werewolfWorld War ISagrada ResetTanya the Evil
Anime 1st episodes 2017: S
Including: Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend Flat, Sagaken wo Meguru Animation, The Saga of Tanya the Evil (2017 series), Sagrada Reset (anime), Saiyuki Reload Blast, Sakura Internet, Sakura Quest, Schoolgirl Strikers Animation Channel, Scum's Wish, Seiren, Seizei Ganbare Mahou Shoujo Kurumi, Sengoku Choujuu Giga, Sengoku Night Blood, Senki Zesshou Symphogear AXZ, Senki Zesshou Shinai Symphogear AXZ, Seven Mortal Sins, Shirotan: Shirotan ga Ippai!, Shounen Ashibe GO! GO! Goma-chan, The Silver Guardian, A Sister's All You Need, Skirt no Naka wa Kedamono Deshita., The Snack World, Souryo to Majiwaru Shikiyoku no Yoru ni..., Spiritpact, Spirit Realm, Strike The Blood II, Super Lovers 2
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2017
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2017 >>
Keywords: Senki Zesshou Symphogear, Sagrada Reset, Tanya the Evil, World War I, historical, anime, boobs, SF, fantasy, magical girl, vampires, werewolf, samurai
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 27 first episodes
Website category: Anime 2017
Review date: 16 December 2018
Listed under "A": Shoukoku no Altair, aka. Altair: A Record of Battles
Listed under "A": Shingeki no Kyojin, aka. Attack on Titan
Listed under "D": Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, aka. Descending Stories: Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu
Listed under "F": Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara, aka. Food Wars! The Third Plate
Listed under "H": Star Mu 2, High School Star Musical
Listed under "I": Sword Oratoria: Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side, aka. Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?: Sword Oratoria
Listed under "K": Seikaisuru Kado, aka. Kado: The Right Answer
Listed under "R": Shingeki no Bahamut, aka. Rage of Bahamut
Listed under "R": Soutai Sekai, aka. The Relative Worlds
Listed under "T": Sousei no Onmyouji, aka. Twin Star Exorcists
Listed under "W": Sekai no Yami Zukan, aka. The World Yamizukan
Listed under "W": Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasuka Isogashii Desuka Sukutte Moratte Ii Desuka, aka. WorldEnd
Listed under "Y": Youjo Shenki (even though The Saga of Tanya the Evil is here)
It's a movie: Seitokai Yakuindomo Movie, but this show getting a movie means that the world is doomed
It's a movie: Sword Art Online Movie: Ordinal Scale
It's a movie series that will apparently get re-edited into a TV series: Space Battleship Yamato, aka. Uchuu Senkan Yamato 2202
It's an OVA episode: Soushin Shoujo Matoi: Kabushiki Gaisha Knight Busters... maybe, since I watched the TV series.
It's an OVA episode: Super Danganronpa 2.5 Komaeda Nagito to Sekai no Hakaimono, but I'm a fan of Danganronpa.
Can't find it: Sentai Heroes SUKIYAKI FORCE
sae kano
Saekano: How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend Flat
Saenai Heroine no Sodate-kata Flat
Season 2
Episodes 0-11 (or 14-25 if you include Season 1)
23 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: bickering game-making club
I watched Saekano season 1, but didn't work up any affection for it. The cast are bitchy, jerks, dysfunctional and just not much fun to watch. It became less hard to watch in the second half and ended up being good and interesting, but I still wasn't particularly enthused about season 2.
As with Season 1, the zeroth episode is a fanservice splurge with lots of self-awareness. (It opens with discussion of an unspecified anime getting a second season and whether it deserved it.) The important thing, though, is that everyone's in swimsuits and behaving like girls from a harem anime.
1. Eri's the group's artist, so she's going berserk at the thought of drawing indecent pictures of scantily clad girls.
2. Michiru (Tomoya's cousin) pulls him into the pool for energetic boob-pressing encounters, then starts squabbling with Eri about who's known Tomoya the longest and whether that counts. Someone tries to give, ahem, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation when Tomoya loses consciousness.
3. Izumi appears (also in a bikini) even though she wasn't invited.
4. Utaha kidnaps Tomoya for a cleavage-and-innuendo dinner date, followed by a hotel room. "It's okay. I wrote down that we were brother and sister."
Meanwhile Tomoya's still the kind of otaku who'll react to semi-clad females by wrapping a towel around his eyes and shouting that he objects. He just wants to talk about anime. I quite liked his quiet, calm conversation with Megumi (the Boring Girlfriend) towards the end, though.
I just didn't enjoy it. The cast don't seem to like each other. They argue all the time and not in a good way, while the harem hijinks were also a turn-off. I've heard good things about this second season and I suspect that I'd even agree with them if I forced myself to slog through it, but frankly I can't be bothered.
Sagaken Meguru
Sagaken wo Meguru Animation
Season 2
Episodes: 2 x 12 minutes or so
Keep watching: n/a
One-line summary: quiet, low-key short stories about ordinary people
I think I accidentally watched the 2016 episodes, not the 2017 ones. (I should have watched them last year, but it's an under-the-radar series and this was the first I'd heard about it.) I don't think it matters which episodes you watch, though, or even which order you watch them in. So far, they're all independent standalones. Pleasant, domestic and commissioned to help publicise Japan's Saga prefecture. (The countryside does look pretty.)
EPISODE 1 = a boy's doing pottery at school and being surly to everyone, especially his thoroughly nice sister. When she tries to help him, he tells her to mind her own business. However apparently this is because he was trying to live up to a promise he'd made so long ago that he's the only person who remembers it. He makes a bowl to give her.
EPISODE 2 = well, that was a bit understated. I won't say "vague", but it's the school of scriptwriting that just lets things happen naturally and doesn't believe in spoon-feeding the audience. Children dress up for a festival. We see constellations in a planetarium. There are two girls and two boys. "Have you made up after your fight?" "I want him to say what he thinks." It ends with a boy and a girl holding hands under the stars.
