2015
07.18

Classroom Crisis

Dem rocket boosters don't grow on trees ya know!!!!

Classroom Crisis seems like its been beamed in from the late 90’s. Specifically the post-Evangelion boom years when everything old seemed new again and a nostalgia fueled retro revival started gaining lots of steam. Said boom of course later petered out and thus we’ve spent the last decade making “anime is saved!/doomed” jokes because of the vicious cycle the industry has been engulfed in. But back in those days, we’d take a candy colored exercise in shonen silliness with an open hand and a smile on our faces. Now, we take everything at face value and thus what I take away from Classroom Crisis is a simple fact: its forgettable.

So what’s the problem? Well lets start with the story. Its a mishmash of the “motley crew of quirky teens saves the universe”-show (ie: Nadesico) and the “civil servants have to save the world on a budget”-show (ie: Daiguard). In a distant future where mankind has colonized Mars but still drives Prius-C’s, the megaconglomorate Kirishina Corproration runs basically all forms of government and commerce. One such field is the school system where students are basically junior employees tasked in developing tech for the aerospace industry. However this also means said school has to use said tech to perform daredevil space missions when disaster strikes. Said disaster being that one time the new transfer student gets take hostage by evil proletarians! Also the transfer student is their boss apparently because we need awkward comedy in this show!

If this story sounds weak then possibly the execution could save it right? Wrong! The characters are all pretty flat, falling into basic archetypes of the space adventure and school comedy genres. So generic are they that you could literally swap anyone for another character from an older, different show. The animation by A-1 spinoff Lay-Duce is serviceable but still par for the course. It seems like Aniplex shows need to have this house style to their shows where everything’s very flat looking with sharp lines except when it comes to animating cars which are all CGI for some reason. Classroom Crisis continues this “great” tradition which probably explains why ufotable isn’t working for them this season.

So yeah Classroom Crisis just pretty much comes off as anime by numbers. If you want a really, really, REALLY generic show that feels like a fugitive from 1997 this might be up your alley. Otherwise, skip it. — Lord Dalek

Death Note (2015)

Yagami Light-Stick


It amuses me how Death Note has become a generational tale, branching from a manga into films, anime, musicals, and now a live-action drama. And this isn’t hard to understand. Death Note is ultimately about how good intentions like justice can be turned into something unforgivable; the ubiquitous story about how absolute power corrupts absolutely. Light Yagami starts out not as a force of evil or a public menace, but as an upstanding student simply disgusted with the malice going on throughout the world. Anyone with a mix of curiosity and a desire to do good would have done what Light initially did, but he didn’t stop there. He kept going and going, killing as many people as he could with the Death Note. Names were written down like they were numbers on a spreadsheet, making a human’s life worth as much as a few seconds of scribbling. Acts of murder literally become marks on a checklist, indicating how blind justice could truly be.

So I’m interested in how this story must be told again and again like the annual regurgitation of A Christmas Carol. And like some adaptations of the Dickensian morality play, liberties are taken. What amuses more than it should have was how many changes were introduced for this drama. Instead of a brilliant student with seemingly no roadblocks to a good future, everyman issues bog down the Light here. He lives in a broken household, with his mother long dead and his father too invested in work to pay attention. His daily life languishes thanks to bullies and part-time jobs. There’s even something in the beginning that you would never see the original Light do, where he goes to a Misa-Misa concert. This drama portrays a Light, who for a brief moment, looks up to Misa Amane. He’s not a paragon of apparent excellence, but an underdog.

Light doesn’t even want to use the Death Note at first. Ryuk has to coerce him multiple times before he becomes Kira. Instead of wanting to become justice, Light is forced into it. While the manga, the anime, and the movies show how the average person could become a serial killer out of mere curiosity, this iteration suggests malice exists because there’s no other choice. I know it’s meant to paint Light as more sympathetic, as someone who only became Kira to support the ones he loved and to wash away his myriad of personal problems, but we’re not meant to sympathize with Light. We’re supposed to be horrified at how many a high school student could kill if given the power. Any sympathy towards him should only amount to pity at how it’s too late for him to go back, not out of how Light’s supposed to be a cosmic plaything. He’s supposed to be the puppet master. The adaptors didn’t need to make Light an everyman because he was already one. Forcing him into the role just dilutes the character and makes him feel like a dime a dozen. By making Light a victim of circumstance, he loses that godliness. He’s just an efficient serial killer instead of one with an inborn god complex, none of which are helped by his actor.

Instead, it’s L who relishes in grandeur. The L in this universe has an expansive wardrobe and a decorated lair. It’s like seeing Keaton Batman turn into Kilmer Batman. And by the way, L gets a brief shirtless scene if you want to know whom this drama is truly aimed towards. While trying to add shades and layers can be appreciated, more is less. This isn’t the L from the source material; this is L as how his fangirls want him to be. It’s L if your only idea of who he was came from a fan instead of a writer, with any flaws meant to make him more appealing rather than complicated. He’s the L you could take your parents to see without getting embarrassed. The perspective is tilted, meant for us to like the main characters more than the previous adaptations wanted us to. To put it bluntly, it makes them less cool.

