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Danchigai

July 24, 2015

One of the anime with short running time episodes that I am watching this summer is “Danchigai”, the anime adaptation of the four-panel manga “だんちがい” by Yoneda Kazusa.

Being unfamiliar with the original yonkoma manga this anime is based on, had expected the show to be similar to “Minami-ke”, a slice-of-life comedy following the daily lives of siblings living together in a small apartment.

From the first episode on, was surprised at some of the ecchi comedy featured in “Danchigai”, which makes the series feel more like a mix of “Papa no Iu Koto wo Kikinasai” with “Minami-ke”.

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While fun enough to watch, must admit that “Danchigai” has not been terribly original or exceptionally good, its jokes are typical and the characters are paper-thin archetypes which include the dependable and impossibly perfect oldest sister, the good-for-nothing brother with a severe case of chuunibyou, the tsundere younger sister with an obvious crush on her brother, and adorable but mischievous twins.

Compared to other slice-of-life comedies that are currently airing like “Wakaba*Girl”, “Non Non Biyori Repeat”, “Himouto! Umaru-chan” or “Working!!!”, this anime unfortunately falls short. However, it’s still sufficiently entertaining to keep on watching it.

Taking into account each episode is only three and a half minutes long, anime fans looking for something to watch without great expectations will no doubt enjoy this show.
You can watch “Danchigai” on Crunchyroll.

Gate

July 22, 2015

Based on the “ゲート 自衛隊 彼の地にて、斯く戦えり” light novel series written by Takumi Yanai, “Gate” is a fantasy anime with a core plot and world setting that is similar to that of “Outbreak Company”.

The story takes place in our current era, but whereas in “Outbreak Company” the Japanese Self Defense Force finds a gateway to another world filled with magic and mythical creatures, in “Gate” it is the medieval armies of that other world that invade modern day Japan, causing a massacre before the JSDF drives them off.

Like in “Outbreak Company”, the main protagonist in “Gate” is a hopeless otaku who seems to easily attract a harem of otherworldly cuties, however similarities end there as Youji is a soldier in his thirties who distinguishes himself in battle, whereas Shinichi from “Outbreak Company” is a young student.

Considering the military and political themes of this anime, it’s nice to see its main characters are all adults, making the story more believable. Although “Gate” still succumbs to typical harem anime standards by portraying the three main female characters as young girls, even though elf Tuka and goddess Rory are well over a hundred years old.

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Although it did feature political machinations and some action, “Outbreak Company” is mellow and innocent compared to “Gate” which from the very start shows lots of bloodshed and the harsh realities of geopolitical machinations and scheming.

“Gate” also emphasizes on the inhumane massacre that occurs when an army with the superior might and technology of machine guns, tanks and missiles face off against an opponent limited to medieval weaponry, making it abundantly clear that a large part of this show will be rather dark.

Considering those two serious themes, the comedy and harem akin elements in “Gate” are a welcome lighthearted touch that prevent this anime from coming across as depressing.

Those of you who are fan of military themed anime will enjoy this show for its detailed portrayal of the JSDF’s gear and equipment. Be prepared though to have some harem tinted comedy shenanigans and more dramatic political schemes thrown in. You can watch “Gate” on Crunchyroll.

Classroom☆Crisis

July 20, 2015

Wanted to watch “Classroom☆Crisis” because the science-fiction story setting of this anime original project sounded quite promising.

Taking place in a future where mankind has colonized most planets in our solar system, this anime deals with the challenges faced by a class of elite students whose privileged status and unlimited budget to develop cutting edge rocket engines are threatened when their new director intends to disband their division.

Considering the ‘students working for a mega-corporation’ angle, should have suspected the corporate element would be more prevalent compared to the science-fiction and school shenanigans. Expected “Classroom☆Crisis” to be lighthearted, focusing on the students’ silly antics and adventurous flights in space, like “Mouretsu! Pirates”.

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However, its focus on the corporate scheming along with the characterization of the various corporate employees and executives versus the students, often makes this show feel like it is taking itself too seriously.

Although the typical comedy found in most anime is present, it feels offbeat and usually fails to brighten up the atmosphere, making this show come across as if someone threw in the heavy political and corporate machinations found in the average Gundam anime into a typical school anime.

From the first episode on it seems clear that the creators intend for “Classroom☆Crisis” to be an anime featuring its characters overcoming challenges and hardships, undoubtedly with a sense of justice and youthful liberty which the students represent, but I wonder if the plot writers didn’t bite off more than they could chew considering the odds the students are up against.
Then again, unbelievable reversals and impossible wins is what anime is all about, isn’t it?

Don’t know it I will keep watching this show, but for those of you who are interested in “Classroom☆Crisis”, you can watch it on Crunchyroll.

Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou

July 17, 2015

Because catgirls are too mainstream nowadays, the new kemonomimi inspired fetish that wants to be this summer’s hot fad is monster girls, thanks to “Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou”, the anime adapted from the ecchi harem manga “モンスター娘のいる日常” by Okayado.

When I first saw the announcement a “Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou” anime would be made, was rather apprehensive considering my experience with similar harem manga being adapted into anime form is that they near always are a big disappointment, especially if they focus heavily on ecchi fanservice, “To Love RU” comes to mind as an example.

Manga like “To Love RU” and “Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou” which feature the standard harem comedy routine, bland stories and generic characters, rely on their ecchi content to spark reader interest. But can such content really be successfully translated into anime form?

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The “Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou” manga is quote enjoyable when consumed in regulated doses, sporadically reading a few chapters or a volume, which makes it a guilty pleasure like the occasional fast food meal.

