mechaAbe no SeimeiGaroGundam
Anime 1st episodes 2014: G
Including: Garo: The Animation, Girl Friend Beta, Glasslip, Gonna be the Twin-Tail!!, Go! Go! 575, A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd, Gugure! Kokkuri-san, Gundam Build Fighters Try, Gundam Reconguista in G, Gundam-san
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2014
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2014 >>
Keywords: Abe no Seimei, Gundam, Garo, SF, anime, mecha, historical, fantasy, superhero
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 10 first episodes
Website category: Anime 2014
Review date: 3 March 2015
As usual, these aren't reviews of entire series, but just my first impressions of their first episodes.
Couldn't find: Ganbare! Lulu Lolo - Tiny Twin Bears (TV) (season two)
Couldn't find: Ghost in the Shell Nyumon Arise -- a short-form making-of documentary series about Ghost in the Shell: Arise, hosted by two animated characters.
Listed under "A": Akatsuki no Yona, aka. Yona of the Dawn (The girl standing in the blush of dawn)
Listed under "F": Le Fruit de la Grisaia (The Fruit of Grisaia, Grisaia no Kajitsu)
Listed under "I": Is the Order a Rabbit? (Gochumon wa Usagi Desu ka, or GochiUsa)
Listed under "M": Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun (Gekkan Shojo Nozaki-kun)
Garo: The Animation
Garo: Honoo no Kokuin
Garo: The Carved Seal of Flames
Season 1
Episodes: 24 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: Looks good so far
One-line summary: Demon hunters and the Spanish Inquisition
I've since finished it and... it's decent enough, but I wouldn't call it unmissable
Historical brutal ultra-violence. Looks good.
It's an episode of two halves. The first half has a pregnant woman being burnt alive for witchcraft, rape, death squads and a witchhunt with disgusting execution methods. Powerful people decide that some extermination is required and we see it happen. "I promise to eliminate every last one of you."
Seventeen years pass.
The second half of the episode involves a swaggering bloke with a prostitute, the witches' side of the aforementioned witchhunt and the duty of sealing away demons. Sense of humour? Nope... no, actually, that's not true. Swaggering Bloke is having fun. He also has an adopted son who's seventeen years old. (No, not a coincidence.)
It looks solid, if family-unfriendly. There's fanservice (buxom naked prostitute) and it's often gross, but the show's going for everything with gusto. I like that. The art's slightly unusual, too. I could have lived without the magical CGI armour, mind you. Based on a tokusatsu show and it's already had announcements of a second season and a film. Should be juicy.
Girl Friend Beta
Girl Friend Beta
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: Probably not
One-line summary: Low-intensity schoolgirl life
Not much there at the moment. Schoolgirl day-to-day life. It's harmless, amiable and probably quite enjoyable if you're into that kind of thing, but unfortunately I have a problem with the voice acting.
So, what happens in it? Lemaire drops a photo, so Kokomi goes all over the school trying to give it back to her. Not a plot-heavy show. Kokomi is into rhythmic gymnastics, which you might mistake for cheerleading practice. It's a bit dull, but everyone seems nice and for the most part I sort of enjoyed it.
Unfortunately the episode includes Sakura Tange's turn as Chloe Lemaire, who's a French exchange student. Ouch. Approximately American-accented Japanese Engrish is bad enough, but bloody hell. Is that character really supposed to be French? Why am I punishing my ears like this? What's more, that one horrible piece of voice acting put me on edge and I became oversensitive to the rest of the voice acting, which is fairly normal for anime but still obviously artificial if you pay it any attention at all. Breathy, girly, high-pitched and as truthful as a three-pound note.
No boys, which is a plus. The title screams "harem show", but thankfully it's not. Leaving aside my subjective voice acting problems, the show looks fine, but also so far it's nice rather than interesting.
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: I'd have no objection
One-line summary: Friends in the last year of high school
I've since finished it and... it has psychic powers! A bit. But it's still basically slice-of-life.
Another low-key show about school friends. It's hard to mess up this kind of thing, since the whole point is to be gentle and plot-light. There's gender balance, so it's not harem, but there are signs of jealousness and people having possibly suppressed feelings. There's some silliness with chickens that I wasn't keen on, because the characters are being so very stupid about chicken-keeping. However the characters are nice and well-meaning, while the episode's basically pleasant and nice. On the evidence so far, the show looks fine. No idea how it'll unfold, though.
ore twintail ni narimasu
Gonna be the Twin-Tail!!
Ore, Twintail ni Narimasu
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: YES YES YES
One-line summary: Alien invaders want our hairstyles
I've since finished it and... I loved it as much as I thought I would
I bow down and worship. I see some reviewers think it's too silly, which is an opinion I regard as... well, you decide.
