Concrete RevolutioCardfight VanguardyokaiJapanese
Anime 1st episodes 2016: C
Including: Cardfight!! Vanguard G GIRS Crisis, Cardfight!! Vanguard G: NEXT, Cerberus, Cheating Craft, Cheer Boys!!, Chi's Sweet Adventure, ClassicaLoid, CoCO & NiCO, Concrete Revolutio: The Last Song, Crane Game Girls, Crane Game Girls Galaxy, Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! LOVE!
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2016
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2016 >>
Keywords: Concrete Revolutio, Cardfight Vanguard, anime, SF, fantasy, superhero, yokai, gay subtext
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 first episodes
Website category: Anime 2016
Review date: 4 June 2017
It's a movie: Code Geass: Akito the Exiled
It's a movie: Cyborg 009: Call of Justice
Cardfight!! Vanguard G GIRS Crisis
Season 1
Episode 13
24 minutes long
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: fighting card game anime
It's yet another kiddie anime made to sell a trading card game. Our heroes fight Vanguard card duels! They take it very seriously. Vanguard, Vanguard, Vanguard! There was absolutely no chance that I was going to continue with this, partly because I've sampled the series before. However it's another first episode of 2016, so I gave it a whirl.
There's a duel in a stadium! A boy with flowing, pale grey hair is fighting a boy whose hair looks like an exploding red crab with a swirly tentacle. They wait for it! They get their cards ready! They FIGHT!
This fight lasts about fifteen minutes. Add that to the episode's opening and closing credits and you've only got a quarter of the episode available for meaningful content. I didn't mind this, though, since it let me do lots of fast-forwarding and finish the episode more quickly. That said, though, was there anything worth mentioning in the remaining minutes after the fight? Answer: no. This episode struck me as a merchandising tool aimed at small children who buy and play the trading card game. There's nothing in it for me.
Cardfight!! Vanguard G: NEXT
Season 4
I watched episode: 1, 99 or 295 (depending on how you count it)
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: another trading card battle game anime
It's a bit better than usual, because they've reduced the testosterone. Normally these shows have a HOT-BLOODED HERO who's determined to be the GREATEST at the MIGHTIEST GAME EVER in the EXISTENCE OF ALL POSSIBLE WORLDS!!! They burst into flames and clench their fists. They glare. They talk like a 1980s macho action hero who's about to kill everyone in the room. They need to have a nice cup of tea and calm down.
Here, though, our hero's feeling empty and demotivated. Team TRY3 have broken up and now they're all in different high schools. Tokoha is studying in Paris and getting interviewed in French on TV. Shion is now the "prince of the business world". Chrono though has become just another new high school student who's doing a part-time job at a shop. He wears an apron for it, which to put it mildly doesn't make him look badass. He's wondering what extracurricular clubs to join and having to be reminded that he plays Vanguard.
On the upside, though, he has spiralling red hair that looks like a cross between a crab and an ice cream. Also his friend Kamui has a hairstyle like water going down the plughole.
A customer comes into the shop and challenges Chrono to a Vanguard battle. Even this is mildly refreshing, though, since there's no volcanic macho posing. Chrono gets his mojo back, a bit. The battle fires him up again, but not too much. End of episode. That was okay. Music/dialogue sound balance was a bit off, but otherwise it's perfectly watchable if you fast-forward through the Vanguarding.
Seisen Cerberus
Seisen Cerberus: Ryuukoku no Fatalite
Holy War Cerberus: Fatalite of Dragon Time
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: swordsmen, thieves and dragons
I was inclined towards liking it, because I'm comfortable with dragons, fantasy, etc. To my surprise, though, I'm going to drop it. It didn't do anything obviously horrible, but I didn't find myself either liking it or being interested.
It's based on a Japanese role-playing mobile game that was celebrating its fifth anniversary. We begin with some boobs being sacrificed to a dragon. (There's a woman attached to them, but the boobs stand out.) However this is actually a trick to lure it in for a sealing ceremony, because this dragon is Very Evil. It's so evil, in fact, that it has a cool name: Dagan Zot.
That was tolerable, but it was only the first few minutes.
After that, the rest of the episode is following a bunch of characters I didn't really like. There's a smug, arrogant hero called Hero, with dialogue like "a hero never leaves a good deed undone!" In fairness, we'll discover later on that he's talking out of his arse. He's actually no good at sword fighting. I could imagine this being quite funny in later episodes, but unfortunately at the moment he has a sort of low-level obnoxiousness that merely means I don't find him interesting. I don't hate him. I just want him to get out of the way so that I can watch someone else instead.
