Anime 1st episodes 2017: P-Q
Including: Piace: My Italian Cooking, Pikaia!! Season 2, Pikotaro's LULLABY LA LA BY, Pingu in the City, Pokemon Generations, Princess Principal, Princess Principal Picture Drama, PriPri Chi-chan!!, Puzzle & Dragons X
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2017
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2017 >>
Keywords: Pokemon, anime, fantasy, SF, alternate universe, historical
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 9 first episodes
Website category: Anime 2017
Review date: 2 December 2018
Listed under "K": KiraKira PreCure a la Mode
It's a movie: Pokemon the Movie: I Choose You!
Couldn't find it: Panpaka Pants O New-san, the third season of Panpaka Pants
Piace Watashi no Italian
Piace: My Italian Cooking
Piace: Watashi no Italian
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 4 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: Italian cafe
I've since finished it and... it's nice, but that's about it. I don't mind the show, though.
Two schoolgirls are wondering what to do in the holidays. "I was thinking of a part-time job," says our green-haired heroine, Morina Nanase. She hasn't chosen any particular one yet, but then they pass a sign for "Trattoria Festa", written on a barrel. They're looking for part-time workers! Sounds good. (Google tells me that a "trattoria" is an Italian-style eating establishment, traditionally less formal than a restaurant. Meanwhile "festa" is related to the words "festive" and "festival" and can mean party, holiday, religious feast day, etc.)
Anyway, Morina wanders up and falls in love with the cool-looking Italian cafe. She'll work here! That's the plan, anyway, until she runs into a punchable brat called Maro Kitahara who says they don't need useless people like her who can't read Italian and don't even know what a trattoria is. (He's the owner's son and a brilliant cook, but also a rude tsundere.) However the situation is saved when the assistant manager shows up. (Ruri Fujiki, blonde, big boobs, slightly chilly manner.)
It looks like the kind of thing you might watch once because it's only four minutes long, but there would never be any point in a repeat viewing. That's my guess, anyway. There's a bit where Morina samples Maro's cooking and has a Restaurant Critic Foodgasm, but it's only a moment and hopefully there won't be too much of that. I'm not expecting much from this series, but I'm hoping it'll be amusing and nice. Let's give it a go and find out!
Season 2
Episodes: 13 x 15 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: children time-travel back past even the dinosaurs to see what's alive back then
I've since finished it and... it's still great!
Pikaia! is great. The characters and story are of little interest, but it's a zoological exploration of the Cambrian era! How can anyone not love that? Get chased by an Anomalocaris! Boggle at a Hallucigenia!
...except that we're not doing that any more. Season 1 did the Cambrian era, whereas here we've moved on to the Devonian. (I might be wrong since I was watching in Japanese without subtitles, but I think they said Devonian.) We're still underwater, though. Lots of fish. They look a lot less weird than the Cambrian life-forms, but you're also more likely to recognise some of them if you used to read books about prehistory.
We hardly see any of them this week, though. It takes most of the episode for our two kiddie heroes to team up with a girl who'd been their enemy in Season 1. (Orders from the Prime Minister.) They go back in time. Someone's watching them in silhouette, with a silhouette-Pikaia... and then it's the end of the fictional bit!
Next, as is traditional for this show, comes a non-fiction educational section with Professor Morris giving us a lecture. (There's a real Professor Morris, but he's English and this is his Japanese-speaking animated avatar.) This week we get an overview of prehistory.
Cenozoic era (i.e. modern) = 66 million years ago up to the present day
Mesozoic era (i.e. dinosaurs) = 252 to 66 million years ago
Paleozoic era (i.e. the earliest era with abundant animal and plant life) = 542 to 252 million years ago, split into six geologic periods. We saw the first one (Cambrian) in Season 1, then we're skipping Ordovician and Silurian by jumping straight to the Devonian. We also see some life forms from those eras, with the Ordovician having the nautilus (still alive today!) and the Silurian (pronounced "Shiruru" in Japanese) having eurypterids, aka. sea scorpions.
Should be good. I'm raring to go.
