Spring Anime 2018: Check These Shows Out, Too

The Sibling Spring continues. These shows also have brothers and sisters in them, even if it takes a few episodes before they appear (or reappear).

Akkun to Kanojo (My Sweet Tyrant)

Akkun to Kanojo (My Sweet Tyrant) title

Atsuhiro Kagari is a guy who’s completely head-over-heels in love with his girlfriend. He takes tons of pictures of her, listens to recordings of her voice, and regularly describes her as his angel…whenever she’s not around. In her presence, however, he nonchalantly insults or ignores her. In short, he’s a tsundere, but she doesn’t mind it one bit because she knows that he really does care. An angel, indeed.

Thank goodness each episode in this comedy only lasts a few minutes because any more than that would just be too much. Seriously, this guy should see a therapist because both his public and private expressions of love are rather extreme. Plus, it’s a good thing his girlfriend is so understanding (and quite frankly, a bit oblivious) because any other girl would slap him so fast it’s not even funny. Kudos to the author for treading the fine line here.

Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory

Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory title

Full Metal Panic! returns thirteen years after the last season aired and picks up immediately where The Second Raid left off. Sousuke Sagara, a soldier in a top secret military organization, continues his mission to protect high school student Kaname Chidori from an organization that seeks to capture her for her unique abilities. It’s full-on action right from the get-go, so get ready to move out!

Wow, I did not expect to see another season of this. And it’s not just Full Metal Panic! that came back after a lengthy hiatus; Cutey Honey is back, too — Cutey-freaking-Honey! — along with a few others this spring. It’s crazy and unexpected but most certainly welcome.

Fumikiri Jikan (Crossing Time)

Fumikiri Jikan (Crossing Time) title

A railroad crossing.
People must stop and wait here.
What thoughts will arise?

The micro-series format is perfect for a show like this. Each episode consists of a single scene with at least two characters who change in some way, great or small, by the end. Sometimes, the interactions are humorous; sometimes, it’s serious. So far, every week has a new set of characters, but I do hope they’ll revisit a few of them as the season goes on. If not, skip straight to episode 4 to see the siblings.

Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Die Neue These Kaikou (The Legend of the Galactic Heroes: The New Thesis – Encounter)

Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu Die Neue These Kaikou (The Legend of Galactic Heroes: The New Thesis) title

In the far future, the two largest superpowers in space, the democratic Free Planets Alliance and the monarchic Galactic Empire, have been at war for the last 150 years. With the advent of a new generation of leadership, however, the decades-long conflict might finally see its end.

I love a good war story, and ever since the end of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans, I’ve been waiting for another good one to appear. If what I’ve heard about this series is true, this will completely blow that one out of the water. Ready to enlist, sir!

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Spring Anime 2018: Shows to Check Out

With winter’s end comes the traditional deluge of new shows, and with them, a gaggle of brothers and sisters. Get ready because the Sibling Spring has arrived. (And look for the second part of this list to be posted tomorrow.)

Alice or Alice: Siscon Niisan to Futago no Imouto (A Sister-holic Brother and His Twin Sisters)

Alice or Alice title

This slice-of-life micro-series focuses on the everyday lives of twin sisters Airi and Rise, their unnamed older brother, and their friends.

Although the name of the show distinctly calls out the brother as being obsessed with his sisters, I have yet to see much evidence of this. Maybe I’ve watched too many siblings series and have become desensitized or maybe he shows it more later on, but from what I’ve watched so far, he’s just a nice, helpful person. Of course, it’s hard to glean much when each episode is only a few minutes long, but this sweet and simple series is a nice chaser after viewing more serious fare.

Amanchu! Advance

Amanchu! Advance title

The sequel to the summer 2016 series continues the story of Futaba Ooki, the shy student who moved to an ocean-side town and started learning how to scuba dive. With her best friend Hikari and twin siblings Ai and Makoto, Futaba’s daily life has become much more relaxed and enjoyable.

I’ll be honest. Even though the twins are secondary characters in this series, I still find them much more interesting than the primary ones. I mean, the sister often enters a scene kicking the brother in the stomach, which never fails to elicit a laugh from me. It’s a running gag, but to me, their humorous interactions, though shallow, are more entertaining and more consistently so. I want to like the dynamic between Futaba and Hikari more than I currently do, but at this point, I’m rooting for a spin-off series starring the twins.

