And we’re back! No fuss, let’s just get on with this, it’s a long one. Hey! Who asked for a series following the kids of your favourite Naruto characters? Okay not that many of you but we’re all getting one anyway!
Boruto: Naruto Next Generations
The life of shinobi has changed, the land is at peace and the ninja academy now teaches subjects other than ninjutsu (apparently), but the life of a ninja can still be an exciting and dangerous one. Young Boruto is the son of the Hokage, not that his father is ever around, often too busy with his duties to have any time for his family. In order to get attention Boruto often pulls pranks, much like his old man, and is often getting into trouble. Luckily he also happens to be quite skilled at ninjutsu, even picking up a few traits from his mother’s side of the family, which could come in handy. Something strange is going on in the village, possessing good people and forcing them to act on their worst desires, but whatever could it be?
I’m enjoying this series a lot more than I expected to, especially seeing what was happening in the manga (really? We’re back to fighting god-like beings and Boruto coming up with a new Rasengan in no time flat. You know the over-powered nonsense put me off the last few years of Naruto). Luckily this series likes to keep things low key, no one’s amazingly overpowered and there’s a sense of fun about the whole thing. It is lacking in some regards those, this series is missing the emotional core that Naruto had, I mean it’s hard for Boruto with his dad never being there, but his dad had it a lot worse and there are times when Boruto just comes across a brat, overly cocky and causing major hassle for everyone around him. If you’re just after some light-hearted little one-off adventures with Naruto and co’s kids though, this isn’t so bad. The overarching story is just a monster of the week so far, though it has potential.
You know you go to university, you get this magic piece of paper and you expect doors to just opened up before you, only to find yourself walking straight into the glass (believe me, I’ve been there, technically I’m still there). After 30 rejected job applications Koharu finally gets an offer, but she probably should have read the contract a bit better. What she thinks is a one-time job to act the princess for a rundown village out in the middle of nowhere, actually turns out to be a yearlong job. Now Koharu is stuck, along with four other girls with job dissatisfaction, but can the countryside work its charm and win over this city girl?
I’m getting serious shirobako flashbacks here, which isn’t surprising considering the guys behind this anime (and some of the character designs). I mean the story isn’t anything all that original, either the city girl moving out to the country and slowly falling for it, or the rundown town being brought back to life by an outsider. It’s the characters and the very open heart that makes this series; it’s sweet and pretty funny with the various antics of Koharu either trying to escape in the first couple of episodes or her butting heads with some less than thrilled locals. Also there’s the crazy head of the tourism board and his mad schemes. I can guess how this one will turn out, but I’m more than willing to stick around for the journey.
A thousand years ago the world ended, but don’t worry, apparently some magician rebuilt the place using gears and such to make it a clockwork planet! (Title drop. Also, the guy really must have been magical because I can see no other way of how you make a planet out of gears and get everyone across to it, also that would be an awesome story, prequel now!). Now nothing lasts forever and this clockwork planet looks set to finally wind down, but fate brings together three individuals. The genius clockmaker Marie, an automaton named RyuZU and a high schooler with an ear for machines called Naoto. Can these three, and Marie’s bodyguard, fend off the military and rivals to save the world? (Probably, just sayin’ it’d be a bit a downer if they didn’t.)
I’m probably going to drop this show, which is a shame because I was looking forward to it, I mean the title and idea are awesome. A whole planet made out of clockwork! Unfortunately nothing really hits the mark with me, the animation isn’t that impressive and the story is just taking forever to get going. I know there’s the threat of the city falling away, but I don’t particularly care or feel any sense of urgency about it and I should. All I can put it down to is that they haven’t properly explained this world. I’m still sat here wondering how they made it. I can’t believe in the characters if I don’t believe in the world first. The characters are pretty fun at least; all four of them have of charm and personality, even if in some cases it’s a very bizarre personality.
KADO: The Right Answer
Shindo is a highly skilled negotiator working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but he might just be on to the most difficult, and unusual, case of his career when a giant alien cube drops out of the sky straight on top of the plane he’s on. An alien has come to Japan from outside the universe, promising the human advancement and it’s Shindo’s job to negotiate on the alien’s behalf, but are things too good to be true? Just what is the right answer?
