Japanese
Anime 1st episodes 2016: G
Including: Gakuen Handsome, Ganbare! Lulu Lolo - Tiny Twin Bears, Gate: Season 2, Girlish Number, Girls from Beyond the Wasteland, The Glass Mask Year 3 Class D, Gintama, God Eater, The Great Passage (anime), Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2016
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2016 >>
Keywords: anime, SF, fantasy, post-apocalypse
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 10 first episodes
Website category: Anime 1st eps
Review date: 12 August 2017
Listed under "A": Gakusen Toshi Asterisk, aka. The Asterisk War: The Academy City on the Water (Season 2) and I've also watched the full series, which was a step down from Season 1
It's a film: Gekijouban Aikatsu Stars!. Heh. I probably will probably watch an Aikatsu film one day.
It's a film: Gekijou-ban Hibike! Euphonium - Kitauji Koukou Suisouraku-By e Youkoso. I like KyoAni and Hibike! Euphonium, but I think this is just a compilation film from the TV series.
It's a film: Gantz:O
It's a film: Garo: Divine Flame and I don't feel the need for any more Garo, although apparently it's a sequel to the first (and better) of the two anime series
It's a film but I'm probably going to watch it: Garakowa: Restore the World, aka. Glass no Hana to Kowasu Sekai
Can't find: Gekidol -- combine stage theater, anime, and idols
Can't find: GraP & RodeO Second Season
gakuen.handsome
Gakuen Handsome
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 3 minutes
Keep watching: not sure
One-line summary: I think it's trying to be the worst anime ever
I've since finished it and... it's a one-joke gag anime that sometimes works. It's mixed.
I couldn't remember the name of this anime, so I googled "pointy chins". That did the trick.
I think it's a parody, although the anime industry is more than capable of doing this for real. Firstly, it looks abysmal. You know when someone says "I could have created that" and you laugh at them, because they're just betraying their ignorance of TV production? This show breaks that rule. I really could have created the visuals for this episode (although not the soundtrack) and it wouldn't even have taken me very long. All you'd need would be:
(a) a computer with very, very basic image manipulation software
(b) someone who couldn't draw
(c) character designs including a chin that could be a murder weapon. I'm not the only person to have made this observation. Do a google image search for "gakuen handsome chin stabbing".
There's some Boys' Love going on, again presumably for parody purposes. "He's cute but I won't let anyone touch him. He's my fiance after all." (The Protagonist With No Eyes has just transferred to Handsome Academy and this is how the teacher introduces him to the class. He then says, "Only kidding!" The pose he does when saying that almost makes it worse.)
No-Eyes also has a little sister (aged six or so) who assumes that her brother has already fallen for a handsome boy.
It's going over every top in sight. I'm not sure if it's going to be my cup of tea, but "only three minutes long" and "ridiculous" is a tempting combination.
lulu lolo
Ganbare! Lulu Lolo - Tiny Twin Bears
Ganbare! Lulu Lolo
Season 3
Episodes: 26 x 5 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: for tiny children
I think it's based on a best-selling picture book. It's also set in a world of bears and cel-shaded CGI animation that works rather well. Bears don't need facial expressions and there are some charming moments with the protagonists' movement. Moving in unison, failing to spin some sheets that they're meant to be hanging up to dry, etc.
It's aimed at an ankle-high audience, though. Our heroines are hard-working twin bear sisters who love grandma's home-made cookies! Watch the adorable twin sisters grow up through their experiences. They help do the laundry. They do "shipping", which I suspect is unfortunately a typo. They clean the bath! They take care of the baby! They have a mum, a dad, a grandma and a friend who lives next door. There's also a woodman who lives in the forest and is grandma's friend. Well, grandad isn't around any more and it's nice to think that grandma isn't lonely now she's found a man who's got [innuendo alert].
You could hardly find anything more harmless and amiable. I'm sure its target audience will enjoy it.
ga.te
Gate: Season 2
Gate: Jieitai Kano Chi nite Kaku Tatakaeri
Season 2
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: modern Japanese soldiers in fantasy world with elves and dragons
I've since finished it and... I still enjoyed it a lot.
The JSDF grunts are back! The elves are back! The amusingly unintelligent right-wing nationalism isn't anywhere to be seen yet, but give it time. Our heroes are getting involved in the fantasy world's politics, being schemed against as they give garden parties at the Emperor's court.