Yeah, I’m complaining about a shonen manga adaptation being dumbed down. And to be fair, the original has its own problems worth writing an essay over. But if stories are going to be updated for the modern age, they have to be done without sacrificing what made the precursor work. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong. Perhaps the show will find its own feet and grow much better after a rough premiere. The changes might suggest the creators know what they’re doing and will play with the story to make it more refreshing for old Death Note fans. But if a wimp Light and a pretty L are all that’s to be settled for, I could pass. — Bloody Marquis

 GOD EATER

JAAAAAAAAAAAAAEEEEEEEEEEEEEGAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR!

Last season we chided Seraph of the End (AKA that stupid show with the vampires) for basically being Attack on Titan with vampires.  However, I kinda feel that’s a bit of an unfair statement now because the show was ultimately more of a rip-off of various Shin Megami Tensei games (specifically the Devil Summoner and Persona subfranchises) than being just a straight-up ripoff of Titan. GOD EATER, on the other hand, is literally just Attack on Titan made by ufotable. Giant walls? CHECK. Giant monsters? CHECK. Insane overzealous nationalism? CHECK. Angsty jerk protagonist who will likely be voiced by Bryce Pappenbrook in the dub? Oh double check and mate suckah. The only thing missing is Revo’s over the top Wagner metal. Instead we get the guys who do the Free OPs (not like I’m complaining, its a decent OP) and it’s just not the same.

So what is the show about? You know what? I literally have no idea! What I have been able to deduce so far is that A: its apparently the distant future, B: kaijuu roam the post apocalyptic landscape, C: an elite band of soldiers with a distinctive logo emblazoned on the back of their coats exterminate the monsters using high tech weaponry called God-Arcs, and D: our “hero” Lenka wants to kill all the Tit-er…Amagamis because why the hell not? All of this is delivered in a style that is akin to walking 75 minutes into a movie that is only 100 minutes long. We don’t know anything about our main character. We don’t know why he’s fighting monsters. And we don’t know why everbody says he’s a Newty-wait…this is Gundam now? Goddammit.

Now, initially I was under the impression that this was a tie-in for a Light Novel due to its visual style (seriously all the characters in this show look like they’ve just jumped off a book cover) and all that backstory was contained in said volumes, but it turns out this is actually based off some video game series. GODS EATER BURST apparently came out for the PSP in this country five years ago. I’ve never heard of it, and frankly even if it did offer all the necessary back story to make the trainwreck I just watched some sense, I just don’t care.

GOD EATER is not quite the worst show of the season. It has its animation going for it at least as ufotable once again does a beautiful job with all their Nasu moniez. That said, there is literally nothing else to recommend about it and in a season that’s already given us Monster Musume and Chaos Dragon, that is literally the kiss of death. — Lord Dalek

Second Opinion!

God Eater is based on a series of Monster Hunter-style videogames that started on the PSP. The setting and plot can basically be described as “Attack on Titan set in the future with better monsters and cooler weapons”. Monsters called Aragami have infested the earth, combatting these monstrosities is an organization called Fenrir and their group of Aragami Hunters, the titular “God Eaters”. Each God Eater is armed with a giant sword or gun called “God Arcs” designed to kill Aragmi and eat their “cores”. Our story follows Lenka, a rookie God Eater that hasn’t seen combat yet, having failed most of his training sessions. He is introduced by his friend, Kota, to the engineer Lika, whom has built a new generation God Arc which Lenka promptly takes up to help with his training. However, when Aragami break through one of the walls (yeah yeah, Titan and all that), Lenka goes against orders and takes his new God Arc into combat, where promptly gets his ass kicked. Fortunately he is rescued by a squad of badasses lead by Lindow, a hero among God Eaters.

Having an interest in the series despite never having played an entry (due to not having any of the systems the games are on), I was interested in this adaptation, especially since I enjoyed the one-shot OVA released a few years ago. At first I was disappointed that Ufotable went with a male protagonist (in the games you can choose the gender and appearance of your character, ala Monster Hunter), but I can safely say that despite these personal gripes, God Eater: The Animation has a solid start. One could say that God Eater takes too much from the wildly popular Attack on Titan, but personally, God Eaters futuristic setting, better (if somewhat generic) designed monsters, and overall aesthetic appeals to me much more. Yeah, the over-the-top costumes and weapons may not be practical, but I’ve always placed value on style as much as substance, and I’ll take stylish “cool” looking designs over boring “practical” designs anyday. I can write entire essays on how important style is to me, but I’ll save that for another time.