It's nothing special, but fairly nice.
Youjo Senki
The Saga of Tanya the Evil
Youjo Senki
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: evil child leads German squad in a magical equivalent of World War One
I've since finished it and... it's magnificent.
I'd been looking forward to this. What I'd heard was that Tanya is an evil military commander who'll deliberately get her own men killed. That's a nifty protagonist. I want more of Tanya.
That's what I'd heard, anyway. On watching the episode... well, that's about right. Tanya is clearly mad and/or evil. She enters combat when wearing a scary psycho sadist glee face. She's mercilessly cold-blooded, she'll have her underlings demoted for disobeying orders (even if lives were saved) and of course she's very cool. Utter monsters usually are. I laughed at the bit where she said, "Surrender now and we'll guarantee your rights as prisoners under the Treaty of Worms." (No one hears her, because she's just turned an entire enemy squadron into ashes drifting on the breeze.)
That said, though, she's also an efficient, conscientious commander. She appears to be patriotic, albeit for an alt-universe Germany. "Give me the power to destroy the enemies of the Fatherland!" She's also a magic-user in the body of a little girl. Dunno why yet.
The character designs are a bit disconcerting. This is a bloody world war, but the female characters have the kind of big eyes that miss "cute" and instead hit "creepy". I presume that's deliberate. Anyway, I'll definitely be watching this and almost certainly also its sequel film.
Sagurada Reset
Sagrada Reset
Sakurada Reset
Season 1
Episodes: 24 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: YES!!!!
One-line summary: teenagers explore powers
I've since finished it and... whoops. I fell out of love with it. It's interesting and clever, but it also feels dry and emotionless.
I quite liked the episode's beginning. Two schoolboys are practising basketball together. They seem friendly. One (Kei Asai) is asking for information about a girl in their year, because she's left a letter in his locker asking if they could meet on the roof after school. The other boy answers in a way that's also commenting on Kei's, uh, personality quirks. The English subtitles have him saying "insincere", which to me feels like a misleading translation because it suggests lies or dishonesty. The original Japanese was "kokoro ga komotte inai", which just means your heart isn't in it, not from the heart, etc. (As it happens, we'll soon be discovering that Kei's almost autistically honest.)
Kei goes to the roof and meets Misora Haruki, an emotionless girl who makes him look like a wild party animal. If this were SF, you'd assume she was a robot. She's not hostile or anything, though. She'll answer all questions calmly, accurately and precisely, although she never volunteers any extra information.
It wasn't Misora who left the letter for Kei, by the way. Someone's been setting them up. Does our heroine have any friends? "You've become the person I've talked to most in my second year at school." (That's after barely a minute of emotionless conversation.)
I was already quite enjoying this, but then the show changed genre and became a must-watch.
I'll avoid spoilers, but it's about powers. Most of them have little or no practical use, but I love how precisely and intelligently the show's exploring them. "This is Sakurada, a town tucked away in Japan. About half of the people here possess special abilities." Why should they have gathered here? "Once anyone leaves Sakurada, they end up forgetting about their ability."
Okay, that makes sense. Either the superpeople are staying deliberately (which would explain why the numbers have built up so high), or else the world's full of people with powers we don't know we have. Either option would suggest all kinds of interesting possibilities... and the whole episode's like that. Every time we meet someone with a power, the show will have considered all the obvious ideas, uses and cheats in advance. Powers get defined carefully, with rules. People analyse them, either suggesting or ruling out clever things you might have wanted to try.
At one point I thought this went slightly too far, with Kei needing almost no thinking time to come up with a deep character analysis and childhood motivations. "Too much intelligence" isn't a problem you often get from TV, though, and maybe Kei's just very clever and analytical? (Thinking about it, actually, he is.)
I love it. I'm gung-ho for this one and I'm already looking for the two-part 2017 live-action movie adaptation, despite being a little worried about it. Kei and Misora are emotionless robot-like people, which so far is working gangbusters for me in this anime but could be painful in live-action if the films' producers cast J-pop idols who can't act. That said, though, the internet informs me that some viewers disliked this anime for being very slow and full of dispassionate dialogue scenes between bored-looking people. Amazing. I thought the show was fantastic, but it takes all sorts.
Saiyuki Reload Blast
Season 4
Episodes: 112-123
23 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: Journey to the West, aka. Monkey, but starring macho squabbling pretty boys.
Saiyuki.... hang on, don't I know this franchise? Yes, I do! I remember watching its first few episodes back in 2000. It's okay, actually. I don't really give a damn about the four main heroes, which was always going to be a problem, but they're lively, colourful and reasonably entertaining.
It doesn't start encouragingly. Yokai are hunting a man. They kill his horse with a crossbow bolt and they're about to shoot him too, but then suddenly COOL PEOPLE ARRIVE! They jump off a cliff and pose a lot. They stand broodingly while framed by low camera angles, then they burst into action and do lots of KILLING! Roll opening credits!
Amusingly, though, the machismo gets undercut when they all fall down pathetically. Tummies rumble.
The rest of the episode is about a mountain village whose inhabitants live in terror of being wiped out by yokai. They have a drawbridge and they're cautious about using it, to the point of leaving their fellow villagers to die rather than risk opening the door to demons. This doesn't seem unreasonable, but you can also empathise with that dead guy's crazy widow. The episode builds up to, yes, yet more yokai-killing from our anti-heroes, but the Moral Of The Story might bring unintentional laughs. BIG SPOILERS have happened and a bloodbath is in progress... but then the villagers see the better of their extreme survivalist when a child points out that Crazy Widow had been singing a heartwarming song. "But what happiness is there in a village where children can't play, laugh or sing?"
