Tenchi MuyoTerra FormarspuppetsJapanese
Anime 1st episodes 2016: T
Including: Tabi Machi Late Show, Taboo Tattoo, Tales of Zestiria the X, Tanaka-kun is Always Listless, Tawawa on Monday, Teekyuu, Tenchi Muyou! Ryououki Dai Yon-ki, Terra Formars Revenge, This Art Club Has a Problem!, This Boy is a Professional Wizard, Three Leaves Three Colours, Thunderbolt Fantasy, Tiger Mask W, Time Bokan 24, Time Travel Girl, To Be Hero, Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou, Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru, Trickster, Tsukiuta the Animation, Twin Star Exorcists
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2016
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2016 >>, << Tenchi Muyo >>
Original creator: Rampo Edogawa
Keywords: Terra Formars, Tales of, SF, fantasy, anime, puppets, historical, superhero, boobs
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 21 first episodes
Website category: Anime 2016
Review date: 22 March 2018
It's a film: Tamayura: Sotsugyou Shashin #4 - Ashita
It's a film: Tantei Opera Milky Holmes the Movie: Milky Holmes' Counterattack
Couldn't find it: Tama & Friends: Uchi no Tama Shirimasenka?
Tabi Machi
Tabi Machi Late Show
Season 1
Episodes: 4 x 8 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: slice-of-life short anthology series
This episode was fine. I'd even call it quite good. However for me it's the kind of "good" where you watch it and approve of it, but don't feel the need to watch any more episodes.
It's about food. Someone teaches someone else how to make spaghetti pomodoro. We then have a nice (and only semi-animated) scene with a man saying goodbye to his female cooking mentor. He's been living/learning with her for three years, but he's about to go off to Milan and train to be a chef.
It's quite a warm, human scene and I liked the characters... but I'm not a foodie and I find it hard to care very much about food shows. Nothing wrong with them! That's just me personally. I glanced through the other three episodes and they're not about food, which is good. I'm sure they're also warm, quiet, relatively uneventful vignettes like this one. By all means check them out.
Taboo Tattoo
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: fights
Here's a plot summary. Boy has fight. Boy's uncle beats him up for losing fight. Boy has another fight. Look at him fight!
Here are some other factors you don't need to know, because you'll be avoiding this anime.
The main character has a female childhood friend who gets called his "wife" by their classmates. She exists for two reasons: (a) so that the episode can mock her determination to cook for him, (b) so that the camera can stare at her bouncing boobs.
On the upside, one of the fights is animated quite realistically. I was impressed. The characters' moves resemble a real martial arts bout, instead of just being shounen nonsense... but of course that came later in the episode.
The main character wants to be stronger! His uncle says it's your own fault if you get killed, because you should have been stronger! Our hero is already an impressive fighter, especially for someone in middle school, but then he gets given magical fighting superpowers in a tattoo!
I already knew I had no interest in this show. It's not my genre. Just for laughs, though, I did some googling and found that this show's unpopular with other fans too. The first page of review titles I found include: "Nothing to see here", "I'm honestly just sick of this type of show", "Abandon hope, all ye who enter here..." and "Just no...don't watch it for god's sake!" I'd agree with that advice.
Tales of Zestiria
Tales of Zestiria the X
Season 1
Episodes: 26 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: intelligent epic fantasy
I've since finished it and... it's okay. Solid second-tier show.
It's based on some computer games in the Tales series. I actually know those. Tomoko has some. The franchise started in 1995 and it's still running.
Anyway, this one's set in a fantasy world that feels real and lived-in. My favourite thing about this show is its tone. Our heroine (Alisha) is a princess, but not the Disney kind. She has to survive attacks from assassins and argue with her own government about forced conscription.
Anyway, she learns of a black mist. It's a bit suspicious and there's a chance it might be damaging crops and affecting the health of the people in the town nearby. She goes there and finds a lifeless town... and then the black mist starts growing. Things get bad, then "end of the world" bad. This episode has some incredible visuals. I don't normally care much about that kind of thing, but the studio (ufotable) really pushed the boat out on this one.
