point trying (rather indirectly and inefficiently) to kill Conan himself. One might wonder why he felt threatened by a six-year-old boy, but never mind. He traps him underground at a construction site and it's quite exciting.
It can be funny, e.g. two of the show's regular cast turning out to be squealing Ebizou fangirls. Ai Haibara is always amusing, being an ally of Conan's who's been similarly regressed to a six-year-old body and yet never bothers trying to act her apparent age. Kogoro Mouri is annoying, though.
It's fine. I quite liked it, as always. Sometimes I was clock-watching, but it's not often you run into a double-double-length story. Essential? No. Pretty good? Sure.
d gray man
D.Gray-Man Hallow
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: I suppose so
One-line summary: warrior organisation of exorcists in the 19th century
I've since finished it and... watch this if and only if you already like D-Gray Man.
It looks okay, but unfortunately also for me the sort of "do I really care?" okay. I liked the dark ideas, but it's a shounen action series about a centuries-old supernatural war. That just doesn't sound very interesting to me. If they've been fighting for centuries, presumably they've reached a macho status quo and I can safely leave them to it. Our heroes are Exorcists! They fight Akuma! The episode begins with a battle of Exorcists fighting Akuma! This battle is there to make our heroes look cool and badass, but I was waiting with ever-decreasing patience for something meaningful to happen.
The title sequence also suggests that three-quarters of the cast are male, which for me is another reason to go elsewhere.
That said, though, the episode isn't without interest. That opening battle is in London and appears to have a vampire fighting for the good guys. The Akuma are inhuman abominations... but they used to be people. Later a nice chap on the Exorcists' side is told that his mind has been infected. "The implanted memories will gradually consume you, the host, and turn you into the Fourteenth." He's going to die and turn into the beast of the apocalypse or something. He appears to be the protagonist, by the way, or at least a major character.
There's a flashback to the protagonist's childhood, with a clown and a dog's grave. I'd have probably ditched this show, to be honest, if it hadn't been D.Gray-Man. This franchise was quite big in the day, with a 103-episode anime series in 2006-2008. It looks perfectly okay and the doomed protagonist thing is intriguing, but I'm just not that interested in lots of male characters who exist to look cool and have fights. However D.Gray-Man has a fairly good (and dark) reputation and it's quite likely that I'm being unnecessarily harsh here based on superficial judgements.
digimon adv. tri
Digimon Adventure Tri
Six-film series
Four or five episodes per film
Keep watching: not sure, maybe, um... not for now. Once the series is complete, maybe.
One-line summary: Digimon
It's enough to make you want to run outside to check that the world's still there. I'd never seen any Digimon before, but I've heard of the brand name and it seemed inevitable that this would be all eight-year-old heroes, toy line product placement and lots of hot-blooded battles. "Digimon" is short for "digital monster" and it's another Japanese media franchise of virtual pet toys, anime, manga, video games and trading card games. Think Pokemon. Think tamagotchi. It's hard to imagine the target audience being significantly over eight years old.
Nope. I was wrong.
It looks like a normal anime. Nothing kiddified about it at all. The character designs are simple, but there can be subtlety in their facial expressions. A bunch of friends have been scattered far and wide, with not all of them even still living in Japan. (I presume these were the heroes of earlier Digimon shows.) "It's hard to get everyone together these days." They're in high school and having to deal with stuff like careers guidance, studying for their entrance exams and being too busy to support their friends. That's not just a diplomatic way of saying "I can't be bothered", by the way. They really do have things to do. It's called life.
Meanwhile a fuzzy computer-generated bug flies overhead and causes electrical disruption. However nothing happens. There's no battle. The characters haven't even realised it's there when the credits roll.
I'm bewildered. I'm not sure what it is. It's more mature than I'd expected, but it's also kind of pointless. Nothing's happened yet. Fortunately that's is explained by this really being a series of feature films, with the episodic version I watched being the films broken up into 25-minute segments. The first film is eps.1-4. That makes sense, although I'm still wavering about whether or not to keep watching. What I saw this morning was... okay. It's a bit dull, but the only bad bit was someone trying to speak French. (And I thought anime Engrish was bad.)
