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[In which I review] New anime, Spring 2011

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
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Validated User
#61
I watched the first episode of Maria†Holic Alive. To my complete lack of surprise, it has exactly the same problems as the first season : (1) Kanako is very, very annoying ; (2) Mariya is barely a dick at all, despite it being a key part of the purpoted premise ; and (3) it's just not very funny.

Now, this show is proof that SHAFT can animate the crap out of any old shit and make it visually interesting, but it clearly falls short of being actually any good. A well-polished turd is still a turd. I really should have known better than entertaining the thought that this sequel'd show any improvement.



I'm starting to reconsider checking out every single short kiddy show that gets subbed. Happy Kappi clocks in under six minutes, barely managing to outline its premise (grade school girl finds a plush toy that turns out to be a prince from a fantasy world, and has magic powers. Wacky hijinks ensue). It's very cheap-looking, too.



Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera ("*Bamf* It's Enma ! *Crickle Crackle*")
(?? episodes)

What's it about ?

The wacky adventures of Enma and his Demon Brigade, in charge of hunting down demons who're wreaking havoc on Earth's surface.

Characters

Harumi, our point of view character. A young girl whose friends get attacked by a face-stealing demon and calls on Enma & co for help. Very snarky indeed (to the point that she snarks at her own tendency to snark on inappropriate occasions), and quite bemused by Enma's antics.

Enma, our idiot hero (and that's quite an understatement). A fire demon. Wears a talking hat.

Yuki, his purported love interest (although it's obvious they've known each other for so long that they're getting on each other's nerves). An ice demon. Maybe the most sensible of the bunch, although by a fairly narrow margin.

Kapaeru, a kappa. Mostly there to deliver exposition and horribly dated impersonations, although he does get to save Harumi from drowning at one point. He might be the most heroic of the bunch, which of course makes him a target for abuse.

Production Values

All over the place. There are some gorgeous pieces of animation, especially in the hell house with its wonderfully gorgeous backgrounds... and then there are a few shots drawn with crayons. WTF ?

Let's be clear, this is an aggressively retro series, especially with the character designs ; but then, what do you expect of a remake of a 70s Go Nagai series ?

Overall impression

WHY ?

Why did someone greenlight a remake of a random 70s series, without updating much besides the animation ? (It's even set in the 70s.) It's not bad or anything (it's standard inoffensive shounen fare), but it's so obviously a nostalgia piece that I can't bring myself to care. Especially as its tone doesn't do much for me (this kind of constant hyperness tires me out very quickly).

I'm bemused. This show obviously has quite some money behind it ; is the market for it really that big ?
 

Dawgstar

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#62
A high school club who specialize in helping people... although they're quite bumbling indeed, and mostly do odd jobs. But they take it very seriously.
I have to admit I'm really looking forward to this show when Crunchyroll puts it up in about... five days or so. I am always really taken by genuine and selfless aultruism (which is probably while I'm still on Medaka Box). The manga's pretty entertaining.

"Switch", the third and last member, is a geek who's never seen without his laptop strapped on. He absolutely refuses to talk, instead using voice-generating that sounds like Tomokazu Sugita (who's impeccably deadpan here). He's got very precise and intimate information on everyone in the school, and knows how to use it ruthlessly.
Good ear. It's like somebody told him, "Okay, do Kyon's voice, but could you make it sarcastic this time?"

Even Zac Bertschy from Anime News Network who doesn't like much of anything, gave this one a 3.5, which shocked me a little. It's nice to have something to look forward to.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
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Validated User
#63
Good ear. It's like somebody told him, "Okay, do Kyon's voice, but could you make it sarcastic this time?"
There's a short segment in the first episode where Switch's away and he communicates with the gang through text messages... and they're the complete opposite of his usual tone (with smileys and stuff everywhere)... and I know it's still Tomokazu Sugita voicing them because I heard him before do this kind of thing as Star in Arakawa Under the Bridge. He's just that good.

By the way, if you're interested in witnessing his range, do check out Arakawa Under the Bridge. There are times when I wonder whether the whole point of that show was to offer a playing ground to voice actors so they could really go wild and show off. Well, except for Maaya Sakamoto (her staying entirely monotone throughout being the joke) and Chiaki Omigawa (who still had no range whatsoever as of last year).
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#65
Hen Zemi (Abnormal Physiology Seminar)
(13 half-length episodes)

What's it about ?

Slice of life about very special college course where the students hand reports about their fetishistic experiments.

Characters

Matsutaka, our somewhat prude-ish heroine, who isn't enthusiastic at all about this course. If you're wondering why she's attending, that's because it's a way to get closer to...

Komugi, who looks and acts like a nice guy but is actually quite an irritating jerk under the deadpan façade (but since he's voiced by Akira Ishida, you can't quite bring yourself to hate him...). Totally unashamed about his fetishes and what the Hen Zemi does.

Pr Meshiya, the teacher/researcher in charge of the Hen Zemi. A complete creep, and one wonders how he gets away with this with the faculty.

