thin slicing the new season, spring 2015 edition

8,000+ words, 25+ anime, 1 mediocre season.

The granddaddy of gimmick posts is once again upon us. That’s right– thin slicing has returned!

Thin slicing is based off of Malcom Gladwell’s Blink, a book about– OH FUCK IT. YOU’VE READ THIS SAME BOILERPLATE FOR EIGHT NINE YEARS NOW. You either get how this works by now or not. And, yes, I’ve been writing thin slicing posts since 2005 where I ranked Nanoha A‘s over Mai Otome.

For people who want to know how this ranking is done, I suggest reading the archived explanation. If you’re like, “This show is ranked too high!” or “Too low!” then, well, you obviously don’t know how this works. For every show high, there has to be a low. Deal with it. And, again, for the sake of time, I don’t rank sequels if I never finished watching the original or if there’s nothing interesting about the sequel. It’s a sequel! If you watched the first season, you should know if you should watch the second as well. You don’t need me to validate your watching of Grisaia.

A twist for this season: Deadbeat anime parent tracker! Please look forward to it. And holy flaming cesspools! There are a lot of anime series this season.

Bonus twist for this season: Bloodborne.

Quick recap from last season: Delicious smell. Never give up on love. Shock! Horror shock! Do you choose to give up the Dollars, or do you choose to give up yourself? I have hated the Earth from the beginning; I have loved the Earth from the beginning. Sha-ba-da-do-do-DONUTS LET’S GO NUTS!

#MR IRRELEVANT. Tesagure! Bukatsumono Spin-off Purupurun Sharumu to Asobou


“The protagonist goes to high school.”

Tesagure! Buka— oh fuck it, I’m not typing that mess again. I have no clue what this show is actually about. I think it is about a bunch of girls discussing making a show, the original Tesagure!. In any case, this show made me want to vomit. The animation is all done via Mikumikudance, and it sucks really, really bad. It looks like an early PS3 game. I might find the animation acceptable if there were a narrative or if it were used for interesting effect, but, nope, it’s just lazily produced, lazily made, lazily written shill of a show. At least that terrible Karen Senki show attempted a plot… this show has nothing.

(I included this show mainly because I wanted to document how bad this show is. It’s bad. Very, very bad.)

(Parent watch: Who cares. No one cares about this show, didn’t even have a ANN or wiki page when I wrote this entry. Though its MAL scores were higher than Ore Monogatari… so… ¯_(ツ)_/¯)

#25. Show by Rock!!


“Shining to the max!”

What the fuck did I just watch? Show by Rock!! is a really confusing series by the esteemed writing staff of Sanrio. The show is like magical girl with music with alternate worlds with magic… it’s a more convoluted genre smashup that doesn’t know what it should be, so it does everything yet nothing. There was a restaurant called Steak Palace in the Mission in SF that had a menu featuring everything from steaks to hamburgers to falafels to tacos to pancakes to fried rice to pizza… and if it didn’t go out of business, I fully expected ramen, tandoori chicken, and boar blood to be added to the menu eventually. That’s what this show reminds me of. There’s not one, not two, but three separate character designs for the main heroine. She’s either anime high school student, CG cat rockstar, or anime ca girl meido. It’s like three dudes at Sanrio came up with three character designs, and instead of using one and making the other two feel bad, they use all three. The only constant is a light cat motif (which many other characters have too), but everything else about the character is inconsistent. Then there’s the whole ungodly bad CG part that featured talking yet none of the CG characters have mouths. Sanrio has gone too far.

(Watching this show makes me think of Poochie from The Simpsons. The whole show feels like it was created in the boardroom of Sanrio to maximize what they think is cool with kids these days. Dear Sanrio, instead of making this crap, I have three words plus a letter for you: Hello Kitty x Minecraft.)

(App phone watch: A key plot point of this show is that a pay 2 win mobile game is involved. Doesn’t it just feel like yesterday when I was complaining about there being too many flip phones in anime? Well, anime has caught up. We have plot revolving around pay 2 win mobile games.)

(Parent watch: Lives with mom. No intel on dad.)

#24. Etotama
Shirogumi, Encourage Films



Things I said to my puppy while watching Etotama, “What am I watching? What am I doing?” “Is this the most anime anime?” “What do you mean that you’ll explain the battle system next episode? Explain now! I don’t want to watch another!” I’m still not sure what I watched. My notes for the show look like the rantings of a madman. My puppy denies all knowledge of having watched this show. Okay, from what I gather, it’s a show about haremettes based on the premise that the mouse screwed the cat out of a zodiac spot. The female characters are all zodiac furries, and the male character lives with them because rent is cheap (despite having house blown up and stuff). It’s a fucking mess. The haremettes are about as developed character-wise as a corpse in Game of Thrones, the character design is post-try hard, and the narrative is just crummy. On top of that, the battle sequences are all CG with super deformed chibi models of the characters. The CG work isn’t as bad as Show by Rock!!, which is why I ranked this one higher. Honestly, I don’t care about either.

(Parent watch: Takeru is an orphan, I guess? That’s why he can’t live at home anymore?)

#23. Wish Upon the Pleiades


“I don’t understand what’s happening either.”

All you really need to know about Houkago no Pleiades is that it is by the corpse of Gainax and inspired by a YouTube video that was originally part of a Subaru ad campaign. How quality of an anime can you make from a car commercial? Not very good apparently. It’s some sort of magical girl show where the girls have to assemble an engine to rebuild an alien spacecraft. They don’t really fight, instead they do maneuvers on witch staffs, and their flying noise are all car engine sounds. Yes, it’s a show about magical girls assembling and engine while making car sounds. The plot is basically non-existent, the characters have zip zero zilch personality, and the show itself has the personality of a rental car. If Subaru wanted something cool and hip to entice anime otaku, they should have partnered with DRRR! to replace the itasha van in that series with one of their cars.

