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[In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2014

bv728

Was he a violent man?
Validated User
#63
Chaika –The Coffin Princess- (Hitsugi no Chaika)
(12 episodes)
Overall Impression

This might have been more watchable if it wasn't going out of its way to annoy me every few minutes. The writing is atrocious, with characters who are either inconsistent in their behaviour, or just impenetrable ; and I never get the sense the mysteries will have answers of any interest.

I just don't care, and that's the final nail on its coffin.
I won't say the novels are great, but they're better than this adaptation - it's actually by the same author as Scrapped Princess and Outbreak Company, and while it takes its time with explaining things, the first episode is just pretty much the first chapter with no significant mods, which is terrible pacing.
 
#64
Yes but oppening books usually are heavily pruned. I.e. have only good moves or moves that might plausibly be good rather then every possible move.
There are just too many obviously dumb moves to consider all of tthem. Where as in the end game there's fewer pieces hense fewwer possible moves and much fewer board states so you cans just look at all of them.
 

Ephemeral_Dreamer

Registered User
Validated User
#65
Considering she was confused by her opponent using a nonsensical move I assume that he meant that she's memorized all sensible movements as in all the movements a computer would use which is still ridiculous but not quite as bad as memorizing everything.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#66
I'm a bit too tired right now to write full reviews for the 6+ new shows I've watched, so I'll just start with a few first impressions :
- I didn't expect Nanana's Buried Treasure to be the better of the two noitaminA shows at all ;
- Knights of Sidonia is the first TV series with CG human characters that just about breaks out of the uncanny valley for me ;
- Dai Shogun nearly made itself watchable with its last five minutes, but yeah no ;
- I'm flabbergasted by Disk Wars Avengers not being complete crap. Especially considering how dreadful the merchandise-driven kids' shows have been this season.

And following up on second episodes :
- selector infected WIXOSS gets one more episode to grow beyond the plotless infomercial it has been until now. There's only so far the atmosphere can carry it, and I'm quickly losing patience.
- Just look at Riddle Story of Devil, which has refreshingly established its core premise, the main rules, and a good chunk of backstory by the end of its second episode. I'm glad those points aren't stretched out any further.
- If this was just a warm-up fight, then JoJo's new arc is off to a great start. Because damn.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#67
Okay, let's try and get this finished. I still have to write about some of the best shows this season, but they'll have to wait until tomorrow.



I'm not making a full review for Marvel Disk Wars : the Avengers, but I do want to note that it's much better than I expected. Especially since it involves a bunch of kids using the titular disks to summon Avengers and fight bad guys. The chief reason the show manages to make that premise less terrible is to spend the first episode without it, instead devoting it to pure set-up. And it does a good job of selling this as a recognizable version of the Marvel Universe, with the Avengers behaving like they should throughout. The Disks are Stark Technology Gone Wrong (tm), baddies try to steal them, the Avengers presumably get stuck in them next episode. And the kids are given plausible explanations for being around, which is a relief.

Let's put it this way : I'm open to watching a second episode, which is more than I can say for just about any of the other marketing-driven kids' shows this season.



Also, a few words about Inugami & Nekoyama, an adaptation of a 4-panel gag manga about a dog-like girl who likes cats, and a cat-like girl who likes dogs. That's basically the whole joke, so it's a good thing that it's a series of 3-minute shorts. Sure, that's a bit of a "stop-start" paced format, but the episode packs just enough content, and I'm not sure the source material could support a full-length adaptation anyway. As it stands, it's perfectly pleasant to watch.

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Dai-Shogun: Great Revolution (Fuuun Ishin Dai☆Shogun)
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

This is set in Japan in the middle of the 19th century, except there are tons of steampunk mecha around. Of course there are.

Characters

Keiichirou, our protagonist. A rowdy delinquant, he's somehow managed to beat up every street gang in Nagasaki. Which annoys him, as everyone now admires the boss and there's nobody left to fight. Also, he suddenly gets the news that the Tokugawa shogunate has fallen, and he's a heir to it. Which means new many people trying to kill him. Joy !

Kiriko, a badass assassin in a skintight sexy outfit who has NOT come to kill him. Instead, she's come to warn him, prevent some attempts to assassinate him, and tell him to use the super-mecha hidden in the basement. ("Wait, what ?") Grandma (who's also switched into a skintight ninja outfit, one of the few jokes that work) vouches for her, so she must be legit, eh ?

