thin slicing the new season, fall 2019 edition

11,000 words, 26 anime, and the fourteenth year of thin slicing.

The bell of evening tolls thy name. The gramps of gimmick posts descends upon us once more. 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 FOURTEEN YEARS NOW. You either get how this works by now or not. And, yes, it’s the fourteenth 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 CG shows (why Beastars why?) or 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 fourth season of Food Wars, the fourth season of Boku no Hero Academia, or the second season (!!!) of Phantasy Star Online 2 by now. I’m actually very surprised that Fairy Gone, which had volume 1 sales of 302 copies, has a second season.

(I have to cover another season of bad isekais. Maybe I’ll write an isekai about an anime reviewer who has to review bad isekai anime but then gets sucked into another world that is exactly like our own except isekais do not exist. So the protagonist has a moral conundrum in that they could introduce isekais to the world with their vast knowledge of Sword Art Online, Realist Hero, Cautious Hero Is Cautious, World Trigger, Wise Man’s Grandchild, etc.) and make millions as the exault of isekais or let the world be. On a programming note, I’m going to refer to protagonists of isekais from now on as “prokai/prokais” because I’m sick of typing “loser another world lead,” “Japanese dude who found himself in Dragon Quest IV,” and “Kirito-wannabe.”)

Quick recap from last season: whydunit? What’s so special about those 7 minutes? Does Bell-kun lose his virginity? How dumb is Baka? Will the Astra make it home? And will it fit?


#MR. IRRELEVANT. Kemono Michi
ENGI

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“I’m not a pervert! I’m a pro wrestler!”

Kemono Michi (けものみち) can just be summed up with “wrestling isekai furries.” Yep. We’re in the wacky parody stage of the isekai epoch of anime. I guess the best part of this anime is how furry-addicted the main prokai is. He has an insatiable appetite for fondling both furry men and women and gives no fucks about normal humans. He is a furrysexual. Kemono Michi also breaks with a few isekai conventions. One, the prokai is summoned during a wrestling match as part of a live broadcast. Typically, isekai prokais either die or enter a portal while this guy just vanishes during a wrestling match, and we get zero reaction shows of the people left at the stadium. Imagine if Roman Reigns got summoned during Royale Rumble, and we don’t get to see Vince’s reaction to it. Two, he does not go alone. He is summoned with his tiny ankle-biting pupper. He isn’t even holding his puppy when they get summoned, so somehow this another world’s summoning spell targeted both him and his puppy. Three, like most isekai leads, he is not concerned about getting home. However, unlike most isekai prokais, he gives no fucks about the state of the world and just wants to fondle furries.

I felt this show was just not interesting enough and too many of the jokes involved the prokai sniffing furry assholes. I think it is a show that would have worked well as a 5 minute short but not as a full length show. Animation is typical isekai animation: Uninspired, dull, poorly framed, and low budget. I guess I am not the target audience of furry wrestling isekai anime.

(Finally, our long national nightmare is over, and Wikipedia is finally letting the “isekai” genre tag for anime articles.)

(Interesting… the Jazz cup aesthetic ED.)

(Fashion Czar: “Wow, they sure did draw those buttcheeks in detail. Okay, everyone in this world immediately regrets this hero being summoned.”)


#26. Stand My Heroes: Piece of Truth
M.S.C.

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“The other side of justice is another side of justice. I engraved it into my heart.”

I thought Stand My Heroes: Piece of Truth would be like other recent cop dramas because we get a shot of the heroine in her past experiencing a terrible tragedy that prompts her to become a cop. Unlike other cop shows, this one does not seem to take place in New York and is not really a cop show: It’s an otome show. The main character is a standard self-insert otome heroine lacking any personality or individuality. She just goes around going, “I can do the job!” There are roughly two dozen hot men introduced in the first episode with half of them trying to neg her and the other half trying to seduce her. Unfortunately, all the men look alike. They have similar, chiseled builds, hair, and faces. Rather than a police force, they look like people who showed up at a modeling or boy band audition. Also, she is the only female character in this huge police force of hot men. What are the odds of that happening?

The twist here is that the heroine has a special skill: She is immune to drugs. Yes, a few characters derisively mention that she only got her job because she is immune to drugs. I have so many questions. How do they know this fact? Did they shoot her up with cocaine and heroin to see how she would respond as a part of a job interview? What drugs are she immune to? Is she also immune to weed and anesthesia? Is she immune to Advil and Immodium AD as well? What about penicillin? Caffeine? How does being immune to drugs make her a better detective? So is the whole show her putting herself in danger by getting exposed to drugs so the guy cops can swoop in and save her? Shouldn’t she be a test subject instead of being assigned a job where she can potentially get seriously injured but medical science cannot help her because she would be immune to painkillers, antibiotics, and anesthesia?

Stand My Heroes also takes a tiny step forward for women and then takes about 15,532 steps back. The start of the show indulges further into the lady porn aspect by having the guys make her coffee and bring her cake. It is all downhill from there. A guy quickly asks, “Can she do the job? It’s a pretty hard job for a girl.” She is then forced to make coffee for the guys. And then there’s an awesome scene where she is chasing a criminal but stops at a stairwell because of her heels. She then takes a moment to decide to ditch her heels or not during a police chase. She catches up to the fleeing suspect and manages to hit the criminal once, and then cowers in fear until her sexy hot male coworker saves her. Finally, after she catches the criminal, all she can think about is how messy her hair is and how dirty her feet look because she left her heels behind. For a show about combating drugs, it sure takes some– err– a lot of drugs to enjoy this show.

(Am I to believe that this entire Japanese police department with over two dozen men has no smokers? Really?)

(By my count, the heroine drinks about 3 cups of tea, 3 cups of coffee, and 1 glass of wine in the first episode. She also has 2 slices of cake.)


#25. Honzuki no Gekokujou
Ajia-do Animation Works

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“Damn those rich nobles!”

Honzuki no Gekokujou (Ascendance of a Bookworm) is probably the most horrific anime of all time. Junji Ito has nothing on this show. The show opens with a creepy older guy drugging a young loli and making her wear a weird crown thing. Yep, he roofied a young girl and proceeded to mind rape her. For what purpose? Just to give us a quick montage of how this young girl isn’t a young girl but actually an older woman/librarian from modern Japan who got isekaied to this dreary fantasy world. The drugging and subsequent mind rape is only there to setup an isekai backstory. Not even Black Mirror gets this dark.

Is this librarian reborn into this new world? Is she summoned into this new world as her old self? Nope. Let’s introduce horror number two: She finds herself stuck in the body of a little girl named “Myne.” She not only is isekaied, but she takes over an innocent little girl’s body. The Japanese lady is confused as to what is going on, and she cannot understand what the people around her (Myne’s family) are saying. But then she gets a headache, strange images pour into her head, and she can understand what everyone is saying. She just mind-digusted Myne’s memories. The premise of this isekai is built upon killing this little girl so this random Japanese lady can take over her body. That’s just fucked up. Imagine if your child just gets randomly replaced because an isekai backstory needed to be shoehorned in for sales. Is this a Junji Ito horror anime? Is it a Black Mirror dystopia? Nope. It’s a fairly happy-go-lucky (assuming we interrupt the horrific events earlier as horrific events and not has happy-go-lucky shit the show wants us to believe) story of a girl who brings literacy to another world.

