Instead of making multiple posts with a few reviews here and there, I’ve decided to collect all my first-episode reviews in a single entry, to make it easier for you to skip if you’re not interested. But it’s also easier to find my review for that one series!

Reviews of 39 first episodes

So this is the last of the new anime (that we watched the first episode of) for the Winter 2018 season!

Miira no Kaikata: Sora runs the household in the absence of his adventurer father. One day, his father sends him a coffin in the post, and in it is… a mummy. A really small, cute mummy. Of course, Sora is weirded out, but he warms up to the little fellow, who seems to have imprinted itself on him as its ‘owner’.
I’m not sure what the point of this setup is, but it’s not interesting in the least.

Hakumei to Mikochi: Hakumei and Mikochi are small humans, living in a house built against a tree in a forest. They have all kinds of adventures, like riding stag beetles to the top of a mountain to meet a bird that’s new in the area, or going on a shopping trip to the coast.
It is exceedingly cute and relaxing, but the change in scale and the existence of antropomorphic animals (of course the cloth merchant is a hedgehog, because she has needles to spare) adds an interesting twist. It also reminded me of the RPG Ryuutama in that the trip is more important than the destination. And it’s all rendered in loving detail too.

Hakyuu Houshin Engi: Engi is a ‘celestial’ and he is sent to Earth to battle other celestials who have manipulated themselves at the top of an empire that they have absolute control over. Engi gets a weird flying animal as companion and sets off, but his first plan misfires and countless people are thrown into a pit filled with alligators and venomous snakes…
Uninspired battle anime, and the plot is paper-thin. I guess if you really liked Dragonball Z but wished it incorporated more ancient Chinese mythology, then this would be right up your alley. For us it’s a total snoozefest.

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens: The idea is that in Fukuoka, 3% of the people is actually a hired killer. A large supply generates demand, so there’s all kinds of dirty deeds that need doing — and get done. Not in the least by the current mayor. But of course there is a private detective who gets asked to look into things, and he’s the good guy. And there are some other plotlines with other people (most of them hitmen) who haven’t met up yet, but who undoubtedly will.
Fukuoka is a pretty city, we liked it very much. Some of the locations were familiar to us. But that’s about the only good thing that can be said about this series. The villains are really one-dimensional, and the plot is heavy-handed and convoluted. Meh.

Beatless: Humanoid robots exist, but they are regarded as mere tools by the humans. But Arato treats them with respect regardless. Then he meets Lacia, a masterless robot, who needs him to take legal responsibility for her actions, so she can save him from an attack by another masterless robot. She ends up staying with Arato and his sister.
Not too interesting on its own, but the philosophical ramifications are interesting to see. It’s quite pretty too.

Killing Bites: Japan is controlled from the shadows by four zaibatsu. They wage proxy warfare against each other by ‘killing bites’, fighting contests against people who have been gene-therapied to have animal characteristics. Yuya accidentally gets involved in this “sport” as a sponsor, and he gets saddled with one of the fighters as his bodyguard.
A totally absurd premise for bloody fights with plenty of ‘surprises’ when the fighters use a signature move from the animal they have DNA of. Fighting series are just not our thing.

Darling in the Franxx: Children are trained to synchronise with each other inside mecha called Franxx, to fight against the monsters that populate the deserts outside of the arcologies where humans in live. The adults are quite content to let the kids do all the dangerous work. Hiro failed the synchronization test, which automatically also disqualified his partner, and they are about to get sent back to the orphanage. But then Hiro meets ‘Zero Two’, a girl with two horns, and during a monster attack, the two of them sync up and kick monster butt.
This season’s mecha series, with some real echoes of Evangelion. It looks gorgeous, and there is a lot going on that will need some story development to explain all. I want to see more of that.

Dagashi Kashi 2: Second season of this series that showcases a different kind of traditional candy. It is framed against the fact that Kokonotsu has to look after his father’s traditional candy shop, while Hotaru is there to convince him to work for the candy company her family owns.
Somehow, this second season has only half-length episodes, but they’re pretty fun and interesting, if you have an interest in candy and snacks!

This is the second-to-last post with reviews of the new anime this season!