This episode starts out sober and mature, but ends up pretty epic. There's also a magical ghost girl. Dunno how she fits in. Alisha I liked a lot, incidentally. She's a brave, determined princess who says "please" instead of just ordering around her assistants and will grieve people's deaths.
I'm quite looking forward to this.
Tanaka kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge
Tanaka-kun is Always Listless
Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes + a 13th OVA
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: high school comedy about a boy who's effort-averse
I've since finished it and... I liked it a lot.
"Listless" is a lame translation. It matches the dictionary definition, but it doesn't feel strong enough. Calling Tanaka-kun listless is like calling the sea wet. For a start, he's not lazy. It goes through "lazy" into some kind of superhuman realm of worthlessness where Tanaka-kun is capable of giving himself stress injuries because he can't sit up normally in his seat at school. His best friend, Outa, has to carry him from place to place. (The episode's teasing us very gently with the possibility of romantic tension between the two of them, if only because it's hard to imagine anyone putting up with Tanaka otherwise. There's absolutely no way that Tanaka himself would be interested in that, though, because it would take too much effort.)
It's amusing. Obviously Tanaka's an appalling person, but that's the point of the show. Besides, his issues really don't resemble anything we Earthlings know as laziness. Imagine a sloth in human form, but with delicate, slightly insect-like features. That's the speed he operates at. This is quite a tightly focused episode, with Tanaka and Outa being the only significant characters, but I presume the cast is going to grow and improve the show's comedy. Happy to keep going!
Getsuyoubi no Tawawa
Tawawa on Monday
Getsuyoubi no Tawawa
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 4 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: salaryman and schoolgirl meet every Monday on the morning rush-hour train
I didn't notice this net micro-series when it originally came out, but then in 2021 Season 2 appeared, so I went back to start at the beginning. It's quite nice. It's based on an online series of illustrations of girls with big boobs, but it's more wholesome than that sounds. They catch the same train every Monday morning and that's the only time they ever see each other. The bloke stands there to keep away molesters, while the girl's self-assigned job is basically to cheer him up. He seemed to be contemplating suicide at the start of the episode, until she hospitalised him by falling down a staircase and hitting his head with her breasts. Understandably, that cheered him up.
Episodes 73-96
2 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: high-speed mental
It's the same as always for Teekyuu. Girls do bizarre things while delivering silly dialogue at machine-gun speed. There's no pause for breath, no timing and no sense that humans are actually talking to each other. This week, the girls dig a hole. For what it's worth, though, the show's been going for years and it definitely has a fanbase who find it funny.
The episode's title is "Ju-On with Senpai", which might have interested me had the episode had anything to do with Ju-on. Unfortunately it's not. Teekyuu's episodes often take a famous movie's title, but followed by "with Senpai". I don't think this means anything.
tenchi muyou
Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki
Tenchi Muyou! Ryououki Dai Yon-ki
Season 4
Episodes: 4 x 30 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: classic SF harem anime Tenchi Muyo
There's a rule for watching Tenchi Muyo. If it's from the 1990s, it's great. (Yes, including Tenchi in Tokyo, which is actually my favourite of them.) If it's from the 21st century, avoid.
Here, they're resurrecting the OVA series that started it all. Seasons 1 and 2 are great. Season 3 is a disappointing mess. Season 4 I'm not going to watch. For starters, nothing happens in this episode. The gang's hanging out and preparing for a wedding that's happening soon. That's it. It's full of the characters from Season 3 (whom I don't care about), makes heavy reference to Tenchi Muyo GXP (an abomination) and is apparently setting up Tenchi Muyo! War on Geminar (which I'm not planning to watch).
It's a bit sad, really. I love Tenchi Muyo when it's good, but...