Uh, guys? Those yokai are technically still mid-massacre. There's a time and a place for this kind of thing. (Besides, I didn't even think they'd been wrong earlier. A bit harsh, but... well, anyway. The moment's corny enough to get laughs if you're watching with friends.)
Sakura net
Sakura Internet
4 minutes
Keep watching: I would have, but I couldn't find any more of it
One-line summary: three people quit their uninspiring jobs
Sakura Internet is a web hosting company that made an anime for its 20th anniversary. I'm not sure if this is a one-off episode or the first of a little series of four, though. My brief searching suggests the former, but I might be wrong.
Three people aren't enjoying their jobs. The tone's mature. They're sensible adults, getting through life and accepting that work isn't fun... but then eventually they take the jump and leave "to find their future selves". That's it. It's quite good, but I've no idea where ep.2 would have gone next. One of them's going to be a musician, but your guess is as good as mine with the other two.
Saku ra Quest
Sakura Quest
Season 1
Episodes: 25 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: city-loving girl gets job as "queen" in Hicksville, Nowhere
I've since finished it and... it's intelligent, understated and charming
I'd had low expectations of this show, but I quite liked this episode. The show's one-line summary sounded pretty bland, you see. A pink-haired girl gets employed as the publicity mascot of an armpit town in the middle of nowhere. She's probably nice. They're probably nice. Nothing meaningful's going to happen. It'll be 25 episodes of slice-of-life aimlessness or something.
In fact, though, it's a bit better than that. Our heroine is Yoshino Koharu, who's a serial failure in her Tokyo job-hunting and yet refuses to move back to her small-town roots. She practically has to hammer it into her mother's head with nails on the phone. She then gets phoned by an agency for whom she once did a one-off modelling job, saying she's been offered the job of a small town's queen.
She goes there. It looks like the definition of "sad emptiness" and she got called by mistake anyway. A grumpy old bloke makes that insultingly clear.
None of this is world-shaking, but it's okay. Koharu has absolutely no interest in staying here any longer than the day she thinks she signed for. Ahahahahaha, read your contract, girl. It's your own stupid fault. I laughed at the unconventional morale-boosting scene with Grumpy Old Bloke and You Mean She's The Same Age As Koharu???. (Seriously, I'd assumed Shiori was the age of Koharu's mother. Wears full-length dresses, maternal, soft-spoken and seems to be metaphorically holding everyone's hand, often seeming like the only grown-up in the room.)
I'll give it a go. I'm still not expecting much, really, and I hesitated a bit at the episode count, but what the heck.
School girl strikers
Schoolgirl Strikers Animation Channel
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: I'll probably regret it, but yes
One-line summary: schoolgirls who sometimes fight aliens
I've since finished it and... I actually quite liked it. Weak start, but it improves.
The title made me expect a sports anime. Schoolgirl soccer, I thought. Nope.
An adorable blobby monster runs through a deserted city, causing lots of damage to cars and buildings. Girls shoot at it and sometimes attack it with swords. It escapes.
Next, suddenly, we're at school! Schoolgirls do schoolgirl things, except when they're sticking a sword in the ground because they're loons who wanted to give their school more mystery. One of them wins a volleyball tournament. They look for ghosts.
Then, abruptly, it's monster-bashing time again! The girls have non-nude transformation sequences, but fanservice is being supplied anyway by the bikini-and-body-straps team. The deserted city is a parallel world.
I've googled a bit and no one seems enthusiastic about this one. The omens are bad. There's certainly nothing here we haven't seen before, bar a couple of design decisions (in a small way), but even so I quite enjoyed it and I'm going to watch the show.
Kuzu no Honkai
Scum's Wish
Kuzu no Honkai
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 23 minutes
Keep watching: eeeeeeeeeegh, um
One-line summary: not-nice people with serious issues
I've since finished it and... it's strong, unsparing and excellent.
I don't want to watch this show. I was on a knife-edge. I read some reviews, which seem excited about how different and bold it was. Okay, I'll stick with it... but I'm not looking forward to the experience.
It's an noitaminA show, which usually means "more mature". This is generally in the word's actual sense of "for grown-ups", not the expected one of "censorable content", but here we've got both. There's a girl called Hanabi who's in love with her teacher at school, Narumi, who she calls her big brother. (That could be just a Japanese language quirk since they seem to be neighbours and childhood friends rather than full blood siblings, but I don't think the situation's completely clear yet. Besides, it's always going to be a jolt to hear a boy say to a girl in bed, "Imagine I'm your brother."
What's most disturbing is that this works for her. They both carefully stay silent during what follows, because "I don't want to remind him it's me.") The boy is Mugi, who's in love with another teacher at the school, Akane. The twist is that Narumi and Akane seem to be getting along too well. Hanabi and Mugi in turn get together, as an alliance of the unhealthy. "We're both very vindictive people." Hanabi's certainly very open in her hostility and evil faces when she's near Akane.
This won't be a happy show. I don't expect to enjoy it for a millisecond. It's going to be different, though.
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: light, witty potential romance. So far.
I've since finished it and... I really liked it. I thought it was lovely and surprisingly well-written.
"Why is your primary career choice 'horned beetle'?"
That's an awesome first line. The scene then kept amusing me, as a career guidance counsellor imagines a manga where the hero (a horned beetle) rescues a grasshopper.
Unfortunately then we get a title sequence about six girls and their sex appeal. I was smelling "harem", but I kept going.
The episode then confounded my fears. It's charming. The dialogue has a light touch and I found the character relationships surprisingly real. Our hero (Shouichi Kamita) is a girl magnet... but that's because they love teasing him. His horned beetle manga ambitions (ahem) turn into a running joke. The tone's perfectly judged. You completely understand Shouichi's trepidation, but it's never nasty and everyone feels like friends. Three girls might invite Shouichi to eat lunch with them and he'll be fine with it, even though he knows the price will be getting his leg pulled.
