Our staff has picked the best, but we can’t leave out the rest!
Left to right top to bottom: Renai Boukun, Busou Shoujo Machiavellianism, Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata ♭, Frame Arm Girls, Fukumenkei Noise, Berserk 2017, Kabukibu, Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine (The Royal Tutor)
Sometimes we just don’t have enough for a full post. Either no one wants to get to a show, can get to a show, or we don’t really know if there is going to be interest in one. So here is where we round all of those up, and present them under one headline, many bylines. This is the first in what we want to be a timely series of releases, featuring a few brief bits on a collection of shows. If there’s one you like but don’t see, tell us in comments, and we might be able to get to it!
Berserk (2017 Series)
Oh, these two have sooooooooo much to catch up on since last time
skylion// First up in the Round, is not only the longest one but, is the return of a series that can’t quite find the people that want to watch it. Yes, it’s sketchy CGI is sure to leave even the most ardent of fans angry and confused. But, I’m not exactly one of those, to which you’re probably saying, “A Berserk post?…by skylion? What in the name of the Devil is going on here?” To that I say, don’t worry, I talked about his during my Hinako Note First Impression, so that should restore your faith in the order of the universe. As for me, I’m fine with this, I am capable of liking many things, and I love the odd shape my wheelhouse can bend into, gaining power from so many streams of anime. But, before you get into my stuff, go read Callum’s thoughts on the 2016 series, as it really informs my thoughts on this leg of the franchise.
Let’s just take my approach to the animation in the spirit of that can-do attitude that Callum’s article so deftly articulates. Sure, we all know it could be better, but I won’t flog a dead horse here, and in all honesty, if you feel the need to comment on the show, you should just let it go as well – seriously, c’mooooon….we know, let’s all just move on! LOL. If anything, I feel the acknowledged lack of quality, probably informs the story in the most positive way it can. In short, they knew the visuals would be the equivalent of a burst aorta no matter what level of detail – see the three better CGId films – so the rest had to be better than average. And in looking at this show, I feel that the elements of direction; the building of tension from one scene to the next, the characterization, and the overall storytelling element is quite good, and even laudatory for many points. Combat in this show is the premium, and they don’t buy it cheap, as each maiming or beheading actually builds up to crescendo. So yeah, it’s not my usual chirpy little show by far. But it’s still well done.
Oh, this is going to end well, I can just tell…
As for the actual storyline itself – and I’m covering episodes 1-4, more or less with this post – I like the return of Griffith. As the series concluded last time around, I was thinking, that brouhaha with the monsters ended way too easy. I’m kidding about that, but seriously this story needs melodrama or else it just crashes and burns out like a rocket doomed to meet the ground. We need some more terrible things to happen to Guts and Casca, or else what is this story about? So the return of the Silver Hawk should liven things up just fine, right? I mean, he did so well the last time we saw him on the Earthly plane – and he did even better in the pits of Hell! And oh look, he’s being a hero. Holy Crap the world is doomed! He has so many people wrapped around his finger, and while he has saved a whole bunch of people from invading armies, and he has done the work of integrating people under his banner ,the dude is pure evil now, and what he gives, he will take away. Which, yeah, that’s what makes the story as good as it is.
I think I’ll enjoy the Guts and Company Travelling crew a whole lot better, as it has some memorable character moments to it, and a lighter touch with it’s melodrama (and yes, this show is soooooooooo much melodrama). There is always going to be tension between Guts and Casca. But we can add more. The de-icing of Farnese and her relationship with Serpico, along with his back and forth with Guts is gives it some solid backbone. But let’s not forget Isidoro’s constant trials of training and growing up too fast under Puck’s constant presence. But really, what I actually want is Schierke. A loli witch? In skylion’s show? Oh sure, that happens! She’s ably voiced by the wonderful Chiwa Saito and I look forward to her part of the adventure. She is just my sort of fantasy fixture with her lighthearted mood setting, her cool elementals and magic powers, and her unique point of view in the story at large, and of course her own faerie in Ivalera, voiced by one of my all time faves, Arai Satomi. Of course we end with Flora, the witch with the cool house. But what that brings, I have no clue, cause I ain’t read the manga, so mind yer spoiler!!!
…must be the season of the witch!
