They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto dakedo Imouto ja Nai, Itazuraguma no Gloomy, DRAMAtical Murder, and more!
8: Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto dakedo Imouto ja Nai
English: My Sister, My Writer
MAL Score: 4.88
Aspiring light novel author Yuu Nagami regularly enters writing competitions but has yet to win a single one. Despite his recurring failures, he remains steadfast in his resolve to become a better writer.
When he takes a look at the list of winning authors in the latest contest he joined, he notices that someone named Chikai Towano dominated the competition. He soon discovers that behind the pen name is his sister Suzuka—the last person he can imagine being an author. Suzuka cannot reveal to anyone that she is Chikai Towano and requests her brother to take her place.
Yuu agrees with one condition: he will continue posing as Chikai Towano for his sister until he publishes his own book. Until that happens, Yuu uses his new identity as an opportunity to improve his writing skills and meet fellow authors and new acquaintances along the way.
That is to say, “Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto dakedo Imouto ja Nai” (or however the hell you are supposed to abbreviate this dumb, dumb, cretinous title) is the worst TV anime I’ve ever seen. Yes, number one, and without any hyperbole intended. It doesn’t get any uglier than this, and I do mean so literally as well as figuratively…
Let me showcase the amazing dialogue with one of the show’s finer moments:
“Yes, I’m the up-and-coming author, Enryuu Homura!”
*gasps so hard he is practically dying* “I’m a huge fan! Please give me your autograph!”
“You’re a fan… a fan of my… ? This is humiliating. I’m the one who wants an autograph!”
“Hey, what do you mean, you want my autograph?”
“Are you even listening to me? I want your autograph!”
“Y-you want my autograph? B-but why?”
“Isn’t that obvious? I’m a huge fan of yours, Towano.”
Oh, there is plenty more, deeply intelligent, riveting content, such as a five minute discussion on what it means to flash one’s panties, the protagonist dressed in bondage clothing and whipped by his little sister until the crack of dawn, him sniffing and fondling his sister’s hair during a live radio interview, or some random girl the protagonist has only known for about two days cosplaying in his bedroom to test what does and what doesn’t make him pop a boner, because apparently that is relevant to writing fiction. Where she even got her cosplay outfit is a mystery only the heavens can unfold, because, really, who in the hell carries around a succubus outfit for no reason? “Ah, at long last, an occasion has presented itself for me to wear this succubus outfit I’ve carried around all these years.” Perhaps she cast some incantation to summon it from the abyss? Who knows. Whatever.
Every asinine, ludicrous trope a light novel adaptation could possibly have (yes, even in 2018, apparently) is present here: the obligatory beach scene (complete with lewd lotion-lathering), girls screaming at Yuu (the protagonist) for walking in on them changing clothes, an unnecessary harem, and like its mouth-breathing brother, Infinite Stratos, all members of said harem are for some reason attracted to the protagonist despite him having the same level of appeal as a cockroach. I don’t even want to refer to the protagonist by his name since he doesn’t deserve the honor of having one. So, actually, in the unfortunate event that I must discuss this show again, he will remain ‘the protagonist’. That sounds a lot better, sort of like I’ve rinsed my mouth of bacteria.
I present a challenge: try watching an entire episode of this show without shuddering or saying ‘ugh’ in response to the hideous faces the characters make. It’s a bit of a difficult one, alright. Whereas many poorly-animated TV series are infamous for a few particular screenshots, eye-cancer here and there (say, Naruto Shippuden), here it is that but all the time. It is so bad that sometimes the characters’ eyes are not even aligned and instead are facing opposite directions, as if they are truly and completely mentally void, or are just… uh, ant-people? Even a climactic confession scene is brimming with ant-people for your viewing pleasures.
The ‘music’… music? Can you call it that? A, B, A, B – random, senseless notes played repetitively on a piano, like a kindergartner who has discovered a piano for the first time and thinks any noise it makes is special. “Wow, you’re so good!”, says mommy. Clap-clap. Why they even bothered to include these tracks is a wonder, considering how much less ear-piercing some good ol’ silence would have been instead. No, having music for the sake of having music is not always a good idea, but when has this anime ever shown itself capable of good ideas, anyway?
All that is even remotely tolerable about this giant turd of an anime is its opening and ending themes. Mostly for the music, and definitely not for the putrid animation, but rather for the lack of it since these sequences are essentially slideshows. Any time things start moving is when things get real ugly, and so I can only be thankful for the few seconds when the damn show doesn’t move.
It is pretty well remarkable how much of a disaster the production process of this anime has been. Even the animators recognise the abysmal state of their anime, what with their subtle cry for help in the ending credits of the sixth episode, where they changed one of the names to 正直困太, which can be translated as “Honestly, we’re in a bit of a mess.” This is perhaps unprecedented for a TV anime. Though I do not know the actual situation at the anime studio, it is pretty clear the animators were both understaffed and forced into impossible deadlines (and thus had to cut corners… all of them, to meet said deadlines), because, really, there is no sane person on this planet who would look at the animation and think “Yep, this is totally good to go for broadcast.” Even the most terrible of terrible anime at least put some semblance of effort into covering up their blemishes: here, it is in full, putrid glory.
And so, “Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto dakedo Imouto ja Nai” will be remembered by those unfortunate enough to watch it. It is an anime that truly goes for it, being as dreadful as possible in every and all aspects. I can’t even find the energy to lambaste it to the extent I did with my previously most-hated anime, Infinite Stratos 2, for in this case it is so pathetic it actually transcends words. The worst TV anime I’ve ever endured, and congratulations for that, as it was not an easy feat.
Like a train that has tipped over and burst into flames and debris, this is something you would be best not to approach. Put a hazard warning on this one.
Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto dakedo Imouto ja Nai—or “The One I Love Is a Little Sister, but She’s Not My Little Sister” in English—is a stupidly long title which as far as I know doesn’t have a proper acronym so me and my friends have simply referred to it as “the imouto show” throughout the season, but for the purpose of this review I’ll just refer to it by its official English title to make things easier, namely My Sister, My Writer. In short the anime is about yet another high schooler (Yuu) who is a wannabe light novel author, except this time it’s his little sister (Suzuka) who ends up going pro first—by writing a novel about her love to her Onii-chan and publishing it online. Of course she’s too shy to actually tell him the book is based on her own genuine feelings, and since her school doesn’t allow students to have part-time jobs combined with her father probably not approving of it, Suzuka decides to tell the world that Yuu is the real author of her novel. And thus begins the story of a brocon imouto continuously putting her incestuous fantasies on paper and letting her brother deal with the public reception.
Now this all sounds quite cliché and not particularly original, but nevertheless a show like this doesn’t really need to be any more complicated than this to be successful. It’s been proven in the past after all; as long as the girls are cute and the show focuses on enhancing that element, that can be all it takes to be enjoyable. In theory that is. But in practice that is not the case here as My Sister, My Writer is unfortunately a never-ending train wreck in multiple aspects, and this is but the tip of the iceberg.
First and foremost, the girls in this show could have been cute, but the simple truth is they’re not. Mostly because they don’t make any damn sense. Girls throwing themselves at the protagonist without much motivation is nothing new for harems, but this anime really pushes the limits. At the very least I have never seen a completely random girl show up one day and ask if she could be the MC’s little sister and if she could call him Onii-chan before. That’s not just something you can swallow because it’s not just weird but it doesn’t even make any logical sense! Or how about the ero-doujin writer girl obsessed with drawing hardcore rape porn and going under the pen name Ahegao Double Peace-sensei. I mean really now. Like the girls in this show really don’t have much reason to associate with Yuu in the first place, let alone act like his family from day one. It’s just so unnatural to watch. And as far as Suzuka goes, well she definitely had the potential to be cute and likable, but it seems like her personality just flip-flops at complete random in order to suit whatever context the current scene in play seems to demand. I still have no idea how I’m supposed to describe her. Sometimes she’s a tsundere, sometimes a deredere, sometimes an airhead, sometimes a total pervert and sometimes just a normal, kindhearted and wholesome girl. Being two-faced is one thing but this is just too much. It only makes any attempts at comedy fall flat instead since everything feels so incredibly forced and unnatural.
But okay then, this is just a simple ecchi comedy in the end, so surely we don’t need to think so much about all of this stuff as long as the girls are hot and put it appropriately sexual situations, right? Well that is usually the last resort for an anime like this, the one thing they can always fall back on as a proper reason to watch and hopefully enjoy the show. However, that to me is the real nail in the coffin as to why My Sister, My Writer simply doesn’t work as an anime. Quite simply, it looks absolutely miserable.
About halfway through the show there was a subtle SOS sent out from one of the show’s animators in the ending credits, basically saying that they were in trouble and needed help. And it’s clear as day that this anime has suffered from major production issues. We’ve had some delays but above all the episodes themselves just don’t even look finished. There are numerous shots throughout the series with blatant animation errors, like a torso being cut off in mid-air and similar; the kind of stuff that would never go past a proper quality control, but evidentially they haven’t had the time for that here. As a result, the whole anime looks ridiculous. Character designs are all over the place, wearing derp faces more often than not and perhaps most importantly different ones all the time. Suzuka’s face might look disfigured in one frame, and then in the next one equally so but in a totally different way, as if you were looking at a different character altogether. It is incredibly distracting, disorienting and not pleasing to the eyes whatsoever. And keeping in mind that the main selling point of an ecchi anime is pretty much always the attractiveness of its female characters, having them look this hideous on top of their already non-sensical behavior means that there really isn’t much left to cheer for. And no, it’s not like the art in KonoSuba which is intentionally crude in order to enhance comedic effect. This is just plain sloppy and distracting like handing in a painting that’s only half-finished.
I try to stay open-minded when it comes to anime and normally it’s mostly a matter of personal preference regarding what I might recommend an anime for and to who, but in this case I’m really reaching at straws. An anime like Eromanga-sensei is easy to recommend people that just want to see a bunch of cute girls in light-hearted sexual situations, but the same certainly can’t be said for My Sister, My Writer. It fails at trying to have an interesting plot, it fails at trying to be funny, and above all it fails at even having cute, sexy or likable characters. So really, what is the point of this show? Why would anyone want to watch it? If it wasn’t for the production issues there might have been at least some merit to it, but in its current state there really isn’t. The only somewhat positive thing I could say is that at least it isn’t boring per se, but it’s so awkward and annoying that it doesn’t help much. As a result this is easily one of the worst incest anime I have ever seen in my life. They’re going to have to do some miracle work with the BDs to turn this sinking ship around, but I wouldn’t get my hopes up too high.
In perhaps one of the most catastrophic launch of the year, the show already started with intolerable quality issues. The first few episodes won’t be hard to judge as you can see easily see the inconsistent character models. You don’t really need to be a genius to also realize the amount of inconsistency with the character expressions either. Every character behaves in one dimensional and lifeless ways that can’t really be compared to real humans. They look like plastic dolls that came to life. It’s fake. And by that, characters in this show are seemingly created with the purpose of wish-fulfillment. They are essentially characters that exist to satisfy the desires of a main protagonist, and in this case, that would be Yuu Nagami.
Now I don’t want to jump the gun too far ahead but anyone who has seen a show in 2017 known as “Eromanga sensei” may make some comparisons to this anime. Both shows involves light novel writing and has pseudo-incest tendencies. From the beginning, it’s pretty obvious that Suzuka is infatuated with Yuu. It becomes a running gag with her showing the most emotions whenever other girls are around him. The most obvious feeling she shows is jealousy and it appears in almost every episode. Sometimes, it gets in the way of the main story as this running gag becomes a major distraction. Even when female characters interacts with Yuu in a non-romantic nature, she still shows jealousy. It’s pretty pathetic.
But hey, that’s not the only distraction right? Well, look again. For the majority of the series, it seems almost every female character with a name is interested in Yuu in some way. For instance, there’s Mai who literally stalks Yuu to find out about his personal life. Sakura enters the show as an ideal woman but it doesn’t take long for her to get into a love angle with him. Let’s not forget Ahegao W Peace-sensei who adheres to adult jokes with her personality. The bottom line is that these characters are made with little creativity in mind. They exist to fulfill wish-fulfillment roles and Yuu often finds himself in awkward/lustful situations with them. However, the main selling context of the character relationship is still Yuu and Suzuka. The two makes the heart of the show and that’s not a good thing when you get pseudo-incest context.
