- It's a film: Last Exile: Ginyoku no Fam, aka. Last Exile: Fam, The Silver Wing
- Doesn't really apply: Locodol. There were 13 episodes in 2014, then one in 2015 and one in 2016. That's not a first episode. (Besides, it's a pretty disposable series anyway.)
- Long Riders!
- Season 1
- Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
- Keep watching: no
- One-line summary: schoolgirl cycling club
There's not much here. A schoolgirl called Ami falls in love with bicycles, but she doesn't have a bicycle. Could she buy a bicycle? Oh no, they're expensive! However if you go to another bicycle shop, you can buy a cheaper bicycle. After that, all that's left to do is go on a bicycle ride with your friend and meet two more girls who also like bicycles! Bicycles. Let's talk about bicycles.
That's it. Ami blushes and gets overexcited about bicycles, although the pre-credits sequence is trying to make you assume that she's a lesbian instead. (She might be anyway, but it's hard to see anything taking priority over bicycles.) She gets an energy drink and some advice on not overdoing it if you get knackered.
The best thing in the episode was Purple-Haired Girl's boobs. This is not a high mark of quality.
- Lostorage incited WIXOSS
- Season 1 of this spin-off, but it's the third season of WIXOSS in general
- Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
- Keep watching: obviously
- One-line summary: trading card game anime, but nasty
- I've since finished it and... it's excellent.
There were two WIXOSS anime in 2014:
selector infected WIXOSS (April-June)
selector spread WIXOSS (October-December)
They were pretty good, but they reached a conclusive end and I hadn't been expecting any more. I was wrong. It's as if someone very twisted had some dark ideas for the genre of merchandise-driven anime based on trading card games.
We meet a girl called Suzuko Homura who's just changed schools and doesn't know anyone. She's living with her workaholic father and doesn't even see him most of the time. It's a lonely situation, even if Suzuko's being good-natured and stoic about it. Then she sees that some of her classmates are playing a card game called WIXOSS, so she buys a deck in the hope that playing it might help her get to know them.
This is a horrifying mistake. She tries to back out of it, but there's no way of being unchosen as a Selector. She's got to fight or have her memories eaten and disappear. She refuses to fight, but that'll lead to the same outcome as fighting and losing.
It all looks pretty ghastly for Suzuko. The show might well end up plunging into a pit of suicide-inducing depression, but then again the first two WIXOSS series avoided that and instead managed to be rich, fairly deep and entertaining. It's also a spin-off, not a sequel, since the game rules seem to have changed and I don't think it has any crossover characters. I'm definitely watching this, plus ideally the "Selector Destructed Wixoss" 2016 movie that I've just learned about.
- The Lost Village
- Season 1
- Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
- Keep watching: yes
- One-line summary: drop-outs on a bus that's supposedly taking them to the Lost Village
- I've since finished it and... I was completely wrong in my predictions. A somewhat controversial show. I liked it a lot.
This looks like a lot of fun. Probably also some kind of twisted horror with self-obsessed losers, mind you. That's fun. Caveat: I have no idea where this is going and my assumptions are probably all wrong.
It starts on a bus. The tour guide tells its thirty-odd passengers that they're on Noah's Ark. They've left the world behind. They're all hackers, computer freaks or whatever who've agreed to go and live in a fantasy land of utopian hippy bullshit. (They don't phrase it like that... well, except for the driver. He loses it at one point and calls everyone babies.) Everyone thinks they'll be happier with no contact with civilisation and no company except lots of people who are all trying to escape reality.
Everyone gets a microphone and gives a little self-introduction. There are narcissists, thugs, fantasists, etc. One man's only here because he's determined to expose it all as a con. There's a man who says his name is Pink Goddess and a girl who started crying because she was sorry for the hippo in a song. A lot of them seem perfectly likeable, though, such as the upbeat boy who's probably the protagonist (Mitsumune) and the lady who's doing this to escape from her stalker.
I'm expecting this to be horror because: (a) no good can come of all this, and (b) the cast's so huge that I can't think the show's not about to start killing them. The last show I saw with this many characters was Danganronpa. However I like Mitsumune and the show's really quite likeable, with even surly chair-kickers and daffy space cases managing to be people I'd warm to and happily keep watching. (Some of these people are annoying idiots, mind you, but that's deliberate and to be expected given the premise.) I'm looking forward to this.
