Fall 2019 Preview

The fall season has started. There are several series I’d like to at least try watching. Overall though, there isn’t much interesting this season. Maybe I’ll watch some older anime as well. My backlog has only grown…

Houkago Saikoro Club

First up is this manga adaptation about board games. I wouldn’t have chosen it myself, but my husband is curious, so we’ll try watching it together. I have read the first chapter of the manga and all I can say is that it’s slow and character-driven. Which is normal with slice-of-life anime.

Summary:

A story about girls playing board games after school!
Kyoto in Spring. Aya is a high school girl who’s just moved to a new town. Miki is her shy classmate, and her first friend. One day after school Aya and Miki follow the committee president Midori to a specialty board games store. The Dice Club!! Without thinking they try out a German board game together.
These girls, who are searching for fun, soon fall into the exciting world of games!

MAL

The first chapter of the manga introduces Miki and her world view, shows her first meeting with Aya and their first adventure together. In 30 pages. That’s why I wrote that it’s slow above.

The promo video is actually much livelier. What’s interesting are the games, which seem to be real games, as in games you can actually go and buy at a game store in the real world. So if you’re looking for some board game recommendations, this might be a good anime for you. The first episode airs tomorrow.

Chuubyou Gekihatsu Boy

Next up, airing on Friday, is this comedy about five boys, who have some highly improbable ideas about themselves. There’s a superhero, an otaku, an angel/devil reincarnate, a tone-deaf singer and a string-puller. Once again this is my husband’s pick and I expect myself to drop this after the first episode.

Recommended for people who liked Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!

Africa no Salaryman

Yet another comedy, but this one is actually my pick. It’s originally a web manga and had already gotten an anime adaptation in 2017. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get my hands on either of those. The first adaptation was a series of 10 web shorts, but this time it should be full episodes, so ~25 minutes.

It’s about three office rats, except they’re not rats, but a lion, a toucan and a lizard. They deal with the usual problems in capitalism and also the everyday issues one encounters after emigrating from the savanna to a Japanese office.

As you can see from the PV, the animation is simple, but cute with a bit of experimentation here and there. This airs on the 7th.

Fragtime

Fragtime is actually not a series. It’s a movie slated for November 22nd. Which means we probably won’t be able to see it outside of Japan until spring of 2020 or until the BDs come out or something. But it’s airing this season, so I’m including it here anyway.

What would you do if you could stop time? Moritani for one is using her unusual ability to stop time for three minutes a day to observe the people around her. One day, she chooses to “observe” class idol Murakami’s panties—only to find herself in a very compromising situation when her classmate turns out to be immune to her power.

Yuri Project

It’s also originally a manga, so I think I’ll read that today.

That’s it! From the hundred works airing this season, I’m interested in these four.

Fall 2018 Preview II.

This is the second (and last) installment of this season’s previews. Unknowingly I picked quite a number of shorts/shorter-than-full episodes this season. Maybe I will be able to follow some of these throughout the whole three months!

Sono Toki, Kanojo wa

A series of shorts about love.

The anime will take place in Fukuoka, and will follow the love lives of four female protagonists as high school students, college students, and as working adults.

—ANN

This could be pretty bad or pretty good. One of the problems some people have with the series already is that it looks like it will be purely heterosexual. On the other hand, so was Tsurezure Children and that was very well received. My expectations so far are high in the art style department, but I’m a little worried as to how the story/stories will be. Anyway, this is airing today!

Continue reading

Fall 2018 Preview I.

Although lately I haven’t had the time to write (blame real life), I still plan on watching some, namely six, anime this season. I’m sure I won’t be following all six for the whole 12+ weeks, but a girl can dream, right? Without further ado, let’s look at the first three today. There will be a second installment on Sunday.

Jingai-san no Yome

Jingai-san no Yome (lit. Outcast’s Spouse) is airing today!

Tomari Hinowa is a normal high schooler, until one day he’s told that he has to become the wife of a mysterious creature called Kanenogi. This is the start of their newly married life.

—MU

It’s adapted from a yonkoma, so the episodes are going to be only 5 minutes long. The genre is comedy, though we expect a bit of slice-of-life as well.

Since I have not been able to get my hands on the manga, I don’t know what else to expect. The PV doesn’t give much information either. One thing is certain though—the monster spouse, who loves drooling all over the boy, is cute.

Entry on Tokyo Otaku Mode

Continue reading

Kodama in Anime

Let’s dive into some figures of Japanese folklore and their representation in anime. Today I would like to focus on kodama, Japanese spirits that inhabit trees. Japanese dryads, if you will.

Up until a short time ago, the word kodama immediately made me think of the Ghibli rendering—glow-in-the-dark bobbleheads with wonky heads from Princess Mononoke.

Then I watched Hoozuki no Reitetsu and saw a totally different kodama.

Instead of tiny toy-like figures with asymmetrical faces, I was met with a child-sized spirit with an apron over a kimono and leaves sticking out everywhere. Now, they are both cute, but otherwise rather different. That made me think, what about other depictions of kodama in anime? Continue reading

結城友奈は勇者である | Yuuki Yuuna is a Hero: 1-3

While searching for kodama in anime, I came across this magical girl series. One middle-school Hero Club usually helps out in their community by finding homes for stray kittens, putting on plays for kindergarten children or cleaning up the shore. As it turns out though, the club has a mission bigger than that.

As always, there will be SPOILERS for the first three episodes!

