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[In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2014

SolomonShort

Active member
Validated User
#31
Celestial Method (Sora no Method)
(12ish episodes ?)
Honestly I wish I had read this before I started the episode, which I dropped halfway through, I think I'll wait until episode 3 is available before trying again.

I admit I am somewhat intrigued by the "Giant Disc in the Sky", as ISTR enjoying the last anime I watched with one of these (though I can't remember what anime it actually was), also, I'm assuming these have some meaning for the Japanese that escapes me, 'cos "the giant dics associated with a wish being granted" seems be at least something of a trope in anime.
 

Quasar

Feeling kinda smurfy
Validated User
#32
Honestly I wish I had read this before I started the episode, which I dropped halfway through, I think I'll wait until episode 3 is available before trying again.

I admit I am somewhat intrigued by the "Giant Disc in the Sky", as ISTR enjoying the last anime I watched with one of these (though I can't remember what anime it actually was), also, I'm assuming these have some meaning for the Japanese that escapes me, 'cos "the giant dics associated with a wish being granted" seems be at least something of a trope in anime.
I assumed it was an actual flying saucer, and the blue haired girl is an alien from said saucer. Though I'm not sure how that relates to the wishes. I didn't mind it overall. Reminded me of a few things like Anohana and Natsuiro Kiseki.
 

redwulf25_ci

Clown Pope of Wushu
Validated User
#33
Celestial Method (Sora no Method)
(12ish episodes ?)

What's it about ?

Pastoral and semi-fantastical slice-of-life-ish, I guess ?
(For the record, a manga adaptation has already started publishing, but this is the core series.)

Characters

Nonoka, our protagonist. She abruptly left this small town 7 years ago, and now she and her father are moving back in. (Her mother isn't. It sounds like she was already sick at the time, and that's why they went to the big town.) She has trouble remembering her former life here, which is an excuse for fragmentary flashback to be spread throughout the episode. She's a bit miffed that Dad has her do a major part of the installation, but then he's busy with his new job...

Noel, the bizarre cyan-haired girl who randomly shows up in her room. Nonoka doesn't even notice her at first, and can't recall that they met 7 years ago. She might have something to do with the weird glowing thing hanging over the town. Heck, it looks a lot like Nonoka and her friends "summoned" her somehow back then, and she's been waiting ever since. Nonoka spends much of the episode furious at her due to a stupid misunderstanding, and then they make up. So Noel's ready to grant her wish !
Summoned, or is it created? Some of the scenes in the ED make it look like only the characters who were involved in that little ceremony can see her. Rather than a summoned being she could be a tulpa.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#34
All in all I'm happy enough with this season so far. Nothing has really wowed me yet, but nothing I've watched so far has been bad either.
For the record, we're barely halfway through. By my count, I've made 14 full reviews so far, and it looks like there's about 16 more to go (discounting shorts and sequels). This includes the following straggler that aired on Friday :



GARO THE ANIMATION (Garo: Honoo no Kokuin)
(?? episodes)

What's it about ?

This is the latest spin-off from a (live-action) heroic-fantasy tokusatsu franchise. By all accounts, it seems to be stand-alone in its own continuity.

Characters

17 years ago, the Valiante kingdom, represented by its ailing king, its kid prince, and its totally-not-treacherous chief advisor, started a witch hunt. Anybody who looked like a mage or a witch was hunted down. They weren't above invading neighbouring cities, either. Hundreds fell, but their main target evaded them : the just-born baby of the first witch burnt at the stake, rescued by a knight in a wolf-like armour.

Herman Lewis is now telling this tale to the prostitute he's in bed with, and she rightfully protests that it isn't much of a story if the kid was never found. But you see, Herman knows the real story : the actual mission of witches and mages is to fight off and seal Horrors, shapeshifting abominations who prey on human beings. It's obvious they're pulling the strings behind the witch hunt. It's probable many of them have infiltrated society and are replacing key people. Like, for example, this very whorehouse, fraught with rumours of clients never coming back...

