ninjaMMORPGSword Art OnlineSenran Kagura
Anime 1st episodes 2018: S
Including: Saint Seiya: Saintia Shou, Sanrio Boys, School Babysitters, Seizei Ganbare! Mahou Shoujo Kurumi, Senran Kagura Shinovi Master, The Seven Deadly Sins: Revival of The Commandments, Seven Heavenly Virtues, Seven Senses of the Reunion, Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion, Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight, Shounen Ashibe GO! GO! Goma-chan, The Silver Guardian, Sirius the Jaeger, Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san, Slow Start, SNS Police, Sono Toki Kanojo wa., Soul Hunter, Soul Land, Space Battleship Tiramisu, Space Bug, Spiritpact: Bond of the Underworld, SSSS.Gridman, Steins;Gate 0, Strike The Blood III, Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online, Sword Art Online Alicization, Sword Gai: The Animation
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2018
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2018 >>
Keywords: Sword Art Online, Senran Kagura, anime, SF, fantasy, harem, boobs, vampires, werewolf, magical girl, ninja, MMORPG, rubbish, historical
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 28 first episodes
Website category: Anime 2018
Review date: 5 October 2020
Listed under "A": Satsuriku no Tenshi, aka. Angels of Death
Listed under "A": Shingeki no Kyojin, aka. Attack on Titan
Listed under "B": Sora to Umi no Aida, aka. Between the Sky and Sea
Listed under "D": Saredo Tsumibito wa Ryuu to Odoru, aka. Dances with the Dragons
Listed under "D": Saiki Kusuo no Sainan 2, aka. The Disastrous Life of Saiki K. 2
Listed under "F": Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara, aka. Food Wars! The Third Plate
Listed under "F": Shiyan Pin Jiating, aka. Frankenstein Family
Listed under "F": Souten no Ken: REGENESIS, aka. Fist of the Blue Sky Re-Genesis
Listed under "L": Shinya! Tensai Bakabon, aka. Late Night! The Genius Bakabon
Listed under "M": Sunoharasou no Kanrinin-san, aka. Miss Caretaker of Sunohara-sou
Listed under "P": Sora yori mo Tooi Basho, aka. A Place Further Than the Universe
Listed under "R": Seishun Buta Yarou wa Bunny Girl-senpai no Yume wo Minai, aka. Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai
Listed under "T": Senjuushi, The Thousand Noble Musketeers
It's a movie: Starlight Promises, which I've seen and is charming
It's a movie: Sayonara no Asa ni Yakusoku no Hana wo Kazarou, aka. Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms, which has a stellar reputation
It's a movie: SERVAMP: Alice in the Garden
It's a movie: The Seven Deadly Sins the Movie: Prisoners of the Sky, aka. Nanatsu no Taizai Movie: Tenkuu no Torawarebito
It's a movie: Shikioriori, aka. Flavours of Youth, which bored me
It's a movie series or something: Space Battleship Yamato 2202
It's an OVA: Sakura no Chikai: Marronni Yell Higashi no Hichou Shimotsuke-shi wo Yell!, 12 mins, about an idol group
It's an OVA: Seitokai Yakuindomo
It's an OVA: Shinmai Maou no Testament Departures, which is warm and nice, albeit also a boob-fest
It's an OVA: STARMYU in Halloween
Saint Seiya
Saint Seiya: Saintia Shou
Season 1
Episodes: 10 x 25 minutes
Keep watching: ...um, I'll see. (Eventual verdict: I probably should, but not for now.)
One-line summary: magical girls in armour with swords
I've never got into Saint Seiya. It's a sprawling shounen franchise about mystical fighters called "Saints" with huge muscles and hilariously showy armour. Wings, spiky shoulder pads, headdresses, etc. The one we see here also has mighty purple hair. (Every time I see them, I think they look silly. The armour being golden doesn't help, although admittedly there are also bronze and silver versions.)
That's fighting talk to Tomoko, though. She won't hear anything against the Saints, especially not from a PreCure fan. These characters go back a long way. (The manga started in 1986.)
Anyway, this version is a magical girl show. Completely generic, by-the-numbers magical girl show. It's like watching Sailor Moon, but dressed as if they're about to joust with Sir Lancelot.
This is good because:
(a) they're female, whereas the Saints are male. (These girls are called "Saintia" and they don't do front-line fighting, instead just being bodyguards for the goddess Athena. Hurm.)
(b) I like magical girl shows.
(c) it has topless cloned villainesses, but with Lady Godiva hair.
(d) the relationship between the two sisters (Shoko and Kyouko) is dramatically strong.
On the downside, though... well, it's Saint Seiya. I've never followed that franchise and I'll probably miss lots of references. Furthermore, this episode felt a little cardboard to me. It's doing everything right to fit its adopted genre, but there's too much epic declamation and impassioned shouting of people's names. The characters never quite convinced me that they were real.
