thin slicing the new season, summer 2019 edition

12,500 words, 28 anime, and a dirac sea of isekai.

First, a quick note– My heart, thoughts, and condolences are with the staff of Kyoto Animation, the victims, and their families. For anyone who wants to support the studio, you can buy digital art directly from Kyoto’s storefront or support Sentai Filmwork’s GoFundMe for KyoAni. #kyoanistrong

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 harem anime to transition to do nothing after school clubs to magic battle high schools to isekai to ???.

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 definitely don’t need me to tell you if you should watch the third season of Starmyu by now.

A twist for this season: Alternative.

Quick recap from last season: Very weak season. I’m still deciding if I like Sarazanmai or not. Carole & Tuesday is fantastic, and I’m convinced it is in the same world as Cowboy Bebop. Besides the same currency used in both anime, something bad has happened to the earth in Carole & Tuesday which caused people there to flee earth for Mars. Maybe the moon blowing up?


#MR. IRRELEVANT. Kochouki Wakaki Nobunaga
Studio Deen

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“Let me tell you about Nobunaga… the one that I know.”

Only genre more annoying than isekai is probably anime whose entire purpose revolves around re-imagining Nobunaga. We’ve seen him as a teen, as a her, as a loli, as an adult, as an adult riding a motorcycle that breathes fire, as a magical girl, as a mecha pilot, as an alien, as a boy band member… we just lack Nobunaga getting teleported into another world with a multi-hit mom, a demon bride, and a pizza parlor at this point. Kochouki Wakaki Nobunaga is the least watchable show of the season. A week after airing its first episode, it still does not have a Wikipedia page. That’s a red flag. The reddit thread for its first episode managed 18 comments– 18! By comparison, Cop Craft hit 282 and Vinland Saga took the crown with 876. Very few people are watching this show.

I don’t blame them. The animation is a doozy with most of the anime feeling like a glorified Powerpoint presentation. Static pans abound, and there is a lot of animation re-use. At one point, Nobunaga gets grabbed, and we are treated to the same 2 second loop of him struggling for the next half a minute. The character designs are also inexplicably bad. All of the costumes have a gradient that just runs from the shoulders on down as if someone just discovered Photoshop’s gradient fill tool. It might be okay for 1 or 2 characters, but for everyone? Including background characters? It just looks bad. Nobunaga himself… well… why does he have a haremette hair bow and why is his nipple so detailed in every shot?

As bad as the animation, character design, and premise are, the plot is somehow even worse. Nobunaga gifts a child a gun because reasons. He is apparently Robin Hood stealing from his dad and, uh, giving it to street urchins to sell for profit. He then convinces his dad not to execute his thieving friends by confusing him with some terrible logic. First, he stops his dad by stuffing his finger into dad’s musket a la Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. That’s not going to work. Second, he tells his dad that if he executes the “rats,” then dad will be a laughingstock for having killed rats? How does that make any sense? Finally, he drops the bombshell that rats are the first to flee a sinking ship, and because these rats haven’t fled yet, this place is still a good place to live. None of the final five minutes of this show made any sense.

(Fashion Czar: “Maybe the clothes have a gradient because everything else looks so uninspired.”)

(Alternative: I should finish watching March Comes in like a Lion.)


#27. BEM
LandQ & Production IG

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“Tonight, it feasted its fill.”

BEM is an uninspired and boring anime. It is supposed to be yet another “Let’s fight monsters in New York City!” kind of show with this central, clear class division represented by a bridge– the show points out many, many times that shit is good on one side and terrible on the other. “Once you cross that bridge, it’s like you are in a different country.” Let’s see… the character designs are passable, but the monster designs look awful. The first monster that the heroes fight goes through like three design shifts, each one worse than the previous. The “good” monsters go through a transformation sequence, and it is one of the worst transformation sequences I have seen in anime. The production is a mess. Despite the fact the show occurs in a large city, it is dark everywhere, and it is difficult to see characters.

The characters are also ridiculous walking tropes who have the personality of an RPG NPC. The heroine detective has somehow no idea on how to be a cop (she also gets her cop car stolen by an old lady). Her detective partner decides to take this newly transferred cop on his route to pick up bribes. The “good” monsters talk only in general pronouncements like, “If we save enough humans, we can become humans ourselves,” and “How many times have we been betrayed by humans?” The “bad” monsters say shit like, “I THREW AWAY MY HUMANITY!” and “I am going to kill you because I want to kill you so I’m going to kill you.” There’s none of the “The archer class is full of archers” charm to it. BEM is just a badly directed, badly written, and badly produced and forgettable anime.

(Alternative: Anything. Read a book. Take a dog for a walk. Play some Super Mario Party. Visit the country fair and catch a live performance by Smash Mouth. Watch paint dry. Try to calculate Bitcoins using pen and paper. Try to depicher the last Kryptos riddle. Write your own isekai. I have a few ideas to get you started: “I Died and Was Reincarnated as a Cosplay Gazebo in Another World”, “My Dog and I Got Summoned into Another World and My Dog Became Ruler of that World”, and “Battle Royale Between 100 Isekai Authors In Another World”.)


#26. Maou-sama, Retry!
Ekachi Epika

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“What now? I should have read more light novels if I knew this was going to happen.”

Maou-sama, Retry! is yet another textbook perfect copypasta isekai light novel turned anime. Let’s go to the isekai checklist!

  • Guy gets literally sucked into another world within five minutes of the anime starting. CHECK.
  • Instantly becomes a superpowerful avatar so he can kill and fuck whatever he wants. CHECK.
  • RPG mechanics and MMORPG UI popups are used to explain the world in lieu of actual worldbuilding. CHECK.
  • iPhones/iPads somehow exist in this fantasy world. CHECK.
  • Assemble the harem! CHECK.
  • Character stumble into a plot rather than cause a plot? CHECK– little girl finds him.
  • Lackluster and bad monster designs. CHECK.
  • “Twist” that the author thinks is more clever than it actual is. CHECK– even the protagonist of this series thinks there is too much isekai in the world. If that is what you think distinguishes your isekai from other isekai… man oh man.

The animation is really poor, and the directing seems off too. Too many scenes feature the loli girl riding the Demon King’s back as he runs hilariously through landscapes while they talk. That might be at least seven minutes of the first episode. Retry would be a better show if they just Naruto ran together to Area 51. The music is also inconsistent and tries to fill in every dead space with bad royalty-free elevator music. Whenever the Demon King fights, it goes into this terrible guitar riff, and once he finishes fighting and talks to the loli girl again, it shifts into lofi chill beats. Nothing about this show seems consistent. The Demon King is modeled after a yakuza boss complete with an assortment of knives and cigarettes yet the rest of his surroundings are a mix of different fantasy/medieval tropes smashed into one. There is also a town that looks like modern Tokyo that he keeps looking over in the OP/ED… so… I don’t know. I don’t care enough about this show to find out.

(This poor loli girl… she is the town’s poop cleaner and gets instantly stoned once she returns to her village. People are awful.)

(Oh man, Funimation has licensed this show. Do I need to replace Sentai with Funimation as the butt of my bad licensing jokes? Here’s a back of the BD quote from me, “Maou-sama, Retry! is a solidly, lackluster, and uninspired derivative isekai anime that I’m sure a few hundred people around the globe might enjoy. Maybe.”)

(Dragon’s Dogma Online is being shutdown later this year. Are there even any major Japanese MMORPGs left besides Dragon Quest and the two Final Fantasy ones? Why hasn’t anime shifted more into the battle royale or auto-chess genres at this point?)

(Alternative: You can read my isekai rant for Shield Hero two season ago. I have nothing more to add about this genre at this point. If you want a good comedy about a yakuza guy with a young girl, that would be Hinamatsuri from Spring 2018.)