Ryuuou no Oshigoto!: Yaichi became the top shogi player while he still is in highschool. So now he is a professional, and he lives on his own, making his living by playing shogi and training in between. And then one day, a young girl turns up on his doorstep. She reminds him of his promise to be her shogi master — and she definitely has talent. But Yaichi is not equipped to deal with having a student like this.
It’s everything that Sangatsu no Lion isn’t: it’s whimsical and shallow, and it has a worrying amount of lolicon front and center. Best left untouched.

Karakai Jouzu no Tagaki-san: Tagaki sits next to Nishikata, who is always thinking of ways to get her into trouble with the teacher. But Tagaki, who obviously has a thing for Nishikata, is much too clever to fall into his traps — rather, she consistently turns the tables on him, much to his annoyance!
It’s kind of cute on one hand, but on the other hand, it’s a long sequence of two kids playing tricks on each other, and that gets kinda old fast.

Basilisk: Ouka Ninpouchou: Second series of a much older series. We’re introduced to many super-powered ninja, with the idea that we should know these people from before, so the introductions are very sparse indeed. A noble sets out to Edo, to see his dying mother one last time, and he is waylaid by a group of ninja. Luckily for him, our “hero” ninja are there to save his bacon!
At the end of the episode, I was left wondering who all these people were, and why we should care about them. The character designs are kinda weird too. And it has all that “fight in the rain because that makes us look edgy”-thing going on that I’ve grown tired of a long time ago.

Dame x Prince Anime Caravan: Ani, the princess of the small kingdom of Inaco, gets sent to the neighbouring country of Selenfalen, in order to sign the peace treaty with the kingdom of Milidonia. She meets the princes of these kingdoms and their knights, and they’re all super dreamy and… odd. She’s happy to be back home after all that, but then she gets sent out again…
Reverse harem anime with lots of pretty boys that all seem to have a few screws loose. The character designs are quite nice and I really liked how Ani is weirded out by the people she meets — she seems to be the only character in the whole series who has any kind of common sense. Other than that, it’s just like many other reverse harem series, only this time there’s a thin layer of fantasy setting.

Violet Evergarden: Violet was raised as a soldier, and the only person she looks up to is a major. But then she loses her arms during a battle, and the war is over while she is in the hospital getting cyborg arms. The major’s fate is not known (but it didn’t look to good), and one of his associates comes to get her. They quickly find out that Violet is not suited to play the part of a young well-to-do girl that is being adopted by the Evergarden family, and she ends up working as a mail sorter in the associate’s private mail company. In that role, she connects with people in a way that she never did.
Very high budget: everything is so detailed! And the setting is very interesting too, in a 1920’s kind of way. We don’t see much of Violet’s military life, but I am interested to see more of how she discovers to live like a civilian.

Märchen Mädchen: Hazuki is a total bookworm, retreating into stories to escape her not-so-great life. Then she gets a magic book that allows her to enter through a bookcase in the school library, and she ends up at a magic school in the magical land inside!
There’s not much substance, apart from some gratuitous nudity… It’ll probably turn into some kind of magic academy series, but this bland first episode already lost us.

Death March Kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku: Ichirou is a programmer for a studio that cranks out those trashy, short-lived MMORPGs. He’s constantly overworked, needing to offer quick fixes to all kinds of issues etcetera. When he sleeps at the office, he finds himself in one of ‘his’ games — including the game menu. He uses the extra items that they put in that day to make the game easier for starting players, and the three super-powerful spells kill a large mob of monsters, increasing his level immensely. So now he’s quite powerful, and he starts off in the direction of the nearest town to see what’s going on.
So this is very much like “Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni”, which was, frankly speaking, bad. I don’t quite understand why we’re giving this one a chance since it’s so similar, but I guess we’re optimists.

Koi wa Ameagari no You ni: High-school student Akira works at a family restaurant after having to drop out of the track & field team when she hurt her ankle. The restaurant manager, an awkward middle-aged man, showed her compassion when she was at her lowest point, and she has fallen in love with him — even though he is a bit of a slob, and only Akira sees his good points.
This could turn weird and awkward and creepy, but so far the manager is oblivious, and the two main characters are portrayed with a lot of empathy and compassion. It’s funny at times too. The character designs have a bit of a retro feel to them too, which I find very attractive. It only takes half an episode to feel like you want the best for Akira, and I want to see how it develops.

