yokaiCardfight VanguardConcrete RevolutioDevilman
Anime 1st episodes 2015: C
Including: Cardfight!! Vanguard G GIRS Crisis, Castle Town Dandelion, Chaos Dragon, Charlotte, Chivalry of a Failed Knight, Classroom Crisis, Comet Lucifer, Comical Psychosomatic Medicine, Concrete Revolutio: Superhuman Phantasmagoria, Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!, Cyborg 009 vs. Devilman
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2015
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2015 >>
Keywords: Concrete Revolutio, Cardfight Vanguard, Devilman, anime, SF, fantasy, superhero, incest, yokai, magical girl, gay subtext
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 11 first episodes
Website category: Anime 2015
Review date: 16 October 2016
It's a movie: Code Geass: Boukoku no Akito - Kagayaku Mono Ten yori Otsu
It's a movie: Code Geass: Boukoku no Akito - Nikushimi no Kioku Kara
Cardfight!! Vanguard G GIRS Crisis
Episode 1 of this season
Episode 49 of Vanguard G
Episode 245 of the Vanguard franchise
24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: trading card battle anime
It's more Vanguard, "the card game of millions of players all over the world" (which is probably true, actually), spreading bonds and friendship wherever it goes. It's like the U.N., but made of card! In other words, this anime exists to sell merchandise to children. The title sequence shows us some gaudy but messy costumes, too badly designed to make any impact on the memory. There's also silly anime hair.
I quite like how the episode kicks off, though. Our heroes are thinking about their futures and having to decide what they'll do after graduation. The girl (Tokoha, green hair) is thinking of studying abroad and one boy (Shion, blonde) is going to take over the family business. They look as if they'll be okay. However we're not confident about the other boy (Chrono, bright scarlet hair that looks like Sonic the Hedgehog). Even he's worried. He has no life skills. He likes Vanguard and he's trained himself to a high level in it, but that's hardly a career. "What can I do?"
That's quite good. I'd be more impressed if I believed for a moment that the show was going to follow this up in later episodes, though.
Anyway, they meet a pink-haired girl who's never played Vanguard before. Her name's Luna Yumizuki and I wasn't impressed by her voice actress. Chrono gives her a training match, which takes a long time and teaches us the game's rules. It's boring. It gets a bit less tedious later, which is a bad thing and Chrono's friends scold him afterwards for getting serious in a training match with a newbie.
"Are you doing this because there's a boy you like?" asks Tokoha.
"It's a girl," replies Luna. "We're always close, but I'd like to get even closer." I don't think that was meant to be a lesbian confession, though.
It's pretty skippable. I can't pretend any of it tempted me. However I did appreciate the way it feels like a true-ish representation of a card game, except for the Power of Imagination thing. Card game battle anime often try to make it look like a combination of an orgasm and a religious experience. I still wouldn't recommend it, though.
Joukamachi no Dandelion
Castle Town Dandelion
Joukamachi no Dandelion
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: royal family have superpowers and 2000 cameras watching them all day, every day
I've since finished it and... it's light and nice.
Endearingly eccentric. I'm not sure all of its ideas fit together conceptually, but I'm enjoying them. I'll definitely keep watching.
Our teenage heroine, Akane, is one of nine Sakurada children. They seem like an everyday family of nice people. The breakfast table is amiably boisterous and it's chaos in the mornings managing to get to use the bathroom. I was already enjoying the show when it started revealing twists that all made the situation a lot loopier.
Twist 1: Akane's father is the king and this is the royal family. Dad decided that his children should live like everyone else, go to ordinary schools, etc. He's a bit of a space case, but this particular decision seems healthy and reasonable.
Twist 2: Because they're the royal family, everything they do is televised. There are 2000 cameras around the city, broadcasting their daily lives. "Sakurada Family News" is either a TV show or an entire channel. Akane thinks this is appalling, doesn't like people looking at her and had memorised the position of all 2000 cameras in order to avoid them.
Twist 3: Dad's decided to have an election to choose the next king, with the candidates being his nine children. You could call this a new kind of democracy. Thus the family's TV coverage includes how everyone's currently doing in the polls.
Twist 4: All the children have superpowers, because they're royal. Don't ask me how that works. Some of these are funny, e.g. the girl who can make anything appear from thin air, but the cost of it will be deducted from her bank account. Akane's superpower is Gravity Core, which means she can make herself or anything she touches lighter or heavier. This lets her fly. I can buy that. However it also lets her control this flight and move around from side to side, instead of just up and down. Hmmmm. Not sure how that's supposed to work. Is she also controlling the weight of the air around her, perhaps?