Leon Lewis, Herman's adoptive son who just happens to be 17, proves that he can hold his own when he's attacked by a bunch of Valiante soldiers (covertly led by a Horror) while Dad is busy at the whorehouse. Which was the point : Herman is now convinced Leon is ready to come back to Valiante's capital city and put an end to the witch hunt.

Production Values

Quite good, if maybe a bit too darkly lit. The CG wolf armours are a bit jarring, but you get used to them, and they are meant to be a striking contrast from everything else.

Overall Impression

Well, this is a decent start for a dark heroic-fantasy show. The tokusatsu elements are subdued enough to fit in relatively smoothly. The main characters have decent charisma, and the show as a whole does look good.

Still, I'm not entirely sure I'm in the mood for this. There's no nuance to the baddies whatsoever, and the violence can get pretty gruesome at times. (Hey, let's quickly imply the captured witches get raped !) I wouldn't accuse the show of misogyny, but it does feature a lot of violence against women. And it's just a very dark and gloomy premise.

I'm giving it another episode, but I'm doubtful I'll stick with it.
 

Evil Midnight Lurker

What Lurks at Midnight
Validated User
#35
Gugure! Kokkuri-san
(12ish episodes ?)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a comedy 4-panel manga.

Characters

Have you heard of Kokkuri-san ? It's a bit like Oui-ja, except you invoke a fox spirit to guide your hand. You're not supposed to do it alone, though, as he may come haunting you. And would you really want that ?
I am helplessly imagining a Crossover that Should Not Be with Alan Moore's Swamp Thing: Gugure! Kamara-san. :eek:
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#36
So, yesterday night I was so tired I went to sleep without writing any reviews. Let's try and catch up.

Mysterious Joker (Kaitou Joker) might be at least partially to blame. It's a kids' show about a quirky Gentleman Thief... and if you're wondering what's the difference with Magic Kaitou, it's the targeted age group : this show aims much lower. All the characters are highly annoying and SHOUTING all the time, the jokes fall flat, and I literally couldn't follow the plot because I was falling asleep every couple of minutes. Something about the protagonist recruiting a "ninja" fanboy kid ? I don't care at all, and it really doesn't help that another show with similar themes which is superior in every way is airing concurrently. Pass.

Also falling flat : The Circumstances in My Home's Bathtub (Orenchi no Furo Jijo). Now, this type of series of shorts based on 4-panel gag manga often have the problem of only delivering the same joke over and over, never really amounting to anything. Here, the issue is that I can't even see the joke. Dude brings a merman to his bathtub by mistake, and that's pretty much it. They don't even have much banter. I just don't get it.

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

When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace (Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de)
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a series of comedy light novels.

Characters

Jurai, our male lead, is the most annoying member of the high school literature club. The neighbours are complaining all the time of the screaming over his chuunibyou antics. Seriously, could he give it a rest ? It's not like he's going to manifest actual super-powers... wait, what's that thing in his hand ?

Six months later, the various members of the clubs have gotten the hang of their newfound superpowers (and are baffled as Andou keeps providing commentary to the camera). Of course, they provide semi-ironic contrast with their personalities :
- Tomoyo, the tomboy, got time-stop/modulation powers ;
- Hatoko, the wallflower, got summoning and manipulation of the major elements (water, fire, wind, etc.) ;
- Chifuyu, the unexplained elementary student, got broad "creation" powers (and if I got it right, her plushtoy allows her to teleport) ;
- Sayumi, the black-belt and wilful club president, got vague "healing" powers ;
- As for Jurai, he got the ability to summon a small ball of shadow... which everyone points out has no practical use whatsoever.

Mirei, the student council president, is snooping around ; everyone assumes she's just investigating the noise complaints (which have gotten even worse now that they're fooling around with their powers), but Jurai, as chuunibyou as ever, is convinced that she's a spy trying to chart out their powers. Amazingly, he's right !

I hope I'm not supposed to take the dude purportedly orchestrating Mirei's actions from afar seriously, because darn does his hanging upside down from a tree make him look stupid.