Hey, what about the main story? Actually, you can probably watch this show without a direct goal in mind. This series is like a playful toy that enjoys fooling around with its characters than telling a story. Even before finishing the show, I had little expectations of how it would end. Every episode jumps back and forth with no real direction in mind. It’s like a bloody loop with the same things happening every episode. At times, I wonder if this anime was made as a satire to make fun of itself. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case because a satire would have to be clever enough to sell its humor. It would have to mock fun of itself but this show was hardly creative enough to do that. What I did laugh at though is the shockingly production qualities. At one point, there was even one episode with a hidden message by an animator in the credits who pleads for help. From what I’ve read on the web, the show itself involved animators that weren’t even paid for their work. It’s a sad reality to realize that the anime was a project with little planning in mind and in fact, made just this year. From one of the tweets from an animator, they questioned why they are making this show. And honestly, I wondered why too. So I return to my original question, why did this abysmal show get made?
In a sane world, a show like this would have been scrapped from the start with such poor planning and execution. It has such a forgettable story and uncharismatic character cast that I can’t help but recommend people to avoid this like the plague. This show could have probably even worked better as an OVA rather than 10 episodes. What came out instead is hot garbage that gave a distasteful smell. And sadly, there’s no cure.
7: Itazuraguma no Gloomy
English: GLOOMY The Naughty Grizzly
MAL Score: 5.16
Gloomy, an abandoned little bear, is rescued by Pitty (the little boy). At first, he is cute and cuddly, but becomes wilder as he grows up. Since bears do not become attached to people like dogs by nature, Gloomy attacks Pitty even though he is the owner. So Gloomy has blood on him from biting and/or scratching Pitty.
(Source: Cube Works)
It’s not as if we demand anything from Gloomy, but surely the show could cause some positive engagement. That is not the case here. It’s just a show that inserts a bear that Assaults a person constantly. It is the pure trash of animes, there is nothing profitable. An anime that few have seen and will surely be remembered little.
And I celebrate. I’m glad things like Gloomy no longer cause interest, as it is the most terrible representation of what Japanese shows can offer.
“What do you expect with a minute per episode?” A 12 minute story, cut into 12 episodes. YouTube is full of heart tugging, passionate, emotional 10 minute animations. What we got was 12, 1 minute episodes that amount to drivel.
There is no character growth, relationship growth, or any change. In one of the early episodes Pity tries to feed Gloomy, it would have been nice to see this work effectively later in the show as if their bond was growing. The child should be dead every episode from blood loss. Boring, predictable, every episode is identical. There is absolutely no reason for this to exist.
To me this anime is giving off a pop team epic and popee the performer vibe?
Like it’s trying to be funny but it’s not.
it was very short so I forgotten it the first half when I was at episode 12 and forgot most of it, it’s very short and forgettable and I don’t think a lot of people will remember things like this if it’s the same thing over its the bear getting upset and then doing something involving blood or hurting the kid they could’ve been more creative with things like that and then they tried to add a story to it in the middle of the episodes? I would prefer the start of the backstory at the first episode so you understand the characters situation first like most anime do they usually add the story in the first episodes or after a “sad” scene
I know people have different tastes in anime but this one is not for me if you want to watch it go ahead if you’re just starting and looking to watch a more wide variety watch this I guess
Also I think the anime would be more memorable if it had an opening song thing like most anime do maybe like a metal song that would fit for it, it would make it more interesting in my opinion
Again sorry if I don’t make sense I just wanted to try writing a review have a good day or night <3 [/collapse]
6: DRAMAtical Murder
English: DRAMAtical Murder
Japanese: ドラマティカル マーダー
MAL Score: 6.07
Some time ago, the influential and powerful Toue Inc. bought the island of Midorijima, Japan, with the plans of building Platinum Jail—a luxurious utopian facility. Those who are lucky enough to call it home are the wealthiest citizens in the world. The original residents of the island, however, were forced to relocate to the Old Residential District; and after the completion of Platinum Jail, they were completely abandoned.
“Rib” and “Rhyme” are the most common games played on the island. Rib is an old school game in which gangs engage in turf wars against each other, while Rhyme is a technologically advanced game wherein participants fight in a virtual reality. To be able to play Rhyme, you must have an “All-Mate” (an AI that typically looks like a pet), and the match must be mediated by an “Usui.”
Aoba Seragaki has no interest in playing either game; he prefers to live a peaceful life with his grandmother and All-Mate, Ren. However, after getting forcefully dragged into a dangerous Rhyme match and hearing rumors about disappearing Rib players, all of Aoba’s hopes of living a normal life are completely abolished.
[collapse title=“Reviews1:”]May it be said that this horror of an adapted anime has forever ruined my picture of DMMD. Anyone who gives this anime a decent score is just going easy on it. This anime is not a ten, not a seven or even the lowest score to ever be conceived of on MAL, a six. No, this is far worse.
What I was hoping for was, alas, too much. I feel sorry for previous fans of the series, as this does no justice to the original VN. Honestly, I think you should never remove the “L” from “BL”, as the original had some plot points revolving around the romance between characters. I understand what the producers were trying to do here, which was acquire a new demographic. What a mistake.
In doing this, along with the short amount of episodes, they stripped the characters of any real feeling. You couldn’t get attached to them because they didn’t get a chance. Noiz, for example, was reduced to a background prop after his arc ended and Clear’s began. There was no development because it wasn’t long enough. ( Aside from Aoba using Scrap on them. ) The only character I really even liked was Clear. Every time an arc was finished Aoba stuffed that character into Glitter like he was building his own harem or something. I didn’t like this at all, although I can understand why they did this. ( Basically so every character could achieve their “happy ends”. )
The animation was mediocre at best. It seemed very rushed, especially towards the beginning. Near the end it was somewhat decent, but I’ve definitely seen better.
As for the sound, I’m pretty satisfied with it. It sets the mood fairly well in most parts. Probably the anime’s only redeeming quality.
Okay, plot! Pretty much the same as the VN, which, mind you I found mildly boring too. This isn’t really the anime’s fault, but yeah, it’s especially boring in the beginning. There were some plot holes, some of which the anime was at fault for due to not enough episodes. There were some pretty original ideas here and there, but without the romance there’s really nothing all that amazing.
In conclusion, this anime sucks. I didn’t enjoy it by any means. It was aimed at the wrong demographic, was rushed, had a low budget and not enough episodes to flush it all out. I think this anime would’ve been a lot better with more of a budget and more episodes. I recommend the VN if you’re interested in it, but not the anime unless you’re really bored. (or are a hardcore fan of the VN.)
NOTE: I’m not a professional at all. If you have a criticism of this review please tell me, it would really help! 🙂
The plot may be difficult to follow, but when it all finally clicks into place you end up sitting there like “HOW COULD I HAVE MISSED THIS?” Don’t give up on Dramatical Murder just because you don’t understand what is going on in the first episode. Or the second…Or third…Or…Well you get the point (Amnesia fans understand the struggle).
Each time I clicked ‘next episode’, I felt as if someone rammed something into my brain and started picking on it : “Oh look..You’ve seen this character before. Haven’t you? Ohhhh he seemed suspicious! I knew it! I knew it!”. In essence the author did an amazing job at trowing javelins at my imagination through plot twists. You’ll never know what will happen next.
In reference to the art…Well hella. The detail of the landscape is quite similar to Durarara or Cross Ange (basically a ‘society in the future’ landscape). However, it has it’s own ‘high’ to it. When you watch, notice that most of the city is animated as if behind a block of ice. It’s blurry, shiny and magnificent. But the blurriness foreshadows the instability of perfection created by humans in Dramatical Murder. And the characters…Well they’re all completely (and I mean totally) to die for. Each of the (significant or insignificant) characters have incredibly beautiful eyes that pierce straight through your anime/manga-loving heart. But…That’s not all that captivated me when it came down to their looks. All of them were unique in a million different ways. You need to see it to understand.
Characters? Characters…Yes…Well…I need you to promise me something ok? Have tissues near (Not just for tears if you know what I mean). The moment I laid my eyes on Aoba and Ren, I needed more. Aoba is the main character, and let me tell you… Everyone wants, loves and adores Aoba (For whatever reason). However…His personality pivots between Kaneki-ken (and his struggle to remain human) and Mikado Ryuugamine (who fights to stay a simple human despite his curiosity). He is beyond special and so is his Grandma and his dog, and all his friends ( 😀 ).
But I don’t want to be too specific, or i’ll spoil everything for you.
In general the characters were all quite well developed (Even supporting characters had a unique personality that made them stand out). Each radiated a different side of humanity. They all had their fears, goals, grudges and dreams that eventually lead them to Aoba. I bet you’ll find yourself in at lest one of them.
I don’t know If I motivated you to watch DM, but please consider it. It’s a work of art. You will remember the names of the characters even if it’s a 12 episode anime.
DMMd begins with Seragaki Aoba, a man of around 20 years old. The story is told from his perspective as he meets different people, both ones he already knew and strangers. He begins to discover something big going on in his city involving gangs, a digital game called “Rhyme,” and some of the people around him. Aoba, of course, is also strongly involved in this growing plot whether he knows it or not at first. The initial setup is basically your typical VN setup where you follow the protagonist as you meet the other important and not so important characters.
One of the biggest problems I had with DMMd is just how poorly timed its twists and reveals are. Aoba knows almost nothing that is going on about the main story at first or much that happened prior to Episode 1. Unfortunately, it takes almost half of the 12 episodes for the show to actually give you any idea what is going to happen. And that first half is incredibly boring since all it does is introduce you to some characters who really aren’t all that likable. When they do finally reveal the real intent of the plot, it is very predictable and generic. This show is chock full of generic tropes.
As for the characters, they could not be less interesting if they tried. Clear is the only character I ever cared about in the slightest (he’s a great singer imo) but even still the show developed him and everyone else very poorly. Everything from Aoba’s character design (his huge sweatshirt is just disgusting to look at for 12 episodes) to the typical personalities of all the other main characters just made for an extremely boring and annoying cast. Aoba is your typical main lead who doesn’t want to hurt anyone and is just lead through the story by everyone else. Koujaku is his best friend who sticks with him through thick and thin despite not really mattering at all in the story. Clear is the mysterious, strange one who also ends up a little unimportant in the story. Noiz is a hacker who’s quiet and arrogant. And Mink is really only important towards the end with almost no personality or development to his character. The villains are one dimensional as are most of the small amount of side characters making for one of the worst character casts I’ve seen in an anime.
The art is noticeably cheap. The budget seems to be low from the start, you just kind of have to laugh at how rushed episode 3 was, and aside from some nice climactic scenes in the last couple episodes, the entire show just looks terrible. Aside from Aoba’s design the other main characters do have pretty good and unique designs. The one aspect of DMMd that wasn’t terrible was the soundtrack. Though it didn’t stand out at all early on, the later episodes towards the climax of the show really added some great rock tracks that really improved some scenes. Still, this was only apparent towards the end and for much of the show, there is a noticeable lack of any background music. While this can work in some shows, with its futuristic setting DMMd felt very empty because of it.
This show just has almost nothing to offer. A bad character cast, animation that is so terrible you can see the individual frames used in most running sequences, a decent soundtrack that needed its better tracks to be used more often, and a generic and silly story full of terrible gay sexual innuendos. One of the worst shows I’ve seen in a while, I certainly don’t recommend this show.
5: Infinite Dendrogram
English: Infinite Dendrogram
MAL Score: 6.16
In the year 2043,
(Source: J-Novel Club)
‒ Ray Starling
You know what, Ray? This anime leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and you are one of the chief culprits. Infinite Dendrogram promises infinite possibilities, but instead we get Ray Starling, a piece of cardboard masquerading as a human being, a robot that gazes upon the world with an empty light in his eyes, an empty husk of a man who delivers the most generic lines imaginable.
“My battle’s far from over. You can’t stop my pace, my sword-wielding arm ‒ not yet. Not as long as I see tragedy before me ‒ tragedy and you!”
‒ Ray Starling
What next? He might as well say “Halt, you fiend! My blade shall thwart your evil plans!” because it would not surprise me anymore.
Ray is a typical hero to the extreme. He is so selfless and altruistic that he makes angels blush. He is a white knight who swoops in to rescue people in obvious distress, often random children kidnapped by heinous villains. He never has to make any difficult decisions because the villains are always obvious. Ray also likes to deliver simple, cheesy rants about justice and helping people, completely unironically, of course. This includes his catchphrase “It would leave a bad taste in my mouth.” What would leave a bad taste, you ask? Not saving people in need; what else?
