Detective ConanDragon BallDigimonDuel Masters
Anime 1st episodes 2017: D
Including: Descending Stories: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu: Season 2, Detective Conan, Dia Horizon Kabu, Dies Irae, Digimon Adventure tri., Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters, Dive!!, Doupo Cangqiong: Battle Through The Heavens, Dragon Ball Super, The Dragon Dentist, Dream Festival R, Duel Masters!, Dynamic Chord
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2017
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2017 >>
Keywords: Dragon Ball, Duel Masters, Detective Conan, Digimon, World War II, anime, detective, historical, SF, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 13 first episodes
Website category: Anime 2017
Review date: 22 September 2018
Listed under "I": Demi-chan wa Kataritai, aka. Interviews with Monster Girls
Listed under "I": DanMachi Gaiden: Sword Oratoria, aka. Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?: Sword Oratoria
It's a movie: DC Super Heroes vs. Eagle Talon
It's a movie: Detective Conan movie 21: The Crimson Love Letter
It's a movie: Dance with Devils: Fortuna
It's an OVA episode: Days OVA
It's OVA episodes for a TV series I found a bit disappointing: Drifters eps.13-14
Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju
Descending Stories: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
Season 2
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: rakugo performers in Tokyo in the 1970s
I've since finished it and... it's a top show.
I've only just realised that "Descending Stories" isn't just two random English words prepended to the Japanese title. It's a literal (i.e. wrong) translation of the two kanji that make up the word "rakugo". I don't blame them, though. The original title contains three untranslatable words and a fourth ("shinjuu") that's probably safer left untranslated.
Rakugo is a traditional Japanese one-man comedy show with the seated performer playing all the parts. It's storytelling. Everyone knows the stories, probably including the audience, but you want to hear how the performer delivers them anyway. Season 1 was mostly set in the 1930s and 1940s, but this season is set in the 1970s, when the theatres are closing and the performers are bleeding away to television or other comedy forms like stand-up or manzai. Kyoto's last rakugo theatre just closed and even in Tokyo there's only one left.
This episode has a fair bit of analysis of the industry and its future (or lack of one). We're also reintroduced to the show's surviving 1970s regulars.
1. Ex-convict Yotaro-now-Sukeroku loves rakugo, has worked hard over the ten years since he first appeared and is now a shin'ichi.
2. Yakumo-was-Kikuhiko is now elderly, in love with the perfect historical rakugo and quite likes the idea of seeing the industry die with him. (He contributed to that by refusing to take on any disciples for decades. One of them shows up here.)
3. Finally there's Konatsu and her SPOILER. (It won't surprise anyone who's seen Season 1, though.) There's quite a bit going on there, as you'd expect.
It's gently melancholic, looking forward to the death of an art form and looking back on a man who's been almost forgotten. He's left no history. His name's not famous or sought-after. The Sukeroku of Season 1 had passionate fans, but... "A few photos, a few records; that's all that's left." However the episode's not a downer. Both Sukerokus (old and new) are or were warm, friendly and slightly simple-minded troublemakers who love rakugo and want to reinvent it. The new one says he wants to move back in with Yakumo and Konatsu and make them a family. I can see trouble ahead between him and Yakumo, but that's just another way of following in his predecessor's footsteps. This is a classy, elegant series. Should be good.
Detective Conan
Case Closed
Episodes 845-846: Conan Cornered in the Darkness
24 minutes each
Keep watching: no
One-line description: boy detective
I like Detective Conan, even though I'd never watch it regularly. It's fine from time to time, though. Conan is a high school student who also happens to be one of the world's greatest detectives, but years ago he was given poison that shrank his body and turned him into a small child. He still solves crimes, though.
His cases are almost all two-parters. Unusually this one isn't a murder mystery, but is instead about a will that's been stolen from a lawyer's safe. The chairman of a corporate group died and left his fortune to his secretary, instead of splitting it as agreed between his three nasty offspring. Furthermore, Conan saw the crime take place. He saw something fishy, sneaked in and saw the crime being committed.
That's why he spends the entire story locked in a box.