And… my gosh… she gets transported to another world and takes over a young girl’s body, and all she can think about is reading books. I understand how books can help ease the suffering (there’s an excellent This American Life episode about a girl and her copy of Little Women), but Fake Myne becomes so singular (and partially broken) in her pursuit of books, she could be a character in Chuubyou Gekihatsu Boy. She is going to kill, fuck, and crop rotate in this another world until she gets some goddamn books.

(Has she considered that maybe she doesn’t want to read the books of that area? Getting stuck in 1400 means no isekai light novels, no magic battle high school light novels, no twisted harem relationships light novels, and no more El Melloi II Case Files. How will we know whydunit? She is going to read a lot of scripture and books about Roman orgies.)

There’s also some minor horrors in this show that seem normal at a glance. At one point, Fake Myne gets sad at a market because they have no books, so she asks her mom if she can just wait somewhere as the mom finishes shopping. Fake Myne then goes and talks to a shopkeeper to let her stay there, and he just replies, “Nobody will kidnap her if she’s kept in the back.” (Because he will kidnap her first.) The mom just agrees to leave her daughter there alone with a strange man and goes shopping.

I highly dislike everything about this show. The setup is ludicrously bad. The animation is awful (they can’t seem to draw mouth animations properly). The characters, especially Fake Myne, are boring and predictable. As a horror series about one’s daughter getting taken over? It kind of works. As a happy go lucky show about the joys of reading? Not so much.

(The body takeover thing is not the same as Ruler in Fate/Apocrypha as Laeticia literally prays to have the savior inhabit her body. I don’t think Myne did that. Oh Lord, please use this vessel of mine… to fuck a dragon.)


#24. Chuubyou Gekihatsu Boy
Studio Deen

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“2D girls are ultimate and the best!”

I do not get the main male lead of Chuubyou Gekihatsu Boys’ hat. I also don’t understand Chuubyou Gekihatsu Boy either. It is a very budget anime about a poor girl stuck with a bunch of chuubyou boys in an after school club. Most of them aren’t chuubyou but just broken with severe personality flaws and unhealthy attachments to niche interest groups. (At least none of them are into Homestuck.) One guy really likes Kamen Rider (but not as much as Hideaki Anno), one pissy furry guy who reminds me of Spike from Buffy if he were into furries instead of vampire slayers, one member so addicted to waifu gatcha gaming that he is rolling in the middle of class, and one actual chuubyou. The only way this show could be interesting is if all the boys get isekaied and must cope to living in another world without access to their niche hobbies. The show just ends up being random scenarios that the club faces, except they all try to deal with it through the lense of their particular hobby. The Kamen Rider guy likes brute strength, the gatcha guy only wants 2D girls, etc. It gets old fast. The idiots need to be likeable and somehow endearing. They need to be able to tease that they can be more and than just idiots like Wasteful Days of High School Girls show from last season. But the guys here seem irredeemable and unwilling to change. If you’re looking for character development, Chuubyou Gekihatsu Boy is not the show for you.

But that begs the question: Who is this show for? Why did Sentai Filmworks license this show? Without any plot, character development, decent production values, memorable music, humor, or drama, what is there to carry a show? There’s no fanservice to keep male audiences interested. The guys are duds who all ladies will swipe past on Tinder. Who is this show for? People who really like seeing poorly drawn dysfunctional men? And will volume one of the BD release sell more or less copies than Fairy Gone in Japan?

(Fashion Czar: “I just don’t want to hear anything that they are saying. I want to skip their dialogue.”)


#23. Actors: Songs Connection
Drive

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“Running off with toast in her mouth, she’s like an anime character.”

Actors: Songs Connection is one of two shows this season spawned from Vocaloids. This one is the less subtle with its inspiration as the male leads are singing Vocaloid songs to win a singing competition. What is weird about this show is that the town the kids are in is surrounded by a giant white wall that resembles Attack on Titan’s Wall Maria. It adds a weird wrinkle to an otherwise uninspired show but unless titans or kaiju are busting through that wall, it is not enough to keep me interested in an otherwise bland and straightforward otome anime. The best part of the show is the mom and dad of the main character flirting as they try to recreate recipes from famous restaurants. I would absolutely watch a spin-off of that over Actors: Songs Connection.

Anime production is on the budget side with some very derpy running animations. The backgrounds and everyday items like phones are cabbage quality. There is also some questionable directing as there is a montage of the singing club trying to come up with a song to sing Carole & Tuesday-esque while we get interspersed scenes of someone dying of a terminal illness. The character designs are par for the course for otome anime: Overdesigned. “Uta Outa” is both too much in terms of a name and in character design. It feels like the characters were designed by committee with everyone too scared to call out other people’s bad ideas.

(Fashion Czar: “Screw the rest of this show. I want to know more about this five star hotel omelete rice.”)


#22. Rifle Is Beautiful
3Hz

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“Though it is called ‘rifle shooting’, we are actually using beam rifles with lasers.”

I almost fell asleep watching Rifle Is Beautiful, so I’ll let the Fashion Czar take care of this one:

  • “Of course it’s about girls shooting rifles. Jesus Japan, does every niche fetish need a show?”
  • “These are some of the most forgettable character designs that I have ever seen.”
  • “I rather watch Beastars than this show.”
  • “Disbanded club for niche hobby. Lead girl is an idiot. Have to recruit.”
  • “At least she wears a sports bra.”
  • “This school has a shooting range room and equipment and wants to cancel the club.”
  • “It’s not even normal rifles! It’s lasers! Why do they need the padded suits? There’s no kickback. They can wear anything.”
  • “How do they manage to make guns so boring?”
  • “Please keep time skipping to their graduation ceremony.”
  • “She doesn’t even know the beam rifle reference?”
  • “Now you dump the exposition on what a beam rifle is. Oh great. We don’t even need to know this.”
  • “She hit the bullseye by taking a photo.”
  • “I feel like this episode has lasted a lifetime.”
  • “The boat girl show is better than this. It at least moves along. This is dreadfully boring.”

(Mitigating Factor: I think Rifle Is Beautiful is the first time boba has been mentioned in an anime. When will we see the first actual boba in anime? Considering how close Taiwan is to Japan and how widespread boba tea has been for sometime, I am surprised that it took this long for the boba craze to reach Japan.)