Ray goes further than that though. He refuses to grab the valuables of a villain he defeated, considering it blood money. He is even reluctant to accept a cash reward for his actions and tries to convince his party members to take his share as well. And this happens not just once but twice. That’s ridiculous. You fought hard for the money; it is alright to accept it sometimes. Not to mention that he could always use it to improve his equipment, which would help his altruistic efforts in the future, so his refusal doesn’t even make sense from a purely altruistic viewpoint.
That is not all. Many characters find Ray interesting simply because he sees the world of Infinite Dendrogram as real, which isn’t even unique to him. Several other characters feel the same way, yet they are not treated with the same level of interest. Ray is also one of the most promising new players in the game, though still underpowered compared to the more experienced players. That doesn’t stop him from saving the day though. As a side note, the game is also ridiculously imbalanced. Even though it is not particularly rigged in Ray’s favor, the fact that it is rigged in general should result in endless complaints from the player base. Oh, and one more thing. Ray happens to get a girl as his Embryo, Nemesis (his unique special weapon that evolves over time). That’s right; his weapon can transform into a girl because we had to use that trope as well. Maiden Embryos are not unique to Ray in-universe by any means, but it is still convenient.
Ray was generic in the light novel already (yes, I have been reading it), but in the anime most of Ray’s internal monologue and backstory have been cut, along with general narration. So we lose all the context and he becomes even more of a generic hero. So generic, in fact, that he has no personality left. I would excuse you if you thought he was secretly a robot all along. Many of the other characters have also taken a hit in the adaptation, and their personalities have taken a turn for the bland. Near the end, they try to deliver backstories for some of the characters in the form of short flashbacks. Not the most subtle form of infodumping, but it is better than nothing. These flashbacks outline the original motivations of the characters in entering Infinite Dendrogram in the first place. Usually this involves various ways of escapism, but it is not enough to salvage their characters. The flashbacks are mostly loyal to the novel, but it doesn’t really help when the original backstories were almost as short. Rook’s backstory seems particularly implausible and makes me wonder why any of it was necessary.
This is the result if you take source material that already has problems and then rush the adaptation and butcher whatever was there. The source material already had many of the same issues, but it turns out that trying to squeeze 5 volumes of an infodump-heavy light novel into 13 episodes is a bad idea. Who would have thought? The script went from long-winded explanations in the novel to explaining pretty much nothing in the anime. Most of the info-dumps related to the world are cut, leaving only the bare essentials. You won’t understand how some abilities work. You won’t properly know the side characters or even the main characters. You won’t even know the names of some of the countries. It is that bad. Good luck understanding what is going on, why it is happening, and what the context for any of it is. If the main point of your novel is world-building, having an anime adaptation without it simply means that you are airing an empty shell. They might as well just put “Read the novel, idiot!” on-screen.
Or take the comedy. The novel already has the tendency to make jokes that are too obvious. For instance, encountering a bunch of thugs in a back alley while they are trying to kidnap a child and then pointing out that the encounter is clichéd. It is better to be aware of the cliché than not, but an even better idea would be to write something else entirely. In the anime, the scene loses every last bit of nuance and self-awareness. In the novel, the jokes have the subtlety of a brick to the face. Now replace the brick with a pile of bricks and maybe a sledgehammer, and you have the anime. We have slapstick comedy like Ray catching fire or enveloped in a cloud of toxic gas. We have his brother wearing a bear costume and ending almost every line with “kuma” (or “grizz” in English), which is bear-ly ever funny. (Yeah, that was a bad one too.) We have Nemesis eating too much. We have people over-reacting to every single thing. We have Ray finding or purchasing too many of the same now-useless item several times, which is a bit funnier in a kind of blunt way (maybe?) but can’t exactly carry the show either. There is a character who literally says “xD” and “lol” on-screen, which may produce a quick cheap laugh out of sheer surprise. We are hip on the interwebs.
More generally, the show over-explains what is obvious while simultaneously leaving many important points unexplained. (The latter parts were probably in the novel.) Sometimes the characters are having awkward and unnatural conversations about information they should already know and have no in-universe reason to repeat.
“There certainly was a lot of bickering yesterday.”
“Everyone kept trying to…”
These conversations take place purely for the sake of the audience. It is a lazy and poorly conceived method of delivering exposition. Sometimes characters even explain what they are obviously visibly doing at the moment for no reason. This includes pointless villain speeches in which the bad guys explain their current plans, and people talking to themselves out loud.
Franklin tries to provide more of a central antagonist to the show. The problem is that he ends up looking like a cartoon villain who acts evil for the sake of evil itself. You know, the wacky evil mad scientist. His motives are poorly developed too, both in-game and in real life. Even with the short flashback of his background, it is hard to see why exactly he’d end up with goals like that. Furthermore, the inner workings of Dryfe (a country) are barely addressed in the anime, just like the inner workings of just about anything, really. Franklin also likes to deliver lengthy villain speeches to explain his current plans, to show off to everyone that he is evil and strong, and to scare the good guys into giving up, as if the latter has any chance of working.
The show also tries to focus on whether the world of Infinite Dendrogram is real or not, including whether the tians (NPCs) are living, sentient beings. While this is generally a good idea, not much comes out of it and it is too little too late. As a moral aesop, it is also a bit on the obvious side, though better than simply the power of friendship in its most generic form. I kind of wonder though. It seems implausible that so many people would not consider the tians sentient when they so obviously are.
I don’t want to dwell too long on the visuals, but let’s note that they are not great. The animation quality isn’t the best, and it looks lazy sometimes, with unnatural movements. But what struck out to me even more were the designs. So many places, characters, and creatures look so generic. These are some of the most generic goblins I have ever seen. The boss monsters look generic as well. Plains, roads, the crypt: they all look generic. The common criminals look so clichéd that they might as well be wearing shirts with “thug,” “ruffian,” or “scoundrel” printed on them. The evil wizard looks comically evil and not in a good sense. His scenes, which were already generic in the source material, become a laughingstock in the anime. The mecha looks fairly generic too, but at least it is on the realistic side, at least by mecha standards. The bigger mecha looks less realistic but still fairly generic. Ray’s red-black coat is a fashion disaster and not in a funny way. They point out that it looks too edgy for him, but a bigger problem is its sheer ugliness. This is your fancy new coat, Ray? Really?
We get to very briefly see a few of the capitals of the other countries, which was nice. If only we could see them more. The opening song is alright, but the opening visuals reuse animation and awkwardly try to hide it with the excessive use of flashy effects all over the screen. Hey, at least they managed to draw my attention with the visual onslaught.
Thankfully, there is a silver lining. Because the show is so rushed, at least it will only take 13 episodes to finish, so it is faster than a more decent adaptation would have been. Always look on the bright side, right? You could watch it out of curiosity to see just how generic a protagonist can be and maybe scratch your head at some of the visual designs and adaptation decisions.
This review contains mild spoilers.
Welcome to Infinite Dendrogram, the world’s first successful full-dive VRMMORPG, where the possibilities are endless. Infinite Dendrogram is a show about the game of the same name. Infinite Dendrogram shows potential, but sadly it was wasted in almost every way. If Infinite Dendrogram was food, it would probably be the one that looks good but tastes bad.
🎬 Story – 2/10
At first glance, Infinite Dendrogram might look like Sword Art Online, but it is not. According to the slogan of Infinite Dendrogram, this is where anything can happen. The overall story is not predictable, due to the unique abilities each character has, which seems to be a fairly nice idea, but at the same time, it is also due to having improper world settings and a messy storyline.
First of all, Infinite Dendrogram is much like any MMORPG as we know, but with no limitations, rather close to the fantasy world than a game, resulting in a mess, nothing is balanced. Upon the registration, players will receive a power unique to their own, called “embryos”. However, while they are having a huge role in the game, players are not able to choose it, similar to not being able to choose a class in an MMORPG. The concept of MMORPG is broken here.
Second, Infinite Dendrogram allows player-killing, even right in the city, which is supposed to be a safe zone in many MMORPGs. Crimes, terrorisms, and wars are also being allowed. The concept of MMORPG wrecked again. Getting killed also results in a 24-hour log-in restriction into the game. Infinite Dendrogram made me wondered if there is the point of making a game like this.
Third, Infinite Dendrogram contains a contradiction. While the game is where you should be having fun, Infinite Dendrogram is having several serious moments. Unlike Sword Art Online which real death is involved, Infinite Dendrogram has no real threat, even with anywhere player-killing is involved, players can always escape from the game. Infinite Dendrogram confused me if I should feel relaxed or get serious when watching the show.
Fourth, a few plot armors are detected. I personally prefer the hardworking or smart protagonist than the one that usually gets protected by plot armors.
Lastly, the storyline is messy, going from one place to another quickly. It is more like a couple of events packed into a single anime than a well-written continuous story. This is one of the possibilities that could happen when the story has no actual objective.
In conclusion, the main problem of the story is about the settings of the world which is at risk of not fitting well the story, and yes, it did not fit. Making a world where “anything can happen” is like saying “I have no idea how should I write a proper story, so I will use random ideas that popped up in my head along the way of writing”.
🎨 Animation – 6/10
Overall pretty standard art quality, nothing has bugged me. However, the animation of the action scenes seems a bit stiff, almost no tension, not so many action moves are being shown.
🔈 Sound – 7/10
Standard theme songs and soundtracks. I am not a sound expert, so I would say that I find nothing outstanding and nothing bugged me.
🕶 Characters – 3/10
Character is an important factor in impressing audiences and keeping them from dropping the show. While Infinite Dendrogram seems to noticed mistakes that happened in other shows and did try to prevent them, but ended with a failure.
First, despite the show is giving off a serious vibe, characters have no real objectives, not making me having any interest in them at all. They just do whatever they want.
Second, the characters’ background is not being told properly. While the main character’s background is not being told, several supporting characters’ are being told instead. However, I find them to be not convincing and meaningless, not really related to their actions or motivation.
Third, character design and looks are important. According to the anime poster, the protagonist, Ray, is wearing a good-looking white knight-like costume. However, at a point in the show, he comes to wear a totally different style of costume instead, which is not a matching appearance at all. Even this is intentional, I find tainting to characters.
Lastly, the protagonist character development is not very promising. Through the 13 episodes of Infinite Dendrogram, the protagonist gains some upgrades, but what I saw was the same move is being used repeatedly, basically a one-trick pony.
🎉 Enjoyment – 4/10
I used to play an MMORPG and find them interesting. I enjoy seeing how different MMORPGs could become, like Sword Art Online, Elder Tale from Log Horizon, or NewWorld Online from Bofuri.
However, I came to disappointment. I have never seen such a chaotic, messy, and unbalanced MMORPG before, as well as how the story and characters correspond to it, which is just did not work out, seeming like the settings of the world just do not work out from the beginning. It does not mean that I hated this show, I just do not like it and a bit disappointed.
If you are still new to anime, Infinite Dendrogram might be fine for you. Infinite Dendrogram is probably an anime for a group of people who usually overlook flaws and illogical things. In conclusion, if you are looking for an anime about games, action anime, and you can overlook flaws and illogical things, then I recommend this anime. Enjoy!
It’s an enjoyable and light-hearted show, especially if you pretend that someone other than Ray is the main character. Unlike many shonen shows Dendogram doesn’t surround Ray with people who worship him–Ray is treated as either a friend or a lovable little brother, a welcome break from “the sun” trope that’s been done to death in shonen. This is what makes the other characters so compelling and is why they’re able to compensate for the shallow tropeyness of Ray.
4: Hajimete no Gal
English: My First Girlfriend is a Gal
MAL Score: 6.29
Following a prank pulled by his perverse friends, Junichi Hashiba asks a gal out in an attempt to change the fact that he’s a hopeless virgin. Yukana Yame, the girl in question, is disgusted by Junichi’s groveling. However, through a series of teasing remarks, she soon finds herself bonding with him and ultimately accepting Junichi’s confession, much to his surprise.
Hajimete no Gal follows Junichi as he overcomes his lack of self-confidence and suppresses his sexual urges, all while thrust into a whole new school life full of lively girls and unpredictable mayhem.
We’ve all been there. Aimlessly meandering through our high school lives daydreaming about that fateful day we’ll finally lose our virginity. Thoughts of the opposite sex constantly flood our brains, in the form of unrealistic scenarios involving our crushes intoxicatingly succumbing to our supreme hotness. Naturally, high school is a perverted cesspool of teenage hormones, so more than likely you had your own clan of other clodhopping comrades to share phrases like “dude…tits” and “have you seen that chick’s online stream?” For some introverted, socially inept souls, whose virginity is as safe as a maximum security prison there are anime like Hajimete no Gal. A show that constantly reminds us how often the average male teenager thinks about sex, mostly in a sporadic and succinct manner. Unfortunately, after viewing all ten of its episodes, I can say I now know more than I ever cared to about the “average” Japanese teenager, ad nauseum. Join me as I explore how not to make an ecchi anime, in honest and excruciating detail.
