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[In which I review] New anime, Spring 2013

SunnyD

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Holy shit is this show blowing everything else out of the water.

[video=youtube;nvWBx64Z2rQ]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nvWBx64Z2rQ[/video]
 

Rainfall

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Holy shit is this show blowing everything else out of the water.

[video=youtube;nvWBx64Z2rQ]http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nvWBx64Z2rQ[/video]
This show's only problem is the impossibility to live up to THAT intro. :p

I found the writing a little bit one-note, and the characters not all that likeable aside from the soldier guy we're supposed to think is a coward, but man, the setting and atmosphere are really something else. The Titans are genuinely scary.
 

bv728

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I found the writing a little bit one-note, and the characters not all that likeable aside from the soldier guy we're supposed to think is a coward, but man, the setting and atmosphere are really something else. The Titans are genuinely scary.
Similar to the manga, then. The characters never really clicked for me, but the Titans are seriously bizzare and creepy.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
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How, what a surprise, Yondemasuyo, Azazel-san Z is doing the "troll opening for the second season" thing, which is completely unheard of for gag series. But hey, at least it sketches out a decent direction for the plot to go into, and it's still as funny and nasty as it ever was.

But nobody cares about this one, I guess. On to a show with actual anticipation...


Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyoujin)
(25ish episodes)

What's it about ?

Dark heroic-fantasy.

Characters

Eren, our kid protagonist. He really wants to join the Recon Corps and explore the world beyond the gigantic walls humanity is confined in, but most people think this is a very stupid dream. (Well, Daddy, who's somebody Important, acknowledges that's it's pointless to try and dissuade him.)

Coincidentally, the Recon Corps have just come back from their latest expedition, and they're far fewer than when they left, those who did come back are in a sorry state, and their commander openly recognizes that they've accomplished nothing of value, ever. No wonder most people think they're a stupid idea.

Mikasa, Eren's childhood friend. She too thinks that joining the Recon corps is a stupid idea, and I get the impression she's sabotaging his efforts for his own sake. She's always looking out for him when he gets in trouble ; bullies run away when they see her, and considering she can lift and carry Eren without breaking a sweat, I can see their point.

Armin, their friend. He holds the not-very-popular opinion that humanity pretty much has to go outside the walls anyway, and that people are just kidding themselves when they think they'll be protected forever.

He's instantly proved right when the wall is breached by what everyone's so afraid of : the Titans, gigantic humanoid monsters that prey on humanity. For a hundred years the 50-meter-high walls have been enough to keep them out so that everyone can live in "peace", but now there's one that's taller than the outer wall. Crap. The city near the wall immediately falls.

Hanneth, a city guard, who was liking it better when he was a glorified wall repairer and drunk "parasite on society" ; but fuck it, this is his job, so he's going to attack the nearest Titan. Then he realizes that he's facing alone a 5-meter-tall monstruosity, reconsiders, and starts enacting Eren's mother's dying wish : get him and Mikasa the hell away from the slaughter.

Production Values

Holy shit, budget ! The soldiers in this setting use grappling hooks to scour the cities and the forests like they're Spider-Men, and boy do the few snippets we get of this kind of action look impressive. This is a show with gorgeous animation and attention to detail... except in those few jarring scenes where they've ran out of money and it's just still images.

Overall Impression

Was someone asking for non-generic, non-terrible heroic-fantasy ? Well, the jury's still out on whether this is actually good, but at least it builds a distinctive atmosphere and avoids most of the old tired clichés. And it does pull off the visuals needed to back its ambitions, as the Titans are depicted with a sense of scale and weight that sells them as a monstrous, unstoppable threat, despite just being tall dudes who advance slowly.

Now, if there's one thing I'm a bit wary about, it's that this is a dead-serious show whose high-strung melodrama sometimes devolves into bathos ; most of the time the atmosphere works, but there are times when it gets a bit too overdone and silly. Hopefully it's going to find the right balance soon ; probably once humanity start striking back.

This is clearly one of the few shows with ambition this season, and I'm looking forward to see where it goes from this kick-in-the-gut start.
 

Mejiro

I think I'm a Drow now
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Just watched that, and it's definitely into 'watch the next couple of episodes'. The giants are just freaky, and I liked the way that the guard-guy reacted - I was expecting him to charge in and die, but instead he had the completely understandable reaction of running the fuck away, while being good enough to take the kids. I'm kinda wondering what's up with Misaka as well - she seems to be a bit beyond 'stronger than she looks' into 'low level kiddie superstrength'. And no moe or token lolis! (this is when the big bad ends up being a 100 foot tsundere loligoth...)
 