Alarmingly, there's "harem" in the air and Shouichi has a sister. I immediately feared inappropriate developments, but then I stopped worrying again as soon as I saw them together. They seem normal. One doesn't expect bad things to happen. (She's also an older sister, which I think reduces the chances of incest subtext. Such characters in anime usually seem to be younger sisters instead.) I also noticed that the character with whom Shouichi had the most romantic chemistry wasn't a girl at all, but his male best friend.
I thoroughly enjoyed this episode. Likeable people, light-hearted writing and it's all thoroughly pleasant. The misunderstanding about Tsuneki's "boyfriend" isn't making our heroes look too intelligent, but even that's helping to characterise them as a bit old-fashioned, in a good way. The title sequence doesn't seem to fit the episode, but what the hell. It's a nice show.
Mahou Shoujo Kurumi
Seizei Ganbare Mahou Shoujo Kurumi
Season 1
Episodes: 25 x 4 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: magical girl bystander gag anime
I'd been hopeful about this one. I like magical girl shows and I like a good parody. The episode also has such an entertaining title sequence that it's almost, paradoxically, part of why I was disappointed. The music's fun. The action is fun. It's cool.
Then, though, the episode began. Our magical girl runs on-screen, if you want to be generous and call it that. (The Flash animation didn't break any budgets.) She's late for school. She falls over and hits her head, bleeding copiously, but she's fine with this and keeps talking! She's also got a mascot animal sidekick called Devil the Angel. "I formed a contract with Devil to turn me into the Pretty Girl Magical Girl Dinosaur Angel Warrior, Prima Angel Prima Pink!"
That much was okay. The bit that bemused me was the three schoolboys who stand there watching, do nothing and pass snarky comment. I think I'm meant to find them funny. Google suggests that they're the point of the show and in every episode. Noooooooooooooooooo.
Sengoku Chouju Giga
Sengoku Choujuu Giga
Season 2
Episodes: 13 x 3 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: sort of comedy-ish with 16th century historical characters
It's a short form comedy about historical characters animated in an old-fashioned sumi-e art style. This one has Nobunaga and someone he's slept with. I think the latter's probably another man, because the accompanying song mentions a top-knot, but you don't care because no one's human in this show. In practice it's a bird shagging a dog.
I preferred its first episode last year. I wouldn't suggest bothering with this one.
Sengoku BL Night Blood
Sengoku Night Blood
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: otome game adaptation in supernatural version of samurai era
There's a bland audience surrogate female protagonist, shoehorned into a setting where she doesn't belong so that she can be surrounded by pretty boys who are fascinated by her! It's based on an otome game! However did I guess?
The setting and goofy worldbuilding are the reasons to watch this show. It's set in Japan's Sengoku era and the male cast are all real historical warriors like Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, etc. (Naturally they're all light-hearted teenage goofballs who do things like destroy their own castle's walls while having superpowered battles. "Why is it even messier than before we started repairing the castle?" They're gallant, cheerful and non-threatening towards our heroine. No one seemed sinister, sexist or in any way burdened by historical verisimilitude.)
However there's also a huge moon in the sky that looks more like the Earth. This isn't Japan. It's Shinga, a land of talking Disney animals who are looking for their Himemiko-sama who ordered them to find a girl from another world. Oh, and there are also werewolves and vampires.
The characterisation is eye-rolling. Audience Surrogate Girl adds nothing, but I still preferred her to the boys. (You may or may not approve of the scene where she says she'll take a sword and fight, despite not knowing one end of a sword from the other. Full marks for courage, zero for common sense. Note also the moment where an enemy soldier's charging at her with sword drawn and an ally shouts "this way"... so of course Audience Surrogate Girl just stands there like a lemon, forcing a pretty boy to be heroic and rescue her.)
"Why do I have to be there?"
"Because battlefields are filthy, full of men and awful. Having a girl around might brighten things up a bit!"
sympho gear
Senki Zesshou Symphogear AXZ
Season 4
Episodes 40-52 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: stupidly over-the-top magical girl warriors (but it's tech, not magic)
This is the first time I'm skipping a season of Senki Zessho Symphogear. Season 1 (2012) was stupid, but I quite liked it anyway. Season 2 (2013) was thinner and even more ridiculous. Season 3 (2015) was even weaker than that and I found it actively off-putting, being a dull thud of FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT. Unfortunately this first episode of Season 4 looks as if it's continuing the downward trajectory.
As usual with Symphogear, the selling point is how ludicrous it is. The episode's first half is a big fight in which schoolgirls will:
1. unlock their superpowers by singing, i.e. every battle (against the soldiers of a South American general) is also an idol concert.
2. tear off a tank's upper half and uses it to whack another tank.
3. shoot two miniguns simultaneously, one in each hand. (The name is ironic, because they're huge. It's the jungle-flattening gun Jesse Ventura used in Predator.)
4. be shot at with missiles, which they'll either catch or use as mid-air stepping stones.
5. fly up to attack an airborne battleship by standing on the top of helicopters.
6. make their sword grow to the size of a skyscraper. She's a little tiny dot just visible at the hilt. She then wields this sword and cuts that battleship in half. (This is followed by another girl's guns going to MEGADETH INFINITY (sic) mode, which looks very nearly as silly.)
The episode then goes through a non-combat phase, in which we see (a) aid efforts for the junta's civilian victims and (b) our heroines in the shower. One of the girls has childhood flashbacks... but then it's time for ANOTHER FIGHT! This means more singing, obviously. We see the girls' macho nude transformations into their battle bodysuits, with martial arts poses. We meet a shadowy evil organisation and more baddies. The goodies meet the baddies.
