Astro BoyAttack on TitanJapanese
Anime 1st episodes 2017: A
Including: 18if, 100% Pascal-sensei, ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept., Action Heroine Cheer Fruits, Aho Girl, Ai Mai Mi Surgical Friends, Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor, Akiba's Trip, Akindo Sei Little Peso, Alice & Zouroku, All Out!!, Altair: A Record of Battles, The Ancient Magus' Bride, Angel's 3Piece!, Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai!, Animegataris, Anonymous Noise (2017 anime), Armed Girl's Machiavellism, Attack on Titan: Season 2, Attack on Titan: Lost Girls, Atom: The Beginning
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2017
Series: Anime 1st episodes 2017 >>
Keywords: Astro Boy, Attack on Titan, SF, fantasy, anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 21 first episodes
Website category: Anime 2017
Review date: 2 September 2018
Listed under "B": Ao no Exorcist, aka. Blue Exorcist
Listed under "R": Ameiro Cocoa Series Ame-con!!, aka. Rainy Cocoa 'Amecon!!'
Just the end of an Oct-Dec 2016 series that overlapped into the new year: Ao Oni The Animation ep.13
Just a bonus OVA episode: 91 Days special, containing three short flashback stories
Just a bonus OVA episode: A-Channel: Nabe wo Tabeyou
Just a bonus OVA episode: Amanchu! special
It's a movie: Ancien and the Magic Tablet, aka. Napping Princess
It's a movie: Asagao to Kase-san
It's a movie: Ao Oni The Animation Movie (not that great, actually)
Couldn't find: Africa no Salaryman -- ten three-minute episodes
18 if
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: dream world
I've since finished it and... wow. It keeps it up!
Wow. That was unique. Even in anime, you hardly ever see anything genuinely different these days. This managed it, though. I wouldn't quite call it completely original, since it reminded me a bit of Alice in Wonderland (except with its own iconography). It's a dream world. Other people have told dream world stories. However it looks amazing, it feels fresh and I'm excited to see where it goes.
The title gave me no idea what to expect. The abstract title sequence didn't either.
The first scene is about the Witch of Thunder. She yells "are you having fun?" to her soft toys and they shout back that they are. She summons a chicken and a man with a talking crotch, then starts killing things with her pigtails.
Next, a boy wakes up in a fantasy world with impossible visuals. "Oh, I'm still dreaming," he says. Later the witch sticks her head out of her phone and asks him to play with her. He's saved by a white-haired girl who might be his little sister (it's unclear), but then gets eaten by a lizard above a cliff over a void with stars.
He then wakes up at the start again. There are some red doors. Later there will be killer teddy bears.
The fantasy stuff continues, but the episode would get dull if that was all. It's not. Our hero is interestingly direct about how seriously he should be taking dream worlds, even though the talking cat tells him that dream-death will also kill you in the real world. We then see the real world! Once upon a time, something unimportant but cruel happened. That was memorable. I was impressed.
Next week: "Time stopped at age 12."
pascal sensei
100% Pascal-sensei
Season 1
Episodes: 36 x 12 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: gag anime for small children
"Gag anime" I thought. Sounds promising. Then I watched it and... nah.
The show's joke is that Pascal-sensei is a yellow goofball alien mole thing and a completely inappropriate teacher. His teaching preparation is "where's my game controller?", he sleeps in class and at the end he drives a bulldozer through the wall. At one point his head opens up and we see a penguin inside. All that's okay. He didn't make me laugh, but he's okay. He's more than good enough to drive this fairly lightweight kiddie show.
My problem was with his students' reaction shots. Their role in the comedy is to fall over with one leg in the air (or whatever) whenever Pascal-sensei does anything. It's overdone in an "aimed at simple-minded small children" way. This killed the jokes for me.
Other problems for me in the episode were the children trying to get Pascal-sensei back to the classroom, even after the notebook punchline (why?), and the weird Part Two with two Pascals arguing about who's the hero in a sword-and-sorcery fantasy setting. They're lost, so they use satnav. I honestly couldn't tell what the point of that Part Two was. Anyway, this show doesn't tempt me, but I'm pretty sure that lots of four-year-old boys would go apeshit for it.
acca 13 territory
ACCA: 13-Territory Inspection Dept.
