2015 continues to be eh in anime, overall. Winter was extremely disappointing while Spring was indeed good, but not quite that great like Fall 2014 was (although I miss that season mainly because it brought upon us GARO: The Animation). And because we crossed into Bizarro World apparently and none of us noticed, this summer does seem to be the season with the most potential this year, despite Summer usually being the shittiest season there is (let us not remember Summer 2010). What new spore of madness is this? Let’s find out!
Ushio and Tora
I’m really goddamn surprised that this manga managed to get an adaptation. Ushio and Tora is a really old manga (read: 1990-1995) about a boy and his demon pet that doesn’t really stand out much from any 90s shonen manga except in its integration of Japanese mythological beasts with then-modern Japan, which admittedly was a novel concept then. I don’t think it aged very well apart from the excellent chemistry between the two eponymous characters, but to say it’s bad would be a lie. It does have a pretty epic and wide-reaching plot, so there’s that.
Now, it has some really good staff behind it. It’s being animated by MAPPA, who I like a lot because their animation is fucking awesome and Studio VOLN, who have done fuck all. It’s also helmed by Trigun director Satoshi Nishimura. It’s not going to be modernized like Parasyte was, so I guess you should watch it if you want to feel like learning about Japanese mythology and 1990s Japan and oh yes MAPPA’s eyegasmic animation.
Oh ho ho ho ho. This one’s a doozy. This thing is like every rap video mixed with every Scorsese gangster film condensed into one package and filtered through the lens of a Japanese madman. It’s about these two hitm… er… bodyguards who manage to be absolute fucking badasses despite the fact that one of them is deaf and the other is missing an eye. Together, they must fight a man named Doug (really?) and his horde of mutant thingies called Twilights.
This thing just oozes style and confidence. It has violence, asses, drugs, tits, action, asses, sex, corruption, asses, grimdarkness and did I mention the asses in every chapter, framed by the unique dynamic between out two leads. Right off the bat, the trailer features motherfucking dubstep music, which anime fans seems to hate but fuck ’em, dubstep is awesome. It’s done by Manglobe, who can do pretty good animation provided they don’t have to hold their staff at gunpoint (seein’ ya Samurai Flamenco). It also has the director of Ergo Proxy, so maybe this is Manglobe trying to travel back in time to 2005 when Manglobe was the shit.
Red-Haired Snow White
Shoujo anime’s been on a roll recently, with And Yet The World Is Still Beautiful, Blue Spring Ride, Yona of the Dawn, Kamisama Kiss Circle Inside Another Circle and Ore Monogatari!! all being the bee’s knees. That’s like, five consecutive seasons in which shoujo anime has been pretty good. Can Red-Haired Snow White keep the streak? Let’s find out!
The plot concerns one red-haired girl called
Yona Shirayuki who lives in a world where red hair is considered the hottest, most boner-inducing thing ever and not the subject of wide ridicule and Irish alcoholism jokes. Because said red hair is the hottest thing ever, the prince requests her to be his concubine. Yona Shirayuki ain’t havin’ dat shit, and flees the country, in the process meeting Zen, the prince of a neighboring country, who takes her in as his court doctor.
The premise seems pretty standard for a fantasy shoujo manga, but it’s actually pretty well written. The writing is legitimately funny and heartwarming at times, and the characters are pretty damn good, especially Zen. It’s animated by BONES, so it’ll look pretty and it’ll be directed by Masahiro Ando, who mostly worked as a storyboarder on Fullmetal Alchemist. Most importantly, Arakawa Under The Bridge writer Deko Akao is on board! Okay, so she also wrote Astarotte’s Toy, but shut up will ya.
Gods Eater Burst is some PSP video game I can’t comment on because I wasn’t one of the chumps who owned a PSP and I was too busy getting my ass kicked in Devil Survivor 2 and Radiant Historia by the time this game came out. I never even personally knew anybody who had a PSP, since we all had DSes. The only guy I sort of was aware had a PSP was some guy nobody bothered to talk to for reasons beyond being stupid enough to buy a PSP. Although I do hear (from sources other than said guy) the PSP was pretty swell, although the sales say otherwise. Heh.
All I know is that it had neatly done cutscenes made by ufotable and that us Westerners didn’t like the game, apparently (although it may have something to do with a shitty translation courtesy of a shovelware publisher). The plot concerns 2071 Japan in which the Earth was destroyed by the Aragami and there’s an organization named Fenrir which deploys soldiers with weapons called God Arcs who Specialize in killing Aragami so that They can Become a God Eater after They Capture and Eat all the Gods (With Fava Beans and a Nice Chianti, presumably) .
