The delays continue and I’ve not had too much time for anime in the last few months, but we’re still doing this thing.
Summer’s shorts were interestingly extreme in their quality, the good stuff was mostly really good, and the bad stuff was really, really bad, with not a whole lot in the middle.
Did Symphogear not give you your requisite dose of Yuki Aoi yelling? Aho-Girl’s got you covered. As the title implies, Aho-girl is about a girl who is impossibly dumb. Hijinks ensue. Most of the show’s gags boil down to “Yoshiko does something stupid, shouts a lot and then gets punched by straight man A-kun” but the extended cast is fun and there’s enough energy and variety to keep things from getting too stale.
The Irresponsible Galaxy Tylor
And here’s our first big dud. A little research indicates that this is a spinoff of a (as far as I can tell) fairly well liked Sci-fi comedy series from the 90s. It appears that nobody who liked the original liked this, and having not seen the original, I also didn’t like it. For the most part, Tylor is just plain boring, the characters meander around doing not much for a few minutes, nobody says anything remotely funny and the end credits roll. The show does have one unique element at least, and it’s an odd one; Main character Tylor and his sidekick robot Yamamoto’s voices are kind of similar to one another, to the point where occasionally it becomes impossible to tell which of them is actually talking, which is not a problem I’ve really encountered before honestly.
If Tylor were merely dull and subject to some iffy voice casting it wouldn’t be too awful, sadly it’s also super homophobic. About halfway through the series the character of “Cyborg J.K” gets introduced, Cyborg J.K is a burly crossdressing gay man who makes his entrance by abducting Yamamoto (who’s been turned into an attractive human man for no good reason) and attempting to rape him. It’s shitty and offensive and I’m still mad. The character is only in focus for episode but makes occasional bit part reappearances, because that was definitely a character who needed to keep cropping up. I generally don’t make outright “watch/don’t watch” this statements, but avoid this crap like the plague.
This one’s also super unpleasant. If I had anything positive to say it’d be that the last few minutes would actually be kinda good if they weren’t shackled to such a relentlessly horrible series. Virtually every character is unpleasant, the main relationships are emotionally and physically abusive. Honestly I’m not particularly qualified to unpack the subject matter here so I’m just going to leave well alone and say that there’s virtually nothing to like here.
Nobunaga no Shinobi
Oh good, Chidori’s here to save us from the bad anime pits. While it lost a little of its initial charm as the series progressed Nobunaga no Shinobi remains overall super strong right up until it kind of just… Stops, with season 2 drawing to a close without any real finale or closure. It’s still a good series though and worth a watch.
Nora to Oujo to Noraneko Heart
Back in the mid 2000s there were a few years where there were a lot of Visual Novel adaptations, filling a similar niche to the generic magical high school light novel anime you get these days, you’d get one or two every season and they’d mostly be fine, with a few outliers which were either horribad or pretty decent (Side note: I used to use these kinds of series as a sort of palate cleanser after watching a series I liked, a purpose for which they’re actually pretty good).
Nowadays, these are a lot less frequent, which has sort of given rise to what may be the start of a trend, rather than full length adaptations, these games are now getting comedy shorts. There have only been a couple so far but they essentially seem to exist as something for fans of the game. Generally they seem to assume some familiarity with the characters and concepts, but beyond that they’re mostly just your bog standard comedy shorts.
Noraneko is one of these, and it lives up to the standards of its mid 2000s predecessors by being fine. Loosely based around the conceit that the source material’s main character has been turned into a cat, Noraneko mostly ignores this entirely in favour of having the female cast engage in various skits with no real continuity to them. Some of these are pretty funny, others don’t really land, it’s fine. One episode is composed entirely of footage of goats with the voice cast trying to spin some kind of narrative out of the goats meandering, so that’s neat.
Rising once more from the far reaches of humanity’s darkest thoughts, Teekyu is upon us once more. Yeah, it’s more Teekyu, it’s still very much the same show with its rapid fire incoherence as strong as ever. The most drastic change to the formula is the highly disorienting addition of an extra 30 seconds to the episode length. Naturally they just used this for some end credits, 30 seconds more raw TQ each week is probably a health hazard after all. While no season 10 has been announced just yet, it’ll be back, for how can you end something which transcends the limits of human creation?
Closing out on a high point, this one’s super good! Mostly. Tsuredure Children is about relationships, in lots of different forms. Tracking a whole variety of different couples throughout a school, it’s light and comfy, with strong comic timing but takes itself seriously when it needs to. The one exception to this is Akagi and Kaji’s relationship, which is more than a little uncomfortable at times, since it’s essentially built around coercion. While the show implies she does have feelings for him, it doesn’t change the fact that most of their interactions boil down to him repeatedly tricking her into doing things she’s just stated she’s not comfortable with. The show is also overwhelmingly straight, outside of a brief scene which implies Takase might have a thing for Katori (Because Katori is wonderful and also sucks), it’s not a deal breaker but it feels odd for a show inherently about relationships to ignore non straight couples entirely. Despite these issues it’s a fun series and most of the cast are super cute and likeable.
Chii-Chan and Pascal Sensei continue on from Spring but I’ve not been able to keep up for lack of time, I’ll hopefully find time to get caught up eventually, but I can’t really comment on how they’re doing when I haven’t seen them in several months. Given their relatively straightforward formulas though I imagine they’re much the same as ever.
So that was Summer 2017. Overall I’d say it was pretty solid, with a few seriously bad shows dragging the rest down. Fall seems relatively sparse, with a whole bunch of sequels to Spring shows in the lineup. They’re making more Fireball though! Only three new episodes, but it’s better than nothing at least. Yay Fireball!