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.

Let’s continue with the new anime.

Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san: Misa is very interested in her classmate Koizumi, an elegant beauty who just isn’t interested in socializing. But she really, really loves ramen. Misa tries to be a part of that, and Koizumi will lecture her about the different types of ramen and the ingredients used. But immediately after, she turns into her usual cold self.
It’s fun, and you’ll learn something about ramen. The food is rendered with special attention to detail, which is fun to watch. But in the end, while we did have a good time watching this first episode, we’re not convinced that you could make a whole series out of it. We’re not going to be around to find out.

Yuru Camp Delta: Rin cycles up a long hill to go camp all by herself somewhere in autumn, with a lovely view of Mt Fuji. It’s kinda cold, so she builds a campfire. And then she meets Nadeshiko, who also rode her bicycle but didn’t come as prepared. Rin helps her out, and then it turns out they both go to the same school.
It’s laid-back and cute, and it’s surprisingly funny: the talking pinecones had us snickering. The camping advice is good, and the scenic backgrounds are really great. It’s going on the list.

Toji no Miko: The aratama are monster that have plagued Japan since ancient times. Young girls who have an affinity with magic katana are the only ones capable of exterminating them. And of course, there is a tournament for the best swordfighter — like it’s some kind of after-school club. During the tournament, one of the girls attacks the head of the sword-fighting agency, instead of her opponent!
It has a surprising amount of sword-fighting techniques called out and demonstrated, which is kind of cool. But it’s also very bland: we couldn’t really care what happened to any of the characters. And supposedly the swords are for fighting monsters, but we don’t see any of that.

Ito Junji: Collection: “Horror” stories (more gruesome than horror, though). The first is about a deeply unpleasant boy, and the second is really short, about a girl turning into a doll. Unpleasant to watch.

Grancrest Senki: Chaos has entered the world, bringing demons with it. Lords with Crests can absorb the chaos and protect the land, and they can contract a magician to help them. The Lords have split into two factions, fracturing the fight against chaos — only by combining the two crests, one could make the Grancrest. Siluca is a young magician who manipulates the young Lord Theo to form a contract with her, and sets him up to shake things up!
It’s fun and action-packed. The setting is intriguing: I want to know more about the mechanics of chaos and how to prevent demon incursions, and what those crests exactly are. Siluca’s uniform raised my eyebrows, but otherwise it seems like an interesting fantasy setting with some tactical thinking thrown in.

Pop Team Epic: Anime based on a four-panel comic. It’s weird, odd and ugly, and I don’t think I can drink enough to find it funny. Oddest thing is that the characters are girls, but they are voiced by men. And then the whole half-episode is repeated, but with the characters voiced by women. I don’t think I can appreciate the mindset needed to enjoy this series.

The new season has started in Japan on January 2nd, and you know what that means: we’ll be watching the first episode of (almost) everything that we can put our grubby mitts on, and I’ll be typing up reviews! I’ll all tag them with ‘first episode review’ (like this entry), so if you have no interest in anime and don’t want to read about it, then feel free to mute that tag!

With that out of the way… let’s go!
Itsu Datte Bokura no Koi wa 10 Centi Datta: A highschool romance: a popular boy from the movie club, who even won some prizes with his work, and a girl from the art club. They always go home together, and they find it hard to see the other with others from the opposite sex, but they’re not official dating. Somehow, they can never bring themselves to being less than 10cm apart…
Technically not a new series: it started halfway the fall season, so we never watched that first episode. We really liked it: they’re kinda cute, and the art is pretty. I also like the character designs.

Uchuu yori mo Tooi Basho: Mari feels that her highschool life is slipping away from her without anything happening. But she is too risk-averse to even take an unplanned trip into the city for one day, so nothing actually ever changes. That is, until she meets Shirase, whose goal it is to travel to Antarctica, where her mother disappeared. She works a lot of side jobs, and saved up a lot to make her dream come true. Mari recognises her as the adventurous and driven spirit that she needs to latch onto to have the adventure she craves.
I really empathise with Mari, being risk-averse myself. I mean, how would a highschool student go about travelling to Antarctica? But I’m also certain that it can be done, with enough resources and determination. The series is also funny, and I want to see more.

