29 April 2017

In the meantime

Sorry for not updating in the past few weeks. Saying that my agenda has been fully booked is an understatement.

Harmony band concert, deadlines at work for the release of a new events projector, 50th wedding anniversary of my parents, funeral of an uncle, Easter concert with the choir + one additional "surprise" concert for a funeral, additional concert I'm helping out on and that's not even talking about all preparation time and rehearsal time I'm investing in all of those.

Honestly, I'll be glad it's going to be May soon. April was a little too hectic for my taste. Hardly had any time to make decent reviews, nor the other things I really wanted to do.

I have been keeping up with the new anime season and have been preparing a few blog posts in the few spare hours that I got. Next one is for Youjo Senki (soon, is in finishing stage) and a post-mortem of Yu-Gi-Oh! Arc-V (needs a bit more fine-tuning).

Oh, and err... To fill this post up a little bit; I've ranked the Spring Anime (new titles) in a preliminary top 10 list, based mostly on the first episodes. Just to give you something!

Spring 2017 anime ranked

  • Honorable mention: Granblue Fantasy.
  • 10: Seikaisuru Kado. Interesting story setup, but the Uncanny Valley (and too much blah-blah) keeps me from ranking it higher
  • 9: Eromanga Sensei: Like it for now, but really cautious due to the bad rumors of this story and the author's other work.
  • 8: Grimoire of Zero: Interesting characters and world building. Nothing amazing, but good enough to keep me hooked.
  • 7: Love Tyrant: Comedy with an "edgy" undertone. Sometimes it's downright funny, other times it's just trying too hard.
  • 6: The Moon is beautiful: Really well animated! Would rank higher, but romances aren't really my thing.
  • 5: Re:Creators: Anime and game characters come to life! Interesting story setup. let's hope they do something good with it!
  • 4: Alice & Zorouku: Interesting story setup. The first episode had AWFUL 3d renders, but it does get better in later episodes.
  • 3: Atom: The Beginning: Being quite overlooked if you ask me (maybe due to its later start?)! This anime is amazing and deserves your attention!
  • 2: WorldEnd / SukaSuka: Otherwise known as the anime with the impossible long title. Really good story, really interesting characters, really good music. Overall really good!
  • 1: Sakura Quest: Round of applause. There's SO much to talk about with this anime, I don't know where to start! It's amazing! Not for kids/teenagers. Not due to "heavy" content or anything like it. No, it's just more adult topics (work, moving houses, rural areas vs cities, etc).
Oh, and also a top 3 of best shorter anime:
  • 1: Please take my brother away (Ani ni tsukeru kusuri wa nai): NOBODY talks about this! Yet it's SO good! Or maybe that's my bias since it depicts a typical brother-sister relationship.
  • 2: 100% Pascal Sensei: Need to keep watching in order to see if the first episode was just the "surprise" talking in me.
  • 3: Girl Beat Boys: Take that title literally. Great production value for a half-length episode
  • Honorable mention: Silver Guardian. Need to watch more than the first episode.

And on a side-note: None of the sequels I've seen this season have disappointed as of yet. So yeah, go watch My Hero Academia, Attack on Titan and The Eccentric Family!

That's it for me now. I'll be back... soon (I hope).

Until next time, V out.

18 April 2017

V reviews: Ghost in the Shell, the Live-Action movie

So after lots of doubting, This evening I finally went to see the ScarJo movie of Ghost in the Shell. This mostly because I'm a fan of the original movies and Stand-Alone-Complex tv-series. And I felt like I had to say SOMETHING about the movie.

And boy, did I need to have to say something.

First off, is it good or bad? The answer is: neither. It's certainly not a bad movie. The visuals are spectacular (even the haters have admitted that), and the music score is really good (they even included some of Kenji Kawai's tracks on the soundtrack). And yes, the world building and character designs are really good.

But the major problem of this movie has (outside of the whitewashing issue)... is the story.

Problem #1: Whitewashing? Does it matter?

Look, first off: If there was any franchise in anime history where it doesn't matter what ethnicity its main character is, it's Ghost in the Shell. The body is a full cyborg, and the author had already confirmed that the Major's looks were based on western models. So her having a Caucasian look-and-feel is pretty normal. Same goes for Batou. And looking from that perspective, a lot of the casting choices were spot-on!

ScarJo is in my eyes a perfect Major, and while I was skeptic of the translation of Aramaki and Batou, the movie incarnations (Takeshi Kitano and Pilou Asbæk) put down really accurate performances.

But even if I'm perfectly able to defend the casting choices, I do get where the criticism is coming from and the criticism is 100% legit. If enough Asian-Americans (and Asians in general) were being cast in (big) Hollywood movies, the casting of GitS wouldn't really be that much of an issue. But the opportunities for Asian actors are so slim, most of them are just getting annoyed by "the next big missed opportunity". And it shows everywhere. Have you taken a look at the list of Oscar nomination for Asian Actors? Don't... it's depressing.

Also, the story twist about the major's origin? That's not helping. That's only putting oil on the fire (*facepalm*).

Problem #2: Cramming too much in one movie

This movie is an homage to the original Mamori Oshii movie, but it also takes in elements from Stand Alone Complex (both the ending of the first season as well as the Individual Eleven arc - of all things) and even takes in some story elements from Arise (WHY Arise of all things)? And if that wasn't enough, it tries to mix those and broadening up the scope so people can understand the movie (thus removing almost all of the symbolism the original was known for).

What we're left with is... mediocre. It's not bad, really... It's just not anything good either.

Problem #3: Obvious script rewrites

It may be because I'm a writer myself, but it's sometimes really obvious to see where the script rewrites start happening (either that, or it's just a little TOO obvious).

The scenes that rely on previous source material tend to be well made and thought-out. But when the movie tries to be its own thing (thus script rewrites), it falters. And the moment the rewrites start happening is exactly in the second half. The moment the major is captured by Kuze. From that point onward the story went downhill fast.

And while the first half of the movie was exciting and interesting and genuinely made me wonder where the criticism came from, the second half made it pretty clear.