(Fashion Czar: “No wonder this game is shutting down. Its aesthetics are so inconsistent.”)


#25. To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts
MAPPA

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“If you lose your soul, you are no different than a beast!”

At first I was excited about To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts (Katsute Kami Datta Kemono-tachi e / かつて神だった獣たちへ) since it looked like an American Civil War-inspired anime with MAPPA behind it. Nope. Not even close to what this show is about. This anime starts with an army of musketeers, riflemen, and cannoners assaulting a walled fortress that has walls higher than Wall Maria. There are covered wagons and ironclads. The assault fails with everyone except a lone soldier still alive. Then a bunch of guys and gals in pristine white uniforms just stroll up to the fortress, hulk out, and turn into mythical monsters like dragons, chimeras, sirens, werewolves, and Dracula. The mythical monsters devastate the troops in a fairly hiliarous “What if Dracula fought against the Confederates?” montage.

So Sacred Beasts isn’t a Civil War anime, but it also isn’t a monsters in a Civil War anime. After another long montage of the monsters destroying the enemy set to music that would fit into any Civil War re-enactment, we finally get to the true plot. The men who can turn into monsters will eventually fully transform into the monsters, and the government decided to kill them right before the end of the war. Unfortunately, the monsters found out, and they ended up killing a bunch of people and escaping. So it up to the former leader of the monster soldiers, a Henry Henriette (great name by the way), to hunt down the monsters. Sacred Beasts becomes typical shounen action fare about super monsters fighting other super monsters. With this show, Beastars, and BNA, is furry the new contender to knock off isekai as the dominant anime genre?

(Besides Henry Henriette, there are some other great names in this anime including Elaine Bluelake and Cain Madhouse.)

(As someone who used to own Gettysburg on VHS, I would be interested in an anime take on a Civil War-esque era.)

(Fashion Czar: “This is for middle schoolers. This is written by a middle schooler. It’s a middle schooler power fantasy. It’s what is drawn on the back of a middle schooler’s binder.”)


#24. If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord
Maho Film

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“Dale?”

Usagi Dr— sorry I stuttered– Uchi Musume (If It’s for My Daughter, I’d Even Defeat a Demon Lord / うちの娘の為ならば、俺はもしかしたら魔王も倒せるかもしれない) wins the runner-up trophy for the Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai: Puberty Syndrome Abnormal Experiences During Adolescence Due to Sensitivity and Instability Memorial Overly Complicated and Descriptive Title Award for summer 2019. The name of the show pretty much gives away the plot: In a fantasy world heavily inspired by fantasy RPGs (or what the author kinda remembers from fantasy RPGs), a lone adventurer RPGing in a forest stumbles across a tiny girl and instantly decides to adopt her.

The dude’s name is “Dale,” which tosses me out of any fantasy immersion. His name is Dale! He should be playing Cones of Dunshire with a bunch of accountants. And the child’s name is “Latina.” The couple who acts like surrogate grandparents to the girl at least have normal names with Kenneth and Rita. I guess one good thing about this show is that I thought it was an isekai but I think it’s just bad fantasy. Whew! Don’t need to pull out the isekai checklist now. So instead let’s just go through the abridged checklist for bad fantasy anime: Low budget? Check. Generic character designs? Check. Poor action sequences? Check. Lackluster to non-existent world-building that relies too much on RPG tropes? Check. This world inexplicably has magical iPads with multitouch scrolling, message boards, and a search engine. Maho Film’s first anime does not impress or distinguish itself with anything other than a slightly creepy old man little girl relationship. Between this show and Maou-sama, Retry!, anime really likes having old men finding little girls in the woods, which got me thinking that we rarely see an older lady finding a little boy in the woods.

(Dale is supposedly a broke adventurer who lives paycheck to paycheck yet manages to splurge and have a spoil the baby montage reminiscent of Julia Robert’s shopping trip in Pretty Woman.)

(The fake demon language sounds like the pig latin version of Japanese.)

(Alternative: Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai: Puberty Syndrome Abnormal Experiences During Adolescence Due to Sensitivity and Instability is a pretty good anime that has a movie coming up.)


#23. Ensemble Stars!
David Production

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“What is your dream? To become an idol? An actor? A singer?”

Ensemble Stars! is just another otome gatchapon phone game with boring male idols turned anime (with designs very similar to Idolish 7). The self-insert mousy female lead is a new student at a school that trains idols. The funniest line of this show is when she is told that the idol academy is bound by tradition. What tradition? How long has boy band idol culture been around? Maybe 25 years of tradition, tops? Also this traditional school that trains idols lacks an idol producer course until this girl shows up. It’s like saying we’ll start a computer programming department but not teach C/C++.

So the poor girl gets to meet dozens of male idols. She meets the first party, Trickstar, and they greet her by breaking out into an impromptu idol performance. The Fashion Czar remarks, “I already have a bad feeling about this” less than four minutes into the show. The four boys of Trickstar then proceed to show off their tropes (one of the poor boy’s identity is that he just really likes konpeito candy). At this point, the OP plays, and Fashion Czar is ready to bail, “This is too much. I can’t handle it. This song sucks. Who would be a fan of this?” Dozens of male idols are quickly shown in the OP, and I went to the kitchen to get a drink during the rest of it.

Then we are treated to “What’s that Pokemon”-like eyecatches because this might as well be a male idol version of Pokemon Go. Next, there is an idol competition happening much like how someone would make a tier list for a gatchapon game as the guys battle for SS, S, A, and B ranking. Fashion Czar is just shaking her head, rocking back and forth, and muttering, “This is too much.” The competition is named “DreFes”, which highly disappoints me because it’s not a festival dedicated to Dr. Dre. As each male idol wannabe enters, we are told their weight. Fashion Czar rolls her eyes, “The first thing I want to know about a hot musician is how much they weigh.”

At this point, the male idol whose gimmick is fiery wolf dude screams, “I’m a lone wolf! God didn’t decide this! I did!” That briefly pulled me into the show until the competition began. If Carole & Tuesday‘s Mars Brightest is an NBA finals game and Starlight Revue is a Vegas summer league game, DreFes is the basketball game from HenSuki. The music and animation are all terrible. The action is also inexplicable as the guys are try to sing, play an instrument, and fight each other at once? It is a bit too much. As this fight wears on, Fashion Czar comments, “All the characters are essentially the same character with different hair.” She’s not wrong.

Finally, we have the climax of the episode where fiery wolf dude tosses silver wolf dude into the poor mousy girl. Because of this spectacle, Trickstar decides that they need to “fix the system,” and the only way to do it is to overthrow the student council. Viva la revolution!

(I apologize to Idolish 7 for somehow leaving them off of thin slicing winter 2018 edition. I thought this show was Idolish 7 at first because the character designs are quite similar.)

(Alternative: If you want to see a team competently and methodically overthrow a student council power fantasy situation– Kakeguri. If you want see ridiculous over-the-top battling over something stupid– Food Wars. If you want to see a puppy tumbling down some stairs– here you go.)


#22. Isekai Cheat Magacian
Encourage Films

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“This feels like I’m cheating!”

Look at the screenshot above for Isekai Cheat Magacian (異世界チート魔術師). The two characters share the same face, except they just re-drew the nose and the eye lining. It is, sigh, yet another isekai light novel turned anime. Let’s go though the checklist. Again.

  • Guy gets literally sucked into another world within five minutes of the anime starting. CHECK.
  • Instantly becomes a superpowerful avatar so he can kill and fuck whatever he wants. CHECK.
  • RPG mechanics and MMORPG UI popups are used to explain the world in lieu of actual worldbuilding. CHECK.
  • iPhones/iPads somehow exist in this fantasy world. CHECK.
  • Assemble the harem! CHECK.
  • Character stumble into a plot rather than cause a plot? CHECK– some evil king is plotting something, and our summoned heroes are probably now tasked with stopping him.
  • Lackluster and bad monster designs. CHECK.
  • “Twist” that the author thinks is more clever than it actual is. CHECK– he gets sucked into another world with his mom his childhood friend.