(Parent watch: Has mom. Dad in photos, but unclear if he is dead, participating in Mars One experiment, or trapped under a rock.)

#22. Plastic Memories
Doga Kobo


“I’ve fallen in love, and I don’t even know her name.”

I kind of wish Plastic Memories is yet another shitty anime about a magic high school or even a fanservice harem action police show, but the show is really about watching your dog die, over and over, week in a week out. I have no desire to watch this show. The whole premise of the show is that it humanoid androids called “Gifita” only have a fixed ten year lifespan. After their time expires, they are carted off and put to sleep humanely. The show’s characters are put in charge of retrieving and euthanizing the Giftia. That’s only a backdrop, because the show is mostly about the people parting with their Giftia, how much their Giftia meant to them, and how much the Giftias and the humans loved each other. The “twist” (that everyone saw coming a mile away) in the show is that the main character’s Giftia only has very limited time left herself.

Now just take everything I wrote in the previous paragraph and replace it with “dog.” That’s just the thing though… any story involving a loyal dog and its loving family is always a tear jerker. The fact this anime makes such a relationship pedestrian and as mundane as an office cubicle is the real failure of the show. They built too much crap surrounding the premise that the heart of the show is buried.

(There’s a really old series that aired in the 80s called All Creatures Great and Small. It’s so damn old, I’m not sure if there were telephones in the show. The show is about a vet in rural England. I just remember the first episode, which is about the new vet who has to convince an old man to euthanize his old dog. The dog is last connection to the old man’s deceased wife, and he has a really hard time letting the dog go, despite the dog having serious health issues. He eventually gives the vet the dog because he doesn’t want his dog to suffer anyone. That episode had so much more emotional impact than Plastic Memories.)

(Also, in what situation does anyone need a super lifelike child Giftia? Are child Giftia kinda of like vaping for child molesters? Well, technically you’re not molesting a child, but it still seems weird.)

(At the end of that episode of All Creatures Great and Small, the old man adopts a stray dog.)

(Parent watch: No clue. Just a lot of dead “Giftia.”)

#21. Ghost in the Shell: Arise – Alternate Architecture
Production IG


“Your cyber warfare style is weird. Super weird.”

I really enjoyed Ghost in the Shell: Arise, but I don’t think I enjoy it enough to watch it again. The season is just two new episodes, the first two, and then the rest is a repackaging of the original Arise OVAs. Needless to say, this show is going to be somewhere around Hotel Impossible and Shipping Wars in my weekly watch list. I feel like this reboot is a bit too derivative, as does every Ghost in the Shell adaptation must feature the Major jumping off a building while optically camo’ed? Does every TV series also requires the team to battle an army tank that is taken down by the Major ripping off the hood and also destroying her arm? When does the Major say, “The net is truly vast and infinite.”? I feel like Arise needs to do its own thing. I do like how Batou is a bit more clowny, and Major fucks around even less. I don’t like how the Major has traded in her lesbian sex penthouse for a houseboat. That’s not as cool.

(Stuxnet? Newspapers?! Those things feel old and dated for 2015.)

(My favorite part of the two new episodes is the “GIVE US BACK OUR WATER!” I feel like that’s really speaking to me here in drought-stricken California.)

(Parent watch: Major Motoko is an orphan.)

#20. Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid


“Can I go practice magic now?”

Nanoha is back! I believe ViVid is the fourth series, following the original, A’s, and StrikerS. A new creative team with A-1 is taking over from Seven Arcs, and it shows: the production values for ViVid is much better than the slideshow that was StrikerS. Does it return the series to the glory days? No, no it doesn’t. It’s almost like the franchise forgot what it was about. The original is a meta shifter, which turned the traditional Sailor Moon magical girl formula into something more combat focused plus got rid of male characters. No more fucking Tuxedo Mask to save the day. The combat was also a lot more interesting than tossing a tiara around. A’s took everything Shinbo (one of the few non-Shaft Shinbo anime) did with the original and amped it up.

Since then, the franchise has been floundering. I’ll tell you why. One, all the characters introduced post Belkan Knights of A’s have been especially bland and too similar. Vivio is the least interesting character possible, which is fantastic since she is now the main character (despite the anime being called “Nanoha“). Nanoha and Fate, the two best characters, are now regulated to anime mom role… which I wouldn’t have so much problem with if the franchise would stop saying that they’re “just friends.” Sure. That’s why Vivio has two moms and no dad. The second issue is that the awesome combat that defined A’s is nowhere to be seen. The franchise has just become yet another magic high school type show. I don’t even consider it as much magical girl anymore than something like every other anime involving magic and high schools. I guess if you want cute slice of life high school stuff that doesn’t involve musical instruments, maybe this show is for you? But it has too many things going on at once and doing none of it well.

(Parent watch: Nanoha has a mom and dad, whom she has abandoned on earth at the end of A’s. Vivio has two moms, who are just “friends” who take a lot of steamy baths together.)

#19. Re-Kan!


“This ‘sixth sense’ or whatever you call it is ridiculous.”

Re-Kan! is a low calorie slice-of-life comedy focused on a duo of schoolgirls who can see dead spirits. One girl embraces her ability, the other seem to be in denial. The plot is paper thin. The characters aren’t interesting. The scenarios are as bland as white bread. And some so the actions of the characters do not make any sense. At one point, when it was still sunny, the purple hair girl totally abandons the blonde girl with a bunch of ghost kids. She disappears for hours and returns with candy when the sun has set. She left everything behind, including her bag. How the hell did she buy anything without her wallet or bag? Why did it take hours to buy snacks? It’s Japan! Can’t go two blocks without bumping into a 7-11. Why did she abandon everyone without saying a word? Why is buying snacks more important than spending time playing with everyone? How does logic work? I am guessing she left to buy snacks, realized she forgot her money, so she need to do some, uh, odd jobs to raise some quick cash, and then buy the candy before returning.

