Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of Dusk Sky
I know jackpoo about Koei’s Atelier franchise other than its been running for a good two decades now and has accumulated a whopping 16 games in that time span. This show adapts the most recent one and for a simple straightforward game adaptation, its actually pretty decent. Then again the show does not really set that high of a standard for itself in the first place so…
The plot is this: in a world where alchemy is apparently a thing and doesn’t require a limb or your dumbass kid brother to pull off, we are introduced to Escha Mailer, a sweet little girl who has a tail for some reason (or its just a fob attached to her belt, I can’t really tell). Escha is a newly promoted state licensed alchemist and has been partnered with Logix Fiscario, a stuck up city boy who serves as our exposition device. The two go around using their magic to help embetter the world they live in and what better way to do that but fix a mill and bake a pie! …FMA it ain’t.
Well even though its pretty unsubstantial fluff in the plot department, I found myself liking Atelier more than I would. Part of it is the show is just pleasant. Everything’s soothing with nice pastel colors and soft string music like something out of a show about rabbit cafes or something. The characters are likable and it actually goes by pretty quickly without dragging its heels in exposition too much. Overall… ok. — Lord Dalek
After watching the episode, my mind rolls back to the first scene with Ridley. There’s supposed to be some kind of significance about that with the main character, but it only makes me want a Ridley anime. It doesn’t even have to have Samus. It could just be about Ridley going on some space pirate adventures while avoiding the trials of Sakamoto scriptwriting. Maybe that shouldn’t be the lingering point for me, that Ridley makes a cameo, but he makes much more of a performance than any of the other characters here. Especially the loli, who makes Yaya from the Unbreakable Machine Doll seem nuanced.
And I really love all of this exposition, where Rentaro just talks about the war where his parents died when given little reason to say any of that. Besides that, he just reeks of boring light novel protagonist. Like, “Oh hey, here’s a loli wife for you, Rentaro. Be sure to not be frisky.” “No, that would be too lewd to even consider touching my partner.” “But she insists.” “No! I must focus on being bean sprouts and the mission, because the last thing teenage boys ever think of is fucking.” But then, he’s a special little flower compared to the rest of the cast, like the tsundere boss. The only one who really interested me was the mortician, and that really amounted to her being a Touko clone.
Maybe I’m being too cruel, since this didn’t feel nearly as dumb as other light novel shows. It could have been worse, like the loli could have had more screen time. But in the end, it tries to be a mature series while immediately damaging that aspiration with so many anime girl archetypes. Maybe it will prove me wrong and actually be decent, but I’ve probably said this about tons of other anime that started off as shit and kept being shit. I’d like it more if the loli dies and Rentaro goes for the mortician instead, but you know that will never happen. — Bloody Marquis
Took you long enough.
Imagine if you will that you are in the fantastic world of Cruzon, where everybody can freely manipulate and control quartz crystals, and you can’t. It must suck, for you are not only called a ‘un-sorceror’ (hell kindof translation is that?) but you are deprived of an ability that not only raises the living standards in Cruzon but also, because Japan, is used to power giant robots called Golems. Rygart Arrow, is unfortunately one of those, but at the behest of the King of Krisna, an old friend, he successfully finds himself in the pilot seat of a Golem that doesn’t need him to be adept in quartz manipulation (what are the odds!?!!?). Now it is up to him to save his friend, probably the empire, and may run into an old friend who’s on the opposing side or whatever.
Aside from the surprising nature of the Golem that Rygart eventually gets into, it… really wasn’t too bad I guess? It’s kinda decently-made rote, neither doing good nor bad, but just doing. We have political machinations, memories of days gone by with the protagonists and other players, and the continuation of geopolitical intrigue through decent mech battles, and that’s pretty much it for the first episode. I’m pretty sure if I was watching the first 50 minute movie (from which this first ep was based on probably the first half of it), I’d be intrigued but it just felt like I was watching an unambitious variation of Captain Earth’s first episode, right down to the dramatic reveal of the suit before the end credits.
I think it probably has to do with the unambitious aesthetic of the world. Character designs are rather simple and lack anything noticeably defining; the world is completely dull brown and deserted, with the only highlights being the rather distinctive mechs. Heck even the music just seems to go through in an orderly procedural fashion, settling for again… rote in its epic score.
…Eh, this just isn’t for me I guess. I’m pretty sure if you’re into this kind of thing you’ll find something good from it, but I didn’t. Humble recommendation though, if this is your cup of tea, just opt to watch the six 50 minute movies that are officially released here already. — The Juude
Chaika The Coffin Princess
Yay, it's ready!
Chaika reeks of a late-90’s early-00’s fantasy anime, with its bland semi-colonial period setting and old ova haircuts. No surprise then that its by Sakaki of Polyphonica and Outbreak Company fame (>_<). I can only imagine that Bones needed something to work on in-between seasons of Space Dandy and decided “Hey we haven’t made a Sakaki thing in ten years, lets do another one!”. As a result, it seems so…dated and uninspired.
