2013
07.27

Sugane = me, O.D. = 4chan

Welcome back to Crowds-Sourcing, where Gatchaman Crowds tries everything in its power to rape my childhood harder than George Lucas! Last time, nothing happened… then they caught a MESS cube. Then some girl with pink hair turned out to be Recon from Fairy Dance… wait what?

This is apparantly Gatchaman.

Well surprise, surprise! Hajime’s MESS idea actually worked!…much to the annoyance of Pai-zano who’d rather blow up Rubics Cube monsters instead of getting all touchy feely with them. With the main threat defeated…sorta, and Gatchaman having nothing to do at the moment, its time for (groan) SLICE OF LIFE FILLER! Or more importantly, figuring out who the hell the mysterious cross-dresser Rui is. Apparently he’s the controller of President X, the main source of information running the GALAX social media network site that so many have become addicted to with Japan’s government coming apart at the seems and the economy in the toilet (LOL SATIRE!). So when some major news item hits the fan , President X relays it to the faithful before anyone else does, like…say…malpractice at the local creamery!

My name is Sugane Montoya... you killed my brother... prepare to die!

Yes, this week instead of fighting monsters, Sugane and Hajime try to prevent dumbasses from drinking milk. There is literally no sense of actual accomplishment and it only leads us to the conclusion that Gatchaman’s basically playing second fiddle to the GALAX system since its literally everywhere now. This becomes apparent when a rail disaster puts several Galaxters in danger and Rui is forced to reveal his secret weapon: the titular Crowds themselves. Black blobs with computer code for faces. If Gatchaman’s basically playing hero behind the scenes, then GALAX wants to be the hero for its customers in real life. Meanwhile Jo finally encounters Berg Katse face to face for the first time and Itsu-tsu gets some dialogue other than “I’m dreamy!” or some permutation of that. Oh and… no transformations this week…. seriously.

Thank you for that sound advice, insane girl!

It seems to me that what Kenji Nakamura is basically trying to do with Crowds is show how social media and the internet rules the world now. When the GALAX ad says “It’s not heroes who’ll update the world. It’s us.”, its because the mass media has taken over and the real heroes, IE: Gatchaman, are being forced to fight a forgettable battle where they’re nothing but urban legends, while the villains (and really they are) have got the mind and body of Japan already enraptured. Its a nifty deconstruction but executed it doesn’t quite work and means I just wish this Gatchaman team WOULD DO SOMETHING already… other than complain, waste time, and annoy me.

Wait THESE THINGS are the title characters?!?!

In the end I believe Jo said it best…

Indeed buddy. 3/10

2013
07.23

“Blackout”

In a spin-off series of any kind, you usually have a rich bit of source material from the original series, movie, book, or whatever the show is based from to work with. With something like Tron, though, there are only 2 films to go on. In some cases that could be enough to already have a well-established Universe and set of characters to work with. Without actually meaning to insult either of the Tron films, though (especially considering that I haven’t even seen one of them), the amount you learn about The Grid and its inhabitants in these features is rather… shallow, for lack of a better term. What I basically mean to say is that Uprising has its work cut out for it as a show, as it can’t just rely on established material, and must put the effort in like any original show would to enrich its world and its characters.

For this reason, you need “set-up” episodes like this one. This is an episode which can stand alone just fine on its own, but ultimately has more meaning in its bearing on the series and its characters as a whole, and contains a lot of hints to downright blunt developments pertaining to what will unfold in the future episodes of this show. On the outset of this episode, we have a very straightforward plot regarding a series of blackouts that are occurring throughout The Grid. Flynn and Beck are of course up to the task of investigating this anomaly, only to find out that its not an anomaly at all, but a calculated effort by General Tessler. He is using a drill of some kind outside of the city, which is really screwing around with the wiring (or whatever they use in The Grid), and causing the apparent blackouts. What Tessler is trying to achieve with this device other than being a general ass-hole to the city is not really revealed, but perhaps that is meant to come back later. Either way, its a moot point to Flynn and Beck, as this is just another mission for Tron, or as others call him, The Renegade. Beck is given a machine by Tron which will cause the drill to have a melt-down, but is warned that it’ll have a dangerous blast-radius and that he must make sure to be clear of the area before the time on the detonator runs out.

So… wouldn’t you know that it JUST so happens that our favorite annoying friend Zed is going to be participating in a light-cycle race in the tunnels located right within the parameters of this blast-zone? Beck is not immediately aware of this, so of course this leads to a nasty confrontation between him (as Tron) and Zed. To be fair, this is actually a good character moment for Zed, in a way. It is shown that this is one of the few things that Zed is actually really good at. He is shown to be winning the light-cycle race with a light-cycle that he himself constructed, only to be stopped by Tron and told that he needs to evacuate the area… oh, and Tron steals his prized cycle as well just as he was about to win the race, forcing him to not only lose any potential recognition he could have earned, but also taking away something that he had worked his ass off on to prove that he was more than just a useless oaf. On that end, it makes sense that this can really put Zed in a bad way towards being in danger of falling to the temptations of going through a darker path in his life, being that he already hated Tron before this point, but now the guy has physically interfered with his life.

This episode, however, turns out to be a much better character episode for Paige. Early on in the episode, she is thrown out of the assignment of eliminating Tron due to her past two failures. Her position is instead granted to Tessler’s right-hand man, Pavel. This could have gone the predictable route of having Paige get incredibly bitter and go through some annoying scheme to meddle in the fairs of her rival officer, but instead she keeps calm and cool-headed. She is clearly still devoted to Clu’s cause, so she won’t go against anyone in his army. She also realizes that Pavel is an incompetent idiot, and just patiently waits for him to screw up so that she can get her next chance to prove herself. The next major character moment she has in the episode comes at its climax, when she realizes that Tron has set a detonator that will cause the drill to melt down, and races him to retrieve it and shut it off in order to thwart his scheme, even at the cost of her own life. Unfortunately for her, she is too late and both her and Tron have to turn back and speed their way through the tunnels in order to escape the oncoming blast.

This leads to some exciting action and visuals, which ends up forcing Paige to ride along with Tron on his light-cycle which is much faster than hers and just fast enough to escape the blast; and of course Beck is smart enough to immediately throw her off when they are safe so as to not get immediately assassinated from behind. This sequence actually accomplishes two things. One is that it further complicates the relationship between Paige and Tron, setting up that she may have future instances where she may end up working with him, and may even come to trust him as an ally if she ever turns from her side, which seems fairly likely. The other thing it accomplishes is to link Paige to Zed. Escaping with Tron on Zed’s light-cycle helps set-up that Zed really did have some useful ingenuity in creating that machine, and Paige is not blind to this at all. On that note, the episode ends with Paige tracking down a very pissed-off Zed and makes him the offer to join her efforts in putting an end to The Renegade who is already blamed for causing all of the problems that Clu’s forces have been behind, so far. It sets up an even more complex relationship between Beck and one of his close friends, and in general foreshadows that there are going to be much tougher struggles for Beck to overcome as this series progresses.

2013
07.20

Yeah I’m still watching this dreck. Want my thoughts on Episode 1? Go read the Clusterfuck.

...your wrists!

So Hajime’s first battle goes kinda weird as she ends up sparing the MESS-Bus. This royally pisses off Sugane (as if he wasn’t annoyed by her enough already). However there’s no time for that now, we’ve gotta move into the Gatchaman dorm! Hajime’s bizarre antics continue to wear down on Sugane and fellow roommate Paiman as its becoming clear she’s more interested in using her cell-phone to participate in the online network GALAX than hanging around with these prudes. Sugane is eventually dragged into the world of GALAX and Hajime’s community of fellow GALAXters (OH I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE KENJI NAKAMURA!) with a meet up of collage makers on a train. Why this is happening I don’t know.

Let the shojo-ai begin.

MEANWHILE… Jo Hibiki does his own thing, and by that I mean drinking and smoking like some other character from a Gatchaman ripoff. Utsutsu just stands around and does her day job of amusement park groundskeeping. JJ Robinson acts all cold and aloof while making multicolored paper birds (hahaha nice try) and blows them off into the distance. OD keeps… od’ing on us but not before revealing that your NOTE is basically a representation of your soul, and if it gets destroyed you di-WAIT A MINUTE THIS IS FUCKING MADOKA AGAIN!!! GODDAMMNIT!!!!!!!!

This isn't going to end well is it?

Lets put a smile on that face!

Yup.... I was expecting that.

…where was I? Oh yeah. Berg Katse shows up again for no apparent reason other than to say “LOOK AT ME! I’M BERG KATSE!” And we get another mysterious character… Rui…. who’s a crossdresser… and maybe the evil mastermind behind everything. Greaaaaat. Eventually Hajime comes to the conclusion that if they annoy the MESS enough to shrink them to the size of a regular Rubic’s Cube, Not-chaman can be lead to the location of the humans that are being abducted by the MESS. Sugane thinks that’s bull but he’s got nothing better to do so might as well humor the Shortbusser.