I'm tempted to continue, if only for the novelty factor of watching Digimon. Every expectation I had got overturned. However I'm not tempted enough to start yet. I'll probably wait until all six films have come out.
digimon uni. appli monsters
Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters
Eighth instalment in Digimon franchise
Episode title: "The Search Result is Haru Shinkai! Gatchmon Appears!"
24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: Digimon
That's more like what I'd expected of Digimon. The protagonist's older than I'd have guessed (thirteen) and it's being oddly meta, but there are no other surprises. Juvenile hero gets gadget and non-human sidekick so that he can fight monsters!
The meta bit is in the hero (Haru Shinkai) thinking he's not protagonist material. He thinks he's more like the hero's best friend. He doesn't stand out. He doesn't look cool or do heroic things. He thinks his dashing best friend Yuujin is far more protagonist-like, even though the Japanese word "yuujin" means "best friend". This is less unconventional than it sounds. It's a bog-standard "Refusal of the Call" stage of the heroic journey, building up to Haru's inevitable discovery that he can be brave too and fight monsters. However I still found it a bit weird to have a kiddie cartoon episode banging on about "protagonists" and sounding like its own writer's room.
The show's premise is alien. Everyone in the world uses smartphone applications and... whoah, wait, hold on. Smartphones? That's a mobile phone, right? I've heard of those. My wife has one. Anyway, I bet you didn't know that phone apps are sentient and can turn into malicious monsters. "There has been a massive leak of personal information on to the net!" One of their victims is a woman who's shocked to see that one of her photos has been uploaded, although this isn't the kind of show that lets you speculate about what kind of photo this might have been.
Haru's embarrassing upload is the fact that he used to wet the bed. "So I'm just a bedwetting side character!"
The episode's okay. Nothing wrong with it. It tells us that the best thing to do with nasty emails is ignore them. It also has a mildly sinister bit when a vending machine is asking Haru if he's the protagonist. The character designs look a bit cheap and personally I don't connect with its phone-driven world, but that doesn't matter since I'm not the target audience. I'm not interested in watching any more of it, though.
dimension-w
Dimension W
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes plus a 13th OVA
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: unlimited free energy dystopia
I've since finished it and... it's an interesting, ultimately forgettable mess
I like the world. I like the robot girl. I don't like the main character, but I don't think I'm supposed to.
Firstly, the unlimited free energy. Apparently someone discovered a fourth dimension, called Dimension W. Amazing! It's revolutionised the laws of physics! Tesla energy now powers the world... but apparently unofficial coils are illegal. (I think these are energy-generating coils, just as you can do in real life if you have a magnetic field.) How does that work? If energy is free and unlimited, why is there any demand for illegal coils in the first place? Why are they illegal anyway? Has New Tesla managed to get their monopoly enshrined in law?
Something smells fishy here to me, although it's possible that I'm thinking about this harder than the original manga's creator. I like it, though.
Our protagonist is a Collector who hunts these monopoly-busting criminals! He's also old-fashioned. He likes cars (c.f. the exciting car chase action in the title sequence) and he takes half of his pay in gasoline. I hate him already.
However there's also a robot girl. People threaten her life with water pistols. I'm not sure how that works, but it's surreal. She can also cry and she's trying to protect her "father", whose wife and daughter were killed two years ago. I think the killers were the Tesla company. They apologise and say it was a slip-up.
Do I like this show? Hmm. "Like" might be overstating it, but it's got my attention. If nothing else, you've got to like any show that presents you with the complete elimination of non-electric cars in three years, plus a petrol tax over 400%. Yeah, I'll be continuing.
saiki sainan
The Disastrous Life of Saiki K.
Saiki Kusuo no Sai-nan
Season 1
120 mini-episodes, compiled into 24 normal-length ones
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: gag show about a boy who's trying to hide his superpowers
I've since finished it and... it's quite funny
Kusuo Saiki thinks he's the unluckiest boy in the world, because he's got every possible psychic ability and can basically rewrite reality. Darn. The poor lamb. Sucks to be him. You see, being able to see the future and read everyone's minds means that everything's too easy for him and so he feels no sense of challenge. He also thinks he can't afford to get close to anyone.