ACCA: Jusan-ku Kansatsu-ka
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: the story of government inspectors
It seems okay. It has a fairly dull premise, but I don't mind that and there's some slow-burn background stuff with possible coups in the offing. I could easily have continued with it, but equally it didn't grab me by the lapels and compel me to.
Our heroes are the 13-Territory Inspection Dept. Their idea of excitement is an overly ambitious audit schedule and they don't all even disagree with top-level cabinet proposals to abolish their department. Society's pretty orderly these days. The inspection department doesn't matter as much as it used to. Our hero does an audit and uncovers some official corruption in a nice-looking district, which is clever of him. Incidentally his government outfit slightly resembles an SS officer's uniform, which is an odd touch.
The main reason I'm dropping this show, to be honest, is the cigarettes. Our hero smokes so much that passers-by comment on it ("Smoking is a pastime of the rich; don't do it in the street!") and has a side job of distributing tobacco catalogues. His sister calls him "Jean the Cigarette Peddler". When the corruption he uncovers involves black market cigarettes, it feels a bit like hypocrisy.
Cigarettes are a weak reason to drop a show, but here I'd already been on the fence. The guy smokes and smokes. I found him distracting and a little bit annoying. All other things being equal, I'd sooner not watch an anime about him.
action heroine cheerfruits
Action Heroine Cheer Fruits
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no, but it looks nice
One-line summary: Love Live with tokusatsu superheroes
The only reason I'm not watching is that I didn't really feel like it. No particular reason. It looks nice. The characters are nice. Its subject matter doesn't particularly grab me, but then again I enjoyed Love Live despite having absolutely no time for idols in general.
It's about tokusatsu heroes, or more specifically heroines. Mighty Morphing Power Rangers. That kind of thing, but the original Japanese version without the extra English-language material. There's a little girl (Yuzuka) who lives in some sleepy, semi-populated nowhere town and loves the local TV station's superhero show, called Kamidaio. There are lots of regional superheroes, apparently. It's a good way of promoting your local district. Anyway, there's going to be a live Kamidaio stage show! Yuzuka is pumped. She gets her big sister (Mikan) to take her. She's going to see Kamidaio! It's all she can think about. Unfortunately the stage show gets cancelled, Yuzuka is distraught and in a moment of utter madness Mikan promises to make it happen herself instead. When, when, when? A week on Saturday! Wow, my sister's amazing!
As soon as she's alone again, Mikan freaks out.
The answer, clearly, is to do it herself. She has a classmate (Akagi) who loves superheroes and will do terrifying acrobatics for fun. (She jumps out of school windows and runs across roofs.) Put these two girls together and maybe, if they're lucky, they'll be able to put on a show for Yuzuka that has risibly cheap costumes, an edited version of the authentic TV soundtrack and absolutely stunning fight choreography.
It's a likeable episode, with one minor oddity. There's some gentle, soothing music that runs for nearly three minutes (3:40-6:20 or so), after the opening title sequence. It's mostly piano and, I think, a guitar. It has a break of a few seconds when Mikan bumps into Akagi in the school corridor (which is quite effective), but otherwise it runs unbroken... which is a surprising decision in the scene where a rich bitch stomps up to Mikan and starts being intimidating and scary.
If I liked tokusatsu superhero shows, I'd have definitely watched this. I'm not particularly interested in them, so I won't... but the show looks likeable.
Aho Girl
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 12.5 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line description: comedy about a stupid girl
I've since finished it and... it's quite funny. Not entirely comfortable.
"Aho" means idiot. If you're feeling nervous about an anime called "Stupid Girl", then I have good news and bad news.
GOOD NEWS: the title's not sexist. It's not saying that all girls are stupid. The only idiot here is the show's heroine, Yoshiko, who's got the kind of anti-intellect that gets a perfect zero even on multiple choice exams. She thinks her friend Akkun has the hots for her and nothing he says or does (including physical violence) is capable of persuading her otherwise. She doesn't realise that other girls might not want to be groped. Her idea of comforting someone is offensive.
Even her mother has given up on Yoshiko and will unilaterally offer her idiot daughter's hand in marriage to Akkun, just to try to get the brat off her hands. Unfortunately Akkun would sooner stick his organ in a sausage mincer.
Akkun: "Humans don't fall in love with monkeys, do they?"
Mother: "Then please... please, just make her somewhat human!"
