Little Witch AcademiaLove LiveJapanese
Anime 1st episodes 2017: L
Including: Land of the Lustrous, The Laughing Salesman NEW, Lights of the Clione, Little Witch Academia (TV), Long Riders!, Love and Lies, Love is Like a Cocktail, Love Kome: We Love Rice, Love Live! Sunshine!! Season 2, Love Tyrant
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2017
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2017 >>
Keywords: Little Witch Academia, Love Live, anime, SF, fantasy, harem
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 10 first episodes
Website category: Anime 2017
Review date: 3 November 2018
Listed under "S": Spiritpact, aka. Ling Qi
Listed under "S": Spirit Realm, aka. Ling Yu
It's a movie: Laughing Under the Clouds, aka. Donten ni Warau Gaiden: Ketsubetsu, Yamainu no Chikai
It's a movie: Lupin The Third Chikemuri no Ishikawa Goemon
It's an OVA: Landreaall
It's an OVA: Lostorage conflated WIXOSS -missing link-, but I'm a WIXOSS fan and I'll be watching this with the 2018 TV series
Can't find: Lunatan: 10000-nen no Himitsu (10 eps x 4 mins)
Houseki no Kuni
Land of the Lustrous
Houseki no Kuni
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: CGI girls who are jewels
I've since finished it and... it's fascinating post-human SF
My first reaction to this was negative. It's a CGI anime (albeit cel-shaded rather than full CGI rendering) with something particularly fake-looking about the girls' bodies. What's more, it starts with a fight. White sky god people come down and attack our heroines! Hurrah, such thrills. Only two minutes had passed and I was already pretty sure I'd be dropping this show.
After the fight's over, we get an info-dump. Apparently the girls are gems. Fair enough. I've watched anime in which the human-looking cast are really battleships, fighter planes, artificially recreated animals and countries, so by anime standards this doesn't even count as "weird" yet. Here, that means that a girl can shatter into lots of pieces and then be put back together again, assuming you've found all the bits. They don't die, although they will lose memories if you're incompletely reassembled. The implication would seem to be that memories are evenly distributed throughout the body or something. The girls don't look very crystalline, except for their hair and their innards if you damage them.
The episode has an understated plot. It's not really about the sky god people, although they do try their luck a couple of times. It's mostly about two girls: Phosphophyllite (a crystal of hydrated zinc phosphate, quite rare) and Cinnabar (mercury sulphide, often found near volcanic activity). Phos is weak and gets given the job of assembling an encyclopedia, which annoys her because she'd like a cooler job. Cinnibar is even weaker, but more importantly she's also poisonous (which is true) and any other gem that touches her cloud of orbiting ooze will need to get the infected bits chipped off. The episode actually got quite good when Cinnibar turned up. She's solitary and avoids the other gems, doing an unnecessary job that involves walking around the island (?) all night, every night.
So I watched all that. Didn't seem all that special. The crystal people concept is weird and specific enough to be cool, but the world they're in seems empty. I'd been going to drop it... but I wasn't completely sure, so I googled a few reviews to see what other people thought. To my surprise, everyone else seems to think it's great and that later it does lots of interesting, emotional things.
(My googling also suggested that the "girls" are actually genderless. I didn't get that from this episode, though, so I've referred to them here as female even though that's supposedly wrong.)
I'll give it a go, then. I didn't hate the episode or anything, I suppose. Half of my negative reaction was probably just to the CGI. Open mind and all that.
Warau Salesman
The Laughing Salesman NEW
Warau Salesman NEW
Season 2
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: smiling man wrecks people's lives
The Laughing Salesman says he's here to help you.
"My name is Fukuzou Moguro, and people call me the Laughing Salesman. I am no ordinary salesman. The merchandise I sell is the human soul itself. Hooo-ho-ho-ho... All people in this world, young and old, male and female, are lonely. I am here to fill the emptiness in all of their souls. No, I won't accept a single coin in return. There's no greater reward than to see a satisfied customer."
