Cardfight VanguardvampiresJapanese
Anime 1st episodes 2017: C
Including: Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, Cardfight!! Vanguard G: NEXT, Castlevania season 1, A Centaur's Life, Chain Chronicle: Light of Haecceitas, Chaos;Child, Children of the Whales, Chiruran: Nibun no Ichi, Chou Shounen Tanteidan Neo, Chou Yuu Sekai ~Being the Reality~, Chronos Ruler, ClassicaLoid, Classroom of the Elite, Clean Freak! Aoyama kun, Clockwork Planet, Code:Realize -Guardian of Rebirth-
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2017
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2017 >>
Keywords: Cardfight Vanguard, anime, SF, fantasy, magical girl, vampires, rubbish
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 16 first episodes
Website category: Anime 2017
Review date: 17 September 2018
Listed under "D": Case Closed, aka. Detective Conan
Listed under "I": Cinderella Girls Gekijou, aka. The Idolm@ster Cinderella Girls Theater
Listed under "L": Clione no Akari, aka. Lights of the Clione
It's a movie conclusion to the TV series (below): Chaos;Child: Silent Sky
It's a movie: Charanpo Land no Bouken
card captor sakura
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card
One-off OVA episode
27 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: magical girl series revival
I watched all of Cardcaptor Sakura, back in the day. It was quite good. It had 70 TV episodes and two films in 1998-2000. Now it's been revived, as an anime adaptation of CLAMP's sequel manga.
There's an OVA episode (September 2017) and a 22-episode TV series (Jan-Jun 2018). I believe this is a prequel to the 2018 episodes and a direct sequel to the 1998-2000 story. It's also got no card-capturing, no baddies and no magical girl action. It's just the franchise clearing the decks a bit, putting a character or two on a bus and clarifying some relationship stuff. The characters are:
1. Sakura (title character). Everyone likes her, but she hasn't necessarily thought that deeply about who she really likes.
2. Tomoyo (Sakura's best friend). Doesn't really do much here. She's supportive and smiles a lot, with no suggestion of romantic interest. (I presume that's still there, but she knows that Sakura doesn't see her that way.)
3. Eriol, might be going back to England.
4. Shaoran, might be going back to Hong Kong. (I'm not going to call him "Syaoran", although that appears to be the official romanisation.)
This would have felt like a monumentally important episode if I'd watched it after rewatching all the 1998-2000 stuff, but I didn't. There's some startling stuff quietly in the background, e.g. two of the cast are magically created people. It's okay. It's nice enough. I expect to watch all the 2018 episodes.
Cardfight!! Vanguard G: NEXT
Season 4 of Cardfight!! Vanguard G
Season 8 of Cardfight!! Vanguard
Episodes: 295-346
I didn't fast-forward through: 22 minutes
Card-fighting: 2 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: trading card game battles
That was actually okay. It's perfectly watchable. That's because it only has two minutes of card-fighting, obviously, but even so there's much worse out there in the trading card game battle genre. Our heroes have split up (in a friendly way) and now they all have their own individual team instead, so friends are now also rivals! There's some kind of Under-20s card-fighting tournament coming up and they're all entering.
I was watching episode 14/112/308, by the way. Title: "Are you ready to FIGHT!!" Don't worry, the episode's not as macho as that sounds.
Chrono's team has a Hot Curry Eating Challenge, with disappointingly lame reaction shots when they eat this worryingly red concoction. (The funniest bit, in fact, is seeing Chrono and Shouji walking down the street together at the start, as if it's a comedy striped hair display.) Another team relaxes at an onsen, with absolutely no nudity since this isn't that kind of show. A third team of the super-rich and privileged has fun on their private cruise liner, helicopter and fireworks.
In short, I didn't mind it. It's fine. However it'll all go down the toilet again as soon as the show returns to lots of card-fighting. (This is entirely my subjective opinion, obviously, and you'll be violently disagreeing with me if you're a six-year-old boy.)
castle vania
Season 1
Episodes: 4 x 25 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: Dracula = the apocalypse
I've since finished it and... yup, it's doing what it promised.
It's American and made for Netflix. It's even written by Warren Ellis. However it's based on a Japanese computer game franchise, it's been animated in an anime style and I watched the Japanese dub, so what the hell. It's also pretty good.
I won't talk about the plot. Since the whole thing's only four episodes long (although Netflix have already greenlit an eight-episode Season 2), I'll leave that for my review of the whole thing. Suffice to say, though, that it's set in 15th century Wallachia during the reign of Vlad the Impaler, who it seems is your classical "Christopher Lee in an opera cloak" Dracula but with added superpowers. Teleportation, fire demon, etc. He's got it all. He'll be civil if you're polite to him and in fact he's quite a sympathetic character, but annoying him would be a bad idea.
