thin slicing the new season, summer 2018 edition

11,100 words, 30 anime, 5 teen boys trapped in another world, and 1 small reason for thin slicing’s delay.

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 THIRTEEN YEARS NOW. You either get how this works by now or not. And, yes, it’s the thirteenth anniversary of thin slicing since it began with ranking Nanoha A‘s over Mai Otome. There’s been enough thin slicings for two zodiac wars, multiple Holy Grail Wars, Strike Freedom to give way to 00 to give way to Barbatos, and roughly 15,532 light novels written by Nisio Isin.

Updates on thin slicing are always on my Twitter account.

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 don’t know how this works. For every show high, there has to be a low. You don’t need me to validate your taste in anime. 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 endorse your choice of anime in Attack on Titan or Overlord. I also might not rank all shows from Chinese studios or shows that are mostly in CG or Flash like Aggketsuko.

A twist for this season: Terrace House updates!

Also, in addition to the on-going renovation project, the Fashion Czar and I are expecting our first child. The due date is close to the start of next season, so who knows? Maybe we can get some anime viewing in between diaper changes and feedings. I don’t know what is going to happen for future thin slicings, but I will try to do them as long as I have time and energy.

Quick recap from last season: Tada-kun commits a top ten anime betrayal.


#MR. IRRELEVANT. Jashin-chan Dropkick
Nomad

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“Time to finish you off with the Royal Copenhagen!”

Jashin-chan Dropkick (Dropkick on My Devil!) is just plain bad anime. The entire premise is explained in the opening, which is that a devil makes a contract with a little girl thinking that she can control/take over the little girl. Nope— doesn’t happen that way. Instead, the little girl is a merchant of death and continuously abuses the devil. The end result is one part violent comedy a la Dokuro-chan and one part domestic violence simulator a la Rizelmine. Every gag in this show is Jashin scheming to defeat the little girl, failing, resorting to a drop kick attack, and then getting repeated eviscerated for her crimes. She then regenerates, rinse, and repeat, while the viewer tries not to fall asleep. The show starts off extremely poorly with just six characters sitting around a hot pot and talking about nothing. The characters haven’t been established or introduced yet, and we get a solid ten minute discussion about meat in hot pots. Is this show so creatively bankrupt that no one— not the writer, not the director, not the original mangaka— could come up with a better ten minute sequence to kick things off with? “Okay, we have an assortment of monsters. Should we go with a battle opening? Maybe some fanservice?” “No, let’s go with a discussion about how great meat is in hot pots. I had hot pot last night, and, let me tell you, thinly sliced beef is delicious.”

The only compliment that I can give this Amazon-funded show is that it is colorful. Animation is fairly lazy, and the character designs are atrocious. They picked the most literal interpretation of “sexy loli monster girl” and then over embellish the characters. There’s the Egyptian girl, who is supposed to be Medusa. There’s the cow girl, who is supposed to be Minotaur. Jashin herself is a topless snake-like thing. The show also provides a few quick sight gags, but they are all perverted monster versions of them. Oh, it’s Ash from the Evil Dead, except he’s chopping up what looks like Jashin-chan’s family. Oh, it’s Snoopy and Woodstock, except Woodstock is flying mini-horse dog thing. Nothing in the show feels worthwhile or original.

(Fashion Czar: “Is it alright for the cow girl to eat cow?”)


#29. Sunoharasou no Kanrinin-san
Silver Link

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“Don’t worry, that size is normal for your age. I think. I don’t know.”

In 2018, it is rare to encounter an anime that isn’t available for streaming on a major service like Amazon, CR, Netflix, or HIDIVE. It’s rarer to have an anime that is also not fansubbed by any major fansubbing group. And that’s the case for Sunoharasou no Kanrinin-san (Miss Caretaker of Sunohara-sou). Fundamentally, this show is an old school harem fanservice anime that leans heavily on how much the loser male protagonist looks like a shouta and how much older all the haremettes are in relation to him in appearance. The show goes to great lengths to continually remind us that he is a high schooler and not an elementary schooler. The main titular haremette is a mama character who acts like a doting housewife yet she is supposed in college or something. In terms of shows where the loser male protagonist is trying to reinvent his troubled life but somehow stumbles into a living situation where he has to room with a half dozen haremettes, this show is very bad. It does not come close to replicating some of the classic shows about high school boys and older women pairings like Onegai Teacher.

Sunoharasou‘s is just too bland with the characters being almost doorknobs. To even characterize them via a trope seems overly generous. The titular haremette and the main protagonist only exist to provide a mama fetish, and neither seem to have any personality or characterization beyond that… which is exactly what we want from the two major characters. Imagine if Jaime and Cersei Lannister only talked about their incest and tried to divert every conversation back to incest. Also, the show never tries to portray any negatives. It goes above and beyond in providing a happy sugar life for the characters. All of the high school girls run the student council. The titular haremette somehow makes Belldandy seem like a lazy tramp. The high school shouta can’t be faulted because he rarely does anything. The show feels like someone read the back of the DVD blurb for Happy Lesson and decided to recreate it from just the blurb. Interestingly enough, the director of this anime is Shin Ounuma, who previously directed— yep— Happy Lesson and also Hand Maid May, ef, Negima, An Imouto Is All You Need, Chivalry of a Failed Knight, and Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya. He was also Shinbo’s right hand man for Bakemonogatari. It’s like finding out that the hot and promising quarterback from high school who threw four touchdowns against Andrew Johnson High School ended up as a shoe salesman.

(Fashion Czar: “Is this shouta anime but it’s not shouta because he’s in high school despite looking like an elementary schooler?”)

(I guess the big reason why this show is down here is that this anime is basically Yuudai Arai’s fantasy. He’s the “Italian chef” on Terrace House Opening New Doors, and he’s basically a six year old trapped in an eighteen year old’s body. He sleeps with two stuffed animals, makes them kiss each other, yet he has only given one of them a name. When another cast member asked him why doesn’t he give both of them a name, he just shrugs. Yuudai’s “dream” girl is someone like his mom who will just take care of him and let him be lazy. At one point, he made his ex-girlfriend travel from Tokyo to Karuizawa, which is a two and a half hour shinkansen ride, to try to make another girl jealous. He’s past man-boy. And I feel like Sunoharasou is tailor made for him.)

(The best part of Yuudai is that during the months he was at Terrace House, he cooked twice, despite claiming to be a chef. When the gravure model cooks more than the cook, that’s a problem. The most famous “cooking” scene of him is when he went to the store to buy an onion by smelling it, and then he made flavorless soup for everyone. The soup was just a boiled onion.)


#28. Senjuushi
TMS Entertainment

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“Just because we’re musketeers now, it doesn’t mean that we are unstoppable.”