Last new October anime

Wow, like usual it’s quite the slog! But we’ve seen it all now!

Yuuki Yuna wa Yuusha de Aru 2: Second season of teenage girls fighting to protect their tiny sliver of reality against incursions from the chaos beyond the barrier that is maintained by their tree kami. The second series seems to set up a new team of girls, but by this time we’ve already seen how this plays out. I think there’s a new twist somewhere in the series, but the first episode doesn’t suggest anything of the sort.
Verdict: We just can’t be bothered. Pass.

The Idolm@ster SideM: Based on the popular idol-management game, but this time we’re following a team of guys! The main character (of at least the first episode) used to be a lawyer — now he works together with two others to get a dance routine down.
It’s quite refreshing to see young men work hard for a change. The team really starts from the bottom, which is more inspiring than seeing established groups. Still, it’s something we’ve seen before, and it doesn’t really interest us anymore.
Verdict: No.

Himouto! Umaru-chan R: Second season of Himouto, about the perfect Umaru who turns into a total slob at home. She only reads manga, plays games and watches anime — and eats snacks. Her long-suffering brother tries to get her to tune down the otaku bit, but it is Umaru’s desire to make more friends that gets her to open up more.
Usually, second seasons of these kinds of series are not that interesting, as they tend to keep treading the same ground. But Umaru is slowly changing, and that’s interesting to see. Not the high-flier of the season, but fun.
Verdicht: Yes.

Kekkai Sensen & Beyond: Second season of Kekkai Sensen, set in a New York that has been invaded by multiple realities. So there’s aliens, demons and all sorts of weirdness mingling in with the humans. Life is chaotic and, apparently, very cheap. Leonardo, who has been gifted with super sight, is the only slightly normal person in Libra, a group dedicated to fighting against the chaos.
This first episode goes full throttle and introduces all the characters with their special powers, and we’re right in the middle of things. There’s little in the way of long-term plot, but it does a good job of showing us the kind of white-knuckle ride we’re in for! If you liked the first series, then you will most certainly like this.
Verdict: Yes, please!

Wake Up, Girls! Shin Shou: Second season of Wake Up, Girls!, the idol group that’s struggling to outgrow their local appeal and to make it nationwide. It’s really more of the same from the first series, and our patience for this stuff has worn out: it’s not bad, but it’s predictable.
Verdict: Nah.

Inuyashiki: Inuyashiki is a 58-year old salariman who looks like he’s 85. His family ignores him — when he hears he has cancer and has only three months left to live, he doesn’t have anyone to call. His only friend is a dog, and one night when he is walking her, he is killed by a crashing spaceship(!). The aliens reconstruct him as an android (still looking like himself), but they only have combat models in stock! So when he sees a group of teenagers attacking a homeless man, he intervenes, and his automated systems activate!
The CGI of the cyborg animations is really gorgeous. And having an elderly super hero is interesting, but we found it hard to empathise with this guy who acts like a total doormat. We just didn’t like him, and an unlikable main character is kind of a deal-breaker. Premise is interesting though, but the way it developed just didn’t sit right with us. (Also: alien technology that autonomously knows how to interact with earth technology? Hm.)
Verdict: No.

Sangatsu no Lion 2: Second season of the series about Rei, the teenage professional shogi player. The first episode establishes the important shogi players, and shows Rei being part of the science/shogi club. He seems more at ease now, and that’s good to see.
We loved the first series, and this picks up where that left off with the same feel and style.
Verdict: Yes!

Evil or Live: Set in a school/camp to ‘cure’ internet addiction in teenagers. It’s a rough environment with drill sergeant-like ‘instructors’ who don’t mind beating you to get you to comply. Hibiki gets abducted to this camp, and het gets beaten up to set an example. When he tries to get away, he meets a guy who promises to set him up with any girl he wants, if only Hibiki does what he says.
It’s violent and creepy, in the same vein as Deadman Wonderland and Prison School, and it’s shitty.
Verdict: Oh, please, no.

And… that’s it! We’ll now return you to your scheduled blog experience!

