Continuing on from the previous Autumn Anime Review post, the following are series rated R-17+ from the season release. (Sorry kids, you better click out of this article now!) Following the previous format, these reviews are based on the first three episodes of the series, and you’ll find the verdict at the end!
Evil or Live
I was naive going into this show with its interesting premise of extreme rehabilitation for kids/teenagers addicted to the internet. When I started the series, I saw the oh-so-familiar opening animation for Haoliners Animation Leagueーa studio based in Shanghai, China. Soon I had flashbacks of the mess that was Bloodivores, which premiered in last year’s fall season. I also had a very brief time with another potentially interesting show by the name of Duan Nao (Die Now). I don’t know if there were errors with the subtitles or the story was just that confusing, but I couldn’t go any further than that. As for Bloodivores, it had good ideas, but had no idea how to execute them. I have no idea how I made it through that whole series. I don’t want to completely shut out Haoliners Animation League because they’ve made other anime that I haven’t seen. Plus, I’ve heard that Centaur no Nayami (A Centaur’s Life) was actually pretty decent.
This series follows 17 year old Hibiki as he’s involuntary sent to the Elite Reeducation Academy, a rehabilitation facility for “Net Addiction”. This supposed Academy acts more like a prison for its occupants and abuses them both physically and mentally every day. Well, the characters are a little more interesting than the ones of Bloodivores and there’s some coherency with the story, but it’s still not perfect. If you’re familiar with prison shows, or even just high school, you have your cliques and this series has them, but they’re not developed very well. I believe I heard this show shares some truths from Chinese society and internet addiction, but this show has some work to do on pulling any kind of emotion out of me to care about these people’s struggle. I think for shear ridiculousness of the humor and the over the top abuse, I’m going to stick through this thing and hope it’s more coherent than Bloodivores.
Garo: Vanishing Line
Genre: Action, Demons, Supernatural, Fantasy
This was a late entry to this list due to me being intrigued by the animation and reviewer interest/praise. For some reason, this didn’t immediately catch my attention by its plot summary, but after looking at some YouTubers’ lists, my interest was piqued. I went back on MAL, re-read the summary, glanced at the promo art, and figured I’d give it a chance as it did sound pretty interesting and the animation looked sleek and gorgeously dark.
Upon first viewing, six episodes had already been released, so I tried to watch as much as I could in the time I was given. I’m going to bend the rule a little and review the first 4 episodes as I watched half of the episodes dubbed in English. A young woman named Sophie is missing her older brother, and a man named Sword hears that something shady is going on in Russell City. Both are driven by a single clue, “El Dorado”, and eventually end up working together upon meeting each other.
When starting this series, I noticed there were links to other “Garo” series, but wasn’t sure if I needed to watch the previous installments before delving into this one. It seems like this is kind of like Steins;Gate, Robotics;Notes, ChaoS;HEAd, etc.; meaning more of an alternate universe type of “series”. I didn’t know what to expect, but what I saw easily drew me in with the bold yet dark animation, entertaining set of characters, seemingly normal world inhabited by demons and other supernatural creatures that have very deceiving appearances.
It reminds me of other action series such as Samurai Champloo, Dogs: Bullets and Carnage, and Gangsta regarding its execution of characters and story, which is a very good thing. Since I was late jumping into this show, I was able to check out both the sub and dub, which are equally enjoyable. I had a good feeling based on the setting that the dub would be an easy fit and I was not disappointed.
Genre: Action, Sci-Fi, Psychological, Drama, Seinen
No, this isn’t related to InuYasha, despite the similar name. Coincidentally for me, this series comes from the mind who created Gantz, Hiroya Oku. Around the time the fall season began, I finished the first season of Gantz without even knowing the two were related, until fans and reviewers mentioned it.
Once I approached about episode 2-3, I saw the similarities in tone and execution, which added that little bit extra enjoyment I was already feeling about the show. From the very first episode, I knew I was in for a strange and crazy journey. So far, that first impression has only increased with its craziness.
The show follows 58 year old husband and father Inuyashiki Ichirou. He is often mistreated by society due to his geriatric appearance, and often abused and underappreciated by his family. Things get a little better when he befriends an abandoned dog, who is super adorable, and that picks up his spirits a little when he finds out that he has cancer. Trying to build up the courage and find the time to tell his family about his diagnosis, he is blinded by a beam of light and is miraculously cured (in a way). What really happened to Inuyashiki is that he became a robotic heroーa robot who has taken on the heroic role with new abilities. What he doesn’t know is that there is someone else built exactly like him.
Anime YouTuber “Mother’s Basement” made a small compliant that the first episode or so didn’t give the viewer a chance to develop any feelings for the main character and his situation, but I beg to differ. I immediately felt sympathetic and angry for Inuyashiki, especially seeing his family abuse him so. I feel like you don’t have to see him get constantly abused or underappreciated, and can fill in the blanks that this has been happening for years.