Leave it up to Sentai Filmworks to license the worst rated anime of the season on MAL: Senjuushi (The Thousand Musketeers). It is an app phone gatchapon game about collecting anthropomorphized guns set in a post-apocalyptic world. It’s the otome version of Girls Frontline. At least it isn’t horse girls? Or maybe it should have been horse dudes? I don’t know. Nothing about this show makes any sense or is entertaining in any way. The gun boys are all named after antique guns, and they use the antique guns to fight against a futuristic army. It makes absolutely no sense. Somehow, the highly trained military with automatic machine guns cannot hit the gun boys standing in the open, yet the gun boys can nail the military men with their muskets from far distance (and without reloading). It’s worse than Stormtroopers vs. Ewoks, who at least set some traps up. Now imagine if this shooting montage has elevator music backing it. The gun boys at one point managed to take out an entire armored troop carrier squadron with their muskets, which gave me flashbacks to my mechanized infantry losing to phalanx in the original Civilization. Also, each gun boy has a Noble Phantasm, and Napoleon has command seals because why the heck not. For a show that tries hard at times to be steeped in “realistic” scenarios, it blows all realism very, very quickly.

There is also no plot. The first ten minutes are devoted to an endless stream of gun boys meeting up with Napoleon to discuss… crepes. Yep, they are in a desperate resistance, yet all they can think of is crepes. I think around thirty gun boys are introduced during this sequence, and it’s otome hell. Characters keep getting tossed at us without any introduction, following the rule of any otome game turned anime: every character must be in the first episode or riot. The only semblance of a story is that they must rescue a generic old dude who somehow is the face of democracy. The boys all look flamboyant yet boring. They are over-designed yet poorly designed. I don’t know how anyone except die hard players of the mobile game can keep them straight. Also, if you are part of an underground resistance, maybe don’t wear clothing that draws too much attention to yourselves… or make you look like giant, walking targets. What makes the costuming stranger is that each gun boy has normal clothes that are fairly plain (to 1940) but in battle they change into their Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight battle gear.

(The best part of this show is the scene where Kentucky tries to pull out an American flag, but another guy boy tells him, “PUT THAT PUTRID THING AWAY!” Well, then, we all know who is ruling this post-apocalyptic nightmare world. Yep. Elon Musk in one of those Futurama head thingies.)

(Ken’ichi Kasai directed Honey and Clover, Nodame, Kimikiss, Bakuman, Major… and now this.)


#27. Yume Oukoku to Nemureru 100-nin no Ouji-sama
Project No. 9

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“YOU WANNA SETTLE THIS ONCE AND FOR ALL?!”

I saw the thumbnail for this show pop up, and it filled me with dread to hit the play button. I hope Sentai Filmworks uses that for their back of the BD quote. The awfully named Yume Oukoku to Nemureru 100-nin no Ouji-sama (100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams) is derived from a gatchapon app phone game featuring pirate husbandos. The prologue scene is of two shirtless men sleeping in the same bed next to an open ocean-facing window. Where’s my damn Kavalan whiskey?

The start of the show introduces us to the mousy, self-insertable female lead, who travels with two male sidekicks. These two male sidekicks are designed in a way that screams, “We’re only 2 star rarity!” One wears a hoodie and a loose tie. We are then quickly introduced into the meat, or 5 star SSRs, of the show where we meet a parade of hot, non-threatening, bad boy pirates who might be able to be tamed by the right woman. One of them is named, “Douglas.” Another just shows how much of a bad boy he is by going up to every new pirate screaming, “YOU WANNA SETTLE THIS ONCE AND FOR ALL?!” Andobytheway, they aren’t just pirates. They are also princes. They are prince pirates. Why can’t we just get a pirate crew of lovable losers, like Grand Order’s Backspear Boys?

The group eventually boards a pirate ship hailed as being unrepaired for years, yet, somehow, there are fresh flowers on the ship. They didn’t have time to plug the leaking holes, but they were able to pick fresh flowers and leave them everywhere on the ship. Furthermore, the pirates keep a merman on board. In a tiny water tank. I have so many questions about this arrangement. Who thought it was good idea to put a merman on board? Why is he in a tiny water tank in the middle of the boat? How do they change the water? Where does his poop and urine go? Why does it matter at all that the merman isn’t just a merman but also a merman prince pirate?

I’ll leave the rest of the segment to the Fashion Czar, who had a lot to say about this show. “Everyone in this show is drawn so badly. Every one is off model. And she is one very frumpy princess– she’s the princess of the kingdom of Jehova Witnesses. This interaction… have these pirates ever met a woman before? Some poor animator probably worked himself to death for this dumb show.”

(The music of the show can best be described as “man drunk on Kavalan whiskey plays a theremin for the first time.”)


#26. Shinya! Tensai Bakabon
Pierrot+

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“It’s been so long since we were an anime. We haven’t change enough! It’s embarrassing!”

I fully blame Osomatsu-san for this 70s retro revival trend that continues with Shinya! Tensai Bakabon. Maybe if one grew up with this show, there will be some appeal (i.e. if Amazon decides to finally green light a new season of The Critic instead of all these awful anime), but I did not grow up with these shows. Instead, the crass, pop, random, and try hard humor of Tensai Bakabon most resembles Family Guy. Yep. I went there. In terms of “pop culture” references for the sake of being cool and edgy, let’s see… Hooters, Lelouch, Blackjack, and X Japan all make timely appearances. Maybe that’s awesome for 2009, but for 2018 I would expect the guest pop culture references to be Negan, Noctis, Goose, and Akuma. Animation is… uh… interesting. They use the old timey style for most of the first episode, which I can get into. However, at the end, they switch to the same damn art style as Osomatsu-san.

(Fashion Czar: “This isn’t a half hour show. It can’t be right? This gimmick can’t go on for fifteen minutes, can it?)


#25. Back Street Girls: Gokudolls
JC Staff

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“We may have wound up like this, but our souls are still yakuza.”

I have very, very mixed feelings about Back Street Girls: Gokudolls, and I assume similar feelings are why this show is one of the two (I think?) shows not picked up this season by any major distribution service. I understand why Sunoharasou isn’t picked up because it’s just plain terrible. For this show, it’s the troubling plot device of forced gender reassignment surgery. Overall, the comedy is okay. I get it. Idols with a yakuza soul. They might be “pure” on the outside, but on the inside they are raging demons involved in shady cryptocurrencies. I feel like there are many ways to get there without forced gender reassignment surgery. Maybe the girls grew up yakuza tough and somehow got scouted to be idols. Maybe the girls are yakuza but got busted and now have to be public service idols. I don’t know. I feel like there are more ways to get where the story wants to go other than shipping them off to Thailand, forcing them to get full body surgery, and then put them through a year of intense idol training. Even from a purely story logic standpoint, the yakuza boss makes the three idols do this because they caused him a lot of monetary loss. You know what is expensive? Shipping off three people to Thailand for sex reassignment surgery and putting them through intense idol training. You know what would have been cheaper? Just making them work harder at making scam cryptocurrencies. Furthermore, the three idols end up performing at a tiny club in a backalley. How much money does the boss expect this act to bring in?