I don't mind the silliness, but there's just too much fighting. I want quiet time, or at least a chance to get to know the cast as people. I'd stuck with Symphogear for forty episodes, but here they've lost me.
sympho gear shinai
Senki Zesshou Shinai Symphogear AXZ
Not-So-Superb Songs of the Valkyries AXZ: Symphogear
Blu-ray bonus episodes
Episodes: 4 x 13 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: Flash-animated semi-comedy
They're surprisingly chunky for Blu-ray bonus episodes. These things are usually just a few minutes long. Unfortunately, though, they decided against trying to earn that running time with meaningful content.
It looks Flash-animated, but with a slightly rough, old-fashioned art style that gives it more character than usual. What you're watching is lots of trivial scenes that, frankly, became a big blur of "uh". One or two were amusing, but for the most part the endless repetition of empty non-comedy will drown your brain. There's a Queens of Music idol concert. A girl prepares lots of food for it. The idols who'll perform have a sort of ego clash that isn't. There's more cooking. "Those aiming for the pinnacle of cooking artistry can never stop at 'good enough', Kiri." Girls note each another's height and bust size. A girl gets answers wrong on a TV quiz show and is puzzled when lots of other TV shows immediately want her as a guest there too. (I'm puzzled too, to be honest. I can see various possible jokes in there, but it's not clear which one the episode itself had in mind.)
I quite liked the scene where three girls are in bed on a cold night, though. Two of them have cold legs and want to warm them up. You can empathise with the third one. There's also a scene that canonises Symphogear's lesbian subtext, assuming you think it had ever been just subtext to begin with.
It's the kind of thing that would be okay at four minutes. You'd tough it out. You'd be able to take it. Thirteen minutes, though, will have you clock-watching (or more likely just ditching it). There are no fights at all. I saw ep.2 rather than ep.1, incidentally, but I can't believe the order matters.
Sin Nanatsu no Taizai
Seven Mortal Sins
Sin: Nanatsu no Taizai
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes (plus a recap episode 4.5)
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: devils with boobs
Lucifer gets cast out of heaven. (She's female with big boobs, but that's true of everyone in this show. Males and flat chests do not exist in this universe.) Lucifer's reaction to this is to bitch about it even as she's plummeting through the air, tied to a cross. She demolishes a church by falling into it and is now tied to an inverted cross, because it landed upside-down. Ten out of ten for symbolism.
She then keeps going and lands in hell. There she meets a devil called Leviathan (or Levi), who's wearing a belt and no knickers. (Levi would probably claim it's a skirt, but we know better. Confusingly, though, a couple of minutes later she'll be wearing knickers for an unusually blatant shot that's almost literally her sitting on the camera in a micro-skirt.) "Whale's boiling liquid" (eh?) melts away Lucifer's clothes and she spends a few minutes stark naked before deciding to destroy her cross and put on some clothes. It's not clear why she didn't destroy the cross earlier, e.g. when falling from orbit while tied to it.
Levi falls in lust and suggests taking over Hell. "Make me and the rest of Hell all yours!"
Our anti-heroines go to the 9th Circle of Hell (Pandemonium), which is the gathering place for Hell's seven rulers. Shockingly, one of them (Gluttony) is wearing clothes that you could wear outside without being arrested. There's lots of arrogant macho dialogue that I'd normally call "dick-waving", but here that's clearly the wrong word. We see a random shot of two naked women covered in blood, with no obvious meaning beyond "LOOK, MORE NIPPLES!!!" Belial fights Lucifer and gets hits so hard that all her clothes fly off.
Meanwhile, back on Earth there are two nice girls wearing clunky crucifixes. One of them gropes the other, saying, "Bear my children, ahahaha, just kidding."
This show comes in TV and Blu-ray versions, with the latter having lots of boobs, nipples, etc. This was the latter. It's pure sleaze, which wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for the fact that everyone's also swaggering and unlikeable. Characterisation comes in two flavours: big boobs and huge boobs. It's not even worth watching to laugh at, to be honest.
Not to be confused with the other anime of the same name. (That one's normally translated as The Seven Deadly Sins, but they're the same in Japanese apart from the gratuitous English prefix of "sin".)
Shirotan: Shirotan ga Ippai!
So Many Sirotans!
Season 1
Episodes: 24 x 1 minute
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: harp seal, for very young children
Shirotan is lying on the grass on a hill. "What lovely weather! It feels good!" He rolls down the hill and off a cliff (eh?), but the anime thinks this is normal and he lands happily and safely in a field. He's surrounded by flowers. A butterfly lands on him.
Shirotan can do Lassie-speak with butterflies. "What's my name, you say? It's Shirotan!"
I'd say this show's aimed at three- or four-year-olds. A five-year-old might find it a bit beneath them.
Shounen Ashibe GO GO Goma-chan
Shounen Ashibe GO! GO! Goma-chan
Season 3
Episode 27
9 minutes
Keep watching: no, but it's pretty decent
One-line summary: children's show about a boy and his pet seal
When Tomoko saw me watching this, she got a nostalgia rush. She remembered it from her childhood. She reminisced about Goma-chan, the seal who talked in "kyu kyu kyu". This manga has had three anime adaptations:
1991 series: 37 episodes
1992 series: 25 episodes
2016 series: this might still be going, but I'm not sure
It's a kiddie show with crude art, though. Ashibe is a small boy with a pet seal called Goma-chan. This week, they fall out. Ashibe says he hates Goma-chan, who goes off to befriend another small boy called Sakata instead. There's some childishness. Sakata's really happy because he loves Goma-chan too, but of course our heroes are going to make up and the status quo will be restored!
It's quite a nice episode, actually. What's good about it is its angle on Sakata, who's self-denying and heroic (in a childish small boy way) and then afterwards goes through grief and mourning. I also enjoyed the end theme music ("I'M GONNA GOMA!"), although it's too short. Looks like a good series, if you're the target audience. Had I been six years old, I'd have definitely watched this.