(Pervert ghost cat alert! “I can’t get enough of these plump thighs.”)

(Parent watch: Amaami’s mom is dead, lives with dad.)

#18. The Heroic Legend of Arslan
Linden Films


“What does it mean to be a fine king?”

Do you have a lot of spare time? Arslan Senki is a very, very long novel series that originally started in the mid-80s and features a Persian theme. It was originally adapted into anime by JC Staff in the mid-90s, but it was never completed. Now, because of a new manga adaptation from the Fullmetal Alchemist manga-ka, Hiromu Arakawa, interest has returned to the series. It follows a young, naive prince as he must gather forces to reclaim his homeland. I find the story to be a bit reliant on idiot plot (i.e. the plot only works if the main character is incredibly stupid and/or naive), and there’s too much make-up politics and religion. Is your favorite part of A Song of Ice and Fire the parts about Daenerys in Meereen? Then this series is for you. I just rather not stick around in Meereen more than I have to.

(Watching son and/or daughter train in swordfighting is such a cliche way to start an adventure series. Dune… A Song of Ice and Fire… maybe this will be now The Force Awakens starts.)

(Parent watch: Freshly dead.)

#17. Kyoukai no Rinne
Brain’s Base


“It wasn’t that impressive.”

Kyoukai no Rinne / Circle of Reincarnation is totally not Inu Yasha. There’s totally not a man spirit creature who is a bit sassy and strong. There’s totally not a teenage female high school student who somehow gets roped into supporting this sassy man spirit creature. Totally. Yeah… okay… maybe similar to Rumiko Takahashi’s other supernatural romance show that doesn’t have enough romance and much random fighting. The man creature, Rinne, is some sort of shrine god who begs for tiny donations and wears a track suit. Sakura is the happy go lucky go funding Rinne’s adventures. Kyoukai no Rinne is a poor man’s Noragami. Though this manga technically proceeded Noragami, I enjoy Yato’s adventures more.

The characters are competently animated by Brain’s Base, but the backgrounds feel lackluster and unimpressive throughout. There’s also too many whacky coincidences, and there’s a few logic breaks. It’s May, yet somehow the sun is setting at four.

(Sakura and Rinne do not sit in the protagonist seat?! OH MY GOSH.)

(Ghost puppy watch: HUNGRY FOR HUMAN FLESH.)

(Parent watch: Dunno. I’m guessing they exist to fund Sakura who funds Rinne.)

#16. Gunslinger Stratos


“I’m fine with being a sheep. I hope I am a fluffy one.”

Anytime you can make an anime out of a light gun arcade game, you gotta do it. Gunslinger Stratos (sadly this qualifies as a good anime name in the age of something as haphazard as Ghost in the Shell: Arise – Alternative Architecture or I Don’t Understand What My Husband Is Saying). The show is about high school students who train with magical guns or something. The twist of the show is that the main character is all the main villain… which I guess isn’t that much of a twist considering there’s two anime this season using this exact same plot device. The franchise is famously “concepted by Gen Urobuchi,” which I take to mean he did something, but it got changed 100% from what he intended. I also don’t like how most of the world is explained in a short two minute history classroom sequence… mmm… how can we quickly explain the world? I know! Let’s have a history class! So original.

The show has the classic Stormtrooper conundrum: the characters are supposed to be crack shots elite gunmen, but they can’t kill and hit each other too fast so in fact most of their time is spent missing. So basically, much like Stormtroopers, super high trained elite marksmen cannot hit the broadside of a barn because, you know, plot.

Some notes from the future world of Gunslinger Stratos: there’s futuristic microwave dinners, but the TV is still awash in crappy talk shows and reality TV. That’s a depressing reality. Also popular in the future? Minivans. I’m not sure if this is what Gen Urobuchi intended or just A-1 purchased a single CG minivan model and decided to reuse it instead of diversifying. “No one is going to notice!” “What if that nosy blogger from California notices?” “He’s a nobody. Don’t mind him. DEPLOY THE MINIVANS!”

(Parent watch: Tohru lives alone. Guessing mom and dad died on the Death Star.)

#15. Ninja Slayer


“Indeed. I am a ninja. A ninja that kills ninjas!”

I tweeted that Ninja Slayer is a 2002 era Flash animation. It could also be a 1996-2006 era Adult Swim original show, like Brak or Space Ghost Coast to Coast (which needs to return). As such, I don’t think the target audience of Ninja Slayer is the typical DanMachi flag waving anime fan. And that shows… the scores for Ninja Slayer are some of the lowest of the season across MAL, Anidb, and ANN. If you come into it thinking it’s going to be anime, yeah, you will be disappointed. If you come into think thinking it will be a parody of action shows and anime from the 90s (the aspect ratio is a huge clue), you’ll have a better time. Still, the show isn’t without flaws. One, the narrative feels too much like a Powerpoint presentation. Dudes killed my wife and kid. Strange ninja ghost gives me power. I now go kill ninjas because revenge is a dish best served warm. Two, it is a bit too wacky. Even Shinbo is going, “How much acid are they tripping on over there at Trigger?” Three, Trigger is trying way too hard. There’s two anime styles, the Space Ghost Coast to Coast Flash animation style plus typical Trigger style. They do not mesh, and seeing them alternate between cuts sometimes reminds me of the Star Wars fan supercut or the fan remake of Sailor Moon. Four, the whole live action thing that lasted 3X longer than the episode featuring tuna and sexy ninja girls did not need to happen.