#21. High School Prodigies Have It Easy Even In Another World
Project No. 9

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I just finished reading the first three volumes of Restaurant to Another World. That story is yet another isekai with no drama. Maybe there is some drama in the plight of the individuals reaching the restaurant, but there is almost always a happy ending. There is one chapter about a guest who visits the restaurant but keeps having memories of a childhood friend who used to go with him to the restaurant. The implication is that the friend passed away on an adventure and is why the guest now dines alone. Nope. In the final sentence of that chapter, it is revealed that the childhood friend is actually the guest’s wife now, and she’s too pregnant to make the trip to the restaurant.

I am okay with the story having absolutely no drama beyond the sizzle of pork chops or which beer to pair with seafood skewers. I am less okay with one aspect of the story that I haven’t really considered: All the plastic waste going from our world to the fantasy world as part of the take out packaging from Nekoya. Characters get take-out all the time, and it is given to them in plastic containers wrapped in plastic bags with plastic utensils. What happens to the trash? One guest is a princess trapped in a castle, and her only time away is to buy confections from Nekoya. What does she do with all the take-out containers and plastic forks? The collision of our world with another doesn’t just mean the disaster of a prokai killing and fucking his way to a demon lord– it also means environmental disaster.

Well, High School Prodigies Have It Easy Even In Another World (Choyoyu, 超人高校生たちは異世界でも余裕で生き抜くようです!) is even more of an environmental disaster. This isekai anime is about seven high school prodigies crashing into another world with a nuclear reactor. Miraculously, the nuclear reactor did not leak, and now we have seven high school students trapped in another world with nuclear technology. I have so many questions. One, why would high school prodigies even be in high school? Did Doogie Howser stay in high school, or did he graduation from Princeton at 10? (He graduated Princeton at 10.) How could they be prodigies if they do not even skip a grade? Why would the Prime Minister of Japan need to attend calculus classes? Why would the world’s top surgeon need to study organic chemistry at that point? Two, why couldn’t the Tony Stark-level super genius who lives in a space station that she invented not save this airplane from crashing? Three, why is this plane only carrying these seven teens? There’s no pilot or staff. Four, why is this plane only carrying seven teens plus a nuclear reactor? Who thought it is a good idea to put highly radioactive substances in the possession of seven high schoolers and then put them all on a plane? None of Choyoyu makes any sense outside of wonton, irresponsible power fantasy.

Is it a good wonton, irresistable power fantasy? No. Everything in the show feels lackluster. The main character is so boring that his heterochromia is his only trait. He also somehow knows kung fu and has a gun despite being the Prime Minister of Japan or something. I feel like the show would be better if he were a yakuza boss instead. The rest of the cast is not much better. There’s the dumb elf fanservice girl who the politician easily tricks into steamy scenes. There’s the ninja journalist who literally just says, “Nin Nin!” all the time. There’s the shouta magician who has less personality than his tiny top hat. There’s the rich kid who just has a shit-eating grin all the time. There’s the forgotten doctor who does not say a line past her intro montage. None of the characters are compelling or even mimic a sensible self-insert stand-in.

The best part of the show, however, are the first magical seven minutes that united Mars showed each character doing what they do best in modern Japan. Doctor lady is doing surgery on three people at once because somehow that’s how one protrays a good doctor in fiction. Samurai girl is slicing bullets fired from automatic weapons. Business dude is landing at a building that looks exactly like Avengers Tower– at the others are doing shit, he just gets off a helicopter. High School Prodigies is either 0% or 15,532% self-aware but absolutely not anything between those two numbers.

I think the show can be redeemed if at the end we find out that everyone has died, and they are all trapped in purgatory. Somehow this plane gets totally destroyed yet all seven teens not only survive but don’t even have a scratch on their clothing. The tiny top hat is still in pristine condition as is the nuclear reactor. I am also very confused how the politician somehow went from being too weak to chew his own food to being able to walk to the plane crash site far from the village and then invent mayonnaise. Yes, he invents mayonnaise.

(One isekai trope that I hope shows up is crop rotation. In both No Game No Life and Realist Hero and probably other isekai stories, there is always a food crisis, and our glorious colonizers from Japan always solve the problem with crop rotation. Every time this happens in an isekai, I’m just reminded of The Office episode where Michael Scott jumps on his desk and screams, “I DECLARE BANKRUPTCY!” Somehow just saying, “CROP ROTATION!” solves the famine issues in another world.)

(There’s a scene in Choyoru where the politician invents mayonnaise because he’s not only a great politician, a great marksman, and a great kung fu artist, he is also a Michelin starred chef. But he invents mayo to put on potatoes. If I were going to invent something to put on a potato, maybe I would start with butter or sour cream instead of mayo. Also, almost the same scenario occurs in Restaurant to Another World where the master shows Aletta how to eat steamed potatoes with butter.)

(I want an isekai about how a typical prokai gets sucked into another world and introduces that world to smallpox. You want grimdark isekai? You get grimdark isekai.)

(Fashion Czar: “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” once she saw the High School Prodigies Have It Easy Even In Another World title card.)


#20. Kandagawa Jet Girls
Egg Firm

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“You lose track of where the sky ends and the sea begins.”

Kandagawa Jet Girls is a frolicking fanservice festival featuring femme fatales fighting with guns while piloting jet skis down a Tokyo canal. The twist? The guns “delete” the skimpy swimsuits that the ladies are wearing. If you are looking for fanservice in the form of side boobs, panties, cleavage, sexy pinup eyecatches, and “Hey, buy the BD and see the good stuff” black bars, Jet Girls is for you. If you’re looking for story, character development, fun, or really anything else besides anime bosoms, do you really need me to tell you that Jet Girls is not the anime for you? While there have been fanservice sports shows in the past (like Keijo and Two Car), Jet Girls seems to be the most exploitative and the least interesting. (At least Keijo gave us the amazing Gate of Bootylon.) The ending to the first episode of Jet Girls involves a girl getting shot repeated in her crotch such that her swimsuit bottom vaporizes and a bright white censorship oval replaces it and the words “To Be Continued” flies out of that that oval.

Despite all the fanservice, the animation is disappointing with some very wearisome CG scenes (mostly for the races) and the characters go off-model quite a bit. The main heroine’s head can easily vary from being long and skinny to round like melonpan. The boobs also range in size from ample to oversized to as large as the heroine’s head. There is a definite audience that this show is gunning for. For anyone expecting any sort of story from this PS4 game turned anime, the first four minutes skip through very quickly how the heroine’s mom was the reigning jet girl champion but then quickly cuts to her framed picture on the wall to indicate that she’s dead. The heroine then travels to Tokyo, gets lost, and meets every single one of her rivals in a span of five minutes. She then bumps into a girl needing a jet girl partner, and, well, things get sped along so we can get to the crotch shooting.

(Fashion Czar: “What the fuck are those tits? They are insane. They aren’t just big anime tits. They are like hentai tits.”)

(Never a good sign that the only Wikipedia article about this show by episode 3 is on the Russian language site.)


#19. Val x Love
Hoods Entertainment

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“Nothing good comes from interacting with other people.”

