Knights of SidoniashinigamiKamisama HajimemashitaKyoukai no Rinne
Anime 1st episodes 2015: K
Including: K: Return of Kings, Kagewani, Kaijuu Sakaba Kanpai!, Kami-sama Minarai: Himitsu no Cocotama, Kamisama Kiss (season 2), Kantai Collection, Kindaichi Case Files R: Season 2, Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine, Komori-san Can't Decline, Kowabon, Kurayami Santa, Kuroko's Basketball, Kyoukai no Rinne: Season 1
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2015
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2015 >>
Keywords: Kamisama Hajimemashita, Knights of Sidonia, Kyoukai no Rinne, Kagewani, SF, anime, mecha, fantasy, horror, shinigami
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 13 first episodes
Website category: Anime 2015
Review date: 10 December 2016
Listed under "B": Kekkai Sensen (Blood Blockade Battlefront)
Listed under "G": Koukaku Kidoutai: Arise: Alternative Architecture (Ghost in the Shell: Arise: Alternative Architecture)
Listed under "G": Koufuku Graffiti (Gourmet Girl Graffiti)
Listed under "H": Kin-iro Mosaic (Hello!! Kin'iro Mosaic)
Listed under "M": Kidou Senshi Gundam: Tekketsu no Orphans (Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans)
Listed under "M": Kaitou Joker (Mysterious Joker)
Listed under "S": Ketsuekigata-kun! 2 + 3 (A Simple Thinking About Blood Type)
Listed under "S": Kuusen Madoushi Kouhosei no Kyoukan (Sky Wizards Academy)
Couldn't find: Kyoufu! Zombie Neko
It's a movie, but I've watched it anyway: Koukaku Kidoutai Shin Gekijou-ban (Ghost in the Shell: The New Movie) (well made cyberpunk, but I never once cared)
Doesn't count because it's a movie: Kaiketsu Zorori: Uchuu no Yuusha-tachi
Doesn't count because it's a movie: Kokoro no Sakebitagatterun Da. (The Anthem of the Heart)
K: Return of Kings
K Project
Season 2
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: pretty boys having pointless fights
Two dozen pretty boys are standing on a rooftop. (Approximately.) They look cool. That's their plot role, not to mention most of their characterisation. They're in two groups, colour-coded for ease of differentiation, with street dudes vs. rich boys in show-off uniforms with Dracula collars. There are a couple of female characters as a token nod to male viewers, but almost everything about this show is screaming "fangirl bait".
There's a meaningless fight for ten minutes. Boys fight! More boys fight! Look, they're fighting! "Looks like everyone's having a good time," comments someone who clearly hasn't noticed me in the audience. After all the fighting, the boys calm down and do lots of talking instead. (This is just as content-free as the fights.) There are apparently seven kings.
The boys then sing.
Then there's more fighting. More talk. Finally a group of boys in TRON helmets show up for yet another fight.
It's ghastly, but what about the female characters? There are three of them, mostly targeting a specific kind of exploitation.
1. Awashima Seri has huge boobs, a mini-skirt so short that it doesn't cover all her bottom and clothes so tight that she bursts out of them. The camera leers at her so repellently that it's off-putting even for male viewers.
2. Anna Kushina, a little girl for those who like that kind of thing.
3. a ditsy idiot who tries to eat a parrot and shows lots of cleavage.
I thought it was repulsive to anyone looking for more than eye candy. I suppose it's nice to see that mindless fanservice trash is getting made for fangirls as well as fanboys, but I won't be watching this.
Shadow Crocodile
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 8 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: horror anthology
I've since finished it and... it's sort of okay. Not bad.
Of these thirteen first episodes, three are short-form horror series. All of them have distinctive animation, which more often than not means "ugly". This is the ugliest. (I assume it's an anthology series, but there's a bloke at the end with a scarred face who gives the impression of being someone we'll see again.) I quite liked it.
I call it "ugly" because of the Flash-style animation, which just moves around 2D elements without changing their shape. I don't mind it, though. I might have found it hard going in full-length episodes, but I think it works for horror. Look at Yamishibai, for instance. The whole point is to be unsettling and disorientating, so let's talk about the story. There's a group of dinosaur hunters. They think they've found the Loch Ness Monster's long-lost twin and they're going to film her for their TV show... or so it appears at first glance.