Besides the lackluster character designs, poor animation, and same-as-every-other-isekai plot, Isekai Cheat Magician has some personality-less dialogue. The lost teenaged boy feels more like a narrator than a character with lines like, “At that moment, when I saw that little girl burn a fire-breathing, monster truck-sized magic horse, I knew we were in an RPG-like another world.” and “We lived boring, mundane, yet fulfilling lives. Who would have thought that we would have arrived here?” and “That wasn’t a CG effect!”. The main character has zero personality, and becausae of it, this show also has zero personality and fails to distinguish itself from other isekai. It does not help that this show uses all the isekai tropes like an adventurer’s guild and an iPad that shows stats. I guess the good news is that he didn’t find a little girl in a forest.

(What I kind of want to see at this point is an isekai anime about someone from another world getting transported to another world. Like for example someone from a steampunk world or someone from a space-faring world getting transported into the typical RPG fantasy another world. Just seeing an endless amount of teenage Japanese boys getting sent to another world is exhausting.)

(I’ve been trying to think of any of these standard grade isekai shows features the lost teenaged boy trying to actually get back to our world. It’s usually like “Whelp, I’m stuck here, and I can fuck and kill as much as I want here, so why would I go back to Japan?” Just a sharp contrast to Escaflowne, Fuushigi Yuugi, and Inuyasha where the female protagonists are all searching for a way back home.)

(Alternative: Is Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court the original isekai? Does that make Mark Twain the Godfather of isekai? The final act of that book is the poor Twainian day American arming his supporters with gatling guns and electric fences and facing off against ten thousand knights using trench warfare.)


#21. Magical Sempai
Liden Films

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“The Giving Birth to a Pigeon Trick”

My main thought as I watched Magical Sempai was, “Why is Magical Sempai herself so shiny? She looks like she’s been waxed with a hardwood floor waxer. And why is her fang out all the time? And why does it look more like a skin/lip fang than a tooth fang? Why is the art in this show so perplexing?” Once one gets over the lackluster animation, we are treated to a shoddy comedy anime about Magical Sempai and her Assistant as they try to perform magic. He is moderately successful in the loosest of terms, and she is a magical disaster. Every gag ends up with her exposing either her boobs, ass, or panties or a combination of them. Magical Sempai is a low effort fanservice delivery vehicle.

Yes, those are their names, Magical Sempai and Assistant. I had to double check Wikipedia and MAL because I didn’t recall catching them using actual names during the show. It’s one thing for the animation to be budget, but the names too? I mean, we can’t all come up with great names like Uncle Dis or Banagher Links, but to not even try at all? The saving grace of this show is that it is only twelve minute episodes, and, really, it should just be a four minute episode anime, and Magical Sempai is not an isekai.

(Alternative: Irozuku [Fall 2018] is an anime with an actual plot revolving around a magical sempai– ok magical grandmother/sempai. I definitely undervalued this show as it got stronger as it went on and had a satisfying ending. Maybe not top five of that season but close, but that was a strong ass season.)

(Fashion Czar: “Seriously. Why does she have shiny marks on her boobs? Is that a latex sweater?”)


#20. HenSuki: Are you willing to fall in love with a pervert, as long as she’s a cutie?
Geek Toys

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“Please make me your pet!”

Geek Toys is yet another relatively new studio with a subpar anime for this season. HenSuki: Are you willing to fall in love with a pervert, as long as she’s a cutie? (可愛ければ変態でも好きになってくれますか?) is the second runner-up this season for the Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai: Puberty Syndrome Abnormal Experiences During Adolescence Due to Sensitivity and Instability Memorial Overly Complicated and Descriptive Title Award for summer 2019. The best part of HenSuki was that I was tracking it’s MAL rating before it aired its first episode and after. Before it aired, it hit as high as 8.5 (with hundreds of reviews), beating out Vinland Saga. 24 hours after it aired, it plummed down to below 7.4 and was still dropping. Needless to say, the HenSuki train has derailed.

So what is wrong with this anime? Besides the awful, low budget production? There’s a basketball scene that had some of the worst anime this season. Besides the generic, soulless typical raunchy romance harem plot? The story makes Tenchi Muyo seem like Flowers for Algernon. Besides how one dimensional the characters are? The loser male lead’s hot best bro friend just matter of factly breaks down all the girls into their trope bins with the seriousness of Major Motoko and Batou planning a raid. HenSuki is boring and brings nothing new to the ecchi harem fanservice genre.

(The plot-like substance is the loser male lead pining for a girlfriend to the point that a sister is fine too. He just spends five minutes wallowing in his singleness. Except he’s part of the calligraphy club which features him plus five nubile haremettes, including his sister, and then he discovers each girl has some strange sexual fetish.)


#19. Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest
White Fox

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“Good, the numbers went up.”

Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest (Arifureta Shokugyou de Sekai Saikyou) does not fuck around and just starts the story in another world ASAP. We don’t even get a flashback to how the class got transported to this world other than a quick three second shot in the OP. We do get multiple flashbacks within flashbacks to see how the male lead gets into the predicament where he loses his arm, eats monsters raw like a savage, and then builds a fancy gun. Yes, he builds a very anime-looking gun like how Tony Stark builds an Iron Man suit. He also builds a flash bang grenade because why the hell not. He does all of this while trapped in a tiny cave in a dungeon with one arm.

As per my standard isekai complaints, this show also uses RPG leveling up mechanics in lieu of actual worldbuilding. The characters can access and UI displaying their stats, but at no point does anyone say that they are stuck in an RPG. Also, despite being a fantasy world with werewolves and magic, the adventurers have access to an iPhone-looking device (complete with a loop where you could hang a cell phone charm) that has magical augmented reality abilities. The male lead points it at rocks, and the iPhone tells him what type of rock it is. I don’t even have an app that does that in 2019. Arifureta suffers from the same lazy worldbuilding as all bad isekai. Of course, the male lead has no “special” abilities, yet he can eat monsters and gain their abilities. That seems like a powerful ability to me, no? My last complaint is really that none of this show needs to be an isekai. Why can’t it just be a standard fantasy setting? If we are just going to timeskip to the class being competent adventurers, why even bother plopping them from Japan to here? Why is there an isekai setup if we don’t actually use the real world part other than to introduce newbies to this world?

The art style and direction are also poor. The dungeons are too dark to see anything, and the action sequences are muddled. The female characters all look like they were all manufactured from the same haremtte mold. There were two okay moments in the first episode though. The first is that the male lead gets betrayed by a classmate and caused me to gleefully shout, “Top ten anime betrayal!” at my confused dog. The second is male lead goes berserk, shoots the arm off of the monster (because handguns are excellent at ripping off limbs) who ate his arm previously, and then proceeeds to eat the monster’s arm in front of the monster.

(Arifureta is born from the light novel focused website, Shousetuka ni Narou, and I was reading the “Selected Works” portion of that hive of light novel scum and villainy Wikipedia entry and realized: Out of all those forty or so light novels, only I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is neither a fantasy nor an isekai. Isekai has become so dominant, it has effective strangled other genres. Reborn as a Vending Machine, I Now Wander the Dungeon wins The Hero and His Elf Bride Open a Pizza Parlor in Another World Memorial I’m Curious– Help Please Stop Me From Reading This Award.)

(The Fashion Czar walked out of the room and didn’t come back during this show.)


#18. Granbelm
Nexus

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“Why can’t I get a signal? This is why I asked for a new phone!”

(Please look forward to my next light novel releasing in 2020: “I Suffered in Another World Because My Baba Wouldn’t Buy Me a New 5G Smart Phone So All I Had Was a Shitty Pixel 3a”.)

