Friday 15 April 2016

Streaming: Spring 2016 anime first impressions

Even setting aside the matter of whether the individual shows are good or mediocre, this season marks a huge change in the viewing experience for anime fans based in the UK and Ireland. After moaning after them in every first impressions post since I started this blog Funimation have finally sorted themselves out and opened their simulcast offerings up to fans in my country. This has virtually doubled my access to streaming anime overnight and to make things even better the service they offer is actually good, with basic features like schedules, social media notifications and a decent browser video player all up and running on their beta website. When their apps are ready the Funimation Now service will be as good as Crunchyroll and I dearly hope that the day will eventually come where everyone outside Japan has proper access to legal streams.

It's not all happy news though. Viewster's anime streaming enterprise has completely self-destructed, ruining my hope of a multilingual, pan-European service to rival Hulu in the US. Animax UK hasn't managed to license anything at all this season which makes their reason to exist questionable (arguably a good thing; their service is so poor that they couldn't organise a bun fight in a bakery). The Anime Network have continued licensing UK exclusives (ok, one show) but aren't doing a very convincing job of justifying their price tag for anyone living outside their core market. Meanwhile Daisuki continue to hang around, and while they have no content I'm interested in for the spring season I hope that their situation doesn't change. There's also a worrying trend brewing with big announcements from Amazon and Netflix which I'll be talking about more later on.

Politics aside, it's ultimately the quality of the anime which matters and I've managed to watch at least one episode of everything I'm likely to have access to by now. So here are my first impressions.

I'm not a huge fan of shows about 'cute girls doing cute things' in general, so I was pleased when this wacky series spiced up the usual formula with a healthy dose of energetic comedy. The premise is simple; the heroines are all young girls cursed with unnaturally bad luck. For some reason their school decides that it would be best to put all of the unluckiest students together in one class, and from that arrangement firm friendships are made (and tested). All of the usual clumsy, awkward schoolgirl antics are present and amplified a thousandfold which should make for irritating viewing, yet somehow it works. The bubbly lead keeps the mood light the whole time even though Anne-Happy isn't really my kind of show.

Good comedy, it turns out, is an art

It's K-On!! only with motorbikes and less cake. There's not much to say about this series; it's not exactly bad but it's also not terribly interesting despite a fetishistic obsession with highly detailed renderings of real bikes. If you like Japanese motorcycles you probably owe it to yourself to watch it no matter what you think about dizzy high school girls. I didn't expect that the bike Hane learns to drive on would end up being the best character in the show; giving the bikes their own personalities is a fun touch.

My second favourite character is Onsa's unruly hairstyle

Big Order
As one of the few anime fans around who hasn't seen or read Mirai Nikki this is the first exposure I've had to creator Esuno Sakae. So far he's made a positive impression: the premise of Mirai Nikki was certainly interesting enough to get people talking a few years ago and now Big Order offers another imaginative foundation for a modern day action story. People with the ability to turn their hopes into reality have begun appearing and naturally, regular human beings aren't too happy about the inevitable abuses of power that these individuals - known as 'Orders' - represent. Eiji is one of the earliest Orders and he's spent the last decade blaming himself for a childish wish to destroy the world, a wish which brought about a disaster which killed countless people and changed the course of history forever. To make matters worse, Orders are treated like criminals and he's now being pursued by a psychotic schoolgirl out for revenge against the one who caused the disaster which ruined her life. And the mysterious entity responsible for the onset of his powers seems deeply amused by everything that's going on, hinting that Eiji's understanding of events might not be all that it seems. I'm not sure whether I like Big Order yet, but in spite of the abrupt violence, mewling little sisters and bizarre tonal shifts, it's certainly done the job of piquing my curiosity.

(Personal theories: Eiji's wish didn't cause the disaster at all. Instead, it was the trigger for his pet magical girl to go around creating additional Orders, indirectly making his life hell and causing the destruction of society in a different way entirely. Or it just created a super villain based on the wicked television character of which he was fond.)