It also has a conversation about sex with goats.
It's good. It's got blood rain, mega-death and the horrors of the medieval Church. I'll be watching more.
Centaur no Nayami
A Centaur's Life
Centaur no Nayami
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: fantasy monsters at school in dystopia
I've since finished it and... it's not that great, actually.
I'd been thinking of reading this manga, but then it got an anime adaptation! Hurrah!
It's quite an odd show.
Firstly, it's set in an alternate universe where four-limbed animals got wiped out and six legs became the dominant norm. Here, the word "human" encompasses centaurs, devils, angels, freaky spherical cat things and some girls with rabbit ears and sheep horns. (I think they're fauns.) The title sequence also includes mermaids (although you'll have to be alert) and some kind of human leech snake thing.
Secondly, it's a slice-of-life school series. Our heroines are normal schoolgirls. They're centaurs, devils, etc. but no one really cares about that and they're just living their lives like you and me.
Thirdly, their civilisation is a sinister perversion of political correctness. The key, you see, is that they have to be really careful to keep the peace between all these races. They think that bipeds wouldn't have known about discrimination because we'd have all looked the same. Thus we're told that equality is more important than civil rights and possibly even life itself. When our centaur heroine offers to carry her friend on her back, she's told, "I'd be accused of discrimination and sent to a correctional clinic." Shortly after that: "just talking like this is illegal."
None of the girls seems perturbed by this either. It's just the world they live in. They're schoolgirls. Monsters who live under some kind of tyranny, but schoolgirls.
I'll be watching all of this, obviously.
Chain Chronicle Haecceitas no Hikari
Chain Chronicle: Light of Haecceitas
Chain Chronicle: Haecceitas no Hikari
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no, but I could easily have done so
One-line summary: epic sword-and-sorcery
It's neither good or bad. It's the kind of thing where you feel you need to do some googling before deciding whether or not to continue. You don't really care so far, but the show might end up being okay.
It begins with a finale. I paused to check that this really was ep.1. Our heroes lead their Volunteer Army into the final battle against the villainous Black King... and lose. It's all a bit of a mess. Lots of action, but no reason to be interested in any of it. You might assume it's the first episode of a second season, but it's not. The show really is this uninterested in character establishment.
After that, though, we get a more engaging scene about rich bullies, a poor old woman and a cocky but good-hearted brat. (I wasn't a huge fan of the brat, but he does at least come alive more than everyone in the opening finale.) Overall, it's... okay. It's based on a mobile phone game, apparently. The best thing about it is the originality of starting with the villain stomping the heroes into the dirt, but I didn't really engage with the characters. I'm not going to watch this series, but it was a coin-toss decision and I'd have been interested in picking the brains of anyone who did.
chaos child
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes, plus a 49-minute film
Keep watching: don't know, but must decide... okay, I won't.
One-line summary: time-twisty gross murders
I don't really like it. It's charmless, although admittedly that's what you'd expect from a grim show about lots of unpleasant killings. The characters didn't do anything for me. That said, though, it's from Chiyomaru Shikura, the writer of Steins;Gate, and I didn't like the start of that either, but it ended up being very good. That said, though, the same chap wrote Occultic;Nine and that stayed mediocre all the way through. (The semi-colon is because that's the trademark of the Science Adventure series of SF visual novels on which all these anime are based.)
EPISODE 0: "Chaos;Head"
I actually watched the first two episodes, which were broadcast back-to-back as a double-length one. Ep.0 is apparently a condensed adaptation of a visual novel called Chaos;Head, but not connected to the 2008 anime series based on the same material.
It feels like a post-apocalypse Shibuya, which is an area of Tokyo, but I don't think there's actually been a nuclear war or anything. It's just that there's lots of death and our hero is a passive, neurotic nobody who lives in a shipping container and spends all his time on the internet. He collects anime figures and pornography. The only things he does in this episode are, I think, to use the internet and run around in terror. (Well, unless you count saying something that's going to get him beaten up, so he immediately gets beaten up.) Five people jump off a building and a man's corpse is found with a foetus inside his stomach. Someone sends him a chat link to a photo of someone who's been nailed to a wall in a crucifixion pose, apparently before it happens. Someone's head has been sawn off and his brain removed. We meet a mummified-looking boy in a wheelchair. The deaths get even more gross.
There's also some time-twisting, though. A pink-hair girl visits our loser hero's den, claiming to be his old friend and knowing nothing about the murder that we think she probably committed recently. Another girl tells us to doubt the world and that everything is electrical. The world split. "In an ideal world, you wouldn't exist."