There’s also the huge giant elephant in the room that modern yakuza deal with prostitution and sex trafficking as much as cryptocurrencies, insurance scams, and whatnot. Sure, the show can tell us that the three are “idols,” but it seems like they have to live in squalor conditions, touch men against their will, and be continuously abused by the boss. There is comedic potential in Back Street Girls, but it has trouble messaging it.

Also, the animation is very poor with some of the lowest number of key frames of animation this season, and it seems like JC Staff just can’t say “No” to a project. Interestingly enough, both JC Staff and Kyoto Animation have about the same number of employees, but they have vastly different amounts of anime airing this season.


#24. Ongaku Shoujo
Studio Deen

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“Ongaku Shoujo? Have you heard of them?” “Nope, probably a bunch of no talent nobodies.”

While Netflix has been stocking up on anime like Violet Evergarden, Fate/Astolfo, Kakegurui, and Devilman Crybaby, Amazon strikes back with Ongaku Shoujo, the homeless man’s Wake Up, Girls!. The shows starts off with a quickie CG idol concert scene just to reaffirm that it is a low rent idol anime, in case anyone might have mistaken it for an isekai anime. The show follows a very flawed group of idol girls (I believe twelve) as they try to claw their up from being a C-tier group to a B-minus-tier group. First sign that the group is in trouble? They booked a concert plus recruitment drive at Narita airport’s international terminal. Who would travel to Narita to audition for an idol group? It’s an hour away from Tokyo, and none of the trains to it are that cheap. Why would Narita airport let them do this? Why wouldn’t they go to Haneda airport, which at least be more convenient and get more Japanese passengers? Okay, the answer is that they need the plot to line up. Because a Japanaese-German (of course) girl and her family are arriving in Narita, and it just so happens that the parents lose their daughter at the airport.

But don’t fear! A strange, sketchy man abducts her and forces her to audition the idol group. Great. At least he didn’t feel up her calves. Somehow, she is a fast learner and instantly better than everyone else on the idol group that the manager wants to replace their current center (who very much looks like Darling in the FranXX‘s Ichigo). The idols are all pretty much identical except for height and breast size. They all have the same face, they all have boring outfits, and none of their gimmicks work. Two of the girls look like they are kindergarteners. One girl just sticks umeboshi on random people. All of the girls like to hold hands a bit too much. It’s almost as if any animator asked the director what would the character’s hands be doing in a scene, he would just go, “They should be holding hands!”

(Fashion Czar left the room before even three minutes has elapsed on this show.)


#23. Satsuriku no Tenshi
JC Staff

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“You no longer have the ideal, perfect living eyes that I want.”

I don’t have much to say about Satsuriku no Tenshi (Angels of Death). It”s an RPG Maker game adapted into an anime that can best described as Fate/Extra Last Encore if it didn’t have the Fate franchise attached and roughly 1/100th the budget. The characters are all bland, and I feel like I’ve seen the archetypes hundreds of times already. Oh good, we know that boy is batshit crazy because he kills animals and licks blood. The protagonist is a 13 year old girl who constantly gets threatened by older men. Conversations are very one sided without a lot of back and forth, and they are generally about how the men want various parts of the 13 year old’s body. Pacing is about as fast the line at the DMV.

Animation is drab, boring, and sleep-inducing with sparse movement and very uninteresting visuals. A single thirty second scene of a crazy guy with three pupils will not redeem twenty-four minutes of bad production. You’d think that a room filled with eyeballs or a crazy guy with three pupils would be more interesting to look at, but somehow this show manages to make them look as interesting as Ikea furniture. The decor and backgrounds reminds me of Let It Die without any of the “fun” personality that game has. Satsuriku no Tenshi feels like a poor imitation of Danganronpa‘s despair architecture with Last Encore‘s tower mechanic with a significantly less interesting cast.


#22. Lord of Vermilion: The Crimson King
Asread + tear

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“Your tamago-yaki are the best!”

Lord of Vermillion Guren no Ou starts off the best possible way any anime can start off: a bunch of frantic, almost impossible to follow action sequences between unintroduced characters as they pair off, fight, and make snarky responses to each other. The characters are all just bathed in red, which makes things even harder to follow. B the Beginning did this type of opening as well, but the biggest sinner is Fate/Apocrypha, which didn’t even feature one of the top three battles from that show. So let it be known that a flash-forward to a frantic, impossible to follow battle with quips will be “the Apocrypha prologue.” After the Apocrypha prologue, we are tossed into normal Tokyo life with the main characters cooking.

Then the apocalypse happens, at least in the form of a very loud and long ringing noise that woke up my puppy from her slumber. The entire city collapses for a week, and it becomes surrounded by a red mist that prevents people from coming and going, much like in The Dark Knight Rises. But, oddly, the main character is out for months, and he just wakes up and waltzes out of the hospital. He doesn’t have an IV or catheter or anything, and he is instantly accosted by pesky journalists. Somehow in this post-apocalyptic scenario, journalists are still on the stake out to get the scoop. A lot of uninteresting conversations happen, and then a demon monster appears. Well, then. The demon slices the main character in half and roll credits. I fully expect the main character to come back to life with magical girl-like powers and vanquish the demons and be the true start to this shounen fantasy nightmare. All of it is just so boring and uninspired. There’s no style, and there’s no compelling reason to make this protagonist any different than any of the hundreds that we have seen before. If this show is supposed to be an advertisement for the long running game series, count me out. I guess there is only so much plot-like substance one can wring from an arcade collectible card game battler.


#21. Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san
Xebec

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“It’s such a luxury that I can sleep on tatami mats.”

I feel like this season has a lot of throwback harem anime, and Yuragi-sou no Yuuna-san (Yuuna and the Haunted Hot Springs) is one of them. It’s yet another harem anime with a surprise cohabitation situation. An exorcist finds out that he’s living with a ghost, and he can’t bring himself to exorcise her, so harem hijinks ensue. Of course, there’s the titular sexy hot ghost girl who we know she’s a ghost because she has a white triangle hat. Of course, they meet while naked in a hot spring (why does a ghost need a hot spring bath?). Of course, there’s a drunk lady with a ginormous bosom. Of course, there’s a man-hating tsundere-like substance who is also skilled in a martial art. Of course, there’s a young girl who doesn’t fully understand man-woman relations. Of course, the male lead is the only person who can see and touch the sexy ghost. Of course, no one on this show wears a bra.

As for plot contrivance, oh man, there are plenty, even by harem standards. One, the poor monk has to live in this absurdly cheap room because he’s broke because a day trader possessed his body and lost all his money. What? Instead of going out and getting a non-exorcist job, he decides rooming with a ghost is his best option. This backstory is l-a-z-y. Also, ghost day traders exist? Second, it just so happens that this apartment complex with an awesome hot spring used to be a resort. Why isn’t it still a resort? Because we need sexy mishaps in a harem anime? Lastly, because we need to put the girl in peril in the first episode so we can show off the manliness of the protagonist, we get an explanation that no one wants to rent the room because it has been haunted for years if not decades. It just so happens on the same day the protagonist meets ghost girl, another monk shows up and decides to exorcise her. What. Are. The. Fucking. Odds.

