Trapped in trapped in fantasy anime

There are three trapped in fantasyland anime series this season: a boring one, a goofy one with mecha and an actually interesting one.

Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni: every screenshot of this is dull

The boring one is Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni, which I talked about before after having watched the first episode. Seven episodes later, it is still as bland and predictable as it started. Every episode some challenge or problem is solved almost immediately, without any tension, while every other episode or so another girl is added to the harem through some random kindness on protag-kun’s part. At one point in an early episode, he and his starter’s harem were escorting some merchant or other and ran into a bandit ambush. But it was okay, because his smart phone could detect them all through “GPS” and then he sent his sleepy time magic through the phone to knock them out. Dude’s so ridiculously overpowered his phone is just a prop, so nothing is a challenge and he keeps getting rewarded for stupid shit, to then teach his harem to ride a bicycle, as in the last episode.

It’s all pure wishfulfilment, but without any tension or danger whatsoever, yet it’s stupidly popular, if we can believe Crunchyroll. Perhaps, like me, everybody else is using it as a soporific too, moving wallpaper to be mildly diverted by while doing something more interesting? Certainly puts in context the over the top criticisms of Sword Art Online, which if bad, despite its many restaurant infodump scenes, was never anywhere near as dull as this.

Knights & Magic: mecha fan gets to design magical giant robots

The goofy one is Knight’s & Magic, dodgy spelling and all. A salaryman Gundam fan and plastic model builder is reincarnated into a fantasy world courtesy of Truck-kun, then discovers it has magical mecha. He starts training magic at five or something stupid, discovers his past life’s programming experience comes in handy, enrolls in magic school and becomes infamous as a (wannabe) Silhouette Knight designer. All his Gundam/giant robot fanboy knowledge coming in handy for inspiration for increasingly overpowered designs. The first two episodes were a bit of a mess as it skipped/abridged a lot of the source material to move quickly beyond the magic school setting into more serious stuff, but it has settled down quickly as a light hearted adventure series. The whole past life angle is more or less superfluous at this point, but the protagonist is likeable, there’s no harem, just a childhood friend who likes to use him as her hug pillow and the series doesn’t take itself too seriously.

Isekai Shokudou: dwarves like good food too

The actually good isekai series is Isekai Shokudou, in which a Tokyo restaurant has a magic door that opens on a fantasy world once every seven days, for various fantasy types to stumble across and orgasm at its food. It’s a reasonably well done fusion of the isekai and foodgasm genres, with each episode having two short stories about one of the customers coming to visit the restaurant. It’s not just cute elf girls or fairy princesses either; the latest episode has two dwarves visiting for fried fish, beer and whisky. It’s this mixture that keeps the series fresh. Apart from that, it also does what any food based series should do: make you hungry.

Trapped in fantasyland/isekai series have been coming out at a regular clip ever since Sword Art Online, but three in a season is a bit much. Especially when none of them are anywhere near as good as frex KonoSuba was. There really is no need for such low grade fodder as Smartphone.

Germany is boring in its anime tastes too

How else to explain that the most watched show on Crunchyroll there is the utterly boring Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni?

European anime tastes turn out not to be all that sophisticated

At least The Netherlands goes for the idiosyncratically spelled Knight’s & Magic, which also a trapped in fantasyland story, but has giant robots and a Gundam model building salaryman as the protagonist, rather than just a boring teenage dude with a smartphone. Still disappointing though, as while it’s an okay show, it’s not a great show. Then again, that goes for most of the popular anime across Europe, with New Game!! being the best of the lot. It might just be that all the better series are not on Crunchyroll…

Kirakira 25 is the gayest Precure ever

Episode twentyfive of KiraKira Precure À La Mode is the gayest I’ve seen Precure get.

Kirakira: Akira and Yukari sparkle

Precure is a magical girl series that has run continuously since 2004, each series featuring a new team of friends fighting against evil. From the start there has been a strong lesbian undertone to the series, with even the original Precure clearly being slightly more than just friends. But most of this has been subtext, not entirely spelled out or made completely explicit. KiraKira Precure À La Mode has had the same thing going on ever since Akira (left) and Yukari were introduced, both high schoolers when the rest of the cast was in middle school (as was always the case with Precure), prince and princess of their school, naturally attracted to each other. There had been enough hints given that you could consider it canon that those two are a couple, even if neither had yet admitted it. But in episode twentyfive Yukari and Akira moved beyond this unspoken love and into a proper romance.

Kirakira: real subtle Ichika

And it was all thanks to Yukari’s jealousy and insecurity, so strong she had to use a rival for her hand showing up as an excuse to test Akira. Which in turn got her hoisted on her petard when Akira didn’t respond as expected and all her anxieties she usually kept hidding came out. To which Akira responded in the right way, professing her love while escaping from the villain of the week that showed up just in time for the inevitable transformation scene. It’s a very strong episode, arguably the best episode of the series so far, which makes full use of the characters as they’ve been built up over the past twentyfour episodes. This is clearly something the series has been working towards from the start, not something read into the episode by fans; it’s way too blatant for that and it’s a clear milestone for Precure as a whole, to allow this explicit, queer relationship that needs only a kiss to be completely on a par with a straight relationship as shown in this sort of anime. I actually have a sneaky suspicion that Akira and Yukari were made high schoolers, rather than middle school students, explicitly to make it easier to tell this story, as the age difference probably make it somewhat easier to tell a queer story in what’s still nominally a children’s series.

I may be wrong though, but it hardly matters. What matters is Precure finally moving beyond subtext with its lesbian relationships. As long as they don’t botch it up.

Tenshi no 3p! — First Impression

A teenage hikkimori is saved through the power of cute lolis.

Tenshi no 3P!: pedobait?

I don’t trust this series. I just don’t trust this series. Alarm bells started ringing the moment I read the description on Anichart:

Kyou Mekui is a high school student who tends to skip school due to a trauma in his past. Kyou secretly creates songs using vocal song synthesis software as his hobby. Three girls who just entered fifth grade — the crybaby Jun “Jun-tan” Gotou, the strong-willed Nozomi “Zomi” Momijidani, and the somewhat sleepy Sora “Kuu” Kaneshiro who takes life at her own pace — email Kyou. These three girls, who were raised together like sisters since childhood, want Kyou to help them break into music.

There’s no real reason those girls needing his help should be fifth graders, rather than high school girls his own age, but there has been a minor wave of heartwarming stories starring little children rehabilitating much older people like Usagi Drop or Amaama to Inazuma, so I tried it out to see if it was one of those, or whether it would be something more problematic. The first episode was actually decent, starting off showing Kyou’s daily life and how his nominal class mates think about him, before he’s introduced to the three girls. Even when there are a few dodgy camera close ups of the girls, there are at least no panty shots, but then this shit happens. They ask him to help them plan a concert and in order to entice him, each of the girls says that he can have their way with them and then the episode ends.

Tenshi no 3P!: psyche!

And then in episode two we get the same scene again, but then ha ha it turns out they’re actually talking about their instruments, isn’t that hilarious? So you not only get a pedo joke, but a copout pedo joke, as the show has its cake and eats it too. It doesn’t look like it wants to go the route of oh la la sexy grade school girls harem, but it is clearly comfortable of toying with that route, only to swerve at the last moment. And what with the dress up scene, where each of the girls dresses up as a different kink — gym uniform, school swimsuit, naked apron — most of my trust is gone. Doesn’t help that they’re walking stereotypes either: the shy, cute one, the energetic standoffish one, the sleepy emotionless one. I actually like the central plot setup and it could be decent, but not with all this pedo bait.