[Review] DARLING in the FRANXX – Episode 1

This is a big ball to untangle, and right at the end of the premiere deluge, which is just unfair to my tired, tired brain. DARLING in the FRANXX has the potential to be an engaging mecha series about lonely kids and cultural pressures to “pair up” that challenges the traditional “man as aggressive, woman as passive” relationship dynamic. It also has the potential to be a queer-erasing mess of overused genre cliches that relies on harassment and fanservice to portray sexuality and romance. And while I want to believe it’ll be the former, I can’t quite shake the feeling it’ll wind up being the latter.

[Review] Inuyashiki – episode 1

Ichiro Inuyashiki is down on his luck. While only 58 years old, his geriatric looks often have him written off as a pathetic old man by the world around him and he’s constantly ignored and disrespected by his family despite all that he’s done to support them. On top of everything else, his doctor has revealed that he has cancer and it appears that he has little time left in this world. But just when it seems things couldn’t get any worse, a blinding light in the night sky strikes the earth where Ichiro stands.

[Review] Infini-T Force – episodes 1-2

Imagine you’re watching The Avengers. You are vaguely aware of the superhero genre, but you’ve never seen any of the previous Marvel movies or read their comics. And while you try to watch the movie, Joss Whedon is sitting there beside you. He smells of smugness, and beard balm. He is constantly elbowing you in the ribs, asking you if you got it.

No, Infini-T Force. I don’t.

[Review] THE REFLECTION – episode 1

After THE REFLECTION, some of the people in all parts of the world are discovered with super powers. Some become heroes, and others villains. How did The Reflection happen? What was the cause of it? With many unsolved mysteries, the world is lead into turmoil. Source: Crunchyroll Oh, Studio DEEN. I thought that perhaps the truly lovely Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinju meant you’d finally broken through your well-deserved reputation for heinously cheap animation. I was wrong. Shame on me.

[Review] Made in Abyss – episode 1

An enormous pit and cave system called the “Abyss” is the only unexplored place in the world. Strange and wonderful creatures reside in its depths, and it is full of precious relics that current humans are unable to make. The mysteries of the Abyss fascinate humans, and they head down to explore. The adventurers who venture into pit are known as “Cave Raiders.” A little orphan girl named Rico lives in the town of Ōsu on the edge of the Abyss. Her dream is to become a Cave Raider like her mother and solve the mysteries of the cave system. One day, Rico starts exploring the caves and discovers a robot who resembles a human boy. Source: Anime News Network It’s impossible for me to maintain anything even remotely resembling critical distance with this review, so I’m not even going to try. Made in Abyss is a dieselpunk fairy tale that combines a rich world, curious kids, and energetic adventure with an undercurrent of lurking danger and quiet melancholy. I was over-the-moon in love with it by the 30-second mark and gushing about it to the rest of the AniFem staff before the opening credits had finished rolling. I can’t prove it, but I’m pretty sure Kinema Citrus had this series custom-made for me.

[Review] Atom the Beginning – episode 1

In Japan after a great calamity, there were two geniuses who dreamed of the future. One was Umatarō Tenma. The other was Hiroshi Ochanomizu. The two labored day and night in robot research — Tenma to create a “god,” and Ochanomizu to create a “friend.” Thus a robot, A106, was born from their collaborative friendship. Source: Anime News Network As a prequel to the classic TV anime of Osamu Tezuka manga Astro Boy, Atom the Beginning comes with the weight of more historical significance than this cartoony introduction can really hold up. In Atom the Beginning two young engineer misfits use up all their funding to create a robot which pushes new boundaries of science in a robot-friendly world – that’s a solid premise for a fun show, and viewers need to expect nothing more.

[Review] KADO: The Right Answer – episodes 0-1

Kōjiro Shindō is a highly-skilled negotiator working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As his plane at Haneda airport prepares to take off, a huge mysterious cube appears from the sky. ‘It’ expands rapidly, and absorbs the passenger plane and its 252 passengers. The cube’s name is “Kado”. A strange being called Yaha-kui zaShunina appears from within Kado and tries to make contact with humanity. Shindō, who was been absorbed by Kado, ends up taking on the role of mediator between Yaha-kui zaShunina and humanity. Source: Anime News Network Oh, boy. This is a rough one. What we have here is a show I very much want to like: a high concept sci-fi story about first contact with the potential for a uniquely interesting protagonist. Unfortunately, this show is already setting itself up in a worrying pattern of meandering quietly along for 20 minutes or so, then introducing a big twist in the closing minutes. If it’s already repeating tricks this early on, including an almost identical zoom-out from the giant alien cube that may or may not be menacing the city, it’s somewhat worrisome for episodes to come.