Undercover Lover

The toughest part about each season is having to make up the WatchRanking chart each week, because so many shows are so many ways of good, and it’s hard to assign a numerical value to them. Despite all that, the other half of premieres rolled past, and here is your abridged view on some real gems this season. I did not have access to my system, so I had to pilfer some screenshots from elsewhere on the internet, so hat tip to Random Curiosity for that, who also reviewed those series too, if you’re interested in multiple angles.

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Your Song is the Song That Saves the World

First week of new season premieres, and I can already tell this is going to be a hell of a season. Four new shows including the preair of Rinne no Lagrange, awaiting the release of the first episode of Zero no Tsukaima F and two more shows airing next week, along with the four carried over from last year. Let’s begin.

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Blog of the Future

More new premieres to detail, and as a whole, this season looks to be shaping up fairly well. About the only thing that could have made it better was more Saki, but gift horse, etc. etc.

Do want

That qualifies as a rape face

If you’ve seen the OVA for Mirai Nikki that was out ago then this will be roughly the same, but some elements of it changed. The basic premise is a boy named Yukiteru Amano normally spends life detailing a cell phone diary about the events around him. He then gets caught up in what he thought was his imagination but is actually “God” running a game where cell phone users are given the ability to see into the future, and all participate in a deathmatch to eliminate each other or the cell phone tied to them (which eliminates the user) to win a place as God’s successor. The trick however is that everyone’s diaries are linked together in a way, and one person is marked DEAD END to encourage each other to target each other, also if someone tries to circumvent a written future, a new one takes its place, and could coincide with another’s written future. So far you’re introduced to Yuki and Yuno Gasai, who is obsessed with Yuki to the point where her diary doesn’t even tell her future, only Yuki’s in ten minute updates, and has a stalker-like mentality towards him.

I have to say, this is one helluva interesting premise, even if it has Mai HiME written on it a little, and eagle-eye viewers might note that one of the diary users looked an awful like Inspector Bloris from GOSICK. Honestly, if this isn’t in your watch list this season, do it, if anything, for creepy rapeface stalker Yuno. Everyone loves female stalkers.

TLDR Watch This: creepy stalker girl, who kills who, that sorta thing
TLDR Don’t Watch This: you live in the past
Sub Group: GotSpeed
First Rating: 8

Looking pretty Amuro there?

Wha, already? Doesn't the Gundam always fight in the second episode?

I have to admit, from the OP of Mobile Suit Gundam AGE I had to make sure I was watching Gundam and not some floozy light-comedy or something. The animation and characters are a bit of a throwback to the older UC series and even the Gundams themselves in the OP look pretty RX-78 and such. But they waste no time giving you the protag, Flit, a backstory of how he obtained the plans for the Gundam and in Kira-like fashion, was set up with a colony and means to build the Gundam with military assistance. Flanking him is Emily, presumably a childhood friend, and a Haro, making it’s debut in the classic green standard size from the original show. Elsewhere is a gaggle of other characters, from an old man who is probably the chief engineer to bridge crew and captains/commanders whom haven’t been fleshed out yet. First episode jumped right in to introducing the baddies and the Gundam immediately jumped to fight without Flit having any piloting experience (of course) but at least he isn’t a whiny bitch like Kira… yet…

TLDR Watch This: Gundam
TLDR Don’t Watch This: fuck you
Sub Group: sage
First Rating: 8

Toast wasn't cutting it.

Oh my, Rei decided to switch personalities for store food

I was a bit skeptical about Ben-To at preview time, but having seen the first episode, this might be just good enough to be good. Basically, when You Satou tries to go into a supermarket to buy something to eat and spots half-price bento, he immediately is attacked by a mob gets knocked out. When he comes to he sees Rei Ayanami Sen Yarizui through the window and subsequently the next day where she warns him not to go to that store. He does anyway, and is again knocked out. This time however, a store clerk revives him and informs him of the war that occurs when the bento are marked half-price at the end of the day. For a third time, You tries and discovers that Sen in fact is the “Ice Witch” responsible for knocking out most contenders and taking the prize. She leaves telling him to come to a club room the next day if he wishes to compete for half-price bento evenly.

