Citrus: Matsuri = Sociopathic

Citrus is a yuri romance manga that started in late 2012 and just recently ended. Although it looks like a second manga called Citrus Plus is planned. I don’t know if it’s going to follow the same characters nor have I read the manga. Early this year the studio Passione, also behind Rokka no Yuusha, aired a twelve episode adaptation to cover the first part of the story. So, let’s see how that went.

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Story:

Aihara Yuzu finds her life turned topsy turvy when her mother suddenly remarries and the pair relocate, forcing her to enter a new school. Things turn awkward immediately when she unknowingly breaks the rules and finds herself afoul of the young student council president. She returns home for a surprise, she has a new step-sister and it’s the same student council president she met earlier, Aihara Mei. To make matters even more awkward, she finds Mei really attractive.

Let’s start with the problems with the series. There are two major ones. The first is that, like Love Stage, it doesn’t have a great first impression. I will say, to Citrus’s credit, it isn’t nearly as bad since the initial encounter between Yuzu & Mei involves a stolen kiss and not attempted rape but it’s still not a great way to begin a romance. The big one, however, is more reminiscent of the bad episode from Sasameki Koto. In that episode, we had a young girl act deplorably only to be instantly forgiven with no real consequences and her behaviour was never mentioned again.

Citrus has the same type of thing with a character named Matsuri except her actions are even worse and they span a couple episodes. She’s introduced about halfway into the series and decides to try and seduce Yuzu. But first she needs to deal with Mei, which is where the deplorableness comes in. Now, I’m not opposed to having an antagonistic character who’s absolutely atrocious as a person but the problem here, and in the aforementioned Sasameki Koto, is that they try to treat the characters as sympathetic. And that doesn’t work when you have characters act this horribly. Not without a lot of time and effort put into redeeming them. Which neither series does. Their plots end and they basically say they’re sorry and get told not to do it again and that’s it.

Moving on to the positives, I’ll give Citrus credit for having romantic content between siblings in a way that’s only mildly sleazy, and that’s entirely based on the stolen kisses early on. Because it makes sense for two high school kids who are suddenly tossed together as step-siblings to still be attracted to one another. The series also does feature some strong scenes. Some of them are quite funny, and usually involve Yuzu making an ass of herself. While others have a bit of an awkward tension betwixt Mei & Yuzu with enough positivity to make them kind of sweet little moments. The best part, by far, is the whole arc with the twin sisters, Sara & Nina. Those three episodes are where the series gets elevated to fantastic. It’s funny because it goes from the low point of the series, with Matsuri the sociopath, to the high point with the twins and it’s kind of hard to believe these were written by the same person.

Characters:

I’ve already covered the basics of what’s wrong with Matsuri’s character and the handling thereof. Needless to say, she’s the worst character in the series by a wide margin. As for the other characters, there are aspects of Yuzu, Mei and their budding relationship I really like. The awkwardness has verisimilitude. Yuzu’s conflicting feelings of wanting to be a good sister but also being greatly attracted to her new step-sister is compelling. Mei’s desire to be needed and her drive for exceptionalism versus her uncertainty over how to proceed is also good stuff. But then there’s the way things are initiated betwixt them and the way it gives a poor first impression. Harumi is a fun character. Sara is a sweetheart. I also really like what little we get of Mei’s relationship with her wandering father. So, quite a strong cast with one very notable exception.

Art: 

Here’s one area where I have to give Passione a lot of credit, their artwork is really great. The characters are well drawn. The backgrounds and various world objects look good. The animation flows smoothly. It is a good looking series.

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Sound: 

Our main heroines are voiced by Taketatsu Ayana & Tsuda Minami, two strong actresses who deliver fantastic performances. We’ve also got Kubo Yurika, Kanemoto Hisako, Fuji Yukiyo, Matsuzaki Rei and some others who are really good at what they do. Even Izawa Shiori, voice of the worst part of the series, doesn’t perform badly. She just got stuck with a shit character. Takahashi Ryo put together a strong soundtrack for the series.

Ho-yay:

In addition to the obvious budding relationship betwixt Yuzu & Mei, Mei’s childhood friend blatantly has feelings for her. Yuzu has some kind of flirtatious moments with Harumi but a lot of that is Harumi teasing Yuzu after seeing her yuri manga. Sara’s whole arc revolves around her developing a crush on Mei who she refers to as “her destiny.” In short, this is one of those series where the only important straight character seems to be Yuzu’s mum. And I wouldn’t exactly be surprised if the latter part of the manga introduces her female “friend” who seems to always visit while her husband’s away. Which he always is.