In fact they're fakers. They've broken into a restricted area with a video camera and a mechanical model Nessie the size of a guinea pig. In reality this wouldn't fool anyone, because water doesn't scale in model shots. It's also broken. Fortunately, though, there really is a plesiosaur-like monster out there, with its preferred diet being obnoxious TV camera crews.
It's an unsophisticated formula, but satisfying. Let's see where the other episodes go.
Kaiju Sakaba Kampai
Kaijuu Sakaba Kanpai!
Monster Bar Cheers!
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 3 minutes
Keep watching: maybe, if I can find the rest of the episodes
One-line summary: Ultraman monsters in a bar
It's obscure, but okay. It's Flash-animated, but the cartoonish art style means that's not a problem. It's an anime where everyone's a monster from the Ultraman franchise, so this week the bar staff are Alien Baltan, Kanegon and Dada. (I got my nephew a Kanegon model for Christmas one year, although he had no idea what it was, and Dada is an alien inspired by Dadaism. Awesome.) However I don't know Ultraman well enough to identify the one who touches someone's bottom and looks exactly like Sutekh from Pyramids of Mars.
The first two minutes are a slightly boring discussion between Alien Baltan, Kanegon and Dada. However it ends with Dada suggesting a Dark Monster Bar, which makes the final minute amusing as the bar staff try to do everything in the dark. They approach Fawlty Towers levels of incompetence.
Apparently the anime's based on a real Ultraman monster-themed bar, also called Kaijuu Sakaba. It's in Kawasaki City. I didn't mind this show. At three minutes long, I'd watch the rest if I stumbled across it... but I can hardly pretend that not being able to do so will make me lose sleep at night.
Kamisama Minarai Himitsu no Cocotama
Kami-sama Minarai: Himitsu no Cocotama
Cocotama: Secret Apprentice Gods
Season 1
Episodes: lots x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: cute fluffy children's show with hamster-sized trainee Shinto gods
The title sequence suggested a show aimed at four-year-olds. I revised upwards slightly on seeing the show itself, but not by much. The show's heroine (called Kokoro) goes to the kind of school where the desks are pushed together into islands and a classroom activity involves paper, glue and coloured pencils.
It's another merchandise-driven anime, although fortunately it's not too blatant about it. You'd let your daughter watch it. (It's tying in with Bandai's Cocotama House Series, which has figures and dollhouses.) It's also fun and lively enough that I could imagine lots of small boys watching it too. It's not particularly girly, apart from Kokoro's bedroom decor. Her family's pet cat being purple is merely surreal.
Anyway, a Cocotama is a tiny super-energetic bug-like Shinto god. (The one we meet is called Luckytama and his explanation of how he came to be is actually a decent description of Shinto mythology.) Technically he's the spirit of Kokoro's coloured pencils. Kokoro loves those pencils, so her feelings brought Luckytama into the world. He's very happy about this. He can even do magic, although he's pretty rubbish at it, being a newborn apprentice. However there are rules he must follow, one of which is "don't be seen by a human" (whoops) and another of which is "but if you are, then they have to build you a house" (eh?).
Kokoro is bad at arts and crafts. We saw that at school. However it shouldn't be hard to put something together for Luckytama, right?
There's little point in watching this if your age is in double figures. It's not made for you. It's just 25 minutes of cute stuff. However it's pretty efficient at what it does, in its tartrazine-fuelled way. It's bouncier and more high-energy than a lot of shows aimed at little girls. Luckytama is quite funny when hiding in his egg and he even gets a sort of death scene. (Spoiler: it's harmless and fluffy and he gets better.) He also signs contracts with his bottom. I thought it was Satan who went around signing contracts with mortals? Ah well. He's not Shinto. I quite liked it.
It's the kind of show where you can immediately know everything there is to know about it from a Google image search for its title. Imagine a Disney doodle in a candy factory.
kamisama hajimemasita
Kamisama Kiss
Kamisama Hajimemashita
Season 2
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: schoolgirl becomes Shinto god, directed by Akitarou Daichi
I've since finished it and... it's very likeable, but I hope they make Season 3.
