BerserkninjaJapanese
Anime 1st episodes 2017: B
Including: Baja no Studio, BanG Dream!, Battle Girl High School, Berserk (2017 anime), Beyblade Burst God, Black Clover, Blend S, Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond, Blue Exorcist, Bonobono, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2017
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2017 >>
Keywords: Berserk, anime, fantasy, SF, magical girl, ninja
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 11 first episodes
Website category: Anime 2017
Review date: 8 September 2018
Listed under "A": Busou Shoujo Machiavellianism, aka. Armed Girl's Machiavellism
Listed under "M": My Girlfriend is Shobitch, aka. Boku no Kanojo ga Majime Sugiru Shojo Bitch na Ken
Listed under "W": Welcome to the Ballroom, aka. Ballroom e Youkoso
Couldn't find: Baito Saki wa "Aku no Soshiki"?!
Couldn't find: Buppu na Mainichi
Just a bonus OVA episode: Binan Koukou Chikyuu Boueibu LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!
Just a bonus OVA episode: Brave Witches: Petersburg Daisenryaku
Just a bonus OVA episode: Bungou Stray Dogs 2: Hitori Ayumu
It's a movie: Biohazard: Vendetta
It's a movie: Blame! Movie
Baja Studio
Baja no Studio
Baja's Studio
One-off episode
21 minutes
Keep watching: n/a
One-line summary: hamster has cute adventure
It's adorable, it's by Kyoto Animation and it's only twenty minutes long. If you get a chance, watch this.
Baja is a hamster-thing. (Do you get black-and-white hamsters? I think you do. Okay, he's a hamster.) He's also the pet in residence at Kohata Anime Studio, where the staff work on a show about a magical girl called Coco. Baja potters around and watches things with an incomplete but charming level of comprehension. (He knows that everyone's working for Coco, so he thinks she's the building's landlord.)
There's a rubber duck in a pond outside and a cat that's interested in it. Baja worries about this. Then... well, I won't spoil it, but it's magical and charming. It's a light, happy throwaway episode about a happy hamster and you could recommend it to pretty much anyone, of any age. It made me laugh.
bang dream
BanG Dream!
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: schoolgirl band
I've since finished it and... I enjoyed it.
It's a schoolgirl band show, but sensibly it hid this information from me for as long as possible. (The opening credits make it obvious, but the opening credits have temporarily been moved to the end of the episode.) Anyway, I liked it a lot and I'm going to continue even though it's about a band. Well, I liked Love Live! and K-On!. (Note the obligatory exclamation mark.)
The show's secret weapon is its protagonist, Kasumi Toyama. She's awesome. She bounces out of bed before her alarm clock goes off because she's happy and excited about her little sister's opening ceremony. She got the day wrong. Whoops. (The sister, Asuka, doesn't seem to be able to handle Kasumi's energy levels and might be on the point of changing schools to escape from her.) Anyway, Kasumi charges out of the house without remembering the small matter of breakfast, delivers a strange self-introduction at her new school (she's excited about STARBEATS!!!) and is capable of spacing out on zebra crossings while she's still in the middle of the road. That scared me. She's a bit weird, but in a really enthusiastic way.
Later she follows some stars, because you do, and finds a star-shaped guitar. This gets her mistakenly accused of theft by someone who seems to have mistaken Kasumi for someone with normal thought processes. Five minutes later this person somehow finds herself in the role of Kasumi's minder. No, I don't get it either. They go to a live show and see a band.
This couldn't possibly be mistaken for an important show. I'll be watching it.
battle girl highschool
Battle Girl High School
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: magical girls + school antics + aliens
I've since finished it and... it's at best a second or third tier show, but it's okay.
It's a bit of a jumble, but I'll keep going. I'm interested in seeing where they go with this.
Half of the time, it's an everyday school anime. Our heroines are schoolgirls. They sleep in class, want to go to pop concerts and react childishly when the school council president announces the closing of their school clubs. (The computer and shougi clubs both have only one member and their club time is spent on messing around.)
However it's also a magical girl series, albeit with little or no magic. They fight with physical weapons like swords, axes and guns. (Dunno about their transformation sequences.) They're protecting the world against aliens, but when they're not fighting they're just schoolgirls! In addition, they're a bit lackadaisical. They're not taking their fights very seriously, which their teachers comment on negatively. (Having won some hard battles in the past, they've got a bit cocky and are taking it for granted that they'll be able to clobber the aliens. I started wondering if this was a sequel to something I hadn't seen.)
