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[In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2013

CynoT

Nuclear Energy Advocate
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Yeah, but nobody ever makes anime about golf. (Cue old counter-example in 3...2...1...) On the other hand, baseball is very popular in Japan, so I keep running it.
Old counter example!
[video=youtube;5oPI-5HjuSA]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5oPI-5HjuSA[/video]

Never watched the anime, but I read the manga. The usual formulaic shounen sports plot.
 

Rabbit

Registered User
Validated User
So Jhiday, as protector of our general sanity can you give us a fast run down of the score so far? I'm noticing that more shows seems to be picked up each season but I'm actually interested in watching fewer and fewer. can you tell us what you are still watching and which have fallen at the first fence?
 

Quasar

Feeling kinda smurfy
Validated User
The most I've heard about this show is how skeeved people are about a dating sim girl pretty blatantly modelled off of Utena Tenjou. I may have to watch it just for sick fascination value.
Given I haven't watched Utena I didn't notice that. As for the show, I didn't mind it, but then I didn't mind the previous show based on a Ricotta VN. Hopefully the jousting doesn't get forgotten about.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I understand how all the rest is problematic, and those are the reasons I won't be watching it, but why is a fictional setting treating Pro-wrestling like a legitimate athletic competition a strike against it in your book?
I just find that less interesting to watch. Personal taste, and all. It's a minor factor compared to the porno-camera, anyway.

So Jhiday, as protector of our general sanity can you give us a fast run down of the score so far? I'm noticing that more shows seems to be picked up each season but I'm actually interested in watching fewer and fewer. can you tell us what you are still watching and which have fallen at the first fence?
Well, there's still about a dozen new shows debuting this week (including a new Gundam series, and the always fashionably late noitaminA shows). But here's the tally so far :

Must-watch : KILL la KILL
Potential for a good series : Gingitsune, Coppelion (if the absurd schoolgirl thing is a deliberate satiric statement)
Perfectly watchable : Log Horizon, Nagi no Asukara, Golden Time (+ the new seasons of Magi, Phi Brain & Kuroko's Basket)
You have one more episode to convince me not to drop you : Miss Monochrome, Beyond the Horizon, Strike the Blood, Outbreak Company, White Album 2, Ace of Diamond, Walkure Romanze
Already Dropped : Diabolik Lovers, Super Sesyun Brothers, I couldn't become a Hero, Wanna be the Strongest in the World, Glasses Club (+ Freezing Vibration)

(And I'm still watching Monogatari, Space Brothers & Dokidoki! Precure from previous seasons.)

I've actually dropped less stuff on first week than I usually do, but there's such a torrent of mediocrity that Week 2 could be a carnage in my watchlist. Especially as there's several upcoming shows that sound quite interesting.
 

Quasar

Feeling kinda smurfy
Validated User
I've actually dropped less stuff on first week than I usually do, but there's such a torrent of mediocrity that Week 2 could be a carnage in my watchlist.
For me its probably a record where I've dropped I think 6 shows already. Though it seems like that's in part due to the sheer number of shows. At the same time my watch list now stands at 16 (though Monotagari is one of the 16). Something is going to have to get chopped once the week two new shows start simply because I cannot sustain watching 20 or more shows a week. Even 12-15 is pushing it.
 
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Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Some sudden simulcast announcements mean that I've just had to watch 5 new shows tonight. Ouch. Something had to give ; in this case, it's the Yokazura Quartet remake, which will have to wait until tomorrow (I hope) for a proper review.

On with the 4 other shows...

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Yowamushi Pedal
(39 episodes)

What's it about ?

Bike racing !

Characters

Sakamichi, our protagonist, is a complete nerd. He hoped to finally find some soulmates in high school, but it turns out the anime club has already been dissolved, and it's going to be an uphill struggle to reopen it. His other notable quality : he enjoys riding his bike to school (including the 20+ % slope leading to it), and making casual trips to Akihabara. That's 45km. On a bicycle.

Imaizumi, his "rival" of sorts. Well, not exactly. For him, biking is Serious Business : he has an intense daily training routine, a top-class bike, and is a major contender in nationwide competitions (he lost last year's major race to That Guy). He hasn't even bothered joining his new high school's biking club yet, but that's just a formality. Anyway, he's baffled by this reckless kid who's cheerfully climbing dangerous slopes without any care for his own safety (Sakamichi falls over A LOT during this first episode).