Side Note: Hikari’s exaggerated doll-face effect is still weird. Insane-killer weird. It’s just wrong.

Jikken-hin Kazoku: Creatures’ Family Days / Shiyan Pin Jiating

Jikken-hin Kazoku: Creatures' Family Days / Shiyan Pin Jiating title

Tanis is a boy who just wants to live a normal life with his four older siblings. The only problem is that they were all genetically modified by their scientist parents in a secluded location and said parents have since been arrested. Now, Tanis and his peculiar brothers and sisters must learn how to rely on each other and survive in the real world on their own.

It’s one thing to try to hide something from your family members, but what do you do if your sister’s an actual mind reader? Also, is it okay to be afraid of spiders when one of your other sisters is a human/spider hybrid? At least there’s no need to get a pet when your brother can already turn into a dog.

Interesting Note: This series is actually a Japanese-Chinese collaboration (one of two on this list) so it’s a hybrid in and of itself, too.

Juushinki Pandora (Last Hope / Unit Pandora)

Juushinki Pandora (Last Hope / Unit Pandora) title

It was believed that all of mankind’s energy problems were going to be solved by the creation of a reactor that could harness quantum power. However, upon its activation, a wave was sent out across the entire planet that caused machines to fuse together with the natural world, creating biotechnological lifeforms that were able to evolve at an incredible and deadly rate. Fighting a losing battle, humanity has since been pushed to the brink, but one man refuses to let us become next in line for extinction. After all, he accidentally helped destroy the world in the first place.

The second of the two Japanese-Chinese collaborations on this list also deals with hybridization. However, instead of man and nature, it’s nature and technology, one being something we can never control and the other being something we can (for now). That said, what’s most interesting about this tale is that it takes place not long after the cataclysm happened. In only a few short years (if that), humans went from being the most populous creatures on the planet to being on the verge of complete annihilation. It’s both humbling and terrifying to think about.

Mahou Shoujo Ore

Mahou Shoujo Ore title

Saki Uno is a normal teenage girl in love with her best friend’s brother. He’s a popular singer, so she becomes an amateur singer with her best friend in order to someday get closer to him.

Pretty normal, right?

After returning from a zero-attendee performance one day, she finds a gangster standing in front her house and is understandably frightened. However, when her mother comes home, Saki learns that her mom knows him because she used to work as a magical girl who fought against demons, and he was her assistant.

Are you with me so far?

Demon activity is inexplicably on the rise again, but mom is getting a bit too old to fight them. However, when Saki’s love interest gets taken, Saki agrees to become a magical girl to get him back.

HOWEVER…

  1. When she transforms, she becomes a burly, muscle-bound guy in a pink, frilly outfit.
  2. She doesn’t have any magical powers, so she has to beat the demons to death with her bare fists and a stick.
  3. After she saves her best friend’s brother, he falls in love with her guy form.

Still with me?

Later on, when Saki’s in trouble, her best friend confesses her love to her and also becomes a magical guy/girl to save Saki from a demon. Moreover, because their singer group manager just happened to see the battle, he suggests that the girls continue their singing work using their magical guy forms instead. Naturally, Saki is too embarrassed, but when she realizes it’s a way to see more of her best friend’s brother, she agrees. And it only gets weirder from there.

You there? Hello? Anybody?

Needless to say, this is another series that pokes fun at the magical girl genre, but honestly, between these comedic takes and the darker offerings, it’ll be interesting to see where the genre will go from here.

Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai (Tada Never Falls in Love)

Tada-kun wa Koi wo Shinai (Tada Never Falls in Love) title

Mitsuyoshi Tada is a high school student who loves taking pictures and wants to eventually become a professional photographer. A hard-worker, he lives and works with his grandfather in the family-owned coffee shop. When he’s out taking pictures one day, he encounters and helps Teresa Wagner, an optimistic and enthusiastic foreign exchange student who came to Japan because of a show she loves. The two become friends and then classmates, but of course, spring is in the air…

You already know how this story is going to turn out. Even the few surprises it tries to hide are hinted at heavily, so just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Winter Anime 2018: Shows To Check Out

The winter weather outside is frightful, but these siblings are so delightful. As long as you’re here, do cheer: Sis and bro, sis and bro, sis and bro!

