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[In which I review] New anime, Spring 2011

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Just watched A Channel #2. This is turning out to be a lovely little moe series. Nothing earth-shattering, but fun and soothing.


I thought Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko to be very shafty (new word!)
I'd probably agree as far as the premise is concerned, but the direction is nearly entirely free of the quirks I usually associate with SHAFT (the nervous editing, the nonstandard but deliberate choice of shots...). As a result, it feels almost sedate... and a bit like Arakawa-lite. I'm hoping to get proven wrong, though.

I also really enjoyed Ano Hi Mita etc. (we need an official abbreviation for this one fast).
Nearly everyone online seems to be calling it AnoHana.


Well yeah, but if you read the reviews in this thread, you'd think it were just another Yugioh show.
Oh, come on. Yes, I did joke around a bit by giving it the same plot synopsis as Zexal, but it should be obvious from the rest of the description that this is a much more grim'n'gritty kind of show, with a heavy focus on economics. It just happens to have a Yu-Gi-Oh-style duel right in the middle of the first episode.




Aria the Scarlet Ammo (Hidan no Aria)
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

In the near future, random terrorism has become such a problem that there's now an academy devoted to training mercenaries from elementary school onwards.

Characters

Kinji, our high school boy protagonist. While he spends most of the episode whining about wanting to quit the mercenary school, he suffers from a bizarre medical condition that alters his behaviour to one of a cliché action hero when he gets to excited. Anyway, on his way to school he discovers someone planted a bomb on his bicycle, and he's stalked by killer Segways. He's saved at the last minute by...

Aria, aka the standard Rie Kugimiya-voiced tsundere loli. The variation here is that, like nearly every character in this setting, she's armed to the teeth. (How does she hide those katanas behind her back ? They're taller than her torso !) She makes her entrance by parachuting off a skyscraper in a scene that was probably meant to look cool but just ends up making no sense whatsoever.

Shirayuki, Kinji's "friend" who does all his domestic chores for him, in the hopes he'll take the hint. (He doesn't.)

We get to see a few more characters at school, but none of them rise above the usual stereotypes for now. There's even a teacher who spends all his screentime delivering a lecture describing the setting to students who presumably already know all this stuff.

Production Values

Some decent action sequences, but the most striking thing here is the rampant fanservice, with every single girl being heavily sexualized and our protagonist landing into more chests than reasonable.

Also, gun porn. Lots of gun porn.

Overall Impression

What the heck is this shit ?

The writers probably find it clever to have the protagonist complain at length about the premise. It's not ; it's just bloody irritating and makes me loathe him. His plot-convenient MPD and the harem hijinks don't help one bit.

Some people might get some entertainment from crazy shit such as the killer Segways, but this kind of manufactured zaniness just rubs me the wrong way. Avoid.
 

Katsue

Young Witch
Validated User
Masakaki, the supremely irritating dude who makes Yoga an Offer He Can't Refuse and. Just. Won't. Go. Away. The offer involves unlimited funding, with the provision it has to be spent in the Financial District... which does not look like a real place but some rather like sort of parallel digital world. Yoga eventually relents.
As demons go, Masakaki is certainly a determined proponent of the hard sell.
 

Unseenlibrarian

Definitely NOT a Monkey.
Validated User
So out of curiosity to see if they were better or gave more background detail or -anything-, I went and looked up the Aria light novel fan translation, and my god, if anything, the show tightens it up and make it actually slightly bearable. (It's fairly obviously cynically written for maximum anime producer appeal, as every other description of the lead mentions her 'seiyu-like' voice. What the hell does that even -mean-?)
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Deadman Wonderland
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

In the near future, over the ruins of a cataclysm-destroyed Tokyo lies Deadman Wonderland, the first private prison/attraction park combo. Come with your whole family to see the inmates getting humiliated in deadly attractions ! Oh, and they'd better play along, as their locked collars are programmed to kill them if they don't eat candy for three days.

Characters

Ganta, our poor middle-schooler protagonist. His class got massacred by "the Red Man", who left him as the lone survivor. Of course, he was immediately designated as a scapegoat, got the death sentence, and got sent to Deadman Wonderland in the meanwhile. The (presumably fake) footage of him incriminating himself while talking to his public counsel probably didn't help. For some reason, the Red Man injected a glowing red stone into his chest, which gives Ganta superpowers in a pinch. He's gonna need them.

