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Iaboo, Youaboo, Weallaboo for Anime!

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
How it lands is also going to depend on whether they're adapting it in full or if they're going to skip a lot of the alt POV stuff like the manga adaptation did (which apparently makes later things very confusing).
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Haven't watched the NEW shows of the season but the second seasons of Beastars and The Promised Neverland are fun so far. Also, I don't know if I forgot him, but there's this fennic fox in Legosi's group of friends and he is now the best character by virtue of adorable smallness.


Did I just forget this guy? Because he's great. Lookit 'im!
 

Erilex

hourglass figure
Spider is a show I've been excited about for a while now, but I'm also anxious about it. The anxiety is more a carry-over from the LNs, though, where there's a hanging plot point that I'm just terrified about the author handling really poorly.

And let me tell you, it's pretty ambitious.
Well, now I'm anxious too! (still, if that plot point hasn't resolved yet in the novels, I doubt it will come up in the anime)
 

q 3

Posts: 4,731,901
(they/them)
I've been reading the manga version due to my anthrophobia, but now I'm curious.
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
FWIW, from what I've been given to understand, the crew behind the manga adaptation felt that most of the alt-POV interludes were too boring to adapt into comic form and skipped the majority of them entirely. The problem being that there's apparently a lot of background and context for the stuff after the first big arc in those interludes and it can leave a manga-only fan lost.
 

Hilene

Loves "Friendly Girls"
(She/Her)
I think the anime is following the LN and not the manga, because I know that the first alt-POV stuff is in the first episode as well.

But you're right. There's a lot of context and mystery that's a result of the back-and-forth. I bet this season of anime is not going to get any further then the point where the thread I was talking about is left hanging.

Quite frankly, I should probably be less anxious about it, because since that point, the author has made reveals that lessen the worry I have... but also it's a thing that I am worried about being handled in general, so...
 

Zef

Find Your Reason
(He/Him)
So the latest Yashahime OP basically confirms Rin as the twins' mom at age 13.

I'm out. Screw this weird fanfic.
 

Hilene

Loves "Friendly Girls"
(She/Her)
So, I host a weekly group watch for friends, and today we had the first one for the new season. I want to give some quick thoughts about the stuff I had on the schedule.

So I'm A Spider, So What?: I've been looking forward to this one for a while now, and I really like the LN. The adaptation looks like it's going to follow the LN more then the manga, so the episode is split in half between following the unnamed reincarnated spider and following a group of other reincarnated students. First episode is mostly a really quick tone setter plus character introduction. That said, there's some weird FPS drops on some CG sections that I'm not sure needed to be CG? It is smooth at times, though, which makes it especially weird.

Otherside Picnic: I keep getting suggested the LN, and I'm gonna get to it eventually. A story about two girls exploring an alternate secret world of weird creatures. STALKER by way of Cute Girls Doing Cute Things. Clearly going to be pretty gay, and I love it.

LBX Girls: A spin-off of Danball Senki/LBX, based on the moble game that DMM runs. I expected this to be kind of trash, but I'm actually really into it, from the first episode. Weirdly, though, while the mobile game is clearly girls wearing armour to look like the LBX a-la MS Girls or Frame Arm Girls, the anime has them wearing rigging that feels like their associated LBX a-la Azur Lane or Sky Girls. It's also secretly an isekei as it features a girl from the normal LBX world falling through a portal into this alternate grittier world. A faceless and nameless LBX girl dying in the first episode gives me a moment of concern about HOW gritty the show will end up being, but I don't really expect it to get to the level that makes me uncomfortable. Hopefully.

Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki: Titular character Tomozaki is the best Smash player in Japan, but believes he was given a shit hand at the game of life, so he doesn't even try. However, after meeting up with the second-best Smash player in Japan, who happens to be one of his classmates, he is now being forced to confront what he has been ignoring.

Basically, it's kind of a self-help sort of story, about gamifying one's approach to life, and how even those who seem like they got "high stats" at birth still have to put in effort in order to keep it up. I really liked the first volume of the LN because of this, and want to read more. I think it might degrade some from its early on focus on personal development as it continues, but until then I still kind of recommend it.

I also think it's ending theme is great.

Horimiya: Hori seems like a social "gal" type, but instead is the serious homemaker, taking care of the house, meals, and her younger brother, as their mother is rarely home. Miyamura has tattoos and piercings that he got entirely at a whim, and as a result kind of looks like a delinquent, but at school just looks like a gloomy loner as he covers it all up. Together, they find love as they discover each other's secret lives, the one that they hide from others. I really like the manga.

It also has an incredible ending theme.

Suppose a Kid from the Last Dungeon Boonies Moves to a Starter Town?: You know that old thought about how strong the random villagers in the towns close to the last dungeon in RPGs must be, with the levels of the monsters there? The LN this is based on decided to investigate that idea, by taking the weakest kid from the town founded by legendary heroes that saved the world from a demon lord ages ago, and survives in the high-level final area of the world, so everyone is ridiculously strong. So strong, in fact, that as a community, they have a secret pact with major countries in the world that they will not leave and interfere with world events unless absolutely necessary. Said kid, Lloyd, feels like he is useless and weak, because of how ridiculous everyone he grew up around was. But he still wants to go off and become a soldier and help people, which leads to him showing up in town and having no proper idea what "normal" or "strong" even means.

In the abstract, I liked the LN that this show is based on, but there's one character that absolutely destroys my enjoyment. See, the chief of the village of supermen is one of the legendary heroes. Not descended from, is. So she's hundreds of years old, and because of her status as a legendary magician, she abuses powerful ancient runes in order to make herself look like a child and lust after Lloyd. And in a later volume, we get told that she intentionally trained Lloyd how to give massages wrong, so that he would innocently sexually assault her when they get married. Yeah. Yuck. She friggin sucks and ruins the story even when she isn't even there.
 