I’m experimenting with the format a little in order to provide better info about the brothers and sisters appearing this season. Two of the six featured shows feature them on a regular basis, while the others don’t. Let me know what you think.

Beatless

Beatless title

Androids known as humanoid interface elements (hIEs) are now commonplace in society, doing everything from preparing and selling us food and modeling our clothes to doing the grocery shopping and more. However, the latest models in development have surpassed human intelligence and capabilities to the point that they’re essentially brand new beings. Humanity is still figuring out the existing relationship between man and machine as it is, so how will these new creations change the equation? Can they be trusted to still serve us? When high school student and hIE sympathizer Arato Endou encounters and agrees to takes ownership of the advanced hIE known as Lacia, he, his sister, their friends, and all of society will begin to understand.

Well, everyone knows we want to avoid a future where SkyNet and the Terminators wipe out most of humanity, but it’s not as simple as that; it’s always a gradual process. No one sets out to destroy the world, only to make it better. The road to hell and all that.

Side Note: The protagonist has no relation to the Endou siblings in the following series.

Dagashi Kashi 2

Dagashi Kashi 2 title

No one loves sweets more than Hotaru Shidare, and she’s still in town trying to convince Kokonotsu Shikada to take over his family’s small candy shop in the countryside. Why? Hotaru is trying to recruit Kokonotsu’s father to work at her family’s world-famous sweets company, but dear old dad wanted his son to agree to keep the business going first. Fortunately, for someone who lives and breathes sweets like she does, it might not be long before she lights the passion within him.

Hotaru has already shaken up the lives of Kokonotsu and his friends, the Endou siblings in the short time she’s been there. After all, it’s hard not to get affected by the energy of a person whose passion is genuine. However, that passion can become overbearing – the first season felt like an advertisement for various sweets at times. The second season still has some of that candy craziness, but it’s to a much lesser degree, partially due to the reduced running time of twelve minutes per episode. The change has helped improve the series’ overall focus, though, which is good from a storytelling standpoint. In the end, I guess it’s true that too much candy really is bad for you. Go figure.

Other Shows

Sometimes, when brothers and/or sisters show up in a series, they’re not given large roles in the story or they don’t have much screen time together. However, they still deserve a mention.

Dragon Ball Super

You know the name. The legendary fighting series has been around for years, and since the summer of 2015, Super has continued the story that originally ended twenty years ago. With the Tournament of Power arc, which has actually been going on for a while, the cyborg siblings 17 and 18 have returned as well, and this time, they’re taking a more active role in helping Goku save the universe. It’s the same action you know and love, so power up!

It was actually announced that the series will be ending soon, but it’s not clear whether this is just a temporary break or something more permanent. Hiromi Tsuru, the Japanese voice actor for Bulma, recently passed away, too, which might have influenced the decision. Honestly, I’m not sure where the story can go at this point, but if it is over, it was great to see Goku and his friends one more time…until the next movie.

Kokkoku

What would you do if you could stop time? Would you commit crimes? Would you help people? Would you even want such a fearsome power in the first place?

Juri Yukawa, a struggling 22-year-old job seeker, learns the answers to these questions and more when her not-so-great life is shattered by the sudden kidnapping and ransom of her brother and young nephew. To save them, her grandfather reveals that he has the power to enter a world where time itself is at a standstill and that he and those with him can continue to move freely. However, during the rescue, the family encounters a sinister group whose members can also move about, and unfortunately, leaving the frozen world is not an option. Juri must act now or all will be lost.

The clock is (not) ticking.

It’s refreshing to see a science fiction series that not only doesn’t involve high school students but also has an adult woman as the protagonist. The last time I saw that was in Psycho-Pass (and I suppose this season’s Violet Evergarden also fits, too). More of this, please.

Overlord II

The search continues! When a formerly popular Massively Multiplayer Online RPG known for its unprecedented level of immersion and interactivity was getting ready to shut down, one player in one of the strongest guilds in the game decided to keep playing until the end. However, when the time came, the game’s world persisted. Then, the computer-controlled characters suddenly came to life, and stranger still, the player found himself trapped in the body of his avatar and unable to exit the game. Seeking to understand the mysteries of the former game world and to find a way to escape, he starts his search. And fortunately, he has several powerful underlings, including a pair of twins, that can help him. It’s good to be the overlord.

