Shokugeki no SoumaFLCLFull Metal PanicFist of the North Star
Anime 1st episodes 2018: F
Including: Fairy Tail, Fate/Extra: Last Encore, Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya: Oath Under Snow special: Dark Sakura's Room!, Fist of the Blue Sky Re-Genesis, FLCL: Alternative, FLCL: Progressive, Folktales from Japan, Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma, Forest of Piano, Frankenstein Family, Free! Dive to the Future, Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory, Future Card Buddyfight Ace
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2018
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2018 >>
Keywords: Fate/stay night, Prisma Illya, Fist of the North Star, FLCL, Full Metal Panic, Shokugeki no Souma, anime, SF, fantasy
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 13 first episodes
Website category: Anime 2018
Review date: 12 May 2020
Listed under "C": Fumikiri Jikan, aka. Crossing Time
It's a one-off OVA: Free! -Dive to the Future- Episode 0
I'm already doing one Future Card Buddyfight, so I'll leave this: Future Card Buddyfight X: All-Star Fight ep.40
Fairy Tail
Season 9 (and final)
Episode 278
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: long-running shounen action franchise
The original manga ran for 63 volumes and 11 years, ending in 2017. (It's a shounen action series with wizards, dragons and jokes.) Laudably, the anime adaptation went on hiatus rather than bloat itself with padding. This is its final run.
I'd only ever watched the odd episode here and there, but this was reasonably good. I'm sure I'd have been happy if I'd been watching it all from the beginning. There's a fun cast, good gender balance and a light, lively tone. This week, the last heroes left from a disbanded guild are Natsu (deranged fight-loving hero) Lucy (boobs and legs) and Happy (talking cat). I think it's a wizards' guild, but Natsu's at best the kind of wizard who'd use his wand a club for attacking monsters. Anyway, they go off to reassemble their old gang.
We potter amusingly through a fantasy world. Natsu, Lucy and Happy look for their friends and are surprised to find them singing in an idol duo or wearing human bodies. (There's even a character beat when one of their friends reluctantly says "no" out of loyalty to her new partner.) Natsu goes nuts because there's not enough violence.
Then... MONSTERS ATTACK! There's going to be a FIGHT!!! The "coming next week" trailer has lots of fantasy fight action that I'm sure would have been cool if I cared about fight scenes and/or these characters. Natsu will probably be a laugh, though.
It seems fine. I quite enjoyed this episode, although I wasn't expecting to start watching regularly at ep.278. My anime-watching friend at work calls this final Fairy Tail season a slight disappointment, but he's a fan of the show who's seen it all from the beginning. Comparing it with other long-running shounen series I've sampled, this seemed as good as most of them.
Fate Extra Last Encore
Fate/Extra: Last Encore
Season 1
Episodes: 13 (including the three episodes that mysteriously popped up in July)
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: Fate/Don't Care
So... Fate/stay night. It's a Type Moon franchise that's got a bit convoluted. This is an alt-universe spin-off of one of its alt-universe spin-offs. Last Encore was a 2010 reimagining of Fate/stay night where everyone was inside virtual reality on the moon. This is another level of "huh?" beyond that.
In practice, we have a passive hero who drifts through the episode doing nothing. He says he doesn't like the world. He's studying at a super-modern whizzy university, but one where people get killed for losing at chess and the crowd just claps politely. Later, it's announced that everyone has to kill someone to be chosen to survive. They have a limited number of slots available for the successful murderers, after which everyone else will be killed in a purge.
This is more boring than it sounds. You won't care about the students (who are clearly evil), the regime (which is evil and pointless) or the protagonist (who's not evil, but has the personality of a recycled facial tissue).
The episode ends in a fight, after the arrival of a girl with big boobs. That was an improvement, but not enough of one to justify watching ep.2.
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya: Oath Under Snow special: Dark Sakura's Room!
