Archive for April, 2007

Spring Season: INSTANT REVIEWS 3

Friday, April 20th, 2007

I promise, I’ll only do one more of these!

There are now four Really Good Shows in my list, possibly the first time this has ever happened.
I almost wish some of them fail, so I can keep up my laziness…

  • Darker than Black (The Black Contractors)

    “sort of a Witch Hunter Robin that does not suck ass.”

    BONES’ new high-profile show. Unlike their last new show, Ayakashi Ayashi, it’s really good.
    It somewhat downplays itself in the first episode; there’s some minor adult situations (a man breaking his own fingers), and what looks like a regular “man saves woman and they run off” plot.

    However, since this show doesn’t suck, everything you think about it is totally wrong. There are two excellent scenes with real cinematic devices (unlike anime devices) that change it all around.
    I’m finding Shinsen subs hard to watch, since they’re full of egotism (After Effects karaoke, hardsub mkv), but it’s a minor complaint.

    Production quality: excellent
    Audience: normal people
    Score: A, for the second episode

  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS
    Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha started off as an uninspired ripoff of Card Captor Sakura, but by knowing exactly who its audience was (nerds) and what they wanted (huge explosions) it ended well and grew into a monster franchise of moé.

    Now they’ve gone and aged all of the characters several years, bringing them safely out of pedo territory, and they’ve joined, um, the military.
    This first episode follows the two new recruits, the girl with the magical rollerblades and the girl with the magical gun (!?), as they blow a lot of stuff up and fail their magic qualification exam in style.

    Luckily, the government of time-space never punishes anyone, ever, so they’re specially granted a pass.
    The promise of more magical devices shouting “PANZER GEIST!” means this series can’t possibly fail.
    Production quality: Excellent animation, same old music, furthers the already-present magical girl deconstructivism.
    Audience: still hardcore fans only
    Score: A-, not quite reaching out as far as Darker than Black

  • Touka Gettan

    What the hell is going on in Touka Gettan? Seriously.
    Not only are all the scenes out-of-order, but I’m told this is actually being broadcast backwards.
    The individual scenes are all pretty good, I suppose; there’s a girl with mind bullets, and lots of cherry blossoms, and Carnelian designs.

    Production quality: Pretty and totally ridiculous.
    Audience: Limited
    Score: B+, but only if you’re me

Unfortunately that’s the end of the good shows.
There’s a few inconclusive ones where I’ll give a full 3-episode test, but it’s time for failure:

  • Shining Tears x Wind: All video game anime suck, including this one. Fight scenes where sharp objects touch clothes don’t cut them?
  • Koutetsu Sangokushi: ancient Chinese man-love. Unwatched.
  • Seto no Hanayome: Momoi Haruko star vehicle/”traditional” anime comedy, which means all the jokes involve screaming and aren’t funny.
  • Nagasarete Airantou: an aggressively unoriginal harem show.
  • Blue Dragon: For some reason, I kind of like Akira Toriyama art, but it can’t escape that this show is written for five-year-olds, and they have DBZ auras, and the little kid actually shouts “I WANT TO PROTECT EVERYONE!” before powering up.
  • Sisters of Wellber: Starts off with an incompetent thief and little fairy breaking into a castle, where they eventually pick up a kung-fu princess and an Avatar The Last Airbender character and a talking tank, resulting in an RPG party entirely made of people I hate.
  • Kono Aozora ni Yakusuku wo: Fast forwarded through it; a boring harem show with abysmal art.
  • Emily of New Moon: another fast forward, another lame NHK book adaption with all the focus changed to the little girl.

I think that’s all for now.

Spring Season: INSTANT REVIEWS 2

Monday, April 9th, 2007

In this post, I continue watching and instantly dismissing new series!

The Really Good Shows
Tengen Toppa Gurren-Lagann – so good we fansubbed it! More on that later.
Hayate the Combat Butler
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS

The Probably Good Shows
Steel Jeeg
Lucky Star
To Terra
Touka Gettan
Seirei no Moribito
Gegege no Kitarou

Not Good Shows
Gigantic Formula
IDOLM@STER Xenoglossia
Blue Dragon
Nagasarete Airantou
Seto no Hanayome

Horrible Shows
Kamichama Karin
Shining Tears X Wind

Now that I’m done offending everyone, actual reviews!

  • GeGeGe no Kitarou (2007)
    Kids’ show about a boy named Kitarou and a bunch of his friends fighting other ghosts because they’re jerks (the other ghosts, that is). The characters all have excellent names like “Catgirl” and “Rat Guy”, and one of them is apparently anthropomorphic toilet paper.
    This makes it a total winner.

    The opening song is a nice remix of the same song they always use. Nekomusume is pretty moé.

    Production quality: not really relevant
    Audience: Japanese children

  • Kamichama Karin
    Koge-Donbo‘s cute show about a retarded magical girl. I deleted the episode, but I clearly remember that it sucked. The scene arrangement is complete nonsense for the first half of the episode and nothing about the genre appeals. Maybe I’m not the person to go to on this sort of thing?

    Production quality: lame
    Audience: NegativeZero, people that like Koge Donbo

  • Polyphonica
    There’s like, this red-haired girl, and this guy? They have stupid trivial small talk for most of the episode, then some disaster happens? The girl transforms into a fairy and saves someone?

