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[In which I review] New anime, Fall 2012

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
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Sure, we're seen awkward short tempered characters, but he takes it to the point where i found myself wondering if he was meant to be mentally handicapped.
He's a puppy.

No seriously, that's the core of his body language, and the OP/promo material aren't exactly subtle (they display Shizuku holding his leash). I have no clue whether this is just a metaphor or he's really some kind of werewolf-boy (which would explain some of the weirdness surrounding him), but that's clearly the consistent throughline of his portrayal.
 
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Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
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Yeah ! A couple of days of nearly nothing being released, followed by 5 shows in the same night. Hurray !


Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date! (Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!)
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Chuunibyou : a syndrome in which middle-schoolers with an overactive imagination act out a fantasy life, which wrecks most of their chances at a social life as their classmates have no time for those antics and shunning them. Apparently it's a thing in Japan.

Characters

Togashi, our protagonist, used to think of himself as the DARK FLAME MASTER (cue Jun Fukuyama doing his Zero voice). He's now thoroughly embarrassed by this, and trying his best to distance himself away from it. This includes entering a high-school quite away from his home just so that he can avoid anyone who knew him in middle school, and make a fresh start.

Unfortunately, Takanashi, his new neighbour, is still very much in this phase. He's dismayed to discover she's in his class, has found out about his dark secret (not that he's much good at hiding it), and seems stuck to him whether he likes it or not.

Also introduced this episode without much development : the Togashi family (mother apparently working a lot, two little sisters) ; the mandatory lecherous new best friend ; a homeroom teacher who's happy to rely on Togashi to deal with Takanashi ; and the perfect class representative who's probably hiding something.

Production Values

Standard KyoAni fare, although in their lower range : good animation and attention to detail. (When Takanashi's antics make a cupboard half-fall, it stays that way the whole scene.)

There's a show within the show that shows up here and there, including taking over the ED ; it's a cute parody of the kind of angsty nonsense those kids are obviously riffing off.

What did I think of it ?

The "guy takes care of a socially-inept girl" subgenre is always fraught with peril and unfortunate implications, but KyoAni dodge most of that minefield by focusing first and foremost on its protagonist, making it clear that he was suffering from the same problem mere months ago (and that he's not entirely over it yet). It helps that they've got Jun Fukuyama, a voice actor with enough talent and charisma to sell every aspect of the character.

Obviously the topic at hand can be a sore one for the geek audience, but it's to this show's credit that it's not really patronizing or insulting. It pokes fun at its characters without mocking them, which is a tricky balance to achieve. So far, so good.

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Kamisama Kiss (Kamisama Hajimemashita)
(13 episodes)

What's it about ?

Shoujo male harem with god bishies.

Characters

Nanami, our female protagonist. She's got a bit more spunk and personality than the usual, what with now being on the streets due to her dad running away and the debtors taking the house over. She then meets...

Mikage, the local god, who ran away a long time ago and doesn't really want to come back. So he kisses her on her forehead, which somehow transfers the local godhood to her. The scamp then disappears after giving her directions to the temple. Well, at least it's a roof over her head...

Tomoe, a more minor local god, who's been waiting for Mikage for ages. He's really not fond of this normal human taking over the business, and was about to storm off when she kissed him, which somehow forces him to assist her. (Don't ask me how it works, I was barely able to pay attention by then.)

There's also a couple of mini-dudes in masks hanging around and being obnoxiously helpful.

Production Values

Very average.

What did I think of it ?

Snore. It may be because I have no interest in the genre, but I found this very boring. The two leads have no chemistry, and the jokes stop working halfway through. The OP/ED (and the next episode preview) promise more god bishies in further episodes, which I don't find enticing at all.

I'll pass.

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I have no clue what all the fuss about Hayate the Combat Butler! Can't Take My Eyes Off You "not being a sequel" was about, because it's totally the same series continuing. No reboot, just more adventures in about the same setup. I don't know where this falls chronologically, but it's not like Hayate ever cared much about continuity before. Anyway, it's still a perfectly okay gag series, without the self-indulgence of the recent movie (which nearly made me lose all interest in the franchise).