Honestly, it’s like a potentially hilarious version of Tengo Tenge, or pick whatever school-fighting genre combo you know of. But at the same time it has this interesting tinge to it that makes me want to watch more. So I suppose it’s doing it’s job.

TLDR Watch This: Rei kicking ass and taking names
TLDR Don’t Watch This: you ever got your ass kicked for buying bad grocery store food
Sub Group: EveTaku
First Rating: 7

The last show to premiere is Guilty Crown which should be this week. Otherwise the docket is full for the season, and if you’re interested in CHARTS, here’s the breakdown for Week 1. Note that since my anime watching time is pretty much Saturday-Sunday, I am adjusting the week to Monday-Sunday instead of Sunday-Saturday. It fits.

GASP. Shana isn’t first. Well, given its weak start compared to the above three, it fit. Given the low number of shows I am watching this season this ranking has the potential to change a lot over the coming weeks, so stay sharp.

CharacterRanking chart is forthcoming. Hold on to your butts.

Squiddin’ to the Left

New season of shows, and several off the start, including Shakugan no Shana III and Ika Musume Season 2. Is your body ready?

Wait, what happened in the last season?

Good Yuji, you're looking kinda badass there

Honestly, I don’t remember the fine details of Shakugan no Shana season two, but I seem to recall the Reiji Maigo being taken from Yuji, giving him a finite amount of time left. By the end, he disappears, but his memory remains in Shana, Yoshida, and the other Flame Hazes. This season’s first episode opens up immediately to what I fear we will be seeing, a somehow reincarnated Yuji versus Shana, for reasons yet revealed. The episode then spends about half the time briefly recapping the end of the last season and putting the pieces together for the episodes moving forward. OP/ED was pretty good as usually, moreso ED than OP, but still good nonetheless. Hopefully they don’t fuck this up.

TLDR Watch This: Shana, Shana, Shana, and melon bread.
TLDR Don’t Watch This: if you’re confused about the story and think this is going to be a terrible segway to the last season of ZnT
Sub Group: Commie
First Rating: 8

I just figured she liked blue

So her braclets control her weight? Tricky.

New season of Ika Musume and the formula remains the same, three mini episodes of silly little antics. Thankfully they do not change much around, characters remain the same and all got a little screen time early on, including the ever insane Sanae and her fetish for “Little Ika”. There isn’t much else to really comment on, it’s a show you’ll watch for the hell of it or not. Don’t expect any real story or meaning or anything.

TLDR Watch This: if you like squddin’ around
TLDR Don’t Watch This: if you’d rather watch the persona 4 anime
Sub Group: FFFpeeps
First Rating: 7

Her slow reaction means she's asking for it

Didn't take long for this to happen in my harem anime

I’m not exactly sure what to make of this, it’s your typical magic powers in school type show, with mostly girls and a few boys, so we’re talking Freezing with a touch of the “childhood friends” harem-type bullshit, mixed with Ikkitousen and probably a touch of Infinite Stratos. Fair warning, most of the girls have tits, and physics-defying ones at that, so fanservice is at maximum here, and probably will stay. How the guys factor into this equation I am not sure yet, but this sounds about the sort of thing you’ll watch just because you can.

TLDR Watch This: fanservice, girls fighting each other, girls fighting each other for the shitty male MC
TLDR Don’t Watch This: harem animes, childhood friends, reminders of kampfer
Sub Group: Hatsuyuki
First Rating: 7

No wait, come back, I need friends

GTFO

So from the same studio which brought you Ore no Imouto comes Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai and I have to say, this is actually looking pretty good from the first episode. You have Yozora Mikazuki who comes off to me as a mix of Haruhi, Shana, and Meme Touwa with Kodaka Hasegawa, a half-British half-Japanese transfer student who gets himself sucked up in Yozora’s idea to form a “Neighbors Club” to make friends, only to attract Sena Kashiwazaki, a popular and good looking girl, but with no real friends either. It borrowed a lot from Haruhi’s premise with the formation of the club, but reminded me a lot of Denpa Otoko. But really, I found a sparkle in this somewhere that makes me thing this might be worth watching.