The main tagline is being “Love is a girl’s source of power” should be a dead giveaway for how creatively bankrupt Val x Love is. Not one iota of originality found its way into this show. Val x Love should be named “Bad Tropes of 2004: The Animation.” We get the “she’s the most beautiful, smartest, student council president” line two minutes in followed by a chest groping scene. There is a character defined by small boobs. There’s an idol character. There is Sporty, Scary, Posh, Baby, and Ginger. There are background characters whose bangs cover their eyes and noses. There is the loser male lead who is misunderstood because of his physical appearance, has dead parents, and he just happens to live with all the nubile haremettes for reasons. There is the overly powerful student council. There are generic monsters to slay. There is some generic Norse mythology shit tossed in. There is the classic power levels increases with ecchiness combat mechanic.

Everything about Bad Tropes of 2004: The Animation is terrible. The animation and fanservice are not even serviceable. Somehow, they made the powering up sequences where the guy has to get into pseudo sexual positions with the girls to empower them up clinically boring. The sequence of having the haremette strips, put his hand on her boob, and then sits on his thigh is made as exciting as an episode of Antiques Roadshow. The budget for the show is so low that the critical fanservice scenes– the money shots– are hardly animated. The girl sits on the guy, and she transforms into a Valkyrie, and she rains swords down a la Gilgamesh, and that’s it. Monster defeated. The world building and story are confusing at best with events having to be connected by explanation from the narrator. The characters are probably the worst part of the show with the loser male lead having zero personality and his entire character defined by how he wants to be left alone and study… at least the haremettes get a trope to latch onto. His constant whining about how he doesn’t want to share a luxurious house with a bunch of sexy high school girls gets old fast.

(“What is a high school girl to do without a boyfriend?” asks a magazine in this anime world. One, who the fuck still reads magazines? Old people? Older than me? I’m supposed to believe high school girls in 2019 give a fuck about magazines? Where is my Instagram story, Tik-Tok, or Snap? Also, we all know the answer to what a high school girl should do without a boyfriend: Join a literary club.)


#18. Keishichou Tokumu-bu Tokushu Kyouaku-han Taisaku-Shitsu Dai-Nana-ka -Tokunana
Project No. 9

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Keishichou Tokumu-bu Tokushu Kyouaku-han Taisaku-Shitsu Dai-Nana-ka -Tokunana (Metropolitan Police Department Special Division Heinous Crime Task Force 7th Unit: Tokunana, Special 7: Special Crime Investigation Unit) starts with a burning city and a little boy saved by a dark, mysterious older man who claims to be a servant of justice. He tells the boy to grow up and become one too. Is this Fuyuki? Nope. Special 7 is yet another cop anime set in a bastardized version of New York. This version of New York? It is somehow part of Japan and features magical creatures like elves, dwarves, and vampires. It’s totally not trying to be the RC Cola to Blood Blockade Battlefront’s Faygo or Cop Craft’s Great Value Soda to Bungo Stray Dog’s Diet Pepsi.

Why does Japan love New York all of a sudden? Is it because of the mochi churro craze sweeping Manhattan? BBB, Garo, and last season’s atrociously bad BEM all take place in a New York analogue. Carole & Tuesday is set in Martian Brooklyn. The setting, though, doesn’t help Special 7: It is yet another bad supernatural cop team up. One, the show feels like a middle schooler came up with all the characters. “Oh cool, let’s add in a vampire samurai! And a hacker who is also a ninja and tosses out drones! We’ll also add in a normal police cop, but we’ll make him bad with guns!” Two, the animation’s budget really affects the show. This Japanese New York City is supposed to be bustling with life and full of people, yet we don’t see any background characters or even cars in the background. They couldn’t even rent out the Prius that was also following Araragi around. The lifelessness of the setting very much takes away from any energy that show tries to produce. Lastly, the “solution” to stopping a getaway car is to blow up a bridge. They don’t try steel spikes. They don’t have the elite sexy sniper try to take out the tires. They don’t even have the sexy vampire samurai who can slice bullets out of thin air while wearing stripper heels try to stop stop the car. Nope. They go straight to the blow a section off of a bridge plan.

(Fashion Czar: “I hate incompetent cop anime.”)

(So far three shows this season features characters slicing bullets out of midair: Special 7, Assassin’s Pride, and High School Prodigies. What do they all have in common? They are all bad.)

(A grand prize winner of the Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai: Puberty Syndrome Abnormal Experiences During Adolescence Due to Sensitivity and Instability Memorial Most Ridiculous Name award. We may need to rename the award to the Keishichou Tokumu-bu Tokushu Kyouaku-han Taisaku-Shitsu Dai-Nana-ka -Tokunana Most Ridiculous Name award.)


#17. Assassin’s Pride
EMT Squared

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“Her life is full of suffering. And she will continue suffering. And the day to reward all that suffering will never come.”

Assassin’s Pride got me wondering two things. One, what g-forces does one’s arms endure to be able to slice dozens of bullets out of the air? I would guess the forces to be quite substantial to be able to intercept bullets fired from automatic weapons. Two, what the fuck is even going on in Assassin’s Pride? The show starts as if it is a modern superpower action show like Bungo Stray Dogs or Princess Principal with some interesting world-building but quickly veers into some sort of magic battle high school filled with loli-drawn middle schoolers. We went from an action show to something about nobles and commoners and how this girl isn’t the legitimate daughter of this guy and can’t use magic– basically it feels like a Fire Emblem Three Houses Paralogue stretched out to an anime season.

I do like the world. There might be an interesting backstory to why the world is just one city that resembles a candle and how it has the Harry Potter train interconnecting the various districts. I have so many questions about how this city is engineered. The animation is smooth, and the action sequences are nicely drawn. Assassin’s Pride features some of the smoothest-looking Naruto running in anime. However, the plot is nonsensical, and it seems like just a device to surround the main protagonist with as many lolis as possible. Once the show started talking about how nobles and commoners are different, I started to tune out. The protagonist decides after watching a girl for a day that her dad isn’t her biological dad because somehow that is more accurate than DNA testing. During a fight sequence, the bad guys stop curb stomping a girl so she can spend two minutes talking about her dead mom. Also, it is not a good sign when there is a post-credit sequence dedicated to the protagonist summarizing the plot of the first episode. Most of the dialogue is overly melodramatic and feels like they were lifted from badly written romance ebooks.

(Fashion Czar: “This post-apocalyptic world isn’t so bad if they can muster the strength to care about architecture and stone work and rivers.”)


#16. Ahiru no Sora
Diomedea

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“Tell me, did any of them seem serious to practice the sport?”

Ahiru no Sora or Sky of the Duck is probably the best name for an anime this season. Unfortunately, that’s all it has going for it. It is yet another sports anime where we have a plucky male character who is marginalized at first because he is short, no different from the much better volleyball anime and the slightly worse sumo anime. I would be fine if we can get another physical handicap in my sports anime other than short. The show itself has all the cliches of sports anime, including characters who are supposed to be high school juniors yet look like they are 30 years old and should be playing in the BIG3 league. There’s the sports club in trouble that is up to the protagonist to save. There’s the mousy possible love interest that will go absolutely nowhere. There’s the secretly great at basketball people he has to recruit. There’s the spirit animal gimmick. It is all here. This show is to generic sports anime that Outbreak Company is to isekai.