This sounds like time travel, changed history and/or multiple timelines to me. However it's also a plotless exercise in being grim, horrible and incomprehensible. "Big brother, give me back my right hand."
EPISODE 1: "Digital Native"
A character of the same name (Takumi) is the protagonist of a much more conventional anime episode. (The same guy? Probably, but I couldn't say for sure.) He's in his school newspaper club and he thinks there's some connection between gross stuff happening now and the events of ep.0 six years ago. A man cuts off bits of his arm and eats them on live internet streaming, then a woman cuts open her own stomach and puts a speaker inside before doing a street performance.
This episode was okay. It's got character interaction, a plot and so on. I don't think I actually cared about anyone, but there are plenty of clues and ideas. If it's based on a Science Adventure visual novel, I think we can pretty much guarantee an intricate, mind-bending plot.
I'll skip it. I'm sure there's lots of good stuff here, but I'm also getting the impression that it'll be the kind of thing we saw in Steins;Gate and Occultic;Nine. Clever, yes, but I'm not really feeling the pull. Been there, done that. I've definitely have continued if I liked any of the cast, though.
Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau
Children of the Whales
Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: detailed SF world exploration
I've since finished it and... it's a bit dry, but interesting SF.
It begins with a levitating spirit funeral. These people live on the Mud Whale, which swims across the sand ocean. (It really is just lots of sand, complete with fish that swim in it.) This little nomadic civilisation has two kinds of people: the Marked (psychic powers but short lifespan) and the elders (muggles but long-lived).
They see another floating island and explore it, finding a cute animal that says "kyuu kyuu". (This is because Japanese anime voice actors playing a cat, for instance, are liable to say "meow" instead of meowing. This is always annoying, but at least here it's only for a brief moment.) They then meet Crying White-Haired Tattooed Sword Girl, which blows their minds because unfamiliar people aren't really a thing in their lives.
This is a Netflix series, by the way. It looks artistic and beautiful. I've seen negative reviews of the series as a whole, but I'm a sucker for this kind of world-exploration and I'll be watching all of it.
Chiruran Nibun no Ichi
Chiruran: Nibun no Ichi
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 2 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: gag manga
It's an adaptation of a spin-off manga. What was the original? Do I care? Not really. It's about the Shinsengumi, who were a death squad at the end of the Bakumatsu era. However because it's a gag manga, this means it's about boys being silly.
Boys #1, #2 and #3 have nicknames. Boy #4 gets annoyed at the narrator for not giving him a nickname. The boys are then rude to each other.
In fairness, I'd have probably laughed if I'd been familiar with the original work and its characters. Unfortunately I wasn't. I can't recommend this unless you are.
Cho Shonen Tanteidan Neo
Chou Shounen Tanteidan Neo
Super Boy Detective Team
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 4 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: kiddie show about the 22nd century
It's a silly short-form anime set in the year 2117 and starring the descendant of Kobayashi from Edogawa Ranpo's detective novels. There's a boy, a girl and a dad. (Dunno if they're blood related, but you can think of them like that.) They read a newspaper, even though doing so is amazingly old-fashioned. (The moral of the episode is "read newspapers".) They fight a super-cockroach.
That's it. It looks okay, but not aimed at adults.
Chou Yuu Sekai Being the Reality
Chou Yuu Sekai ~Being the Reality~
Season 1
Episodes: dunno x 13 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: high school students and monsters
It's so limp that it's bewildering. It's not actually BAD!!! with a capital "B", but it's so half-arsed and bloodless that I don't think the Japanese anime industry would even be capable of producing it. (It's by Chinese producers, Tencent.)
A monster appears. High school students interact in dialogue scenes that would be tired cliches even if they were being done properly, but the episode's hurrying through them as if someone's confused "script" with "synopsis". Another monster appears and there's a battle scene.
I was clock-watching after only eight minutes. The storytelling feels like weak fan fiction, while the production looks cheap too. I don't get it. Was this really made by professionals to show to the public? Watching this episode is like having a small child show you their finger paintings. It's unfit for broadcast.
Jikan no Shihaisha
Chronos Ruler
Jikan no Shihaisha
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: time-twisting monster-fighting
I don't think it's actually a Chinese anime. It's based on a Chinese manhua, but one that's been serialised in the Japanese online magazine Shounen Jump+ since 2015. This anime was made by a Japanese studio (Project No.9) with no involvement from Haoliners Animation League, so as far as I can tell it's a regular anime that happens to be based on something by a Chinese creator.