The first episode was very screenshot-friendly

Bishoujo Yuugi Unit Crane Girl (Crane Game Girls)
There's an audience for this kind of cheaply-animated silliness, and I'm not in it. If girls in arcades are your idea of a good time perhaps you'll get more out of it than I did.

I immediately forgot everything that happened

Boku No Hero Academia (My Hero Academia)
The latest in a long line of superhero anime with a colourful flair reminiscent of Tiger & Bunny. Deku is a regular boy who idolises superheroes and wants to become one himself. Unfortunately, even though superpowers are now commonplace Deku had the bad luck to be born as one of the minority of people in his generation without any special 'quirk' of his own. Every day he has to suffer the indignity of being teased by those with fantastic abilities, yet he hasn't lost his good nature and still tries to do what's best. When the show begins we see Deku's life forever changed after a chance meeting with veteran hero All Might. The series' debut was delayed with the belayed launch of Funimation Now so I watched the first two episodes together as a double bill, and the splendid, colourful heroics make this shounen action show an easy recommendation. I'll keep watching.

It's difficult to dislike young Deku

Also available on Crunchyroll. I wasn't sure where to put this five episode miniseries since it isn't a regular television anime and its schedule is erratic, but I may as well include it here. Speaking as one of the few people in the gaming world with no particular interest in Final Fantasy XV, the creation of an anime is an excellent way to spread awareness beyond the core audience of people who follow big budget games. The first episode did little to dispel my preconceptions that this is going to be a lengthy game about a bunch of annoying guys with nice hair on a road trip, however it did prompt me to download the special 'platinum demo' which I wouldn't otherwise have tried. I guess I'll watch the rest of this high budget advertisement for the game just in case it goes somewhere before the end of its anime run.

Hard to have a favourite when they all seem annoying

Bungou Stray Dogs
Hey, what if Read Or Die met Karneval and borrowed a tiny dash of the style of Cowboy Bebop? You'd end up with something like Bungou Stray Dogs, a show about a team of super-powered misfits with an eccentric literary theme. The setup is something we've seen a thousand times before with a normal guy getting swept up in the adventures of a pair of mysterious strangers - but it's done well, and seeing names like Edogawa Ranpo and Dazai Osamu in the list of main characters virtually guarantees that it will be interesting. The production values are relatively high and I like the aesthetic choices.

Dazai looks pretty cool when he's not goofing around

A reasonably generic action romp about Shun, a boy with a passion for crystals who suddenly finds himself teleported to another world after heading out on an errand. It's there he meets a much angrier-looking boy who has been thrown into a dungeon for attempting to kill the king. Naturally, things rapidly escalate and Shun's newfound friend has to help him learn to produce a magical weapon and master combat within a couple of minutes in order to help get them both out of trouble. The hero looks older than he's supposed to be which makes his lack of common sense a little grating. There's nothing wrong with Endride so far, it's just strangely devoid of any enthusiasm as it lifelessly trudges through the standard tropes of its genre. In fairness I think it would be quite fun if I was still in my teens and willing to check out the accompanying smartphone game.

Shun is a good kid, through and through

Flying Witch
An everyday story apparently set in the real world with a slight twist - the lead character is secretly a witch! Makoto and her pet cat have travelled from her home in Yokohoma to live with relatives in Aomori as part of a coming of age tradition in witch society, but she has to finish her regular human education before her parents will consider her a true adult. By the end of the first episode her witch powers haven't come into play very often as she's been focusing on settling in and making friends with the people in and around her new household. Flying Witch has a sweet kind of charm even if it's not really the kind of series I tend to follow. Chito the cat's human-looking eyes are a little creepy.

My respect to the production team for resisting a panty shot

Gyakuten Saiban: Sono 'Shinjitsu', Igi Ari! (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney)
On one hand I'm not really sure whether this direct adaptation of the first game in the Gyakuten Saiban series has much to offer to new viewers unfamiliar with the inherent ridiculousness of the original material. It completely spoils all of the content from the first game, and it isn't all that well animated. On the other hand, it's an anime adaptation of one of my favourite series, so I don't care! This is great. It's been years since I played the original and I've forgotten most of the events and characters, so I can't wait to watch a new episode of this (perhaps excessively) faithful anime adaptation each week. The melodramatic opening sequence is also hilarious. Hurrah!