Problem #4: Mixing the Puppet Master and Kuze creates plot holes

The Puppet Master was an amazing antagonist. Kuze from Stand Alone Complex was an "okay" villain (who made great action scenes). So why mix those? The reason why the Puppet Master was a feared enemy and great hacker, was because he was an Artificial Intelligence. Everything he did against humanity was from the point of view that it wasn't a human being. Making the villain suddenly turn into a "discarded human" is not only stupid, it creates a lot of plot holes. Talking about the plot holes sadly enough would spoil the movie, so I'll shut my mouth here

Not to mention, it does tremendous injustice to both the original Puppet Master AND the original Kuze.

Problem #5: Cutter is a horribly boring antagonist.

Oh, is this a spoiler? I mean: you could see it from the first look of his face, right? It pretty much screamed: "I am evil! I am evil!" The only things missing were a curly mustache and a comically evil laugh... and a monocle!

And when you boil it down, his entire plan didn't make much sense to begin with. Not to mention the execution of his plan. The more you start to think about it, the more your head is starting to hurt because of the amount of stupid in it.

Problem #6: Section 9 is underused.

Though, this is a minor issue. I kind of expected it, since the existence of Section 9 in the original movie was kept to the bare bones minimum as well. The characters of Section 9 were only really fleshed out in the Stand Alone Complex and Arise series.

And while it was fun for a fanboy to see this movie's incarnation of Ishikaya (the beard!), Togusa and Saito, it was still a crying shame to see them being so underused.

Heck, during the first mission debriefing, Chief Aramaki gives orders to the Major, Bato and Togusa. The rest of the Team IN THAT ROOM get no orders whatsoever. They basically don't exist for the chief!

And boy, Togusa. I could go on a rant for how cut away Togusa is to almost non-existent. But I guess that was already obvious from the footage that was leaked in advance. So I didn't have much expectations for his character.

Is it all bad?

No, not at all! The visuals are AMAZING! I was often just gawking at the screen at the visuals and world building used. The sound is great! And the many references to the original movie were great to look at from a fanboy's point of view.

And one addition I did like was Batou's eyes. At the start of the movie, Batou has normal eyes. But due to the story progress, he has to shift to his cybernetic eyes. And it makes sense in this story structure. It really helps to sell his character. I know it's totally not fitting with the source material. But let's face it. If you would see Batou's face with the cyber-eyes, you'd be freaked out by his appearance. Again, it helps sell the character to a broader audience.

What would I score it?

A 6,5-7 out of 10. It's not bad, and as a fan of the franchise as a whole you SHOULD go and watch it. But it's not good enough to rewatch anytime soon. If anything, we'll have forgotten this movie exists with a year or two.

Long story short (tl;dr): A good looking movie where the story could've been a lot better.

That's it from me now.

Until next time, V out.

13 April 2017

V Reviews - Ms Kobayashi's Dragon maid: The surprise hit from winter 2017

If you checked the "to-watch" lists of people going into the winter season of anime, Ms Kobayashi's Dragon maid was nowhere to be seen, or only on the list of fans of Kyoto Animation.

But once the series actually started, it quickly became thé fan favorite of the season. How and why? Let's find out and review this one!

V Reviews - Ms Kobayashi's Dragon Maid

Backstory

(Cool-)Kyou Shinja is a seinen mangaka who specializes in yon-koma manga (the four-panel gag style). Ever since 2011, he started making yon-koma manga for the series "I can't understand what my husband is saying" (Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ka Wakaranai Ken). And since that moment, he's been starting up several more series in a similar style, like Ms Komori can't decline (Komori-san wa Kotowarenai!) and Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid.

And since he's not busy enough yet, he also has a few other series he makes or writes the story for on an (ir)regular basis. This includes: Chichi chichi, Dioti manual, Fukumaden, Mononoke Sharing, Ojojojo, Paranoia Cage and Peach boy Riverside. And that's not even mentioning his one-shots or the series that are already finished. Kyou really is a busy bee.

In the case of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid (or Kobayashi-san Chi no Maidragon in Japanese), this yon-koma manga started being published in 2013 in Futabasha's Monthly Action magazine with five volumes released (sixth one slated for this summer). And since the end of last year, there's also a spin-off focused on the daily life of Kanna (aptly named "Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: Kanna's Everyday Life").

On a personal level, you can follow Kyou on twitter @Coolkyou2, or catch up on his Pixiv page: http://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=463912.

Story

Miss Kobayashi is an average adult female IT-er (the rare breed) who lives by herself in a small apartment and spends most of her time either working, drinking with her colleague or just doing Otaku stuff.

But one night, during a drunken stupor, she incidentally comes across a (female) dragon named Tohru. She saves the dragon's life and then bond together.

But the next morning, Kobayashi wakes up in her bed with a bit of a hangover until somebody ring at the door. It's that same dragon staring her right in the eyes.


Hello, have you heard the word of our lord and savior?

But she quickly transforms into her human form (with tail and horns still attached) and in a maid outfit. Ms Kobayashi obviously doesn't really remember why the dragon is there, until Tohru reminds her. She wanted to repay Ms Kobayashi for saving her and Ms Kobayashi suggested (in her drunken stupor) that Tohru should become her maid.

Now Ms Kobayashi has to train her dragon in order to become an actual maid, because she's not leaving, whether Ms Kobayashi likes it or not. And training is necessary. Because while the end result is always good, the used methods of her cleaning clothes or the living room is quite "unorthodox" to say the least.

And next to that, more and more dragons are following Tohru to the main human's world and start involving themselves with Tohru and Ms. Kobayashi. This includes the cute young dragon Kanna, the dark and bruiting Fafnir, the busty mysterious Quetzalcoatl (abbreviated as Lucoa, with silent u) and later also the ditsy naive Elma. Ms Kobayashi has to manage her personal life (and that of others) to integrate this influx of dragons, while still being able to do her job.