- Love Live! Sunshine!!
- Season 1 of a spin-off sequel to Love Live! (two seasons and a movie)
- Episodes: 13
- Keep watching: yes
- One-line summary: schoolgirl idol club
- I've since finished it and... I thought it was hugely likeable and I'd recommend it.
I quite liked Love Live!. It drifted gently downhill, but its first season was great and it was never less than fun. It's about a schoolgirl idol club, which neatly defangs the more disturbing aspects of Japan's idol industry. They're not professionals. They're just schoolgirls who want to sing and dance.
This sequel's set at a different and much smaller school, with a different cast. They all look promising (except one) and they made me laugh. Chika is the main character. She's a dynamo who loves "Mu's" (the original show's idol group) and is trying to set up her own schoolgirl idol club in imitation. She's delightfully optimistic, to the point of mild idiocy. I loved her astonishment when someone turned her down after she'd stood up in the middle of class and said "join my idol club" as an unusual variant on "hello".
Other girls include:
1. You (childhood friend but busy with the swimming club),
2. Student Council President (implacably hostile and I'd bet one of my toes that she'll end up joining the club herself),
3. Scuba Diving Girl (third year but not currently attending school because she's helping with the family business after her father broke his leg)
4. some right weirdos, including "zura"-girl, the shy one and the girl who claims to be from outer space. "Might this perhaps be EARTH???"
5. Dive Off A Pier girl.
6. OUCH OUCH. We barely see her for two seconds, but in that time she says "it's been two years" in an American accent while flying overhead in a helicopter. My spine shivered, but it's perfectly possible that I'll end up liking the character despite that accent. (The accent's completely convincing, by the way. That's not the problem. It's just that American English almost always sounds jarring to me in anime. That's just my subjective issue, though.)
Apart from Ouch Girl, though, everything looks good. The panty shot avoidance is pleasing. It's a laugh. The episode ends with what will presumably be the opening credits from ep.2 onwards, which impressed me with the girls' bad dancing. They don't sway in time. They look amateurish, although also full of fun, charm and enthusiasm. That's a real animation showcase, believe it or not, since there's enormous subtlety and detail in everyone's mismatched body language. It's far easier to animation people who move in robotic harmony. I'll definitely be continuing (both with this and with the second season in 2017).
- Lovely Muco
- Itoshi no Muco
- Itoshi no Muuko
- Season 3 or 4?
- Episodes: 12 x 12 minutes
- Keep watching: yes
- One-line summary: children's cartoon about a dog
- I've since finished it and... it's okay. Don't know if I'd recommend it, but it's nice. The same as Season 1, really.
Is this the start of Season 4 (12 episodes) or just the second half of Season 3 (25 episodes)? Anyway, it's the show's first episode of 2016.
It's quite a nice show. Pleasant. It's about the super-enthusiastic and loyal Muco, a dog owned by a glassblower called Komatsu. It's not a challenging show and probably not good enough to recommend, to be honest, but enjoyable in a disposable way. This isn't one of its better episodes, though, and I don't think it would have got me to continue with the show if I hadn't already been in the middle of it.
Muco has a dream about being as big as a house. Her dream includes Ushikou-san rising from mountains like the sun, which annoys her. There will be another dream later in the episode, this time involving a rocket-powered Ushikou-san launching into the air with classical music. I'm not wild about dream sequences.
Muco gets confused about snow. The white stuff falling through the air is snow. The white stuff on the ground is also snow... but different. Muco's not very clever.
They've also changed the closing title sequence music, which is a shame since I'd really liked the old one. Fortunately they've kept the same opening titles, though. Below-average episode of a moderately enjoyable show.
- Luck & Logic
- Season 1
- Episodes: 12 x 23 minutes
- Keep watching: I shouldn't, but yes
- One-line summary: "teens fight to save the world" clich£ storm
- I've since finished it and... it's utterly pointless, but also sort of nice. I'm avoiding the 2017 spin-off, though.
There's nothing original in the writing. It's like a black hole, sucking in every genre clich£. This was cut-and-pasted, not written. However I still quite enjoyed it, partly because I found it likeable and partly because of its visual style.