Pikotarou no Lullaby Lullaby
Season 1
Episodes: 3 x 3 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: alternative fairy tales
It's an improvised anime. A singer/comedian called Piko Taro does an unscripted voice track, based around a fairy story. This then gets "animated". (You could get a copy of Flash and produce something of similar quality by yourself, without artists or animators.)
(I've just done a Google image search for Piko Taro and he looks quite wacky. I'm reminded of the Cat in Red Dwarf.)
Anyway, this ep.1 is Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Match Girl. (Ep.2 is Cinderella and ep.3 is The Ugly Duckling.) The Girl is cold, hungry and trying to sell matches, but then a vision of Piko Taro appears and says "cup noodles and chicken wings." This confuses the Girl and is a bit surreal for us too. He then says "reversible bomber jacket", "hopscotch at break time" and "gaming".
It's surreal. The ending's weak. It's okay and at least different, but it's okay rather than something you'd want to seek out.
Pingu City
Pingu in the City
Season 7
Episodes: 26 x 7 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: IT'S PINGU!
It's Pingu. You've heard of Pingu, haven't you? Swiss stop-motion claymation children's TV series about a penguin, which ran for six seasons and 156 episodes (1986-2006). He talked in Pinguese ("wah wah finba bloblo", etc.) and the show was adorable.
Well, Japan's brought it back. This is CGI rather than claymation, but it looks the same. Pingu's now in the city (albeit one where the buildings are made of ice) and trying to get a job at a restaurant. Well, I say "job". He's an overconfident small child wandering into some place that should just kick him straight out on his ear, but unfortunately don't because then there wouldn't be an episode. Pingu can be a bit of a disaster area sometimes.
Is it good? Answer: it's Pingu! "Good" doesn't apply. Pingu goes past anything like that, because he's Pingu. Personally I think I prefer him in his original setting (ice, igloo, fish, etc.) but this update is fine. I don't need to watch my way through the whole show, but I'm sure this new incarnation will sell big internationally too.
Pokemon Generations
Season 1
Episodes: 18 x 4 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: it's like watching a trailer
It's not an episode. It's a bunch of action scenes, without even joining up into a single narrative. Stuff hits your eyeballs, then it ends. We begin with 1990s video game imagery (which is admittedly quite cool, in its way), then it jumps into anime. It's probably a homage to something or other, which I'm sure would have been fine if I'd had an attachment to whatever that was.
The episode I watched claimed to be an English dub, which was a lie because it had no dialogue at all. Pikachu squeaks a lot, though.
Princess Principal
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: maybe, yes, yes, no. Make that a "no".
One-line summary: Victorian era schoolgirl spies in alternate history
Definitely not what it looks like.
I bet it'll be silly.
I'll definitely be watching this. It had me just from the title sequence, which has cool spy action and someone driving a period car off a cliff before skydiving. The show's set in an alternate Victorian era where (deep breath) England's been split into two countries with a big wall in London. There was a London Revolution. H.G. Wells's cavorite is real and you can use it to fly (and glow green).
Our heroines are super-spies who have car chases with the enemy... but they're also schoolgirls!
That was actually pretty dark. It's getting into serious spy intrigue, moral ambivalence and heroes who kill sympathetic characters. One of the girls might be a pathological liar, even to her friends. "Spies are liars" is a motif. At one point someone gets machine-gunned by his allies because there's an enemy standing behind him. The animators' reconstruction of Victorian England is gorgeous and a reason to watch the show in itself (apart from some of our heroines' very non-Victorian skirts), but you'll also be seeing the era's poor, dirty, impoverished side.
Admittedly the spies are cute schoolgirls, but they're also hard-nosed and not necessarily nice. At one point they discuss whether to let two people defect to the West or just to drug their target and smuggle him across alone. I liked this a lot.
"On the Black Lizard Planet, we get someone's signature before we kill them."
Actually, make that a "no".
Suddenly I'm not expecting to enjoy this show. It's getting darker and starting to look a lot like Joker Game, but with cute girls in an alt-universe Victorian England. I can't tell the difference between good and bad, which I suspect might be the point. There is no good or bad. Cold-blooded dispassionate people do murky things, with a body count.
