By James Robert Shaw (The Wind up Geek)
Nobunaga the Fool
Plot: Two planets (East and West) were once connected by a civilization long since past. Now both these worlds have developed their own cultures. Jeanne Kaguya D’Arc, a girl from the peaceful Western Planet, is prophesized to be the Savior of the World. With the help of Leonardo Da Vinci, she travels to the Eastern planet, a place still locked in war. Nobunaga the Fool wants to change his world and a chance meeting with Jeanne may give him the power he needs to achieve his goal.
The Good: The impressive mech designs.
The Bad: Admiral Magellan looks like the man who failed to become the captain of the Love Boat. He provides the comic relief.
The Ugly: Perhaps its the Japanese theatrics but this series is pretentious, bloated and sadly, as mentioned above, unintended comedy when there is meant to be serious drama.
The Verdict: I’ll watch a few more episodes just because I’m a softie for mechs.
2 out of 5
Plot: Shio Ogura is a Japanese student on a class trip to Taiwan when the country is attacked by monsters. As Shio attempts to rescue her friend, she encounters E-Gene Holders, agents from a government agency who are the reincarnations of historical figures. With their E-Gene Spheres, agents are infused with the single weapon of their choice to use in order to keep the peace. With the E-Gene Sphere, Shio learns she is the reincarnation of Oda Nobunaga.
The Good: So far this anime season there already is a series that uses characters with the names taken from history (see: Nobunaga the Fool). This is the type of setting I prefer the characters in. And that is fighting off an invasion force by chewing bubblegum and kicking arse. Obviously our heroes are all out of bubblegum. And who knew Nobunaga could be a poster boy for the National Rifle Association (NRA). The garage band styled soundtrack really works here and emphasizes the action that takes place on-screen.
The Bad: I’m not fond of the animation style.
The Ugly: What was the creator Masato Hisa thinking? Can Jack the Ripper even be a hero? Sure it’s been at least a century since Jack the Ripper committed his crimes but it’s still morally wrong to make murderers into people to be worshipped. It opens the floodgates for a ton of killer idolizing. Who’s next, Charles Manson? Oh wait, he’s not dead yet.
The Verdict: Despite my detest for turning murderers into heroes, this series may be the hit of the season. I’ll watch Nobunagun but I won’t be cheering for Jack.
3.5 out of 5
Plot: Yato is a minor deity who does not even have his own shrine. The only way he can start building a reputation is to offer a delivery style service of answering prayers but when he is rescused by Hiyori, the daughter of a reputable family, from a motor vehicle accident, the two become entwined in a mystic quest. With the girl’s new ability to slip her soul out of the body she willingly helps Yato answer the people who pray to him.
The Good: I’m unsure if the concept has ever been used before but I like the idea of a minor God taking part-time work, scrimping and saving just to give himself a better life, much like the human beings who worship them.
The Bad: Let’s just wait for the rest of the series, eh.
The Ugly: Hey, it’s FUNimation, it’s all beautiful baby!
The Verdict: Minor God dressed in track suit, check, Potential love interest who is a closet martial arts fan, check, ugly blue frog, check and one cute lost kitten, check. I think I’m all set for a great season.
4 out of 5
Recently, My Sister Is Acting Unusual
Saikin, Imōto no Yōsu ga Chotto Okashiin Da Ga
Plot: Yuya is a high school student who suddenly finds that he’s gained a step-sister, Mitsuki Kanzaki, after his father remarries. Mitsuki isn’t accepting of the marriage and acts coldly towards Yuya. Things change when Mitsuki is possessed by the self-proclaimed spirit of a young girl, Hiyori Kotobuki. Hiyori must use Mitsuki as a means to physically interact with Yuya.
The Good: I couldn’t find anything good in the first episode of this series.
The Bad: Characterwise Yuya and Mitsuki are cardboard cut outs with no likeable qualities. And I have no idea what Hiyori’s motives are for being sexually obssessed with Yuya.
The Ugly: Pick one: watching Mitsuki pee holding on the toilet for minutes, the rape sequences, or the fact that Yuya’s friend Torii would sleep with his own sister if she wasn’t so uncute. But according to Torii, step-sisters are where it’s at.
The Verdict: The fact that this series’ biggest comedy plot is a chastity belt that unlocks for just three minutes every hour means there is little to expect except sex, sex and more sex.
1 out of 5
Saki – The Nationals
Plot: This sequel of 2009’s Saki revolves around multiple teams of high school girls as they compete at a Japanese Mahjong tournament.
The Good: The animation backgrounds look pleasant enough and the character designs are pleasing to the eyes.
The Bad: I played Mahjong as a child and as much fun as it was to take part in a game, that fun may not translate well into an anime series. Knowing this original creator, Ritz Kobayashi, may have given some of the characters quirks to make them stand out. And hopefully with these quirks the series will be more interesting to watch.
The Ugly: Some of the strange character quirks include seeing these girls don cat ears, bunny ears or other strange animal garments. There’s even a girl who always keeps one eye closed. This series will also appeal to fans of cute characters or furries or both.
The Verdict: I’ll watch a couple of more episodes just to see where they are going with this but if something doesn’t happen, I’m finding something else to occupy my time. Like, maybe to go play Mahjong.
2.5 out of 5
Plot: Seitokai Yakuindomo is the second series about the school life of Ousai Academy, a high school that was recently gender intergrated.
The Good: The series is funny in a way that a child finds toilet humour funny.
The Bad: The jokes get repetitive. After watching about five minutes, I can see the punchline coming a mile away. You can probably write this series better than Tozen Ujiie himself but then it wouldn’t be Ousai would it. Also, the interior monologues are sounds like it was recorded inside a gymnasium.
The Ugly: The jokes and the sight gags.
The Verdict: I grew tired before the first episode was finished. I can’t see myself by watching the rest of the series.
1 out of 5
Witch Craft Works
Plot: Honoka discovers that the most popular girl in school is actually a witch who was sent to protect him.
The Good: This series is definitely off the wall with bright and beautiful colours in its animation. The Tower witches make for some interesting characters and they lead an army of evil rabbits (Monty Python eat your heart out). The rabbit army provided the biggest laugh of the episode, so big I almost fell out of my chair. I would tell you what scene but that would be spoiling the first episode. Watch for the rabbits to be one of the coolest collectables next to the Despicable Me Minions. I know they’ll be decorating my shelf soon.
The Bad: The lack of any real in-depth origin story. I guess I’ll have to wait until the second episode to learn more. Or perhaps that was the whole point.
The Ugly: Just Menowa Mei wearing what appears to be the fur of a dead wolf around her neck.
The Verdict: This series is off to a good start. I’ll keep watching as long as the rabbits keep appearing or as long as the magic battles are cool, whichever comes first.
4 out of 5