I'm not sure what to make of the Lytchee Light Club shorts. It's about a sadistic high school secret society, the joke being that they kinda suck at being sadistic. Okay so far, but can it carry 26ish episodes, however short they are ?

I'm also torn on the Wooser's Hand-to-Mouth Life shorts. On the one hand, it's barely mildly funny. On the other hand, I always have time for Mamoru Miyano as a "cute" animal making pompous monologues.
 

MadMac

Registered User
Validated User
Well don't relax just yet, Thursday is another busy day. :p

Doesn't matter what season it is, all the shows I'm interested in seem to always bunch up over two days or so. Apparently none of these five were picked up except Hayate. Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! sounds at least mildly interesting, but I'm not sure if I'm interested enough to go looking for fansubs or not. I may just wait a few weeks and see if people are still talking about it. I've got almost a full plate of shows already.

As for Hayate, it's "not a continuation" in the sense that it's a big time jump from the second season, and it's not adapted from the manga. It's written by the manga author though, so it's a fairly petty distinction to make.
 
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ru

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Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur, I Want a Date! (Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai!)
I'm not big on embarrassment humour, so this might be a hard sell for me. It is well executed, even if the OP hurst my brain. The girl manages not to be too annoying, when she could get tiring very quickly.


Kamisama Kiss (Kamisama Hajimemashita)
The shinto angle provokes a faint interest, but I suspect I'm not the target audience for this one.
 

NPC New World Order

Grand Moff
Validated User
I've liked both Shin Sekai Yori and Blast of Tempest. The former wants so very much to be taken seriously, and the latter looks like a good modern fantasy/action show. 8th Grader Disease and My Little Monster didn't really do it for me - I probably won't be watching episode 2 of either of them.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Well don't relax just yet, Thursday is another busy day.
Tell me about it ; 4 full-review shows ? Thank gods the noitaminA shows are fashionably late once again.

I'm slowly compiling my thoughts, so expect writeups for K, BTOOOM! and Busou Shinki soon-ish. But before that...


Blast of the Tempest (Zetsuen no Tempest - The Civilization Blaster)
(?? episodes)

What's it about ?

Conspiracy action thriller, with a dash of magic.

Characters

Yoshino, our viewpoint character. He seems to be a very ordinary high school student, leading a perfectly normal life (beaten up by the local bullies, etc.). He spends most of the episode being baffled by the increasingly crazier stuff happening around him. Which includes being held at gunpoint by...

"Evangeline Yamamoto, single, 28 year-old and currently unemployed" (one of her actual first lines of dialogue). Whoever she actually works for (she claims she's just a concerned citizen acting independantly, but if you believe that I've got a bridge to sell you), she's looking for...

Mahiro, Yoshino's BFF, who disappeared a month ago. He got more and more agitated after his sister Aika got killed some months ago, especially as the police investigation is going nowhere. Which led him to become an apprentice to...

Hakaze, "one of the most talented mages in the world, even in [her] underwear" (actual monologue). One of the heirs of a powerful magic-using family, she was left stranded on a small desert island so she wouldn't interfere with their plans. (So why not just kill her, especially as you expect her to starve to death anyway ?) She made contact with Mahiro through that old standard plot device, the message in a bottle.

I have no clue what the baddies are trying to achieve, but this somehow involves unleashing a plague upon the city that turns people into metal. (Fortunately, as a magic user Mahiro is immune, Yoshino and Evangeline were close enough to him to be protected too, and everyone Yoshino cares about - his parents and girlfriend - were conveniently out of town.) They also have a giant rock thingie emerge from the sea and float in the air, which somehow sprouts a huge eye.

Production Values

The visuals are quite good, as can be expected from Studio Bones. I'm not fond of the character designs, but they work.

