Shinkansen Henkei Robo Shinkalion: Hayato is a total railway nerd — not that strange given that his father works at the Railway Museum. But when he finally gets to ride on a shinkansen bullet-train, his father is called in for an emergency! And Hayato ends up at the steering wheel of a shinkansen that transforms into the mecha Shinkalion, to battle a monstrous mecha made out of railway bits and bobs!
It’s a series for young kids, and it’s kind-of ridiculous. The mecha are hilarious, being transformations of actual shinkansen trains. It’s even sponsored by the railway company!
Sanrio Danshi: Kouta attends highschool, and he carefully hides his love for a particular cute Sanrio character ever since he got laughed at as a kid because he took his plushie of it everywhere. So when he finds part of a Sanrio-character keychain from a schoolmate, he is reluctant to return it in plain view. But he tells him liking Sanrio’s brand of kawaii is nothing to be ashamed of.
I can’t think of any way to explain this series other than that it’s a bit of propaganda to get more market traction among boys for Sanrio’s goods. I mean: if you like the cute characters, then by all means, go for it. But apparently in Japan, they need an anime series to tell them.
Citrus: Yuzu is starting her new school and wants to make quite the impression with her entrance. Unfortunately for her, her new school is a super-strict rich-girls school, and they react.. poorly… to her attempts to stand out. When she gets home, she meets her new step-sister, who turns out to be the school council president, granddaughter of the school board chairman!
Yuzu is clearly a fish out of the water, but I also felt bad for Mei: she is basically abandoned by everyone, and the only path left for her is to conform to the expectations others have for her. That includes her already having a fiancé, and all of her agency has been taken from her. That also explains why she reacts to Yuzu the way she does. But of course, Yuzu doesn’t know this and reacts accordingly. I do hope it gets better, because they deserve it.
Slow Start: Hana spent a year getting into the school of her choice, which makes her a year older than the others. And people know others from gradeschool or middle school, and she knows nobody… But during her first day, she manages to make some friends after all.
It’s cute and inconsequential, and manages to pull in some of the usual stereotypes. We thought it was nice, and the voices aren’t that squeaky either.
Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card-hen: Sakura is starting middle school, and meets up with her old friends (or talks to them over the phone). Everything seems to be ok, but then she has a dream that all of the magic cards turn transparent. And wouldn’t you know: they do! Now Sakura has to re-catch the cards!
As Tomoyo exclaims: it is the triumphant return of Cardcaptor Sakura! She is a bit older, and the setting is more modern (cellphone conversations with people in England are not something out of the ordinary), and yet it is still unmistakenly Cardcaptor Sakura. Yes, it’s probably derivative of the original series, but who cares, really?
Mitsuboshi Colors: Three gradeschool girls created the “Colors” club somewhere in Ueno Park to “protect the peace”. What it really comes down to is to be a nuisance to the police officer manning the koban, and the old man running a general goods store in the shopping street.
It reminded us of Ichigo Mashimaro, mostly because of the loud and super-energetic girl in the cast. Inconsequential, short-form, episodic fun.
Gakuen Babysitters: Ryuichi and his little brother Kotaro become orphans when their parents’ plane crashes. They are taken in by the chairwoman of a school — but she has a condition: Ryuichi has to join the Babysitting Club, where students look after the little kids of the teachers. Of course, they don’t have a choice, but in return, they now have someone to look after them.
A workplace with a daycare? That’s pretty progressive for Japanese standards. I’m not sure about this one: is this setup really enough to create a whole series of?
Kokkoku: When Juri’s brother and nephew are kidnapped, her grandfather reveals a magical artefact that stops time — except everyone who touches the artefact can still move normally. They go to rescue their kidnapped family, but what should have been really easy turns into a panicked situation when a group of attackers pops up who are after them!
Just… wow. So much mystery. What are the mechanics of the artefact? What are the rules? Who are the people that attacked them, and what are they after? How does this work out? At least Juri has a good head on her shoulders, so I have every confidence in her.