Month: April 2014

Weekly Roundup – Spring 2014 First impressions #3

Shows discussed: Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin; Black BulletMekakucity ActorsJojo’s Bizzare Adventure – Stardust Crusaders.

Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin – 01

Ryygajou Nanana no Maizoukin

I have some very mixed feelings about this. The show is a pleasure to watch. The animation is fluid, and scenes are generally well made. On the other hand though, there are moments that are very upsetting – fanservice (and not only familiar visual eyecandies, but actual protagonist’s dilemma whether gropping a boob is worthy a dislocated shoulder… And it turns out it is); shameless NGE’s Katsuragi Misato copy; and so on.

Not to mention that the story itself is not really that much engaging. Or rather, that there won’t probably be many innovative – or even mildly fresh – aspects to it.

I’ll watch the second episode, but I’m pretty sure that’ll be the last I will.

Black Bullet – 01

Black Bullet

There was once a man who worked as an accountant. He wanted to write a novel, and he spend weeks learning how to make a good novel. The story he wrote was flawless – there were interesting characters, there were plot twists, there was romance, and there was action.

But it was dull, so very, very dull.

This anecdote came to me when I was watching Black Bullet. If I were given a synopsis of the episode, I guess I’d think that the show itself is good. The problem is, it’s not. It’s uneven, there are logic errors, and the plot feels cheap at times. I’m dropping it.

Oh, the music within the episode was good. Big thumbs up. The OP however felt really generic and not innovative in any way.

Mekakucity Actors – 01

Mekakucity Actors

You might love SHAFT or hate it, but one thing’s is for sure – what they do stands above the crowd. First couple of minutes was heavily intriguing, but then it quickly returned to their staple Monogatari-like high-speed, half-witty dialogues. It helps to perceive them as a clever way to parody their work, but it’s rather closer to self-plagiarism.

I’m pretty sure they’re reusing assets.

Then the feeling suddenly changed. It was a clever move, the terrorist attack – the scenery changed from what I’d expected from this show to what I certainly did not, momentarily. It was similar to stepping out of a comfort zone of sorts – I’ve a feeling that the first half of episode was to remind the audience who are the creators, and what do we know them for, and the second one – that the image the audience (I) had was wrong. That there’s more to them.

The episode itself wasn’t perhaps as strong as it could’ve been, but I’m hooked.

Jojo’s Bizzare Adventure – Stardust Crusaders – 01

Jojo Stardust Crusaders

I’ve had no experience with Jojo before, none whatsoever. And all I can say is: no way. No series can be that stupid, can they? Everything is so exaggerated, so comically silly, but there’s not much behind that parody. Plot seems uninteresting. Characters – paper-thin, every one of them. I admit, for the first 5 or 10 minutes I had fun, but later on it was rather tiresome. Dang, I saved it for last, hoping that it will somehow the emptiness KLK left, but I don’t think it will.

I’ll check out the next episode, though. Maybe the comedy aspect will be enough to get me going, or maybe other stuff will get better.

This concludes (hopefully) first impressions for now, there’ll be regular weeklies from now on.

Weekly Roundup – Spring 2014 First impressions #2

Shows discussed: Isshuukan Friends, Gokukoku no Brynhildr, No Game No Life.

Ishhuukan Friends – 01

Isshuukan Friends 01

Oh my, this is lovely. The premise of a romance Isshuukan Friends brings, sad and bitter because of obvious reasons, is brilliantly brightened up by the visuals and music. The effect is very light-hearted in reception, but the disturbing aura creeps in. And it’s just a matter of time when I’ll be crying my eyes out here.

Unless I won’t, then I’ll be really, really unsatisfied.

Concept of romance with a person who can not have memories has been already discussed (or: used) in ef: a tale of memories, and I absolutely loved that title. It has been, technically, somewhat different, but what it did was it gave the romance a lot of space to build the plot in. I’m dying to see how it will be executed in Isshuukan.

Side note: I just checked MAL, and the guy who voices Hase is like 20 days older than me. What am I doing with my life? I could be voicing motherfucking big-ass robots right now. ;_;

Gokukoku no Brynhildr (Brynhildr in the Darkness) – 01

Brynhildr

This is stupid, but not stupid enough to make me stop watching just yet. We still don’t know what’s going on and what is it going to be about. All there was was a rather messy character introduction. I didn’t like the action, it was very wish-fullfiling in reception.