It's a decent detective story. There's nothing particularly special about it, but the whodunnit is solid and logical. (For what it's worth, getting fingerprints from paper is possible, albeit fiddlier than from smooth, hard surfaces.) 32-year-old Mitsuyo has a voice actress who sounds about seventy, though. To be honest, though, I didn't really care about the criminals or the case, instead taking more interest in the regular cast of Conan and his friends. Ai still couldn't care less about pretending to be her apparent age, e.g. "I'm not interested in modern games". Genta's being characterised as "The Fat One" to an annoying degree, being unable to shut up about food, more food, eating food, Conan eating food and the possibility that nothing's wrong and Conan's only missing because he went off to eat food. Ran gets a pretty good angry mini-speech at the end.
It's good. There's never any particular reason to watch any random Conan story, but it's a solid, well-made example of what it is.
Dia Horizon Kabu
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 3 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: fantasy sort of comedy
The most interesting thing about this episode is its multiple animation styles. It starts with a properly animated dramatic battle finale, but it looks as if that was schmuck bait. We then find ourselves watching Flash-animated characters wearing amazingly huge CGI bobble heads. There's some slightly painful attempted comedy, some of which involves punching time cards.
Apparently this anime was a tie-in for a smartphone game (released August 2017, shut down May 2018). There was also a manga series and a web novel. There's no point in watching this.
Dies Irae
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes (although there's also a six-episode ONA). This is ep.0.
Keep watching: I have absolutely no idea... well, I need to decide. No.
One-line summary: lurid but straight-faced Nazi kitsch
It starts with a bloke in a Nazi-like uniform leaving glowing red power field footprints behind him as he walks through a flying golden skeleton city. Is he a Nazi? What are we supposed to take from that not-a-swastika? Well, in a moment it'll be November 1939 in Germany and we're with Reinhard Heydrich and Karl Krafft. Both of those are real historical characters, by the way. The only reason Heydrich isn't as famous as Himmler, Goebbels, etc. is that some Czech and Slovak agents assassinated him in 1942. He was head of the Gestapo for five years, he helped to organise the Holocaust and even Hitler himself called him "the man with the iron heart".
In this episode, though, I think he might be the hero.
Meanwhile Krafft's been arrested for predicting a recent assassination attempt on the Fuhrer, which it must be said even a non-Nazi might find a bit suspicious. There are also some grinning superpowered assassins (who annoyed me), a Noble Nazi who hates them, magicians and a ridiculously huge and stupid-looking sword. Tanks get blown up. There are superhuman fight scenes.
It's pretty silly, but that doesn't necessarily mean it'll be bad. Silly things be can magnificent. It could be Hellsing-silly, for instance. Hellsing is awesome. However I'm not sure what's going on with the show's combination of weird detail-changing (e.g. the not-swastikas), detailed and accurate historical background and batshit crazy fantasy content. I also get the impression that its Nazis are supposed to be the good guys. It's not clear. I could imagine this show going in various different ways. Maybe the fairly complicated cast will take the story in all kinds of interesting directions? Maybe it'll all be such nonsense that you'll stop caring? Or maybe the fact that this is ep.0 means that the series proper will be completely different and you'll forget that ep.0 ever happened?
Let me google some reviews. Hmmm. Doesn't look popular. Fans of the visual novel it's adapted from seem particularly unhappy. Maybe I'll give it a miss...
digimon adv. tri
Digimon Adventure tri.
Episode 14
Films: 6 x 80-100 minutes
Episodes: 26 x 20-25 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: the heroes of a Pokemon-like show, years later and older
I've since finished it and... it's okay. Sometimes a bit dull, sometimes likeable.
It's really a six-film series, but it was used to make a 26-episode TV series by breaking up each film into four or five episodes. These got broadcast in a staggered fashion across 2016-2018. Ep.1 left me non-committal in 2016, but the story's complete now and I'm going to give it a whirl.
It starts as a silent movie, with intertitles and a music soundtrack. That's just the pre-credits sequence, though. Not a lot happens in this episode (which I remember also being my main comment about ep.1), but what I liked about it was the combination of high-school characters and dumb-looking kiddified monster designs. It wouldn't hurt to think of Digimon as being a bit like Pokemon, although I dare say fans of both franchises would lynch me for that. It's still going today as a straight toy-based kiddie anime. Do a google image search for "digimon" and you'll see what looks like Saturday morning cartoon stuff.
