[In which I review] New anime, Fall 2011

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
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Mobile Suite Gundam AGE
(50 episodes)

What's it about ?

Gundam for kids. The world is under attack from Unknown Enemies (sic), the good guys' only hope are their awesome mecha.

Characters

Flit, our generic teenage protagonist. His mother conceived the mecha and gave him the key when she died in an attack several years ago ; which is very helpful when the official pilot gets injured during today's attack and he can jump into the cockpit.

Emily, his generic love interest. If she has a personality, or an actual purpose in the plot, she hides it well so far.

There are other characters, but to be honest I can't be bothered listing them. They're the usual stereotypes : the officer in charge, the old wacky mechanist, the heroic actual pilot...

Production Values

The character designs obviously hark back to some sort of cross between Tezuka and Matsumoto, but I can't say I'm convinced it works. It certainly doesn't help assuaging the blandness of the whole thing.

The mecha fights do look nice, though. It's Sunrise, after all.

What did I think of it ?

Yawn. The plot is boring, the characters are bland, the enemies are purposefully faceless, and the artstyle does nothing for me.

Don't bother with this one.
 

JELEINEN

Sizzler Black Squadron
Validated User
I didn't think Age as that bad. This episode was obviously an homage to the original series, but I'm glad they avoided the reluctant protagonist cliche. I really want to see what they do with the whole intergenerational thing they're supposed to be doing with the show (Flit's son and grandson are going to be the heroes of the series later on).
 

JELEINEN

Sizzler Black Squadron
Validated User
The character designs obviously hark back to some sort of cross between Tezuka and Matsumoto, but I can't say I'm convinced it works. It certainly doesn't help assuaging the blandness of the whole thing.
Actually, they look like the designs in some of the Brave series. Since those were Sunrise as well, I wonder if they used the same designer.
 

Wolfwood2

Registered User
Validated User
So I watched C3, episode 2. The first half is the exact same crap from episode 1. Fear (the blue haired girl) goes to school and makes friends and is all, "Oh, I love school. Everyone is having so much fun there." Intersperse one creepy scene with the the blond lady from end of last episode. Then... it turns into a shounen action show.

Spoiler: Show
Fear is an instrument of torture who has killed thousands of people. The next-door-neighbor glasses girl turns into a sword (literally) and the male protagonist uses her to fight the blond lady. He hits her with a sword. There's blood everywhere, and it's the dark, bloody style of shounen fight scenes.


Uh... huh.
 
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KoboldLord

Registered User
Validated User
Catching up a bit. Fate Zero did not have a very good episode, but I'll watch it anyway because I watched the series it was a prequel to. I can't imagine anybody who didn't watch that other series bothering to continue, though.

Boku ha Tomodachi ga Sukunai is getting a tentative place on my watch list, pending a second and third episode that don't degenerate into stupid fanservice.

Shakugan no Shana looks like it'll be better than the filler season, so I'm planning to follow it to the end.

I don't know if it's me, or if it's the selection of shows that are starting this season, but I'm finding myself not even trying very many first episodes this season.
 

MadMac

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I don't know if it's me, or if it's the selection of shows that are starting this season, but I'm finding myself not even trying very many first episodes this season.
It's not just you. A few seasons ago I'd watch the first episode of almost everything. Anymore I just can't be bothered to watch something I'm not personally interested in (sequels, say) unless it gets a lot of positive buzz. Of course, part of it is just me being a lot busier then I used to be.

So far all I've manged to catch is Squid Girl, Working, Fate Zero, and Hunter x Hunter. I've been waiting to see if Shana gets a legal stream, but that's also on my list. Every single one of these is a sequel, prequel, or retelling of something I've already seen. I'm not exactly leaving my comfort zone here. There's a few other shows I've got my eye on, but only if they don't take a nosedive by the second or third episode.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I wouldn't be terribly suprised if, as the series progresses, those move up and he becomes more animated.
If that's the idea, it would actually be quite clever.

But US only. :(
That's because it's a Hulu link ; there are other legal streaming channels that cover a far wider chunk of the planet. (I was quite surprised to see Kaze's website streaming the first episode of Persona4, or NicoNicoDouga's Fate/zero simulcast having a French version ; usually France is excluded from these things.)

Uh... huh.
Somehow, I don't find that description particularly interesting either. There are quite a few other shows this season that occupy the same niche of harem/fighting cross-genre, and I found Fear so annoying in the first episode that I don't want to bother with this one.

Wait wait wait WHAT? New Last Exile series? When/where? GIMME!!! :)
Next Friday. Funimation is supposed to simulcast it.