I guess we’ll see a lot more of Kuroneko and her effect of her persona on current events. Even if she’s not Kuroha (but seriously, these moles determining anything? She’s had surgeries, it’s not like these are untouchable or something), the resemblance between them will become a main point of the show. That’s my guess.

I liked the opening A LOT. Music was pretty awesome, perhaps the best of what I’ve yet heard this season. And if these bloody, transdimensional girls are to become apparent in the actual show, I’ll stick around to see how that goes.

Visuals and character design themselves were not that good. They were neither fresh, intense, nor aesthetically pleasing. That’s a shame.

It’s the first time I’ve seen anyone actually talking to themselves in a recollection. lmao

No Game No Life – 01

No Game No Life

Oooh, the visuals. Shiny. It’s a perfect example of brilliant aesthetics made achieved with one smart move – the color palettes blend extremely well. There’s this watercolour painting feel there, and it won me over.

There was no actual story emerging from this first episode, just a basis for future adventures. I guess this is what this series will be about.

I’m not exactly sold on the characters themselves. There’s not much depth to them. Sora (the guy) feels very archetypical – an awkward dude, not really as antisocial as he’s trying to look, and Shiro (the girl), however smart she might be, has been here mostly for cheap fanservice. MAL apparently tags this series as ecchi, we’ll see how that goes.

I’m gonna stick with it for now.

 

Weekly Roundup – Spring 2014 first impressions #1

Shows discussed: Akuma no Riddle; Selector Infected WIXOSS; Captain Earth.

Akuma no Riddle – 01

Akuma no Riddle

Hey, this is fun. This dark vibe mixed with a hint of romance is gorgeous. It’s somewhat similar to Chuunibyou, but there we knew that Rikka’s fantasies were just… fantasies, and it’s like the situation is reversed here – everyone actually lives in this secret world, being assassins and such, and it’s just Haru who’s normal and cheerful girl.

Even though we’ve obviously seen very little of the characters, I like them so far. Tokaku and Haru are clearly different, character-wise, and the romance that is supposed to develop there might be interesting to watch. I didn’t like the rest of the girls though – there’s been many of them, and beside evil grins and archetypical features there is not much to see. I’m afraid they might become, if not given enough story attention, interchangeable figurines of bad guys to fight with. No, actually, I’m afraid all of them might turn out to be pretty shallow. But that’s just my scare of a good series getting ruined.

I really like the visuals. I haven’t seen similar character art lately, which is a big plus. (As in: eyes, hair and overall edgyness.) Music is okay, rather generic – but alright. Maybe it will grow on me.

Selector Infected WIXOSS – 01

selector infected wixoss

I hope this will get better. To be honest, I have to say I was kinda hyped for the series after seeing this preview. Instead I got something that’s not really as dark as I expected it to be, and to be honest, not that interesting. I had the idea it will be some kind of a gravely dark fantasy built upon mahou shoujo basis, but the outcome is definitely not that serious or grim. I’m gonna stick for at least one more episode, but I don’t know for how much longer exactly.

Is Tama just gonna meow around? It’s like a Pikachu level of conversation, but much, much more annoying. Oh, she said something besides batoru, and it was… motto batoru! Yeah. That’s actually funny.

Captain Earth – 01

Captain Earth 01

Okay, I knew it was going to be a mecha series. I did not watch a lot of these previously. But when the mecha appeared, it dawned on me that its amount of mecha in a mecha is utterly superior to any mechas I’ve seen. Like, seriously, it’s a fucking Optimus Prime 3000 Turbo. Just look at that shit. With robomuscles and and retracable horns and obligatory red and blue paintwork. And the scene of assembling this big mofo lasted like 1/5 of the episode. Neat. I laughed the whole time.

I guess that the basis for the plot is solid enough to make it interesting. Just hope it won’t be the same as I had with Nobunagun – the starting episodes were fun, but then I quickly lost interest. Anyway, there’s a lot of promise here!

I liked the music. The intro was very cinematic in feel – actually, most of the episode was – and both the visuals and audio in general were engaging. Although the art direction is kinda too flashy for me, but hey, they have to mantain the reputation of the genre… I guess.

Not dropping anything just yet, but WIXOSS treads on thin ice. I like Akuma no Riddle the most so far, can’t wait for the next episode.

Weekly Roundup – Winter 2014 final impressions – 2/2

Shows discussed: Kill la KillNoragami; Sakura Trick.