Final Thoughts:

There are plenty of things to like about this series. The last arc especially. Unfortunately, it’s really weakened by those three episodes heavily featuring Matsuri & by having the relationship begin in a poor way. Would I watch a second series? Well, yes. This may well be like Sasameki Koto where the manga gets past the point that made up the seventh episode of the anime and it just stays consistently fantastic afterwards. In which case, the bad part’s out of the way. But, by the same token, this isn’t a good yuri series thus far. It manages to average out to being decent but there are plenty of better ones out there. I’ll give the first series a 6/10. If they do come out with a second one I’ll give it a go but I’m not really going to go out of my way to go through the manga or anything like that.

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Dragon Half:

Dragon Half was a two episode OVA based on a seven volume manga by Mita Ryuusuke. It was handled by Production IG. That’s right, the studio behind Chocolate Underground, Usagi Drop & Stand Alone Complex, to name just a few. So, how does this one hold up?

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Story: 

We open with our heroine, Mink, trying to watch a pretty boy idol on the television while her parents fight. She leaves the chaos to converse with her friends about Dick Saucer & his upcoming concert. Unbeknownst to her, the king, Siva, has the hots for her dragon mother and plans to kill her father for his crime of… not killing the red dragon he was sent to kill so he can get together with her.

Okay, I know this is a comedy and the story doesn’t matter that much, but why did the king send a knight to kill a dragon if he wanted to have carnal interactions with said dragon? Wouldn’t it have made more sense if he’d sent the knight to try to woo her for him or something?

In any case, the king’s wizard, Rosario, has a cunning plan, he’s basically Baldrick. If they kidnap Mink, her father will be forced to try and come to her rescue which will get him right where they want him. This rapidly devolves into schemes to get Mink from Siva & Rosario. All the while Mink and her friends are looking for a potion to make her a normal human because Dick Beaker doesn’t like dragons.

Okay, this gets on my nerves. She’s going to try and change who she is to appeal to this Dick Nugget? You know what? Just be who you are. If a potential romantic partner isn’t interested because they can’t handle what that is, they aren’t worth your time and effort. You should be able to be a dragon if that’s who you are. Just incinerate anyone who doesn’t like it because you’re a motherfucking dragon.

The humour of the series is largely based on absurd, over the top stupidity. For example, the ending theme tune uses a composition by Beethoven but gives it lyrics heavily focused on food and a lot of vocalisations that aren’t actual words but just weird sounds. There’s also the obvious gag of the antagonists having all their traps backfire. As a whole, it’s not bad but it’s also not really funny. About the funniest it gets is with Damaramu’s over the top entrances, followed by very anti-climactic exits.

Characters:

There’s not much to them. Dick Sauce is a generic pretty boy. Mink’s friends have very little in terms of personality. Mink herself is just a hyperactive comedic protagonist. Now, I’ve talked about how comedies don’t need great, complex characters before. They just need characters who have strong comedic interactions. Unfortunately, that’s not really something we get here.

Art:

The bulk of the series uses a very simple, chibified style. Occasionally, it pulls out of it and uses a more standard action style. A lot of the time it pulls a Panty & Stocking and uses that for fan-service purposes. Because if you can’t be all that funny, you might as well show some boobs.

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Sound:

I will say, Mitsuishi Kotono is a really good choice for the protagonist in the type of fast-paced, absurd comedy they’re going for. Her performance has a lot of energy and, if it were paired with stronger comedy, it would be infectious. They’ve got some other good actresses like Sakuma Rei, Kouda Mariko & Kawata Taeko but I have to call them “good” based on their performances in other anime. In this one they’re just mediocre. The music is fine. I’d be tempted to call it better since they do use classical music, but they kind of weaken it with their attempt at giving it a comedic twist.

Ho-yay:

There is a scene where Mink’s elf friend decides that she should kiss Mink for a really stupid reason, but it’s obviously intended for a joke and they both have the hots for Dick Frisbee so, obviously, nothing happens.

