Become Stronger with Colony Drop: Watch Short Anime In 2013
by Dave - February 19 2013


Hey, idiots, why don’t you watch short anime? I mean, really, what are we all doing here giving cartoons three-episode tests, or suffering in the long term with long series that may or may not deliver, or dealing with done-on-the-fly series that are perpetually subject to implode in their final moments if a deadline looms or a model kit doesn’t sell enough? And what the hell are we doing watching Sword Art Online?

...

Fuck it! Fuck long, non-Jojo anime! This season, the answer all the cool otaku are giving is “I only watch short anime, scrub”. Fifteen minutes in length on the long side, preferably three. Let’s experience all the hope and the disappointment of anime in moments rather than hours! Pop open your ex-con Crunchyroll account and in mere seconds you will be able to say “I am up to date with anime this season, and you know what? I matter.

My Sister is an Osaka Momma


Following in the footsteps of “What If The Female Manager Of A High School Baseball Team Read Drucker’s Management?” , this is an anime adaptation of an educational text. The book is intended for Tokyoites who’ve for example, married into Kansai families and must now adjust to the series of broad stereotypes which their new family will inevitably embody.

As such, the show is simply a series of educational vignettes in which our hero learns that his estranged sister calls half-and-half “fresh”, or that she’s all tsundere for some local Osaka celebrity, or that she talks on the train and totally haggles with the sales girls at 109. In case you didn’t nail down the lesson of each scene it’s always spelled out for you at the end, and during the ending theme song in which the little sister sings them in the bath. All this is rendered in the cheapest imaginable Flash puppet animation.

This series is a breakthrough in otaku education, and perhaps compulsory otaku-ed courses are in order in which nerds are tied to tables and forced to watch this and that anime about sex ed for 30-year-old virgins. I seriously think we could right a lot of social wrongs this way.

Mangirl!


Sorry, gang, the most potentially fascinating title of the anime season is actually a combination of the words “girl” and “manga”. So it goes.

This is just barely an educational anime itself: a light inside-comics comedy from the point of view of the production staff of a weekly manga mag. Except you know the deal, they’re all moe girls. Each episode introduces some aspect of the process from recruiting to typesetting. Then the clumsy editor does something clumsily, but everything turns out okay, and that’s about it for the show.

Quite flavorless and dull, but even if you’re really generous it’s only going to take you twelve minutes tops to figure that out!

Ishida and Asakura


This show is ambitious. I don’t mean in its contents– it makes Mangirl! look smart and nuanced by comparison– I mean in its format. Every episode opens with a variation on the same routine 4-koma gag. This takes 30 seconds. Then there’s a 30-second opening. The actual episode is a minute long.

Here are the jokes. Asakura likes boobs and has a minor speech impediment. Ishida is a tough guy who likes Asakura and wants to open a flower shop with him. A dorky-looking guy also likes Asakura, so Ishida kills him sometimes. This show is as funny as a rock.

gdgd Fairies


gdgd Fairies (Tedious Fairies) doesn’t really care about whether the jokes hit or not. It doesn’t care about anything, least of all whether you laugh. It’s dangerous. It’s a fucking madhouse.

Sometimes gdgd Fairies bombs. Sometimes it should by all rights be bombing… but it isn’t, because you’re laughing and you don’t know why. At one point it bombs on purpose in order to set up an elaborate gag two episodes later.

gdgd Fairies‘ key trait is a precious rarity in the obsessively scripted, categorized and programmed world of otaku anime: it is unpredictable. Fundamentally a show about the three heroines (naïve pkpk, spunky shrshr, creepy krkr) having idle conversations that go nowhere, gdgd’s sense of humor leans towards uncomfortable moments, absurd sight gags and anti-climaxes. Every week, the audience has legitimately got no idea what they’re going to do this time. Segments that top out at three or four minutes mean that even when the show is bombing, it bombs quickly and moves along.

The show uses deliberately cheap-looking computer graphics alongside character designs that feel kinda 90s. Large chunks of many episodes are completely ad-libbed: these sections are animated to the awkward giggling of the voice actresses, who frequently waver out of character. Like an off-market, back-alley knockoff of this year’s “moe girls doing things” show, much of gdgd’s appeal comes from just how cheap and weird it is.

Straight Title Robot Anime


Don’t get excited by the title or by the JAM Project impression you see at the opening. Straight Title Robot Anime is the project that the head writer of gdgd left the show to make. It is extremely advanced stuff.

The premise of this show is that worldwide, never-ending robot war has killed all humans, and this leaves our robot heroines with the obligation of figuring out what comedy is. Gdgd Fairies dabbles in meta-humor, but Straight Title (see also the fact that it is actually named Straight Title Robot Anime) attempts literally the most meta comedy that is possible to attempt.

