samuraiNarutoBeybladeBanG Dream
Anime 1st episodes 2018: B
Including: B the Beginning, Back Street Girls: Gokudols, Baki the Grappler, Bakumatsu, Bakutsuri Bar Hunter, Banana Fish, BanG Dream! Garupa Pico, Basilisk: The Ouka Ninja Scrolls, Beatless, Between the Sky and Sea, Beyblade Burst Turbo, Black Clover, Bloom Into You, Boarding School Juliet, Bonobono, Boruto: Naruto Next Generations, Butlers: Chitose Momotose Monogatari
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2018
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2018 >>
Keywords: BanG Dream, Beyblade, Naruto, anime, SF, fantasy, detective, superhero, samurai, yakuza, gangster, historical, reverse-harem
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 17 first episodes
Website category: Anime 2018
Review date: 26 April 2020
Listed under "A": Beelzebub-jou no Okinimesu mama, aka. As Miss Beelzebub Likes
Listed under "C": Binan Koukou Chikyuu Bouei-bu HAPPY KISS!, aka. Cute High Earth Defense Club Love! [12 eps x 24 mins] Season 4
Listed under "M": Boku no Hero Academia, aka. My Hero Academia
It's a movie: Bungou Stray Dogs: Dead Apple (the TV series is good, but I'm not a fan of this film)
B Beginning
B the Beginning
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 25 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: serial killer detective bird-boy superpower crime/action series
It's another Netflix anime, but I was tempted. Apparently it's so bad it's good. It's been called hilariously terrible, as an overstuffed heaving pile of bonkers with mismatching genres forced together at gunpoint.
What I saw, though...
We meet some serial killers. WELL-KNOWN FACT: all serial killers are super-ugly. They're chasing a bound, gagged victim, but then Bad Things Happen and...
We switch to a pleasant-looking seaside town. (It's an English-speaking country called Cremona, which looks like America but has a royal family.) A goofy girl, Lily, is trying to get to work. She's likeable. Eventually she arrives, late, and we discover that she's part of a detective team investigating "Killer B".
Hairy Detective Bloke shows up, but he's an old colleague from ten years ago and everyone except Lily knows him. Genre convention means he'll be a super-genius detective and the only man who can crack the case, but he's also a scruffy layabout who sleeps through briefings. He's the kind of man who'll draw on a computer screen with a permanent marker. He clearly has dark backstory, though, because it's "the anniversary of her death".
So far, the episode's been a realistic police procedural. We then get a tank bursting from a speeding truck. (Yes, a tank. You know, caterpillar tracks and gun.) A boy falls from the sky, lands on a speeding train and has a fight with a sword-wielding superhero with weird facial tattoos. The loser disintegrates in a glowing magic cloud, while the winner turns into a bird.
We then return to the ordinary cops and Hairy Detective.
I don't think I'll be continuing. It's better than the two Netflix anime I sampled yesterday (Lost Song and Ingress the Animation) and it wouldn't be outrageous to continue with this, but life's too short. I already know it's Netflix-bad. If you fancy a laugh, though, by all means go trash-diving.
Back Street Girls: Gokudols
Back Street Girls
Season 1
Episodes: 10 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no, but I had to think about it
One-line summary: sex-changed yakuza idols
The premise is attention-grabbing and the episode made me laugh. However I don't need nine more episodes of it. It's plotless and everyone's evil, so it might get a bit repetitive.
Three yakuza thugs go to Thailand, have sex change surgery and become idols. (This isn't voluntary. The alternatives had been for their yakuza boss to cut off their legs, or sell their internal organs.)
Result: three hot girls who are cutesy idols on stage, but in private are violent thugs whose inner thoughts are voiced by growling male actors. They like cigarettes and booze. They killed people. They sit inappropriately in mini-skirts, don't like idol handshake events and acquire a trainer with amusingly misguided motivational attempts. I laughed.
Their boss is the worst. He's a frightening criminal, but with strange ideas. "Idols are angels. They don't even shit!"
