Category Archives: Alex Watches

Premiere Review | D4DJ First Mix

What’s it about? Before Aimoto Rinku moved away for her parents’ zoological work, she had the chance to attend an open-air concert where she heard a song that captured her heart. On her first day at a new school in Japan, she’s startled to hear that very song from her childhood playing over the PA system. Chasing the sound, Rinku finds herself in the exciting world of performance DJing.

I’ll be honest with you, AniFam: at this stage of the premiere review season, at this stage of the work week, at this stage of the year, I’m feeling pretty tired. But lucky for me (and lucky for you) D4DJ is like a swig of energy drink. It’s fun, colorful, high-octane, and I can already tell I’m going to have Rinku’s beloved dance track stuck in my head for the whole weekend.

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Premiere Review | Dropout Idol Fruit Tart

What’s it about? Fifteen-year-old Sakura Ino moves to Tokyo to pursue her dream of becoming a pop idol… but when she gets there, it’s not quite what she expected. She finds herself in the Mouse House, a dormitory of washed-up child stars, unpopular models, and failed musicians. With the production company threatening to kick them all out and demolish the building, these misfits are forced to form an idol group in order to try and save their home.

Dropout Idol Fruit Tart, like the sweet treat in its name, is bright and sugary, but probably does not contain much nutritional value… and in fact might make you feel a bit off if you consume too much of it too quickly.

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Premiere Review | Adachi and Shimamura

What’s it about? One day when they were both skipping class, Adachi and Shimamura ran into each another on the second level of the school gym. The two girls developed a routine, and an easy-going friendship: they meet there to play ping-pong, eat snacks, goof around, and try not to get caught by staff or students when a P.E. class is on. But is it possible that this laid-back relationship between two delinquents could turn into something more?

Adachi and Shimamura is the stylish adaptation of a series of yuri light novels (the English-language versions of which have just started coming out from good ol’ Seven Seas). My first impression of the show is a feeling of almost dreamy floating: the tone is soft, the art is gorgeous, and it’s never afraid to dive a step to the side of realism in the name of visual metaphor or setting up atmosphere. And yet, at the same time, this premiere is oddly and satisfyingly down to Earth. The dreamlike visuals go hand in hand with the subtle characterization, even if they—like the characters themselves—might seem at first like an odd couple.

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Premiere Review | Talentless Nana

What’s it about? Nakajima Nanao studies at an elite school for young people with superpowers—people known as the Talented who are training to fight mysterious monsters known only as the Enemies of Humanity. There’s just one problem: Nanao doesn’t seem to have much in the way of superpowers. This earns him the ridicule of his classmates, but when a telepathic transfer student named Hiiragi Nana arrives, she takes a special interest in him.

I have a tricky situation on my hands here, gang: as a reviewer, I want to give you as much information as possible to pique your interest and get you to check this show out if you think it sounds fun. However, the really intriguing factors are all woven into a twist that only rears its head in the final moments of the episode. I have to conduct this article as a delicate tightrope-dance, trying to let you know that I think this show was cool but without being able to 100% tell you why. I feel I’ve already said too much even with that, so let’s just continue from here.

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Premiere Review | Assault Lily: Bouquet

What’s it about? Many years ago, mecha-monsters known as the Huge began appearing and wreaking havoc on Earth. Hitotsuyanagi Riri dreams of joining the Lilies, the elite squad of teenaged girls who fight the Huge with a combination of magic and science. Lucky for her, she got on the waitlist for the prestigious academy where the Lilies are trained—and now it’s time for her monster-fighting debut!

Speculative fiction is at its best when it’s asking big questions, such as “is teen girls fighting mechs with oversized weapons the coolest thing you’ve ever seen, or what?”

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Premiere Review: Mr Love: Queen’s Choice

What’s it about? Ever since Our Protagonist inherited the Miracle TV production company from her father, she’s been working hard to find enough material to keep it afloat. When she gets a lead about an ongoing mystery involving strange disappearances and people with supernatural powers, it might just be the boost the program needs.

The opening shots of this episode involve a girl nearly getting hit by a truck. “Hold on,” I said to myself, in all seriousness. “I didn’t know this was an isekai.”

It’s not; but only because Our Protagonist is rescued by a mysterious boy who seems to have stopped time for just long enough to scoop her up and carry her to safety. If this fellow hadn’t intervened, I can only presume that Our Protagonist would have been whisked away to be reborn in another world. As it is, she gets to stay home, and the fantasy in Mr Love: Queen’s Choice is of the more urban variety.

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Premiere Review: Rent-a-Girlfriend

What’s it about? Deliriously lonely after being dumped by his first ever girlfriend, twenty-year-old Kinoshita Kazuya spontaneously downloads the app Diamond, where you can pay for dates with a girl of your choice. The fake dating routine threatens to extend beyond the paid time slot, however, when he and his rented girlfriend are mistaken for a real couple by their respective grandmothers.

“Shenanigans,” with a capital S, seems to be the name of the game in this premiere. There are gossipy grandmas. There is slapstick comedy. There is the sort of improvised corny cuteness that you would only find under the banner of the fake dating trope. There is a scene where our love interests—who of course, don’t actually love each other, don’t be ridiculous—have to suddenly hide and thus they end up squashed together in a compromising position. Because of course they do. Right out the gate, Rent-a-Girlfriend seems to be a comedy of errors with a horny streak… but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have anything meaningful to say, necessarily.

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Premiere Review: Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!

What’s it about? Every time Uzaki Hana sees her classmate Sakurai Shinichi on campus, he’s on his own—whether he’s gaming, studying, or taking a nap on a bench. Frustrated by his lack of a social life, Uzaki takes it upon herself to drag her old friend out of his shell.

For some, I’m sure that the premise of this series is a fantasy: the idea of a peppy, cute young woman who has unwavering dedication to your personal betterment, and who will stop at nothing to make sure you’re experiencing life to the fullest instead of staying stuck in your comfort zone. For me, as an introvert, this setup is closer to nightmarish.

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A Big Ol’ Pile of Anime Recommendations (2019)

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As we power ahead into the new year, it’s time for one last reflection back on 2019: anime edition. While my spare time skewed more towards reading this year, and generally there weren’t quite as many series that jumped out and grabbed me, I still watched some fantastic series that I want to share. So even if the “big pile” is a little smaller than it has been in previous years, I’ve still got a selections of little gems here that I want to boost! This is, as always, limited to series that I watched and completed in 2019, which disqualifies things I’m still currently catching up on, and of course things that are still airing and not yet complete. Let’s dive in: Continue reading

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A Place Further Than the Universe #13: The Girls Are Alright

Universe8

Guess who’s about to get all sappy about animated girls in Antarctica? It’s me! But it is the last time, so I may as well go all out. Continue reading

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