Anime 1st episodes 2015: N
Including: Nar Doma, Neko no Dayan, The New Prince of Tennis OVA vs Genius 10, Nihon e Iku, Ninja Slayer From Animation, Nisekoi: season 2, Non Non Biyori Repeat, Noragami Aragato, Nyuru Nyuru!! Kakusen-kun Second Season
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2015
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2015 >>
Keywords: Nisekoi, Non Non Biyori, anime, fantasy, harem, ghost
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 8 first episodes
Website category: Anime 2015
Review date: 28 January 2017
Listed under "D": Nagato Yuki-chan no Shoushitsu, aka. The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan
Nar Doma
Season 1
Episodes: 26 x 2 minutes
Keep watching: quite possibly
One-line summary: "unorthodox hard surreal gag" comedy
That's the show's official description, by the way. "Nar(u)" is short for "narcissist", which is one of the two main characters, Hagito. Apparently he also has a loli complex, although as of this episode he hasn't yet started talking about little girls. Meanwhile "doma" is short for "do-mazo", i.e. hardcore masochist, which is the other main character, Kei.
This episode was quite funny. "I love you!" says Kei, although what he loves even more would seem to be being beaten up. "So do I," replies Hagito. "I love myself too!"
I'm concerned about "hard surreal" in the show's description. That can mean "random rather than funny". Besides, this episode's content doesn't look as if it could sustain 26 episodes, even at this "blink and you'll miss it" length. However later episodes will introduce other characters and I've got no complaints about the two minutes I've seen so far. They made me laugh.
neko no dayan
Neko no Dayan: Nihon e Iku
Neko no Dayan
Dayan the Cat
Season 2
Episodes: 12 x 3 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: animated children's picture book
It's got the kind of super-cheap Flash animation that you could probably do yourself in a couple of days, but it looks pretty. It's based on a series of children's books and it looks old-fashioned. The world feels vaguely Dickensian. Snow, lanterns, nothing you couldn't see in the 19th century, etc.
The main character is a cat called Dayan. He goes out and meets some animals, who mention the God of Snow and then everyone dances. There's also a rabbit and a mouse.
That's your three minutes. It looks fine, if you're the target audience, but I'm not.
The New Prince of Tennis OVA vs Genius 10
Shin Tennis no Ouji-sama OVA vs. Genius 10
Prince of Tennis
Ten-part OVA series
Episode 5: "The Strongest Pair"
Episode 242 of the anime franchise
Season 8 of the OVAs (after 7 seasons of the TV series)
24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: fantasy tennis
Tomoko used to read this, back when it was an ordinary sports manga about realistic tennis. The mangaka then decided that that was boring and went a bit mad with tennis shots that could leave massive craters in concrete. (There's one of those in this episode's title sequence.) Tomoko calls this "Murder Tennis", although another fan nickname is apparently "Tennis Dragonball".
As a result, this episode was really entertaining. I won't be watching the whole show, but this is the kind of insanity that almost seems to be aimed at people with no interest in tennis. (Apparently the fandom is almost entirely female and there to enjoy the gay subtext.) Actual tennis fans should probably flee at top speed, mind you.
The episode's just one big doubles match. The players are:
1. Stupidly Tall Bloke. He looks like a shoelace hanging from a pinhead. Everyone else's eyes are below his ribcage. He's 226 cm tall, which is seven foot four. His magical power is an invisible serve that seems to need no movement on his part. The ball just whizzes past you for yet another unstoppable point, whereupon the audience and opponents gape as Stupidly Tall Bloke strolls into position for another invisible serve. This is very amusing, since his opponents had until then been spouting the usual braggadocio.
2. The Shapeshifter. He can change clothes in a magical blur and even morph into other people. I am not kidding. He might be responsible for the glowing white ectoplasm we see at one point, but I'm not completely sure about that.
3-4. Two other boys.
There's also a 5th boy at the end who's going to be in next week's episode and fires what he calls "execution balls" at the other people on the court.
It's ludicrous, of course. It's shameless sports melodrama, with the Shapeshifter refusing to quit even after getting an injury that makes his arm glow purple. At one point a fifth player invades the court and hits a set-winning ball, only for one of the victims of this ploy to tell the umpire to allow the point. (There's good sportsmanship and then there's this. Why does the umpire say yes? Surely that can't possibly be allowed to stand, no matter how many players make a personal request?)
Even the closing title music made me laugh. Apparently this show is famous for having lots of awesome music. In short, it's laughable, but it's certainly not boring.
ninja slayer
Ninja Slayer From Animation
Ninja Slayer
Season 1
Episodes: 26 x 12 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: ninja who kills ninja because they're ninja
It's a Twitter series that got popular, was released in print form and eventually got this internet series by Studio Trigger. (The Twitter series claimed in turn to have been translated from American novels, but this appears to be bollocks.) Anyway, I like Studio Trigger. They did Kill la Kill and Little Witch Academia. The animation in this show's title sequence is dynamic and exciting for anyone who loves the medium.
However when the show itself starts, it's the animated equivalent of those faces drawn on lollipop sticks in the "we don't care" last episode of His and Her Circumstances.
I'm torn. I admire bravery. This is brave. However it also looks like absolute horse manure. The digital equivalent of cardboard cut-outs waggle around on screen... but then there will be a few cuts where Studio Trigger goes to town and animates the living daylights out of them. Those look fantastic. Afterwards, though, it'll be horse manure again.
The story? Who cares about the story? Umm... well, there's a Ninja Slayer. He slays ninjas. I'd have been right behind this if they'd gone a bit more Marshall Law, but it's not quite at that level of ultra-violent pisstake. It's playing it more straight. It's on the same planet, though, with its combination of tongue-in-cheek and bold, extreme art.