In practice, this means he's the ultimate straight man. He sleepwalks through his life with no motivation except to stay out of trouble and avoid drawing attention to himself. Everything he says and does is deadpan. He's basically reacting to the weirdos and idiots around him, such as his embarrassing parents, the idiot whose thoughts are unreadable because he doesn't have any, the self-obsessed girl who can't process Saiki not giving a damn about her and the chuunibyou who thinks he has superpowers and calls himself Jet-Black Wing.
It's reasonably amusing. I've heard good things about the show. I'm quite looking forward to it, but I suspect it might be too bitty and fragmented to be marathonable. You'd take it in single-episode doses. Trying to watch too much at once might make your brain shut down. That doesn't make it bad, though.
divine.gate
Divine Gate
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: another magical school
It's at the low end of "okay" so far. A bit bleah, but not broken or anything. It's uninspiring, but I could imagine watching the rest of this show and I don't have a strong reason for dropping it.
It's based on a smartphone game and it's set in a world where demons, fairies, angels and humans all co-exist. (Probably more.) A Divine Gate has opened, connecting lots of worlds. We thus have this slightly awkward combination of cliches:
(a) a World Council that maintains peace and order
(b) teenage heroes who, um, work for the World Council and help fight baddies. Because they have magical superpowers, or something.
(c) ...and go to Magical School. It's called the Academy.
I'd laugh if the World Council were the academy's student council. Anyway, I think the main character is a gloomy guts called Aoto. Everyone says he killed his parents and Aoto assents. A water girl says she might be able to help him, but she's saying harsh things about his mental state. "Just like your cold heart, you can only eat cold food. You're always crying inside." Aoto's emotionless, negative and claims to have no wishes, so there's lots of miserable, grey rain when he's around. (Since his superpowers are water-based, maybe the weather's an extension of his mood? That's my favourite idea about this episode, although admittedly that was never suggested by the episode itself.)
That's it, really. The world's mildly interesting for being a cliche pile-up, with the main one being magical school. Aoto's a bit boring, really, but I barely remember anyone else. (There's a pair of teenagers who go to handle a fire-using lunatic, but they seem generic so far. Nice, but anonymous.) I think it also lets a little air out of the show for its heroes to be representatives of the World Council, which you'd think should make them among the most important, powerful people on the planet. I bet they're going to be ordinary anime teenagers (but with magic). I have no particular objection to this show, but I don't think it's given me any reason to keep watching it either.
"Freeze! We're the World Council!"
dragon ball
Dragon Ball Super
Episode 26
24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: it's Dragon Ball
Embarrassingly I'd never realised, but Dragon Ball's just another superhero show, isn't it? The only difference is the costumes (not lycra) and hair (brilliantly stupid). Everyone's stupidly powerful. Son Goku is one of the strongest beings in the universe. This episode is just one long fight scene with Son Goku vs. Golden Freeza as everyone else stands around being supportive, like parents at their children's school sports day.
Is there anything worth watching here? It's only a fight. You've got better things to do with your time. Well, it's quite funny when an almost-beaten Son Goku turns down an offer of help because he's having too much fun and he says it'll only take him another minute or two to win. Oh, and Goku's friends include an Egyptian God.
It's okay. It has more dialogue and characterisation than your average Big Fight Episode. It wouldn't occur to me to keep watching, though.
dream fes.
Dream Festival
Season 1
Episodes: ...12, maybe
24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: boy idol group
I knew I wouldn't be watching beyond ep.1. Boy idols. However it could have been good. It's not, particularly. It's sort of okay and a bit silly, even it's a million times more sensible than the mind-melting camp of something like Uta no Prince Sama Revolutions.
Kanade is a super-enthusiastic pretty boy! He's got a part-time job to hand out balloons and boy, does he put everything into it. He's giving his life to those balloons, from dawn to dusk. Seems like a nice chap. However he then gets scouted by a bloke in the park (Mikami) who lures him into his car, leans too close and tells him that he's "beyond the ultimate".
This is an invitation to become an idol! Kanade at first refuses, but Mikami slips his phone into Kanade's jacket. Can you say "stalker"? When this persuades Kanade to show up at Mikami's idol studio (eh?), everyone's amazed that Mikami is personally showing around this new boy. We also meet other idols, all colour-coded for your convenience. (Kanade's a redhead.) The blonde one (Junya) is an anti-motivator, who unwittingly goads Kanade into giving it a go by sneering at the new boy and saying he's not up to it.