To get something off the board immediately, Hajimete no Gal is not a traditional harem anime. A harem, by definition implies that the women “share” one male, which is the opposite of what happens in this show. Here’s what transpires in a nutshell:
1. Awkward, unassuming dude Junichi starts dating popular girl Yukane out of peer pressure to lose his virginity.
2. Multiple chicks adversarial of their blossoming relationship come out of the woodwork in attempts to thwart their bond.
3. Junichi realizes there’s more to relationships than sex (SPOILER ALERT)
4. Junichi’s friend is an overt pedophile that deserves to be locked away for the rest of eternity.
That’s pretty much it. Hajimete gets off to a hobbling start in the way of story. If you came into a ten episode anime labeled in the ecchi genre, you’re probably an idiot for fathoming anything other than repetitive, lecherous humor or a plethora of oppai characters. As the anime begins to unfold, the season of love has arrived. Spring, as I’m seeing in Japan apparently causes the entire student populace to transform into a bunch of blithering horndogs. Couples are formed left and right, so our main protagonist and his friends are desperate to find ANY girl willing to approach them without a ten foot pole. Doesn’t sound like the most enticing setup for an anime if you ask me. What follows could be a decent series between two characters forging their love, but instead implodes on itself due to some dreadfully written characters and haphazard perversion played off as comedy.
One big point to speak to in Hajimete no Gal is the writing. The comedic elements are very hit and miss. I’ll be honest, there was more than one scene in the anime I busted up laughing. Whether it’s the far fetched “what-if” illusions Junichi encountered or a dude showing up in a Kirito costume in an effort to impress girls, all did not fall flat. But plenty of it did, and the fact that Studio NAZ tried to pass off a pedophilic character as funny is a disgrace to entertainment enthusiasts everywhere. Hey, at least his friends didn’t condone his behavior… Also, there’s this:
“All I want is a dope pussy to fuck.”
Yes, this is a real line from the show.
I can’t imagine the budget was very large for this anime, considering there were still-animated screenshots with singing or music in the background on more than one occasion. To me, it came across as a lack of effort on the studio’s behalf. In addition, there were plenty of failed censorships (for an ecchi), and useless scenes thrown into the mix. And yes, before you ask… there is an obligatory summer episode. Tits galore! The series attempts to find a common ground between the plethora of “nothing ever happens” high school romance anime (Ao Haru Ride) and the quicker escalating lewd shows like Prison School or High School DXD. Unfortunately it’s poorly visioned, so a majority of the time is devoted to introducing characters, rather than developing the existing ones. Even a few more episodes would’ve done the writing staff some favor.
Though exhaustingly bland overall, I have to give Hajimete some credit with how it handles the main character’s relationship with Yukane. What starts off as a dare from his friends, actually turns into something of substance. It’s everyone else in the show that I can’t stand. At first, Yukane appears to be a tsundere, a trope vital to the framework of any harem anime. However, as things progressed, I actually began to somewhat respect her and the way she handled Junichi, knowing his original intentions for their relationship. It ended up being the only speck of quality in a sea of genericism. From what I understand, the studio ended up leaving out many of the manga scenes involving their development, most likely to better craft a “cash grabbing” series vice one of any legitimacy. It’s a shame considering how much better the anime probably could’ve been.
Nene, the only girl that presumably had feelings for Junichi from the anime’s inception, possesses almost every quality I hate in a character. An incessantly ear-piercing voice, a loli physique (minus her enormous breasts) and the fact that she just gets in the way in every scene she accompanies. Along with the iriitating Nene, tanned dominatrix Ranko fills the quota of yandere, while Yui fills that of a tsundere. And of course, they all have their reasons for trying to steal Junichi away from his new girlfriend, come hell or high water. Junichi’s unintentionally abstinent posse consists of a guy with glasses who constantly shouts bombastic phrases, a pedophile who’s drawn a map of every elementary schooler’s location in his neighborhood (literally, wtf?!) and another seemingly average blonde haired dude that does little to nothing in the entire anime. Honestly, these characters only existed to interject punchlines, waiting in the wings for their chance to drop a pointed one-liner. None of the other side characters seemed to matter at all, as they were plot devices if anything.
For the life of me I can’t understand why any animator needs to draw breasts as big as the characters have here. This is especially disconcerting when they appear on a girl who resembles a 12-year-old. Like, we all know the 4 foot 9 chick with size HHH tits amirite? This isn’t hentai guys, let’s at least try to invoke some realism here. Many of you would be quick to respond with, “well it IS anime…”. This is where I would beg to differ. To me, characters that are drawn closer to a realistic scale are much sexier in anime. If I wanted to look at someone with elephantitis, I’d watch TLC or go to the weird part of Youtube. Who even likes this shit? The rest of the animation, while subpar, isn’t anything I’d say was detracting from the show… unless that is you count the karaoke scenes the animators were too unskilled or lazy to even draw. Or also the inconsistent character model drawings, most specifically in the mall scene when the girls are trying on clothes. Okay, so maybe the animation sucks too. One thing I wasn’t sure whether or not was intentional was the censorship. I understand censoring tits or va-jay-jay’s, but panty shots too? What gives?! This IS an ecchi right? Show us virgin plebs some goodies!
Hajimete no Gal’s music is exactly what you’d expect from a flashy ecchi show. The OP can’t seem to even understand genre of music it is, with cringeworthy dubstep elements thrown in because, ya know it’s what the kiddies are listening to nowadays. The ED is a stereotypical scene of a scantily clad Yukane being “cute”… I honestly couldn’t think of any other noteworthy songs in the entire OST, with many droning on like a knockoff DDR track. Cheeky, high pitched vocals with a dose of fast techno bass; the epitome of J-Pop. Voice acting isn’t too shabby, and I actually thought Shintara Asanuma’s portrayal of Junichi was above average. Definitely not a soundtrack I’d condone downloading, though it certainly won’t make your ears bleed.
For as critically bad as it is, I did find some sense of enjoyment in Hajimete no Gal. Through its short run time it did have trouble juggling blatant sex themes with building a believable relationship between the two main characters. At least Junichi learned rather quickly that losing your virginity is not the only important thing out of a relationship. Some people my own age even struggle with that (you know who you are Dave!). I’d recommend this for someone looking for a change of pace, or a good time passer. It’s not as hard-core of an ecchi as some anime, but it should scratch the edge of anyone looking for that genre. Until we meet again, thank you for reading!
The difference between a harem anime that is well-received versus one that is not is that the popular ones tend to have a certain level of craftsmanship: they look nice– particularly when focusing on the curvature of the female cast– and have catchy openings and voice acting to drive the senses awild. If one was looking simply for some cheaply-produced masturbation fodder, why not, after all, just watch some ‘hentai’ (as the boys in the west call it) instead?
Hajimete no Gal begs that question repeatedly.
It is deeply uncertain about whether it wants to be a serious romance or flat-out pornography, and so it attempts to be both. And thus it fails to an almost astounding level.
Repeatedly (often more times in a single episode than can be counted with one hand) the anime will showcase the excessively-censored fantasies of Junichi– the worthless protagonist– where Yame and other members of the obligatory harem troupe force themselves on him sexually, begging for sex in the middle of a classroom, a karaoke booth, or some other absurd location that few would ever consider a good idea. Of course this exists because the anime does not have the courage to legitimately have sexual relationships portrayed within the show, and of course it leverages these scenes as an excuse to sell more BluRay copies to sexless otaku who have never walked into an R-18 store before.
The ‘romance’ of Hajimete no Gal may well be nonexistent, as Yame and the rest of the female cast never give a single reason for why they are interested in Junichi, much less why they so crave his penis. Yame agrees to go out with him, presumably, because she finds him fun to tease – but then blushes like a 10-year-old at the idea of a kiss. What? I’m sorry, but if you’re going to sell an anime on the basis of it having a cast of gal characters – the gal trend being defined by promiscuity – then they should actually be such. If you wish to portray a story with toddlers who think ‘indirect kisses’ are a thing (and, good lord, this show has that aplenty), then please look to KyoAni’s Chuunibyou for inspiration instead of hardcore pornography.
Junichi makes Ichika from Infinite Stratos and Rito from To Love-Ru seem tolerable by comparison. He is a spineless loser whose only goal in life is to lose his virginity (as if anyone in Japan these days actually cares if a high school student hasn’t had sex), yet when presented with the opportunity to have sex, cowers like a baby or imposes self-righteousness upon them as if he is now somehow above having sex despite his constant, pathetic attempts at such for the entire series. His friends poke fun at how he might be a cuckold, but in reality, he is the embodiment of one, doing nothing when she sees another man hit on his supposed girlfriend, later throwing a tantrum about how worthless he is and how she deserves that man instead, only to get jealous when he later sees them talk to each other. Whining about how pathetic you are is not an attractive feature, and Yame and crew would do well to leave him aside until he grows up and grows a pair – something unlikely to happen in the event of future seasons. (Let us hope such events never come to pass.)
The rest of the cast is also comprised of cretinous wastes-of-space who do nothing to enhance the quality of the show or make it any less infuriating. You have Nene, the obligatory childhood friend character, massive (and frankly impossibly so) breasts included, who refers to Junichi as “onii-chan” and who he of course disregards despite her sex appeal and constant advances because, hey, treating your old friends like trash is a cool thing for anime protagonists to do. Other additions include Yui– I had to look up her name as I couldn’t remember it– who is conveniently a lewd Nico Nico Douga streamer despite her rich, ‘flawless’ behavior at school, and Ranko (her name being a pun on the Japanese word for gangbangs…) whose only purpose in the anime is to beat people up, yell at Junichi and attempt to force sex upon him (sometimes both occurring simultaneously). Finally, there is Yame’s aforementioned male friend– a cackling douchebag and dreadful antagonist who behaves in no way resembling an actual human being– and Junichi’s three, pathetic friends who do little else but act jealous towards him and follow him around in the event that one of his harem members might so much as glance in their direction. If the only thing defining these kids and keeping their friendship together is their virginity, then, hey, maybe they were never actually friends in the first place?
Thankfully, there are only ten episodes, presumably because they used so many tropes that there are no longer any more cards left to pull from the hat. Onsens scenes, beach scenes where the protagonist lathers lotion onto the girls– you name it. All the asinine trash the anime industry loves is here for your eyes and ears to feast upon. Hooray. Yahoo.
Hajimete no Gal looks cheap and sounds cheap. None of the fantasy scenes are arousing in any way, nor are the obscured pantyshots the show is so desperately marketing. It has about the same production quality as the average pornographic anime, which makes it a wonder why it couldn’t have just been such instead. Even with the decreased characterisation and story a pornographic format would have involved, it would still have been a better anime. At least then it might actually be transparent and honest with itself.
I’m going to be quite blunt. Hajimete no Gal sucks. It is not quite abysmal, nor does it win the award for worst harem anime (Infinite Stratos is still a bit more egregious), but it still sucks. Don’t watch things that suck.
First, let’s get to the more obvious. The show itself is based on a manga that hasn’t been out too long. (only 2 years in fact) It merely has four volumes and yet the producers decided to make this into an anime adaptation. That’s the least of problems though. The real problem begins with the cast of characters. At its core, there’s Junichi Hashibia, a second high school year boy who is an obvious virgin and wants a girlfriend. I can honestly confess that Junichi has some of the worst personalities you can find in anime that’s stitched together into one single entity. The guy has a perverted mind, often clueless about certain situations, and doesn’t seem to excel at anything. He also has some of the most pathetic friends at school and they are no better than him. The only thing that seems to be redeemable about his character is that he is loyal. That actually brings up his involvement with other female characters in the show.
From the cast of girls, we got a variety but the most easily noticeable is Yukana Yame. She’s a gyaru and often attracts the attention of guys and girl alike. Lady luck seems to be on Junichi’s side and Yukana actually decides to be Junichi’s girlfriend. However, their relationship is what I find pretty damn unappealing. Let’s face some facts here because they are nothing really alike. Yukana has school idol-like status while Junichi is a second rate loser. The two have different personalities and doesn’t seem compatible. While the show does give some convincing moments that they can co-exist as a couple, it still doesn’t change the fact that they don’t match. Their character chemistry has very dry humor that often begins from Junichi’s perverted mind or Yukana becoming jealous of other girls. Speaking of the others, the remaining character cast isn’t appealing either.