Karakuri// Wow, the first episode went quick and built things up weirdly. It really seemed to be pushing the Yuzu x Alice thing before suddenly going “just kidding, she actually loves her other childhood friend who also disappeared all of a sudden
because that’s what guys do in this anime apparently“. It’s probably for the best that the 2nd episode went back and explained all of the relationship dynamics, since the first episode was almost incomprehensible regarding those. Poor Yuzu has the short end of the stick here, since he was almost an afterthought after the whole Momo thing. So hopefully he gets a chance to become something more to Alice aside from just being the guy who helped her cope with the loss of Momo. And Momo… I hope they actually go in to his character. The other characters are kind of forgettable for now, so hopefully they also get more coverage (and I really really hope they develop Miou past being just the jealous girl on the sidelines). Though there’s tons of time for that since we’re only 2 episodes in.
You just gotta love shoujo logic though, with everyone magically ending up in the same high school and somehow Arisugawa is able to pick up on Momo’s voice apart from everything else going on despite last seeing him pre-puberty. That love triangle too. Now we just need Momo to have a thing for that Miou girl and then the circle will be complete. Story aside though, the music was interesting, and it seems like the anime actually cares about that aspect since they actually hired separate professional vocalists to perform for the characters. The art seemed a little… weird at times (ah, shoujo), but overall, this was interesting enough for me to keep watching. My main complaint right now is that it’s a bit hard to try and care about Arisugawa’s crush on Momo when we know nothing about the guy compared to Yuzu. But again, we’re only a few episodes in, so hopefully that will come in time.
Old Possum’s Book of Practical Moe
skylion// Hinako Note! This week we’re were introduced to Nakajima Yua, who can’t seem to decide what she thinks of our shy Hinako. Is she for shunning, is she for helping, is she for both, somehow? This is mostly brought on by Yua’s desire to be an actress, and her desire to be close to Chiaki, something which Hinako has, and Yua is jealous over. During the course of the first half Yua “helps” Hinako whenever the shyness strikes here, which is as often as every times she’s called upon during the course of the school day. By the end, Hinako finds that Yua isn’t all that bad, and is just trying a bit to hard to be friends. They’re almost polar opposites in fact.
The second half features Mayuki also helping Hinako out, this time by having her become a server at the HItotose Coffee Shop. In addition to supervising the daily growth out of her shell, Mayuki also indulges in dressing Hinako up to suit the fancy; a Chinese Dress, a Cat Girl, then she finally settles on the tried and true meido. But it’s the lost little girl which brings out the best in Hinako, as she uses her bird friend, Toritarou, to communicate with the little tyke, getting her back in touch with her mother. All in all a good day to be Hinako as she settles into her routine,a bit less reserved than she was. My favorite comfy show just keeps chirping along.
The bird was actually mimed with her, he’s a smart one…
Frame Arms Girl
Yes. Yes she is.
Highway// Toy robots that fight isn’t a brand new idea, even in anime, with the well-regarded Gundam Build Fighters probably leading the way in the idea. There have even been AI girl toys before in 2012’s Busou Shinki, which leads to a fairly direct comparison between two shows. There may not be that much to compare, tho, at least technically, with such a time difference between the shows. Instead, I’m more drawn to compare the relative setups of the show, in particular the main human character. And in that aspect, Frame Arms Girl is quite a bit better, at least in my opinion. The unseen “Master” of all the girls in Busou Shinki was an object of devotion among the girls, resulting in a 6”-high harem of servant girls, which always had a creepy feel, even 5 years ago. In comparison, Ao is definitely the main character of Frame Arms Girl, and there’s not, at least at the beginning, a default of a master-servant relationship. Instead, the prototype toys that have arrived on her doorstep are a semi-unwanted gift to a girl who has other things to do. And they’re a lot more self-aware of what they are: AI toys (although that was part of the joke in Busou Shinki: that Strarf, like Buzz Lightyear, thought that she was a real military weapon).
Base wakes up late
The show is a tie-in to Kotobukiya’s Frame Arms Girl model kit line, so there’s no “original work” that it’s being adapted from. That means that it’s all down to how Zexcs is able to write the story and that’s kinda the problem, since they’re not necessarily the best at that. But having Keiichiro Kawaguchi as director is certainly a nice hedge against their usual quality. He doesn’t make great shows, but he makes ones that I find very watchable. I don’t think anyone is hoping for great TV from Frame Arms Girl, but a nice watching experience would be welcome.
Time to kiss! I mean Fight!
I have to say that through the first few episodes, Baselard is definitely the most fun character, but mostly because she gets to play the impish scene-stealing cutup to the uptight Stylet (“Sty-ko”) and the earnest Gourai. I really wasn’t a fan of the introduction of Materia, and they’ll need to be pulled back a little bit to not overwhelm the show. But they’re doing well with having a short fight in each episode, with almost no buildup, rather than making the whole series about the fights. Most of the time it’s just ‘Do a bunch of stuff and then “Hey, let’s have a fight and earn Ao some cash!”’ which actually works well for the show.
