We’ve arrived at the last female-directed series of the season, and it was like watching twenty minutes of cute kitten videos. It watered my crops, cured my consumption, and washed away the stink of all the loliporn I had to endure over the past few days. It’s all but guaranteed to be this season’s entry into Gentle Comedies about Nice Kids.
Well, this is a premiere that hits the ground running. By the end of the episode there’s been a kidnapping, a ransom demand, and not one but two pretty brutal fight scenes. Also monsters or spirits are somehow involved, but apparently that’s a kettle of fish for a whole ‘nother episode.
Devilman Crybaby is not for everyone. It’s got a list of content warnings as long as my arm, to begin with, which in this premiere includes: animal death, blood, gore and dismemberment, body horror, drug use, so much nudity, and onscreen sex. It is determined to exercise its TV-MA rating and clearly enjoying the freedom of airing on Netflix.
In prosperous Russell City, a conspiracy threatens to shake its world has been set in motion. A man named Sword is the first to hear the earliest stirrings of the plot, and throws himself into a shadow war in order to expose it. His only clue is the keyword “El Dorado.” He meets Sophie, a woman searching for her older brother who left her with only a message with the same word: “El Dorado.” With Sword having also lost his younger sister in the past, both are drawn together by the word, and work together to find out its meaning. Source: Anime News Network
Kokohana-tei is a hot spring hotel located in an inn town between our world and the other world, where many people go to visit. The story portrays the lives of fox spirits, who take the form of girls and work at the hotel. Source: Anime News Network Within the first five minutes of Konohana Kitan, newcomer Yuzu is forcibly stripped and scrubbed by two of her coworkers as one girl comments on the size of her breasts and the camera pans jerkily from her curled toes to her flushed face. I begin with this one-two punch of fanservice and “comical” assault because (1) it doesn’t match the soothingly cute tone of the rest of the episode at all, and (2) it immediately soured me to a series I think I’d have otherwise found at worst harmless and at best kinda charming. But, alas, someone thought this nonsense needed to be included, and here we are.
Koyuki is a high school student who’s cheerfully trying to lead preparations for graduation even though she has recently lost her only living relative, her brother. While visiting her brother’s grave, she encounters a strange creature called a Horologue, which is attracted to human regret and eats the time of its victims, causing them to age in reverse. She is saved by Kiri Putin, a serious-minded swordsman who works with his “brother” as a Chronos Ruler, agents who attempt to thwart the activities of the Horologues by slowing down or speeding up time to fight. In defeating the Horologue, the two are able to help Koyuki understand that dwelling on her regret forever isn’t safe or healthy. Source: Anime News Network Well, that happened. I don’t mean that in the sense that this premiere was terrible. It did some very good things, and it did some very bad things in equal measure, and in the end it averages out to “just okay.” You could probably waste some time with it without regret.
To detect lies, refuse fakes, and reach the miracle of God – that is their mission as Vatican Miracle Examiners. Hiraga, a scientific genius and Roberto, an expert on the decryption of cryptography and ancient documents are not only good partners but also “Miracle Examiners” working for the Vatican. They are secret examiners, who are requested to examine and identify the authenticity of miracles from all over the world. Source: Anime News Network In the ’90s and early 2000s, there was a subgenre of (usually) shoujo that I like to call “Catholicsploitation.” Whether they were series that liked the aesthetic of Gothic fiction without necessarily grasping the deeper themes that tradition sprang from, or just liked the mysterious visual appeal of an extremely minor religion in Japan (‘sup, Anno), surface-level use of crucifixes, demonology, homoerotic boarding schools, and starched white collars were kind of a thing for a while. Y’know, your Hellsings, your Godchilds, your Angel Sanctuarys, that one arc in Descendants of Darkness, and so on (seriously, how have we not had a Vampire Chronicles anime?).
Haruto Tsukishiro wakes up in a dream world and sees a mysterious girl named Lily. He meets Katsumi Kanzaki, learns of the existence of witches, and gets involved in various incidents. Source: Anime News Network Sometimes the best way to describe an anime is to say “it’s very anime,” and that’s kind of where I am with 18if. Set in the dream-world (or perhaps just a dream-world), this premiere follows Haruto as he bounces from realm to realm, gets rescued and guided by a girl in white named Lily, receives a hefty dose of exposition from Cat Professor Katsumi, dies once?, and eventually confronts the Witch of Thunder who’s been tyrannizing the people here.
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.