Final Thoughts:

Dragon Half does have a few funny moments but the comedy is largely just over the top nonsense and, overall, it’s pretty sub-par. If it sounds like it could be your type of comedy, I would still suggest trying it, especially since it is short. For myself, I can only give it a 4/10. It’s not bad, but it is weak.

Overlord II: Markedly Improved

Just a little over two and a half years ago I talked about the series Overlord. It had some interesting ideas but was kind of mediocre. The second series came out early this year. Now, one thing I was very clear on when I reviewed te first was that it had potential. Rather like Made in Abyss, which I just reviewed. But, like that series, it wasn’t there. So, let’s see what we get in the second series to improve on things, if anything.

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Story:

We open with our guard captain from the prior series, Gazef, discussing the great and powerful magic caster who saved him. No, it’s not Trixie. We also see various other characters discussing their take on the current situation, just to remind everyone what’s happening. Our series starts properly with a bunch of lizard people living their everyday lives. That’s when they’re greeted by what looks like a Legion Persona telling them they’re all going to die. The Green Scale tribe acts quickly, sending an envoy to meet with the other tribes and unite them to deal with the threat.

It turns out the threat is Cocytus, commanding an army of low level undead, but forbidden from fighting himself. After that tale wraps up we move to Sebas who finds a  battered, abused woman on the street. He decides to rescue her and unintentionally brings the wrath of a major criminal syndicate against him, possibly drawing attention to Nazarick.

Let’s start with what I don’t like about this series. First off, the lizard man bit ends rather abruptly and leaves a pretty major question unanswered. Now, I’m sure they’re going to bring it back up in series III but it would have taken a couple minutes to give us some closure on that front and there’s not really a reason to make it wait for another series. The second issue I have is one I’m a bit mixed on. There are points where ladies being attracted to Ainz borders on harem shit and it gets really cringey. However, his discomfort with that does lead to some of the funnier comic relief moments so I can’t just outright hate it as an element.

One of my issues with the first series was that the Nazarick crew, Ainz in particular, are over-powered and it hurts any chance of tension. In this series, they address that by building the tension around other characters that they spend some time building up who are just normal people. The tension surrounding the Nazarick crew is more built around what they’ll do to these other characters and whether or not they’ll be revealed to the world. And that’s a legitimately clever fix to that problem. So, full credit on that one.

The series is still good about introducing intriguing plot lines that they can go into more detail for later. They also resolve enough within the series to make it feel like it has a satisfying conclusion while also leaving plenty of room for more developments. Which would still be true if they’d taken a minute or two at the end to answer the question about the lizard men and I think that’s a big part of the reason that particular oversight bugs me because the lizard man bit doesn’t feel like it has an entirely satisfying conclusion whereas the other arc does.

Characters:

Gradually, Overlord is doing more to develop its main cast. Sebas, Cocytus & Demiurge in particular. I actually rather like the way they tie the two of them to their creators and I like that Sebas was created by a dude who went by the moniker “Touch Me.” That’s a great screen name. Overall, the series focuses  more on developing the characters they’re actually building tension around than the Nazarick crew though. Which is a real necessity given that we’re supposed to be concerned about their fates. And if the series keeps giving different members of Nazarick the spotlight in different arcs all the major ones will be nicely fleshed out in series V.

Art:

I really like the character designs in this. There are a few additions in this series that I can appreciate in particular. The first is that the female lizard people don’t have large bosoms in spite of all logic. And so many works just toss pronounced boobs on their lizard women just because people like boobs even though it makes no sense given how reptiles work. Most depictions of the Yuan-ti, the Cardassians, the Yinchorri, the Falleen. and many many others have gotten that wrong. So, well done on that front, Overlord. They also have Entoma, an insect woman who just looks really cool and she has a great power set. And I know she was in the first series briefly, but I don’t recall seeing her true form in that one.

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Sound:

The acting is quite good in this one. Since there are characters who get a bit more development, there’s more of an opportunity for their actors to shine. So, Chiba Shigeru, Katou Masayuki, Miyake Kenta, Osaka Ryota, Touchi Hiroki & Amamiya Sora get  the chance to really do their business. And they all do it well. I didn’t really like the theme tune much, but I did like the music in general.

Ho-yay:

There really isn’t any.