Busou Shoujo Machiavellism
Meet your opponents
Rin has skill, but she loses her first kiss
skylion// Busou Shoujo Machiavellism! So take parts of Prison School, turn the misandry knob down a whole bunch – and make it not as pointed or dumb. Then find the martial arts school button, set it to the on position, and add some satire while the mix it beaten. The important part is to fold in, very carefully, a massive amount of moe design, and enough witty banter to keep things going along at a lovely creamy stride. Shake well, strain over ice, serve with ribald humor and Barbie-doll anatomy ecchi scenes and you have this show. Well, we could have an “acting all” ham and cheese board, and that’s a nice touch.
Nono and Choka should be able to beat him, but the whip is unwieldy and Nono is outgunned
Well, no matter the description, I love the show. It’s good tongue-in-cheek fun every week so far. It’s one of those oddballs mixes where the intent of the combat is always super-serious, the fight matches that intent, but the payoff is a mix of both offbeat humor and a side of seriousness they began with. All this to get a permission card signed, folks. All so he can go off campus for a bit. It satirizes the martial arts school set up on one hand and embraces part of with the other. So far we’ve had three major features, and each has it’s own approach. Oh, and the main dude fights with studded fingerless gloves, man…just in case you thought he wasn’t an exception guy…
Mary obviously didn’t read the manga…
This has a great deal to do with the approach, a send up of more traditional combat, and one that flips the script a bit on Utena perhaps? Anyway, the school is sponsored by the feminine and the monetarily and the maritally endowed, all the student council and class presidents are girls; discipline is strict, and the perpetual punishment is make-up work…not homework, but facial cosmetics – and some of these guys take some pride in it! The student body is pretty much all bad dudes, and some degrees of humiliation is the name of the game. So yeah, reversals are going to go down nearly every fight. They start with the girls’ underestimating Nomura, and by the time they realized it was no joke, he could capitalize on them. Each defeat, brings more excuses, which in turn, crash more illusions. Which isn’t to say any of the combatants are cake-walks. All of them have been fun, and it’s a good thing they don’t take it all too seriously, or else not a single lick of it would work. Silver Link has been dropping balls all to often lately. But this one has some elements that fit into their wheelhouse better, so I’m hoping they can make a winner of it.
Akane can be a nice girl, when she puts the knives away
Highway// Usually shows that are over the top wacky are not my thing. But sometimes they hit the sweet spot where they don’t take it too far, and end up pretty funny. And for me, that’s what Renai Boukun has been through the first 3 episodes. Only the 4th show from studio EMT2, which has really only made iffy shows Ame-iro Cocoa, Fudanshi Koukou Seikatsu, and the actively-ruined Kuma Miko, Renai Boukun really isn’t like other shows. Borrowing from Death Note, this show has (or at least, had) a notebook that if your name was written in it, but as a ship with another person, you’d kiss them within 24 hours, and your love would bloom. This is all thanks to a cupid named Guri, which sounds like a great idea. Unfortunately, Guri only uses her cupid powers to set up fujoshi pairings. That is until she screws up and writes the wrong name in, and fears that she’ll die if Seiji doesn’t kiss someone.
Don’t flirt in front of her
This works out for Seiji because he has wanted to get together with the pretty girl Akane at school. All’s good, right? Well, not so much, because Akane turns out to be a complete yandere, threatening to kill him for cheating on her (by kissing Guri, misunderstanding-style) before they’re even a couple. Actually, she does more than threaten, she actually stabs him, repeatedly. But Guri’s rigged it so that they are all angels and can’t be killed. Yeah, this makes about as much sense as that sounds. Throw in the pesky Yuzu who has an unrequited yuri incest crush on “Akane-onee-sama” and a weird cat with a human face angel, and the show is almost too weird for words.
But it works out because it actually gets you to laugh. Knives sticking out of various people, warped feelings, and even some sincere ones, let the show have an earnestness and earned laughs. Accepting the yandere nature of Akane, Yuzu’s incestuous yuri stalker nature, and Seiji’s attempts to not let Guri run rampant on the world of unwitting males, it’s a whole show of accepting the unacceptable and finding it funny. And it’s got an interesting OP song by Wake Up, Girls! just to add a little to the whole mix.