Spoodergirl was aight. I've literally seen this exact same scenario at least two or three times already so this first episode was sleepytown, but Spooder herself was fun and has a great personality, so I'll keep goin' for now.

Yuru Camp is still just weaponized comf and I need it now more than ever
 

Hilene

Loves "Friendly Girls"
(She/Her)
My takeaway is that Spider starts off as commentary about those other examples of the scenario, before going on to be its own thing. Like, if you directly compare Spider to That Time I Was Reincarnated As A Slime, the protag goes through a harder time to reach a lot of the same power levels that Rimiru does, struggling against powerful adversaries instead of... kind of literally tripping over powerups. Needing to develop traps and strategies, instead of just eating whatever is in front of her.

Everyone's character is the strongest thing about the series, though. One of the things that keeps me coming back. Katia is the other, despite her having been absent from the story for... a while.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Horimiya: Hori seems like a social "gal" type, but instead is the serious homemaker, taking care of the house, meals, and her younger brother, as their mother is rarely home. Miyamura has tattoos and piercings that he got entirely at a whim, and as a result kind of looks like a delinquent, but at school just looks like a gloomy loner as he covers it all up. Together, they find love as they discover each other's secret lives, the one that they hide from others. I really like the manga.

It also has an incredible ending theme.
I'll get into this in detail later but my quick take: There are a couple moments that feel like "editorally mandated romantic comedy cliches from the 90s" that felt like the show didn't need (horny teacher, girl punching boy because romantic thingy) but apart from that, I really liked the first episode and has a really solid OP and ED.
 

Alixsar

The Shogun of Harlem
(He/him)
Suppose a Kid from the Last Dungeon Boonies Moves to a Starter Town?: You know that old thought about how strong the random villagers in the towns close to the last dungeon in RPGs must be, with the levels of the monsters there? The LN this is based on decided to investigate that idea, by taking the weakest kid from the town founded by legendary heroes that saved the world from a demon lord ages ago, and survives in the high-level final area of the world, so everyone is ridiculously strong. So strong, in fact, that as a community, they have a secret pact with major countries in the world that they will not leave and interfere with world events unless absolutely necessary. Said kid, Lloyd, feels like he is useless and weak, because of how ridiculous everyone he grew up around was. But he still wants to go off and become a soldier and help people, which leads to him showing up in town and having no proper idea what "normal" or "strong" even means.

In the abstract, I liked the LN that this show is based on, but there's one character that absolutely destroys my enjoyment. See, the chief of the village of supermen is one of the legendary heroes. Not descended from, is. So she's hundreds of years old, and because of her status as a legendary magician, she abuses powerful ancient runes in order to make herself look like a child and lust after Lloyd. And in a later volume, we get told that she intentionally trained Lloyd how to give massages wrong, so that he would innocently sexually assault her when they get married. Yeah. Yuck. She friggin sucks and ruins the story even when she isn't even there.
Once again, anime got too horny and swerved into sexual assault territory and ruined a good idea. When will they lear-oh never, you say? Okay well...shit
 

Hilene

Loves "Friendly Girls"
(She/Her)
Eh. I mean, it's not the anime that did it, it's the original book. The anime has a chance to correct it... which I have not much confidence about. I mean, the first two volumes of the LN translates the term Marie uses for Alka as "loli grandma", and then the third one changes it to "kid-sized grandma". The anime, so far, has decided to continue using "loli grandma".

But also yes, the concept and a fair amount of the execution is actually pretty neat. And then Alka single-handedly ruins it all.
 

ShakeWell

Slam Master
(he, etc.)
Some nerds from this forum are getting together tonight to talk about the 1986 anime version of Fist of the North Star alongside the terrible live-action American version. Expect @Alixsar to drone on about how they're super different from the manga, etc.
 

q 3

Posts: 4,731,901
(they/them)
Who knows how well it will hold up, but just from the first episode Wonder Egg Priority is quite impressive and ambitious. It seems to take a lot of inspiration from Revolutionary Girl Utena.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Having not seen any more than the first couple Utena episodes 20 years ago, I'll take your word for it. But yeah, its definitely a crazy, interesting show so far, if a little heavy handed in the first episodes central metaphors (I don't know how many rules from this episode will transfer to the next). Luckily it ends with a bunch of curve balls that I'm all in for.
 
So the latest Yashahime OP basically confirms Rin as the twins' mom at age 13.

I'm out. Screw this weird fanfic.
Is this said anywhere that I missed? Or are you extrapolating ages here? There's plausible deniability still baked in IMO, but it was always going to be a weird Bunny Drop situation. I'm also wiling to give the show a pass so far in that if their math doesn't add up because it's background nonsense and the show itself is still great, and it's probably more due to an Alexander Rozhenko situation where the writers lose track of the ages of the kid so that he was conceived in Season 2, and is suddenly 12 in Season 7, and is enlisting in the military as an adult in what would have been Season 10, versus an intentional pedophilia = good message.
Suppose a Kid from the Last Dungeon Boonies Moves to a Starter Town?
Watched the first two episodes of this. It was funny! But there's definitely hints of ecchi-sketchy business floating about it all over. Like, just a few minutes into the show and my harem detector basically exploded.

Log Horizon is back. And within minutes there's a cavalcade of geopolitical intrigue and mmmmm I've missed this show.