Terra Formars Revenge
Season 2
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: killer Martian cockroaches
I was cheering for the monsters. Absolutely no way I'm watching any more of this. I liked it significantly less than the first season (2014) and the Takashi Miike live-action film (2016), despite finding those mediocre.
Situation: a few humans are stranded on Mars with an entire species of super-evolved giant cockroaches that can punch through spaceship shielding. They've already killed most of the humans who landed. Two of the survivors (Michelle and Akari) are in the open air and in the middle of a cockroach army. Our heroes are surrounded on all sides and don't even have any weapons. Looks bad, right?
So you might think, but no! Our heroes swap a little banter, even having time to discuss whether or not Michelle's promised to let Akari see her in the shower. They then roar hot-bloodedly and charge at the enemy, unleashing their insect superpowers! Who needs a weapon? Just punch these mooks! They'll be fine, incidentally. Michelle isn't even scratched, while Akari is only challenged because the cockroaches have to get creative. They try grabbing him and flying into the air (which unfortunately doesn't work), then later they unleash an extra-huge beetle-like King Cockroach on him (because our heroes are just SO AWESOME that there's clearly no point in expecting an ordinary cockroach to be anything but cannon fodder).
Akari is this show's hero! WOW!!! How heroic do you think he is? Answer: his roaring's so passionate that it makes him catch fire! Example dialogue about Akari: "he's passed his limit!" He also gets flashbacks to the innocent, beautiful people he knew on Earth who've been struck down by a 100% fatal Martian virus. That's the reason they're on Mars at all. Mankind needs a cure.
How many Akari flashbacks do you think we see? Answer: too many. (Admittedly that's in line with Season 1, though.)
After a while, the episode stops pretending to be interested in tension. There's hand-on-breast comedy, a light-hearted mood and even jolly music. The girls have a shower together and discuss breast sizes. People's heads will appear in cartoon bubbles for comedy reaction shots. Normally I quite like fluffy, silly anime like this, but not when it's violently at war with the show's setting and premise.
I think this is a direct sequel to the 2014 series, although I could be wrong. Don't watch this show. It's annoying. You can do better. Theoretically I should be trying to be objective and balanced, but no. Apparently a female character is naked for almost this entire season, though, if that's a plus for you. To me, this show is coming across as hostile towards its own premise.
Kono Bijutsubu Niwa Mondai Ga Aru
This Art Club Has a Problem!
Kono Bijutsubu Niwa Mondai Ga Aru
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: annoying people in high school art club
Much of the anime industry is lifestyle validation for otaku failures. I don't deny it. I watch lots of it. Some of that otaku-bait also happens to be very good. This show, though, tipped me over the edge into "absolutely not watching this". Its characters include:
1. UCHIMAKI SUBARU - a boy whose goal is to paint his "perfect 2D bride". He's on his 17th painting already, this time with cat ears. Whenever a real girl (e.g. Mizuki) goes near him, he's liable to put her down with "I'm not interested in 3D girls", even though she'd probably been going to talk about something completely different. When they first met in October, that was his reason for refusing to shake her hand. He also added that he had no intention of being friendly towards her.
That said, he's also amiable and good-natured. I presume he's going to be the show's otaku hero. I even think he's meant to be good-looking, so far as one can tell in anime. However we also have...
2. USAMI MIZUKI - a girl who likes Subaru. He talks to her like that, but she still fancies him. Bloody hell. It's not that she's unrealistic as such, since there are lots of people with desires just as broken. What I find hard to watch is the fantasy message being conveyed to the audience. Look, even a nerd this unpleasant can have a hot girl fawning on him! At one point they're considering having her pose for him as a model. SUBARU: "I suppose I could barely tolerate drawing you." (This isn't banter, by the way, but Subaru's cold assessment.) MIZUKI: "That must mean he thinks I'm a little bit cute!" Oi oi oi, girl. You took the positive from that? It's not Subaru himself that annoyed me most in this episode, but Mizuki's tolerance of him. Bloody hell. My teeth gritted a little more every time she failed to walk away and leave him to rot in the solitude he says he wants.