I can't decide whether the score is horribly misused or just crap ; it tries to be Dramatic! All! The! Time!, which really doesn't work and makes the narrative's sudden mood changes even more jarring.

What did I think of it ?

Wow, this is a complete mess. The dialogue is chronically terrible, as nearly everyone talks in exposition all the time. The pacing of the episode is horribly jumbled, with sudden timeline jumps and a general ordering of events which is plain bad storytelling (why have Hakaze narrate her contact with Mahiro instead of just showing it in a quick montage ?). The mood shifts don't quite work either, with some of the slapstick material with Hakaze on her island not fitting well with the thousands of dead people in the city (not that the show seems to care about them).

And still... there are some intriguing ideas in there, not the least of which being the very well-executed twist at the end, putting a lot of what happened into question. I'm actually kinda interested in seeing where this is going.

Oh, fuck it. It's got Miyuki Sawashiro (the only reason Hakaze still has any dignity after that underwear line) AND Hana Kanazawa (in full-on bitchy mode as Aika in the flashbacks). Of course I'm going to keep watching this, and complain all the time on how stupid and badly-plotted it is. Let's this be my token trainwreck show of the season...
 

Ikselam

may one day be worthy of your grace
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Your writeup makes Zetsuen no Tempest sound amazing.

PICKED UP.
 

Wolfwood2

Registered User
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And still... there are some intriguing ideas in there, not the least of which being the very well-executed twist at the end, putting a lot of what happened into question. I'm actually kinda interested in seeing where this is going.
Well, it's supposed to be a loose adaptation of Shakespeare's "The Tempest".
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Well, it's supposed to be a loose adaptation of Shakespeare's "The Tempest".
Ah, I knew I was missing something. Not even having a clue of what "The Tempest" is about (it's a play of his I've never watched any adaptation of), I think I'll gladly enjoy not knowing what's coming. Although I doubt the Bard included a magic metal plague anyway.

This is a very frustrating show, because it feels like the creators are taking themselves a bit too seriously instead of fully embracing the insanity. (Although the final twist is promising in that regard.)



K
(13 episodes)

What's it about ?

Magic gang warfare in the future. With heaps of style.

Characters

Yashiro, an albino student who seems to have no care in the world. Friendly with everyone, but not letting anyone close enough to actually be his friend. An exchange student from wherever, he enjoys the heck out of living in Tokyo. He's fun to watch, especially as it's more than hinted that he's got more depths beyond the cheery surface. He's targetted by...

Mikoto and his crew of fire-magic users, last seen shaking some intel from some mafia-style group in the action prologue. They're a bunch of tough guys with the token gothic lolita who has lie-detecting powers. Why exactly they're after Yashiro isn't clearly explained, but he may well be a key player in the gang war in disguise. Or they're just framing him for whatever reasons.

Mikoto's crew are chiefly opposed by the Blue Coats, a law-enforcement group that are trying their best to look half as cool despite only carrying swords. They're not entirely unsuccessful, as they appear to have put Mikoto himself behind bars after the action prologue.

The wild card is some telekinetic guy called Kuroh, who saves Yashiro from Mikoto's gang just to have a better shot at trying to kill him. That's cold, dude.

Production Values

This is hands-down the best-looking show of the season by far. Not only has it got fantastic world-building with its city landscapes, and incredibly fluid animation that really shines in the action sequences, but it's also served a colour palette which keeps shifting to better underline whatever's on screen. This isn't a realistic show by any reasonable measure anyway, so why not make everthing just pop off the screen through some carefully chosen use of bright pinks and blues ?

Everything here, from the shiny colours to the quirky soundtrack through the slow pans of people just walking ominously, obeys to a coherent aesthetic : making everyone look cool and stylish.

What did I think of it ?

It works. It's very much style above substance, but the awesomeness of the presentation makes it a very fun ride. The characters aren't very developped yet, and the actual plot remains obscure before the final twist, but the show has enough energy and charisma to let further depth slowly sink in between the fireworks.

We've got a winner here.
 
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