The only thing I like about the show is that the protagonist’s spirit animal is a duck. When I think of basketball and animals, I definitely think of Daffy Duck in Space Jam.

(Mitigating Factor: How did they get The Pillows to do the OP to this unremarkable anime?)


#15. Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?!
Project No. 9

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“Fantasy plus nanomachines. I guess anything goes!”

Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! (Watashi, Nouryoku wa Heikinchi dette Itta yo ne!) just feels like yet another soulless isekai. Let’s go through the isekai checklist:

  • Prokai gets sent into another world within five minutes of the anime starting. CHECK. Whomever had “car accident” on the bingo, you win!
  • Instantly becomes a superpowerful avatar so he can kill and fuck whatever he wants. Technically, it’s a girl this time, but CHECK irregardless.
  • Awful name that explains the series rather than titles the series. CHECK.
  • RPG mechanics and MMORPG UI popups are used to explain the world in lieu of actual worldbuilding. No. Just goddamn nanomachines.
  • iPhones/iPads somehow exist in this fantasy world. No. Just a sentient nanomachine named “Nano” with a giant “N” on its head. It’s like something a fourth grader would create.
  • Assemble the harem! CHECK. Yuri harem assemble!
  • Character stumble into a plot rather than cause a plot? CHECK. She gets kidnapped.
  • Bland and boring monster designs. CHECK.
  • “Twist” that the author thinks is more clever than it actual is. CHECK. It turns out that the girl is superpowerful and not average at all. What a twist!

Honestly, why would I want to be average in this horrible fantasy world where little girls are abducted, and only one lone knight notices and tries to stop it? After the first 30 or so girls disappear, wouldn’t the townspeople be more concerned about what is going on? This fantasy world is fucked up.

Didn’t I Say to Make My Abilities Average in the Next Life?! or Abilaverage (which is by far the worst shortened name for an anime/light novel ever) has some major issues. One, it is just plain boring. Sure, it’s cute girls doing cute things in a fantasy setting, but none of it is interesting or novel. We get that the main prokai wants to be normal. She doesn’t need to mention it every four minutes. You want jokes about city vs. rural life? Bosom sizes? Girls who seem weak but really can destroy Kirito? This show has them.

Second, why the fuck are nanomachines involved? And why is the fourth wall constantly breaking to explain how nanomachines influence/create magic in this world? Can’t it just be normal magic? And since when are nanomachines good? Are nanomachines good in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain? Are they good in House of X/Powers of X? Are they good in Star Trek: First Contact or Star Trek: Picard? Even if nanomachines are part of the story, why does the fourth wall need to be broken to explain them? Isn’t there a more natural way to incorporate the explanation into the story? Right before the first major battle of the sequence, we get a quick primer on how the prokai is strong thanks to her attunement with nanomachines that sap the scene of any momentum. (Not that there was much momentum to sap as right before this fourth wall sequence, there was an obligatory boob size comparison joke. Three, the main character seems to know about isekais and doesn’t miss a beat once she dies. There is something lazy about a story that uses its genre tropes to fast forward over plot beats. Four, jokes about underaged rape. Stay classy, anime.

One redeeming quality of Abilaverage is that it has fairly good facial animations. That’s about it. The show feels weighed down by the trappings of isekai and nanomachines and really doesn’t know how to show a story. All major plot points are either very strongly spelled out or told to us. There is nothing interesting to make this stand out from a direc sea of isekais.

(Also troubling is that the prokai dies and basically takes over the body of a poor ten year old girl much like in Honzuki no Gekokujou. What happened to that original girl? Did she die so this awful prokai can live? I like it more when people were reborn as babies in another world. There are less messy ethical implications of that. Why are there multiple shows this season with this awful setup? But who cares? This show is one of the highest shows on MAL this season so surely not the target audience.)

(Wins first place in this season’s Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai: Puberty Syndrome Abnormal Experiences During Adolescence Due to Sensitivity and Instability Memorial Most Ridiculous Name award.)


#14. Kono Yuusha ga Ore Tsuee Kuse ni Shinchou Sugiru
White Fox

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“Apparently in Japan books about being reborn in another world are popular.”

Cautious Hero: The Hero Is Overpowered but Overly Cautious (Kono Yuusha ga Ore Tsuee Kuse ni Shinchou Sugiru, Shinchou Yuusha) is yet another isekai about a Japanese youth sucked away into another world and forced to team up with a blonde haremette to stop a demon king. This time, though, the character interactions resemble a manzai comedy featuring Goku and Chichi… which is probably the best part of the show.

  • Prokai gets sent into another world within five minutes of the anime starting. CHECK. His life in Japan is so inconsequential that we see zero of it or know anything of it except that he is Japanese. I really hope one of these days we get an isekai where the prokai is masturbating when he gets teleported to another world.
  • Instantly becomes a superpowerful avatar so he can kill and fuck whatever he wants. CAREFULLY CHECK.
  • Awful anime title that explains the series rather than titles the series. CHECK. Why is “cautious” in the English title twice?
  • RPG mechanics and MMORPG UI popups are used to explain the world in lieu of actual world-building. CHECK. Somehow, is it better that the premise of the show is that there’s an organization that specializes in isekaing Japanese males into worlds in crisis?
  • 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. Typical Japanese dude gets summoned and has to complete a quest that he had absolutely no connection to originally plot.
  • Bland and boring monster designs. CHECK.
  • “Twist” that the author thinks is more clever than it actual is. CHECK. The title of the anime gives away the twist.

(Wikipedia is really inconsistent with its tagging. How is this show considered “fantasy” but not “isekai”? It’s a show that has a central premise of drafting Japanese teens into fantasy worlds as part of some sort of galactic police force.)


#13. Azul Lane
Bibury Animation Studio

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“War. War never changes.”

I think that line was uttered three times in the first five minutes for Azur Lane, the Chinese ship girl imitation of KanColle… the OnePlus to KanColle‘s Sony-Ericson if you will. I’ll just start with Fashion Czar’s comments:

  • “I just want consistent uniforms between countries.”
  • “Each second feels like five minutes.”
  • “If they were designed, why did they design useless lolis? I’m so confused.”
  • “Why are there so many bald eagles flying over the ocean in this anime?”

You should know if you’re into this show or not. The goal of the show is to make one suddenly download the mobile game and start acquiring waifus, but also for existing players to fall in love with an animated ship and roll on her gatcha banner. Overall, Azul Lane is a typical mobile game turned anime mess, albeit one with very high production values. Let’s see… roughly 40 characters are all introduced in the first ten minutes because we need to have everyone’s favorite ship waifus on screen in the first episode, or people might be upset that their precious Cleveland didn’t any screentime. This poorly introduced cast leads to a very confusing narrative, but who cares about narrative when waifu ships are involved? Then there’s the fairly interesting story of how the world got this point that is completely glossed over in a two minute montage while we spend ten minutes looking for a lost animal on an island. The show prioritizes meaningless cute plots in lieu of actual world-building– just as I expect from a mobile game turned anime.