BAD NEWS: the anime might still be offensive if you don't like slapstick violence. Akkun is surly, snarly and hits Yoshiko a lot. (This is a gender-flip of the anime trope of short-tempered women hitting hapless men in comedies.) Mind you, Yoshiko has his number and will cheerfully share with strangers the fact that Akkun is a grouchy virgin with no friends. "Now I know how tragic he is, he's not scary any more!"
They'd make a good couple if it weren't for Akkun being driven out of his mind and Yoshiko continually being clobbered. Apart from anything else, Yoshiko's so cheerful that she's never bothered about anything (unless perhaps she just can't remember) and she's clearly the only person in the world who'd actually choose Akkun as a friend. She doesn't think he's scary! The show also introduces a few supporting cast members. Sayaka's terrified of Akkun, while the School Disciplinary Committee Chairman appears to be making the ghastly mistake of thinking he's kind and noble. (In fairness he'd just saved her from Yoshiko, who'd been sexually assaulting her.)
It's quite funny. I liked it. The world's full of comedies about idiots, but this one's got more teeth than most. Mind you, it's also being light and fluffy about material that not everyone would see as being suitable for that.
"If we can't think of any other way to help Yoshiko, let's have her commit a crime and have her sent to jail."
Ai Mai Mi Surgical Friends
Choboraunyopomi Gekijou Dai Ni Maku ai mai mi: Surgical Friends
Season 3
Episodes: 12 x 3.5 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: gag anime
I remember watching an episode of this in 2014 and finding it impenetrable. This episode is less baffling, but it's still not for me.
There's no story and only occasional moments of even simple characterisation. It's about the gags, really, but I don't even think they're funny. They're just random. "Absurdist" you could say, if you wanted, although in fairness there's also a tendency towards black/violent comedy. The show begins by announcing a fictional football team, then the girls hit each other. People have overreactions. There are comments about using a red-hot iron bar to make someone stop drawing manga. "But we did that the other day."
There's not even any pretence at making these girls real or plausible. One girl gets given a scarf because it's cold, so she wraps it around herself vertically. Later someone jumps out of a train window and dies as an overreaction to something trivial.
The title sequence is still doing 1980s computer games, though.
akashic records
Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor
Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: non-teacher at magic school
I couldn't take it, but that's just my personal issues. I'm sure the show improves, but I won't be sticking with it.
I don't mind Glenn being an incompetent, smug loser who does things like barging into the girls' changing room. I don't mind him being an unqualified layabout who shouts "I don't want to work at all". I even enjoyed his childishness on getting repeatedly trashed in a magical duel at the end of the episode.
What I can't take is how he runs his classes. He doesn't try to teach. He just wanders in late, announces a self-study period and goes to sleep. His writing on the blackboard is illegible. When students ask him questions, he tells them to look it up themselves and then scarpers in mid-sentence when the bell sounds. Sorry, but no. I can't watch a teacher who behaves like that. This episode got me wondering if I just couldn't take weirdo teacher anime, but then I remembered GTO and Assassination Classroom. They're fantastic. This isn't.
Other things of note here include gratuitous lesbian fondling and (less tediously) a flying island in the sky. I think that's Melgalius's Sky Castle. The student characters are nice, but I even got annoyed with Sisti when she chews out Glenn for... uh, "showing contempt for magic". Admittedly she's also unhappy about his teaching quality, but personally I know what I'd have been complaining about first.
In fairness, Glenn seems like a fairly entertaining character, in his way. He's not just a dick. He can be amusing. I'm also sure we're going to see him being forced to show hidden depths and give better classes. I also think "bastard" is a misleading translation of "rokudenashi", which really just means "bum, good-for-nothing, ne'er-do-well", etc. Glenn's not evil or anything. The show's still not for me, though.
Akiba's Trip
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: fight supernatural baddies by stripping them
I've since finished it and... I enjoyed it a good deal. Much better than I'd expected.
It sounded like the trashiest show of the year. Look at the title! (Hint: reassociate the 'S'.) So far, though, it's quite good and I'm going to keep watching. It made me laugh.
An otaku (Tamotsu) and his sister (Niwaka) are shopping in Akihabara. Tamotsu is clever and imaginative (e.g. his way of dealing with pushy sales people in the street), but also a hopeless geek who lives to buy obscure figurines. When he meets a busty cosplaying blonde (Arisa) who beats him to a particularly rare piece of merchandise and knows all the trivia about it, they undergo platonic nerd bonding. "I can trust you as we share the same soul!"
