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[In which I review] New anime, Spring 2012

bv728

Was he a violent man?
Validated User
#41
Urgh. There's such a thing at taking grim'n'gritty too far, especially when there's no nuance whatsoever in its depiction of society. (Hobos & night club workers ? Good. Businessmen, and the rich in general ? Bad.) Every single character here is completely one-dimensional, which makes it hard to care about any of them. The plot has no originality whatsoever to it, either.

It's crap. Not a kind of crap I've seen much of recently in anime, but still crap.
The Manga series this is based on gets better, for a while, and then just gets stranger and possibly worse. It never stops being extremely violent and grim, though.

Endless conspiracies, another hero using supertech armor and endless conversations about the truth of what happened that never explain the truth of what happened.

EDIT: Forgot to trim quote
 

Wolfwood2

Registered User
Validated User
#42
Accel World
(24 episodes)

What's it about ?

In the future, augmented reality is going to be wicked awesome... Oh, wait, it's a shounen fighting series.
An anime blog I was reading points out that the play for the audience to sympathize with Haru's character is completely undercut by the fact that he does have at least two good friends. (Even if he treats them terribly.)

That said, I saw a few positive signs for the show. I thought the solution to the bullies was well-crafted, in that I was saying the solution about a minute before the characters had said it. (Seriously, red-haired bully must have gotten awfully arrogant to forget that he's supposed to be *avoiding* the omnipresent surveillance when indulging in his bullying activity.) I also liked the completely-networked world we see. It's pretty cool. Haru's solution to winning the fight in episode 2 was neat too, in that he used his head (in multiple senses of the word).

On the negative side, the melodrama was hard to take, and I'm not sure the show realizes that Haru is a jerk. (If he's supposed to be a jerk, that would be all right.) I do want to see episode 3, so I suppose that's a victory.
 

Axiomatic

I mix a coat
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#43
I looked at Space Brothers. The first episode was okay, and I'll definitely be watching this, simply because of the subject matter. Because let's face it, SPACE.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#45
An anime blog I was reading points out that the play for the audience to sympathize with Haru's character is completely undercut by the fact that he does have at least two good friends. (Even if he treats them terribly.)
The Cart Driver, right ?

It's true that I find it hard to muster any sympathy for Haru, who has no redeeming value whatsoever. I'm tentatively sticking with this because the worldbuilding is somewhat fascinating and I'm intrigued by Black Lotus (what's her angle ? She's trolling him somewhat, right ?).

Also, wouldn't it be terrible to actually BE Yuki Kaji and have that be your normal speaking voice?
The irony here is that my first contact with Yuki Kaji was Durarara!!, where he plays Walker, of all people. I checked back this morning, and he's indeed using the same voice and tone (maybe with a slightly different accent ?). It's just that when he's not drowning in self-pity, but instead obsessing over manga or torturing people, the dude does have some charisma. I don't even want to punch him !

It's this pigeonhole of "whiny protagonist" that makes Yuki Kaji so annoying. Outside of it, he's perfectly bearable.
 

Ikselam

a heavy bear to cross
Validated User
#46
Also, wouldn't it be terrible to actually BE Yuki Kaji and have that be your normal speaking voice?
The guy's voice sounds fine, he just gets typecast as mopey losers. It's like how (speaking of overexposed voice actors) Hanazawa Kana is perfectly tolerable when she's not playing breathy moeblobs.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#47
Some thoughts on two other new series I won't be making full reviews of...

Naruto SD - Rock Lee & His Ninja Friends was better than I expected. It's thoroughly accessible, providing enough exposition about the setting ("teams of apprentice ninjas get various tasks to perform as part of their training"), the main character' shtick ("Rock Lee is an apprentice ninja who can't do any ninjutsu") or whatever guest star happens to be passing (such as what Naruto can do). For someone like me who barely knows anything about the Naruto universe, this was very welcome.

Now, is this actually worth watching ? Let's not get carried away. It's mildly funny, but some of the running gags were getting tired even before the end of the second of the two skits in this episode. (Even Tenten herself is getting bored of always going "there's no way anyone's going to fall for Lee's incredibly stupid plan... wait, it worked ?") Also, the first skit relies heavily on poo jokes.

One episode was enough for me.


I was pleasantly surprised by Here Comes the Black Witch! (Kuromajo-san ga Toru!!). I'm not a big fan of anime in short formats, but this is a longer one (7 minutes), and properly paced for it. The premise is simple enough (middle-school occult fangirl invokes a demon by mistake, who's going to teach her how to become a Witch whether she wants it or not), but it manages to get some good jokes out of it (our heroine MUST clean her room everyday... because leaving any hair or skin behind makes malicious voodoo body control possible).