Then there’s the battle between the incesteuous Japanese– err– Sakura aircraft carriers bullying all tiny destroyers and battleships because we need to have a battle sequence where the ship girls can show off their goods in the first episode. Are people going to stick around for episode two if we don’t get ship on ship warfare in episode one? It’s like if Game of Thrones had a montage to explain everything up the Bastard Bowl and started at the Bastard Bowl.

My notes:

  • The ship girls are either DFC loli tugboats or illustrious melonpan battleships. There’s no in between. In this world of Azur Lane, there are only two bra sizes.
  • I do like how the actual ships morph into parts for the girls. I always thought the placing of armaments on the girls in KanColle was silly.
  • “Incesteuous Aircraft Carriers” is going to be the new name for my ska band.
  • The Wikipedia episode descriptions are a goldmine: “Concerned about Enterprise’s disregard for her own safety, Prince of Wales and Illustrious consult with Queen Elizabeth for a solution. Meanwhile, Vestal arrives on the base and is immediately upset at the poor state Enterprise’s rig is in. Enterprise is met by Belfast and Unicorn, who convince her to attend a beach party the other shipgirls are holding.”
  • “War. War never changes.”


#12. Kabukichou Sherlock
Production IG

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“Hey boy, are you a boss outside? Or a boss at home?”

Why does Japan love Sherlock Holmes so much? And what have they done to him now in Kabukichou Sherlock? I thought Sherlock as an antique dealer was already a liberal interpretation, but this show has Sherlock being an eccentric who competes in detectiving competitions for a drag queen. Also, his mind palace is a rakugo act. There is something plain unsettling about Sherlock going on stage to do rakugo so he can work through the details of a case. Sherlock eating canned peaches on top of fried rice is also a bit too much on making him seem like a weirdo. They just put way too many embellishments on him as if he were a character in an otome game that had zero confidence in its character design; he just lacks heterochromia.

The first mystery of Kabukichou Sherlock is finding out who is Sherlock, and I knew it was going to be overly self-indulgent when every detective trotted out as a possible Sherlock had eccentricities that could be anime Sherlock. None of them were normal detectives. Hey, this one is super clean. Hey, this one likes to drink too much. Sherlock is either an eccentric weirdo or a pretty boy (see: Fate/Grand Order and Holmes of Kyoto) to the Japanese. Why can’t we get a version of Sherlock where he’s a boring 40 year old man who likes the Green Bay Packers and is a regular customer at Big Fred’s Fried Chicken Shack?

The story tries to go for shock and awe over detectiving, and the mysteries are neither interesting nor original. The cast is poor with none of the characters being likeable, especially the smart alec kid who follows Sherlock around and tries to explain to us what Sherlock is doing. He’s both an annoying character and a constant reminder about how poorly the story is conveyed to the viewer. The animation is colorful with some interesting city scenes, but the facial expressions are generally wonky and unnatural.

(Fashion Czar: “I don’t really enjoy the underlying homophobia of the show.”)


#11. Blade of the Immortal
Linden Films

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“Are you prepared to throw everything away for your revenge?”

“One girl against a whole renegade swordsmen clan?” That premise does sure sound like the plot to an anime. Wasn’t Blade of the Immortal already adapted a decade ago by BEE TRAIN? I do not remember it too well, except that it was not remarkable for its time. I feel the same way about Linden’s adaptation now. Blade of the Immortal (2019) isn’t a clear upgrade like how ufotable’s Unlimited Blade Works was over Studio Deen’s Fate/Stay Night or Kyoto’s Kanon over Toei’s Kanon. This version of Blade feels like it was directed by multiple people who couldn’t agree on one directing philosophy other than gratuitous use of jump cuts to cut down on animation frames. I think it is a shame because with some better animation and direction, especially for action scenes, I think it could be a good adaptation. At least it isn’t CG like Berserk, at least it isn’t an isekai, and at least it seems faithful to the manga.

(I wonder if the sudden uptick in remakes of hyperviolence anime series is a direct response to the happy-go-lucky isekai boom. Isekais, if anything, are overly optimistic with the prokai fearing almost no consequences. That is quite the opposite tone of Blade.)

(Bokko adaptation when?)


#10. Houkago Saikoro Club
Liden Films

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“This shop is dedicated to analog games.”

Houkago Saikoro Club (After School Dice Club) is a girls doing nothing afterschool club anime focusing on tabletop gaming. My thoughts are pretty scattered for this show:

  • Isn’t an isekai.
  • Cute girls doing cute things including a long hiking sequence because if you didn’t see the title card for this show, you’d think it was a hiking club (and as Yuru Camp showed, there could be a good appetite for a hiking anime).
  • Pretty shots of Kyoto.
  • App phones are only used for phone calls.
  • Tsundere class president.
  • Girl just strips and changes all her clothes, including her underwear, under a bridge very matter-of-factly as if she has done it many times before.
  • Animation is a bit weak, jokes are a bit bland, this show will rise or fall based on how interestingly it can portray various tabletop games.
  • Please tell me this show isn’t going to be just about European-style tabletop games. I would have ranked this show top three if the first episode were about Fireball Island.
  • Tabletop gaming shop has about the same amount of customers as Fry’s Electronics in 2019.

(Fashion Czar: “She’s a teenaged edgelord. A teenager working at a very niche shop has a divisive opinion about something? Color me surprised.”)


#9. Ore wo Suki nano wa Omae dake ka yo
Connect

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“MEAT WORLD CHICKEN KINGDOM”

Probably the best scene in Ore wo Suki nano wa Omae dake ka yo (Oresuki, 俺を好きなのはお前だけかよ) is that after watching “MEAT WORLD CHICKEN KINGDOM” with his childhood friend, the loser male lead goes on and eats a plate of sad broccoli at a family diner. That’s the only inspired scene to Oresuki. The rest of the show seems like typical overly complicated modern harem light novel romances, i.e. trying to be the next OreImo, OreGairu, or OreBloggu, with fairly boring character dynamics. Then I realized: Wait, there’s 12 volumes of this? There’s more of this story than Haruhi Suzumiya and Aobata? The concept of the loser male lead being the wingman and all the girls pining for his best friend is interesting, but it is poorly executed here. There is no build up to the reveal, and the two haremettes feel more like husks let alone one dimensional haremettes. The other issue is that one plan of the loser lead is to scoop up the girl his friend rejects does not make a likeable protagonist or a sensible plan. Uh, dude, Scotty Pippen. Dwight Howard. Latrell Sprewell. What do they have in common? And it’s not that they all play basketball.

