Zabi Vs. The Fall!
So I think we’re through the worst of it now. There random console wars fantasy show has yet to get translated as of the moment I am writing this, so besides that the world of anime has snug as a bug on a rug managed to adapt itself to life in the new anime season. Which means that at this point it’s safe for me to give one sweeping first impressions page for the coming season. that way the fans back at home can keep track of what I am watching! I have fans….right?
Keep in mind though that I’ve had a very very busy week, and as such have yet to catch up on alot of shows. As a result many of the impressions I’m giving are not up to date with the current placement of the shows. For each show I’ve marked at what episode I’ve watched to. Note that these are what I watched by the point I’d written my thoughts. some of them have been watched quite a bit since I wrote my impressions.
Sometimes the eternally cruel gods of anime, fans of the comedy of inflicting imouto barfing pieces of inhuman crap on myself and the community, see fit to bless the community with a piece fo horror fiction that is actually kind of scary. Guess one of them must have gotten drunk. Meanwhile, we are blessed with a horror show that realizes that at times silence and a complete lack of overbearing horror music or creepy elements at every fucking second can actually improve a work.
What we have here is a slow strongly building horror series with a bizare and completely delightful Miyazaki strain. Small children exploring a dark, strange, beautifully grotesque universe? Someone on the team really likes the man. An opinion that in terms of rareness is somewhere around thinking Hitler might not have been a chill dude and that doctor pepper is tastes like the mead of the gods. So where many horror shows would think that black depression is the key to good horror. This show sees fit to infect the entire ordeal with color! All sorts of color, at times distracting quantities of vibrance and cheer, to the point where it acts as one of the few major problems in the horror implementation.
But hey, competent pretty much means a masterpiece in a genre like horror. And some good direction doesn’t hurt either. I probably should have chose to blog this instead of Robotic;s Notes. Things actually change week to week in this thing.
Episodes Seen: 1
Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun
Alot of talk and a lot of anger has gone around regarding this show, but I happen to dislike it for similar but somewhat different reasons. This is Brains base show. As that suggestions, the comedy is for the most part funny enough and the designs are interesting.
But, something really really struck me the wrong way about it. For one thing the gender politics at play give this thing a really fucked up subtext. Not the rape thing, though I guess you can count that as part of it. But in general, the way romance is portrayed as a woman pulling in a guy and pretty much domesticating him. The symbolism inherit in having the guy on a leash in the OP really made me raise an eyebrow.
Remember Catherine? The anime/puzzle video game made by Atlus? It reminded me in a lot of ways about what the lady in the afro straight up tells you the theme of the game is. A middle aged man with relationship troubles that is getting attacked in his dreams by literal vagina monsters? It’s not exactly subtle to be sure, but it’s a pretty good showing off why I can’t really enjoy this show. It’s well made and funny, and if you can look past the rapey bits I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. It’s just not for me.
Episodes Seen: About half
Kamisama Kiss is interesting seems well enough made, and is completely and totally outside of my watching range. There is something about shojo that just rubs me the wrong way. Probably the fact that men in shojo are objectified almost more than women in every other medium and genre in the entire universe. It’s an odd distortion. Actually, I rather like the female lead. She’s sensible and adorable in a way that my tiny shriveled heart doesn’t quite have room for. HA! SEE! I can objectify you back, Kamisama Kiss! Still, Kamisama Kiss managed to earn a few chuckles from me, especially with the way over dramatic narrator in the beginning, so while I am not the the authority on the subject matter, it’s likely one of the best pure shots of girl power to the veins that you’re going to get. Just try to ignore the screeching godawful annoying of her two servant/spirit/banshee things.
Episodes Seen: 1
Lychee DE Hikari Club
LHC is a testament to disappointment in action. A strong premise and quite possibly the most revered/fucked up source material of the season meant that while this might not have been the best show of the season it would certainly be the most nonconformist. The way it is now? Jesus fuckign crist, why in the name Litchie himself would a flash studio get the rights to this? It’s almost like they were trying troll me. I’M ON TO YOUR BASATARDS!