You gotta be kidding me Nakamura. >_<

Crowd’s second episode is pretty much identical to the first one in both structure and content. We have a short somewhat anticlimactic fight followed by a lot of stupidity and Kenji Nakamura’s signature weirdness. None of the characters make any sort of development outside of Jo and Utsutsu since we get to see their “day jobs” for the first time, so Hajime’s still an annoying dimwit, Sugane, a boring underwritten sketch of a man, and OD an over-compulsory weirdo. Rui may be an interesting character but since he only appears in the last two minutes, all we know is he really loves his Guilty Crown cosplay for some reason.

Yeah that's a BRILLIANT IDEA!

Ultimately the problem with this show is that Nakamura is more infatuated in crafting his usual blend of hipster weirdness than actually making Gatchaman. Most of the references in the show (and there were a lot more this week) still come off as lip service to appease hardcore Gatcha-fans so he can get them to overlook everything else that’s wrong with this show (its badly paced, the characters are annoying, and the designs are just fugly and inconsistant).

Yeah it reminds me of a better show OOOOOH SSSSSSSSSNAP!

Its regrettable that this show seems to be stagnant in its development. Considering how the first episode was as terrible as it turned out, I fear for the next ten weeks having a further downward trajectory. 1/10.

2013
07.19

Aaaaaand we’re late again. As usual. But you don’t read us for our timeliness, right? Hell, who am I kidding… you don’t read us at all.

Blood Lad

ON THE FIRST DAY… GOD CREATED SOUL EATER! AND THE PEOPLE DEEMED IT GOOD! ON THE SECOND DAY… GOD CREATED BLUE EXORCIST! AND THE PEOPLE DEEMED IT… not so good. AND ON THE THIRD DAY… GOD CREATED BLOOD LAD! AND THE PEOPLE SAID: “…the fuck is this?”. Yup, its another goofy monster battle shonen show! This one’s all about vampires, who don’t sparkle but are still blue in the face. Our hero is Charlie Staz, a demon who dreads the idea of having to leave the Makairealm but is still addicted to human culture, particularly that of the Ni-han-goh. Yes my friends our hero… is a weeaboo. SAVOR IT!!!!

However, a real culture shock smacks Staz in the face when an honest to god actual Japanese schoolgirl appears in the demon wold. Soon he learns that his taste in anime is 20 years out of date, all his favorite bands broke up in the late-90s, and the title “Final Fantasy” has proven to be somewhat inaccurate. Alas, schoolgirl immediately dies by means of Rogue Triffid, but she’s still around, as a ghost, so Staz, inspired by a certain manga about a dragon and his balls, declares he will find a way to resurrect her and tap that sweet hot neck. Oh and there’s also the trials and tribulations of being the local territorial overlord to deal with, what with everybody trying to kill you and all. So time to quit and finally go to the human world. Oh snap.

You know… doing these clusterfucks can be taxing on the soul, what with all the crap I have to watch to give you briefass blurbs of free entertainment. So when a show like Blood Lad comes along and its the last thing you have to do, you’re all like “well its generic and bland and the entry on ANN’s preview didn’t give me much hope, and  I’ll probably slam for it being the Soul Eater ripoff that it is”. So naturally I would not expect anything… and then I watched it….and I was actually happy for once. This show is surprisingly really good. The jokes work, the references are easy to understand, and the animation is arguably the best of any show this season. Yes this is the Brains Base that made Baccano, not those fakers who did that Brothers Conflict shit.

Overall, congratulations Viz. You won AX this weekend by licensing this. Now put it on Toonami. 9/10 — Lord Dalek

Brothers Conflict

The least metrosexual moment in this entire show.

Let us bask in this series of men with the beauty of English Roses, even though they are neither English nor Billie Piper. As our young Chi and her squirrel companion are sent to some sort of halfway house, they both get continuously seduced by such luscious men with facial expressions that could only make the Nestence Consciousness proud. Entranced into becoming a sister of the family, who’s obviously not related by blood, Chi gets thrown into the maelstrom that is Brothers Conflict while her squirrel can do nothing but watch as she is slowly deflowered by such horrid gifts like bottled water and bananas. Those are surely the path to deviancy.

Truly, the house of the brothers is luxurious as it is bland. With such well-rounded characters like the pink-haired shota and the albino with a heart condition, whose personalities must be told through exposition than actually expressed in the actual show, Brothers Conflict is truly a sight to behold for many viewers who are looking a finely toned plot and such magnificent rising action that lurks within. Only a master of literature can guess as to whether or not Chi will be defrocked by either the sexually-appealing monk or that one shirtless man in the bathroom. Only time will tell as to who will steal her first kiss in the sumptuous series. Will Brain’s Base be able to craft a show almost as magnificent as the usual slop seen on most J-Dramas? Will Chi be able to reach her full potential as a docile housewife and find a husband to live with for the rest of her natural life, until it is swiftly ended by an obviously deserved case of domestic abuse? Like I said, time will tell.

2/10 — Bloody Marquis

Chronicles of the Going Home Club*

See! Colbert WAS right!!!

Ok stop me if you’ve heard this before. A bunch of insane girls are in a club dedicated to doing noth-yeah you’ve heard this one before. This is the umpteenth time I’ve seen this show and its not even the only one this season. So basically the plot… there isn’t one. Like Servant x Service we’re full on Azu Dai mode. Just segments. It ultimately concludes with a schoolgirl knocking out a brown bear with with kung fu or something.

Can you spell FORGETTABLE?!?! 1/10 — Lord Dalek

*This show’s romanized title is rather unfortunate  and I will not discuss it further. Ask Marquis.

Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei – The Animation

Rider and Waver's lovechild.

To label some good parts, I liked the first scene with the rocket, which is most likely taken from the game. The ending music is pretty cool. Getting Doraemon’s VA to play Monobear is a very nice touch. The only way to outdo a casting gag like that would be to have Pikachu’s actress play Kyubey. As for everything else, how I took two ten-minute breaks when watching the first episode shows how well it held my attention. The premise’s intrigue is hidden by horrible execution that unleashes fifteen characters without any way to get attached to a single one of them. I cannot remember a single trait of the main character other than he had brown hair and he was a pussy. And other than aesthetic designs of cliches you see in every other show, any hint of distinction was not to be seen. No establishing moment or hint that the characters will be memorable ever appeared in this. I know first impressions aren’t the best, but this debut only shows off pure apathy.

However, I do want a stuffed Monobear. That would be nice. 3/10 — Bloody Marquis

Dog & Scissors

You and me both, buddy.

The first scene of this series is that of a crazy dominatrix chasing after some poor Dachshund with Araragi hair. Obviously the bar is being set lower than a limbo championship, yet somehow Dog & Scissors makes the most of it and delivers a surprisingly competent if emotionally vapid product. Our story centers around Harumi, an ero-bookworm pervert who lusts after the literary prose of one Shinobu Akiyama. However, a bout of badly timed heroism leads to him being on the opposite end of a 12-gauge shotgun to the head. Oh well…

BUT WAIT! In the time honored tradition of “O Heavenly Dog!”, “Poochinski”, and “A Hundred Deeds for Eddie McDowd”, our hero gets a second lease on life… as a dog (albeit one lacking a blog). The good news for Harumi is he gets adopted rather quickly by a strange woman named Natsuno who can read his mind. The bad news for him is Natsuno is an S&M fetishist who chases our four-legged philanderer around with The Severing Crime Edge (or something like it) before tossing him into a dark rape dungeon! Hooray? The even worse news is Natsuno is actually a famous writer under the nom de plume of… surprise, surprise… Shinobu Akiyama. Hilarity ensues, I think, the show is about as funny as a wake.

Obviously there’s very little here to hang a story on. The characters are rather horrible people outside of maybe the afro sporting pet shop owner guy (and only because he does very little). They do try to tack on a murder mystery element with the pursuit of the shotgun guy still at large but that ultimately feels like a customary gesture. And even its attempt at comedy is futile as watching an insane woman tie a dog up and hang him from the ceiling doesn’t quite elicit the same laughs it might have had back in the day when D.W. Griffith used to do it.  Ultimately, Dog & Scissors isn’t awful (which is kind of a relief for me) but never makes really past meh in the end. 4/10 — Lord Dalek

The Eccentric Family

Aesthetically, the first thing I noticed about this show was how nicely the characters moved. The simple designs took some getting used to, but they work very well in motion. The second thing I noticed was how awful the backgrounds looked. They look like photographs edited using the trace bitmap function in Flash. Also, the background characters all have a bad case of uncanny valley syndrome, with some of them featuring some truly horrifying eyes. Overall, I can’t say this is a particularly pleasant-looking anime, but I guess that’s not really important.

This show is all about the writing. The dialogue is fantastic, the concept is fairly original, and the characters are – indeed – quite eccentric. While at some points I thought it was being weird simply for the sake of being weird, it only took a few minutes for me to adjust, and I ended up having no qualms about its strange and fantastical storyline/lore. The pacing is more on the relaxed side, but a lot happens in this first episode as far as series establishment goes. The character introductions and world-building are intelligent, occasionally subtle, and often humorous. In fact, the unique cast alone is reason enough to check this series out.