(Fashion Czar: “You don’t want to punch the ghost away because then they’ll increase the rent.”)
(Also, I think the window to his room was smashed at least three times in the first episode alone. As someone remodeling his house, I can tell you windows are not cheap.)


#20. Phantom in the Twilight
Liden Films

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“Vlad, decide if you’re interrogating her or seducing her?”

Phantom in the Twilight is the offspring of a Japanese animation company plus a Chinese mobile phone game company— ah the perfect marriage. Yes, there’s a mousy, non-threatening female lead. Yes, there are plenty of typical otome game men with names like Vlad Garfunkel, Wayne King, George L. Gregorym, Backup, and Chris. Yes, the men aren’t just normal men but monster men with vampire, werewolf, devil, and other monsters posing as hot guys. They should have named this show Interviews with Monster Men. Anyway, the show is typical otome fare, except the there’s a werewolf with a gattling gun. The men run a cafe, Cafe Forbidden, during the day but fight non-pretty boy monsters at night. During battle, the men have roles. There’s a disabler, a range carry, a melee carry, and a tank— they are basically MOBA archetypes.

I’m not finding anything interesting or new to the concept of the hot guys running a cafe but also secretly night warriors theme. The characters do not seem to have any personality but instead just follow their assumed roles. Vlad’s the tough guy vampire so he has to be that persona. I get it. It just gets boring. Can we have characters who act like characters rather than their TV Tropes profile? Also, the female protagonist makes a lot of rash decisions that, if she made better ones, wouldn’t move the plot along as nicely let’s say.

(The monster men’s battle dress looks like a graduation outfit crossed with a Nazi uniform. One character wears a monocle out in public. Another character has a random spot of red in his hair because I don’t know. The Chinese guy’s costume is that he resembles a Chinese hopping ghost. There’s also a character who wears a tie with a popped collar. I think the character designer could have spent another fifteen minutes or so on iterating on these designs.)


#19. Muhyo & Roji’s Bureau of Supernatural Investigation
Studio Deen

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“So I take it you want me to send a ghost to the afterlife or to hell?”

Muhyo to Rouji no Mahouritsu Soudan Jimusho reminds me a bit of GeGeGe no Kitarou mixed with some Mob Psycho 100, except this new show is worse than both of the older shows. Muhyo is the Radical Heights to Mob Psycho 100‘s Fortnite. As the name suggests, the story follows a pair who run a supernatural investigation business, and they help people solve their ghost-related issues. The issues seem to take the form of a short, overly direct morality play. There’s no subtlety in how they present the issues, and I think it is because they have to wrap things up in an episode. I feel like these shows aren’t quite as common as otome anime, but they are still fairly common, and they all fall into this trap. Mushishi, for its credit, manages to side step a lot of these issues by putting Ginko way in the background. He’s the main background character. For a show like Muhyo, it has to try to establish the two main characters plus squeeze in time for the ghost of the week, which requires building backstories for both the ghost and the customer. There are also some minor issues like how Muhyo and Roji assault some poor police officers to break into a train station at night. The police catch them, and their brilliant solution is to put the officers to sleep for three days. Wait, what?

Production is budget at best, with the “action” sequence of Muhyo casting spells by punch a ball of light from his book being repeated five times in the first episode alone. Not even Sailor Moon Crystal took some of these shortcuts. The character designs look like a cross between Soul Eater and the jokerfish from Batman The Animated Series and just looks a bit off to me.


#18. Happy Sugar Life
Ezo’la

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“Konnichi wa, HAPPY SUGAR LIFE.”

Huh, an anime named “Happy Sugar Life” starts off with kids trapped on top of a burning building plunging themselves to their doom (maybe saved by anime Batman?!?). I’ll just spoil the first episode for you: this show is all about batshit crazy yanderes. There are no sane characters, just crazies. The big reveal at the end of the episode is that the main character, Satou, goes “Konnichi wa, HAPPY SUGAR LIFE,” and the camera pulls back to reveal that she killed and chopped up the previous inhabitants of the apartment and put them into garbage bags. I have a lot of questions. One, why is Satou so enamored with a little girl? One whom she just met days ago to the point where she is willing to commit mass murder for her? The show tries for a bit to paint her life as criminally empty (I have in my notes: “At least this show portrays how soulless meido cafes can be”), but to think that she stumbles across a lost child and instantly decide that child will fill her empty life? Why not get a stray cat? Two, who wouldn’t have noticed the strong smell of decomposing corpses in the Tokyo summer heat? Wouldn’t the smell have overpowered the small child who is locked in with the corpses? Three, did the mangaka watch Future Diary and just decide to rip-off the most sensationalistic parts of Yuno? Four, are there any characters in this show who isn’t committing or has recently committed a felony? Judging by this show, Japan is more lawless than Mega-City One.

Animation is fairly bad, even with that Amazon money… that seems to be something I’ve control-c’ed a few times this post. Character animations are stiff, the designs are boring, and the backgrounds feel like they are re-used from a budget 2004 show. There are some good points to this show. There are emo facial distortions. Always a delight. An an app phone is used for something other than ruling an isekai or making a phone call.

(Fashion Czar: “She’s so young, she doesn’t understand flotation. If she’s too young to understand flotation, she’s too young to stay home alone.”)


#17. Hyakuren no Haou to Seiyaku no Valkyria
EMT Squared

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“I’ve heard that men have to clean out their pipes once in a while.”

Hyakuren no Haou to Seiyaku no Valkyria (The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar), which wins the Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii Desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii Desu ka? Memorial Most Light Novel Sounding Name Award is yet, sigh, another isekai light novel. The twist, sigh, is that the protagonist gets spirited away to another world with his iPhone. It’s an original concept that has never been done before. So surprise, surprise, the otherwise loser male lead leverages the power of apps (and Wikipedia) to rise to power and surround himself with a harem of nubile haremettes who want to do nothing but sex him day and night. He doesn’t indulge himself to the generous melonpan and thigh buffet because he’s saving his virginity for his actual little sister or something. It’s like this show has taken the worst parts of harem anime from the 1990s combined it with the worst parts of harem anime from the 2000s and then combined it with the worst parts of modern isekai harem anime.

Ugh.

The loser male lead is infuriating bad. It’s like they took Tenchi Muyo as the starting point and wondered how to make Tenchi even more infuriating. The harem is composed of an assortment of magical ladies who battle for the loser male lead. They are all sworn to him as either his children or his little sisters. Yep. They either call him with a variation of a -papa honorific or an -niisan honorific. It’s like Sister Princess, only a lot more sexual. Half the show is the lead looking at his app phone and devising an invention or military strategy around it. I don’t think he’s going to be able to build a windmill by just reading its Wikipedia article. Also, if he has access to a higher level of technology, why not just jump straight to guns? The other half of the show is just him fending off unwanted sexual advances from his niisan-calling harem. The only female character he seems to show any interest in is his real little sister stuck back in Japan. I should have bailed on this show when the first scene was him reading a Wikipedia article as giant melonpan dances naked in front of him trying to get his attention.