The episode's okay. I could easily watch the rest, but I've got that niggling, hard-to-nail-down sense that it's a bit two-dimensional. It can't compare with PreCure in that respect, or indeed with almost any magical girl show I've watched in at least the last year. That said, though, this series started broadcasting in December 2018, so ep.4 is in my list of First Episodes of 2019. I'll watch that tomorrow and see what I think.
UPDATE: ep.4's quite strong, actually. Dramatic, wholehearted, lots of passion. I probably should watch this series, but somehow I don't really feel like it right now. It's the girls' series, but the boys get too much of the limelight (albeit in an interesting "semi-antagonist who's right" way).
sanrio dansi
Sanrio Boys
Sanrio Danshi
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: it's nice, but no
One-line summary: boys and their feelings about liking cute Sanrio stuff
I enjoyed it. It's charming... but I won't be continuing because: (a) it's another cast full of pretty boys and to be honest I don't really care, (b) I've heard the season goes downhill in the second half. I'd defend this episode, though.
Sanrio is the company behind Hello Kitty and other characters that'll make your eyeballs explode with pastel-coloured cuteness if you do a google image search. They also did Show by Rock!!, Aggretsuko and this, but their reputation is for being aimed at pre-schoolers. This episode is about high school pretty boys who like Sanrio characters and have varying attitudes towards this.
NEEDS HELP: Kouta Hasegawa is a lovely chap (e.g. the scene where he helps a small girl who's lost her mother), but he has some hang-ups. He knows that Sanrio is girly. When he was younger, he got bulled for loving his Sanrio stuffed toy. Embarrassed and upset, he lashed out verbally at his grandmother and thereafter never found the courage to apologise, or even just go to see her. Now, of course, it's too late.
DOESN'T NEED HELP: Yuu Mizuno, on the other hand, is a flashy girl magnet with the depth of a puddle. He also has absolutely no shame about his love of Sanrio, which will vapourise Kouta's little mind.
The episode's funny, e.g. the faces Kouta pulls when trying to cheer up that girl. Kouta's behaviour is pretty silly, but at least he's being made to realise that. I enjoyed and approved of the storyline, dissecting Kouta's regrettable ideas about acceptable male behaviour. There's also manservice and blatant gay tease, to please the target audience. Absolutely nothing wrong with this episode. Even if the show does go downhill as I've heard, its first six episodes still look well worth watching.
Gakuen Babysitters
School Babysitters
Gakuen Babysitters
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: oh, okay
One-line summary: schoolboy does childminding at his school's creche
I've since finished it and... it's nice and sometimes funny.
Ryuuichi (high school student) and Kotarou (toddler) Kashima are orphaned brothers. It happened recently enough for Ryuuichi to be capable of forgetting for a few minutes that his parents are dead, although he'll be shocked when he remembers. Ryuuichi is now effectively acting as Kotarou's single parent. Fortunately he seems nice. He's got big shoujo manga heroine eyes, for a start.
Good news: a woman wants to adopt them!
Bad news: she's a weird-looking harridan with daft anime hair. How does she get through doors? It looks as if she's stuck her head in a sheep.
Anyway, their new legal guardian is taking them in on one condition: Ryuuichi will have to work in the school's creche for the teachers' children. Ryuuichi is fine with this, since he's used to small children. He goes there and discovers that his charges will include four more toddlers, plus a baby.
What happens after that is pretty generic, to be honest. It's nice. We meet more people, such as the current childminder, mothers who look like their children and a helpful but unsociable big brother. It doesn't seem like a must-watch... but, on the other hand, I've got two small children myself and so far the childcaring stuff rings reasonably true for me. I nearly dropped this one, but I've decided to keep watching.
Seizei Ganbare Mahou Shoujo Kurumi
Seizei Ganbare! Mahou Shoujo Kurumi
Season 2
Episodes: 4 minutes each
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: Flash-animated parody of magical girl shows
I didn't like what I saw of Season 1. Doesn't look as if Season 2's changed much.
It's the kind of rapid-delivery short-form anime where the comedy reactions go past too quickly to have any effect. They don't have enough time for that. The voice actors do their best, but they're basically just saying their lines fast and not being allowed to pause.
The magical girls are stupid. The main one (Kurumi) is late for school, but trips over while trying to run and has a huge explosion of blood from her head. This is "funny" and no one reacts to it. The girls then stand around talking for four minutes, then they all realise that they're late.
However the show's real focus characters are three boys who never do anything and instead just stand in the background snarking. Presumably they're late for school too now.
The animation quality's cheap enough to be tiresome. I'm not sure if the target audience for this is "anime fans who love magical girls" or "anime fans who hate magical girls". They've lost me, though. I watch lots of magical girl shows, but not this.
senran kagura
Senran Kagura Shinovi Master
Senran Kagura Shinovi Master: Tokyo Youma-hen
Season 2
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes, and I'll even go back to 2013 and watch Season 1 first
One-line summary: ninja girl boob trash
I've since finished it and... it's genuinely good
It's trashy. I eventually enjoyed it.
