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[In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2014

Bull

Professional Game Convention Drunk
Validated User
#42
You are dead to me.
:( :( :(

I was joking, mostly. I still remember when I was a kid in midget football (back when you could actually call it that)... 9 years old or so? A bunch of the kids would get together after practice (myself included) and we'd all try to breakdance. None of us had a fraggin' clue what we were doing, and I'm DAMN glad there were no video cameras around at that time... ;)
 

MadMac

Registered User
Validated User
#43
Seven Deadly Sins is pretty good shonen, though you'd hardly know it from the start, as the first two characters introduced are frankly the least interesting.
Spoiler: Show
The Giantess, The literal Fairy King, the Immortal Zombie and the Mind-Reading Construct now, are all good times.


It's unusual also in that the only people playing the "gotta get stronger" card is the Holy Knights, all of the Seven Deadly Sins are Legendary Badasses from the word go, which is fun in it's own way.

Amagi Brilliant Park is also going on my watch list, it was intensely strange but in a good way, and I like it more given some time to reflect on the first episode a bit.
 

Kurotowa

Weird Science Nut
Validated User
#44
Seven Deadly Sins is action shonen, but it's good action shonen. The manga is one of only two entries in the genre I read, along with One Piece. It's no cookie cutter like Fairy Tail. The character are far more distinct and the fights are genuinely fun.

While it's not something to follow if you have no patience for the genre at all, if you do enjoy the occasional bit of shonen action and for some reason aren't already reading the manga, definitely check it out.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#45
[Amagi Brilliant Park]
Kanie, our protagonist, is an obnoxious narcissistic dick, and I'm sure that name is a coincidence.
As it turns out, I've just learnt that this is indeed no coincidence. I really should have noticed "Latifa", and I've grasped that Isuzu's full name is a terrible pun on "50 Cent".
This kind of horribly contrived theme naming actually makes me laugh. (As opposed to Vanadis's, which is such a mess it's just sad.)
 

Ikselam

a heavy bear to cross
Validated User
#46
As it turns out, I've just learnt that this is indeed no coincidence. I really should have noticed "Latifa", and I've grasped that Isuzu's full name is a terrible pun on "50 Cent".
This kind of horribly contrived theme naming actually makes me laugh. (As opposed to Vanadis's, which is such a mess it's just sad.)
Okay, I am now approximately 20% more sold on this. Bumping it up a couple spots in my "to-watch" queue.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#47
Sometimes I'm baffled by weird gimmicky series of shorts. Such as Hi☆sCoool! SeHa Girls, where anthropomorphic personalizations of Sega's consoles enter a bizarre dedicated school ; it's mostly an excuse to string along "nostalgic" allusions that most often fly completely other my head (as I was more of a Nintendo fan). It's a better use of full CG animation than we usually get for these, but it's still a niche gag series where I'm not part of the audience.


Oh, and since I'm pressed for time, I'm going to quickly skip over Gundam Build Fighters TRY : long story short, it's very promising, doesn't require any knowledge of the first season thanks to a time jump and a different cast (although Mr Ral still makes a cameo), and I'm pleased to see it has the girl as a true fighter and the leader of the team.

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A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd (Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai)
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a dating sim visual novel (which spawned a small franchise with five different manga adaptations, some light novels, and now this).

Characters

Kakei, our male lead, has the power of being super-boring. And, as an aside, to have random prescient flashes, but mostly being really, really boring. He's got this monotone narration that would put anyone to sleep. He's the only regular member of the library club, which means his main hobby is reading books alone.

Takamine, his mandatory lecherous best friend. And only friend, by the look of it. Since Kakei is inexplicably a chick magnet (thanks to genre conventions), he tags along and goes for the leftovers.

Shirasaki is a shy big-busted girl that Kakei saves from a traffic accident... and of course he ends up with his hand grabbing her chest. She spends half the episode chasing him... to thank him. And she wants him for her "make life fun" project. She doesn't have anything but the name, but please help her ? At least until Golden Week ?

Sakuraba is one of the many irrate people who hunt Kakei down after pictures of the incident get passed around. But since she's a pretty girl, she gets to mellow quickly and join the cast as the token tsundere.

Mochizuki, the Student Council President, cuts in to mention that she already has views on Kakei... er, strictly as a potential Student Council member, of course. Yeah, right.

As for the Shepherd, it's a mysterious person sending emails with either some gossip (such as the aforementioned pictures), or cryptic garbage. A scene at the end implies they may actually be a group, with eyes on headhunting Kakei as their next leader.

Production Values

Decent enough for this kind of thing. The direction tries livening up the proceedings, but it can't overcome the boringness of it all.

Overall Impression

Zzzzzzzz...

You may have inferred I found this a bit boring. The protagonist has no charisma whatsoever, the plot is sluggish, the hijinks beyond stale, and the Shepherd thing feels bizarrely underused despite being the one point that makes the show somewhat distinctive. Also, I'm a bit nonplussed by the setting. (50,000 students in the academy ? 650 per class ?)

