First impression: Grimoire of Zero

A young witch hires a Beastfallen tiger man to be her bodyguard and occassional (involuntary) bed during her quest for her stolen grimoire.

Grimoire of Zero: tiger men make the best beds

Zero kara Hajimeru Mahou no Sho/Grimoire of Zero is a classic quest fantasy, which is unusual in anime. The first episode is mainly setup, with a meet cute when our nameless tiger man protagonist — on the run from a murderous witch — lands in the soup of Zero. She saves him, he runs away when it turns out she’s a witch as well, then she shows up again to steal back her soup. Long story short, she recruits him for her quest to get her grimoire back and the end of the episode has them setting out together. What makes all this fairly standard setup sparkle is the interaction between the Mercenary and Zero, who hit it off immediately. It’s hard to do this sort of banter well, to have two people snipe at each other without it coming over too spiteful or too artificial, but this episode managed to keep a light, funny tone to its banter.

Grimoire of Zero: grim and gritty background

The light tone of the interactions between Zero and the Mercenary does clash somewhat with the grim and gritty background it is set against. We’re in a world were witches are real and persecuted by an almighty Church, burning them to death. So far, so Catholic, but while I’m feeling sympathetic to the witches, at least some of them do seem objectively evil. Meanwhile there are also the Beastfallen, human/animal hybrids created by witches and which occassionally pop up among normal humans, as in the case of our tiger man Mercenary. Who seem to be hunted by humans and witches both from what we’ve seen from the Mercenary’s background. It feels inconsistent with the lighter, cuter mood between Zero and Mercenary. How the show will reconcile this will be interesting to watch.

First impression: Eromanga Sensei

Based on a series of light novels by the writer of My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute and this time the twist is that the brother isn’t related to the little sister he fancies.

Eromanga Sensei: hot for sister

Really, you don’t need to know more than this. Our protagonist is really, really fond of his little sister and wants to fuck her. She’s a NEET and has been holed up in her room for a year, ever since their parents died. He is a light novel author who has been writing since middle school to make money to feed himself and his sister. His novels have mostly sold on the strength of the illustrations by one Eromanga Sensei and — surprise surprise — it turns out to be his little sister.

Eromanga Sensei: girls love dick

The first episode was a bit coy about what it wanted to be, but luckily the first minutes of episode two made clear this show is trash and no longer hiding it. Having read the manga spinoff I know more or less what’s coming and I’m fine with a bit of this sort of trash to watch, but really, there’s nothing much worthwhile about this one.

First impression: Tsuki ga Kirei

Two class mates get traumatised by their families when they unexpectedly meet up at the same restaurant.

Tsuki ga Kirei: family is always embarassing

There is after all nothing as embarassing as your family prematurely meeting the boy/girl you may be developing a crush on. Nothing certain here yet, no contact. Just coy glances when he/she isn’t looking, looking away when he/she notices, an acute awareness of the other’s presence. Most romance stories in anime start when boy meets girl and one or both quickly falls in love. This sort of drawnout, uncertain longing is rare. I like it better than the usual anime shenanigans, the slowness and mundanity lending realism to the story.

Tsuki ga Kirei: slightly anxious

The girl, Mizuno Akane is sporty enough to be on the track and field team and suffers from anxiety enough she carries around a small stuffed potato thingie to calm herself. It’s an anxiousness not played up as cute, but something she just has to deal with in her day to day life. Not overdramatised, nor debilitating, but just something she has to deal with. As she had to do in episode two, when she lost her safety potato and promptly lost her baton during a relay race.

Tsuki ga Kirei: slightly dorky

The boy, Azumi Kotarō, is a bit of a dork, in the literature club, aiming to be a writer and in love with Osamu Dazai‘s writing, who seems to be the sort of writer slightly dorky, intellectual teenage boys would fall in love with. His joy at getting a text from Mizuno to the point of shadow oboxing is exactly the sort of thing a teenage boy would do, having to get physical to deal with his feelings. He feels real, and the fact that he couldn’t “save” Mizuno in the second episode, even if he did find her potato thingie, helps. In short, I like this mundane, realistic, slow love story because it’s so different from any other anime romance.

First impression: Hinako Note

Crippingly shy girl goes to Tokyo for high school and to join its theatre club, to overcome her shyness.

Hinako Note: friend to all the animals

A by the numbers slice of moe show, with the main girl being a friend to all the animals, if barely able to talk to people. She’s adorable, in a very much infantilised way. Grown up in the country, she turns into a scarecrow when shy or embarrassed, immediately attracting each animal in the vicinity, which the old farming couple she lived near exploited mercilessly to keep the animals of their fields. She’s so tongue tied she can’t even thank them for the vegetables they give her for her help. There’s room to explore such a debilitating level of shyness, but I figure it will only be used for cuteness or humour here.

Hinako Note: imitating Lucky Star

Two episodes in, nothing much has been done with the theatre setup yet, but we have met most of the main cast of loveable weird girls. Here they’re seen performing a Lucky Star tribute. Each of them so far is mostly defined by their eccentricities: one likes to dress up as a maid, one is the reasonable, motherly type, one likes to eat books, etc. Our main girl, for all her shyness, quickly becomes comfortable with them. So far, little has been done with the whole theatre aspect of things, further underscoring the idea that this is very much a show only interested in slice of life cuteness. And since it’s the only one airing this season, save for the latest season of Natsume Yuujinchou, I think I’ll keep watching this in the hope it will get a little better.

First impression: Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasuka Isogashii Desuka Sukutte Moratte Ii Desuka

I refuse to believe anybody called Willem can be the hero of an anime series, but here we are.

SukaSuka: Willem is not a heroic name

Shuumatsu Nani Shitemasuka Isogashii Desuka Sukutte Moratte Ii Desuka (What do you do at the end of the world? Are you busy? Will you save us?), aka SukaSuka so far doesn’t. Suck that is. As you may have guessed from the absurdly long title, it’s a light novel adaptation, with a fantasy setting in which humanity went extinct half a millennium ago due to some so far not yet seen enemy, while all the other races are living up in the sky on floating islands. Willem himself is the last living human in the world, with most other inhabitants looking as if they stepped out of a Disney animal movie. The reason he’s with those four human looking little girls is that he is going to be their caretaker.

This first episode was as slow paced as this music video above, and it reminded me of last year’s Grimgar. About a third is spent on Willem guiding this blue haired woman around the town/island he lives to a spot where she can look out over it, set to an absolutely fabulous rendition of Scarborough Fair. It’s only afterwards that the plot sets in, with a friend badgering Willem into taking on a job for the military, to go baby sit an armoury. An armoury full of girls, rather than weapons, but of course the girls are the weapons.

SukaSuka: she wants to eat him. Literally

Ah yes, the saucy maid/old friend who delights in teasing the protagonist through sexual banter. Or not, as she really wants to eat him, perhaps with a nice chianti. in any case, vore makes sense now. Can I say how rare it is that this is the only sexually tinted scene in the whole episode, despite Willem having to catch not one, but two girls as they crash into him, without pulling a Rito? instead we get our protagonist as a slightly indulgent father or older brother as the four cute little girls in the top most picture sneak into his bedroom out of curiosity. It’s nice. I’m sure the rest of the series will be a nice, slice of life healing sort of anime about one guy and the dozen or so living weapons he is the caretaker of, with no hints of tragedy or anything bad happening at all. Nu-uh.