8/10 — Foggle

Fantasista Doll

…I liked this better when it was called Cardcaptor Sakura.

This series with a rather unspectacular concept begins in a rather unspectacular way.  Uzume was once some prodigy in a children’s card game who’s moved on, but then gets sucked into making a pact with some girl who calls herself a Doll.  Utilizing some PDA that was given to her mysteriously, she utilizes her as a combatant against some other girl with a doll, who wins, then she finds out that there are like five other generic anime girls in that PDA, and apparently if she doesn’t help them apparently something bad happens.  They won’t say, but apparently it’s bad.  Also there’s a creepy guy who kinda screws her over by essentially coercing her to play in his land of dreams.

=\ I can’t really say you’ll be interested in a show where the protagonist is standard generic normal girl and is forced in a very morbid fashion to play some weird children’s card games with a vague threat of evil that nobody wants to say.  If you do not know the characters or the stakes to care about them from the first episode, you should just shelve it.  Just shelve the fuck out of this.

2/10 — The Juude

Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya

No, you’re not.

I can only imagine that somebody watched DEEN’s subpar adaptation of Fate/Stay Night and said, “whoa this is way too good! I can do far worse than that!”, because I can’t think of any other way Prisma Illya could exist. And since I’m apparently the only person at AR who cares about Type-Moon stuff, I get to be the one who watches this shit. Oh boy.

This is a parody of magical girl shows. It’s an obnoxious, screechy parody, but a parody nonetheless. I guess that’s better than it just being a straight magical girl anime. Even so, it does not benefit from featuring Fate characters at all. You could have easily replaced Ilya, Rin, and Shirou with random people and it would have been exactly the same. It’s the worst kind of fanfiction. (Well, actually, it’s the second worst. The worst would have been if it was also pornographic.)

Prisma Illya attempts to make fun of the generic tropes and cliches present in 99% of mahou shoujo series, but it does so with little grace or style. It’s certainly energetic, in both animation and vocal performances, but that hardly makes it good. It’s just loud for the sake of being loud, like The Fairly OddParents or something. There are a few genuinely good jokes scattered throughout the first episode, but as the concept of pacing seems to be completely lost on this series, they fail to generate any laughs and will just leave the audience scratching their heads in bewilderment.

This anime is only worth watching for those Fate fans who want to see Ilya get naked and lust after her brother. You know who you are. 1/10 — Foggle

Free!

Jim Fixed It For Us

So yeah, it’s this show. Four boys with names of girls used to be in a swimming club in elementary school. After one of them splits for Australia for several years, the other three drop out of swimming and live mostly unfulfilling lives before reuniting in high school. Then that other guy shows up and he’s a jerk now. And then the episode ends.

Its a pretty nondescript episode when broken down to its essentials but Free! somehow transcends that to become one of the most bizarrely entertaining half hours so far this season.  Its as if KyoAni knew this show was going to be horse shit and made it earnestly self-aware of its own ridiculousness. The fact that the characters all have girl names isn’t just stupid its a punchline for a joke the show delivers. The fact that our main protagonist is a nevernude is a gag that seems like a throwaway but gets funnier every time they bring it up and then that absurdly bizzare/amazing ed that ends the thing… Jesus Christ.

So yeah… best show of the season probablynah it’s Blood Lad 8/10. — Lord Dalek

Second Opinion!

The jokes have been made. The abs have been remarked upon. Reddit is scared of it. Tumblr is in love with it. It’s here. It’s slightly queer. It’s something that goes well with a 6-pack of beer. Free has finally come to this world.

I’m pretty sure the hype created entirely by the fans has more than tainted my view of this show. I couldn’t watch a scene without remembering the odd in-joke, as well as  how every element of the show has been mocked to death at least a month before this even aired. In other words, I was watching this with the mindset of a hopeless fangirl who giggles whenever a single allusion to my fan-canon is hinted at. In objective terms, the episode was pretty basic. Guys rekindles his hobby with his forgotten childhood friend. The subtext struggles to become text. Pretty much the regular roundabout you see in something like Kimi To Boku. However, there are a few points where you can spot a hint of self-awareness. The scene with Haruka in a apron while also in a swimsuit is too odd to be taken as just blind fanservice.

Admittedly, I’m giving the show way too much credit. If I embraced the K-On! memes to the point of self-parody, I would probably look at that show in a favorable light too. But the show’s enjoyment is derived from a bit of “so bad, it’s good” allure. Moments are so stupid, that they inspire laughter rather than scoffs. I can compare it to my reaction to Valvrave throughout last season. A genuine sincerity and dedication can, no matter how mishandled or questionable, make a show entertaining even if it’s for the wrong reasons.

7/10 if you’re watching to make fun of it. 4/10 if you’re unironically watching this. — Bloody Marquis

Gatchaman Crowds

That about sums it up.

The most annoying school girl in the history of anime gets superpowers when a vampire samurai sticks his hand in her… something. A bland guy uses a cheap notebook to transform into a Kamen Rider of some sort while a heavenly choir chants “GAT-CHA-MAAAAAN!”. Mamoru Miyano voices an insane effeminate man who is not an angsty emo swimmer and instead is apparently the villain from the original series I guess beats me. Gigantic Rubic’s Cubes turn into horrible monsters (apparently). And the forces of good are led by a talking panda bear which sounds remarkably a lot like Haruhi Suzumiya. Ladies and gentlemen… Gatchaman Crowds.

Oh Tatsunoko what have you done? I was honestly praying to god this would not turn out as bad as the promotional artwork suggested it would be, but no…. you had to live up to expectations. You had to give us one of the most bizarre, incomprehensible, irritating, infuriating trainwrecks since Happy Lesson. Why did this have to be… I mean I liked Casshern Sins, even though that had little to do with the source material too, but this… What is this? Why is this a thing? Why does it exist? Is this a bad joke? What was I supposed to be expecting out of this?

You can’t make the argument that this is not being made for people like because frankly nobody knows what Science Ninja Team Gatchaman (or Battle of the Planets/G-Force/Eagle Riders/Whatever) is outside of people over the age of 25. The original show is older than your mother and as such carries with a degree of respect that you have to live up to. Clearly that has not been shown here. On the other hand, the animation is frankly stunning (Tatsunoko always delivers high quality work for such an old studio) and the music is really really good when its not being drowned out by Ichinose’s brainless blather.

It really pains me to do it but… 1/10 — Lord Dalek

Second Opinion!

When Hajime starts humming the title of the show to the tune of Jetman, I see a show that is very aware of being a loose reboot to some 70s anime. Instead of being scientific or ninjas, Kenji Nakamura portrays the heroes as garish warriors with direct ties to a deity. By connecting itself to a spiritual influence, Gatchaman Crowds argues on what defines a “Gatchaman”. The word is made up and sounds like gibberish to anybody who didn’t grow up with the original show. Here, Nakamura fights to find a definition for that word beyond a hero in a suit. He takes everything that was previously thought of the term and deconstructs it. “Gatchaman” becomes a term open for free interpretation, which this first episode offers in full view. Through overtly subtle nods and hints, the reboot utilizes the past mythos in order to create countless questions driving the story. And I like it.

And did anyone else see the irony in an Aya Hirano character arguing with an overly energetic brunette?

7/10 — Bloody Marquis

Third Opinion!

Say what you will about modern day updates to 70s anime like Mazinger SKL, Koutetsuhin Jeeg, and Casshern Sins, but for all their modern trappings they retained the hardy spirit and concept of their predecessors.  Unfortunately the same cannot be said for Gatchaman Crowds, which looks, sounds, and feels like Tatsunoko hired a hipster honey badger to craft the overall tone and concept of the series.

Revolving around six Gatchaman, updated to include a loli in her underwear, a panda, and the worst female character in this summer?s anime, the story tasks them to follow the cryptic whims of one J.J. (think Professor Nanbu as a vampire) and stop the alien race known as MESS.  They do so by using magical Death Notes (seriously they’re called NOTEs) to transform into super powered soldiers, each with their own unique weaponry.  Also Berg Katse is here for some reason.
This would all be alright if the show wasn’t so in love with its own postmodernism.  Instead of reviving what made the show Gatchaman, Crowds just takes the legendary symbols of the original series and only that.  Everything else is rife with pointless abstraction and eccentricities.  The aforementioned worst female character (Hajime a.k.a. Jun the Loon) is an atrocious frame of reference for the viewer because of her outright loopy demeanour and lack of concern over what is at stake.  It’s not charming as it is annoying, and she does not really imbue any hope for growth even after she gains her dreadful Gatchaman costume.

Come to think of it when you look at the suits, are they even Gatchaman?  They look less like birds and more like perversions of cliched anime body armour types, and we didn’t even see all of them in the first episode.  For an ensemble team we’re only privy to two in the very first episode, and the only highlight of the action is them killing a bus.  Now that’s setting your sights high.  Then again this show isn’t even doing that.  The only real ambition found in this episode is seeing how totally hipster chick the Gatchaman’s base is, and nothing else.  Quite disappointing given the rather epic scale of the original property.