There are also some child thieves. "What we stole belongs to us!" We're supposed to care when one of them is about to be executed.
There's a villainous little girl who's boring. You might think that it would be quite hard to fail with that combination, but this show has managed it.
I don't hate this show, but at best it's the kind of thing that mysteriously lurks in your to-watch queue, but never gets watched because you're always putting everything else above it. After a while you realise and relegate it to "on hold". The world is full of better things to watch than this.
Cheating Craft
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 13 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: students cheating in exams
It's another Chinese-Japanese co-production. Oh dear. However this first episode actually looks okay if you can take the premise, but personally I don't think I'd enjoy it. I've also heard bad things about the show falling apart later, which doesn't entirely surprise me since this episode's first ten minutes are nothing but exposition and backstory. It's only a thirteen-minute episode! We don't meet our protagonists until almost the closing credits, which doesn't suggest to me that this show is that focused on story and character.
It's set in a Chinese culture where exams are all-important and your life will be ruined if you fail. Examination halls are thus full of students who are looking to game the system. There are Learners (who are clever enough to succeed honestly) and Cheaters (go on, guess). We see some of the latters' tactics and how they're dealt with by the system if they're caught. We see a big exam hall battle with Cheater rivalry and a stun gun pen. All this is moderately entertaining, but it's also a ten-minute info-dump with no involvement for any of the show's ongoing characters.
Then, at the end, we meet two teenagers. The girl looks cute. That's the limit of their characterisation so far. Apparently they're going to cheat on this exam in order to save Mumei's wrongly imprisoned father, which seems puzzling to me. Even in this exam-obsessed world, I don't see how getting good A-levels would get your father released from prison.
That's it. I wouldn't call it enticing. I might have kept watching anyway if I thought I might find it funny to watch students cheating on their examinations, but I'm afraid that doesn't appeal to me personally. Go on, call me boring.
cheer danshi
Cheer Boys!!
Cheer Danshi!!
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes + a 13th OVA
Keep watching: no, although I was tempted
One-line summary: male cheerleaders
It's surprisingly interesting. It's also by Brain's Base, who are a good studio. However it's about male cheerleaders, so no.
Haruki Bandou comes from a judo family. We see him cheering on his sister as she leads her university team to victory, although apparently this is the first time he's watched a match without wearing a judogi himself. He's hurt his shoulder.
Kazuma Hashimoto is Haruki's friend. (His parents are deceased, but we see him visiting his grandmother in hospital.) Kazuma does judo too, but he's about to quit because he doesn't want to do it without Haruki. Instead he's got another idea. Guess what. Hint: the show's title. Kazuma's going to start up a male cheerleading squad, which will the the first one anyone in the cast has ever heard of. The episode has several scenes of our heroes trying to recruit other students on campus. Kazuma is gung-ho, but Haruki is embarrassed and wants to hide.
Wataru Mizoguchi is the first student they recruit. He's a weirdo and he made me laugh.
It's a good episode. I like Kazuma's motivation for wanting to be a cheerleader. Haruki is relatable and Mizoguchi is funny. I'm tempted to continue, but... cheerleaders. I don't get it. I probably wouldn't be watching the show even if they were girls (although of course there would then be nothing unusual about its premise).
Chi Sweet Home
Chi's Sweet Adventure
Chi's Sweet Home
Season 3
Episodes: 24 x 11 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: CGI children's series about a cat
It's based on a manga that ran for twelve years and had two 104-episode anime adaptations in 2008 and 2009. Chi is a kitten. She doesn't understand very much. She lives with Mummy, Daddy and Youhei. She does things like jumping around Daddy's keyboard, destroying all the work he'd done that day, then getting annoyed with him when he doesn't get angry with her and instead just puts her outside.
The show looks fine, up to a point, but it's all CGI. Admittedly anime's full of CGI these days, but it's all cel-shaded to look hand-drawn. This doesn't. It's plastic-looking CGI, textured to look like the usual mathematical renditions. Eurgh. Don't watch it. In fairness they've animated Chi herself quite well, with lots of personality and life. It's a nice moment when she has trouble getting up the stairs, for instance. However the humans' design is dull, with that soulless look that comes from simplistic CGI made on the cheap for children.
