Fall 2015 Anime Shorts Initial Impressions

Every anime season brings with it a number of shows that only clock in at about 4-12 minutes an episode. Sometimes, that even includes opening and closing songs, so the actual content is even shorter. Many of these shows have staff or cast members with very little work under their belts, and some are never picked up by a streaming service. Here’s a quick rundown of the shorts that are out thus far this season, aside from sequels to shows that I haven’t seen yet and those I can’t find legally streaming (which are all noted at the bottom).

Hackadoll the Animation

Hackadoll the Animation

Director: Ikuo Geso
Animation Production: Creators in Pack TOKYO (Rokka: Braves of the Six Flowers, Rail Wars), Trigger (Kill la Kill, Little Witch Academia)
Streams on: Crunchyroll

Hackadolls 1, 2, and 3 are part of a social media news app, and have very bad performance reviews. If they don’t start “advancing” human life, they will be deleted. Their job is to gather a person’s interests and through those help people to “advance”. Hijinks ensue when one girl is embarrassed about her interests and everything the hackadolls try backfires. The show is a bit ecchi and there’s a bunch of breast shots (and grabbing, right in the opener). It’s not great, but it’s alright, and the fact that it’s based off a real news app amuses me.

Hakone

Hakone

AKA: Onsen Yousei Hakone-chan
Director: Takeyuki Yanase (Himegoto. Has also done a lot of animation director work.)
Animation Production: Asahi Production (Himegoto, Million Doll, Sugar Bunnies), Production Reed (Supernatural: the Anime series, Nijiiro Days)
Streams on: Crunchyroll

Touya’s job is to maintain and make offerings to the well/hot spring in his back yard. One day he accidentally drops his steamed bun into it while making a wish. Hokone, the spirit who guards the spring, eats the offering and makes fun of his wish (which was to be closer to a girl called Haruna-nee).  She promises not to tell anyone about the wish for more food. Then she meets Haruna-nee and decides to honor the wish with less than stellar results.

I was disappointed in this show because Hakone looks sweet and cute, and I was hoping for it to be a nice slice of life as they try to build her powers back up. But Hokone seems like a “tsundere” character instead of a sweet one, and it looks like there’s going to be ecchi hijinks, so I’m not really as interested anymore.

Kagewani

Kagewani

Director: Tomoya Takashima
Animation Production: Tomovies
Streams on: Crunchyroll

Kagewani is a horror anime. The characters look like watercolored paper cutouts which makes the realistic backgrounds seem eerie. Also, the characters themselves look real when the “camera” pulls back.

This particular episode was about a film crew who goes in to a forest to film a fake dinosaur sighting, and they all end up being killed by a giant reptilian monster one by one. At the end, our science protagonist Sousuke Banba shows up, and something is clearly wrong with him. It’s wonderfully creepy. Some of the scenes reminded me of The Blair Witch Project.

Komori-san Can’t Decline

Komori-san Can't Decline

Director: Kenichi Imaizumi (Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, lots of animation director work)
Animation Production: Artland (Gungrave, Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, Mushi-shi)
Streams on: Crunchyroll

Komori-san is unable to refuse to help someone who asks her for help. The trade-off is she supposedly has superpowers because of this flaw, but those haven’t shown up yet. The episode sets up Komori’s inability to refuse and the enjoyment she gets from helping others. Her friends try to think of ways to make Komori more unnoticeable so she isn’t taken advantage of, but nothing works. It’s kind of cute, but Komori has giant breasts for some reason, and the director makes sure you see them jiggle over and over again, which ruins the cuteness for me.

JK-Meshi!

JK-Meshi
Director: Mitani Yasumichi
Animation Production: Kyotoma, Office Nobu. Neither have any other credits as far as I can tell.
Streams On: Crunchyroll

The episode starts out with three girls studying for a history test.  Then they get bored of that and one of them decides to cook for the others. They discuss all the ingredients and how they’re good for you. Then they eat the food. I would like the 3.5 minutes of my life I wasted back, please…but also, I kind of want to eat that tomato-miso-soup.

Lovely Muuuuuuuco!

Lovely Muco

Director: Romanov Higa
Animation Production: DLE Inc. (Did a number of shows I never heard of, and the ending animation for Seiyu’s Life, which changed each week.)
Streams on: Crunchyroll

Muco is a shiba inu who belongs to a glassblower named Komatsu-san. Komatsu-san is trying to set up a new website for his wares, and he is told to make his dog the company mascot to help attract people to his online storefront. The show is mostly watching Muco do dog things and a bit of actual plot, part of which is still seen through Muco’s point of view. It’s the cutest show this season by far. It seems to be the third season of the show, but the first two aren’t streaming anywhere and frankly aren’t needed to enjoy this season.

