Nanbaka – 01
The most significant thing about Nanbaka, I suppose is that it’s directed by Takamatsu Shinji. Apart from that this comedy about four inmates especially adept at breaking out of prison and the most secure prison in the world (in Japan, naturally) seems pretty pedestrian.
Nanbaka has a cast full of big names, too, but they struggle to breathe much life into what, for one episode at least, plays like a one-joke premise. I suppose as we get deeper into the story and more of the cast is introduced, we could get a sense of what it was in this series that drew a director of Takamatsu’s stature to it. Right now it’s pretty much a throwaway for me.
Kiitarou Shounen no Youkai Enikki – 01
There was always going to be a limit to what Kiitarou Shounen no Youkai Enikki could do in four minutes, so that the premiere was little more than a blip is hardly a surprise. I like the art and the character designs, and the sad thing is that there’s really nothing inherent in the premise that dictates this series needs to be a short – a story about a boy surrounded by youkai – being raised by them in fact – could easily support a full or at least half-length format. This series is fun but I doubt it’s ever going to be more than forgettable.
Bernard-jou Iwaku – 01
Before the season I opined that “Miss Bernard Said” would be among the real sleeper candidates this Fall if it weren’t three minutes long, and after watching the premiere I believe that even more. It packed an awful lot into those three minutes, but that’s a limitation that’s hard to overcome.
Funnily enough both Kitarou Shounen and Bernard-jou Iwaku are from Creators in Pack, which I suppose means they’ve become a studio that specializes in short-form series. This one is an adaptation of a manga by Shikawa Yuuki about a group of middle-school bookworms, the titular character being a girl who longs to sound well-read without actually reading anything. The premiere is full of solid comedy and an overdose of hard sci-fi geekery, and it’s pretty clear there some wit and smarts behind this series. But at three minutes really, how much can it really deliver? It’s unlikely I’ll blog this but I suspect I’ll watch it till the end.