In the first episode, the girls are chosen to protect the Divine Tree and through that the world. They transform into magical girls and take on their first enemy.

Virgo Vertex

On the other side of the equation are the Hero Club members. Continue reading

Anime Mirai 2015

This is a double review, attempting to highlight the short animations that come out off Young Animator Training Project. In 2015, the project was called Anime Mirai and it spawned four animations. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to get all four. Hence it’s only a double review. I’ll try to make it as spoiler free as I can.

Aki no Kanade (アキの奏で, lit. Aki’s Rhythm) – J.C.Staff

It has been 10 years since Aki moved to Tokyo to pursue her childhood dream of becoming a taiko drummer. However, trying to balance work and taiko practice is harsh, and each day is incredibly stressful. One day, Aki receives a phone call. A taiko drum festival is going to be revived after 15 years. Will she be able to come back and give technical guidance?

This is a story of finding lost passion. Before returning to her hometown to train the drummers for the festival, Aki feels like a failure for not being able to live off her drumming jobs. That she still has to keep a second job to pay her bills. But looking at the other drummers in her squad, she’s not the only one.

If you’re feeling lost on your journey and lack the drive and motivation to continue, think back to the things that made you start. That initial excitement and the reasons you have since almost forgotten might spark something. Aki remembers her training and the festivals in her hometown, the way she loved taiko drumming before it became a means of making money. Continue reading

Notes on Mitsuboshi Colors

I wrote about Mitsuboshi Colors in my Winter 2018 Preview I.

I’m expecting a cute slice-of-life, an iyashikei anime. Barely anything will happen… something like Non Non Biyori. Which is a fitting comparison since both are made by Silver Link.

Well, I can certainly say the series did not meet my expectations. There were some good moments, but those could be recounted in a pretty short post. So that is exactly what I’ll do.

Going by episodes, I have two notes on the first one. First off, the anime is very true to the manga. That’s not a good thing, because the manga is rather boring. And second, the CG is awful.

In general, the art style and the animation aren’t exactly stellar. Through out the anime you will see some scenes repeating and a lot of barely modified photos for backgrounds (at stores, the zoo and in the museum). The characters and foregrounds are animated in a very average style, nothing to write home about. There is nothing wrong with any of that, but it sure gives of a lazy/low-cost feeling. Continue reading

ゆるキャン△ | Yuru Camp

Yuru Camp (or Laid-Back Camp in English) aired this last winter. We finished it soon after it aired, but I had been just so busy that I didn’t start writing a review until the summer. So here it is, half a year later.

Rin Shima likes camping, but minds the people, so she goes camping mainly in the colder months. During one of her trips she meets Nadeshiko Kagamihara, a dummy who just moved to the area and wanted to see Fujisan as it’s portrayed on the back of 1000¥ bills. This encounter spurs Nadeshiko to try camping. Together with the (two) members of the Outdoor Activities Club at school she ventures into the great outdoors.

That’s pretty much it. It’s a slice-of-life anime, my favorite genre. After three episodes I was thinking “It’s a nice slice-of-life, though a little stupid. Definitely not a must-watch.” But after the fourth it suddenly clicked with me and the regular length episodes were too short. And less stupid. (Even when they wrapped one of the girls in aluminium, bubbles and cardboard. See episode 4.) From the fifth episode onward it was amazing.

Before hitting the fourth episode I complained to a friend that the anime doesn’t have much to add to my life and he said:

It made you read the manga, mission accomplished.

He was alluding to the fact that a lot of adaptations are made to make the viewers buy the original manga. So as long as it made them read the manga (from a legal source, preferably), it has accomplished what was expected of it.

Yes, I have read a little of the manga in preparation for the review. Compared to the manga, the anime is more, well… animated. Most of the jokes go over much easier in motion, even though the content is pretty much the same.

Word of warning: As always there are spoilers and a lot of screenshots. Continue reading

Yama no Susume: Third Season Ep. 3

My long awaited third season of Yama no Susume (Encouragement of Climb in English) is finally here. I am now on episode 3 and while I had little to note on the first two episodes, this one resonated with me from the first seconds.

Aoi’s mother tells her about the Hanno Alps, which stretch from Mt. Tenran (that the girls have already visited) near Hanno to Chichibu City. Aoi’s itinerary consisted of taking the train from Hanno to Higashi-Agano Station, climbing Mt. Tenkaku and continuing to Mt. Ohtaka. Aoi invited Hinata, but she was busy, so Aoi decided to go by herself.

“I made some for Hinata-chan, too.”
I’m going by myself, though… But Mom would worry if I told her that.

She is absolutely right. My mother also forbid me from going hiking alone when I was around Aoi’s age. For example, if you get hurt, there is nobody to help you or to go get help. Continue reading

Yonkoma, the four cell manga

Everyone saw this post coming, because I have been talking about it for ages—yonkoma, the four cell manga.

Yonkoma is a popular format of Japanese manga, which originated in the beginning of last century. It was inspired by American comics, namely Frank Arthur Nankivell’s and Frederick Burr Opper’s works, which both influenced the father of yonkoma (and Japanese manga in general), Rakuten Kitazawa.

As the (quite literal) translation indicates, yonkoma is a comic strip with four panels or windows. Here are three examples.

All of the yonkoma above are stand-alone mini stories. A plot can begin and end in those four panels. But in the case of all three of these, there is more. They are all parts of manga series, that are made up of hundreds of yonkoma with the same characters and themes. Most yonkoma series belong to the slice-of-life genre or something similarly light. Continue reading