In a world where Spirits and Humans coexist and can fall in love with each other, many Spirits see their human loved ones die before them due to the Spirits’ much longer life expectancy. Even when that human is reborn, the previous memories of their past life is erased from their memory. However, it is said among Spirits that a certain “service” is spreading. This “service” is provided by the “Fox Spirit Matchmakers” who can revive the lost memories of their former lover. When a Spirit loses their lover, they can purchase the service of the Fox Spirit Matchmakers to attempt to restore their former lover’s memories, and continue their love story together. This story follows a young Fox Spirit Matchmaker who tries her best to restore lost memories and spread love. Source: Anime News Network This summary gives you the impression that Fox Spirit Matchmaker is a sweet, straightforward show with a consistent formula. In actuality, Fox Spirit Matchmaker is a bit of a mess.
Kazuya Kagami’s most treasured possession in the world is the obi left to him by his late mother. The scent of cherry-blossoms infused into it helps him through his day – but he never expected it to save his life, becoming a beautiful kimono-clad girl who calls herself an “artifact spirit.” Her name is Kiriha, tsukumogami of the sash, who naturally moves in with him, as he is her “owner.” Throw in Chisato, his bespectacled friend, an overprotective older sister who wants to take baths with him, a busty priestess, a seductive sorceress named Kokuyoura, and Kazuya’s life has just gotten a lot more interesting. Source: Anime News Network As that about-face description may suggest, Tsugumomo is two shows crammed into one. The first is an action-fantasy about Kazuya, a mild-mannered, intelligent boy who lost his mother and carried around her obi (sash) as a memento/security blanket for years, imbuing it with energy and love until it became a tsukumogami: an object given sentience and human form. The obi turns into Kiriha, a powerful fighter who’s proud to the point of smugness, and she saves Kazuya by exorcising an evil spirit from one of his classmates. This half of the story is pretty fun! It features an energetic supernatural fight sequence and a few moments of genuine sweetness between Kazuya and Kiriha, along with promises of a meddling shrine maiden joining the cast in the future. As a fan of Shinto-inspired fantasies, I would have been happy to watch a pair of squabbling partners defeat supernatural evil together. Unfortunately, Tsugumomo is two shows, not one. And the other show is this…
Guri is an angel with a mysterious item that turns any two people who kiss into a couple. She appears before a high school boy named Seiji Aino. However, there is a yandere high school girl named Akane who loves Seiji. Source: Anime News Network I feel as if I have been on a journey, readers. I would like you to accompany me on it, that you may truly understand my feelings.
Okay. Let me see if I’ve got this right, because I was really bored and didn’t care enough about any of this to concentrate as much as this show thinks it deserves. In the town of Sakurada almost everyone has some kind of power, but if they ever leave Sakurada (why is the show title romanised as ‘Sagrada’ when the katakana is right there??) they will forget all about it. Kei Asai is just a regular high school boy who has an exceptionally good memory – so good he can remember the old timeline after Misora Haruki, also at his school, resets it. Her power comes with rules: she can only reset time to a point when she actively saved it, within the previous 72 hours; once time is reset, she cannot save again for another 24 hours; and once time is reset she herself will find her memory erased along with everyone else. Everyone but Kei, that is, as they learn when classmate Sumire Soma brings the two together and suggests they combine their abilities to use Misora’s reset ability more strategically to right wrongs in the world. But Misora has her own self-imposed rules, and first Kei must earn her trust. I promise you, the end result is much less interesting than I’m making it sound here.
“My name is Moguro Fukuzou. They call me the Laughing Salesman. Oh, I’m no ordinary salesman. The merchandise I deal with is hearts… Yes, human hearts. All people in this world – old, young, man, and woman – are lonely at heart. I will fill that emptiness in their hearts. Oh, no. I don’t need a single yen. There is no greater reward than to see a satisfied customer.” This is the opening monologue from the Laughing Salesman himself. Sounds lovely – until you realise he looks like this…
On turning 15, selected girls are invited to train to become fortune tellers under an ‘urara’. There is strong competition for apprenticeships, but one girl, Chiya, has come in from the mountains with no idea what an urara is or even how to behave around other people.
Keika You’s ancestors were apparently famous exorcists, acknowledged by the emperor. Their status has fallen over the centuries and now Keika works part time in fortune telling, part time in computer repair. Broke with no family, partner, house or car, he dreams of being reincarnated when he is killed by a truck. However, rather than being reincarnated or accepting his death, exorcist Ki Tanmoku tries to convince him to become his ghost partner and help him rid the world of evil spirits.