Here, though, we have high school students in what seems like a serious anime, but hanging out with those goofy Digimons. The design juxtaposition is cool in itself, although apparently the Digimons also have an adult form. There's talk of memory loss, being unable to contact anyone "in this world", rebooting and infections.
I wouldn't score this episode above a seven out of ten, to be honest, and even that's a bit generous. The characters spend too much time eating and having a picnic. However the show as a whole interests me enough that I'm going to give it a whirl.
digimon uni. appli monsters
Digimon Universe: Appli Monsters
Season 1
Episode: 14
24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: slightly Pokemon-like children's anime
It's okay, actually. It's a children's show, but I quite liked it. I had a few minor niggles, but they're subjective and trivial.
Our heroes are looking for the Seven Codes to defeat Leviathan! This show is set in a universe where phone apps can be intelligent AIs that will jump out into the real world and be annoying. (That includes our heroes' sidekicks, although they're not teeth-grindingly bad or anything. You wouldn't push them under a bus, but equally you wouldn't object if someone else did.) They're called Appmons. Apparently AI will have overtaken humans by the year 2045.
Anyway, the episode's reasonably fun. It's using a monster-of-the-week formula, which this week is a Puzzle-Puzzle-Pon that locks you out of real physical places if you don't solve a puzzle. One of those is a toilet. Puzzle-Puzzle-Pon must die.
Anyway, our heroes hunt it down and prove to be worse at puzzles than you'd expect, eventually winning through confusing CGI violence rather than by actually doing the flipping puzzles. (Appmons are capable of being completely CGI, and not cel-shaded either. Hurm.) One of the regular cast is also an "AppTuber" who does rapper hand movements and is a bit annoying, but not unwatchably so. I can't say I loved this episode, but I enjoyed it a lot more than many kiddie anime aimed at the same demographic, e.g. bombastic trading card battles. It's not for you or me, but I wouldn't have a problem with Natsuki watching it.
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 23 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: high diving sports anime
It's a sports anime, but it's by noitaminA. They tend to release stuff that's a bit more thoughtful and challenging. How odd. Anyway, this is definitely a sports anime. They climb up on very, very high boards and jump off the equivalent of three storeys. Don't get it wrong. Meanwhile our hero, Tomoki, also doesn't understand why he ever agreed to go out with his girlfriend. "Maybe I just wanted to show off? Maybe I was too scared to say no?" He doesn't even feel he knows what going out means, doesn't listen to her, abandons her in order to go swimming and instead practically lights up on seeing his hero, Youichi, at the diving club.
There's a plot. Youichi is the club's star and the son of an Olympic swimmer, but even so the club's future is under threat. There's a mysterious woman who's been seen talking to the coach. There's also every sign that Tomoki's relationship with that girlfriend will be fairly painful to watch.
Everyone seems to compare this show to Free!, another sports anime about boys at a swimming club. I don't see it. I haven't seen much of Free!, but that's always struck me as fun and light-hearted. Dive!!'s pretty dour. I also see the two kinds of swimming as very different, since one's about racing and the other's about plummeting. The lowest proper one is ten metres high. (World championship divers jump from 27 metres.)
I was mildly curious on hearing that this is a noitaminA show, but my interest soon vanished. This show isn't for me. It's based on a novel series and it got a live-action film in 2008, though.
Doupo Cangqiong
Doupo Cangqiong: Battle Through The Heavens
Season 1 of 3
Episodes: 12 x 25-ish minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: Chinese CGI historical/fantasy
It's based on a web novel that also got a 2018 Chinese live-action TV series. That said, though, google suggests that this anime's first season is worse than seasons 2-3 (by a different studio).
The CGI's impressive. There's the odd bit of unconvincing walking, but they've really worked at making the facial expressions interesting and alive. It looks great. Also, delightfully, there are no fight scenes. (I'd been expecting this to be 25 minutes of empty swordplay and martial arts between characters I didn't care about.)