Episodes Seen: 1
Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai
This is a very cute and silly show and I loved the hell out of the first episode. That said, there is no way in hell I’m going to be sticking with this thing through the entire season. The big problem is that it’s an episodic comedy with no plot whatsoever, and ONE JOKE. It’s the big problem with clever out of the ordinary comedy show premises. As a writer you get tempted to play up the part that makes your show unique comedy wise and the end result is that the same joke is told from different angles again and again until it isn’t funny.
There are a few sports of light. The characters, minus the one short haired girl from episode 2, are generally interesting and have plenty of room for the staff to work with. Kyoto Animation is generally good at making their Protaganist-Kuns at least unique enough to work well in their environment, if not enough to occasionally break the Protaganist-Kun mold altogether. The lead here has in general been the product of the funniest moments so far, especially the scene with the tape recorder. The comedy stylings can at times be pretty subtle, and the series knows when to use quiet moments and unspoken irony much better then most anime comedy. Also I have to admit that I burst out laughing whenever we get a reality warped perspective from crazy girl.
So yeah, sticking with this one for the moment.
Episodes Seen: 2
Btooom! Is such complete garbage, but while a lot of people seem to find little shadenfreude value in this clusterfuck, I can’t help but point and laugh. It’s sort of like the psychopathic WTF that prevailed over the equally terribad Deadman Wonderland, but joined with the audience jerking off wish fulfillment of SAO.
This premise isn’t by nature a terrible one, what really sets it apart is the cast and the way they are treated. Sniveling fat guys obsessed with rape, a girl who quite literally exsits to stand there looking pretty and for the occasional sexual assault, and a lead guy who the show is trying to make cool with such an incredible ferocity. These are clowns. You might as well paint all their noses red and give them unicycles instead of bombs.
But the real winner in terms of complete comedy is the storytelling. This show takes itself so amazingly seriously I’m not even sure how to respond to it. Everyone makes dramatic poses all the time, the lighting plays on them ominously, and the show never has a moment designed to be funny. But the fact that the proceedings are so amazingly silly and the bloodlust and creepily enough rapelust of the show is so amazingly past the point of realism it ends up making it all the more ridiculous. I figure I’m going to drop the show at some point. The at times downright unintentionally disturbing second episode proves that. Still, the point and laugh value has not quite been sued up yet.
Episodes Seen: 3
I don’t know what ghost of tenchi muyo past drew me to watch this piece of garbage, but I ended up wasting five precious minutes of my life to this horrifying piece of garbage. I think someone once told me that the OVA wasn’t bad. This person was an idiot. What I caught my eyes on was some sort of bizarre horrifying mix between harem diarrhea and terrible pokemon clone. And I guess maid fetish. Do yourself a favor and don’t spare this piece of trash a second thought.
Episodes Seen: About five excruciating minutes
K is the very essence of big, dumb, and hyperactive. Watching an episode of this is like an assult of exploding color into your eyeballs. And by colors, of course, I just mean mean blue and green, Yellow is apparently for tossers. But, hey! They are called “Cool” colors for a reason. And god knows that if there is anything K aspires to be, it’s cool. Within the span of the first episode, we were introduced to skateboarding guys, punk guys with pocket chains, a lolli in actual lollita clothing, a naked neko, blushing bishies who are awfully shonen-ai, an evilllllllll government conspiracy, straight laced samurai, and a high school. This crazy ass hodgepodge is like a clusterfuck of everything designed to make shows look cool. But, much like Gangnam Style, the act of trying that hard to be cool at some point becomes cool out of sheer effort alone.
The plot is dense as building made of diamond, yet despite that the storytelling is a joke funnier than any samurai running into walls. The big glaring problem is that the show reacts to giving the viewer actual useful exposition the same way a vampire reacts to garlic. Sure I may know a bit about the Sword of Damocles based on the myth it’s a reference too, but without any visual or dialogue based exploitation of what it is, I really see no reason I should give a shit. Telling you not to go crazy on the buzz words without explanation is one of the first things they teach you in Screenwriting 101. it’s like watching the entire show through a haze…besides the turquoise haze over the screen the rest of the time. But on a more positive note, the cinematography is pure gold. So many shots are done from perspectives you wouldn’t think of or that most animes just can’t afford to put in. I can’t imagine how awe inspiring this show would be if the writer was given a brain transplant.