Tamaki, Ganta's public counsel AND the warden of Deadman Wonderland. Now there's an obvious conflict of interest that suggests he's got enough clout to get away with it. This smiling snake makes for a lovely villain to hate. He makes arrangements for Ganta to have an "accident" as soon as possible, which seems like overkill given the poor kid's death sentence and his complete lack of popularity among the other inmates. This is because he seems to actually know quite a lot about the Red Man, and is quite curious about Ganta's survival.

Makina, the hardass, sadistic security officer at Deadman Wonderland. She made me wince a bit by loudly claiming a G cup.

Shiro, the weird albino girl who makes a beeline for Ganta. I'm not even sure she's actually an inmate, what with her wearing a different collar from anyone else (though to be fair, we don't really see any other female inmates yet). Getting around in a supposedly max security facility seems to hold no problems for her, and she's quite the martial artist (although a shovel to the back of the head still puts her down). She's voiced by Kana Hanazawa in her cheerful mode, which is actually an inspired choice for a character who's obviously completely bonkers.

At the end of the episode we get flashes of various other inmates that's probably be important later on.

Production Values

Quite good. The opening massacre scene is marred by some censoring that makes portions of it completely impenetrable, but after that it's golden. In particular, the action sequences are quite impressive.

Overall Impression

Hey, this is pretty good ! The premise is obviously completely insane and outrageous, but this first episode makes a good job of selling it as an interesting starting point our protagonist must fight against. It's very well-paced indeed, speeding through the trial to make it seem even more of a joke, and presenting lots of exposition without it feeling too clunky.

Now, I of course have some reservations about a 12-episode adaptation of a still-ongoing manga, especially given how plot-driven this story seems. Is it going to find a satisfying endpoint, or are they gonna strand us with a cliffhanger for a second season ? Time will tell. But so far, so good.
 

Katsue

Young Witch
Validated User
Shiro, the weird albino girl who makes a beeline for Ganta. I'm not even sure she's actually an inmate, what with her wearing a different collar from anyone else (though to be fair, we don't really see any other female inmates yet). Getting around in a supposedly max security facility seems to hold no problems for her, and she's quite the martial artist (although a shovel to the back of the head still puts her down). She's voiced by Kana Hanazawa in her cheerful mode, which is actually an inspired choice for a character who's obviously completely bonkers.
I knew I'd heard that exact voice before, but it took a trip to wikipedia to identify it with Nessa from Fractale. She sounds exactly the same, and it really is inspired.
 

JELEINEN

Sizzler Black Squadron
Validated User
The opening massacre scene is marred by some censoring that makes portions of it completely impenetrable, but after that it's golden.
This didn't bother me in the least. I really didn't need to see more than what they showed. It was a good first episode. I hear the story descends into typical shounen fight stuff, but I'll stick with it for now.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
This didn't bother me in the least. I really didn't need to see more than what they showed.
I agree with that last sentiment, but I could have done without those shots of blurry darkness. It's just distracting.

And now, a show I'd despaired that nobody would sub...



Hyouge Mono
(39 episodes)

What's it about ?

Japan's Warring States era from the perspective of an tea-obsessed esthete.

Characters

Sasuke Furuta, our main character. He's technically an elite messenger/diplomat for Nobunaga Oda, although he doesn't really get to display any skill at it in this episode. On the contrary, he easily gets distracted by irrelevant stuff around him (such as other attendees at a meeting's poor fashion sense), leading to him not paying attention when important people are talking to him.

Nobunaga Oda, the warlord. This series depicts him as quite a bit of a thug, to be honest. I think he tolerates Sasuke because he thinks he's funny.

Hideyoshi Hashiba, one of Oda's major vassals and all-around snake. He completely bungles Sasuke's mission by barging in with his soldiers at the least opportune moment. I can't exactly see why he'd do that, apart to mess with him.

Our mission of the week involves Sasuke trying to arrange a rebel vassal's reddition and pardon in exchange of a prized teapot the rebel owns (since he's an esthete who'd probably like owning the teapot too, this may have been a test on Sasuke's loyalties). I'd probably take the dude more seriously if he wasn't wearing that terrible wig that just makes him look ridiculous.

Production Values

Fairly good ; this looks like a decent feudal Japan drama (if you don't pay attention to what's actually happening).

Overal Impression

Well, this is certainly a thing. A very weird and homoerotic thing. (The OP and ED being love songs don't help.) The historical figures in this are barely more in character than in Sengoku Otome. I'm probably missing a lot of references due to knowing fuck all about feudal Japan. And still...

I found this absolutely hilarious. The disconnect between the "serious" artstyle and the characters' ridiculous behaviour works perfectly. I'm not sure if the joke can sustain itself for 39 (!) episodes, but so far it's a riot.
 
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