First Look: Winter 2016 Anime Shorts

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What do you make when you’re short on money, patience or talent? Anime shorts, of course! Jel, Marlin and I got the short end of the stick again, so it’s up to us to watch all the anime no one else wants to watch. So are these shorts the cat’s pajama shorts or can they eat our shorts? You’ll find out shortly!

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Sushi Police

Anime Original by the Japanese government, probably
Simulcast pending

Premise

With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics coming up, two salarymen and a robot travel around the world to violently beat up anyone who doesn’t eat sushi properly.

Aqua’s Verdict: #SushiGate

Am I the only one who sees the baffling irony in an anime about gatekeeping the sanctity of Japanese cuisine being made to look like an American cartoon? Sushi Police’s bizarre conservatism is almost endearing, to the point where it feels more like a bad fringe webcomic than something that actually aired on television. What even is the joke supposed to be here? That Western chefs are not allowed to invent new kinds of sushi? Is this some kind of horribly misguided take on culture appropriation? Worst of all, judging from the cartoony style, blatant mention of the 2020 Olympics and theme song performed by Perfume in collaboration with the American meme band OK Go, I’d say Sushi Police is intended as some kind of initiative to bring cultures closer together? And this is the kind of patronizing bullshit Japan comes up with? Adorable. Also, it’s not like Japanese chefs don’t like to come up with unconventional sushi.

Jel’s Verdict: Throw This One Back

I feel like this would be more interesting if you take it as some ultra conservative propaganda promoting the purity of the culture of Glorious Nippon. It’s not really that far off, but in reality it is a dumb 3D cartoon with a robot powered by soy sauce. Hmm, I made that sound cooler than it really is.

Marlin’s verdict: Spider Rolls Are Awesome

Seriously, don’t be hatin’ on softshell crab. I couldn’t tell if this CG is decent, or if CG automatically just looks better if it’s not trying to ape Anime aesthetics, but it certainly gave off the feeling of an early 2000’s nicktoon. I get it, people like to get snooty about their culture when it gets twisted by the forces of American multiculturalism, but it is a serious matter of taste. Sure, the good stuff tastes good, but traditional sushi really takes a lot of getting used to.

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Rainbow Days

Alternate Titles: Nijiro Days
Manga Adaptation by Production Reed
Simulcast on Funimation

Premise

After being dumped by his girlfriend on Christmas eve, Natsuki falls head over heels for a girl dressed up like Santa Claus. He asks his three best friends for help, which goes about as well as you’d expect it to go.

Aqua’s Verdict: Surprisingly Straight for a Show Named Rainbow Days

After the end of Free! the world has been in dire need of more hot dudes acting like complete dorks, and boy does this show deliver. Contrary to what its title may suggest, Rainbow Days is more rom-com than ‘cute guys doing cute things’, and Natsuki’s hopeless attempts to woo the love of his life are in fact quite entertaining. It helps that the characters actually act like complete jerks to one another, akin to real teenage boys, turning the whole affair into some kind of shoujo romance from a male perspective. It’s fairly entertaining for what it is, so check it out if you’re into that kind of stuff.

Jel’s Verdict: Daily Lives of High Sch… oh wait that’s been done

About the only surprise here is that a show starring four pretty boys called Rainbow Days has a main character interested in a girl. It’s a fairly by the numbers romantic misunderstanding setup (place your bets on the Teacher being Santa Girl’s brother) by I have to admit it was still decently executed. It helps that the show doesn’t take itself too seriously and it is actually a half length (13 minutes) episode, so there is time to develop the characters. Probably not interesting enough to keep watching, but a solid effort.

Marlin’s verdict: Sad Santa

I’m not quite sure what to make of this show. Its half-episode length meant we actually got to know quite a bit about these characters, and the story is actually told pretty well. The biggest weakness is just that the characters seem very one note. The heroine is the worst offender, emotionless to the point of ridiculousness. I imagine this was meant to make her seem aloof, but all it did is make her come off as very bland, so much so that the other friends even point that out. It seems like the cast is much wider than these five though, so maybe it would benefit from changing focus next week. All in all, not a bad time.

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Please Tell Me! Galko-chan

Alternate Titles: Oshiete! Gyaruko-chan
Manga adaptation by Feel
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

Premise

Three high school girls, Galko, Otako and Ojou, discuss questions that real, actual teenage girls actually discuss with their actual friends.