I really like this series so far, yeah it’s kinda slow and I don’t think it will everyone’s cup of tea. Most of the episodes do tend to boil down to people standing or sitting around while they talk endlessly, throwing in lots of terms that have just been made up by the author and honestly I’ll probably forget half of them. Despite all that though, I really like it. I like the characters and I just really appreciate that there are no idiots here. I mean if we went for the standard clichés we’d have some military bloke one itchy finger away from attacking the alien and triggering our downfall, but there’s none of that here. Yeah, people are wary of this alien, but they’re sensible about it, they test and probe, do all the things that people should do with an alien came by for a visit and I am so grateful for that. This is a realistic approach to what should happen if we ever make first contact, or maybe that’s being too optimistic of me.
Twin Angels Break
Meguru has always aspired to be a hero, after watching a pair of young heroines save someone, and as she moves to Tokyo she finally gets that chance. Along with the cool (except when it comes to her big brother) Sumire, she forms the Twin Angels, magical girls working with a talking hedgehog to collect energy and fight evil! But the hedgehog is hiding something, she needs the energy for a specific purpose and it ties into the two previous Twin Angels.
You know, you sit around looking for a magical girl series to fill the void (there’s only so many times I can rewatch Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura) and then two come along at once (One of them being Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cait Noir, but that’s a discussion for another day, great cartoon though, go check it out). Twin Angels Break plays the genre pretty straight, and is part of a franchise I haven’t encountered before, but it’s nice. I’ve tried to watch ordinary magical girl series before and I just couldn’t get into them, but I’m getting into this. I mean the story is fairly generic and the characters even more so, but there are elements to the story that have me intrigued. The back-story for the hedgehog and the two previous Twin Angels has my attention (so much so that I’m considering going and checking out the previous series). I also like that the story is taking its time, letting the girls stumble a bit and work to improve as they learn the ropes. We haven’t even seen the Break system that keeps being mentioned and I like that. Don’t just throw out power ups, make the characters work for them. I’m sticking around for this.
WorldEnd: What will you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?
500 years ago the world ended with the majority of the human race being wiped out. Now the earth is barren, stalked by monsters of that past age, while the surviving species live on islands up in the clouds. The last known surviving human, Willem, is recruited by the military to look after some ‘special weapons’ in a warehouse. Said warehouse turns out to be a rather nice house and the so-called ‘weapons’ are actually little girls. They’re fairies and are one of very few who can use the weapons created by the humans to battle the monsters down on the surface. Willem has already lost so much, but as he bonds with the girls, can he really stand to lose anymore? And just what exactly can he do to save them?
I really like this series, everything just sort of clicks when really it could go so badly. Here I was expecting either some cliché-ridden fanservice machine with beautiful girls fighting monsters going off the synopsis and op or an odd fantasy slice of life judging by some of the preview images. Instead though I got a really heartfelt and interesting little story. I like this world, I like these characters, it feels likes there’s just so much in it and I think the pacing helps, slowly peeling back the lid so that it can keep some mystery while still feeding us information. It also seems a lot more focused on characters and their interaction than bothering with the whole fighting monsters thing, there’s several fights that are clearly skipped over so we can focus on the characters instead, and for this series that works. Also, can I just give a round of applause for writing the kids like actual kids, they’re wild, energetic and completely up front about everything, you know, like kids are. This is one of my favourite shows of the season so far so good, so what are you waiting for? Go watch it!
When Nino was little she was inseparable from her friend Momo, they were always holding hands and singing together. Then Momo moved away and Nino was left alone in a scary world, but found a new friend in Yuzu, a music composer, who gave Nino a song, but eventually he left as well. Now, years later, Nino, Momo and Yuzu find themselves in the same school, but will music bring them together or simply become the battleground as Momo and Yuzu fight for Nino’s affection and voice. Look out for the teen angst!
Okay I was joking about the teen angst, actually I wasn’t, but I’m only 3 episodes in and there already feels like there’s so much drama! Unrequited love, nervous disorders, jealousy and heartbreak, heck even the love triangle is turning out to be quite compelling so far. I mean I don’t know who to pick, we haven’t seen that much of Momo, but he clearly meant a lot to Nino and they really clicked, but now he’s determined to stay away from her, want to find out about that. Yet on the other hand we’ve got Yuzu, who you really have to feel for, I mean with what he’s lost and his adoration of Nino’s voice, though he can lean a bit towards the obsessive and controlling. So there’s good and bad points for both boys, all the while Nino is oblivious to all of this but not in an infuriating way, not yet at least. It also helps that the characters feel like people even being independent of one another; no one is there purely to be a love interest. I want to see where this is going and the music isn’t too shabby either.
Well that’s it for this week, catch ya next time!
Chris Joynson, aka the Infallible Fish, is a writer, blogger and lover of animation living in Sheffield. The blog updates every Friday.