The worst part of this premise is that it is coming out in 2015, after Attack on Titan and a glut of knockoffs of Attack on Titan. If I didn’t already know this was a vidya first, I’d think of it as another mindless AoT clone like Seraph of the End. But still, despite all the Proper Nouns, it sort of sounds interesting. It has the director of The Garden of Sinners, the only Nasuverse work I really liked, so there’s that. It’s going to be streamed by Daisuki of all places, so prepare for their shitty video player.
Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace
I really don’t mind more anime based on novels. They’ve been sort of consistently amongst my favorite anime (see: Tatami Galaxy, Legend of the Galactic Heroes, From the New World), probably because deep down literature is the best medium there is.
And so, this season’s noitaminA offering claims to be based on the works of writing genius and all around swell guy Edogawa Ranpo. His most well-known creation is Kogoro Akechi, the baddest cat in the whole damn town and who is more or less Japanese Sherlock Holmes.
Sadly, adaptations of Ranpo’s works have been less than stellar. The most well-known is the 1994 film Rampo, which was… eh. There’s also the legendary trainwreck Black Lizard, which blurs the line between stupid good and legit good.
The title references the Laplace transformation, which means that it’s either 11 episodes of the characters doing advanced calculus or something really pretentious because really, nothing that references something French in the title cannot be anything but the pinnacle of pretention, although 11 episodes of characters doing advanced calculus showdowns does sound like something from early noitaminA.
It’s directed by Seiji Kishi, who is sort of a middle-of-the-road director. Of all the series he made, I liked exactly one (Humanity Has Declined). The writer is sort of really new to this and his most notable works are Akame ga KILL! and Yuuki Yuuna Is A Hero and I sort of doubt his ability to write a compelling overarching mystery especially given that this is only 11 eps. Oh well. Hype retired.
Also, that person in the really tight trousers with some spine problems and a severe case of Shinbo’s Neck is a dude. Okay, I’m sold.
Gate is a series of (ugh) light novels with an… interesting story behind them.
The premise of the series is that there’s something called the Gate (roll credits), a parallel world full of elves and really cool shit like that. But, however, Glorious Nippon’s pure interests are threatened constantly by big bad meanies like USA and China who are clearly just a bunch of evil bastards and yup, it’s the Infuriating Political Masturbation Anime of 2015!
See, it was originally published for free on the webs, and then a publisher got interested. However, there was one major flaw with it: it constantly espoused the author’s really right-wing and ultranationalistic views. Fortunately for us, the publisher convinced him to remove them. But, sadly, things are not that simple, and it’s readily aparent that said views are inherent to the premise.
Okay, so vile politics aside, the main character is the standard slacker otaku type, like Justy Tylor without any of the charm. It has a character named “Piña Colada”, so it’s already stupid beyond redemption.
Staff-wise, it has the director of masterpieces like Captain Earth and Symphogear and the acclaimed writer of timeless classics like Beyblade, Ichigo 100% and Black Bullet, as well as the Disney-like animation of A-1 Pictures. Clearly, a quality staff for a quality product.
Rokka: Heroes of the Six Flowers
Man I want to be hyped about this. But I think I just can’t. Yes, it’s a light novel without everything I hate about light novels, so no fucking little sisters or harems. Yes, it’s by the director of Spice and Wolf. Yes, I must reiterate that this is a light novel without everything I hate about light novels. But remember that the director also did Spice and Wolf but also she did Cosprayers (which is the worst anime ever) and Aki Sora (which is tremendously fucked up). It’s also by an studio that has only done Rail motherfucking Wars.
Still, I still feel like I could get behind this. According to the TV Tropes article I read as part of my rigourous research, it seems to have a thrilling plot filled with mystery, so I guess I’ll give it a shot, obvious Holo clone bunny girl aside.
Man, I love it when something completely blows my expectations, and Overlord certainly did. It’s a particularly refreshing take on the whole “stuck inside a MMORPG” thing popularized by .hack// like 50 years ago and that has been stagnant for a while, Log Horizon aside. The premise is about this guy who is completely and utterly awesome at this game playing an evil skeleton lord. Then he gets stuck into the MMORPG, except that everyone else left. Man, sounds like playing on Terraria servers. So he does what all of us would do and proceeds to dick around.