The first half is about girls' Christmas shopping. PLOT SUMMARY: ninja boobs nipples sexy Santa costumes pointless fluff.
After that, though, we discover that these are superhero ninja girls who can leap up buildings and create force fields. They're having a breather between missions, which are potentially lethal. The breather doesn't last long. We have baddies who are friendly with our heroes, but also some hardline purist goodies who want to eliminate our heroes for being too wishy-washy about their definitions of justice.
There's lethal intent and blood. There's a fight that you actually care about, because it has stakes that matter. There might have been death. (Currently unclear. We'll find out.)
And yes, there are also nipples and lots of panty shots. It does look potentially good, though, despite the weird romanisation of "Shinovi".
Seven Deadly Sins
The Seven Deadly Sins: Revival of The Commandments
Nanatsu no Taizai: Imashime no Fukkatsu
Season 3
Episodes: 25 x 24 minutes + a 26th OVA
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: shounen adventure
I don't follow this franchise, but I like it. What I've seen of it has always been fun. It's a good-natured, lively shounen action series with distinctive art. The core cast are entertaining. The Idiot Hero isn't macho, which I appreciate. There's a talking pig and a giant (who wears modesty shorts under her skirt). The show isn't without revealing outfits (e.g. Merlin, who's a deep breath away from indecent exposure), but this is the kind of harmless kiddie fare where Meliodas can talk about sleeping with Elizabeth every night and you know this means nothing.
This particular episode has lots of story hangover from Season 2, but it's perfectly watchable for newbies. Some pointless people challenge Meliodas to a pointless fight because this genre is built on fighting, but it's mostly just King Bartras rewarding the Seven Deadly Sins for saving the kingdom.
The only thing I disliked here was Hawk the pig's new power. He becomes capable of reading people's stats, as if this were a role-playing game. Strength 1250 and Knowledge 700! That felt reductive to me. If you're looking for shounen adventure, though, you could do a lot worse than this.
Nanatu no Bitoku
Seven Heavenly Virtues
Nanatsu no Bitoku
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 4 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: angels with boobs
Sin: The 7 Deadly Sins (aka. Sin: Nanatsu no Taizai) was a 2017 fanservice show about the lords of hell with big boobs. I ran away fast.
This is a short form spin-off about the devils' enemies, i.e. angels from heaven. It's basically the same, though, except shorter. If these are the Heavenly Virtues, then I can't imagine what they'd wear if they let their hair down and stopped being goody-goody. Uriel wears a super-low-cut shredded apron thing, with no suggestion so far that it continues around the back. Gabriel wears boots, tiny tiny shorts and a flyaway top that's basically a fancy shirt with only the collar button fastened. Nothing else. Nothing underneath. Sariel's dressed even more immodestly.
This week's plot involves Michael (military fetish wear, maximum cleavage and a non-skirt that shows her arse) visiting a man on Earth that she calls the Messiah. Apart from long shots, I think the camera's always looking at either her boobs or her knickers. Sometimes that's so blatant that knickers fill the screen. She tells the Messiah he has to do physical exercise so that he can fight Lucifer. She joins in, though. She does squats, making her boobs bounce around as if spring-loaded and putting her nipples on full display. She then does press-ups, with a similar effect.
She's strict, but she loves omelettes.
Nope. Watch if and only if you're looking for anime nipples.
7sei no Subaru
Seven Senses of the Reunion
Shichisei no Subaru
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: ugh, but yes
One-line summary: cliched fantasy RPG anime, but with a twist
I've since finished it and... it's interesting and dramatic, but badly written.
I'm in two minds. The episode's basically dull and cliched, but with huge developments that make it far more meaningful.
It's set in (sigh) yet another fantasy MMORPG. Magic-users, fighters, heroes and very CGI dragons. We're in a computer game, in the sub-genre of "stupidly overpowered pointless ego-stroke". This begins with anonymous non-characters explaining that an awesome team is going on an awesome quest and their awesome powers are so awesome that they're awesome.
We meet the team, who are so strong that they're worried about whether or not their next quest will be a proper challenge. There's a love triangle. Two girls, one overpowered boy. All this I actively disliked... but then the episode did two things that floored me. I won't spoil them here, but they're powerful enough that I'll be watching the full series.
In real-world news, this show's publicity producer was arrested for kidnapping a teenaged girl. (She came back unharmed.) The show also had abysmal disc sales (only 58 discs). I'm not optimistic, but I'll hold my nose and see where this is going.
Sinkansen Henkei Robo Sinkalion
Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion
Season 1
Episodes: 76 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: giant transforming mecha, but they're trains
It's a children's show, but it drew quite a wide audience who praised how well it resurrected the Transforming Mecha genre. Unfortunately I have no sentimental attachment to that genre. It's based on a line of toys. They're trains that turn into robots! This episode has:
(a) serious adults with robots, orbital weapons, military equipment, etc. They're boring.