Moguro's lying and he's the central character in a horror anthology. Well, maybe semi-horror, but delivered in a light, semi-comedic way. No one gets killed and there's no blood, but our happy friend Moguro's hobby appears to be giving people supernatural opportunities to trash their lives.
There are two half-stories here. Story #1: Moguro invites an office worker to a club and encourages him to blow a fortune and put his job at risk. Story #2: Moguro gives a magic credit card to a woman with a shopping addiction. Admittedly this is less cruel than the first one because the woman only had to follow Moguro's instructions precisely (and she didn't, of course), but she's also unhappy and getting picked on by nasty colleagues at work.
The first season of this anime was in 1989-1992 and ran for 103 episodes, by the way, but you don't need to know anything about the show to watch this new series. All you need is the desire to watch a grinning bastard lure people into destroying their own lives. Brrrr.
koro sensei quest!
Lights of the Clione
Clione no Akari
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 9 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: bullied girl and two classmates who don't help her
I've since finished it and... it's one of the subtlest, most sensitive anime of 2017.
That was almost startlingly good. It's a sober, realistic look at an everyday but horrible situation, with people behaving as they really do.
Minori's a schoolgirl who's being bullied. We see her classmates badmouthing her while she's in the room, saying that she's been whoring herself with old men and that she stinks. No one does anything to defend her, so it escalates. Eventually the whole class is in on it and Minori's been given the position of Bullied Girl.
Minori isn't the point-of-view character, though. There are two of those, Takashi (male) and Kyouko (female). They're her classmates. They're very aware of what's happening. They know that Minori's sickly and that her parents are dead, so she lives with her aunt. They both have imagine spots in which they tell the bullies to give it a rest... but they're only imagine spots. They don't have the courage to do anything. "I'm trying to save her by worrying about her." "I can't do anything."
They're not bad people, though. They're aware of their own weakness and they're unhappy about it, but they're too scared to disobey the herd.
Obviously I have to watch all of this.
Little Witch Academia
Season 1
Episodes: 25 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: girls at magic school
I've since finished it and... it's great fun, with lots of imagination and energy. There's also a plot in the second half.
I really enjoyed this franchise in its former incarnation, i.e. two short films (2013 and 2015) from Studio Trigger. I was thus pretty much guaranteed to watch this TV series, even though I think it's a reboot, not a sequel.
This episode doesn't look quite as stunning as the short films, alas, but that's a high bar. It looks nice and there's some lively animation. Magical hyperspace springs to mind. We meet the show's three main witches, who are trying to get to school in time to avoid getting expelled for lateness on their first day. (Luna Nova Magical Academy takes its opening ceremonies seriously.)
It's very Harry Potter, with a trio of main characters going to magical school and... actually, no, it's specifically Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Flying to school to avoid being late, getting in trouble with monsters in the Forbidden Forest (sorry, Arcturus Forest), etc. I don't mind at all, though. That's just the connection my brain made by itself. The show has lots of personality of its own, e.g. one of the three being amusingly evil (Sucy), the giant chicken, etc. I'd been looking forward to this for ages. I'd been expecting it to be a highlight of the year and so far that's still my hope.
long riders
Long Riders!
Episodes: 11-12
24 minutes each
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: schoolgirls' bicycle club
For some reason, this show's expected twelve-episode Oct-Dec 2016 run took a couple of holidays (22 October, 12 November) and ended up having to book extra broadcast slots the following February for its last two episodes. You might not have pegged a schoolgirl cycling show as the kind of production that would have production crunches and blown deadlines, but that's what happened.
Is that a second season? Dunno. Maybe not.
Anyway, I watched ep.1 of this back in 2016 and quickly ditched it. Sports show. Bicycles. It looked fine, but only for audiences who wanted twelve episodes of schoolgirls talking about bicycles, riding their bicycles and not really having much of an existence beyond bicycles. (I'd prefer that to motorbikes, but neither is really my thing.)