For me, what puts God Eater above Attack on Titan is its lack of self-indulgence. Absent is the over-bearing, try hard attempts at being “dark” and “mature” by presenting character deaths and over-abundant angsting. Instead God Eater shows that, yes, the situation is dire, and mankind is just as much to blame on the current state its world as the Aragami are, but there is always a glimmer of hope, a chance to fight back and survive for a better tomorrow.  This is shown most clearly in the action-packed climax of the episode where Lindow and his team rescue Lenka and an injured comrade, all while cracking jokes and enjoying a smoke (yeah, Lindow’s kinda a badass), and culminates with Lenka saving a civilian from certain death, a sequence that would be unheard of in most post-apocalyptic shows.

As always, ufotable’s animation is great, and the rocking soundtrack gets you pumped up for some great action. The episode could get a little exposition heavy at times, but it was nowhere near as obnoxious as Rokka’s was. Also surprising was the lack of franchise poster-girl Alisa, which on the bright side possibly means that the anime won’t be pandering to the fanboys. God Eater is easily the bright spot in an otherwise dry and cloudy season. If you wanted Attack on Titan with less angst and more ass-kicking, check it out. If you’re a fan of the games, then you’re probably already checking it out. — Crimson Rynnec

Himouto! Umaru-Chan

At last, creature, you show your true form!

16-year old Umaru Doma is the perfect high-school student. A beautiful, kind, smart, athletic girl whom despite her popularity, remains humble. A textbook model citizen…until she gets home, where Umaru reveals herself to be an annoying, lazy, rotten, spoiled-brat of a child, much to the chagrin of her older brother, Taihei. Such is the plot of Himouto Umaru-chan.
As you can probably tell, Umaru-chan spits in the face of most imouto shows by painting Umaru as exactly what most little sisters actually are: annoying brats. The show mostly follows Taihei’s POV as he has to deal with his little sister whining, complaining, and yelling until she gets her way while using her cute charms to get any onlookers to sympathize with her and demonize her brother. Imagine Umaru as an unholy fusion of Angelica Pickles and Dee-Dee from Dexter’s Laboratory, and you’ve basically got the picture. Umaru isn’t some sick little girl or some delicate flower who plays upon the audience’s sympathy, she’s just a rotten child, this is where most of the shows humour comes from, and to the anime’s credit; it actually works. Anyone with a younger sibling can probably relate to Taihei’s predicament, and those without younger siblings can laugh while they thank the heavens that they’re an only child. That being said, Himouto Umaru-chan can easily wear out its joke pretty quick, but considering just how tired the little-sister trope is in anime, you may find enjoyment in its pissing on the trope regardless. I’d say it’s worth watching at least one episode, especially if you’re tired of heartstring-tugging little sister characters being portrayed in a positive light. — Crimson Rynnec

Pillow Boys

….kill…me….

Shhh! Dayah hear dat? That’s the sound of the spotted fujobait in it’s natural habitat. Now this particular specimen appears to have an uncommon birth defect, most likely caused by his dad fucking a sheep. Notice the swirled hair. This usually taken as a sign that the creature is not, in fact, human, and can be treated as such. It’s pink garnets help further mask it’s masculinity, allowing for a nice non-threatening appearance. The dead look in it’s eyes reflects images of it’s past onto us. We can see the long, painful life it has lived. The horrors it has seen. The abuse it’s been put through by hundreds of horny, creepy females. The only humane option is to put it out of it’s misery, son. Here’s a rifle. — Shadow Gentleman

School-Live!

Gakkou Gurashi (or School-Live! for you normal folk out there) begins as your typical anime comedy, where protagonist Shauna Takeya, an ordinary high school student with no direction in her life who lives with her roommates, Edo Ebisuzawa and Peeto. After a string of bad events, culminating with her love interest, Rizzu Wakaba, breaking up with her, Shauna drowns her sorrows at her favorite pub, the Weenuchestah, with Edo at her side. However, Peeto calls Shauna out on her behaviour, and tells her to sort her life out. Unfortunately for our hero, a zombie apocalypse has broken out (isn’t that just rotten luck), after dealing with a few zombies, Shauna and Edo come up with a plan: take Peeto’s car, go to Shauna’s mum’s house, kill her zombie-fied step-dad, Feeruppu, grab Rizzu, go to the Weenuchestah, have a nice cold drink, and wait for this whole thing to blow over.

Despite my general dislike of zombie stories (with a few exceptions) I really enjoyed this anime. Gakkou Gurashi is a solid horror-comedy, with laugh out loud jokes and an effective cast, with some surprisingly emotional moments. This is easily one of summer’s better offerings, especially with the use of Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend” as the ED. Definitely recommended, especially for horror-comedy lovers. — Crimson Rynnec

Snow White with the Red Hair

No Dwarves, no fucks given.