I missed out on the first season of this when it originally aired, but when I came across it later on, I watched all thirteen episodes in one sitting. The idea of being trapped in another world is an old one, but as long as the characters, setting, and story remain interesting, I’ll keep watching. That said, the first few episodes of the second season change the focus away from the principal cast of characters, but once they reappear, they’re as awesome as ever.

Saiki Kusuo no Ψ-nan 2

Kusuo Saiki is a high school student with incredibly powerful psychic abilities. However, he knows that revealing this information to others would be a hassle for him and his family, so he tries to live a quiet, normal life. Unfortunately, the people he encounters, like the “perfect girl” Makoto Teruhashi and her sister-obsessed older brother, are weird in their own ways and, worst of all, they just won’t leave him alone. What a pain!

The first season of this comedy series consisted of five-minute episodes that aired once per day, making them the perfect little viewing treat. The second season, however, does away with this, preferring to go with the traditional 24-minute running time, albeit split into several skits. Technically, it’s still the same amount of content per week, but with so many other great shows airing this season, it does change the dynamic for viewers.

Fall Anime 2017: Shows To Check Out

Fall brings with it cooler temperatures, falling leaves, and several shows to watch. Thankfully, some include brothers and sisters, and here’s a few that are worth looking into.

Boku no Kanojo ga Majimesugiru Sho-bitch na Ken (My Girlfriend is Shobitch)

Boku no Kanojo ga Majimesugiru Sho-bitch na Ken (My Girlfriend is Shobitch) title

Who is your dream partner? For shy high school student Haruka Shinozaki, it’s his intelligent, beautiful, and popular classroom representative, Akiho Kousaka. He gets his improbable desire granted when he asks her out and she says yes, but as the saying goes, be careful what you wish for because you just might get it. Welcome to the world of crazy first loves!

Being in love is a strange and wonderful feeling that affects not only you and your partner but also the people around you; it’s weird like that. It can also be hard sometimes, but in the end, all you need is love and love is all you need.

Fate/Apocrypha

Fate/Apocrypha title

The Fate franchise returns. However, instead of a battle royale between seven mage masters, each of whom controls a heroic servant born from history and legend, the stakes have been raised. This time, in the Great Holy Grail War, two teams of seven fight for the right to have their greatest wish fulfilled, and to reach that goal, no one is safe. This tale of opposing swords and ideologies is not to be missed!

This series actually began over the summer, but with so many characters in the story, it could only focus on a few at a time. Now that the group has thinned out a bit, others are able to step firmly into the spotlight, including a certain set of siblings.

And for the record, although the franchise is returning to TV screens, knowledge of the other series is not required since this iteration takes place in an alternative universe. That said, the other versions are highly entertaining, especially Fate/Zero, even if they don’t all feature brothers and sisters.

Himouto! Umaru-chan R

Himouto! Umaru-chan R title

Everyone’s favorite hamster-hoodie-wearing girl is back, and she’s still the videogame-playing, manga-reading lazybones we know and love. She might act like a completely different person in public, but no matter what guise she’s in, Umaru is still Umaru.

Has it already been two years since Umaru first appeared on television? It honestly doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. Of course, once you meet Umaru, it’s hard to remember what life was like before her.

Imouto sae Ireba Ii. (A Sister’s All You Need.)

Imouto sae Ireba Ii (A Sister's All You Need) title

Twenty-year-old novelist Itsuki Hashima loves little sisters. No, scratch that. He is absolutely, irredeemably obsessed with little sisters–and he doesn’t care who knows it. The thing is, he doesn’t actually have one. Fortunately, he is able to channel that passion and anguish into his writing and make a successful living from it. Still, if only…

The less I say about the opening to the first episode, the better. Let’s just say that there’s a thin line between genius and madness, and it’s easy to go from one to the other. Aside from that, it’s always good to see a slice-of-life anime series where the young adult main character isn’t a high school student. Even if this is only a comedy and serious issues aren’t the focus, there are far too few stories that focus on post-school life. I hope there will be more of them in the future, especially if they involve brothers and sisters.