I tried to decipher the genre for Granbelm during the OP. Here were my thoughts: Oh, it’s isekai or magic battle high school with the logo design? There’s seven girls and each holds something like a soul jar from Madoka? Mahou shoujo? Wait, mecha? SD MECHA?! What is this? I think Granbelm is a magical girl battle royale anime set in another world where the magical girls pilot SD Gundam. Anime has outdid itself again. So, yep, our poor Japanese girl gets transported into a battle realm every full moon and has to eliminate the other magical girls there using SD mecha summoned from their magical hearts. So Granbelm is part Nanoha, part Starlight Revue, part SD Gundam, part Yuuki Yuna— this Frankenstein anime is an original work from Jukki Hanada who has adapted a lot of great anime in the past: Princess Jellyfish, K-On!, Aa Megami-sama, Nichijou, A Place Farther Than the Universe, Mahoromatic, Hanaukyo Maid Team La Verite, Bloom Into You, Chobits, and Best Anime of 2006 according to some of my readers: Sola. It’s like he took all the tropes and merged them into one big gooey mess.

The overadornation of the plot coincides with the overdesign of the characters and mecha too. More is certainly more to this show. There’s no consistancy in design with just a single character or single mecha and they end up looking like they were designed by separate people and merged together with Photoshop’s layering tools at the end. The story also moves a long too fast and sacrifices pacing and exposition just so we can see the poor Japanese girl in her mecha summoning the power of love (which looks a lot like Saber’s Noble Phantasm) to defeat a bunch of drones. One girl, who looks like ninja bunny girl Homura, just tells her that they have to fight every full moon to become Princeps, but she fails to mention why that is important or how the girl could go home. My best guess is that the winner gets to host a bitchin’ dinner party. The scene reminded me of a similar scene in Destiny when The Stranger tells you that she has no time to explain because she has no time to explain. People die when they are killed.

(Fashion Czar: “We sealed away this magic because it was used for war so we are going to use this magic to have our own war with young women.”)


#17. Naka no Hito Genome [Jikkyouchuu]
Silver Link

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“This suddenly turned into life counseling.”

According to anidb, Naka no Hito Genome [Jikkyouchuu] (The Ones Within [Now Streaming]) is a “shounen adventure psychological” series. My interpretation: It is a poor man’s Danganronpa. A bunch of youths trapped in a sinister environment run by a maniac in an animal costume. Supernatural shit abounds. They are all given an impossible goal in order to escape the world’s most elaborate escape room. I’m going to guess everyone has some sort of tragic backstory, and we will spend twelve episodes discovering them.

The base setup of this show seems to be inspired by Twitch and YouTube streamers, except it doesn’t seem to matter much except the end goal is to get the team’s exploits viral and get 100m viewers. Also this is I guess some sort of isekai as well because why the fuck not? I have a lot of questions about this. One, the Alpaca-Head mentioned that there was a previous game. All of the contestents are “popular” streamers who have watched each others streams… yet… for a game that was trying to get 100m viewers prior, none of them has even heard about it? Two, if they are streaming this live, 100m viewers is a lot. The entire population of Japan is barely above 125m. So they are at a complete disadvantage if they don’t speak English or Mandarin. Unless they are streaming to Martians or another race who speak fluent Japanese. Three, if this is being streamed live, why not go, “Help! This creepy dude wearing an Alpaca head is keeping us here against our will!” Four, Alpaca-Head picks popular streamers who specialize in genres. Okay. There’s a girl who likes to play horror games. There’s a guy who likes fighting games. How do you not have either a MOBA, FPS, or RTS player as those were the dominant genres back in 2014 when the manga was originally released? Or why not update it to 2019 with auto-chess, ASMR, and Bob Ross?

Animation production is subpar with a lot of panning and effects to hide static imagery. The characters are on the borderline of being overly embellished as well. I do want to like this show because I do like Alpaca-Head, but it just feels a bit boring. The games to advance have been lackluster, and the poor animation makes me laugh at scenes where probably the author’s intent wasn’t to invoke laughter. The biggest issue though is that the streaming/viewership aspect is used just as a score meter (much like in Forza Horizon 4) rather than something more interactive. We don’t see people watching this stream. We don’t get a witty Terrace House-like panel commenting on everything (which would be fantastic). It is a twist on the Danganronpa format that is underutilized.

(The cast all got an e-mail and then got sucked into another world in the first sixty seconds of this show. Someone should make a “time to isekai” index where it keeps track of how long do we need to spend in boring Tokyo before we are wisked away to an enchanting isekai.)

(Andohbytheway, this world has souffle pancakes. The streamers are trapped in this hellish game but at least they eat well.)


#16. Dr. Stone
TMS/8PAN

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“Think about the molecular structure of polyethylene, baka.”

At first when I heard about Dr. Stone, I though the series would be able The Rock’s character from Jumanji, Dr. Smouldering Bravestone. Nope. It’s a shounen anime about survival. Yep. Another survival anime this season. I have read enough Dr. Stone manga to know where this show is going, and I am not sure if I need to see it in anime form. The art is definitely more palatable in this anime version than the manga, but smartypants Senku’s design is just terrible. He looks like a bad attempt to create a Pokemon based off of green onion. The face lines are also not a great look, and he does not need E=MC^2 blazoned on his collar. “You know what? Civilization has collapsed, and I’m the last human alive. Time to make some clothing where I can show everyone that I’m a super genius! Obviously the best way is to put E=MC^2 on my collar!” That’s what a middle schooler might think not an actual genius.

There are three things that bother me about Dr. Stone. One, Senku is just an asshole who looks down on others. He is not very sympathetic. The other main character, Taiju, is kind of a dumb oaf meant to be a sharp contrast to Senku, and he is a bit more sympathetic except he is pretty much defined by his oafness and his extremely focused love for a particular girl. It’s one thing to have a crush on a girl, it’s another to pine 3,700 years for her. Taiju has it so bad that after he awakes from his stone slumber, he doesn’t even bother to check up on his family. He ends up building a shrine around the stone figure of this girl and never bothers to even check-in with this family in an entire year.

Two, the science is shoddy and feels like Neil deGrasse Tyson arguing with someone on Twitter. Science is about patience and clarity, and this show presents science as some sort of isekai magic. It does not help that there is more bombastic dialogue about how great science is than actual explanation of science. Three, the show eventually degrades into “science vs. no science,” which hits a bit too close to home in 2019. “I’m going to beat fantasy with science,” boasts Senku. Try convincing Kyrie Irving that the earth is round first.

(Surely Mr. Smartypants Science Dude knew exactly what he was saying when he said, “I’m going to take the world back. And I’ll figure out the science behind the petrification and our revival. The two of us high school brats are going to build a civilization out of nothing. We’re going to become the Adam and Eve of this stone world.”)

(Andohbytheway, it won’t take them long. He will eventually be building drones. Yes, we go from two humans living in an overgrown post-humanity world to drones faster than Reki Kawahara can create a new Sword Art Online spin-off.)

(I don’t care how smart he is, but no science can explain how people and birds can suddenly get encased in stone and manage to survive for 3,700 years without oxygen or food. I would imagine that even if you didn’t asphyxiate in your stone tomb, it would eventually fill up with poop, and you’d drown in our own excrement. One thing about being a dad is that you learn about meconium, the first tar-like poop your baby has after she is born. It is basically poop formed from the fetus ingesting its loose hairs, mucus, amniotic fluid, and other substances while in the womb. If the baby poops meconium into the womb, it is a sign of fetal distress, and medical intervention is needed. This shit is extremely sticky– took a lot of wipes to get a butt clean– but doesn’t really smell. My point is: Where does the poop go?)