The story concerns one Chaika Travant, a slightly incompetent wizard dragging around a big coffin who only communicates in run on sentences (hey just like me!). Said coffin contains the parts to assemble a Hecate knock-off sniper rifle which can kill dragons and unicorns!…yup it one of those shows. Chaika’s goal is to steal a severed hand from the neon lit castle of one Lord Ibern. To which end she has hired two neredowell siblings, normal guy wizard Tohru and tsundere bitch shinobi Akari to assist her in swiping it. But you see Chaika apparently has some nasty reputation and she’s supposed to be dead…or something…that’s where the episode ends.
Chaika is pretty average but not nearly as anger inducing for me as Outbreak Company was (but then again… that was Outbreak Company). There’s not much of a plot other than girl who speaks in broken Japanese shoots magic gun….which was also the plot of Magical Warfare…oh dear. The main problem is its mostly exposition with not a whole lot happening and then it just ends leaving you feeling what was the point? I may have seen worse but still couldn’t care less about this. — Lord Dalek
Dai-Shogun: Great Revolution
But can she summarize Proust?
Oh great! ANOTHER show with giant robots in the Edo period! Why is this suddenly a genre now? When Robot Carnival did it 30 years ago, it was downright hilarious, but now… I’m just sick of it. Doesn’t help that Nobunaga The Fool from last season is still running goddammit. So here we go again with more shogun warrior action but this time its written by Foggle’s jilted waifu Dai Sato and animated by J.C. Staff….we’re doomed aren’t we?
Ok lets get one thing straight… this show… is cheap. Really, really, REALLY, cheap. Slow zooms, speed lines, shakycam (!), cell sliding, still background mouthflaps, etc.; whatever they need to do to save cash on this show, J.C. has clearly employed it. At times I feel like I’m watching a telesnap reconstruction instead of the actual show. Then again… its not surprising that the BBC would wipe this show before it aired.
As for the plot? Well… its pretty standard. There’s a guy who’s the chosen one or something. Kunoichi with big boobs (the only kind of course) want to kill him because they’ve overthrown the Tokugawa Shogunate or something. More kunoichi with big boobs are here to protect him. There’s a giant robot fight that lasts all of five seconds and then it ends. Truly the most stimulating show of the season am I right?…nope. — Lord Dalek
Date A Live II
More Sam & Cat than Sam & Max.
Of course they made a sequel to this. Of course. I went easy on this series the first time around, but now I don’t think I can be so nice. This episode is simply horrible in every sense of the word.
Date A Live can basically be summed up as “how to waste a cool backstory: the animation.” The whole spatial quakes thing is potentially very interesting, but again less than 30 seconds of the episode is devoted to it via a pointless flashback that serves absolutely no purpose. I guess one of the characters can cause these spatial quakes when she’s sad? Or maybe her tears just break shit, I dunno. Anyway, there’s some exposition that explains the plot in case you forgot how moronic it was since the first season aired. This episode’s story is all about one of the girls freaking out because she thinks Shido (the male protagonist) is going to run off with another woman after watching a trashy soap opera. Truly, this is the most gripping science-fiction serial of our generation.
The main female characters seem to barely know how to clothe and feed themselves. One of them is almost definitely psychotic with the way she talks to her bunny puppet. Actually, maybe it’s not her talking to herself… maybe the puppet is really alive. I don’t know which would be worse. At one point, they genuinely marvel at the yolk running out of an egg when they stab the center of it with a fork. I wish I was joking. Also, one of the characters is legitimately named Origami, which makes me want a dub of this show starring the cast of Heavy Rain. Said character dryly and perhaps unknowingly propositions Shido for sex in the women’s restroom at one point. You can’t make this shit up. This is just stuff from the first six minutes, by the way. The first episode of Date A Live II is filled with so many cringe-inducingly stupid moments that listing them all here would make this paragraph take up an entire page by itself. It’s telling that the supposedly “dramatic” final act is far more laughable than any of the show’s intentional attempts at comedy.
I could never bring myself to finish the first season, so maybe it’s just because I never really got to know the characters or dig into the story, but there is absolutely nothing good about this installment. The plot is horrid. The jokes are feeble. The women are all waifu-bait. The art is bland. The animation is garbage. The music is obnoxious. Skip it. — Foggle
If Her Flag Breaks
Light novel plots are the best plots for an anime, period. Take Sasami-san@Ganbaranai for example. Sasami Tsukiyomi is a highschool shut-in that is doted upon by her brother, Kamiomi. Sasami, in normal light novel fashion, unknowingly possesses a god’s power, and when Kamiomi tries to help her, he puts the world in chaos – and three sisters named the Yagami sisters must undo what Kamiomi has subconsciously done. That’s basically the plot – now who really wants to watch that, huh? Obviously, someone did, because in 2013 Akiyuki Shinbo and SHAFT decided to adapt this little shining gem for everyone to see, and naturally, it was forgotten, because it was repulsivley bad. Keep in mind, most light novel plots either revolve around some sort of harem plotline or hilarious hijinks – this is the latter.