So yes, K is really stupid. But it’s inoffensive and it keeps quiet to a fault, an oddity in an industry where over exposition has killed one too many shows like C. It stumbles into some of the same plot holes as Guilty Crown, but where that was exploitative and very manufactured, this goes the opposite direction into laughably earnest. If you can accept it will never be Revolutionary Girl Utena or Neon Genesis Evangellion, then it is well worth a watch.
Episodes Seen: 2
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure
To say I was pleasantly surprised by Jojo’s Bizarre adventure was an understatement. By the end of that episode I was rolling on the floor in fits of giggles. Tossers? Quid? Sounds like my kind of party. Special thanks must go to Wünderbar Subbing team GG for their tireless efforts in making the already laughably silly Adventure, all the more fucking awesome.
I think Dio in particular is a shoe in for my favorite Villain of the season, if not favorite character all around, for pretty much spending a full episode just being a massive dick to Jojo for no reason whatsoever. The minute he got off his cart, he kneed Jojo’s dog in the face like he’s Captain Falcon. This set the tone of the episode nicely, as he proceeded to unleash a swath of cruelties on his adopted brother that I cannot explain in enough detail to ever properly explain the incredible hilarity of. I’m not sure what was more over the top, the bit with girl Jojo liked or the part where he convinces all of Jojo’s friends that he’s a loser and makes Jojo a social outcast. I’m not going to say flat out that there is any show on here that I plan on watching the entire for certain, but Jojo’s Bizarre (Awesome) Adventure would be the most likely candidate.
Episodes Seen: 1
I wasn’t pleasantly surprised by the way Little busters went down. J.C. Staff are not people I would really count on for things like endearing characters and overachieving themes. Though they do happen to like moeblobs, so that girl at the end who I want to throttle wasn’t quite out of place. I’d have to say that half the cast got on my nerves. Both of the new girls who are supposedly going to join the team managed to raise an eyebrow, and the girly wuss protagonist who escapes from the title Protaganist-Kun merely by being to effeminate and completely willing to remove the fun out of any situation to be truly average just wouldn’t shut the fuck up. I get they were trying to make him a straight man, but they don’t get an A for effort. Besides that it wasn’t bad at all. The other four founding members were a joy to watch, and a lot of the comedy was really well put together. I am likely not sticking with this bad boy through the season, but it is very much still alive and kicking on my watch list.
Episodes Seen: 1
Zetsun no Tempest
Like quoting Shakespeare huh? Well I have a Shakespeare quote for you.
“The fool doth think he is wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
This is unwarranted pretension at it’s finest. Lots of references to go around and lots of symbolism, but nothing actually resembling depth or complexity. I’m very disappointed in Bones for having brought this No. 6 clone into existence. Without pause they continue to fall down the slippery slope the the ravine of unyielding shitsludge. Studio’s DEEN needs company.
Episodes Seen: 1
This thing looks, sounds like, and is written like something that 2003 decided was simply not good enough to air, that is now randomly appearing nine years later. Seriously, I haven’t seen an anime that looks this fucking terrible that isn’t done by flash or isn’t some terrible harem garbage pit. Not even worth the time to point and laugh at, just pretend it doesn’t exist.
Episodes Seen: Half
Shonen battle anime is a genre that I can find little love for in my pitch lack, grinch-like heart. But hey, who am I to condemn a whole genre (except harems romance), especially when there is a myriad of examples of shonen battle done right. Especially Full Metal Alchemist. I like FMA a lot. And as FMA shows, sometimes a Shonen Battle Anime can claw it’s way past my stoney unloving exterior.
Let’s ask my favorite character from the first episode, HOOKAH-KUN!
Well Zabi, Magi is an adaption of the brilliant and well renown book, 1001 Arabian Nights. Aladdin and Ali Baba are a pair of idealistic youths who live in a morally gray universe rife with things as evil as slavery. Together they must over come a serious of increasingly dangerous dungeons in order to reach their dreams of making the world a better place/get cash.
