Scores are out of 5 instead of 10 for these because, well, I keep track of the shows I watch on an anime site and they use a five scale. It’s easier for me, shut up.
Pan de Peace
Remember how I said I like cute girls doing cute things? I forgot to mention there’s a caveat to that: the cute things have to also be entertaining things. A bad CGDCT anime basically just has the characters harping about how much they love being friends without actually developing that friendship. Even a comfy anime has to have some kind of minor conflicts. Got five episodes into Pan de Peace! before I got tired of it.
Score: 1.5 out of 5
Teekyuu’s humor is 50% jokes and randomness and 50% mind-blowing speed. When you take the speed out, you’re basically left with half a show. Usakame does have Teekyuu’s gags, but without the rapid-fire delivery, the jokes fall flat. Trying to replace the speed with shallow character development doesn’t help things either. Made it three episodes in before I couldn’t deal with it anymore.
Score: 1 out of 5
I like the Phoenix Wright series, honest I do. But perhaps that’s what kind of soured this show for me; murder mysteries can have moments of replay value in other settings, but when the majority of the action is taking place in a static location, it’s not really fun to watch twice, doubly so if you already know who did it. Phoenix Wright works as a game because everything needs your input to progress, and you can mess up and press the wrong statements and stuff, which adds longevity. The anime, however, just cuts right to chase of each case, which kind of takes the mystery out of it. I got to episode 12 before I couldn’t be bothered to watch anymore (this was going to go under finished shows, but then I found out there was more after episode 12, so, technicality, I guess).
Score: 2.8 out of 5
My Hero Academia (1st Season)
I’m probably a little biased here because I’ve been reading the manga, but I’ve really enjoyed this show so far. The adaptation has been extremely faithful, with quality animation and voice acting and no major plot points left out. Even though Midoriya is a crybaby, he’s a good protagonist. Courage is, after all, not the absence of fear, but the ability to move forward in spite of it. In every situation, he’s clearly scared out of his mind, but he’s still able to plan and fight, even at the cost of his body. By the way, some folks have been annoyed that he keeps doing that, so don’t worry, he’ll knock it off as the story progresses (well, mostly, anyway). Hopefully we won’t need to wait too long for the next season. Oh, and before I forget, Tsuyu is best girl.
Score: 4.4 out of 5
Three Leaves, Three Colors
While not quite as good as Anne-Happy, this one was a quality CGDCT anime in its own right. The jokes were a little hit and miss, but when they hit, they hit fast and true. Yoko, Futaba, and Hayama are an entertaining team; their chemistry was a little wonky at first, but after the first couple of episodes, they developed a good rapport with each other, taking on the roles of straight-man, fool, and bystander as the situation demanded. I also enjoyed the animation style, utilizing blurry, blob-y movements for when characters move quickly, which has a kind of classic cartoony appeal. The only time the show slowed down a bit too much was when it got on the topic of cats. There were… quite a few cats in this show. I like cats as much as the next guy, but I don’t think we need to devote that much screentime to fawning over them.
Score: 3.6 out of 5
Kumamiko: Girl Meets Bear
This show started out cute and funny, but by the end it left a bad taste in my mouth. The fact that Yoshio kept trying to use Machi as some kind of poster girl against her very overt protests speaks poorly of him as a person. And Machi, like, wow, that girl needs to be on some medication. Badly. Social anxiety can be played for laughs, but when it’s to the point that she’s having vivid hallucinations about people throwing rocks at her, that stops being social anxiety and starts being schizophrenia, and that’s just kind of depressing. Despite that, I was set to give this one a 3, because there were some genuinely funny and cute moments, but at the end, when the moral was basically “go ahead, be an uneducated introvert, it’s fine,” I had to knock off some points. What was the point of the entire series if Machi just bails on the city living idea and everyone gives her the okay on it? She hasn’t grown as a person; if anything she’s shrunk.
Score: 2.3 out of 5
I can’t believe it took me this long to realize it, but I finally figured out what Bakuon is: it’s a K-ON parody. We’ve got our airhead, our nerd, our rich girl, our serious late-comer, our young-at-heart mentor (although the fact that Raimu is actually in her thirties is more than a little weird), and… well, I guess Rin is supposed to be Mio, but she’s doing a pretty piss-poor job of it. Of course, the difference between K-ON and Bakuon is that K-ON was much more fun and memorable, whereas Bakuon… isn’t. Bikes are cool and all, but it just wasn’t enough to carry the whole show, and I frequently found myself tuning out of the characters’ conversations, Rin’s especially, because she never shuts up about Suzukis. Also, maybe it was my imagination, but it seemed like the animation took a steep dive in quality as the show went on. Eyes in weird places, heads drawn wrong, mouths opening strangely; honestly, the only things that were consistently well-animated were the bikes, which I guess I get, but it ain’t getting them any points.