World Trigger is also back, and likewise within minutes there's a cavalcade of highly detailed battle strategies thrown at the viewer and yes I have very much missed this show as well.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation is a show where a loser IRL dies in a car accident and gets reincarnated in a magical fantasy world where he's a magical prodigy. There really isn't anything special about this show, besides getting Gintoki to do the MC's inner dialog. The show itself is actually gorgeous so far. But it's being made by a brand new studio so it'll be interesting to see how long they can keep this up. But the MC is also a sketchy perv in some already gross ways so most people here oughta avoid.

SK∞ is a fun show. It's really bizarre. Apologies for making a lazy comparison, but the best way I can describe it is that it's like FREE! mixed with Fast in the Furious but on skateboards. It's a wild ride. Speaking of FREE!, this show is done by my favorite studio BONES, but it's being directed by the lady who made FREE! among several other Kyoto Animation shows. So as a result it's low key gay and also visually really... interesting to look at. Like, the direction, scene composition, dialog, it all screams Kyoani, but there's tons of small details, the background artwork, and lots of background characters or between frames that look like house-style Studio Bones. It's this weird amalgamation of the two that's just really fascinating to contemplate. Like, you can feel where the director wanted to do this or that b/c that's how she was trained at Kyoani, but the staff at Bones was like "huh? Do this?" and they do it their way instead. Anyways, fun show. It feels like forever since I've seen an original Bones production. (Carole & Tuesday ended almost a year and a half ago!) It's been almost exclusively MHA nonstop from them, with movies (and probably the pandemic) getting in the way otherwise.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Another season another batch of reviews. In all honesty, Winter has been a season which I’ve found both lean yet the meat is often amongst the finest of the season. However, so far this season it looks like the best stuff is all sequels. This is a “second season”-heavy winter: The Promised Neverland, Beastars, Dr. Stone, Yuru Camp (still haven’t seen this one), numerous popular isekai and TWO friggin’ Cells at Work! But I won’t be watching much, I think. Cells at Work was a well made show that didn’t really hold my interest (if you like gender swapping and what I assume are higher stakes, Cells at Work: Code Black might be up your alley) and I haven’t watched much isekai (but I might watch Log Horizon is JBear in the future). And I tried a lot of shows and there are surprisingly few I’m going to stick with. Keep in mind, I don’t think any of them were out-and-out bad (EDIT: I watched three more shows after this and one BROKE THE FUCKING STREAK SO HARD, IT BURIED THE NEEDLE OF SUCKINESS WITH ONE CHARACTER’S NARRATION). Even the show I picked as a “so bad its good one-off” turned out to be… not good but not bad enough to enjoy very much but also not bad to be hard to watch. Its stupid but mildly watchable (I think I’d put its watchability is above Yashahime for me, a show I think I’m finally ready to quit). But I’ll get to that. My point is that while I think a lot of these shows aren’t “bad” (EDIT: NOT TRUE!) and even have elements I would be willing to recommend them to other people, there isn’t a lot I’m going to stick to this season.

Horimiya


Premise

Hori is a popular high school girl but at home all the glamor goes away and she becomes a homemaker for her and her little brother. Miya is a gloomy and lonely high school boy but when he leaves school he becomes stylish with tattoos and piercings. The two ends up meeting outside of school by accident and begin a friendship with both of them the only ones in school who get to see their more intimate personal sides. But it isn’t long before the nature of the friendship seems to be using into a romantic phase and neither are quite sure how to handle it.

It Gud?

Horimiya is so far, the second most promising new series of the season. On watching it, it started off on the wrong foot with jokes about a skeevy teacher and it also ends on a gag that feels more akin to much broader romantic comedy shows like *sigh* Love Hina but those are weird outlier bits in a refreshingly sweet romance series. If anything, you could cut them out and they would not leave holes in the show. They feel editorially mandated or something. The two leads are likable and so far the relationship comes from a more probably place than absurd or contrived misunderstandings and more much more relatable ones.

Also, it is pretty funny when it wants to be. I didn’t come for the humour but the humour can be good, particularly when Miya needs to hurry to pick up eggs for Miya, pops in front of a classmate who doesn’t recognize him and shouts “Sorry, its egg time!” before dashing off. It’s a weird little moment I loved. Apparently, the source material began as a self-published web comic that ended up getting picked up by Square Enix, who would put it in one of their magazines. I can’t tell if the print version is a retelling or a continuation so I’m a little in the dark on this area. But this is definitely one of the most promising shows and has both a kick but OP and ED.

Sk∞ the Infinity



Premise

“S” is a special skateboard race in a city in Okinawa where some flamboyant, wild folks take part on a race of honor where the loser needs to do what the winner says. After Reki loses to a popular racer named Shadow, he breaks his arm but it undeterred to re-enter once he can build himself a new board. In the meantime, he needs help from another new employee at the skateboarding shop he works at: a Canadian expat named Langa who has never skateboarded before. After a mix up at the bike shop, a racer at S is unable to race and Langa decides to fill in. And it turns out while he’s never skateboarded before, he’s certainly been on a board…

It Gud?

I wasn’t 100 percent sure what to expect going in. At first, I thought it might be Hypnosis Mic ridiculousness but the trailer also seemed to promise some genuine pathos. We don’t get much of the latter in this episode and the former is silly but a very fun, stylish silliness. The show this ended up reminding me of is actually Appare-Ranman!, a show with outsized but endearing characters. The first episode has big broad moments and a big antagonist (who based on the intro looks like he’s going to become a friend or at least a hanger-on with the leads). The racing animation looks really impressive and it is really well-directed and has moments of quietness.