This could have been okay if they'd written the relationship more seriously. They could have portrayed Mizuki as a girl with problems who needs help... but unfortunately this is clearly meant to be a light-hearted escapist comedy. However if you knew Mizuki in real life, you'd be telling her to stop it. Just walk away, now. Leave the guy alone because this isn't funny.
3. PRESIDENT - a lazy boy who sleeps all the time. Mizuki hits him. Why not Subaru? Seriously, why not? You could sell tickets for hitting Subaru, preferably with medieval weaponry.
The opening and closing credits suggest that later episodes will expand the cast with more girls. They'll certainly be more likeable than Subaru, Mizuki and the President. What's more, my anime-watching friend at work loves this show and watched all of it. He says it's hilarious and assures me that I'd have liked the rest of the cast a lot better. I'm sure he's right. I might well have ended up enjoying this series... but no. Just no. Furthermore, just to underline my decision, the subtitles kept rendering Subaru's "wife" as the vile Western otaku fanspeak of "waifu". Admittedly this could be justified by pointing out that Subaru himself is a vile otaku, but I was still shuddering. FUCK OFF AND DIE.
Kono Danshi Mahou ga Oshigoto Desu
This Boy is a Professional Wizard
Kono Danshi Mahou ga o-Shigoto Desu
Season 1
Episodes: 4 x 8 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: a man chats up a wizard in a bar
It's a bit like Tabi Machi Late Show in its short format and semi-animated nature, but it's also stylish in its art and use of colour. (Well, in the late night bar anyway.) It also has a storyline, which is a plus.
Late one night, Toyohi chats up Chiharu, who's a wizard. This translates to "government employee", because magic-users apparently have to be both of a certain bloodline and employed by the government. There's some work guilt. Chiharu's colleague at work criticises him for working too hard, e.g. evenings and weekends, because it's hogging all the glory and development opportunities. There's also a mild juxtaposition between the blossoming gay romance (Toyohi-Chiharu) and Chiharu's colleague being about to become a father.
It looks okay. It also looks yaoi, i.e. aimed at female fans of male gay romance stories. I don't mind it, but it didn't make me feel I needed to keep watching.
Sansha Sanyou
Three Leaves Three Colours
Sansha Sanyou
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes, but with modest expectations
One-line summary: schoolgirls having lunch
I've since finished it and... it ends up being okay, actually.
Schoolgirls eat lunch. That's it. Youko was eating lunch outside when Futaba and Teru showed up and joined her. This is a novelty for Youko, who used to be a pampered rich girl with no friends until her father's business went bankrupt. Now she's a dirt poor girl who eats bread crusts and still has no friends, but she still talks like a princess and might worry about how to talk to commoners without making them freak out. (She worries too much. She's nice, actually.)
Teru is blonde and looks sweet and adorable, but is apparently evil underneath. We've only had little hints of that so far. Meanwhile Futaba is a loud, energetic big eater... and that's it, really. It seems pleasant, but probably also pointless. It's probably better than half the shows I'm watching right now, because it doesn't have giant robots. Well, I'll keep going.
Thunderbolt Fantasy
Thunderbolt Fantasy: Sword Travels from the East
Thunderbolt Fantasy: Touriken Yuuki
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: Taiwanese puppet show by Gen Urobuchi
I've seen a ton of love for this. People were gobsmacked to learn that Gen Urobuchi (Psycho-Pass, Aldnoah.Zero, Fate/Zero, etc.) was going to write this, but then the show became a hit. It's got a second season. It's been a gateway show introducing anime fans everywhere to a new medium (Taiwanese puppet wuxia action) and Urobuchi's fans have called it one of his best and most focused works since Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
I won't be continuing, though.
