It’s everyone’s favourite time of the year, a new season of anime is upon us. It’s time to discover new series to follow, new series to complain about on Twitter and other forums, and new series to pretend we hate but secretly enjoy. Since the new season is here, I’ve decided to do a small Fall Preview. All of these are based on the first episode, and are obviously not meant as a judgment about the whole series, just how the first episode sets it up.
Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt
Whether or not you should watch Panty and Stocking can be determined quite easily. There’s a giant shit monster in the first episode. Based on your reaction to that sentence, you now know whether or not you want to watch it. I think it’s juvenile and not really that entertaining, but that’s just me.
Currently available on Crunchyroll
Tarou has a problem that he wants fixed, so he decides to visit the 2nd Volunteer Club, a club that helps people with their problems. Tarou’s actual problem is that he’s a masochist. He gets turned on by being abused by girls, and Mio, head of the 2nd Volunteer Club, intends to fix the problem by beating him to within an inch of his life. The series is obviously intended to be a comedy, meaning all throughout the episode we’re treated to the tsundere girl doing what a tsundere does best, physically and verbally abusing Tarou. But since he’s a masochist, he pretty much has an orgasm instead of getting rightfully angry. Hilarious, right? The show is filled with that kind of humour, but it’s sort of played out at this point. Girls beating the crap out of guys has been around since before I even knew what anime was, and having the guy get off to it doesn’t really make it funnier. There was one joke that I actually laughed at towards the end when something is revealed about the girl Tarou has a crush on, but up until then it was one unfunny beating after another. If the series insists on sticking with the typical girl abusing guy humour it really won’t be worth watching.
Moritaka Mashita wanted to be a manga artist when he was a kid, but as he grew up he abandoned that dream due the crushing sadness that is the human existence. Akito Takagi wants to be a manga artist, but he has a problem in that he can’t actually draw. The two end up meeting and Akito wants Moritaka to team up with him so they can become rich and famous making manga, but Moritaka refuses. The next 20 minutes consists of Akito shouting about how much he wants to be a famous manga artist and Moritaka muttering about how impossible it is. Eventually Akito manages to convince him when Moritaka finds out the girl he likes wants to be a voice actress, so he makes a promise with her that he’ll make a manga so successful it gets adapted into an anime and she’ll voice the heroine and then they can get married and be happy. All of this instead of just talking to the girl. I understand girls are kinda scary, but I’m willing to bet actually talking to one is easier than becoming a famous manga artist. The girl already liked him so all he did was make more work for himself.
Given that this is adapted from a manga made by the authors of Death Note, I guess I was sort expecting more. It’s entertaining, sure, but it still feels lacking, and somehow manages to have a more unbelievable premise than a teenager finding a notebook that kills people. It’s just kind of mediocre and didn’t really grab me.
Yagyu Muneakira goes to visit an abandoned dojo whose master had died recently and inside he finds two naked girls named Sanada Yukimura and Gotou Matabei. After plenty of breast flashing and misunderstandings he finds out that the two girls are trespassing on the area. Before he can introduce himself properly, a girl dressed as a maid who is actually a ninja and a representative of the student council attacks to take the girls in for breaking the rules. Upon failing to capture Yukimura and Matabei she’s forced to kiss the feet of her Princess, and I’m pretty sure she also had to perform oral on her. In case you haven’t caught on yet, this show is full of fanservice. Possibly rivaling Highschool of the Dead, but I haven’t watched enough of that one to say for sure. I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that The Anime Network has simulcasted both of these shows.
The show actually has a distinct art style with backgrounds that look like watercolour paintings, and it has a whole theme of splashing ink on the camera during action shots. That ink theme is also at the centre of one of the show’s major problems, which is the censorship used to cover up all the breasts. Other shows tend to cover nudity by having bright light shining on it, which can get a bit excessive when you have half the screen blocked by that light. Samurai Girls covers its nudity with ink blots, since it has that whole theme going on. The ink blots actually cover less than a ray of light would, but when you have ink blots moving all over the screen to stay on top of the breasts it can get distracting.
Of course, that’s only an issue because of the excessive fanservice, which is the show’s biggest problem. Generally when watching a show with samurai in the title I expect a certain amount of action, but there’s next to none in this episode. Both times when it seems like a fight is going to happen the heroes just run away. If the show keeps focusing on showing off T&A instead of having some decent samurai action there really isn’t any reason to watch since all of the actual fanservice is blotted out. I’m going to give this one a few episodes to change my mind, but the first one did nothing to really impress me.
