BanG DreamOverlordmechaJapanese
Anime 1st episodes 2018: P-Q
Including: Pastel Life, Persona 5: The Animation, Phantom in the Twilight, Pingu in the City, A Place Further Than the Universe, Planet With, Ple Ple Pleiades (Seasons 1-4), Pochitto Hatsumei: Pikachin-Kit, Pop Team Epic, Puzzle & Dragons X
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2018
Series: << Anime 1st episodes 2018 >>
Keywords: BanG Dream, Overlord, favourite, anime, fantasy, SF, mecha, alternate universe
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 10 first episodes
Website category: Anime 2018
Review date: 8 September 2020
Listed under "F": Piano no Mori, aka. Forest of Piano
It's an OVA series of three-minute episodes: Quanzhi Gaoshou, aka. The King's Avatar
It's an OVA: Queen's Blade: Unlimited, a bad reboot of a boobs-oriented franchise
Couldn't find: PazuDora
It's a movie: Pretty Cure Super Stars!, which I liked a lot
It's a movie: Peacemaker Kurogane: Belief
It's a movie: Peacemaker Kurogane: Friend
It's a movie: Penguin Highway
It's a movie: Pokemon the Movie: The Power of Us
Pastel Life
Season 1
Episodes: 6 x 3 minutes
Keep watching: there's absolutely no point in watching this... but I will anyway.
One-line summary: vapid nonsense
I've since finished and... it's better than I'd thought. Ep.4 was funny.
It's a spin-off of BanG Dream!, which I quite liked. However that had full 24-minute episodes, whereas this was three minutes of empty drivel. Two girls (Aya and Chisato) discuss going out for a break. "You've completed the shooting on your drama." Aya wants to go to the mall to buy headphones, but Chisato says they can't do that because they're celebrities.
No, that's okay, says Aya. She then puts on a slightly overdone outfit and some tinted sunglasses. Chisato seems to think there's something wrong with her friend's fashion sense (I don't get it) and puts on tinted sunglasses herself. Having thus donned impenetrable disguises, they go out... and of course get recognised.
Summarised like that, you could almost think that the episode was meant to be a comedy. Maybe it was? That wasn't the impression I got from watching it, but maybe the show's aiming for laughs and just muffed the tone here? Anyway, this show will cost you brain cells. However the total running time is so negligible that I'm going to take the hit and watch it all anyway. I'm planning to continue with the other BanG Dream! anime, after all.
Persona 5
Persona 5: The Animation
Season 1
Episodes: 25 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: another Persona game adaptation
I don't really like the Persona franchise, but this is the 41st episode I've seen of it. Before this, I'd seen Persona 4: The Animation (26 episodes) and The Golden Animation (13 episodes), plus Persona 5: The Day Breakers (one-off episode). Obviously I'd have enjoyed all those more if I'd played the games. Unfortunately I haven't, so I've generally struggled to get into choppy anime adaptations of 100+ hour games with intentionally empty protagonists who stare into space while other people have conversations and overlapping realities where you acquire different "personas" and use them as superpowers in fight scenes. Or something.
I've heard it said that Persona 5 is good. Dunno if that's a majority opinion, but I've heard it. However it also made a bad choice for me by being thief-themed, with our hero Ren Amamiya's superhero persona being a phantom thief called Joker and/or Arsene (presumably a reference to Maurice Leblanc's Lupin).
There's weird stuff, as usual. There's a future-Ren and a past-Ren, with the former possibly being a bad game outcome or something. He was pulling a job in a casino when he got caught by the cops (good) who beat him up in brutal interrogations (good). After that, though, we jump back six months to a time when he was on probation from a grevious bodily harm conviction and getting a new chance in a new town. (He thinks the conviction was unfair.) Naturally he's about to blow this second chance big-time, but we also learn that a prison is inside his heart and so he's probably not in a good psychological place.
He's told this in his brief trip inside the Velvet Room, which appears to be a dimension owned by a goblin called Igor. He also sees the world shimmer purple, after which he walks through a castle portcullis and gets menaced by a kitsch "king". After that, a glowing butterfly activates his superpowers.
There's no way I'm watching this. I don't like Hero Thief anime (Lupin III, Mysterious Joker, Magic Kaito 1412) and I've never really liked a Persona anime yet, so this looks like a big pile of Finn-repellent. Those are just my personal prejudices, though, so don't let me put you off if you're interested.
Phantom in Twilight
Phantom in the Twilight
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: monsters and magical pretty boys in London
It's a Chinese-Japanese co-production. The episode I watched had people with Chinese names speaking fluent Japanese while living in London, which to be honest was a bit confusing. Anyway, our heroine is Ton Baileu and she's about to get involved with personality-free pretty boys! She's come to study in London with her best friend, but then her luggage and wallet get stolen while she's walking down the street.
