Backlog: Week 20

I’ve been thinking and have come to the conclusion that these posts aren’t all that useful. Especially when I don’t have the time to watch and finish more than one or two series a week. And they have been shorts or OVAs lately. With one series, I might as well write a full review, which will be much more interesting and in-depth. And 20 is a nice round number to end at. So this week’s backlog post will be a final one. Instead I’ll try to write full reviews and more importantly, my favorite research post. It might be a bit more work, but also a bit more fun for both you and me. Feel free to comment on my decision here or over on Twitter.

Anyway, this week I meant to finish the first season of Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? And I finished it… today.

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?

Also known as DanMachi. First of all, I’d like to say that this is not what it seems from the title. It looks like an adaptation of a generic harem light novel. Now I haven’t read the light novel, but the anime is not a generic harem.

DanMachi is a zero-to-hero story. Bell Cranel, a wannabe hero, spends his days fighting at the easiest dungeons to bring money home to his Goddess. After killing a monster he gets a stone, which he can exchange for money. He’s the only follower of Goddess Hestia, the only member of her Familia. Gradually he gains strength and a number of friends. Now here’s where it gets tricky – female friends, mostly. From there many anime would take the harem road, but Bell-kun is so innocent and clueless, that while there are some face-to-chest encounters, he never stoops to ecchi things. So points for that. Continue reading

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Backlog: Week 19

Surprise! Back from the honeymoon with a new post, because of course we watched anime. I watched 2 episodes per day (on average), while managing to run around Switzerland every day. That’s 14 episodes in total — 8 full (10+ minutes) and 6 shorts. I finished Ani Tore! XX and Himouto! Umaru-chan OVAs.

Ani Tore! XX

Ani Tore! XX, short for Anime Training, is the second season to Ani Tore! EX which I wrote about in Backlog: Week 6. They are three-minute shorts about six girls, who want to become idols. In the second season they start living together (and with you) in a small house. Once again they train a lot — jogging, swimming and just exercising in general.

I rate it 4/10, aka bad, because it has no invention whatsoever. All the girls are flat cookie-cutter archetypes and there is no story to talk about. I watched it to fill my quota of episodes and because I watched the first season. Continue reading

Backlog: Week 18

There was no Backlog last week, because I hadn’t watched enough and therefore had nothing to write about — I had only watched 1 episode per day and hadn’t finished anything. This week I did better and watched 2 episodes per day.

Natsume Yuujinchou Go Specials

These are two episodes bundled in with the BDs. As with all Natsume Yuujinchou works, they are consistently high quality in storytelling and very good in animation.

The first special, or OVA, is about the youkai makers of the so-called “One Night Cups” who come to the area, because a spring will produce water that will strengthen anyone who drinks it. The bond between the makers is nicely portrayed — their worries about their livelihood and each other.

The second OVA is about Natsume stumbling into a game of youkai hide and seek when he’s trailing Nyanko-sensei going to a drinking party. It’s not as heartwarming as One Night Cups and actually a little scary.

In other news, we are on our honeymoon (yes, I’m blogging on my honeymoon) and won’t be able to watch anime and blog about it next week. So see you in two weeks!

Backlog: Week 17

Doing better this week! I watched 9 episodes, including 7 shorts. That’s two more than last week…

Sekkou Boys

Sekkou Boys are not just another idol anime. These boys are plaster busts and their just appointed manager Ishimoto-san has to wheel them around. But other than that they’re regular idols — scandals, too little work and too much, looking for their niche in the big world of show business.

Yes, I’m slacking off at being an otaku and studying instead.

Backlog: Week 16

I can’t say this week was less busy than the last. Actually it was pretty bad. I managed to watch just 7 episodes, including 3 shorts.

Koukaku no Pandora

I finished this only because I was doing quality checks of the subtitles. Otherwise I wouldn’t have forced myself to watch it right now.

It’s about an idealistic cyborg, who’s wishing for world peace, and a nekomimi combat android. Together they save lives, cats and the whole island in every episode. They’re invincible through the power of technology. And girls’ love.