Apparently, this is from the same director of Banana Fish, a show I really didn’t like but I can’t blame it on her lack of style and this show looks much more fun (and will likely not use sexual assault as a recurring plot point). The show also looks like the strength will depend on the chemistry between Reki and Langa and I like that the two characters seem to have complimentary strengths: one with a lot of boarding experience and knowhow and the other skilled in a parallel field but has a lot to learn about staying on his board. It also promises ridiculous characters and ideas, including a guy dressed in elegant clothes called the “AI Skateboarder” who also has a hologram for some reason and a billionaire who based on the intro will appear in games dressed like he’s at a masquerade ball. It looks silly but will be tempered by a strong visual style and what look to be moments of calmness and friendship.

Bottom-tier Character Tomozaki



Premise

Tomozaki is a fan of video games (one in particular which, for legal reasons, is “Attack Families” on the “Yontendo Smotch”) who feels like an outcast from life and is bitter towards life because of it. After deciding to meet another talented player IRL, she is disappointed not only that it is someone from school but that the person she admires is a sloppy misanthrope. After a long conversation on whether life is a “garbage video game”, the other player, Aoi, decides to show him that if you put in the effort, life has a lot to offer. So Aoi puts Tomozaki through a training regime which will give him the skills to turn his life into something he wants it to be.

It Gud?

Tomozaki does go right up to the edge of me disliking it a few time, particularly the main character’s borderline reddit creep attitude and a long and somewhat eye rolling debate about life. But the character’s attitude is something that is supposed to be rehabilitated and shallow conversations by teens that they act like are deeper than they are definitely feels like a teen thing, so I was willing to give that a pass. And in all honesty, I really like the thrust of the series. The video game element seems a bit pander-y but the idea of gamifying self-improvement and finding that you can work towards being a better you will pay off is a message I like, even if I feel like there are subtle whiffs of a “bootstrap” philosophy in there somewhere. But yeah, I do think self-improvement is worth the work and like that message.

I was willing to go forward, even though I was just like “oh, its OK” but then on his goals list it was “talk to three girls” and then the show gave the opening theme, which was almost all cute girls and then I realized that this was shaping up to be a harem show. Maybe I’m wrong. I’d like to be. But the sudden dawning that this self-improvement was going to have the side effect of becoming milquetoast catnip to a selection of varying girl archetypes made me not want to watch it. Note that this is just an impression. None of this stuff actually happens in the show. But the entire intro is girls smiling and singing and it feels like we are in dating sim world now. This is me completely judging a book by its cover but a cover’s job IS to try to tell you what is in the book. JBear’s going to keep watching and he can tell me if I’m wrong and the show is more what I want it to be: an adventure in improving oneself and quality of life, but for now I think I’ll leave this one be.

2.43: Seiin High School Boys Volleyball Team



Premise

Yuni and Chika are childhood friends who are meeting for the first time in years. Chika, it turns out, fancied himself a volleyball star and is disappointed that his new volleyball team is made up of casual players who only joined it because people in school HAVE to join a club. Chika is also a rude jerk but once players decide to join in and begin taking the game a little more seriously, he lights up and becomes friendlier. As the duo are taking about the future of the team when one of Yuni’s older friends, who seems pretty surly, confronts Chika and reveals a harsh truth; his drive to win resulted him in bullying other students to the point of one of his team mates attempting suicide.

It Gud?

Watching the initial preview, I was curious how this show would differentiate itself from THE volleyball series Haikyuu!! Watching the intro, many of the visuals seemed to be specifically cribbed from Haikyuu!! And if it was just another Haikyuu!!, I wouldn’t complain. But soon the show seemed to imply some differences. We start with a co-lead who seems kind of angry and shitty, which isn’t different from Haikyuu!!’s co-lead. But the setting is even more in the boonies than Haikyuu!!, apparently taking place in Hokkaido in the dead of winter. Then there’s the not-subtle but never explicitly stated or even acted upon insinuation that there might be a gay romance between the two leads. When Yuni is about to see Chika for the first time in years, he blushes. But there’s also a lot of blushing as it is very cold out. So it seems to be a quieter, more intimate series (its not an overtly romantic series at this point, more of a friendship between the leads).

It also seems to brush past what a shonen series would spend a lot of time focusing on: herding the cats that are the other team members who aren’t as passionate and getting to know them. The hard work. The shared passion. They blow by this much quicker. Surprisingly little friction, particularly considering how prickly Chika is at the start. But the end seems to show that this is a different trajectory: Chika has a major skeleton in his closet and it doesn’t necessarily seem he’s interested in redeeming himself and may be more interested continuing his main goal at the expense of everything else.

I don’t think this is going to be a dark series, despite the subject matter. I also feel like the first show that comes to mind that combines teen melodrama, sports and LGBTQ+ themes (the unjustly cancelled Stars Align) doesn’t feel like this at all. To a certain extent it is hard to tell what show it is going to be. We serious haven’t touched our cast outside the two leads and Yuni’s friend who may be protective and/or jealous (hard to say what kind of role he will play) but the show has been taking its time laying things out, so I’m expecting a casually paced human sports drama. And I’m looking forward to seeing how it unfolds but based on the animation and tone so far, I’m interested to seeing how this Josei adaptation goes. Oh, yeah, it’s a josei. Frankly, not enough josei and shojo sports series to my taste because I often like when they happen.

Otherside Picnic


Premise

A girl trapped in a strange otherwold of bizarre creatures finds herself rescued by an enigmatic girl. Both return home but the strange girl tells her new friend there is a way to get back… and there’s money to be made in bringing back stuff from the other world. Together the two venture into the other world, but mysteries remain about this strange place of urban legend, both girl’s histories with this other world and who is paying for otherworldly cubes.