(I hope the Taiwanese CG company that is also working on this series is the same one that does all those whacky 3D news re-enactments.)

(Technically, Ninja Slayer is a web show with a supposed real TV anime next year, so I’m not sure if I should include it in the rankings or not. Oh well. I’ll believe a real anime when they prove the authors are actually American.)

(Parent watch: Ninja Slayer-san is a dad. I hope it turns out his family is actually alive, with his family worried that dad has been doing too much LSD. He thinks he is fighting ninjas, but he is really just jumping on the sofa wearing a curtain cape while using the toilet plunger as a sword.)

#14. Triage X


“It’s a prescription… TO HELL!”

Finally! Some real fanservice. Triage X is about melonpan… and more melonpan… and so much melonpan, you don’t know which direction they are going. Show is just a silly action fanservice romp featuring a group of good guys with special powers to take on various monsters that inhabit the city. The twist is that everything has to have some sort of lame medical pun associated with it. Killing a monster is a “triage,” a monster is a “tumor,” and melonpan are “vaccines.” (Okay, that last one is a lie, but why can’t it be this way?) Maybe you’ll be surprised that the mastermind behind this delightful mess is Shouji Satou, most famous for Highschool of the Dead.

There’s just so many tropes I don’t even know where to begin. The main character is part of a shadow organization that hunts monsters, yet goes to high school and sits in the protagonist seat. There’s a sexy teacher. The main character plays by his rules, and the sexy female partner is annoyed with him until she realizes his deep, dark secret. Leader of secret group is a sexy lady who wears undersized bikinis into battle. I feel like Triage X is a show that would have done okay back in the mid-2000s by Gonzo. It feels like a throwback anime to when the only thing that matters is as many melonpan and skintight dresses can one fit in an episode. Still, graphically fanservice action shows aren’t as common these days. At least the BDs will sell like hotcakes.

(I was thinking, man, this show reminds me a bit of Seikon no Qwaser… that show is five years old already? Wow.)

(“I give up! I don’t know how to design sexy costumes!

(Parent watch: Arashi is too metal for having parents.)

#13. The Disappearance of Yuki Nagato
Not Kyoto Animation


“This is a shy girl’s story.”

I think the tl;dr of The Disappearance of Yuki Nagato is that production is not as good as Haruhi Suzumiya and the story is not as good either. Done. The main franchise is just too hard to follow from. Yuki Nagato to Haruhi Suzumiya is like Death by Degrees to Tekken or Dirge of Cerberus to Final Fantasy VII… or even Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya to Unlimited Blade ufotables. It’s definitely not Hearthstone to World of Warcraft. If you have to resort to Mikuru being fondled every episode, that’s a sign of either a great show or a desperate show. You decide.

(Mitigating factor: I always liked the concept of characters doing things outside of their normal world until I see or read it. It’s like Raising Ayanami or the dumb high school Attack on Titan manga. But I still want a dark eldritch horror anime based around the Nisekoi cast… maybe because I want to see most of them experience traumatizing deaths… I also kind of want to see a magical girl show with Major Motoko as the magical girl and Tachi– err– Logicomas are the familiars… a harem fanservice featuring Game of Thrones characters would be great too… Brianne and/or Arya as the anti-man tsundere, Loras as the pretty boy shota bait, Margaery as the girl next door, Cersei as the yandere, Daenerys as the hot transfer student, Gilly as the random extra character who is underdeveloped, Stannis as the dad who is never around, and Melisandre as the sexy teacher always wondering why she can’t get a husband.)

(Parent watch: Yuki Nagato has no parents. Presumed dead. Or aliens. Or whatever.)

#12. Blood Blockade Battlefront


“You can start by saving the world.”

Kekkai Sensen / BBB / Blood Blockade Battlefront is an anime that doesn’t understand time. In the first episode, the main character chases a monkey down the street. When they flashback to why he is chasing the monkey, the show said it was “a few hours ago.” A few hours? More like fifteen minutes. Then there’s the whole confusing narrative with the sister. The main character said that he last saw his sister a year ago, and that he arrived in New York six months ago. But he arrived with his sister. The show makes no temporal sense. Shit just happens, and the show tries it best to half-ass explanations. I expect more from Yasuhiro Nightow. The show is a narrative mess worthy of Guilty Crown or Slaine Troyard. The animation, though, is competent, and there’s a few decent moments, like Zapp trying to steal the main character’s pizza. There’s also a disturbing God’s Eye, which I feel is becoming overused in anime. How come no one ever has a God’s Tongue or God’s Ear? Best case: enjoyable train wreck anime. Worst case: shitty action series.

(Really? Yet another wheelchair-bound little sister? According to anime, the average Japanese sixteen year old boy has one dead parent, one absentee parent, and has a good chance of either being in love with his younger sister or she’s in a wheelchair. I’m just puzzled at the lake flashbacks… it’s a pristine lake with mountain setting, yet it is somehow fully accessible. But they show her on rocks!)

(Then there’s the whole New York thing… shouldn’t it be Jerusalem’s Lot instead of Hellsalem’s Lot? And I wish anime would stop assuming New York is just Manhattan. I’m not sure if Brooklyn, Queens, and the rest of New York feel relieved or disappointed they got left out of the show. Plus, if Manhattan is isolated from the rest of the world except for one bridge, how do they get fresh water, electricity, internet, food, etc. into they city? And how do they get poop out of the city? The poop New York generates is tremendous. I would suspect the city degrades into a lawless zone with people desperately trying to flee off of the single bridge.)