    Who the hell cares. This show is awful in every way. Don’t watch it.
    If you liked the scene with the transforming bike and synthesizer concert, there’s a much better anime about transforming bikes and synthesizer concerts. You should watch it instead.

    Production quality: Awful
    Audience: Nobody

  • Kishin Taisen Gigantic Formula
    Realistic version of G Gundam, which removes the interesting part of G Gundam.
    However, I’m pretty sure the first episode killed too many of the characters for it to stick to its official plot, so it may be alright.

    The robots are done in 3D CG, as well as, for some reason, everyone’s faces. This results in occasional strange animation errors.

    Production quality: acceptable
    Audience: limited

  • IDOLM@STER Xenoglossia

    Sunrise show; takes the famous pop idol raising game and makes them all giant robot pilots. First episode featured them eating corndogs and a good city-block-transforming-into-runway scene. Could be okay, but will probably take a while to get anywhere. High probability of moé detected.

    Production quality: Sunrise-class
    Audience: People who don’t mind moe in their giant robots.

  • Steel Jeeg
    Remake of a very old and sort of bad giant robot show. This one looks kind of good.
    Fanservice and a JAM Project, uh, rap.

    Production quality: Good, sharp and bright colors.
    Audience: Giant robot fans only.

  • To Terra
    I’m told that this is an excellent shoujo-styled science fiction manga back in the day. Therefore, I’m not really worried that the first episode was somewhat uninteresting, but it is somewhat of a problem.

    Keep an eye on it, but it didn’t quite pass the one episode test.

    Production quality: meh
    Audience: somewhat general

  • Bokura no
    I liked this manga (from Mohiro Kitoh, the author of Narutaru and a guy who really hates kids), so I’ve somewhat been anticipating this.

    The promotion has been mostly chanting a long list of Ghibli-associated staff, without mentioning that this is the most feared of all kinds of modern anime. A GONZO show.

    First episode covers the first chapter of the manga, with the first robot fight, completely faithfully. This being Gonzo, they’ve used 3D CG everywhere they could. Unfortunately, it’s surprisingly bad CG, and is quite jerky. This detracts noticably from the episode :(

    Production quality: good aside from the CG. This episode is mostly a night scene, which I’m not a big fan of.
    Audience: Hopefully everyone; Bokurano is very good.

This is getting far too long, so I’m going to cut it off here. I’ve got to be well rested before I write some kind of obsessive StrikerS review, after all.

Spring Season: INSTANT REVIEWS 1

Sunday, April 1st, 2007

The upcoming season looks much more promising than recent years have. I watched some of them!

  • Hitohira

    A shoujo-esque schoolgirl drama about a girl who cries a lot and joins the theater group.
    Seems OK but not all that great. It may catch on due to “cuteness.”

    Very watchable-and-forgettable. I already forgot it…
    Audience: Moe fans only
    Production quality: meh

  • Guardians of the Sacred Spirit (Seirei no Moribito)

    Production I.G.’s historical slightly-magical drama. A woman named Balsa with a large, possibly wooden spear fights people with it, is hired as a bodyguard for a prince after she saves him from falling into a river, and leaves the palace with him just as it inexplicably catches fire. Lucky break for them.

    This one is all about the realism. Also, she has big lips. Due to samurai accents I totally have no idea what went on for half of it.

    The staff are all fresh out of Ghost in the Shell, so America will presumably love it.
    Audience: everyone
    Production quality: beyond excellent, though not flashy

  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann

    GAINAX’s new super robot show, running at 8:30 AM on Sundays. A small group of people live underground in the grim future, where there is only war, etc.

    The main character (a little kid with goggles) finds a drill-shaped key while, uh, drilling; he subsequently finds a giant robot.
    After breaking his older brother out of jail — he was in for trying to escape to the surface, not something their chief is a fan of — a monster breaks through the cavern ceiling along with a woman carrying a big gun. The kid, naturally, instantly knows how to pilot his new super robot, and they easily defeat the monster. They use the robot to break out to the surface, which they’re very happy about even though the surface is clearly a nuclear wasteland.

    This show is AWESOME. It’s completely upbeat so far, and the older brother constantly screams out his burning courage while wearing the coolest sunglasses ever.

    Gainax still have a major FLCL complex; this really hurt Diebuster but it only helps here, in the form of massive amounts of fanservice:

    All of the giant robots and monsters shown so far are giant disembodied heads with legs but no torsos. Very odd.
    Audience: People who are AWESOME. Targeted towards kids, so no complexity here.
    Production quality: competent, though lots of shortcuts (close shots, etc.). Carries itself on shouting, which works.

  • Hayate the Combat Butler (Hayate no Gotoku)
    I don’t really have much to say here. Completely faithful and well-done adaption, I guess.
    Hayate’s parents sell him off to solve their debts, he runs away from the collectors and saves a rich girl, she makes him her bodyguard.

    The rich girl is a little girl wearing thighhighs and a gothy dress. That’s pretty moe. Norio Wakamoto contributes frequent narration, which has the bonus effect of making it like a Sound Horizon album.
    Audience: casual anime fans and up. Slight presence of moe if you’re looking for it. Probably can be shown to anyone without objection.
    Production quality: very good. It’s too bad everything so far is “very good”, because in any other season I’d really be underrating this.