Then there’s this main story arc about a technological weapon underneath the island, that everyone wants for their unjust goals.

It’s not a good anime. Continue reading

Backlog: Week 15

This week I’ve been pretty busy. I still watched 21 episodes, but a great majority were shorts — 19 to be exact. Oh well, better luck next week.

Ani*Kuri15

This enigmatic title is an amalgamation of contractions. Ani is a contraction of anime, Kuri of creators. This 18-minute piece is comprised of 15 one-minute shorts, each produced by a different creator from Japanese anime studios. See the list on MAL.

One of the 60-second stories is Good Morning by Satoshi Kon of Madhouse. He died 7 years ago, leaving behind works like Memories or Paprika. I admire his varied skill sets — storyboarding, directing, screenplay, key animation,… Anyway, you can see the likeness to Paprika. Detailed backgrounds are one thing, but the appearance of the main character is a dead give-away. And it works great. It’s a clear, concise story told in a minute.

Another is A Gathering of Cats by Makoto Shinkai. That’s a name you’ve probably been hearing a lot lately — he’s the director of Kimi no Na wa, Your Name in English. I liked this one the best, because cats. Planning world domination/destruction at that.

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to watch Your Name this week.
Like I wrote above, hopefully next week will be better.

Backlog: Week 14

Here we go again. This week I watched 13 full (10+ minutes) episodes and 9 shorts. Roughly three episodes per day on average.

Shinkai’s short movies and advertisements

I watched Cross Road, Someone’s Gaze, Egao and Taisei advertisements. In my opinion Cross Road (above) is the best of them. It’s a cute idea about two high school students studying for entrance exams. The animation is beautiful (it’s Shinkai, of course it is).

Someone’s Gaze wasn’t bad either. It’s about a family and their relationship, especially father-daughter, and how it changed throughout the daughter’s life. I teared up. Continue reading

Backlog: Week 13

There was no Backlog last week, because I only watched 8 episodes and did not finish a single anime… This week I did better and watched 23 full episodes. No shorts! (Although Aho Girl and Tsurezure Children are only 12.5 minutes.) I finished 4 anime.

Working!!!

This is the third season of Working, a series about a family restaurant in Hokkaido and its employees. This season is the last with this cast, so many story lines are being tied up. It’s very satisfying because of that.

Everything else is the same as in previous installments. Animation, sound,… all in pretty good quality.

What I mind is that the finale is in a 50-minute special, instead of the series having 15 episodes. I’m pretty sure there’s a good reason for that, like finances or something similar, but like this the series is definitely not a concise project. Just like the other seasons, which ended with so many loose ends. Continue reading

Backlog: Week 12

My backlog adventure is back after…three months. My exams are over and, while I’m still studying a little over summer break, I do have time for some anime. This past week I watched 20 episodes, including 15 shorts.

Nyanko Days

I’m a cat person. We have a British Shorthair actually. So naturally, I jump at all cat anime. This one is a series of 2-minute shorts about Tomoko and her three cats – a Munchkin Maa, Russian Blue Rou and Singapura Shii. The cats have their cookie cutter personalities and Tomoko is an average Japanese high school freshman. Within two minutes there’s not much happening… It wasn’t a complete waste of 24 minutes, but I really don’t have anything to say about it. Continue reading

Backlog: Week 11

This week was awful as far as anime goes. I was very busy and when I had some free time, I’d study and not watch anime. I watched 21 episodes, including 12 shorts.

Natsume Yuujinchou Go

New seasons of Natsume Yuujinchou are always a safe bet. I was having a hard time watching stuff at the beginning of fall last year and was looking for something I could depend on to be soothing and well-done. Well, this is it. There are a good number of regular “youkai-of-the-day” episodes, but there’s also some development with the Matoba clan and Natori-san gets one episode. Overall, exactly what you’d expect.

Young Natori

By the way, the next season, Natsume Yuujinchou Roku, will start airing on Wednesday. Continue reading