It's the Izumo episode! If I ever become a god, then (a) the world will have become extremely interesting, and (b) I will be very disappointed if I can't attend the conference of all gods in Izumo in October. Yes, there really is such a Shinto tradition, although technically it's not October but the tenth month (Kannazuki) in the traditional Japanese calendar. Yurie Hitotsubashi went there in Kamichu! and Inari Fushimi went there in Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha, so of course our heroine Nanami Momozono will be going there too.
Well, probably. Nanami's small fry as gods go. Nanami's invitation comes grudgingly from a gender-bending wind god, Otohiko, who wants to test her.
I've seen season one of this show, obviously. I know it. I'm excited to see season two. It's directed by Akitarou Daichi, so wild horses couldn't keep me away. What's interesting about this particular episode is that it shows Nanami developing in her role and powering up. Previously, she'd been almost useless for supernatural purposes. She could make temporary, low-grade magic seals and spells. It had bothered her and had meant that in any dangerous otherworldly encounter, she was guaranteed to be way out of her league. Here, though, she grows in her role and gains access to some proper divine power.
It's what I'd expected, i.e. light, clever and entertaining. I like the characters and I like the comedy. The Nanami-Tomoe romance is still developing (no thanks to Tomoe). Not only am I going to watch this season, but I'm also going to buy the DVDs when they come out and I've got my fingers crossed for a third season. (Caveat: you should probably be applying a big Akitarou Daichi Fanboy Discount to my opinions.)
Kantai Collection
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: absolutely yes
One-line summary: battleships reincarnated as schoolgirls
I've since finished it and... it's quite good.
Who thinks these things up? Is there a Japanese government department secretly working to ensure worldwide ownership of the phrase "totally bonkers"?
The main character is the Japanese destroyer Fubuki, which was sunk during World War Two. However she's been reincarnated as a Japanese schoolgirl. Mankind is under attack by "abyssals" from under the sea and the only thing that can protect us is Japanese battleships who are also schoolgirls. They're called "ship girls". They go out to sea on dinky jet scooter things, wearing random tank parts and firing traditional Japanese bows and arrows. (As soon as they've been fired, those arrows transform into torpedoes or old-fashioned fighters.)
The thing is, I shouldn't have been surprised. I'd known about this show for a while. I'd known about its concept and I'd thought I was prepared. I was expecting lunacy. However when you actually start watching the thing, you're left marvelling by how effortlessly it outstrips anything that a sane human brain should be capable of.
I'm wondering if there might be right-wing wank undertones. The archery is so flags-wavingly traditional and unconvincingly shoehorned that I bet the show's looking for an excuse for using samurai swords. It's also effectively recasting Japan's efforts in World War Two as heroic and morally unquestionable (because of the "cute girls" thing). That said, though, wild horses wouldn't stop me watching this.
Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo Returns
Kindaichi Case Files R
The File of Young Kindaichi Returns
Kindaichi Shounen no Jikenbo R
Season 2
Episode 26 (from the start of Season 1)
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: teenage detective vs. Hell's Puppeteer
I'd been expecting this to be like Detective Conan, but it's not. Kindaichi's another school-age detective who goes around the world solving mysteries, but his foe here is a good deal scarier than most of Conan's adversaries. He's called Hell's Puppeteer. The first thing he does in the episode is to find someone who's spent eighteen years imprisoned underground, blind and alone, and offer him revenge against the people who left him there. He's doing this in homage to Alexandre Dumas's Count of Monte Cristo.
Apparently he's a death artist who thinks the perfect murder is a work of art and likes manipulating others into killing. His goal here is to turn our detective hero into a serial killer. He's also a master hypnotist. This is a heavyweight villain. His plan's so bonkers that the law of drama suggests that by the time he's finished, it must have good chances. This is the first episode in a four-parter called "The Death March of Young Kindaichi" and so far that's looking like a fitting title.
Unfortunately our heroes are bland. Kindaichi and his friends seem decent and reliable. That's it, really. There's also a weird plot point, with the kidnapping of someone no one's ever seen or heard. (He's a hotel owner called Mr Wang who communicates with his secretary by email.) How would you verify that you've got the right man?