Characters

Ms Kobayashi: Titular character whose first name is still unknown (maybe in a possible season 2?). She's a 20-something female IT'er who acts and even looks like a guy at times. She likes to drink from time to time and is a full-blown otaku. But under her cold exterior, she is really a nice person on the inside.
Tohru: A female dragon of the Chaos order, who fled her home and dominant father and ended up on earth. After her encounter with Ms Kobayashi she slowly starts to integrate as a "human" on our planet, although she may have trouble adapting to the "lame" standards humans have (like not flying or breathing fire, or fast running, or super strength, or...)
Kanna: Ravioli, Ravioli, don't mess with the Dragon Loli (or one of the more NSFW variants if you like). Kanna is the cute young dragon who was attached to Tohru and followed her to the human world. She quickly ends up living with Ms Kobayashi as well and quickly was able to steal all of our hearts. She's just so damn' adorable.
Makoto Takiya: Colleague of Ms Kobayashi who Tohru sees as a "love rival" of her, but is more of a "best friend" type of guy. The two of them work together, drink together and are both full-blown otakus.

There's other dragons who end up showing (Fafnir, Quetzalcoatl and Elma) as well as a few more human characters. But talking too much about them is going to spoil a few things of the story. So ssshhtt...

Animation

This anime is done by Kyoto Animation. And making anime of cute girls has been their forte since their very start. This anime is no different and is really well animated. And not just cute scenes, there are also a few action scenes with splendid animation Sakuga fans can enjoy.

Sound

The general OST is quite nice, but it's the OP and ED that steal the show here. Similarly to the show, the songs are cute. But next to that, they're also big ear worms. You're going to have a hard time getting those songs out of your head. Especially Fhána's Blue Sky Rhapsody (the OP) So yes, you can blame me for the full song being stuck in your head for the rest of the week...

Why did it work so well?

Dragons, obviously!... I mean, come on: DRAGONS! Dragons are cool! Everybody loves dragons!

Oh, also the story of two (kind of) lonely people (Ms Kobayashi and Tohru) getting together on a whim; and while being so very different from each other, they really grow fond of each other. While it did start as a one-sided crush from Tohru's side, Ms Kobayashi slowly opened up her heart to the spectacle that is Tohru.

And we cannot forget about the Dragon Loli (Kanna). She's just so cute. It's like no matter what she does, she ends up capturing the heart of everybody watching her (both in the anime as in real life). Whether it's her eating random things, dancing in the rain, recharging or just sleeping. Every scene with her somehow has a chance of becoming a meme by itself.

Any negatives?

It's a nitpick more than anything. I personally didn't enjoy episode 10 all that much. The story wasn't all that great and some of the running gags were starting to grow old. If anything, it showed me that the concept of DragonMaid is limited without it going full Shonen action (which is not going to happen). I see there being room for one sequel at most, before it will become repetitive or run into staple filler sections.

Overall enjoyment and recommendation

This has been the surprise hit of the season. When first announced, I quickly dismissed it as another Kyo-Ani cute girls anime with little substance. But when the first few episodes aired and everybody was starting to hype it up, I quickly joined the hype. It's REALLY good!

In fact, this is the best NEW anime of the winter season (not counting sequels here).

So definitely check it out.

I'm giving this a 9/10. It's a definite recommendation for everybody.

Until next time, V out.

9 April 2017

The Starting Point - First impression of Anime Spring Season 2017

So I got this crazy stupid idea to watch at least one episode of every single anime this season, just to give a "first impression" of what the season is like (I'm a sucker for pain, apparently).

Winter 2017 was quite good. Usually the Winter and Summer seasons of anime are weaker than spring and Fall, but this year it seems to go the opposite direction. Winter has been a pleasant surprise, but Spring doesn't really hold many strong titles compared to other years. At least, that was my impression before watching any anime this season. Let's see if that will hold up.

How am I handling the first impressions?

For every anime title out there, I'll list what I initially thought of it based on initial assumptions (text, promo video's, art, short info, etc). Then I'll give my "response" to the first Episode, a good/bad thought on the OP and ED of each anime (if shown on the first episode) and if I'll keep on watching it or not.

Don't be surprised if I drop a lot of series after the first episode. I only really have the capacity (read as: Free time) to handle 5-10 new series each season, so I'll only hang onto those that really peek my interest (and two slots were already taken in advance). The rest gets dropped, or gets the 3-episode test.

And yes, not every single one is in this list yet. Haven't watched it all yet. Also not every single anime has started airing yet. But I'll update this post as much as possible until every single anime of Spring 2017 is in here.

So without further ado...

V's first impression of every single anime of Spring 2017

Started Airing April 1st

My Hero Academia S2

Expectations: Loved the first season, so this one had a place on my to-watch list before the first episode even aired.

2 episodes aired of the 25, and I'm already hooked. First episode was a slower setup episode; episode 2 is where the school festival really kicks off.

OP: Kind of expected more of it. It's okay, but not noteworthy nor memorable. The ED is quite good.

Rating first episode: 7,5/10.

Status: Will keep watching

Attack on Titan S2

Expectations: When April first was about to arrive, I suddenly remembered that I never really finished the first season due to reading the manga instead. Quickly fixed that one!

After Episode 1: Two words: BEAST TITAN! Ooooh boy.
Art: Same as season 1. No shift downwards, and the integration of 3D with the horses seemed to flow better than in S1

OP/ED: IG re-hired the band from the original first OP to do this OP to reclaim that magic. But while it's okay, it's just not as good as the original one. The ED is kind of eerie. Not sure what to make of it.

Rating first episode: 8,5/10. It's exciting me! Want more!

Status: Will keep watching, duh!

The Silver Guardian / Gin no Guardian

Expectations: This is a Chinese anime that's also being broadcasted / redubbed for Japan. First one of these for me, so I don't know what to expect from China.

After Episode 1: Surprised at the length of 13 minutes. Kind of short introduction. But as far as it goes, it's the most entertaining of the "Generic Shonen Action series" this season (and that's rather saying something of the rest of this season...).

OP/ED: OP is one of the best this season. Not amazing, but still good. ED is okay.

Rating first episode: 7/10

Status: Giving it the 3-episode test.

Started Airing April 2nd

Granblue Fantasy the Animation

Expectations: Based on a mobile game RPG, created by the people behind Final Fantasy VI and IX (interesting). And it seems like a story setting to my liking. So kind of high expectations.