Kill la Kill – 23 & 24

Kill la Kill 24

I could not watch it in one sitting. Somewhere in the middle of the second (24th) episode, I had to stop: I could not bear the thought of finishing the series. It wasn’t just good. It was as closer to being perfect than any anime this season; duh, perhaps it was an action series I enjoyed the most since Cowboy Bebop. The series had its problems, its slower moments, but from ~18ep onwards it was pure enjoyment. And the finale did not disappoint.

I like when a series has an ending towards which it has worked for a whole season. As in: the plot doesn’t end rapidly, hurriedly (like Chuunibyou Ren), or the ending is just a formality, but the story could as well go on (to some extent Noragami). I like a strong sense of completion. (Or a complete lack of ending, like in many 4-koma slice-of-life adaptations). Kill la Kill delivers a perfect one. The story has ended. It could not end in any different way. No, scratch that: from the perspective of 22 episode, before I watched the last two, it could end anywhere. But no matter what ending there’d be, it’d be story-wise logical, probably.

Kill la Kill 24

Of course, besides well executed, extended, slow and intense ending, there was plenty of everything that makes KLK such a pleasure to watch. Everyone was included here, everyone got their screen time. Nui was so awesomely terrific. Mako’s exaggerated expressions were even better than they used to be. It was fun to watch her usual cut-in scene, even though she was unable to move. Nudist Beach double-mecha was so unexpected, yet so great. Ragyo was evolving and evolving with no end in sight, and so did Ryuko – can we just admire how super-saiyan she was at one point? And yet they ended up bare, quiet, just talking.

Another thing that worked well (just as usual, really) was how diverse in art stylization these episodes were. I am still utterly thrilled about how raw the animation looks, and yet how amazingly it is executed. And yet, despite this simplicity, there were color blooms and there were monochrome palettes; there were eye candy scenes and there were Evangelion-like sketched drawings. Blew my mind. Oh, and I took like hundred screenshots, and every one (really! I’m not exaggerating) is terrific. I don’t know who their visual director is, but this person should be given a medal.

TRIGGER is making some rom-com upcoming season, aren’t they? I’m gonna watch every damn bit of that one.

Kill la Kill 23

Noragami – 11 & 12

Noragami 12

I liked this one! Even though I approached it with a rather bad attitude, after the OP it has changed. Besides the music being plain good, there are scenes in there that make me for a second believe that Noragami is more serious than it actually is, and I’d like it to be that way.

This is something I very much dislike in the series. It’s as if it didn’t know who the intended audience is. Are they young adults? Teens? The way it is, if I want to watch similarly peculiar mix of seriousness and silliness, I’d much rather watch Kill la Kill, which does it properly. But when Noragami tries to intertwine humor and drama, the outcome is below my expectations. I’m sorry, all you Yato fans out there, but I can’t stand watching really well made drama scenes (half of Hiyori’s stuff this week) being torn down by repetitive use of the same silly faces. It’s a shame. I don’t mind mixing seriousness with humor, but it has to be done well.

Oh, I liked how Rabou’s character finally got the reason for existence. It’s to some extent curse of every (spare Yato) deity of the show: they are existent in the world, and with that much part in the plot that they got, I wouldn’t mind them being more properly explained.

I wouldn’t mind a second season… Granted they’d focus on what makes Noragami good, rather than Yukine’s issues.

Sakura Trick – 11 & 12

Sakura Trick 12

I didn’t expect much, and I got what I wanted to get. Mitsuki realized her feelings for Haruka, which was foreseeable, however her blunt proposal to go out together was quite surprising. I’m glad it happened. I have to say that after the end of 11th episode first half I was starting to get bored, but her walking on Haruka and Yuu kissing stirred things up just enough to watch it to the end.

I don’t understand, and I did not like, the sudden naivety of Haruka’s response to Mitsuki’s proposition. I’m pretty sure that most of anime fans understand the ambiguity of the ‘suki desu’ phrase. While it could be taken as a purely non-romantic fondness, I’m pretty sure Haruka could not misinterpret Mitsuki’s words. Especially followed up with a question to go out with her. And I’m certainly not buying her unfamiliarity with that phrase, it’s like, basic common knowledge.

Anyway, with a happy, somewhat nostalgic ending the show delivered, I’ll remember it warmly for how well and subtly it managed to show relationship when it actually tried to do so, and probably never touch it again due to oversaturation with fillers and fanservice.

Part 1 (Chuunibyou Ren; Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha; Mikakunin de Shinkoukei) – here.