A series of increasingly dangerous dungeons? That’s an awfully arbitrary structure you got there. It sort of reminds me of the level structure of video games from the 80′s.
Please Zabi, a million and a half shows have some sort of meaningless found structure like that. Even that FMA show that you can’t stop jizzing over had seven deadly sins that the Elric Brothers neeeded to overcome.
Sure, but FMA was actually about stuff. There was a deeper meaning held true in every circumstance. The themes and character motivations were more sophisticated then almost every seinen show. What is Magi about?
Does “slavery is bad” count?
What about “everyone needs friends?”
And the motivations are really really complex too! Stuff like pretending to want money but really wanting friends!
Hookah-Kun, that sounds completely retarded.
Don’t look at me like that.
Look, I also had a bunch of problems with your interpretation of arabian nights. Arabian nights isn’t just some famous collection of stories. Arabian Nights is about the act of telling a story itself, with the stories only acted acting as a reenforcer to the central metanarrative. It’s what makes it one of the most powerful pieces of writing in human history.
And even if you are just using it for inspiration, you spend an awful lot of time trying to associate your cast with characters from Arabian Nights. But, the crappy characters in your show don’t even really resemble the characters from the stories in Arabian Nights. You just took a few superficial elements, Aladdin has a genie, Ali Baba is connected to money, and Morgiana is a slave. This wouldn’t be half so bad had I not been sold the concept of transplanting characters from Arabian Nights into one story, and Magi simply doesn’t deliver.
So? The show’s quality doesn’t rely on how faithful it is to the work it is drawing inspiration from. You are just being another fanboy for the original source material who bitching because they got a precious part of his show wrong.
Not following the original doesn’t make it bad. It just means that all the people who might attempt to use the creative and original inspiration that magi has, needs to understand that any connection is surface level at best. Take a good look beneath the sandy overcoat and you get the same shonen shit pile that I’ve been peddled as often as the local drug dealers try to get me to buy their hash.
What about the art? Isn’t it gorgeous?
The craftsmanship is high quality, but bad direction means that there really isn’t all that much to look at. Without good set up and good meaning all the expensive expressive colors in the world aren’t worth a dime.
At Least the fighting was okay?
Kinda dull really.
Episodes Seen: 1
Ixion Saga DT
Ixion is a show that at the very first glance I realized would be completely and utterly worthless. Then I saw it was by the Gintama guy and I changed my mind, thinking it would be awesome. Then I saw the actual fucking show and I am very proud to say that my initial instincts were completely and totally correct. Ixion DT is really really bad.
The animation is quite possibly uglier than Code:Breaker, a show so singularly ugly that it makes low budget anime from the seventies look like K.
Episodes Seen: 1
Skurasou No Pet Na Konojo
I’m still pretty divided on this show. On one hand this show is everything I hate about a genre that inspires a level of complete and total that springs forth in my brain at the mere thought of it. Every little last thing I hate about the genre is here. The random perversion, the infantile characters, the lead guy who’s only definable quality is “nice”, the humans acting in ways that are less human and more bizarre uncanny valley parody of human existence.
On the other hand, this series gets a surprising amount right. For one thing the art department seemed to be siphoning funds away from Little Busters and accidentally ended up with a show so amazingly jaw droppingly pretty that at times it makes the stupid harem antics almost too easy to ignore. And mr. writing department decided that he felt like showing up to this party too. The bits with Maid-chan are actually really funny. The show spends an awful lot of time making sure that the harem forming around the lead guy is at times, and I am saying this word with a lot of salt considering the baseline average I am comparing this thing too, kind of reasonable.