You see, the joke is that the joke always sucks, because they’re robots. Though they understand dictionary definitions, they lack the basic human social instincts that actually produce the laugh. No, wait. The joke is that they always have to explain the joke (for their own benefit rather than the audience’s) but the explanation itself is always a little off, because you see they’re robots, and they lack the–

And that’s the show. They’re robots. Beep boop, I’m a robot, what is comedy.

When the actresses drop character and laugh during the improvised scenes, the solemn narrator– ripped whole-cloth from the serious 80s robot anime this show pretends to be in the promotional materials and the next episode previews– explains that what you’re hearing is actually radio interference causing some kind of mechanical malfunction in the robots’ external speakers. If that’s not comedy to you, we can never be friends.

Inferno Cop

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Trigger finally delivers on the promise of its formation with a zero-budget, non-animated, and sometimes no-effort cartoon. Made under the same guiding philosophy as the similar Axe Cop– “We’ll make this shit up as we go"– Inferno Cop covers more ground in twenty minutes than most anime do in two seasons. He’s dealt with a rigged legal system, dinosaurs, becoming a Transformer, The Real God, a zombie epidemic, the death of a loved one, and cross-country racing armed only with a gun that never fires and a blazing heart for justice. Don’t lose, Inferno Cop! Fight on, Inferno Cop! Sell lots of Inferno Cop Original Soundtracks, Inferno Cop!

11 comments

Comment from: Mike Toole [Visitor]

I haven’t watched the first three, but everything from gdgd Fairies on is legit. I particularly like the Dubbing Lake segments, during which the normally creepy and dour krkr always tells the best jokes.

Inferno Cop is, of course, the feel-good hit of the year. If they keep making episodes, the Anime Boston ANIME HELL may just be forty minutes of Inferno Cop run twice.

02/19/13 @ 16:21

Comment from: vucubcaquix [Visitor] · http://altairandvega.wordpress.com

Too bad you missed ol’ Yamakan ACTUALLY saving anime this season with another short, Senyuu.

02/19/13 @ 16:25

Comment from: ZeonicFreak [Visitor] · http://aoypodcast.wordpress.com

I thought about cosplaying as Inferno Cop, till someone pointed out that I would have to be on CONSTANT FIRE all the time.

@Mike: Dude, just do an INFERNO COP PANEL, ALL DAY, EVERY DAY!!! Which all it would take is running the episodes on a DVD in repeat mode and just walk away.

02/19/13 @ 16:47

Comment from: Cid [Visitor]

Thank you! CD has saved me from the demonic beast of moe!

02/19/13 @ 19:29

Comment from: WAHa.06x36 [Visitor] · http://wakaba.c3.cx/

Ishida and Asakura was sort of funny while it was a pixiv comic named “So I tried drawing a BL comic” and the joke was that it was terrible, but after being adapted first into another manga and then into the shortest anime, all the parts except “terrible” seem to have gotten lost along the way.

Also you totally missed Ai Mai Mii, which is strongly toxic to sanity.

02/21/13 @ 20:29

Thanks for pointing out that no matter the length of the show, you can still judge anime by its cover. That being said, I wouldn’t complain if Inferno Cop never ends.

02/24/13 @ 00:06

Comment from: CMR [Visitor]

We’re in hell and Ninja Scroll 2 is never getting released.

02/24/13 @ 21:34

Comment from: Cory Shwadlenak [Visitor] · http://otakumachinegun.blogspot.com

I have to admit, anime in small doses is easier to swallow than the twenty-four minutes of moe torture. There just is no excuse for Sword Art online either.

02/25/13 @ 13:16

Comment from: Carl [Visitor]

In terms of series with short episodes, I really like Ryoichi Mori’s PEEPING LIFE. Like some of these other series, the animation is quite limited, but because the episodes are based around conversations between two people in a static setting (it could be a teacher and student arguing over whether erasers have souls, a drunken king trying to get the queen to lower the drawbridge after a night on the town, or a pair of Apollo astronauts comparing their girlfriends minutes before launch) the effect is that of live sketch comedy.

The voice actors in PEEPING LIFE use a much more naturalistic Japanese (but in the service of absurdism) than you usually get to hear, and it reminds you of how stylized most voice acting in anime is, with the goal of creating a popular character. By contrast, the characters in PEEPING LIFE aren’t a look or a sound, but a performance.

02/27/13 @ 17:31

Comment from: Cory Shwadlenak [Visitor] · http://otakumachinegun.blogspot.com

I am glad that Peeping Life got brought up..the episodes I have watched so far have been entertaining to say the least.
Love the fact that it pretty much one-ups Hetalia.

03/05/13 @ 20:50

Comment from: ArOne [Visitor]

Snyuu has been cute and dumb and has a JAM Project ED song.

03/06/13 @ 21:44

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