(Okay, there is another good scene where the library girl orders a bench shipped to the library. I have a lot of questions about that process but the main one is she mentions that the bench in the middle of the library can be their secret meeting spot. Does no one in this world go to the library?)

My next issue with the show is the animation. The backgrounds and background characters are of the quality of the guy in Ikea furniture assembly instructions. The main characters all look out of place as if they had a different colorist than the rest of the show. They are a bit too shiny, and their hair and facial expressions all look poorly drawn. The hair in particular look like they are from a CG adaption of this light novel glued onto drawn characters. The animation quality also drops as the first episode progresses, which is not a good sign. The opening panty flash is animated with the gusto and budget of an Azul Lane, but it is all downhill from there.

(Ore wo Suki nano wa Omae dake ka yo, Are You Really the Only One Who Like Me?, wins an honorable mention to the Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai: Puberty Syndrome Abnormal Experiences During Adolescence Due to Sensitivity and Instability Memorial Most Ridiculous Name award. Let’s give it a round of applause for having a ridiculous name but not the most ridiculous name.)

(Fashion Czar: “Slamming his fist once, maybe? Repeatedly banging his head? No. Who would fall in love with him then?”)


#8. Cooking Master Boy
Production IG

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“I can’t wait to get a cash prize to further chicken dishes.”

Cooking Master Boy (Shin Chuuka Ichiban) is the Fushigi Yuugi to Food WarsSword Art Online. The original manga is almost twenty-five years old at this point, and there has already been a 52 episode adaptation done in the late 90s. Cooking Master Boy feels like an anime of that time with three pals traveling along and solving people’s problems with their cooking with a very formulaic approach. The act of cooking is not as indulgent (but the dishes are as ridiculous) as modern food shows, and the reaction shots are bombastic for 1999 but feels like a kiss on the cheek for 2019. Watching an episode of Cooking Master Boy and an episode of Food Wars (also airing this season) is a nice anthropological look at how anime has progressed the past two decades.

The past few years, food anime has kind of split off into two approaches. There is the Cooking Master Boy, Yakitate Japan, and Food Wars branch that is very clearly shounen-inspired (and also these appear in shounen magazines) that makes cooking into a life competition. It’s a scrappy upcoming chef against the establishment, and there is always some sort of convoluted artificial judging process for the food. All of them also have large block kanji letters slamming into a title card for the dish name. On the other hand, there is the Koufuku Graffiti and Today’s Menu at the EMIYA Household branch that celebrates how utterly domestic and everyday cooking is. There are no competition, just food as a nostalgic storytelling device and slice-of-life moments. And there is the Wakako-zake and Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-chan branch that just features feasting. Even within the food genre, there can be subgenres in it. Pshuuu~

(Even though this show is made by Production IG, the food porn aspect is a bit lacking. The food in their running anime from last fall, Run with the Wind, looked better.)

(I am disappointed that we did not get a shout out to the cultural phenomenon of September 2019, Popeye’s chicken sandwiches, during a chicken cooking competition. There is zero chance of it happening, but what if the show just dropped a Popeye’s chicken sandwich reference out of nowhere? How confused would Japanese viewers be? How could I not rank this show #1 in that case if we can get random modern food references tossed in?)

(Fashion Czar: “How is it Peking duck style if it is miso chicken?”)


#7. No Guns Life
Madhouse

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“I just wanted the freedom to walk around.”

I just have one question: Is Inui’s penis a gun also? If so, what kind of bullets does it shoot? Are penis to gun modifications common in this world? What about classic melonpan machine guns?

No Guns Life feels like an Image comic from 2014 had an one night stand with an anime from 1999, and this strange action show was the love child. For an anime with a protagonist who has a revolver as a head, it tries to straddle the line between ridiculous and serious, and I think it should veer ridiculous more. I was expecting a fun comedy slash parody like Dimension W not an action corporate conspiracy story. I like the dumb parts of the show like how he turns into Al from Full Metal Alchemist whenever a girl kisses him. I like him punching a moving train (really the only reason this show made top ten). I like sexy nuns who slice tendons and vocal cords of poor orphans. I like the fact “a big ships and big guns doctrine” is the explanation for why this guy has a gun for a head (and possibly penis). I like the Inui’s codename, “Resolver,” as it sounds like a 90s comic book character that Todd McFarlane would have recreated to battle Spawn. I am not so thrilled about the chain smoking nor the generic evil corporation that has a huge tower in the middle of town villain. I am also not thrilled about some of the CG animation. The background animation, from electric fans to people in a crowd, are poorly animated with unnatural movements.

(Fashion Czar: “I want this show to be a parody so badly.”)


#6. Babylon
Revoroot

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“I remember that prosecutors are allies of justice.”

Babylon breaks anime tradition by starting off slow, building a story by adding in tiny bits of intrigue, and then flambeing it with some interesting twists. There’s no “she’s the hottest girl and the student council president” bullshit or RPG mechanics as narrative shortcuts. There’s no need to start off with a misplaced battle sequence that should happen two episodes from now. Babylon tells a story. Of cops. Of police cops. In a city totally not Tokyo but definitely is Tokyo but can’t be Tokyo because they don’t want to implicate any real people. In a season rich with police and detective anime, this show is probably the best of the lot. It has a clear direction of what kind of story it wants to tell, and it does not insult the intelligence of the viewer while telling it.

I do like how the show can go from combing through Excel spreadsheets to a dead naked guy without missing a beat. I do like the small touches, like how the protagonist detective has a “Keep Calm and Serve Justice” coffee cup. I do like the one scene transition once the protagonist realizes who the suspect really is and the camera whips around him. I don’t care for the bad CG cars. I don’t care for the bass sounds during deep cuts that is totally but not really trying to rip off Law and Order’s signature chord. I don’t care for the mostly bland backgrounds and lifeless color palette. I get this show is a crime drama set in totally but not really Tokyo, but the art direction could use a few more colors other than muted blues and battleship greys.

(Things never go well for anime characters who claim to be allies of justice.)


#5. Hoshiai no Sora
Eight Bit

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“I’ve made up my mind. I’m quitting this club and becoming a stud!”

Hoshiai no Sora (Stars Align) brings labor costs to tennis. The show starts with the girl’s tennis team utterly destroying the boy’s tennis team. This causes the awful student council to consider disbanding the boy’s team because after school clubs are about cold, hard results and not about friendship and enjoying the halcyon days of youth. I can’t imagine either the SOS Brigade or Outdoor Camping Club surviving under this student council. The show then jumps to the juxtaposition of a boy raised by a single mother in a tiny apartment and Caules Forvedge Yggdmillennia eating a fancy rich person’s breakfast in a luxury, detached home. The poor boy reads a magazine named “Frugal Meals” while the rich boy has a full library at home. At first, I didn’t think too much about this. Anime does this type of class contrast fairly often, but the way the two boys were introduced seemed heavy-handed even for anime.