Sjokugeki no Soma: San no Sara: It’s the third season of Shokugeki no Soma, and by this time we were expecting to be bored of it. But Yukihira has decided to get in over his head again, and he is brooding on an unconventional trick to defeat someone who is a lot higher in the school hierarchy… And we just want to see what happens next. The fact that it’s focused on food helps to keep us interested as well, of course…
Verdict: Yes.

Two Car: On a particular island, there are some roads without a speed limit. Two girls take their racing motorbike with sidecar to school every day: they are the racing club on their girls’ high school. And there’s a national competition between racing teams from girls’ high schools that they compete in. It’s just too bad that they’re not much of a team…
Before the episode was finished, klik had to leave for work, and it’s telling that we never bothered to pick up where we left off. If you’re a total gear-head, then you might want to watch this — but if not, then perhaps not.
Verdict: Nah.

URAHARA: Three friends run a fashion shop and sweets cafe in Harajuku. Everything about them is kawaii, has cartoon faces and has bows etcetera. And then aliens invade! These are the Scoopers: aliens that don’t have any creativity or culture of their own, and thus they plunder the culture from other planets. But a talking fried shrimp(!) gives them secret weapons that makes them magical girls in order to find the Scoopers!
I’ve walked through some streets in Harajuku — I’m not wholly convinced that this depiction of that place is 100% truthful. I guess it’s aimed at younger girls who have an interest in both fashion and magical girls. If you’re really into the style of icons like Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, then this series is in your sweet spot for sure. But if not, then… less so.
Verdict: Let’s not.

Kujira no Kora wa Sajou ni Utau: Chakuro is the archivist of ‘the mud whale’, a rock drifting in a sea of loose sand. He is a Marked: humans who possess telekinetic powers, but they don’t usually live past 30. The ‘whale’ is ruled by the Elders, who don’t are Marked and thus live far longer. One day, they find a warrior girl on an island they come by. The most powerful criminal on the whale kidnaps her and Chakuro to leave the whale, to escape the influence of the Elders.
Such a vibrant and novel setting, so vibrantly rendered! Lots of “show, don’t tell”, and we get to see so much of the ‘whale’ and the people on it in such a short span. Not derivative of anything I know, and the characters are rendered with lots of loving detail. If this were an RPG setting, I’d play in it in a heartbeat. Instead, I’ll settle for watching the series.
Verdict: Yes, please!

Infini-T Force: All the heroes of all the Tatsunoko Productions properties, such as Casshern and Gatchaman, get dumped into a single series, under the pretense that someone has been destroying (their) worlds, and they all end up in ours to team up. It’s all gorgeous CGI with only a little bit of uncanny valley — which is good, otherwise the whole production budget would have to be spent on hairspray for the Final Fantasy-level of hair-do’s.
If you’re a big fan of even one of these heroes, then it could be fun. It’s certainly not as bad as it could have been for a ‘constructed’ series, and the fight scenes are quite dynamic and fun. But in the end, we weren’t that interested.
Verdict: No.

Hoozuki no Reitetsu 2: Second series of the hilarious Hoozuki no Reitetsu, about the second-in-command of Japan’s hells. In this first episode, we get a little view on his history and his pettiness! We really enjoyed the first series and the OVAs, and this promises to continue in the same vein.
Verdicht: Yes.

Boku no Kanojo ga Majime Sugiru Shobitch na Ken: Haruka confesses his love to the Kousaka, the class president. She accepts, and then innocently starts asking him things like what his sexual fetishes are, leaving him totally flustered.
So… it’s one of those series. We turned it off after about five minutes. What did go wrong in our culture that we created things like this!?
Verdict: No, please make it go away!

Garo: Vanishing Line: People who succumb to despair turn into super-powered, grotesk, cannibalistic ghouls. Only this ‘knight’ riding on a weird motorbike, wielding a sword and conjuring up magical armour from his talking skull ring, is strong enough to battle them. Which he does, of course.
It’s weird and grotesk. The action scenes are super beautifully rendered though they are so super-fast it’s hard to keep track of what’s happening. The rest is rather standard: the characters don’t really stand out, and the main character is kinda annoying. So basically it’s a super-standard battle series with very little to distinguish it from the other gazillion battle series.
Verdict: Nope.