Currently available on The Anime Network
Star Driver: Kagayaki no Takuto
Takuto Tsunashi washes up on the shore of Southern Cross Island, an island home to a school where Takuto hopes to live a fabulous life. He gets acquainted with his fellow students fairly quickly, becoming friends with Wako Agemaki and Sugata Shindou, two students who found him after he almost drowned swimming to the island. It seems like Takuto will get to live the fabulous school life he so desperately seeks at first, but there’s something more sinister going on. No idea what said sinister goings on are, but they involve mecha and explosions and fabulous outfits.
While I’m sure the plot will pick up eventually, we really have no explanation for anything that goes on in the first episode. What it does manage to accomplish though is being a kick-ass and highly entertaining giant robot action series. Bones was the studio responsible for Soul Eater, which brought us a countless number of high energy, fast paced fights. I can only imagine the sorts of things they can pull off when mecha are thrown into the mix. This is one show this season that’s definitely worth checking out, and it’s a shame that no one is simulcasting it.
I was kind of expecting something different from this one, based on the Japanese title Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai, or “My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute.” It’s actually just about a girl who likes anime and visual novels, not about a guy who wants to do his little sister. It just has a very unfortunate title. It is a typical moe show, which isn’t really my thing, but it isn’t horribly creepy like one would think. Any incestuous overtones implied by the title are absent from the show itself, and it even goes so far as to joke about that very idea. Nothing much else to say about it though, because like I said, moe just isn’t my thing.
Yosuga no Sora
It’s the creepy incest series of the season. No really, the brother and sister start kissing like halfway through the episode. Even worse, it was a flashback and they were about 10 years old, so it’s got a double dose of creepy. I bailed at that point, so I really don’t know what happened during the rest of the episode.
The World God Only Knows
Katsuragi is a god at scoring with girls. Well, girls from visual novels at least. During a routine day of offering advice to people who are stuck trying to score with virtual girls of their own, he comes across a challenge. But what he thought was a simple challenge to an eroge game turns out to be a challenge to try to seduce real girls. Katsuragi accidentally makes a deal with a demon to collect loose spirits that have escaped from hell and reside within the hearts of girls, and the easiest way to do so is by making those girls fall in love with him. Should he fail in doing so, or try to escape his contract with the demon, a collar around his neck will take his head off.
Of course, when presented with the task of talking to real girls he falls flat on his face, several times. First he refuses to talk to a member of the track team because she doesn’t have her hair tired up, then because she isn’t wearing bloomers, and then he repeatedly fails to impress hair with large banners expressing his love for her. It’s a mildly funny show, though it does kind of hit all the same notes as pretty much everything else in this genre. It kind of sets itself up as a monster-of-the-week series, except that the monsters are high school girls. I do find the idea of forcing an otaku who hates real girls to actually talk to them funny, but it’s still just a typical high school rom-com albeit with a slight twist. It isn’t really great, but you could easily do worse this season.
Currently available on Crunchyroll
Otome Yokai Zakuro
In an attempt to strengthen the relationship between spirits and humans, the Japanese government and spirit elders decide to create a Ministry of Spirit Affairs, to be run by a few select soldiers along with representatives of the spirit world. This doesn’t sit well with Zakuro, who dislikes how easily humans accept western influence on their own culture, and wants nothing to do with them. Once everyone is introduced and gets to know each other, they decide to go flower viewing. The peaceful excursion is interrupted when a spirit that has mysteriously turned violent attacks the group.
Most of the entertainment value of this episode comes from one of the male soldiers, Kei, and his extreme fear of spirits, which causes him to make a fool out of himself on multiple occasions. Of course, when he does make a fool of himself he just materializes a bunch of sparkles and roses out of thin air like a shoujo hero and talks his way out of it. He’s so good at this that even Zakuro almost falls for him. There are some sprinklings of action, but it seems to be taking a more humorous approach, but is entertaining all the same. It’s always nice when something lives up to your expectations, though in this case I didn’t actually have any expectations because I didn’t know what this series was. Still, I was pleasantly surprised to find another series this season that I might end up following.
Currently available on Crunchyroll
Humans have been constantly polluting the ocean with their garbage, and a certain squid girl has had enough of it. She hatches a plan to invade the surface world to conquer the humans so they’ll stop polluting the ocean. In her attempt to subdue a few humans to use their restaurant as a base for invasion, she accidentally destroys a wall and has to work there to pay off her debt. The show has a premise similar to that of Sgt. Frog, where an invader hopes to take over the world only to have their pathetic attempts thwarted by average humans. It’s cute and kind of funny, being one of the few comedies this season that actually made me laugh.
Currently available on Crunchyroll