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya: Sekka no Chikai special: Kuro Sakura no Heya
Blu-ray OVA episode
7 minutes
Keep watching: n/a
One-line summary: out-of-continuity comedy throwaway
I'm a huge Prisma Illya fan. As such, I found the 2017 Oath Under Snow movie important, but not much fun. It's an origin story with almost no Prisma Illya in it.
This comedy extra is a fake TV interview, complete with the perfect anodyne music for a "sit on the sofa" afternoon TV show. Shirou is talking to Sakura, who has some snarky opinions about the film (she's right), her reduced role in it compared with the original manga (she needs to calm down) and whether or not she should have been made a magical girl (she's bonkers).
It's silly and unimportant, but quite funny. It also feels as if it's written by a fan. "Didn't you have a different face in the TV series?"
Fist of the Blue Sky
Fist of the Blue Sky Re-Genesis
Souten no Ken Re-Genesis
Seasons 1-2
Episodes: 24 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: 1930s Shanghai prequel to Fist of the North Star
I have huge reverence for Fist of the North Star. I've watched all of the 1980s TV series and I've got all the manga on my shelf. This is a prequel by the original creators, Tetsuo Hara and Buronson, showing an ancestor of Kenshiro's in 1930s Shanghai.
I knew within minutes that I wouldn't be continuing.
Look at that CGI. Ugh, ugh, ugh. I'm capable of watching CGI anime, but this one's not even attempting facial movement. (Kenshiro's neck also looks sillier in realistic CGI than it does in hand-drawn art.) I've done my anime penance by sitting through horrible-looking CGI in an attempt to overcome my prejudices. Hello, Polygon Pictures... no, wait. They actually did this anime too. That figures.
If you can endure the visuals, there's Shanghai gang war and a Rin-like little blonde girl. Heads explode, as usual in this franchise. Huge men posture at each other, then inflict ultra-violence. It's hilariously macho, but I'm a fan of this franchise and so I'd have normally been okay with that. Not here, though. This show hurts your eyeballs.
FLCL 2018 sequels
FLCL Alternative + FLCL Progressive
Series 2 and 3
6 episodes each
Keep watching: after a two-year wait
One-line summary: sequels to FLCL
I've since finished them and... Alternative has its strengths, but Progressive is dead and hollow.
The original FLCL anime was a big deal in 2000 (albeit not entirely comprehensible), so there was a lot of anticipation for these sequels. Their release order was odd, though:
FLCL 3: Alternative, ep.1 in Japanese on 31 March 2018
FLCL 2: Progressive, eps.1-6 in English in June-July 2018
FLCL 3: Alternative, eps.2-6 in English in September-October 2018
You'll notice that a Japanese dub hasn't appeared. I'd have had to watch in English, so sod that.
A Japanese dub eventually surfaced, so I dug these up.
It's about four schoolgirls. They're friends. They hang out. The government's banned space travel, but there are lots of rockets going up and they decide to build one too. (Then, they decorate it.)
It's a fun episode. I like the friends and their day-to-day goofing. I also appreciate that the fat one hasn't been given an Anime Fat Voice (which is nothing like how real people talk). Oh, and there's also a pink-haired girl from space who fights tooth monsters and the flower in your forehead that, when pulled out, turns into a guitar.
That was a laugh. I'm looking forward to this, but I'm mildly concerned that the eccentric release order might indicate that the rest of these sequels (i.e. Progressive) were seen as less attractive for audiences.
I was right, unfortunately. That was less engaging, but I'll stick with it anyway.
I'll call our schoolgirl heroine Zombie, because she might as well be one. She almost never reacts to anything and she pretends not to hear anything anyone says to her. There are three disasteful boys in her class, one of whom might have had sex with their dull-but-inappropriate teacher.
Good things: (a) Zombie's mother, who's perky enough for both of them and never gives up. (b) The giant eye that opens in a pre-credits monochrome post-apocalypse setting and looks at the red horn that's currently growing from Zombie's forehead.
Middling things: Zombie's saviour, who's nearly as disinterested as her but at least does things like running a car into her.