This is amiably superficial, but not particularly silly. That would be:
1. This idol academy is basically a non-fatal deathmatch. They train up lots of boys, then at the end enter them all into a big competition called Dream Festival. The winners are allowed to debut. The losers are... dunno. Maybe they're thrown into a snake pit? (Someone should turn that premise into a show... I'd watch it.) Anyway, this seems unnecessary. What if there happened to be two idol groups in competition one year who could both make a success of turning pro?
2. Kanade's never been an idol before. This is his first day. He can't dance and he can't sing. However his audition is to be one of three idols in a live stage show in front of a massive stadium full of screaming fans.
3. The boys all get nude transformation sequences when they put on their stage outfits... but they're already on stage. Well, maybe it's that kind of show?
No no no. They sing. They dance. I run away. It's fangirl bait, with pretty boys in the shower and no reason for most people to watch it.
dorifutazu
Drifters
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes, because it's Kouta Hirano
One-line summary: famous historical warmongers dragged into an alt-universe
I've since finished it and... it's not as good as Hellsing
I wasn't sure if I really wanted to watch this, but then I saw that it was based on a Kouta Hirano manga. He wrote Hellsing. Watching this is therefore mandatory, but I'm pretty sure I know which one I'll prefer. Hellsing had vampires, zombies and a psycho not-Dracula and was immediately mega-cool, but this has samurai and hence is kind of off-putting. We begin with nearly eight minutes of the battle of Sekigahara in 1600. It's super-violent, gory and sometimes animated a bit confusingly. It's boring. Fortunately the battle scenes eventually end, although regrettably not everyone's dead. Our hero is one Shimazu Toyohisa, who was a real samurai and on the evidence of this was tediously bloodthirsty and macho.
I was wondering whether or not to abandon this episode halfway through, but then something interesting happened. Shimazu finds himself in an infinite white corridor with stone doors and a bureaucrat who's reading a newspaper. He has a computer on his desk. Shimazu gets sucked through the nearest door into another world, after which the next person in the bureaucrat's queue is a Vietnam-era American G.I.
The next people Shimazu meets are anime elves, with ears like pterodactyl wings. Again, more interesting. We meet other historical characters from different time periods. There's way too much testosterone when these skullcrackers meet, but fortunately the girl gets the boys plucking ducks. (In real life that character was male, mind you, so either the show's given him/her a sex change or else he just comes across as feminine.) There's also a less flippant moment when Shimazu happens to know what happened to someone's son.
It's intriguing. Maybe I'll hate it. Dunno. Let's find out.
dura bloody rara
Durarara!! x2
DRRR!! x2
Season 2, 3, 4 or 5, depending on how you look at it. It's episode 49.
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: I enjoyed it, but no
One-line summary: supernatural entities, freaks and gangsters
Overall, I enjoyed it. It's entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny. I won't continue because it's still Durarara!!, but I'd never have stopped watching had it all been like this.
I didn't recognise half the people in the title sequence, but the cast in the episode itself was more familiar. Shizuo's being questioned by the police. Shinra's been beaten up and is in a wheelchair. Everything's pretty much as usual, in other words. There's the usual criminal time-wasting. The Dollars and the Yellow Scarves are both still around and being even bigger twats then before. Oh, and the Smug Manipulative Bastard's managed to get himself in so much trouble that he's actually involved in the plot, but alas he's not dead yet. (He has a name. What is it? Um... Izaya.)
All this is as skippable as ever. The usual Durarara!! rule applies: if it involves criminals, gangsters, unprovoked violence, etc. then the best thing that could happen to this series would be a meteorite hitting Ikebukuro.
What entertained me was a mob of unlikely people arriving uninvited to visit Celty, aka. the show's one likeable character. If you want me to watch Durarara!!, give me more Celty. Here she's had her living room invaded and is having to talk to all these lunatics, with no one starting fights or getting knocked unconscious. I loved it. Seiji, Namie and Mika are very funny, for instance. (Namie's the sister, Mika's the girlfriend and they're all mad.) Meanwhile Celty is just as amusing, especially when Shinra's talking dirty in front of their guests. She loves him, but she's shy.
Fair's fair. It's a good episode. It's the most entertaining of the 28 episodes of Durarara!! I've seen, in fact. However I'm pretty sure that the subsequent show will revert to form.