[Review] Hakumei and Mikochi – Episode 1

Hakumei and Mikochi, with its watercolor-inspired art, intelligent but not anthropomorphized animals, and chill forest vibe, reminds me of nothing so much as a children’s book. Specifically, the English children’s books my grandmother had from her own childhood in the countryside outside London. I cut my teeth on the books of Beatrix Potter and The Borrowers series, and this lovely little premiere does a remarkable job of capturing the feel of them.

[Review] School Babysitters – Episode 1

Childcare is a big deal for me. Nothing grates on me more than poorly written fictional children, who tend to be either overly precocious and precious or totally helpless. There’s also few things that bring me greater joy in fiction than well-written children, because it’s so hard to capture that mix of sweetness, natural self-centeredness, and unpredictability that characterizes the age. I approached School Babysitters with some trepidation—could it nail the chaos of a daycare?

The answer, it turns out, is a resounding YES.

[Review] Girls’ Last Tour – episode 1

Civilization is dead, but Chito and Yuuri are still alive. So they hop aboard their beloved Kettenkrad motorbike and aimlessly wander the ruins of the world they once knew. Day after hopeless day, they look for their next meal and fuel for their ride. But as long as the two are together, even an existence as bleak as theirs has a ray or two of sunshine in it, whether they’re sucking down their fill of soup or hunting for machine parts to tinker with. For two girls in a world full of nothing, the experiences and feelings the two share give them something to live for.

[Review] Just Because! – episode 1

For a group of high school seniors, a chance reunion with a transfer student will change the course of their final year. Eita Izumi has come back to his hometown after four years and encounters some unlikely acquaintances: Haruto Soma, Eita’s childhood friend; Ena Komiya, the photography student who witnesses Eita and Haruto’s reunion; Mio Natsume, whose feelings for her middle school crush still linger; and Hazuki Morikawa, a girl who seems uninterested in romantic relationships. When the paths of these five cross, their fates turn in a way none of them could have seen coming.

[Review] A Centaur’s Life – episode 1

Follows the school life of a teenage centaur named Himeno, and her friends, who happen to be mermaids, angels, and other mystical creatures. Source: Anime News Network Over the course of both watching this show and writing this review, I was assured from multiple sources that lots of people really like the manga, and that it improves drastically after its first chapter. I cannot judge this future potential, because it is not here in front of my eyes. And if it is indeed true, this premiere does the single worst job of selling that promise I’ve ever seen.

[Review] Action Heroine Cheer Fruits – episode 1

The “local heroine fighter” of a certain city became popular and a national star. Because of this, “local heroines” debuted in various other places, and their action live events became a hit trend nationally. In Hinano City, high school girl Misaki Shirogane and other girls become local heroines (at the urging of Misaki’s aunt, the prefectural governor) and vow to produce action live events. Source: Anime News Network For three years I’ve mourned the ending of Samurai Flamenco and its creators’ decision to torch their own house following the series’ abysmal sales. And at long last that series has returned to me under a new name, with all its heroic enthusiasm and queer attraction intact: Action Heroine Cheer Fruits!

[Review] Convenience Store Boyfriends – episode 1

First year high school students Haruki Mishima and [Towa] Honda are looking forward to their new school life. Meanwhile Nasa Sanagi, sole member of the cooking research club, continues with his club activities from middle school, striving to work on the theme that his adviser laid out for him. Second year student Natsu Asumi, although he matured a little since the height of his impudence during his first year, has nevertheless chosen to remain alone this year. Third year students Mikado Nakajima and Masamuna Sakurakoji watch over him with a smile. All of them will pay the nearby convenience store a visit after school. Source: Anime News Network The above description of Convenience Store Boyfriends (can I just call it ConveniBoys for short?) doesn’t seem to tell you much about the series, but it does in fact accurately depict the amount of meandering that happens in this premiere. Two teenage boys start high school. One of them has a crush on a girl he knew when they were little. The other has a crush on the class rep. They run into each other at the local convenience store a few times. Everyone is very bad at communicating. Roll credits.

[Review] Elegant Yokai Apartment Life – Episode 1

Yūshi Inaba is a 16-year-old boy whose parents died three years ago. He moved into his uncle’s house, but resolved to move into a dormitory in high school. Those plans were dashed when that dormitory burned down. He eventually finds an apartment with cheap 25,000-yen (about US$220) rent. Yūshi finds out too late that the apartment is home to supernatural creatures such as ghosts, yōkai, and mononoke, and his daily life becomes embroiled in the eccentric apartment. Source: Anime News Network Are you looking to watch a gently comedic slice of life show about supernatural creatures? Because this is another one of those. It’s inevitably going to draw comparison to Natsume’s Book of Friends, a comparison it almost certainly can’t live up to. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad series. Rather, it’s just Another One. If this is the kind of genre that appeals to you, it’s well executed enough that you’ll probably have a good time watching. If it’s not your scene, this one isn’t doing anything revolutionary enough to change your mind.

[Review] Magic of Stella – episode 1

Tamaki is going to a new high school and keen to find her passion. She wanders through the after school club fair in search of a pastime she feels drawn to, with no luck. She enjoys playing a video game made by the SNS club, but leaves the stall convinced she would have nothing to contribute. However, something about the prospect of making a game and the girls who run the club has captivated her, and she makes the decision to join anyway.