The story couldn't be more predictable. (Mummy and Daddy are preparing a surprise party for Chi.) The CGI is a reason to avoid it. It's kind and good-natured, though. By all means play it for your five-year-olds, but you probably won't be watching it with them.
Episode title: Beet and Motz and Otowa Mansion
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: dead musicians are alive and have superpowers
I've since finished Season 1 and... it's fun, wacky and even charming, but I won't be watching Season 2.
It's fairly mental. However the most important thing in the episode is something real and emotional for the main character. I liked it.
Kanae Otowa is a schoolgirl who used to have a grandmother. (She also used to have parents, but her mother walked out after her father blew the family fortune on world tours and weird purchases.) The important one, though, is grandmother. We can tell she misses her. We even see flashbacks of a much younger Kanae and her granny in the latter's mansion. Today, though, an older and more irritable Kanae is having to boot out three freeloading musicians. They're in her mansion and taking her for granted. They seem incapable of absorbing the idea that the mansion doesn't even belong to her any more. She's sold it to property developers and they're going to be sending in the bulldozers. These musicians are:
(a) Kanae's childhood friend, Sousuke Kagura. He calls himself a musician, but he can't even play any instruments. He's mostly just doing it to impress girls.
(b) Ludwig van Beethoven, including the hair. (It's a deceptively accurate likeness of the historical musician.) He's VERY INTENSE at all times, especially when it comes to cooking gyoza with a flamethrower. This is very important to him.
(c) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who has pink hair and a silly pink outfit, including a huge tam-o-shanter. (This likeness is less accurate than Beethoven's.) He's an irrepressible man-child who likes riding his roller boots in the house.
This is quite a lot of silliness. An awful lot more will be supplied when Beethoven casts a magic spell. A wrecking ball crane starts dancing with a pipe organ in a bonnet, for instance.
Apparently Beethoven and Mozart are ClassicaLoids. I think this mostly means "person who annoys Kanae". I'm happy to keep watching, but it's possible that my brain will explode since at present I'm also watching Bungou Stray Dogs.
CoCO and NiCO
Season 1
Episodes: 39 x 1 minute
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: cat princesses
It's about two young cats who are being taught how to be princesses. They're called CoCO and NiCO and they're mischievous.
What, you expected more than that in sixty seconds?
Believe it or not, though, it's actually quite good. It's not transcending what it is, but our kitten anti-heroines are actually a fairly disreputable pair of troublemakers and it's quite funny to watch them fail, fail and fail. (I watched three episodes.) It's like an animated one-page strip from The Beano. However that's also all it is, so you needn't feel any guilt about not watching it.
Concrete Revolutio: The Last Song
Concrete Revolutio
Concrete Revolutio: Choujin Gensou The Last Song
Season 2
Episodes: 11 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes, but only because I watched Season 1
One-line summary: superhero magical SF detective story, also almost impenetrable
I've since finished it and... I didn't care and I don't think it works. It's uninterested in its cast.
I remember quite liking Season 1 of this show. I'm sure I'll like Season 2 too, but for now I'm floundering a bit. I didn't really understand what was happening, although admittedly I've had that before with Concrete Revolutio. I'm sure I'd be okay if I rewatched all the Season 1 episodes as preparation, but surely that shouldn't be necessary?
Anyway, it's Tokyo in the year forty-something, i.e. the 1960s. No, hang on. They're talking about the Okinawa Reversion Agreement, i.e. America returning Okinawa to Japan, so it's 1972 or so. (This show is set in an alternate version of the 1960s or thereabouts and uses a lot of real history.) Our heroes in the Superhuman Bureau are at odds with their ex-colleagues. The world has got weird (yokai, robots, giant rampaging monsters, etc.), but the show's tone is down-to-earth police work, with a strong element of social justice for superhumans. The government's legislated against them and every so often has them killed. "No matter what powers you have, a criminal is evil."
A warrior android from space shows up, on behalf of a Peace Federation that contains seventy-odd alien races. He's nice. He's going to stage a public execution.
There's a yokai girl, an embittered robot cop, a revelation about alien Fumers, a Godzilla-sized S Planterian called Grosse Augen and a bunch of stuff that would probably mean more to me if I had stronger memories of Shiba Raito. They also do that Concrete Revolutio thing of jumping to a different year.
I'll stick with it. I remember it as a show worth digging into. However it looks as if the show's still forcing us to work at that digging.
