• Don't link to the video of the Christchurch shooting, or repost links to the shooter's manifesto.

[In which I review] New anime, Fall 2011

Mejiro_Night

Registered User
Validated User
I'm finding Ben-To a lot funnier then it has any right to be. I think it's how serious its treating the subject matter, combined with the obvious 'male eye' view of the protagonist.
My first thought was 'that's a fully stocked supermarket. Learn to make your own damn lunch!'. I know bento's a bit more complicated than 'slap something between two bits of bread', but it's easier than ending up in a shonen tournament thing just to get some lunch! But it is kinda fun, and a bit of willfully stupid fighting action is kinda fun.
 

Wolfwood2

Registered User
Validated User
My first thought was 'that's a fully stocked supermarket. Learn to make your own damn lunch!'. I know bento's a bit more complicated than 'slap something between two bits of bread', but it's easier than ending up in a shonen tournament thing just to get some lunch! But it is kinda fun, and a bit of willfully stupid fighting action is kinda fun.
To be fair, episode 2 makes it clear that the losers do indeed go buy some ramen noodles or something and take it home to eat for dinner. It seems like that at this point it's become a pride and prestige thing. Are you a bad enough dude to grab a bento?

It's weird, but Ben-to is actually one of the less out there premises as animes go. It's a very weird, kind of stupid, custom and a bit hard to tell why the supermarkets go along with it, but it doesn't require magic or anything. Just a very weird local custom, and hell, in the depths of history folks have done weirder things.

The subplot with the stalker and her oblivious friend is the less plausible part of the plot, really.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
And finally, the fashionably late last new series for this Fall :

Last Exile: Fam, the Silver Wing

What's it about ?

In a steampunk world where everything of note happens on airships, the eeeevil Ades Federation invades the peaceful kingdom of Turan under the pretense of peace talks. Also, pirates !

This is a sequel to a 2003 series, although I'm pretty sure the two sides and the conflict between them (not to mention most of the cast) are new. Anyway, it's decades later and the events of the first series hopefully aren't required knowledge (because gods know I've forgotten most of the plot by now).

Characters

Fam, our protagonist. The kind of reckless moron who regularly sleepwalks out of a flying airship (fortunately, her sidekick had the presence of mind to tie her down beforehand). We get some blatant foreshadowing when it's stated outright that someone as crude as her can't possibly be a princess, heavens no ! Anyway, despite (or maybe because of) her recklessness, she's somewhat in charge of the pirate gang's field operations (and pretty good at it, too).

Giselle, her sidekick. She has no personality whatsoever besides shuddering everytime Fam does something stupid (which is most of the time).

Dio, a major character from the original series, is inexplicably tagging along with the pirates. He manages to outshine Fam in recklessness and outrageous stunts, and he's got more charisma too.

Liliana and Milia [...] Turan, the two princesses governing the kingdom for now. Liliana is level-headed and an awesome leader (hello again, Ms. Sawashiro !), while Milia's just an annoying brat who bullies the help. Guess who's probably gonna get more screentime ? Anyway, their airship gets surrounded by scores of eeeevil Ades ones, but they get rescued by the pirates against the odds (thanks to Fam employing tactics that make the Ades captains look like chumps for falling for it).

We also get a short glimpse at the people in charge of Ades, who at least look actually competent.

Production Values

Welcome to a world populated with CG airships and architecture ! And, well CG anything, really (did they really want to make that newspaper look like it's printed on a plank on wood ?). It's quite well animated indeed, although the style does nothing for me.

This series continues the tradition of Last Exile having terrible OP songs that sound like crap. In general, the soundtrack is quite dire, not because the score is especially bad (although some pieces are decidedly uninspired), but because the sound editing is horribly subpar : the music starts and stops at random places, sometimes drowns the dialogue out, or is just ill-fitted to the scenes it plays over.

What did I think of it ?