(Alternative: In NHK’s documentary series, 10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki, they had extra footage of “the meeting” during production of The Wind Rises to discuss the casting for Jiro. Miyazaki chides the rest of the staff that Jiro should be someone who doesn’t speak much because intellectuals of that era do not speak much unless they really need to. This is a weird stereotype, but okay. The disagreement led Toshio, Miyazaki’s longtime producer, to pull out an iPad and play an interview with Hideaki Anno on it. Miyazaki snaps out of his funk and tells them to acquire Anno, much like how a king would demand to meet with someone. Two days later, Anno shows up to audition. Miyazaki, after hearing one line, decides to cast him and forces Anno to take the role. Nevermind that Anno was directing two movies at the time. Miyazaki then goes around Studio Ghibli with a giant Totoro-esque smile and tells all the young women there that Anno is going to star and tries to cast himself as the role of Jiro’s sensei. The sequence ends with a long zoom into a male animator’s face with an expression of “What the fuck just happened?” I recommend this documentary series plus the Kingdom of Dreams and Madness. Needless to say, Miyazaki loves Anno and hates Eva.)


#15. 7 Seeds
GONZO

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“You may be in hell.”

Another survival anime! Not just that, but 7 Seeds is also much like Dr. Stone in that some tragic even has occurred, and there are only a handful of people “transported” from our present to thousands of years post-apocalyptical event to rebuild human society and prevent extinction. The key difference between these two shows is that Dr. Stone is a shounen manga while 7 Seeds is josei, and while Dr. Stone was full of science and some comedy, none of that exists in 7 Seeds. This anime is about messy interpersonal relationships and desperation, and the people feel more like humans than superheroes.

What’s dragging 7 Seeds down is unfortunately the production. When is it ever a good idea to give Gonzo a blank check? Netflix delayed this show until this season because of production issues, and it is disappointing to see such poor animation. This is no Devilman Crybaby. The second issue that I have is that the plot seems to take the Game of Thrones route and have people do the worst possible thing they could be doing at any time. The cast is so incompetent, any of the isekai protagonists from this season would be an upgrade. If all the characters were competent, then there would be a lot less drama. And that brings me to my final point where the premise is that the Japanese government selected these individuals to rebuild society and put them into Fallout-like vaults. If the government was interested in survival of the species, they sure picked some awfully. Why would they not recruit people and train them for this mission instead of just randomly kidnapping people with no survival skills at night? So it leads me to believe that either the plot is idiot-plot driven or the premise is like Fallout and this is just one big psychological experiment where each vault has some horrible test factor applied to it.

(What’s the verdict for this type of show? Is it an isekai? Technically, they aren’t teleported into another world but the earth has changed enough that it might as well be another world. I’m going to say no, post-apocalypse survival anime is not isekai because there is a fundamental lack of RPG mechanics. No one checked their iPhone and went, “I’m a level 6 mage now. Plus two to wisdom. Woohoo!”)

(Fashion Czar: “Is this shoujo? Those look like shoujo– no, it’s josei. Those are josei eyes!”)


#14. Dumbbell Nano Kilo Motaru?
Doga Kobo

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“Look at her! She’s totally twitterpated!”

Dumbbell Nano Kilo Motaru? (How Heavy Are the Dumbbells You Lift? / ダンベル何キロ持てる?) is yet another silly name for another silly anime. This show is a low calorie, lightweight, and straightforward sports slash comedy slash fanservice anime about a girl trying to lose weight by bodybuilding. The main character knows nothing about weightlifting, so it is up to her friend (who is helpfully introduced with a “she’s the student council president, the prettiest, smartest, etc.” montage) and her trainer, Machio, to whip her into shape. The show feels like someone took Gou’s muscle gags Free! and turned it into a full anime somehow.

  • The huge statue on top of the gym is impressive to say the least.
  • There are both a calorie counter plus a “best” friend for the main heroine who only exist to body shame her.
  • Animation is okay except my gosh every male character is a fucking muscle caricature.
  • Dumbbell is written by Fumihiko Shimo, who worked for Kyoto Animation for a long time, probably best known for adapting Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya.
  • All the exercise explanation sequences are maybe two steps away from being erotic.
  • The main heroine doesn’t have a job yet manages to pay for a high class gym plus eats like $20 worth of food everyday after school.

(No one is complaining about the localization of this show? The title of this anime should be “How Many Kilograms Can You Lift, Bro?” Why the blatant censorship of the metric system? Is there someone at Funimation who did the math and calculated that their sales would dip 16% if the metric system was referenced in the title of this anime?)

(Fashion Czar: “I’m just impressed that they are showing a lady wearing an actual sports bra.”)

(Alternative: Kamen on Maid Guy has probably the best personal trainer sequence in anime.)


#13. Given
Lerche

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“I feel like I picked up a stray puppy.”

Once Fashion Czar saw that Given has a puppy that prances around, I knew she would be into this show. “The dog is all I need. This show passes my ‘did they pet the dog’ test. Oh look the dog has a butt hole! And it sneezed!” I am less enthused than she is. The dialogue, setting, plot, and characters are just cookie cooker BL. Hey, it’s a boy’s version of K-On!! Hey, one boy is “cool” and has shark teeth! Hey, the other boy is “mousy” and looks at the floor often! Hey, there’s a token female character, but it’s okay to include her because she can’t even bake her own frozen pizza! Hey, there will be a lot of longing stares and maybe kissing soon!

But there is something to be said for competently done BL as it is not a common genre, and it is a genre that does not typically get a lot of production budget. Given at least looks great and has animated band scenes unlike the very undynamic Dynamic Chord. I also give it credit that the band feels like a normal band and not an idol band like most otome shows. Character outfits are sensible and not over-embellished. This show is a bit overly melancholy and dramatic, and I feel like it would do better as a period piece in 1990 Seattle.

(Alternative: There is a God.)


#12. A Certain Scientific Accelerator
JC Staff

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“Don’t be so stingy with your genetic data!”

My best explanation for A Certain Scientific Accelerator (Toaru Kagaku no Accelerator) is that Accelerator is the Vegeta of the Index universe. He’s the K-Mart blue light special version of Vegeta– he’s the first popular villian in the series, he’s a dick, and the fact he has murdered people has been completely glossed over as he becomes a reluctant anti-hero. But in that scenario, Mikoto Misaka would be Goku as there are 15,532 versions of Misaka and Goku. The cops would be Yamcha– just there to get blown up by the bad guys.

The beginning of the show has Accelerator trying to give a 30 second recap of his life, and it might as well not exist. I think a recap like DanMachi episode 0 would have served better as it has been over a decade since he shown up originally in Index— there is a lot of ground to cover. Overall, this show is yet another older guy/young girl show as Accelerator is babysitting Last Order, who is just a lolier vesion of Railgun. I’m not a fan of either characters, so this show has little appeal to me other than the emo facial distortions when the characters realize that they tripped someone’s trap cards. More so, I couldn’t finish the last season of Index, so watching Accelerator is less appealing to me now too.

Accelerator is one of JC Staff’s better animated show for this season, and that’s not saying much. Animation is poor compared to the previous season of Index. Maybe working on four shows at once is a bad idea for any studio. I hope animation for next season’s Railgun III is improved from this show.

(The year of A Certain Scientific rolls on! We have Index 2, Accelerator, and Railgun III canvassing for a full year of magical science action all done by JC Staff. I’m just disappointed there’s no A Certain Idol Accelerator-sama worked in there too.)

(Alternative: Load up any rhythm game from Japan, and you may find “Only My Railgun” on it. Play it. I think the last time I visited a Round One, most of the rhythm games had either “Only My Railgun” or “Cruel Angel Thesis”.)


#11. Are You Lost?
Ezo’la

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“My first kiss… tasted like locusts.”

