Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou – 02

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The gist: Agetarou continues to draw connections between Tonkatsu and DJing, like how swirling pickles is like RPM on a tun table, or how he can deep-dive for rare groove records like pulling pickles from a the barrel.

Excited by all he’s discovered, Agetarou invites his classmates to his house for a DJ session. However, he has no equipment yet…

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Through a string of unlikely events, and through his friends’ family businesses, he ends up with all he needs and pulls off a great DJ session. Everyone is taken by his groove but it’s zoo loud 100 complaints are lodged and Agetarou s grounded for a week. Roll Credits…

TDJA remains completely ridiculous and profoundly ugly to look at and I’m in love. It isn’t even a funny. It’s funny that someone thought the jokes were funny.

However, It is unique and bravely absurd like the rare art-school style pieces to come before it.

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Pan de Peace! – 03

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Fuyumi-chan’s family owns a bakery and the girls meet on the second floor each day to eat bread. Today they are eating red bean bunds and green tea melon bread.

Then the girls make a loaf of bread and agree to meet tomorrow.

…Roll credits.

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PdP is vapid and very little happens in each episode. This wasn’t a problem when it was introducing characters quickly. The brevity is a problem now that its trying to tell a story.

Either there’s not enough time for the slow burn story it wants to tell or PdP has no story at all and can’t even muster fluff to fill 3 minutes. Yes, it is produced well enough to sit through but there’s only cute here. No humor, no bread-otaku instruction, no drama.

No real reason to watch it unless you absolutely must see all cute girls being cute shows. (dropped)

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Kagewani: Shou – 03

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A man and a woman foolishly use Bing to find an off-the-map hot spring and the woman is kidnapped by a cult of mask wearing crazies who sacrifice virgins to a monster living under neath the hot springs.

Fortunately, a mysterious man with a tuning fork distracts everyone long enough for the original man to save the girl and get away. The monster then eats the cultists. Later a cab driver says the place has been closed for years and the website is all 404

dun dun duuuunnnn. Roll credits…

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Kagewani 3’s pocket sized twilight zone continues to ‘work’ as long as you don’t think to hard about any of the details. The monster and the cult were freaky and, until tuning-fork-sama shows up, I had no expectation for the lovely couple to make it out alive. (given episode 1 & 2’s mountain of corpses)

Unfortunately, Tuning-Fork-sama is a pure let down as a random save the day factor. The plot also doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, since sacrifice-cyan’s companion was known by, but completely ignored by, the cult. Why? I guess someone needed some way to get down to the cult’s ceremony and save the day.

So does atmosphere trump lazy story telling? Does a unique visual style make up for monster of the week throw away plots and/or a completely unengaging master plot about prisoner 44?

Barley and probably less and less the more episodes I review.

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Usakame – 01 (First Impressions)

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Ayako has great airbags, Kinako has great strength and Karumi has a heart of gold and somehow ended up in the broom closet. They are the school tennis club.

I’ve used the phrase ‘strong comedic timing’ a lot this season but Usakame is by far the strongest. Like Space Patrol it is incredibly quick, somehow packs a narrative with pleasant emotional appeal within its 4 minute run time, its tremendously ugly, and brilliantly funny.

Seriously, this is the best comedy so far and there’s no pretension or art school wank to it. Watch it now!

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Wagamama High Spec – 01 (First Impressions)

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four girls have sorting duty but is sooOOooOoOooo hot in the room and they can’t got to the library (where there is a working AC) until they are finished. So they strip and, in the process, turn their AC over to the heat setting and then they die. Roll credits…

There isn’t much to say about WHS. It has decent comedic timing but you’re really watching it to see busty high school girls strip down to their panties.

If short-pron is what you’re after, you should probably know about this thing called the internet and it’s filled with more satisfying 2D prons than this. Oy…

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Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou – 01 (First Impressions)

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The gist: Agetarou is a boy does not want to inherit has family’s restaurant because he doesn’t see anything special in Tonkatsu. One night he makes a late night delivery for a regular and gets his first clubbing experience as a reward. Inside, he meets another regular, sees a pretty girl, and has an epiphany via a professional DK session.

You see, the BPM of the music, the sound effects, the precision and the focus of the DJ are all the same as his father and life in the restaurant. Inspired by this new sense of pride, Agetarou returns home to become the best Tonkatsu/DJ ever.

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TDJA is student quality animation that I’ve never seen in anime form before. It’s raw and unapologetically ugly, yet charming and the crudeness really carries each character’s sense of joy for life. The dialog, especially the Engrish, is quirky and comedically well timed too.

TDJA also highlights un-cool jobs and, because everyone is happy and nice to each other, I really got the sense that the show was trying to make a positive statement about it. Agetarou’s wingman in the club is the restaurant’s moist towelette account rep for example.

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Spring ’16 is the season for surprisingly good short format anime. If you are looking for something truly unique, and you’ve got 9 minutes to spare, TDJA will not do you wrong.

…Creepy-looking giant African-American DJ and oddly sexual use of mixing equipment be damned!

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Pan de Peace! – 02

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Moa-chan, a French baguette-toting warrioress joins the cast this episode. She may be small but she’s a freshman too and all the other girls just want to eat-her-up.

Then the girls talk about drinking milk and comparing breast sizes over lunch. Now there were 4 bread friends!

…Roll credits.

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I’m now 90% certain the “Bread Friends” in Pan de Peace! is knowingly making fun of semi-yuri all girl high school anime. Either that, or it’s pandering to that genre’s audience.