The big overriding problems remain the cast and the direction. It seems that the director didn’t get the memo that J.C. Staff wanted this thing to be less To-Love-Ru and more Sankarea. So we are naturally treated to lots of emphasis put on random underage “fanservice” instead of anything storytelling related. It also ruins a lot of jokes that would actually be able to stand on their own two feat had they been given more subtle direction. The cast likewise maintains the usual levels of terribleness, with most of them being more annoying then funny. Interestingly though, only two of them really have a thing for protaganist-kun, so there is that at least? Alot of people don’t really like dumb as rocks female lead girl, for not exactly incomprehensible reasons, but I kind of like the fact that they are approaching a character type we haven’t really seen before in the genre. She’s not too far from the “Rei Ayaname” archetype but there is an added element of dependency that makes her break the mold. So I guess for the moment I’m keeping this thing around. But I fully expect it to shit itself outside the litterbox at any point, and when it does I don’t give a fuck if it has to sleep in the rain.
Episodes Seen: 1
Girls und Panzer
I was actually pretty hyped for this. Uppote was worth a good three episodes, and while I was sure I would quit within a month of first dair date, I would be able to enjoy the joke while it lased. I’m not sure what the problem exactly was, but the show seemed to take itself too seriously. And not in a sort of snarky deadpan comedy kind of way because I totally dig that, but in a more moe show that happens to have tanks way. I came out feeling just disapointed that the premise wasn’t as funny as it offered to be.
Episodes Seen: 1
First of the two Production I.G., Two cour, Seinen, sci-fi shows that are running as part of this season and next’s bizarrely heterogeneous noitaminA. And here we have the moralizing introspective action show to go along with RN’s relentless lethargy. Despite my irrational and at times starlkerish love of the mecha genre and of the writing in the 5PB adaptions, Psycho Pass has emerged riding on the backs of Rick Deckard as the king of the time spot.
Oddly enough, this has to be one of the first works of straight up, no nonsense cyber punk that I’ve seen in awhile. Most cyber punk stories now a days happen to be more in the genre of Post-Cyberpunk, which is a lot like normal Cyberpunk but with less brooding and a society that functions at least some of the time. Well, I guess there was the remake of Total Recall, but did anyone actually bother to watch that? Anyway, here we have all the cyberpunk elements here present and accounted for. The rookie cop who works outside the law with a flare for justice? The dark and troubled bishonen with a dark past and a man he must kill is pretty much the seasoning to this neonoir roast duck.
Still, it’s refreshing that there is a show around that bothers to actually ask tough questions. Psycho Pass is a show that is very clearly about something. It’s about whether the purpose of criminal law is justice or peace keeping. It asks if bartering away our freedoms is an acceptable price to pay to live a life we are well suited for. It asks if the social contract we make allows it leave to act against our best interests. It ain’t terribly subtle, but it has the intellectual chops to back up it’s bluster (*cough Tempest cough*)
Episodes Seen: 2
It lacked the grey matter splattering, trouser tightening first episode of Stein;s Gate, but what the Production I.G. Put on display for us was a sight for my sore eyes in the energetic days since the end of the dry summer season. The show we were exposed to is well on track to being one of the most intelligent and most consistently entertaining shows of the season. So yes, It’s safe to say that I am fairly excited for my weekly Skal time!
I rather like the idea of a slice of life mecha series. Slice of life is a genre that usually never seems to have a solidly constructed plot, and sticks to the contemporary setting like blight on a potato. And a mecha show that focuses on realistic characterization is always a treat. The real wild card element at play is that strange scene at the end of the first episode. I don’t know who that girl is or what this means for the show, especially since some people claim it has something to do with the abominable Chao;s head. How well that element turns out and how included into the course of the series it is will be the factor to make or break this show.
Episodes Seen: 1
If I were being kind to this summer I’d call it a dearth. If I wasn’t being kind then I would say words that no reasonable website should hold. The simple prospect of a few shows to watch that don’t either suck or leave me bored is a heartening one. Really, the bar was so low that pretty much any season could have followed up on it well.
There are few a interesting trends like the strange number of shows relating to the concept of escapism that are coming around this season. I have a lot more editorials and whatnot planned for the coming months, as well as at least one or two more stop ins over the course of the season. Those ones will be less excruciating to write because I’ll have less then half as many shows to write about. In the meantime leave me to my carpel tunnel syndrome, you tossers!