(When I read most reviews about Bloodborne, they totally miss the main narrative point: Japan has a huge infatuation with blood. That’s something any anime watcher or Japanphile would know. Bloodborne just takes all of Japan’s superstitions about blood and ramps it up.)

(Fashion Czar’s review: This show has the style of a Walmart.)

(Parent watch: Apparently, the main character has parents, as they were with him and the sister near the Statue of Liberty. Then the monster came and offered him or his sister the God’s eye… somehow, the parents never noticed. Or really cared. Again, if New York has suddenly been cordoned off from the rest of the world and is now inhabited by monsters, is it a good idea to plan a vacation there?)

#11. Nisekoi


“What are you going to do about this letdown?”

Just for reference, Naru and Keitaro start dating at the end of Love Hina TV. The finale OVA featured them headed towards marriage. Their cameo in Earth Defense Force Mao-chan show their post-married life. I don’t think Nisekoi will ever get to the point where Raku even thinks about deciding on a girl. At some point, maybe the correct reference point for Nisekoi isn’t Love Hina but One Piece, as in Luffy may actually find the One Piece before Raku decides which girl to go with. I’m all for indecision male lead harem fanservice comedies, but Nisekoi is starting to outstay its welcome. It’s going to attempt to introduce three new haremettes for Raku, and it keeps coming up with dumber and dumber reasons why he can’t just freaking pick a girl or at least declare that he’s gay. And who would base love on a locket? At least at some point, Keitaro more or less stopped considering who the promised girl was and just went for Naru.

On the bright side, Shaft’s animation is still quite good, and they put a lot of effort into making Chitoge’s lips look as supple as possible. Though the whole Chitoge trying to see Raku would notice her lip gloss? Who would notice that unless you are a lip gloss fetishist? It’s just lip gloss! And what man would notice nails that weren’t done in a new color? Clear nails? Who would notice?

(Raku doesn’t sit in the protagonist seat? Maybe that’s his issue. He sits in the background character seat, which explains why he is written like a background character most of the time. Sigh.)

(Parent watch: Yakuza dad.)

#10. My Teenage Romantic Comedy SNAFU


“The only thing that is positive is your thinking.”

Yahari Ore no Seishun LOVE COMEDY wa Machigatteiru Zoku / My Teenage Romantic Comedy SNAFU is only the second worst title of this season. It’s also the continuation of the first season, so you should know if you are in or out at this point. SNAFU leaves off no differently than Nisekoi: not much happened, not much worth recapping about. It’s a lightweight high school slice-of-life with light harem elements that doesn’t pretend to be more than its not. There’s no locket or other pretense for why the cast comes together. They are just students with the common goal of surviving high school. One notable thing is Feel is taking over from Brain’s Base, and that’s rarely a good move. The character designs are mostly the same, but the motions seem jankier and the backgrounds are quite bland. I did enjoy the animation from the first season, so we’ll see if this becomes another Minami-ke. Feel’s slogan should be “Kyoto is booked up? JC Staff doesn’t have an opening either? You called Gainax? Well, consider us after all that!”

(Parent watch: I forgot. Hachiman has parents? I just presume they were hunted down by Eileen at some point.)

#9. Denpa Kyoushi


“I was working on keeping my anime blog up to date.”

The Ultimate Otaku Teacher / He Is Ultimate Teacher is what happens when Genshiken and Great Teacher Onizuka had a baby. An ugly baby. A part of me really misses Onizuka as there hasn’t been a good teacher redemption anime in years, so I might actually watch this show, despite its numerous issues. I do appreciate the angle of a teacher trying to reach his students via otaku means, and I do like some of the meta anime commentary (maybe because of Shirobako withdrawals). I think maybe the show is a bit too overdone and tries too hard at times. Like I don’t understand why Kagame needs to snap his fingers each time he solves an issue, or the whole “YD” thing. If the show were a straight drama comedy, it would be a lot better than trying to have so many gimmicks.

Also, there’s some many logic breaks in the show, like how Kagame got a job at the first school sight unseen because the principal thinks he is a genius. Because, of course, being a genius means being a successful high school teacher. Then there’s the time he tries to dox one of this students, and he does this by tossing her an iPad. Seriously. Where are high school teachers paid enough that they can toss iPads like ninja shurikens?

(Characters look like they are from the early 00’s.)

(App phone watch: Another anime featuring not just a plot point but a multi-episode arc featuring a pay 2 win mobile game. I, mean, wow. The basis of the second episode is the girl from the first episode complaining about how she can’t progress in her mobile game because it’s pay 2 win, and she can’t afford to win. I predict in two seasons, there will be more anime featuring mobile games than console or PC games. I think this also shows where the gaming industry is heading.)

(Parent watch: Kagame has a loving yet strict younger sister, but we can presume their parents were taken by the Hypogean Gaol snatchers in Bloodborne.)

#8. Ore Monogatari!!


“But now that you mention it, I can taste the cheese.”

Is My Love Story!! / 俺物語! to Train Man what Nisekoi is to Love Hina? Maybe. This series is more or less the Japanese high school version of Beauty and the Beast. Cute and cheerful girl gets saved (multiple times) by a misunderstood ogre. She falls in love with him. He can’t believe she is in love with him because who the fuck would love him so misunderstandings and a twelve or so episode anime series ensues. The start of the series isn’t bad, but I’m not sure if the show has enough legs to go a full season with just Takeo and Rinko misunderstanding each other. That’s just too much misunderstanding, and there’s already Nisekoi this season. The animation is passable, but quite sparse with simple character designs. There’s also a lot of sparkles. A lot. If you like shoujo-leaning rom coms featuring lots of sparkles, maybe this show is for you.