Aliens have invaded Earth to steal the power of our twintails! (That's "pigtails." Aliens have invaded to steal our hairstyles.) What's more, the aliens have other fetishes too, e.g. for girls who hug dolls. The fiends! Fortunately, though, a schoolboy hero is fighting to save hairstyles everywhere... um, no, I mean, "fighting to save Earth". Souji Mitsuka has the biggest twintail fetish in Japan and hence the world, so naturally he's mankind's chosen saviour, according to a busty sex-crazed alien whose magical bracelet can turn him into a girl. Souji's a bit disconcerted about the latter, but he'll accept anything if it means fighting to preserve twintails!
You may have detected a certain level of frivolity.
It's brilliant. It's fantastically silly, in all the best ways. I lost it at the sight of gun-toting perverted dinosaur aliens whose combat priority is to force girls to hug soft toys. The dialogue is to die for. "You have my thanks. Finally I have learned the strength and beauty of true twintails!"
I even like the supporting characters. Twirl's not my favourite, being over-sexual in a silly anime way that's meant to be funny and only half gets there, but I like Souji's aggressive school friend (Aika) who can beat him up and has known him long enough for them to them to be able to hold wordless conversations. She was good.
In short, a must-watch. Wild horses wouldn't keep me from this one.
Go! Go! 575
Go! Go! 575
Season 1
Episodes: 4 x 5 minutes
Keep watching: why not?
One-line summary: Two friends, charming
There's hardly anything there, which doesn't seem unreasonable for four five-minute episodes. It's a game tie-in anime for a Sega multimedia project about using Vocaloid voice synthesisers to write traditional 5-7-5 tanka and haiku Japanese poetry. (Hence the title.) Wow. However this episode is just a charming slice-of-life with two schoolgirls. It's just character interaction. They're likeable. The redhead's a go-getter, while her friend with little skull hairclips is the down-to-earth one. It'll have finished before you've had time to blink, but I'd recommend it anyway.
Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai
A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd
Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: I've already finished it
One-line summary: A club to make school a happier place
I've since finished it and... it's gentle and nice
I'm watching all of this show, although that's partly because I'd heard good things about it. I like the characters and the set-up for future plot developments.
Our hero is Kakei Kyotaro, a bookworm with occasional precognitive abilities. One of the first things we see him do is save someone's life, although as it happens his actions also end up embarrassing him. (There's an accidental boob grope and people take photos of it on their mobile phone cameras. Kakei is horrified to realise that the girl, Shirasaki, is in his class at school and so he can't just pretend that the episode never happened.)
On the downside, accidental boob gropes are an overused anime plot device and I was mildly annoyed by the Misunderstanding Comedy. Its resolution is laugh-out-loud funny, though.
Meanwhile the main cast are likeable and complicated. Kakei is uninterested in other people (because they're not books), but he ends up getting intrigued by Shirasaki because he can't understand what drives her and he wants to understand everything. That's why he reads. He's a nice guy, but he basically doesn't care. As for Shirasaki, she's caught between her nervousness and her self-imposed mission of making absolutely everything better. She wants to improve herself, but more immediately she's founded the Shiomi Happy Project with the goal of making their school happier. Current club membership: 1.
There's also a mysterious Shepherd standing on the roof at the end.
It's based on another pornographic visual novel, but I don't think the anime's going that way. It avoids panty shots, for instance. I like it. It's good.
Gugure! Kokkuri-san
Gugure! Kokkuri-san
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: must-watch
One-line summary: tiny emotionless girl bullies god
I've since finished it and... alas, the series as a whole isn't what I'd been hoping for. It's okay, but I was disappointed.
It's brilliant. It took me two minutes to decide that I had to watch the entire show.
Kohina Ichimatsu claims to be a doll. Maybe this is true, or maybe she's a little girl with some delusions. Don't know yet. However she lives on her own in a big house where she eats nothing but cup ramen. She has no friends, but she claims that being a doll means she's completely okay with this. Dolls have no emotions. Dolls don't get lonely. Dolls certainly don't get sentimental about childish, unreliable gods who pop out of nowhere and start rearranging Kohina's life because they're worried about her. Instead, it would seem that dolls ask such gods lots of rude or laser-guided questions, then tell them to bugger off.
Kokkuri-san is a fox spirit who can be summoned with the Kokkuri game, which is a traditional Japanese divination method. It's like a ouija board, except that you're not talking to the dead. Anyway, this anime's Kokkuri-san is appalled by Kohina's lifestyle, diet and lack of friends, so he's decided to do something about it. He's also lonely. "In this manner, Kokkuri-san began his haunting of the little girl doll."