(b) a small boy (Hayato) who's a train nerd. His scenes are actually quite fun and I liked his family. Unfortunately he's going to discover that he's the only person who can pilot a robot-train!
I'm sure this show does its job well, but this isn't my favourite genre. This was never really under consideration for me.
Shojo Kageki Revue Starlight
Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight
Revue Starlight
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 25 minutes
Keep watching: "no", then "I should probably have another go", then "oh, okay"
One-line summary: girls at stage school
I've since finished it and... there's a lot to admire here, but I don't think it comes together. After I'd finished, I got rid of the episodes.
FIRST ATTEMPT
It's about girls at stage school. It started with six minutes of nothing, as girls in leotards told us their names and did warm-ups for ballet class. I quit.
UNFORTUNATELY IT LOOKS AS IF I QUIT PREMATURELY, BECAUSE...
It's directed by Tomohiro Furukawa, who's previously worked with Kunihiko Ikuhara (Utena, Penguindrum, Yurikuma, etc.) Apparently there's a strong influence. This is a big deal because I revere the camp, surreal, mad, deceptively nasty Ikuhara and anything he makes is a must-watch... so, logically, I should give this another go. Ugh. (Caveat: he's an acquired taste and there are people who can't take his extremely stylised storytelling.)
SECOND ATTEMPT
Well, I watched it all the way through. Hurm. I can see the bit that pushed me out. The girls are coming into class and one pretentiously sings her dialogue, prompting another to respond with "non non non".
I still don't really care about the characters, but at least the episode's going somewhere. Karen Aijo is a slightly dozy but enthusiastic girl at Takarazuka Stage School, who twelve years ago had a best friend called Hikari Kagura. The latter moved to England, but now she's back. Karen is super-excited about this, but Hikari's stand-offish. That's the realistic half of the show. The surreal half involves a magical elevator, a talking giraffe and school auditions conducted via underground battles (with knives, bows, arrows and non-stop singing).
Oh, and Karen dreams about getting pushed off the top of Tokyo Tower.
Fanservice report: an avoidance of panty shots, sometimes in laughably unrealistic ways. However you can see the ground being laid for a lesbian element to the series.
To be honest, I'm not convinced. Weird stuff is a plus, obviously, but I'm not sure that there's enough meat to the story and characters. Karen has the start of a character arc and we clearly have a lot to learn with Hikari, but at the moment we're at "might become good" rather than "actually is good". Besides, it took me two attempts to get here. On first (incomplete) viewing, the episode lost me.
Even with surreal frills, it's still just stage school. I'll keep watching, for the Ikuhara connection, but I won't pretend I'm hooked.
Shounen Ashibe GO GO Goma-chan
Shounen Ashibe GO! GO! Goma-chan
Season 2
Episode 59
9 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: show for small children
"Shounen" means "boy". Ashibe is our five-year-old protagonist. Goma-chan is his best friend, a seal. (I don't think Goma-chan can talk or otherwise behave like a human, by the way. He's just an ordinary seal, although I was surprised when Ashibe took him to swim in the public bath. Wouldn't that be too hot for Goma-chan? Seals have lots of blubber and often live in arctic or antarctic conditions, although I think there are also more warm-water species.)
PLOT SUMMARY: one of Ashibe's friends gets given a telescope, so they start wishing on a star. Next thing we know, everyone's wishes are coming true! None of the core cast (i.e. the children) had any significant characterisation that I noticed, but the good news is that some of their fathers actually have personalities. Regrettable personalities, admittedly, but at least that lifts the episode a bit. Thus, for instance, the woman-chaser gets his wish granted... by having to help an old lady across the road. Worse still, though, is the creepy dad who wants to keep photographing his daughter every day of her life (and then beyond). He wants to capture "all of her" with his camera. The daughter hopes that his camera breaks, which it does.
Those are just throwaway bits, though. The episode's just Ashibe and his friends doing as you'd expect from a children's TV show. They're five years old. The show looks fine, but it's not breaking out of its genre or anything. If you're reading this, you don't need to watch it.
Yin Zhi Shou Mu Ren
The Silver Guardian
Gin no Guardian
Season 2
Episodes: 6 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: virtual fighting game players
It looks okay, despite being another Chinese anime by Haoliners. It's certainly better than what I saw of Season 1... but unfortunately it's still continuing from Season 1, so no.
Three trainees in a virtual world are trying to qualify to play a Grave Buster game:
1. our hero, Suigin. He's still good-natured and likeable, not to mention poor and known for doing lots of part-time jobs. (His two rivals are both filthy rich.)
2. Shaa, who's fat, good-natured and a total nerd. He'll fall hopelessly in, uh, something with their instructor, Rin, and start calling her "Princess Rinko". He doesn't make a thing out of his wealth and indeed tries to give Suigin some cash for buying game items.