It’s a dime-a-dozen story. Heard it a million times before, Ray. Some unlucky punk thinks they can just get away with selling meth likes it’s no big deal, like they don’t got a care in the world and they’re the goddamn candy man sprinkling the world with crystalized sunshine. But the world isn’t a candy store, Ray. That got shut down a long time ago. Where am I supposed to buy my Mallo Cups now, Ray!? Anyway, the deal is some broad named Shirayuki has been passing as a “””herbalist””” (read: meth cooker) known as “The Red Menace”. But being the candy man doesn’t pay too well. That’s why the candy store shut down. So she catches the eye of some rich prick and has to become his “””concubine””” (read: sex servant). So after a bunch of boring scenes of talking and more talking, she gets saved by this charming guy whose probably her pimp now or something, I don’t know. It’s all one big damn mess, Ray, one big fucking mess. Just another stain on the melted Mallo Cup we call life. Now help clean it up, Ray, I want my marshmallow chocolate fix! — Semyon Gentleman

Second Opinion!

Wow what a great idea! In this show, Waltrude S. Weiss is forced to quit her job as the local chemisty pro when Prince Güstav Fring wants a cut of her finest Red Phosphorous! After going on the lamb, she bumps into Jerzy PinkZen and his zany crew Skinny Pietro and The Badger Man! Watch as Waltrude changes her name to Shiroyukihimeisenberg and starts peddling meth on the streets of Mahogaqurque! Be amazed when PinkZen and Güsfring duel for the keys to the special Italian cart made by the Craftsman Winnebago! Scream in terror when Der Ermentraüt pays a visit to Waltrude’s cousin Henk Schraader’s villa! Be on the edge of your seats when, in order to dodge the gendarmes, Waltrude and Jerzy are forced to contact their magistrate Saulvatore!.  All of this and more in this epic show from Bones!

P.S. I’m really interested in the English Dub of this show. I wonder if they could get that guy who played Dr. Nanbu in Eagle Riders. He just seems to have disappeared off the face of the Earth. — Waldorf Q. Banderstack XII

Venus Project: Climax

Gotta keep up with Bankruptcylvania!

Hey kids! Ya like Aikats-nowaitofcourseyoudon’t. Ya like Giant Robots? Ya like explosions? Ya like idol singers?!? Well this show that’s got em all!…and then fails to deliver! Venus Project: Climax is the biggest cocktease of Summer 2015. A show that give you so many elements to work with and then fails to produce any of them and watching it felt like several plots for other several other idol shows/robot shows/SOL crap. Actually you know what, I blame the SOL crap. It was the most predominate thing about this waste of time that seemed to be wasting my time.

Well lets get it over with, in a world where Love Live! was too damn popular for its own good and now the fate of the universe depends on idol competitions where said idol’s skills and spirits are represented by giant robot fights, young Eriko wants to be the Rookie Queen!…but first she has to have food thrown in her face, have fun with creepy orphans, get smacked around by her bed ridden Coach Ota-clone mentor, and be annoyed by her co-workers. But then! She makes it to the stage and…episode over.

Wow.,..that was quick.

Venus Project desperately wants to be a more male-oriented Aikatsu. Like Aikatsu its based off a card based video game with weird virtual reality components that make me wanna vomit. Unlike Aikatsu (and I would like to point out that this is first and probably only time I will ever say something positive in relation to Aikatsu), it doesn’t know how to tell a story to save its life. Ichigo may be a ditz but she’s pretty well developed across the first episode of that crap. Eriko? I still have know idea what she’s trying to achieve other than ego padding and slapping that dirty Ruskie idol back to Pooris-snicker-excuse me-Pooris-chuffle-POORISTAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA FUCKING POORISTAN! WAS THAT IN THE ORIGINAL TRACK??? IS FUNI JUST TROLLING THIS SHIT?!? I MEAN REALLY!!! WHAT THE FUCK????

So when’s the next episode coming out? A month from now? HAHAHA forget it! Go back to Pooristan you el-cheapo knockoff! — Lord Dalek

Second Opinion!

Venus Project is an idol show where idols dress in fabulous outfits and summon mecha-stands to engage in hot-blooded battles…for all of 4-minutes. The rest of the episode is dedicated to generic anime protagonist #349830 as she hangs out with Togo from Yuuki Yuuna and eats a bunch of good because anime protag, and has sexual fantasies about a girl from Pooristan. Honestly I don’t really care, because the first few minutes were such a gigantic cocktease, the rest of the anime just left me cold. That being said, the mecha-stands do seem to be playing an actual part in the show, as most of the episode is the protagonist preparing to enter some sort of idol contest/tournament thing, where we meet our supposed main cast. So despite a bad first impression, Venus Project could turn itself around depending on how future episodes pan out. — Crimson Rynnec

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