Production Values

Don't expect any of studio Trigger's distinctiveness ; this is a very generic-looking anime indeed. But it's decently done enough ; it sells the powers as impressive enough, and it's got good comedic timing. (The music is particularly good at emphasizing and deflating Jurai's chuunibyou rants.)
Surprisingly, the fanservice level is relatively tame.

Overall Impression

Hey, this is actually quite funny ! There's quite some mileage to the joke of those bozos getting superpowers and carrying on their regular activities regardless. And it makes really good use of its obnoxious male lead to convey exposition. Since he's the butt of most of the jokes, he's way more bearable than you'd expect at first.

I wonder how long the joke can keep going without being bogged down by an actual plot (as it's part of the premise that nothing is taken seriously), but for now it's quite entertaining.

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

Laughing under the Clouds (Donten ni Warau)
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a shoujo manga series. Several sources claim it belongs to the "supernatural" category, but that's not really apparent from the first episode.

Characters

We're in the early Meiji period, and it's now illegal to carry a sword. Lawbreakers are sent to an infamous lake prison, with a trio of brothers manning the ferry (and troubleshooting any escapees) :
- Tenka, the eldest, is the one who actually deals with the escapees. Very good in a fight, and obnoxiously so.
- Soramaru, his junior, heavily resents this, and often rushes in foolishly to "help out". Except he's quite sloppy (tie those bastards up, darn it !) and not good enough.
- Chutaro, the youngest, is annoyingly enthusiastic all the time.

Now, there's obviously something screwy with the setup. Chutato's schoolteacher hides secrets behind her nice surface. The keystone kops escorting the prisoners and always letting them escape can't really be THAT incompetent. And there's whatever happens behind the prison's closed doors.

Production Values

Bright and shiny (you can tell it's based on a shoujo series thanks to the distinctively pretty character designs for the brothers), which kinda works against the atmosphere : shouldn't the weather be more cloudy than this, after all ?

Overall Impression

On the one hand, it's quite good at setting up the mystery and making the creepy elements pile up... On the other hand, the three brothers are all very annoying indeed. To the points that I stop wondering what the heck is really going on, and just lose interest.

Maybe they get better rounded later on, but I just don't have time for them.

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

Amagi Brilliant Park
(13 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of the latest light novel series by the creator of Full Metal Panic!. Think Fumoffu more than the Second Raid, though.

Characters

Kanie, our protagonist, is an obnoxious narcissistic dick, and I'm sure that name is a coincidence. The late reveal of him being a former child actor explains it a bit, though.

Isuzu is a girl from his high school who invited him to the titular theme park. At gunpoint. (Where the heck does she pull those rifles from, anyway ?) Her having done plenty of "research" on him isn't creepy at all, either.

Amagi Brilliant Park has seen better days. Most of the attractions are either dilapidated, lame, dangerous, or all of these at once. The staff are bored or at times even hostile to customers. A mascot is described as "a walking copyright infringement". (It looks like Bonta-kun.) Honestly, the love hotel next door looks more fun and family-friendly.

Latifa, the park's manager, eventually explains it all to Kanie : they want him to bring the park back to solvency. It's not particularly clear yet why him in particular, although he's been there when he was younger (cue disparate flashbacks of him meeting Latifa then), and he's clearly by now more upset by the state the park's in than by Isuzu forcing him to come here.

And then comes the actual twist : Isuzu's regular assertions that Amagi is a place inhabited by magic creatures aren't keyfabe. They're really refugees from a magic world. (Which certainly explains why Latifa doesn't seem to have aged a day in 10 years, or how Isuzu can pull those guns out from nowhere.) And they really don't want to end on the street. So, help them, please ? Latifa's even giving him a bit of magic as a goodwill gift.

Production Values

As you'd expect from Kyoto Animation, this is teaming with funny background events and attention to detail. Only them could make the park look this crappy in such an all-too-realistic way.

Overall Impression

The good news : the central joke is very well-executed. There's something about Isuzu deadpanly reciting the attraction descriptions (in sharp contrast with their decrepitude) that just never stops being funny. The final reveal makes it even more hilarious.

It's a fun premise, and I'm always up for work-coms. I'm thoroughly sold.
 

redwulf25_ci

Clown Pope of Wushu
Validated User
#37
When Supernatural Battles Became Commonplace (Inou-Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de)
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a series of comedy light novels.