Summer Anime 2017: Shows To Check Out

Is it me or is this summer going by really quickly? I mean, June felt like a second ago, and it’s already August. AUGUST! Don’t let the rest of the season disappear without taking a look at these two shows.

Aho Girl (Idiot Girl)

Aho Girl (Idiot Girl) title

How do you solve a problem like Yoshiko Hanabatake? Akuru Akutsu would sure like to know, because in this comedy of errors, he’s had the misfortune of being next door neighbors and friends with the titular idiot since childhood. How dumb is she? She’s so dumb that she gets perfect zeros on every test in school. She’s so dumb that when she’s starving, she’ll use the last of her money to buy a stuffed toy instead of food. She’s so dumb that even children in elementary school worry about her future. She’s so dumb…well, you get the idea. And maybe there is no solution because there is no problem. After all, ignorance is bliss.

The author previously created a series called The Comic Artist and His Assistants, which focused on a similarly over-the-top but lovable character as its focus. Unfortunately, there are no brothers and sisters in that one, but it’s still a great show.

Knight’s & Magic

Knight's & Magic title

A genius programmer who loves giant robots dies and is reborn into a medieval world where knights just happen to pilot giant robots in defense of the realm. In short, it’s a hobbyist’s paradise, and he puts all of his skills to use in order to create a robot all his own. Not for battle or to even change the world; he does it just because.

The “transported to another world” trope is alive and well with a recent spate of shows killing off their protagonists in the first few minutes of the first episode and then having them reappear in a new land (and sometimes in a whole new body). Fortunately, despite this common denominator, the series that have used it are different enough that they don’t feel the same. So long as they can keep the concept fresh, I’m happy. And of course, the addition of a brother and sister to the cast is always welcome.

As an aside, I’m pretty sure the apostrophe in the title is a reference to coding. After all, as science fiction novelist Arthur C. Clarke once noted, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Therefore, it’s accurate to say that the knight possesses “& Magic”. It also works as just “knights and magic”, so extra points to the author.

Spring Anime 2017: Shows To Check Out

Spring is always a busy season for anime, and this year is no exception. Here are six shows that I hope don’t get lost in the mix.

Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai! (There’s No Cure for My Brother Being Around Me!)

Ani ni Tsukeru Kusuri wa Nai! (There's No Cure for My Brother Being Around Me!) title

Based on a Chinese webcomic, this comedy micro-series follows the every day lives of Shi Mao and her older brother Shi Fen. Like most siblings, they disagree and fight all the time, but at the end of the day, they still love each other…if only for a few minutes.

Three minutes per episode isn’t much time, but the show is able to pack in a lot, effortlessly slipping into a scene and observing the hilarious interactions between two siblings. I just wish there were more episodes available to watch.

Eromanga-sensei

Eromanga-sensei title

From the creator of My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute comes a new comedy that focuses on high school student Masamune Izumi and his little sister, Sagiri. He, aside from studying, works as a light novel author writing under a fake name in order to support himself and a sister who’s refused to leave her room after the death of their parents a year prior. However, when he learns that she’s the mysterious artist who draws erotic images for his books and she finds out he’s the writer she’s been drawing lewd pictures for, their relationship will never be the same…in a good way…probably.

I’m not going to lie; this is one of my most anticipated shows of the year. I greatly enjoyed the author’s previous work, and I expect to feel the same guilty pleasures from this one.

Kenka Banchou Otome: Girl Beats Boys

Kenka Banchou Otome: Girl Beats Boys title

Don’t you just hate it when one minute you’re walking down the street on the way to school, and the next, you’re fighting to become the boss of the toughest delinquents in the country? Well, that’s exactly what happened to Hinako Nakayamo. As someone who grew up in an orphanage, she never knew her family, at least until Hikaru, her alleged twin brother, appeared and tricked her into attending said all-boys school in his place. Now, Hinako has to brawl her way to the top and protect her brother’s reputation, all without revealing the fact that she’s a girl. No pressure.

Is Hikaru actually her brother? I don’t know. If not, it places this series’s inclusion on the list in jeopardy, but if so, she’s easily stronger than him, both morally and physically. Either way, we’ll find out together, one seven-minute episode at a time.