The only thing epic here is the annoyance that emanates from its obnoxious aesthetics and protagonist, and I don’t know if I can stand to watch more of it and like it. I probably will however, just to see how this psychedelic train wreck sticks its landing.

3/10 — The Juude

Genshiken Nidaime

I’ve yet to complete the last of Genshiken’s first season or watch its entire second season, so coming into this cold turkey with that big a gap was probably not the best idea.  However, the first episode of Genshiken Second Generation, which seems more like the fourth season depending on the inclusion of OVAs and the second season (their observation, not mine), provides a bit of fun despite being very subdued.

Most of the episode was spent introducing three new members to Genshiken: the yaoi-obsessed Yoshitake, the taciturn Yajima, and Hato-kun who’s… interesting to say the least.  For the most part they provide quite a bit of energy and don’t seem to come off as TOO bland, but compared to the generation that has moved on (from Madarame to Sasahara), they lack the charisma and the sheer amusing eccentricities that most of the male cast provided in the first season.  As of now the only remaining male member from the last series is Kuchiki, and he’s kindof obnoxious.  The remaining club members retain their personalities for the most part, giving the viewer consistency, and the inclusion of some of the older members was pleasant, even if they weren’t there for very long.  The back and forth between these people feels natural, and given the dynamic contrast between what the members want and what the current president of the club wants, it may make for amusing stories in the near future.

The unfortunate part is for the Genshiken neophyte this all may seem a bit too much and too confusing, for Genshiken really requires an investment right from the very beginning to fully appreciate the purpose of the club and what they stand for.  My humble recommendation if you’ve watched this before everything else: skip way back to the first season and take it all in until the second episode Genshiken Nidaime.   You’ll thank me for it.

…But you’ll also be upset that Gai Shishio’s no longer the voice of Madarame in the new series.  Yes.  Gai Shishio/Adult Link/whatever was the voice of that particular guy with the glasses.

7/10 — The Juude

Second Opinion!

Being unfamiliar with Genshiken outside of the concept, I went into this episode with trepidation and my usual apathetic determination. (Is that even a thing? (Let’s run with it.)) Anyway, I expected a mildly funny slice of life about an anime club… and that’s exactly what I got. It was good, though.

What I really liked about this episode was how it portrayed its characters, and otaku in general. They aren’t glorified, but they aren’t looked down upon, either. They’re just people with their own quirks and flaws. One of them is overweight, two of them are perverts, one of them is transgender(?)… but so what? They all come together out of their love of anime, and have a good time hanging out. You know, just like any other club would.

This certainly wasn’t the most interesting first episode in the world, and I felt like it dragged a bit at times, but it left me with a positive impression. Now I need to go back and watch the older series, or read the manga.

7/10 — Foggle

Gifuu Doudou!!: Kanetsugu and Keiji

This is a pretty straight forward sengoku jidai show about the relationship between two samurai (the old fashioned Kanetsugu and the “eccentric” Keiji) during the final days of the warring states period and how they go from two men trying to kill each other to best friends. Its not a yaoi (at least not yet) and everything is drawn in a style resembling Fist of the North Star (no surprise, the original manga is by Tetsuo Hara). The pacing is not the best and neither is the animation, but what do you expect from the perpetually bargain basement Studio Deen? Overall its a decent start but not something I’m going to remember in the end.

7/10 — Lord Dalek

High School DxD New

I haven’t laughed this hard at an anime in months. Not at the actual jokes, mind you – this is ostensibly a romantic action comedy after all – but at everything else. The writing, the pacing, the timing… everything “dramatic” about this show is pure gold. Even more so than last season’s abominable-yet-hilarious Valvrave, High School DxD New crosses the threshold into so bad it’s good territory early on and never leaves. By the time the eye-catch hit, with its beautifully misplaced ominous music cue inserted over a panty shot, I was hooked.

What I saw of the first season was merely boring and tactless, but series 2 truly takes DxD to new heights. The level of sheer awfulness on display here is borderline genius, and it’s probably not even on purpose! This first episode, as shameless with its detailed T&A shots as it is melodramatic with its storytelling, is a joy to watch. It so desperately wants you to take its idiotic fantasy storyline seriously, yet it simultaneously tries to titillate with shameless clothes-ripping scenes and visual innuendo. Everything about this show is just so earnest, always blissfully unaware of how stupid it really is, that it comes across more as a brilliant farce than the badly-written excrement it appears to be. Ed Wood would be proud.

Enjoyment Rating: 8/10
Objective Rating: 1/10 — Foggle

Hyperdimension Neptunia: The Animation

Sadly, this is easily the funniest “joke” in the entire episode.

This anime is about as good as you’d expect a TV show based on a video game to be. In other words, it sucks.

I have not played any of the Neptunia games, but if the plot, humor, and characters are entertaining in them, then I guess they just don’t work too well outside of that medium, because they’re downright terrible here. The story goes that four goddesses – who I believe are supposed to represent the Wii, PS3, Xbox 360, and PC – end their (console) war and decide to become friends. But the goddesses are really alternate personas for some lolis, complete with lascivious transformation sequences. Since the war is over, now they all just hang out and play Street Fighter or whatever it is video game systems do when you aren’t looking.

Aside from a bunch of gaming jokes that don’t work very well and a couple of uncomfortable fanservice scenes, this is basically just a generic magical girl show. The protagonists are friendly rivals, and their personalities change after transforming. They kill a giant dragon because it happens to be the first monster of the week. Neptunia even features a buxom witch-looking antagonist with an obnoxious pet something or other. Are you interested yet?

No?

I didn’t think you would be. 2/10 — Foggle

Addendum!

Foggle: I have some news that may be shocking for you.
Foggle: The Hyperdimension Neptunia anime sucks
Parallel: NO
Parallel: HOW CAN THIS BE
Foggle: I KNOW
Parallel: WHAT ARE YOU TELLING ME
Foggle: I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT MYSELF

Il Sole Penetra le Illusioni

I do not mince my words lightly when I say that this show may be not only the worst show of the season but also the year it aired. There is a special place in hell reserved for the makers of such derivative, manipulative otakubait dreck that simple words cannot capture the sheer awful of Daybreak Illusion. This is a series that is literally every slightly to mostly dark moe show since Higurashi first slithered onto our screens ground into little tiny pieces, thrown into a muffin tin, baked at 425 degress, and sold at a bakesale for the low low price of 300 dollars (Yay Aniplex!).  Wanna watch this show? Go marathon Madoka Magica on Daisuki instead. It’ll save you the pain I suffered. 0/10 — Lord Dalek

It’s Not My Fault That I’m Not Popular!

Your waifu this season amirite?

Everybody’s already talked about how the show’s appeal stems from fans having a major case of “I know dat feel, gurl.” So instead, the series should be compared to other anime about otaku as the major focus.

For instance, let’s compare this to its polar opposite, Oreimo. Both Tomoko and Kirino have eroge in their blood, annoy the hell out of their brothers, and drive the main focus of the story. Kirino, however, writes a published light novel that only doesn’t become an anime due to creative differences. She’s liked by her friends. She meets the actors from her favorite show. Her interests are treated with adoration by the rest of the characters who think that, maybe, being a visual novel addict is a wonderful thing. Basically, the show is on her side for the entire run. Meanwhile, Tomoko gets a sucker punch for every chance at being social. Her interests aren’t viewed with reverence, but with utter disdain. Instead of some wonderful storytelling, her games are portrayed as her merely touching the DS screen in hopes of making some picture on a dating sim cum. Kirino is idealized, while Tomoko is plunged into cynicism. And at least Tomoko and her brother have a relationship that falls under reluctant tolerance than budding incest.

7/10 — Bloody Marquis

Second Opinion!

Tomoko Kuroki is possibly the most unsavoury character in this summer’s anime batch, both aesthetically and in personality.  A disheveled, creepy, socially awkward recluse, she maintains a delusion of grandeur about being the kind of girl every boy wants and seeks to make that delusion a reality in high school.  Unfortunately judging from the first episode, her peculiar, ineffective, self-starting Pygmalion tale will be more easily said than done, and is not at all helped by Kuroki either.

On paper this makes for a rather interesting set up, but as was mentioned, Kuroki does not really help much of the show.  Initially her delusions and lamentations make for amusing moments (including a nice homage to Death Note) but It then ratcheted up to the point of annoyance.  Most of the episode is Kuroki sniping at her peers for being phonies, conformists, or what have you with the type of disdain that may hearken her to a Japanese Holden Caulfield.  It slowly causes her to look more pathetic, and subsequently any and all conflict which came around in the last third of the episode does not faze since the personal investment towards Kuroki’s plight is well… near zero.

Perhaps this episode would’ve fared better if it was not just her spiteful reflections of life but also an establishment of unique ancillary foils (aside from her brother, who just exhibits tried-and-tiresome exasperation and has the same creepy black eye marks as Kuroki), who can react to her creepiness and provide something to offset it in a manner similar to how Welcome to the NHK’s enigmatic and chipper Misaki interacted with the dour, antisocial Satou.  Alas, it will either have to wait for another episode or not at all.