The episode's funny, in its vulgar, hateful way. I'd almost recommend trying an episode or two. However the art's realistic (presumably based on the manga), which forces the animation to vary between "bad" and "non-existent". As well as this anime, there's also a live-action film and TV series. It's memorably extreme, but I can imagine its schtick getting old.
Grappler Baki
Baki the Grappler
Series 2
Episodes: 26 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: insanely over-the-top fighting manga
It's legendary. The manga's been running since 1991 and is currently on 137 volumes. It's the kind of manga that takes all other fighting manga and smashes them into the wall so hard that it looks as if Picasso drew what's left. This week, ultra-violent psychos escape from prison and head for a showdown in Tokyo, because "I want to taste defeat".
Ultra-Violent Psycho #1: he's in an American prison on death row. They hang him. (Does the U.S.A still hang people? Technically, yes, but it's mostly lethal injection.) Anyway, this guy's SO TOUGH that he survives his execution and murders everyone, then swims to Japan. Yes, all 6,300 miles.
You get the idea.
Naturally the authorities have ludicrously fierce security, but our psychos escape anyway. Professors and prison visitors will be karate black belts and national wrestling champions. Doesn't help. One "prison" is a submarine a fifth of a kilometre underwater. That doesn't help either.
Reality: zero. Pure awesome: 100%. Characterisation... ahahaha, none. Everyone who matters is: (a) a disturbing blob of muscle, and (b) indistinguishable on any level beyond visual design. The ultra-violence is funny, but one doesn't see much to the show beyond that.
Baku matsu
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: pretty samurai boys
It's a reverse-harem otome game adaptation, but without the protagonist herself. It's an all-male cast, bar an evil ninja girl cameo. The first things I saw were: (a) samurai swords, (b) opening titles that were proud of their pretty boys. I'm not the target audience.
The idea's fun, though. The episode pretends to be a samurai historical drama, then introduces a reality-warping watch to take us into an alternate history of wacky design decisions and a candyfloss castle with cannons aimed at Kyoto.
It's still a samurai story, though. Swords! Fights! Sword fights! Uh-huh. One hero has a sword fight while keeping his sword in his scabbard. Can't have a hero hurting anyone! Maybe the target audience will enjoy this? Personally, I thought it looked like eye candy garbage, but the SF twist was sort of cool.
Bakutsuri Bar Hunter
Season 1
Episodes: 25 x 25 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: shounen monster fun
Barcodes have souls. "Bar souls" are lifeforms that live in the "barcode ocean". You can use a "Bakutsuri Bar Rod" fishing rod to catch and collect them, through Augmented Reality.
This is insane and amazing. I love it. The episode, though, has a child hero and his talking animal/monster sidekick. The former is a bog-standard shounen child hero, but the sidekick's amusing. It's a blue psycho-looking penguin called Potepen, with yellow hair spikes and a "P" on its chest. Potepen's a dirty coward who wants to flee from monsters and is shocked when Kid Hero wants to fight.
This show's world sounds like a laugh. You'll be fighting fish monsters with your fishing rod. However it's basically another shounen adventure with a kiddie hero. I was amused by this episode and I wish it all the best, but I'm not planning to watch any more.
Banana Fish
Season 1
Episodes: 24 x 23 minutes
Keep watching: it looks good, but I'll give it a miss
One-line summary: gangsters and a mystery drug
It looks good. It got plenty of critical attention. I just don't feel like watching 24 episodes of it.
It's a noitaminA show, aimed at a mature audience. We start with an American soldier in Iraq (?) shooting almost all his comrades, then later having nothing to say but "banana fish". (The original manga started in 1985, so there this scene was set in Vietnam.)
The rest of the episode's about New York gangsters. Its idea of a hero, Ash, is a reluctant gangster who used to be unhappy about being asked to kill. They're scum. They're also often gay, as it happens, with Ash having originally been picked off the street by a mob boss who wanted tender young meat. (Ash's age at that time is unclear.)
Bizarrely, the original was a shoujo manga, i.e. for young girls.
This isn't a bad show at all. It's intense and serious. It's had lots of thoughtful praise. However I also didn't really care about its cast, except perhaps for one street child and even he's still working for Ash. Our hero's less evil than his rivals, but... well, never mind.
bang dream
BanG Dream! Garupa Pico
Season 1
Episodes: 26 x 3 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: light-hearted short form slice of life
I've since finished it and... it's entertainingly mental, with surrealism, horror and comedy death.