Then there's the cliffhanger. It's dramatic, but its trick is so obvious that it won't even count as a twist unless it turns out that Kindaichi really did stab that bloke. Through one window we see our hero with a knife, then through the next window an anonymous hand stabs someone tied to a chair. You can see why onlookers might jump to the wrong conclusion, but it isn't a very deft sleight-of-hand.
It's pretty good. I was impressed. However I won't be continuing. It's another teen detective show and for me the strong villain doesn't outweigh the formulaic heroes. I'd be happy to watch more if I had infinite time available, though, and I'd have no problem in believing that it's a decent, entertaining show. It's based on what was once Japan's most popular manga, apparently.
Sidonia no Kishi
Knights of Sidonia: Battle for Planet Nine
Sidonia no Kishi: Dai-kyuu Wakusei Seneki
Season 2
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: hard SF with mankind vs. unknowable space horrors
I've since finished it and... I loved it! Tsumugi, Tsumugi!
It's season two of Knights of Sidonia! It's the year 3394 AD, the last survivors of mankind are travelling through space in a world-ship called Sidonia and they have some really weird enemies called the Gauna. They've been fighting them for a thousand years, but they still don't know what they are. It is however known that a Gauna can be up to the size of a planet and that long ago they laid waste to the Earth.
There's lots to enjoy here, starting with the story. Someone who really, really deserves it meets a horrific fate (hooray!), although you'd have to have watched season one to know just how satisfying this is. Unfortunately, because it's him, in the process he unleashes a game-changing plot development that causes the horrible death of his only friend, the even more horrible death of a nice girl and a total "what the hell?" at the cliffhanger.
I also felt sorry for another girl who was being forced by her recently acquired authority and status to talk to Tanikaze as his boss, not as herself. Again, it helps there to have watched Season 1, though.
The cel-shaded CGI animation still looks amazing for the backgrounds, action, design, worldbuilding, light quality, etc. The characters, actually, have made it up to look reasonably okay. The music isn't quite as good as before, though. The opening theme is gentler, although still riffing entertainingly on bombastic militarism, while the end theme's going for maximum camp.
In short, yay! It took me a few episodes to get into Sidonia season one, but now I'm a fan and this episode is shaking up an already strong series.
Komori-san wa Kotowarenai
Komori-san Can't Decline
Komori-san wa Kotowarenai
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 2 minutes
Keep watching: oh, why not?
One-line summary: helpful and gigantic schoolgirl
I've since finished it and... I found it surprisingly good.
No, it's not porn. That must sound improbable, but it's not.
Komori is a schoolgirl with big boobs who can't say no to anything. (See what I mean?) However actually it's adapted from a gentle four-panel comedy manga by Cool-kyou Shinja, who also did I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying. I like that, which is the main reason why I'm giving this the benefit of the doubt too. Everyone we've met so far is a girl and Komori's merely getting asked to do things like answer questions in class, look for a dropped contact lens, etc.
Mind you, so far I haven't noticed any jokes. "Gentle" might be an understatement and I'd have probably dropped the show had it been a more significant time investment. They're only two-minute episodes, after all. The main thing you'll notice here is that Komori is ridiculously tall. She's six foot tall and only fifteen...
kowa bon
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 3 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: short-form horror
I've since finished it and... it's my favourite of these three short-form horror shows.
I like short-form horror anime. I think there's a purity about them. They have a very clear idea of what they're trying to do, whereas long-form horror (movies, TV series, etc.) has to faff around with storytelling.
Anyway, this one's like Ringu, but only three minutes long and based on the internet instead of VHS tapes. A rotoscoped girl's talking to her friend (i.e. us) over video chat. (The show's rotoscoped rather than animated, which is fine.) The episode carefully reproduces bad internet video quality, mis-synched video and audio, etc. This becomes significant when apparently we see something. I actually watched the episode twice in an attempt to work out what I was looking at, but alas I wasn't much better off second time around.
The end credits are in live-action, which seem to be a thing this year. They're behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the episode. It's quite nice to see.
Is it scary? That's up to you, really. Very few fictional things are genuinely scary, but this is a pretty respectable effort. It's spooky in a Ringu-like way and there are twelve more episodes of it to look forward to.