Light novel plots are bad most of the time, and that brings me onto Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara, based of a Kodansha-published light novel and adapted by Hoods Entertainment – you know, the studio that produced Aki-Sora, Vanquished Queens and most interestingly, 2012’s Mysterious Girlfriend X? Where Mysterious Girlfriend X had a interesting premise, so to say (not many anime delve into spit fetishes to my utter shock and horror), Kanojo ga Flag wo Oraretara is something we’ve seen before in almost every way – the show may very well be just The World God Only Knows ripped to its barest bones, with a bit of My Mental Choices are Completely Interfering with my School Romantic Comedy from last fall. God, what a horrible title.
The plot is this: Sato Hatate is a mysterious transfer student burdened with a dark past shrouded in utter mystery, because all transfer students must be mysterious, right? Unlike Homura Akemi, however, Sato is only burdened with some mechanic ripped straight off a waifu dating simulator, as he has the ability to see ‘flags’ on the top of people’s heads – which can be either a ‘friendship’ flag, a ‘love’ flag or a ‘death’ flag. Appealing stuff. Nanami Knight Bladefield, the supposed younger sister of Kiss-Shot Acerola-Orion Heart-Under-Blade from Monogatari, sees Sato be all mysterious and stuff by dodging a truck while walking to school, and fantasizes about him in class, wanting to see him again – and lo and behold, he suddenly transfers into her class and coincidentally has to sit next to her! For one reason or another, Nanami, the show’s Tsundere, expresses interest in Sato’s redundant ability.
The show’s resident moeblob, Akane Mahougasawa, appears to Nanami and Sato while eating lunch and proceeds to make K-ON! look like the cutest thing to ever grace this Earth with how irritating and annoying her voice and design is – she is anti-cute. Blah, blah, blah, tragic backstory, blah, blah, blah, Sato and Akane kiss at the end and Nanami kicks him in the stomach or something. Cue bland credit sequence that comes the hell out of nowhere, that is how bad the editing is.
As mentioned before, Kanojo is produced by Hoods Entertainment, who produced last year’s BlazBlue: Alter Memory, and look how well that show turned out! Hoods is a company that previously produced hentai and ecchi, and for a company that grew their roots in that front, their animation is surprisingly well made – but from the look of it, Kanojo isn’t as fluid as I would have liked. The character designs are mundane, and we can tell from the look of Nanami, she is the main girl, because all main girls must have wacky hairstyles, right? Right? The voice acting is nothing special, and Akane comes close to insufferable – hell, Nanami at times sounds exactly like Asuka Langley Soryu. The music is nice sounding from what I could hear, but it isn’t anything special.
Typical is a word that is floating around a lot this season, and Kanojo fits typical to a T. It’s actually quite boring. Skip it. — Mahou(gasawa)
Inugami-san & Nekoyama-san
-Spits out liquid- Say what?!
Oh yeah the yuri short series for the season!
Inugami, a girl who like cats who’s also a total masochist!
Nekoyama, a girl who like dogs despite acting/liking like a cat!
Also, this is slightly wacky and ecchi as well!
And it’s slightly better animated than some short series I’ve seen!
Interested? Well, what are you waiting for. Go check it out! — The Eclectic Dude
Yachiyo Inugami is a who acts like a dog and loves cats, Suzu Nekoyama is a girl that acts like a cat and loves dogs. When these two animal lovers meet, sparks fly as they are instantly attracted to each other, and a strange yet adorable relationship starts to form.
Being less than 5-minutes long, there isn’t much to say about InuNeko other than it’s a cute comedy. Humour is hyperactive and rapid-fire with most of it coming from Inu and Neko’s habits. Their antics are balanced by Aki Hiragi, who kinda resembles Satsuki Kiryuuin from Kill la Kill and is the “straight man” of the trio, frequently lampshading the rather outlandish things Inu and Neko say and do, and preventing the show from becoming too self-indulgent. Really what else can I say? InuNeko is a cute, funny short. While its humour might not be to your tastes, it’s only 3 and a half minutes long, and worth looking into if you like cuteness in your yuri. — Rynnec
Is the Order a Rabbit?
Lize confirmed best girl.
Soundtrack of soft woodwinds and strings that propels us into this season’s soothing Slice of Life (SoL) genre entry of cute girls doing cute things. The main character is Cocoa-san, who recently moved to some unnamed city for school though she is staying at local cafe named Rabbit House. As part of her residence agreement, Cocoa has to work at the cafe. She first meets Chino-chan, the owner’s daughter and resident quiet, timid loli and her pet rabbit fluffball Tippy. She also meet Lize-chan, who seems to be more than she initially appears if a bit like a tsundere-esque older sister type/mentor to Cocoa. Of course, they might be something more to Tippy as well but I shall wait and see if they do anything with it. As a side note, yes, there will be some yuri (not surprising since the writer for this show was one of the writers for Strawberry Panic). Its being animated by White Fox, so its looks nice and glossy, and it doesn’t derp too much thankfully.
