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[In which I review] New anime, Fall 2011

JELEINEN

Sizzler Black Squadron
Validated User
Well, I dropped Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai after episode 2 as it was pure harem fanservice, which I don't care for. I'm still on the fence about Horizon after #2. The setting intrigues me as do some of the secondary characters, but man is the main character obnoxious.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
UN-GO
(11 episodes, noitaminA)

What's it about ?

Mystery series set in the near future.

Characters

Shinjuuro Yuuki, "the Defeated Detective". He's very good at his job, but gets involved in cases so politically sensitive that they tend to get covered up by the authorities (hence his nickname, as his successes never get publicized to the wider public).

Inga, his intense pint-sized sidekick. Or is it Inga, the tall and sexy woman he claims to be his "boss" and who can hypnotize anyone in giving one (and only one) truthful answer ? Obviously there's something bizarre at work here...

Rinroku Kaishou, elite consultant in Justice affairs (among other stuff). Apparently in the future justice will be privatized and corrupted so that this dude can order the whole system around. Sure, he's a talented sleuth, solving the whole case despite not even being on the scene (he's a recluse), but he's also the one announcing the cover-up in the same breath.

Rie Kaishou, our point of view character so far, daughter of the former, sent to a political gala in his stead because he can't be bothered. She fancies herself as a good sleuth too (and invokes his authority until he barges in through video-conference), but she gets carried away by the first red herring...

Izumi Koyama, a prosecutor. She's mostly superfluous in the proceedings (which she obviously seems to resent quite a bit), and is often reduced to helping some exposition along.

The case of the week involves a businessman who allegedly embezzled money from reconstruction efforts ("as you know, our country was recently at war with terrorists..."), and gets killed halfway through the costume gala he set up to try and clear his name.

Production Values

It's Studio BONES, of course it looks good. I note that they somehow managed to dress half the cast in period 19th-century garb, eh. The character designs have a bit more style than their usual offerings (especially Inga, in both forms).

What did I think of it ?

Well, this is certainly a fast episode : it burns through a complete mystery plot (including two full-blown red herrings) and some extensive setting exposition at breakneck speed. While you do need to pay attention (in particular, the "description of character" overlays are a bit too fast), it never loses sight of clarity. While it's hard to try and deduce the solution before it's given (especially are some crucial data is shown too late because of screentime constraints), it's still a decent mystery in itself, with some nice pieces of foreshadowing.

I'm a sucker for the mystery genre : of course I'm going to keep watching this. But the quality is quite good, and I'm intrigued by the setting and Inga's weirdness. It also seems to be fully aware there are only 11 episodes available, and is paced appropriately, which is a good sign.
 

salinea

grievous lack of
Validated User
Hallelujah! At last a show this season that sounds intriguing enough for me to bother checking out the first episode.

I was starting to despair.
 

JELEINEN

Sizzler Black Squadron
Validated User
It's interesting that Un-Go is adapting other detective novels for its plots. In terms of plot, setting, characters, music and style this show seems to have it all going for it, so I'm definitely following.

I'm also going to be watching Guilty Crown for sure. Damn, that was good too.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Guilty Crown
(22 episodes, noitaminA)

What's it about ?

A future dystopia where biological terrorist attacks have allowed brutal totalitarians (under control of foreign interests) to take over Japan. A high-school student finds himself involved with a group of "terrorists" smuggling a biological weapon out of a lab, and obtains some superpowers by accident. Also, mecha.

If this synopsis sounds suspiciously like Code Geass, well the head writer here worked on that too. But the tone is quite different.

Characters

Shu, our protagonist. I hasten to note that he's very different from Lelouch, especially given his lack of charisma. He's just a normal boy way out of his depth who feels impotent against the dystopia.

Inori, a pop singer who somehow managed to smuggle a vial of something out of a lab. After a long chase scene, she gets arrested right in front of Shu (after stumbling into his little hideout), but not before giving him the vial, so that he can transmit it to...

Gai, leader of the terrorist cell, and badass enough to take care of a few thugs who had zeroed in on Shu without even breaking a sweat. He's got an awesome theme tune, too. But the cops catch up with them before he can even start to explain the plot...

We get to see a few more "terrorists" (how the heck did they get their hands on a mecha ?) and some higher-ups in the dystopia, but they don't get enough screentime yet for me to really get a handle on them.

Production Values

Production IG are on full form here : this looks gorgeous, the action sequences are fluid, and the opening chase scene's direction is a thing of wonder. The soundtrack is ace too.

What did I think of it ?

Clearly the highlight of the season. It's ambitious and has enough budget to pull it off ; the worldbuilding around the dystopia feels genuine (turf conflicts between officials is definitely the way to go to make it halfway credible) ; and moreover it's just got style. I was slightly disappointed by the nature of the "Guilty Crown" weapon (a giant blade thingie ?), but that's minor. A more major problem is the protagonist, who needs to shape up and stop whining very quickly if he wants not to be overshadowed by the much more charismatic supporting cast.

Still, this shows a lot of promise, and may well be the best first episode of the season.
 

Dawgstar

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
The streaming companies in the States are really on the ball this year. Except for Tomodachi, they pretty much have everything I want to check out.
 

testuo01

New member
Banned
The Guilty Crown isn't a blade-weapon thingie; It allows you to create weapons from the bodies of your friends. Any of your friends. It's just that Inori's happens to be a massive sword; Using the same power on the rest of the cast is quite likely to have different results.

Actually, it's been done before in Shining Wind, where the protagonist had the power to draw magic swords out of the 'hearts' of the female cast members- With plenty of innuendo and orgasmic moaning. I do recall, terrifyingly, that his ultimate weapon came from his male best friend.

I really, really, disliked Guilty Crown's hero, who seems to be at least mildly autistic and very much a wuss. Hopefully, he'll man up more as the series progresses- Is it wrong that I'd have preferred him to be scared, freaked-out, or confused, instead of whimpering about how pathetic he is?

And what's with all the Japanese nationalism in anime recently? It's not like it's anyone's fault that they're in dire straits.
 
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Rainfall

Registered User
Validated User
Getting REALLY mixed feelings on Guilty Crown. On one hand it has wonderfull atmosphere, music and visuals. I really love the implied politics and worldbuilding, there's also a sense of wonder permeating the show. I love that the mechs look like remote-controled utilitarian machines instead of the usual suits of armor.

On the other hand, the tropes are sounding a lot of warning bells. Generic whiny protagonist, moe idol romantic interest subjected to some rapey imagery (inflicted by a black guy no less), bishie badass leader, a goth loli...

That show is gonna piss me off, it looks wonderfull, but I know it's going to end as a stinking pile of wasted potential.

I really, really, disliked Guilty Crown's hero, who seems to be at least mildly autistic and very much a wuss. Hopefully, he'll man up more as the series progresses- Is it wrong that I'd have preferred him to be scared, freaked-out, or confused, instead of whimpering about how pathetic he is?
If it's wrong, I don't want to be right, he's by far the worst part of the series for me. Generic Normal Anime Protag really gets on my nerves. That said, at least they try to do something interesting with him as there's a reason why he feels horribly alienated.

And what's with all the Japanese nationalism in anime recently? It's not like it's anyone's fault that they're in dire straits.
Japan's always been xenophobic, it's just getting a bit less subtle about it. Especially in cultural products not really intended for a foreign audience.
 
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