It Gud?

Otherside Picnic is not interested in laying its cards out on the table yet. But so far, despite the fact that our heroes face down a genuine horrific threat to their lives and sanity, this feels closer in tone to a lot of female lead slice of life shows I’ve seen a fair amount of. That’s because while in the world things are very dangerous, there doesn’t seem to be a pressing reason for our heroines to throw themselves into danger save for cash and, more likely, curiosity. They could easily end this series by not continuing in their adventures, I think. They aren’t fighting monsters to protect anyone. Once they escape after the first act, they don’t have to go back. As far as we know.

Of course, the show also has a lot of mystery. We start in media res with a girl already trapped on the other side. We don’t how she got there. She meets someone else who seems to be a lot more experiences in the other side and it is implied she knows a lot. It also seems hinted that while people aren’t going back and forth willy nilly, the other side’s existence is public knowledge or at least an urban legend so widely believed, the lead doesn’t seem phased by it. It seems that the show wants to maintain some mystery for later.

But to me the mystery isn’t the strong point. The other issue is I have no particular connection to these leads, emotionally. One is a bit cautious but curious and the other is cavalier but neither are grabbing me. I also would have expected the less experienced girl as something closer to an audience surrogate but I feel like she’s a little too unimpressed to work in this capacity for me. But I will say I am interested somewhat in the mythos of the urban legend-based landscape. It seems to imply that all urban legends live there and the only way to beat them is to try to follow their logic and the logic of the universe. I don’t feel like the finale of the first episode completely sells the solution to beat the monster to be, but I am interested in trying a few more episodes and see if the direction and characters become a little clearer to me and more engaging.

Skate-Leading Stars


Premise

An elementary schooler quits figure skating after being defeated by an aloof and dispassionate rival. Years later, he’s enticed to return but not to figure skating but instead, the exciting new sport of “skate-leading”. What’s skate-leading? Its like cheerleading and figure skating, I think? But I’m not sure.

It Gud?

Its always tricky to create a new fictional sport for your series, especially if the series is built entirely around it. Probably the biggest mistake you can make is to NOT ACTUALLY SHOW ANY OF THE SPORT IN QUESTION! Seriously, Skate-Leading Stars never actually shows us what skate-leading is. It takes time to explain how the sport works but really, I don’t get it. I think its cheer leading on skates but there are also “guard” positions and I really couldn’t make heads of it except “skate dance good as a team”. We do see figure skating but we don’t see any team or even couples skating to give you an idea what this looks like as a team sport.

Other than that? Skate-Leading Stars isn’t bad, per se. But it really isn’t too engaging, particularly in comparison to the much more fun made-up sports series “Sk∞ the Infinity”, which actually shows you a game. By comparison, Skate-Leading Stars has some impressive skating animation but everything else feels a little more workman-like: competent and mildly engaging but nothing particularly exciting. I think it doesn’t help that in the back of my head, I know the Yuri!! On Ice movie comes out this season, and a comparison is unavoidable. And by comparison, this feels a lot more generic in story telling so far. I wouldn’t say “don’t watch it” (I think there are only a couple this season I would say that about and I didn’t even strongly dislike those shows) but I feel like it’s an easy show to skip.

Heaven’s Design Team



Premise

God, in making all the animals on Earth… well, he’s decided to delegate. So he hires a design team to make all the animals with the help of an angel in direct communication with the big man.

It Gud?

Heaven’s Design Team is a pretty broad comedy show so a lot of it comes down to how funny it is. And the answer is… somewhat. There are some laughs in the show and the big laughs are very strong and the weaker jokes aren’t cringey bad. But a lot of it is just mildly amusing and for that reason, I’m not that interested in continuing.

But there is still a lot to recommend. If you are interested in animals and animal science, abilities, adaptations, etc., this show is for you. A lot of amusing edutainment that shows you some neat animals and the advantages they have. The cast is serviceable but there’s not a lot too them that makes me excited to check them out each week, mostly like some broad quirks like “likes to make delicious animals” (I DO relate to this character a lot) and “gentle giant” and “likes quirky animals”. I do like that there is one guy who made the horse, is met with great acclaim, and is obsessed with just doing horses again. That’s some really good specificity. But I feel like the formula in this show won’t allow for much beyond its broadness.

I do kind of like the world building (so to speak). There’s a wonderfully dark element where they essentially get to “test drive” an animal, only to find a way in which it doesn’t properly function and dies in front of them (watching it, I joked they could just eat the corpses… and it turns out that’s what they do!) So there is a lot going for it. And I like a lot of it. But I think it comes down to the fact that I don’t find it laugh out loud funny enough to continue. I will say, maybe try it out. If you get more laughs than I, this might be a good pick for the season.

Back Arrow



Premise

In a world surrounded by a wall, pods filled with objects occasionally fall from the sky, to be snatched up by two warring nations. One day, an unexpected pod falls and with it a weird naked guy who ends up in an old West village. The guy’s lost his memory but he claims to be from beyond the wall, a world other people don’t think exist. In addition, he learns of object that can summon big mechs powered by the user’s greatest conviction. The man from beyond learns that he can also summon a mech but also seems to have no convictions whatsoever, giving him strange abilities of his own.

It Gud?

Back Arrow isn’t a retro pastiche but it does feel strangely old fashioned. And not in a bad way. But also not in a great way. Just in a specific way. Tonally, it feels like a 90s anime that may or may not be translated for Saturday morning western TV. That’s the aesthetic vibe I’m getting. It could easily be the first in a Zoids-esque franchise where the show goes for a year and then there’s a new series in the franchise. But with that is also the sense that the action is only going to be so good and the characters are only going to be so engaging.