(App phone watch: I like how everyone has a modern app phone except Takeo. Poor guy has a flip phone, and I think he may have lost his text messaging virginity texting with Rinko.)

(Mitigating factor: There is a lot of bakery in this show, and it makes me hungry.)

(Parent watch: Takeo lives with at least a mom. Dad is unconfirmed.)

#7. Seraph of the End
Wit Studio


“Will you be coming tonight? You have such delicious blood~”

Wit Studio continues adding to their stable of post-apocalyptic shows with Owari no SERAPH / Seraph of the End. I hope their next show is about a harem romance in a post-apocalyptic world. The show starts off pretty gruesomely, with humanity ravaged by monsters and vampires, leading to the main character discovering an enclave of human resistance fighters. The show goes from very, very grim dark to typical magic high school shenanigans. The only show I can think of with such a 180 in mood might be when Gargantia went from space pew-pew to slice-of-life on boats. This change initially puzzled me as I wondered why a near extinct human race would try to replicate a normal high school as well as keep up ice cream production and make TV dramas. I can’t stress that enough: humanity is almost extinct, and people can still enjoy ice cream after high school. You’d think if there were only a handful of humans left to fight vampires, everyone would be tossed into military training. To the show’s credit, they actually explain that only certain humans can wield weapons that kill vampires, so they use the high school as a way to find those people as they hit puberty. It’s not a perfect explanation, but at least the show tries. I give it that much credit.

Another thing I give the show credit for is that the demons would be CG in almost any other show this day and age, but the show actually draws them. It’s a weird effect when you watch this show vs. BBB, but I appreciate it. Just because you can CG it, doesn’t mean you have to CG it. Wit’s animation is quite good, and I appreciate some of their finer details, like differing line thickness and choice of colors. Though they were great at this in Rolling Girls, until the latter half when it turned more like Attack on Potato than the vibrant scrambling, falling girls.

There’s a bit too much magical high school crap, like why are there bullies? There’s also a loli massacre that would prevent this show from being on Toonami. My biggest fear of the show is that the two main characters will turn into Slaine and Inaho or Suzaku and Lulu. Anime has too much of this concept going on. The main antagonists don’t need to follow such a precise formula.

(Parent watch: Yuu started the show in an orphanage.)

#6. Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
JC Staff


“An adventurer shouldn’t be too adventurous.”

ダンジョンに出会いを求めるのは間違っているだろうか or DanMachi spawned a whole rant about light novel titles. If this were the year end awards for 2015 shows, it would win the following: Best Costume Design (Me), Worst Costume Design (Fashion Czar), the prestigious “How the Fuck Do I Fit the Name on a BD Spine?” award, The Most Sabery Saber that Isn’t Saber, and the “I Can’t Believe Japan Is the Same Country that Gives Us Both DanMachi and Bloodborne” award.

Good news: The animation and production values are vastly improved from JC Staff’s last notable dungeon crawler fanservice romp, Tower of Druaga. The show is also responsible for the first anime cultural impact of the season with Hestia’s boob string, which has sent the best minds on both sides of the Pacific trying to decipher its mysteries. Bad news: The story and characters do not seem as interesting, not that Tower of Druaga was that interesting to begin with. Dude has to travel through a dungeon and party with hot haremettes. There’s a lot of contrived scenarios, and, not surprisingly, a lot of breast size comparisons. It’s obvious that the show is trying to be an even lower calorie version of Sword Art Online. Bell even has the same seiyuu using the same Kirito voice. The show, while not full of vitamins and calories, does do what it sets out to do: provide fanservice and occasional laughs. There’s also some pleasant touches like the main character not being a total pervert or useless scumbag, and there’s a nice meido. This blog loves nice meido. ITWTTTPUGINAD is a serviceable anime that you can watch while playing Hearthstone on your iPad. I hope Sentai uses that quote for the back of their BD release for this show.

(Visit this page if you ever feel down. I go there after I die to yet another cheap ambush in Bloodborne.)

(How can Hestia be a Loli Boob Goddess? You are either DFC or not. Can’t be both.)

(Parent watch: Bell has no parents. He left his aging grandfather to shack up with a floozy.)

#5. Punchline


“This is just such a random premise.”

MAPPA is proving to be a steady studio. Punchline is a well-animated show based on an original script by Kotaro Uchikoshi, who is probably better known for writing visual novels. There’s a lot going on the show, but it never feels overwhelming or tacked on. There’s the central premise that a boy is living in a house full of women, each with her own issues. The boy becomes a ghost, and he has to regain his body. Seems simple until you toss in the magical girl, the trouble making spirit cat, the overuse of dub step, niconico references, cam whore older sister, vague anime references (Castle in the Sky?), and a motherfucking pet bear cub. I have no clue how the apartment went from no pets to “I guess a bear cub can stay” mentality in less than half an episode. If the girl is starved for love and affection, isn’t the logical thing to adopt a puppy from the local shelter? How does stealing a bear cub even come into the thought process?

Oh, I forgot about how the world will end if the boy gets too aroused. And, of course, since the girls think no one is around, there’s plenty– PLENTY!– of fanservice and earth destroying moments. The show has maybe one or two too many concepts, yet I think is trying to be a simple life anime at its core. What I do like about the show is that there’s just a lot of good moments. There’s one part when the magical girl transforms, but there’s a B camera showing exactly what is going on behind the sparkles. There’s another where one girl is demoralized after doing a horse mask dance, so the other girls break out their animal masks and recreate Hotline Miami the dance to cheer her up. Simple moments like that make me like this show. Plus, gratuitous fanservice helps.

(Pervert ghost cat alert! Cat apparently enjoys watching sex videos online. Why are all the pervert animals cats? Mmm…)

(Parent watch: No clue. I’m going to presume they were killed by criminals wearing horse head masks.)