Final Thoughts:

This is a franchise that gets compared to Sword Art Online quite a bit because they both deal with people in a game world, although in this one he’s glad to be there and this franchise also isn’t bollocks so they’re quite a bit different. And this instalment just further distances the two because it’s legitimately good. It’s  not just a mundane series with potential that’s only superior to SAO by virtue of not being rubbish, it addresses a lot of the issues that held the first series back and provides an entertaining viewing experience. It still has some issues but they’re a lot more minor. Ultimately, I give it a solid 7/10. I actually look forward to reviewing the third series when it finishes airing and I can get round to it.

Made in Abyss: Has potential & tonal issues

Made in Abyss is an anime from last year brought to us by Kinema Citrus (because poor literacy makes for good studio names). Now, I only know this studio because they worked with White Fox on the second series of Gochuumon wa Usagi desu ka. I’ve also heard of this anime because MAL is enamoured with it and my highly intelligent sister hates it. But she also didn’t care for Akuma no Riddle or Angel Beats so I may well disagree with her on this too. Of course her big complaint was that it went into super twelve year old edgelord writing during the last part of the series and if that is an apt description, I don’t think we’ll be disagreeing.

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Story:

We open with young Riko exploring the early part of the Abyss, a great and mysterious area where explorers can find treasures but also encounter deadly perils and suffer from a “curse” when they ascend that can wreak havoc on them. After an encounter with a monster that’s strangely high up, she finds a mysterious robot boy. She decides to keep  him rather than turning him in and they soon find themselves setting out on an adventure into the depths of the abyss.

The biggest narrative issue with the series is that the tone is wildly inconsistent. Now, I don’t agree with my sister about it going really badly edgelord but it does go from more light-hearted adventure to some pretty dark and gruesome stuff involving unethical medical experiments and bleeding eyes. And that does cause some tonal issues. It’s like when Gintama went from joking about anuses to a serious story arc about children being raised as prostitutes or when Galaxy Angel went from zany comedy to a serious episode for some reason. These things don’t work well together.

Now, to its credit, there’s clearly an effort put into separating the content to minimise the potential problems from the darker content clashing with the lighter with some work at shifting between them properly instead of just going from one to the other out of nowhere.

Then there’s the curse of the abyss. When I first heard it described, I thought it was going to be like a diver ascending or descending too rapidly, but the series gets a bit stupid with it. There’s a point where we see our plucky heroine ascend a slight incline and get hit by the curse. Which doesn’t even make sense with the actual explanation they give for how the curse is supposed to work, by the way. The series also has a strange obsession with child nudity. To the point where I have to question whether or not the original writer just has a fetish for it. Seriously, they bring up Regu’s penis at least five times and the idea of stringing up children naked is brought up and actually shown in action at one point.

With those issues out of the way, there are some good ideas present in this series. The whole set up with the abyss could make for a pretty fantastic dungeon crawler. The concept behind the curse is interesting, even if its not always executed well. When the series is sticking to its normal aesthetic, it has some strong moments. This is a series that could be really good, but a lot of its ideas aren’t out of the build up stage by the end of the first series. So, its potential ends up being largely unrealised.

Characters:

At this juncture, most of the characters are pretty under-developed. Riko is adventurous and knowledgeable but she doesn’t have the skills to pull off a lot of what needs done. She probably should’ve stuck to the earlier layers grinding up her level for a while. Regu is just bland. He’s determined to protect Riko but he easily gets his jimmies rustled. Oh, and he has amnesia so his past is mysterious. Yeah, he’s one of those rather generic protagonists. Undoubtedly, he’ll learn to harness his power and reign in his emotions to emerge as  “the greatest hero” because that’s what usually happens with that variety of protagonist. Then we have Nanachi. The androgynous character with the dark past.

To be fair to both Regu & Nanachi, there’s enough room in their back stories for something different and interesting to be put in there. If I review the next series, I’ll tell you if that happens. It definitely doesn’t in this one.

Then we have the various secondary characters. I’ll be honest, I don’t foresee any of them moving past their rather trite archetype forms. Clearly, the story is going to follow Riko, Regu & Nanachi. The rest might show up briefly but I doubt they’ll get enough focus to become three dimensional. But maybe they’ll pull a Lower Decks on us.