What's more, the thief is invisible. She gives chase.
Ton is fine. She's a lot more interesting than most reverse-harem protagonists. The boys, on the other hand, are below-par. The whole point of a proper harem or reverse-harem show is to provide lots of entertaining haremettes, but if asked to describe this lot, I'd be struggling to get beyond "tall".
The supernatural angle is quite nice, though. The episode's London feels accurate to me (and I live in London), while the magic stuff includes mirrors you can walk through and goblins of variable visibility. There's even a spriggan. I was surprised to learn that Hyde Park contained a forest, but it's okay because that's magical too.
I could have kept watching, though. It's not horrible or anything. It's sort of okay.
Pingu City
Pingu in the City
Episode 14
7 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: children's CGI anime about penguins
It's 6:30 am and Natsuki's come down to watch anime with me. I'm about to put on some random thing when I see that it's got UNCENSORED in the title. Natsuki was five years old then. Right, time for Pingu.
It's a CGI Pingu by Polygon Pictures, so he's got a bit more freedom of movement (and slightly less charm) than the original 1990s claymation. He's a penguin in a world of penguins who all speak Pinguish. This week, Pingu and his friend help a baker sell his bread by turning it into gigantic bread sculptures. The friend has big eyebrows and I've just been googling to find out what species he is. Rockhopper penguin, perhaps?
It's fine, if perhaps a little weaker than the last episode I watched of this show because this time Pingu's not being appalling. It gets the Natsuki seal of approval, though, and he's the target audience. He thought it was funny.
Sora Yorimo Tooi Basho
A Place Further Than the Universe
Sora Yori mo Tooi Basho
Season 1
Episodes: 13 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: YES
One-line summary: schoolgirls go to Antarctica
I've since finished it and... it's excellent.
I'd heard that this show was good. It set everyone buzzing and got a ton of critical love. I'd been looking forward to it.
What I hadn't been expecting was to absolutely love it. Immediately. Not just "see why everyone likes it", but fall head over heels with how funny and fantastic it is. I don't know if it'll manage to sustain this quality level, but I'll be watching religiously anyway.
The character designs are a bit cuter and more cartoonish than I'd expected for something this critically acclaimed. This is great, though, because it's funny. Kimari could make me laugh just by opening an envelope of money, or by nodding furiously to deny that she's telling a lie. That said, though, the animation can also be great in its emotional sincerity, e.g. "come with me".
That's Shirase inviting Kimari to come with her to Antarctica, by the way. Yes, the real place that's 14,000 km away from Japan. (Should we be making greater use of metric prefixes for global or extraterrestrial distances, perhaps? Kilo (k), mega (M), giga (G), tera (T), peta (P), exa (E), zetta (Z), etc. You get a bit lost in zeroes if you're told that the Earth's circumference is 40,075 km or whatever, but what if we thought of that as 40 Megametres? That I can remember. Our heroines here will be travelling over a third of that. Similarly, the distance to the moon is 380 Mm, to the sun is 150 Gm, to Alpha Centauri is 41 Pm and to the Andromeda galaxy is 24 Zm. Pleasingly, the Milky Way's width is a nice round zettametre.)
Anyway, Kimari is funny and lovable, but there's also stuff going on underneath. She has a list of things she'd sworn to do in high school and she cries at the start of the episode because she hasn't done any of them. (She later tries and fails.) As for Shirase, she's not that interested in social connections and everyone at school calls her Miss Antarctica because that's all she talks about. They think she's joking. "I'll go, then rub it in the faces of everyone who said I couldn't."
These aren't just generic Cute Anime Girls. They're quite complicated people, but they're also adorable together. Even after only one episode, I'd already call this a must-watch.
Planet With
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: it's weird
I've since finished it and... it's clever and I admire it, but it can be repetitive.
I don't know what I just watched, but it's from the creator of The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer. (That manga's been on my "to buy" list for years.)
Our hero (Kuroi) is a schoolboy who lives with a green-haired boob maid and a giant purple bubble-headed cat.
He moved to his new school two years ago and he doesn't have any memories from before that, but he's getting on with things. (He's been told that he lost both his memories and his family in an accident.) A girl from his class, Takamagahara, is interested in him... but then UFOs appear over the Pacific Ocean, heading towards them. Kuroi is excited and wants to greet them. Takamagahara is sensible and doesn't. A seven-man superhero group assembles to fight the UFO, including an elderly man. Kuroi is sent to fight the superheroes. (Even he's puzzled about that one.)
There's a hallucination about someone who grew up to be a firefighter, then Kuroi takes a superhero power tube.
