[In Which I Review] New anime, Fall 2014

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#51
Girlfriend BETA (Girlfriend - Kari)
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a mobile dating sim videogame.

Characters

The game boasts OVER 100 GIRLS YOU CAN DATE, and this first episode makes a point of introducing several dozens of them. Of course, since they get about 30 seconds of screentime each, they're pretty much all one-dimensional entities ; most of them can be summed up as "the quiet one on the library committee", "the way-too-promiscuous photographer" or "the ditzy student council president".

What's conspicuously absent, though, is any kind of male lead. There ARE boys in this highschool, but they're all background extras. (I think we can hear ONE line of random chatter out of them throughout the whole episode.) All the attention is over the girls.

Our de facto protagonist is Kokomi, from the rhythmic gymnastics club. Not that she has much of a personality ; she's nice and the straight guy in most conversations, and that's pretty much it. She's a plot device on legs whose purpose is to meet with tons of other girls over the course of the day.

Chloé Lemaire, the French exchange student, is the pretext for what little of a plot there is here : she left a macguffin in Kokomi's clubroom, who proceeds to spend the rest of the day looking for her so that she can give it back. Thrilling stuff. Chloé may be the most developed character here, and she's still a walking stereotype : the Foreigner who speaks Weird, has trouble with proverbs, and loves all things Japanese.

Production Values

Decent enough, although you kinda get the impression that the game designers ran out of ideas and ended up making some girls looking a bit too similar. While this wouldn't matter too much in the original context, it's a bit distracting when they have to be in the same scene like here.

Overall Impression

I can sort of get the reasoning behind this series. The source game is relatively popular, so an adaptation got greenlighted ; but since the game has no canonical depiction of the player character and any path he might chose might be rife with disappointment and fandom flamewars, why not just do away with him entirely ?

The problem is that now that you've taken all potential "dating" out of a dating sim adaptation, you're left with pretty much nothing. A generic "cute girls doing cute things" show, except the characters have paper-thin personalities and were never design to interact together.

This isn't a complete disaster. It's still watchable, and mostly inoffensive. But it's the epitome of content-free comfort food, and I have way more interesting shows to spend my time with.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#52
No full review for Ronja the the Robber's Daughter, as as I fell asleep watching the first episode and don't care to give it another try. This Ghibli adaptation of a Swedish fantasy book is just very, very dull, and the uninspiring full-CG animation doesn't help. (Those characters emote way too exaggeratedly for my tastes.) Don't care, won't watch any more.

Bonjour Sweet Love Pâtisserie has a completely different problem : it's a generic shoujo "male harem" romance show that barely gets to breathe in the 5 minutes or so of screentime per week it gets. As a result, all the characters are walking clichés, and the "glamourous baking academy" setup feels completely artificial. Not really worth your time, this one.

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

Yuuki Yuuna is a Hero (Yuuki Yuuna wa Yuusha de Aru)
(12 episodes, first two aired at once)

What's it about ?

While this looks at first like yet another "cute girls doing cute things" slice-of-life series, this is really a magical girl show.

Characters

The series revolves around a middle-school Hero Club, whose seeming purpose is to be communicatively cheerful and lift everyone's spirits up. Puppet shows for elementary schoolkids, finding new owners for abandoned kittens, the like.
- Yuuna, the titular main character, is the one with the most enthusiasm. Good at improvising, too.
- Togo, her new neighbour and "best friend", lost the use of her legs in a traffic accident. Nobody says anything about her being confined to a wheelchair, and certainly not Yuuna, who takes care of her a lot, but she's obviously frustrated by everyone being so nice to her and her own impotence. (Also, good with computers.)
- Fu, senior and club president, seems quite genial, but it quickly becomes apparent she's keeping secrets from the others. (This includes her cute little sister Itsuki.)

The twist is that the four of them have been selected to deal with attacks from abstract otherworldly creatures called "Vertexes". But Fu never told them, so they get to learn the job in the middle of an incursion. Itsuki deals as best as she can with her sister's instructions, and Yuuna is a gifted natural, but Togo is such a bundle of insecurities that she just freezes and stays behind.

Fu eventually explains that they're part of an official program (with heavy religious overtones), and there are a bunch of other teams all over the countries (so it's entirely random who gets to deal with incursions), but frankly it's still a bit vague.

Production Values

Decent enough. The "battle scenery" backgrounds are a sharp contrast from "reality" ; not exactly Madoka-levels of weird, but still quite strange. The fight sequences are fine if a bit confused, and the transformation sequences have a bit more fanservice than I'd like.

I like that the OP sequence (shown at the end) doesn't show a powered form for Togo, keeping it ambiguous whether she'll ever get to fully participate.

Overall Impression

Oh, look, a Madoka clone ! (Complete with the deliberately vague promotion, I see.) Now, that's probably an unfair comparison, as this looks like a much more straightforward magical girl show, with much blander designs... and hey, there's nothing wrong with taking a few cues from one of the best shows of the decade.

Taken on its own merits, this is a perfectly decent series. It's got some good sequences (such as the scene where everything just stops in mid-air as the incursion starts), and the melodrama isn't too overwrought yet. (I wouldn't usually trust Seiji Kishi on a dramatic series, as he's more of a comedy director and often inserts inappropriate mood whiplash, but he's doing fine so far.)

Okay, I'm intrigued. Show me what you've got.
 

Quasar

Feeling kinda smurfy
Validated User
#53
No full review for Ronja the the Robber's Daughter, as as I fell asleep watching the first episode and don't care to give it another try. This Ghibli adaptation of a Swedish fantasy book is just very, very dull, and the uninspiring full-CG animation doesn't help. (Those characters emote way too exaggeratedly for my tastes.) Don't care, won't watch any more.
I wondered about the source material as it felt oh so very european. I didn't mind it, though found it a little odd that a double episode was spent on setup/backstory where with most anime that would be done in a scene or two.

As for its look, I certainly like the backgrounds and most of the time for me the characters are fine, but other times they are so fake looking. But overall I'd say its good for tv anime which is notorious for terrible cg.

I'm going to give it some more just the see where the show goes. It seems like it could simply be Ronja wandering around the forest meeting people and making friends.
 

Project Pyrrho

Registered User
Validated User
#54
I'm going to give it some more just the see where the show goes. It seems like it could simply be Ronja wandering around the forest meeting people and making friends.
She'll be in the forest quite a bit and meet someone that's very important to drive the plot forward.

It's a classic children's book (the type they read themselves) made by Astrid Lindgren (writer of Pippi Longstocking among other characters). So don't expect an advanced plot, but hopefully they do get the charm.
 

Quasar

Feeling kinda smurfy
Validated User
#55
She'll be in the forest quite a bit and meet someone that's very important to drive the plot forward.

It's a classic children's book (the type they read themselves) made by Astrid Lindgren (writer of Pippi Longstocking among other characters). So don't expect an advanced plot, but hopefully they do get the charm.
Somehow I hadn't heard of it, though I had heard of other works by lindgren.
 

Theo Axner

Likes dressing up, yes
Validated User
#56
It's a very (surprisingly so, to me) faithful adaptation of the book so far - much of the dialogue is word for word. Though the tempo does feel pretty slow. These first two episodes cover the first chapter of 18 in the book - some 16 pages or so, including illustrations. I'll definitely keep watching. :)
 
Top Bottom