They carry coffee bean bags, Lize teaches Cocoa ‘latte art’ and in turn Cocoa demonstrates her mastery of basic math to help out Chino-chan. Overall, the episode sets the tone for this kind of show: It’s got cute girls working at a cafe doing cute things in their daily lives. At this point, enough of these kinds of shows have come out (Kinmoza, A Channel, Non Non Biyori, YuYuShiki, etc) that you might already decide what your thoughts on these are. Now, I like those kinds of shows, so I will continue on with this. As for others, well this one might not ignite your interest in soothing SoL shows since like all the others, its cute, moe, relatively inoffensive and safe. — The Eclectic Dude
Adapted from a Manga Time Kirara series, Is the Order a Rabbit? follows Cocoa Hoto as she transfers to a school in a town located in…wherever. While wandering the town of wherever searching for the place she’ll be staying, she comes across a cafe called “The Rabbit Cafe”. Eager to pet all the rabbits she’s sure to find, our heroine enters the caf? with glee. Unfortunately, she doesn’t find many rabbits, but she does find a cute waitress named Chino Kafuu, and her even cuter cuddly fluffball mascot thing. “The Rabbit Cafe” turns out to also be Chino’s residence, and, as luck would have it, the place where Cocoa is supposed to be staying. In return for staying at the Kafuu residence, Cocoa will work as a waitress at the cafe. After meeting fellow waitress Rize, a daughter of a soldier whose possession of a handgun leads me to believe the town of wherever doesn’t have very strict or effective gun laws, she adjusts to her new life almost instantly, and grows a sister-like bond with Chino.
Is the Order a Rabbit? is a really cute show. Like, incredibly cute, and also very soothing. It’s the kind of show you watch to relax after a stressful day, or to catch your breath after watching something more intense and involving. The main characters are cute, the artstyle is cute, the music is cute, and there’s even a cute fluffy mascot thingy that wouldn’t look out of place in a ‘mon show. If you don’t like moe shows with cute girls doing cute things, then you most likely won’t watch this of your own volition, but if you need something cute and relaxing to watch this season, then this is the show you’re looking for. — Rynnec
Knights of Sidonia
Well, this is certainly the biggest surprise of the spring season for me – even more so than Haikyu!!. While I tend to adore almost anything even tangentially related to science or speculative fiction, I have no interest in mecha, and the 3D animation instantly turned me off. It’s safe to say that I unprofessionally went into this show expecting to dislike it. And yet, I loved every minute of its first episode.
The story is instantly engaging from the moment the opening credits finish rolling; Nagate Tanikaze has been living within the deepest bowels of the Sidonia for years, but he gets captured and taken to the surface after he fails to steal some rice from the processing plant. From there, he immediately falls into favor with the ship’s delightfully creepy captain, and is then thrust into battle with terrifying aliens not seen in almost a century. The plot promises to have a lot more depth to it than just that (seriously, I don’t want to spoil the good parts), but suffice it to say that I am awaiting the next installment with bated breath. The writing is far and away the best I’ve seen from an anime in some time, but that’s no surprise since Knights of Sidonia apparently comes from a manga by Tsutomu Nihei, author of the renowned Blame! and another of my personal favorites, Biomega. In terms of characters, I already really like both Nagate and Izana, who I’m sure will grow into some of this year’s most richly developed protagonists. I can’t wait to see their relationship (not like that. well, maybe) develop. Pepper in some legitimately funny physical comedy and you’ve got a real winner of a series opener.
The CG looks like something out of one of those terrifying hentai computer games, but at least it’s still more visually appealing than 2013’s Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Arse Nova. Once you get used to the creepy fish faces and french fry fingers, the art style is actually pretty great, though the animation itself lacks fluidity outside of action scenes and can occasionally prove to be an unpleasant watch. (But those action scenes are so smooth!) The character designs maintain Nihei’s wonderful style fairly well, but the backgrounds are especially nice, providing a creepy derelict-yet-sterile hard sci-fi atmosphere. The city of Sidonia (which is actually on top of a spaceship) is fascinatingly mashed together, but in an intelligent and grungy way rather than a poorly thought out, slapdash one. I was also a big fan of the costume design, which gave off the same excellent vibe as the locales.
While there isn’t much (yet), the mecha-on-alien action is quite exciting and fun to watch, even for someone like me who doesn’t generally care for the genre. Some of the space shots are breathtaking aesthetically – the CG’s biggest victory in Sidonia is the way some of the lights beautifully shine through the void. Not to mention I’m a total sucker for those first-person “in the cockpit” moments, and I simply loved the ones in this installment, however brief they were. The music is also fantastic; the BGM is expertly composed to make the episode’s events as atmospheric as possible, while the OP and ED songs are the catchiest I’ve heard this season. All in all, this is a fine production, even if it doesn’t leave the best first impression visually.
This is the most excited I’ve been about a new anime since Kill la Kill started airing. My only concern is that, at just 12 episodes, Knights of Sidonia won’t even scratch the surface of the story the manga’s currently telling. I know what I’m reading after it ends. — Foggle
Don't take this show seriously! Ok then I won't.