I liked BanG Dream!, but I had to look up my original review to remind myself of that. It's another girl idol/band anime. There are lots of those. However I have no reason not to continue with this spin-off, especially with the parent show continuing in 2019 and 2020.
This isn't even the only 2018 short-form BanG Dream! spin-off. There's also Pastel Life.
Anyway, this episode gives us THE AGE OF WARRING GIRL BANDS! A storm is brewing! Darkness. Rain. Bands dramatically enter, one by one. Afterglow are punks. Pastel Palettes look cute. Hello, Happy World! look like drum majorettes. Roselia are satanic goths. Poppin'Party, the parent show's main characters, are... actually normal-looking, so they jump through the windows without opening them first.
Then the lights turn on and everyone's nice and friendly. Let's go to a family restaurant together!
It's only three minutes long, so what the hell.
Basilisk Ouka Ninpouchou
Basilisk: The Ouka Ninja Scrolls
Basilisk: Ouka Ninpouchou
Season 2
Episodes: 24 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: macho historical with eight-year-old heroes
It's a sequel, but the original Basilisk anime came out in 2005, so I don't know if that counts.
It starts with portentous voice-overs about history, flames and Oda Nobunaga... then the target audience's assumed age drops like a stone. We meet eight-year-old heroes. There's lots of historical stuff. Swords, more swords, those shallow-cone straw hats, etc. It's also suggested that incest is fine and okay.
I fast-forwarded. This isn't for me. Is it a macho samurai historical, or a kiddie children's show? Neither of those would be my personal preference.
Beat less
Season 1
Episodes: 28 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: studying androids
I've since finished it and... it's serious, thoughtful SF, but with slight weak points in emotion and character.
"In a world a hundred years from now, he encounters the future."
If this is 100 years in the future, mind you, less has changed than you'd think. There's almost nothing you couldn't imagine within the next fifteen years, e.g. nifty things with zebra crossings and automatic supermarket check-outs. The exception to this is the androids. They're called hIEs and so far they're all female. Our protagonist is Arato Endo and he insists on being polite and helpful towards them. He has conversations. To his friends, though, an hIE is a machine and there's nothing creepy about finding one's severed limb in an alley.
There's a slightly empty action scene with a hIE in her underwear fighting military droids. She's escaped from somewhere. Things get interesting, though, when Arato meets flower petal bugs that cause insanity, an out-of-control car in an alleyway and a mysterious hIE who wants him to be her owner. (Arato's sister is startled when he brings a girl home, but she approves on learning that it's an hIE. Androids can cook!)
My favourite bit of the episode, oddly, was a boring legal disclaimer. Lacia gives long, detailed warnings when approving Arato as her owner. He'll be legally responsible for her actions' consequences, e.g. the death of anyone on a life-support system who might happen to be within the electronics-disrupting field she suggests using on a killer car that's about to hit them.
In other words, this show's thought things through. This looks cool.
Sora Umi Aida
Between the Sky and Sea
Sora to Umi no Aida
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: girl fishermen in space
Ten years ago, all fish disappeared from the Earth's oceans.
SANE REACTION: that's an environmental catastrophe that will wreck the world's food chains. The oceanic food web would vanish, wiping out lots of land-based species. Human societies would see famine and economic collapse.
THIS ANIME'S REACTION: all those poor people can't eat the sushi they love so much! Japan, please devote your science and technology resources to building fish tanks in space. Space fishermen can then go and catch them. These will of course include anime girls!
THIS EPISODE'S PLOT: idiot does tourist nonsense when she's meant to be going into space. Rockets. Space swimsuits.
No no no no no.
Beyblade Burst
Beyblade Burst Turbo
Beyblade Burst Chouzetsu
3rd season of Beyblade Burst, which is the 3rd Beyblade series
Episode 1
"Time to go Turbo!" / This is a Super Z Bey!!