If you like it, there's an earlier Trigger internet show in a similar style, called Inferno Cop. It's never boring, at least. You'll never know which of three or four different animation (or non-animation) styles you'll see at any point. At one point we see 1980s-style computer game icons. The FUNimation Blu-ray release plays on this, with a cover that boasts quotes like "LOL no" and "This is easily one of the worst shows FUNimation has ever licensed, maybe even THE worst". I admire that. Personally I wish I liked the show, but unfortunately I find its default animation style unwatchable.
Fake Love
Season 2
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: obviously, but with my fingers crossed
One-line summary: harem comedy
I've since finished it and... it's fossilised into an enjoyable but generic and less interesting harem show
I was always going to watch this. I'd enjoyed season one and I'm fond of the characters. I have concerns about how closely it'll adhere to harem formula, though.
This season has an episode zero, by the way, but that's just a recap for new viewers. One of the show's voice actresses appears on camera, with by lots of clips from season 1. I quite enjoyed that. What startled me slightly was the occasional attempt to sell incompetence or a character flaw as cute. At the time it just felt weird, but on reflection I think it's close to disturbing. The implication would presumably be that for a woman, to be stupid, clumsy, etc. is desirable.
That's broken. A more honest description might have been "this character is aimed at those of you who've developed faintly disturbing fetishes from watching too much anime."
That said, though, Nisekoi is a fun show. I preferred it before it turned into a harem show, though, and this first episode of season 2 is about Chitoge trying to get her not-boyfriend Raku to notice that she's wearing new lip gloss, using new shampoo, painting her nails, etc. (Shampoo? He's a boy! What are the odds against him realising?) This is quite funny. Chitoge is being as abrasive and obnoxious as ever. However it's also trivial nonsense.
I quite like the new theme music, though.
Non Non Biyori Repeat
Season 2
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: I suppose so
One-line summary: feelgood schoolgirl show set in the mountains, with no plot at all
I've since finished it and... it's all exactly the same
It's the return of Non Non Biyori. I watched season one, so I'll watch season two. I quite like it and it's happy and painless, but I wouldn't say there's much point in watching it either.
Children in a lovely mountain community go to school. This is a very, very remote community, so they don't have fancy modern gadgets (e.g. mobile phones) and their parents are probably all farmers. Five-year-old Renge is about to start school for the first time and she's very excited about this, which is cute because as far as I'm concerned the place she'll be going to can barely be called a school. It used to be a school, mind you. It's a proper school building. It has classrooms. It could take hundreds of students. Now, though, it has a total of three students of various ages (not counting Renge) who all sit in the same classroom and read silently by themselves. That's it. That's what these children do all day. Teacher interaction is "watch Renge's big sister sleep".
The children think this is fine, though. They get excited over (gasp) a mobile phone and (gasp) their big sister catching a train to go to high school in Tokyo. Renge takes school seriously enough that she walks to school a day early as a "rehearsal" and then later there's a proper induction ceremony. They sing a song and everything.
It's pleasant. The characters are nice. There's scenery porn. (No, I don't mean actual porn. Beautiful pictures of trees, mountains, village buildings, etc.) As with season one, the first episode is a bit above average. Dispensable, but soothing.
Noragami Aragato
Season 2
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: lowlife god
I've since finished it and... I liked it a good deal more than Season 2. Recommended.
I've been hearing good things about this second season of Noragami. Season 1 had strengths, but it was also a bit drab and downbeat. The modern urban setting was unlovely. Yato's life is scummy, he'll do anything for cash and people generally don't like him. It wasn't a downer, but it also wasn't a particularly feelgood show.
This opening episode of Season 2 establishes everything clearly and well, but also importantly it feels more fun. Even the theme music's funkier.
The set-up's the same. Yato's a Shinto god who'll do any job for five yen, which is the traditional amount given as a temple offering. (Hint: it's not much.) Here, for instance, he does some babysitting. What's funny, though, is that Yato thinks he's going to hit the big time any day now (ahahahaha, no) and that his cool, intelligence, good looks and gazillions of worshippers will make him the most awesome god on Mount Awesome.
His (few and not very picky) friends include:
1. Hiyori (a nice girl whose spirit is insufficiently anchored to her body)
2. Yukine (who was a lot of trouble in Season 1 but has since calmed down)
3. Kofuku (pink-haired, super-adorable, will ruin your life)
...and absolutely not a friend is:
4. Bishamon(ten). "He is a god of calamity. I cannot let him live."
It's fun and cheerful. Hiyori's in a good mood, although she does remind Yato that he'd promised to stop her astral jaunts. Bishamon is still a bit fierce, but she also helps save a lost spirit by recruiting her as one of her Regalia. There's even a little elegant fanservice to keep the audience happy, even though I don't remember this as a fanservice show.
It's faithful to everything that went before and it made me want to watch ep.2. It's entertaining. So far, it looks recommendable.
nyuru nyuru kakusen kun
Nyuru Nyuru!! Kakusen-kun Second Season
Nyuru Nyuru!! Kakusen-kun 2-ki
Season 2
Episodes: 13 x 5 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: cute things that live in your skin pores
They look like walking teeth. If you pull out a tooth, you'll have a big blob with two spikes at the bottom. That's a Kakusen in silhouette, but with little arms too. It's a headless blob-thing with a face growing out of its body. Kakusen live in little colonies on a scary pink wilderness with spines growing out of islands of fat. At one point they all disappear into their host's nose.
This is a Flash cartoon and it's sort of cute. Nothing really happens, though. Well, apart from finding a living disembodied head and pulling a massive hair from it (which might technically be torture), which attracts the attention of giant tweezers.
It's like Cronenberg body horror about parasites, but watered down so much that it's turned into a forgettable cute cartoon. Not interested.