However, between tennis playing, there is a random scene that exposes the rich boy’s (Caules lookalike) mom as psychotic towards her son. I thought the scene just sets up a dark family history for the rich family. Next we see the rich boy trying to recruit the poor boy into the tennis club, and he essential bribes with him cold hard cash to join. Finally, an amateur athlete getting fairly compensated for his labor. The final scene is the poor boy’s father storming into the apartment, beating the kid senseless, and stealing whatever money he could find. I was like, “Wow, this sports anime has taken a serious turn. This story would be a bit more enjoyable if the story was a bit more subtle and less heavy handed, and both boys didn’t have a problem parent.”

Then I saw the credits for the Hoshiai no Sora. The writer and director is Kazuki Akane. The last time he was writer and director for an original anime was for Code Geass. Yep. It all makes sense now. Buckle up. It is going to be a ride. Anything can happen. ANYTHING.

(OH GEASS NO!)


#4. EMPTY

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HONK


#3. Sword Art Online: Alicization – War of the Underworld
A-1 Pictures

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“He, too, fought with a sense of justice.”

You should know if you’re into Sword Art Online by now, and you should know if you’re into the second half of the Alicization story. Me? I’m in. I’m probably going to wait and marathan most of this season after I read the last Alicization light novel. It’s nice to see the action sequences and naked Administration seducing Eugeo, but the anime just glosses and skips over so much. I’ll just give a snippet from the volume 15 of Sword Art Online showing the motivation of the villain that did not make it into the anime so far:

All his privileges—a large home kept safe by perfect security systems, every meal prepared by experienced cooks, schools full of other rich white children—would become things of the past for Alicia, replaced by poverty and hard labor. Worst of all, Alicia’s pure soul, which was supposed to be his one day, would now be tarnished by someone else, some stranger—and that was the hardest thing of all for Gabriel to bear. So he decided to kill her.

(Though I’ll probably read the last Alicization light novel before I finish up watching this show.)

(Fashion Czar: “All of these stories have a Saber character. I like the Fate/Zero Saber the most, but I like Alice more than the Fate/Stay Night Saber.”)


#2. Hi Score Girl II

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“Everything seems so impressive, whenever I’m with you.”

Is Hi Score Girl the greatest CG anime of all time? Yes, yes it is. The original aired against 5Toubun, and I thought the two of them hearlded the return of harem anime to prominance. I couldn’t have been more wrong. We haven’t had another classical harem anime since. There is just something special about how Hi Score Girl turns 1990-era fighting game nostalgia into a workable and sweet harem love triangle (rectangle if you count Shibuya girl). It is also a rare harem anime that has character development in the main loser maile lead, the haremettes, and other characters as well. It makes for a solid heartwarming anime with a lot of 16-bit Capcom and SNK games.

(Poor Zangief shedding a tear made me feel sorry for him. Though Haggar’s great. Who wouldn’t pick him in Final Fight?! He was my goto, as was Greg Gates in UN Squadron.)


#1. Fate/Grand Order – Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia
CloverWorks

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“So, you will arrive, Chaldea.”

Fate/Grand Order – Absolute Demonic Front: Babylonia is yet another mobile gatchapon game turned anime. The difference being this anime is not for people for do not play the game. Unlike Granblue or Azul Lane which start from zero and is meant as a way to attract new players, F/GO Babylonia does the Gilgamesh laugh at people who do not already understand the Nasuverse and how Grand Order fits in it. It’s a big ask. But as someone who does enjoy the Nasuverse and does play Grand Order, this show is a nice payoff and a nice culmination like the first Avengers movie. The anime ends up feeling like a celebration for people who have spent hours farming spinal fluids, demon hearts, and QP.

Here, we start at almost the end of our adventure. But for F/GO Babylonia, it makes sense as this is the best story from the game. (Orleans, Septem, Okeanos, London, and America are all bad. They would all be unremarkable isekais like Wise Man’s Grandchild.) Camelot and Babylonia chapters are written by Nasu and feels like a genuine Fate story. It has all the classic Fate nonsense. It features crowd-pleasers Gilgamesh, “Totally Not Rin” Ishtar, “Totally Not Taiga” Jaguarman, and “Totally Not REDACTED” REDACTED. It finally introduces Merlin, who is the biggest cocktease in the Fateverse. It does start slow and build to a very strong climax with great moments that I just don’t want to spoil. This story is the closest thing to pure Fate since Fate/Stay Night.

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  • Wow, I thought money was poured into Azul Lane and Granblue. F/GO Babylonia blows both away. Ishtar’s introduction sequence ending with her slide between Gudako and Mash is fantastic. It looks better than the trailers for Fate/Grand Order Camelot – Wandering; Agateram, which should have a movie budget. The backgrounds are all very detailed. As are the clouds. CloverWorks love clouds.
  • This show features my favorite design for Da Vinci. Her design in the game is too overly complicated. Here, it is just right. Roman looks a bit too young though.
  • They gave away the ending to Camelot in the first ten minutes of the first episode. So I decided to gave away the ending to Babylonia in the first sentance of thin slicing.
  • Wins an honorable mention to the Rascal Does Not Dream of Bunny Girl Senpai: Puberty Syndrome Abnormal Experiences During Adolescence Due to Sensitivity and Instability Memorial Most Ridiculous Name award.
  • Fate is a isekai and a reverse isekai all in one. On one hand, you have Gudako and Mash traveling to another world. On the other hand, you have Da Vinci and others going the opposite direction from another world to Gudako’s. Plus, there are all the parallel Fate timelines… like the one for El Melloi II Case Files is obviously not the same as Fate/Apocrypha that kind of blend into Grand Order. It’s a mess. Fate is like Star Wars. It’s a franchise that is a lot more fun if you’re willing to embrace the dumb shit instead of running from it. Just sit back and enjoy the ride. (Meanwhile, Fate/Zero fans die a little more inside.)
  • A lot of ass and crotch shots. Whomever is directing this show must really love crotches and asses. There are so many crotch and ass shots that they distract from the story which seems like a first in anime.
  • The various animations for demonic beast dismemberment sure is something. My Three MVPs would be asses, clouds, and beast dismemberment.

(Year of Fate rolls on. We just finished Waver’s whydunit. Divine Realm of the Round Table: Camelot, which is the damn story before this one, is due next year from Production IG as is ufotable’s final Heaven’s Feel movie. And yet another season– I believe 5 now– of Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya has been recently announced. Yep, that’s the alternate universe where Gilgamesh is genderswapped.)

(Last season, the highest ranked isekai was OkaaSuki at #10. This season, both #1 and #3 are isekais. Yorokonde, zasshu.)

2 Responses to “thin slicing the new season, fall 2019 edition”

  1. This season is by far the worst for years. I’m impressed that you could watch so many horrible anime episodes and still write decently about them :)
    I like Fate series, but FGO is like starting from season 2 or 3 with only watching S1’s trailer in advance.
    I’m even watching Gundam furrys, there are so few watchable series now (thank god there are some decent shows from summer left over).

  2. I’ll take #4, please.

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