This could go in all sorts of directions. At the moment it's quite light. The girls themselves have some degree of self-awareness, for what it's worth, and three of them go off to run ten laps of the field in a burst of self-improvement. Is the show lulling us into a false sense of security, setting the girls up for failure and death? Alternatively, is it going to sustain its slice-of-life schoolgirl focus? Well, I'll find out.
beruseruku
Berserk
Season 3, if you include 1997
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: grim, horrible, strong
I've since finished it and... it's good and horrible, i.e. it's Berserk.
"This show contains scenes that some viewers may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised."
The subtitles told me that. Quite right, too. It's Berserk.
Guts is currently between death quests. He had a shock at the end of the 2016 season, although to understand that properly you'd want to have read the manga or seen the 2012-13 films and/or the 1997 TV series. Guts is now promising to look after SPOILER, instead of just dumping her on other people and running off to spend years killing as usual. The really surprising thing is that he seems to mean it. Dunno how long that will last in Berserk, though.
(That doesn't mean he's giving up death quests, though. He'll be taking her with him.)
The "viewer discretion" bit involves what happens after Kushan soldiers won a battle. It's medieval, so you'll see the losers getting slaughtered in brutal and/or disgusting ways while topless women are led away in a bound line. To the victors, the spoils.
The CGI animation looks the same as ever, so presumably the world still hates it. I still think it's fine. I'll be watching, obviously. After surviving the 1997 traumas and quite enjoying the 2016 sequel, there's no way I wouldn't be seeing where this goes next. I'm expecting terrible things from SPOILER.
Beyblade Burst
Beyblade Burst God
Beyblade Burst Evolution
Episode #1 of 51
"To the World! Valkyrie's Evolution!!"
"Sekai e! Valkyrie Shinka!!"
24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: children's toy tie-in battle anime
Firstly, let's check the show's title. The official English title is "Beyblade Burst Evolution". That's what's all over wikipedia. However the on-screen Japanese title is definitely Beyblade Burst God. (The third word in kanji would normally be pronounced "kami-sama", but its furigana says "god".)
Obviously the change was made for American sensibilities, but the substitution they chose amuses me.
Anyway, I quite liked it. Of course it's just yet another blatant vehicle for selling toys to children, with psychopathically arrogant small boys who say things like "I'm crazy strong!", never admit defeat and live for BATTLE!!!! This particular toy is a Beyblade, a spinning top that you bash into your opponent's top.
Beyblade tie-in anime have been running almost non-stop since 2001, but at least that's better than trading card battle anime. Beyblade battles look quite cool in anime, with all that spinning and bashing, whereas trading card battles look daft. Admittedly there's a bit where the Beyblades transform into dragons and mounted knights for EXTRA EXCITEMENT!!!, but I can live with that. What's more, the episode has some fun quirks like an old bloke who talks to Beyblades as if they're cute children and a tough-looking boy who talks through glove puppets on each hand.
There are also unintentional amusements.
1. The theme songs are kind of suggestive. "BURST BURST BURST BURST BURST FINISH!!!" "GO SHOOT!!! BEYBLADE, BURST!!! BEYBLADE, SHOOT!!!" "GO SHOOT!!! NICE FINISH!!!"
2. The episode's antagonist is called Siscon. I nearly fell off my chair. On checking online, I discovered that it's actually Sisco (or Silas in the English dub), but I got it wrong because that final syllabic "n" is soft in Japanese. Here's a glossary of some related vocabulary:
LOLICON = "lolita complex", i.e. sexually attracted to children
BROCON = "brother complex", i.e. attracted to your brother
SISCON = "sister complex", i.e. attracted to your sister
...and if you mishear as I did, the anime's hero walks up to this other boy and says "you're a siscon, right?"
3. At the end of the episode, two small boys get in a strange old man's van without telling anyone and drive away with him. They're also the heroes.
There's no way I'm watching all of this show, though.
Black-Clover
Black Clover
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes, but it continues in 2018
Keep watching: I couldn't even finish this episode
One-line summary: old-school shounen anime with psychotic hero
My anime-watching friend at work is watching this series. How? Is he superhuman? Is he made of iron? I don't get it.