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: toy anime for small boys
Beyblades are spinning tops. I suppose it's a nice surprise to know that children are still playing with a toy that existed in antiquity. (Spinning tops have been found on archeological sites.) However, that makes this show even sillier than a trading card battle anime, aka. the silliness gold standard. Six-year-old heroes roar hot-bloodedly at the sky! They're going to be the STRONGEST!!! They must BATTLE!!! They're going to... uh, spin their spinning tops.
The episode starts with two brats who seem even more psychotic than usual for merchandise-driven shounen heroes. They're so competitive that they run off a cliff while racing each other. We're meant to like them because they're the show's heroes, but personally I struggled. My mind wandered. I'd find myself thinking of other things. Why should I care about their determination to upgrade their Beyblades, or even to build a new one? (Valt's gone into the woods to find a farmer who can do insane Beyblade things. An upgraded spinning top can blast a house's roof off with its, um, ability to spin round and round.)
I don't object to this show. Beyblades are funnier than trading cards and I'm sure it entertains its target audience. I wouldn't object if I saw someone watching it, but I wouldn't sit down and join them.
Black Clover
Season 1
Episode 14 of lots
24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: shounen action manga
It's better than 2017's ep.1, because I reached the end credits. Its hero (Asta) is still so aggressive and stupid that one imagines something clinically wrong with him, but the show's grown a plot and a supporting cast. They tend to be Asta-level idiots, but hey.
The main problem's still Asta. He screeches all his dialogue, he has manic, vacant eyes and he's so empty-headed that the show's using him for idiot jokes. He'll shout in astonishment on hearing about a dungeon, then he'll ask what a "dungeon" is. He goes off on rants as if his teammates won't have heard him say all that a million times before. (Asta's the only person in the world without magic, but he thinks he'll become the Wizard King.)
Slightly better are his teammates: the Losers' Guild. (Real name: Black Bulls.) You know the genre trope of a mistrusted group of misfits? Well, that's this lot. Asta fits in! His boss (?) is a smiling danger/pain/violence freak who keeps asking if his friends would like to fight him. There's also a bird-naming conversation where the most intelligent contribution comes from the bird (which can't talk).
That said, though, the dungeon looks cool and I got through the episode. The show's improved. My anime-watching friend who likes Black Clover says it's okay if you remember it's a repetitive kiddie show and never watch more than one episode a week. He admits that the show's full of idiots, but argues that Asta's no longer the annoying screech goblin he was in the first few episodes. Personally, though, I'd still give it an industrial-strength anti-recommendation.
Yagate Kimi Naru
Bloom Into You
Yagate Kimi ni Naru
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: schoolgirl lesbian romance
I've since finished it and... it's excellent. Subtle, well-observed, well-written.
One interesting sign was the 13-episode season length. 12 episodes has become normal, or fewer. Doing the full thirteen is a mild suggestion that someone felt confident.
Our heroine, Yuu Koito, doesn't think she'll ever know love. She might even be right. There's a boy she likes who asked her out, but she's left him hanging for a month because of her unrealistic ideas. "The love that I read about in books and hear about in songs sparkles. For me, when that time comes, I'm sure I'll float away like I've grown wings."
The girl needs help.
She's indecisive, so she lets herself get roped into volunteering for student council work. There she meets Nanami and the air almost crackles between them, although Yuu's too confused and naive to realise. None of this is manifested romantically, though. It's anti-romantic. Neither girl has ever felt any connection with love. Nanami keeps turning down suitors of both genders.
"Everyone's so interested in romance that saying you've no interest makes you feel like a weirdo."
I'm definitely up for seeing where this leads. It's clearly some kind of romance, but more importantly it's exploring awkward, unpopular feelings from people who haven't figured themselves out. The art's middling, at best. The writing's well worth a look.
Kishuku Gakkou Juliet
Boarding School Juliet
Kishuku Gakkou no Juliet
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: Romeo and Juliet macho samurai school comedy
I've since finished it and... it works really well, despite doing lots of incompatible things. It's also funny.
It's doing mental things. Lots of them. It probably shouldn't work, but it sort of does.