There's something called "Logic" (said as the English word, not its Japanese equivalent) that's basically magic. Gods exist due to logic. Aliens are attacking the Earth due to logic. If you understand logic, then you're a magical girl with a wand and a legal responsibility to fight aliens. What's more, logic is something that you lose when you get older, so adults are powerless and the world will be saved by teenagers! (These all seem to be female, except for our hero, Yoshichika.)
I quite liked Yoshichika. Of course the episode's boosting him as infinitely noble, principled, etc. "You never forsake a life, no matter what!" However he's also a bit of a dork who gets scolded by his little sister (Shiori) for goofing online all night. He also bangs his head when he's the only person to dive under the table on hearing a Paradox Alarm. (Shiori points out that it was only Paradox Level 3.7, but soon there's a much more serious one at Paradox Level 7.2. This will involve a giant demon-faced faced alien hitting the city like a meteorite and turning the air to lava.)
The aliens are called Foreigners (again in English). Hmmm. The episode has a fair amount of gratuitous English, but they made me laugh with it by calling out one of the logicalists on her Engrish catchphrase. (She hadn't spotted the redundancy in "Last Final Finish Sword".)
The visuals give the show a lot of pop. Over-the-top magical girl outfits are amusing in a story about invading aliens. It's full of colour and life.
I enjoyed all this, but it is hackneyed. Logicalists fight in pairs, so Yoshichika is going to get a beautiful partner called Athena and they're going to have to share a room! (It's slightly depressing that an entire anime genre thinks the road to romance is enforced cohabitation.) They kiss! Maybe. It's part of the power-up routine and not in any way suggesting anything else. It's metaphorically an arranged marriage, isn't it? However this "partnership" only exists for relationship fantasy purposes and doesn't seem to mean anything in practice, since Athena didn't even seem to be on-screen when Yoshichika was fighting a Foreigner. (Every time I write that, it feels dodgy. Fortunately what's on-screen doesn't look human at all, but more like a traditional Foo lion-dog demon.)
It's linked with a trading card game. It looks likely to be rubbish. I should know better than to watch this show and I'm probably going to regret doing so... but what the hell.
- Luger Code 1951
- One-off ONA
- 25 minutes
- One-line summary: werewolves, war and snow
The title suggests that this isn't World War Two, but it looks like it. Are our heroes Nazis? Dunno, but they're hunting werewolves. They need to crack a werewolf code, although I'm not sure what that's going to achieve since the werewolves have no interest in the humans' war and I presume they haven't been inventing superweapons or anything like that. There's:
1. a she-wolf who looks more like a fox. Big ears, bushy tail. She thinks humans reject anything different from themselves and hence by definition hate werewolves.
2. a nice young chap who at one point gets stabbed protecting She-Wolf.
3. an officer with a gun. He's not nice.
The story's just about adequate for a 25-minute one-off, but I wouldn't say it's worth watching. It manages to be memorable, I suppose. Lots of OVAs don't manage that. Werewolves, snow and maybe-Nazis are a decent combination. However there's nothing particularly surprising there and the big fight at the end is silly. There's a Gigantic Evil Werewolf who clearly loves fighting and could probably swallow tanks whole for breakfast. She-Wolf is a werewolf. Nice Young Chap probably weighs about forty kilos and is the opposite of macho... but he's also the hero, so dramatic inevitability means he's going to fight Gigantic Evil Werewolf! Even in a throwaway fantasy adventure anime like this, surely the guy would be a guaranteed grease stain.
Even more annoying, though, is that She-Wolf turns Nice Young Chap into another werewolf like herself... and then leaves him to fight the Gigantic Evil Werewolf on his own! She's a bit tired. Better go and lie down under a tree.
Perhaps someone on the production team thought it would have broken the Rules of Heroic Manliness to have a girl helping the hero in his big fight? Why, such a thing might have been (gasp) realistic! Firstly, she's been a werewolf much longer than him and is probably a better fighter. Secondly, the battle's outcome might have been more believable had our two likeable young heroes been fighting together against their monstrous foe.
It's probably a good thing that this is a one-off, not the start of a series. Don't bother with it.