Kyojin no Shingeki (Attack on Titan) Season 2

Kyojin no Shingeki (Attack on Titan) Season 2 title

Four(!) years after the smash hit, giant-killing series first appeared on our screens, the second season finally arrives, bringing with it more mystery, more intrigue, and more intense action. Eren Yeager, his adopted sister Mikasa Ackerman, and their childhood friend Armin Arlert continue to fight in humanity’s war against the monstrous man-eaters, and as the truth slowly starts to come out, it might be that mankind’s greatest threat is an even more terrifying foe: itself.

I can’t believe it’s been four years since the first season. Even the Junior High parody series is already two years old. Making us wait that long feels cruel, but it’s here now and all’s right with the world.

Renai Boukun (Love Tyrant)

Renai Boukun (Love Tyrant) title

In our universe, there exist notebooks, wielded by otherworldly beings, that have serious consequences on the fate of a human if his or her name is written within them. These fearsome tomes are known as Death Kiss Notes, and they can make anyone fall in love if the people in question kiss each other. Unfortunately for Aino Seiji, his name was accidentally entered into one of these books by a clueless cupid known as Guri, and if he doesn’t lock lips with someone, the angel of love dies. (What a job!) Ultimately, he helps her out by kissing his dream girl, who actually likes him, too (and then some), but when Guri sees them become a couple, she decides to join the fun and make it a triple, instead. Whoever said love is hell was right!

Beware the morons. Seriously.

Incompetence is sometimes used as a comedic device to create the foundation for a ridiculous situation, and it can be used to great effect. (See: Inspector Clouseau, Maxwell Smart, or Inspector Gadget.). However, it’s a fine line between funny and stupid, and this series occasionally crosses it. Fortunately, those moments are limited to the first few episodes, but it is truly terrifying to think that such an awesome power could be in the hands of a fool.

Tsugumomo

Tsugumomo title

Wherever Kazuya Kagami goes, his late mother’s white obi goes, too, because it is both a way to remember her and a way for him to feel secure. However, those abstractions become all too real when he’s suddenly attacked at school by a mysterious entity and a beautiful girl clad all in white appears before him, vowing to protect his life. Now he has to fight strange spirits, as well as his own embarrassing feelings, while trying to led some semblance of a normal life. Oh boy!

The show is decent enough, but the sister doesn’t appear often enough. Help me, obi. You’re my only hope.

Winter Anime 2017: Shows To Check Out

Winter is already upon us and so is the newest anime season. Don’t worry, though. There are plenty of brothers and sisters to go around, and here are four series to keep an eye on.

3-gatsu no Lion (March comes in like a lion)

3-gatsu no Lion (March comes in like a lion) title

Rei Kiriyama has accomplished what few people have managed to do–become a professional shogi player while still being in middle school. However, despite this remarkable achievement, he is under an incredible amount of stress. Combined with an introverted personality and the fact that he lives alone, he has difficulty finding the needed support among the much older shogi players, as well as non-shogi-playing kids his own age. Fortunately, his life begins to change when a trio of sisters enduring their own hardships appears.

This drama series actually started last fall, and the big draw for me at that time was the three sisters. Their close bond with each other, and with Rei, is quite the contrast to the complex relationship the protagonist has with his step-sister. It’s indeed interesting how friends can sometimes be more essential than family at times.

Akiba’s Trip: The Animation

Akiba's Trip: The Animation title

Standard otaku Tamotsu Denkigai loves the Akihabara shopping district and is often there with his little sister, Niwaka, but when creatures known as Bugged Ones start possessing people and attacking the area, hoping to take it over for their nefarious needs, they get drawn into the fight. And the only way to fight? Ripping off as many possessed people’s clothes as possible. For real.

The Animation is based on the successful Akiba’s Trip videogame series, which, unfortunately, I’ve not had the pleasure to play. However, the premise sounds like ridiculous fun, and the animated adaptation should capture that perfectly.

Fuuka

Fuuka title

There’s something about Fuuka Aikitsuki, the energetic, fun-loving girl who spends lunch every day standing on top of the school rooftop listening to music on her headphones, and Yuu Haruna, the guy who spends most of his time on Twitter, is going to find out what that is, whether he wants to or not.

