The Winter 2014 show season was another disappointment, in that none of the new shows turned out to be a must-watch. I’m told that all the animation is digital these days, and one can see the impact in the quality and ambition of animation in recent shows, but the scripts don’t get any better. Silver Spoon (Gin no Saki), a second season of the agricultural anime, is rather good and I have been following it. A summary of the more or less interesting and the best avoided follows below.
Gin no Saki (Silver Spoon) #2:
Second series of the agricultural comedy drama. In episode 1, Hachiken tries to find out why Misaki is sad, and discovers that cows can have brassieres. In later episodes, Hachiken over-exerts himself over the school festival. Seems as good as before, so I have been watching.
Wizard Barristers Benmashi Cecil
Magic-users coexist with humans, if you can call it that, for magic use is generally forbidden, and transgressors are defended by special ‘wizard barristers’ or lawyers. In the opening episodes, this looks like a police procedural show, with the police and lawyers smiling at each other, and the perps committing some truly spectacular megical crimes. Enter Cecil (Cecile) Sudo, at 17 the youngest wizard lawyer ever, and with a burning desire to defend magic users. As the script frequently remind us, Cecil is young and very cute, and impulsive to the point of taking on a case before she even checks in at her new employers’ offices.
I was not impressed by the magic, which is really over the top, or the general premise. One would write this show off as rather well-trodden and so-so, except that it looks fantastic, with great animation and character designs. I’ve carried on watching just for the look of the show. See how realistically the clothing and bodies are drawn and posed, and check the amazing hairpiece worn by Ageha.
World Conquest Zvezda Plot:
Average youth Asuta meets a strange litle girl, riding around on her bike (with training wheels) as though she was lost. She claims that she is part of a secret group plotting world domination, a claim that seems less and less like a joke as the episode proceeds. Truly bizarre, and one is tempted to tune in again just to figure what is really going on. One or two of the early episodes are deliriously bizarre, but the pace and invention seems to flag in later episodes.
Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha:
Nice middle school girl Inari lives near the Inari Shrine, and is sensitive enough to see supernatural things. There’s a boy she has a crush on, but being shy and a klutz, she gets nowhere. The Goddess at the shrine grants a wish after Inari rescues a fox-creature, giving Inari the power to look exactly like another girl, her love-rival. It’s charming and quite well-done, if you like old-fashioned shoujo series. On the other hand, the main story-line did not make a deep impression on me, and I have found some of the sub-plots with the secondary characters equally interesting. Still watching.
A show a few minutes long about a girl who sees supernatural beings that other people can’t. She has a gung-ho schoolfriend who is obsessed with the occult. Worth another look.
Average Shio Ogura goes on a school trip to Taiwan. Cue supernatural attack, and a counter-attack by “E-Gene Holders” infused with the spirits of famous historical figures. Turns out that Shio is the E-gene Holder for Oda Nobunaga and her arm converts to a machine-gun. Amusing stuff, more inventive than idiotic. Still watching.
About a minor God looking for followers while fighting supernatural monsters, and the girl who gets involved with him because she can see things that others can not. I liked the animation and the storyline and the characters. Still watching.
Nobunaga the Fool
Elaborate sort of science fantasy show, with the world divided between East and West, and with various characters named for famous historical personages. I’m not sure if the eponymous character is supposed to be Oda Nobunaga or a foolish relative of his. I liked the busy-looking animation and mechas, and the rest of it is amusing enough. I feel my interest waning after several episodes.
Tonari no Seki-kun
A short show a few minutes long. Diligent student Yokoi sits next to Seki-kun, who messes about inventively on his desk and distracts her. Amusing. I can’t help wishing that somebody would punish Seki-kun though.
Chuunibyou demo Koi series 2
A second series about the fantasy-obsessed characters, one or two of whom seem in need of psychiatric help. Part of the appeal is the characters, and there is the “car-crash” element as the slightly older characters try to ditch their embarrassing middle-school pasts as Demon Lords or fairy mages, while the obsessed younger characters won’t let them.
Hozoki no Reisetsu
About the work of a bureaucrat of Hell, working for Lord Enma, the chief devil. It’s animated busily in the style of an old ukiyo-e print. Quite amusing. Check the sadistic humour as Hozoki goes about his daily work, and the very detailed opening credit sequence.