Kanzaki, a girl from the next class over. She's obsessed with biking (which might be related to her family owning a bike parts shop, and her brother being the former biking club president), and imposes herself as the biking club's new "manager" (you know, the traditional "girl" position in sports clubs that involves no managing whatsoever). Sakamichi has caught her eye ; cue misunderstandings about her interest in his biking trips to Akihabara. (She comes in tow with a sarcastic best friend who's dismissive of the geek.)

We see a few of the senior members of the biking club, who all have their own quirks. Do note that our hero has yet to set foot anywhere near their clubhouse, let alone join them.

Production Values

As you'd expect, most of the budget is spent on lovingly animating the bikes. Actually, it does look quite good, and there's some nice attention to body language.

Overall Impression

Well, it's nothing you haven't seen before, but it is quite fun. There's some good comic timing, and I kinda like all the characters. Also, the bizarrely limited planned length makes me hope it'll be paced to tell a proper story within it (which is always a hazard with shounen sports series).

I'd be an hypocrite to give a second chance to a --ing baseball series, and not to this. Gods know I enjoyed watching it more.

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Gundam Build Fighters
(50ish episodes ?)

What's it about ?

Why bother with a space opera plot ? Let's just have some kids play around with Gundam models.

Characters

Sei, our protagonist. He's very good at building Gundam models, including custom ones ; on the other hand, he's complete crap at this "Gunpla Battle" VR fighting game that's all the rage.

Sazaki, his rival. This kid oozes smugness ; he's good enough at Gunpla Battes to beat Sei without breaking a sweat, despite having way worse models to play with. He'd love to partner up with our hero : between his skills and Sei's top-class models, they'd be a force to be reckoned with. Sei refuses, on the ground that Sazaki is a jerk who treats models badly.

Reiji is a foreign-looking dude that Sei randomly bumps into in town. He's the kind of alien who's never heard of Gundam Battles (despite a street ad playing right in front of him), and has trouble with complex customs such as paying for the food he takes. After Sei saves him from an angry foodseller, he promises to always be there for his rescuer, giving him a magical pebble to summon him. That promise comes handy when Sazaki is laying yet another virtual beatdown on Sei : Reiji comes out of nowhere, and wins the match within minutes despite never having played it before.

Supporting characters include Sei's mom (hello, Kotono Mitsuishi), who's bravely tending to their modeling store despite not being too well-versed into those things (it's his currently-not-around dad who used to be into it, even competing nationally). Also, Mr Ral shows up as a guest referee for the climactic match. No, seriously, this is a thing that happens.
[For those who haven't been following my Gundam marathon : Ramba Ral was a minor but memorably badass villain in the original Mobile Suit Gundam series.]

Production Values

You can bet Sunrise is making the mecha battles look as good as ever : this is a glorified toy commercial, after all.

Overall Impression

This must be the stupidest thing ever associated to the Gundam name I've ever watched. And I've been through Mobile Fighter G Gundam.

But hey, it's gloriously fun to watch. I'm not exactly the target audience (I watch Gundam for the plot, not the mecha ; I have trouble telling apart the various Gundam models, let alone recognize what the heck Sazaki is using - that's a doll model from Wing, maybe ?) ; but it is a pleasant-looking show that goes through all the usual toy commercial tropes with gusto.

A niche product as far as most of you are probably concerned, but I'm in.

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Arpeggio of Blue Steel : Ars Nova (Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova)
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Sentient warships !

Characters

Gunzou Chihaya, our protagonist. Two years ago, he was a moody naval officer in training : the seas have been conquered by the mysterious "Fleet of Fog", which showed out of nowhere and completely broke communications between nations ; so his future career is looking kinda pointless (it's not like humanity looks like it has any hope of turning the tide). Also, his dad was a famous captain who got KIA (although there are some nasty rumours of him defecting), which earned him a fast track to the elite naval officer class. Which is how he got to see...

Iona, aka I-401, a Fog submarine "captured" by Japan 7 years ago ; they were kinda hoping to study it, but they haven't made much progress since. When Gunzou touches her, she reacts and manifests her girl-shaped avatar ; she explains that her only purpose is to find him, and obey his orders. So, off they go, now labeled traitors by both sides.