#4. Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches
Linden Films


“Yeah, there is something weird stuck down there.”

You want wacky drama, some light romance, and a lot of awkward kissing? That’s Yamada-kun to Nananin no Majou / 山田くんと7人の魔女. The show starts off a bit slow and the poor animation and low cost character designs are a bit off-putting, but the show then comes on-line and becomes a charming drama. The basic outline is that the main character, Yamada, seemingly has the power to swap body with anyone he kisses. Because of this, hilarious antics ensue. Also because of his, he is forced into scenarios where he has to solve life issues of various people he swaps with. The overall story and characters of Yamada-kun feel genuine and interesting. It’s also interesting to see how Yamada gets out of his next mess. He’s not a smart guy, he is athletic, but most of the time it is his hot blooded burning will and impulsiveness that both fixes (and breaks) things. Basically, Onizuka-sensei.

(Character design needs a bit more work. Yamada’s spikey blue hair doesn’t fit the show too well… I like his normal black hair in the live action version more, though I’m a bit terrified of live action Ito. Urara also looks too generic to be the female lead. I think part of the problem is that she’s mainly just two colors, red and yellow. They didn’t need her eyes, hair clip, tie, and skirt to be the same red.)

(Despite fanservice whenever Yamada hops into a new girl, we haven’t seen on screen girl x girl kissing despite having a few on screen boy x boy kisses already.)

(Oh gosh, Yamada-kun is number four?! This is the type of show I would watch if I had nothing else to watch… not a show I necessarily pine for every week like Shirobako or Yuri Kuma Arashi. This season has a bunch of mediocre shows with few stand-outs.)

(Parent watch: Don’t know. Presumably died fighting Vicar Amelia.)

#3. Food Wars
JC Staff


“It’s incredible you have come up with some many train wrecks so far.”

I originally wanted to do a thin slicing where I assigned every show a quote from Shokugeki no Soma / 食戟のソーマ, but then I decided it would be too obscure even for me. But the show has some many incredible lines like, “I want to taste your meat juices!”, “It tasted so bad, it felt like my body is being groped!”, “What a useless hussy you are,” and “Let me have some more, please!” The show is just ridiculous, but in a good way. So far, it is a weird blend of KILL la KILL (the whole school scenario screams Honnouji Academy and the whole cooking aspect is more like No Game No Life where Blank keeps winning. Usually food shows are either food porn (thanks Shaft) or sports anime (Ja-PAN!) but this show, true to its Food Wars name, is a conquest anime.

JC Staff’s animation is a below average, the characters overact a bit too much, and the food porn aspect is lacking. There’s also a bit too much plot that is told to you rather than shown. It uses the classic anime technique where two background characters say this girl is the smartest and hottest in the class rather than actually showing it. I guess it’s faster and skips to the meat of the plot, but still it is a lazy technique. Imagine if Game of Thrones introduced Joffery by saying, “He’s a hateful guy who enjoys inflicting pain on others,” rather than showing the initial scene with him and poor Sansa. There’s also a bit too much, “Do you know who I am?” No, man, it’s the show’s job to show me. Nonetheless, despite its numerous faults, Food Wars is a fun watch. If you want to watch the underdog crush assholes and some have ridiculous WTF food moments, this show is for you. I feel it is an acceptable rest stop on the journey to No Game No Life S2. There’s also the bonus where every bite of Souma’s food is greeted by sexual explosions. The scene where his classmate, Tadokoro, is smothered in honey brings back fun memories of sha-ba-da-do~.

(I’m also really sick of the whole class warfare thing, especially in a cooking show. Seriously? You need riches and fancypants parents to attend this cooking school? It’s the same as Bonjour Sweet Love Patisserie… dear Japan, please do some research. Very, very few rich and wealthy parents tell their kids, “You know what is a good career? Working in a restaurant. Much better than being a doctor or engineer. Fuck getting an MBA, you are going to portion salmon and boil water for the rest of your life!”)

(The ED features the Last Supper, excerpt there’s only nine people around Soma, and Erina is not one of them.)

(Though I’ve heard that later battles can be described in terms of anime, such as the “JoJo battle” or the “Yugi battle.” See, a lot more promising than seeing if Raku’s locket ever opens.)

(Parent watch: Soma has a dad who cared for him and groomed him to be a chef, until the dad got sick of it and went, “Fuck that,” and escaped to New York to hang out with Anthony Bourdain and Eddie Huang.)

#2. Sound! Euphonium
Kyoto Animation


“I chose this school because it was the only one with the sailor-style uniforms I’d always liked.”

Do you like K-On!? Do you like Tamako Market? Hibike! Euphonium is a hybrid blend of the two, much like how Hibiki is a blend between Yamazaki and Hakushu whiskeys. I probably said it before, but I really enjoy Yamazaki whiskey. The obvious music theme along with the group of girls is highly reminiscent of K-On! while the more slice of life nature reminds me more of Tamako Market. This show, though, does seem a bit more serious and less slapsticky than either, especially consider that fat pigeon in one and Yui in the other. If you like Kyoto doing their cute slice-of-life routine, this show is great. If you don’t, why bother watching? It’s like Bloodborne. If you enjoy Dark Souls and From Software, you’ll enjoy Bloodborne. If you don’t enjoy Dark Souls or From Software, why the fuck would you even come within a Kirkhammer of Bloodborne? And, you know what, I like K-On! and Tamako Market.

(Asuka might be my favorite new character of the season. I feel like she and Tsumugi should team up and kidnap cute girls across anime. Like you wouldn’t watch that series.)