The first two episodes of “Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou” were quite good, with decent production values although it is apparent studios Lerche and Seva’s efforts go into rendering the various girls as cute and sexy as possible. Did already encounter several scenes though where I felt the transition from manga to anime form wasn’t that successful.

Even though “Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou” will be a shallow ecchi harem comedy like the manga it is based on, do hope the anime will be entertaining enough to keep on watching it each week. With seven volumes of the manga already out, they definitely have enough material to make the anime interesting enough.

If you like ecchi harem comedy anime or have a penchant for moe anthropomorphism girls, then you’ll probably enjoy “Monster Musume no Iru Nichijou”!

Non Non Biyori Repeat

July 13, 2015

Although “Wakaba*Girl” and “Working!!!” are excellent slice-of-life anime that will be at the top of my list of this summer’s favorite shows, have no doubts that “Non Non Biyori Repeat” will take the number one spot.

Absolutely adored the first anime adaptation of the “のんのんびより” manga by Atto, so was overjoyed when they announced a sequel. Was pleasantly surprised to discover that “Non Non Biyori Repeat” is not really a sequel that takes place after the events of the first season, but tells all new stories of these endearing girls’ daily lives that take place between the events shown in the original season.

For instance, the opening episode of “Non Non Biyori Repeat” shows us Renge’s first day of school, which occurs Hotaru transfers into the Asahigaoka school and meets the others in the first episode of “Non Non Biyori”.

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A major key to the success of an anime sequel for me is consistency, hence am glad that studio Silver Link and the same creative team return for “Non Non Biyori Repeat”, along with the same seiyuu who reprise their roles voicing the various characters. Like the first season, J-pop band nano.RIPE deliver the show’s opening track.

In fact, consistency between both seasons is especially important for “Non Non Biyori Repeat” because the events in this sequel take place in the same timeframe of the first anime. Thanks to the similar animation, atmosphere, storytelling and production values, am loving “Non Non Biyori Repeat” as much as I adore the first season.

For those who like slice-of-life anime, “Non Non Biyori Repeat” is a must-see series. Considering the format of this second season, do recommend watching “Non Non Biyori” first though.
You can watch “Non Non Biyori Repeat” on Crunchyroll.

Wakaba*Girl

July 10, 2015

Another slice-of-life show was really looking forward to is “Wakaba*Girl”, the anime adaptation of the “わかば*ガール” four-panel comedy manga by Hara Yui, who also created “Kiniro Mosaic”.

Barely a few minutes into the first episode, knew I would love “Wakaba*Girl”. It is the kind of leisurely slice-of-life comedy that I adore, being all about a group of cute girls spending their time together while going about their daily lives as students, very similar in atmosphere to Hara Yui’s “Kiniro Mosaic”.

While there are many parallels with “Kiniro Mosaic”, those similarities are positive and mostly in terms of overall atmosphere, the story’s themes and the character design style. Wakaba, Mao, Moeko and Nao, the four main characters from “Wakaba*Girls” are very different from Alice, Karen, Shino and the other girls from “Kiniro Mosaic”.

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Although the overall design style is similar, there are just enough differences and variations between studio Nexus’ animation of “Wakaba*Girl” compared to Studio Gokumi’s work on “Kiniro Mosaic”, so this new show does not feel like a clone.

If I were to fault this show anywhere, it would be for the fact that most of the events, comedy seem rather typical and have been used before in similar slice-of-life school comedies. Am curious if they will really develop the main characters Wakaba, Mao, Moeko and Nao past their current generic character template which can make them feel somewhat shallow when looking past their cute persona.

The short eight minute episode running time may play a part in “Wakaba*Girl” sticking to the tried-and-true elements that make up a good and enchanting slice-of-life anime. However, the magic of such a show is often thanks to it using that winning formula, so if you like slice-of-life anime like “Aiura”, “Yama no Susume” or “Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka?”, then definitely watch this show.
You can watch “Wakaba*Girl” on Crunchyroll.

Working!!!

July 6, 2015

やーまーだー!!! What joy to finally return to Wagnaria, that quaint Japanese family restaurant with its friendly staff of quirky and oddball characters who never fail to entertain with their crazy shenanigans or the hilarious situations they often end up in.

“Working!!!” is the third season of the anime based on the four panel manga by Karino Takatsu who also created “Servant x Service”, another workplace-centric comedy.
Am curious how much material from the manga this third season will cover as the manga was completed last year after thirteen volumes. Must admit am somewhat apprehensive that this may be the final anime season of “Working!!”.

Much like “Servant x Service”, “Working!!” is an excellent slice-of-life comedy that revolves around the hilarious situations that arise when a group of quirky people come together in the workplace. What makes both shows so funny is that the comedy isn’t too far-fetched but a great mix of silly situations, misunderstandings, and over the top gags that never fail to hit the mark.

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Continuing more or less where the previous season left off, the opening episode of this third season was terrific. Was happy to see that studio A-1 Pictures is producing this season too, meaning the animation style, character designs and even the voice talents are the same.

Do hope we will get lots of Maya and Kotori-chan this season! I’ve always had a weak spot for Maya who desperately tries to be Wagnaria’s most normal employee but ends up being just as weird as her coworkers. Of course, cannot resist wanting more Kotori-chan focused episodes as cross-dressing Takanashi and the ensuing hijinks are just too hilarious to ignore.

Have no doubt that “Working!!!” will be my favorite anime of the summer season along with “Non Non Biyori Repeat”. If you like slice-of-life series and want to have fun watching crazy workplace related shenanigans, then you definitely should check out “Working!!!”, though would advise to watch the first two seasons before starting this third one.

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