Dies Irae: Fujii has a phobia for knives, and when he visits a sword exhibition with his annoying childhood friend/neighbour, he gets ‘possessed’ by a guillotine. Then there are some (reported) mysterious murders where the victim is decapitated, and then a couple of nazi officers turn up, ready to kill basically everyone — because they’re evil nazi’s, right?
Disclosure: we didn’t watch the episode 0, but the first episode. And this made no sense to me at all. It has a weird vibe and alludes to violence porn too, not my kind of thing. And it is telling that the nazis are portrayed like monsters, but there is no thought given to all the things the Japanese military did in WW2. Self-criticism is not a cultural value in Asia, it seems.
Verdict: Most certainly not.

Sengoku Night Blood: A modern girl gets transported to another world which looks like the Sengoku period, with the same warlords — except some are human, others are catboys and the Toyotomi clan, which picks her up, are vampires… But all of them are, of course, super-hunky boys, and of course the girl is super special…
Reverse harem with both supernatural and historical elements. Our protagonist doesn’t seem to have any discernible personality: the focus is obviously on all the hunky vampires and catboys.
Verdict: Nah.

Imouto sa Ireba Ii: Itsuki, a writer, is a serious creep about younger sisters. Good thing he doesn’t have any! But his bizarre preferences are reflected in his writing, much to the annoyance of his editor, who (rightly!) rejects Itsuki’s work. Things are not made any better by his friends hanging out at his apartment.
Wow, what a bunch of stupid characters doing stupid stuff for a whole episode long! The only character that isn’t immediately disliked is Itsuki’s younger brother, who runs the whole household. Other than that, I see no real redeeming value anywhere.
Verdict: Hell no!

Anime-Gataris: Minoa attends a private girls’ school, and she vaguely remembers an anime from her youth. When she discusses this with a friend, the wealthy ‘princess’ classmate perks up. Turns out she is a total anime fan, and not stiff at all when discussing it. Minoa suggests (re-)starting the anime club, and gets roped into organising it.
Not much real content here: it’s super-thin on plot development and character pieces. It doesn’t really sparkle, and seems like total otaku-bait. Not that interesting.
Verdict: Nah.

I’m running behind with my reviews — weekends are always a viewing-heavy period for us, and with some home projects taking some time (of which later more), I haven’t had time to write proper reviews.

Ousama Game: The Animation: Nobuaki transfers into a class of 32. At first he is decidedly anti-social, but he opens up to his classmates. But then everybody in the class gets a text message from ‘the king’: they have 24 hours to comply with his orders, otherwise they will be punished — which always involves death. Nobuaki recognises this: he is the only survivor of a class that also had to play the “King’s Game”…
It’s one of those series in the genre of “gradual elimination” that’s been popular ever since Battle Royale came out. There has been a gradual shift in making the participants the victims only, with external circumstances enforcing arbitrary rules that determine who gets to live and who not. We don’t have any interest in the genre, and this one didn’t win us over either.
Verdict: Thanks, but no thanks.

Houseki no Kuni: The land of jewels is populated by people made of… gemstones. There is an ‘avatar’ for each gem, and they are ranked by hardness: the hardest of them are warriors, who need to repel attacks of Buddha-like figures who descend from the moon to capture them to turn them into jewellery. The softest of them, Pho, can’t be a fighter, according to their (human?) master, who is dressed like a Buddhist priest — but they can be the writer of the encyclopedia. Not a job they were waiting for!
High-concept, original setting with lush visuals and oddly elongated, androgynous character designs and casual Buddhist imagery strewn in. Five minutes in, and it’s so fresh and new (and, dare I say, sparkly) that we wanted to know what happens next.
Verdict: Yes.

Mahoutsukai no Yome: Chise is an orphan. She can see spirits, so people find her creepy and her relatives basically pass her around. She is sick and tired of it, and basically sells herself into slavery. She is bought by a magician, whose head looks like a stag skull… He is the first one who is genuinely friendly to Chise. She has certain powers, and he wants to make her his apprentice — and his bride.
Set in some kind of Victorian-era England, with deep forests where fairies dwell. The magician is certainly friendly, but it takes Chise quite some time to understand what is happening to her. It’s not very dynamic or fast-moving, which means it takes the time to show how the characters react to each other: it seems quite character-driven.
Verdict: Yes, thank you.