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Art:

The biggest issue is the copious levels of child nudity. Seriously, is Tsukushi on some kind of watch list? He probably should be. Not only is Riko, the child we see starkers most often, all of twelve but the art style makes her look even younger. So, that’s uncomfortable for everybody. And the action sequences are a bit weak since they largely involve Regu getting kicked around and then firing his laser or something else happening to just end it abruptly. I will give the series credit on the abyss itself. The environments look great. The creatures are interesting looking as well.

Sound:

Our main characters are voiced by Ise Mariya, Tomita Miyu & Izawa Shiori. The three of them are pretty good in their roles. Kevin Penkin’s soundtrack is quite nice. Really, the sound as a whole is the only element I don’t have any major issues with.

Ho-yay:

This series is like Soul Eater in regards to ho-yay. Whether or not it has a good amount depends on whether or not the androgynous character (Nanachi) is female or male. If they’re a girl, there’s a fair amount once they show up. Both because of the stuff with Mitty and because of their response to Riko once she starts interacting with them. If they’re a male, there’s not really any at this juncture.

Final Thoughts:

Ultimately, I can’t agree with the hype surrounding this series. It has a foundation that could be built upon for a great series, but it also has some major flaws. That being said, I also don’t agree with my sister. With all due respect for her, the dark moments aren’t all that bad and they do at least try to transition to and way from them properly. I would be interested in checking out the second series once it airs to see if it fleshes out the characters and takes full advantage of all the potentially strong elements that have just been built up at this juncture or if it wastes them. But, for the first series, I have to call it average. The flaws and strengths balance each other out pretty thoroughly and it winds up neither good nor bad but with the foundation in place to go either way. Yeah, I’m definitely going to review the second series when it’s finished.

August Bonus Review: The Rescuers

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The Rescuers was a Disney film from the late 70s. Although they started development in the early 60s but it was considered too politically charged which led to it being canned and then picked up again later. I’m not sure what’s so political about it. Maybe the idea of a woman doing what was traditionally “men’s work.” Maybe the scene where Miss Bianca explains the merits of income redistribution due to a massive income disparity being unsustainable for a healthy nation. (Okay, I made that one up) or maybe it’s because the original script was completely different.

Story:

We open with a young girl throwing a bottle into the water. We follow the bottle through a series of really nice watercolour looking stills until it lands and gets found by a bunch of mice. Fortunately for the young girl, these are the helpful, nice variety of mice who chew through ropes to free lions among other things. We cut to a meeting of the Rescue Aid Society, a group of mice that take it upon themselves to help those in trouble. And they’ve called this meeting of global mice solely to assign one or two to save the girl. This organisation may have had some problems with efficiency before they formed their mobile Rescue Ranger units.

The Hungarian mouse, Miss Bianca, asks for the assignment. The chairman hesitates, since this is apparently the first time a female mouse has actually been given a rescue assignment, in spite of their being several female mice in the group. She’s given the assignment but told to take a partner. Naturally, all the male mice volunteer because Hungarian ladies, and lady mice apparently, are smexy. She picks Bernard, the janitor. Probably because he’s the only one who isn’t in a position to claim all the credit. And the two set off to find the girl who needs help and come to her rescue.

Narratively, the film does basically everything right. The pacing is well crafted. It knows when to have calmer, slower moments and when to go into more intense sequences involving cars, swamp mobiles alligators and other perils. Even the song placement is very nice. The writers do a great job of conveying just how difficult it is for two little mice to try and be heroes. The climax is superb.

About the only thing I can criticise is that the Rescue Aid Society has a bunch of representatives from various countries and then one from the entire continent of Africa. Maybe Africa’s continental branch was busy with rescue work and they thought the meeting was just to touch base so they picked one agent to represent them. And then she found out that they’d called everyone for one rescue operation and she went back to report that the other continental branches had way to much time on their hands before returning to Wakanda.

Characters:

Miss Bianca is a great character. She clearly cares about helping others and doing her assignment, but she also gets as much joy out of things as she can. She’s taking the adventure seriously but also enjoying everything it has to offer. Which makes her a delight to watch. Bernard is kind of the opposite. He’s always worrying and scared but does what needs to be done any way. Which makes him a very courageous character but he’s also just a bit annoying. I also like Penny quite a bit. Her first response upon meeting the mice is just “did you bring the police?” which is very sensible. But then she wants to swipe Madame Medusa’s swamp mobile because she wants to drive it. And she taunts the cloying crony because he’s scared of the alligators. Which is great. The villains are pretty much your typical Disney antagonists. Nasty, trashy people who just want wealth even if it means sending a child into a hole to search for treasure. Although they do take it to another level by giving Medusa a shotgun to fire off indiscriminately. I actually love that scene, not gonna lie.