The most moe character of the season?

This series is also available via Funimation Now. It's about a group of timid schoolgirls working hard towards their nautical ambitions at a female-only vocational school by the coast. They're all impossibly cute and Haifuri (an abbreviation of High School Fleet) does little to avoid the usual hijinks so far; not only is the lead Akeno introduced by falling over flat on her face, she even manages to trip someone else at the same time by dropping a banana skin. That's some incredible clumsiness at work. I suddenly realised after a few minutes that the success of Kancolle can probably be thanked for the existence of this kind of show; it would be a perfectly ordinary school series if its aquatic theme is ignored. While the second half of the episode provided some interesting story potential it's difficult to believe that it's going to improve as time goes on.

She hasn't done much to impress me

Hakuouki Otogisoushi
It doesn't seem as though there's going to be an English-subtitled simulcast for the Hakuouki spin-off this season so I watched the first untranslated episode on the DLE YouTube channel instead, which were thankfully region-free. The show is rather average. It's comprised of short, cheaply-animated gag episodes aimed squarely at fans who already know the scenarios from the games, so there isn't much to have a strong opinion about at the moment. I'm not sure whether I'll continue. Somehow I never realised how similar Souji sounds to the way Morikubo voices Impey from Code Realize before now.

It turns out that I still remember enough to get the jokes

This is the usual mediocre light novel romantic school power fantasy show that every anime season seems to have lately, though it stands out by having an unusually high quality transition into its excellent opening theme. Unfortunately it's all downhill from there. Hot shot Hayato meanders through highly original situations such as sharing his room with a cute girl in the least convincing male disguise I've ever seen, fretting over his sickly little sister, annoying the resident 'queen' of the school, accidentally sexually harassing women and generally impressing people with his amazing prowess in a made-up combat style. I don't see how this is going to go anywhere good and there's no point describing the plot further because it's the same one I've seen a thousand times before. No thanks.

One episode was plenty when I've seen the same story before

JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond Is Unbreakable (JoJo No Kimyou Na Bouken)
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is back for the fourth generation of its wild generation-spanning story, this time apparently focusing on the town of Moriou rather than the massive journey to Egypt we saw in 2014's Stardust Crusaders. Our newest JoJo is Higashikata Jousuke, a well-coiffed young man who has already done well to learn to control and conceal his stand Crazy Diamond alone without any sign of guidance from his absent father. The series kicks off with a bang when Joutarou visits Moriou to warn Jousuke of an ominous threat hanging over his peaceful life, and even from the first episode it was rapidly evident that this is going to be a fun watch once again. I love this series. It's great to be in an arc I know almost nothing about; let's hope I can remain spoiler-free throughout its entire run!

Everyone is as deeply fashionable as always

Joker Game
An intriguing spy series set just before World War II, a time when Japan was very different to the way it is now. Sakuma, a relatively straightforward soldier, is assigned to a highly trained team of secret agents and forced to become used to their uncanny way of viewing the world. The artwork is slick and clean, there's a tense atmosphere throughout and all of the historical military trappings make for a pleasant backdrop to the scheming. There are also themes which relate to modern political issues and fears. In short, this is riveting stuff and I'm eager to see where it will go. Even if I'm still having a little trouble telling the eight handsome male spies apart.

In the wolves' den

A fantastically high energy Studio Trigger show which plays with the words 'bonds' ('kizuna') and 'wounds' ('kizu') by introducing an experimental new system where people can be linked together to share in one another's pain. A group of schoolmates with various personality problems suddenly find themselves bound together in this way after a beautiful girl expresses interest in hero Katsuhira's apparently inability to feel physical pain. Having only seen the first episode at the time of writing, it's difficult to glean much more about the plot and characters at this point but that doesn't really matter - KIZNAIVER has already done a fine job of justifying its inclusion on my schedule and I'll be following it throughout the season. Crunchyroll is also publishing the KIZNAIVER manga simultaneously for those who can't get enough of the series.