Hopefully this… somewhat fair lady finds her way into high society and higher quality episodes.  Hopefully.

6/10 — The Juude

Third Opinion!

I’ll say it up front; you won’t get anything out of this show unless you can relate to Kuroki (the protagonist) in at least some way. She’s a depressed, anti-social shut-in who brings all the negative things in her life upon herself… and yet, I like her. I know where she’s coming from. This isn’t simply a case of the writer going for cheap moments of “OHH I KNOW THAT FEEL GURL” or “she’s just like me *__*” or what have you – the author of the original manga clearly has a legitimate understanding of how people who are (or think they are) socially dysfunctional feel. Sure, it’s all played for light comedy, but it’s only really funny if you have experience dealing with this kind of shit.

That said, it’s not nearly as raw or honest as, say, Welcome To The NHK, but I don’t think it needs to be. At the end of the day, this is an upbeat farce that’s intended more to make people laugh at themselves than reexamine how much they hate life for the umpteenth time. It’s just a fun watch for a very specific audience.

9/10 — Foggle

Love Lab

This show is a delicate critique on Japanese society, as girls go through extreme social pressure to act like everybody else. As such students like Riko and Maki traverse their way into adulthood, one breaks down from adhering to the princess model that is held ever so dear. After being told to act like this and commit to actions like that, Maki has become a deconstruction of the traditional Yamato Nadeshiko model. Through being told to act womanly, she has developed a craving for what young scientists refer to as “the D”. This element is too alien to Maki, that she cannot even comprehend how to acquire someone with “the D”. Therefore, Riko must help her know her way around such foreign territory. However, Riko is an alien to the school society. She is wild for doing such things like swimming and talking back to those who contain “the D”. Her exotic nature alludes the school society, and they wish to put a stop to her ways and make her love Big Brother. Will Maki break out of her eldritch shell and gain a boyfriend? Will Riko smear a shitstain on the side of conformity? Is this giving too much credit to a slice-of-life show?

No, maybe, yes.

4/10 — Bloody Marquis

Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist

It’s hard not to feel dread for an anime if it starts off with a scene of yaoi undertones and is followed by an opening with the name “Believe My Dice”.  Completely understandable, I forgive you if you felt the same way I did.

Yet Makai Ouji is… not really bad.  It looks to be rather fun.  William Twining has everything, intelligence, wit, a high opinion of himself and a belief in the super-rational (The boring version of that CW show), but no more money to pay for his tuition at a posh private school.  Trying to find something of value in his already empty house, after his poor businessman uncle ran off, he accidentally unleashes an ancient demon named Dantalion.  Soon his rational scientific mind flies head first into a reality where demon lords are fighting to become the IKoH (Interim King of Hell) while Lucifer sleeps, and he, as the Elector, has to choose that one demon.

Seriously, I was expecting to really hate this one but I’m kindof at awe at how amused I was at this.  William provides a nice edge as a protagonist by being the rational foil while everything around him screams otherwise, making him clash amusingly with all the characters from his remaining manservant, Dantalion himself, and Goat Butler*.  Based on his attempts to make sense out of what’s happening, it looks like it’ll be a very interesting ride, especially based on the well-done action scene and the subsequent intrigues of the eccentric characters of Hell and the potential spillover into the real world.

As long as they keep throwing these absurdities William’s way and keep yaoi-esque scenes like the one mentioned above at a minimum, I’m probably going to enjoy myself with this one.  Hopefully you will too.

8/10 — The Juude

*Yes, there is a Goat Butler, and he is best character. Also, he sounds like he’s voiced by Alucard.

Monogatari: Seasonogatari Twonogatari

Who's dem cats whose necks won't crack when danger's gonna smack? SHAFT! Ya damn right!

Starting with a first-person view of a Roomba, wandering around without a real motive in sight, Hanekawa presents her own story without Araragi. Which puts an intriguing spin on the show, by removing the main center of the story. While there’s still repetition such as how Hanekawa talks about the importance of having many utensils is to prove that her family just happens to use a lot of utensils. This might show how empty her normal life is by showing little interest in her narration, but that seems to apply to every character in the show.

Speaking of which, there’s a lot of talk about how parents would react in this episode. While no adults ever actually appear, this provides a point. The inability to show any of the caretakers or whatever to the point where they’re almost non-existent makes the parent-child gap seem like a gap between other species. Even Senjougahara wonders about how giving Hanekawa food and a shelter qualifies as parenting. Through their absence, I notice how isolation plays a theme. When a character is alone, something breaks such as when Senjougahara goes into a rare emotional fit over how Hanekawa has to sleep in the school when her house burned down. She’s like the long egg in the nest, and Senjougahara tries to keep her from cracking. That scene was more than a bit off-putting, and made me see a glimmer of hope in this show… but then what came after.

Now, there are a lot of valid points for why the Monogatari series could be considered witty, but they get drowned whenever Senjougahara does a strip tease and pontificates about stripping for five minutes. I know that sounds petty, but when the third act of the episode is just Senjougahara getting Hanekawa to take her top off, while mentioning how they’re doing this on Araragi’s behalf, I see about as much wit as a mediocre Sex & The City episode. Maybe the song and dance act shows more characterization than mere titillation, but then I remember that bath scene from Nise and how much narrative depth that had.

On a brighter note, Hanekawa shows one point of growing out of her submissive side by answering, without a moment’s thought, that she still loves Araragi. I don’t gel with whatever relationships happen in this series at all, but that moment highlighted more about Hanekawa than a paragraph could about Araragi. Through her submission, lies passion and dedication. Where most people see a problem that can’t be solved, she sees a path. It’s rather inspiring.

6/10 — Bloody Marquis

Second Opinion!

LAST TIME ON MONOGATARI… Some tsundere bitch stepped on a banana peel and fell down a flight of st-oh wait that was a prequel.

LAST TIME ON MONOGATARI… A guy who looks like hipster Naruto turned that annoying asshole who won’t shut up from a vampire back into a hu-oh wait they haven’t made that one yet.

LAST TIME ON MONOGATARI…. ….I never actually made it past the second episode of Nise. Do you really blame me, dat shit was payyyyneful!

THIS SEASON ON SOMETHING SOMETHINGATARI! Tsubasa Hanekawa, class rep among class reps, finds herself dealing with the curse cat yet again, the fact that she has suddenly become homeless, and her estranged framily life while several panels of words flash on our screens for no descernable reason. Meanwhile Senjougahara goes full-on dere (and full-on Shaft Tilt) before pretending to be Lupin to Hanekawa’s Clarise. And Hachikuji shows up for two minutes just to tease the adaptation of Kabukimonogatari coming three weeks from now in a bad fourth wall joke that goes nowhere. Or as we translate into the common tongue… the usual load of absolutely nothing we’ve come to expect from this steaming pile.

After a seven month hiatus and still failing to deliver that Kizu movie promised two years ago, Shinbo and Shaft are back to Ye Olde Nisioisin Well again to deliver adaptations of six of the remaining (at the time of this writing) 14 novels in 26 episodes. First up its the Yui Horie Show starring Chiwa Saito and surprisingly by Monogatari-standards it isn’t half bad. I guess the main reason being that everybody’s favorite Douchenozzle Araragi… isn’t in it. Surprise! So instead we have Horie spewing Isin’s endless rapidfire hipster drone, which may or may not be something of an improvement. Actually it is since Shinbo keeps it to the bare minimum this time around. He also burns through this book covering the first nine chapters with blatant efficiency (to the point that there is a joke made about how chapter 008 has been omitted). That being said… its still pretty damn pointless. I’m getting to the point now that making sport out of Monogatari is basically old hat since the show’s deficiencies (Shaft Tilts, intentionally choppy editing, and incredibly minimalist animation aside) lie with Nisio Isin himself and the godawful books he churns out every 3-4 months at this point.  Maybe Shinbo agrees with me since he cut it to the bone this time around. Hmmm…

SO ANYWAY…

Scorecard: 4/10 (for being fucking Monogatari) +1 bonus for NO FUCKING ARARAGI, KAREN, TSUKIHI, AND BANANA CHAIR.

FINAL SCORE: 5/10 — Lord Dalek

Nyuru Nyuru!! Kakusen-Kun

This show is fairly similar to its subject material in that they’re kinda annoying and go really well with Clearasil. 3/10. — Lord Dalek

Ro-Kyu-Bu! SS

This is an ecchi. The girls all look no older than eight. The title of the first episode is “An Elementary Schooler’s Innocent World”.

Welp, looks like it’s time to slit my wrists in the bathtub.