3. Titan, aka. Mr Grumpy. He has an attitude, arguably some level of psychopathy and some flashback scenes with his tough, slightly sinister father. He's also some kind of world-beating master of fighting games.
Anyway, there's fighting. There's a sexy trainer called Rin in a revealing outfit. Everyone has a superpower and Suigin seems to think his is nothing special, even though it lets him learn other people's abilities and so in time would surely raise him to god-level and let him stomp all those lesser mortals who can only use the one superpower they started with. Titan goes on the rampage. Suigin gets to be clever. The episode's fine and I'd have probably watched the rest of the series if there hadn't already been that Season 1.
Tenrou Sirius Jaeger
Sirius the Jaeger
Tenrou: Sirius the Jaeger
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: um... okay
One-line summary: cool vampire hunters in the 1930s
I've since finished it and... it's above-average for Netflix action stuff, although that's not saying much
I was tossing a coin here. To watch, or not to watch? So far it seems cool rather than interesting, but what the hell.
It doesn't start that well. Shows with an action-packed opening are often actually giving you a cliche overload. Vampires. Vampire hunters. Bitey bitey shootey, etc.
However I enjoyed the well evoked historical era, complete with negative comments about militaristic 1930s Japan before World War Two. There's an idiot who ignores orders and jumps recklessly into action (sigh), but he ends up getting shot (hurrah). The action scenes are also impressive, being both cool and super-gory.
I don't have strong opinions on this one. It looks well made. I might as well give it a whirl.
Gaikotsu Shotenin Honda san
Skull-face Bookseller Honda-san
Gaikotsu Shoten'in Honda-san
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 12 minutes
Keep watching: (after ep.1) not sure... (after ep.2) okay, yes
One-line summary: observational workplace comedy
I've since finished it and... I love the idea, but the show itself tends to be okay rather than brilliant
EPISODE ONE
It's a semi-autobiographical anime/manga, by someone who works in a bookshop. (Honda is both the title character and the writer/artist.) However he's drawn all regular characters in a surreal disguise, e.g. as a skeleton, a bunny, with a bag on their head, etc.
It's nothing dramatic. It's just showing us what it's like to work in customer service. It's also fun to look at, despite the barely-existent animation. I was amused when Honda's jaw fell off in surprise.
This is a widely loved series. People find it very relatable. Personally, though, I was liable to cringe when foreigners needed Honda's help in buying manga... and the episode's full of them. I'm not saying these people don't exist, or that there's anything wrong with them. I've been one myself. No, my problem's with the language. The English-speakers speaking Japanese. The Japanese-speakers trying to speak English. Furthermore, all this is being filtered through Japanese voice actors. The accents. Gyaaah.
That's just my problem, though.
EPISODE TWO
Honda meets no customers at all this week. Instead, we're learning about the "long holiday" (presumably Obon) in which no books get published... so instead they all arrive in a tidal wave before it starts. This was educational and I'm glad I'm not a Japanese bookseller.
I'll watch this show.
slowstart
Slow Start
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: schoolgirls talking about nothing
This kind of "cute girls doing nothing" show can be enjoyable, but it can be in danger of being vapid. That's happened here. The main characters are:
1. HANA ICHINOSE, the main character, who's nervous and insecure. Ask her to introduce herself in class on her first day, for instance, and she'll be a shivering quaking blob. Lives with her cousin, who has big boobs.
2. EIKO TOKURA, who gets nearest of our four heroines to suggesting mental activity. Tall, nice, calm, popular.
3. TAMATE MOMOCHI, the genki one. ("Genki" means energetic, lively, full of beans, etc.) I didn't notice any signs of intelligence from her, but she is at least supportive, nice and fun to watch.
4. KAMURI SENGOKU, the walking cliche. She's the main reason I'm running away from this show. "I like sleeping and eating and my special skill is eating a lot." (Admittedly this is common in anime, but that's all Kamuri talks and thinks about.)
I liked the class teacher, though. She's grounded and down-to-earth.
Reading up online about this show, it sounds as if it's taking Hana's anxiety seriously. The show ends up being built around it. Her friends support her. In fairness, there's a warm "happy birthday" moment like that even in this introductory episode. That I liked. However this is still the kind of show that's basically lots of conversations about nothing, e.g. good luck charms and where each other's names come from. "We all gave away our good luck charms, so we'll all have a traffic accident!"
It's from the director of Is the Order a Rabbit?, which is another reason to flee. The anxiety thing sounds worthwhile and the animation's good, though.
sns cops
SNS Police
Season 1
Episodes: 24 x 5 minutes
Keep watching: no, but it's quite good
One-line summary: lampooning the behaviour of users of social networking sites
A woman's about to send an SNS message! Stop! Call the SNS Police! They're not going to tell you not to send that message, but they are going to give us an education in how you can find yourself being silly because of social media.