My interest in this is close to nil.

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Parasyte - the maxim - (Kiseijuu: Sei no Kakuritsu)
(24 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a reputed horror manga series.

Characters

Shinichi, our protagonist, is an ordinary high school student with barely any more quirks than a bug phobia. He's got normal parents and normal school friends. He's the epitome of generic and unnoticeable... Until that night where a bud from space (?) invaded his right hand. He managed to stop its progression thanks to quick thinking. The thing didn't manage to reach his brain, so it starts negotiating.

His right hand is now a being with its own mind. It can talk (after a little time to learn the language). It can sprout eyes. Indeed, it can alter its shape into bizarre forms at an impressive speed. But it's symbiotic with Shinichi, deriving sustenance from what he eats, so it really wants the two of them to cooperate, however freaked out he is. Frankly, it's all the more creepy as it rationally explains why its survival depends on his well-being.

Shinichi was the lucky one. A few other people in the country had a similar encounter, except it went to their head. The abominations that were born are truly horrific. Also, they feed by killing people (often their former family), and leave the shredded bodies lying around.

Production Values

This series is a perfect example of how a good horror series doesn't need to show anything that would require the heavy censorship that mars lesser shows. It opens with somebody's head being swallowed whole, but with careful enough framing to avoid showing too much gore. The mere depiction of the body horror is enough to be utterly creepy and disgusting. And it's certainly a show that has way too many ideas on how to twist flesh around in unnatural shapes.

Fun score, too. I've never heard of the composer, but he makes good use of dubstep and other genres to instil uneasiness.

Overall Impression

This is a very focused first episode, with Shinichi and his right hand carrying the show. The good news is that it works : they have excellent chemistry, and the visual flair involved in its transformations makes it worth watching on its own. The transformations are just incredible of fluidity and uncanniness.

Now, it's not quite clear yet where this is going ; and the script takes a non-linear approach that doesn't add much. But I'm willing to give it a bit of time to settle in. I want to see what's the right hand's next move.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#48
Review of Your Lie in April is postponed until later, as I need to rewatch it : it just didn't give me any lasting impression whatsoever. Which isn't a good sign, really.

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SHIROBAKO
(24-ish episodes)

What's it about ?

Work-com about the animation industry.
(A manga adaptation is also being released concurrently.)

Characters

Aoi, our protagonist, is a production assistant at an animation studio. Basically, this means a lot of running around (and driving very unsafely) to make materials go from a pair of hands to another in something that vaguely resembles the original schedule, all the while managing the egos and the good health of the people involved. Now, while she does have some bouts of clumsiness and uneasiness, she is actually quite good at it (and at least better than her screw-up of a senior colleague, the messes of whom she then has to clean up). And it's obviously an entry-level position before she moves on to a more gratifying job higher up... or so she tells herself.

The episode opens with a scene set in her high school days, where she and her fellow club members produce an amateur animated film ; the vow to meet back and work together after they end their studies. Which, er, didn't happen ; Aoi has clearly lost track of most of them. But hey, that's what further episodes are for ! Hopefully they'll be reintroduced properly later on, as here they're all kind of a bit lost in a blur.

The studio's main members are better defined, despite there being a ton of them. Sure, I sometimes lost track of who's doing what exactly, but overall their personalities are easy to grasp and they work well one against another.

Production Values

As pretty as you'd expect from studio PA Hands. They went to town on the gratuitous crazy driving scenes, but there are worse place to spend budget on.

Overall Impression

This first episode really takes its sweet time to come together. The high-school opener doesn't really work as an introduction to the characters, and the introduction to Aoi's job feels a bit off. (The long and gratuitous chase scene doesn't help.) It's only when the crisis comes in that it all falls together : suddenly the characters come alive as they stress under pressure, and the domino nature of anime production schedules becomes clearer. The stakes get higher, and it's better at showing how these people interact that when things go smoothly.

I was quite worried for a while that this could be very boring and filled with flat characters, but the show recovered nicely. If it can keep that up, I'm on board.

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Gonna be the Twin-Tails!! (Ore, Twintails ni Narimasu.)
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a series of comedy light novels.

Characters

Souji, our protagonist, is a high-school student with a very strong twintails fetish. That's all he ever thinks about. He evaluates each every girl around him according to their twintails quality (or potential, if they don't wear their hair that way). He tries to stay quiet about it as much as possible, as he knows it's not exactly socially-acceptable, but he doesn't always succeed.

Aika, his childhood friend, does happen to have magnificent twintails, which I'm sure has no link to her obvious crush on him... but she's so tsundere and, well, familiar that she's been effectively friend-zoned. He just seems to used to her being around to really care about her twintails. (Also, she's highly trained in martial arts, because of course she is.)

Twoearle, a mysterious woman (without twintails !) who shows up out of the blue and starts stalking Souji clumsily. Absolutely unable to speak in without double entendres. She eventually gives him a magic bracelet and explains : he's the only hope against the Elemerians, invaders from a parallel dimension who have started a war against twintails. (They feed off "twintail energy", or something like that.) Only him can beat them !