After episode 1: Jeezes, the term "generic" pops up a lot this season. This one is no exception. Yeah, the story seems pretty generic at this point. But luckily it's the kind of story setting I like. Animation is good. But there's those typical anime tropes like flying creature that doesn't need flying, the girls-don't-run-this-way running and random monster appearing/disappearing depending on when the camera needs it. Other than that it looks good. It has a typical look-and-feel of a late 80s/early 90s anime, where fantasy RPG anime were more common (I like that).

OP/ED: I instantly recongized something Familiar with the OP. It's Bump of Chicken! That's always a nice extra! The ED is pretty bland, though.

Rating first episode: 7/10. Could be better, it could be worse.

Status: Giving it three episodes, to see if it remains "generic", or gets better.

Tsugumomo

Expectations: Seems like a B-rate version of To Aru Majutsu no Index at first glance. It's from the pretty new Studio Zero-G. Oh yeah, this anime has ecchi pasted all over it before I even saw a promo video... Yeeey [/sarcasm]

After Episode 1: Well, 3 minutes in and we already have our first boob-grab scene. *sigh*, a few second later a panty-shot *deeper sigh*... And by the end of the episode we get our two full naked people. Yeah... err... Also: Do I need to mention the amount of plot holes and lack of explanation on crucial elements? And I feel that's too bad, because the concept seems interesting, the animation is really solid and the sound is REALLY good (one of the best OSTs this season from first episode impressions). It reminded me of classic Naruto tracks. And checking up, that ended up being true: It IS the same Composer (Yasuharu Takanashi).

OP/ED: The OP is hyper, but not in a good way; the ED is okay.

Rating first episode: 5,5/10. Lots of good, lots of bad, resulting in a mixed bag end result that's only really aimed at 14-16 year old boys. For the rest of us: Skip it.

Status: Dropped

Alice & Zouroku / Alice to Zorouku

Expectations: Girl with magic powers meets grumpy old man (from Up?). That's a story that could go either way. This is from JC Staff, with the Director of Flying Witch and the music composer of Flip Flappers. Well, that means at least the music will be good?

After first episode: This story is REALLY good and interesting. The music is really good and fitting! So why this horrible CG? Oh my god, I couldn't look away from the horrible CG cars. What year are those renders from? 2006? How is this possible in 2017? I think I could make better renders in 3D and I'm a friggin' amateur!

Rating first episode: 7,5/10. I would've given more, but the CG really made me take away one point. Just too distracting compared to the rest.

Status: Watching it. I mean, the story IS good.

World Fool News

Expectations: How... How of all things did THIS get a second season greenlit? Anyway, YAY! The first season was already weird and funny. Can't wait for the second one.

After Episode 1: Oh, come on. Re-using the same OP/ED as two years ago? That's cheap! Also, this first episode felt kind of weird, but did set up something that may recur in this second season. Curious to find out.

Rating first episode: 6/10

Status: Watching it

Started Airing April 3rd

Warau Salesman / The Laughing Salesman

Expectations: Picked my interest because this is from the creator of Doraemon. And if Doraemon is the light side of a coin, this is the dark side.

After episode 1: This was pretty good. The episode really loves to drench itself in the dark atmosphere of the story. This is clearly part of the darker Seinen route Shin-Ei Animation is taking as of recent. Can't say I dislike this change.

The only thing that is really holding this anime back is the art style of the creator. While it's not bad, it really doesn't flow that well with the darker story. I have instant "Hell Girl" flashbacks on how a dark story with semi-realistic drawings made that so much more compelling. Maybe Ask Naoki Urasawa to "pimp" this manga the same way he pimped Astroboy into Pluto?

OP/ED: The ED is meh, but OMG that opening is GREAT! Not just the song itself, but the visuals surrounding it! Cool!

Rating first episode: 6,5/10

Status: I'll give this one the three-episode treatment.

Souryo to Majiwaru Shikiyoku no Yoru ni...

Expectations: What a friggin' title. It literally means "On a Lustful Night Mingling with a Priest". The poster and the tags "Josei" & "Romance" usually mean it's not for me. Also Studio Seven? I dare you to look up the other works. It surprised me, to say the least.

After Episode 1: Watched this several days after I wrote the "expectations" and already forgot my own tagline. Boy, you can imagine my surprise when this started... I won't spoil it for you, but let's just say there's two versions of this anime. Just don't bother with the censored version. The uncensored version at least has "something" going on in its 4 minutes runtime.

Rating first episode: 3/10. It fits in a certain category, so the production value of this is kind of low.

Status: Dropped

Sekai no Yami Zukan

Expectations: A short anime with a real horror-like poster. Kinda curious what this one is going to give. Definitely going to watch this!

After episode 1: Wow, that was a downer. Ooh, boy that was bad. I knew it was a short... But it's like only 3 minutes-short. Animation is limited to literal moving pictures, most of the sound is a narrative and even that was "okay" at best. Damn' it.
Jeezes, for 3-minute shorts on low budgets, at least Inferno Cop was entertaining to watch. This: NOT!

Rating first episode: 3/10

Status: DROP!

Started Airing April 4th

Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor (Rokudenashi Majutsu Koushi to Akashic Records)

Expectations: Seems like a fenservice-heavy series, focused on magic. Probably not for me

After episode 1: OMG the cringe is real. Seriously, being self-aware doesn't make bad or cringy jokes better. It just makes it obvious that you're using bad/cringy jokes. The general plot (a useless guy becomes a teacher) is an interesting concept for a comedy. But I haven't laughed as of yet. The jokes were predictable and cringy.

The animation was great, but I don't like the way the eyes are colored for the girls. The eyes look like friggin' Easter eggs! Also no OP/ED as of yet, but that'll probably start from ep2 onward.

Rating First Episode: 5/10

Status: Dropped. At the moment, a lot of people are defending it. So it may improve. But it's gonna have to go a 180° from here onward to convince me to come back.

Frame Arms Girl

Expectations: So... this anime is based on a toy-line of mecha girls. That should say enough of my expectations.

After episode 1: Honestly, this was better than I expected. Still nothing great, but it clearly has some good production value for an advanced toy commercial. Because that is basically what this anime is. A 12-episode advertisement for the Frame Arms Girl Model kits. Heck, the first half of this first episode even was a tutorial on how to assemble the model kits! It doesn't even try to hide it's a toy commercial!