Between all the detailed ass shots and that scene where one of the girls licks mustard off of an erect hot dog, this episode took me an hour to finish and I contemplated turning it off at least three times. What follows is a stream of consciousness rendition of what watching Ro-Kyu-Bu! SS was like for me.

basketball its my favorite sport i like the way they dribble up and down thjesus christ
those shorts are way too tight
uh no one is looking in my window right now are they
let me just make sure i dont have livestream or anything running in the background
to their credit they are pretty good at basketball i guess
oh boy a summer festival episode so original
is she
no
she cant be
no
nonononononononononononononononononononononononononononononononono
i cant do this
fuck
deep breaths
its my duty to see this episode through to the end
oh god
ohhh god
oooohhhh myyyyyy goooooooooddddddd
kill me
KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME KILL ME
MAKE IT STOP
PLEASE

1/1000 — Foggle

Rozen Maiden: Zurückspulen

Hide. Survive.

Digressing from the first impression, I would just like to mention that this episode had a commercial for Blu-Rays of the previous show. If that’s not lack of dedication toward your current product, I don’t know what is.

Easily, I’m confused as to why a highly stylistic manga was handed to DEEN of all people. The studio that made the first version is still in business. Besides, uneducated preschoolers could create better detail. Really, damn every subservient underling who thought the studio who gave us Kore wa Zombie desu ka? or Junjou Romantica should be allowed to animate anything ever again. Doesn’t even surprise me that the series almost looks even older than the first one.

So why reboot this series? The fandom is long dead. Esurance has more relevance in terms of animation than this series. The dolls are nothing but one-dimensional shells who make actual porcelain figures look like Marcel Marceau. Jun’s a sod. Shinku’s a chode. Suigintou is 30% of all of DeviantArt. And everyone else has the depth of a used Mojonnier Bottle. They can all go die with an entire season’s worth of time to bide. Sure, it’s not a well-known show for nothing, but that’s only because of repetition gone to dangerous levels. The premiere looks like an attempt to look pretty while Ali Project plays nonstop. While that applies to the original series, was that even good enough to reboot in the first place?

Uh, yeah. Skip this. 2/10 — Bloody Marquis

Senki Zesshou Symphogear G: In The Distance, That Day, When The Star Became Music…

It is now.

Between this and High School DxD, this season’s almost like a reunion of 2012 shows I hoped I’d never have to see again. Then again, I (ironically) loved the new series of DxD, so maybe Symphogear G will also fare better…?

Surprisingly, it does. The plot is still preposterous and the designs are still obnoxious, but the characters are a lot more likeable, the music is much nicer on the ears, and the action is downright excellent. The animation is particularly nice this time around, though if it’s anything like the first season, the quality will drop severely before too long. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, I guess.

As mentioned above, not much can be said for this episode’s plot, but I guess an action musical doesn’t really need a thought-provoking storyline. There are bad guys. They’re bad. There’s this one guy who acts nice but is probably working with the bad guys. Which would also make him bad. Some stuff blows up. Monsters get shot and punched. J-Pop is sung in the background the entire time. Yep, it’s Symphogear.

There are some weird artsy scenes near the beginning that make the whole thing feel incredibly self-indulgent, but unlike last season, it all comes across as intriguing rather than insipid. This entire episode was a massive step in the right direction.

That really is an awful title, though. 6/10 — Foggle

Addendum!

Gotta’ love how every time Hibiki refers to Chris as “Chris-chan”, the subbers conveniently leave the honorific out.

Servant x Service

Dear A-1 Pictures,

Sirs I am rather disappointed by the quality of the depiction of office life in this anime. As a man who has worked in an office for several years, I have have never run into employees as dumb and insane as the ones in Servant x Service. I’ll have you know that at no time did my supervisor have Arragi hair and throw three ring binders at my head.

It seems you made this show to be like another anime of years past called Azumanga Daioh. The difference being that show was high schoolers and not office employees. The other difference being that show was actually funny. I’m not sure who would tune into such a frivilous unrealistic display of fake office ethics that feels like 11 two minute comedy animes glued together.

In that regard I am officially declining your series on the grounds that it put me half to sleep.

Regards,

Lord Dalek

(2/10)

Silver Spoon

Proctology in a nutshell.

I’m gonna be stupid and say that the best part of this episode was the animal footage. Those cows were adorable to watch. Even seeing that chicken get beheaded was a bit calming. These are some really nice looking animals, which are unfortunately hampered by a cast that looks and acts plain for Arakawa standards. I like Tamako for being outlandish than anything, but everyone else didn’t stand out. Yuugo’s just, “I don’t know what eggs are! This concept of eggs disgusts me to complete insanity!” He takes the entire episode to understand the very definition of eggs, which establishes his character as very out-of-place in terms of agriculture, but also rather dumb for not knowing basic animal anatomy like that.

Though as can be seen from FMA, Arakawa writes plenty of moments that are supposed to be enlightening but come off as odd. Though there are probably a few up and coming farmers who are disgusted by eggs, I guess. And telling from how one of the episode’s subplots involved the protagonist’s relationship with eggs, this makes for a very… relaxing show. There’s no major character conflict yet, and everyone’s just hanging out while they learn how to farm. To others, Silver Spoon will probably come off as one of those “show about nothing” anime. But knowing Arakawa, her work usually pulls through in the end.

6/10 — Bloody Marquis

Second Opinion!

Who’da thunk that an anime dealing with agriculture would turn up to be one of the more likable products in this summer crop?  I didn’t that’s for sure.

Gin no Saji has a lot going for it in the first episode.  It has a menagerie of well-defined characters; it’s aesthetically clean with sharp character designs (despite such tempting you to call the anime “Fullmetal Farmboy”); and it does not do anything to really be insulting, pandering, or cloying to the viewer, at least not yet.

Ironically nothing really MUCH happens in the first episode, which is perhaps a good thing.  We’re introduced to the world of the Oezu Agricultural High School, a surprisingly expansive high school that allows the viewer to know the scale of the adventure, and essentially how our protagonist, Hachiken, gets along with his study group as they do… farmer-y things.  It’s effective in setting up the tone for the show and reveals that this high school is actually populated by well-rounded people.  They ain’t philosophers, intellectuals, or any of those fancy pants Ivy League-types, but their hardiness, work ethic, and surprising knowledge and interest in various, esoteric agricultural sciences make them endearing.

It also helps that the fish-out-of-water protagonist, Hachiken, is executed serviceably well.  His aversion to farm work is expected, but the little things in the episode like the running gag of his aversion to eggs help to make the experience a bit less cliched.  I also liked how despite him being the odd one out, there may be a bit of a reason why he’s so far out into the country, a reason he acted upon due to some multitude of events.  The episode does well in eliciting that air of mystery, and I’m actually interested as to why he chose to be there
.
Once you get past the agrarian, not-quite-exciting, atmosphere and admire an execution so well-crafted that you’re actually interested in a farm anime, Gin no Saji’s first episode’s not bad at all.  I look forward to seeing if the seeds it is sowing will reap a bountiful harvest, or at least be like an egg that looked like it came out of an anus instead of wherever actual eggs come from.

Farm puns.

7/10 — The Juude

Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C³

In an alternate reality where Wayne LaPierre rules the universe, shy, insular Yura Yamato has just been accepted to the elite Stella Girls’ Academy. She thinks she’ll get over her crippling agoraphobia but not before she discovers her new roommate keeps a 3mm under her pillow. …actually its all for show, and Yura quickly finds  herself drafted into the Ctothepowerof3 Club, a bunch of strange gun crazy schoolgirls who have watched one too many Stallone movieas and dedicate their lives to 360 no-scoping each other. Naturally this doesn’t sound as pleasing as it may be to diehard fans of Girls Und Panzer so the bulk of the episode is spent around convincing Yura to take up an Mig loaded with pellets and reenact the original First Blood (which is funny since Rambo didn’t actually kill anybody in that movie). Yes this is a real thing.

Oh Gainax, what the fuck happened to you? It seems everything this company has made since Diebuster has been circling the drain in overall quality. Hell if it wasn’t for the big red logo on the title sequence I would have swore this was an A-1 show with all its bland moe antics and dips into weird militarism until it reaches the point where the series seems at times only one step removed from Vividred Operation, and boy howdy wasn’t THAT a great show!?! Seriously, watching a bunch of moe girls stage mock wars with each other is not my idea of a fun entertaining series. Hell the only real difference between this and that Going Home Club Show is at least this has decent animation and a plot but otherwise… yeah moe can only go so far.

3/10 — Lord Dalek

Sunday without God

Footage from the upcoming DoA6: Alive, not Dead

Life sucks now for the people of planet Earth. 12 years ago, the almighty apparently caught wind of that old Babelfish joke from H2G2 and said to his creation “Screw it, you morons are on your own.” As a result, noone is born or can die in this bleak strange world. Except, of course, if you know a Gravekeeper like our heroine Ai who was given that power when her mother abruptly dies. Now Ai is cursed to wander the landscape digging holes for poor people who just want it all to end, until a man named Hampnie Humbert shows up in her town and kills everybody around.

Yeah this show is fairly baffling, kicking us into a world of pseudo-zombies without much clue as to what the hell is going on. The animation is decent however the show baths everything in a harsh yellow light that makes it hard to make it out exactly what is going on in it. Its based off a light novel so I assume your supposed to have some pre-knowledge of the source, but that’s all lost on me. Better luck next time Madhouse. 6/10 — Lord Dalek

Tamayura: More Aggressive

“Let’s photo” indeed, Potte.