As the story moves forward, the other similar being to our main character is introduced to us. I was a little unnerved by the discussion of One Piece, which really brought the story and danger level up a couple notches and I became seriously invested on what’s to come. I haven’t quite hopped on the MAN WITH A MISSION bandwagon, but I did enjoy their intro for the show, “My Hero”. It has a catchy chorus that gives a seriousness, yet feeling of hope that our hero will be here to save us.
Juuni Taisen (12 Wars/Zodiac Wars)
I’m a big fan of survival game concepts. Most of them that come across my radar I dedicate some time towards and this season two have entered my watch list. This one involves characters from the Chinese zodiac in a battle to the death to be granted one wish. It sounds kinda silly reading such a simplistic line as plot, but it’s actually very entertaining and brutal.
Like most survival games, there are characters who don’t want to participate and try to join forces with those who are a little more pacifistic…and then there are others who believe in the “survival of the fittest” motto. Right from the start of the first episode, we get little glimpses of some of the characters and even have an early death before the game even begins. The story doesn’t hesitate with the action and it even tricks us with an introduction of a certain character. Similar to Wes Craven’s Scream, who you think will survive is far from safe.
Of course, the show isn’t all gory moments and intense fighting action, it does slow down to delve into some character backstory and strategizing among groups. Aside from the interesting premise and wide variety of characters, I really enjoyed staring at some of the characters’ designs, especially as a cosplayer. Lastly, I really love the ending credits as Do As Infinity does a fantastic job with the closing song. Overall, I’m looking forward to watching more of this entertaining bloodbath and seeing who survives. Will it be my favorite? Probably not, but I’m still excited!
Omiai Aite wa Oshiego, Tsuyokina, Mondaiji. (My Marriage Partner is My Student, a Cocky Troublemaker.)
Genre: Romance, Ecchi, School, Josei
I’ve noticed that the later half of this year have been the ecchi josei adaptations that run for less than 5 minutes per episode. The easiest way to take in these stories for me is to wait for them to finish airing and simply binge watch every episode, since they’re so short and the stories are so simple. Skirt no Naka wa Kedamono Deshita. (A Wolf in Woman’s Clothing) and Souryo to Majiwaru Shikiyoku no Yoru ni… (On a Lustful Night Mingling with a Priest…) which are both short, borderline hentai stories that give you just enough story and sexy action, just like this series. Another similarity among these three series is that they have two different versions. We’ll safely assume that the censored version of these aired on TV. If you decide to watch the censored version, the only thing you’ll be missing is the sexy stuff and it doesn’t take away from the story at all. Obviously, if you watch the uncensored, you miss out on the distractions and comedic censorship that’s blocking any “action” that is seen between our two main characters.
This series, in short, is about a student and teacher in a forbidden and secret relationship. Nana is a popular teacher among her students, and Souji is a troublemaker that turns a few heads among his female peers. Someone close to Nana introduces her to someone whose father is an important figure in a company as a potential husband. Nana has a good time with her date, but before they get to the goods (y’know, the sexy stuff), she notices an injury similar to her student’s and realizes that her date is actually her student Souji. It seems as though that her real date is Souji’s older brother and his plan was to disguise himself as him to reveal his true feelings to her. Obviously, this causes some conflicting thoughts and feelings for Nana.
Those who are into hentai (and care about story) may think the pacing may go a little fast, but, for me, it just kinda hits the main points to move things along without it depending too much on the sexy stuff. At least, that’s what it seems like at the end of episode 3. For now, I’ll be holding off on this one until it’s done airing and then watch all of it at once.
Ousama Game The Animation (King’s Game)
Genre: Mystery, Horror, Supernatural, Drama, School
The story follows high school transfer student Nobuaki Kanazawa as he attempts to avoid all close connections to his new classmates, after experiencing a horrific incident at his old school. The school’s annual sports day opens his heart up, and he begins getting closer to his peers. When things seem to be normal for him, the King’s Game is mysteriously introduced to his class through their email, which brings back the trauma Nobuaki was trying to escape from his old school. Naturally, his classmates don’t believe in this game of death and began to face the consequences.
There many types of survival games, from the violent last man (or woman) standing Battle Royale to deadly popularity contests in Tohyo Game: One Black Ballot to You, each one has their own unique rules and histories. This show is no different, which is why people should give different types of survival games a chance.
One thing that stood out is that the show doesn’t focus on the survival aspect and the cruel ways each student dies, but more the mystery behind the King’s Game and ending it, which adds to its differences. Also noted was the excitement to hear the musical talents upon the show start by coldrain, a loudrock favorite. They definitely set the mood by preparing you for the chaos of the show. Lastly, be prepared, subtitle readers, you’ll have to pause the show every now and then to read some of the text messages the King has sent out to the students.
That brings us to the (real) end of 2017’s autumn anime impressions. What did you think? Was there anything that stood out to you? Tell us what your thoughts were!