The side characters are a lot of fun. Whether it’s Zipper… I mean Evinrude or the muskrat couple. He gives people moonshine to perk them up and she goes to town with the rolling pin in the climax. Actually, the little swamp critters charging into action is one of the best parts in the film. Rufus & Orville are fun supporting characters too.

Art:

The film clearly didn’t have the most robust budget in the world. They take some short cuts in order to save on animation, including the stills at the opening and some slow scenes but it still looks quite nice and it is well animated.

Sound:

For the sake of this review, I watched the English version for the first time. I have to say, the acting is really good. Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor make for strong leads. Michelle Stacy makes for a strong Penny. Geraldine Page, Joe Flynn, Jim Jordan and the others are all good. In terms of music, the Rescue Aid Society anthem is a great, upbeat tune. Tomorrow is Another Day is an excellent song to aid in the atmosphere during a calmer moment & Someone’s waiting for You is a beautiful but also sad melody. I will say, I liked Wenche Myhre’s versions better than Shelby Flint’s but Flint’s are great too.

Final Thoughts:

The Rescuers may just be one of the five best Disney animated films of all time. And I’m not even joking. It’s a great adventure with a strong cast, strong characters, perfectly placed, well written songs a strong visual aesthetic and a lot of scenes that are memorable for all the right reasons. Its flaws, by comparison, are pretty minor. Ultimately, I give it a 9/10.

Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san: Short & Sweet

Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san is a yuri comedy anime based off of a four panel manga by Kuzushiro. In 2014 Seven, a studio I’ve never reviewed works of before, put out an anime adaptation. Made up of three minute episodes. Which, to be fair, is long enough for the jokes you find in a four panel manga. So, let’s see if they use their format well. I’ll be including the special in this review since the series is so short.

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Story:

We open with a quick introduction to our main characters. Inugami Yachiyo has a lot of canine-like traits, as her name suggests, but she loves cats. Nekoyama Suzu is the opposite. In keeping with her name, she has a lot of feline-like traits but she loves dogs. The two meet through a mutual friend and pretty much become instantly moist for one another. They go on to meet some other girls with animalistic traits and corresponding names and get into all kinds of shenanigans.

The biggest issue with the series is that some of Yachiyo’s plans to get closer to Suzu are really uncool. Like when they go on that hot spring trip and Yachiyo keeps trying to grope her among other things. The other notable example is the catnip episode. In all fairness, she doesn’t actually cross the line at any point but she comes close enough to make it a bit uncomfortable.

On the positive side of the spectrum, the humour does generally work well and the short episodes are handily utilised. The flirtations among the girls are quite charming. So, it is a pretty thoroughly enjoyable series. And it’s very much a situation where you can’t expect much more from it, given that it runs for around forty minutes total.

Characters:

The characters are pretty simple comedic school girls. However, the series does a good job of giving its characters a mesh of animalistic traits and more human ones. Save for Aki, who’s the more ordinary girl. Her job is to roll her eyes and be snarky about her friends and their shenanigans. And the characters, though simplistic, do have strong comedic interactions with plenty of potential for more. This series could be twenty six half hour episodes and have plenty to do with the cast.

Art:

The character designs are nicely done and their movements are well animated. There are also some nice backgrounds and object art. And that’s pretty much to be expected since these are three minute episodes and you’d know Seven just didn’t give a shit if they couldn’t be bothered to put together good art for it.

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Sound:

Our main girls are voiced by Uesaka Sumire & Touyama Nao, both of whom are very good. We also get some strong performances from Ootsubo Yuka, Horino Sayaka, Yamazaki Erii and others. The music is quite nice as well.

Ho-yay:

There’s a lot. Pretty much every girl, except Aki, has a blatant lesbian love interest. Suzu has Yachiyo. Mikine has Yukiji. Sora has Hibari. And it doesn’t end that simply either. There’s a lot of flirtation just among the characters in general. I’d suggest polyamory, but there’s clearly some jealousy issues present that would make that untenable.