However, I find that this premise does have its drawbacks. It is very much an escapist power fantasy without any apparent drawbacks (at least not in the five chapters I read). Maybe there is more later on, but given light novels’ track record with power fantasies, I may be being too optimistic about this.
Chaos Dragon is a series based on a role-playing session with Kinoko Nasu, Gen Urobuchi and stop right the fuck there. Sorry if I’m being undeservedly negative to this, but come the fuck on Japan. I’ve actually role-played before, and I know that roleplaying sessions are chaotic, wild and while fun to play, it’s usually not as fun to watch or read. That said, it does seem to have a fairly interesting plot regarding politics in a high fantasy setting and also a chick that looks suspiciously like Holo.
The director is a total newbie that has in his resumé “Meganebu! (TV) : Storyboard (OP),” which is the most depressing credit this side of “Animation Director of Dai Shogun” and the writer has done… well, nothing of note. I can’t exactly say what I think of this series given that it’s a goddamn roleplaying session, but I expect loli popes and gazebo fighting.
Blue Spring x Machine Gun
This is one of those shonen manga that don’t even pretend to appeal to the target demographic. It’s about this girl disguised as a boy called Hotaru who gets into the world of airsoft fighting and let me tell you airsoft is some real fucking hardcore shit, mate. It’s also filled with homoeroticism between the bishonen filled cast and Hotaru, technically making this both a reverse harem and a pseudo-yaoi thing. GFantasy, are you guys sure this is shonen? Oh wait, you guys serialize Black Butler.
Brain’s Base is making this series, which is… not very good considering they’ve gone to shit since Omori left. The staff is also quite inexperienced as far as I can tell, which is also a minus. At least it has good source material.
Daily Life With Monster Girl
The second series this season by Lerche (who I thought rhymed with “blerch” but it seems it rhymes with “clerk”), Daily Life with Monster Girl is a harem manga spun off from a bunch of hentai comic strips. It’s extremely similar to any other terrible harem manga ever made where the main character is a complete dullard who can’t bone none of the girls for X or Y reason (X being would cause an international incident and Y being half the girls don’t have vaginas [to which I answer well, they still have mouths, don’t they?]) except it has monster girls. I know I’m sounding extremely dismissive, but I wasn’t terribly impressed by what I read of the manga; it’s just standard harem romcom hijinx. Combine this with a rather weak staff (the director has done nothing except some Zexcs movie no one saw because no one sees anything Zexcs does and the writer has done mostly adaptations) and a boring trailer and sorry if I sound slightly bored when writing this. I guess you should read this if you saw Harem Comedy #2854785921 and thought “this is great, but it’d be better if Bigtits McTsundere was half snake”.
Charlotte is a series by P.A.Works, a studio that made a total of one good show. It’s has a fantastical premise about “special abilities” that occur in some people during puberty (a.k.a. boners) and the main guy (who is not named Charlotte) meets some girl (who is also not named Charlotte) and they will determine the fate of power users (none of whom are named Charlotte) oh who cares it’s a Key project. Last time I watched an anime by Key writers, it completely wasted its interesting premise and focused instead on really bland drama nobody cares about. Yes, I’m still salty about Angel Beats! and Celestial Method wasting their potential.
A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist
Holy fucking shit, look at that title!
Ok, so let’s give some serious thought to the whole “dirty jokes don’t exist” premise. On one hand, it would spare us from every terrible ecchi manga to ever exist (and of course, their adaptations), which is already a plus. On the other hand… actually, there is no other hand. I want to live in said boring world. It’s still a better world than the one where JC Staff still makes terrible LN adaptations. But I digress.
From what I read of the manga adaptation, this thing is the sort of raunchy humor that gives raunchy humor a bad name. It’s about this world where a thinly-veiled satire of the Tokyo Metropolitan Ordinance Regarding the Healthy Development of Youths (surprisingly, Japanese law bills, Victorian novels and shitty LNs all have stupidly long names in common) turned Japan into this 1984-esque dystopia. And that’s as much as I grasped because holy shit this thing is boring.
I think it’s supposed to be a satire, but it doesn’t really work because for fuck’s sake exaggerating TMORHDY it into an Orwellian-esque thing is amongst the stupidest forms of satire. And I’d still forgive it for this if it were funny, but it isn’t. It’s just dumb. And not in the good way JoJo or this very season’s My Monster Secret is.