The dazzling character designs keep things visually appealing

Koutetsujou No Kabaneri (Kabaneri Of The Iron Fortress)
It's a shame that this promising series is being used as a pawn in Amazon's greedy grab for the wallets of anime fans; it's a worldwide Amazon Prime exclusive even though Prime Video is only available in a handful of countries, so they're sending the message that the majority of foreign anime fans across the world have to pirate the show or miss out entirely. Furthermore, you can't even pay for the episodes on their own; you have to subscribe to Prime. Although I can watch it by logging in with my company account I'm not that keen on what this means for anime as a whole. Will it ever get a physical release in the west? Why are companies allowed to encourage piracy by locking so many countries out entirely? If you don't want Prime video for anything else since there are no other anime simulcasts, how does this kind of arrangement represent value to the customer? It's just a horrible, horrible situation and I don't want to support it at all.

A somewhat unlikeable, shouty main character
Anyway, the show itself is pretty good, as expected of something with such a star-studded staff list. Humanity is living in constant paranoia as dangerous vampire-like monsters called Kabane terrorise and infect the vulnerable. People hide themselves away in walled cities and turn on one another in fear, but our hero is fixated on finding a way to fight back against these beasts even when it means that he's going against the established class system in his society. It's obviously drawing a lot of inspiration from Shingeki No Kyojin (Attack On Titan) and other recent hits - there were a few cuts in the middle of the first episode which directly referenced scenes from its spiritual predecessor and the Sawano soundtrack doesn't help the comparisons. I'm going to drop Koutetsujou No Kabaneri for now but I'll pick up a Blu-ray set for those Mikimoto designs alone - if a less selfish company is allowed to license it later on, that is. For shame, Amazon.

The animation is way better when the cute girls are on screen

Kumamiko (Girl Meets Bear)
Ah, a moe version of Gingitsune. Machi is a young girl who works at a quiet village shrine where she's watched over by a huge talking bear called Natsu who is much kinder than he looks. One day, Machi confesses that she wants to leave the rural village and head to the big city to experience the thrills of urban life. Natsu doesn't approve at all, so he agrees that she can make her own decisions so long as she can prove to him that she's streetwise enough to survive far away from home. He's surprisingly knowledgeable about human society for a bear and from this beginning we get a taste of the duo's relationship which underpins the heartwarming comedy of the rest of Kumamiko. The laughs came thick and fast in the first episode which made adding the series to my schedule an easy decision.

A fluffy comedy which is actually funny!

Mayoiga (The Lost Village)
A group of thirty misfits from various walks of life have gathered together to 'start over' in a mysterious village far from the daily struggles they want to escape. They gather together on a tour bus and set off towards their destination with blind optimism (or desperation) pushing them onwards towards their ideal of self-sufficient living. From the very first episode it's clear that there's something strange about the promises the group's guides are making; it sounds too good to be true, and of course there's going to be a reason for this. In addition, the tour group is composed of people from such a broad variety of backgrounds that there are already signs of conflicts brewing before they even reach the promised village. I'm getting a pleasantly dark atmosphere from the show and since I knew nothing about it in advance, it's going to be interesting to watch the plot gradually unravelling from week to week. Count me in.

A large cast of characters, but for how long?

Netoge No Yome Ha Onna No Ko Ja Nai To Omotta? (And you thought there is never a girl online?)
A late entry as this was initially locked to the US before Funimation Now came through with a UK-accessible simulcast a week after it first aired. As a strong contender for the show with the most hackneyed, grammatically-challenged official English title to date, this is one of the standard light novel adaptations about a misunderstood gamer and his misadventures in 'love' after discovering that some males use female characters in online games. He still feels bitter about a previous bad experience (which was completely his fault for being an insensitive, pushy dork) - until a sexy, adorable healer named Ako starts pursuing him romantically and eventually persuades him to give her a chance as his in-game wife. It turns out that Ako is a nerdy girl in real life with a few issues of her own, and as all of the players in their group just happen to attend the same school in the real world it isn't long before Hideki becomes tangled up with her there too. MMORPG players will enjoy the occasionally razor sharp in-jokes about gaming culture, and fans of fantasy light novel adaptations will probably appreciate the lecherous way the camera pans up Ako's breasts, butt and thighs at every opportunity. I like the irony of the fact that most of the male characters seem to be played by real-life girls - and the fact that their guild master is hilarious in both the game and reality. Still, I don't think the potential for worthwhile social commentary outweighs the inherent annoyingness of the series.