It is evident that the show wants to be somewhat silly. I think the title might actually be a play on “baka”, as the main character is a wacky clueless guy. But he’s only mildly quirky and toothlessly weird. His whole deal is he has no conviction and I get the impression we are supposed to treat this guy as a wild card except he probably stands with his friends but its kind of a generic wackiness. Again, its not bad, but I am not engaged enough to want to keep going. It has a look that feels a bit budget but also charmingly 90s character designs. So, if you have a fondness for that aesthetic, you might want to check this one out.

Scar on the Praeter



Premise

A fictional “special ward” of Japan called Akatsuki, has become an independent state and is the target of warring gangs of mobsters and special interests who want to control it. One man becomes an independent player, working to help the innocents caught in the crosshairs. One day, he encounters a man who saved his life as a youth and they end up fighting due to a misunderstanding. Soon the two become friends but after they team up again, the older man dies. The older Man also has super powers which, as he is dying, passes them onto the younger man, along with the tattoo that carries them, making him as a “Scard”.

It Gud?

So here’s the problem: it’s a GoHands production. That tells you a lot. But it doesn’t tell you everything. I wanted to watch this for two reasons. One is the last GoHands production I watched the first episode of, W’z, was unintentional comedy gold, a comedy of errors. So I was hoping for a similar experience. But the trailer actually looked like it was, at the very least, competently animated. Like, some of the fight scenes looked well animated (if trying too hard). And they started with some backgrounds that looked good. I was curious if they improved.

The answer is; I think they did, but I don’t think its much good. Its not even “bad” in an enjoyable or objectionable way. Its kind of dull, but it can mostly hold your interest, save for a really unnecessary exposition scene. The animation quality varies but it is never ludicrously bad. But there are a lot of bad decisions: the backgrounds actually look bad in the context of the show, particularly one scene were it looks like the river that goes through the city is made of rock. The two leads of the first episode look WAY too similar. And the fights put a lot of budget into the animation but the quality feels high and a lot of effort was put into it but the end result is mostly artless dynamism in favour of nothing. But that’s still a marked improvement over W’z. Hope you can figure your shit out by the time you release that CLAMP adaptation that you are working on.

Dr. Ramune: Mysterious Disease Specialist



Premise

A young girl finds that she has a mysterious disease: she’s crying condiments. She ends up getting help from Dr. Ramune, a man known as the Mysterious Disease Specialist. It seems there are diseases that defy reality itself stemming from a person’s own personal issues and psychological issues. Dr. Ramune uses magic objects to get to the bottom of the problems causing supernatural symptoms and figures out how to save people from impossible diseases.

It Gud?

Dr. Ramune is a show I feel like I could like a lot more in theory than in practice. On paper, the premise reminds me of Rascal Does Not Dream of the Bunny Girl-Senpai, a decent show with a terrible title about supernatural curses afflicting people based on their own baggage. This is a much broader show, a wacky comedy that lacks in comedy. And in fact, the drama half is also not that good. The first story involves a girl crying condiments who is an actress and is being ignored by her mom who is too busy getting her work than to be her mother. I won’t go into detail but the mother is forced to choose between saving her daughter or losing the material wealth her daughter’s fame earned her. So the mother gets a chance to redeem herself but… it feels kind of unearned. In flashback so moves from good mother to a jerk and everything moves back to normal but these sides of her don’t even feel like the same character. I have no objections to simplistic morality plays if they are well told but I feel still need to believe in the redemption and I can’t here.

Overall, I just didn’t find it as fun as I wanted it to be. The hijinx isn’t strong, the fantasy doesn’t work for me and I’m not engaged with any of the characters. Again, this isn’t a BAD show, but it is very easy for me to drop. But I will say this: the show did its damnedest to try to get me to watch the next episode, with the plot being a teens penis has been transformed into a fishcake. They introduce it as a coda and I thought it was a weird joke but no, that’s what the next episode is about. Sorry show, but that is a hell of a sell, I’ll give you that.

Gekidol



Premise

A girl in the future wants to do acting for the holographic stage. And maybe be in an idol group with an actor-robot. And there’s a crater in the middle of the city with a sickly yellow aura and a super computer in the basement and a guy with computer screens watching everything.

It Gud?

Its not bad but its not remarkable, despite the fact that it has all sorts of potential subplots running throughout. At this point, there’s nothing of the plot that seems to necessitate all the future stuff as it really is the story of a girl becoming an actress. Even the element of it being holographic acting seems like pure window dressing. Also, the intro and preview seem to imply this is to become an idol show but the only actual idoling comes in the last act and feels like a complete tangent from not only the main plot but all the sci-fi subplots. Now, I am somewhat thankful, as I’m generally not into idol shows with some exceptions (NEW ZOMBIELAND SAGA NEXT SEASON, BABY!) but it feels like people going in for the idol are getting a bait and switch, at least in the first episode, with a somewhat sedate story about acting.

JBear wants to stick with it too see where the rabbit hole of science fiction subplots lead and I won’t lie about my curiousity, but not enough to keep going. He can tell me if it really becomes something interesting and I can circle around to it but for now this is a competent show about a girl wanting to be an actress.

Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation



Premise

The living embodiment of a MRA subreddit gets isekaied and this premise in no way differentiates itself from anything else in the genre except weirdly pretty animation.

It Gud?