It's quite clever. Apparently it's based on an online manga with famous celebrity fans and more than a million page views. That said, though, it's basically just a stand-up comedy routine in animated format. It doesn't have a plot. I can tell that it's quite a fun show, but I'd have been more likely to watch this if I used social media.
Sono Toki Kanojo wa
Sono Toki Kanojo wa.
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 3 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: short-form romance
It looks quite nice. Harmless. Non-essential. I'd have been happy to keep watching, but I'm equally unbothered about skipping it.
There's a boy and a girl in a classroom. The teacher's talking and the whole class is present, but only our heroes are opaque and in full colour. Everyone else looks like a ghost. (The art style is sort of watercolour-y and pleasantly artistic, although you couldn't really call this animation.) The boy looks out of the window. The girl later says that she wanted to know what he was looking at. He picks a cherry blossom petal from her hair.
I'm sure the show's warm, pleasant and so on. I have no objections to it whatsoever.
Hakyu Houshin Engi
Soul Hunter
Hakyuu Houshin Engi
Series 1 (but it's a remake of a 1999 series)
Episodes: 23 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: shounen action with fights
It looks like a normal shounen action series to me. Fans of that genre have torn it to shreds, but what the hell. This episode looked okay, to be honest, but for a definition of "okay" that's not my thing.
We start with a fight between Bunchuu and Kaikoubou. Who are they? Dunno. All I can tell you is that Bunchuu has three eyes. What's worrying here is that the show's idea of selling itself is to do a pre-credits sequence of a dumb fight between two people I don't know, with no context and no emotional connection. (However this is the original manga's second anime adaptation, so maybe the producers genuinely were assuming audience awareness of these characters?)
For a while, every story beat and character point is about fights. Taikoubou's martial arts teacher is cross with him because he's lazy and sleeps too much, but he says he can't concentrate when he knows he could be fighting instead! (There's a baddie called Dakki and she needs stopping.) Teacher gives Taikoubou a list of 365 fighters and tells him he has to defeat everyone on it! There's a comedy moment when Taikoubou can't be bothered to fight his first enemy, but of course he's soon fighting them anyway. Zzzzzz. Halfway through, though, the episode starts introducing content. Someone reflects that slavery is bad. (I never said that content was deep.) Taikoubou charges straight off to confront Dakki and gets 160 slaves executed in a river of snakes. He's depressed about this for about twenty seconds, then bounces back to be his usual self again. Uh, right. Dakki is initially an unimpressive villain, being indistinguishable from any other bland anime girl with big boobs, but you've got to respect that mass execution.
Nope. Not for me. (It's based on Chinese legends, by the way.) The episode does a decent job of building up Dakki as the baddie, but its focus is obviously shounen fights, setting up fights and finding allies for fights.
"But something tells me you'll devote yourself to fighting some day."
soulland
Soul Land
Douluo Dalu
Season 1
Episodes: 26 x 20 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: xbox game
It's a Tencent Penguin Pictures anime, based on a Chinese web novel. This is an episode of two halves: (a) like watching someone play an xbox first-person adventure game, (b) an actual protagonist with scenes.
FIRST HALF: empty, but at least the computer game's beautiful. The CGI scenery is luscious. Missile weapons will pause in mid-flight to let the camera admire them. The characters look like a puppet show, but I don't think you're meant to care about them.
Your watching experience will involve running, meaningless fights and beautiful scenery. No plot. No characterisation. The hero's a collection of pretty pixels that runs and jumps. There's also some standing and declaiming, but by that point I'd stopped paying attention.
The hero gets naked, though. (He's male, before you ask.)
SECOND HALF: it's a big improvement on the first half... but, sorry, no, too late.
Uchu Senkan Tiramisu
Space Battleship Tiramisu
Uchuu Senkan Tiramisu
Seasons 1-2
Episodes: 2 x 13 x 7 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: parody of macho space opera
Subaru Ichinose is an ace space pilot, defending the Earth from threats from space! He fights! He destroys his enemies! He's stern and intense, with no sense of humour! Also, he...
(a) tries to eat kushikatsu in his zero-gravity cockpit and makes an absurd pig's ear of it, even though he loves kushikatsu and has clearly eaten it there before. He's got his sauce bottle and everything.
(b) gets dressed in a hurry and put his T-shirt on back to front. This restricts his throat during battle, so he decides to change his T-shirt. During battle. His space helmet is a problem, for a start. This scene is even sillier than the kushikatsu one... no, not silly. Let's call it what it is. It's stupid. At least that other scene didn't make you wonder why our hero hadn't been killed yet.
There's lots of lingering Subaru nudity. If you hate male gaze and fanservice in anime because it's not gender-balanced, then here's a bit of a counterweight. That's a minor plus.
spacebug
Space Bug
The Journey Home
Season 1
Episodes: 26 x two eleven-minute episodes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: CGI insects in space
It's a CGI show. Your eyeballs scream at you immediately "kiddie show". It's not cel-shaded CGI that's trying to pretend it's hand-drawn anime, but western-style 3D CGI that looks, smells and sounds like DreamWorks. (Yes, even the incidental music is more like America than Japan.) That said, though, it's also pretty good.