Animation is pretty terrible with awful and uninspired backgrounds. The character designs are also lazy, with the main character looking like a background character. The haremettes are generic and uninspired in both design and personality.

(How is he getting data service in this other world? Can I make a roaming cost joke here? Who is paying for this data? If he has been gone for two years, why doesn’t it seem like his parents are more concerned? Like has he talked with his parents at all in the last two years?)

(When are we getting the first anime with Fortnite? Maybe a loser male lead gets transported into another world, but his lit Fortnite building skills somehow becomes an advantage in that dark, twisted fantasy world?)

(Fashion Czar: “Inuyasha is like a work of Shakespeare compared to this shit. We don’t need to see him teleported. We already know the setup. We knew once we saw that spinning iPhone in the opening.” Fashion Czar then dove into a five minute long rant about how the girls are hyper sexualized, yet they are wearing Cami Secrets.)

(To be honest, as bad as the isekai meta is, it’s not as bad as the magic battle high school or cute girls being cute in afterschool club meta. It’s bad, but it could always be worse. No one wants to remember the Asterisk War.)


#16. Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu
Ajia-do Animation Works

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“Have you learned your lesson, normies?!”

My note for Isekai Maou to Shoukan Shoujo no Dorei Majutsu (How Not to Summon a Demon Lord) reads, “The battle animation quality takes an obvious backseat to the boob jiggle animations.” Well, then. This show is a fanservice-laden, unapologetic harem isekai anime. You want fanservice? You got fanservice. DFC? Melonpanriffic? Cat girl? Demon girl? Elf girl? Slave girl? Tsundere knight girl? Economic fox girl? Horse girl? You probably get them all. You want isekai power fantasy? You got isekai power fantasy. Protagonist inexplicably sucked into another world? Blessed with some random power no one has except him? With the knowledge of our modern society to help him even more? His social awkwardness in our world is an advantage in the fantasy world? It’s like if I hired a bunch of horny 14 year old boys to write Overlord, this show is what I would get. I find it fascinating that even a year or two ago, we had interesting isekai premises, but now they all seem to have degraded into these unapologetic fantasy harem power fantasies. I don’t think Demon Lord is a bad show. It’s just very pandering to a very specific audience.

I guess the only notable twist on the typical isekai formula is that the main protagonist gets summoned to this world by a gatchapon summoning ceremony. But after he was summoned, his “reflect” cash shop item, allowed him to reflect the enslaving spell thus making the girls trying to summon him into his instant harem. I know. It’s dumb. But that’s exactly par for the course for this show.
(I liked how when the busty elf girl was introducing herself, the camera only showed her cleavage. Yep. That’s what we came here for. Gotta know your audience.)

(Fashion Czar: “Even the monsters have boobs. I think this the worst one of these transported into another world shows.”)


#15. Island
Feel

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“What’s with this island? It’s full of mysteries.”

On the spectrum of anime names, there’s the overly descriptive light novels… and then there’s the one world visual novels. Island is an adaptation of a harem visual novel with sci-fi elements. The typical loser male protagonist claims to have come back in time to save the world by saving the girl and to kill someone. Isn’t this just Heroes? Let’s see… we have the crashing of a male protagonist and a female haremette with the crotch area prominently featured… we have mysterious amnesia boy… we have a girl who just walks on beaches at night singing to herself… we have one adult in the cast, but she’s a hikkikomori… and we have the makings of almost all harem trope types. You want tsundere? You want childhood friend? Student council president? Island does not do enough to differentiate itself from similar stories, and the initial hook of a haremette also being a vampire is not very enticing either.

Animation production is below average with characters who all look like they have the same face. The music is some of the most generic harem anime music, and the island itself looks like it could be from any of the Da Capo sequels. In fact, this show could have been called Da Capo 6: The Dacappening and I would not have batted an eye. In fact, if there were a giant ass sakura tree in the middle of the island, maybe this project was originally a Da Capo project… mmm…

(This show does what Star Trek likes to do. Whenever they try to explain anything mysterious, it’s tachyons. It’s always tachyons. Tachyons are the sci-fi boogeyman.)


#14. Banana Fish
MAPPA

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“Wow, it’s like CSI: New York!”

I don’t really know what Banana Fish is trying to be. It’s an old early-mid 90s shoujo manga that takes place in a version of late 80s, early 90s New York through the lens of a Japanese mangaka. Unfortunately, the show tries to update itself to modern ties but does so in a haphazard way. One, the characters all carry around modern app phones. If this show were made in 2019 instead of 2018, you can bet every one of those phones would have a notch on the top of their screens. There’s modern New York traffic lights. One character even looks like he is drinking an Honest Tea. The New York skyline is confusingly missing both the World Trade Center and the Millennium Tower. Everyone dresses up as if they were extras in Star Trek IV. But the story seems like it doesn’t get better by modernizing it. It feels like any other Japanese crime drama just set in New York with everyone speaking Japanese. There’s also a character from Japan because of course there needs to be an actual Japanese protagonist. I’m also not sure why any Japanese publication would send a rookie 19 year old photographer to cover crime stories in America. It just seems like a good way to get expensive camera equipment stolen.

Also, I haven’t been to that many bars in Manhattan, but not a lot of bars will serve 14 year old kids rum and Coke during the day. Sure, they’re mafia bars, but they’re not dumb bars. Why would a mafia bar attract more attention to itself by serving kids alcohol? Besides the discongruent setting and characters, Banana Fish also has classic dialogue from C-tier shoujo manga like, “Nobody can tame him. He’s wild.” It feels like an early 90s show that barely put any effort into modernizing itself.

(Three more random Terrace House thoughts: One, Noah and Yui’s absolute ceiling would be the poor man’s version of Rachel and Nick from Crazy Rich Asians. Noah and Mayu’s ceiling would definitely be Alistair and Kitty. Two, I want the Terrace House panel to comment on the Great British Baking Competition just for all the sexualized fan fic stories they can come up with for bread. Three, I love Joel McHale, but, man, for all the Netflix whoring his new show does, how could he and his writers have missed Reina Triendl on TAG? He showed a clip of her from that movie and didn’t mention that she was on Netflix’s Terrace House. If Terrace House doesn’t have Triendl, who will carry the iPad, and who will blush at You’s dirty jokes?)


#13. Tsukumogami Kashimasu
TMS Entertainment

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“He believes that humans don’t actually care about curios.”