WEEK 2 !
- Fate/Zero #2 : finally catching some steam, although the lengthy opening scene with poor hapless Waver and his servant was a bit tediously long. But the 7th Master is a fun addition (Akira Ishida does very good psychopaths), and the double-crossing already starting is promising (although if you really believe that's the end of that particular Servant, I've got a bridge to sell you...).
- Working'!! #2 : ah, this is more like it. Now that the token cast reintroductions are out of the way, we can get back to Souma being Izaya-lite and Yamada being disturbingly creepy. Fun.
- Bakuman S2 #2 : argh, the inane romance of doom is back ! Please go away and focus back on the manga industry pseudo-documentary !
- Hunter x Hunter #2 : I'm starting to quite enjoy Kurapika's deadpan attitude. On the other hand, the twists to the trials this episode weren't exactly challenging to guess...
- Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai! #2 : The good news : we get a better sense of of the personalities of Yamato's harem. The bad news : they're not particularly interesting, especially as I have no clue why they all love him. The whole episode being centered on an inane "search for lost dog" quest that failed to raise a smile doesn't help. Dropped.
- Phi Brain #2 : Darn, this new "Galileo" rival is quite annoying ! On the other hand, it looks like he'll become a bit more bearable in future episodes, and I still quite like the "X-Treme Pr Layton" setup. Especially as we get a better look of the wider plot : it's impressively stupid, but looks like fun.
 

Sage Genesis

Two
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- Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai! #2 : The good news : we get a better sense of of the personalities of Yamato's harem. The bad news : they're not particularly interesting, especially as I have no clue why they all love him. The whole episode being centered on an inane "search for lost dog" quest that failed to raise a smile doesn't help. Dropped.
Same. It looks like they took the character designs and the names but otherwise it doesn't really resemble the manga. A real pity. (Maybe it resembles the visual novel thingies, I wouldn't know about those. Kind of doubt it to be honest.)
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Future Diary (Mirai Nikki)
(26 episodes)

What's it about ?

Twelve people receive on their cellphone an electronic diary of future events affecting them. (They can of course change events, causing everyone to get updates.) The goal of the game is to kill all the others (destroying their phone also works). Good luck !

Adapted from a manga ; there was a short OVA several months back that was basically a trailer testing the waters.

Characters

Yukiteru Amano, our loner misanthropic protagonist. Quite baffled and creeped out by the whole thing, obviously. He's got a random talent for throwing darts (and always carries some), which of course comes handy before the episode even ends. He's player "First".

Deus Ex Machina, the Norio Wakamoto-voiced game-master. Yukiteru used to think of his as a figment of his imagination, an imaginary friend to talk with when he's lonely, but there's clearly something else at work here. He's accompanied by a tiny sidekick, Murumuru, who does the hands-on stuff such as delivering the phone diaries. Whether either of them are "real" remains a mystery so far.

Yuno Gasai, the "Second" player, who happens to be an honor student in Yukiteru's class. On the one hand, he's lucky to have her to watch his back. On the other hand, her attachment to him is quite creeping indeed (he's not far from the truth when he calls her a stalker). Either the diaries don't all work the same, or she's been able to hack hers a bit, because it shows events of Yukiteru's life instead of hers.

"Third" (I'm not sure we're given a name), a serial-killer who's been on a rampage in a neighborhood. Him getting a diary is mostly unrelated to his killings (aside from the players all being sociopaths to some degree). He targets Yukiteru, who manages to destroy his phone (and thus kill him) with Yuno's help.

Deus Ex Machina assembles a call conference between all the players at the end of the episode to explain the rules (er, shouldn't he have done that a bit earlier), and so we get a quick glimpse at the 9 other players... although their appearances are scrambled and he takes care to only address them by codenames. (Yukiteru clearly recognizes Yuno, though ; the scrambling doesn't look very efficient if you already know the player.) DEM names "First" as the lead competitor (what with having already killed Third), which is a nasty way of painting a target on his back.

Production Values

Perfectly okay. I quite like the CG design for Deus Ex Machina and the "imaginary world", which both look properly otherworldly.

What did I think of it ?

Um. The storytelling is a bit choppy, but there's a decent plot hook here. The premise obviously makes no sense whatsoever, but the series is self-aware enough to overcome this. (I especially like the post-ED scene that shows how Murumuru gave Third his diary ; it's hilarious and has impeccable comedic timing.) It's certainly got atmosphere, and I'm intrigued by how much of a sociopath Yuno is. If the show manages not to fall into a routine of each player attacking our protagonists in a row, and finds clever ways to abuse the diaries, it could be quite fun.
 
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