The OP is quite good, ED is "okay" at best. But the best thing about this anime in general is the blending of Computer Graphics with 2D animation. Of all the spring series, this series (of all things) is the one that blends it the best. The "real-life" people and environment is 2D, the toys and battle arena is 3D. Clear distinction from the get-go and it pays off. It works better than Kado or ID-0 (even if only for an advanced toy commercial).

Rating first episode: 6,5/10. Not bad for a toy tie-in, but that's what this anime remains. A tie-in to sell toys.

Status: Dropped

Started airing April 5th

Boruto - Naruto the Next Generation

Expectations: It was only too obvious that Studio Pierrot would milk the Naruto franchise dry. Don't have high expectations for it. But there are still a lot of Naruto fans who watched it until the last episode (yeah, really), so this will probably sell, I guess? Maybe it'll surprise me, but I have no faith.

After episode 1: Well, my low hopes were confirmed. The story was so poor I think I literally yelled "Bullshit" twice at the screen (suspension of disbelief only goes that far). The animation was decent enough most of the time, but did turn wonky at times on certain character models. Yes, it IS better than Shippuuden's animation. But the animation for that was already terrible half of the time, so if reviewers give this aime credit for being "a lot better than Shippuuden", that's not really a big praise.

The only thing that saved it was a kind of good OP (not amazing, but still a good starting OP none the less).

Rating First episode: 5/10

Status: DROPPED! - If the first episode is an indication of how the rest of the series will be handled, I'm not wasting my time on it.

Royal Tutor Haine (Oushitsu Kyoushi Haine)

Expectations: I had no idea what to expect of this. It's a comedy about a tutor to a group of princes...

After Episode 1: I'm still wondering why this didn't get the label "Shoujo", because it's clearly aimed at girls. The comedy? It's trying TOO hard for it too work, but I did chuckle a few times. The art? Very well done! The story: Boring as f**k. The characters: Pretty boys for girls to gawk at. So yeah, it's clearly NOT aimed at me.

Rating first episode: 6/10

Status: Dropped it for obvious reasons.

Busou Shoujo Machiavellism

Expectations: NONE. Seems like a typical Shonen action series of a dime in a dozen. Might be good, might be bland. Title somehow reminds me of Busou Renkin

After episode 1: Okay, that was a little better than expected (better than Akashic Records at least), but still nothing too amazing. Art is decent enough; story is cliché as hell, but still okay. And the action is quite good.

Rating first episode: 6,5/10

Status: Iffy about this one. I'm going to give it the 3-episode test. I may drop it.

Sakurada Reset

Expectations: A supernatural mystery by David Production, known for the JoJo franchise. Let's just say I have expectations here.

After episode 1: This... was... boring (*yaaaaawn*). I genuinely had to keep myself from falling asleep, it was THAT boring.
Jeezes, this anime has issues. The main two characters are basically emotionless, and the anime uses 20+ minutes to convey the ENTIRE story setup that other anime try to split over multiple episodes, only to then have a few story twists to trigger an interest in the last minute or so. Too bad most people had already fallen asleep at this point, because yaaaaaawn...

And that's sad, because there's some potential in here. At times, I genuinely thought this was the setup for a movie like the Girl who leapt through time, or Wolf children. But the entire presentation is just so boring.

Rating first episode: A 4/10. The animation is good, the sound is good. The ED is good... but that's about it.

Status: Dropped. Though that ending... I'll keep an eye on further viewer feedback, just in case.

Love Kome: We love rice

Expectations: I honestly have no idea what to expect of this. Is this going to be like Yakitate Japan or Food Wars? What is with that weird-ass synopsis? Anthropomorphic RICE? Whaaaaaaa...?

After Episode 1: Oh, this was a short anime. But err... WTF did I just watch? Really, really? WHAT! THE! ACTUAL! F**K?! I think my jaw was dropped the entire time I watched this short. I simply cannot believe what I saw on my screen? What is this madness? What is this weirdness? What even is this supposed to be?

The whole scenery feels like a direct parody of Yu-Gi-Oh GX, up to the weird hair styles and attitude; the story is... rice. Really, rice. The amount of puns is almost intolerable. The plot is bonkers. But for some reason... I want to watch more. I need to know if the madness continues, or just goes from pun to pun each week.

Rating first episode: What kind of rating can I give this weird ass sh!t?! A 5/10? I have no idea! I genuinely have NO idea!

Status: I should drop this. I really should drop this... But I feel so intrigued to watch more. I just need to know... What IS Love Kome?

Makeruna!! Aku no Gundan!

Expectations: F**k, this IS being subbed? Oh well... This will be quick, I suspect...

After episode 1: Literally quick. It's a 4-minute short. And as expected, it's a kid-level short show. Only a basic premise is shown. Guess more will follow later on?

OP/ED: No OP yet, ED is okay

Rating first episode: 5/10: It's okay. It's clearly not aimed at me, but at kids

Status: Dropped. Come on, I can't waste my time on a show obviously not meant for analysis of any sorts.

Started airing April 6th

Sakura Quest

Expectations: Why does this look-and-feel remind me so much of Shirobako? Oh, right: Studio P.A. Works. Well, that explains a lot. Wait, they're doing two anime this season? Let's hope this isn't a B-title...

After Episode 1: HOLY COW! This legitimately turned into one of my favorites this season! I want more! This is so down-to-earth, yet funny. It perfectly captures what rural Japan is like and how young adults react to it. Yet, they make a good story of it! I really want to see what they make of this!

Rating first episode: 9/10

Status: Watching it! Why aren't you watching it yet?

Started airing April 7th

KADO: The Right Answer (Seikaisuru KADO)

Expectations: Seems like a political scifi series, with a look-and-feel of Ghost in the Shell SAC; but with CG. Seems interesting

After Episode 0 and 1: Interesting story, curious where this is going to go. Shindou as a "negotiator" is an interesting character. But the title description may result in this series being very political oriented. We'll see how they take this.

But OMG, that awkward mixing of CG and regular animation is giving me a headache! It's distracting! If you're confident in your CG skills, go full CG; if not: then keep your character models in regular animation. But don't mix it like this, for real! If a room is filled with a handful of classical animated characters and a few full CG models walk in between, that's just distracting you from the story!