So, let me start with a brief primer on Gainax, post Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt, once most of the remaining talent fled to Trigger: the forgettable and unlicensed Dantalian No Shoka, the awful shonen parody series Medaka Box, and the rather ‘meh’ Stella C3-bu. But Gainax might seem far from dead, as they are getting Ayano Ohnoki (who did work on Medaka Box Abnormal and Stella C-3 bu) and Kazuho Hyodo (writer of Robot Girls ZZZZZ….amirite?). Oh wait…..
Now, this project is a 26 episode(!), 4 minutes long each series based on a mobile gaming/PS Vita. In it, each of the 47 prefectures of Japan are personified by Magical girls, each character design of the mahou shoujo was determined by a Pixiv contest. So, the first episode entails the introduction of Aoba Naruko and her pet mascot bird. She is one of the representatives for Miyagi Prefecture, whose capital is Sendai. She is on a mission chasing after cute little green blobs called Magatsuhi for some reason not explained yet. But she gets hauled off by the coppers for wearing ‘suspicious’ outfit. Ha.
I am not sure what to make of this. First off, its not too bad, despite being a game tie-in. Watching this short series is akin to eating a sweet M&M cookie snack bar-short, sweet and ephemerally enjoyable. Its also just as low-rent budget as most short series go, but luckily has enough punches of color combined with vibrant energy to set it apart from the crowd of other short series. It looks pretty is what I’m saying, but has little to no character or plot details beyond the bare premise: Oh look Mahou Shoujo Battles! (hopefully).
Hmm, perhaps Gainax can get out of their current rut with this show, but I seriously doubt that. Oh what’s that, their next planned project is a SoL girls club anime? Huh, well then… — The Eclectic Dude
Mekaku City Actors
Who's the blue-haired chick that's an annoyance to all the hikks? SHAFT!
I’m starting to believe Shinbo has become the Tim Burton of anime by this point of his career, with an easily identifiable style and unfortunate matter of repeating himself. Every scene in this episode was something I saw from Monogatari or Madoka. If I didn’t know any better, I would assume he was just reusing backgrounds from the past shows because of a low budget. And not just the backgrounds, but also even the characters look like clones of Araragi or Ononoki or whoever appeared in our favorite Nisio Isin novels. There are always these little Shinbo quirks, like making the traffic lights the most stark objects in an street scene, or shots of towns with nobody but the main character doing anything. They look cool the first time you watch them, but then he just keeps using the same shadows or the same rooms in his works.
This gets infuriating, because Shinbo has proven time and time again that he can be an extraordinary director with the right material. Even with the low-budgeted Zetsubou-sensei, he knew how to make more with less. Alas, he doesn’t get much to do in order to stretch his wings. He’ll get the odd selection like Rebellion, but everything else this year has been phoned-in because of nothing to work from. Nisekoi is basically every harem anime ever, because the source material was every harem manga ever. And I would like it if he were given a decent premise here, but no. It’s just a show about pseudo-vocaloids with some kidnapping out of nowhere.
So I guess we are at that stage where Shinbo has become his own niche, where his shows are as remarkable as Burton’s latest remake of Dark Shadows. What used to be a break from the trends has now become the trendsetter, and just like others in this situation, Shaft doesn’t know how to evolve into the norm that it once made light out of. Those quirks that used to be interesting years past are now so overused that they have become routine, and therefore just part of the background instead of the scenery gags Shinbo once painted. — Bloody Marquis
It’s hard to believe that Bakemonogatari aired in July 2009. Since then, SHAFT animated the dreadful Dance In The Vampire Bund, the weird Arakawa Under The Bridge, the boring Nisekoi: False Love, the forgettable Sasami-san@Ganbaranai and a little show named Puella Magi Madoka Magica which managed to become anime’s next Neon Genesis Evangelion, because truly Madoka Magica is the Evangelion of anime. Look back at them in hindsight, and remember, they were all directed by Akiyuki Shinbo. He has come full circle at last: Mekakucity Actors is his latest baby, and it’s SHAFT at its absolute worst.
I can stand up for Bakemonogatari willingly as a person who likes it for what it is: a neat little show which is too artsy for its own good, and even though Mayoi is an irritating little shit throughout her entire arc, Koyomi didn’t transform into an asswipe, Hitagi and Kanbaru are likeable, and Tsubasa didn’t start making cat puns that make me want to take a piece of rebar to my skull. That nifty ‘SHAFT’ effect was nice enough for Bake, but when Nise rolled around, it got stale. That ‘SHAFT’ effect I’m talking about? Long camera angles that are effectively pointless and are only there to save the budget. The infamous SHAFT tilts. Basically everything Nise showed off. Is it in Mekaku? Yes. And it irritates me to death.
Mekakucity Actors is based off a VOCALOID song series project named Kagerou Project that I am free to admit I quite enjoy. Using that Lia singer – y’know, the one that sang the openings to Air and Angel Beats! – as a VOCALOID named IA, creator Jin wrote a series revolving around misfit teenagers with mysterious eye powers and their tragic backstories. Needless to say, it proved quite popular on Niconico, and later Jin wrote a light novel series based off it. Naturally, SHAFT came along to come and ruin it.