Their weird caster buddy is way better than the two leads

Nijiiro Days (Rainbow Days) and Club Rainbow
This is a show from last season which I never had an opportunity to watch back when it was region locked away from me. Nijiiro Days isn't exactly deep; in fact, it's incredibly fluffy and superficial. A group of four idealised young men fumble through romance and school life. That's more or less all that happens; it's the kind of thing I'd happily watch mindlessly during some free time. Which I'm quite short on at the moment. As a seiyuu fan, it's worth noting that each half-length episode is accompanied by the corresponding episode of the series' Club Rainbow variety show which is very entertaining in its own right.

Young love...

Pan de Peace!
Cute girls bond over bread. I gave it a try and as expected, it wasn't my kind of thing. There really isn't much more to say.

Why do cute, harmless things grate on me so much?

Re: ZERO Kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu (Re: ZERO -Starting Life In Another World-)
Yet another of the seemingly never-ending copy/paste fantasy shows about a sarcastic loser from the real world somehow finding himself in a fantasy world. Of course, he gets in trouble and a stunningly beautiful magic-using woman suddenly pops up to save him, and the whole thing initially seemed to be relying on the fast-paced dialogue even though nobody had anything interesting to say. The first episode was a double bill which I initially took to be an exercise in cruelty as I forced myself through the whole thing.

Although super-perfect half-elf Satella is extremely pretty...
However, the plot developed in an unusual direction after the halfway point and incredibly fixed most of the issues the first part had in one fell swoop, as well as introducing a fun character voiced by the delightful Noto Mamiko. It's a shame the lead guy and his bevy of young girls are so deeply, deeply irritating or I might have given it a few more episodes to win me over.

The whole thing just made me want to watch the second half of last season's Hai To Gensou No Grimgar more instead. Perhaps I will, now it's available through Funimation at last.

I like her more

Sansha Sanyou (Three Leaves, Three Colours)
Three schoolgirls with challenging personalities end up becoming firm friends despite their differences, and they each happen to have the character for 'leaf' somewhere in their names linking them together. The designs are great; it's a shame I don't find pouty young girls hanging out to be all that exciting. This is another one for the cute schoolgirl crowd.

Idealised schoolgirls, nothing more to see here

Seisen Cerberus: Ryuukoku No Fatalit├ęs
A bit of a mess, albeit an attractive one. Seisen Cerberus looks like a fairly bland fantasy romp about a young man who is trying to thwart a great evil after his parents failed; in fact, the entire script feels as though it's been assembled from better shows line by line. It's apparently based on a mobile game so there's probably an existing audience who will enjoy seeing their fantasy world brought to life in spite of its lack of entertainment value for the uninitiated. The character designs are nice, at least. I like that the male lead (and almost everyone else) has a sassy grin and thick black mascara in every shot.

Fans of beautiful girls should like the artwork

Shounen Ashibe GO! GO! Goma-chan
Young Ashibe is a little boy who encounters (and immediately adopts) an adorable baby seal. It's exactly what you'd expect from the scenario and promotional artwork; a lighthearted, comical slice of life aimed squarely at those who love cute things.

If you think you'll like it from this picture, you probably will

Shounen Maid
A softer, less funny version of Hayate No Gotoku with the distinction that young Chihiro is forced to dress as a maid - frilly apron and all - rather than a butler when he's employed by a long-lost uncle after losing the rest of his family. The way it plays out is less harsh than the summary makes it sound; Chihiro's own hardworking streak is the reason he's forced to earn his keep and his uncle only wants the best for him. Still, most of the humour is tied to the spectacle of a boy being made to dress as a maid and I'm not sure how far that particular gag can be stretched over the course of a full length series, especially when it's not long before he looks perfectly natural and content in the outfit. Shimazaki Nobunaga's portrayal of crazy uncle Madoka stood out as a particularly good vocal performance and the ending theme song is great.

