OK, lest I sound like a sour old man (“Hey, you kids, get off of my lawn!”), there is nothing wrong with all-girl animes…..to a point. It’s just that you need to have something more than moe girls or full-figured femmes or luscious ladies cluttering up the screen. I do like (wait for it)…plot. We actually started off with “Teekyu”, which began as a sports comedy manga (and the title is a pun on the Japanese word for ‘tennis’. Things like that are lost on me). They then had a spinoff, “Usakame”, which is named for the high school these four ladies attend and they belong to the tennis club. (more…)
Short Pull Series XX – “Tennis”, Anyone?
Well, we knew by the close of season one of “Ansatsu Kyōshitsu” (“Assassination Classroom”) that there was going to be a season two, where the stakes are much higher and the pressure to succeed is at an all-time high. Although this classroom of slackers and underachievers are well-versed in assassination techniques, they are no closer to getting rid of Koro Sensei (that yellow effigy in the middle) today than they were when he first made the scene months earlier. Adding to the problems is that the government feels events are not progressing at a proper enough clip, so ringers are called in to complete the deed STAT. (more…)
Don’t Worry, Be “Happy”
Every once in a while, you come across a show with a concept so odd, that you have to look into things a bit more deeply. Such is the case of “Anne-Happy”, (Anhapi♪), also known as “Unhappy Go Lucky!” or “Unhappy”. The plot is surprisingly thin:
Tennomifune Academy is an elite school where students train in various subjects such as arts and sports. The school, in a sense, chooses you, not the opposite (much like a wand from Ollivander’s). That is, except for the students of Class 1-7, a.k.a. the “Happiness Class”, who have been deemed “unfortunate” and must try to overcome their own misfortune and achieve happiness. The series follows a core group of five students, who each have their own problems, as they try to find their own elation. (more…)
The “Ultimate” Goal
Now, I like a goofy show as much as the next person, but it bothers me when they break in into a ‘half-and-half’, so the first grouping of episodes are an exhilarating ride and when the ‘serious’ ones make their appearance, it gets somber and introspective, losing some of the charm that got you here in the first place. Such is the case with “Ultimate Otaku Teacher” (“Denpa Kyōshi” or “Electromagnetic-wave Teacher”, subtitled “He Is an Ultimate Teacher”). We have Jun’ichirō Kagami, 24, who is a genuine genius. He published a paper at 17, talking about a teleportation device. Despite that majestic early splash, he would rather spend his time playing video games and being a real NEET (but not necessarily a hihikimori). His sister, Suzune, feels that his talents are being wasted on his anime blog (What?!!? Wasting time with an anime blog? Is she nuts?) and he needs to get a job. No, let me rephrase that. GET A JOB OR I’LL BEAT YOUR BRAIN IN! (She is batting .545 with an on-base plus average nearing 1.000). (more…)
What if fantasy became real? What if you lived in a world where extra-dimensional creatures of every ilk and caliber, of every temperment and desire, of every size and strength, were made whole? Thus is the intriguing plot idea behind “Myriad Colors Phantom World” (“Musaigen no Fantomu Wārudo”). So, how did this come to be? (more…)
Short Pull Series XVI – Please, “Please Tell Me” Now!
In my many years of reviewing anime, I have come across a crop of shows that I refer to as ‘nothing’ shows. There is a huge amount of talking, but nothing really happens. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as some of them are character and plot driven and tell a fascinating story. But it can run hot and cold.
Our latest offering, “Oshiete! Galko-chan” (“Please Tell Me! Galko-chan”) is also a short-pull series, in that the episodes only run for about eight minutes. But they pack a lot into these shows. Our cast includes (right to left), the aforementioned Galko, Ojou and Otako. Yes, they are very iconic, as they are, respectively, a gyaru, an airhead and an otaku. But they go beyond those limitations and tell some interesting tales. This came off for me as closer allied to “Daily Lives of High School Boys”, another ‘nothing’ show, but with a definite edge to it. (more…)
Short Pull Series XVI – Orange Crush
Sometimes you encounter a show that could go in either direction. Do you remember the song “Every Breath You Take”? Many people thought it was a romantic tale of a person deeply in love with another, but if you listened to the lyrics, I mean REALLY listened to them, it was about an obsessive stalker and then the song got creepy and dangerous. “Momokuri” is that kind of show.
The tales revolves around Yuki Kurihara, a girl who has finally been granted her wish of dating her crush, Shinya Momotsuki, whom she calls ‘Momo’. At first glance, she just looks like a normal but very cute girl, amid the first blush of being in love. However, she is in fact a maniac over Momo, taking notes of his activities and never missing the chance to see him in a cute moment. Momo, on the other hand, is inexperienced in love, and just wants to make Yuki happy, but does not fully understand what lies before him. (more…)
Short Pull series XV – What’s “Puberty”?
One of the problems with short-pull series is that they can be really short. I’ve seen them as short as TWO MINUTES! That’s hardly enough time for nothing! Basically, opening credits, set-up, joke, punchline, closing credits. And this series, “Ooya-san wa Shishunki!” (“Ōya-san wa Shishunki!” “The Landlord is in Puberty!”) runs those two minutes, in that order.
At its heart is a simple story idea: A young man, Maeda (left), moves into a new apartment, only to find that his new landlady, Chie Satonaka (middle), is a middle schooler. His friend, Reiko Shirai (right), comes by to visit to see how he is doing. Now, this started out life as a 4-koma and it is apparent here. And since it is brought to you by the same folks who did “Komori-san wa Kotewarenai” (and they make an appearance in one episode), you have the same kinds of soft situations. There is nothing heavy or overwhelming about any of the problems that arise. It is what I call a ‘sitcom situation’: a minor concern gets blown out of proportion, there is a lot of yelling and screaming and jumping up and down and running around in circles and then, we ‘find’ the solution and things are back to normal again. Until the next time this happens. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. (more…)
Don’t Pull on my “Tail”
Although this is kind of a ‘girls who save the world’, it was very hard to take this show seriously, even when it became ‘serious’. “Gonna be the Twin-Tail!!” (“Ore, Tsuintēru ni Narimasu”, “I Will Become a Twintail”.) also takes gender-bending to another level.
We are at Yōgetsu Private Academy. Sōji Mitsuka is an ordinary high school boy who has an obsession for twintail hair. That is when you split the hair, so you have it flaring off to the side, as we see up there, although it can trail in the back as well. At the opening ceremony, he is enraptured with the numerous twintails about him, especially Erina Shindō, who is the student body president and has a magnificent pair…of twintales. (more…)
Wanna Hear a “Dirty Joke”?
Another of those off the hook shows, the capaciously titled “Shimoneta: A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist” (“Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai”) also really takes the concept of an alternate universe to…uh…an alternate universe. In future Japan (in trying to puzzle together the timeline, it could be, like, 2056), the Morality Police have cracked down on any and all things prurient and immoral, so no hentai, no ecchi, no eroge games, not even certain words are allowed in this squeaky clean and spiritually pure society.
Everyone wears a ‘morality collar’ (for wont of a better term), which is called a Peace Maker, that analyzes every spoken word for any action that could break the law. A new high-school student named Tanukichi Okuma (Mr. Shocked back there to the right) enters the country’s leading elite “public morals school” to reunite with his crush and student council President, Anna Nishikinomiya (Ms. Distraught Blue Eyes). However, Tanukichi quickly finds himself entwined with the perverted terrorist “Tundra Blue” when she kidnaps and forces him to join her organization, “SOX,” in creating and spreading pornographic material across the city. (more…)