To my surprise, though, here I find myself watching another episode of it.
The episode begins. The girls are chatting together, showing photos of bicycle events to their classmates and attending lectures at university. Their last event was a 160 km ride. That's a long way, but it looks as if certain club members are interested in trumping it. This club appears to be two kinds of member: (a) nervous junior members, and (b) sadistic seniors who get evil looks on their faces and say things like: "Come on, it's not that bad! Maybe you'll taste blood in your mouth, that's all."
In the end, they do a night cycle ride. It's a bit evil, but it's nice at the end when you're watching the world wake up.
The show's quite nice. Pretty boring if you don't care about bicycles, but nice. The girls' bodies obviously change to CGI when they're handling their bicycles, but it's not that distracting. I quite enjoyed this episode as a one-off, but I bet I'd have gone out of my mind (and not in a good way) if I'd had to sit through 12 consecutive episodes of it.
Koi to Uso
Love and Lies
Koi to Uso
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: government-mandated arranged marriages
I'd been expecting to eat up this with a spoon. It's set in a version of reality where Japan's passed a Law to Combat Low Birth Rates. It went into effect forty years ago. When you turn sixteen, the government will choose your life partner scientifically and you'll have to marry them.
This sounded like either: (a) schlocky trash, or (b) fascinating SF. I was looking forward to it.
In practice, though, it's not actually that interesting. Firstly, it's basically just arranged marriages. Japan used to have those. My wife's parents' marriage was one, in fact. Once you've realised that, you stop seeing it as a mind-bending idea and just start nitpicking it instead. Is divorce permitted in this universe? If so, won't it basically just boil down to everyone having a first marriage when they're a teenager? (Those always work out perfectly, after all. Ahem.) We're told that the system actually works, since the birthrate has indeed stopped falling and the government's algorithms make good choices, but I didn't notice any indication that the system cares about sexual orientation or already being in love with someone else.
Alternatively, if you're not into divorce, maybe it'll just turn into the Institutionalised Infidelity Inducer?
So let's look at our cast. These include:
YUKARI NEJIMA (m) - is in love with a girl to whom he once gave an eraser in primary school. They haven't spoken since then. When trying to approach her here, he starts by telling her his name. What's more, it's his sixteenth birthday tomorrow... so naturally that makes this the perfect time to confess his love to a girl. What's he expecting? "Please be my girlfriend for the next twenty minutes!"
He also has weird creepy alien eyes. They're more alien-looking than those in shoujo manga, which traditionally makes humans look like praying mantises. I think it's the expressionlessness of the eyes in this art style that makes them creepy.
MISAKI TAKASAKI (f) - the girl. Also has creepy eyes.
OTHER TEENAGERS (m) - shooting their mouths off about resisting the law and never getting married. Whatever universe you're in, a teenager is a teenager.
That's the love, but there's also the other half of the title. "I lied. Sorry." Yeah, charming.
All I can see is bad and unlikeable directions for this story's future development. Well, maybe I'm wrong? Scum's Wish had characters doing bad, unlikeable things because they were teenagers with sex drives, but that was a remarkable show. Let me google some reviews... no, it doesn't look good. (I'll quote the phrase "snail on morphine".) Cast of teenagers put in an artificial love dilemma that's not as serious as the show thinks it is. A loves B. "The way I like you makes me want to kiss you and do other things." However A has to marry C. The show has "lies" in the title. Nejima's is in love with Takasaki for deeply unconvincing reasons. My crystal ball is showing me angst and teenagers being silly in a dull way, in a contrived pseudo-romantic situation that may or may not involve infidelity and lying about sex.
Maybe I'm wrong and the show's a masterpiece? It hasn't been so far, though. If you're interested in watching a mostly unlikeable cast lie to each other and explore their sexuality in ugly ways, though, I'd recommend the remarkable (although not-fun) Scum's Wish.
