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[In which I review] New anime, Fall 2012

SunnyD

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The father explains that the ratlings are two-faced.

They only show groveling worship to those with PK in the belief that it won't get them killed.

They probably resent it completely.

So what would they do if they saw a defenseless human without PK? Possibly lynch them.
 
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Fabius Maximus

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Which also opens the questoin of their origins. We're they created during teh era of the slave empires, before, after? Were they created or did they just come about? (YEs evolution over 1,000 years is impossible, butwe're also talking about godlike PK weilding children, so I'm not going to get my hard science hat bent out of shape).
 

Scholar and a Brutalman

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Once I read a book called Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence, which discusses the violent behaviour of chimps and compares it to the peaceful life of the bonobo, and suggests we would be happier if we were more like the latter. While I agreed we might be happier, I couldn't help but wonder what would happen after chimps met bonobos, and I'm guessing it would end with the chimps sleeping off a heavy meal.

In that light I've been thinking about the death reaction that our 31st century PKs have upon killing other humans (*). It seems like a very dangerous thing to do to your species unless you're sure there aren't any other humans who will attack you. There's only one certain way to be sure of that that I can think of.

Alternatively, it may not have been something they did to themselves: near the end of the conversation the group were asking the Library if they were descendents of the "scientist" group, and never got answered. It could be that they are one of the scientist's groups of experimental test subjects instead. If you're doing tests on a group of potentially world-destroying PKs, making sure they will die if they attack you seems like a good precaution.

* I'm wondering if I should have phrased that as "PKs have upon killing humans." Have they speciated?
 

KoboldLord

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Charles Gray said:
Which also opens the questoin of their origins. We're they created during teh era of the slave empires, before, after? Were they created or did they just come about? (YEs evolution over 1,000 years is impossible, butwe're also talking about godlike PK weilding children, so I'm not going to get my hard science hat bent out of shape).
Given the nature of the librarian introduced in the third episode, the freakish wildlife are most likely the result of intentional bioengineering. Likewise for the slave race of rat-people, which could either be uplifted rats or intentionally crippled humans.
 

Fabius Maximus

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I've been wondering if it wasn't what happened to the Vanished Children. Something in the way the Monk addressed them.
Possibly-- though the fear that they would attack the children would seem to be out of place then (unless of course that's a lie to keep the children from speaking to them).

OTH, an engineered race woudl make sense-- if the earh really did drop to .05 percent human population, it might have been an attempt to ensure there would be enough laborers.
 

ru

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In that light I've been thinking about the death reaction that our 31st century PKs have upon killing other humans (*). It seems like a very dangerous thing to do to your species unless you're sure there aren't any other humans who will attack you. There's only one certain way to be sure of that that I can think of.
I had a thought about this - it could explain why non-psychic kids get killed. As the library explained, the death reaction uses PK to affect one's own organs. No PK, no death reaction, and suddenly you have a kid who can commit violence in a society where nobody else can.

Saying that, how exactly do they do away with misbehaving children if they can't harm them themselves? something to do with the monster cats in the first(?) episode? what's the deal with them anyway?
 

Jhiday

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And now for a couple of kids' shows that took a bit for translations to emerge, and even more for me to write about...

Aikatsu ("Idol Activities")
(?? episodes)

What's it about ?

Young hopefuls attending an academy for idols.

Characters

Ichigo, our protagonist. She has never really cared about idols until now, which is a convenient excuse for tons of exposition about it from her younger brother and her best friend, who are totally into it.

Aoi, said best friend, who applies to the idol academy. And since the entrance exams are apparently similar to normal ones, so can Ichigo ! Sure, why not ?

Mitsuki, the current top idol and public face of the academy. Not much personality yet behind the smiling façade.

The OP & ED prominently feature a third major character, who for the moment seems to be content to look snidely are our naive heroes from the shadows. The rival, then.

Production Values

Bright and colourful. The choregraphy sequences follow the current trend of being entirely CG, which produces impeccable but slighltly soulless animation.

There must be some sort of card-game tie-in, as such cards are prominently featured as the way to become a good idol.

What did I think of it ?

This is a perfectly decent package ; the toyetic tie-ins are obvious but not too obnoxious, the characters are generic but functional enough, it moves along at a brisk pace, and it certainly looks good.

The problem is, that, well, it's quite bland, and I just have no wish to watch such a show without a spark making it special. I'm just not the in target market, and so it falls flat for me.

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Chousoku Henkei Gyrozetter
(?? episodes)

What's it about ?

Sentai show with cool transforming cars.

Characters

Kakeru, our hotblooded young protagonist. Since this is The Future, all the cars come with an AI, which explains how he's now getting his license despite being 14 at best. He'd probably have gotten it earlier if he wasn't pissing off his teachers with his acrobatic (but perfectly mastered) driving. Anyway, the people in charge (pulling double duty as both school officials and members of the secret organisation that saves the world) have found a Rosetta-like stone prophetizing he's the chosen one, and so give him a car that transforms into a giant robot so that he can fight off the baddies with it.

Rinne, his totally-girlfriend, is already an assistant teacher for driving classes despite not looking any older. (Her student looks 10 at most.) Also, did I mention she's driving a Prius (c) (r) (tm) ? She spends a good chunk of the episode in distress mode (mostly because she's not at the wheel when the villains attack), but she gets her own transforming car/robot in the second episode.