Early in the episode, a pink-haired girl (Matome) falls from the sky, makes a crater in the ground and single-handedly beats up an attack squad of gremlin/demon girls. They explode in purple smoke when she undresses them, although you'll be interested to learn that this is family-friendly stripping. No one loses their underwear, although the episode's queen bitch will eventually turn out not to have been wearing any.
Matome then flees from the Akihabara Vigilantes by leaping over buildings. She jumps like a flea.
I enjoyed this episode much more than I'd expected. It's not mindless sleaze. (I'd barely call it sleaze, in fact, much like Those Who Hunt Elves.) The characters are lively and interesting. Tamotsu is the hero, but the episode's cheerfully also making him a likeable dork who can have an epic fail. I've got a good feeling about this show.
akindo sei
Akindo Sei Little Peso
Akindo Sei no Little Peso
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 3 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: anime for small children
Peso is a small alien child who can only say one word ("maido!") and spends too much money on computer games. His stingy father is the king. Peso agrees to save in a money box, which I'd assumed would be the Moral of the Story in this very obviously kiddie anime. It's not. Dad realises that the money box itself was too expensive, so he smashes it, gets possessed by a demon and blasts Peso into space with his childminder.
It's the kind of CGI anime that's trying to look as if it was animated by moving around cut-up bits of paper. The twist at the end was funny, but it's not for me and I can't see myself getting too interested in Peso himself ("maido!"). The show looks significantly odder and more lively than it might have been, though.
alice zouroku
Alice & Zouroku
Alice to Zouroku
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes (but ep.1 is double-length)
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: a much lighter Elfen Lied meets grumpy old man
I've since finished it and... I'm glad I did. Nice, well worth it.
I loved it because of Zouroku. The rest of the show is also good, but won't surprise anyone who's watched anime before.
A superpowered teleporting little girl escapes from a research facility that's soon sending people to kill her in outrageous ways. So far, so good. The girl's name might be Sana (not Alice) and I liked her, but I've seen anime characters like her before.
However the bloke she's going to meet is Zouroku and he's awesome. He's a bad-tempered grandad who'll get cross if you're not polite and well-behaved. (Using psychic powers to smash up the city and try to kill Sana definitely counts as bad behaviour.) He can't be sweet-talked. He ignores "cute". Act like a high-handed anime brat and he'll lift you out of your chair by your head.
The art's a mess. Both the CGI and the hand-drawn art can look lazy and cheap. However I don't care and I'm going to keep watching, because of Zouroku.
"I hate crooked stuff."
all out
All Out!!
Season 1
Episode 13
24 minutes
Keep watching: it's still good, but no
One-line summary: rugby
I like All Out!!, although I preferred last year's ep.1 to this year's ep.13 because Iwashimizu and Gion are funnier than Sekizan and Hachiouji. However there's more rugby this time and so I wasn't tempted to continue.
It's a flashback episode, showing us how Hachiouji scouted Sekizan as a first year. It's being played almost like a celibate romance. He has to woo him. It ends with Sekizan saying "yes" to Hachiouji in the rain to the sound of violins. However of course it's all about rugby, with Hachiouji trying every dodgy trick he can think of to drag Sekizan on to a playing field. Hachiouji is huge, but good-natured and dopey. (I laughed at a brief image of a similarly bloodhound-faced sister.) He likes rugby.
As for Sekizan, he's just as huge and has more muscles, but isn't interested in the school rugby club because he thinks they're all a bunch of slackers. (Unfortunately, apart from Hachiouji, he's right.)
It's nice and sometimes amusing. Hachiouji is a lovely chap, although he was lucky not to get punched over that love letter. Iwashimizu and Gion are still joined at the hip. I like them and I wish them well. I won't be watching the rest, but that's just because it's about rugby and don't let my prejudices put you off.
Shoukoku no Altair
Altair: A Record of Battles
Shoukoku no Altair
Season 1
Episodes: 24 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: political/historical epic
It looks serious, impressive and well-made. It's based on a very highly regarded manga. However it doesn't really look like my cup of tea.
At first it looks very Arabian Nights. You've got turbans, fezzes, belly dancers, etc., in a country called "Turkiye". Apparently in fact it's a fantasy cut-and-paste of 17th century history in Europe and the Middle East, with Turkiye being its equivalent of the Ottoman Empire and their enemies/rivals (the Balt-Rhein Empire) being Austria and Germany. The story's hero is Mahmut, the youngest ever Pasha (national council member) and a pacifist who's determined not to let his country go to war again. The last time, twelve years ago, was a disaster.
