Winter 2020 Preview II.

Second and also last part of this season’s preview.

Natsunagu!

There’s not much information about this one, but the promo image had many people hyped. Until they found out:

  • the episodes might be just 3 minutes long
  • it’s a “propaganda anime funded by Kumamoto local government”

I, myself, don’t mind either, but we’ll see.

Natsuna Kunugi, a university student in Tokyo, visits Kumamoto in search of friends who she could not contact following the Kumamoto earthquakes. There, she meets local people who are full of compassion and uniqueness, including the energetic junior high school student, Izumi. A heartfelt coming-of-age story begins.

—MAL

Airs on Tuesday January 7th 

Nekopara

Nekopara, short for Neko Paradise, is originally an eroge. Years ago it got an OVA and now it’s getting a whole anime series. I haven’t played the eroge, but the OVA was okay. The animation seems a little better this time around, but I’m more worried about the content. It’s a slice-of-life about catgirls working at a café, so I’m afraid there will be more fanservice than story. But there’s cats, so there’s that.

Airs on Thursday January 9th

Somali to Mori no Kamisama

I’ve heard great things about the source manga and the promo video looks awesome, so I really hope this series doesn’t disappoint.

The gist is “A golem looks for someone to look after a human child after he expires in a world where humanity is essentially dead and hated.”, I think. I haven’t read the manga and the summaries don’t give away much.

Except for the golem and the human child, there seems to be a number of other creatures in the series and they all look so interesting. The backgrounds are breathtaking, reminiscent of Made in Abyss for example.

Airs on Friday January 10th 

Oda Cinnamon Nobunaga

This is my husband’s pick, I’m not expecting much. Various warlords from the Warring States (Sengoku) era are reborn as dogs with their personalities, memories and grudges intact. Hopefully the seiyuu will do a good job.

Airs on Saturday January 11th

That’s it! Time to watch these and possibly report back.

Winter 2020 Preview I.

You know how people say the winter anime season is always mediocre with just a couple of interesting series? It turns out that this year I’m interested in enough anime series (specifically nine) to fill two season preview posts.

Koisuru Asteroid

The main heroine Mira wants to join an astronomy club in high school because of a childhood promise—as a little girl, she met a boy named Ao at a campsite and while there is a star sharing Mira’s name, there was no star called Ao. So she promised to one day find Ao’s star.

She joins the Geosciences Club (that’s the Astronomy Club merged with Geology Club) to meet Ao Manaka. Her Ao is a girl! From there on I expect it to be a stereotypical cute-girls-doing-cute-things anime.

The premise is kind of dumb, but maybe, just maybe, we’ll learn something about stars. Also the animation looks pretty good. Although this series is an adaptation of a manga, I haven’t read it, so that’s all I have to say for now.

Airs: Friday January 3rd

Yatogame-chan Kansatsu Nikki 2nd Season

We have seen and liked the first season, so this one was an obvious choice.

It’s a series of 3-minute shorts about Yatogame-chan, a cute Aichi schoolgirl who talks in Nagoya dialect. It’s simple, but interesting and entertaining.

Airs: Sunday January 5th

Magia Record: Mahou Shoujo Madoka☆Magica Gaiden (TV)

Do you remember Madoka? The anime series aired in 2011 and it was amazing. In 2012-3 a series of three movies came out, riding the wave. Really, Madoka was huge.

This season we’re getting a side story, so if you haven’t seen the original series and movies, you should still be able to enjoy it. If, on the other hand, you’ve been playing Magia Record, then this is a must-see. (And you probably know more about it than I do.)

The blurb: Young girls can get one wish granted by a cute white creature with telling blood-colored eyes in exchange for becoming magical girls and protecting our world from witches. The series will once again follow a group of magical girls, unraveling a tale of friendship et cetera.

Regarding the animation and art style, the team is similar and so the series will look about the same as the original Madoka. Which means it’s a normal SHAFT anime. If you know their experimental style, you won’t be surprised, but otherwise get ready for a treat.

Airs: Sunday January 5th

Eizouken ni wa Te wo Dasu na!

Another manga adaptation and I’ve actually read a little of this one. The main heroine wants to make an anime, her rich classmate wants to escape her parents’ idea of their daughter’s future and live for herself and the third girl is, as far as I can tell, the manager, who will plot and prod and make it happen.

The style of the manga is something else—sketchy with angular character designs. What’s amazing is that the anime seems to be retaining it. Though it is a bit more polished. (And in color of course.)

I’m really looking forward to this one, because it’s about creation, fiction and reality. Right up my alley. (I’ve also been told the team behind the anime is a stellar one, so my expectations are definitely high.)

Airs: Monday January 6th

Heya Camp△

We’ve watched and loved Yuru Camp, so this one was a given. Unfortunately, there isn’t much information out yet. No episode count, no duration,… just “short anime” airing in 5 days.

Most people expect it to be a series of shorts, but really no one knows.

Airs: Monday January 6th

That’s it for now! Part II. is coming. (Probably on Sunday.)

ブレンド・S | Blend S: 1-3

I know this anime, Blend S, aired two years ago, but I still haven’t finished it. I have a lot of notes, so bear with me. Let’s do this!

The main character, Maika, has a hard time finding a part-time job because of her condescending appearance. I know it sounds weird, but her eyes just have that particular look, that makes her seem disdainful when dealing with customers. And since the customer is our bread giver, that’s not exactly a valued trait at most establishments.

This is a problem until she arrives at Stile, a café half full of otaku, where the waitresses act out certain archetypal roles while serving the customers. There’s a tsundere (Kaho-san), an imouto (Mafuyu-san) and Maika-san earns the sadistic role for her eyes.

The whole anime is less about the inner workings of a café and more about the character mechanics. For that reason, let me quickly introduce the five who appear in the first episode.

The main character, Sakuranomiya Maika, is a sheltered youngest child of a wealthy, traditional Japanese family. She tends to speak in polite forms of verbs, making her down-putting edicts even more so. Unfortunately this singular characteristic can’t be translated into English very well. Continue reading

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