Some of Gunzou's oddball classmates (the masked dude, the guy who behaves like a delinquant, and so on) have somehow joined his crew at some point after the flashback. They're acting as mercenaries for various human factions.

The current-day plot involves our heroes protecting a Japanese base while it launches a secret weapon towards America. This isn't a hostile manoeuvre : Japan doesn't have the resources to mass-replicate it, and sends it that way to America in the hope the Fleet of Fog can't intercept it. The plan fails : the rocket is destroyed halway through its trip. So it's time for plan B : give another copy to our heroes, and have them deliver it to America. If anyone can cross the seas and survive to tell the tale, it's them.

The episode ends with a preview of some of the major Fog ships (and their avatars) our heroes are going to face. I note that we haven't seen yet any clue as to who actually controls the Fleet of Fog. (Aliens ? A secret human conspiracy ? Who knows ?)

Production Values

Lots of CG animation ; actually, it looks a lot like even the characters are heavily cell-shaded CG models. It actually looks quite good... most of the time. (There are a few ugly shots indeed.)

Overall Impression

Well, this is certainly an intriguing premise. I'm not quite sold, though : the main cast are clichés without much personality so far, and I'm not sure yet whether the girl-ship thing is too stupid even for me. There are some definite pacing problems, too.

But hey, I've given a second episode to worse shows than this. Let's give it a bit of a chance.

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Non Non Biyori
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Slice-of-life series about girls living in the countryside.

Characters

Hotaru, the newcomer from Tokyo. She's a bit overwhelmed by all the country things she's not used to : the decrepit school with only 5 students (all in different levels) ; the buses that come every two hours ; the dearth of stores ; the animals...

Renge, the young first-grader, still a bit naive and random. Loves playing the flute. The heart of the group.

Natsumi & Komari, the two sisters. The former is wilder, the latter more serious (and shorter, despite being the oldest of the group).

There's some guy in their class, but he barely has any dialogue, and they mostly acts as though he didn't exist. Poor guy.
(Also, their teacher is lazy.)

Production Values

Scenery porn ! Perfectly pleasant to watch.

Overall Impression

Are you healing yet ?

This is a very slow-paced series that's all about feeling nice and agreeable. Some jokes here and there betray its 4-panel gag manga origins, but the main focus is on how nice the countryside is... or not, as some of the drawbacks are played for laughs.

Let's see whether I don't grow bored of it by the second episode.
 

Wolfwood2

Registered User
Validated User
Yowamushi Pedal
(39 episodes)
Wow, it's going to be 39 episodes and I bailed after five minutes. I figured out that quickly it wasn't going to be for me. (And anyway, I can only stand to follow one sports show at a time and Kuroko's Basketball is it this season.)


Arpeggio of Blue Steel : Ars Nova (Aoki Hagane no Arpeggio: Ars Nova)
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Sentient warships !
I read the manga so it's difficult for me to judge objectively. As I recall, a lot of the fun is in the tense and tactical naval battles so we ought to be getting more of that next episode.

The episode ends with a preview of some of the major Fog ships (and their avatars) our heroes are going to face. I note that we haven't seen yet any clue as to who actually controls the Fleet of Fog. (Aliens ? A secret human conspiracy ? Who knows ?)
We're only getting 12 episodes, so I wouldn't hold your breath for answers. Part of the problem is that, as they started to imply this episode, the Fleet of Fog themselves are a little vague on where their orders come from.



Non Non Biyori
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Slice-of-life series about girls living in the countryside.

Characters

Hotaru, the newcomer from Tokyo. She's a bit overwhelmed by all the country things she's not used to : the decrepit school with only 5 students (all in different levels) ; the buses that come every two hours ; the dearth of stores ; the animals...
Heartwarming! I'm probably not going to watch another episode, but it I ever feel in the mood I'm sure I can pick it up any time.

Sadly, their situation is not all that much of a crazy exaggeration given Japan's demographic troubles. You'll note there are plenty of roads and vehicles in the background. It's fully possible they live in a village of at least several hundred people, and there really are only five children. Most everyone else will be a senior citizen with all of the young people having moved to the big cities. And that's a real thing.
 
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