TLDR Watch This: if like me, you have few/no friends and would like cute girls to act all tsundere around you
TLDR Don’t Watch This: if you thought that above statement was serious
Sub Group: Kanjouteki
First Rating: 8

So the season is starting out well, and three more shows premiere tomorrow, Gundam AGE, mirai Nikki, and Ben-To. Guilty Crown heads up the rear next week. So a somewhat light season this is, but still full of fun, or something.

Heavy

Three more premieres this week for you this week, Mayo Chiki, Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni!, and Usagi Drop. I’ll be honest, this season’s cream of the crop is looking pretty good, much better than I initially expected. So let’s get right to it:

Seriously, didn't even need the entire episode to make that decision

Confirmed for Alpha Protag of Summer 2011

Usagi Drop opens with 30 year old bachelor Daikichi Kawachi, who received word that his maternal grandfather had passed away. Upon arriving at the funeral preparations he encounters a little girl nearby. Mistaking it for one of his relatives’ children, his mother tells him that she is in fact Rin Kaga, his grandfather’s illegitimate child with a woman who took off shortly after. During the funeral he sees her in the corner away from everyone else and no one makes any mention of her or asks for her participation. He asks her to come place a flower inside and she instead picks Rindou flowers from the garden and places them in the box. Daikichi realizes that her name likely was derived from the flower, which was a favorite of his grandfather. After the funeral the family holds a meeting to decide what to do with the child. When no one is willing to help take her in or care for her, preferring to turn her over to an agency, Daikichi becomes angry at the fact no one is willing to step up and help, and asks her to come home with him. From that day on, Daikichi and Rin would live together in his home.

Production I.G and noitaminA have a knack for this sort of thing and I’m pleased as punch for it. Honestly in the same situation I would probably react the same way, and it’s sad that there are situations like this in the real world every day. What’s more impressive is that Rin’s VA, is 10 year old Matsuura Ayu in her first show. Nothing like fostering the next generation of anime VAs early. I expect this show to remain quality throughout its run hopefully, and though there are various rumors on /a/ about its source material, I’m gonna keep my head out of those threads. Or try to anyway.

TLDR Watch This: you can do cat’s cradle too, little girl actually voiced by a little girl
TLDR Don’t Watch This: bad experience with being in a foster home because a bachelor didn’t spring you out sooner
Sub Group: Horrible
First Rating: 7

This gag will likely repeat I imagine

Poor Hideyoshi. Always being mistaken for a girl.

Akihisa Yoshii and the gang are back in Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni!, the sequel to the first series originally aired in Winter 2010. The first episode gets right into the beach episode, as everyone except Hideyoshi shows off their suits and each other a bit before the episode shifts to Aki and Yuuji trying to hit on women to prove that they are still popular guys. Extras include Aki’s sister being crazy and flirtatious, Himeji being cute, and Voyeur doing what he does best, with six cameras and a blood transfusion.

Baka Test is a show that it just fun to watch. It doesn’t attempt to go too far, or take itself seriously sometimes, but it’s got some funny moments with some funny characters, and to kick off with a beach episode is a bit odd, but I’m sure we’ll be back to crazy shit and summoned avatars soon enough.

TLDR Watch This: Hideyoshi, Voyeur, and Himeji
TLDR Don’t Watch This: Aki’s sister, seriously, she gets a little annoying
Sub Group: FFFpeeps
First Rating: 7

Doesn't seem to work in America. I wonder why...

Apparently Japanese laws of physics include your clothes coming off

Mayo Chiki doesn’t waste time getting right into action, as main guy Kinjirou Sakamachi gets roughed up every morning by his sister Kureha before going to school. Upon arriving, he notices the beautiful and fair Kanade Suzutsuki, with her butler Subaru Konoe. Possessing a strange condition where he is sensitive to female touch, he avoids most female contact, leading others to believe that he is gay for Subaru. Unfortunately for him, as he is about to use the restroom, he stumbles upon Subaru wearing printed women’s underwear. He is thrust into a man-to-man fight, accusing Subaru of cross-dressing, when in saving him from a falling object, his clothes come apart to reveal that he is in fact a she. Waking up later in the infirmary, Kanade reveals that the family who has been serving hers for generations produced only a girl in the current generation, but she wishes to still serve as a butler. Under her father, the principals orders, she can as long as she completes school with no one learning of her secret. Kanade shows she is in fact very dominant and evil, and exposes Kin’s secret, forcing him to agree not to tell in exchange for her help in curing his condition.