Tsukumogami Kashimasu (Tsukumogami for Rent) is a low calorie, inoffensive anime about tsukumogami (basically, cell phone straps and Funko Pops that turn into yokai). Despite being a literary novel adaptation, the story is quite bland. A brother and “sister” pair run a curios shop and solve mysteries in their spare time. Their curios can come alive, so a lot of the mysteries are solved by them loaning (hence “rent”) the curios out to people so the curios can spy on them as if they were Amazon Alexa devices. I guess NHK is positioning this show as a general audience and general interest show as there is a narrator who comments on the historical aspect of the curios. Production values are quite good with an attractive, colorful palette and also some smooth animation. The character designer is Lily Hoshino, who last did the character designs for Mawaru Penguindrum. The stories and characters are just not interesting enough.

(The local comic book store near us no longer carries a lot of manga… or really any manga except Aa! Megami-sama, but they have rows upon rows of Funko Pops. They had six different versions of Poe Dameron. Who is still buying Funko Pops? How is this a billion dollar company? Oddly enough, why isn’t there a Saber Funko Pop?)


#12. Free! Dive to the Future
Kyoto Animation

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“It’s Japanese slang for ‘amazing’!”

This placement feels about right for Free!— I’ll watch it, only if the only other choices available are bad mobile games turned anime and isekai anime. Despite the fact that the cast has aged up and is now in college or later years in high school, the show has not evolved. Okay, it was cute to introduce a long lost friend of Haru’s. It was cute when they did it again. And then Rin had a long lost friend. Do we really need Haru to reconnect with yet another long lost friend?

There are just a lot of awkward elements to this third TV season of Free!. One, half the cast is in high school and the other half is in college. Shark-kun is still in Australia. Splitting the cast does not work. Ask the last volume of K-On!, Saved by the Bell The College Years, and Gundam Seed Destiny. Two, there is a surprising amount of letter writing in this anime, almost as much as Violet Evergarden. One scene had Sousuke writing a letter with ink and pen despite having both a computer and app phone next to him. Three, the phone usage on this show is all wrong. The cast makes phone calls with their— gasp— phones. No one checks social media. One person pulls out a photo album full of middle school photos out of his backpack randomly. Who the heck walks around with a photo album from middle school in college? My college backpack was heavy enough already. Maybe I can believe he pulls out a Flickr album. He’s like that girl on The Proposal who decided to make a scrapbook of memories after meeting the guy for fifteen minutes. Four, there’s a weird cafe owned by a sports reporter decorated with articles that he has written. Isn’t that a weird thing to decorate with? It’s like if I decided to decorate the nursery with old blog posts. A print out of spice and wolf, business sense and wolf would look good over the changing station.

(This show also has the worst opening I have seen from Kyoto. The bus pan? The DBZ-like effects? The edgelord music? You know what would have been a slam dunk? If BTS did the opening for this show.)

(Random Terrace House thoughts! Since the cast is holed up in Karuizawa, a town of around 20,000 people, 4 soba shops, 2 Italian restaurants, and one organic grocery store, they travel a lot. The show feels like a giant ad for Japan’s incredible shinkansen network with all the station shots and train shots this season. Also, I miss “Slow Down.” Listening to the new song is like listening to every Afternoon Tea Time song that came after “Don’t Say Lazy.” And no one seems to like Mayu. I wonder what goes on behind the scenes as all the guys go on one date with her and flee.)


#11. Shichisei no Subaru
Lerche

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“Beating a boss no one can makes us cool. It’s a-cool!”

Someone watched Sword Art Online and Anohana back-to-back and thus Shichisei no Subaru (Seven Senses of the Re’Union) was born. MMORPG that requires a VR/brain attachment device to play? MMORPG with permadeath? MMORPG with skills based on the user? Sudden death of a friend that causes a previously close group of friends to drift apart? Sudden appearance of a ghost of said dead friend years later? Why not mash up Gurren Lagann with an MMORPG at this point? This anime does a terrible job at showing the viewer. I feel like I’m trapped in a bad, overly long tutorial with everything going on. I don’t need a narrator explaining the very basics of MMORPGs to me. I don’t need random adventurers telling me how awesome the guild is and how sexy the saber is or how cute the caster is. I don’t need to have random background characters talk about the girl’s death at her funeral because I get it— it’s a funeral with her picture. She died. I don’t also need to be told that. Connected with how plot points are explained rather than shown, this show has a lot of bad foretelling. There were at least six death flags for the poor girl before the ten minute mark. There’s only so many times she can make the main protagonist promise her that they will be together forever without the grim reaper eventually being Beetlejuiced.

The action sequences of this MMORPG are bad. The “final” boss that no one can defeat (and killed the girl) idles a lot. The boss is more Bowser from 1-4 than heroic Yogg-Saron. The animation is fairly lackluster with most of the monsters being low tier CG work. The music is off too, with a strong dependence on the accordion. When I think of exciting dungeon exploring montages, accordions don’t exactly come to mind.

(Perplexing enough, when they meet the dead girl’s ghost in the game again, she’s found in a treasure chest. Subtle.)

(Fashion Czar: “At least the costumes aren’t as dumb as other isekai shows. They are just typical fantasy silliness.”)


#10. Hataraku Saibou
David Production

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“Couldn’t they come up with a better design?”

When I was a kid, I always liked reading books that have cool illustrations of how stuff worked in the world, like the solar system, cars/trains/planes, and even the human body. I think would like Hataraku Saibou (Cells At Work) more if it were a bit more educational and less bacterial infection of the week as if this were a Kardashian. This anime is the anthropomorphized take on the human body because after gun boys and horse girls what’s left? What if our bodies were cities filled with a motley crew of workers who have their own lives and ambitions? I think the overall concept is clever and interesting, but the execution is a bit boring and predictable. The characters are a bit too pigeonholed into their roles to expect change or character growth, so it’s just white blood cell fending off bodily invaders as red blood cell stumbles around. The show is inoffensive and mildly entertaining with some interesting backgrounds.

(There are ads in the body? Our bodies have brands?)

(Terrace House update! The love triangle forming around the CEO’s son could be the prequel to Crazy Rich Asians.)


#9. Grand Blue
Zero-G

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“Why isn’t there a club of a harem of high school girls who worship me?”

Grand Blue is a diving anime. Grand Blue is a fantasy gatchapon mobile game. Grand Blue is a harem anime. All of those sentences are true except they are all false. Grand Blue is actually a drinking comedy featuring a luckless protagonist who wishes he were the star of a harem anime instead (which is kinda creepy if you consider that the haremettes are also his cousins). I guess for positives, the show has a grown up cast with most of them being part of a mechanical engineering department at an university. There is also a lot of drinking and a lot of casual penises. It feels like a low budget version of Attack on Titan with the protagonist constantly running away from naked men.

As a bonus, most anime only feature the protagonist as the self-insert character. Not Grand Blue. There are two. The more Japanese audiences can pick the overwhelmed luckless guy who is a general party pooper. Us Western otaku can pick the foreigner weeaboo who has no self-awareness.
Animation is fairly poor (Amazon being cheap again), and it feels like a show that came straight out of 2003. I would expect for any beach anime to be filled with either fanservice shots or pretty shots of scenery a la Yuru Camp. Nope. Backgrounds are generally bland, and there’s a dearth of fanservice.