It turns out that Chihiro is a natural-born housekeeper

Sousei No Onmyouji (Twin Star Exorcists)
An everyday shounen series about Rokuro, a talented exorcist who is now more interested in chasing girls than purging evil spirits after a traumatic experience in the past. The art style is bold and colourful, and it's quite watchable despite being spoiled by puerile breast-groping and some extremely inconsistent translation choices for the various mystical terminology. It seems that the plot is going to develop in an irritating direction later on with the two leads being destined to marry and produce the ultimate exorcist (!?) so I'll bow out now, eternally wondering why we don't see more male characters who keep their magical talismans stowed underneath their skirts as an excuse for some great thigh shots mid-battle. A missed opportunity.

Rokuro has great fangs!

Super Lovers
The series that's got everyone talking for all the wrong reasons thanks to the questionable age difference between the two young male leads. I'm not sure why this is suddenly an outrage when shows about underaged girls getting groped seem to come out every single season, but it seems misplaced when - so far, at least - the relationship between Haru and his troubled adoptive brother has been treated realistically and without a trace of sleaziness. Thankfully. There's still plenty of time for that to change and I certainly hope it doesn't resort to dubious pandering, because at the moment it's a pleasant show about a pair of brothers who form a bond despite their odd backgrounds and personal tragedies. The glimpses into the clash between Japanese and Canadian culture are also rather funny because the portrayal of life in Canada is so heavily exaggerated, but in its defense I'm not sure who watches BL for realistic settings in the first place.

Impossible to tell whether he's sweet or creepy yet

Tanaka-kun Is Always Listless (Tanaka-kun Ha Itsumo Kedaruge)
Tanaka is a boy who is always drowsy and listless. That's the whole plot. The series follows the efforts of Tanaka's inhumanly supportive buddies as they drag his lifeless body around and try to help him participate in daily school activities without falling asleep. It's not bad, but I feel it would work better as a series of shorts rather than a full-length television anime. The pacing is so relaxed that it's difficult to appreciate the jokes.

He does eventually demonstrate a personality, deep down

Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou
A comical series of half-length episodes about the disinterested son of a tonkatsu shop owner who unexpectedly gets interested in working as a nightclub DJ. As luck would have it, his tonkatsu chef experience directly translates into mixing skills, so his newfound passion for music will also help him improve his commitment to the family business and vice versa. It's difficult to imagine anyone feeling so passionate about this show that they'd want to watch it regularly but it's a fun diversion. Perhaps those who enjoy scratching and/or tonkatsu will see something more to it.

The food-themed character names are silly

Uchuu Patrol Luluco (Space Patrol Luluco)
Trigger's other show this season is the whimsical comedy Uchuu Patrol Luluco, a series of short episodes about a normal girl living in a region where aliens are an everyday sight. The designs and general hyperactive tone immediately reminded me of Kill la Kill. It's watchable enough but nothing special as things currently stand. Perhaps I'll marathon it when there's more available.

Fun, wacky visuals

Ushio To Tora season 2
At this point I'm only still watching Ushio To Tora out of obligation since we're approaching the end of the story and it seems like a waste to drop out after having come so far. The writing for the block-headed female characters is so horrendous that it causes me physical pain to hear some of the dialogue and Tora's exaggeratedly tsundere attitude towards Ushio isn't much better. All of the characters in this series are stupid. I'm not sure how faithful the material is to the original (rather dated) manga but if JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is an example of how to deliver an older series in a way that's relevant for a modern audience, Ushio To Tora is probably the opposite. On the bright side, the introduction of a mysterious new character voiced by the inimitable Wakamoto Norio has given me hope that things will pick up as we move towards the final confrontation.