This is very, very funny. Kohina regards Kokkuri-san as something that the cat dragged in and is brutal in her demolition of his pretensions to adequacy. "It has become clear that you are inferior to a search engine." Meanwhile Kokkuri-san is at once a petty, dishonest whack job and deeply worried about someone who appears to be a little girl with no family and no friends. Together, they're comedy gold.
I'm sure there would have been a sexual angle had Kohina been ten years older, but fortunately she isn't. There's genuine emotion, albeit turned around violently for comic effect at the end. The comedy is funny. The characters are wonderful. I need more.
Gundam Build Fighters Try
Gundam Build Fighters Try
Season 2 of Gundam Build Fighters
Episodes: 25 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: It's surprisingly good
One-line summary: Gundam model-makers school club, with battle gaming
Gundam is a giant robot franchise that traditionally involves SF space battles, but this show's heroes are schoolchildren and it feels like a trading card game anime.
It's about model building. There's a Gundam-building model club at school and a Gun-play club whose members do exactly the same thing, but then have pretend battles with those models. I remember doing that with lead figures. However because this is an anime, these schoolchildren fight with world-class VR systems that can bring alive their tabletop battle simulations better than Industrial Light & Magic. It's stunning. It's so realistic that the losing player's Gundam model will sustain real damage.
Mysteriously, the Gun-play club only has one player and is in danger of being shut down for lack of interest. Tch, kids these days. What must their computer games be like if this is considered old hat?
Anyway, it's a good episode. The Hot-Headed Battling Guy is more likeable than usual, looking for his sister and not so much as touching the bullies he could easily have beaten to a pulp. (When his sister finds him, that's funny too.) I also appreciated the fact that the Gun-play mega-otaku was a girl, while I laughed at her nerd-out and at her tying Hot-Headed Battling Guy to a chair in order to make him join her club.
Personally I'm not really interested in Gundam or in mecha shows in general, but I was impressed. It's funny, the cast are likeable and it's light-years beyond all those other "boys' toys" shows that it superficially resembles. It's also such a clean start for new viewers that I'd have never guessed that this was season two of anything. Looks very good so far. Certainly nothing like my preconceived ideas of a Gundam show.
Gundam Reconguista in G
Gundam G no Reconguista
Season 1
Episodes: 26 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: No, but it's gorgeous
One-line summary: Miyazaki-like SF worldbuilding
It's beautiful. The story's good, but what really impressed me was the animation.
It's year 1014 of the Regild Century, following the Universal Century. Mankind has an orbital elevator and a system of "cables" and "nuts" to maintain its Earth-orbit technological platforms. (Note: a "nut" is big. I'm not sure what they mean by a "cable".) We see our heroes going up into space to get trained in spacewalking and Gundam-piloting, which is just gorgeous to see. I particularly liked the low-gravity environment. (Compare with the moment in the Next Episode preview where spacemen back on Earth are struggling with normal gravity.)
Personally it reminded me of Hayao Miyazaki enough to feel like a homage to him. The animation has Miyazaki's attention to detail in backgrounds, world design and the way it does movement. It's got a Miyazaki-like split-ball robot that scoots around at ankle level. Even the faces look as if someone's got their Miyazaki head on, I think. Most important, though, is the way it evokes a complete world in the kind of detail you'd associate with an anime movie, not a TV series, and then for a while seems simply to be taking us on a gentle tour of it. The cheerleaders, for instance, are basically colour. They serve no plot purpose (yet), but they flesh out the world and add character to what could easily have been a very masculine, military narrative.
There is a plot, though. It involves a bouncy, optimistic, good-natured chap, who happens to be one of the trainees when a space pirate launches an attack. What's good about that is the character basis to it all, with Pink Haughty Girl and the mysterious captive who keeps crying "G".
The story looks very good, but the animation and design work are fantastic. The CGI technology looks monumental. The old-fashioned spacewalks are almost cute. The Next Episode preview blew my mind again. I probably won't watch any more because it's Gundam, but once again I was surprised and impressed.
Kidou Senshi Gandamu-san
Mobile Suit Gundam-san
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 3 minutes
Keep watching: No, but it's amusing
One-line summary: Gundam parody mini-episodes
It's a three-minute parody episode. It's amusing, but I wasn't tempted to keep watching and I'm sure it didn't help that I wasn't familiar with the characters.
The main gag of this episode is a colonel who loves red Gundams. He does a naked dance in homage to red Gundams. He's shocked into a completely different art style when told that red Gundams aren't three times as deadly in combat. His comic foil (i.e. a sane person for contrast) is a Hindu lady with a red spot on her forehead.
I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who hasn't watched the Gundam show(s) they're mocking, but even to a newbie (me) it's still watchable. I was amused. It's also only three minutes long, so there's no harm in trying it out. It's fun.