This is a friendly, likeable show. It's a parody of modern celebrity culture, of course, including fly-on-the-wall reality shows, game shows and TV coverage of politics or royalty. Everyone's refreshingly uninterested in power, with Akane actively wanting to lose the election, for obvious reasons. (Someone changes her mind by pointing out that she'd be able to change her father's loopy camera laws, though. "I'll become king so I can live a quiet life!" I'm not sure it works like that, dear.)
The show also avoids panty shots even though they're story-significant, thanks to shy, modest Akane's habit of flying through the air in a short skirt. I'm starting to suspect that Akane's not the deepest thinker in her family.
The show looks fun, the characters are pleasant and I'm looking forward to seeing where the show takes its goldfish bowl parody. Delighted to have this.
Chaos Dragon
Chaos Dragon: Sekiryuu Sen'eki
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: bloody hell... um, um, um, um, yes
One-line summary: underwritten fantasy, but with friend-killing
I've since finished it and... it's cluttered, messy and widely hated, but built around a strong dramatic spine. I managed to like it.
I'd been looking forward to this. All the reviews I've seen are hostile (on a scale from "very" to "massively"), but that sounded like a laugh.
Having watched ep.1, though, I find myself slightly at a loss. It's mostly forgettable, but it's a vehicle for exploring something startling and remarkable. It's hardly understated about this, either.
The first words in the episode: "I've decided which friend(s) to kill and which I need to protect."
The last words in the 'Coming Next Week' trailer: "A friend must be killed to save another."
In between... yeah, well. It's a sludge of fantasy stuff. I quite liked the worldbuilding, but I hadn't noticed any significant plot or characters. Not only did I not really care about the latter, but I'd hardly even registered any of them. I'm a bit puzzled by all the vitriol poured on the show by other reviewers, but I'm not defending it either.
Despite that, though, the episode's set-piece scene caught my attention. Avoid if you don't like bad things happening to children. That's distinctive and I'll keep watching.
For what it's worth, the worldbuilding includes countries invading and occupying each other. There's a possible revolution. There are dragons, who are bastards. There's also a boy who's actually the king of Invaded Country, aka. Nil Kamui, with a sword that's very important to him. As for characters I managed to notice, there's a probably villainous woman in purple with an ugly, fat minion. Her name's Koukaku-sama.
Is it good? No, but it's shown willingness to do extreme things and the plan is clearly to explore that further. Provisionally, I'll keep going.
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: goodness me... um, yes.
One-line summary: self-serving bastard cheats, gloats and exploits his superpowers
I've since finished it and... it's interesting and brave, but it desperately needed more episodes.
Crumbs. That wasn't what I'd expected from the title.
Yuu Otosaka is an unpleasant piece of work. He has the power of body-swapping, albeit in a limited form. He can only sustain it for five seconds, in which time his real body will collapse and possibly get injured. If you had this ability, what would you do? Well, our anti-hero:
(a) looks down girls' tops
(b) cheats on exams
(c) makes a truck nearly crash into a girl so that he can "save" her
He thinks he's the greatest. He's arrogant and dismissive of girls, unless he happens to be targeting (i.e. stalking) them. He gloats. He puts so much effort into cheating on school entrance exams that you'd think it would be simpler just to study normally.
Halfway through this episode, I wasn't at all sure I wanted to go on watching. However it's going to transpire that there are some people out there who have Yuu's number. In fairness, he also has a little sister he's nice to.
I'm a little apprehensive, but I've got to respect the way the show's magnificent lack of interest in making me feel comfortable. I also had fun seeing Yuu get his life turned upside-down in the episode's second half. Should be interesting, anyway.
No one called Charlotte's turned up yet, though.
Rakudai Kishi no Cavalry
Chivalry of a Failed Knight
Rakudai Kishi no Kyabarurii
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: light novel adaptation set at magical duelling school
I've since finished it and... half actually quite interesting, half bollocks
It's one of two anime with the same premise that aired on the same day in nearly the same timeslot in the Autumn 2015 season. The other is The Asterisk War. Obviously I gleefully watched them back-to-back.
SHARED PREMISE: a boy sees a girl in her underwear. Unfortunately she's a pink-haired sword-wielding tsundere princess with magical fire powers and she's going to kill him, but this then becomes "merely" a duel. It's all resolved without bloodshed thanks to an eccentric female authority figure and we find that both the boy and the princess have their own motivations for being at magical duelling school.