In pure sentai tradition, the OP/ED show that the team is eventually going to be five-strong, with the fat-comic-relief, the stand-offish rival and the other girl presumably joining us soon.

Also in this episode : an over-enthusiastic TV reporter who spends all his screentime shouting exposition at us or telling us how awesome the action is.

Production Values

Very nice : there's way enough budget to sell the action sequences, whether the car chase scenes or the giant-robot fights. It's obviously a toyetic tie-in to something, but at least they're not half-assing it.

I have to admit I laughed out loud at the ED sequence taking the piss out of the current trend of CG dancing sequences.

What did I think of it ?

This is actually quite fun. It's a nearly complete checklist of every single sentai cliché ever, but played with enough enthusiasm and energy to be watchable. (Although Jouji Nakata can't pull off his "gung-ho old scientist" role to save his life.) Let's be clear : despite not displaying a single original idea, this isn't a "so bad it's good" show ; it's enjoyable unironically. There's a reason those clichés were used in the first place, after all.

In less busy a season, I could have seen myself sticking with it in the long run ; as it is, I don't think I'll be watching beyond episode 2. Still, nice try.

-----------------------------

I'm not going to bother with a full writeup for Aoi Sekai no Chuushin de. In theory, it's a fantasy fighting show where the characters are based on classic console franchises (with the main factions being the kingdoms of Sega & Nintendo). In practice, the gimmick stops at some characters' names, and I couldn't discern any jokes related to the premise. Or any jokes period : it's a straight fantasy fighting show that takes itself dreadfully seriously and ends up being utterly boring. It's obvious the producers have welded the high-concept onto a completely unrelated show just to give it a selling point. If you've been planning to check it out for the novelty value, don't bother.

(Also, the schedule seems to be "one episode every few months", so you'll probably have completely forgotten about it by the time episode #2 airs.)

-----------------------------

Random notes about other shows :

PSYCHO-PASS's second episode was a huge improvement, with tons of awe-inspiring worldbuilding (wait, are they wearing "unstable molecules" or just holographic clothes ? The action sequence thankfully seems to suggest the former), and a proper exploration of the issues brought up in the first episode. I especially loved the scene where, after Akane explains her "I don't know what to do with my life" angst, Akira Ishida's character immediately drops the smarm and tells her to fuck off. Wonderful acting and character work, there.

In general, last Thursday was all about exposition and world-building. BTOOOM! finally gave us the rules of the game (it helps to have a character not trying to kill our protagonist yet to bounce off explanations with), Blast of the Tempest gave us a nice and simple explanation on how magic works, K had some helpful pointers about the gang wars, and Robotics;Notes took a more understated route by quietly showing off that medical exoskeleton.

(Wait, is Miyuki Sawashiro voicing major or supporting characters in 4 out of the 5 Thursday shows I'm watching ? Not that I'm complaining one bit...)

I wonder how many new irritating characters Little Busters! can introduce before my patience breaks.

Magi is a lot of fun. Just watch it, otherwise you're missing out.
 

Ikselam

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PSYCHO-PASS's second episode was a huge improvement, with tons of awe-inspiring worldbuilding, and a proper exploration of the issues brought up in the first episode.
Don't forget that the OP is pretty much an animated Bond OP.

(Wait, is Miyuki Sawashiro voicing major or supporting characters in 4 out of the 5 Thursday shows I'm watching ? Not that I'm complaining one bit...)
She is getting a lot of work this season.
 

Wolfwood2

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PSYCHO-PASS's second episode was a huge improvement, with tons of awe-inspiring worldbuilding (wait, are they wearing "unstable molecules" or just holographic clothes ? The action sequence thankfully seems to suggest the former), and a proper exploration of the issues brought up in the first episode. I especially loved the scene where, after Akane explains her "I don't know what to do with my life" angst, Akira Ishida's character immediately drops the smarm and tells her to fuck off. Wonderful acting and character work, there.
That was great.

"Oh, I just don't know what to do with my life. It troubles me so much!"

"Wait, we live in a world where 95% of people pretty much only have one option for their careers, chosen by their psyche profile. I myself have been a prisoner since childhood based on being identified as an incurable latent criminal. And you're whining about too much choice? Fuck off, lady."

What was really impressive was that even though the guy was totally right, I still didn't hold her first world problems against the protagonist.

Robotics;Notes took a more understated route by quietly showing off that medical exoskeleton.
It was there in the first episode too.

Is it just me, or does the male protagonist of Robotics;Notes come across as a major asshole? If you're not interested in the club, quit! This routine where he shows up but refuses to do anything but bury his nose in his video game is just rude. Or at least, he came across that way most of the episode.

Spoiler: Show
Then we find out the girl has a condition that gives her seizures. Apparently he just doesn't want to leave her alone where she might get hurt without someone to look after her, even though he doesn't give a shit about the club. Okay, well-played show, I better know where he's coming from now.


I wonder how many new irritating characters Little Busters! can introduce before my patience breaks.
I decided to play the game rather than watch the anime. But gah, visual novels are loooong. I've been playing for probably three hours total, and we're still in the "introduce the potential love interests" phase.

Magi is a lot of fun. Just watch it, otherwise you're missing out.
I like the interaction with the slave girl. I guess she's from north Africa rather than sub-Saharan Africa.
 
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