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[In which I review] New anime, Spring 2001

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Great Dangaioh
(13 episodes)

What's it about ?

Giant combining mechas fight for the survival of mankind against one of the most generic evil armies I've ever seen.

Characters

The three pilots : Hitomi, the hot-blooded girl ; Mishiou, the cold, analytical other girl ; and Kuya, the stoic silent guy (he only gets one line that's not a mecha command). Not much beyond the archetypes at this stage.

The evil army is led by an old bearded dude, seconded by a toady mad scientist and four clichés generals (who all appear to be robots or cyborgs of some sort). In a semi-interesting twist, they're all dead by the end of the first episode, and their floating fortress destroyed.

The good guys seem to be some paramilitary group whose leader has history with the big bad evil guy. There's another notable female officer who seems to have foreboding visions (the opening scene has her as a teenager, ten years ago, at ground zero of some city-obliterating disaster which turned into a contact event for her).

Production Values

Decent. The art style for female characters is a bit weird and took me some time getting used to.

Overall Impression

Bo-ring. I nearly fell asleep while watching this one. Most of the characters are one-dimensional, the mecha fight scenes are beyond cliché, and the show takes itself so seriously that it's rather baffling.

I'm told this is a sequel to a late-80s OVA, but I fail to see any obvious link from the latter's synopsis.

Avoid.

Spoiler: Show


Yes, the bottom mech has just split into two feet so all three could combine.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Ask Dr. Rin! (Dr. Rin ni Kiitemite!)
(51 episodes)

What's it about ?

An ordinary junior high school student tries using her divination powers to improve her love life.

Characters

Meirin, our protagonist. She comes from a family that makes a living from Feng-Shui divination. Her brother has set her up the "Dr. Rin" webpage, where she gives Feng-Shui advice to whoever writes in (it's quite popular among girls, to the point that his father is starting to lose business). She's more than a bit clumsy, and madly in love with...

Asuka, her (male) love interest. Captain of the soccer club, good-looking, the works. He's more than a bit annoyed by Meirin's aggressive stalking, although he does soften up a bit after she saves him from a nearly-fatal accident.

Said accident was provoked by a mysterious blonde boy who stalks Meirin/Dr Rin very creepily, and isn't above getting rid of the competition (read: Asuka) by possessing a crane and dropping a ton of junk on top of him.

There's also a few other classmate of Meirin and Asuka's, but they don't make much of an impression yet, with the exception of Meirin's best friend Yue, whom I hope is only kidding when she offers herself as an alternate target for Meirin's affection.

Production Values

Not very good, but it does the job. I quite like the catchy OP tune.

I wondered for a bit whether Meirin's divination stock footage was a parody of Sailor Moon-style transformations (colored ribbons of light wrap around her... for no reason, as she doesn't change clothes at all !), but it seems most of the similarities comes from having the same music composer.

Overall Impression

Hey, this is actually quite fun ! Despite Meirin being an obnoxious and unrepentant stalker, she's slowly grown on me. Even the bullshit Feng-Shui divination (which looks nothing like any Feng-Shui I've ever heard of, but does come with a marvellously toyetic divination station) fails to annoy me.

Now, I have no clue how you sustain 51 episodes on this premise, and it's stuck into fansub-limbo-land anyway, so I can't really recommend it. Still, I like it.

Spoiler: Show


Mighty Feng-Shui divination powers, activate !
 

BYapes

Retired User
Great Dangaioh
(13 episodes)

What's it about ?

Giant combining mechas fight for the survival of mankind against one of the most generic evil armies I've ever seen.
Also with one of the most spoiler laden openings ever. At least for the first episode.
The evil army is led by an old bearded dude, seconded by a toady mad scientist and four clichés generals (who all appear to be robots or cyborgs of some sort). In a semi-interesting twist, they're all dead by the end of the first episode, and their floating fortress destroyed.
And that's what I mean.
The good guys seem to be some paramilitary group whose leader has history with the big bad evil guy. There's another notable female officer who seems to have foreboding visions (the opening scene has her as a teenager, ten years ago, at ground zero of some city-obliterating disaster which turned into a contact event for her).
And as it turns out, said disaster is an important plot point from the previous (and superior) original Dangaioh...

...that is never really explored.

Bo-ring. I nearly fell asleep while watching this one. Most of the characters are one-dimensional, the mecha fight scenes are beyond cliché, and the show takes itself so seriously that it's rather baffling.
It also ends rather abruptly, leaving the viewer with a feeling of...WTF did I just watch?!?
I'm told this is a sequel to a late-80s OVA, but I fail to see any obvious link from the latter's synopsis.
If you can find it (in a hacked together format from Manga Video), Dangaioh is good. Slightly better put together plot (it was the 80's) better mecha designs (by Shoji Kawamori), and well...Mia Alice. ;)
Spoiler: Show


Yes, the bottom mech has just split into two feet so all three could combine.
And if that's not enough, the impact from combining flips the final units head around from its chest. And don't get me started on what it has to do to use its bloody beam swords.

Brian Yaple
BYapes@aol.com
 

JELEINEN

Sizzler Black Squadron
Validated User
If you can find it (in a hacked together format from Manga Video), Dangaioh is good. Slightly better put together plot (it was the 80's) better mecha designs (by Shoji Kawamori), and well...Mia Alice. ;)
I will hang on to my US Renditions Dangaio tapes until the day I die.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
We've reached the first Spring 2001 series I couldn't get a hold of : Dennou Boukenki Webdiver, which is from what I gather a kids' show about virtual mechas on the web. Or something.

The only other series that premiered on April 6th, 2001 is probably the most famous show of the whole season :



Noir
(26 episodes)

What's it about ?