Despite the vapid boob chat and giggles about milk drinking, this episode was harmless. It was cute and made lethargic attempts at ‘quirky’ humor, failed, and ended in less than 4 minutes. Not much else to say honestly…

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Kagewani: Shou – 02

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Prisoner 44 is being transferred by train to somewhere. He’s guarded by a hard-ass know-nothing detective but the train is full of civilians and gets attacked by a giant acid spewing monster early on.

Using team work and the monster’s own stupidity, 44 and the Detective separate the front locomotive from the rest of the train, and the monster goes flying off a cliff at the next hair pin turn.

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While the over arching plot was fine, the pacing was just awful. At barely 7 minutes in length, it actually felt padded. The animation is very slow, characters pause and look at things purposefully, despite the speeding train and threat of cliff-based-doom.

And really, in a world with this many constant monster attacks, it’s just not believable theres no believability in the detective not knowing about them, nor people standing around gawking at them only to be eaten/melted for dawdling.

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Where the opening episode was enjoyable for its methodical pace and creepy vibe, this episode’s focus on action — but still being slow about it — just didn’t work.

Sprinkle in the evil army organization that grabs 44 at the end to transport him to wherever and Kagewani doesn’t seem like it knows what to do with it’s meager resources.

This is really not a good sign.

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Space Patrol Luluco – 02

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Picking up right where we left off, Luluco is still in Justice Gun-mode, midterm exams are still being interrupted and the alien teacher doesn’t seem to have a care in the world.

Then a meteor hits, destroying another corner of the room, and transfer student Alpha Omega Nova is introduced. He is also part of Space Patrol and accompanies Luluco on her return to headquarters.

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Luluco and Aon exposition us some context on their walk: Japan was forced to sell the town to alien developers because it was bankrupt as a nation (but got very little from the sale). We also learn Luluco can’t recognize aliens at a glance, which Aon speculates to mean she can see something deeper.

At headquarters, Aon transforms into a much cooler gun form and interrogates the student prisoner, Chief flaming skull makes Aon and Luluco partners, and Luluco has what can only be described as a galactic climax…

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Luluco’s canon orgasm was fantastic. Aon casually executing the student prisoner after the interrogation was fantastic. Chief flaming skull, who is permanently in ‘shocker’ pose was fantastic. However, because episode 2 focused on story and love interest building, there was a lot less humor in general.

Based on the first episode, I had expected SPL to be a string of semi-connected nonsequiturs, not a continuous storyline. While minis as ‘slices of a single episode’ is usually disappointing because a bigger budget may have given us more fun to see, what we have is still brilliantly insane.

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Onigiri – 01 (First Impressions)

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Goddess Amaterasu’s seals have been broken and monsters are ravishing the land. Nuke-style explosions spread across earth and only five beautiful ladies and one guy can stop the destruction!

At least, they could if they could agree on how to divide the experience points…

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Onigiri is a cute, if not entirely clever, tongue-in-cheek comedy about RPG conventions. The male character isn’t voiced, the killing blow is the most important for loot and XP, and the enemies all look the same and are mostly there to grind.

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The comedic timing is decent, the character designs are silly and revealing without being obscene, but there’s not much to it beyond that.

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Bishoujo Yuugi Unit Crane Game – 01 (First Impressions)

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After 75 seconds of credits, I learned this short format anime is about idols who would secretly save the world from an asteroid using a crane game. Also, their manager is a gorilla…or is s/he?

This show is essentially…not animated. In fact, the movements are so rare, deformed and mechanical that the only possible explanation I can think of is this intentionally mocks arcade claw games!

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The voices tread close to fingernails-on-chalkboard cute. I lost the will to live long before the 4 minutes were over and it stopped playing.

This is how the machines win. #JohnConnor #skynet2016

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Kagewani: Shou – 01 (First Impressions)

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There’s a Twilight Zone episode where (the actor who plays) Captain Kirk is on an airplane being attacked by a goblin, except he’s the only one who can see it and everyone thinks he’s crazy until the plane lands and work crews see all the damage.

This episode of Kagewani is like that, except the monster is inside the plane and has already eaten all the passengers and a reporter and ground crew are trying to figure out what happened after the fact.

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Apparently this is the first episode of the second season but, given how much ground short format shows generally cover, you’ll be fine starting here.

Yes, this is another 7-minute short format show worth your time, but not just for its spin on the horror genre. Kagewani is visually unique: characters appear to be water-colored ink stills that have been animated in post process. It also employs what I can only describe as ‘Shaky Cam’.

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I am absolutely certain the overarching plot is idiotic. The hero/villain introduced in the end has that ‘hardcore dude in the shadows’, too-cool-for-school vibe that we can all roll our eyes at.

Regardless, as an individual episode, this was engaging, visually interesting, and broke my expectations. Have 7 minutes? Give this a watch!

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Space Patrol Luluco – 01 (First Impressions)

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Luluco is an normal high school girl with just below average grades. She lives with her dad in a Ogikubo, earth’s only town reserved for extraterrestrials. Her life is anything but normal.

At 7 minutes, UPL wastes no time getting to its mad cap antics: Luluco’s father quickly gets in trouble, which quickly gets Luluco drafted into the Space Police force for use as an undercover agent at her mostly ET populated high school.

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This is Panty & Stocking/Dead Leaves-style animation but with half the budget. It’s over the top, delightfully quirky and unpredictable.

And its cheapness is embraced by the writing and dialog. Jokes like Luluco being transformed into a space gun are punchy, well timed and totally unexpected.

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Verdict: Trigger (with SANZIGEN) has pulled off something very special with UPL. It’s a rare case where visual styling and charm overcome the limits of cheap animation. It’s FLCL but pocket sized and I can think of nothing more deserving of your time!

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