Rating episode 0+1: 7/10

Status: Watching it at least for 3 regular episodes. Let's hope this mixing of CG and 2D doesn't get in the way of the story too much.

Clockwork Planet

Expectations: I Like the look-and-feel of this anime. Concept seems interesting overall

After episode 1: That was a bit of a downer. Seems like a pretty generic Shonen action series, with a share of fanservice (meh). The concept remains interesting, but it really feels like watching Elemental Gelade again (and THAT was a pretty generic fantasy shonen action series to begin with). I'll keep watching it for the moment, but I doubt I'll stay hooked longer than 3 episodes.

Rating first episode: 7/10

Status: Givin it the 3-episode chance, with a chance of dropping it.

Hinako Note

Expectations: Wanted to pick up Kiss Note; in my mistake I ended up with Hinako Note. That'll teach me. So yeah err.. no expectations. Looks like Cute girls doing cute things in cute ways (moe blob, thus). But for some weird reason, this is not from Kyoto Animation (huh...). Which is weird, because it sure looks like a KyoAni anime.

After Episode 1: This anime will tickle the fancy of the moe-fans. This is an anime right up their alley. It's cute girls doing cute things. In this case: theater. And the main character is a shy girl who transforms into a "scarecrow" if she gets too shy or is in too big of a crowd. Might be interesting, but definitely not for me (not a fan of moe shows who are moe because of moe).

OP/ED: The OP... is that an attempt to rip-off the Lucky Star OP? It's definitely in the same brand of hyper and randomness with a focus on "forced dance theme". The ED is cute and fun.

Rating first episode: 7/10

Status: Dropped. It IS good, I'll admit that. But it's just not for me. I hate watching Moe blob.

Love Tyrant / Renai Boukun

Expectations: This being somewhat of a parody of Death Note is already a plus in my books. Kinda curious as to what it's going to be.

After episode 1: OMG, this was hilarious! Much better than I expected! So fast-paced, so many jokes and unexpected situations.

OP and ED were both okay, but neither was amazing or anything.

Rating first episode: 8/10

Status: This goes on my to-watch list! Definitely!

Kabuki-bu

Expectations: This anime has something to live up to, to say the least. After two seasons of Rakugo Shinju, there's now an anime about Kabuki. And to top it off, it's also animated by Studio Deen.

After Episode 1: I guess I was in denial, since it was impossible for this anime to live up to the amazingness of Rakugo Shinju. But even without the comparison, it's only a "decent" anime. It's not bad at all; it's just... a typical club anime.
It misses something that would make it special, it just doesn't stick out the way it's supposed to. The OP and ED are okay, but not amazing. The main character is okay, but I would hate this type of person if I'd run into them in real life. He's like a Kabuki-weeaboo. And the story setup is oh-so-predictable. Boy wants to create club, everybody refuses. Boy then goes deeper as to why everybody refused and suddenly EVERYBODY joins! They get some hardships, they get over them; and at the final episode they give a big play and everybody loves them! And then season 2 is greenlit (calling it right now)!

Rating first episode: 6/10. It's okay, but sadly enough it never rises above the "okay" level. Kind of expected more.

Status: Dropped

The moon is beautiful / Tsuki ga Kirei

Expectations: The title already has a "romance" vibe to it. Probably not my style. Not much else to say about it.

After Episode 1: Wow, err. I'm impressed. This is a romance anime in school setting. But it's different from what I'm used to. This feels... real. This feels as if the characters aren't cardboard cutouts who say forced lines in either shonen or shoujo settings. This is two awkward kids who kinda like each other, but the boy is just an introverted bookworm/amateur writer, while the girl does sports, but has clear anxiety issues. And the best part is that it's being spelled out or used as a comedic/dramatic undertone. It's just who they are, like real people. And not just the main characters. A lot of other supporting cast feel "real" as well.

The OP is great; it's one of the better ones this season. The ED song is okay. The animation on the other end is also amazing. If people would say I was watching an animated movie, I would've believed them (it's that good).

Rating first episode: 8,5/10 - This may be a sleeper hit this season.

Status: 3-Episode test, to see if this "romance" anime can keep a guy who's usually interested in action, thrillers and comedies intrigued.

The King's Avatar / Quan Zhi Gao Shou

Expectations: Another Chinese anime, which makes me curious. But from first glance, it seems like the umptieth anime about a guy in a RPG world. Like we haven't had enough of those in the past few years...

After Episode 1: I have to admit, it took some time to get used to Chinese voices instead of Japanese or English. But I wanted to stay neutral on this and gave it a fair shot. And there is potential in Chinese anime. Though it clearly still has ways left to go. A lot of this anime felt awkward to watch. The awkward mix of 2D/3D, the weird character interactions and emotions, the sound in general and the story pacing of this first episode all felt either "weird" or "off". And the only thing I can clearly give as a reason is "lack of experience" of the director (who is unknown at this point).

Rating first episode: 6,5/10. It's not bad... It just feels like there's many places for improvement left

Status: Dropped. I've never been a fan of MMORPG animes in general and this one sure didn't pick my interest.

Please take my brother away / Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai!

Expectations: A short slice of life comdedy about a regular sibling relationship (protection and teasing). Dunno how this is going to turn out. Never seen anything of this studio either.

After Episode 1: That was funny! But also waaay to short! Want more! Also, really well animated for it being a short! Kudo's!

Rating first episode: 7,5/10

Status: Watching

Started airing April 8th

RE:Creators

Expectations: From the director of Fate/Zero and Aldnoah Zero and the music director of Attack on Titan. Yeah, hype much?!

After episode 1: Interesting concept; episode one is interesting enough to keep watching. Fun how Celestia keeps her "animtated" body features after being transported to the "real" world. Her pointy chin AND feet make her stand out (which is funny).

OP/ED: No OP yet, the ED is amazing, though!

Rating first episode: 8/10

Status: This one is a definite must-watch!

Started airing April 9th

Eromanga sensei

Expectations: With a title like that, you automatically lure in an audience. The concept of a brother and sister being writer and artist without knowing what the other one does is interesting... But this is an A1-Pictures show that's adapting a Light novel. So my expectations are limited.

