Another anime streaming site that might fall flat...

…oh, and a neat new console is coming out in March.

Anyway, week 2 of the cour, and now Amazon has gotten onto the anime streaming bandwagon properly, with its own expensive ‘channel’ that runs alongside Amazon Prime. I hear a lot of good things about one show they’ve chosen: Scum’s Wish. I won’t watch it just yet; I might save it for another time…perhaps when Amazon are kinder and let Crunchyroll show it (that might not happen).

Can you believe that I’m actually going to keep up with Saga of Tanya The Evil?! Sociopathic salarymen reincarnated into evil loli Imperial soldiers is quite something, and there’s something in the show that I’m enjoying that I can’t even put my finger on. It’s even more of a shock to see that, last I checked, it’s among the most popular simulcasts in Crunchyroll’s list, along with Blue Exorcist, Konosuba season 2 and Gintama!!

All the way back on Monday, something worthwhile came out though. Dogakobo has done what I expected it to do when it comes to Gabriel Dropout: deliver a no-nonsense and very amusing sketch show…just like its successful predecessors Yuru Yuri and the more recent New Game! Gabriel is the model angel; graduated from angel school with honours, and the opportunity to go to the human world to study and give them a helping hand. But it’s only she gets into an MMO when her halo begins to darken, and thus she goes on her way to being a NEET. In the show, both angels and demons interact with each other in a friendly way…angels end up being either pessimistic or mean-spirited, while the demons fail miserably at being evil (like Vignette who goes out of her way to take care of Gabriel). Kana Hanazawa does a great job at playing a mean sadistic angel, while Miyu Tomita’s naturally moe voice sounds weird when you hear her play Gabriel.

(NB: Episode 2 came out after I wrote this, hence the great delay in reviewing this show)

The show relies mostly on slapstick sketch humour. While said humour will dominate Gabriel Dropout, Little Witch Academia melds the slapstick humour that Akko, Lotte and Sucy deliver along with the strong theme of adventure and fantasy. Last week’s episode was quite an eye-opener; it could have easily been mistaken for another one of their mini-movies. Some people are already suggesting that the plotlines of both mini-movies will be incorporated in the show (the Philosopher’s Stone, and putting on a magical parade). Shiny Chariot will, no doubt, make an appearance later on. Knowing Trigger though, she might end up being the main antagonist or something; matriarchal characters (Ragyo in Kill La Kill, and Lalaco Godspeed in Space Patrol Luluco) always seem to be the villains in their shows. But with this being a wholesome family show, that could never happen. This week, Diana Cavendish is introduced, and she is way mellower here than she was in the mini-movies. Sure enough, she’s a smart witch, and a bit of a show-off to boot (not unlike Hermione Granger), but she’s not as arrogant and stuck-up as she used to be.

The pair of them, along with Lotte and Sucy get caught up in reviving a sacred tree that’s dying. Mistaking growths on the tree as pests, Diana attempts to destroy them, only for Akko to realise they are, in fact, chrysalises and revitalises her Shiny Rod to revive them. Diana is, in fact, also a fan of Shiny Chariot, no matter what she says; this was shown in the mini-movies, so it should be rather funny when this is revealed in the show.

Akko’s strive to be a witch is rather unoriginal, but the more you watch the show, the less you care. Netflix have bagged a great franchise that will no doubt succeed in the West, providing they market it well and not advertise it as some kind of Japan’s version of Harry Potter. Hell, maybe Trigger (or some other company) will make actual Shiny Chariot cards…or at the very least, make a mobile card game. That might even help Wizards Of The Coast, as they can use it to get more kids into Magic: The Gathering (played since age 12; forgotten most of the rules, though).

I wish I had the same excitement over Fuuka, though. It’s been a good while since I’ve seen a rom-com, but I didn’t think this show would be this……boring. Fuuka herself has no character, Yuu’s emotions look forced, the third girl is pretty plain and generic as the girl who crushes heavily (you can barely tell she’s some big singer), and even the gay guy has no spark. If this were a real-life show, then it would be slated even more, with critics saying that the acting is terrible.

This week’s plot is working in a beach house to save money for instruments for the light music club that Fuuka wants, but no-one else cares about. Us, as anti-social losers, would sympathize with Yuu greatly, as he is out of his element, having to do the worst kind of job: working with people. I was hoping that, by episode 3, we would begin to see some light in this show, but it’s almost as if it’s going downhill already. Better studios would have done a better job at adapting this, so Diomedea have fallen flat on their behinds with this one. God help me if this is a 2-cour show. Well…at least I have another 2-cour show to enjoy…

Sangatsu no Lion‘s second arc is to be, I think, a slow burner. Rei already has his goal and it may well stretch into a good number of episodes, but I’m still excited over it all.

  1. Get some kind of revenge on Gotou by defeating him in a shogi match, and thereby…
  2. …defending his honour as a man.
  3. Perhaps prove to Kyouko that Gotou is no good for her, and that Rei isn’t the coward she thinks he is.

tl;dr – Rei must git gud or git rekt.

This week’s episode showcases 2 matches: Smith’s match against Gotou (where he loses miserably and finds solace in a stray cat), and the beginning of Rei’s match against a serious pro, Shimada. A long-standing player since before Rei was even born, he gets in a bother when he unknowingly finds himself constantly having to defend instead of attacking. The match will continue next week, but we know he will triumph; it’s a question of how he will triumph.

Sports anime has, somehow, gotten a grip on me. First it was Yowamushi Pedal (the new season is airing now, but I’m saving that for another time), then Sangatsu no Lion. Now I’m finding Chihayafuru more exciting, despite my initial thoughts watching the first two episodes.

We’ve fast-forwarded a little more now, with Taichi much more civil and Arata not as aloof. They, along with Chihaya, join the local karuta society and find themselves standing out amongst a group of adults and older players. It doesn’t deter them though, but when Taichi gets a place in a fancy middle school and Arata has to return to Fukui, Chihaya is left alone…but that never stopped her from playing.

Very typical of Chihaya’s sister to only think of herself though, demanding that Chihaya spend the rest of her life worshipping her instead of enjoying something she’s actually interested in.

Episode 4 brings us Chihaya’s big tournament that nets her a position in Class A in the karuta community. Something clearly happened to Arata to give that response to the call she made to him though. Of course it won’t be the last we see of him (I mean the show revolves around the three, I presume), but I think Arata will still be kept at a distance while Chihaya excels and Taichi watches and gets jealous.

The show isn’t making me want to get more interested in the game though; it’s fun to watch, and has definitely gotten better since it began, as I wasn’t so sure on the opening episodes, with Taichi being a grade-A jerk. I’m not seeing the great hype in Chihayafuru, but I’m sure it’ll come soon.

Knowing that Little Witch Academia will carry on into Spring has made my week. I didn’t choose a show I absolutely hate (for once), so I consider Winter my lucky season.