July 24th, 2016

Bishoujo squad!

More new anime

Amanchu! tells the story of Futaba, whose parents have moved and who is starting her highschool life without any people she knows. This had made her melancholic. Hikari is her polar opposite, full of energy. Hikari loves the ocean: her grandmother runs a scuba school at the beach. The two meet at school, and Futaba is taken in by Hikari's honest and energetic weirdness.
Looking at the characters, the school uniforms and how cats are drawn, we were strongly reminded of the Aria series. And it turns out that they're based on a manga by the same person! That alone is a reason to watch the series, but the intro sung by Maaya Sakamoto doesn't hurt either. And it promises to be fun!

Ange Vierge: There are five worlds (of which Earth is one) and the portals between the world have opened. Monsters called Ouroborous have come through the portals, threatening the existance of the five worlds! It is up to a group of teenage girls to fight them off using their special powers. The episode starts with a fight, then the girls seem to spend an awful long time in various baths (naked, of course, so there's lots of steam and weird lighting effects...) and then there is another fight. There's lots of girls introduced who only have one or two lines, and that's it basically.
It's like one of those series that we've seen countless rehashes of. And while that's fine, this iteration of that particular setup seems to be especially devoid of plot, instead insisting on showing semi-naked girls to keep us interested. Of course, it didn't work.

Battery: This season's Noitamina offering, so an original story! Takumi's family moves to his grandfather's house somewhere in Okayama just before he enters middle school. At his grade school, he was the pitcher, and he has gained some reknown for this. So when he goes out on a walk and meets Go, the local catcher who is going to middle school too, they agree to throw a few balls around. Grandfather used to be a pitcher too, but Takumi doesn't seem to be too interested in his stories or advice.
Takumi is stuck in what he is and has, whereas grandfather is looking for potential and eagerness. Takumi and Go could go far, but first Takumi needs to overcome his arrogance. And yes, it's a sports anime, but it is remarkably low-key. There is a focus on the characters, and the way moving with your family back to your hometown is portrayed really grounds it in reality instead of improbable 'special attacks' and what-not that feature so much in other sports anime -- the "miracle rookie" effect is notably absent here. It reminded me of "Ping-Pong the Animation", which was also a very enjoyable sports anime in the Noitamina slot.

B-Project: Tsubaki is hired as the A&R manager for a group of male idols, divided into several sub-units and united under the B-Project. She doesn't know what an A&R manager does, though, so that's a bit of a problem for her. She just goes with the flow, and then her absolute hearing can point out a mistake in the score and gets a recording session 'unstuck'.
And of course we get a huge cast of cute boys with various personality types so that you can choose your own favourite... Haven't we seen this type of thing before? Wasn't there this series about a girl who is the song producer for 'her' band of boys? We didn't last more than a single season for that either, so this is an easy miss for us.

Cheer Danshi!!: Haruki's parents run a judo center, and he and his older sister of course are well-trained in judo. But in college he hurt his shoulder and can't compete anymore, while his sister goes on to win a tournament. Kazuma, his friend, suggests starting up an all-male cheering squad, since Takumi's cheering for her sister really helped her during the decisive match. Of course, you'd need more people to start a squad.
It's refreshing to see a series set in college, but with the focus on clubs/circles, it's not immediately apparent that this is very different from highschool. Remember Genshiken? That setting was so much more 'grown-up' than this -- but perhaps it still needs to grow a bit. It is interesting though, Haruki is a likable fellow and the animations of the acrobatics are really well-executed.