Guri even brings her own light beams and steam clouds
Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata ♭
Just get in the pool already!
skylion// Ok, this is the entry in which I just burble on – even more so than normal, yes I know, I already got your InB4! I just realized that I haven’t watched episode two yet. This is because I thought that someone in the streaming anime chain of distribution might have mistakenly misnumbered the show, because the episodic numbering started with 00, and I thought that they thought that 02 was really 01 – which I’ve seen, but 02 is out since I started writing this, and I’m not stopping now. So yeah, this is turning into a thing. Plus, I’m woozy from writing this week. I’ve been tennis balling ad copy for my part-time day job, writing adventures for two of my RPGs – in addition to drafting new rules for one of them, editing some brochure work for family – and that’s also turning into a thing, and then writing here, which has been a lot this week. So to make a long story short, I think I know what the cast of this show is going through, and the only thing I’m not doing is drawing or making music, or teasing my cousin, or wearing a bikini. I love writing, and I love assignments, but sometimes I just have to make a boring post!
It was love at first site
Flat ♭ is a continuation of the previous, and it picks up where it left off last season. I’m probably one of the few that really like this show. I’m not an outright maniac, but I do like it, where it seems that plenty of other people seem to dislike if not outright hate. I’m not on board with the later, obviously. To me, this has chops. It has characters that are exaggerated, yes, but still within the realm of youthful believability. I find it delicious and ironic that the whole gang are working on a overblown dating sim, and that they have to concentrate on such cliched concepts. They treat it like they’re the first to come across it, and that’s the whole cake right there. The show seems to love making these kids react to each other with such honesty and such earnesty. They’re nervous, they’re afraid of commitment, yet still deliver whenever and wherever they can. For the two I’ve watched so far, I love how Utuha and Eirie has come to an understanding after so long, and have learned to work with each other better. As these are my two favorites in the show, I’m both loving it, and worried they’ve peaked early, maybe? Ah well, I’ll catch up this weekend. Until then, enjoy!
Quit yer moanin’ and get to work!
Granblue Fantasy The Animation
When you hear this girls voice you know its mission time!
OMFG everyone died! THE END.
I remember when I discovered Grandblue Fantasy for the first time due to the flood of fanart that got me curious about similar to how I got into Kantai Collection, but both of these series started off as mobile games and gained popularity. I have played a few days worth of Grandblue Fantasy and found the main story to be very enjoyable and the character interactions were always great! I’m so glad the anime staff managed to get everyone back to voice their roles from the game, but I bet they have some contract deal if the game ever got an anime they would have to reprise their roles? That said the voice work is solid for the entire cast err maybe not for a certain dragon companion? Yes Vyrn the token mascot character! At least from the game side of things you have constantly have to hear the line “I’m not a lizard!” OVER AND OVER AND OVER again! And this is coming from someone who generally loves hearing Rie Kugimiya scream and shout it does get tiresome; however anime Vyrn isn’t as annoying as of late. Oh and I gotta give a mention to Tomokazu Sugita for voicing Drang who is a hilarious and fun mini boss along with his short but really busty sidekick Sturm? I really love her design for *cough* obvious reasons *cough* but hey GrandBlue Fantasy generally has great designs and with tons of races it’s easy to find a character to like.
Sorry Vyrin you’re an adorable dragon, but you can be annoying…
Story wise Grandblue is as fantasy as they come with classic anime tropes added ie girl falling from the sky with the MC discovering them moments later, but hey as the saying goes if it ain’t broke don’t screw with it! Aside from that the first two episodes already premiered last season; however if you missed them then i’ll give you a rundown. Lyria fell from the sky, Gran saves her from danger, Katalina joins the party, soldiers attack, Gran gets killed, Lyria revives Gran, they summon Bahamut, Gran and Lyria are bound together so If she dies then he dies as well, Gran leaves his village, Katalina crashes their new airship and now we’ve met Rackam who just so happens to be an airship pilot? Things are really moving fast; however I’m glad they are speeding through the boring RPG grind of “team recruitment” because in the game takes a while? You have to play through the main story from each floating island which is roughly twelve or more missions and then that character you’ve helped joins your team.
Are you ready for a grandblue fantasy?!
So yeah Grandblue da animation is a lot of fun so far! I mean if you are into these kinds of basic fantasy RPG series? Since i’ve played through most of the main plot I don’t have much to look forward too, but maybe they will change things up? Then again I know they will change a few things because this is an adaptation and we know that usually allows for “creative changes” to the overall story. Besides that I love the cast of current characters even though there is one character I would love to see named cagliostro? She has a lot of fanart and to give you an idea about her she is basically Tanya from Youjo Senki right down to the used to be a guy, but now is a LOLi because of reasons? I’d also love to see Charlotta as well, ah well at least Sierokarte is around! She was always my favorite NPC from GrandBlue Fantasy.