(Mitigating factor: Needs moar ponytail Kumiko.)

(Parent watch: Kumiko has a mom! Mom even lives with her! Dad, of course, is nowhere to be seen.)

#1. Fate Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works S2


“Brilliant people shine more brightly than ordinary people.”

Animation is still fantastic for season two of Unlimited Blade Works, and Rin is a first ballot tsundere Hall of Fame candidate. It is sorely missing Gilgamesh swirling around red wine. GODDAMMIT ufotable, YOU HAD ONE JOB! WHERE IS MY DROPS OF GOD GILGAMESH?!

(I don’t understand why Saber’s sticking her butt out. Maybe to emphasis her mind rape by showing her in a position of sexual rape? Very tasteful. Then again, this is a franchise with penis worms, so what am I saying?)

(Shiro confessed to Rin, and we totally not mention it the following episode?! I feel like ufotable should have asked Shaft if they could run Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari during that scene under the stars. Would have fit well. I would have instantly given this season 25 out of 10 with the remaining dozen episodes unseen.)

(Parent watch: Shiro is an ophan. Father figure, Kiritsugu, is also dead. Come to think of it, all the kids have dead parents: Shiro, Rin, Ilya, Sakura… Fate/Stay Night is really an orphan simulator.)

15 Responses to “thin slicing the new season, spring 2015 edition”

  1. Objection: Nagato-san barely has Mikuru at all in the first two episodes, and she doesn’t get fondled on them. That’s the original show, where she got fondled every week. It’s much better than Endless Eight… But I’m a ham of the spin off manga. It’s more Rom Com than anything, even with Haruhi being herself.

  2. All Creatures Great and Small was based off a book written by James Herriot. His books recount his experiences as a vet in the English countryside, and are alternately hilarious and heart-wrenching. And I never in a million years would have expected them to be referenced in an anime discussion. Bravo.

  3. My 2 cents – go watch Netflix’s Daredevil.

  4. Watch “I can’t understand what my husband is saying” and Kiniro Mosaic Hello.

    That is all.

  5. Heh Poochie. That crazy dog :)

    I watch food shows for ‘food reactions’, and like Yakitat!! Japan, Food Wars does not disappoint!

  6. I’m curious why Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku isn’t on the list. Not that I admit to watching it… I guess I answered my own question.

  7. >I’m curious why Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku isn’t on the list.
    Yeah, this.

    Also, I think you could’ve just linked the opening to Fate/Stay Night instead of writing all of that and gotten the same awesome effect. Actually I guess this is a bad plan because I CAN’T FIND A DAMN VIDEO OF IT ANYWHERE ONLINE.

    For Triage X though, I’m confused on whether the manga was actually written by the guy who wrote HSotD or if it’s the artist writing his/her own story. Maybe someone can clarify that, or if I can keep believing what the rest of the internet says.

  8. >The only show I can think of with such a 180 in mood might be when Gargantia went from space pew-pew to slice-of-life on boats.

    I see you forgot about Kotoura-san… though considering how completely unremarkable that show was, I can understand why.

  9. It effing hurt me to see how much the Nanoha franchise have lost of its shine. It’s like the franchise just did not know what to do after StrikerS, so it made spin-off mangas to test the waters while churning out revival movies of the two first seasons. And it was that way since almost TEN YEARS. Meanwhile, Madoka hit it big like a supernova and the Fate franchise rolled again full steam with Fate Zero, Fate UBW series and upcoming Fate Heaven’s Feel movies. I think you can compare Fate/series and Nanoha side by side and see where it did go wrong. Fate knew its core appeal, Highlander style of battle royale featuring legendary or mythical heroes or figures and we all know how the average geek love those “Who’s the strongest?” kind of wang slapping. Nanoha, otoh, is like a mecha anime that never figured out if it should be a real mecha anime or a super robot anime, trying to please everybody but ending up pleasing too few.

  10. For record’s sake, just repeating what a trusted friend of mine told me: Games like Bloodborne suffer from their advertising. It’s “niche” games advertised as much as a Call of Duty, so it ends in the hands of people who haven’t played a Miyazaki Hidetaka game before and don’t know what they’re getting into: being strictly trained by a japanese master, not to satisfy his sadistic needs, but in order to make you stronger. It just requires a great deal of investment from the players and is actually not that hard or cruel, and those aspects aren’t the true reasons for it being a masterpiece, the author is.

    Maybe you could satisfy your GTO needs with that japanese webcomic called ReLIFE.

  11. Hmm I guess its only me who thinks of Ben-to when I think of an absolutely unfathomable and stereotypical , yet fun food based anime.

  12. I wish I could edit my post. But I do want to point out that Sidonia no kishi is not mentioned at all. But it is interesting to me. Being the only non clone on a ship full of clones in the same situation as macross frontier makes for an interesting protagonist. Unfortunately he has the same harem situation that “Alto” had, magnified times 4, with no music. In the latest episode “spoiler” he just found out that the first girl he ever liked who died on his watch and magically rose from the dead as a zed was forcefully impregnated by the guy who hates him the most. Found out via the guy who hates him the most. Like in most harem shows he has virtually no reaction.

  13. I was going to say that Tamako Market was the worst offering Kyoto has ever put out, but then I remembered Munto TV. So, yeah…

  14. Hey Jason,
    how about a new post regarding the last Hibike! Euphonium episode? Don’t know about you, but that was one of the best scripted dialogue in anime I can recall (between Kumiko and Kousaka).

  15. My Love Story is shaping up nicely. It looks like while mis-understanding will continue, alway excited to see an anime series where the couple is together by episode 2 or 3. However, I’m a little off put by some of the crazy life threatening situations they are put in each episode. Feels like the show takes place in Syria.

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