This is getting pointed out in dialogue, which still has a hard-on for "spies are liars" and extends it to "I'd want to be friends with the devil".
Meanwhile the production values and historical recreation are still almost flawless, but the show's still giving itself licence to annoy me with a female character's costume. (It's usually note-perfect, which somehow makes it worse... but then you'll have a very serious spy council meeting of Very Important Sinister People. The only woman there is wearing a boob-friendly corset and a pinned-open shirt.)
At one point I'd been about to start fast-forwarding, but then a story development kept me watching. That's a bad sign. I don't like the Joker Game vibes I'm getting. I'm ditching this one.
Princess Principal Picture Drama
Season 1
Episodes: 6 x variable (3-4 minutes)
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: "picture dramas" bundled with the Blu-ray and DVD volumes
They're illustrated radio mini-plays, really. The pictures aren't animated and there are only seven or eight of them anyway.
I think the're intended as light-hearted interludes between the more serious TV episodes. This episode has the girls discussing calling themselves Team White Dove, then being ordered to infiltrate a boys' school. Different girls explain why they should or shouldn't be picked for this mission. It's fairly pointless and silly, but it's also harmless and I'm sure it would be fun for fans of its parent show.
Puripuri Chii chan
PriPri Chi-chan!!
Season 1
Episodes: 36 x 12 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: children's semi-comedy about egg-shaped alien
Chi-chan is a talking yellow egg in nappies, with childish speech patterns. He thinks that if he goes to Earth, he'll be killed. "It's said that when humans find our kind, they capture us and dissect our bodies. But I have to go! I found out there are all kinds of tasty sweets on the surface!"
Chi-chan goes crazy for sweets, you see. When he goes to Earth, he'll sneak into a convenience store and go into Candy Orgasmic Frenzy. (He eats a ton of sweets in front of everyone without paying for them and then runs away, with no suggestion that the episode sees a moral angle in this.) I'm already getting tired of Chi-chan.
A girl called Yuka Saeki finds him and takes him back home. Before that, though, she gives a passer-by his lost spectacles. He'd been saying dialogue like "oh dear, I've lost my spectacles, where can my spectacles be, I'm in such trouble because I don't have my spectacles". He sounds unnatural in that patronising way you only get with the wrong kind of children's TV.
I didn't really like it. It's not the youngest level of "slow and gentle" pre-school kiddified, but it's still it's a bunch of wacky, dumb gags for an audience that's not supposed to be thinking about them. That said, though, the episode has lots of energy and a genuinely cool punchline. I didn't like it personally, but I can imagine its target audience enjoying it.
Puzzle + Dragons Cross
Puzzle & Dragons X
Puzzle and Dragons Cross
Episode 27
24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: game-based shounen anime with dragons
Ep.1 in 2016 suggested a perfectly good show that was probably of little interest to anyone past puberty. This is the same.
Our hero, Ace, has become a Dragon Caller and his best friend is a flying egg! Dragon Callers wear a silly outfit like a baggy rabbit onesie, with huge ears. However when they fight in the arena, they'll transform into a different set of silly outfits! Ace's is reasonably cool, but some Dragon Callers look as if they're wearing a stuffed toy, or perhaps their sleeping bags.
This is a big national tournament, so Ace's mum, granny and childhood friend have come to cheer him on. (The friend is Haru, who got plenty of screen time in ep.1 but here appears to have been sidelined for the crime of being a girl. There are female Dragon Callers, but almost all the ones who matter in this episode are boys.) That said, though, I still quite like the show's cast. Ace's friends and rivals seem a lively lot, including a snobby tsundere, a preening crybaby narcissist and someone who'll presumably be a skirt-chaser when he's older.
It's announced that this tournament has lifted the ban on Soul Brave. Shock, horror! Eventually the fights begin, but I didn't start wanting to fast-forward through them until almost the end. Mind you, there will probably be more fighting next week.
It's fine. It feels like what it is, i.e. a game adaptation. (You evolve your monsters like Pokemon and there's terminology like drops and Cross Fights.) I have no objection to it and I'd have probably watched it all if I'd been seven.