Just be honest about your feelings, for heaven's sake

Wagamama High Spec
A series of mini episodes, the first of which spends far more time stripping all of the female characters down to their lingerie than it does establishing the plot. I understand from reading the synopsis that there's actually a male main character who will presumably turn up later on when lecherous shots of the girls cease being entertaining, and the premise is that he's secretly a manga artist. Which naturally means that he's immediately surrounded by cute, scantily-clad high school girls at every turn, just like real manga artists. In Wagamama High Spec's defense, it's based on an adult game so silly antics are par for the course. I hope they managed to attract the audience they were looking for with the first episode as there isn't much to tempt me to hang around and meet the absent hero.

It's not that easy to find flattering shots in the first episode


Then there's a rather long list of sequels and spin-offs for shows I don't follow:

Concrete Revolutio season 2 (also available from Funimation)
Future Card Buddyfight Triple D
Kagewani -II- (Shou)
Kaitou Joker season 3
Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn RE:0096
Kyoukai no RIN-NE season 2
The Asterisk War: The Academy City On The Water (Gakusen Toshi Asterisk) second season

Actually I'd have liked to watch RIN-NE - if there was a way to watch the first season. It's not even licensed for home video in my country so the value of only having the sequel is questionable.

And here are the legal English-subtitled streams that people in the UK have no access to because we're not as important as people who happen to live in America:

Region locked English simulcast titles (unavailable here)

Bishoujo Senshi Sailor Moon Crystal: Death Busters
Sakamoto Desu Ga? (Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto)

Macross Delta's situation with no simulcast at all is unavoidable, but why, Sailor Moon, why? How did things go from a multilingual global simulcast to this mess? It's rather annoying that we finally cracked the Funimation situation only for it to be replaced by Sentai hoarding licenses away instead. It's great to see how small this list is even if the numbers mask a few frustrating problems.

Shows which are technically available but too expensive to watch

A brand new category inspired by the ridiculous power struggles between uncompetitive services holding anime fans to ransom! Amazon's one exclusive avoided inclusion by virtue of me happening to have access to someone else's Prime account, but Sentai have licensed the three-minute bishoujo series Onigiri for the UK this season. As it's exclusive to their Anime Network site and requires a subscription to watch it's an absolutely terrible deal. Even I can't justify paying for a month's subscription to see three minutes of something I will probably hate.

I'll also give Kuromukoro a special mention here as it's gone straight to Netflix. I am not paying for a Netflix subscription to see one show and they don't offer any other way to view their content on a delay, so it's not getting watched. Sorry, Kuromukuro. It's at least encouraging that Netflix is finally getting the idea of simulcasts rather than holding exclusives back for months to await a dub.

Netflix apparently have Magi: Sinbad No Bouken in some regions too. They don't provide much information so I'm still not sure whether they have it in the UK. Even if they do I can't watch it because my Magi viewing experience has already been destroyed by Animax messing up the simulcast of the second season and Aniplex USA neglecting to release it on Blu-ray. The series is cursed, and I don't want to see a spin-off without having seen the whole of the television version.

I wish these greedy services would at least offer free delaycasts (like the services I support) in order to attract new customers like myself. Since they don't, I'm just going to moan about them instead.


I'm going to assume that the unlicensed shows are going to stay that way for the immediate future so these are the only first impressions for the time being.

Here are my guesses for the most enjoyable spring shows:

1. JoJo's Bizarre Adventure
2. Kiznaiver
3. Joker Game

Kumamiko could still come out of nowhere and crush everything else. It's going to be a tight battle for the end of season rankings.

The schedule for this season is unusual; for the first time ever I'm only following titles which air on sites which publish an actual schedule. No more randomly-guessed airdates! The spread of episodes throughout the week is also reasonably manageable which should give me time to keep up with all of the Sengoku Basara news I want to read in between. Great!

Monday: Nothing!
Tuesday: Joker Game
Wednesday: Bungou Stray Dogs, Super Lovers
Thursday: Nothing!
Friday: JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Mayoiga, Ushio & Tora
Saturday: Gyakuten Saiban, Kiznaiver
Sunday: Boku No Hero Academia, Kumamiko

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad Jojo is back and enjoyable again :)
    Josuke is a nice and chill (mostly) main character. Jotaro works much better in the background; here his weird aloof behaviour is funny instead of irritating (imo)
    So far it’s a very succesful adaption that is better than the manga (!), like part 1 and 2.


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