Yin Zhi Shou Mu Ren
The Silver Guardian
Gin no Guardian
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 13 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: superhero boy fights undead
It's by Haoliners. This fact appears right at the start, which is considerate because you can immediately lower your expectations. It's like a government health warning. "Alert: Chinese anime, i.e. like normal anime but worse."
It begins with schoolgirls talking late at night in their nightgowns, for the sake of male gaze. Their school's built on top of an old graveyard! "That's apparently why there are old graves around the school grounds!"
Later a different, pink-haired girl reflects that "there's someone fighting to protect these peaceful days in a world that's completely closed."
The moon then becomes a grinning red skull, bells toll and a pyramid erupts from the ground. "He's beginning his battle all alone." An undead army appears, thus reminding me that most of the Chinese anime I've seen so far have had undead in it. I don't know why. It's as if that's their default storytelling option. Suigin Lu (the hero) fights them, which is a bit mystifying because he's so unstoppable that you might as well be picking your nails or something. It's not clear why the writer thought we needed to watch these scenes. They're pointless. Suigin tosses around the undead as if they're autumn leaves, then for an encore takes down a golem the size of the Statue of Liberty. That didn't slow him down either, by the way.
In fairness, Suigin's quite likeable. He's completely relaxed about his battles, which does nothing for the drama but does at least make him seem like good company. What's more, we also see him in a flashback from a year ago when he was being bullied while doing a part-time job at a swimming pool. (The episode's best understated joke is that he can't swim and is wearing Luffy's straw hat from One Piece.) The bullies throw his cat in the pool. Suigin immediately dives in to save the cat, so of course he sinks like a stone and needs rescuing too. This is played as heroism, not comedy.
This got a second season! Wow. (Season 2's first episode was reasonably good, actually.) In fairness, this looks more fun than many Chinese anime... but I see it's based on a Chinese web manhua and I'm pretty sure Haoliners just don't understand quality control when it comes to those. It's like manga, but Chinese! Japan makes anime out of manga all the time, so let's do the same! Uh, guys, it helps if the source material is competent.
imoto sae ireba ii
A Sister's All You Need
Imouto Sae Ireba Ii.
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: professional writers, not all of them sane/normal/plausible
I've since finished it and... it's genuinely very good, but at the same time also pandering and exploitative.
It begins with an epic Anime Is For Sick Perverts introduction, which is actually just the latest chapter of our protagonist's next novel. It starts with a nude little sister straddling her brother in bed (albeit with censorship light beams) and from there just gets sillier. The editor's reaction is funny and exactly right. That was a great start to the episode, which as a bonus also established our protagonist as one sick puppy.
This episode is two shows in one. The interesting show is the one that's examining the light novel industry and the lives of its professional writers. I liked the Turtle Soup Game, the discussion of what it means to blow your deadlines and the insights into the writers' psyches. All that felt real and was well observed. I particularly liked the episode's ending, which partially redeems its two worst characters by showing us that (despite appearances) they're human beings too and also demonstrates that, at root, this story is really all about what it's like to write and read novels.
The other show is the one about a massive pervert who's obsessed with little sisters to the extent that he ignores a woman throwing herself at him because they're not blood related. That's the hero, by the way. His name's Itsuki. (At one point he discusses other little sister characters in anime. He mentions Kobato in Haganai, which in real life was this author's previous series, and Komachi in "My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, As I Expected". I don't think either of those had any incest subtext, although admittedly he follows that by mentioning one who most certainly did: Kirino in Oreimo.) As for the, ahem, sexually aggressive character I mentioned, her name's Nayuta and she keeps saying things like "let's have sex now" and "that was delicious; now if I could just have your dick for dessert".
It's a bit odd seeing such broad, implausible stereotypes in a piece that's so well written when it comes to portraying the world of writers. Maybe the show's being eccentrically meta? Is this a self-deprecating joke about writers being unconvincing human beings? Anyway, I'll keep going.
Skirt no Naka wa Kedamono Deshita
Skirt no Naka wa Kedamono Deshita.
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 5 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: porn with plot
I've since finished it and... it's good!
This show exists in three versions: all-ages, R15 and R18. I think I watched the latter.
A nervous girl calls Shizuka goes to a group dating mixer, but can't bring herself to speak to the men there. Instead she ends up walking off with a beautiful woman called Ryou. They go to a bar to drink and talk. Shizuka gets a bit smitten. "Even though she's a woman, I'm somehow getting attracted to her!"
I don't get the impression that Shizuka had considered her sexuality before, or indeed had ever thought about sexuality in the first place. Nonetheless she's asking Ryou questions like "do you have a boyfriend or something?" (note the "something") and blushing on getting the answer "no". Shizuka then goes back to Ryou's place and asks if it would be okay to stay the night. (She's a bit drunk.) One might wonder... but she's still extremely surprised when Ryou has sex with her, although it could have been worse. The only thing that gets inserted is a finger. Part of that surprise is Ryou having a visible erection under his/her skirt.
Ryou's gone in the morning when Shizuka wakes up, but s/he's left a polite note that ends with "we'll continue next time." Shizuka's reaction to this made me laugh.
The big question is, of course, consent. Shizuka put herself in a compromising situation, but that's after she'd got drunk without knowing Ryou was a gender-bender and she'd had absolutely no idea that sexual activity was a possibility. Also we can hear Shizuka saying "no" and "this is wrong" while she's being fingered... but this seems to be just her inner voice. We're hearing her thoughts, whereas her lips don't move. Someone who was judging by what she said and did might decide that she'd been being cooperative.
I'll keep watching. What we've seen so far is questionable, but it's not a "BURN THIS WITH FIRE". Japan has rape porn, I'm afraid, and this isn't it. It's definitely "porn with a plot", though.