Nene is the typical childhood friend but instead of looking cute and innocent, the show decides to give her enormous boobs and an underage body. Not to mention, she has the personality of a child as she often tries to get Junichi to “ravage” her. Yui, the other school idol may seem like an elegant beauty at first. Yet, behind her pretty looks is a girl with a devious personality. Somehow, she believes everyone in the world loves her and she is their master. (well, that is except Junichi) Oh we can’t forget Ranko, the possessive close friend of Yukana. My first impression of her character is that she is an animal. Ranko is very aggressive and wants to protect her territory. In this case, it’s her friend Yukana. Unfortunately, it involves Junichi and the two ends up in some rather compromising positions. So there you have it. Our short yet controversial character cast. Now, if the show actually decided to focus more on characterization, then it would have some chance to salvage itself. Instead, it tries way too hard to appeal to their characters that results in questionable fetishes. I honestly felt uncomfortable watching this show because every episode seems to invite viewers to embrace their atrocious ideas.
The series’ storytelling is also pretty dreadful. The first few episodes aims at bringing out as much as fetishes as possible. The way it characterizes its female cast makes them look like sex objects. It seems all the guys in the show are perverted in some way or form with their personal desires. Each episode has moments that will show them, sometimes discretely if you pay attention. The overlay of the story seems to focus more on Junichi and Yukana’s relationships development. As I mentioned before, Junichi actually stays pretty loyal to his girlfriend and it’s even more surprising that Yukana is the most mature of the character cast. However, their relationship gets stale real fast. Nothing special really develops between them and instead relies far too much on sexual acts and teasing to do the work. If this show really decided to focus on relationships, at least move outside of Junichi and Yukana’s circle. Instead, the show overemphasizes on their relationship that itself is nothing but generic junk food.
Studio Naz adapts the animation although the visual quality itself is rather mediocre. The male characters look unremarkable with nothing that stands out from their looks. On the other hand, the female cast draws a lot of attention. Yukana is your gyaru girl and probably looks the most convincing compared to the others. The others all look pretty unrealistic. I mean, just look at Nene on that cover. Ranko is somehow allowed to dress like she’s half nude and enter school grounds without trouble. Yui looks normal on the surface but her other appearance looks like some teen idol character. And yes, it’s an ecchi show so expect tons and tons of fan service. The unavoidable beach episode, sexual positions, and lewd character expressions. You name it. It’s there. At many times, it seems the camera is having way too much fun with its angles.
The soundtrack and music will easily be forgettable as the most noticeable sounds of the show is when girls are moaning, yelling, etc. The OP and ED theme songs contains suggestive camera shots while the character voice mannerism all sound off beat. The only voice I can stand in this show is probably Yukana as she surprisingly sounds the most mature.
Hajimete no Gal is a show that I can’t really recommend to anyone unless you like junk and want to increase your watch-list. I mean, it’s only 10-episodes and it doesn’t take long to finish them all. You can even skip every scene that involves Junichi’s male friends as you wouldn’t miss a second of the plot. The plot itself is devoid of development and instead decides to puts its energy into the fan service. Rather than characterization, it decides to saturate them in the most sexual way possible. Hajimete no Gal is one of the very few shows that I gave a 2/10 this year and looking back, I probably won’t regret giving such a score. Oh but “why would you waste your time watching this in the first place, Stark?” Honestly, I wanted to see if this show can ever become better than the manga but unfortunately, that’s a distant memory now. This show is junk food and you can easily toss it into the trash after you’re done.
3: Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki
English: Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion
Japanese: アンゴルモア 元寇合戦記
MAL Score: 7.14
The scary great king comes from the other side of the sea… The big incident “Genkou” that shook medieval Japan is being drawn in an original way in this historical anime, along with the beginning of the Samurai!
I’m not going to lie, shows with a historical genre tag isn’t really my cup of tea. I’m more used to the traditional live action style of historical storytelling than those made into anime medium. Still, there’s something exceptionally intriguing about this series. Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki (also known as Angolmois: Record of Mongol Invasion) sounds about as straightforward as it gets. Taking place during the 13th century, it deals with a war drama as the Mongolian Empire makes their presence in the world. Japan became a target of this almighty empire and thus begins the Mongolian Invasion.
Angolmois has confidence to be its own story. It takes a realistic approach at historical fiction with the war themes as the first episode introduces us to a variety of characters, the setting, and the plot. The show reveals a group of exiles on their way to Tsushima Island. We are introduced to Kuchii Jinzaburou, a swordsman and former trainer of the Kamakura Shogunate. As a former prisoner of Hakozaki, he also saves Chou Minpuku, another exile. My impression of just the first 10 minutes of the series made me realize that Jinzaburou is not ordinary man. He’s more of a daredevil hero who isn’t afraid of taking action or holding back. After arriving on the island, the exiles are given the task of defending it from Mongols. Joining them also include a former pirate named Onitakemaru, former noble Shirashi Kazuhisa, among others. Due to such a pilot episode, it felt like Angolmois may be taking the risk of jumping the gun too fast. However, I would also mention that by doing so, it had me intrigued at just how far these characters will be able to carry their roles.
At the centerpiece of the cast is Jinzaburou. I already mentioned that he isn’t a traditional protagonist but more of a thriller seeker. He enjoys the sheer thrill of the fight even though he’s not a malevolent person. Thanks to his samurai experience and swordsman skills, he is able to hold his own against powerful foes. What’s important is to realize that Jinzaburou also possesses leadership skills. This is a man that plays with calculated strategies, tricks, and gambling circumstances into his plans. While he’s not a master strategist, I came to realize that the show gave him a balance of brain and brawn. He has a somewhat creative mind and isn’t afraid to express his feelings. Thanks to some help with his allies, he is able to accomplish some near impossible feats including being able to defend against the Mongols. Other characters in the series vary a bit more such as Onitakemaru who acts more as the pure muscle with his large size and strength. The princess of Sou Clan, Teruhi also shows talent in archery as part of the group. At first glance, I wasn’t too impressed by her character as she played the role of a generic princess. However, my stance changed once I saw her courage. In one particular episode, she takes a bullet for the team and protects someone from an assassination. Not only did this impress me but it also established her as genuine heroine who puts others before herself. Still, the show puts her in an awkward position at times. It became obvious that she has a girly crush on Jinzaburou and the show doesn’t do a clever job at exploring their relationship. Needless to say but I’ll say it anyways, this anime does not work well with relationship building.
This is because war is essentially death. It’s simple as that really. People are going to die and there are even foreshadowing of this (for instance, the ED theme song). The anime doesn’t fool around with character deaths either and some are rather violent. This came to me as a positive in the show as it continues to demonstrate the reality of war. Blood is spilled, body parts are scattered, and even heads comes off from necks. If you’re not prepared, then be ready to turn back. I should also mention to not get overly attached to certain characters in the series because not everyone will make it. Or even, there are betrayals in this show. That’s right. The character cast are humans so everyone has their own will to commit sins. On the other hand, I wish the series committed more time to develop the antagonists. There’s much more emphasis on the main characters than the antagonists. While this makes sense, I would’ve appreciated if the anime made me care about the Mongols more than just their reputation. It seems at times, they look like fools who falls under obvious traps. On the other hand, I am satisfied by how this series makes me hate them as the villains. Some of their roles includes abducting families and committing atrocities just to prove their reputation. As such, I often rooted for Jinzaburou and his comrades. There are also some moments in the series where characters go down fighting to the last breath. And that really paints how far characters are motivated to defend their honor.
A show like Angolmois really has a distinctive style from its visual and production. The action scenes is bloody with realistic body movements. There’s an abundance of violence that convinced me this as a war story. Speaking of war, the character designs looked cruel but also dynamic. Most of the main cast are dressed like warriors while characters such as Teruhi gave me a strong action heroine impression. The one person that stands out most would still be Jinzaburou. His expressions during fighting is exceptionally real and some of his body features represents his character. (more evident being a visible scar on his face) The setting also gives a vivid look of these old times with the historical buildings and landscapes. Even during some static scenes, it paints the show like a work of art.
If you want a show like this to be realistic, you’d need a talented voice cast. Thankfully, characters like Jinzaburou represents a warrior with his masculinity when he speaks. The exiles in the series prove themselves as independent characters striving to be free. Their voice expresses their feelings when fighting and it’s definitely not an understatement. The theme songs in the series are also refreshingly beautiful. I don’t see people talking about it often but “Braver” by Starightener sounds so smoothing to the ears. It’s one of those theme songs that fits perfectly for this historical fiction. Likewise, I’m also more than impressed by the soundtrack being able to keep up with the fighting action at all times.
I said it before but I’ll say it again. I decided to watch Angolmois for exactly what it is and thankfully, that’s what I got. It’s a story that meets expectations of being realistic and showing the cruelty of war. Even as predictable as the plot gets at times, I felt that the anime was able to keep me at the edge of my seat. War has consequences and we got Angolmois to prove that. Against all odds, this is an anime that knew what it was doing and what the audience wanted.
Based off a popular manga of the same name Angolmois Genkou Kassenki is an action, military and historical anime that gives us the unique opportunity to go back in time and see the events that transpired during the standout moment that serves as the series main premise which was the first Mongol invasion of Japan which took place in the year 1274 and the attempts by its defenders to hold the line against impossible odds. While military and actioned themed anime are relatively common within the anime industry as shown in brilliant series like the Gate and Valkrie chronicles series that featured a true historical event as its main premise is something of a rarity and indeed this is the first time I seen an anime that made use of this. As a fan of not just the genre’s but also of the samurai as well I was drawn to the anime after reading through the summary of the anime’s plot and was impressed enough to add it to my watch list for this season. The first episode of the series made a pretty good impression on me as it not only introduced the unique characters that would later take center stage in the war but also the unique setting that existed in that time period both of which served to motivate me to watch the series to the very end a move that I felt was now worth it.
Taking place on the island of Tsushima in the year 1274 in a land far removed from the bloodshed and fierce battles that had taken place on the mainland. Here rather than match wits against each other and fight against each other on the fields of battle for things like honor, glory and wealth the people of Tsushima island exist in a simple peaceful society one where the people only worry about whether their next harvests and fishing fleets will be able to find enough food to survive another week and one where conflict is tightly controlled by its ruling clan the So clan. However unknown to the general population this peace is about to be shattered for a large threat that’s akin to an invasion from one of the sengoku’s periods greatest warlords was approaching in the form of a vast invasion fleet from the newly awakened Mongol empire that’s determined to make Tsushima the first step in its eventual invasion of Japan.
The overall story for the series using this setting as its canvas follows a group of samurai that thanks to the peace that now reigns within Japan was released from their imprisonment and sent to Tsushima island as exiles never to return from there. Among their number was Kuchii Jinzaburo a veteran samurai and a former retainer of the Kamakura shogunate who while accepting his fate still aspires to one day be able to return to his homeland and reunite with his family. But rather than being exiled to a remote location and to live out an existence far from people Kuchii and his fellow exiles soon find themselves placed once more on the frontlines as the Mongols begin their invasion of the island. As the armies of the island’s reigning Sol clan are decimated and as the Mongols advance into the heart of the island Kuchii reawakens within him a sense of determination that he had thought forgotten a determination to not just protect the innocents but also to fight against worthy foes. Taking up the signature samurai armour and katana that symbolises his old role once more Kuchii begins to once more become not just a samurai but a leader as well as he begins to orchestrate the desperate resistance of the island’s inhabitants and protect them from the Mongols by giving them their first taste of something that they have not encountered until now which is defeat.
Joining Kuchii in this desperate defence of the island is the island’s sole remaining representative the kind but determined Princess Teruhi that despite being a princess is a capable fighter that’s both brave and cunning and while not close to Kuchii’s fighting abilities more than makes up for it in her ability to inspire loyalty and determination within her people. Together these two along with their allies would fight hard to stop the Mongols and protect the island’s inhabitants and buy time for the mainland to ready their defenses.