Lizardgildy, the captain of the invasion force, is a true sentai villain. He's even got hordes of identical small-fry footsoldiers ! And a machine that captures twintailed girls and then extracts energy out of them, undoing their hair in the process...

But then, this is really a sentai show : when Souji activates the bracelet, he transforms into TAIL RED, a warrior who can use twintail energy to beat the baddies up... and happens to be a petite twintailed girl.

(The ED sequence suggests he's going to be joined in by Aika and the Student Council President, who's one of the victims of the week.)

Production Values

Rather less fanservice than you'd expect, really ; the camera is a bit perverted at times, but most of the time it tries to sell this as a SERIOUS and TOTALLY NORMAL sentai show. So does the bombastic music.

Overall Impression

Well, this was ever going to be dumb fun, or an unwatchable trainwreck. The good news : the joke works. It's a very stupid premise, but the direction plays it entirely straight (well, as straight as a sentai show can be), and the contrast between the deadpan exposition and the plot's complete insanity is hilarious.

I'm not sure it's a joke that can carry a full series, but I'm willing to give it a try.
 

q_3

Hello. Can you hear me?
Validated User
#49
Well, your review convinced me to give Twintails a try and it was surprisingly fun and not nearly as awful as I had expected. It benefits tremendously from being more of a wacky-serious sentai show instead of the generic light novel mush or otaku-oriented magical girl parody that it threatened to be. I'm most amused at how tiny the protagonist is when he transforms. It's not clear from the close-in shots, but when they showed him next to the other main characters he was barely half their height!
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#50
Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso)
(22 episodes, noitaminA)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a shonen romance manga.
(Since the manga is due to end simultaneously, there's a good chance for the whole story to be adapted.)

Characters

Kousei, our 14-year-old male lead. Throughout his childhood, his ill mother forced him to play the piano, training him to public-performance level through much duress. And then he cracked, and she died soon after. That was a couple of years ago ; now he's done with it. But he still clings to the music world a bit, charting music sheets as a part-time job.

Tsubaki, his childhood friend, will totally deny she's into him. And maybe they're really just friends... but come on, this is a romance series. She's quite fun, though.

Ryouta, one of their friends, is the typical jock : MVP of the football team and serial charmer. Not a bad guy, though.

Kaori, the girl Tsubaki set up a date with Ryouta for. (That meant inviting Kousei as a fourth.) She puts on airs as a charmingly demure girl, but really she's more mischevious and aggressive than that. Also, she plays the violin.

Production Values

It's a bit weird how we alternate between super-fluid music-playing set pieces, and much rougher comedic shorthand. It mostly works, but it takes a bit to get used to it.

Overall Impression

On first viewing, I found this a bit dull and unmemorable. After a second watch... well, it deserves a better reception than that. It's a perfectly okay romance show, with fun female characters (I reserve my judgement on the boys). Kousei's past trauma is a bit overdone compared to the otherwise light tone, though it's not too jarring.

But the key issue here is that there's not much of a hook. It sets up a few budding relationships, but there's no firm sense of where this is headed. It's pleasant enough to watch, but I'm not entirely sold yet.

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So, since nearly everything but a few latecomers has aired an episode, let's do a quick Week #1 overview :

The Locks : [8] (Definitely watching those)
- Reconguista in G
- Amagi Brilliant Park
- Rage of Bahamut - Genesis
- Wolf Girl & Black Prince
- Fate/stay Night - Unlimited Blade Works
- PSYCHO-PASS 2
- Log Horizon 2
- Gundam Build Fighters Try
The Probables : [7] (Barring sudden quality drops, there's a good chance I'll keep watching)
- Parasyte
- SHIROBAKO
- April is Your Lie
- Magic Kaito 1412
- Gonna Be Twintails
- Le Fruit de la Grisaia
- When Supernatural Battles Become Commonplace
On the Bubble : [4] (May not get more than another episode)
- Kokkuri-san
- Tribe Cool Crew
- Karen Senki
- World Trigger
Dropped on Week #2 : [3]
- Garo : actually a pretty good show, but it's too relentlessly dark for me.
- Lord Marksman & Vanadis : Surprise, the pantomime baddie spends half the second episode threatening to rape the maid (named "Titta", because of course she is), and slicing her clothes just the perfect way for her underwear to keep showing all the time. Sigh. No longer giving this the benefit of the doubt.
- A la Recherche du Temps Perdu : yikes, the animation budget got cut to "absolutely shameful". And that's without getting into the haphazard plotting that jumps from an event to another without without much structure.
Didn't get more than an episode : [11]
- Terra Formars
- The Electric Town's Bookstore
- Laughing in the Clouds
- Cross Ange
- Seven Deadly Sins
- Celestial Method
- Kaitou Joker
- Yona of the Dawn
- Trinity Seven
- Hi sCool Seha Girls
- A Good Librarian Like a Good Shepherd


Quite a good season, really, if a bit heavy on sequels.
 
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