That said, though, I hated both the two main characters. There's a sexy but snobbish girl who wants to cancel her engagement to our hero and has offered a magical treasure as payment. As for that hero, he looks as if he sings in a boy band, has an attitude and says things like "I will divorce you, bitch". They deserve each other.
Oh, and the episode's really interested in some kind of magical battle level called Dou-Qi. Her Dou-Qi is a LEVEL NINE!!! But his Dou-Qi is a LEVEL SEVEN!!!!!! (And I'm expected to care.)
The episode's okay apart from that duo, though. I like the people at the royal (?) court. The CGI's strong. There's a five-minute cartoonish comedy post-credits bit with big-headed versions of the characters. But no.
dragon ball
Dragon Ball Super
Episode 73
"Gohan's Misfortune! An Unexpected Great Saiyaman Movie?!"
24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: Dragon Ball
I like Dragon Ball. I don't watch it, but I've enjoyed it every time I've sampled an episode. It's always seemed more fun and entertaining (to me) than other shounen mega-franchises like Naruto, Bleach, etc. I'd need to watch 100000000000 episodes if I wanted to catch up, but to be honest my only real problem with the show is that it doesn't regard death as permanent. (This isn't something I've witnessed personally, but I've read about it.)
Anyway, this episode is set in Satan City. (English-language versions of the show apparently call it Hercule City, Herculopolis, etc. Heh heh.) You may or may not be happy to learn that Mr Satan doesn't have a pitchfork, but is instead a goofy old geezer with a 1970s moustache and mega-sideburns. He's also acting in a movie! His celebrity co-star is Barry Kahn, who's a self-worshipping cock. There's a fair amount of plot based around this, with Goku's son Gohan secretly being the superhero Great Saiyaman on whose exploits this movie is based, but he's actively trying to suppress this information because he doesn't do the superhero thing any more these days. He has a wife, a daily 9-5 job and a baby daughter, not to mention a pair of nerd glasses. This is cool.
Other fun stuff includes a bank robbery that prompts Gohan to charge to the rescue in old-school superhero style... only to discover that the police had the situation under control and that he's smashed a hole in the wall for nothing. (He's also flattened the policeman.) This is cool too. This show has a sense of humour about itself. Gohan then has a not-so-nostalgic reunion with the robbers, who are relatively insignificant old foes of his.
There's a girl on the film called Cocoa who blackmails Gohan into letting her fly with him. There's a space cop being homicidally wrong at the cliffhanger. This was a pretty cool episode, actually. Almost entirely without fight scenes, but that's a good thing.
Dragon Dentist
The Dragon Dentist
Season 1
Episodes: 2 x 46 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: cool detailed fantasy, plus war
I've since finished it and... it's great!
We begin with battleships. It's very realistic and the colour scheme suggests World War Two, with sepias, browns and greys. Then a battle begins and the ships get trashed, with explosions, blood and men in the water.
The blasts were coming from the clouds.
A girl then wakes up in blue. This anime's colour palettes can be bold and distinctive. She's one of the dragon dentists, which is even more imagination-expanding than I'd expected. These are seriously big dragons, like airborne ocean tankers. You need ropes and ladders to climb up to the top of a tooth, making the humans seem so small that they can fight one-to-one with the life forms that cause dragon cavities. Have you ever wanted to chase plaque-creating bacteria the size of dogs and make them pop with a glowing red bayonet? Well, this lot do. The creatures they fight come in all shapes and sizes, by the way. The big ones are seriously bad news.
This world has its own culture. The dentists are on the same side as the soldiers, but only up to a point. Dentists are closer to death and have some seriously weird philosophical, spiritual and/or prophetic features in their lives. Oh, and the title character might either be Blue Girl or else a resurrected soldier who died and was resurrected out of the tooth. (He's blonde and called Bell, whereas everyone else is black-haired with a name like Nonoko or Shibana.)
It's fascinating. I could spend years exploring this world. "Dragons cry with their teeth."
dream fes.