All this is clearly going somewhere, though. The show's got a big bag of wacky developments to spring on us. I'm neutral, but I'm not opposed to seeing what happens next.
Folktales from Japan
Season 2
Episode 40
22 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: folk tales and history
This show's been going for ever. I've seen a few episodes now and they're all good, but standalone and there won't be anything in one episode to pull you into watching the next.
They're normally broken up into sub-episodes. This one had two. One of the show's eccentricities, incidentally, is that it only ever uses two voice actors: Yoneko Matsukane (born 1949) and Akira Emoto (born 1948). I don't mind this, but it does mean that you'll get, for instance, young warrior chiefs being voiced by a dear old granny. They don't even try to hide this. It's oral storytelling with deliberately crude animation on top, basically.
1. "Three Grains of Rice, Three Grains of Gold"
This one goes a bit dark. A fisherman laughs off warnings not to fish in a place that's famous for monsters. Surprisingly, he doesn't get eaten. Instead he gets a job. He has to deliver something for a god to the other end of Japan. He obediently does so and receives a thank-you gift. "But don't open it until you get home!"
Surprisingly (again), our hero doesn't do the stupid thing. He does as he's told and is rewarded with a rat-sized horse that eats rice and defecates gold.
Having avoided the obvious traps, our hero jumps head-first into the worst one. He's rich! He doesn't need to work again! This doesn't turn out well.
2. "Jirochou of Shimizu"
This one's a bit dodgier. Shimizu Jirocho, born Yamamoto Chogoro (1820-1893), was a real bloke. He was a yakuza chieftan with a Robin Hood image... but he was still a yakuza. Of course some historical perspective is needed, since Edo-era yakuza aren't the same as the gangsters that their descendants became, but even so I didn't notice this episode ever saying the word "yakuza". Ah well.
As always, I won't be watching this show regularly. I approve of it. I like what it's doing. I'm happy to watch occasional episodes, but there's no need to watch all of them.
Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma
Food Wars! The Third Plate
Shokugeki no Soma
Season 3
Episode 50
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: wildly over-the-top (and sexualised) cooking show
It's the best episode I've ever seen of this show. Shokugeki no Soma is a silly show that takes the anime "foodgasm" to its extreme. Eating something delicious will make your eyes sparkle, your cheeks flush and your private regions wet.
Oh, and your clothes will explode off your body.
This is a funny idea. Unfortunately I can't usually get past the show's simpler silliness, i.e. all these people being passionately life-or-death about food. It's all they think about. They live for it. An episode will be full of nutters going Full Shounen Hero (plus nudity), as if they're fighting Galactus to save the universe or something... but it's some cucumbers in a frying pan.
This episode, though, uses this to get inside a character. Her name's Erina and she has the food-taster's equivalent of perfect pitch, aka. "God's Tongue". She's only ever eaten refined food, but she can't enjoy it because for her it's like a science lesson. She's been an antagonist, but here she's come to apologise and try to be a bit nicer.
A foodgasm would mean something to Erina.
It's a good episode, but I still won't be continuing. Erina's one of the show's core characters and you can't do this level of character revolution every week. The show's built on hot-blooded cooking challenges and silliness. This is a popular series, but I'm not its target audience.
Piano Mori
Forest of Piano
Piano no Mori
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: concert pianists
It's a Netflix anime based on a 26-volume manga about pianists. This is actually its second anime adaptation, with the first being a 2007 Madhouse film that covers this show's first four episodes.
Its title has also had a blind idiot translation. "Piano no Mori" should be "the piano in the forest", not "a forest made of pianos".
Anyway, I found it fairly dull. Its cast are brilliant at the piano and take it super-seriously. They practice every day, wear special gloves and... well, that's it. I didn't care. I like pianos, incidentally. I play them, although very badly. However this show goes beyond piano interest into a one-track obsession.
Mind you, there's a magic abandoned piano in the forest. It plays for Kai, but is silent for Shuhei. That I quite liked.