I would be perfectly okay if the survival genre replaced the isekai genre as the overproduced anime genre. I am not saying it is better or worse but just we need a major patch and get us out of this isekai meta. Are You Lost? (Sounan Desu Ka?) is a lightweight comedy manga turned anime about four girls stranded on a deserted island. The way the gags move in this twelve minute show suggest that the source material is 4koma from how each joke is about two to three minutes long and the world is seemingly “reset” once the next gag begins. The highlight of this show is the blonde girl who underwent survival training with her dad. The montage of a little girl and her grizzled dad training with a knife, eating moose testicles, and craving out a bear carcass a la Han Solo in Empire Strikes Back is fantastic. She casually is able to survive by doing seemingly horrific things like eating bugs as if they were Andes Mints or drinking fluids from a fish or catching fish with a baseball bat or getting “fresh” water from pee while the other three girls recoil in horror and wish for a quick and painless death. While the characters are very one note and the story is dumb, it is the right kind of dumb. I can appreciate an anime that knows it is so dumb that the OP sequence is the four girls doing an idol dance while on this deserted island.

Animation quality is substandard, and the reset that happens between chapter is a bit glaring. The girls always look like they are wearing just laundered, neatly ironed clothing despite being on this deserted island. One girl even has her nearly pristine cardigan neatly tied around her waist as if she were Carlton Banks. It’s a tropical deserted island! Why couldn’t she just set the cardigan down somewhere? Also there’s one sequence where survival girl defeats a shark (again, just the right amount of dumb) with her cell phone because it has a removable battery. One, RIP iPhone users. You’re just shark food. Two, didn’t her cell phone already get submerged in salt water? Not many cell phones with removable batteries are also waterproof. RIP non-iPhone users. You’re shark food too. We’re all shark food.

(Fashion Czar: “Did you ever think you’d see a loli eating moose testicles?”)

(Alternative: Let’s Lagoon is also a survival manga about high school students stranded on a deserted island. It starts as if it were a harem comedy… then veers into some Umineko mystery… before settling into a sci-fi conspiracy involving rich Americans. If I remember right, the ending of that manga unfortunately doesn’t address the end girl question in a satisfying way.)


#10. Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks?
JC Staff

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“This is a fantasy for young men! There is no room for parents!”

Do You Love Your Mom and Her Two-Hit Multi-Target Attacks? (通常攻撃が全体攻撃で二回攻撃のお母さんは好きですか?) wins the Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai: Puberty Syndrome Abnormal Experiences During Adolescence Due to Sensitivity and Instability Memorial Overly Complicated and Descriptive Title Award for summer 2019. Congrats to all! The key deciding factor is that HenSuki and Uchi Musume have accepted nicknames in the community while the community can’t seem to come to one consensus for mom and her multi-target attacks. I’ve see #MOMISEKAI, #OKAASAN, #OKAAONLINE, and others. Personally, I prefer #MILFISEKAI. Okay let’s break out the isekai checklist hopefully for the last time this thin slicing:

  • Guy gets literally sucked into another world within five minutes of the anime starting. CHECK.
  • Instantly becomes a superpowerful avatar so he can kill and fuck whatever he wants. NOPE– he can fuck whatever he wants, but mom makes sure all monsters are dead before they get to him.
  • RPG mechanics and MMORPG UI popups are used to explain the world in lieu of actual worldbuilding. CHECK.
  • iPhones/iPads somehow exist in this fantasy world. NOT YET.
  • Assemble the harem! CHECK.
  • Character stumble into a plot rather than cause a plot? CHECK.
  • Lackluster and bad monster designs. CHECK.
  • “Twist” that the author thinks is more clever than it actual is. CHECK– he gets sucked into another world with his childhood friend his mom.

This anime is dumb, and, thankfully, #MILFISEKAI knows it is dumb and fully indulges and revels in its idiocy. The OP gives away the entire plot: Standard teenage isekai boy and his mom get sucked into another world, he gathers a harem of adventurers and faces a horde of evil monsters, but mom steals the glory because she is Kirito, Ainz Ooal Gown, and Belldandy all rolled up into one. The show is nothing but mom jokes. The titular mom is named “Mamako Oosuki” as in her name has two mom puns. The RPG world’s main town is named “Mommalia.” Her swords are named “Mother Earth” and “Mother Ocean” because apparently “Mother of Eugeo” was already taken. #MILFISEKAI is like the Gilroy Garlic Festival except full of moms instead of garlic (I guess the Gilroy Garlic Festival is also full of moms too). The dumbness of this show saves it, and it is blogsuki’s highest ranked isekai for summer 2019.

We have seen a lot of different moms in anime, but Mamoko behaves more like a doting older sister stereotype than a mom at times. I think I would have preferred a mom like the mom from Erased or the mom from Hi Score Girl. Both of those feel more like geniune moms than Mamoko here, and both of those moms kick ass without needing to dual wield gamebreaking items.

My least favorite part of this show, besides the slipshod JC Staff animation (mom using her noble phantasm is re-used three times in the first episode alone), is the son. He is an asshole who emotionally abuses his mom. “The person from the NES generation can shut up.” He has no personality besides that he likes to play RPGs and hates him mom. It is going to be hard to make him into a sympathetic character. Maybe that’s why I laughed when his special attack turned out to be so feeble. #MILFISEKAI feels more like an anime community congealing point where one show finally encapsulates the dumbness of the current isekai meta and hopefully we move on to another meta.

(Why are all isekais fantasy RPGs? No one ever gets sucked into a futuristic society or sci-fi MMO like EVE Online? At the very least, with how big loot shooters like Destiny and Warframe are, you’d think at least one out of the billions of isekai out there, one would be a sci-fi future scenario.)

(My personal theory for this show: No one ever talks about the dad. We do not even get the classic pan of the picture of dad to show that he has either passed on or is trapped working for Facebook in Menlo Park. Mom is overly doting and spoils her son. She made three different homemade dressings for a side salad! What mom does that? The son is an MMORPG fanatic who longs to ditch our world and spend his time fucking and killing without conseqeunces in a fantasy world. Now just imagine the son in front of his computer playing an RPG while demanding cheezy poofs and gamer fuel from his mom. Yep, #MILFISEKAI is just the anime version of Eric Cartman and his mom.)

(Mamoko has a purse that she carries around everywhere. Is this the first anime where a female character has a purse? How can it be a mom anime if there aren’t any snacks in the purse?)

(Fashion Czar: “I’m okay with this show if it is about his mom getting some action in the other world with anyone but her son.”)


#9. The Demon Girl Next Door
JC Staff

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“It’s my destiny to find and murderize a magical girl.”

JC Staff is at it again with the comedy The Demon Girl Next Door (Machikado Mazoku). There’s a handful of comedies about a group of girls this season, and the gimmick to this one is that it is about horny photography club a demon who has to kill magical girls and feed their blood to this statue thing that totally doesn’t look like a sex toy. Except the demon girl is so weak, she’s not even a match for a Pomerarian let alone the super powerful magical girls of this world. Machikado Mazoku is not a bad show– production is good enough to not be a distraction, character interactions are funny (especially the normal human friend character), and the dialogue is self-aware too. “I proceed forth with my quest despite being unsatisfied with my personal parameters.” This show becomes a fun “NOOOOO! POOR DEMON-KUN!” viewing experience.

That said, I can see the format getting old after a while. There is only so many jokes that we can make at Demon-kun’s expense, and there are only so many comparisons to sex toys that we can make about the statue. Imagine if Parks and Rec were just a series of calzone jokes or if Cheers were just a series of jokes about how much Norm was an alcoholic. I can see myself watching this show once in a while and then completely forgetting about it once the next season starts, but I can’t imagine looking forward to it weekly.

(If Demon-kun really wants the blood of magical girls, instead of fighting the girls, she should pretend that she’s a magical girl familiar and trick them into expending all of their power. And then strike once they have used up all of their energy.)