Females are often the most interesting characters in a typical anime series. Think about it. The average male protagonist is a nice, often dense (and forgettable) guy who may or may not be an accidental pervert, while the girls he knows or meets over the course of the series are more distinctive in some way, often based on a character archetype: childhood friend, high class girl, super excited girl, shy girl, strange girl, etc. Sure, these same types appear in show after show, but they still stand out more often than their respective male leads–and this series is no exception. Seriously, I can guarantee that a couple years from now viewers will remember Fuuka the character more than Yuu the character (and not just because her name’s the title). She’s the actual protagonist; the guy is simply along for the ride.

Seiren

Seiren title

Boy (Shoichi Kamita) meets Girl. Drama happens. Boy and Girl overcome drama and start relationship. End.

Repeat that setup at least three times, but each time it restarts, forget everything that happened with the previous girl because it no longer applies. Think of it as three completely different stories, and you’ll be all set.

If you’ve ever seen Amagami SS, this is that all over again, except the boy’s sister isn’t as awesome and lovable as Miya. If you haven’t, the show structure is a refreshing spin on the romantic comedy formula. Don’t like Girl #1? That’s fine. Borrowing from multi-route games and books, viewers can see how a happy relationship with Girl #2 or Girl #3 would turn out. The only downsides are that: 1) each girl’s arc lasts only three or four episodes as opposed to the entirety of the series, and 2) you might not like some of the girls. Fortunately, the boy’s sister will always be there, so it’s all good.

Fall Anime 2016: Shows To Check Out

As the temperatures go from sunny and warm to slightly chilled, it’s time to trade the brothers and sisters in the water for those on and above land, and here are two shows that will keep me landlocked for a while.

Bubuki Buranki: Hoshi no Kyojin (Bubuki Buranki: The Gentle Giants of the Galaxy)

Bubuki Buranki: Hoshi no Kyojin title

What are Bubuki? What are Baranki? Where did they come from, and why can humans use them? More importantly, are they our friends or our enemies? The second season of Bubuki Buranki seeks to answer these questions, but the biggest mystery is what’s the deal with the protagonist Azuma’s sister? She needs a serious hug or something.

The first season of the series where people use sentient weapons known as Bubuki to fight giant living robots known as Buranki, as well as other Bubuki users, actually aired earlier this year. Unfortunately, it completely flew under my radar, so I had to quickly go through all twelve episodes in the week before this season started. However, as I was watching, it felt like the episodes should’ve been twice that number. Moments where characters overcame a major personal trial happened so fast and in rapid succession that it considerably lessened the impact of each one. Hopefully, season two won’t have similar pacing issues.

WWW.Working!!

www.Working!! title

The comedy series about a group of weird employees who work at a family restaurant returns for another round of fun! However, unlike the previous seasons, www . Working!! focuses on a completely new set of characters. That’s right; there’s not a Takanashi, Yamada, or Popura in sight, though one will occasionally notice a familiar characteristic or two (and that one girl REALLY looks like Inami). That said, no matter who’s behind the counter, the laughs won’t stop. Order up!

Spin-off series can be tricky because, on the one hand, you want to see more of the same, but on the other hand, you want to see something different. After three seasons and countless manga chapters, I’ve grown quite attached to the original cast, so it’ll be difficult for any group to be as endearing as them. (Souta Takanashi from the original had four sisters, whereas the main guy in the new series only has one. Just saying.)

Summer Anime 2016: Shows To Check Out

It’s already been a year since the legendary Summer of Siblings. This season’s offerings are slim in comparison, but that’s okay. As long as there’s at least one show featuring a brother and sister, I am content.

Amanchu!

Amanchu! title

Starting life in a new place can be a challenge or an opportunity: the surroundings are unfamiliar, everyone’s a stranger, and you’re responsible for everything. For transfer student Futaba Ooki, it’s more of the former because she’s shy and easily gets nervous in front of people. However, upon meeting the endlessly cheerful Hikari Kohinata, a scuba diving enthusiast, and some twin siblings, she might just make things work after all.