Jikken hin Kazoku Creatures Family Days
Frankenstein Family
Shiyan Pin Jiating
Jikken-hin Kazoku: Creatures Family Days
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x (15 or 24) minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: weird monster family
I've since finished it and... it's gentle and charming, but less interesting than its live-action extras.
That was pretty cool. It's also a Chinese-ish anime, based on a Taiwanese web manhua. Having only fifteen minutes of animation, the Japanese dub's padded out the running time with live-action chat from three of the voice actresses. This was charming and one of those girls is mental.
In the episode itself, not much happens. The family goes out to a restaurant. However they're a pretty weird bunch, including an insect girl with legs growing out of her back and a photosynthesis girl who grows flowers from her hair. Their mad scientist parents (now in prison) did experiments on them.
No actual, literal Frankensteins, by the way.
Dunno if the show will have a storyline or not. It's likeable so far, though.
Free! Dive to the Future
Season 3
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: swimming club
It's the third season of a manservice show. Muscular half-naked boys go swimming. They're hot. They meet each other after not seeing each other for ages. One of them thinks he became a genius at age fifteen and might once have been interested in becoming an ordinary person.
I jumped ship. Normally I'm dutiful-ish in trying to watch all these first episodes, but sometimes it becomes obvious halfway through the episode that I don't care. That happened here. I'm being a hypocrite, of course, since it's just the gender-swapped equivalent of all those "cute girls do cute things" shows, but... well, no. It's also about swimming. I don't usually watch sports anime either.
That said, though, it's a Kyoto Animation show and it's managed to get three seasons and a bunch of movies. It's been a big hit with its target audience.
Full Metal Panic
Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory
Season 4, not counting OVAs and films
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no, but it looks good
One-line summary: military, schoolgirls and supervillains
This was quite a good episode, but unfortunately I dropped this franchise back in the day. If I'd been planning to watch this, I'd have gone back and caught up.
This was originally a light novel series (23 volumes) in 1998-2011, followed by a sequel series (13 volumes) in 2011-16. Its anime adaptions are as follows:
2002, 24 episodes = Full Metal Panic!
2003, 12 episodes = Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu
2005, 13 episodes = Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid
2006, one episode = Full Metal Panic! The Second Raid OVA
2018, 12 episodes = Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory an animated three-film series in 2017-18. There's also enough source material for more still.
Anyway, this episode contains:
(a) a genteel, polite villain who meets his (non-villainous) sister at their parents' graveside. Later, he visits the show's main heroes to warn them about his evil organisation. They're about to take the battle to the goodies.
(b) charming scenes with the show's leads, Chidori and Sousuke. She's a loud-mouthed schoolgirl who grew up in New York. He's a borderline autistic military boy who's serious about everything, but amusingly bad at ordinary stuff like being a a schoolboy. They're fated for each other.
This is a good episode. It understands the balance between character material and action movie explosions. I like the cast. It has no panty shots, especially not the giant, off-putting ones that I remember from the original series. It looks fun. I'd recommend it to anyone who didn't drop this franchise fifteen years ago.
Future Card Buddyfight Ace
Future Card Shin Buddyfight
Future Card Buddyfight series 6
Episode 1 of Ace
Episode 226 of the whole franchise
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: trading card battle anime
It's the usual. Spiky-haired boys get passionate about TRADING CARD BATTLES!!!! It's also sort of watchable if you fast-forward through the battles, which this week start at the 10 minute mark and last almost to the closing credits. That's a short-ish episode, then.
This week's boy has blue and red hair. He's never played Buddyfight before, so his new friends buy him a starter card deck. (They're like "friends" who shoot up in a back alley and promise to introduce you to their dealer.) Blue/Red's pocket then glows and conjures up a dog-faced giant robot. Welcome to your new Buddy! Our hero's card fight opponent is then a cop in a flying police car.
I didn't mind this episode, but only because I didn't watch the card fight battles. Strange fact: the "shin" in the Japanese title doesn't mean "new", but "god".