Osake wa Fuufu ni Natte Kara
Love is Like a Cocktail
Osake wa Fuufu ni Natte Kara
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 3 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: gentle comedy about a married couple where the wife loves alcohol
I've since finished it and... it is indeed nice.
The episode's title is "First Glass: Plum Splet". What the hell is Plum Splet? Googling it just yields references to this episode. Ah, hang on... the original Japanese is "Ume Supureddo", which is a cocktail.
Anyway, it's a likeable little throwaway. There's a woman who's snowed under at work, but her boss helps her and they manage to get on top of the workload. Soon we're following the boss. Her name's Chisato and she declines an offer to go for drinks, only to have a cocktail as soon as she gets home. She likes alcohol, but she doesn't like being seen a bit drunk in public. She's not a bad drunk, though. She seems like a sweetie.
It's nice. I'll watch this.
Love Kome
Love Kome: We Love Rice
Love Kome
Love Rice
Two 12-episode seasons
4 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: rice varieties anthropomorphised as pretty boys
The title's quite a good pun. I laughed. "Love Kome" in Japanese means the "Love Comedy" genre, i.e. romantic comedy. They've just nicked the English phrase and dropped the last syllable. However "kome" also means rice, giving this show's title a punny meaning.
I'm still not watching any more of it, though. Here's the official press release:
"Love Kome is an anime personifying rice. Set in Kokuritu Inahou Academy, it's the heartful 'Rice Day', where, filled with laughter and passion, 5 beautiful personifications of rice help everyone to rediscover the wonders of rice, through the brilliance of 'A Live Show Called Harvest Show'."
In practice, this means beautiful boys doing nothing much, at school. They have Anime Hair that presumably looks like their rice variety. There's some dialogue that eluded my Meaningful Content radar and reached the end credits without having said a single word that might penetrate your brain. So far, this show seems startlingly empty even by the standards of four-minute anime.
love live sunshine
Love Live! Sunshine!!
Season 2 of Sunshine
Season 4 of Love Live
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: schoolgirl idol club
I've since finished it and... it loses its way a bit, to be honest, but it makes some interesting choices and I liked the season.
The episode's not particularly special, to be honest, but that's partly because it's got lots of recapping to do. The girls learn that their school's definitely going to close, which is the Very Bad Thing they were trying to prevent in entering Love Live in the first place. Chika's not going to let that deter her, though. She's going to keep working for a miracle!
So far, it seems like below-average Love Live. The girls are all there. They're all nice. They haven't really started doing anything yet, since it's more an episode of reacting. I'll keep watching.
Renai Boukun
Love Tyrant
Renai Boukun
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: extreme harem maybe-parody
Imagine a really stupid harem anime. It's doing it deliberately for parody (as flagged up by the rip-off of Death Note), but stupid's still stupid. Also, more importantly, I don't like the yandere character.
GIRL #1: a shinigami appears at Aino Seiji's house and tells him that she's written his name in her Kiss Note. He must kiss someone within 24 hours or DIE!!! (...although that might just be "remain a virgin for the rest of his life". Seiji's not keen on that option either, though.) The shinigami's called Guri and she's an appalling person, although I was amused by her using the Kiss Note on the Prime Minister and the House Speaker in parliament.
GIRL #2: Akane Hiyama is first seen "running". She's motionless on screen while her boobs bounce around violently. We'll call this parody. After that her character unfolds goes in directions that are silly and unexpected, but also made me aggressively not care about her.
GIRL #3: Yuzu is an incestuous crush lesbian.
Naaah. Lots of energy, lots of wacky. Not a lot of caring from me. I can easily imagine other people finding this episode funny, but I can't imagine anyone caring about Hiyama or seeing her as anything except a sign from the authors saying "THIS IS SILLY". Guri's amusing, but that's the limit of it for me.