After episode 1: Interesting setup to say the least. The opening episode was good enough. Though I wonder how this will remain interesting throughout the entire series. Knowing A1, it may spiral downwards quickly.

OP/ED: No OP yet, ED is quite good.

Rating first episode: 7,5/10

Status: Giving it a 3-episode test

ID-0

Expectations: The info on this anime is VERY limited to say the least, but it's by the creator/director of Code Geass. That should set some expectations at least.

After episode 1: Oo-kay, this requires some explanation. This is a full CG anime, where most of the airtime is spent with robotic units without drivers. I don't know if this was a story twist or a cost-saving measure, but the minds of the pilots are imprinted on the robots instead of actually showing the pilots. But that creates a HUGE problem: The robots have no facial expressions, thus also no real emotions.

Wall-E for example had the exact opposite reaction. Every robot has some form of facial animation so that it would be easier for the viewers to connect to the characters (which happened). But these robots do not have any facial expression and thus fail to link with the audience watching it. And since more than 50% of all screen time is devoted to these robots, that is a major issue.

I could not feel the "click". I could not connect to any of the characters. The main character is the only one who had some facial expressions in some scenes (and even that was limited), but she wasn't too enjoyable as a character.

Rating first episode: 5,5/10 - It's okay at best. Facial expressions aside, voice acting is "okay" and the story itself not too amazing either.

Status: Dropped

Starts airing April 10th

Grimoire of Zero / Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho

Expectations: A fantasy anime from studio White Fox? With a lead character that looks like Guin as a White Tiger? Okay, color me intrigued. What can this anime do?

After Episode 1: Interesting starting episode. Nice character introduction and story setup. Music is also really good, which is to be expected since it's the same music composer as Hibiki Euphonium (Akito Matsuda).

Rating first episode: 7,5/10. Solid

Status: Will probably keep watching. Hope the story keeps up.

Starts airing April 11th

Anonymous Noise / Fukumenkei Noise

Expectations: Typical Shoujo look-and-feel, so probably not for me. But it is about music, so that is always a trigger for me to at least watch a few episodes.

After episode 1: Oh my god, I don't think I've ever wished so hard for somebody to just STOP singing in a show about music. But here it is. Annoying is the keyword that kept buzzing around my head throughout the entirety of this first episode. Annoying singing voice and interludes, annoying main character, annoying "shoujo"-style romantic interests, annoying plot setups. And the performance at the end: just no.... NO!

There was no OP yet, but I was so glad the anime was over, I even refused to listen to the ED.

Rating first episode: 5/10. Since it's a typical girls anime, girls may enjoy this more than I did. But for guys this warning: stay the hell away from it.

Status: Dropped

WorldEnd / Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasu ka? Isogashii desu ka? Sukutte Moratte Ii desu ka?

Expectations: This long style title only means it's adapted from a Light Novel (and looking it up, it appears I was right). The title translates to "WorldEnd: What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?" No real expectations of this. Could be good, could be bad.

After episode one: This anime did something that rarely anime has ever done... Genuinely giving me the shivers. That rendition of Scarborough Fair? Caught me off-guard and was genuinely beautiful. Then again, I'm weak to folk classics done right. And this sure was done right.

Next to that, pretty solid opening episode. Got me interested to watch the rest.

Rating first episode: 8,5/10 - Giving it that half point extra for touching me with Scarborough Fair

Status: Watching

Starts airing April 12th

Kenka Banchou Otome: Girl Beats Boys

Expectations: Shoujo anime with pretty boys and the tag "romance". Yeah, that's not aimed at me, so 0 expectations

After Episode 1: What? How? HOW IS THIS A ROMANCE SHOUJO? HOW? This was non-stop fighting throughout the entire episode! And the "Girl beats boys" can be taken quite literally! It's also a short anime, and by god: the OP and ED had no right to be as good as they are.

This one genuinely surprised me. It's not amazing, but the first episode sure was good enough to at least see what happens the full first three episodes. I don't think I've ever been THIS wrong about a romance Shoujo (lol).

Rating first episode: 7,5/10

Status: Givin' it three episodes to see if it's just the genuine surprise talking here, or if it remains legit this good.

Room Mate

Expectations: This is technically the same as One Room, but with male characters instead (that's the literal descriptor). Since the female incarnation was panned, I was going to skip this... But it ain't no challenge if you don't pick up cringe titles as well, isn't it?

After Episode 1: Hahahahahaaaaa! This is so wrong it's hilarious! If this has ended, can somebody ask Joey & Aki to watch these live? This would make an amazing Youtube video! Also, that ending, though.

Rating first episode: 6,5/10. By itself it's not half bad. It's also so corny it becomes hilarious.

Status: Dropped. What? Did you really think I would watch the entire thing?

Starts airing April 15th

Sin: The 7 Deadly Sins / Sin: Nanatsu no Taizai

Expectations: Wait, wasn't there a 7 Deadly Sins anime just a few years ago? How can they release a totally unrelated anime with exactly the same title only a few years apart? *Sigh*... Let's see... This one is rated R+ with nudity and tagged as "ecchi". Yup, this will be the type of anime I hate, won't it? Oh, and the origin is a set of "ecchi" model figurines. Ooh, this anime has the making of something horrible, doesn't it?

After Episode 1: This anime has no right to be animated on this amazing level. Yet, here we are, with me in awe of the genius animation of a B-level anime that is just shy of being a full-blown hentai. It shouldn't mix well, but it looks amazing.

On a side-note, there is both a censored and uncensored version of this (due to obvious reasons). I "enjoyed" the uncensored one.

Rating first episode: 6/10. A raunchy anime like this usually only gets a score between a 3-5. But the superb animation really cranks this anime up a few notches.

Status: Dropped, though it'll be a pity to miss this high-level animation. Oh, well...

Danmachi Gaiden: Sword Oratoria / Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka Gaiden: Sword Oratoria

Expectations: My expectations is that this is going to be pretty average/generic fantasy RPG anime with lots of fanservice. Let's hope I can at least enjoy it without watching the original

After Episode 1: Wasn't originally going to watch this. But I'm almost through the list of the rest, so why the hell not? Anyway, this was... better than expected. I didn't watch the original, but form what I read on the forums this one has the clear advantage of not having Hestia in it, which ruined the parent series. This anime has to rely on small support/unknown characters to make the story. And it's quite okay. It's not amazing or anything, but it's not bad either (nor is it boring). Sadly enough the two main characters aren't that thrilling or interesting. Let's hope they can carry this story.