Much like the beloved Aria and Hidamari Sketch before it, Tamayura seems like one of those “relaxing anime” to me. While I’m definitely not part of the target audience for this kind of show, it would be unprofessional of me to just write it off as “boring” or whatever, so I will attempt to review this episode as if I am.

This is the sequel to a series from 2011, which is made immediately apparent by the fact that this first episode is roughly 70% clip show. There are new developments, making it an essential watch for fans of the original, but I found the presentation of Hitotose’s material to be a bit dry. This isn’t to say that the material itself is dry, but that the way More Aggressive recaps it causes it to become dry. I feel that little effort was put into making the old material enjoyable for newcomers (like myself) or fresh for veterans, and that the reused footage was employed more as a means to save money than anything else. Frankly, the new scenes and opening monologue give the audience enough of a clue about Fuu’s past and her cherished friendship with Kaoru, Norie, and Maon to make the recapping unnecessary.

Despite not getting off on the right foot, I think this series and its predecessor(s) will make excellent viewing for fans of feel-good slice-of-life stories. I’m sure the clip show scenes worked much better in context, and the new content is generally good. The characters, while displaying little in the way of personality here, are likeable enough. And don’t let the title throw you off; all “more aggressive” seems to imply is that there will actually be a tiny bit of aggression in the first place.

I can’t recommend the first episode on its own merits, but I think this series will improve exponentially once it starts attempting to break new ground in episode 2. Because of this, I think it’s worth a cautious 7/10. — Foggle

A Town Where You Live

This is basically your standard romance anime. There’s nothing particularly great about it, but it’s also far from awful. That said, aside from a rather… interesting character introduction (pictured above) and the odd focus on protagonist Eba Yuzuki’s accent, there really isn’t much memorable about this first episode. It’s a little boring, but not painfully so, and in truth, it’s just kind of “there”. It exists. Yes, yes it does.

I would like to commend Gonzo for their work on this series, though; while it’s far from the best-looking anime of the season, A Town Where You Live displays a shocking level of competence in the art/animation department. This is high praise for a company that seems like it usually can’t be bothered putting forth much in the way of effort.

If all you want is a new romance to watch, this one might be worth checking out. But it doesn’t seem like much to write home about, yet. 5/10 — Foggle

We Still Don’t Know The Name Of The Flower We Saw That Day.

I feel like I’ve seen this show before. It was really good, if I remember correctly; a bit heavy on the melodrama though.

Nah, must be my imagination.

Anyway, while this first installment shows a lot of potential, it’s failed to really grab me yet. Jinta and Yukiatsu seem like cunts and Menma is kind of annoying. Is she a ghost or something? Who knows. I guess that would be interesting. There’s also a character named Anal, which I find hilarious. Oh, and I hope we learn more about this Poppo guy in the coming episodes. He seems kind of okay.

The art and animation were quite nice, but the episode itself was honestly pretty boring. I think this show could use a little spicing up; perhaps some cross-dressing would do the trick.

5/10 — Foggle

Second Opinion!

This isn’t a new show, you fucking moron. You watched Anohana in its entirety less than a year ago and gave it an 8/10.

I don’t give out meaningless scores, asshole. — Definitely Not Foggle At All

Addendum!

Oh, right. I forgot.

8/10 — Foggle

The World God Only Knows III

Want to understand what this is about? Well, we're not explaining it. Go read the manga!

I suppose the criticisms of this show have been repeated over and over again. The girls in the show are just as one-dimensional as the love interests in visual novels despite claims to the contrary. Every female character will come off as this one kind of archetype, only for the layers to peel back and reveal a completely different archetype. Keima is a douche who deserves the scorn his fellow students give him. Elsie could get harpooned in the face, and I wouldn’t give a damn. And the overall concept over how there is “no girl that cannot be conquered” raises some questions. Very unfortunate questions. Yeah.

This season seems to be going for a more ambitious route, with world building and more demons appearing. But after the lackluster performance from the two previous seasons, I don’t buy it. There’s plenty of telling, but no showing. So… show me, TWGOK. Show me that you’re more than some stupid harem series.

2/10 — Bloody Marquis

Yellow Mosaic

In theory this show seems like a good idea. A slice-of-life comedy about a little Japanese girl on an exchange program in England and how she deals with a language and cultural barrier. In execution however, Kin-iro Mosaic is dismantled by the fact the entire cast is Japanese and about 66% of the script is in English. So instead of Liverpudlians we have a bunch ESL students stumbling over their lines while sounding like Americans. It matters not because she leaves almost immediately so we never understand why she was there in the first place.

All of this is done in CinemaScope for some reason. By the time we make it to the real show (and proper 1.78), its been 20 minutes and a several year time jump. Well that was interesting while it lasted but it leaves us with just another moe highschool comedy. Yeah, no. 4/10 — Lord Dalek

TL;DR

GET RIGHT ON IT
Blood Lad – 9/10
The Eccentric Family – 8/10
Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist – 8/10
We Still Don’t Know The Name Of The Flower We Saw That Day. (re-air) – 8/10
It’s Not My Fault That I’m Not Popular! – 7.5/10

PERHAPS YOU SHOULD GIVE IT A SECOND GLANCE
Genshiken Nidaime – 7/10
Gifuu Doudou!!: Kanetsugu and Keiji – 7/10
Tamayura: More Aggressive – 7/10
Silver Spoon – 6.5/10
Free! – 6.5/10
Senki Zesshou Symphogear G: In The Distance, That Day, When The Star Became Music… – 6/10
Sunday without God – 6/10
Monogatari Series: Second Season – 5.5/10
A Town Where You Live – 5/10
High School DxD New – 4.5/10

STAY AWAY FROM IT AT ANY COST
Dog & Scissors – 4/10
Love Lab – 4/10
Yellow Mosaic – 4/10
Gatchaman Crowds – 3.5/10
Danganronpa: Kibou no Gakuen to Zetsubou no Koukousei – The Animation – 3/10
Nyuru Nyuru!! Kakusen-Kun – 3/10
Stella Women’s Academy, High School Division Class C³ – 3/10
Brothers Conflict – 2/10
Fantasista Doll – 2/10
Hyperdimension Neptunia: The Animation – 2/10
Rozen Maiden: Zurückspulen – 2/10
Servant x Service – 2/10
The World God Only Knows III – 2/10
Chronicles of the Going Home Club – 1/10
Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya – 1/10
Il Sole Penetra le Illusioni – 1/10
Ro-Kyu-Bu! SS – 1/10

———

Our Rating Scale

Many websites rate shows on a scale of 7-10, with the other 6 numbers on there simply for posterity’s sake. That’s fucking stupid. We here at AR proudly use roughly 250% as many numbers as IGN when scoring anime!

10 – Masterpiece
9 – Superb
8 – Great
7 – Good
6 – Above Average
5 – Average
4 – Below Average
3 – Bad
2 – Terrible
1 – Unwatchable

2013
07.16

OBLIGATORY SPOILER WARNING (MAJOR SPOILERS INCOMING (JUST SAYIN’))

Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox is a spot-on parody of everything stupid about the DC Universe. From the Liefeld-esque character design of Aquaman to the scene in which Batman’s mom becomes The Joker, this movie is truly a hoot ‘n hollerin’ laugh-a-minute extravaganza. Not since Kick-Ass has a superhero film been so uproariously funny.

Our story begins with the Justice League ripping explosive devices off of people because a bad guy named Reverse-Flash (who is super fast and wears yellow, geddit?) is trying to kill them I guess. From there, the real Flash (Barry Allen) runs so fast that he ends up in an alternate universe for some reason. In this universe, Batman uses guns, Superman is anorexic, and Wonder Woman is a misandrist. Harley Quinn is the Yo-Yodeler, a villain who fights using yo-yos. As a baby, Superman’s rocket destroyed Metropolis. Wonder Woman and Aquaman are villains. Batman has child soldiers who fight with him. You get the idea.

The satirical writing in this picture is genuinely brilliant. This movie features many wonderful lines such as, “Wonder Woman’s lasso made them spill their guts… literally.” One of my favorite scenes is when all six of Batman’s child soldiers transform into Captain Marvel, and by that I mean they all merge together to create a single Captain Marvel. Another is when The Flash displays his excellent logical reasoning by trying to get his powers back via electrocuting himself; it doesn’t work, and he gets set on fire, nearly burning him to death. So, of course, he tries it again almost immediately afterward. Never mind the hilarious action shot of Batman plugging the electrical device in at the last second.

I also greatly enjoyed how the film expertly parodied modern comic books’ penchant for soul-sucking darkness and graphic violence. Take, for instance, the scene where Wonder Woman and Aquaman have sex in front of his wife, and then Wonder Woman decapitates her. Or how about when Aquaman rips Cyborg apart, but gets his arm cut off before he has a chance to stab his exposed heart? And who could forget that lovely moment where Wonder Woman murders a young child in cold blood? Eventually, Captain Atom is used as Captain Atom Bomb and explodes, killing every single character in the movie except for The Flash, who manages to escape back into the time stream.