Jhiday

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Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet (Suisei no Gargantia)
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Gen Urobuchi does mecha.

Characters

Red, our protagonist. As one of the most promising young soldiers of the Galactic Human Alliance, he's soon due for some limited citizenship (which includes real sleep and reproduction rights) and a few weeks of leave at the paradise space colony of Avalon. (Thank gods Urobuchi claims he's not doing grimdark, otherwise I might have mistaken the GHA for a hellish dystopia). Of course the next battle against the aliens goes to hell in no time, and his escape hyperspace jump goes utterly wrong.

Chamber, his mecha's AI (the always impeccable Tomokazu Sugita can make even dry exposition and straight-faced statements of facts sound slightly sarcastic). It wakes Red up from six weeks of deep hibernation when the inhabitants of the place he's wound up on try to do stuff on the mecha.

Amy, the young perky girl (with the mandatory cute critter perched on her shoulder) who seems to be the one who found the mecha. She is trying to have it dismantled so that she can sell the parts, but none of the mechanics are having much luck even scratching the thing. Red takes her hostage after he's found lurking around, on the basis that those primitives will have less incentive to shoot him while he tries to figure where the heck he is. (Er...)

We've got hints of a supporting cast, including Amy's prospective buyer or the lady who runs the place.

The big twist he finds out about at the end of the episode is that this isn't some random independent backwater colony : this is Earth, where humanity is fabled to have started from !

Production Values

Very impressive indeed. This features some very good and expressive character animation, and oozes money from every shot. In contrast, the space mecha battles appear oddly stilted, with the very static camera far from handing a candle to the hyper-kinetic action of Majestic Prince, for example. But that's nitpicking.

Overall Impression

Well, it's going to be hard to top this as best show of the season. It's a smooth, perfectly executed on every level production, with dialogue that's not without a sense of humour. ("They appear to be talking about reproduction with one's mother." "Barbarians !") The culture shock is bound to be fun, and I'm curious about what the plan is with the GHA's obvious problems as a civilization.

Definitely a keeper.
 

Ikselam

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I like the Earthlings' costume designs a lot. Feels like Chrono Cross.
 

ru

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Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyoujin)
the kid's fucking annoying. also, the defensive layout of their city is pretty bad - needs more compartmentalisation; no use losing about an eighth of your land area if just one gate falls.

I'm kind of interested in the titans, like the relationship between the big skinless ones and the smaller ones, but i might be better off reading the wikipedia summary after the show is over.
 

Rainfall

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(Thank gods Urobuchi claims he's not doing grimdark, otherwise I might have mistaken the GHA for a hellish dystopia)
It could still be an hellish dystopia, it's just that we're not going to see much of it. As opposed to the much more relatable and organic Earthling crew.


Well, it's going to be hard to top this as best show of the season. It's a smooth, perfectly executed on every level production, with dialogue that's not without a sense of humour. ("They appear to be talking about reproduction with one's mother." "Barbarians !") The culture shock is bound to be fun, and I'm curious about what the plan is with the GHA's obvious problems as a civilization.

Definitely a keeper.
Dunno, it didn't grab me that much. It's well made, no doupt about it, but ultimately it's just your typical by-the-numbers first mecha show episode. Humanity gest it's ass kicked in the typical intro space battle, and our generically heroic protagonist meets our generic genki girl.

It couldbe great, but it wouldn't be the first time an anime show with a great premise goes nowhere.
 

ru

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Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet (Suisei no Gargantia)
It's... so... pretty... ;_;

best show so far.

Red, our protagonist. As one of the most promising young soldiers of the Galactic Human Alliance, he's soon due for some limited citizenship (which includes real sleep and reproduction rights) and a few weeks of leave at the paradise space colony of Avalon. (Thank gods Urobuchi claims he's not doing grimdark, otherwise I might have mistaken the GHA for a hellish dystopia).
his computer tells him he's been fighting for some vast number of seconds which, my calculator tells me, adds up to about 16 years.

it occurred to me this could be some sort of forced-evolution strategy. you only get to breed if you can survive 16 years of combat adds up to one hell of a selection pressure. depending on how long this has been going on for, his species may be along way away from baseline human. (there's a similar idea explored in one of Stephen Baxter's Xeelee books)

the very static camera far from handing a candle to the hyper-kinetic action of Majestic Prince, for example.
I call this "being able to see what's going on" :p
 
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