I take no shame in saying when I first tried to watch Mekaku, I turned it off eleven minutes into it. I spent at least half an hour bitching about SHAFT and how TNK is superior in every imaginable regard – and keep in mind, they produced School Days. VOCALOID’s Hatsune Miku is personafied in the form of Ene, and like Mayoi, she is an unlikeable and irritating little brat that you can only withstand if you can barely hear her. She reminds me of Karen Araragi, also from Monogatari, and fits that ‘little sister’ archetype ever so present in anime to a perfect T. Shintaro Kisaragi, our main protagonist, looks like Koyomi and even sounds like him, even though he is not voiced by Hiroshi Kamiya, who is too busy dubbing Attack on Titan Drama CDs to care, most likely.
Comparisons to Monogatari are completely unavoidable now. It stinks and sounds like it – the camera angles, the lack of actual lip flaps, the cartoony close-ups, the random shift in art styles, the list goes on. The character designs remind me of the Durarara!! designs, only drawn worse. Ene has a completely different design to Shintaro, and that really bugged me. One nifty idea that the show does have, however, is random background characters painted grey to make Shintaro stand out in his red colour scheme. The music is forgettable despite having Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt’s TeddyLoid and Angel Beats! Avant Garde-Eyes compose tracks, the plot is unfortunately mundane – Shintaro spills Coke on his keyboard and has to go buy another one but is afraid to because he is a hikkomori, gets taken captive by terrorists who popped the hell out of nowhere and distracts them, the end. The episode ends abruptly and finishes playing typical and bland Aniplex music sung by newcomers GARNiDELiA, who sang the 2nd opening to Kill la Kill, Ambiguous.
I could go on and on about how boring this episode was, but with an intriguing premise, I can only hope it pulls itself together and gets along to the good stuff quickly. — Mahou(kaku)
Nanana’s Buried Treasure
All heil Nanana!
From the light novel series by Kazuma Otorino, and brought to the animated screen by A-1 Pictures (SAO, AnoHana) with help from Kantei Kamei (his directorial debut) and Hideyuki Karata (who wrote such gems as the Oreimo and The World God Only Knows series), this is a story of a young man Yama Juugo who was exiled by his father to live on his own at the Nanae Island, an island that reminds me of an aerial photo of Dubai. He meets the well-endowed manager, Maboro Shiki who reminds me of Misato for some reason. But he discovers hes got an unneeded tenant in his apartment, a ghost girl named Nanana, She was murdered in Yama’s apartment some time ago. She was a NEET while living despite not looking like an actual female otaku; she comes across as what one might think they look like, a dream girl otaku if you will. Yama and Nanana get into a playful ‘say uncle’ fight. She’s very playful and childlike, concerning herself only with playing games, eating pudding and staying up late at night. But she seems to hide a secret loneliness. Gosh, this seems like the setup for a sitcom comedy. But there seems to be more to it than that.
At school, Yama meets another girl, Yumeji, who’s basically the meganekko student rep. who’s an aspiring novelist.There’s some mention of Mutsumi Koma, the master architect of Nanae Island. Yama stumbles upon a ‘Nanana manual’ on how he should deal with his ghostly roommate. This convinces him to take some interest. Also, he seeks out the mysterious circumstances of her death, which may be linked to the creation of Nanae Island itself. The intrigue is afoot! Granted, this show is giving me Dusk Maiden of Amnesia flashbacks definitely, and that wasn’t too bad of a show….. Eh, I liked it.
Apart from some obvious CG work in the cold opener, it’s a solid if not stellar A-1 Pictures work. Guess I got to add this to the short pile of shows A-1 has put out recently that I like (Sound of the Sky, From the New World, Zvezda Plot) perhaps. It is certainly better than I expected and should be a fun romp. Though, I will see if it can hold up. — The Eclectic Dude
No Game No Life
It's funny because it's child slavery!
Good lord is this show pink! Its like last year’s Sunday Without God where everything was set at sunset for some reason. I mean I guess it kinda fits with the original LNs which also had a heavy pink tinge to its color illustrations, but that still doesn’t make any sense. Anyway, No Game No Life was I assuming to be this season’s Sword Art knockoff but turns out that’s Mahouka, so instead its this year’s Mondaiji knockoff! You remember Mondaiji don’t you? That lame Dog Days clone (wow that sounds even lamer now) Brains Base made a year ago? What? You don’t? Good!…neither do I!
Anyway its the same concept. A couple of assholes, in this case a swarmy NEET git and his narcoleptic little sister, are legendary “blanks”. Super RPG players who can win at any game (including being chess pros who could probably beat Kasperov with their arms tied behind their backs). The local deity of a magical land where games decide all disputes (read: FLONYARD) invites them against their will to play his silly not-death game for no real reason and no real goal. So basically they go around stealing clothes from Joseph Joestar and beating buxom women at poker. And then it ends!
