Irregular Reconnaissance: Anime is a collection of spoiler-free and mini-reviews for anime series.
The goal is to help you get a quick steer on what might be worth your time and what’s worth giving a miss. Sorry to say, there’s a high profile miss in this write-up.
Why is this reconnaissance irregular? Well, the report is ready when it’s ready. Unlike the sister column, Routinely Itemised, which is out every Friday, there’s no such delivery date for Irregular Reconnaissance. However, you can access the Irregular Reconnaissance tag page to scroll through previous reports. As is the default for WordPress sites, there’s an RSS feed for the tag too.
In this article, and the others, you’ll see a consistent format; the show’s name, the episodes the review relates to, thoughts and observations, a single line summary-recommendation and a link to where you might be able to watch the series. Geographical license wrangling might get in the way of that last link, though.
Lastly, and most importantly, your thoughts and spoiler-free mini-reviews are most welcomed too! Please give us a heads up on exciting shows in the comments below.
In this Irregular Reconnaissance;
The Way of the Househusband
Episodes 1 to 5
Urg. What’s this? Suffice to say that The Way of the Househusband is not what I expected.
It is a show about an ex-Yakuza who gives up his life of crime to be the best househusband he can be.
But that’s the extent of it. It’s a one-off gag repeated several times in one episode, for five episodes.
Here’s the joke; he looks scary doing even simple things, and sometimes his life of crime tries to catch up with him but doing the househusband role with appropriate gravitas is enough to solve every problem.
It’s like someone took a series of three-panel comic strips that appear every Friday in a newspaper that can essentially get away with doing variations on the same gag, stuck them together, and turned them into a motion comic. There’s nothing else.
At times, The Way of the Househusband isn’t even animated fully. It’s literally a motion comic with still pictures emphasised with a bit of movement. I’m actually quite fond of the style, but it’s unexpected here and doesn’t help with the unexpectedly dull show.
Seven Knights Revolution: Hero Successor
Episodes 1 to 2
We’re two episodes in, and Seven Knights Revolution: Hero Successor could go either way. For now, at least, it’s sticking to what we’ve been told to expect. Successors are heroes in the present-day fantasy world who channel the spirits of mighty heroes from an age before.
Our lead character is a Successor too, he’s one that the other spirits know about, but no one else does. It’s as if he’s been removed from history.
The conflict with the sinister reanimating evil could get good. There’s something unnervingly powerful about the concept. It’s far too early to tell whether the anime explores that darkness or whether the mooks are just zombies.
It’s that “will-they/won’t-they?” question in the first two episodes that flips back and forth. The first episode begins with carnage, and it could be sombre and gruesome, but the plotline focuses on the arrival of the Successor instead. In the second, it looks like we’re speedy to quirky-geek-at-school trope with all the girls, slim and pretty, falling for him. It is mostly that, but there is some tension with the other heroes, and perhaps that’ll be explored later?
Perhaps the most challenging of all subjects that Seven Knights Revolution: Hero Successor hints at challenging is tradition versus modernity. Is something right because you, and your ancestors, have always done it that way? Or should new things happen? Should rules be retired? How do you do that if the most influential people in your life are the living embodiments of your ancestors?
Joran The Princess of Snow and Blood
Episodes 1 to 2
Joran The Princess of Snow and Blood is set in an alternative timeline, effectively, where techno-magic discovery allowed Japan’s rulers to steer a different course.
The Yoshinobu Tokugawa rules have absolute power and use a black-ops organisation called the Nue to take out rebels who might threaten that control.
So far, the characters are part of Nue. We’re already exploring the ethics of that. Where does supporting the rule of law and protecting the innocent stop and enforcing the authoritarian regime start?
I was tired when I watched the first episode. That was a mistake. It demands, and needs, more of your attention than I could give in that state. By episode two, Joran had earned my attention.
Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken!
Episodes 7 to 12
I’ve a friend who’s not good with violence at all. I’m not saying he’s a pacific, he’s all for thumping wrong-doers, but he just can’t bear to watch it.
I think it’s safe to recommend Keep Your Hands Off Eizouken! to my pacific friend. That’s not to say there’s no jeopardy, but it’s often the anime-drawing girls’ imagination that the physical confrontation happens in. The rest of the peril, the best of it, is all emotional or logistical!
If you’re not familiar with the series, then it’s about a group of friends who just want to create anime and contrive a way to do so as a school project. That’s easier than it sounds, and then there’s the nigh impossibility of trying to make deadlines.
It’s delightful and – appropriately enough – wonderfully animated.
Tiger & Bunny
Episodes 7 to 15
I think Tiger & Bunny is clever. At a glance, it follows some typical and not always admirable anime tropes – the female superheroes are in skimpier costume than the men, that determination is better than empathy and working yourself into the ground is good.
However, it’s subversive; it even parodies itself.
After all, these superheroes in the near future are competing in a reality TV show. That’s the role we’ve put them in. It’s us who has the young female heroes flashing their legs while most men get to wear armour. That sexy shower scene intro? Turns out it was one of the guys in the steam.
And it’s gorgeous. The city is an art nouveau masterpiece with touches of Gotham about it, traces of steampunk, but no Blade Runner.
I thought it was carefully paced, too… but just as we reach a fitting ending as Bunny confronts his nemesis, I check the Netflix listings and discover there’s a lot more to go. Does this mean we’ll deal with the powerful vigilante who happens to be asking awkward ethical questions?
If you’ve discovered any anime that is hit or miss, consider letting us know in the comments below.