Makeruna!! Aku no Gundan! – 01 (First Impressions)

The Gist: A young alien has decided to do something with his life so why not invading worlds? After being sent off by his mom at the space train station, and practicing yelling as the manual tells him to, he starts with the easiest-to-invade planet: Earth. It goes well, with near immediate take over… but he has no idea what to do with the 7,000,000,000 people he’s rounded up in the process.

The Verdict: MAnG is silly good fun at 4 minutes long. I would not describe it as good, or especially funny, but it has a charming sense of almost humor and nothing stood out as annoying.

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Love Kome: We Love Rice – 01 (First Impressions)

The Gist: In the 21st Century, diversifying Japanese tastes and the limitation of acreage has caused rice to lose popularity to bread and noodles. So an academy was created to…compete in food wars battles with other basic foodstuffs…and win back popularity?

I’m actually not totally sure I understand what was going on in this short-format show, since it flashes seven months back only a few seconds into the episode. It appears to be a tongue-in-cheek parody of Food Wars-style shows, which are usually pretty silly to start with, but it’s hard to say.

The Verdict: The character design is ugly and over-the-top (why does the principal have bear ears?!) and so is the humor (why is shouting Millet when upset supposed to be funny?!) and it failed to make a case for itself coherently because it is too short a format to do so. Fail fail fail skip.

Souryo to Majiwaru Shikiyoku no Yoru ni… – 01 (First Impressions)

The Gist: A girl gets drunk at her high school reunion when she realizes the nice boy she fell in love with, but never made a move on, has become a monk. Later, as she wallows in self pity (and a hang over) that same boy carries her home. Then takes her to bed.

Despite a three minute run time, this is hard to watch. The protagonist is a generic ‘klutzy’ girl and the love interest is what we would consider a date-rapist in the USA. There’s nothing visually compelling about it either, unless you get a kick out of panties and guys helping girls drink water by spitting it into their mouths?

Gross…

Sekai no Yami Zukan – 01 (First Impressions)

The Gist: The World YAMIZUKAN is a four-minute format narrated children’s picture book, featuring an H. P. Lovecraft-like tale of a woman who leaves her husband each night and the night he follows her…to a spaceship! (tragedy ensues)

You may be interested in this for its unusual art style, which has a 70’s French feel but isn’t really animated. The tone is right-on for Lovecraft, even though the narrative itself is more like an incomplete Twilight Zone episode. (There’s no pay off nor a twist, really)

However, you probably won/t find this interesting because its slow pace and lack of payoff are hard pills to swallow. The storybook format didn’t really grip me either, neither with it’s unintentionally funny narrator nor for its oddly erotic imagery. There’s just not enough substance to it.

Verdict: I watch a ton of short formats at the beginning of each season but I rarely stick with them, either because they feel like a single episode chopped into scene-length morsels that would make a better meal at full length OR because the production quality just isn’t there. It isn’t clear if SnYZ will fall into either of these traps yet, but I’m not compelled to watch another episode to find out either…

One Room – 01 (First Impressions)

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One Room is a four-minute, first-person perspective, single-speaker anime. It may eventually turn into a dating sim, or may get dark, or it may continue to be a string of monologues each week.

This week featured Hanasaka Yui, a girl who just moved into the apartment next to ‘us.’ She’s unremarkable but pleasant, and her gestures a subtle and varied. Along with the camera, that sort of wanders around each scene, and the broad color range, the show has an atmospheric feel.

It’s probably not worth your time, though, because ‘the viewer‘ is a characterless camera, who occasionally looks at Yui’s chest. ‘We‘ offer to tutor Yui, who wants to get into a good school, and coerce her into our bedroom for study, which all feels creepy. Yui’s body language seems to agree.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in being projected into the body of a creeper, let alone a rapist…

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Piace: Watashi no Italian – 01 (First Impressions)

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-6-24-32-pmMelons? – the only joke this episode tried to tell…

The Gist: Average girl Nanase Morina decides she is going to get a summer job on the way home from school. Then she see’s a we’re hiring sign for a hidden restaurant in the woods, which is apparently a trattoria. She gets the job immediately, but also immediately angers Kitahara Maro (the short genius boy cook) with her inability to reach Italian, nor memorize the Japanese descriptions of the dishes.

Then she compliments him after trying some dishes and he falls for her. Roll credits… and quickly forget ever watching this.

The Verdict: I’ll grant that P:WnI is efficient and to the point. It’s about a girl with a summer job that gives her an exotic feel. She’ll make rom-com with Maro-kun, have non-interactions with the non-character with big boobs, and probably a few antics with her boy-troubled friend from school.

Beyond that… the visuals are sub par, there’s no real humor or originality or novelty to the setup, and the animated food show genre really needs a hook to be worth your while.

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Chou Shounen Tanteidan Neo – 02

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The Gist: Inoua and Noro join the club, rounding out the generic Leader, Girl, Muscle and Brains slots of the group. Meanwhile, their mentor has a nightmare that his shadow murders him and then commits suicide, which leads into un-approved security upgrades to their rented building space and a quick escape by helicopter-backpack from the landlady, who doesn’t speak but may or may not be pissed.

Later, 20 Faces puts a plan into action via a hologram emitting party invite. The club doesn’t really fall for the ploy and 20 masks is further undermined by not knowing how to turn off the projected image.