It's about insects on a space station that's been abandoned by the humans who built it. Our heroes are: (a) the Professor, a little turquoise cricket, (b) Marbo, a fat purple spider and (c) Midge, a bee-striped winged bug that's apparently a chrinomid fly. Marbo's stupid and thinks Midge is an alien.
GOOD THINGS: I laughed when "you've been asleep for three years" got a reaction from Midge that suggested something more like three millennia.
BAD THINGS: the show's nervous of letting its bugs be bug-like. Marbo the spider has two arms and two legs. No sign of the extra four limbs for which spiders are famous. He even has five-fingered human hands. He does admittedly have extra spider eyes, but there's no attempt to convince the audience that he can see through them and they look like bobbles on a hat.
It's lively and entertaining. The personalities come across well. I'd probably watch it if it came on TV while I was in the room, but equally I won't be seeking it out. It's CGI kiddie stuff.
Ling-Qi
Spiritpact: Bond of the Underworld
Soul Contract
Ling Qi
Season 2
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: gay partnership between exorcist and deceased spirit
It's quite good. I won't be watching it because I'd already skipped Season 1, but it looks like a decent show.
The opening credits have our two male leads clasping each other's heads while gazing deeply into each other's eyes, easing off each other's shirts, embracing each other, etc. You can't accuse this show of being half-hearted with the signals it's sending the audience. The show itself is nowhere near this full-on gay, but it's still clearly there underneath.
The episode is about Yang Jinghua (the ghost) wanting to become stronger and protect a youkai child. Duanmu Xi is a dick about this, refusing even to meet the child because it's a youkai. Charming. Later, once the child's died, they have a conversation about it and no one blames anyone. This is kind of disturbing, but it's also a good scene. There's also some training/fighting with a Fox Spirit (elf ears, red hair and vampire teeth) and two youkai bullies.
It's quite a good episode. Yang is very likeable, which is massive character development from the start of Season 1. The gay angle also improves the show a lot, creating relationship subtext and hence extra depth in what would otherwise have still been a perfectly acceptable anime. (Yang says "are you going to kiss me again?" and gets a nude transformation scene.) I enjoyed it.
SSSS Gridman
SSSS.Gridman
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: slightly odd mecha show
I've since finished it and... it's one of the year's most interesting anime
I won't hold it against the show, but apparently this is based on a 1990s tokusatsu TV series. ("Tokusatsu" means "special effects", but you can regard it as "dumb-looking live-action nonsense like Power Rangers, and proud of it". There are also adult-oriented tokusatsu shows, like Garou, but they're just a different flavour of "silly".)
Our hero is an amnesiac teenage boy called Yuuta. (He doesn't even remember his name.) He wakes up in at the home of a classmate of his called Rikka, where a decrepit old computer is talking to him and only him. To everyone else, it's silent and dead.
Rikka isn't even a friend of Yuuta's, but she looks after him and takes him home. A spooky bloke is watching. No idea what that means yet.
Later in the episode, a giant monster burns down the school and Yuuta has to turn into giant superhero Gridman, then fight it. Afterwards, the school un-burns to be completely okay again.
It seems interesting. It's not my favourite genre, but the cast are likeable and there's a significant amount of weirdness. (Also Rikka's loose shirt hanging down over a miniskirt makes her look as if she's forgotten to put on her trousers.) It's also by Studio Trigger and has a good reputation. I'll give it a spin.
Steins Gate Zero
Steins;Gate 0
Prequel/sequel/something to the original 2011 series
Episodes: 24 x 24 minutes (including the OVA)
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: morose time travel nerds
I like the original Steins;Gate, although I'll admit that it has some initial likeability challenges. It's a "repeatedly changing history" multi-timeline story, based on a visual novel. This stars the same characters and I'll tentatively call it a sequel. (The franchise's time-twisting makes it hard to be certain.)
Rintaro Okabe has got depressed and normal. He's given up on being a mad scientist, doesn't visit his lab and instead is doing mundane stuff (e.g. a tennis club) while studying at university. He knows that the world's future is World War Three, mass death and post-apocalypse hell, but he's too crushed by tragedy to try to make a difference. "I've drifted through so many world lines I've lost count. No matter what I do, I'm powerless."
Makise's nowhere to be seen.
Daru's voice actor is still doing that Fat Voice that makes me want to kill. That said, though, Daru's avoided Okabe's psychological problems and is the same as before. In other words, he's a fat, slobby nerd who spends most of his time on the computer and is into 2D girls. His time-travelling daughter from the future is arguing with him.
The 2011 series is widely acclaimed. This 2018 sequel in contrast tends to get trashed. This opening episode is bringing back lots of familiar characters, but it's no fun at all. It's miserable. Okabe's a depression sink, while listening to Daru is a pain in the arse. Furthermore, I'm not really a fan of history-changing stories. I'm dropping this mostly because of the bad reputation of the series, but I can't say this episode tempted me.