A top-flight assassin meets an amnesiac high-school girl who's even better than her at killing people. After a fashion, they decide to team up to investigate the mysterious links between the two of them.

Characters

Mireille Bouquet, elite French assassin. Very intrigued by the whole thing, although she's clearly the type not to accept bullshit as an answer. She'd have shot Kirika five minutes into the episode if the latter hadn't produced a watch playing a lullaby that triggers random flashbacks to Mireille's (presumably traumatic) childhood.

Kirika Yumura, Japanese high-school girl, although it's immediately made clear that both her name and background are fake. She woke up amnesiac a few days ago, got hunted by mysterious men in black for whatever reason (she quickly disposed of them), and then got in contact with Mireille because that's one of the few hints about her past she's got. She's a true killing machine, instinctively making some very impressive acrobatics.

Production Values

Very impressive. The OP has a wonderfully fluid sequence of Kirika kicking ass in silhouette, and this standard is maintained for the few fight scenes she's involved in during this episode. There's mercifully barely any fanservice, and it manages to avoid showing any panty shots despite Mireille's tight miniskirt and Kirika somersaulting around.

There are long dialogue-less sequences, letting the animation and the music do the storytelling. And the score is absolutely glorious, injecting tons of atmosphere into the series. Sometimes it goes a bit overboard (do we really need a blaring Italian choir when Kirika is just leaving school ?), and there are some false notes like a terrible eye-catch jingle that seems straight out of the 80s, but overall the music is an absolute joy to listen to.

Overall Impression

Well, that's an impressive beginning, I'll say. Tons of style and a good starting point for a story.

But this is not the first time I watch this series, and I regret to say that it becomes lost into a dull mystical conspiracy plot that takes ages to go anywhere, interspersed with "hit of the week" episodes that quickly become repetitive. I gave up after 10 episodes, and I'm in no hurry to retry.

Which is too bad, because I can admire what it was trying to do.

Spoiler: Show


Kirika strangling a dude by his tie. Hardcore.
 

KoboldLord

Registered User
Validated User
But this is not the first time I watch this series, and I regret to say that it becomes lost into a dull mystical conspiracy plot that takes ages to go anywhere, interspersed with "hit of the week" episodes that quickly become repetitive. I gave up after 10 episodes, and I'm in no hurry to retry.
I watched the whole thing. It does come back to a little bit of plot at the end, but all totaled there's about six episodes of actual content in there. It would have probably been better as a mini-series. Sadly, even the action scenes started to suffer when the animators stopped having the targets' mooks attempt to dodge or take cover or do anything particularly interesting.
 

dkellis

Registered User
Validated User
Sometimes it goes a bit overboard (do we really need a blaring Italian choir when Kirika is just leaving school ?), and there are some false notes like a terrible eye-catch jingle that seems straight out of the 80s, but overall the music is an absolute joy to listen to.
Noir gave me the impression that the director was handed this amazing soundtrack composed by Yuki Kajiura, the sort that would be instant-bestsellers the moment the anime aired, and had no idea what to do with it.

So we get stuff like said Italian choir stuffed in willy-nilly, repeated and reused throughout the show, without any thought for whether it actually fit the scene.

EDIT: Come to think of it, I noticed the same problem with Tsubasa Chronicles, so maybe Kajiura just has bad luck with Bee Train.
 
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Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Galaxy Angel
(26 episodes)

What's it about ?

A squad of women can perform any mission if you pay the price... This episode : finding a lost cat. No, really.

Characters

Ranpha, the hot-tempered blonde who complains about everything. Only Yukari Tamura's charisma can keep her from being too annoying.

Forte, her tall and snarky partner, whom I mistook for a dude until I saw the frankly embarrassing cleavage hole in her clothes. Urgh.

Milfeulle, a girl they encounter during their mission and who just happens to have found the precise cat they're looking for. She's got insane amounts of luck, although it seems to mostly be the ironic kind. Presumably she's joining the team soon.

There are a couple of other women on the team, plus their elderly boss, but they don't contribute much to this episode.

Production values

Not very good, to tell the truth. It's got decent comedic timing, and that's all I can really say for it. Forte's costume aside, the fanservice ain't too obnoxious, but it's still quite present.

Overall Impression

That... wasn't very good, was it ? While the characters have some decent chemistry, there's no plot in sight, and even the characters complain about the inanity of the premise in the very first scene of the episode. The comedy is decent, but nothing you haven't seen done better elsewhere.

This got three sequel seasons ? Really ?

Spoiler: Show


Now, which cat's the right one ?
 

dkellis

Registered User
Validated User
I think Galaxy Angel owes its success more from the games than the anime. The anime remains pretty much entirely plotless slapstick, but the games and manga have a pretty involved plot involving galactic empires, superweapons, and, since the games are dating sims, the main male lead getting together with one (or more) of the Angel Troupe.
 

MadMac

Registered User
Validated User
I like Galaxy Angel. It doesn't hit it's stride for a couple episodes and it's very hit and miss throughout it's run but it gets really mean spirited and ridiculous after a while. It's not often you get a comedy these days where the premise is that the main characters are all terrible people, continuity is a bad word, and having the heroines die unexpectedly by their own stupidity (sometimes multiple times per episode) is to be expected. The animation is extremely, self-consciously cheap through-out, though.

It also has a very interesting backstory. As mentioned above it's based off a series of video games and manga with an rather complicated plot and backstory that didn't exist when the anime was first produced. The animation studio was handed a bunch of character designs and basic descriptions to tie into a video game that hadn't even come out yet so they just went "Screw it, we might as well just make shit up." and ran with it. Also, Forte's ridiculous cleavage hole gets covered up after the first season, thankfully.
 
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