Near the end of the movie, you discover that the timeline was messed up because The Flash saved his mom from dying (off-screen). This is an outrageously funny send-up of the typical time paradox Aesop, because in this story, saving one person who should be dead doesn’t just completely alter the protagonist’s personal relationships, it actually brings about the apocalypse. In the film’s penultimate scene, Flash has to travel through time and space to stop himself from traveling through time and space — an excellent example of clever meta-humor.

I’m somewhat confused as to how the events of this film ended up bringing about DC’s New 52 reboot from 2011, but I won’t let such a minor plot hole stop me from enjoying what might just be the greatest animated comedy of 2013.

9/10

2013
07.05

Read the first article here!

“The Renegade, Part 1”

Pictured from left to right: Cutler, Beck, Dude who's about to be killed off

So, we continue our adventures with Beck in the official beginning of the series, which is an appropriately-sized two-parter. This first-part of the episode sets up two plot-points. One involves Beck getting “accidentally” captured along with a group of prisoners, and he is forced to participate in games within the coliseum that was foreshadowed in the previous episode. The other plot involves Zed, one of the supporting cast, trying to work a little on his love-life… and somehow leading from that into getting a rare light-cycle of one of his friends stolen.

In regard to the plot involving Beck, it does tend to go a little bit too much into familiar territory for action-type cartoons for my liking, but it has some strong points to it, nonetheless. My main issues with it rely on character tropes that I’m not too fond of. Beck is still playing the “I’m not sure if I’m good enough to be the hero” sort of sympathy card, and its a cliche that I’ve grown rather tired of, especially since he proved to himself in the previous episode that he was perfectly capable of carrying forward Tron’s role, and even got assurance from Flynn himself. I see no point in resetting that area of his development when he had already been shown to work past it before. But, where we get one weak character bit with our established main protagonist, the show does thankfully make up for it with the addition of a potentially strong new supporting character: Cutler.

Early on in the episode, all of the fodder other prisoners get killed off without much of a struggle, and the only two participants skilled enough to stay alive through the games are Beck and Cutler, who quickly form a mutual alliance, given how both characters have a strong sense of pursuing justice. One thing I like in this series so far has to do with what justice means to different characters, and how Tron as an icon in The Grid represents justice. Some characters are seen to hate his very existence because his “uprising” (hmmm… I wonder if that has anything to do with the show’s namesake) against Clu is forcing stricter rules and policies on all of them as a consequence, and many view Tron as a real problem who is only serving to make their lives worse. Others, like Cutler, realize that the problem is inevitably going to get worse before it gets better, and thus he strongly supports Tron and what he stands for, and indicates to Beck that he wishes to join Tron’s uprising (clearly not knowing that Beck IS the aforementioned Tron; at least not yet). This in turn gives Beck new insight into the vast influence and responsibility of the other identity which he has assumed, and may lead to very interesting developments in the future. As far as this episode goes, though, Beck’s portion of the plot cuts out with both him and Cutler being pitted against one another as the two remaining survivors of the games, in a battle to the death in which the winner gains their freedom, and the loser… well, I think “battle” to the death kind of says it all, doesn’t it?

I think we're supposed to pity this guy... maybe

As far as Zed’s portion of the plot in this episode goes… I can already tell you that I don’t like this character. So, essentially he has a crush on his friend, Mara. They are at some dance club, and he is upset at the fact that she only thinks of him as a friend (she obviously has feelings for him, but he’s too dense to tell, you know the drill). So some other chick comes in and pretends to be interested in Zed, and naturally the guy falls for it. She then gets him to take her back to the work-shop where his job is at, and then notices the rare light-cycle that belongs to Able, and asks Zed if she can get a closer look at it (you can probably tell where this is going). So, naturally the dude wants to show off, and when the opportunity presents itself, she knocks him out and steals the bike, and Zed realizes what all of us in the audience could see from his first appearance: that he’s a dumb-ass. This plot itself seems to be more about setting up his relationship with Mara, I suppose, but its a really by the books sort of plot, and the characterization is equally as predictable, so as far as this episode goes its definitely the weaker of the two stories, here.

“The Renegade, Part 2”

So, apparently neon green and pink are supposed to be threatening...

This episode obviously picks up where the first part left off. On the subject of Zed’s portion of the plot, we get a mostly predictable conclusion to an already predictable set-up. Zed has to find a way to get the stolen light-cycle back before Able finds out that it was stolen in the first place. Mara catches onto the situation quickly and immediately offers to help Zed, cleverly using a tracking device right off the bat to track the whereabouts of the light-cycle, clearly showing herself to be a much more resourceful supporting character, and probably the one that we should give more of a shit about. This portion of the story goes through a series of events that ultimately leads up to Zed and Mara confronting the girl who stole the light-cycle and the rest of her gang. Now, since I’ve been harsh on Zed this whole time, I’ll be fair and say that he does have one genuinely good character moment in this episode. After Mara knocks that other lady off her feet for insulting Zed (once again, showing how much more dominant of a character she is), they quickly steal the light-cycle back and a chase ensues until they get cornered. Its at this point that we realize two things: (1) Zed ain’t half bad at riding a light-cycle; (2) despite his previous incompetence, the guy has the ingenuity to outsmart his opposition when he is at a severe disadvantage and outnumbered, by using that seeming corner he was in to lead them into a trap of his own. It turns out he is next to a switch that operates a crane and drops a cargo box in front of the gang, buying him and Mara time to escape.

Back at Beck and Cutler’s side of the story, we get to see how they handle the forceful ending of their alliance. Usually when two-guys are pitted against each other like this, they refuse to fight one another and just find some way to escape. To prevent this from happening, General Tesler (one of Clu’s highest ranking subordinates) has a wall surround them and slowly close in on them, meaning that if one doesn’t finish off the other in a certain amount of time, they will both be crushed to death. So, in a refreshing change from the usual cliche, Beck actually insists that they have to fight in order for one of them to live and carry on the uprising against Clu and his forces, and Beck volunteers to take the fall for the both of them. Cutler, however, is not down for the idea, so Beck has to take action to force him into confrontation. We get a pretty cool and intense fight scene followed by Cutler flat-out forfeiting when he realizes that neither of them have it in them to kill the other guy (in the battle itself, they each have an opportunity at one point to take the other’s life, and both of them hesitate). Tesler is pretty irked by this and is ready to kill them both, until Paige intervenes and says that he has to uphold his image and keep his promise to free one of them, which I would find to be clever if it weren’t for the fact that I think everyone would already hate Clu and EVERYONE who works for him, anyways. On that end, I’m not exactly sure what kind of image needs to be upheld for his top-ranking general, but I suppose I might be looking too much into that.

Let me get this straight: The guy surrounded by sinister red and orange is worried about protecting his image in the public's eye?

So, Tesler essentially sets Beck free, and condemns Cutler to death, with Beck promising Cutler that he won’t be meeting his end today. This leads to another sappy scene in which Beck is talking to Flynn and basically needs even more re-assurance from the guy that he’s not a failure. I could live with that alone, but what annoys me here is that Flynn himself has to point out that if Cutler isn’t dead yet, then Beck should get off his ass and try to save him. Why does Beck even need to be told that in the first place? A stronger protagonist wouldn’t have come to seek advice or reassurance. He would have just worked on saving his new ally right away. At any rate, we get a series of cool action scenes with Beck disguised in the Tron suit, and then its followed up with him busting out Cutler and them partaking in… another bunch of cool action scenes. And I will stress the word “cool” here, because if there’s one thing that this series definitely gets right, its taking full advantage of the unique world of The Grid, and how awesome the action can look in this Universe when fully realized. In a scene that ties in with Zed’s story-line at the end, the gang riding the bikes end up bumping into Paige as she’s fighting Beck and Cutler, allowing them to get away. I’m not too fond of having things miraculously tie together between two mostly unrelated plots at the end, but its a nit-pick more than anything else.

After they are in the clear, Cutler mentions Beck, and “Tron” says that Beck is fine and was the one who told him to rescue Cutler. How Cutler at this point can’t seem to recognize that both Beck and Tron have the same strange voice of Elijah Wood sort of perplexes me. At any rate, Cutler swears to help spread the word of Tron’s revolution and find him recruits to aid him in his endeavors. The episode more or less ends there. Well, actually its with a gag of Beck fixing Able’s bike to cover Zed’s ass, but then Zed being a moron and all wrecks it again, anyways. Its silly stuff, but totally appropriate for a kids show. The main point of the episode, though, was to help Beck further realize his influence as Tron, and to set-up what seems to the the titled uprising that this series alludes to. On that note, this two-parter was certainly effective in escalating the scope of the series to the next level, and in that regard I can’t wait to see where future episodes take this story-line and these characters. We will just have to see as things progress, or in other words, until the next episode. See you all then!