Ichiji Raku wants to escape his yakuza heritage. There’s a girl at school he likes, but a mixed-race blond beauty transfers to his class, and he quickly gets into a highly antagonistic relationship with her, which gradually mellows a bit. Years ago, he exchanged key/lock charms with a small girl, and there’s more than a hint that this was the classmate he admires. It turns out that the blond girl is from another yakuza family, and their respective parents want them to fake a romance for the sake of inter-gang harmony. This is improbable and not altogether original stuff, but well done and the opening episodes are very funny. OTOH I rather lost interest in it later.
Uninteresting Generally dropped after one episode.
Robot Girls Z:
A 5-minute show about cute girls doing stupid things and smashing up the town with robot weapons. Not my thing, so dropping.
A second series – I missed the first series which was clearly no loss. School comedy drama about students with lewd thoughts. The school life is dull and the jokes are adolescent. Dropping.
Saikun, Imouto no Yousou ga chotto okashiinda (Recently, my sister is unusual):
Main character gets a step-sister with a ghost problem. Cue incest and chastity belt gags. Even if you are over 18 and like smut, avoid this awful dreck at all costs.
The inevitable response is “No it doesn’t,” not for me anyway. A school drama with supernatural battles.
Average teen gets chased by a nutter in a giant robot from the future. A cute girl saves his ass. The robot’s firepower seemed rather weak, but I quite liked the show and watched the next one, to find out what happened next. It looked like a routine giant robot show, so I dropped it.
Super Sonico the Animation:
Seems to be a trailer for an allied product. The character is a student, a model and a band member, and irritatingly never takes her headphones off. 23 mins seems much too long. Not my thing.
To Aru Hikoushe e no Koita (The Pilot’s Love for …):
An attempt to do a Miyazaki, but neither the aircraft nor the characters impressed me at all and I baled out early.
A short animation about a yellow creature with unsuitable thoughts. Amusing.
Comedy-drama about four detectives with super powers. The first episode actually had a plot which was tolerably interesting, but the characters were not so interesting and the animation goes freaky for the magical bits. Dropped.
Onee-san ga Kita:
3-minute short. 13 year old Tomo-chan gets an older step-sister who seems madly in love with him. Unappealing.
Mikakunin de Shinkoukei:
The heroine turns 16, and finds that she has been engaged without her knowledge to a 16-year old from the mountains, who arrives to stay along with his rather mature and bossy little sister. However the heroine’s older sister turns out to have a thing for little girls. Very odd. Most of the characters are irritating. I watched some more episodes but did not feel like watching the whole thing.
3-minute episode: A fantasy series about a detective agency, who seem better at wrecking things than at anything else. Amusing, but it did not make much impression on me. Dropping.
Go! Go! 575:
I saw the raw version. I liked the character designs, and one of those girls looks familiar (like Ayase in ‘Oreimo’), but could not make much more of it. Saw the subbed version and found it uninspiring. It’s supposed to be about composing short poems.
Earth is invaded by supernatural monsters with murderous intentions. Soon has various cute teens engaging in supernatural battles. Rather bad. Not my thing; dropping.
High school lesbians kissing and so on. Asides from that, the school daily life is is quite tedious. Dropping.
The much-trailed horror show appears as a 4-minute short. The first episode has some blood in it but explains little; it’s more of a teaser than anything else. Watched a bit more and found that it’s a bloodbath of no particular interest.
Mahou Senshou (Magical Warfare):
Takeshi goes to school early for morning kendo practice, finds an unconscious girl who turns him into a magician. They are attacked by some moody magic-wielding teens, and then Takeshi’s friends show up and get turned into magicians too. Not my thing; dropping.
For reasons doubltless connected with the success of Moyashimon and Silver Spoon, this is set in a rural agricultural college. The hero is creepily obsessed with an idol singer, Yuta, and secretly sends her root vegetables. Meanwhile, the idol singer gives up her career and a student called Ringo Kinoshita who looks a lot like Yuta enrolls at the rural agricultural college.
There is a lot of coarse humour, and I enjoyed this more that I should have done, given the improbable premise. The second epsisode killed it for me, as it contained a lot of adolescent ‘humour’ that was about as amusing as watching paint dry.
Wake up Girls:
Keen but inexperienced troupe of seven idol-singer girls wants to achive professional success, despite the absconding and inept management. Routine stuff.