My Monster Secret
My Monster Secret is a harem manga about idiots in love with one idiot assuming the worst of other idiots and then commiting idiotic things as a result. It’s simulatenously better and worse than it sounds. The humor is not really my kind of thing, although I admit it’s well-written and made me chuckle more than once. The main character has quite an endearing personality, which puts him ahead of 99.999% of harem MCs. It’s quite well-put together, but I lost interest in it after some chapters. Maybe it’s not the sort of thing you marathon.
The staff’s not much to say about, except for TMS Entertainment, who does good animation and also pissed off the manga fans for changing the art-style. But hey, it does have to be animated be, y’know, anime, unless we’re talking about Dai Shogun.
The existence of Classroom Crisis confuses and enrages me. It’s an anime original work by a new studio called Lay-Duce which is a hilarious name because it vaguely sounds like slang for taking a shit. So, what do you do with your new studio with the director of Gundam Build Fighters and an anime original work? Make a goddamn fucking high school slice of life, of course. Good God, Japan.
“But wait!” Studio Take A Shit yelled at me as I moved on to the next anime, “they have part time jobs!”
Okay, wow, I retract what I said, this is so original. 10/10, A+++ and Anime of the Year.
You may know Prison School for that memetic “boobs are nothing more than fake asses” panel. The manga is pretty much like that the entire way through. It is absolute and complete insanity the way through, and I didn’t know I needed Prison School until I read it. There’s something about how much it embraces its premise and the levels it’s willing to go to that just… works.
Sadly, J.C.Staff is adapting this series, which is sad because the artwork is excellent. Fortunately, none other than motherfuckin’ Mizushima (he should probably make that his official name), the comedy genius behind Shirobako, Genshiken and Girls und Panzer is directing, so I fully trust him to make this into a good comedy, J.C.Staff aside.
Hey, is that Doge I see in that picture?
I was realkly ready to dismiss this as another moeblob series because it runs on Manga Time Shitrara Forward which has the two godawful Madoka spinoffs nobody reads and the typical moeblob character designs. Buuuuuut, I actually read this and I was wrong. Oh boy, was I ever wrong.
It’s actually a psychological horror thing written by Nitro+ staff in which they all are in a post-apocalyptic wasteland and the main girl is just hallucinating she’s in a typical moeblob slice-of-life 4koma. This thing is actually really engaging and tense and delightfully bleak.
Unfortunately, this is done by Lerche and come the fuck on. They already proved they have craptastic animation, and it doesn’t help that it has the director of Muv Luv. Still, the original writer is on board for it, so maybe it’ll do the manga justice.
Castle Town Dandelion
Ahhh, yeah, Manga Time Kirara again. It felt weird to talk in a positive note about a Manga Time Kirara adaptation, so of course they’re back on track with the crap again. Which is sad because this did have an interesting premise behind it about a family with super powers being recorded every day, or just Jersey Shore if spray-tan gave you super powers. But nah, it’s just a bland gag-a-day 4koma with shitty humor. And it’s made by the guys who did the craptastically animated Gonna Be The Twintails!! and
OreImo DxD Absolute Testament of Unlimited World Break or whatever Winter 2015 LN adaptations were called. So expect Quality®©™.
I hate being so straightforward in calling something shit, but Himouto! Umaru-chan is shit. I tried to read three chapters of the manga and could not get past one chapter. It has truly appallingly badly-written gags set against a backdrops of terrible one-note characters that range from unlikeable to holy shit I want to punch this dude in the face and also this is literally the same thing as OreImo. Ugh, I jjust thought of OreImo! Thanks a lot, lads.
And to think Dogakobo sort of was in a roll with Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun, Laughing Under The Clouds and Plastic Memories (hey, I did say sort of).
Apparently, this is a bizarre experimental thing in which half the episodes are live action and nope nope nope I refuse to recognize this as anime. NEXT.
Dragon Ball Super
Another entry into Toei’s remilking of its biggest franchise, this time they got Akira Toriyama on board! I have some really mixed feeling about this, but the most positive thing I can say about Dragon Ball Super is that it wipes GT from continuity, which makes this show Anime Of The Century even if it consists of 100 episodes’ worth of footage of the staff kicking kittens to death while the Crazy Bus title theme plays in the background.
Gatchaman Crowds insight
Gaaaaaattttchaaaaaa on, motherfucker! Gatchaman Crowds was easily in my top 3 anime of 2013, and mind you that this was the year that had WataMote and JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure. It was just a really well-crafted anime with vibrant characters, excellent art direction and a rad as fuck soundtrack. It did have a really shitty ending, but at least it was a really fun ride. All the staff is also back for this second season, so we can probably bet on it being the bee’s fucking knees.