If you think that synopsis doesn't make sense... well, that's two of us. I don't even know what the title means. The episode's fun, lively and interesting, though, even if it's not very easy to process. I'll keep going.
over lord
Ple Ple Pleiades
Seasons 2 + 3
Episodes: 2 x 13 x 90 seconds
Keep watching: yes
One-line summary: comedy super-deformed version of Overlord
I've since finished it and... it's fun.
The "heroes" in Overlord are a happy family of super-evil monsters, fiends and man-eating demons. These micro-episodes are Blu-ray extras, in the same chibi art style as Isekai Quartet.
This episode has Ainz and the gang suddenly finding themselves in the real world, working at "Nazarick Corporation". That's enough to catch my interest in ninety seconds. The Season 1 micro-episodes added up to a combined episode with a plot, broken up into bite-sized pieces. Looks like the same here. Should be a laugh.
Incidentally, I was wondering why Demiurgos becomes "Demiurge" in the English subtitles. I googled. The Japanese name is the original ancient Greek term for a demiurge, who in the Platonic, Middle Platonic, Neoplatonic and Neopythagorean schools of philosophy was the creator and maintainer of the physical universe. Goodness me. I knew he was clever, but...
Pochitto Hatsumei Pikachin Kit
Pochitto Hatsumei: Pikachin-Kit
Episode 87
24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: kiddie anime
It's a Saturday morning children's show, broadcast at 9:30 am on TV Tokyo. It seems fairly normal. Six-year-old heroes (at a guess). A naughty boy who has the power to take over the headmaster and thinks sticking out your fingers makes you look cool. A classmate who keeps saying "Oh my Gow!"
There's also a live-action studio segment bit at the end, with presenters.
I couldn't find ep.1, so I just watched any random episode I could find. It probably wasn't even from 2018. I'd rank it below Pokemon and Yokai Watch, but I'm not the target audience and my opinion probably doesn't count. I have no objection to it.
Pop Team Epic
Season 1
Episodes: 12 x 24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: what the hell?
It's notorious. Everyone was talking about this one. It's almost unwatchable, so half of anime fandom couldn't stop watching it. It's an anti-gag comedy that's off its face with absurdist nonsense and pop culture references that will mostly sail over your head. It's awesome. It's mighty. Trying to watch it is like slamming your face into a concrete block, but more experimental.
It's Pop Team Epic. It lives up to its title.
Ep.1 starts as a generic anime called Hoshiiro Girlfriend, which Popuko smashes through after the title sequence. We then get Popuko punching Pipimi repeatedly in the stomach and asking "are you angry?" These schoolgirls have testicles instead of mouths and are talking with old men's voices. Popuko gets murderously angry when a stewardess asks whether she wants beef or chicken. We go to a spaceship on which Earth is under attack, then to an African mud hut. There's a My Neighour Totoro anti-gag and possibly also one for Your Name, plus what I'm guessing were other anti-gag references to other stuff I couldn't identify.
My notes now say "sizzle between them" and I have no idea what this means.
"There's no way that a silly four-panel gag manga can become an anime," agree some sinister men in dark suits. Popuko and Pipimi become a side-scrolling 1990s video game, then the anime decides that it's all going to be in French. Then, only halfway through the episode, the end credits roll. Everything we've just watched is then replayed with different voice actors. Can you spot what's different?
It's not-humour. It doesn't care whether or not you get the joke. It's giving you the middle finger and swearing. I think it's magnificent in its defiance of, well, everything, but I'm not planning to watch any more episodes of it.
Puzzle + Dragons Cross
Puzzle & Dragons X
Puzzle and Dragons Cross
Episode 48
24 minutes
Keep watching: no
One-line summary: game-based shounen anime with dragons
They've made the opening credits look more impressive! They're darker and more serious, not to mention also having more female characters. Once you actually start watching, though, it's still just Ace having shounen adventures as usual. The target audience's age is particularly obvious when you see the monster/dragon designs. They look like something you'd get free in a box of breakfast cereal.
This week, Ace is trekking through a desert with Talking Egg and Bratty Blonde Girl. He's looking for a mapple tree (original Japanese: "maringo"). They meet a purple woman with clawed bird feet. Unlike them, she's an adult. They find the forest by falling underground (eh?) and meet some baddies with chaos dragons who are going to burn it down. This involves dragonoids or cursed dragons or something.
I'm still not tempted to watch any more, but as always there's nothing wrong with the show. Looks fine. Cast are fine, with Ace in particular being a nice, likeable lad instead of the usual hot-blooded psychotic shounen hero. Looks like a pretty good example of its genre. It's just pitched a little too young and shounen to catch my interest, that's all.