Mizukoshi, the nymphomaniac best student. She's into really extreme stuff (seriously, her report in this episode ? Ewwww !). Beware her slobber whenever someone talks dirty in front of her.

We get to see a few more students attending the course : the peeping tom who camps with his camera under the stairs, the ecchi manga artist and his innocent-looking sadistic girlfriend...

Production Values

Adequate. I actually quite like the stylized artstyle : it gives everyone (apart from the teacher) a look of complete innocence that contrasts very well with what they're talking about.

Overall Impression

Quite fun, actually. I appreciate the directness of the approach, and thankfully all the people involved are consenting adults (Matsutaka can quit whenever she wants...). There's quite a lot of mileage in the sheer weirdness of those fetishes.

But it clearly won't be to everyone's tastes. Some of the fetishes described here are bound to squick you out. Also, and that's a bit more problematic, not all of the jokes are that funny. Moreover, I worry that the short format won't give the series the time to properly gel. Still, if you have any interest in the subject matter, it mostly works.

There's been a couple of OVA out ; they seem to have been some sort of pilot or something. It's basically more of the same, but they aren't necessary at all to understand this first episode (which introduces all the key players properly).
 

JELEINEN

Sizzler Black Squadron
Validated User
#66
she has no range, but it's a very cute no-range :)
Absolutely. It probably doesn't help that she's still relatively new.

I'd tried reading some the A Channel manga as well as watching the first episode and I just didn't find any of it funny at all. I thought Touru was obnoxious rather than cute.

I assume that there will be an uncensored version either airing on satelite or at least on DVD for Health and Education for 30 yr olds. Not that it will help any.

I started watching the second Hen Zemi OVA before starting on the TV series, but made the mistake of tryng to watch it while eating...
 

KoboldLord

Registered User
Validated User
#67
I just watched two sequels, MariaHolic and Kaiji. Of the two, I think Kaiji was a better done reintroduction to the cast and concept and made me want to continue to watch. I certainly don't recommend it for anybody who hasn't seen the first series, though, because it drops some major spoilers for that season right in the prologue. Which is really to be expected, I guess.
 

ru

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Validated User
#69
Battle Girls - Time Paradox (Sengoku Otome: Momoiro Paradox)
It's not exactly Sengoku Basara either. Look, if you're going to send someone back in time to the Warring States, I expect swordfighting, not jokes about mobile phones. This show basically does nothing right.


I liked this more than I expected to, particularly when, like you, I realised Teppei was a 1 episode character. Saying that, a viewpoint character wouldn't hurt, although there are a ton more character in the OP. This one's a qualified "yes".


Speaking as someone who enjoyed both Lucky Star and K-On, this show might be a moe too far for me. It may be that Yuuki is to much like Mio (kansai-ben notwithstanding), but this feels a bit of a knock-off. I'm also not sure I know where it's going - is the relationship drama going to progress, or is this just scene-setting? a 4koma implies the latter, but in that case I feel this first episode is a bit of a mis-sell.


Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera ("*Bamf* It's Enma ! *Crickle Crackle*")
[...]
Let's be clear, this is an aggressively retro series, especially with the character designs ; but then, what do you expect of a remake of a 70s Go Nagai series ?
Ah that explains a lot. It's an odd one, this. I can't tell who it's aimed at. I found it quite funny, but I'm hard pressed to tell you why: the characters are all pretty flat, the plot's non-existant, and the actions's nothing special. Might get a couple more episodes, but I don't think it's got much staying power.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
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#70
Softenni
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Slice of life comedy about a middle school female tennis club. Also, panties.

Characters

Asuna, who is very enthusiastic about the club, but a bit of a slob. She has a very dirty mind that will interpret anything as sexually suggestive. (Also, she's a walking panty shot.)

Kotone, who hasn't been stated to be the club president but might as well be. Very bossy and sarcastic. (Voiced by Eri Kitamura, of course...)

Chitose, the upperclassman for whom this is the last chance as entering a tournament before graduating... but that's a tall ordeal, considering she's completely crap at tennis. Also, she eats a lot, although most of it seems to go to her upper figure, if you see what I mean (and I think you do).

Kurusu, the dark-skinned prodigy with a bit of a sadistic streak. Has a weird tendency to show up wearing a random big mask over her head.

Mr Mishimagi, the coach/teacher advising the club. Mostly there as a straight man for Asuna's bizarre trains of thought.

The credits suggests a fifth girl will be joining the cast soon.

Production Values

Not very good, and the show's bizarre obsession with showing panties every other shot is more than a bit distracting. There are some very puzzling bits of censorship, with random sexy shots heavily censored despite the nearly exact same thing being displayed in full ten seconds later. The mind boggles.

Overall Impression

Oh dear. Well, I wasn't expecting much from XEBEC, but this is a mediocre slice of life series made nearly unwatchable by obstructive fanservice.

Although, considering it isn't very funny to begin with, I'm perfectly content with giving it a pass.
 
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