Score: 2.6 out of 5
Now THAT’S how you do a CGDCT anime. A perfect balance of cute moments and funny moments. Hanako’s bad luck is a clever plot device; she’s prone to horrifically unfortunate events, but those unfortunate events bring her and her friends closer. The fact that they don’t even mind the consistent crazy garbage they have to put up with due to her presence speaks well about their friendship. All in all, it was just a genuinely good show, with every episode having at least a handful of moments that made me smile or even laugh out loud.
Score: 4.5 out of 5
And You Thought There is Never a Girl Online?
I have mixed feelings on this one. On one hand, I like the relationship between Nishimura and Ako; when he’s not being an idiot and being skittish about it, they’re a cute couple. On the other, it’s a similar issue to Kumamiko in that it’s making light of someone’s psychological problems, Ako’s in this case. Her personality is inconsistent; sometimes she acts like she genuinely can’t distinguish between fantasy and reality, and sometimes she’s savvier than she lets on. It makes really hard to get a read on her character and empathize. Granted, her social anxiety isn’t nearly as bad as Machi’s, so I can forgive playing that for laughs to an extent. On a separate note, I didn’t really care for the show’s art style. I know it’s kind of an ecchi show, but all of the female characters had really… squishy proportions, particularly on their faces and chests. I understand fan service all too well, but it’s just kind of distracting and unnecessary.
Score: 2.8 out of 5
Aw, man… I promised myself I wouldn’t cry… Even though I already knew how it was all going to end from reading the manga, watching Korosensei’s final moments got me all choked up all over again. I love everything about this series. I love the characters, I love the story, I love the funny moments, I love the serious moments, and I love the sad moments. If I had to make a teensy complaint about the anime, though, it’s that they cut out a few important bits in the last arc. For example, when the kids were storming the mountain and fought that big soldier guy? He was supposed to be introduced beforehand as a minor antagonist; a professional mercenary, able to subdue anyone with pure brute force, which would make the students shine even brighter when they beat him. There were also a few good chapters cut from both this season and the previous ones, which I’m a bit salty about, but overall, these are nitpicks in the face of an overwhelmingly solid story. I wish I had a teacher even half as good as Korosensei growing up.
Score: 4.7 out of 5
Unsurprisingly, I’m still just as lost as I was at the end of the first series. I definitely liked Concrete Revolutio, but if you asked me what exactly I liked about it, that’d be kind of hard to pin down. There are definitely lots of cool fight scenes with Showa-style special effects, but for the life of me, I cannot figure out any of the characters’ motivations, hero or villain. And then there was that whole spiel about parallel universes, and Jiro is actually the atomic bomb in human form and… it’s confusing. It’s a fun watch for the fight scenes and some of the single episode situations, but you’re gonna need a flowchart to figure out the story.
Score: 3.2 out of 5
Space Patrol Luluco
From the get-go, Space Patrol Luluco set out to be one thing and one thing only: fun. And boy did it accomplish that in spades. The janky animation style ties almost perfectly in to the light-speed joke delivery, and every episode had at least one laugh out loud moment. The entire series was basically just a love letter to Studio Trigger, which I’m in full support of because I like Trigger. And, of course, at the end, it turns out they Dio’d us and the entire thing was actually an origin story for Trigger’s mascot character. Well played. Short form shows are usually pretty forgettable, but I think I’ll be remembering Luluco for a long time. Now if we could just get some more Little Witch Academia…
Score: 4 out of 5
Haven’t you Heard? I’m Sakamoto
Absurdist humor is tricky because it can wear out its welcome if overdone. That is to say, an absurd solution to a problem becomes more mundane and less interesting every time it’s used. However, Sakamoto did the impossible: in the entire show, I cannot recall a single trick he used twice, and therein lays the brilliance. The opening says it best: “every move he makes is cool, cooler, coolest”. Whenever you think you know how Sakamoto will solve the problem, he throws you a curveball, one that not only is a spectacle to watch, but always somehow enhances the character of those around him. Sakamoto’s like a Mary Sue character done terrifyingly well. Also, this might sound a little weird, but I’m kind of glad they went for a less detailed art style compared to the manga. The detailed wrinkles and bumps and stuff on the characters’ faces in the manga always kinda weirded me out a little.