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The Verdict: I imagine these style could be enjoyable if you were high. Paying attention or understanding what is going is optional. It’s all about a atmosphere and it succeeds for the most part. I smirked and chuckled with its effective use of timing and I found the colors and shapes pleasant.

But I’m not a stoner and the wandering nature of the show isn’t going to hold my attention forever. Not as a reviewer anyhow…

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Chou Shounen Tanteidan Neo – 01 (First Impressions)

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The Gist: Neo is a short format kids humor show, vaguely in the vein of the original Power Puff Girls. Neo features a club of young detectives and a mentor, who has a criminal mastermind nemesis. It’s set in a pleasant scifi future world, but the imagery and gadgets is stylized enough that the setting doesn’t really matter.

There is a plot, both for individual episodes and across the season’s arc, but it does not feel especially important. This time around, a cockroach interrupts the cast reading a 100 year old newspaper, followed by a gun fight with the cockroach who isn’t as indestructible as he thinks. Later, we learn he was an agent for the villain.

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The Verdict: CSTN’s style is quite pleasant, possibly even unique with the insertion of classic illustrations amidst the hyper simplified shapes of the characters and environments. The character expressions are wonderful too, in an unexpectedly abstract way.

Less engaging is the story, humor and characters themselves. Despite being quick and full of frantic animation, not much happened in the story and the humor is child-friendly, in a safe way not meant for me as an audience. I would suggest this for younger audiences, except we live in a post Adventure Time world, and Neo has nothing approaching that level of thoughtful structure and dynamic characters.

Over all, I think I like it but I’m not sure if I will stick with it for an entire season. Depends on how quickly I tire of its opening theme, which is, for now, a delightfully 8-bit jingle. It reminds me of playing Sonic the Hedgehog on a Saturday afternoon all those years ago…

What an odd sensation?

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Nyanko Days – 01 (First Impressions)

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The Gist: Yuuko-chan is a friendless, jealous, high school sociopath. She looks at the popular girl with resentment and disgust and dismisses her own worthlessness as being from a lesser planet. After school, she returns home to her three cats, which she introduces.

Roll credits! Opening credits…

The Verdict: Nyanko Days is a two minute format show where roughly 60 seconds are dedicated to the opening credits. The artwork is decent enough, and the little cat girls may give you nightmares in a “there’s gotta be something wrong with everyone because they are too cute and nice sort of way,” but it’s otherwise unremarkable.

You may like it if you are a serial killer, or if you are in a coma and someone turns it on to liven your empty hospital room (for two minutes), but you don’t want to be either of those viewers. Stay safely away from this one!

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Mori no Yousei: Kinoko no Musume – 01 (First Impressions)

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for a short period of time, this character was on fire for some reason…

The Gist: A nationalist tourism piece for Japan that asserts that Anime (or Anime-chans) are real there. It’s set in a magical realm past the mushroom circles and gates found all over Japan.

It looks vaguely like an MMO running on a Sega Dreamcast and features looping character animations and empty conversations with random Anime-chans that can be found there, narrated and guided by a male fairy. There is forgettable JPop in the background.

The Verdict: thankfully, Mori no Yousei: Kinoko no Musume is only ten minutes long. That’s ten minutes longer than it could be and I have no understanding who this program is for, as it the low-poly models, hyper saturation, wash out, and light bloom make it look worse than most modern tablet games?

I don’t get this at all…

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Bernard Jou Iwaku – 01 (meh)

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The Gist: Three characters talk very very quickly for three minutes in a library. One likes talking about books but doesn’t read them, another doesn’t talk but reads them and maybe has a thing for the girl, and yet another girl is obsessed with the value of books and does read them but no one cares…

I guess this is a joke about book lover archetypes but the only joke is a slapstick moment where one girl punches the other in the face. It’s well rendered, in so far as it has bright colors and crisp lines but nothing happens and it either applies to a Japanese cultural aspect I am not familiar, or literally has no point at all.

Moving along…

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Kiitarou Shounen no Youkai Enikki – 01 (First Impressions)

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Three quarters (or more) of this 3 minute long show is dedicated to a battle between Yokai that exists only to set up a single joke: these siblings argue over stupid things and take it too far.

While the character designs are …okay… and the animation is …okay… a single joke is a hard sell to make for a series opener. Mildly cute and mildly good looking just don’t cut it and, since nothing else was provided, there’s nothing else I can really talk about.

At least I didn’t feel insulted or degraded by watching it. Just bored…

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Nobunaga no Shinobi – 01 (First Impressions)

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Nobunaga no Shinobi is, literally, a short format anime about Nobunaga’s 2 young ninjas Chidori and Sukezo. Chidori is a sweet but no nonsense murder machine and I keeping Sukezo’s name wrong. (but he’s really just Chidori’s unrequited love uninterest)

The first episode introduces the various characters and has a few smirk-worthy jokes. The pacing and art are decent but unremarkable, but the lack of content truly makes it hard to rate.

I suspect this show will lean towards the ‘a single 24 episode show diced up into 3 minute chunks and spread across a season’ side of the short format genre. Liking it or not will depend on your patience and/or how well the dialog gets you to chuckle.

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