That's the outline. The details are more eye-rolling, although that said I've heard good things about the show as a whole. However so far it's basically an exercise in protagonist-idolatry and one of many, many poster boys for the motto of "This Light Novel Series Was Written To Massage The Egos Of Socially Inadequate Otaku".
1. Ikki Kurogane (our hero) is supposedly the worst student at the entire school, so low-ranked that he's nicknamed the Worst One. He's F-rank. However in their duel, he beats the A-ranked Stella Vermillion who's supposedly a "once-in-a-decade" genius. Stella asks about this. Apparently it's because his talents are unmeasurable, despite not being mysterious in the slightest and indeed quite easy to demonstrate and explain. He's officially the lowest of the low, yet secretly the mightiest of them all! "There's not a system that can evaluate Kurogane."
2. The "see Stella in her underwear" scene is stupid. Ikki's tactic for calming Stella down is to start stripping too.
3. Ikki and Stella are going to be roommates. What the hell is this thing in recent anime for forcing the male and female protagonists of a show to live together? I'm still waiting for the first rape accusation, class lawsuit and forced bankruptcy of the school. Or possibly a suicide. It just so happens that all these protagonists are always saints, but the school had no way of knowing he wasn't a typical teenage boy.
4. Stella's overreactions are stupid too. Commit hara-kiri! Stop breathing! The winner will obey the loser for the rest of their life! (Ikki actually agrees to the latter, which made me want to throw things at him.) Piss right off.
5. On losing the duel, Stella jumps to conclusions about what Ikki's going to demand and so pre-emptively offers herself to Ikki sexually. (He refuses, of course. See "Saintly Hero Of Light Novel Adaptations, 1000000000000000th Example Of.") This is after she's investigated his sleeping body. She also gets an eye-rolling tsundere bit.
All this is... well, it's not bloody awful. A more precise description would be "a hand job for a target audience of losers".
However I'll keep watching. What saved the episode was the character depth. That's the only area in which I thought this episode outdid The Asterisk War, actually, although that was no slouch this department either. It's asking "can hard work beat talent?" Ikki is the former. Everyone thinks Stella is merely the latter. It's a simple distinction, but it gives a surprising amount of emotional weight to these characters and I'm looking forward to seeing where the series takes it.
Classroom Crisis
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: sure
One-line summary: school students on Mars who make rocket engines
I've since finished it and... it's great!
It's done enough to make me keep watching. I quite like the setting, the story and the characters. I'd already been planning to continue when my anime-watching friend at work told me he'd really liked this one and that it was one of his favourites of the 2015 summer season.
We begin with some rich men in a boardroom, worrying about a kidnapping. This is "worry" in the sense of "tch, how inconvenient". They've got bone dust in their veins, especially the victim's ruthless father. (Well, a relative of some kind. I guessed "father".)
We then see a girl riding a bike like a lunatic across town. Does she have superpowers? (Interesting thought from later... given that we'll learn that this is a terraformed city on Mars, maybe that's just a function of low Martian gravity?)
People aren't happy with Bike Girl. "Safety takes precedence over everything." This is also the motto of the genius students in A-TEC (Advanced Technological Development Department, Educational Development Class), which belongs to the all-powerful Kirishina Corporation that didn't seem all that concerned about the safety of kidnap victims. Ironically our heroes' teacher is a idealist who believes in all those nice-sounding slogans. I'm sure he thinks his bosses do too. Ahahaha, no. It will also turn out that the kidnappers are more sympathetic and justified in their actions than the corporation they're targeting.
I think the set-up's interesting. We see a planetscape of Mars with what look like flat, colourful boils that are actually monocultural cities. This one's Tokyo IV. I also like the show's take on the world of work in a school setting. Kirishina are obviously rich evil scum, but they're highly successful scum who are important in space aeronautics. I think they run this city, including this school. (I think they founded the latter.)
There's even comedy at the end. That's outrageous. Harsh, too. That guy's lucky they didn't push him out of an airlock. This opening episode was fine rather than outstanding, I'd say. I'm merely interested in continuing. However I've heard at least one recommendation and this episode ends juicily enough to suggest that the story's likely to get meatier and better.
Comet Lucifer
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: why not?
One-line summary: It's okay, but I don't really know what I was watching.