On a side-note: This Gaiden is what "A certain Scientific Railgun" is to "~ Magical Index"; a spin-off with ties to the original, but with its own original story.

Rating first episode: 7/10. It's solid and better than what I thought it would be.

Status: Err... giving it three episodes.. Not 100% sold on it, but again: it's not bad either.

Atom: The Beginning

Expectations: Hype! The prequel to Astroboy, handled by Studio IG... But the Director (Tatsuo Satou) is known to be hit-or-miss. Let's hope this isn't a miss, because I'm genuinely interested in this.

After Episode 1: This is Good stuff! This is a first episode that lives up to high expectations. The story is interesting, the animation is good, the OP/ED look amazing and the end result made me wanting more.

Rating first episode: 8,5/10. While it didn't blew me away in a matter like Sakura Quest, it's definitely in my top 5 of opening episodes this season!

Status: Watching it!

100% Pascal-Sensei

Expectations: This seems like a toy mascot show aimed at young kids. Could vary from generic/bland to good, who knows?

After episode 1: This was weird, yet unexpectedly funny. There were several jokes that really made me crack up. I could talk about them, but the jokes being unexpected is what made them work so well.

Also, that ED? It's so weird and absurd, yet very well done at the same time. Similar to the rest of the show, this caught me by surprise and thus made me smile.

Rating first episode: 7/10

Status: Giving it the 3-episode test. First one definitely got my attention. Let's see if this show can keep it!

Puripuri Chii-chan!!

Expectations: Wait, why am I watching this? Oh dear, this can't be any good... Well, at least it's only half length. So it won't be too much of a punishment.

After Episode 1: Well... it's cute to look at? That's about the only positive I can think of for this anime. It's an anime aimed at girls, so it's not surprising that I didn't think too highly of it.

The only thing that really stood out here was the ED, which I would swear was done by "Kyaru Pamyu Pamyu" (look it up). This anime does fit in her usual mix of weird and cute. So if it ain't her, it's at least somebody trying to imitate her style.

Rating first episode: 6/10. It's cute fluff, but otherwise harmless. But it's nothing groundbreaking either.

Status: Dropped

Date unknown - Somewhere in May

Yu-Gi-Oh! VRAINS

Expectations: There's a huge delay on the start of this anime, due to the production issues on the previous Yu-Gi-Oh anime. Let's hope Studio Gallop can get its shit together. Otherwise, this will spiral down fast into bad territory.

Not yet aired

Maybe:

There's a few titles that do peak my interest, but I can't see yet, due to not having seen the first season. So let's classify this as: Maybe later

  • The Eccentric Family S2: Canipa keeps pushing this one, so I'm currently watching S1. So expect this in the list somewhere soon.
  • Shingeki no Bahamut S2: Heard good things of S1; May pick this up. Who knows.

Not watching:

This is the group of anime of which I haven't seen the first season and/or have absolutely 0 interest in watching

  • Saenai Heroine no Sodatekata ♭: The original is a "meh" harem anime from 2015 (which was a "meh" year for anime in general). The sequel was granted at the end of season 1, but any interest in it has wavered ever since. Don't see many people talking about it, so I'm not interested in picking it up, nor its sequel.
  • Monster Strike S2: Haven't seen S1. Seems interesting, but not interested in the game.
  • Nobunaga no Shinobi: Ise Kanegasaki-hen: Second season. Haven't seen S1 yet, so I doubt I'll watch this
  • Kyoukai no Rinne (TV) 3rd Season: Haven't seen the previous seasons, so skipping it.
  • Natsume's Book of friends 6th Season: Haven't seen the previous seasons, so skipping it.
  • Berserk 2017: HA! HA! HA! HA! No. How the hell did a sequel get greenlit? Seriously? HOW?
  • Future Card Buddyfight Battsu: Never seen the prequels, dunno the game. Skipping it.
  • Duel Masters 2017: Is that Card Game still running? Nobody plays it over here. Definite skip, though.
  • Beyblade Burst: Same. The franchise died in the west years ago. How is this still going on in Japan?
  • Starmyu S2: Haven't seen the first one. Haven't heard anyone talk about it, so no expectations
  • The Idolmaster Cinderella Girls Gekijou: Not interested in the parent series, so no plans for this chibi spin-off either.
  • Idol Time PriPara:: Never seen the original and clearly not aimed at me to begin with.
  • Rilu Rilu Farilu: Never seen the original and clearly not aimed at me to begin with.
  • Shonen Ashibe S2: Never seen the first season, clearly not aimed at me.
  • Akindo Sei no Little Peso: Kids show, clearly not aimed at me
  • Buppu na Mainichi: Kids show, clearly not aimed at me
  • Mobile Emergency Police / Tomica Hyper Rescue Drive Head: Kidou Kyuukyuu Keisatsu: Want to watch the first ep, but nobody seems to be subbing it

That's it from me, now.

Until next time, V out.

Updates

  • Update April 10th: Sorted according to started airdate. Added Granblue, Tsugumomo, Makeruna and Love Kome
  • Update April 11th: Added Kabuki-bu, Sakura Quest, Sakurada Reset and Grimoire of Zero
  • Update April 12th: Added Girl Beats boys, Please take my brother away & Anonymous noise, together with the "expectations of all other shows
  • Update April 13th: Added ID-0, Room Mate and WorldEnd etc and Souryo to Majiwaru Shikiyoku no Yoru ni.
  • Update April 14th: Added Frame Arms Girl, Sin, Tsuki ga Kirei and Sword Oratoria
  • Update April 15th: Added 100% Pascal-Sensei, Puripuri Chii-chan and Alice & Zorouku. Almost done!
  • Update April 17th: Easter Sunday was a day off, today we're back on track with some of the last, including Atom the Beginning.
  • Update April 18th: Added "The King's Avatar". All that's left is YGO Vrains.