Dream Festival R
Season 2
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: boy idol groups
That was quite good. It's about the world of male idols (i.e. boy bands), but it's tackling the material fairly sensibly. It's not silly! It feels like a not unrealistic look at life inside the industry, with our heroes comparing themselves with more successful veterans and beating themselves up about unimportant goofs they made on daytime TV. It's still happy upbeat fantasy, of course, but to an acceptable degree.
That said, though, I still won't be watching. This is because:
1. None of it matters. Do you care about pretty boy idols?
2. It has too many characters and they're interchangeable. The title sequence alone has two five-boy bands. I couldn't tell which was supposed to be which, beyond superficial differences like "the young-looking one", "the sleepy-looking one", etc. I'm being unfair, of course, because this is Season 2 and the audience can be expected to know everyone from Season 1. Nonetheless I still got the impression of a cattle car of too many boys, all of them essentially the same.
The episode's certainly camp, but mostly no further than required by the material. "We went beyond the ultimate!" "Send it straight to the people's hearts!" That said, though, you might be amused by the nude transformation sequences into the boys' stage costumes (and into cheap CGI animation) for the episode finale musical number. I bet you won't watch this show. The subject matter will have most people fleeing fast, including me. However I do at least respect it, since it's clearly far more serious about what it's doing than much of its genre, e.g. Uta no Prince-sama.
Duel Masters!
Series 13
Episodes: 51 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: trading card game battle anime
That was great! It's yet another show for small boys about trading card game battles, but it's great! I still won't be continuing, but to my astonishment I found myself tempted.
The theme music sounds as if the singer's being garrotted, but in a good way. It's distinctive.
It starts with Keera going across a bridge to Native Culture Creature World. I don't know who Keera is, but I also don't care because he's not the show's hero. That's... um, hang on. Let me check the internet. His name's Joe Kirifuda and he's ten years old. He follows Keera into the Creature World, which is cool because everything we see from this point on is mad. He rides on a five-capped flying mushroom and uses his magic sketchbook powers to make tiny impossible people pop out of his talking cigarette case. (The case sings a song about putting the sketch in its mouth and having the real thing come out of its backside.) He makes a tap-headed man so that he can drain a flower to death for the sake of a drink, then makes a house-headed robot professor.
After that, they meet Count Black Bean, who's helpful and friendly until they commit the crime of boiling some rice. CARD GAME CHALLENGE!!! The episode's second half is a card game duel, yet amazingly that's fun to watch too. It's like deranged magical summoning. The duellists take turns to create totally bonkers creatures, e.g. a trumpet-beaked drummer, a tank made of sunflowers and a walking pair of lips. Count Black Bean and his friend the White Rice Grain grow a beanstalk that shoots up into the clouds. Things jump out of planes. Eventually Joe wins by summoning a mega-gun SF armour man who reminded me of Warhammer 40,000.
The battles between these tiny surreal toy-things are adorable. I loved it. On the downside, though, the very end of the episode introduces baddies, a bit like Dragonball heavies except that they'll also be fighting only with trading cards. That made the show more normal. If I watched this show regularly, I'd expect it to be kiddified, repetitive and not overly burdened by a storyline... but if an episode happened to come on TV, I'd probably watch it.
Dynamic Chord
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: boy band
It's another boy band anime. Will it be good enough to make me keep watching, despite its genre? Well, no. It's not bad enough for me to call it idol garbage, but I really, really don't care about anything in it.
Some boys play in a band. The animation is mysteriously, surreally horrible. After that, they pause on some stairs because they're shooting a commercial. One of them will later have angst about this, because it's so shameful to be paid money to be on TV. Mr Angst also has odd eyes (one blue, one yellow) and will be cold to a photographer who claims to be a fan. One mildly unexpected thing, though, is that the show appears to be about a band that isn't just starting out, but instead is already big. "Is the vocalist going to be okay in time for our world tour?"
There's one genuinely remarkable thing about this show, but not in a good way. The animation does strange things. Googling this show produces articles like "DYNAMIC CHORD: THIS IS HOW ANIME BREAKS" and "The Crappiest-Looking Anime Of This Fall Is "Dynamic"". Apparently it's so infamous that even industry insiders have been making fun of it in public, which you'll almost never see. Don't watch this one.