I've since finished it and... it's underwritten.
It looks great. Lovely, bright futuristic town with lots of white and bright colours, reminiscent in different shots of Meditterranean towns, Paris and little European villages. This world has flying skateboards and piloted robots, while our hero has a microscope-like crystal analysis machine in his bedroom. He likes crystals. These are either red, purple or pink and they have amazing powers, like (a) glowing or (b) exploding into a dimensional gateway or something.
I felt on more familiar ground when the mecha showed up. At least that helped narrow down the genre a bit, although I'm grateful that the hero isn't a pilot. At the moment the mecha are either bad guys or rather territorial neutrals.
It's a bit like Miyazaki's Laputa: Castle in the Sky. A boy, a girl and a glowing stone run through an industrial zone and fall down a mine. (Why aren't they dead? That was a big, big drop.) There are flying machines (the skateboards) and the government wants the stone. Lots of action, lots of movement, lots of eye candy to please the punters. It's also Miyazaki-like in being family-friendly, so there are no boob-gropes or anything like that. Even the Pretty Crystal Girl isn't naked for her magical appearance, which is almost unthinkable.
The characters are fine, but there's been lots of action so far and I don't really feel I've got under their skin yet. Sougo goes too fast on that flying skateboard and he's a nice guy, but he's liable to have an accident at any time. Kaon is Sougo's schoolfriend and the most vivid character in the episode, since she's engaged to someone against her will and isn't taking it lying down. Sougo-Kaon are a fun couple, but anime tradition suggests that the Feisty Childhood Friend is going to lose out in the romantic stakes to the less pugnacious and more traditionally feminine Magical Crystal Girl.
Darn. Well, it's early days and I'm probably wrong.
Overall, it looks okay, but I have a faint warning flag up about the fact that I'm still vague on little things like expectations for the story, plot, genre and what I'm watching. The art's pretty, especially on technology and architecture. (The characters have been drawn quite simply, though.) The animation's punchy and even the soundtrack is strong (both foley and music). The characters seem fine. Hopefully they've just been front-loading cool action into the first episode and things will unfold more interestingly later. I'm happy enough to keep watching.
Anime de Wakaru Shinryounaika
Comical Psychosomatic Medicine
Anime de Wakaru Shinryounaika
Season 1
Episodes: 20 x 5 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: light-hearted discussion of mental problems; anime as your psychotherapist
It's educational. A psychologist (Ryou) and his nurse (Asuna) teach us about mental problems. It's different, at least. There's no dramatic content at all, but just two medical professionals giving us a better understanding of some potentially debilitating issues... in the context of what's originally a four-panel gag manga.
I won't be continuing, but it's interesting.
The show likes a bit of filth. Asuna likes dirty jokes and this week's topic is erectile dysfunction. Looking down the list of future episodes, I see they'll be doing lolicons (i.e. paedophilia), erectile dysfunction (again), fetishes, exhibitionism, voyeurs and stalkers. The episode is light-hearted in its tone, but is actually capable of giving some fairly pointed advice, e.g. spending too much time on porn and 2D images has been known to affect one's ability to respond to 3D stimuli (i.e. a flesh-and-blood partner). Other possible causes include stress, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
They'll also be tackling lots of other issues too, e.g. sleep disorder, panic disorder, seasonal affective disorder, depression, etc.
It is what it is. It's quite good. "No sexy doctors or nurses in miniskirts will appear in this anime."
Concrete Revolutio
Concrete Revolutio: Superhuman Phantasmagoria
Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: Japanese superhero-monitoring agency, looks fun
I've since finished it and... I didn't really care about the characters. I enjoyed Season 1 more than Season 2 in 2016, though.
My first thought was "Studio Shaft"? The first shot of the city had striking designs and colours... but no, it's Studio Bones. Well, they've got a reputation for high quality animation too.
It starts out fairly normal-ish, with a superhero battle on a train. You know, the usual. Explosions, unhappy maintenance engineers, etc. Don't worry; it'll get weirder. After that, a young purple-haired lady called Kikko is working as a waitress when a man called Jiro offers her a job. He wants her to help to stop Japan's top scientist from selling secrets to an industrial spy! Kikko agrees to help, only to learn that Jiro's information is almost completely wrong. In fact:
PERSON A: is actually a Magical Girl, complete with wand, outfit and discreetly nude transformation sequence. She can make the rain fall, for instance, by turning a cloud into a Disney Cartoon Cloud. A talkative red ball lives down her cleavage.