There are two things to know about the series. The first is that, occasionally, there are exaggerated, doll-like faces, which are either creepy or cute, depending on whom you ask. I find them slightly unsettling, and they appear so often in the early episodes that they’re distracting. The second is that the siblings don’t show up until episode four. It’s a long wait, but honestly, I like them more than the main characters. Hooray for brothers and sisters!

Masou Gakuen HxH (Hybrid x Heart Magias Academy Ataraxia)

Masou Gakuen HxH (Hybrid x Heart Magias Academy Ataraxia) title

In Infinite Stratos Unlimited Fafnir Hundred Masou Gakuen HxH, invaders have attacked humanity, and only those people with Heart Hybrid Gear (HHG) technology implanted in them have the ability to fight back. Hida Kizuna possesses a weak but special version of HHG, so after being summoned by his older sister, Chifuyu Reiri, the commander of a massive city/school/military base floating on the water, he works with an elite team of female HHG users to save everyone.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a mysterious enemy; a small subset of people (all or mostly girls) have abilities to fight back but one guy has a better one; all the girls fall in love with said guy but he’s shy/dense. Still here? Yeah, this is another one of those. HxH seeks to differentiate itself from its many predecessors by increasing the erotic factor. Literally. Yes, the power of lust (or one similar to it) provides energy for the Heart Hybrid Gear that the pilots use to fight their enemies. Seriously, leave it to the Japanese to come up with such amazing/absurd technology.

(By the way, in the description for Hundred, I noted that I’d still be happy with yet another One Guy & Many Girls show even if it took place on “another academy city on the water.” Well, here we are, and I am, in fact, still happy. Such is the power of brother and sister enjoyment.)

Spring Anime 2016: Shows To Check Out

How do I love Spring? Let me count the ways. One. Two. Three. Four. At least four reasons, and here they are in all of their animated glory:

Big Order

Big Order title

Orders are special powers bestowed upon certain individuals who want to have a wish granted, and ten years ago, one such Order brought forth great destruction upon the world, causing untold havoc and an immeasurable loss of life. Who would wish for such devastation and why? Only one person knows: Eiji Hoshimiya and he was only a boy at the time. Now, forced into action, he’s going to finish the job he started, so let the heavens tremble once more.

I get the feeling somebody watched Code Geass and liked it. I don’t blame them; it was an incredible series, and if this is even a fraction as good as that one, I’ll be a happy viewer, indeed.

Flying Witch

Flying Witch title

Flying Witch revolves around the everyday life of Makoto, a young witch-in-training who goes to live with her non-magical relatives in the countryside. In addition to learning more about her craft and improving her powers, she uses the opportunity to introduce her cousins to the customs and practices of witchcraft, while she learns about the simple joys of living from them.

Harry Potter this ain’t. Those interested in serious magical mayhem should look elsewhere because this is a slow-paced, slice-of-life series where the only sparks that fly are from an amateur witch’s misfires. However, if light viewing is what you want, let this show cast its spell on you.

Gakusen Toshi Asterisk (The Asterisk War) 2nd Season

Gakusen Toshi Asterisk 2nd Season title

Ayato Amagiri’s search for his missing sister continues! And so does the fighting tournament that began at the end of the first season, where the top prize is the granting of any wish. Each academy, backed by powerful political forces, has fierce combatants ready to risk everything to win, but is there a grander, more sinister scheme unfolding at the same time? Hopefully, Ayato and his partner can survive long enough to learn the truth.

Considering that his missing sister was the whole reason he came to the academy in the first place, the lack of attention it was given in the first season was somewhat surprising. However, it looks like the second season will focus on it more along with the larger stakes at play. I just hope she’s not where I think she is.

Hundred

Hundred title

From the One Guy Among Many Girls story template that brought us Infinite Stratos, Unlimited Fafnir, and Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle in previous seasons comes its latest version: Hundred. When strange life forms called Savages start falling to earth, the only effective weapon against them is the titular Hundred, and those that wield them are known as Slayers. Hayato Kisaragi has the highest known compatibility with a Hundred, but the only reason he wants to become a Slayer is to pay for better care for his hospitalized younger sister. If he happens to save the world while he’s at it, well, that’s just a bonus.

The familiar story template this series uses is one we’ll see again and again, but I’m not complaining. (Not even if it’s another academy city on the water.) The events may be predictable, but as long as a new pair of siblings show up, I’m happy.