Snack World
The Snack World
Season 1
Episodes: 50 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: it's quite funny, but no
One-line summary: American-style CGI children's cartoon
It's quite good. However I'm pretty sure it got ignored by anime fans, because: (a) it's trying hard not to be anime, and (b) it's a 50-episode children's cartoon. I won't be watching the rest of the show either, but it made me laugh and I quite liked it.
It looks like something by Dreamworks, mind you. It's plastic CGI kiddie stuff, with that sort of characterisation and character designs. The only signs of anime are Mayone's eyes and Chup's shounen hero hair. It looks quite fun, to be honest. They're bold, silly designs. More of a problem is the over-the-top American-style incidental music, underlining every story beat and emotion. You'll have loud melodramatic music... for the duration of a one-second cut. This can sound stupid, but then again I think that's part of the show's identity as a self-aware comedy.
It's a "swords and monsters" fantasy setting, but with cell phones and the internet. Our heroes are dumb and rubbish, which is of course why they're great. That's the show's main joke. Their first act is to catch a "thief", never considering that they might have made a mistake in "returning" the "stolen" purse. D'oh. The apparent victim is a nice-looking girl with an innocent face, you see. Chup then unilaterally accepts a dumb quest to fight the Medusa, because he has the hots for the king's vapid, selfish daughter. (The rest of the party yells at him.)
There are some pretty good jokes in here. I laughed at the party not fighting the Scorpion Monster because they couldn't be bothered, for instance, or at Chup's habit of throwing his friends out in front of the Medusa and then giving a heroic soundbite when they're turned to stone as if it wasn't all his fault. Sometimes the show got too silly for me to care about (e.g. the villain who burned Chup's family to death), but sometimes it took its monsters seriously (e.g. the Medusa). This is a multimedia toy-game-anime-manga franchise from the same people who brought us Yokai Watch, by the way, and you can tell they're targeting an international audience.
It's good, I think. I laughed. Personally right now I'm not in the mood for fifty episodes of an American-wannabe cartoon, but so far I think it's a funny show that deserves more attention.
Souryo to Majiwaru Shikiyoku Yoru ni
Souryo to Majiwaru Shikiyoku no Yoru ni...
On a Lustful Night Mingling with a Priest...
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 5 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: hentai where the man's a buddhist priest
"Before I'm a monk, I'm still a man."
Mio always fancied Takahide when they were at university, but it never went anywhere. Now, at a reunion event, she learns that he's a monk! (Someone pulls off his hat, revealing his shaved head.) In case you're wondering, by the way, Buddhist monks are indeed generally celibate. If he'd been a Shinto priest, on the other hand, he'd have been fine since that religion actively opposes celibacy.
Anyway, misunderstandings get corrected when he starts having sex with her. They're still only on nipple-licking so far, but it's still ep.1.
Let me do some googling...
Okay, let's not watch this one.
Soul Contract
Ling Qi
Season 1
Episodes: 10
24 minutes (Japanese) or 15-ish minutes (Chinese)
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: self-pitying jerk becomes ghost
CHINESE DUB (14 minutes)
Our hero, Yang Jinghua, is a fortune-teller.
Customer #1: a blonde in a tight dress asks him about KPI. He calls her stupid or ugly or something for wanting to know about KPI. She kicks him in the face.
Customer #2: a perfectly normal-looking woman is drooling because a hot man drove up in a big expensive car. "Do I have a chance?" she asks. Our hero's response: "You're out of your mind due to ageing, aren't you?"
That was the pre-credits sequence. Nice. Yang Jinghua then complains to us that he's poor even though he's descended from a family of famous exorcists! I can't think why he might have a customer relations problem. To make ends meet, he also fixes people's computers. "But then, I'm so poor I can't even afford spare parts." Uh... again, not too smart. If the computer needs the parts, that'll just be part of the final price for the customer.
After that, we meet an undead girl with glowing eyes. She's here because the Chinese anime I've seen give the impression of having a default mode of "I can't think of anything good to write about, so let's introduce undead." A real exorcist shows up to fight her.
Our hero: "My ancestors were great royal exorcists, so I'm part of a distinguished family. I'm the cool one too."
After a self-pity interval, our hero walks in front of a truck. I think this was stupidity rather than suicide, but it's unclear. The proper exorcist turns him into a spirit and it becomes increasingly likely that the anime might have been aiming for comedy by making Yang Jinghua such a dick. The animators give him some amusingly ugly faces while he behaves childishly. He gets excited about being on TV (as a corpse) and complains about not getting insurance compensation money.
Nope. I understand that Yang's being a dick for comedy characterisation, but I'm still not interested in watching him.
JAPANESE DUB (24 minutes)
Having already watched this episode once, I then discovered a Japanese-dubbed version on Crunchyroll with better subtitles and normal-length episodes. There, it's called "Spiritpact". I think each Japanese-dubbed episode contains two of the original Chinese ones. (It's another Chinese anime by Haoliners.) Anyway, I liked it better on this second viewing.
The crucial one is that I found Yang more likeable. Much of that might be due to bad subtitles last time, whereas these are professional subtitles and of course I could understand the Japanese dialogue anyway. Yang's still rude to his customers, but less obnoxiously so. He'll still say things like "the most important things are money and status", but you're more aware that his parents died when he was young. Also his truck accident now looked a lot like suicide to me. "If I get reincarnated, I'll live a better life."