It’s Ladies x Butlers and MM! combined with hillarious results, and if Kitamura Eri as Kanade doesn’t get you hot and bothered, the other characters briefly introduced, like Nakuru Narumi, might make this series very interesting. I’m holding my expectations at bay, but I’m hoping this series does real well with it’s opening shot.

TLDR Watch This: crossdressing butlers, Kanade, DEM GLASSES
TLDR Don’t Watch This: you’re not a fan of that u-shape rim glasses look, what’s with that anyway?
Sub Group: Ayako
First Rating: 8

AND YOU SIR, CAN BE LAUNCHPAD MCQUACK. GET IN THE PLANE!

I AM THE TERROR THAT FLAPS IN THE-- oh wait... wrong show...

Steins;Gate 14 continues to explore how Okabe tries to rescue Mayushii, and fails each time. After spilling the details to Kurisu, she convinces him to go back farther and convince her past self of the events that are about to unfold and stop the machine from being finished. Unfortunately the machine is still completed, but he manages to convince her that he is from the future, and together they figure that no matter what, Mayushi will die in any scenario because that is how time works. Suzuha Amane steps in and takes them to the building where the satellite crashed. Along the way she explains how within the world line, is smaller lines which Okabe has been jumping to and from in all of the D-Mail experiments. While each line is a different world to him, they all trend towards the same end, meaning no matter what, Mayushi will die. But a different world line exists, and a future Okabe invents a device that can detect the % to the divergence. She then reveals the satellite is in fact a time machine from 2036, and she is John Titor.

I’ve kept away from /a/ and anywhere else, and I’m glad because there is a lot of good shit coming down here, especially on Suzuha. I knew she was from the future, you could tell with her knowledge of what was going to happen, but I didn’t expect her to be the John Titor that was communicating with him. I’m very interested to see what happens now, and I hope they’re about to save Mayushi somehow. Tutturu must rise again.

brb soup

Can Google+ do this? Cause I'll join if it can. I want to be a little girl.

Ro-Kyu-Bu! 2 turns up the DAWWWW factor when it’s found that the Boys’ Basketball Club has a match with the Girls’ Basketball Club, to which if they win, they win the rights to practice everyday, where if the girls win, they have to share the gym. Subaru tries to stay out and finish his last day, but in running into Tomoka outside and inviting her to play at his home, he found her determination and willingness to play as strong or stronger than his own, and he promised to continue coaching the team to the match with the boys. We got another maid shot at the end of the episode, and basketballan. Good for now.

No show yet for Nekogami Yaoyorozu, though sources on my Twitter say FFFpeeps may be doing it. I downloaded and skimmed the raw earlier, it looks interesting, but very sporadic and of-the-moment comedy and action. I have a couple other shows in backup that I may swap in depending on the outcome, such as Yuru Yuri, Kamisama Dolls, and R-15.

I also still owe out reviews on Seikon no Qwaser I and II, forthcoming sometime soon, as well as Star Driver, whenever I finish it. Steam Summer Sale has not made that easy.

Only a Stone’s Throw

Happy Independence Day everyone, and while many are celebrating FREEDOM in the form of parties and such, I decided to get a head-start on the Summer 2011 season of weeaboo visuals, so without further words, here’s your first look at four new shows I’m watching this season along with the rollovers from last season, Hanasaku Iroha and Nichijou

and options are optional

IT'S GOT OPTIONAL OPTIONS

Not much was known about Sacred Seven before release, other than it was billed as a new school comedy slash fighting series. Well, it’s safe to assume that by now what we’re seeing is a series about a guy named Alma Nidoshi, who seems to have been possessed by some kinda evil stone power. Years previous, he went berserk and hurt a bunch of classmates. This earned him the reputation among his student body for being a feared hothead. Only Wakana Itou, a female classmate of his, seems to be unaffected by this and tries to get him to join her club that has something to do with rocks and gems. Meanwhile Blossom Ruri Aiba, heir to Aiba Industries, scouts Alma in relation to his power, and when another stone monster attacks, manages to run into him while he attempts to save Wakana near a bus stop. Using some power within her, she cleanses the evil power within him and converts his appearance into something that looks like Viewtful Joe crossed with Zero crossed with Mega Man with powers comparable to Wonderboy Mega Man. He proceeds to knock out the monster and save the day.