We begin with a priest who's found two babies. One of them kicks him in his face so hard that it knocks him down and bloodies his nose. I have a three-month-old daughter right now. Babies' legs are stronger than you'd think, but... no.
Jump forward fifteen years. Our hero is called Asta and the other baby is Yuno. I liked Yuno. He's calm and says sensible things, e.g. that Asta is loud, short, obnoxious and immature. This is true, except that it doesn't go far enough. Asta's like a parody of shounen heroes, written by someone who hates them. He shouts and screams all his dialogue. He says things like "Sister Lily, one day I'll become the Wizard King and make you happy, so please marry me!"
This wouldn't be so bad if: (a) Sister Lily weren't a nun, (b) Asta weren't fifteen years old, and (c) he's the only person in this world who can't use magic. Everyone else can. It's used for ordinary household jobs. However Asta will challenge Yuno to a duel, make a magic-blasting pose and then be astonished when nothing comes out.
I couldn't take it. I withstood six minutes of this guy, then gave up and fast-forwarded. What I saw of the rest of the episode suggested a perfectly solid plot, with Asta's humiliation in a magical coming-of-age and then a fight with a villain. If I'd liked Asta, I might well have watched this show. However I'd sooner stick pins in my feet.
blend-s
Blend S
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line description: weirdo-themed cafe workplace comedy
I've since finished it and... I liked it.
It made me laugh. Our heroine gets a pretty weird part-time job, with somewhat weird colleagues. I liked her and I enjoyed the episode.
Maika Sakuranomiya apparently has an evil look in her eyes. She usually looked normal to me and her voice actress is making her sound lovely, but every so often the animators will make her glare like a thug. She thinks this is why she's unable to get a part-time job. (Maybe it is and maybe it isn't. People aren't always the best judge of why they've been rejected, but in this case it does seem likely.) Incidentally, she has a likeable reason for wanting the money. She doesn't need it. Her big sister says she could just ask their father. However Maika wants to study abroad and to have earned the funds to do so by herself, because if she doesn't she thinks she'll just go on being dependent on her family and unable to move forward.
Anyway, one day Maika's walking down the street when a blonde weirdo called Dino falls flamboyantly in love with her and offers her a job in his restaurant. He seems harmless and amiable, so Maika lets him keep talking. This is a themed cafe, so Maika's job will be to play the Sadistic Waitress who heaps abuse on the customers.
I'm neutral towards the premise, which could theoretically have been obnoxious, but I kept finding the episode funnier than I'd expected. Maika's first attempt at getting in-character for some customers is a disaster because she's a bundle of nerves and keeps making mistakes, for instance, yet it works out brilliantly because it all looks like abuse. Her colleagues think she's a natural. I'm sure I'll get to know the supporting cast better, but in this episode the most memorable one for me was the cynical, violent girl whose work role is the stereotypical Adorable Little Sister. (She's actually at university, but you'd never guess because she's tiny.)
To my surprise, it's rather charming. They're nice and Maika's very likeable. The tsundere's first in-character line made me afraid that she'd be annoying, but her scenes turned out to be about her being a massive video game nerd. I'm looking forward to this one and expecting to enjoy the show a lot.
Kekkai Sensen
Blood Blockade Battlefront & Beyond
Kekkai Sensen & Beyond
Season 2
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes + a 13th OVA
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: high-octane magic and monsters in New York
I don't really like Blood Blockade Battlefront. It's super-popular in Japan, but I didn't really warm to it when I watched Season 1 in 2015. It's awesomely cool and it's got spectacular action scenes, but I wanted more story from it. There's nothing underneath that cool surface. Look at this episode, for instance.
STORY #1: people fall from the sky with cute man-eating monsters in tanks strapped to their heads. This was done by a cackling supervillain who's just doing it for laughs. "One for nonsense! All for nonsense!" The monsters grow like crazy, but fortunately our heroes kill them!
Awesomely cool, check. No problem there. Spectacular action scenes, check. They've got that covered too. On top of that, the monster design manages to make them both lovable and city-devouring. However it's also pointless. It's just cool stuff for its own sake, with no story impact. You could skip it and not even realise you'd missed anything. Technically it's a pre-credits sequence!
STORY #2: someone's cut off the U.S. Presidential Envoy's head. This surprises Leo when he receives the head in a box, then he's surprised again when the head starts telling him what to do. The rest of the episode is mostly Leo running away from gun-toting crab robots, giant monsters trying to step on him, etc.