That said, though, it's still not very good and I won't be continuing.
We have two monster-fighting heroes. Kiri Putin is tall, peremptory and has no sense of humour. I didn't like him. He's not obnoxious or anything, but he's a fairly common type and not that interesting. (He also shows a softer side much later in the episode, which is a plus.) Victo Putin though is a childish woman-chaser. I disliked him more actively and I'd regard his presence on a show as a reason to stop watching it. Admittedly he also has some nifty backstory and timey-wimey semi-tragedy, but that doesn't change the fact that he's him.
They fight monsters. There's some cool-sounding temporal theory behind it and I get the impression that the author's thought it all through pretty well, but it's still basically these two blokes vs. monsters. We begin with a magical sword fight against a time-eater. Victo sacrifices himself (sort of) to save his friends from another such monster, even though it was effectively him that summoned it. There's a schoolgirl. Someone's written "I'm always on your side" in English on a watch and the show thinks this means "I'm always at your side".
Good things about this show = 1. reasonably interesting revelations and ideas, if you stick with it to the end. 2. some cool design.
Stuff that doesn't interest me about this show = 1. what happens. 2. the cast.
This isn't a horrible episode. On a traffic light scale, it's between a harsh red and a generous amber. There's nothing wrong with its genre or with what it's doing. I don't hate this episode, but it didn't make me want to keep watching either.
Season 2
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: classical composers with magic powers and no brains
It's a light, bubbly comedy about a house full of famous dead composers, resurrected in the 21st century. They're a laugh. They do wacky things. They have the common sense of four-year-olds, they're incapable of not being silly and nothing they do is meaningful.
I watched Season 1, but I got tired of it. It's an effervescently enjoyable anime comedy, but only if you're not hoping for content.
This week, Schubert turns into a trout in the bath. This surprises him. I'd be surprised too. He's got no idea who turned him into a fish, how they did it or what he'll have to do to turn himself back. Furthermore this is Japan, so everyone he sees will immediately want to eat him. Schubert has lots of fish adventures, goes on the rampage in a giant crab robot and nearly gets eaten by Mozart. It seems that this was caused by magic powers (d'oh) and that other ClassicaLoids will also get turned into pond life... but don't worry! Everyone will have returned to normal before the closing credits!
This episode is a splendid sample of this series. It's silly, it's amusing and there's no point in watching it. For anime it's mildly unusual in that its two main human characters (Kanae and Sousuke) are likeable childhood friends who've known each other forever and live in the same house, yet there's not a shred of a hint of romance between them. (Here Sousuke's interested in Baranowska.)
Personally I like Kanae and I'm modestly fond of her mad tenants, but that's as far as it goes.
Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi Kyoushitsu
Classroom of the Elite
Youkoso Jitsuryoku Shijou Shugi Kyoushitsu
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: classroom Darwinism
I've since finished it and... it's pretty cool. I want a second season.
That was pretty interesting. It's different, anyway.
It starts with a girl trying to persuade anyone on a bus to give their seat to a little old lady. The first person she asks thinks he's God King of Everything and doesn't think he has any responsibility to do so, even though he's sitting in a Priority Seat. No luck there. He's a dick. Okay, let's try someone less offensive. Our heroine asks everyone else in the bus... and they all look shifty and stay seated. Eventually (after an embarrassing wait) a lady at the back eventually stands and does the decent thing.
(By this point I was expecting this solo altruist to be pregnant.)
This is a school series. The episode's two main characters are introduced to us (and each other) as they discuss why they didn't give up their seats. The boy (Ayanokouji) is lazy and couldn't be bothered, while the girl (Suzune) is cold, obnoxious and hostile to all other human beings. Try to befriend her and she'll say something like, "Every word that comes out of your mouth disgusts me."
Yeah, they're charmers. Oh, and there's also an obnoxious jerk, i.e. even less likeable than the above. They then start their new year at Tokyo Metropolitan Advanced Nurturing School, which is a highly unusual establishment. Its graduates have a 100% employment record and everyone in our heroes' class gets given the equivalent of 100,000 yen a month as spending money. They don't get scolded if they sleep in class, play on their phones or just don't turn up.
Most of the class reacts to this as you'd expect from teenagers. This is a mistake, as they discover in the episode's last scene. I'm looking forward to this show.
Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun
Clean Freak! Aoyama kun
Keppeki Danshi! Aoyama-kun
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: comedy about a football-playing germophobe
I'd been looking forward to this. Not massively, but a bit. To my surprise, though, I'll be dropping it. I have two reasons:
(a) Aoyama-kun is annoying. The show's central gag is that he's an extreme germophobe who'll obsessively wash his hands if, say, he's touched by another human. He's also liable to seem cold, rude and standoffish about it.