(Alternative: Dokuro-chan is a demon/angel thing that murderizes properly.)


#8. Astra Lost in Space
Lerche

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“Take a breath and make some sense!”

It’s the small things that bug me about Astra Lost in Space. One, why would anyone get away with riding a fast scooter inside an airport? Why would anyone do a blatant purse snatch in the middle of an airport? Why would any group be stranded on a deserted planet without any survival training in advance? Or proper equipment like tents? Or only 3 days of supplies if the trip is supposed to be over a week? And if they were landing near a lodge, why isn’t anyone there to greet them? Or are they leaving a group of horny teens without adult supervision? Why is their “task” to take along a ten year old girl? Why did she freeze tangerines? Why are the teens cheering when the ship arrives when it is just a four hour long flight? Do you cheer after a flight from New York to LA? Why did Kanata not try to find more propellant in the spaceship before heading off? There are just a lot of small things that bother me about Astra Lost in Space. The girls from Laid Back Camp are better prepared! For a show that tries to accurate in some places (I appreciate how the show handles sound in space), it really misses the mark on basic things.

The story seems like Star Trek Voyager: A rag-tag group gets flung into space by an alien and have to get home. I am sure they will encounter challenges to resupply at each planet as well as a conspiracy to uncover. The plot does move briskly and is interesting, but the characters seem quite one-dimensional so far. The main heroine also feels a bit out of place as she seems like she should be in a do nothing high school club. Production from Lerche is unimpressive with action sequences that could use a bit more work and very, very boring backgrounds. The alien monsters might as well be fodder designs from an isekai. But there is something that makes me interested in this show. It is almost like I hate how incompetent the characters are and how they just luck into solutions, but I also can’t wait to see what is the next deus ex machina that saves them. Sure, a random Japanese boy can long jump like 30ft because why not? Sure, there just so happens to be a weird bird thingie in the engine room because why not? Sure, the ship may not be stocked with food, but they are sure luck into finding delicious plants and animals all the time– even stuff they can make into granola bars– because why not?

(Charce Lacroix wins the Uncle Dis Memorial Best Name of the Season award and Planet McPa wins the inaugural Planet McPa Memorial Best Planet Name of the Season award.)

(Why do they insist on not wearing their helmets?! I think we finally found a dumber cast than Guilty Crown.)

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The best part of this show is Beego, a Boston Terrier hand puppet.

(Fashion Czar: “Why are they wearing skirts in space? Why are their space uniforms skirts?”)

(Alternative: I would recommend reading Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World by Joan Druett. It details two shipwrecks in the south Pacific on the same island at the same time. Amazingly, the two stranded crews never knew the other was there. One crew worked together and managed to build a hut and basic tools and eventually built a ship that was used to sail back to civilization for rescue. The other crew bickered and descended into pettiness and one by one died off. It is a fascinating read for anyone interested in island survival stories.)


#7. Cop Craft
White Fox

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“I was told that there were warriors on earth who fought for the cause of justice.”

I have no idea what Cop Craft is. It could be an awesome cop buddy show or an explosion-filled mess. Who knows? It’s the lootbox anime of this season. The fun of thin slicing is guessing at what an unknown show’s potential could be. I do not need much of an imagination to extrapolate Arifureta‘s trajectory (into Funimation’s discount bin), but, for this show, I don’t know. Two aspects intrigue me about this show: One, the dialogue is pure glory. Any anime that can casually drop a, “Satan can suck my dick” has my attention. Two, Cop Craft is written by Shoji Gatoh, and he has put Bonta-kun in every novel series he has written, so I am hoping for more Bonta-kun. Bonta-kun is a top ten anime mascot right up there with Pikachu, Doraemon, Kyubey, and Mikuru Asahina.

The basic premise of Cop Craft is that it takes place in a city like Blood Blockade Battlefront‘s where it seemingly looks like New York and is at the edge of an alien gateway of sorts. (Except in Cop Craft, the city style is New York but the size and amount of driving is more LA… plus I think it is supposed to be in the Pacific somewhere.) The characters seem like a standard mismatched cop buddy comedy with the grizzled hard-nosed detective who just lost a longtime partner and a newbie alien who is his new partner and also a tiny little girl. The story seems to revovle around fairy trafficking like Fairy Gone (which is still running this season) and grinding up fairies into drugs. Basically, this show is like anime’s take on Alien Nation or Bright except the alien is cute little girl.

Animation is passable, and the little girl gets a lot more details over the other characters. Some of the backgrounds are poor, and there is a scene of a CG elevator door opening that is badly animated. However, the show does just enough to make me want to watch more, it is neither in the isekai nor survival bin, and I want to see more of this strange take on America. At one point, the little girl tries to grab the cop’s gun from his belt. How is she not shot instantly?! Only in fantasy America. I also enjoy seeing the discount American flags randomly in the background.

(“Tilarna Barsh Mirvor Imsedalya Iyeh Tebreina Devol Nelano Seiya Nel Exedilica” is going to be name of my new kpop group.)

(Garo, BEM, Blood Blockade Battlefront, and Cop Craft are all about people fighting monsters/aliens in some sort of New York analogue. Is there a genre tag for this type of show?)

(Alternative: The breach sequence from Full Metal Panic Fumoffu is still gold over a decade later.)


#6. Fire Force
David Production

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“Ashes thou wert and art.”

I knew nothing about Fire Force (En’en no Shouboutai) going in, and I am surprised to find a competently executed shounen action show. The plot and setup are pure shounen: There’s a plucky young lad with perpetual shark teeth who has special innate abilities who joins comrades in battling supernatural evils. He has a plucky frenemy that he can playfully banter with. For this show, the twist is that demons called Infernals can cause people to spontaneously combust anytime. I always chuckle whenever someone brings up that the greatest threat to humanity is spontaneous combustion. Fortunately, motherfucking fire fighters armed with holy weapons, pyrotechnic esper abilities, lightsabers, and machine guns battle them and are our last line of defense against the Infernals.

What is a bit different from typical shounen is that production values for this show are pretty high. Characters are animated well, and the action sequences are much better than the other shounen action shows this season. There is a real weight and intensity to how the characters move. The flame and smoke effects are also done well, which, really, they have to be for an anime that features so much smoke and fire. The fire fighter costumes are also nicely designed. The men and women all wear the same heavily-armored suits. There are no armored breast bumps or frilly skirts for the girls.

Of course, there are some typical tropetastic shounen elements too. The battalion leader is a Kamina-like model leader slash father figure who surely will get burned to death soon. He is way too competent, and if he were in charge of the groups in either 7 Seeds or Astra Lost in Space, there would be no drama or suspense because he would competently lead everyone to safety. To break up all the bromance and action sequences, we get eye candy shower scenes of the ladies. There is the overused trope a la Kimetsu no Yaiba where, of course, the big bad evil is the same person who slaughtered the protagonist’s family. My big disappointment with this show is probably that the team doesn’t drive around in shiny red fire trucks.

(Fashion Czar: “I like that they did hatching in the shadows.”)

(Alternative: The main character of Fire Force reminds me of Blue Exorist and Soul Eater so I’ll recommend those.)


#5. Is It Wrong To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
JC Staff

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“Are you all enjoying the party?”