I’ll be honest, I was going into this series with the expectation of getting something similar to Code Geass, and that doesn’t seem to be the case yet. I can’t put my finger on what it reminds me of though. Still, the jump right into action on the first episode suggests they are either going to grip this one and go, or it’s going to slow down to a “monster-of-the-week” schedule for a period of time. Character-wise, not feeling a whole lot from anyone not named Wakana, who seems to be the only one with a personality so far. Not that Ruri and her servant weren’t a little fun in this episode, but the definate highlight was Aiba Industries battle maids, who seem to know how to fire a sniper rifle and dress in ways that make my pants explode. I’d keep your eyes on this series folks, it might go somewhere.

TLDR Watch This: Mega Man and Roll, Battle Maids, you like rocks
TLDR Don’t Watch This: You had a bad experience with rocks, high school hijinks, you think Spinzaku will make a cameo
Sub Group: gg
First Rating: 8

This series is gonna get me locked up

You can call me anything you want kids... wait... did I just say kids...

Elementary school basketball, that is what Ro-Kyu-Bu! is all about, and apparently I either miswrote the gender of our protagonist Subaru Hasegawa in my preview chart or they changed it up. Suburu is a male high school basketball player whose club was suspended for a year for an unspecified reason. His sister, a elementary school teacher/advisor, asks him to help teach the elementary school basketball team for three days. He reluctantly agrees and is greeted by five girls, Hinata, Tomoka, Maho, Saki, and Airi. They’re very happy to have him teach them, but also somewhat impatient, especially Maho who thinks practicing should yield the same results as RPG video games. Only Tomoka has experience playing basketball and Suburu takes notice of this.

It’s cute girls playing sports, but it’s cute underage girls playing sports. Every character archtype is here, the level-headed Tomoka, the smart and straightforward Saki, the snappy and sassy Maho, the innocent and reserved Hinata, and the unusually tall and busty Airi. Suburu is the typical boy who doesn’t want to play the game anymore for reasons unspecified, but will likely find his passion for the sport again through these girls. It’s got funny and cute moments, and really, that’s all you probably need. Hopefully it doesn’t try to go too far out-of-bounds. See what I did there? That just happened.

TLDR Watch This: cute girls playing basketball, a girl that looks like Mikuru
TLDR Don’t Watch This: cute girls playing basketball, if you want to avoid the Party Van
Sub Group: Doki
First Rating: 7

I wonder if Japanese girls look like this, probably is damn cute

MAXIMUM DAWWWWWWWWWWW

Last season we had GOSICK, which had a mild start but ended so fantastically I was thrilled. This season we have Ikoku Meiro no Croisee which takes us to 19th Century Paris where Oscar Claudel returns to Paris from a trip to Japan, where he brings back items that might be of interest to his and his grandson Claude’s sign shop, “Enseignes du Roy” in the shopping district. He also brings back a Japanese child named Yune who will be serving as an attendant and “poster girl” for the shop. It is not explained how or why she leaves and accompanies Oscar, something that may be detailed later. At first Claude believes she cannot understand French, as all she does is stand and smile, or nod. He proceeds to finish a sign for a shop down the street when her outfit accidentally catches it and breaks the glass in the metal frame. Distraught she offers a kimono to him to sell which he takes to a clothing shop to sell in the shop’s name. As it turns out however, the kimono was one of her prized possessions, from her mother. When he goes to confront her about giving away such an item, she spills out everything to him, in his language. She could understand him the entire time and remained quiet out of courtesy. Claude promises he will get it back for her, and makes her promise not to give away anything else dear to her.