Firstly, I'm not really an Urobuchi fan and this episode didn't change my mind. There's lots of action, melodrama and magical flying swords, plus the odd decapitation. (In fairness, the second airborne head was amusing.) They fight! They fight a lot! It's melodrama! Yes, I realise that's the genre, but I don't watch wuxia and personally I found it kind of tiresome. There were passages where the episode slowed down and I woke up, but I spent too long watching overblown macho swordfights.
Secondly, the director drove me insane. This episode's fight scenes gave me the impression of having been cut together from only two kinds of shot: (a) a high-speed crash zoom, and (b) an equally high-speed zoom out. It's exhausting. You're never being allowed to look at anything. In out in out in out in out. It's like an abstract idea of porn. I can't believe the entire world wasn't complaining about this. Perhaps the production team was insecure about making a puppet show in the 21st century and so tried to compensate with annoying camerawork? Admittedly the screen calms down when no one's fighting, but that'll still leave you plenty to endure. (Is this normal in Taiwanese puppet shows? It might well be, for all I know, but I don't care and I've no intention of finding out.)
There's stuff I liked, though. The meaningful one was the folk tale incident with the Buddha statue's umbrella. "Show compassion to the next person you meet." Also, if more trivially, that supervillain's line delivery was funny when he was falling down from the sky. Shame he didn't keep that up.
No. Absolutely not. However that's just my reaction and feel free to ignore me and watch it. The puppets look quite good, although I'll admit that I laughed on first seeing one. I'm also sure the writing improves in later episodes, partly because of everyone else's positive reactions and partly because I can hardly imagine the show going in any direction but upwards from this starting point. This episode had almost no content of interest for me. However it's a perfectly bog-standard fantasy with lots of sword-fighting, so don't let me stop you if that's your thing.
Tiger Mask W
Season 1
Episodes: 38 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: pro-wrestling
I love and admire it, but I could hardly make it through this first episode. It's about pro wrestling. I don't care about wrestling. However the show's tone, energy and level of fun are exactly what they should be and I'd happily recommend the show.
I didn't realise this when I was watching, but it's a revival of a 1969-1971 anime called Tiger Mask. You don't need to know that, though, and the episode's perfectly standalone. What the show does have though is lots of retro fun. The credits sequences and theme songs are something of a 1970s throwback in all the best ways. "King of the WILD WILD WILD!!!" Apparently the opening theme is a remix of the original. The characters are hot-blooded. "A man's guts!" They hang from trees and defeat bears! They go mountaineering in a blizzard while only wearing trunks and long socks! How manly are these wrestlers? They throw other climbers to their deaths, that's how manly they are!
It begins with cartoonish pro wrestling villainy and I couldn't tell what I was watching. They're in the ring. Was this supposed to be real (because this is anime), or was it just more wrestling kayfabe? Answer: the former. Someone gets crippled and they'll be in a wheelchair when we next see them.
There are villains, of course. Global Wrestling Monopoly (GWM, not WWE, no, no) has wrestlers who'll try to break your spine, while their evil boss has big boobs! They're trying to move into the Japanese wrestling, with Wrestle Max War Game. At one point, Evil Boss threatens one of her wrestlers with a Tiger Execution if he loses in the ring. There's also a female goodie, though, with the hero having a niece or something called Haruna.
It all looks splendid. I'd be all over this show if I were able to watch wrestling.
Time Bokan 24
Season 1
Episodes: 24 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: ...no, but I was tempted
One-line summary: children's show about wacky time travel
Time Bokan's a multi-series children's anime franchise from the 1970s onwards and it's a big deal. It started out with an anime show called Time Bokan (d'oh), but that spawned successors. Yatterman was one of them. These shows would have heroes travelling to different countries/eras and being opposed by a Silly Villain Trio of:
(a) vain, bossy female leader in sexy outfit
(b) little ugly man with big nose who builds the Robot Of The Week
(c) big ugly man, the muscle
This show is absolutely, joyfully in that tradition. It has silly hero poses. It has goofy jokes and concepts. (Episode title: "Cleopatra Was Actually a Comedy Duo Known as Cleo and Patra!")