Kuchii Jinzaburo voiced by veteran voice actor Yuuki Ono of Food Wars and Strike the Blood fame is one of the main characters of the series and is the main protagonist of the series. A former retainer of the Kamakura shogunate that was exiled to the island as a result of the advent of peace on the mainland Kuchii from the onset was shown to be someone that was quiet, level-headed and calm and while his manner of speech was rather direct he was someone that was honorable and knew when to rein this nature in. An intelligent and rational person by nature Kuchii was someone that was noted to be quite perceptive able to both sense and see the subtle shifts of people’s behavior quite easily a trait that is no doubt born from his long career as a samurai. However while a quiet person Kuchii was someone that was noted to have a strong sense of duty and responsibility and while initially not interested in helping the Islanders in their defence soon changed as his mind as he began to realize that the Islanders just like the people back in homeland are innocents that were caught in the middle of a war that they didn’t want and as a result decided to do his best to protect them. While somewhat brooding and difficult to approach by many it can be seen that beneath this Kuchii is someone that’s not just kind and caring towards his friends and allies but also understanding, confident and inspirational traits that are bolstered by Kuchii’s natural sense of perception which enables him to easily notice and understand the key reasons that his men are fighting for and inspire them by using these very reasons. Unlike most other samurai who would prefer to take to the field at once and face the enemy on the field with all their might and skill Kuchii was someone that can be seen to something of a rarity in that he prefers to gather info on his enemies first and determine not just their tactics but also their ideology and motivations before making a decision on his actions which shows that while Kuchii was a capable samurai he was also a capable strategist as well that looks at the long view something that will be crucial for a sustained defensive war.
As the series goes on and as Kuchii’s personality is gradually expanded upon his personality starts to change as we get to see the effects that the war has on him. After the destruction of much of the Sol clan’s forces in the initial defense command of the defensive war was soon passed to Kuchii a role that while he excelled at was also one that placed a heavy burden on him. While possessing boundless amounts of confidence Kuchii was someone that respected the soldiers that served him a great deal seeing them as brothers in arms and as a result he is someone that will remember the deeds and names of each of them that died under his command and use this as a source of his courage something that I felt really matched the idea of a compassionate samurai that the character of Kuchii was modeled as. Unlike the islanders who have a valid reason to fight as they are fighting to protect their homes and also for justice for loved ones that were killed by the Mongols Kuchii, in the beginning, did not have a valid reason for taking up the katana once more a reason that some of his fellow exiles ridicule him over.
Indeed, while Kuchii does not fight for their homes or for justice as neither were things that he had to concern over when fighting in the bloody battles on the mainland he does, however, believe that one must not surrender to their fate and instead if you want to be able to live you must live your life your way and defy fate by standing up and fighting against it. It is this fierce sense of wanting to defy fate that Kuchii fights so hard and why he is able to inspire such loyalty among his fellow defenders something that I felt matched well with his inspirational nature. The character of Kuchii I felt was a character that was both well designed and developed with his evolution from a quiet, blunt and brooding ex-samurai to one that was kind, understanding and inspirational being particularly interesting. The evolution from an exile and a former samurai to becoming both the field commander and the savior of Tsushima island and its people was something that I really liked about the character of Kuchii. I felt that his voice actor Yuuki Ono really did an excellent job at portraying the character of Kuchii.
Teruhi voiced by veteran seiyuu Lynn of Fuuka and ElDLIVE fame is one of the main characters of the series and is one of Kuchii’s main allies within the series. A 17-year-old-year-old girl and the only daughter of the ruler of Tsushima island and patriarch of the Sol clan Sukekuni So Teruhi is one of the first people that receive and welcome the exiles and Kuchii to the island. From the onset, it can be seen that Teruhi despite being a princess and the sole daughter of the island’s reigning clan is someone that’s kind, compassionate and dutiful and was seen to have great pride as a member of that clan. Unlike most princesses, Teruhi was shown to be a caring and responsible person that treated all with humility and respect and as a result, had the loyalty and respect from much of the island’s inhabitants. However, while kind and compassionate Teruhi was also someone that was both intelligent, perceptive and cunning and was one of the first to realize that the upcoming Mongol invasion will be something that will be difficult to stop without help which resulted in her enlisting of the help of the exiles despite the risks that can be born from it. At the beginning of the series while shown as intelligent, calm, determined and cunning it can be seen that this is only what she projects on the surface for beneath this it can be seen that Teruhi is someone that’s emotionally fragile and is one that dislikes fighting and killing and as a result of the coming storm worries greatly about her home and her friends. A realization that unfortunately turned out to be true for her.
As the series progressed and as the war began to slowly turn against the defenders Teruhi’s personality gradually began to change. At the beginning of the series though very determined to be of use to both her clan and the people of the island Teruhi due to her father’s wishes was prevented from taking to the field. However, after his death and Teruhi succeeding the role as clan leader this barrier was removed and Teruhi began to take to the field and fight on the frontlines in order to protect her people. At the beginning of the series, Teruhi due to her position as a princess was someone that was noted to have a strong sense of pride that also caused her to develop a degree of overconfidence in her traits that often caused Kuchii and the defensive effort more trouble than needed. However, as a result of successive tragedies that created a heavy emotional toll on Teruhi this side of her gradually vanishes as the series went on and is replaced by a sense of not just a determination to learn how to fight effectively but also instilled within her the realization that they cannot fight this threat alone any longer and that maybe its time to ask for help rather than being stubborn about it if she wants to be able to protect the people that she so values. This latter point is seen in the humility that she displays when seeking to ask for the assistance of the Toribarai.
At the beginning of the series, Teruhi and Kuchii had a rather tense first meeting due to her intention to make use of the exiles as soldiers in her desire to use them to protect the island from harm. As a result of this relations between the two were rather tense but as the series went on and Teruhi bore witness to not just Kuchii’s skills as a warrior but also his ability to not just inspire others but also come up with creative strategy and tactics that dealt with the Mongols in devastating ways this view gradually changed as Teruhi began to realize that he was exactly the type of person that they needed. Arguably one of the central reasons that caused Teruhi to change her opinion on Kuchii was that unlike what his usual gruff and brooding attitude would have suggested Kuchii was someone that was not just kind but also understanding of the plights of others a type of person that Teruhi had only seen rarely and contributed to her gradual bonding with him. At the same time, he was also one of the first people that defied her orders something that Teruhi paid him back within the series by insisting on joining him in battle and in the process not just keeping an eye on him but also gaining valuable insight into how battles are fought and how effective use of tactics can level the playing field even against overwhelming force skills that proved to be useful as the series progressed.
The character of Teruhi I felt was an interesting one that was both well designed and developed with her evolution from a prideful but surprisingly fragile princess to one that was not just brave and determined but also more humble being one of the best aspects of her character. Seeing Teruhi not just overcome her initial fear of killing and combat but also be willing to fight on the very frontlines and learn to use the tactics and teachings that she learned from Kuchii to protect those that she cares about was something that I thought was really well done. I thought that her seiyuu Lynn did an excellent job at portraying the character of Teruhi.
In terms of animation, I felt that the character designs for the series main characters were really well done and I felt that the outfits that were worn by the cast matched well with the time period that the series made use of. In particular, I felt that the outfits that were worn by both the nobles and retainers like Teruhi and her servants and the ones worn by the exiles and the peasants did a good job of defining the social class that they belonged too. In terms of combat armour that was worn by Kuchii and his men as well as the soldiers of the Toribarai I really loved the variation of the armor that is shown as these while also showing the different roles that they would play on the field also showed the kind of tactics that both factions use which within the series are polar opposites of each other. The armor that was passed on to Kuchii and one that he subsequently adapted as his main set I felt was both designed and showed well Kuchii’s advancement in role within the series as at that point Kuchii went from being an exile to one of the foremost defenders against the upcoming invasion. Location wise I thought that the island of Tsushima featured quite a variety of terrain that while pretty to look at also served to be effective terrain for the defenders as they continued their resistance against the Mongol armies. Of these locations, I thought that the castle that was used as the Toribarai was probably my favorite one as that castle while large and hard to defend was one that was both impressive visually but also as an effective defense.
As an anime focused on action and war it was important that Angolmois managed to get the combat animation right and at the same time make the battles that feature them easy to read and understand. In this, I felt that the series did relatively well. While the combat animations were relatively smooth I felt that the combat scenes were not just bloody but also brutally so and did a great job of showing just how well stepped the samurai actually were when they fought on the battlefield. Whether it was one vs one or one vs many I thought that the combat scenes within the anime were well done and did a great job of showing the desperate fights that the defenders had to fight in in order to protect their loved ones from the invaders which were helped greatly by the unique art style that was used for the series. In terms of enemy design while only seen a handful of times I thought that the designs for the Mongol commanders were interesting ones with the best examples being the Mongol spymaster and the Mongol vice marshal Liu Fuheng.
In terms of music, I felt that the series OST did a pretty good job at providing not just an excellent soundtrack to the many scenes within the series but also helped inject some tension into the many battle scenes that are within the series. The series made use of one opening and ending theme respectively which was Braver by Straightener and Upside Down by She’s both of which was strong songs that I felt complemented the series really well. In terms of voice acting, I felt that both Yuuki Ono and Lynn both did an excellent job portraying the characters of Kuchii and Teruhi. In addition, while I didn’t cover them within this review I also thought that Mikako Komatsu, Shun Horie, Natsuko Hara, Rikiya Koyama and Kensho Ono who portrayed the characters of Kano, Amushi, Sana, Onitakemaru and Hangan respectively all did an excellent job at portraying the supporting cast.
In overall Angolmois was an anime that I really enjoyed with its main strong points being its unique premise, interesting story, well designed and developed characters, well designed and developed battles, excellent voice acting and its inclusion of multiple themes that actually work well in the context of a war.
The overall premise of Angolmois which was the Mongol invasion of Japan and its invasion of Tsushima island as the first step in their master plan was an unusual one as historical events like this aren’t usually used as the premise for an anime but this is what makes the premise of Angolmois a strong one as the desperate situation that this entailed served as the ideal canvas for inserting the band of former samurai, thieves, pirates, and misfits into as no matter how unique their former lives were their skills are now more sorely needed than ever in perhaps the largest battles that any of them has fought in.
The overall story for the series I felt did a great job of taking advantage of this strong premise by not just introducing the island’s foremost clan but also introduce a number of characters that while openly dismissive of the exiles at first gradually grew to respect them as the war between the Islanders and the Mongols rapidly turned against them. As the story progresses and the war between the two factions gradually expands in scale this respect that exists between the Islanders and the exiles while still cold to some extent especially among the more senior retainers and the ones that have an arrogance about them gradually evolves as the exiles most prominently Kuchii begins to not just fight back against the invaders but surprisingly score victory after victory against them. While dealing a major blow to the invader’s plans this act also served as an excellent foundation for both the Islanders and the exiles as while both have very different temperaments both factions believe that cooperating with each other would be the best path forward for both of them. Seeing not just Kuchii and the rest of the exiles but also Teruhi and her clanmates gradually learn to respect each other as they fight together was something that I felt was done well and illustrated the fact that even when faced by the cruelty of war the forging of bonds of friendship and comradeship would go a long way in helping them survive and fight another day. This is best shown in the many battles and tactics that were used by Kuchii and his comrades much of which relied upon the trust and respect that the Islanders and the exiles had for each other in order to succeed in them. I felt that the series made great use of a variety of tactics that really served to keep the Mongols guessing on their intentions. These included the use of ambushes, night assaults, explosives, firearms, and psych warfare all of which were devastating to both sides.
While the combat and the learning to unite against the common foe is the series main theme I thought that the series also did a great job of allowing us to look at the human side of a person whether that person is a trained soldier, an ex-samurai or simply a islander that while scared wants to be able to protect his friends and family from the invaders by allowing us to see the kind of motivations that they have for taking to the field, what serves as their main source of motivation and what their deepest fear is both on the field and off it. This latter point I felt was interesting as fear just as it can serve to incapacitate you if you let it control you can also be used as a great source of motivation if you are able to convert it into a source of your strength something that Kuchii within the series excelled at.
Overall Angolmois was a really enjoyable anime that made great use of its strong historical backdrop to give us an interesting tale of how a former samurai that was exiled to die a lonely death in a long forgotten island alongside his fellow exiles were to instead become one of the islands foremost defenders as they fought alongside their fellow islanders and turn what the Mongols thought to be an easy victory to one that will prove costly to the Mongols in terms of casualties and resources and showing them that when faced with the power of the samurai and determined islanders that are intent on defending their home even the Mongols famed numbers may not guarantee them victory. As a final score I would say that it deserves a final score of 9/10.
The series starts off unorthodoxly similar-sounding to the events of the Mongolian Invasion with a twist: a group of exiles, banished from the mainland, and are headed the way to Tsushima Island to protect the people there from the upcoming invasion. Led by the brave Samurai and calm but composed strategist who goes by the name of Kuchii Jinzaburoh, and his band of exile mercenaries with unique characteristics and roles to play with, these exiles were given a death sentence to boot, and it’s primarily their choice to either help or sabotage the entire operation.
