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Dated 9 July 2019: TO THE ABANDONED SACRED BEASTS AND THEIR ATTORNEYS OF RECORD: PLEASE TAKE NOTICE

Schall
Have gun. Will travel.

The Summer 2019 anime season is upon us. First out the gate is Katsute Kami Datta Kemono-tachi e (To the Abandoned Sacred Beasts), an adaptation of an ongoing manga by the author/artist duo known as Maybe. Unlike the manga, the entire first episode and nearly all of the second episode provide background information for the primary characters first. The tail end of the second episode picks up where the first chapter of the manga actually begins, and the preview for episode three at least suggests the show will now be more straightforward about adapting the manga. I generally prefer when an anime isn't bound to its source material scene-for-scene. Being too rigid can be counterproductive from a storytelling perspective simply because anime, manga, and text have different advantages and limitations. You'd think this would be painfully obvious, but anime adaptations fail often enough that I'm genuinely relieved the MAPPA production seems to have put at least a little thought into this.

Hime and Sato
Also a childhood-friend romance.

To be honest, the Katsute Kami Datta Kemono-tachi e manga itself is merely all right. I have purchased all eight volumes currently available from Vertical, and I do enjoy it, but I'm also predisposed to like most of Maybe's work. The mix of seriousness and humor work for me, although the anime probably won't necessarily reproduce the more comic expressions that I enjoy from the manga. Incidentally, I also enjoy Maybe's other ongoing manga, Kekkon Yubiwa Monogatari (Tales of Wedding Rings), a double-isekai harem comedy with plenty of cheesecake and blue balls. The manga has been available via the Crunchyroll's manga jobbie for some time now, but hard copies published by Yen Press are also in print.

Dated 16 July 2018: Hataraku Saibou is informative, whimsical, and gloriously violent

AE3803
AE3803 doesn't quite know her way around yet.

One of the more pleasant surprises of the Summer 2018 anime season is Hataraku Saibou (Cells at Work!) which anthropomorphizes a human body's blood cells and depicts them as industrious workers carrying out tasks such as ferrying oxygen to different parts of the body and fighting germs.

U1146 and AE3803
You get used to it, newbie.

It's maybe about what you might expect if you're familiar with these sorts of gimmick shows, but the execution is quite good. The setup is suitably clever, and the various characters are endearing. In particular, Hanazawa Kana is excellent as the newbie red blood cell, AE3803. I enjoy her panicky shrieks. They contrast nicely with her white blood cell friend's somewhat staid approach to executing bacteria.

U1146 and Platelet
Platelet is also a fan favorite already.

I'm not sure how long this will stay amusing, but there's certainly no shortage of different stories the show could explore. There are at least five volumes of the still running manga, and three spinoffs, so I'm fairly confident there will be enough source material to keep the show entertaining throughout the season. In fact, Hataraku Saibou briefly held the top stop in my Summer 2018 ranking (until the incredible first episode of Shoujo☆Kageki Revue Starlight raised the barre). I'm not expecting Cells at Work! to remain quite this high for the rest of the quarter, but it is off to a strong start.

Dated 9 April 2010: B Gata H Kei's episode one is the Futakoi Alternative of sex comedies

Yamada
Tiny pictures are the way of love, Yamada.

I had extremely low expectations of B Gata H Kei and only watched the first episode as a goof. Pleasantly surprised, it looks like be watching more because this first episode is brilliant. I knew the basic premise of the show's 4-koma roots: sex-crazed virgin high school girl ends up pursuing monogamous relationship with Potato Guy. It's a stupid or wonderful premise depending on your point of view, but either way it's hilarious in execution.

Kosuda and Yamada
Kosuda is lucky Yamada didn't want a bigger dictionary.

Like Divine, I had initial reservations about Tamura Yukari voicing the lead girl, but she's perfect. It turns out B Gata H Kei is basically Ranpha ~The Early Years~, so Yukarin's high-school-Ranpha voice is sex-comedy perfection here.

Takashita
I was much less surprised by Horie Yui's character than Noto Mamiko's.

In light of my low expectations for Spring 2010, discovering B Gata H Kei is hilarious is a very welcome surprise. Of course, your mileage may vary; comedy is a tricky thing. In my view, the most important factor is timing, not material. Since the comedic timing in B Gata H Kei has been spot on, the show works for me.

Kosuda, Yamada, and Erogami
Whatever they're paying Yamada's Sex God it's not enough.

More accurately, its first episode works for me. However, I've watched too much anime to judge a show's merits entirely on its first episode. That path is quite precarious. Even a good show can lose its viewers if the follow-up episodes of a series depart substantially from expectations created by a strong first episode. Consider how many people felt betrayed after the incredible first episode of Futakoi Alternative.

Rentarou and Sara
Sara finds Rentarou.

Taken in its entirety, I view Futakoi Alternative as an excellent series (even more so if you've ever watched any of the dreadful original Futakoi), and I rank its amazing first episode among the best—if not the best—first episode of anything ever, but that first episode is also incredibly misleading. Many viewers soured after the frenetic first Futakoi Alternative episode gave way to contemplative (and somewhat downer) follow-up episodes.

Yamada
That is one really firm size chart/scorecard.

B Gata H Kei has a great first episode, but I hope the rest of the B Gata Heckler & Koch anime isn't a letdown. Like I said, comedy is a tricky thing. However, as long as Yamada keeping putting out Sawako-with-a-libido vibes each episode I won't even care if she doesn't manage to make 100 friends with benefits. I heard there's no guarantee she'll go to heaven even if she does kill 108 dudes. [Spoiler.]