PERSON B: is an alien from Planet S and can grow Godzilla-sized in a few seconds, but this then gets them attacked by Grosse Augen. Don't ask.
PERSON C: drives a car that's secretly a Transformer robot horse.
Jiro was expecting this kind of thing. Sorting it out is his job. He protects superheroes... sometimes. If he decides that they're dangerous, he might instead eliminate them. He's a member of the government's Super Population Research Laboratory.
The tone's less goofy than you might guess from the above. The Superhero Bureau is also a government-sponsored death squad, after all, albeit only when necessary. I've also just discovered from the internet that this episode contains a five-year time gap, which I'd somehow managed not to notice while I was watching it. Furthermore a friend at work dropped this series after ep.3, because the storyline had confused him. It looks as if I'm going to have to pay close attention to follow this one.
It's very pretty, though.
Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu LOVE!
Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE!
Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu LOVE!
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: absolutely
One-line summary: affectionate magical girl parody, with boys
I've since finished it and... it's a bit disappointing, alas. Still okay, though.
It's awesome. Well, sort of. The actual episode is merely entertaining, but the concept and some of the genre gags are fantastic.
It's a standard magical girl show. Five friends meet a creature with the power to turn them into magical superheroes! They carry magic wands! They get nude transformation sequences, cringeworthy catchphrases and frilly over-the-top outfits with bows and sparkles! They have lots of pink and pastels. They defeat an incredibly silly-looking monster of the week by delivering a speech about the power of love!
...but they're cute boys. Do a Google image search for "magical girl anime". Look at all the candy colours. You should have seen the joke by now.
The show's aimed at fujoshi (i.e. women who like anime and manga about gay men), so of course there's subtext. Everything's about love. Our heroes wear love-racelets that go off when the world doesn't have enough love! "It kindly lets you know immediately when the loveless are thinking loveless thoughts and taking loveless actions." Other quotes include...
"This is your love making power!"
"It's a love up of your inner love."
"Your love stick."
"My love shower."
"Love while gentle is also harsh."
"It's time for love making to turn you into Battle Lovers!"
The episode ends with a glimpse of the Earth Conquest Club, who made me laugh just by standing there, after which the Cute High Earth Defense Club all go and have a bath together.
Clearly this is a must-watch. (Well, for me, anyway. I've seen enough magical girl anime that I recognised and loved everything the show's doing to the usual genre trappings.) My only objections are minor, involving the dull oden discussions and some shallow characterisation. Io Naruko (loves money) and Ryuu Zaou (loves girls) are one-note gags who wore out their welcome for me and I hope they get some character development soon.
It's still a fantastic idea, though. If they tap even half of the potential comedy, it'll be a killer. That'll depend on fleshing out the cast and turning them into people as well as genre objects built to please a target audience of fangirls looking for homoerotism. We'll see. I enjoyed this episode, though, and I'm firmly in line for the others.
Cyborg 009 Devilman
Cyborg 009 vs. Devilman
Episodes: 3
Minutes: 27 + 29 + 38
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: hero (?) crossover
I've since finished it and... eps.2-3 aren't as good as ep.1, but I quite enjoyed it.
I love Devilman. He's Go Nagai at his darkest, doing exactly what it says on the tin. Yes, he's a devil. He's also a hero, but not a reassuring one.
Cyborg 009 I'd never heard of, but apparently he was created in 1963 as part of Japan's first superhero team. The art style made me think of Tezuka, but it's actually by Shotaro Ishinomori, who was one of Tezuka's assistants and worked on Astro Boy and Alakazam the Great.
Anyway, it's pretty cool. It's an interesting crossover, because Cyborg 009 fights gods (e.g. Apollo). "When you gain powers beyond a human, you become a god or a devil. I became a god." Meanwhile, Devilman... uh, yeah. Both heroes violently lose a sister. (Devilman's role in this is more active.)
When the two go up against each other towards the end of the episode, you'll have been waiting for that fight. It's everything I'd been hoping for. They end with fewer limbs than they started with, for instance.
The art's another reason to watch... up to a point. Both Ishinomori and Nagai have old-school manga styles that look downright alien in modern anime. This OVA series is running with that. Well, sort of. Maybe I should say "jogging". The wacky Black Ghost scientists are a joy to behold and I love all the monster designs, but you wouldn't recognise Nagai's human characters. Akira's been blanded down. He looks great when transformed, though.
I'm definitely watching this.