Aqua’s Verdict: Class Dismissed

Oh, hey, it’s the token toilet humour show of the season, and yet another one filled with high school girls talking dirty because that is totally what real girls talk like in public and definitely what they are interested in. Now, it’s probably not a bad idea to give the nerds who’ll end up watching this some proper sex ed, but you’re not exactly giving a more realistic take on sex if you dress it all up in high school girls talking like drunk college frat boys. Galko-chan perpetuates the contradictory straight boy fantasy of innocent virgins who nevertheless think about sex 24/7 because ho ho ho that sure is lewd and no officer i am not a creep i just like to sexualize innocence that’s something completely different it’s just a comedy officer what do you mean it’s not funny at all well officer de gustibus non see i am smart i know latin now let me go back to watching my cartoon about ass hair because free speech hashtag je suis Galko

Jel’s Verdict: Ewww

HEY GUYS THIS IS FUNNY BECAUSE EVERYONE THINKS THE MAIN GIRL IS HOT AND PROBABLY A WHORE BUT SHE’S ACTUALLY REALLY INNOCENT AND NAIVE AND TALKS ABOUT BODY FUNCTIONS A LOT. Guh. Should I give the show credit for going deeper into the gross out humor well than I’ve probably ever seen an anime go? I mean I really wasn’t expecting such a frank discussion about nipples and pubic hair, but there it was. It wasn’t even really that gross actually, I think it was supposed to be funny but it was delivered in about as clinical a manner as an 8th grade Health class. Maybe this is actually an instructional video they will be showing in Japanese schools? Now that would be interesting.

Marlin’s verdict: It’s No Seitokai Yakuindomo

I’ll agree with Jel that they seemed to be playing this stuff almost too straight. Kinda reminds me of Comical Psychosomatic Medicine, but even less funny. I will say I do feel a tinge of Yakuindomo from the set-ups, but even I have to admit that I have outgrown that kind of base humor. This kinda just reminds me of the deleted scene from the fart episode of Mythbusters where they made a dumb device to prove yes, girls are also human beings. I get the same feeling from all these girl-aimed questions ostensibly marketed to dumb teen boys.

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Sekko Boys

Anime original by Liden Films
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

Fresh out of art school, Miki Ishimoto gets a job at a talent agency and is promptly charged with managing a new boy band consisting of Mars, Hermes, Medici and St. Giorgio. They’re statues, by the way.

Aqua’s Verdict: Petrifying

Absolutely brilliant. This is the Good Ass Content™ I watch anime for. What better way to pay homage to the late David Bowie than to watch this masterpiece, a glorious lamentation on fame and fortune, a scathing satire on the hypocrisy of the music industry and the elitism of art, and a celebration of the positive effects of truckloads of hallucinogenic drugs? Sekko Boys will empower rocks all over the world with its positive message that anyone can become an idol. In all seriousness for a second, Sekko Boys is truly the short to watch this season. It makes far more clever use of its ridiculous premise than expected, is expertly paced and absurd without falling back on ‘lolsorandom’ and meaningless screaming. Newcomer Shiho Kokido is exceptional as the Sekko Boys’ long-suffering manager and the boys themselves ham up their dialogue with all the nudge-nudge wink-wink hilarity you’d expect from the likes of Tomokazu Sugita and co. Fuck off, Love Live!, I for one welcome our new marble idol overlords.

Jel’s Verdict: Not the Kind of Busts You Were Expecting

I feel like this was made as the result of someone losing a bet. Why else would you make a show with a premise this non-sensical? Even the choice of statues doesn’t make any sense, as if they were just picked at random to make the bet even harder. That said, they do about as good a job as you could expect from something this dumb, with the amusingly frustrated Miki standing out as the true star of the show. I particularly loved her stereotypical “art school” look in her flashback, complete with bad pink hair dye job. I guess you could also see the president’s comments on why statues are better at being idols than humans as some scathing indictment on the industry in general, but I’ve already been reading way too much into these shorts so far.

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Tabimachi Lateshow

Anime original Slideshow by Comix Wave Films
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

A guy tries to hit on a woman by talking about spaghetti for five minutes.

Aqua’s Verdict: Static

Cute? Weird spaghetti. Boring. Proper review when show properly animated. Lazy.

Jel’s Verdict: Hungry For More Frames

I wish this didn’t look like an early 2000’s flash cartoon because it was actually pretty sweet. I really admire when someone can craft a self contained, emotional experience in such a short period of time. We learn a lot about these characters despite being given only a few details, and you instantly feel how bittersweet the ending is. Unfortunately without the visuals to smooth out subtleties like facial expressions and body language, it doesn’t quite succeed as well as it should have. The warm, textured art style holds up pretty well, but I don’t think I can look past the lack of animation enough to keep watching.

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Ojisan and Marshmallow

Alternate Titles:
Web Manga Adaptation by Creators in Pack
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

Hige is a middle-aged man working at a ‘web-related company’. His younger coworker Wakabayashi likes to tease him about his love for marshmallows.