The only Time Bokan tradition it rejects is Bossy Villainess (Bimajo) ending up naked when her silly plans fail. That used to happen regularly and I'm sure the child audience loved it, but that was the old days. It's not the 1970s any more.
Our heroes are Tokio (Japanese schoolboy from 2016) and Calen (green hair, transparent skirt). The show's premise is that the history books are all wrong and that our heroes have to go looking for True History. (Other examples: "What Columbus Discovered Was Not a New Continent, But a New Exercise Called Gymnastics!") The baddies are trying to stop them because they work for a company that makes history textbooks.
It's all very silly, but joyfully and confidently. I enjoyed it. I'd have probably watched a twelve-episode season, but in fact it's 24 episodes with another season a year later. I'll give that a miss. Happy to dip in from time to time, but that's enough.
Time Travel Shoujo
Time Travel Girl
Time Travel Shoujo
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 25 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: schoolgirl meets historical inventors
There are lots of fun ingredients in here. I quite enjoyed the episode and on another day, I might well have kept watching. However it also felt like a Frankenstein-like combination of three unrelated shows and I'm unconvinced by what I've seen so far of the story.
SERIES #1: Mari is a Japanese schoolgirl who's good at cooking, so she agrees to help her friend, Waka, make a cake. It's got to look like a football, because it's for a particular football-playing boy. No problem so far. I like Waka, who pulls some brilliant faces. The surprising bit involves a medical emergency. This schoolboy gets hit in the chest by a baseball and falls over. Sounds like an everyday occurrence? Aha, no. Our hero (a) needs electroshock heart stimulation, and (b) gets it, because a teacher immediately diagnoses this unlikely situation from seeing a schoolboy lying on the ground.
SERIES #2: Mari's father is a scientist who's been away for three years. Before he left, though, he entrusted a book (and a machine?) to a schoolboy. When Mari touches this book, she's transported through time to England, 1600, where she meets the famous scientist William Gilbert and learns that time-travelling teaches everyone languages. Mari wears Elizabethan clothes, discusses science and realises that she can't say why a magnet points north.
SERIES #3: a villain shows up at the end.
This is apparently an "education and entertainment" show. The title sequence had lots of famous inventors and there's a bit after the closing credits that goes into more detail about magnets. The show seems likeable. I enjoyed watching its characters. It works. However I'm not expecting its very disparate plot elements to fit together comfortably, while in addition I found my brow wrinkling a bit too often at the implausibilities. Yes, I know it's a not-very-serious time travel show, but... well, anyway. I'll give this one a miss, but that's not to say that I didn't enjoy this opening episode.
To Be Hero
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 11 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: toilet superhero
A friend of mine watched all of this series and I can see why. It's puerile and crude, but that's the point. I was tempted to continue too, but unfortunately it's managing to be tasteless in a few extra ways that I'm happy to live without.
It opens with our hero (Ossan) at a restaurant with a woman who's throwing herself at him sexually, because he's a superhero. Two additional women show up, also fighting to give themselves to him. However then Ossan's angry daughter arrives too, shouting, "Zip it, you sluts!" Apparently Ossan isn't a superhero, but instead makes toilet seats. That's why he knows so much about arseholes. People talk about their arseholes. Ossan says he can't live without booze, babes and toilet seats. He comes home, sits on the toilet and before long is the only human in the world who's taking a dump at that exact moment! (This seems unlikely. Earth's population: 7 billion. Even if people only spent one second a day sitting on the loo, that would mean over 80,0000 poo deliveries at any given time.) Anyway, Ossan is now a toilet superhero and there will be aliens attacking the world tomorrow. Ossan asks if he'll be able to expense his visits to a strip club.