I really don't see the point. I can see why it's popular, but no. That said, though, the animators are clearly loving their work, while it's fun to spend time in this monster-ridden New York. (It's the feel of the place, as well as the buildings and the graffiti. You can blow up an apartment block and people will just glance up for a moment, then keep walking.) For a certain demographic, this would be a great gateway anime. Personally, though, I'm not one of those people.
Ao no Exorcist
Blue Exorcist
Ao no Exorcist
Season 2
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes + a 13th OVA
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: shounen action series
It looks okay, but I didn't feel like it. It's a standard shounen action anime, with a hot-blooded demon-fighting teenage hero. He's rude! He's short-tempered! (I'm sure he'll turn out to be a nice guy underneath, because he's the hero, but sometimes I hit my limit on anime protagonists who don't know how to have a calm conversation.)
Also, surprisingly, he's the son of Satan. "If your flames ever go out of control again, you'll be executed as an exorcism target."
The cast also includes his calmer twin brother, various classmates at school and our hero's sleepy-eyed minder who never does up her shirt even though her colleagues are all wearing shirts and ties. There's some demon-fighting action. A demon kidnaps a small boy, but I can't say I really cared. It looks like a perfectly normal example of its genre, though, and I have no objections to it.
Warning: Season 1 was in 2012 and diverged from the manga, whereas this season apparently adapts the manga's "Impure King arc" and begins after ep.17 of Season 1. Is that a reboot, a retrospective insert or what? I'm confused.
bono bono
Bonobono
Continuation of 2016 revival of 1995-1996 original
6 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: still looks like a children's show
It's more interesting than the other Bonobono episode I watched, but not by enough to turn me into a regular viewer. Our happy woodland animals play "divine punishment". This is surreal. They are Bonobono the scrotum-mouthed sea otter and his friends the chipmunk, the badger, the raccoon (still a bit of a dick), etc. Unfortunately their idea of divine punishment is to hold some bark against your nose, which didn't look much like punishment to me. Does it smell, perhaps? I don't want to sound sadistic, but I think you're probably missing something if you do a story about punishment without any punishment.
Our animal friends hold bark against their noses. One of them has a big sister who lectures them about the seriousness of divine punishment and asks if they've thought hard enough about it. They're not listening. Then everyone goes home and Bonobono discovers that bark makes a good pillow.
Wikipedia says this show "combines gag comic and philosophical questions, bringing up comparisons to other manga such as Azumanga Daioh, and to films such as Forrest Gump." I see what they mean, but unfortunately I didn't see any jokes here and the philosophical material was only receiving the lightest of touches. I haven't been persuaded to start watching.
Boruto
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Season 1
Episode 1 of 39 (and that's just in 2017)
24 minutes
Keep watching: no, but I liked it
One-line summary: shounen heroes at Ninja School
That was a good episode. I enjoyed it. It has fun action and a cool hero. Admittedly the original manga is a spin-off with no involvement from Naruto's creator (Masashi Kishimoto), but I don't think that's a problem. I'm happy with Shounen Jump wanting to keep alive an international mega-hit franchise. I only won't be continuing with this anime because:
(a) it's next-generation Naruto (Season 1: 220 episodes, Season 2: 500 episodes) and I didn't feel in the mood.
(b) it's still about shounen heroes at Ninja School. I bet we're in for baddies, multi-episode battles, passionate shouting, etc. I might have taken the plunge had it only lasted twelve episodes, but... yeah.
Anyway, this episode is set in the present day, with school, shops, electricity pylons, etc. Our hero is called Boruto (which sounds distractingly like "Bolt" if you're discussing this series in Japanese). He's cocky and confident, but (importantly) he's likeable about it. He can do amazing parkour, he can create ninja clones of himself and he has one of the best "beat the bullies" scenes I can remember seeing in anime. For what it's worth, this episode is also a nice little self-contained story with a strong balance of characterisation, action scenes and (I suspect) foreshadowing for the future.
Someone claims that the age of the ninja is over, but I suspect they're exaggerating since this series will be following the Ninja School adventures of ninja teenagers with famous ninja parents who have their faces carved on Ninja Mountain. (No, seriously.) I presume everyone's parents are important heroes from the parent series. Boruto's mum has scary blank pupil-less eyes, but apart from that she's nice.
The series looks well worth watching. I'd recommend it.