Bishoujo Yuugi Unit Crane Geeru
Crane Game Girls (Season 1)
Bishoujo Yuugi Unit Crane Geeru
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 4 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: girls will save the world with arcade games
I've since finished it and... it's deranged, but repetitive and not very interesting
The art's terrible. There are two kinds of CGI art. The first is computer-rendered 3D models, while the second is Flash-style 2D cheapo garbage that looks as if someone's sliding around pieces of paper. This is the latter.
The story's silly. A woman with huge boobs explains that an asteroid will destroy the Earth in three months and that some Japanese schoolgirls are the only ones who can stop this! What will they do? Answer: make them play arcade games! (A crane game is a Japanese arcade game where you try to remote-control a mechanical claw to grab toys.) The girls think they're auditioning to be top idols, by the way.
Obviously I'll be watching all of it.
Crane Game Girls Galaxy
Bishoujo Yuugi Unit Crane Geeru Galaxy
Season 2
Episodes: 13 x 13 minutes
Keep watching: don't know
One-line summary: idols will save the world with song-powered laser beams
I've since finished it and... it's still throwaway nonsense, but also quite good. Better than Season 1.
I watched Season 1 and didn't think it was much good. Season 2 is a similar sort of thing, but at a length that requires a non-trivial time investment. The animation's just as cheap as before. It also involves idols. I'm hesitant.
Mirai, Kyouko and Asuka have achieved their empty, worthless goal for which Mirai was willing to see the Earth's destruction. They've become idols. They're the Earth Defence Girls. However Dark Gorilla hasn't given up and he's prepared to lose his Dark Cherry! (That's the name of his rival idol group, the Earth Invasion Idols.)
Dark Cherry are mildly amusing, actually. They're goofball idols who want to invade the Earth, but are a bit apologetic and rubbish about it. There's a buxom one (according to her teammates), an airhead child and a demotivated, lazy one. The two idol groups have an idol space battle, which starts out with singing and ends with laser beams. I didn't mind the episode. It was okay. However I quite liked the start of Season 1 and then flagged on trying to watch thirteen four-minute episodes, so I'm nervous about how I'd feel on tackling this longer-format show. Not sure what to do. I'll decide at some point. I haven't rejected this show yet, but I wouldn't lose any sleep if I did.
Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu LOVE!
Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! LOVE!
Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-Bu LOVE LOVE!
Season 2
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: I watched all of Season 1, but no
One-line summary: magical girl parody, where they're schoolboys
I want to like the show. I think its central joke is funny. Unfortunately Season 1 was underwhelming and it looks as if Season 2 is continuing the same way.
It's a magical girl show where all the "girls" are high school boys. Target audience: fangirls. The episode thus starts with the entire cast getting in the bath together (including Season 1's villains). This involves more of those long rambling conversations about nothing that I didn't like in Season 1.
However Season 1's villains are leaving the school! They're going abroad! Cue lots of meaningful emotion from Atsushi and Kinshiro, accompanied by exaggerated tact from everyone else except Yumoto. (Yumoto's not a bad person, though. He's just childlike, blind to social cues and liable to open his big mouth and say what no one else will. He's also the only one of the five main cast who's not functionally identical to all the others.)
Obviously all this is heavy gay subtext for the fangirls and being played for self-aware laughs, but it's also the nearest the episode comes to being meaningful. I'm thinking of Kinshiro's faith at the airport that Atsushi will come to see him off.
That's the mundane half of the episode. Indistinguishable characters have pointless conversations that are little more than Boys' Love bait for the audience. I wouldn't mind that so much, but they're not even funny. However as always, it's also a magical girl parody! A really stupid monster (this time a giant talking hourglass) comes to fight our heroes, who react with Love Making and a nude transformation sequence that turns them into Battle Lovers! This looks exactly like Sailor Moon, in a way that I don't think will ever stop being funny. Real magical girl shows are full of pastels, intense girly relationships and lots of references to "love". This show gender-flips that to surreal effect. Love is everywhere! It's bursting with love! It's sticky and dripping with boys' love!
The boys are still colour-co-ordinated. They've had a Season 2 costume and power upgrade, i.e. more frills and ribbons. Thus they look even sillier, which is funny.
I still love this magical girl parody element, but I don't need to see any more of the show it's been bolted to. To date it's been repetitive even by the standards of the genre it's parodying, with practically no characterisation and too many endless content-free conversations. I've never liked that running anti-gag about the dead teacher either. Season 2's main new element so far seems to be new villains, who will be twins with (presumably) twincest undertones. I'm glad I watched Season 1, but I'll give Season 2 a miss.