Ossan then becomes an unrecognisable fat lump, so none of those hot women are interested in him now even though he really has become a superhero. Meanwhile people say things to him like "what kind of pig are you?" He meets alien cockroaches. When he tries to talk to his daughter, perversion comes out of his mouth. (Incidentally, his daughter can go to sleep and remain standing while she's kicking the bathroom door.)
It's another Chinese anime, by the way. It genuinely does look better than most Chinese anime, since bizarre tasteless humour is funny and at least this should stand out from the pack. Apparently later episodes might also have some creepy "edgy" vibes, e.g. incest and masochism. That sounds like a laugh too. Unfortunately I found its use of women unfunny, so I'm probably not going to bother this time.
Tonkatsu Dj Agetaro
Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 9 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: boy will be tonkatsu chef and nightclub DJ
I yield to no one in my adoration of Akitarou Daichi, but no. This one's not for me. It's a gag anime (as usual with this director) with subject matter that doesn't interest me. However that's entirely my personal bias, so feel free to watch it despite my prejudices.
Our hero is a boy called Agetarou, who isn't particularly enthusiastic about having to work in his father's tonkatsu restaurant. One day he delivers to a nightclub and is invited in. He's dumbstruck. He thinks it's heaven. Music! Dancing! Girls! Music! Dancing! Personally I can't stand nightclubs and so I think he's insane, but you can ignore me.
Eventually the episode explains to us (and Agetarou) how being a DJ is identical to being a tonkatsu chef. Uh-huh. Well, it's a gag anime and Agetarou's an idiot anyway, so I think that's a legitimate direction for the anime. It's all for laughs, so hey. The art style's horrible, by the way, but I can respect that since it's just the anime being faithful to the manga. Check it out, check it out, check it out (as the soundtrack unfortunately kept informing me).
Touken Ranbu Hanamaru
Touken Ranbu: Hanamaru
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: swords reincarnated as pretty boys
It's the year 2205 AD. "We who were born from swords must fight to stop those who'd change history." This implies that the show has baddies, but there's no sign of them in this episode. What we have here is basically just boys doing nothing in a slice-of-life anime.
The title sequence has lots of boys. No girls.
It's Kyouto in the year 1864 and the Shinsengumi are killing people as usual. A boy in 2205 is having a dream of when he used to be a sword. There's "as you know" info-dump dialogue and the plot is... um, the plot... is not a concern of this episode. I think I'm being expected to spend 24 minutes gawping at boys. There's a boy for all tastes, from butch to feminine. A pink-haired one says "no matter how many conquerors' hands I pass through..." Time passes in inoffensive banter while nothing happens, then the episode ends.
In fairness, it looks as if the series as a whole does have a plot. Those undefined baddies are trying to change history at Ikedaya. This storyline might well move forward next week, although I'm making no promises there. What's more, this show's based on a popular video game and it did well enough to have two seasons and a rival anime adaptation by a different studio. I won't be watching any more of this one, though.
Trickster: From Edogawa Ranpo's "The Boy Detectives Club"
Trickster: Edogawa Ranpo "Shounen Tantei-dan" Yori
Season 1
Episodes: 24 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: boy detectives in the year 2030
It's sort of okay. I could keep watching, or I could move on to something else. I'm not really that fussed, so that probably means I won't bother. (It's ostensibly an Edogawa Ranpo adaptation, by the way, but it's a loose one set in the near future with malfunctioning robots, smug detective heroes and SF super-cars.) Factors in my decision included:
1. All the important characters are male. This episode has only two female characters: (a) a policewoman whose plot function is to have our detective heroes do her job for her, (b) a so-called hikikomori who seems surprisingly bouncy, chatty and happy for someone who supposedly has serious psychological problems and/or anxiety issues. That's what hikikomori normally implies. Her job is to be stuck on one end of a phone line while the boys handle all the action. Ostensibly she's guiding Punchable Tracksuit Boy through the city, but pretty soon he's ignoring her. Of course I realise that the gender imbalance is due to the source material. Edogawa Ranpo wrote the original novel in 1936 and it's called "The Boy Detectives Club", so I shouldn't be surprised that there aren't enough girls in it.