This looks like a fun little gag show (and it's not like this season promises many of these). I'm willing to give it at least a few more episodes to see whether it stays funny.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#48
Lupin the IIIrd - The Woman called Fujiko Mine
(13 episodes)

What's it about ?

The Lupin the IIIrd franchise has been around for decades (that's where Miyazaki himself got his start), cranking out at least a new TV-movie a year ; this is the first new TV series in quite a while though.

Don't let that history intimidate you, though ; not only is the franchise continuity-light to begin with, but this series goes back to basics, with the first meeting of Lupin the IIIrd & Fujiko.

Characters

Lupin the IIIrd, grandson of the original gentleman-thief. A thief himself, and so good at it that he's getting a bit bored, to be honest. He's now at the point where he's warning the cops beforehand, because that's more fun.

Fujiko Mine, Lupin's sexy new rival. They collide on the same score, and it's slightly irritated fascination at first sight.

Inspector Zenigata, the tireless policeman always on Lupin's tail. This series makes a noble try at giving him some credibility, mostly by giving him a whiny sidekick (voiced by Yuki Kaji, of course ! Though he's less annoying than usual, at least...) so that he'll look better.

The score of the week involves a depraved cult leader trafficking rare narcotics on their private island... Oh, who cares, it's just a backdrop for the Lupin/Fujiko interplay and an excuse for elaborate set pieces anyway.

Production Values

This clearly makes a bid for the best-looking show of the season. It's got an impressive budget for the action set pieces, and a rough, artsy style that makes nearly every shot interesting to look at.

A word of warning : this is a sexy series, and Fujiko regularly gets topless and/or nearly naked over the course of the episode.

I really hope that ain't the regular OP, because that pretentious voiceover sounds like it's going to get annoying very quickly.

Overall Impression

Pretty !

But there's something more beyond the mere dazzle. This is a series with a point to make : Fujiko uses her body as a weapon on every possible occasion, however degrading that may be ; and the OP monologue unsubtly points out she may well be a masochist, addicted to that thrill. I'm not quite sure whether this show is arguing it makes her inferior to Lupin (he outclasses her nearly every step on the way, mostly thanks to his "I can do offscreen whatever the plot needs me to" powers).

Still, they've got chemistry, the show is gorgeous, and heist anime are rare enough for me not to be picky. I'm in.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#49
Medaka Box
(?? episodes)

What's it about ?

A super-ultra-awesome new student council president goes around "helping" people all over campus.

Characters

Medaka, the new student council president. She's hyper-competent at everything. Since she wants to go around helping everyone, she's set up a suggestion box. Hence the title.

Zenkichi, our point-of-view character, and Medaka's childhood friend. He spends the whole episode ranting incoherently about her behaviour while she leads him around. You've guessed it, they're a couple of tsundere in the now classic Kyon/Haruhi mold... except Kyon had charisma and a point.

Shiranui, a bizarre small girl who knows everything about everyone and is just plain weird. She's the only character who's actually fun to watch.

Production Values

You might have been interested in this show because GAINAX did it. But the Nadia/Evangelion/FLCL people are long gone. And the TTGL/Panty&Stocking crew just left too. So that leaves us... the director of He Is My Master.

And no budget whatsoever, from the look of it : this looks like crap.

Overall Impression

Oh, dear. This just doesn't work. The dialogue is clunky (did NisiOisiN really contribute to the original manga ? Was he phoning it in, or is this adaptation just terrible ?), the jokes tired, and the lead characters annoying.

I'm giving it a second episode on the hope that some new supporting cast might improve matters (or at least make Zenkichi shut up a bit), but I'm not hopeful.
 

Dawgstar

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#50
Overall Impression

Oh, dear. This just doesn't work. The dialogue is clunky (did NisiOisiN really contribute to the original manga ? Was he phoning it in, or is this adaptation just terrible ?), the jokes tired, and the lead characters annoying.

I'm giving it a second episode on the hope that some new supporting cast might improve matters (or at least make Zenkichi shut up a bit), but I'm not hopeful.
And I was looking forward to this. Oh, well. I can use that it doesn't have a simulcast as an excuse to give it a miss, until it is announced to have one (probably by the time I finish typing this sentence, knowing me) and give it a look. It turns into pretty-good shonen battle, but it takes a while. This proves my point (that I made to myself) that long-running series turned into manga aren't really for new folks, but rather to grab ratings and sell more merch and DVDs to comic readers. Obvious observation is obvious.
 
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