The episode's take on sexuality is rougher than Season 1. Crown Prince Zorzal is raping a queen. He's imprisoning her not with physical force but by using his status to threaten her people, but it's still rape. Then, later, our heroes spend a significant amount of time hiding out in the imperial capital's red light district, which leads to quite an in-depth lifestyle discussion between a prostitute and the Third Recon Unit's medic. (The former's main complaint about the JSDF troops is that they never give the prostitutes any business, little knowing that the JSDF has done a study on this world's sexually transmitted diseases.)
To grumble pointlessly, I was annoyed by the English subtitles on my copy of the episode. Japanese has honorifics: -san, -sama, -chan, -kun, etc. These have no direct English translations, but sometimes subtitles include them for flavour. "San" is respectful/formal, "chan" is more for children, especially girls, etc. Anyway, at one point the subtitles decide they know better than the anime itself. The Japanese voice actors are saying "sama", but the English subtitles think this should be "dono". What? Piss right off. Mind you, at least that's better than English-speaking fans using the word "waifu", which I loathe.
That's just English subtitles, though. It's a good episode. It was nice to see the JSDF soldiers being awed by something in the fantasy world, rather than the expected other way around. I greatly enjoyed Season 1 and I'm looking forward to this.
girlish.number
Girlish Number
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: aaaargh
One-line summary: unprofessional idiots and narcissists in the anime industry
I've since finished it and... it's savage and no-holds-barred, often funny and in the end warm. A strong, surprising show.
It's about the anime industry, like Shirobako and Seiyu's Life!. Unlike those shows, it's showing everyone in a terrible light and it's kind of painful. We all knew about the industry's suicide-inducing workload (sometimes literally) and terrible pay, but here we also have an unlikeable protagonist in a world that's capable of being even worse than her.
Chitose Karasuma is a voice actress who's only been in the business a year and is lucky to be a nameless extra with one word of dialogue. Nonetheless she blames the world and her manager for everything. Reasons why I wanted to scream in Chitose's face include:
(a) she's basically just an extra, but she gets in the way of one of the show's leads when they're walking up to the microphone. She doesn't even realise. That would have required self-awareness. Then, when the lady mentions it to her afterwards, Chitose laughs it off without bothering to say anything that could be interpreted as an apology.
(b) shortly afterwards, the show's other lead actress is being nice and trying to give Chitose helpful advice. Chitose's inner reaction: "this brat is snotty as hell".
(c) if the anime she's in is based on a light novel, she won't bother reading it. She'll even say so to the faces of her new producer and director. Bloody hell. (Yes, I realise that there are plenty of actors who don't even read the full script of films or TV they're in. They'll only read their own scenes. However this is someone who's just starting out in the profession and, to me, it's disrespectful to the work. I'd also expect her to miss characterisation nuances that might not have been apparent from any given episode's script.)
(d) she badmouths colleagues. (Many of them are doing the same, but that's no excuse.)
I hate her. I can't stand her. She's bad for your blood pressure. However even worse are the smug producers who think they'll strike it big just by doing a show that combines "idol" and "light novel". They'll cast their lead actress (i.e. an acting role) because they liked a song she didn't actually sing in. "I'm from the music field. I can totally tell without hearing her."
Chitose's manager/agent is also her brother. He's the only sane man in a world of idiots, but they have a crotchety relationship and at one point she promises to sack him. The show keeps saying that the anime industry is weird, unhealthy and broken. It's also self-disparaging, with Chitose despising light novels and light novel authors even though the show itself happens to be based on a light novel series.
This show will hurt me. I can see that. I'll be in pain. I'll be writhing in outrage at Chitose's behaviour, although on the upside this might be ameliorated by the fact that she's going into an environment even more worthless than she is. At least she won't be damaging anything meaningful, beyond her own career. However this is a show with a point of view. I'd be incapable of watching a Chitose in a Shirobako world, but this show might, perhaps be saying something worth listening to.
Shoujo tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu
Girls from Beyond the Wasteland
Girls Beyond the Youth Koya
Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu
Shokomeza
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes + an OVA
Keep watching: ...no
One-line summary: high school students are going to make a computer game, perhaps
It's nice enough, but a bit indeterminate. It didn't give me a strong impression of its characters, or of what the show was going to be about. Everyone seems likeable and I imagine I'd probably think it was okay if I watched it, but my spidey-sense is saying "slightly undercooked script".