1. It's Romeo and Juliet.
2. It's full of macho samurai bullshit, so that it can take the piss out of it. (They're at school, by the way.) The Black Doggy Gang are at war with the White Cat Gang! The swaggering evil thugs who might have been going to commit sexual assault are also idiots who forgot to cut eye holes in their paper bags. My favourite gag, though, was Juliet sending a letter to Romeo. She ties it to an arrow and fires it into the head of someone he's talking to. (Romeo doesn't turn a hair and simply reads the letter.)
3. There's a silly but ultimately charming relationship between Romeo and Juliet, with more character depth than I'd expected. (They're gang leaders who can't be seen fraternising and had huge misconceptions about each other.)
This episode made me laugh, while also having interesting character work. The premise is fun. I'm definitely continuing.
bono bono
Series 2
Episode 91
5 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: daily life of cartoon animals
Bonobono's a sea otter with friends like Raccoon, Chipmunk, Fishing Cat, Big Sister Dai, etc. The manga's been running since 1986 and has had two anime films (1993 and 2002) and two anime TV series (this and another in 1995-96).
This week, a ladybird flies around and dodges a poo. Someone says that ladybirds taste delicious, but on the upside there's a legend of a Happy Ladybird.
It's different, at least. This episode doesn't even have any of the main characters, except right at the end with their backs to us. It's just a ladybird. I have no objection to this, but I won't be watching ep.92.
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
Season 1
Episode 40
24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: shounen heroes at Ninja School
I'm a bit disappointed. Ep.1 in 2017 was a good episode. Unfortunately this time I liked Boruto himself a good deal less, while the episode's storyline contains no surprises. It's shounen action fare, which is fine. That's what this franchise is. However I wasn't tempted to continue, whereas I could easily have done so last year.
Firstly, our hero. Boruto's cockiness and arrogance have made him a bit of a cock. He also doesn't get on with his dad, although that I don't mind. (He's being childish and should lighten up a bit, since dad's responsibilities include being Big Chief Hokage, but that's families for you.) What did get on my wick is the fact that despite only just having passed his graduation exams and now going on his first proper ninja mission, he:
(a) is determined to show that it'll be just a piece of cake for him.
(b) gets cranky when his superior reminds him of the basics.
(c) squabbles with Sarada in a mission that he's been warned will depend on teamwork. "They're going to fail, aren't they?" says the audience. Admittedly Sarada's being naggy, but she's also right.
(d) jumps straight into fights when he's been ordered to wait.
(e) is mouthy.
A village has hired Boruto's ninja clan to defend their food stores from a thieving rival village. Apparently ordinary people just randomly hire ninja and that's how our heroes earn their keep. There's a word for people like that. How many of these jobs involve gangland hits, torture and intimidating witnesses? Well, perhaps those go to Bad Ninja Clans instead.
It's a perfectly decent action runaround, ending on a cliffhanger. It was okay, but no more. On the basis of this episode, I wouldn't recommend the show.
Butlers Chitose Momotose Monogatari
Butlers: Chitose Momotose Monogatari
Butlers: A Millennium Century Story
Butlers x Battlers
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 23 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: pretty boys in school + coffee shop + (sometimes) a story
Pretty boys work in a coffee shop (aaaargh, run away), but only sometimes. The title sequence suggests that there will also be darkness and drama.
It starts badly. The four-man student council strolls around being cool and sexy, while occasionally delivering trivial putdowns to swollen-ego scumbags and rivals. Even the school's headmaster is another pretty boy, indistinguishable from his students, and he gives the student council a hundred-year-old historic building. By the time we reached the Cafe de Vain coffee shop, I was ready to ditch the episode.
Certain scenes, though, have a plot. The student council president has lost his little sister and is looking for someone called Hayakawa. Sometimes he behaves towards girls in ways that are open to misunderstanding, then says "I've no interest in you" and walks off. On finding Hayakawa, he physically attacks him. (Apparently they're "butlers", which in a Japanese accent sounds like "battlers".)
Best Boy = the one who'll tell you what his pot plants are saying.
If you're not the target audience for pretty boy anime, run away. You'll hate this. Fans, though, will probably think the episode's a bit of a mess and will be setting their expectations fairly low... but within genre constraints, the episode has potential.