(Where do college students get the money to drink like this? Almost every night they drink hundreds of dollars of alcohol.)

(Andohbytheway, I believe Grand Blue is the highest rated new show, i.e. not Attack on Titan, of the season on MAL as of this writing at 8.12.)


#8. Hanebado!
Liden Films

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“I blame other people for the things that I cannot do.”

Hanebado! is about a bunch of high school badminton players who might benefit from a make over from the Queer Eye Fab Five. Fundamentally, it is a shounen-type sports anime with a mostly female cast. The characters are all slightly imperfect in some way, and they have to rally together to form a badminton club. The setup is familiar with a strong player who has a trauma in her past and thus decided to stop playing the sport until she gets goaded into playing again. There are rivalries both in her own team and outside of it. Hanebado! seems like generic, in-onffensive sports anime. The cast lacks the personality of a show like Haikyuu!, and the badminton segments aren’t especially well done. There’s some stock re-use, and we can tell that most of the budget is spent animating the sweat on the high school girls.

(Fashion Czar: “It’s the gay badminton show Twitter is talking about. Somebody buy that girl a sports bra.”)


#7. Asobi Asobase
Lerche

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“This kid’s whack!”

Asobi Asobase starts off with a traditional anime opening: three cute girls frolicking in a field of lilies. Is this show going to be a low calorie, after school girls being girls anime? Or is it going to be yuri drama? Or is it going to be isekai? Nope. Asobi Asobase tosses a curveball and can best described as Minami-ke meets Detroit Metal City meets Hanamatsuri. All the characters are flat out broken. One girl has American parents but can’t speak any English. One girl only participates in death games. One girl has severe social jealousy issues. The teacher is a pedophile because of course he is. They come together to form a cringe slash pity comedic dynamic. I’m not sure what to make of the show. Parts of it are funny, but also the gags got repetitive already in the first episode. I’m not really sure how the comedy will translate over a full season seeing as the cast is fairly pigeonholed and not very large (though Sakamoto-san had the same issue, it somehow managed to stay fresh up until the end). Animation is fairly lackluster except for the fairly interesting faces. Shading and lighting on the faces are good too, and I just wish the other parts of the show were drawn that well. For every positive, there’s also a negative. Perfectly balanced, as all things should be.

(Probably my favorite rendition of the Star Spangled Banner is the “little kid playing a recorder” version of it. My least favorite? The Wake Up! Girls version.)


#6. Planet With
JC Staff

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“What’s a ‘Neko Punch’?”

Planet With feels like a throwback to the mid 2000s, and the show reminds me quite a bit of Gad Guard or Kitty Grade. There’s a spunky boy protagonist. There’s a mysterious cat thing that reminds me of Azumanga’s Chiyo-chan’s dad, except a lot more perverted. There’s a random meido tossed in because why the hell not. The basic premise is that the boy cannot eat meat. If he does, the world will end, much like how the plot of DNA^2 is to keep the guy from sexing. Also, the boy is fighting against the seven “heroes” of the world who defend the planet from cat-like aliens using powered mecha suits that can best described as a children’s toy line. Overall, I think the franchise is just an excuse for the mangaka, Satoshi Mizukami, to draw meido and cats all day long.
The show is colorful, well-animated (except for the CG mecha), and has an interesting style to it. I think the plot feels fairly simplistic in that there’s probably alien races pulling the allegiances of the various factions, but the pacing is good. There is also plenty of absurdist action going on that presents enough of a hook to be interesting. Maybe there’s a market for this type of show in our modern isekai-filled world?

(Final Terrace House blurb for this post: The best part of Opening New Doors is Shion and Tsubasa. It’s like you are witnessing an anime relationship that transcends both shoujo manga and seinen manga. Somehow Shion, a 23 year old [shirtless] male model, can manage to dethrone Handa-san as the premier male cast member of Terrace House is an upset on the caliber of phalanx destroying mechanized infantry. Tsubasa and her dad are also fantastic with interesting backstories and connections to Karuizawa, and I’m going to miss her dad joking about how he should join the cast of Terrace House as well. I honestly think I rather have her dad than Taka on the show at this point. There’s even a gravure model “roadblock” tossed in by Netflix because why the hell not. Shion and Tsubasa’s relationship has its twists and turns, and it their story defines the first part of OND.)


#5. Harukana Receive
C2C

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“My butt just split in half.”

It’s summer we are getting a lot of summer-like shows. Harukana Receive is the most summer-like show. What’s more summer than girls in bikinis playing beach volleyball at the seaside? Surely this is more summer than pretty boys swimming laps in a pool, old men getting drunk at an oceanside bar, or getting tossed into another world with just your app phone? Harukana Receive is exactly what you expect it to be: a blossoming amount of mild fanservice, some serviceable volleyball, some low calorie slice-of-life character drama, and a traumatic death scene. The show is upbeat, bright, and moves along fairly well. Animation is okay, but I have been spoiled by Haikyuu’s vastly superior volleyball scenes. The characters also have exactly two bra sizes: DFC and beach volleyball. They also have the same faces with varying hair styles and skin tones, which led me to refer to wonder if Takashi Takeuchi did the character designs.

If you are looking for summertime anime like Harukana Receive, I would suggest Keijo!!!!!!!!, Umisho, and Lamune. If you’re wondering why serviceable volleyball show gets the nod over serviceable badminton show, fanservice, fanservice, and fanservice.

(I can only imagine the conversations at Mikasa corporate headquarters after the last season of Haikyuu ended. “Hey guys, when’s the next season? Sales have been skyrocketing! Wait, we don’t have enough material for another season? Seriously? What are we going to do? The intern found a random manga about girls in bikinis playing beach volleyball? Mmm… maybe… maybe… this could work.” And that’s how I pictured Mikasa calling every anime studio and getting “Nope, we’re full” until they reached relative nobody studio C2C.)


#4. Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro
Diomedéa

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“No way… I’ve been playing too many video games. I’m an ordinary high school student, not an elite secret assassin.”

An unlucky, average girl with social anxiety issues is the star of Chio-chan no Tsuugakuro (Chio-chan’s Commute or Chio’s School Road). As the title implies, the show should be nothing else except for Chio-san’s daily commute to school, but as I have learned from Tada-kun Never Fall in Love, titles can be deceiving. Maybe the final episode will show Chio-san commuting to work. The show is part cringe comedy (a la WataMote), part gag comedy (a la Hinamatsuri), with a sprinkling of absurdist comedy (a la 2018 America). Also, it seems like the mangaka likes Assassin’s Creed. No, no… really, really, super duper loves Assassin’s Creed.