Kurayami Santa
Santa from the Darkness
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 3 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: black-and-white horror in the style of 1960s anime
I've since finished it and... it's okay.
It's cool. That's mostly just because it looks and sounds so different, but it's still cool.
Santa is a doll-like little boy with a spiked pudding bowl haircut. He's not Santa Claus. His name might instead, perhaps, be a coded reference to Satan since he's come to 1960s Kyuushuu from Hell.
His boss, Lord Enma, even shows him a public information film. We're going to see a fair amount of black-and-white film footage from that period (yes, in live-action). Some of it has Santa animated over the top. There's also educational on-screen text, teaching us about what it was like in Japan during that period. We also see some social problems first-hand and learn that Santa's opinions on going to hell might not always be what a compassionate observer might expect.
I liked it a lot. It's simple, as you'd expect from a three-minute episode, but the 1960s pastiche is fun and it stands up better as a story than a lot of horror shorts. We have a protagonist and he's quite fun: Satan.
Sorry, Santa. I bet I'll be getting that wrong a lot.
Anyway, I'll be continuing.
kuroko no basuke
Kuroko's Basketball
The Basketball Which Kuroko Plays
Kuroko no Basuke
Season 3
Episodes: 25 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: basketball
First half: boring. (That's because it's reintroducing everyone for the start of Season 3, though, so I can cut it some slack there.) Second half introduced an evil character and stopped being boring, but I'm still not tempted.
It's about basketball, obviously. There are various teams in the opening credits, one of whom is amusingly evil. They're like five Satans, glowing black and red.
The show itself then starts and we meet our heroes, also known as the Generation of Miracles because THAT'S HOW GOOD THEY ARE AT BASKETBALL. Whoooooh. They've just won a big game and a reporter is asking them about their favourite matches so far. This has lots of flashbacks and feels like a clip show. Over-excited animation includes: (a) electricity flashing from the players' eyes, and (b) hitting a basketball like a laser cannon. We see the energy beam. You could use it to shoot down giant robots.
Two brothers promise not to call themselves brothers, based on a bet. In fairness, though, Kuroko himself calls them idiots and tells them to make up.
The evil dude then shows up. He behaves boorishly towards a woman and starts a fist fight for laughs with the man who tried to protect her. He's going to be on the opposing team in our heroes' next match. Yay!
I'm not interested in this one. Normally I'll find myself admitting that a sports anime I've just watched is rather good, but simply not my kind of thing. Not this time. It's bad. I needed willpower to keep watching.
The only interesting thing I've found about the show is that apparently it's an example of Bishounen Jump Syndrome, i.e. a stereotypically male genre getting surreptitiously retooled for a female fanbase. This show is thus macho and ultra-masculine... but all the boys are pretty (albeit in a cocky, tough way) and it's avoids serious male-female romance because that would get in the way of all the gay teases for the fangirls. Other shows like that include Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, D.Gray-Man and The Prince of Tennis. Apparently 97 per cent of this show's fans are female. I won't be watching it myself, though.
Kyoukai no Rinne
Season 1
Episodes: 25 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: comedy/drama about a girl with the second sight and a shinigami
I've since finished it and... good, if not Takahashi's best; you might struggle a bit if you tried to marathon it.
I enjoy the original manga and I'd been looking forward to this. It's by Rumiko Takahashi (Urusei Yatsura, Ranma 1/2, Maison Ikkoku, Inu-Yasha). Fortunately this first episode felt right, although I was surprised by one or two art upgrades, since the anime's in colour. Rinne's haori robe is gorgeous, while Tamako's colouring for some reason wasn't what I'd imagined.
Sakura's a schoolgirl who can see ghosts, but is matter-of-fact about it. She'd been hoping she'd stop seeing them as she got older. Meanwhile Rinne's a shinigami who goes to her school (sometimes invisibly) and is completely skint. The episode's best jokes involve Rinne being a cheap bastard, although I also liked the occasional advert-style voiceovers.
This series is fairly dry by Rumiko Takahashi standards, with both Sakura and Rinne being down-to-earth people who don't fly off the handle at the slightest provocation. I'm fine with that. I like them and I trust Takahashi. I don't think there's anything this one episode could have done to stop me continuing with the anime series.