Fuuuuuuck this show. So much. OK, so I should have smelled this shit from a yard away. The premise that was read to me was never explicitly telling us the lead is a misogynist but “34-year-old NEET transported to another world” should have told me. Did “Rise of the Shield Hero” teach me nothing? But I watched the preview and saw nothing objectionable. Seriously, all it was a selection of character introductions and majestic landscapes. JBear saw one that was more damning but not enough that he wouldn’t give it a chance. After all, its not uncommon for a good joke to try to lead with something we don’t like (re: Horimiya). But no, this is awful.

Seriously, as JBear pointed out, if there wasn’t constant narration of the lead character, who is a baby, creeping on girl’s tiddies and talking about “lolis”, it would be very forgivable. It would feel like a dialogue minimalist fantasy with very beautiful animation. Like, a lot of money, time and effort is put into this extremely offensive show. And it still would have been mildly problematic with hits camera decisions but it would not nearly have been the nightmare that this show is. Its almost everything I hate about the genre rolled into one: casual creeping and gross ogling, the constant smug narration, a power fantasy predicated on the concept “if I had the chance to do it again and someone gave me all the power I deserve, I could do this better” and as implied by my previous point, the entitlement. This one’s got it all. In all honesty, I should be thankful for a lack of sexual assault (either to raise the stakes or for comedy) but I suspect we just aren’t there yet.

Jobless Reincarnation is what I get for not heeding my instincts in favour of pretty animation. Light novel isekai about a “loser” who becomes a “winner” in a better life was kind enough to give me all of its red flags up front, so I only have myself to blame.

Kemono Jihen



Premise

A detective arrives in the middle of nowhere farming town to investigate a series of animal mutilations. While there, he gains the assistance of a young outcast despised for his smell and dirty visage. The two become closer but the boy, Kabane, eventually is forced to reveal the truth… he’s a monster. But the detective knows… he’s a monster too. Together, they kill the dangerous monster behind the mutilations and the detective fakes Kabane’s death (in fact, he was hired by Kabane’s adoptive guardian to kill Kabane) and takes him to a new home where he solves mysteries involving supernatural entities.

It Gud?

Kemono Jihen definitely feels like an archetypical shounen origin story/first chapter but I will say this: before the show spins into what I will assume involved power-ups, training, boss fights, big conspiracies, villains hanging out in the shadows waiting for the perfect time to strike, maybe a tournament somewhere, this one chapter alone is a very nice little story. Like, it’s a good stand alone story save for the introduction of the new characters in the last act. Now, keep in mind, I don’t dislike the shounen tropes. Sometimes I like them quite a bit. But this first story keeps it to just enough mythology to tell a sad story about a lonely kid and the detective who comes to the rescue he didn’t know he needed.

I think if it keeps at this quality, I could be happy if the show had no major overarching plot. I don’t even NEED the lead character hunting for his parents. If it was a series of action adventure with outcasts finding friendship they need within each other, I would be just as happy. That said, I also feel like I have enough faith that the show is still going to be entertaining when it starts adopting more of the tropes and will be happy with either direction but this is a pretty good first episode. Its made in a certain mold, but it is well made and does good thing with its emotionally stunted lead and his cool-tempered mentor.

Wonder Egg Priority



Premise

A girl named Ai Ohto buries a bug and gives it a little prayer… in return, the bug tells her where she can get what everyone wants… a friend. What she is given is an egg and is told to take care of it. Soon, she winds up in a strange dream where the egg hatches a girl. It seems some monsters called Seeno Evils in a high school hellscape are after the dream girl. Ai tries to avoid the dream girl but ends up risking her life to save her. We learn she had a friend who died falling out of a school window but it is unknown if it was an accident, suicide or murder. We also learn that after Ai saves the girl she 1) wakes up with a wound that the girl gained 2) the girl disappears and 3) that Ai might be able to save her dead friend if she saves enough dream people. And she’s not the only one taking the same risk.

It Gud?

Wonder Egg Priority is a show I had no awareness of going in but now I’m really excited to see where this one goes. Its definitely extremely ambitious, but it also toys with being heavy handed. As mysterious as it all is, its pretty clear what most of the stuff is a metaphor for; people turning a blind eye to bullying and having empathy for other people including strangers. The symbolism isn’t trying to be subtle and I feel like I’ve seen it in many series like this before. But in terms of presentation, this is still manages to make the overall mystery engaging, particularly the reveal that there’s more than one person to play the hero role.

The lead is muted but the end of the episode implies that she’s going to be at least a little livelier in the episodes to come in her reaction to the pretty girl she sees taking on what looks like way too much responsibility. I have a good read on her in terms of her neurosis and her sadness but still am not certain what kind of character this is going to be yet, but getting her backstory went a long way for making the episode work for me, taking a break from the surreal aspects to focus on the relationship between two girls and the loss that will fuel the series going forward. The animation itself is very pretty and the tone is very much dream-like, with our hero pretty easily accepting all of the unreal chaos around her. I’m just hoping it doesn’t get too lost in metaphor going forward and leads us to an emotional conclusion.

Pui Pui Molcar



Premise

The falcon cannot hear the falconer; Things fall apart; the center cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world. Guinea pigs are cars now.


Why? We don’t know. How? We don’t know. The synopsis states “Guinea pigs have become cars.” Not that they are all cars and have always been cars. Something happened in this world. The rules were rewritten. The world adjusted. It had to. What happened to cars that weren’t guinea pigs? Eaten? Or has stranglehold of the automotive and petroleum industries have come to an end? This might be a New Eden come to life through nightmarish happenstance.

I have questions. Do the insides smell like flesh? Who is in control? Is this symbiotic or is it parasitic? Who really holds the whip and who really pulls the cart? Be this Heaven or Hell? Pui Pui Molcar asks questions but trusts you to mull over the answers, look out your window and ask “What price utopia?”