Symphogear GX: Believe in Justice and Hold a Determination to Fist.
I, too, am strongly determined to fist, even if I’m more of an oral man.
Non Non Biyori Repeat
Non Non Biyori is a series that was acclaimed because according to its fans, it captured the essence of rural living. I personally was never too much into Non Non Biyori, partly because soothing anime don’t do much for me and partly because seriously fuck the countryside have you even been there it’s full of bugs and shitty internet. But I do see what others would like about this, although I love modern urban living too much to be into this.
The Continuing Adventures of Shizuo and Celty
Hopefully, they’ll remember how to in-between this season.
Wagnaria!!! (because NIS America wants us to call it so) is an anime that I hold up as an example of how one repetitive overused gag that was never funny the first time can ruin an otherwise interesting series. I do know there are much more interesting subplots literally elsewhere, but that one overused and unfunny subplot about the punching girl literally ruined the entire thing for me.
The Aquarion series is a weird mecha series about orgasm-powered bots or something. Genesis of Aquarion was merely bland, while Aquarion EVOL was probably the epitome of creators not giving a shit about what they were shitting out (and I loved it holy shit). Considering the rather average sales of the series, I’m a bit perplexed as to why it continues to exist. Anyway, this. It has Jun Kumagai as the lead writer, which means I won’t even bother because he’s really in my shit list for writing Psycho-Pass 2.
Junjou Romantica 3
Junjou Romantica is still a thing? I’m pretty sure most yaoi fangirls (and me) have since moved on to other series. Hell, what I most remember about it was that it got me into yaoi and that shitty dere archetypes can also apply to men.
But lo and behold, I was wrong, and Junjou Romantica is still a thing, in all its saccharine glory. And fuck it, I’ll watch it, if only to see Usagi’s ability to turn into a shadow being whenever things get steamy.
To Loveru Darkness 2nd
Huh, is To Love-ru still a thing? I thought it was over when the author’s wife kidnapped their daughter and ok that is some dark shit I can’t make a joke about that. Point is, I thought this stopped being a thing a while ago, or it may just be that I stopped being a horny 15 year old. The promo art has a girl holding a pillow filled with fried fish, which may mean that the main guy will get laid, finally. But Symphogear GX up there promises fisting. Decisions, decisions…
Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya 2wei Herz!
Pillow Boys… is a thing. It’s a bizarre first-person-sleeper (what) in which the viewer a “new and novel ‘sleeping side-by-side’ experience entirely in the first-person perspective” to ‘heal tired hearts.'” (verbatim from ANN and also what) and that the cast is “full of distinctly individual personalities and each catering to viewers who like a certain ‘type'” (yeah right). So, I guess you should see this if you saw Training with Hinako and thought “this is great, but it would be better if it had bishies”.
My Wife is the Student Council President!
Protip to Studio Seven (who has done only one good show): “By the author of Chu-Bra” should not be the tagline to anything except maybe a new and exciting suicide method.
It’s about Miyuki Sawashiro’s voice (the high pitched child one, not the sexy badass one, therefore wasting Miyuki Sawashiro) getting out late and night and getting shitfaced in random pubs around Tokyo and it seems that the Japanese eat really fancy food when drunk instead of greasy kebabs from a Persian man who speaks broken English. Or maybe that’s just me.
Inexplicably, this has some really strong staff behind this, ranging from MAPPA staff to Tiger and Bunny staff and also it’s 3 minutes of Miyuki Sawashiro talking. What more do you want?
It’s a based on a 4koma about a dude and his five sisters. I can’t find scanslations of this manga and it seems to have absolutely no hook whatsoever from what I can read of it unless they’re implying what I think they’re implying.
This thing is /a/ The Manga. I mean, for fuck’s sake, the main character’s sister has the word “normal” where her face should be! This manga is made by antisocial idol elitists for other antisocial idol elitists. Read this if you hate people and other idol fans.
That Is A Seiyuu!
I’d love to say something related to this show, but holy shit it’s made by GONZO. All of GONZO’s talented staff went to David Pro and Studio Gokumi to make JoJo and stupid moeblob shit, respectively, so expect nothing than an A++ quality show.
Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.
Justice the founder of my fabric moved:
To rear me was the task of Power divine,
Supremest Wisdom, and primeval Love.
Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure.
All hope abandon, ye who enter here.