Unfortunately the narration tells us that his efforts will ultimately be doomed and there's going to be a war throughout this entire region. Features I observed:
(a) to me, its politics felt oversimplified. Both empires' decision-making so far boil down to a sensible-looking old geezer with a white beard and a one-dimensional dick. The Balt-Rhein one is simply evil. Meanwhile the Turkish one is so stupid that he wants to start a war with a country whose army is ten times the size of theirs, thinking they'll win anyway because no one will expect a surprise attack. He's also ignoring the evidence of what happened last time.
(b) there's not going to be much involvement for female characters, is there? Even if they gender-flip a few roles later on, this episode is still basically Men Doing Manly Things. This episode has one female character, but she's a belly dancer with big boobs who gets into Mahmut's bed uninvited. (He's not interested in women and runs away to sleep on the roof.)
(c) I'm not a great fan of this genre, e.g. Legend of the Galactic Heroes and Arslan Senki. It gets uninterestingly big. It's all about international developments, war, etc. which can mean a loss of focus for the characters and/or nothing human for them to do.
Those are just my personal reasons, though, and I wouldn't warn off other people. It looks very good, for what it is. Continuing or stopping was a coin-toss for me and I might have continued if it hadn't been a 24-episode show. In some ways, I'd even call the episode impressive.
Mahoutsukai no Yome
The Ancient Magus' Bride
Mahoutsukai no Yome
Season 1
Episodes: 27 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: gentle domestic magical fantasy
I've since finished it and... it's quality. Slow, mature, meticulously researched.
I'm not sure which first episode this is. There's the 24-episode TV series and three prequel OVAs. I'm not too bothered, though, since I liked it and I'll watch all of it.
It starts in foggy Victorian London, with a witch and a little magical flying mermaid spirit called Hugo. They're wrapping up lots of big books in a small mechanical bird.
No, I'm wrong. It's modern times, not the 19th century. I think. We meet a yawning talking dog, a red-headed girl and a very tall man with an animal skull head. Skullman is Redhead's magical teacher, while she's his human teacher. He needs help understanding human stuff and how they feel. However he seems like a thoroughly nice chap, buying her lots of magical books and taking his teaching role seriously. He doesn't come across as a headmaster, or anything more like. He behaves more like a supportive father. (No, I haven't forgotten the show's title, but this episode isn't suggesting that.)
The second half of the episode is about Redhead's childhood. Looks tough. She can see magical things, which is a problem when you're a child who's bad at communication and afraid of everything because you're trapped in an world that's overflowing with Ghibli-inspired whimsical beings.
It looks lovely. It's gentle, domestic and charming in a "nothing's happening but you don't mind" way. I've heard good things about this one and indeed I bought the first five manga volumes when I was in Japan. Looks like a solid recommendation already.
tenshi 3p
Angel's 3Piece!
Tenshi no 3P!
Here Comes the Three Angels
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: long think... okay
One-line summary: hikikomori and three small orphans start band
I've since finished it and... eps.1-9 are pleasant and nice, but eps.10-12 get silly
Erm. Hurm. I wasn't sure about this one. It's yet another Schoolgirl Band anime, of which I must have seen about 100000 in the last few years. It's a little bit removed from most of the genre, though, and I suppose it might be worth a shot.
HERO: HibikiP (online name), Kyou Nukui (real name). He's pathetic. He doesn't go to school or talk to people, unless you count not hearing what anyone says to him when he's buying food at his local convenience store. (He has some contact with his little sister, though, and he has an online collaborator who draws illustrations for the music he uploads.)
One day, he gets an email from someone who claims to admire his music and wants to meet up. It takes Kyou a bit of heartache and more than one attempt to send a "yes" reply.
Suffice to say that Kyou's mental images doesn't match reality. The episode improves a lot once we've met Nozomi, Sora and Jun, who have ambitious goals and don't need slapping. (Well, except for Nozomi when she delivers the episode's last line. Oi, you. Stop that. If the show keeps that up, we'll be in trouble.)
I'm not expecting this show to change my life, but I'll give it a whirl. I want its cast to succeed. That's worth something.
There's No Cure for My Brother!
Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai!
There's No Cure for My Brother!
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 3 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: brother and sister bickering
It looks okay, actually. I recognised both of its voice actors, who are good. The episode was reasonably watchable... but it's also a fairly predictable semi-comedy about whether to eat a delicious-looking sausage or some of the leftovers in the fridge at home.
It's based on a Chinese web comic. Looks fine. I could easily have kept going.
anime gatari
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: anime nerds
I've since finished it and... I enjoyed it, although it goes a bit mental at the end.
It's immediately likeable. It kicks off with characters I enjoyed watching, even before I knew who anyone was or what the show was about. The music's fun too. "Did I watch anime when I was young?" someone asks.
A lot of the cast are stereotypes (e.g. the rich so-called princess, the effeminate teacher, the chuunibyou, etc.), but I get the impression that that might be meta self-commentary. Our main characters are Minoa (normal) and Arisu (has a slightly intimidating air, but get her talking about anime and she'll thaw to the point where it's hard to shut her up). There's also a disused club room, a possibly magical beret and an ugly cat.
I've got my hopes quite high for this. It got me on board immediately and kept me there. It gives the impression of knowing what it's talking about, with even the anime references being real and specific, except with names changed. Should be a laugh.
Fukumenkei Noise
Anonymous Noise
Fukumenkei Noise
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: shoujo school band anime
I've since finished it and... I was impressed. Incidentally, it's not from stupidity that Yuzu got held back a school year.
It's got that slightly feverish shoujo air. Emotional intensity, childhood friends, rival girls who are close to the same boy, etc. One of the two Romantic Possibilities is a jerk who's rude and stupid, while the other's a cool beauty who wears spectacles. So far I'm assuming that our heroine, Arisugawa (aka. Alice), will end up with the jerk.
It's about music. Alice sings. (She goes a bit berserk when she does.) The jerk (Yuzu) is a composer who plays in a school band, but recently he's been unable to compose and the band might be breaking up. Is that because he doesn't have his muse, Alice? The episode seems to be implying that, but I'm puzzled since they haven't seen each other for six years. The cool beauty (Momo) is also a composer, but professionally rather than just at school.
It looks low-budget. The character designs are classical shojo, but more importantly there's also some ugly, obvious motion capture in the band's performances. I don't care.
I like it. I've seen negative comments from people who are comparing it with the original manga, but hey. It seems a bit mental. I'm quite looking forward to it. (Oh, and "yuzu" is a rather nice Japanese citrus fruit, while "momo" means "peach".)
"I'm filled with such jealousy, longing and possessiveness that I feel like my body will be torn apart."
Busou Shoujo Machiavellism
Armed Girl's Machiavellism
Busou Shoujo Machiavellism
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: boy fights schoolgirls
Ugh. There's only one thing wrong with it, but unfortunately that's the protagonist. He annoys me. When schoolgirls are attacking him with swords, I want them to win and kill him. Unfortunately the title sequence suggests twelve episodes of Mr "Look At Me I'm A Dick" having one-on-one fights with schoolgirls.
Girls rule Private Aichi Symbiosis Academy. It used to be a girls' school, but then boys arrived. The girls overreacted, with swords. This got the school a reputation, so these days people deliberately send it delinquents and hooligans. The girls will tame them... which in practice seems to mean making the boys wear girls' uniforms, put on lipstick and bulk up to a grotesque degree so that our male hero can make intolerant jokes about them.
The girls actually seem okay. They're strict, but they believe in honour, respect and the traditional samurai principles. We're given no indication that they're bullies or wannabe Hitlers. They attack our hero with edged weapons, anyway, which gets them points in my book.
On the other hand, we have our hero, Nomura Fudo. Suitable words for him might include "arrogant", "cocky" and "smug". He got expelled from his previous school after a brawl in which forty people got knocked out and he's seemingly invincible in combat, with teleportation powers that he uses to see up a girl's skirt. The girls give him a choice of fitting in or leaving this school, which strikes me as a sensible, civilised approach even with the quirk of having to wear drag. Nothing wrong with that either. However... "Hell, no. I'm free to do what I want, right? So I'm saying no to both."
Consequence: FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT!!! This ends in an accidental kiss because it looks as if his opponent will also be his love interest. Will this become a harem show? Do I care? You must be joking.