There's a boy (Bunta) with the wrong hair. He's nice and he writes things, as well as exhausting himself in what I presume is a restaurant run by his family. Is that a part-time job, or is he doing it unpaid? He has two drama club friends who like showing up at his place and inviting themselves inside, with the boy (Atomu) being fairly generic and the girl (Yuuka) being amusingly energetic.
They're all nice. A bit more mysterious, though, is Sayuki Kuroda, a girl who marches into the boys' lavatory in order to tell Bunta that they need to meet up that weekend. (On learning of this, Yuuka gets her friend Bitch Queen to give date advice to Bunta, but this doesn't seem to be a very date-like date.) Sayuki is a bit distant and reserved, unless she's just a loony. On being asked if she likes dolphins, for instance, her reply is that it's a secret. She has a plan. She wants Bunta to help her with something.
There's nothing wrong with it. Seems fine. However nothing about it seems essential either.
3 Nen D Gumi Glass no Kamen
The Glass Mask Year 3 Class D
3-Nen D-Gumi Glass no Kamen
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 4 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: CGI high school students
Glass Mask is almost unknown in America (although apparently it's quite popular in Europe), but it's the second best-selling shoujo manga ever. It started in 1976, it has 49 collected volumes so far and the mangaka has announced that she plans to end the series soon. It's been turned into three anime series, a theatrical play, a TV drama and even a Noh stage play.
This isn't Glass Mask. It's a short comedy spin-off that puts the characters in high school, with "get away from me you creepy bastards" CGI animation. These four minutes contain:
(a) five people walking along a corridor towards the camera/narrator, then bumping into it/him.
(b) "Maya, Ayumi-san, take a look at this." "This is the next generation of cellular phones, the smart phone!" "It's so thin and flat!"
(c) schoolgirls investigating the best way of sending love letters by email. It's about timing, apparently.
(d) method acting in imagining yourself as the email-sender. (The original Glass Mask is about professional stage actresses.)
Kill me now.
In fairness, I was amused by the second girl going white-eyed and lying on the first girl's desk, going "bu bu bu". (She's imagining herself as a phone.) The whole silly thing also has an appropriate comedy punchline, which isn't too bad. However it's still an unholy satanic alliance of CGI, more CGI, schoolgirls being amazed by mobile phones and more CGI. You might enjoy it if you're familiar with Glass Mask. Me, I'm running away.
gin.tama
Gintama
Gin Tama
Episode 304
24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: samurai comedy, but for once it's being serious
I'd heard that Gintama sometimes has serious episodes. This is one of them. It's okay, just as the comedy episode I saw last year had been okay. It hasn't made me want to watch more Gintama, but I didn't mind it and it's doing seriousness better than I'd have expected.
The manga's author, Hideaki Sorachi, has called this series a "science fiction human drama pseudo-historical comedy." I believe it tends to have lots of crude jokes and there are lots of people who like it. The main character is Gintoki Sakata, a samurai in a version of the Edo period where Japan was visited by aliens. (There are no aliens in this episode, though. Maybe they're shy.) This episode, though, is part five of the "Shogun Assassination Arc" and so it's all about Gintoki and Kagura going up against Takasugi and Kamui. This is partly fighting, but mostly flashbacks to when Gintoki and Takasugi were younger.
Gintoki and Takasugi seemed fairly dull, to be honest, but their fights are bloody. Gintoki gets carved up, bit by bit. We see a lot about when they used to be comrades, although in fairness that's more interesting than an entire episode of swordplay. I'm sure I'd have responded to it better if I hadn't been jumping randomly into the middle of a story arc.
I quite liked Kagura and Kamui, though. Kamui's so strong that it doesn't look as if his sister stands any chance against him. He's an ultra-violent baddie (like Takasugi), but he's also cheerful, polite and really smug.
It's sort of there. It's standard shounen fighting anime, really. Nothing wrong with it. I'm sure the arc as a whole is fine.
god.eater
God Eater
Season 2
Episodes 10-13
24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: post-apocalyptic monster hunters
It's a good episode, but almost certainly unrepresentative of the series. It's a flashback, telling us the story of the protagonist's life from being an abandoned baby until the day he went to join the Aragami-killing Fenrir organisation. It's powerful. I thought it was excellent. However it's not hard to create emotional backstory, whereas I remember being turned off by what I'd previously seen of this series.