2. Punchable Tracksuit Boy. It's possible that I'm meant to like him, since all the signs are that he's compassionate and thoughtful. Unfortunately, though, I found him irritating. He's so chirpy and irrepressible that he'll make you want to drown some kittens.
3. The other heroes seem pretty smug too. Well, except for the Immortal Who Can't Kill Himself, who blows up animals and says things like "if you get too close to me, you'll die".
There's a version of Ranpo's Fiend with Twenty Faces. The plot's basically him being Moriarty and our heroes trying to stop him. The show's probably okay and I'm sure I'd have been fine if I'd continued with it, but it hasn't grabbed me either. My feelings are non-committal enough that "not enough female characters" really was the tipping point, actually.
Tsukiuta the Animation
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: boy idol singers
I enjoyed it! It's funny. It's a good episode and I'd recommend it even if you hate boy bands and anime shows about them. There's a girl who likes a band called Six Gravity, but she got sick practicing their dance routines all night, despite having a ticket for a handshake event the next day. She can't go. She's bedridden. However the handshake event has special merchandise, so she sends her little brother to go and buy it for her.
This brother couldn't care less about boy bands, but he knows that it means a lot to his sister. He lets himself get bullied into it. Off he goes, not knowing the first thing about the venue, the people or indeed what merchandise he's supposed to be buying. He gets a bit lost. He bumps into some boys, whom he assumes are backstage staff, and talks them into helping him get through this whole ordeal. Guess who he's just met?
This was funny! It's not "roll on the floor hilarious" or anything, but it's warm and happy and it made me laugh. I suddenly found myself enjoying the episode, whereas until then it had been hard to keep my finger off the fast-forward. There's CGI dancing. There are pretty boys doing a TV show. When that little brother isn't on-screen, the episode's basically doing everything in its power to drive you away. Tsukiuta is a media franchise, by the way, with 24 pop singers. (Twelve male and twelve female, with one of each representing each month of the year. This anime is about the boys. Tch.)
So far, it looks good. If you're interested in the boy band genre, you could do worse than this. (Oh, so much worse...)
Sousei no Onmyouji
Twin Star Exorcists
Sousei no Onmyouji
Season 1
Episodes: 50 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: school-age demon-fighters
I've since finished it and... I enjoyed the show, although the last ten episodes lose it a bit
Fifty freaking episodes! Fifty! Well, I suppose I watched PreCure, so I can watch this. It seems quite fun so far.
The show introduces quite a lot of characters in this episode, but only two of them are really important. They're both onmyouji, which on this occasion is being translated as "exorcists". (Onmyouji are real and still exist in modern Japan, technically defined as priests although some claim to be psychics and spiritualists.) Our dual protagonists are:
1. ROKURO (male, 14) - goofy, likeable, not too clever, will impulsively jump out and help strangers even if this ends in embarrassing failure. Two years ago, he was the only survivor of the Hiinatsuki Dormitory massacre. Today, he has no interest in using his gifts as an onmyouji ("this power is nothing but a curse") and will run away if you try to recruit him.
2. BENIO (female, 14) - has a cold and amusingly obnoxious personality, but underneath that she's a very strong onmyouji and an idealist. "No casualties."
Apparently it's based on a manga from Jump Square, which is part of the Shounen Jump franchise but aimed at a slightly older target audience (16-21). Wikipedia says that its series "tend to be set in a fantasy setting with a large amount of action scenes". That seems like a good fit so far. There will be demons! They will need fighting! However this episode was much more about the characters, not the fight scenes, with Rokuro being endearing and Benio being funny. Rokuro has well-hidden superpowers that mean he's the greatest, unsurprisingly, but that's been done more interestingly than in the expected light novel power fantasies because the blocking factor is Rokuro's personality issues. I enjoyed it.
Deep breath. Fifty episodes...