Strike Blood
Strike The Blood III
Season 3
Episodes: 10 x 25-30 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: action harem show
The plot seems good. Magical terrorists want to bring down Itogami Island, so there's a sniper headshot and a bombing. A friendly terrorist girl eats ice cream with an idiot who's the unwitting home for a sleeping big bad.
Unfortunately, though, it's also a harem show. There's a male hero (Kojou) surrounded by girls who are in love with him. One of them is that idiot, i.e. his sister, Nagisa. "I can't take my eyes off him and my heart goes pitter-patter whenever me looks at me. My chest starts hurting if I see him with another girl. Really, what is this feeling?" She also scolds him for entering the living room in his underwear, only to be shocked when he observes a minute later that she's in her underwear too. She'd forgotten.
DROP DEAD, YOU HALFWITS. Sigh. Oh, and the episode starts with four girls in a public bath. (Yes, they draw the nipples. This is an OVA series, not TV.)
SAO GGO
Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online
Season 1 of this spin-off
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: virtual shooting game players
I've since finished it and... it's good, but I fast-forwarded through the gun battles.
Gun Gale Online was the "player vs. player" shooting game Kirito played in the first half of Season 2 of Sword Art Online (eps.26-39). This is a spin-off set in that game, with an all-new cast. No Kirito, or other series regulars. (Good, I say. I don't dislike Kirito, but he's fairly generic.)
Anyway, here we have a tiny girl in pink (LLENN) who's teamed up with a huge, cynical bloke called M. She calls her gun "P-chan". (Akane from Ranma 1/2?) The episode's a big game deathmatch, with LLENN and M going up against manic machine-gunners and a team of six professionals who are playing the game as a training exercise. Soldiers? Cops? We never learn, but they're efficient.
It's an entertaining episode. It's just people trying to shoot each other, of course, with nothing at stake since it's a computer game with no fatal glitches. I quite liked Sword Art Online, though, so I'll keep watching.
SAO Alicization
Sword Art Online Alicization
Season 3
Episodes 50-ish?
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: virtual fantasy RPG game worlds
CURRENTLY WATCHING
It's by far the longest story arc in the original light novels and they're going to adapt it properly. Lots and lots of episodes. It's started here with a double-length episode and so far things look good. Mind you, it's really two glued-together half-episodes, which I'll call ep.1a and ep.1b.
Ep.1a is about children in a sinister fantasy world. It's VR, but still alarming. It starts out relaxing and nice, although it's not clear why Kirito and Eugeo are being asked to spend their entire lives chopping down an effectively immortal tree. Gradually, though, the worrying details accumulate. The Integrity Knights will take you away if you use magic, or cross the boundary of the Human Realm. (The Japanese word they use, "seikou", does mean "integration", incidentally, but in the sense of "adjustment, co-ordination, conformity".) Being a child won't save you.
Then, in ep.1b, we visit Gun Gale Online for some action scenes. Fortunately, they're brief and I didn't need to fast-forward. (Yes, I've finished Sword Art Online Alternative: Gun Gale Online.) This episode is mostly real world. Kirito has a part-time job, volunteering for experimental deep dive VR that wipes your memories of it. That couldn't possibly be suspicious, then.
It looks as if one of the decade's biggest anime hits is about to get ambitious.
Sword Gai
Sword Gai: The Animation
Sword Gai
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 25 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: evil swords
HIGHLY ENTERTAINING: the online trashings of this episode.
BORING: the episode.
It contains nothing. No meaningful plot, characters or scenes. Watching this episode has nothing to do with drama and instead everything to do with watching idiots (i.e. the anime production team) indulge their fetish for evil glowing eyes in the dark, probably while something's burning. 1. Bloke looks for sword. 2. Other bloke looks for sword. 3. Someone kills someone else because of sword. 4. Repeat a lot, with blood.
The episode contains no characters, although it makes a few twitching attempts at having some.
(a) bloke who says that swords are beautiful because of death. He's only in the first five minutes or so and I forgot that he'd ever existed within another five.
(b) a heavily pregnant woman and her husband, who might as well have "VICTIMS" tattooed on their foreheads
Three trained guards repeatedly shoot at a man who's standing motionless in front of them at point-blank range, but miss because he's HOLDING A COOL SWORD. (They do knock off his spectacles, though.) Priests perform a ritual to remove a sword's evil aura. This involves cutting your hand and dripping your blood on to the sword, then picking it up with glowing eyes and saying "BLOOD BLOOD IS NOT ENOUGH" in a demon voice. You will also lick the sword's blade lengthways. I'd have laughed if someone had tickled him in the middle of that.
This episode is so bad that people must have watched it to laugh at, but it doesn't even have enough life for that. It's just boring. It's a bunch of nothing, for 25 crawling minutes.