We see much more of Duanmu Xi in this version and I don't buy him. He's inviting some random suicidal idiot to be his partner... which will be an irreversible, unbreakable commitment that can't be ended short of death. "Once a pact has been made, it cannot be revoked. If it is revoked, both parties will disappear." They hadn't known each other for five minutes when Duanmu made this offer! They'd never met! Was it love at first sight or something? Duanmu offers Yang a ring and the response is "are you asking me to marry you?" Oh, and the internet tells me that they'll be declaring their unconditional devotion to each other and conducting "energy transfers" through kissing. (However the original webcomic's author, Ping Zi, has repeatedly stated that Duanmu and Yang will never be romantically involved with each other. So there you have it. Not gay at all, no sir. It's official.)
There's also something weird in the worldbuilding. Apparently spirits turn evil if they stay in our world for seven days. Yang needed to be told that. He'd have probably overstayed without thinking. However we're told that this episode's wicked ghost is evil because she "chose the path of corruption", i.e. it's her fault. So it's not clear what's going on there.
I'm still not going to watch this show, but after this episode, I wouldn't have minded doing so. Yang can be amusing. Duanmu's a bit dull, but he's the... uh, I can't say "straight man". We need a new phrase. "The less-funny person in a comedy duo who reacts to the comedian's jokes and delivers set-up lines." The show seems palatable.
Spirit Realm
Ling Yu
Seasons 4-5
Episodes: 10 x 12-17 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: fighting demons in the spirit realm
It's another bad Chinese anime, made by Haoliners Animation League. For fairness, though, I went back and watched the first episode of Season 1 (2015), instead of jumping into the middle of the story with Seasons 4-5. Didn't help.
I quite like the pre-credits sequence. Someone in purple murders everyone at a wedding. After that, though, we go to the spirit realm and an army of humans fighting an army of demons. This is pointless and there's almost no meaningful content after the opening credits. It's just fighters fighters fighters fighters the end, which is such a non-ending that I think I said "what?" aloud. It's as if they'd accidentally rolled the end credits ten minutes too early.
The humans ride their steeds. The female ones wear revealing costumes. That's about it.
Meaningful content: (a) two fighters talk to each other as if they're boyfriend and girlfriend. (b) a wolf bites someone's hand when annoyed at being called a dog.
It's possible that Seasons 4-5 are a massive improvement on Season 1. It's hard to imagine it getting worse, anyway. This episode doesn't contain any content in the first place, after all, so even becoming bad would be a step up.
Strike Blood
Strike The Blood II
Season 2
Episodes: 8 x 25-ish minutes
OVA #5: "The Fugitive Fourth Progenitor II"
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: action harem show
It's one of the best Strike the Blood episodes I've seen, mostly ignoring the show's harem angle to concentrate on adventure, action and danger. Baddies have snatched Kojou's sister Nagisa and he's absolutely, definitely going to get her back. So what if her body's housing the sleeping fragment of a legendary vampire? So what if their schoolteacher, Natsuki-chan, is opposing them for her own reasons? (She's a formidable opponent.) There will be soldiers, tanks, gremlins taking out the electronics and magic that eats a van.
Even here, though, we have the following moments:
1. Kojou and Himeragi have been given fake IDs to get them off the island. Kojou looks at them and gets angry.
KOJOU: "Why do they say that Himeragi and I are married?"
HIMERAGI: "That's wonderful!"
KOJOU: "No no no no no! Besides, why is Himeragi's age listed as 29 years old? Even when the wife is older than the husband, there should be a limit!"
Ew. Piss off, Kojou.
2. Kojou's a vampire and he has to replenish his battle energy by drinking Kanase's blood. I knew that vampire-feeding in this show was basically sex. I hadn't expected this to be taken so literally that the willing Kanase takes her top off.
Verdict on this show: still a "no".
Super Lovers 2
Season 2
Episodes: 10 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: still no
One-line summary: yaoi anime with older jailbait than last time
It's a Boys' Love manga, i.e. about gay men, but written by and for women. Don't expect realism. What's more, these things are written as fantasy and sometimes they go a bit... um, wrong.
Firstly, let's establish some facts. The age of consent in Japan is thirteen, but in practice that's overruled everywhere by stricter local laws. In Season 1 ep.1, Ren had been eight and so absolutely illegal, but fortunately the much older Haru didn't actually do anything to him. (Well, apart from saying he'd like to sleep with him, inviting him into his bed and kissing him on the mouth.)
Here, seven years have passed and so Ren's fifteen. They're in Tokyo. That's less terrifying, but I think still illegal. What's more, the anime's going out of its way to emphasise the age difference and make Ren look even younger, since he's tiny even for his age while Haru looks as if he's been airlifted in from Jack and the Beanstalk. (The title sequence even has a moment where Haru morphs into their mutual mother, Haruko, while he's hugging Ren, thus suggesting an incest subtext triangle that's unusual even for anime. Haru = Haru(ko)? Yes, I did say "mutual mother", by the way. Haru and Ren are (adopted) brothers. Nonetheless they share a bed, hug, kiss, get jealous and eventually have an openly sexual encounter that would certainly have got X-rated if Haruko hadn't rung the doorbell.)
That's hard to see past. It's the episode's focus. It's all about these needy, clingy boys and their inability to handle their emotions. "If you really can't see me as more than just a brother, tell me." "For now, I can be the brother Haru wants me to be." "I'm sorry, Ren, I can't take it. Let me touch you."
However there is other stuff going on too. It looks like a reasonably good series, if you can take the dodgy content. That dog motif is still there, with Haruko explaining that Haru sees Ren as "in his territory" and so he's testing Ren's love for him. There's also a subplot about Ren trying to return a Pomeranian to its owner.
There are more female characters than you might expect in this genre, although I believe one of them might be a cross-dressing man. There's Haruko, of course, who's now being headhunted by CERN and is moving to Switzerland, which is quite a change from novel-writing in Canada. She's Superwoman! Also, at one point someone makes a mild effort to hook up Haru with a girl, thus giving him a panic attack when Ren sees him with the photo.
I could imagine watching this show. It seems competent and reasonably well done, but its content isn't getting less questionable.