Disclaimer : I didn't like the original series. This makes me overly sensitive to every little flaw in this... and they're many. The production values, one of the major selling points here, just don't impress me, because of the shoddiness of the finish. The characters are quite generic indeed. The setting has lost whatever depth it used to possess, leaving us with a black-and-white conflict with no ambiguity whatsoever. And I just don't care.

If this was an entirely new show, I might have given it a couple more episodes to change my mind... but I just don't trust it to improve, having been badly burned by the original series.
 

Dulahan

Active member
Validated User
To clear something up? Fam is set only 2 years after the first series. there's some recurring characters too, though not Claus and Lavie. That said, it's really confusing just how things changed so drastically to the point there's brand new kingdoms and Airship fleets. Especially when people seem to be on opposite sides as allies from the first.

But yes, that opening is ATROCIOUS. (Though I disagree on the first series having a bad OP, I loved Cloud Age Symphony).

Also, before you say it's black and white, um... I need to disagree there too. Mostly, admittedly, because of the bios I've read that in Japan everyone knows about due to the Episode 0 "Takeoff" special no one released or translated over here.

I'm getting a distinct Legend of the Galactic Heroes homage vibe from it myself. The other side is likely to have some really sympathetic characters (Amongst others, Tatiana and Alister - who you see in the Opening wearing the uniform of said side).

They name dropped Sophia as well, but no clue what's up with her. Is Anatoray not a power now? this is especially confusing because Anatoray style uniforms are being used by the losing side, and they're the ones who name dropped Sophia (Well, Dio did to them). Yet in the opening, Tatiana and Alister are wearing uniforms of and in a ship of the other side.
 
Last edited:

braincraft

Member
RPGnet Member
Banned
Ben-to is kind of like Kore wa Zombie desu ka (which, btw, has a second season in the works) in that the humor consists of deadpanning an absurd premise and taking it to eleven (also with blatant fanservice). Zombie dude in a tutu chainsawing a flying whale? Sure, why not. Shonen fight anime about cheap takeout? Sure, why not.
 

FortMan

Viva Romanesco!
Validated User
But yes, that opening is ATROCIOUS. (Though I disagree on the first series having a bad OP, I loved Cloud Age Symphony).
Yeah. Man, you got Mayaa Sakamoto, you should be able to get better song/editing than this.

I'm getting a distinct Legend of the Galactic Heroes homage vibe from it myself. The other side is likely to have some really sympathetic characters (Amongst others, Tatiana and Alister - who you see in the Opening wearing the uniform of said side).

They name dropped Sophia as well, but no clue what's up with her. Is Anatoray not a power now? this is especially confusing because Anatoray style uniforms are being used by the losing side, and they're the ones who name dropped Sophia (Well, Dio did to them). Yet in the opening, Tatiana and Alister are wearing uniforms of and in a ship of the other side.
My guess is:

Spoiler: Show
Things went to the crapper after the Guild was defeated. Anatoray was a feudal-ish society in the Last Exile timeline. Seeing that it's the more widespread Vanships that win the war, I bet the commoners have decided to take powers from the old nobility.
 

Dulahan

Active member
Validated User
Yeah. Man, you got Mayaa Sakamoto, you should be able to get better song/editing than this.
Seriously, the rest of the soundtrack sounded quite on par with the original, even a similar sort of instrument useage, to me. But really? That opening was atrocious. Generic opening for an anime song #42342344, and yeeeeah.

I was worried at first too, with the nakedness in the opening creds, and the underwear dive in the opening sequence. But it made up for it.
 

KoboldLord

Registered User
Validated User
I just caught Last Exile, and I'm glad that Dio's back, and also apparently back to normal. He was my favorite character from the original, and his last appearances there did not make me happy.

Fate Zero is much improved after the incredibly awkward first episode, and Shana looks like more of the same except maybe with plot advancement this time. Mirai Nikki and Haganai are the only two non-sequel series I think I'll be following.

All in all, probably an adequate season. No amazing standouts like Madoka, but it isn't like we can expect to get one of those every season.
 
Top Bottom