If you are the type to go on YouTube and watch other people’s dogs do cute stuff, you should consider this show. It also seems to be family-friendly. It’s always nice to have something you can show to kids or to people a bit wary of anime.

Miss Monochrome the Animation: Season 3

Miss Monochrome

Director: Yoshiaki Iwasaki (Hayate the Combat Butler, Love Hina)
Animation Studio: LIDEN FILMS and SANZIGEN Animation Studio (Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches, The Heroic Legend of Arslan)
Streams on: Crunchyroll

This show is simply continuing straight from the summer season. Miss Monochrome is an android who is striving to stand out and become an idol so she can get closer to KIKUKO, her role model and rival. She is still busy gathering up crew and resources for her first concert tour. In this episode she finds a DJ in the most unlikely of places, which is basically how she finds everyone.

Miss Monochrome definitely needs the background of the previous seasons to understand what’s going on. Fortunately, they are both on Crunchyroll. If you enjoyed previous seasons, this is more of the same kind of deadpan comedy, relying more on quirkiness of the characters and comedy of errors than any fabulous storytelling.

Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note

Tantei Team KZ Jiken Note

Director: Kazuya Ichikawa
Animation Studio: Signal.MD
Streams on: Crunchyroll

Aya Tachibana is a 6th grader who doesn’t really talk to anyone and thus has no friends currently. After having an embarrassing run-in with some popular boys from the KZ Soccer Team at her cram school, she ends up in a special class with them. This class is supposed to help people with grades that are outstanding in one area and poor in another, but if the show’s description is anything to go by, they are going to form a team and solve some mysteries together. First up will be finding team member Wakatake’s bike, which apparently has been stolen.

This is a typical shoujo show with a reverse-harem. We have the insecure female lead Aya, who at least seems able to stand up for herself, and we have our motley crew of boys so that fans can decide who to they want Aya to fall in love with depending on their tastes. Choose from surly Wakatake, flirty Kuroki, stoic glasses-wearer Uesugi, and fun-loving Kozuka! Despite its formulaic characters and plot, the show is cute and I found myself a bit disappointed that it is a not a full-length anime. It would have been nice if mystery was solved within the episode instead of just freshly revealed at the end.

Other Fall 2015 Anime Shorts

If watching a bunch of short shows is up your alley, here are some others which are airing this season. Not all of them are streaming, and there could be more since some shows don’t air until next week.

  • Teekyuu Season 6 – In theory, about girls in a tennis club. I hear this is debatable. Streaming on Crunchyroll.
  • Kyoufu! Zombie Neko – A cat rises from its grave but manages to make the townsfolk love it anyway. I would watch this one if it was streaming anywhere.
  • Neko Nanka Yondemo Konai. – This is a series of animated shorts about a boxer who becomes a manga artist after being injured. It is meant to commemorate the live-action movie which is coming out next year. Streaming sites haven’t picked it up, which is a shame because I would watch it.
  • Kowaban – A horror anime using the rotoscoping technique. If this is streaming anywhere yet, I haven’t found it. I promise you I looked, just because horror anime is so hard to come by.
  • Ameiro Cocoa: Rainy Color e Youkoso! – Season 2 of Rainy Cocoa. Funimation has it listed but so far hasn’t released episode 1 yet.
  • Bottom Biting Bug Season 4 – I don’t even want to know. This is on Crunchyroll.
  • Neko no Dayan: Nihon e Iku – Season 2 of Dayan the Cat. It hasn’t aired yet but season 1 isn’t streaming anywhere.
  • Fushigi na Somera-chan – follows the life of a girl who has mysterious powers. This show hasn’t been picked up for streaming.
  • Diabolik Lovers More, Blood – I haven’t seen season 1. It involves a girl who ends up living with sadistic vampire guys, and you can watch it on Crunchyroll. That extra comma is driving me nuts.
  • Attack on Titan: Junior High – This is a parody of Attack on Titan in which the characters are all in junior high. It’s actually amusing, so if you are a fan of AoT you should give it a watch over on Funimation. It’s a bit too long to be considered a “short”, clocking in at 17 minutes, but it’s still worth a mention.
Jennifer Valure
Jennifer Valure
Jen is a web developer and anime enthusiast from the suburbs of Philadelphia. She is the proud mama of a future geekling and enjoys yarncrafting, especially if it involves a pop-culture project.

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