I ranted four years too early. Nowadays, Is It Wrong To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? (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 / DanMachi) is a tame name that wouldn’t even make it as an honorable mention in the Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai: Puberty Syndrome Abnormal Experiences During Adolescence Due to Sensitivity and Instability (青春ブタ野郎はバニーガール先輩の夢を見ない) Memorial Overly Complicated and Descriptive Title Award. You should know if you’re in or out of the Hestia Familia by now, so I just have some random notes for this show:

  • Is the plot to this season Cobra Kai vs. the Miyagi Dojo?
  • I want a YouTube channel of Hestia just stuffing her face with food like those Korean gluttony channels.
  • I want a YouTube channel of Lilliluka doing dungeon haul videoes like typical grocery haul videos.
  • I could use a Welcome to the Ballroom isekai. Sad teenaged boy gets teleported to a fantasy world where battles are decided by ballroom dancing. His partner is his mom his childhood friend sexy blonde swordlady young loli he found in a forest Charles Barkley.
  • Is Apollo the real Mr. Shakedown?
  • Bell’s lustful eyes towards Ais are the exact same as Kotomine Kirei eyeing betrayal.
  • OP gives away a few too many plot points. Welcome to Downton Abbey!

(Fashion Czar: “Did they give Hestia more cleavage this season?”)

(Alternative: Watching grocery haul videos on YouTube.)


#4. Vinland Saga
WIT Studio

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“The ocean here is scary, Thorfinn.”

You don’t need me to explain WIT + Vinland Saga to you. But you do need a refresher on what thin slicing is and isn’t. In this orgy of ranking new shows from 1 to whatever, the only guideline I go by is simply, “If I received one episode of all the shows at once, which one would I watch first? Second? Last?” If you had a primitive Tivo and couldn’t record more than 1 show at a time, would you prioritize Terrace House? Ugly Delicious? It’s Bruno? The ranking is not a quality ranking.

(The water animation is light years better than ufotable’s. The screamo music for the OP is a bit much. And the animals are drawn really muscular.)

(Why does WIT have an intro sequence? Is this going to lead to more animation studios have an intro sequence? Please, yes, that would be fantastic. Though WIT’s is gloriously terrible.)

(Alternative: A lot of Viking colonies died off because they insisted on eating sheep and cow products and that eating seafood was beneath them. What was the most ample food source of their area? Seafood. A chapter in Jared Diamond’s Collapse goes into excruiating details about how these Viking colonies died off because they refused to eat the abundant seafood around them. I think it is a good companion to read alongside Vinland Saga to see how unadaptable Viking society was, even when confronting eminent demise.)


#3. Wasteful Days of High School Girls
Passione

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“What’s up with that ‘interesting woman’ phrase that keeps appearing?”

Wasteful Days of High School Girls (Joshikousei no Mudazukai) is pretty much the exact opposite of Vinland Saga. The CG water animation is nowhere as good. People aren’t murdered by swords and axes but instead murdered by words. The level of comedic writing for Wasteful Days is excellent: I would put it between the worst of Nichijou and the best of Daily Lives of High School Boys. Anime is littered with gritty, brutal action adventure shows. Anime rarely sees a good comedy with exceptional writing, pacing, and broken characters.

The highlight of this delightful comedy are the characters and their interactions, not unlike Daily Lives or Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. And they are all broken in some way, not unlike Nichijou or Minami-ke. One girl is a major chuunibyou. Another carries around an infinite supply of bacteria as if she were trying out for a part in Moyashimon. Another is a major otaku who aspires to be a lowly paid mangaka. Another is just a loli who is called “Loli”. Their teacher might be a major pedophile. The main character is an energetic idiot who reminds me of Nichijou‘s Yuko. Our first introduction for all the characters is the main character going up to all the girls (and teacher) and asking them to introduce hot boys to her. She is thirsty for hot men, but she is an idiot, and her friends are all trolls thus comedy abounds.

(I couldn’t stop laughing during the second episode. “MY KNEES WON’T BEND!!!”)

(Fashion Czar: “I love this idiot. I love her so much.”)

(Alternative: I suggested a few in the post already but maybe add in School Rumble.)


#2. The Case Files of Lord El-Melloi II
Troyca

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“We’ve become best friends, Waver!”

Our boy Waver Velvet is back in The Case Files of Lord El-Melloi II. He is Gen Urobuchi’s greatest contribution to Fate‘s lore and is popular enough to show up in Unlimited Blade Works despite not being an original visual novel character. Case Files continues Waver’s story as a whydunit, howdunit, wheredunit, and whatdunit detective story. At this point, Fate is Star Wars with Case Files being the equivalent of Rogue One or Solo and Kiritsugu being added to FSN like how Hayden Christensen was added to Return of the Jedi. If you’re pining for Fate/Zero-ish Fate (which as I have addressed already as being a Fate outlier), Case Files is the closest you will get. This spin-off is more serious of a tone, it is a continuation of characters and consequences from Zero, and I haven’t seen nearly as many Case Files memes as other Fate routes. Troyca’s production are top notch with some expressive faces, and I’m excited to see Waver in action once again, even if he looks ten years older than he should. The lesson, as always, kids, don’t smoke.

(Fashion Czar was too busy trying to decipher the timeline thanks to the flashbacks within flashbacks to provide a comment. I can’t think of any lore more convoluted, impenetrable, and ridiculous than Fate other than Star Wars Legends. Just glorious trash.)

(Did you know that The Case Files of Lord El-Melloi II‘s writer, Makoto Sanda, also created a Japanese tabletop RPG called Red Dragon? And Gen Urobuchi [Fate/Zero], Ryohgo Narita [Fate/Strange Fake], and Kinoko Nasu [professional eggplant] were his collaborators? And they got together regularly to play it? Maybe that’s where they got the idea of the scene where Iskander, Saber, Gilgs sat around drinking wine with each other.)

(The Year of Fate rolls on. June saw the release of the newest Prisma Illya OVA from Silver Link, summer has El-Melloi II by Troyca, fall premieres Babylonia by CloverWorks, and then in the first half of 2020 there are Camelot by Production IG followed by the final Heaven’s Feel film by ufotable. Five different Fate routes by five different studios in a year.)

(Alternative: Type Moon, we could really use a Cooking at the EMIYA Household for the Zero cast.)


#1. O Maidens in Your Savage Season
Lay-duce

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“Everyone in the Literacture Club is weird but fun.”

I already wrote 1,000 words about horny literature club anime.

(Alternative: I’d like to imagine that the girls in the Literature Club would grow up and become the protagonists in Tokyo Tarabata Girls.)

6 Responses to “thin slicing the new season, summer 2019 edition”

  1. I await the isekai where a loser lv1 adventurer dies to a slime and is reborn in another wold where his newly discovered skills make him the hero that chartered accountancy (or similar) needs. Watch his battle against sloppy bookkeeping and his overpowered techniques for tax return filling as he gathers a harem of unpaid interns, unappreciated cleaning staff, elderly secretaries and plain middle managers!

  2. the funny part about this season of isekai shows is that they signal a changing of the guard. soon it will be the otome game isekai reincarnated as a villainess trope. starting with bakarina. and it will make us miss the purely isekai trope

  3. I liked the source manga for Magical Sempai. I don’t think the anime adapts it well enough to stand on its own.

    I’ve read the first couple of light novel volumes of Reborn as a Vending Machine. Definitely an interesting take on the isekai concept.

  4. I would welcome the villainess trope to be honest, there a few good ones. And the female leads usually don’t go on a quest to fuck the whole world.
    As far as isekai bookkeeping goes, Honzuki no Gekokujou will be airing this Fall.

    Somebody other than me watched Sola? WoW ( it definitely wasn’t AOTY 2006 )

  5. Except Solo was completely unnecessary. Perhaps even Rogue, which was more of a 3.5 than something stand alone and complimentary. Alternative: Heir to the Empire.

    Noticed been reading since Bakemono was sliced, 10 years ago. Woo.

  6. Cop Craft wouldn’t be bad, but if the animation budget goes even lower, we will be watching manga from ep 8 onward…
    El Melloi and En En no Shoubutai are outstanding in this season (from my perspective). Fireforce reminded me at first on Blue Exorcist and Soul Eater too, but only Soul eater is connected to it (same writer).

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