The budget animation and the very lackluster opening made me question whether or not this show would be enjoyable, but I ended up laughing quite a few times. The comedy is there. Maybe the presentation isn’t neat and tidy, but it does make me laugh. There’s an awkward toothbrushing scene that was funny, and I also spit out my water at the scene where Chio-san couldn’t decide how to greet her classmate due to social anxiety so instead she just tosses herself into the dumpster. The characters, while all broken in their unique ways, add to the comedic mix, and the ensemble interaction feels good. The characters might not be deep, but they are just comedy pawns.

(Chio-san has a doggo named “Chop.” There’s quite a few dogs depicted in this show as outdoor dogs who live in doghouses. I don’t know anyone who keeps their dog outside anymore. The last outdoor dog I met was a giant mix named Smokey who lived at a bed and breakfast in the Sierra Nevada. He was a giant dog who loved sleeping in the snow while his dog siblings all hid out in the warm house. Smokey also apparently chases bears away.)

(Fashion Czar: “I’m going to guess that this show lacks any subtlety.”)


#3. Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes
Seven

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“Us Kyoto boys are very nasty.”

I’m not sure who has been re-imagined more in Japanese culture: Sherlock Holmes or Jeanne d’Arc. But has either been re-imagined as an antiques dealer living in modern day Kyoto? Thought so. Kyoto Teramachi Sanjou no Holmes(Holmes of Kyoto) is a seinen mystery anime about a college student antiques “detective” Kiyotaka Yagashira who busts forgeries. The main protagonist, Aoi, though, is a mousy high school girl who gets roped into the high intrigue world of antiques (and occasional actual crimes). She has a knack for spotting value in antiques, and she becomes more of a Holmes-kouhai than a Watson. She gets roped into the antiques business because she tries to sell her grandfather’s priceless antiques to buy a train ticket to yell at her ex-boyfriend. The plot seems to be borderline ridiculous (see Riverdale) in order to generate story and suspense around antiques, and some of the stories are only tangentially connected to antiques anyway. The gold standard for antique television is still either PBS’ Antique Roadshow or the venerable Storage Wars, so I guess they do have to manufacture some drama. Also, for a show that screams low calorie slice-of-life (there’s a whole segment dedicated to finding seasoning for a boiled egg), there’s a dark foreboding villain a la Cancer Man from The X-Files.

I do like the low calorie slice-of-life segments as well the interaction between Holmes and his sassy grandpa. I’m also convinced that the grandpa is trying to setup his grandson with Aoi as a few of the investigations sure seem like dates. If this show turned out to be the antiques version of Dagashi Kashi, I woulnd’t mind.

(“Even though he’s so young…” is heard as much in this show as “What do you reckon that’s worth?” is heard in Storage Wars. Also, “You must be good if they call you ‘Holmes'” is said a few times too. Does this mean anyone who wears 23 is a basketball god? How’s Meta World Peace’s career? Or Ben Hansbrough’s?)

(Don’t worry Jeanne fans, she strikes back next season in what looks to be yet another terrible fantasy/isekai anime.)

(Fashion Czar: “Just having tea and boiled eggs like any sophisticated antiques shop.”)


#2. Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki
NAZ

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“When I stick something big in a hole, I don’t stop until I’m done.”

Ghosts of Tsushima made an anime? Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki (Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion) is basically samurai fighting off the Mongol invasion of Japan on the island of Tsushima. The main character, Jinzaburou, is basically Gladiator’s Maximus. He once had a peaceful life despite being an honored general, but somehow he gets sent to the dumps to die. Much like Maximus, he has to now rally a bunch of misfits into a fighting force capable of stopping the Mongols. It’s the Japanese version of Leonidas’ defense of Greece. Watching this show, the only real nitpick that I have is that Jinzaburou looks like he should be the protagonist to an early 2000s harem anime. I feel like he should be barging into the women’s hot springs rather than barreling into the Mongol army. The story, despite being very Gladiator-esque, is straightforward and enjoyable. Every one of Jinzaburou’s exiles have a special ability, and they don’t just say it outright. They show rather than explain, which is always appreciated. The setup with the strong exile teaming up with the overmatched princess hopefully works better than Kabaneri of the Iron Fortress. The sword fighting scenes are fun and kinetic, and the animation is quite smooth with some decent scene composition. I’m ambivalent about the stylized texturing though. I think the animation is strong enough to stand without it. I’m surprised this show came from the same studio and director that made the atrocious My First Girlfriend Is a Gal.

(I would also be okay if the show didn’t have a masked blonde foreigner character who just so happens to know the same rare and uncommon sword style that the main protagonist uses.)

(I do like how much the characters call each other “zasshu”. Ah good old Gilgy.)

(The next project in line for this animation team and director? A light novel named “The One I Love is My Little Sister But She’s Not a Little Sister.” Maybe they should have let the Mongols take over Japan.)


#1. Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight
Kinema Citrus

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“The revue has started.”

Shoujo Kageki Revue Starlight is a really difficult anime to watch, mainly because the Fashion Czar keeps yelling, “UTENA!” every thirty seconds. That’s really distracting! For me, I’m thinking less Utena and more Star Driver— not necessarily a bad thing since I did enjoy Star Driver. And since it’s 2018, of course there are combat class archetypes and Noble Phantasms. Needless to say, the show is dripping with Ikuhara. This show is the debut for director, Tomohiro Furukawa (unless we want to count a few episodes of Alderamin on the Sky), and hasn’t worked on either of those. His intersection with Ikuhara is over a few episodes of Penguindrum. Now, the question is whether or not Kinema Citrus and Bushiroad will let Furukawa go full Ikuhara. Starlight is supposed to be the anime that launches Bushiroad’s next major app phone gatchapon game, and I would figure that they would want the largest audience possible, not just people who own limited edition Utena boxsets.

There is a lot to process in this show, including a talking giraffe, uniforms stitched with molden something, the world’s most laissez faire ballet practices, and an awesome sardine shirt. Animation production from Kinema Citrus is a bit uneven. The “boring” high school life parts look fairly bland and uninspired, especially considering what Kinema Citrus can do. They make it up though with all the Ikuhara-esque scenes and battle animations done wonderfully. The battle sequences are strong enough to carry the show, even if the high school portions are a slog to currently get through. Hopefully those improve to something beyond girls giving each other the stink eye. I get enough stink eye from my puppy.

(Fashion Czar: UTENA!)

5 Responses to “thin slicing the new season, summer 2018 edition”

  1. Hey congrats on the kid I wish you all the best. Also these posts always have me rollin, the way you hate on shit is hilarious

  2. Congratulations! As for this season, Chio-chan episode 1 had its funny moments. #2 was fantastic and full of delicious spite. Then #3 was terrible, so i’ve not watched any more.

  3. Congrats on the impending kid! …You probably won’t have time to do these much for the next 3-4 years, which I’m pretty sad about but I hope I’m wrong.

  4. Congratulations! Even though I don’t post much anymore, I still follow this blog quite religiously.

    UTENA!

  5. Jason’s favorites start and end with OH GEASS NO!

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