Anime roundup 1/8/2015: Cleared For Takeoff

Kamisama-Kiss-14 Kamisama Kiss 2 premiere (or Kamisama Kiss #14 depending how your local streaming site numbers it) Nanami Momozono was an ordinary girl until the local earth deity tricked her into taking his place. By now she’s gotten used to her new position and its benefits, which include her primary spirit helper being a totally hot guy (if your tastes run to ectomorphs with fox ears). While Nanami nurses a crush on him, Tomoe the fox spirit pines for his previous master, and yet finds himself drawn to the new girl, even though they seem to be constantly bickering. Sound familiar? Yeah…

But more urgent concerns intervene. Ambiguously gendered wind god Otohiko drops by with a shikigami (another servitor spirit) and informs Nanami that she must now raise it and then go to a big godly get-together. Plus a dark force is attacking Nanami’s school for reasons which are fairly vague but provide an excuse for the main characters to get angsty and for the business with the shikigami to be concluded with all due haste.

Individually the characters are all endearing (especially the cute-as-a-button shikigami, proving once again the old adage about acting with children and animals), but the romantic subplot is tired and obvious and the emotional content in general is handled with all the complex nuance of an anvil dropped from the sky. This might be a good show for the YA crowd, but older viewers are likely to start feeling it grate fairly quickly.

International streams: FUNimation (US, Canada); Crunchyroll (Americas except US and Canada); AnimeLab (Australia, New Zealand)

Absolute-Duo-1 Absolute Duo premiere – Well, I’ll give Absolute Duo this much: it has some kick-ass opening credits. For a couple minutes you pretend this is going to be a dark, edgy show about teenage fighters.

Aaaaaand then we’re dropped into the familiar light-novel setting of a special high school with ludicrous rules, full of girls in ludicrously breast-hugging uniforms, for a story centered on one guy with the super-speciallest power of them all. Straight away, he is of course forced to share a room with the most mysterious girl in school, who naturally turns out to have very liberal ideas about what passes for proper clothing and no sense of personal space. Next episode’s preview promises that our hero will inadvertently wind up with his face in someone’s crotch.

Yeah, there are character names and some dialogue establishing the setup and stuff, but the above is the important information for viewers who will like this sort of show. Of which I am not one.

International streams: FUNimation (US, Canada); Crunchyroll (Middle East, North Africa, Europe except UK, Ireland, and Scandinavia)

Cute-High-1 Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! premiere – Best buddies En and Atsushi are hanging out at the local bath, having a deep philosophical conversation about food, when a pink alien wombat falls through a portal in the ceiling. Proclaiming that public baths are a sign that humans are truly civilized beings, the alien immediately attempts to enlist their help in defending the planet. Things only become more and more wonderful from there.

This show is exactly what it promised to be: a straight-up gender-reversed parody of magical girl shows, with a particular eye toward Sailor Moon, at least for now. (One of the high points is a direct homage to the Sailor Scouts’ well-known poses and transformation sequences.) And a very good parody too. It’s able to let the heroes acknowledge their situation without belaboring things to the point where the humor is drained away, and it’s even able to stay true to the magical girl ethos while poking fun at it.

Can it possibly keep this up? I’d like to keep watching and find out.

International streams: Crunchyroll (worldwide except Asia); FUNimation (US, Canada); AnimeLab (Australia, New Zealand)

The simulcast season is off to a slow start, but the floodgates are opening even as you read this. Next time, the rest of premiere week! Plus, we may have more news about international streams for these shows.

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