Aqua’s Verdict: Let Him Eat

The sheer cruelty on display in this episode is unacceptable. Let the man have his marshmallows, you witch! Anyways, this is one of these three-minute-long gag shorts, and while Oji-san and Marshmallow manages to cram in a reasonable number of jokes, I don’t see it switching up its formula anytime soon. What I do like is that this episode pretty much addressed the main gripe with its one gag from the get-go (“Why doesn’t he just buy some marshmallows?”) and implies that Wakabayashi is hoarding all the marshmallows in town in order to deny Hige the sugar he is entitled to. Her antics fall just about on the right end of the scale from cute to creepy and abusive, but the question remains if they will remain there. I would’t exactly call Oji-san and Marshmallow worthy of your time, but I mean, if you happen to like weird flirting as much as Hige loves marshmallows, this is the show for you. Speaking of which…

Jel’s Verdict: The Best Show of Winter 2016

This is probably just wish fulfillment fantasy bait for large, middle-aged men with low self esteem plus you could probably interpret Wakabayashi’s actions as sexual harassment BUT I don’t care, this was adorable. “Weirdos flirting” is one of my favorite romantic setups (see: Monthly Girls’ Nozaki-kun, Tonari no Seki-kun), and between the marshmallow thing and arguably the best fight scene of the season (???) this episode delivers. I guess my only concern is where can they possibly go from here? Wakabayashi can only tease Hige with marshmallows in so many ways before they start repeating themselves, so hopefully they can move on to other things while keeping the charm of this first episode.

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Ooya-san wa Shishunki!

Alternate Titles: My Landlady is in Puberty!
Manga Adaptation by Seven Arcs
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

Some bloke moves into a new apartment, only to find out that the landlady is a 12-year-old girl named Chie Satonaka. No, not that Chie Satonaka.

Aqua’s Verdict: Evicted

Who the heck keeps making these one-and-a-half-minute shows with one joke? And who the heck keeps licensing these thing? Does anyone even remotely care about these things? If you’ve seen an anime, you probably know what to expect form Ooya-san wa Shishunki! Dude moves into apartment, dude meets clumsy landlady, dude imagines clumsy landlady reciting stock lines from bad porn, dude mentions how creeping on her is totally against the law which makes creeping on her okay because he totally knows it is against the law you guys, dude meets hot neighbour, roll credits and haha it’s not creepy when you say it is creepy, no siree. Go read Gisèle Alain if you want a story about a young girl running an apartment building that’s actually good and, y’know, not creepy. Okay, less creepy, maybe.

Jel’s Verdict: Moe – The Animation

Clocking in at only two minutes, this show has to cut right to the chase and highlight our main dude’s TOTALLY NOT SEXUAL GUYS fascination with the little girl running his apartment building. Wait, why is she running the apartment building??? Isn’t she like 12??? I guess that’s not important, since this is just raw, unadulterated moe in its purest form. I guess if we can’t get rid of it completely, isolating it to short, 2 minute bursts that no one will watch is probably the best we can hope for.

Marlin’s verdict: Where Are This Girl’s Parents?

Most of these shorts have been dumb. Whether it’s the kind of dumb I can get behind or not can depend on a few things, but one of them is certainly not “inexplicable pubescent girl interacting with creepy dude.” There’s only two minutes, so there isn’t really anything to talk about other than the shamelessly pedophilic premise. The guy claims to have no interest, but why would the premise even exist otherwise? I don’t even get what you can get accomplished in two minutes, the husband and wife show is the only one that has even come close to trying, so there’s really no reason to keep with this.

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Mahou Shoujo Nante Mou Ii Desukara.

Alternate Titles: I’ve Had Enough of Being a Magical Girl.
Manga Adaptation by Pine Jam
Simulcast on Crunchyroll

Yuzuka Hanami is a young, kindhearted girl. One day, when coming back from school, she meets a mystical being named Miton, who grants her the ability to turn into a magical girl. There’s only one problem: Whenever she transforms, Yuzuka ends up wearing… Yeah, no, you know what? Fuck this. I’m outta here. You’re outta here as well. Everyone is outta here. Anime is over.

Aqua’s Verdict: Nope.

I’m serious. Get out.

Jel’s Verdict: That’s Not How Parody Works

There’s literally nothing different about this show compared to every other magical girl show except the big hook: her outfit is a SWIMSUIT. Considering she looks like she’s 10 years old, this made me want to call the police – or had me worried someone had logged my IP address and called the cops on me. This is all supposed to be funny and clever but it is not. If you do want an amusing, legit parody of magical girls, check out Nurse Witch Komugi R, which we will be talking about later this week.

Marlin’s verdict: Deconstructing Bad Taste

Gross. Just plain gross. It also doesn’t help that it’s the second magical girl parody this season, and by far and away the worse one. As if the swimsuit wasn’t bad enough, this show just took every opportunity at their disposal to frame her waist and bust like the production was run by some pitiful 4channer.

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2 thoughts on “First Look: Winter 2016 Anime Shorts

  1. I added sekko boys to my winter list and I’m glad I caught that first episode. That shit was pretty funny. The flashbacks to art school we’re hillarious and then the twist…..her idols are busts…oh man. I wonder how long this will continue to be funny though. I dont care the premise caught me off guard and the first ep got me interested. Onwards Sekko boys!!!

    • horray the second ep keeps the laughs rolling and the pacing on queue!!! Ohh Ishimotosan what have you gotten youself into.

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