If The Hook understands one thing, it's that life is too short to try and watch every anime. So this week, we're focusing on shows with bite-sized episodes. Anything under half a "regular" episode length is up for grabs! So what's short, sweet, and bound to get you hooked in the summer season? Let's take a look!
The Irresponsible Galaxy Tylor
Fair warning: if you're coming in expecting a direct Captain Tylor sequel or reboot, you probably won't get what you're looking for. But this small-sized series does take place in the same universe, and it is reminiscent of the original -- albeit a bit more playful. You might be disappointed if you come in expecting the same mood -- but if you consider it in the same light as a chibi/omake "after-show," there's a lot of fun to be had.
Our hero now is Banjo Ueki Tylor, a happy-go-lucky scrap collector with more than a little resemblance to the original Justy. But his interests tend to lie in rescuing damsels... which is just what he gets to do. There's a new red-haired empress in the future, and his scrap-hunting leads him to her... freezer?
The Hook: Really, the selling point of this is the shortness and the silliness. It's a small jab of nostalgia while offering something fresh!
Who Is It For: As mentioned before... if you want a direct continuation of the original series, this isn't going to be much help. And admittedly, the lead-ups didn't do much to explain that, so it's a bit of a system shock going in expecting one thing and getting another. But if you go in for a few giggles and a little nostalgia, you'll enjoy it.
Pikotaro's LULLABY LA LA BY
So "Pen Pineapple Apple Pen" guy got his own series of anime shorts. And while we do our best to convey what will make people like or dislike a show, that first sentence might well be all you need to decide whether this is an anime for you.
The "plot," as it were, is that each episode involves Pikotaro dreaming himself into a major role in an old folktale or fairy tale. And, you know, what you might expect from there. The first episodes sees him alongside the Ant in the story of "The Ant and the Grasshopper," as a freezing, unprepared grasshopper begs for shelter from the encroaching winter. Again, you can probably guess where it goes.
The Hook: This has a lot of the feel of Trigger's Inferno Cop, as well as the cutout/minimalist style of many more serious "storybook" anime currently being released. Beyond that, the hook really is Pikotaro himself: voicing himself, throwing in verbal sound effects, and generally telling weird spins on old stories.
Who Is It For: If your family has asked you to stop posting so many memes on Facebook because they can't understand your sense of humor anymore, you will love this show.
When you're confronted with a show where the plot is simply "This girl is stupid, like you won't believe how stupid she is," there are one or two ways it could go. Fortunately, give AHO-GIRL an episode, and it'll reassure you that you won't be left feeling awkwardly sympathetic toward the protagonist.
Yoshiko is an absolute idiot, as the "Aho" of the title promises. She manages to pull straight zeros in her classwork, she's convinced that she understands the workings of relationships and romance based on an almost dating sim-esque level of logic, and she really likes bananas. She's not charmingly awkward or airheaded -- she's that one person in your friend group you try to keep from showing up at your parties but she's there anyway and happily insulting someone's girlfriend like it's her job. That person.
Our audience association character is A-kun, Yoshiko's childhood friend who spends most of his time kicking Yoshiko into line as she makes trouble. Yoshiko's mother makes attempts to marry her train wreck of a daughter off to him, too... fortunately for himself and for society at large, he's too smart for that.
The Hook: As mentioned above, this could have gone all sorts of wrong. But Aoi Yuuki's performance as Yoshiko is so solid that she is an irredeemable comic relief character that it's okay to mock and punch. At first the show makes you think it's going down the fanservice route... but again, wait a few minutes and you will be rewarded.
Who Is It For: Anyone in need of a laugh. At all. Which might be all of us, really.
Kara Dennison is responsible for multiple webcomics, blogs and runs interviews for (Re)Generation Who and PotterVerse, and is half the creative team behind the OEL light novel series Owl's Flower. She blogs at karadennison.com and tweets @RubyCosmos.