Upon reaching Tsushima Island, they are confronted with the upheaval task ahead of giving their resources, be it brain or brawn to help educate the people about the war, equip them with war knowledge to fight back, all at the helm of Princess Teruhi, the woman with a kind heart but unrequited “love” for Jinzaburoh. Upon the many scenes of the Mongolian Invasion, one army after another, both the exiles and Princess Teruhi’s men and villagers must somehow diverge the many loopholes they have regarding the foundation of Tsushima Island and its defenses in order to push back the Mongolians just enough to ensure everyone’s safety.
For the story to work, the character cast VAs must be assigned to play the roles well, because the context of war is one that cannot be underestimated, and the sense of realism must be executed well. And with Angolmois, you won’t be disappointed as every point, be it with the many hidden agendas or secrets it has, all portray the feelings of war with ruggedness, with scary emotions and whatnot to the point of believable-ness.
The art and animation is somewhat interesting. Studio NAZ incorporated a paper filter into the artwork, which explains why the historical art aspect is kept consistent and true to the real events past. The animation doesn’t disappoint as many historical-action series does with all of the blood and gore of exterminating enemies and the such, and it all incorporates to give the realism of war, that when confronted, it is right at your face and you can do nothing about it, but just to adapt and fight your way out of this massacre (male army veterans can liaise with this).
The music, especially the OST, is more mellow but yet still holds out strong. Never have I expected anything from a war-ravaged anime OST to stand out, but yet this does with the gradual-eclipse of the OP and the all-purposes illustration of the ED about not just the main cast, but their silhouettes showcasing their efforts to stand together as one.
All in all, Angolmois is not a groundbreaking show, but yet it still manages to strike a chord all the way through from beginning to end. As is for a war-centric series, there is foreseen plot prediction, but with the kicker being the unexplained events of dire consequences of the dangerous war, it’s always satisfying to learn as of such that war forces us, the viewers to learn to think twice and not just be strategic, for demise can come at an easy cost.
I enjoyed this series much, and you should too, so go catch up on this series, it’s brutal yet entertaining.
2: Hamatora The Animation
English: Hamatora The Animation
Japanese: ハマトラ THE ANIMATION
MAL Score: 7.28
The ability to create miracles is not just a supernatural phenomenon; it is a gift which manifests in a limited number of human beings. “Minimum,” or small miracles, are special powers that only selected people called “Minimum Holders” possess. The detective agency Yokohama Troubleshooting, or Hamatora for short, is composed of the “Minimum Holder PI Duo,” Nice and Murasaki. Their office is a lone table at Cafe Nowhere, where the pair and their coworkers await new clients.
Suddenly, the jobs that they begin to receive seem to have strange connections to the serial killer whom their friend Art, a police officer, is searching for. The murder victims share a single similarity: they are all Minimum Holders. Nice and Murasaki, as holders themselves, are drawn to the case—but what exactly is the link between Nice and the one who orchestrates it all?
Set in a city where a small group of people with superpowers – called Minimum Holders – exist, the story follows a detective agency called Hamatora, a detective group made of Minimum Holders. Each episode we follow Hamatora solving various mysteries, always caused by another human who posesses Minimum Holder powers. Art, a superintendent of the police, usually cooperates with them to solve the cases, while it turns out that there is a mastermind behind all these mysterious happenings.
The story of Hamatora really isn’t bad – each episode we get faced with a new detective case for our little detective group, and we follow them solve the cases and doing some fighting with their cool Minimum Holder powers. Here and there, we see some hints of an actual plot, which then gets fulfilled during the final few episodes. It could have been developed so much better though.
The first half of Hamatora (with the episodic short cases) was okay in the aspect that it also presented the antagonist and gave a small development up to the final conflict. The problem here is though that the time was not used effectively. Character development was close to zero, and instead we were presented with some filler-like episodes. Like the beach episode, which was used after a quite dramatic development, which was just completely out of place. And don’t even get me started on episode 5, honestly.
The last few episodes focus on the actual “plot” of the series, as already mentioned. It definitely is better than the first half, as the plot thickens and the episodes focus on the main conflict. Sadly we get fed up with an extremely disappointing conclusion, which leaves questions open and brings the story down. Additionally, at some point you aren’t really interested in following the story anymore and lose interest more and more as the story progresses. This is mostly due to the extremely weak characters.
And this leads me to my next point – the characters, which make up the weakest part in this series. As I’ve said, with the exception of some backstory hints, there is no real development and we don’t get to know much about them. Hell, if they weren’t called names like “Birthday” and “Nice” I don’t think I would be able to remember much of them. Nice has some backstory, and characters like Murasaki, Art and Three also have some hints on their past here and there. But the rest gets left in the dark.
Especially characters like Koneko, Hajime and Master could have easily been left out in their entity and the story could still progress the same, as they don’t play any role in the main plot. At all. Maybe they play a bigger role in the manga or the upcoming video game – at least in the anime, they are completely useless.
Finally there is also our “bad guy” Moral, who makes quite an underwhelming enemy character. I felt his reasoning for being the bad guy was quite a disappointment – you would expect so much more.
Overall, since we barely get to know anything about the characters – thanks to the aforementioned use of filler-like episodes – so we are presented with characters that we can’t relate to or connect with at all. I think this also plays a part why the enjoyment is so little – at some point you do not really care how the story progresses anymore since you can’t really feel anything for the characters.
The art is one of the more positive aspects, the character design is good and as I’ve already mentioned, the fighting scenes in their full colorful glory were quite a please to look at. The animation was okay too most of the time, though there were some episodes with lots of quality issues present. The music was decent too, with nice opening and ending songs.
But of course, some art and music don’t make an anime, which now leads me to my overall opinion – Hamatora could have been a good and fun show, as the flashy visuals and the superpowers surely pique one’s interest, but was brought down by an average plot and unrelateable characters. All this together results in my final score 4/10.
Hamatora is an anime with a similar style to things like Persona 4 or Danganronpa which are based on video games (though Hamatora’s game has yet to actually be made…). It centers around a group of crime fighting, mystery solving “superhumans” called “Hamatora” and the other similar groups of people that they know. Most of the main characters have abilities called “Minimums” which allow them to use some power when they fulfill a certain requirement (ex. gain super-strength when they take off their glasses). The main characters and members of Hamatora are Nice and Murasaki who are both Minimum Holders (people who have minimums). The story begins with them just doing their usual crime solving and being dirt poor because they don’t get enough jobs and a girl named Hajime spends a lot of Nice’s money on food. They soon start getting job requests that interconnect and begin to reveal a much larger scale crime.
But before that all happens, the show has filler. Lots of filler. Most episodes have some small connection to the plot, but that will only be just about a minute out of an otherwise filler-filled episode. Whether it’s a beach episode, spa episode with sit-ups (and I mean LOTS of sit-ups), or just some random event involving the minor characters, this show just has too much filler. However, the actual story is brilliant. The show overall resembles something like Psycho-Pass and Darker Than Black in the way the world and the minimum powers work and eventually crumble into chaos. The end of the show is excellent and leaves a possibility for a second season, which I would love to happen.
As for the characters, they are all interesting but none develop very much or at least get enough screen time to develop. As much as I like Nice and Murasaki, they really don’t develop as much as characters in similar shows, and the show only gave small glimpses into their pasts which needed much more elaboration as they seemed very interesting. A detective named Art is also interesting and his relationship with Nice is one of the higher points in the character aspect. Hajime, a girl who hangs out with Hamatora, appears to have the potential to be the main female protagonist at first with her intense hunger driving Nice into poverty, but she ends up only having a minor role with just two big appearances (one being the intense sit-up filler episode; you’ll know which one I mean when you see it). The rest of the important supporting characters (who all have random English words for names) are just as interesting as the main cast. They were also given some short backstories, but not enough screen-time either. Hopefully a second season will bring about more of the characters’ pasts.
However, the best character in this show is actually the villain, Moral. He’s just psychotic and and the show does an excellent job of building him up. His scenes with Art and Nice are never bad and are the best scenes in the entire anime. He just wants everyone in the world in to be equal, but that means eliminating those who think differently than him. He’s an understandable villain whose goals are similar to those of real life people, but he actually puts his plans into action.
The animation is generally very good despite the show’s obviously low budget. The psychedelic look of when minimum holders use their powers make the action scenes very stimulating to the viewer, and all of the characters designs are great (Honey is especially cute). Moral, Nice, and everyone else look cool and their designs fit their parts well. The emotions the characters show really work well especially for showing how insane Moral is (at least compared to what society considers sanity). The urban scenery and everything else looks good as well. Really all that holds the animation back is just the low budget which is especially apparent in some of the filler episodes in the middle of the show, but the creators at least did a good job of saving the budget for more important scenes.
The soundtrack is also one of the better parts. It uses a lot of piano tracks with unique rhythms that speed up and down a lot depending on the mood. During the action scenes, rock songs are used. Nice’s signature song that plays whenever he puts his headphones on stands out in particular. The OP is also one of my favorites of this winter season.
Hamatora may have issues with fillers that throw off the pace of the story and a noticeably low animation budget, but it’s still very enjoyable. Even with a poor budget, they make it count when it needs to. The characters just needed a little more development to be really good, but the soundtrack is consistently great and sets a great mood to help fix all of the other problems. Some scenes are amazing and some are just frustrating, but Hamatora is still a fun and emotional anime that better get a second season.
Hamatora The Animation is one that will leave you excited, shocked, angry, and confused at some point. Set in the year that this anime aired, people in this world will have a power called a “Minimum”, therefore being called “Minimum Holders.” “It is an extraordinary power beyond the understanding of man that manifests whenever a specific condition is met in the form of an action.” Unfortunately, others won’t have this kind of power because they weren’t born or gifted with it; and that’s when the main conflict starts to head in. They would be seeking power because they are the “weak.”
Hamatora itself is made out of a group of people who accept job offers in order to make money. These jobs are usually ones they need to solve or investigate and are offered to them because Hamatora is known to have pairs with special abilities, or said in the last paragraph, a power called a “Minimum.” These special abilities help solve or conclude those investigations. The main investigation is to stop a serial killer targeting Minimum Holders.
The art in Hamatora is very colorful. One look at this anime and you know there will be flying colors everywhere. Especially when the characters construct their powers, colors are just in there. The characters themselves are also colorful; with what they wear and what item/element they use. There are also very flashy scenes. Other scenes include a bit of gore. The backgrounds are really just casual settings, nothing to fancy and nothing to dull – considering it is set in 2014.
I thought the OP of this anime had that futuristic feel to it. Being set in our current timeline, but with people having superhuman abilities, I think the OP played a pretty good role. The ED, I thought, had that sad feeling to it. It wasn’t gloomy or anything, I just felt like it was playing a sad tune or something. The background music/sounds played pretty well in terms of setting the mood/scene in each episode. But there really wasn’t an OST that caught my attention.
With some there to make all the action, some there just to be funny, and some there to explain situations that viewers need explaining to, the characters in Hamatora are pretty cool, in my opinion. Though their names could have been better, the characters’ names are pretty easy to remember – especially the ones in Hamatora itself. The top duo in Hamatora are Nice and Murasaki. Nice being the top Minimum Holder and Murasaki following behind. Other characters included, showed some pretty amazing powers. They made me laugh, tear up, angry, confused, and just simply shocked. Character developments weren’t as good as how most anime would develop characters. But they’re pretty fun to watch.
Overall, I enjoyed this anime from beginning to end. There were quite a few of cliffhangers – especially the last episode – which kept me kind of clinging on to the series. Though, if this series had a better character development and more episodes that went into the main plot, then maybe this show would have a little more fans. But even so, I think it’s pretty entertaining.
English: ID: INVADED
Japanese: ID:INVADED イド:インヴェイデッド
MAL Score: 7.87
The Mizuhanome System is a highly advanced development that allows people to enter one of the most intriguing places in existence—the human mind. Through the use of so-called “cognition particles” left behind at a crime scene by the perpetrator, detectives from the specialized police squad Kura can manifest a criminal’s unconscious mind as a bizarre stream of thoughts in a virtual world. Their task is to explore this psychological plane, called an “id well,” to reveal the identity of the culprit.
Not just anyone can enter the id wells; the prerequisite is that you must have killed someone yourself. Such is the case for former detective Akihito Narihisago, who is known as “Sakaido” inside the id wells. Once a respected member of the police, tragedy struck, and he soon found himself on the other side of the law.
Nevertheless, Narihisago continues to assist Kura in confinement. While his prodigious detective skills still prove useful toward investigations, Narihisago discovers that not everything is as it seems, as behind the seemingly standalone series of murder cases lurks a much more sinister truth.