Final Thoughts:

So, that’s Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san. Ultimately, it holds up really damn well. For forty minutes, you aren’t going to find a much better comedy and I really enjoyed that. If you want a quick comedy split into segments with heavy yuri elements, this is for you. I’ll give it an 8/10. Next week, Made in Abyss.

Yousei Hime Ren: A Headache

Yousei Hime Ren is a short OVA from the mid 90s. Dangun Pictures did the animation for this. And it’s not exactly a well known OVA but short, comedic OVAs tend to be either really good or really terrible. So, let’s take a gamble and check it out.

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Story:

We follow a young self-proclaimed treasure hunter named Gou as he follows the universe’s most random treasure maps to try and find treasures. Naturally, he leaves devastation in his wake.  He escapes one outing, nearly falls to his death and encounters a naked fairy named Ren. Why is she naked? Because she was doing a Princess Sally cosplay and her boots fell off while she was flying. Or because this was designed for fourteen year olds who can’t get a hold of actual porn.

That’s pretty much the entirety of this OVA. Gou goes somewhere to try and find treasure, some sort of mechanical device gets activated and Gou manages to wreck it by accident. Let’s discuss the big problem with the humour. The bulk of it is based around characters shouting, failing at basic communication and then something breaking in a contrived, over the top way. And characters shouting while failing at actually conveying anything isn’t funny. It’s just really, really, really annoying. You can have loud acting and still make it work. Galaxy Angel did. So did Muteki Kanban Musume. But they had actual jokes.

You want to know how to be funny with your dialogue, loud or otherwise? Clever word play, jokes with a strong use of comedic timing and just generally giving a shit about comedy. none of which are present here. It’s like Big Bum Bim just drained all the comedy and replaced it with obnoxiousness. A complex contraption falling apart for absurd reasons can be funny, but it’s not executed well in this series. So, it isn’t.

Characters:

Gou might be one of the worst comedic leads to watch. He’s nothing but a constant stream of annoying prattle. The best part of the OVA are those few scenes where someone hits him. Which should happen considerably more often. He actually reminds me of the portrayal of Sonic in that one cartoon where he does nothing but shit Looney Tune style bits to the robot chicken and drill handed bloke. Except that was marginally more tolerable. Mari is just the typical “she has a crush but the guy she’s interested in is clueless, has no redeeming qualities and will probably die of an opium overdose when he’s twenty two.” Ren is just boring. The fairy who follows her, Leen, is just a tsundere. Gou’s many identical older sisters are just vaguely ambitious strong women. And there aren’t any compelling characters to be found. There aren’t even any with vague shticks that are funny once.

Art:

Like many poor excuses for comedies, Yousei Hime Ren tries to make up for its lack of quality comedic content by having overblown fan service. Quite literally every major female character in this is shown nude at some point. Both fairies, Gou’s older sister (they all look alike so the specific one doesn’t matter) & Mari. So, if you really want some tacky fan-service, there you go. Aside from that, the art is pretty bad. It’s lazy, they have no good visual gags and there’s just nothing noteworthy about it.

Elf princess Rane1.png

Sound:

Dangun did get some solid actors. They have Hisakawa Aya in this and Yamadera Kouichi. Both fine actors who have portrayed much better characters in anime like Sailor Moon or Cowboy Bebop. sadly, if you only heard them in this you would probably not get the impression that they’re good at what they do. You would probably get the impression that they’re kind of shit because the direction in this calls for everybody cranking up the volume, shouting out their words quickly and exaggerating like all hell. Because if you don’t have a headache from watching this, they’ve failed their purpose in making it. That’s right, this is actually a promotion to sell more aspirin. They just made it as loud and annoying as possible so you would need some. The music might be the best element of the entire work and it’s sub-par, at best.

Ho-yay:

Leen is tsundere for Ren, and snogs her at one point with no apparent provocation. Luckily for her, Ren doesn’t seem to mind and will not be filing charges.

Final Thoughts:

Honestly, it doesn’t surprise me that this OVA didn’t get enough of a positive response for them to put out a third episode. It’s loud, obnoxious, painfully unfunny and just a bad experience. It may not be the worst comedy of all time, but it’s down there  in the excrement. I give it a 2/10. Next week Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san. Which, realistically, will almost certainly be better than this. Not that that’s a high bar to surpass.