Surprisingly enough though its not that bad for a show where people play poker and chess ad naseum. I think its because the characters are such blatant callous jerks that it makes them slightly more entertaining than the usual wet noodles that appear in these shows. Our male lead is voiced by Kirito who’s in full on Sakurasou mode here making him instantly less detestable than Kirito because he at least has SOMETHING of a personality. The girl is played by Menma from Ghost Loli Starring Bill Cosby and rarely says anything more than two words per line. A huge improvement over Ghost Loli who wouldn’t shut up.
Slightly better than average for this season, which I could really use after all the meh. — Lord Dalek
One Week Friends
This is from the crossover AMV I made. Check it out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BuoaGPlWr-4
In an spring anime season that mostly consists of boredom (see Nisekoi: False Love, If Her Flag Breaks, Mekakucity Actors), trainwrecks (see The Irregular At Magic High School, Black Bullet, Damidaler, Ping Pong), fanservice/moe (see Blade & Soul, Soul Eater NOT!, Brynhildr in the Darkness, Ludere Deorum) and some shining gems (JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Mushi-shi, No Game No Life, Riddle Story of Devil), Brain’s Base has given us The Kawai Complex Guide to Manors and Hostel Behaviour, Ludere Deorum and a little show named One Week Friends, which may very well be the cutest show this season – a show with heart, and with heart comes love. This show makes me emotional, basically.
‘Moe’ is a concept that is hard to grasp in anime. Look at K-ON!, for example. It is classified as a ‘moebait/moeshit show’, something I agree with wholeheartedly. Big eyes, constant blushing and a hairdo that results in some hair on your face does not constitute ‘cute’ in my opinion, because that has become such a staple in anime since Lucky Star aired in 2007 it gets ridiculously annoying and whatever attachment I had for it left me. You can blame Kyoto Animation for the moe craze that spawned Sound of the Sky, Anohana, the anime adaptations of Heaven’s Memo Pad, Dream Eater Merry, YuruYuri, and Rozen Maiden: Zuruckspulen, and at least they had plots, even if they weren’t the best. Nothing happens in K-ON!. Nothing. Sound of the Sky is the most guilty culprit of ‘looking the most like K-ON!, to the point where I thought it was K-ON! when I first researched the show, the character design is that similar. Sound of the Sky is a million times better than K-ON! will ever be, mostly because of the opening by Kalafina, and having – gasp – an actual plot! K-ON! is a show trying desperately to be considered cute – One Week Friends does not try at all, and has actual characters to speak of. One Week Friends is the cutest show I’ve watched in a long time. K-ON! was mentioned a lot there. I hate K-ON!.
Yuki Hase is a second-year high school student who is failing Maths. He notices his classmate, Kaori Fujimiya, the class representative for Maths (ironically), is always alone and he begins to wonder why. After being brushed off by Kaori who refuses to be friends with him for undisclosed reasons, Yuki tries again and begins to have lunch with Kaori. Yuki is adorabley cute and awkward around Kaori, and midway through the episode, Yuki tells Kaori ‘he really admires her’, something that made my heart melt. After having lots of fun with Yuki over the course of one week, Kaori with tearful eyes tells Yuki on Friday he must forget about her – and we have the plot twist that makes this show worth watching – that every week, Kaori loses her memories of her friends and almost everything else. Yuki, at first, cannot believe it, and so he asks his friend Shogo for advice, and with his help, Yuki asks the now-cold Kaori to be his friend and wants to help her remember, starting the cycle all over again.
Now, I like the plot in One Week Friends, because the characters are likeable and pretty damn cute. The bad thing is, even before I watched the episode, I looked up the plot on Wikipedia to see if it would pique my interest, and it was eerily familiar. Remember that visual novel spin-off of Clannad that had Tomoya Okazaki turn into a sex fiend and be a complete dislikeable dipshit that ended up resulting him losing his memory every goddamn week in some sort of Key plot-twist pulled straight out of their ass in their poor attempt of trying to tug my heartstrings (even though my heart is stone cold and dead) and somehow his girlfriend, Tomoyo Sakagami, didn’t turn into a psycho after living through that hell for three years, trying to help him remember and failing every single time? Unlike Tomoyo After’s romance, which was unbelievable, boring and painfully unromantic to the point I call it the prime example, next to Twilight, of ‘anti-romance’, One Week Friends’s romance is purely innocent – and Kaori and Yuki’s personalities paint a beautiful picture of what can be if Yuki can help Kaori. It’s unfortunate that the moment of the plot twist reminded me of Tomoyo’s confession near the end of Tomoyo After, and I can never escape the horror that is Tomoyo After, for better or worse, but I can easily ignore how One Week Friends reminds me of it, mostly because I like this show a whole lot and I despise Clannad – even though I own it on DVD.