An attempt at explanation would be daft, and an attempt at description would span infinity and eventuate in intense subjectivity. What one may find to be a bog-standard sci-fi murder mystery on paper will—I promise you—come to surprise even the most jaded of pseudo intellectual keyboard warriors and utterly scar any casual viewer with its shell-shocking ego. Being a narrative which quite literally invades the id of its ever-astounding cast of eclectic personas, from broken officers to perverse serial killers, it builds itself around the minds of those thoroughly intentional and cavernously deep characters written to clever perfection and results in a totally arresting presentation of psychotically malleable ideation turned to somehow solid environment, both of which rocket up and down in visual prominence until the only thing you have to ground yourself is your own body, a being far detached from the mental breakdown in front of you, lashing itself dangerously outside the bounds of your screen with its enchanting sense of maddeningly immersive wonder. Call it confusing or call it possessing, at the end of the day it stands as a statement of thought so unforgettable at face and unbelievably impervious to plot holes or forward criticism save production nitpicks, mere impress doesn’t even being to do justice.
Atop its labyrinthine writing and audacious conceptualization stands the freshly iconic visual direction of a true master, thunderously flaunting one visual metaphor after another all whilst juggling the countless ideas said writer bloated its context with to begin with. At once minimalistically elegant, at once overwhelmingly provocative, Id:Invaded is a feast for the senses which it doesn’t subvert, and its feverish changes of pace and betrayals of expectation all find themselves accompanied by cinema sensibilities which can only be described as sublime. While the concepts it asks you to accept out the gate are more than their fair share of freakish, never does the show break its own rules or perforate its own plot, and seeing as said concepts are presented with such acute realization of the writer’s intentions, their believability is unquestionable and their sense of immersion almost dubious in light of their exciting air of unreality. The more its science fiction morphs into pure psycho-fantasy, the more its cast of already human characters evolve and devolve into remarkably affecting icons of expert thematic execution and equally exquisite empathetic development. Be it crying in pain, smiling in wry, or celebrating in hype, Id:Invaded will move you in sincerity, and I bet my life you won’t even comprehend why, how, or by when.
Well, that’s about a lifetime’s worth of poeticism I just wrung out of my naturally prosaic fingers, isn’t it? Id:Invaded, no matter how much I love it, is just so hard to comprehensively write about—let alone critically review—such was the only way I saw forward. When I said an explanation would be daft I wasn’t kidding, and the man, the powerful fucking figure who let me not be kidding was Otarō Maijō. I expect the name Ōtarō Maijō to go over peoples’ heads as much as I expect this thickly bibliographical paragraph to turn what little of you are still reading away from this review, but to not discuss this man would be to deny the very source of the unhinged identity this show defines itself with. As bracingly weird as Id:Invaded is, Ei Aoki is not a weird director. As I’m sure many are aware given the immense popularity of many projects he’s helmed, he’s a grand director known for his sweeping perspective shots, wide frames, and foreground focus, and while Id:Invaded most certainly uses his directorial skill to its fullest extent, no one would ever in a million years walk away from this show with those aspects having been the most memorable. What completely overshadows Aoki’s personal mark is Maijō’s. Which isn’t to say Maijō’s work is better than Aoki’s, it’s more to say Maijō’s is so mentally unbalanced and deranged, even having seen some outstanding cinematography, your biggest takeaway from the experience is what in the hell you could even call that scripting. Id:Invaded is confusing in structure, execution, purpose, and is esoteric as all hell, being nearly impossible to see the immediate appeal of or the immediate intention of outside of surface level actions and fetishes. You’ll often find yourself not knowing what the point of something is, and I honestly think 50% of people who watch Id:Invaded will hate it, and to them I have no harsh words. Characters are as insane and non-relatable as I imagine Maijō himself to be, and his characterization still hits you like a train to the face. The very first sentence of the very first work of Maijō’s I ever read was “my mom is a piece of shit,” and in Id:Invaded, you watch a character deride someone to suicide, watch on contently, and that character is portrayed as being the good guy—and IS the good guy. But this was all exactly what I expected. Maijō is off his damn rocker. He’s a cult author even in Japan and has been since his early 2000s debut, and very few of his works have been translated into english, so the only people who will have likely known about him prior to now are freaks like me deep into the Faust style lore of Japanese literary culture. Since finally founding his long deserved personal studio, TROYCA, Aoki began getting more interesting writers behind his direction. I don’t know if this has gone well for him per se, but it certainly has been interesting. In 2014, Aoki brought on The Butcher, Urobuchi Gen, to write Aldnoah.Zero, and unfortunately, Urobuchi was swamped with the Psycho-Pass 2/Psycho-Pass Movie production quagmire to write any further than the original concept and scenario, and while that foundation and inciting incident were the best parts of that show by far—if not the only good parts at all—his minimal involvement likely left Aoki with some regrets. However, in 2017, Aoki vindicated himself by bringing in legendary mangaka, Rei Hiroe, and had him write the entire screenplay for Re:Creators, and it was easily the most uniquely conceptualized and thereby daringly well produced spectacle I’d seen in years. Aoki is clearly wanting to one-up himself creatively after his past critical and popular successes, and how else to accomplish this feat than bringing on the single most certifiably insane author-turned-screenwriter the industry has ever seen. What’s weirder (and the sad reason I couldn’t put a ten out of ten on this review), is how bizarre and sometimes even downright ugly Id:Invaded looks. Seeing as the pre-production and planning for this work began a whopping eight years ago before TROYCA was even around to launch Aoki’s new oddities, he had to get it off the ground at whatever studio would take it, hence NAZ, and seeing as switching studios once an obvious alternative arose would be notably bad optics, Aoki committed. In the end, they got to a point in the latter half of the production where they literally had FIVE people doing the genga for the entirety of episode twelve. That’s less animators than a student film has, and what we got—at least in that piteous context—I dare say is good enough, especially with such incredible visual direction never leaving the screen.
Now, I fully admit to cheating this game. I have the unique means to look across the room I’m currently sat in and see a shelf carrying Asura Girl and both volumes of Faust, one of which contains Drill Hole in My Brain, so I concede to bringing a gun to a knife fight. This isn’t me being an elitist, scoffing at the thought of casuals or newcomers—or even long time, truly authentic fans who’re just too young to know the industry’s older names—getting filtered by their first taste of even remotely high-minded media. No, this is me reflecting genuine concern for any normal, thinking human being who’s about to unknowingly drown themselves in the literary ravings of a barely professional madman given a platform bigger than ever before by a creator outrageously gaudy enough to employ him in an effort to make a statement, only to make a statement so schizophrenic, nothing can be learned from it other than a lesson as to what happens when the wielder doesn’t know the power of the weapon he’s naively placed in his own two hands without the viewer willing to bravely dive deep into the barrel of said smoking gun, whether one thought the viewing of said weapon’s discharge to be utterly badass or fundamentally terrifying. Personally, I thought it utterly badass.
Thank you for reading.
What do you get when you mash well thought-out ideas from other great sci-fi cop shows into a stew and then leave that stew on a oven that’s not turned on? A cold mess. ID:Invaded as a product is a cold mess. I can’t help but try to understand what people are praising about this and wonder to myself if we even watched the same show. Yes, it’s not awful and in a landscape of established IPs and forced squeals/remakes having an original anime come out is fantastic, but is the bar set so low that this show is considered good?
I suppose we should talk about the good first. Despite my initial bitching if you enjoy sci-fi/cop shows this anime isn’t awful. It’ll scratch that itch you have and maybe even keep you going with its case of the week (2 weeks) set-up for awhile. The mystery isn’t always hard, but they do give enough to them that you find yourself playing along with the show to try and figure out who the killer is this week. On top of that the character designs are worth praise given how distinct and memorable they happen to be, as well as the animation which although no Ufotable dose keep itself from feeling like they lost budget. Even if some of the shots are laughable bad.
As for the bad…..well where to start. The final big bad of the show John Walker has absolutely NO mystery to it. By episode two you could make a guess and I promise you you’ll be right. A child could figure it out which makes the whole shows over arcing mystery (who is John Walker?) a complete bore. The character development is almost as bad. Only really given to our main character Sakaido all the other characters take a backseat till the plot calls for them to actually do something. Yet, when we reach our final few episodes and major (?) deaths start to happen we’re supposed to care? I honestly found myself laughing when these people were dying and the show was playing the super sad music like it mattered. On that note the last two episode drop so much exposition that I’m honestly truly baffled that a studio green-lit this project. Nothing in the last two episodes feels natural and spending every five minutes to info dump so you can understand what the hell is happening you loses all tension the show had going into the finally.
I won’t lie, I fell behind on this show (and others this season) and ended up marathoning the past six weeks of this show. I’m glad I did because if it wasn’t for that ID:Invaded would have ended up dropped. This show isn’t good. If you want to spend time watching 13 episodes of an anime in this genre please go watch something else. Psycho-Pass, Ghost in the Shell, Patlabor and if you’ve seen all those shows and REALLY need something new then fine. Try this show. Maybe you’ll find enjoyment out of it. Or at least enjoy watching concepts from better shows get so badly botched. After all their’s enjoyment in a train wreak.
Half-way through the show, I chuckled on this scene. It sounds ridiculous without context, but being warped inside a world within an unconscious world, it has this heavy irony that comes with it. Like, it makes one afraid that everything is just not real after all. But at the same time, it sort of bring back an amazement of the setting that this world is enveloped in, as it gives the desire to seek for more info. That’s when it clicked.
ID: Invaded has this ability to construct a mind-bending story premise by intertwining reality and fantasy, but in a way, it doesn’t succumb to its own madness. It consists of sci-fi element that will mess with one’s morale and mystery that keeps one at the edge of the seat. However, even with twists, the plot doesn’t deviate away from what it set out to be, but converges through seemingly unrelated cases toward one – the creator of serial killers. It’s like a maze within a maze, and the only way out is to solve it, layer by layer.
This is where the writing and the execution of the plot becomes crucial, which it all lies in three main characters whom we see the world from each of their perspective – the brilliant mentalist, the newbie detective and the director of the analyst team. They each have their purpose – to discover, to lead and to collect. It is this symphony created among this trio that makes the team works and pushes the story forward.
ID: Invaded is also fully aware of the meticulousness needed on the reasoning and explanation behind all the unconscious mind theory, the motives of the serial killers, the methods used by the mastermind. And they do so by connecting the dots, which all linked together to this one girl that keeps appearing. They done this without altering the fundamental rules set in the story world, that’s why the mysteries are great. It gives you space to deduce, and it triggers your mind to make connection alongside the characters.
Also, the metaphysical visuals are stunning.
The action scenes are fluid, and each unconscious world of different style are handled quite nicely that it doesn’t create noticeable CGI ambiguity. But most importantly, the dream-within-a-dream concept is a really captivating way to explore the MC himself through it. It challenges and changes what he believes in, but at the same time, reconnects the pieces for the big reveal.
The studio NAZ has done a decent job in their character designs ( since this is an original series ). The generic spiky head of the main protagonist – Sakaido, made a great contrast to when he was young with after he became miserable. It’s a clear distinction between a loving father and a rogue detective that seeks justice in his own way. There’s also a 23-years-old detective Hondoumachi who gives a refreshing and cute addition to the show. The other team members are varied in characteristics and just good at their job, that’s all I can say about them.
Besides, the soundtracks are amazingly awesome. Yes, that’s double positive in one sentence. The opening ‘Mister Fixer’ by Sou flawlessly matches the agony of Sakaido and how his regrets have haunted him ever since that incident. The ending ‘Other Side’ by MIYAVI also has this J-rock rhythm that is really catchy and just good even on its own. Even the side songs – ‘Memories of Love’ and ‘Butterfly’ are chosen carefully to blend in with the emotions evoked on the scenes. That’s just how serious the producers are on the OST.
Overall, ID: Invaded is like a blue ocean. The waves envelope you with layers of uneasiness, blurring the line between dreams and reality. So, brace yourself, as this will be one hell of a dive.
Into the painful, yet beautiful world of ID: Invaded.
– Hannibal, The Mentalist, Criminal Minds, The Minority Report, Inception
– Psycho-Pass, ERASED, Death Parade, The Promised Neverland (anime)
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
2. Hamatora The Animation
3. Angolmois: Genkou Kassenki
4. Hajimete no Gal
5. Infinite Dendrogram
6. DRAMAtical Murder
7. Itazuraguma no Gloomy
8. Ore ga Suki nano wa Imouto dakedo Imouto ja Nai