Score: 4.2 out of 5
I’m glad I got past my initial trepidation with this show, because it ended up being pretty good. As a former student of psychology, the concept of linking people’s pain together is fascinating. The “fire-forged friendship” is an old trope, one that Kiznaiver plays with in interesting ways. Empathy is one thing, but when you know someone can actually feel your discomfort, physical and emotional, you’ll naturally start to gravitate towards them, sort of like a less horrible version of Stockholm Syndrome. The show got bogged down a bit in its last act, and things got a little confusing, but everyone was still friends in the end, and that makes me happy.
Score: 3.8 out of 5
Man, if this show was any more comfy, it’d stop being an anime and start being a couch. It’s refreshing to see a contemporary depiction of magic that doesn’t involve ancient prophecies or the god damn world ending. Sometimes magic can just be fun and whimsical. Even when the show wasn’t doing magic stuff, the characters are all so friendly and laid back with each other, that you just can’t help but be in a good mood while you watch. There’s really not much else to say; it was a fun, relaxing show, pure and simple.
Score: 4.1 out of 5
(These are shows that I picked up down the line that weren’t shown in my first impressions article.)
Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou
I picked this up on a whim because I’m tragically unhip and DJ culture is interesting to me. Being a shortform show, it wasn’t much in the story department, but I liked the simplistic animation, and the music, as you would expect from a DJ-themed show, was really quite good. It gave me kind of a Jet Set Radio vibe, but with a lot more fried pork, and a lot less skating. I don’t think DJing actually has that much in common with making tonkatsu, but it’s a fun comparison regardless. Man, now I really want some tonkatsu.
Score: 3 out of 5
I’m gonna be honest, I thought this show was going to be some kind of weird crossdressing thing. Thankfully, I was wrong; it was actually a surprisingly heartwarming tale of family. It’s a little weird how quickly Chihiro bounced back from his mom dying, but watching him bond with Madoka and making so many new friends through him fills me with a kind of strange, paternal joy, like watching your kid grow up. I didn’t even really notice the maid apron after a while.
Score: 4 out of 5
The Lost Village
How in God’s name do you have a horror mystery show with THIRTY CHARACTERS and not kill a single one of them off? I went into this expecting a kind of Battle Royal-meets-Friday the 13th thing, but no one dies! At all! Even the one guy who looked like he died ended up being fine! The majority of the show was just the people acting like a bunch of petulant children, whining about how much they hate their lives. The only time this ever got interesting for me was when they were confronted by their Nanaki, and we got to see glimpses into their psychological scars. I think if the series had just been an episodic thing where every episode was about a different fear monster, that would’ve been kind of fun, but all we ended up getting was a half-baked mystery and a bunch of obnoxious assholes.
Score: 1.9 out of 5
Tanaka-kun is Always Listless
Also known as “The Fun Side of Co-Dependency”. No, but seriously, from promotional materials, I thought this show was gonna be… well, never mind what I thought the show was going to be, it ended up being a surprisingly comfy comedy show, with shades of Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun. I’m a rather listless sort myself, so Tanaka’s character really resonated with me, and he and Ohta make a pretty effective jokester/straight-man duo. They can even flip roles on the fly, with Ohta being the weird one and Tanaka being the straight-man, and the jokes still come out strong. The show also has a delightful supporting cast; Shiraishi, Echizen, and Miyano all added some extra perspectives to each episode that helped keep things balanced. Really, my only complaint is that the ending of the last episode was kind of abrupt.
Score: 4.1 out of 5
(These are shows that are continuing into the next season. No scores here because, obviously, they’re not done.)
Re:ZERO – Starting Life in Another World
The problem with time loop shows is a very obvious repetition factor. When we have to relive the same few set events over and over, it gets kind of old after a while. The best way to remedy this would be with a solid protagonist to keep us grounded. The rub is that Subaru… is kind of a lousy protagonist. His character varies wildly, going from “I have a detailed 10-part plan that I can execute fearlessly and flawlessly” to “I’m a god damn idiot with no sense of foresight or social etiquette”. It’s honestly kind of annoying to put up with, doubly so in that 13th episode where he basically just threw a gigantic tantrum. I’m glad they at least covered their asses on the whole “can’t reveal time loop” thing with the spooky ghost hands, but I feel like after dying so many times, Subaru should start to be a little more genre savvy. I’ll keep watching for now, but if he has another outburst like that, I might drop it.
JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 4: Diamond is Unbreakable
It’s still the same kooky JoJo. The Stands seem a bit weirder in Part 4, which I like, because it gives some more weight when the characters have their little a-ha moments and BS a solution. Also, having a central location for the story to take place in instead of a big journey like the previous parts plays to its advantage, I feel. You kinda start to recognize Morioh’s various landmarks (spooky rock and kickass Italian restaurant notwithstanding), which fosters a sense of familiarity. Josuke’s a great addition to the JoJo line, and it’s nice to see Jotaro and Joseph again, though it’s a little depressing to see Joseph all old and feeble. Still, he proved himself to still be a JoJo when it counted, which was pretty awesome. Not dropping this any time soon.
Not much to say here, since my opinion of the show hasn’t really changed from the first season. It ain’t groundbreaking or anything, but it’s a simple, fun show that has a bit of a Saturday-morning feel to it, if that makes any sense. Art’s good, jokes are good, characters are good, it’s just… good. It’s a good show. I got no qualms about continuing.
Best Opening Theme – PUNCH☆MIND☆HAPPINESS from Anne-Happy
Something about this theme is ridiculously catchy. Maybe it’s the jazzy backing, maybe it’s the energy of the singers, maybe it’s the memorable animation that goes with it. Who can say. All I know is I’m still humming it, so that counts for something.
Runner Up – Clover♣Kakumation from Three Leaves, Three Colors
Best Girl – Anne Hanakoizumi from Anne Happy
Hanako’s perpetual good mood was a little weird at first, but I kind of started to understand her as the show went on. Yes, she has atrocious luck, and she’s not blind to that, but she knows that each explosion of bad luck will always be followed a shiny nugget of genuine good fortune, and that’s how she can stay so positive all the time. Also, I loved her little derp faces.
Runner Up – Tsuyu Asui from My Hero Academia
Worst Girl – LovePon from The Lost Village
If this girl screams “execute” one more time, I’m going to swallow my own head. Every time the characters were trying to logic something out, she’d start spouting conspiracy theories and “executes”, riling everyone up over literally nothing. Her only purpose as a character was to artificially lengthen the story by making everyone dumber.
Runner Up – Rin Suzunoki from Bakuon!
Best Boy – Sakamoto from Haven’t you Heard? I’m Sakamoto
I don’t think anyone’s gonna fight me on this. Normally, such a perfect character would be kind of boring, but Sakamoto is that very special medium of idealized and unusual that you just always want to see what crazy thing he’s going to do next. I mean, if I had a guy like that in my class, I don’t think I’d ever be able to take my eyes off him.
Runner Up – Tenga Hajime from Kiznaiver
Worst Boy – Yoshio Amayadori from Kumamiko: Girl Meets Bear
This guy is a major league dumbass if I ever saw one. All he cares about is promoting the village, which is a good intention, but he keeps taking it too far, openly willing to pimp out his cousin if he thinks it’ll get them some good PR. And when someone finally tells him to his face that he’s being an inconsiderate idiot, he still doesn’t get it, and just goes right back to molesting Machi (emotionally and physically).
Runner Up – Hayato from The Lost Village
Most Powerful Moment – Korosensei’s Death from Assassination Classroom
Through the entirety of the series, you’re always wondering “will they save him? They can’t actually kill him, he’s basically the protagonist!” But sadly, there was only one way it could all truly end. Korosensei’s assassination was, after all, the cornerstone of the E class program. If they didn’t kill him, they couldn’t really go on with their lives. The students all knew that they had to do it, but damn if it didn’t hurt like hell. And you can tell from the look on Korosensei’s face at the end of it all just how proud he was of every last one of them.
Runner Up – Katsuhira Meets his Old Friends from Kiznaiver
Funniest Moment – Luluco’s First Judgement Gun Morphing from Space Patrol Luluco
The whole Judgement Gun Morphing system is hilariously bizarre in itself, but the first time it happened in the show’s first episode was just so completely out of nowhere that I couldn’t help but crack up. I actually went back and watched it like, five more times in the same sitting, that’s how funny it was to me.
Runner Up – Sakamoto’s Mop Bucket Segway from Haven’t you Heard? I’m Sakamoto
Next Season, instead of just first impressions and final thoughts, I’ll be reviewing the shows I watch individually on a weekly basis, with anything I pick up down the line added on as we go. Look forward to it!