Characters

Jurai, our male lead, is the most annoying member of the high school literature club. The neighbours are complaining all the time of the screaming over his chuunibyou antics. Seriously, could he give it a rest ? It's not like he's going to manifest actual super-powers... wait, what's that thing in his hand ?

Six months later, the various members of the clubs have gotten the hang of their newfound superpowers (and are baffled as Andou keeps providing commentary to the camera). Of course, they provide semi-ironic contrast with their personalities :
- Tomoyo, the tomboy, got time-stop/modulation powers ;
- Hatoko, the wallflower, got summoning and manipulation of the major elements (water, fire, wind, etc.) ;
- Chifuyu, the unexplained elementary student, got broad "creation" powers (and if I got it right, her plushtoy allows her to teleport) ;
- Sayumi, the black-belt and wilful club president, got vague "healing" powers ;
- As for Jurai, he got the ability to summon a small ball of shadow... which everyone points out has no practical use whatsoever.

Mirei, the student council president, is snooping around ; everyone assumes she's just investigating the noise complaints (which have gotten even worse now that they're fooling around with their powers), but Jurai, as chuunibyou as ever, is convinced that she's a spy trying to chart out their powers. Amazingly, he's right !

I hope I'm not supposed to take the dude purportedly orchestrating Mirei's actions from afar seriously, because darn does his hanging upside down from a tree make him look stupid.

Production Values

Don't expect any of studio Trigger's distinctiveness ; this is a very generic-looking anime indeed. But it's decently done enough ; it sells the powers as impressive enough, and it's got good comedic timing. (The music is particularly good at emphasizing and deflating Jurai's chuunibyou rants.)
Surprisingly, the fanservice level is relatively tame.

Overall Impression

Hey, this is actually quite funny ! There's quite some mileage to the joke of those bozos getting superpowers and carrying on their regular activities regardless. And it makes really good use of its obnoxious male lead to convey exposition. Since he's the butt of most of the jokes, he's way more bearable than you'd expect at first.

I wonder how long the joke can keep going without being bogged down by an actual plot (as it's part of the premise that nothing is taken seriously), but for now it's quite entertaining.
I would not be shocked to discover that Jurai's real power is that he's Super Chuuni and he accidently chuuni'ed all the super powers into existence as well as their nemesis.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#38
Okay, with these I'll be all caught up... until tomorrow evening's batch, of course.


The Seven Deadly Sins (Nanatsu no Taizai)
(24 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a fantasy action-adventure shonen manga.

Characters

The backstory here is that 10 years ago, seven "traitors" turned against their country and killed a big number of knights. Of course, by now they've become urban legends : they haven't been seen since, and the details are starting to get wildly exaggerated. (Do they even look like their wanted posters ?)

Elizabeth is a young woman who's looking for them... and frankly, with that big clunky armour she kinda looks like someone unsavoury. This show won't have any of that, so she spends most of the episode in a skintight undersuit that gets more and more cut up as it goes. Anyway, she's convinced the Seven Deadly Sins are actually great people that prevented the knights from doing something terrible.

She ends up in the Pig Hat, an odd tavern owned by a quite young-looking dude. How odd ? They have a talking pig. (Who gets rid of any leftover or spilt food.) Also, nobody can quite remember the tavern being on this hill for more than a few days. And the food's kinda terrible.

The twist is that the tavern's owner is Meliodas, the Seven Deadly Sins' former leader. He's lost track of the others, but Elizabeth's welcome to try and help him find them.

Production Values

If even I can find the animation pretty lacking, then it must be quite terrible.

We've also got a bizarre case of Hiroyuki "Attack on Titan/KILL la KILL/Aldnoah Zero" Sawano's bombastic score being grossly miscast. It's just not that kind of series.

Overall Impression

Oh, hello generic shonen adventure #1564 ! And bye, because between your one-dimensional characters, your lacking quality, and your by-the-numbers plot, there's just nothing to make me care.

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Yona: The girl standing in the blush of dawn (Akatsuki no Yona)
(25ish episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a fantasy shojo manga series.