The animation, as previously mentioned, is produced by Brain’s Base, who also animated Durarara!!, Baccano! and Mawaru Penguindrum, three good shows in their own right. They also provide examples of Brain’s Base’s animation at its absolute best, and One Week Friends joins them. Even though the plot of the show is simple, the animation is not shoddy and is quite fluid. The character designs remain consistent throughout all the episode and they are very, very polished and adorable as sin. They remind me of Durarara!!’s designs, only more cute and child-like. The OP and ED isn’t much to talk about, as it does fit the show, but it isn’t very memorable – it’s better than a lot of OPs this season, that’s for sure. The watercolour paintings featured in the OP and ED add to the feeling of Spring the show has going on – a high school anime romance is never complete if it doesn’t have cherry blossoms. The music adds to the show’s emotional scenes perfectly, even though sometimes it can be overpowering and can overshadow the surprisingly well-acted voiceovers. The music reminds of me of the video game Nier at times, with calming acoustic guitars accompanying Kaori and Yuki discussing love and friendship with each other.
All in all, I loved this episode even though it took me a good hour to watch it, mostly because I was distracted by Mr. Freeze puns. Watch it if you are in the mood for a cute romance – it’s a hell of a lot better than Golden Time or Clannad could ever dream of. — Mahou(modachi)
Ping Pong The Animation
Well, we’ve got our indie show of the season that only a dozen people will watch. After watching the episode, I get the feeling that this is supposed to be a deconstruction of sports anime, like this is for the people too hipster to watch Haikyuu. All of the sports are treated with no finesse, and the players all portrayed as clones of Kahn from King of the Hill. There aren’t bishonens or fancy effects going on to make ping pong seem better than it actually is, which is a bit refreshing compared to most sports anime. That’s not to say it’s good.
For a show that utilizes experimental animation, there’s so little actual animation. Footage gets reused on a regular basis, with one scene just being the same animation looped three times. If any other anime had these poses, they would be mocked for so many off-model scenes. But in a Yuasa work, they’ll be celebrated by animation critics for being different from the norm. I mean, drawings in motion looks nice in some instances, but this looked like the Naruto vs Pain fight. And who cites the Naruto vs Pain fight as great animation? — Bloody Marquis
So there’s a kid named Smile who doesn’t really smile (or feel for that matter) and a kid named Peco. They’re ping pong players who are apparently too big for their britches within their own ping pong club. Then some Chinese ping pong players come, and then beat Peco. Then Peco has a cry and… I guess they’ll fight another day.
I’m enthralled as you can tell with this anime. Quite frankly I’ve no idea why FUNi decided to stream this… thing up. I can’t even bring myself to elicit an emotion other than non-plussedness. If it was a person and decided to do its rather herky-jerky, panel-splitting, dog and pony show at me I’d just raise my eyebrow at how eccentric it is. Quite frankly, that’s the ONLY thing this boring show has got going for it. It looks weird, it acts weird, and it plays weird, but doesn’t really leave much spark to the mind. The show’s another instance of things going on but nothing really happens.
In fact you’d probably get a lot more out of 24 hour surveillance camera footage of a ping pong room at the local YMCA. If anything SOMETHING interesting may come up from it, even if it’s mundane like buying a used car or having to get milk at the store after the exercise.
Or you can just watch The Ping Pong Club anime that came out around the late 90s. Central Park Media (remember them?) truly knew the zeitgeist of the time with releasing this. — The Juude
Soul Eater Not!
Where did I come from, Cotton-Eye Joe?
This is a comedy, but it’s not very funny. This is an action show, but it’s not very exciting. This is Soul Eater… but it’s not. The title really says it all; this is not Soul Eater, and while I haven’t seen too many episodes of the show it’s spun off from, I can tell that Soul Eater Not! is nowhere near as interesting as the original work.
The scant bits of action are nice – in fact, the animation is quite good throughout, – the music is pleasant, and the art style is immediately likeable, but there just isn’t a whole lot of meat here. I know first episodes are rarely a series’ finest or most comprehensive outings, but there’s nothing to sink your teeth into with the opener. Harudori realizes she can turn into a weapon. Harudori arrives at Death Weapon Meister Academy. Harudori attends a class. Harudori becomes friends with a moron (Meme) and a stuck-up rich girl (Anya). Anya uses Harudori to beat up some bullies. That’s it. Very little of consequence actually occurs, and as such the entire installment feels like a drag. I was counting down the minutes until it ended once I hit the 15-minute mark.
Of course, the bare bones storyline and slow pacing could have worked if Soul Eater Not! was at all funny… but it isn’t. Maybe this is just Funimation’s terrible simulcast translation team at work once again, but I can count the number of attempted jokes in this episode on one hand. This isn’t even a swipe at the anime’s sense of humor – I genuinely could not find more than maybe four moments of comedy in its entire runtime. While the characters are somewhat cute and may become more developed/interesting later on, without humor, action, or plot to accompany them, they fail to carry even a 24-minute piece of animation. A whole series starring this trio would do wonders for my insomnia.
I must stress that the Bones staff did a terrific job with the production aspect of this first episode. It’s let down entirely by the writing (or, at least, the translation), and while I can see it improving substantially in further installments, I can’t say I’d ever willingly watch more without a trusted recommendation. The only thing Soul Eater Not! made me want to do was watch or read Soul Eater actual. — Foggle