I was very pleased with everything I got here from the first episode, it was quiet and quaint, even had title voice-overs in French. The hardest thing about these kinda series is that while the language spoken is Japanese for the Japanese viewer, it’s implied that the language being spoken by anyone other than Yune, or to Yune, is French. They do not explain how Yune knows French or anything of the sort. So that makes the first episode interesting because you couldn’t tell if she understood what was being said, or was simply being polite and aware of her position as a child and attendant. Remember, in those days, children were often not allowed to address anyone until spoken to, or speak out of turn, something we don’t do today. The visuals were very nicely done, from her outfits to the scenes around them. Some say it was a boring start, but I think it fit exactly what it should for the series, and there were even a few funny moments thrown in. Overall, this is shoring up to be a keeper.

TLDR Watch This: if uiharu went back in time and became a child, cute girl doing cute cleaning things
TLDR Don’t Watch This: the french
Sub Group: Ayako
First Rating: 8

I've got your dox right here

No you don't understand, I am LulzSec

Kami-sama no Memo-Chou debuted in a full hour of power, 2 episodes essentially. Somehow I think it needed two episodes to start just to set us up for the fact that this girl is essentially Sherlock Holmes, Jigoku Shoujo, and LulzSec, all in one. The essential plot of this series is Yuuko “Alice” Shionji, is a NEET girl surrounded by monitors and computer equipment who investigates mysteries and compiles information on people, with help from other kids who also are either NEETs or interested in her cause and do the outside work for her. Narumi Fujishima ends up witnessing the team’s current case as he was walking home from school and rather unwillingly becomes a member of the team, alongside the playboy Hiroaki “Hiro” Kuwahara, military enthusiast Hitoshi “Major” Mukai, and toughguy Tetsuo “Tetsu” Ichinomiya. They all gather behind a ramen shop run by Minli “Min” Huang, whom Narumi’s classmate and Gardening Club member Ayaka Shinozaki works for. Narumi and the others are thrust into solving Alice’s latest case, involving a missing prostitute and her friend who assumed her role to search for her. In the end, Alice acquired enough data to confront the girl and inform her of the missing girl’s plight. Afterwards, Narumi becomes a permanent member of the team.

It’s Jigoku Shoujo and GOSICK in a nutshell, with a girl who has eccentrics that scale multiple vectors. Despite that, it’s a very enjoyable watch and depending on where it takes us, may be pretty awesome. The visuals are nothing to hit home about, other than the detail to Alice’s room and computer setup, but the wide range of characters are pretty interesting and the story seems fairly solid for a “case-of-the-week” format, which will likely lead into something larger. I do find it interesting that she actually does go out of her room, apparently only to do the final bit of storytelling, which is what reminded me of Jigoku Shoujo. Overall, worth your watch.

TLDR Watch This: female master hackers, her cute expressions, ramen
TLDR Don’t Watch This: annoying side characters, ramen
Sub Group: gg
First Rating: 8

Tell Jed to tell Jed I resampled his title

I Don't See Nothin' Wrong.. With Minko's Blue Bot-tom

The beach episode of Hanasaku Iroha 14 is here, and there was not as much beach as I might’ve wanted, and far too much Yuina involved. Apparently she is the fiancee of the head clerk of the inn they’re staying at, and he wants to be with her and run the inn, she thinks differently. It’s not until his hired help quits that she forces her hand and informs him of this, as the episode ends. My guess is either some lawls to the walls moments will happen next, or Ohana will step up and try to help the inn serve her entire class. More likely, right?

God I love the facial expressions in this series

YOU SIT THE FUCK DOWN AND KNOW YOUR ROLE MOTHERFUCKER

After a brief confrontation with a co-worker last week, I found this entire RAGE FIGHT in Nichijou 14 to be spot on, had I actually fought back. New OP and ED for the series, this time featuring Nano alongside the trio, indicating she will be a part of their wacky hijinks for the second half of the series. I have to admit I liked the first OP music better, but the visuals in the second are better. Still, the highlight of this episode was EPIC RAGE FIGHT, and a Snickers bar. Oh that Professor~

More new anime this week, as everything on my list except Dantalian no Shoka premieres on Friday and Saturday. I’ve got a good feeling about this season again, which was not where I was with it a couple months ago, so this should be good. Especially when Baka Test 2 starts, aww yeah motherfuckers. It’s on.