The production delays are almost the most interesting thing about this show. Normally a 13-episode show will be finished in three months, but not here. The studio announced delays twice on ep.1 alone. Eventually the schedule burped a week for ep.4, which was broadcast a week late and was replaced by a special "behind the scenes" episode... only for this to happen again with ep.6 and ep.8. In the end...
Episodes 1-9 were broadcast July-September 2015
Episodes 10-13 were broadcast March 2016
Does that make this Season 2?
Anyway, it's the end of the world. Aragami ate mankind. Only a few humans are left. There's an organisation called Fenrir that chooses people who might be useful for Aragami-fighting and abandons everyone else to be eaten. Our heroes are among the "everyone else". There's Mum, Dad and their little girl, Iroha. One day, though, they find a baby boy (Lenka) and decide to look after him, even though they're hard-pushed just keeping themselves alive.
There's going to be death. The lucky ones will die in their beds, coughing up blood. The majority will get torn apart and eaten by Aragami, usually after ordering their loved ones to flee and save themselves. (This isn't much fun for the loved ones either, who can hear the ripping, tearing noises as they run away.) Most of the scenes aren't this gory, but we always know that the situation can turn this bad at a moment's notice.
It's a strong episode. I liked Lenka's relationship with his sister. (There are romantic hints, but then again they're not blood-related.) The only bit that didn't work for me was someone delivering a nice, clear dying speech despite apparently having a slit throat. It's almost enough to tempt me into watching the rest of the series... but not quite.
Fune wo Amu
The Great Passage
Fune wo Amu
Season 1
Episodes: 11 x 23 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: dictionary editors
I've since finished it and... it's charming and engaging
It's about dictionary editors. No, really. People talk about dictionaries. They go into the subtleties of Japanese word definitions and talk about the way dictionaries all have their own personality. This episode's idea of "exciting" is to have an over-earnest salesman go into a bookshop while he's still carrying another shop's carrier bag. (He thinks it looks nice.)
PLOT: a middle-aged dictionary editor is retiring because his wife's sick, so he's looking for a replacement to continue his great work! It needs to be a pedant who loves words.
It's civilised. It's peaceful. It also feels as if someone lost a bet for "I bet this would never become an anime", although they've done their best with a couple of moments where the art goes a bit abstract. However it's also a Fuji TV's Noitamina show (i.e. for adults) that's based on a best-selling novel that in 2013 was turned into a well-regarded live-action film. Let's give it a go.
Hai to Gensou no Grimgar
Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash
Grimgar, Ashes and Illusions
Hai to Gensou no Grimgar
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: amnesiacs in a fantasy RPG world
I've since finished it and... it's sober, serious and very good
A party of six adventurers are fighting a goblin. Why isn't it fleeing? It's not very big. One of the adventurers even gives a micro-speech about how they're fighting for their lives, which is why I was thinking that the goblin should have skedaddled. However our heroes are also rubbish and even this very low level of opposition appears to be too much for them.
These people don't remember their pasts and they don't know how they got here. Flashback time! A dozen of these people mill about in confusion, saying things like "I don't have my mobile phone" and then immediately wondering what a "mobile phone" might be. They have a modern vocabulary, but only when they're not paying attention. They learn that they're in a fantasy world with no money and no source of income, beyond grabbing a sword and going out to kill things.
There's at least one other adventurer party, who sound as if they're doing better than our heroes. Our lot don't actually seem that interesting so far. I haven't got to like anyone yet, but it's still early days. There's one who announces almost proudly that everyone hates him, but personally I found him a bit boring. He talks about boob size and makes a timid girl cry. Everyone went off and spent a week training in some profession or other, so we have a thief, a hunter, a priest, a magic-user and a couple of swordsmen.
So far, it seems okay. I like our heroes being so bad at adventuring that they can't even kill goblins. (This isn't being played for comedy as in KonoSuba, but instead it's a serious issue that means they can't earn money and are soon going to be in trouble. The episode's tone is realistic. Also a bit drab, perhaps, but realism is good and in this context even mildly refreshing.) There are also some cute tiny animals at about 18:40. There's nothing wrong with this show. It's a slightly borderline decision, but I'll keep going.