Characters

Yona, the titular 16-year-old spoiled little princess. About a third of her dialogue involves fussing over her (admittedly unusually bright red) hair. Daddy the King has covered her in presents and attention ever since his wife's death, and the only point he's being a bit strict on is who she'll marry.

Soo-won, her cousin and childhood friend, is especially verbotten. He's grown to be a handsome man and Yona has definitely noticed, but Daddy says no. It's not really clear why, although his talk of the attackers killing Mommy has convinced Yona that it's being in the royal family that's dangerous, and thus Daddy is trying to protect Soo-won. I'm pretty sure something else is going on here.

Hak, young general and friend to both of them youngsters, agrees with me and smells a rat. He doubles the guards around the palace and leaves Yona to Soo-won, because he's not blind and knows his place.

... Maybe he should have been even more paranoid, as Yona soon stumbles on Soo-won slicing through Daddy with his sword. What. The. Heck ? Hak arrives just in time to protect her, but we'll have to wait until the next episode at least for an explanation.

The OP & ED sequences show Yona on the run with Hak and a few more attendants, so I guess that's the direction the story will go with.

Production Values

Quite nice. And all the dudes are handsome because shojo, of course.

Overall Impression

Well, I'm a bit intrigued, but I suspect the answer to this is quite pedestrian (naked power grab by an idiot who should just have waited a few months to get to the throne painlessly), and there's something vaguely unpleasant in the atmosphere here. It doesn't help that Yona herself is more than a bit annoying at this early stage of her character arc.

I'll pass, as I just don't see myself watching 25ish episodes of this.

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

Trinity Seven
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a harem/modern fantasy manga series.

Characters

Arata, our generic male high school protagonist, just can't quite shake the impression that something's off in his daily life. Weird dreams. The sun being black. His childhood friend/cousin Hijiri being clingy instead of her usual tsundere ways. Is that even really her ?

Lilith, a girl with a magic gun, shows up to explain : nope, that's not Hijiri. It's a manifestation of a grimoire he somehow got his hands on just as the town got destroyed by a weird catastrophe. If the town doesn't look destroyed, it's merely because he unconsciously reconstructed it thanks to the grimoire's power. Now, please hand over that thing (as well as lose any hope of getting Hijiri back), or die. His choice.

He takes the third option : enroll into her magic school, because the story was in danger of getting remotely interesting. (She's a teacher rather than a student, by the way.) Oh, and because of the nature of magic wobble wobble better suited to girls wobble wobble he's the only boy attending. Cue generic hijinks. Also, his reputation skyrockets once it becomes clear he's achieved feats worthy of the "demon lord" class.

Oh, and to make the show even more boring, it's revealed that he can take a shortcut instead of actually studying his own powers : he just has to "conquer" the Trinity Seven, aka the seven most powerful and specialized people around. This includes Lilith, a ninja, and an emotionless girl who looks just like Hijiri.

Production Values

Perfectly okay ; it sells the offbeat atmosphere that the script desperately tries to water down, and the various characters have expressive body language and weird expressions that sell their scheming quirkiness. (not!Hijiri is particularly creepy.)

There's actually less fanservice than you'd expect. Sure, it opens with a boob grab and includes a gratuitous bath scene, but it could be worse.

Overall Impression

The sound you can hear is my goodwill progressively draining away. There's a semi-interesting premise in there, but it's completely buried by the magic school nonsense. This is a perfect example of why I've come to be very wary of this trope : it's an excuse to forget about the plot and turn the series into a generic harem series with a bit of fighting.

I don't trust this show to deliver on any of its mysteries ; after all, it's based on a still-ongoing manga. So I don't see any reason to bother with it.
 

Ikselam

a heavy bear to cross
Validated User
#39
Tribe Cool Crew
[...]
I don't know. I'm giving it another episode, but I fear I'm going to get tired of it soon. Which is a shame, as this is a perfectly fun and competent kids' show.
I thought the second episode was an improvement on the first. I'm going to give it a few more episodes at least, since hey, it is a show about breakdancing.
 
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