(b) Aoyama-kun plays football. These two things don't go together. In fairness the show's actively exploring this and also gives Aoyama a loud teammate (Kaoru Zaizen) who finds him as annoying as I do. That much I could have accepted, but... well, it's football. I'm watching a soccer game. I don't care. That's just my personal reaction, but I don't.
Sports anime aren't popular in the West. That's just the way things are, for whatever reason. I bet that hurt this show's English-speaking audience (e.g. me), but feel free to give this a go if you're a football fan. If nothing else, it's got a cool 1970s-style retro sports anime end credits sequence. My anime-watching friend at work has also assured me that it's quite a good show and I must watch another episode or two because the supporting cast is funny.
Clockwork Planet
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: sleazy steampunk
I loved the premise. The world was destroyed years ago, but a clocksmith appeared to save mankind by rebuilding the planet as a clockwork copy of itself. It's got gears now. A thousand years pass. The imagery that comes from this makes no scientific sense that I can see, but I don't think that matters because I think it's reached the level of pure, gorgeous steampunk-themed fantasy.
Oh, and there's also a robot-killing maid with unfolding spider arm blades big enough to chop up lorries.
Now for the downsides.
Firstly, I realised after a while that my attention was drifting. Super-cool imagery, but does the show know where it's going with its story? I've been burned in the past by shows that do that to me in their first episodes?
Admittedly that didn't last long, but what replaced it wasn't encouraging either. It's good that the episode found a focus. Bad news: it's selling creepy otaku wish fulfilment. Our hero Naoto is a small boy (either a child or someone who looks like one), but he's a genius at fixing clockwork. He can hear when it's wrong. (I liked him, for what it's worth.) He fixes a robot maid called RyuZU, which involves exposing her breasts. Obviously.
RyuZU wakes up and she's grateful, but it takes a while for this fact to get through her nuclear-level tsundere. Everything she says is abusive and patronising, comparing everyone except herself to water fleas, vermin, viruses, etc. (What really hurt my suspension of disbelief, by the way, was Naoto being completely okay with this and hardly even seeming to notice the abuse. Because, you know, he's the Bland Nice Guy Hero and she's his Unconvincing Fantasy Pseudo-Girlfriend.) At the same time, though, RyuZU also makes it clear that she's eager to be Naoto's slave and sexual plaything.
"I swear to stay at the side of Naoto Miura and pledge my absolute loyalty and servitude." (She says this after performing sloppy wet fellatio on his finger.)
"No matter how indecent and unusual your desires, it is my job as your servant to accept them all." (This is said over an image of RyuZU lying naked but for some ribbons on a bed of rose petals, just after she's suggested they sleep together at a love hotel.)
Later, the episode grows a plot and switches to a blonde secondary protagonist called Marie Bell Breguet. The first thing she does is leave her room while wearing nothing underneath a gown that's flapping open to reveal all. When someone asks her to cover up, she calls him an idiot because she's embarrassed.
This anime can go jump in a lake.
Code Realize Sousei no Himegimi
Code:Realize -Guardian of Rebirth-
Code:Realize -Sousei no Himegimi-
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: steampunk otome game adaptation
I was pretty sure this was based on an otome game even before I checked the internet.
(a) passive, bland heroine surrounded by pretty boys. In fairness, though, she's managing to be attention-grabbing even without a personality. She thinks she's a monster. She's always been kept prisoner by her father in a Victorian mansion and her body secretes poison that corrodes or kills almost anything she touches.
(b) fascinating worldbuilding, which in this case is a "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" 19th century team-up between Arsene Lupin, Victor Frankenstein and... um, Impey Barbicane. Who's that? Google is my friend... ah, he's from a 1865 Jules Verne novel called "From the Earth to the Moon". Those are just the famous faces we meet in ep.1, by the way. There will be more.
There's also an evil organisation called Twilight. "We can't let Twilight have the Horologium!"
I've watched steampunk otome shows like this before and been disappointed, but I might still have continued with this one if it weren't for Arsene Lupin. The show's setting him up as the main romantic interest, but he's still the thief he's always been since Maurice Leblanc created him in 1905. He brags about it. "Whatever I want, I steal!" He calls soldiers "badly trained dogs". The show wants me to think he's cool, but I dislike him.
Oh, and our heroine's dress is so historically inaccurate that actual Victorians would have probably felt insulted. It's a proper ankle-length crinoline dress, but also a modern mini-skirt. They've achieved this by cutting it away at the front.
No. I'm not watching this.