It Gud?

Ha! Them guinea pigs is cars! Five Stars!

Look, nothing can ever be Bananya but beauty can flourish from trying to be. In this case, a stop motion animated series of little two minute episodes with partially live action actors in the scenes from within the cars. Its exactly what I want. Our world needs a balm and while Bananya rests its bones, waiting to emerge when the world needs it most, Pui Pui Molcar is a worthy successor to pick up the slack. The first episode features an obnoxious guy holding up traffic in his guinea pig while giving likes to a guinea pig on his phone. Its even better than it sounds. This is easily the winner of the season.

Episodes are available on youtube but sadly are unavailable in Canada (I don’t know about the US.) But Bandai did post episode two! It two minutes so feel free to take a couple to watch it. Then you’ll get it.


So… it pooped the money. Do not sit in the backseat of a molcar, I guess.
 

Erilex

hourglass figure
Having now watched the second episode, I feel pretty confident in saying that if you have a hankering for an isekai this season, Spider is pretty damn good. If nothing else, it has to be infinitely better than that Mushoku dredge (thanks Wysteria and Johnny for watching it and posting about it so the rest of us can dodge that bullet!).

Also, I recently binged through the entirety of Symphogear, so watching another show with Aoi Yuuki voicing a high-intensity, badass heroine makes me feel at ease.

(This is not a recommendation for Symphogear. I personally loved it, but that show is a horny, male-gazey trainwreck of the highest order. Its earnestness and sheer batshit audacity do sometimes come close to overtaking its horniness, but it's still a hard sell if that sort of thing bothers you a lot)
 

R.R. Bigman

Coolest Guy
Attack on Titan's final season has been going for weeks now and I have not heard a thing about it. It was one of the biggest shows of the last decade, though with how the last season ended I could see a lot of people not wanting to stick around for the irresponsible shit that was unfolding.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
So the latest Yashahime OP basically confirms Rin as the twins' mom at age 13.

I'm out. Screw this weird fanfic.

Is this said anywhere that I missed? Or are you extrapolating ages here?
Based on the Inuyasha wiki, Rin is 32 when she's some sort of tree ghost, meaning she was 18 when she had kids with... the ancient entity whom raised her since age 8. That's still pretty bad. I mean, I'm also quitting but its because I find myself looking at anything that isn't the screen out of boredom. Still, the other thing is a pretty good excuse.
 
I want to buy my husband a legal digital copy of Ghost in the Shell (1995) with Japanese audio, the original credits song, and decent subtitles because it's one of his favorites and he was annoyed when he saw Amazon Prime only has the English dub, and so far it seems like it's basically impossible to determine whether or not this even exists.

The absurdly bad release history for this movie in the USA combined with the vagueness of digital media marketplaces makes it ridiculously difficult to figure out what version of the movie is even being sold.

(Obviously there are . . . other ways of watching this movie, but for his sake it would be simpler if he could just click on it from the Roku or whatever. Maybe I should get around to setting up a Plex server...)
 
I want to buy my husband a legal digital copy of Ghost in the Shell (1995) with Japanese audio, the original credits song, and decent subtitles because it's one of his favorites and he was annoyed when he saw Amazon Prime only has the English dub, and so far it seems like it's basically impossible to determine whether or not this even exists.

I bought it on Vudu specifically because purchasing the English language version gets you the Japanese language version as well, which I'm not sure Amazon ever offered. It's been a while since I watched it there, but I seem to recall the subtitles being fine... at least not offensively bad or anything.

Know what song I'd be checking for to ensure it was the original credits song?
 
Thank you so much for letting me know about this and being willing to look into it.

This is what I'm trying to avoid:


It's not an awful song or anything. I like it, honestly. But I'm looking for a version with the original ending credits sequence instead because it flows better with the movie, in my (and, more importantly in this case, my husband's) opinion.

This is the original song (an extension of the same chant that flows through the whole movie, continuing into the end credits):


I looked at the Vudu version and saw that the Japanese language track was included, but the cover there is the same as the cover to a Blu-Ray that got a lot of bad press for erroneously putting the English end credits song into the Japanese audio. So, I'm wondering if it just happens to have the same cover art as that Blu-Ray release, or if this is the same mix of the Japanese audio but with the English credits song from that Blu-Ray release.

Thank you!
 
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I looked at the Vudu version and saw that the Japanese language track was included, but the cover there is the same as the cover to a Blu-Ray that got a lot of bad press for erroneously putting the English end credits song into the Japanese audio. So, I'm wondering if it just happens to have the same cover art as that Blu-Ray release, or if this is the same mix of the Japanese audio but with the English credits song from that Blu-Ray release.

Just checked via the Vudu app, and unfortunately the Japanese language version I own has the One Minute Warning song.

I do wonder if that was always the case... I bought the digital version years ago prior to the most recent 4K / Blu-Ray reissue (love that new cover though) and I *think* it had the other song at the time... but I could be misremembering from another time I watched the movie, like one of the occasional theater re-runs I've been able to catch over the years... Though maybe Vudu did just recently update the video source with the one from the most recent Blu-Ray release, which wouldn't surprise me.

Anyways, it's definitely the English song on the Japanese language track, which is a bummer, as I agree the original one flows much better and is consistent with the music throughout the movie.

*Edit* Though now I see some people saying the cover artwork is different from the original art when it was a poster; *sigh*, ah well, I still think it's pretty great. I was bummed I missed out on the poster print when it went up on Mondo years ago. I do have one of the other GitS prints they've done over the years, which is one of my favorite pieces I own:

 
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