Shingeki no Kyojin
Attack on Titan: Season 2
Shingeki no Kyojin
Season 2
Episodes: 26-37
Minutes: 24
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: zombies the size of tower blocks will eat the world
I've since finished it and... it's increased its character focus, which I'd call an improvement. It's everything it should be.
Come on, you've heard of Attack on Titan. It's huge, or at least it was in 2013 when Season 1 came out. Unfortunately since then we've had two franchise-killingly bad live-action films (brain scrub, brain scrub) and a comedy spin-off that reinvents the series at junior high school. (Then there's the manga, obviously. That's still ongoing and I've got that on my bookshelves too.) When I started watching this episode, it was actually quite hard work remembering what I'd been told in which medium and which spoilers I hadn't yet learned in this version of the story.
Fortunately this anime's vastly stronger than both the films and the comedy spin-off, so I'd completely forgotten that they existed by the time I reached the end credits. So far this looks easily as good as Season 1.
The stars are the Titans. They're unpredictable in pretty much every way, from where and how they can appear (good grief) to their appearance (gross and sometimes ridiculous), intelligence (usually non-sentient) and movement (can be flailing and toddler-like). Ultra-violent splatter dismemberment scenes somehow become more disturbing when the bone-cruncher looks as if it was drawn by a giggling eight-year-old.
Our heroes are trying to save mankind. That doesn't make them nice people, although some of them are. They live in a dystopian cannibal hellworld where the religious leaders get all enthusiastic when you threaten to drop them off a building. They want to be dropped to go splat. Well, Pastor Nick of the Wall Cult does, anyway.
It's surprisingly gripping. This show shouldn't be as good as it is, I sometimes think. It's just another post-apocalypse zombie movie, really, except with some mental worldbuilding twists and the zombies' extreme size. However it does "intense" as well as anyone. The Season 2 DVDs are already available and I've bought them to watch with Tomoko. Should be good.
Attack on Titan: Lost Girls
Shingeki no Kyojin: Lost Girls
OVA series
Episodes: 3 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: detective story in the Attack on Titan world
I've since finished it and... it's proper Attack on Titan, but side-stories that avoid the battlegrounds. It's very good.
Annie Leonheart is our dead-eyed protagonist, in a flashback story set before the Titans tore down the walls. We only see them briefly, in her dreams. (If you lived in that world, you'd dream of Titans too.) Annie's still in the Military Police Brigade at this point and she's been told to find a missing girl.
She interviews the girl's rich dad, who knows very little about his daughter but still wants her found. She goes to dodgy places and meet arrogant men who think they can push her around. (Bad mistake. Annie can get violent at the drop of a hat and she'll dislocate one chap's shoulder.) She finds illegal drugs and does a surprisingly good job of being a detective, hunting down witnesses and following up clues.
It's pretty good. It looks well worth the time it takes to watch these three episodes, although obviously it doesn't have the apocalyptic man-eating terror of Titan attacks. Instead it's just a quiet side story, albeit one set in a doomed world with an emotionally dead protagonist. I enjoyed it.
atom beginning
Atom: The Beginning
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: prequel origin story for Astro Boy
I've since finished it and... it's not great. It's okay, but I wouldn't really recommend it.
I've never seen any Astro Boy before, but he's a big deal. He was a manga by Osamu Tezuka, then a ground-breaking anime in 1963.
This isn't by Tezuka, though. It's a prequel by some other (i.e. lesser) writers, adapted into an anime. It seems okay, but the art style doesn't really work. Tezuka had a sort of 1930s Disney air to him, which is very visible in some characters here (Hiroshi Ochanomizu) and less so in others. To be honest, I think they either needed to do it more or not at all, preferably with thicker lines in the art. Also, mysteriously, I found it oddly jarring to hear a modern anime voice performance coming out of those character designs. Well, I'm sure I'll get used to it.
The story has several unsympathetic characters. A106's creator, Tenma, is a jerk. Wheelchair Bloke and his sister seem perfectly nice until the following exchange. "It's a fitting place for trash like them." "It's fun ridiculing trash!" Oh, and there's some bad info-dump dialogue to introduce "Moriya Tsutsumi-san from Lab 1, the top research student at Nerima University" and "the most genius mind in all of Japan."
That said, though, A106 is cool when he's a flying turtle and I liked both Ochanomizu and his little sister. It's also past time that I educate myself better in all things Tezuka, even if it's at second hand. I'll continue with this.