Houkouin, played by a Miyuki Sawashiro chewing acres of scenery, is our baddie for the week. She has her own mecha that she pilots to quasi-orgasmic delight. /facepalm

Production Values

Not very good ; there are many early scenes where it's barely animated at all. Still, nice designs for the steampunk mecha.

Lots of fanservice, of course.

Overall Impression

Something I should make clear : the near entirety of the plot outlayed above happens in the last five minutes. Before that, the show is very, very boring indeed. The tediousness almost made me fell asleep, really. The quick successing of twists at the end is welcome and definitely not boring, but that doesn't make the show actually any good. It's still a nonsensical mess with annoying characters.

No thanks.

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Is the Order a Rabbit? (Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka?)
(12ish episodes ?)

What's it about ?

A full-length adaptation of a 4-panel workplace-sitcom manga.

Characters

Cocoa, our bubbly point-of-view character. She's come to [whichever European-like city this is set in] to study, and gets to stay at the "Rabbit House" provided she pays her stay by working there. It's a coffee house, with dozens of blends on the menu.

Chino, the deadpan head waitress, and the owner's daughter. There's a white bundle of fur, allegedly a rabbit, resting on her hair. ("Please do not touch it.") Hence the title, as she mistakes Cocoa's confusion for a client's order.

Rize, the other waitress on duty that day, had a totally good reason for hiding half naked in a closet. And drawing out a gun at the slightest provocation. Sure she does.

Chino's dad handles the evening shift, where the place becomes a bar. And apparently Grampa's the rabbit-thing, but that's a secret.

Production Values

Scenery porn ! And coffee porn, obviously. Very little actual fanservice, thankfully.

Overall Impression

Fluffy, pleasant, inoffensive, and immediately forgettable. It's a nice and comfortable way to pass 22 minutes, but nothing to go out of your way for.

Still, it's perfectly okay, and I may give it a couple more episodes.

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Ping Pong - The Animation
(11 episodes, noitaminA)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a sports manga that ran for a year in 1996-97. Also got a live-action movie a decade ago. Not exactly the most obvious choice for an adaptation, but there's been weirder greenlights this season.

Characters

"Peco", the annoyingly smug asshole who skips half the high school club's training sessions. He's quite good and does have some charisma, but he certainly deserves a punch in the face.

"Smile", his best friend (or so it's said, they barely interact at all here), the taciturn analytical genius who stays in the background. (He never smiles, of course.)

"China", the transfer student, who used to play in the big leagues in his country, and sees his transfer as a humiliating demotion. This whole club is beneath him, he effortlessly trounces Peco... but Smile does catch his attention.

Production Values

The core selling point here is the name of director Masaaki Yuasa (Kaiba, Tatami Galaxy, Kick-Heart...). It certainly looks like nothing else, with a distinctive super-kinetic style and impressively animated matches.

Overall Impression

The problem is that the show leaves me completely cold. Sure, there's a lot of technical skill at play here, but there's very little to latch onto emotionnally until China shows up halfway through to liven things up. Even then, I found the main characters very unlikeable, and it's going to be an uphill battle to make me care about what happens to them.

This is a caricature of a good chunk of noitaminA shows : an artsy ambitious project that nobody would want to watch. I'll give it one more episode to turn my opinion around, but it's on thin ice.
 

Quasar

Feeling kinda smurfy
Validated User
#68
Ping Pong - The Animation
(11 episodes, noitaminA)

Overall Impression

The problem is that the show leaves me completely cold. Sure, there's a lot of technical skill at play here, but there's very little to latch onto emotionnally until China shows up halfway through to liven things up. Even then, I found the main characters very unlikeable, and it's going to be an uphill battle to make me care about what happens to them.

This is a caricature of a good chunk of noitaminA shows : an artsy ambitious project that nobody would want to watch. I'll give it one more episode to turn my opinion around, but it's on thin ice.
Seems like its this seasons Aku no Hana. Hopefully it doesn't crater as badly.

Its been interesting watching the reaction the in larger neogaf anime community I'm also part of. So many people ahead of time saying its their most anticipated show of the season (well aside from Mushishi), but afterwards so much criticism of the visual style of the show. Its interesting with both this and Aku no Hana it showed that whilst people say 'we want interesting non standard visual styles' when they get them they aren't generally happy.
 
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Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#69
Its interesting with both this and Aku no Hana it showed that whilst people say 'we want interesting non standard visual styles' when they get them they aren't generally happy.
The difference is that I liked Aku no Hana's unconventional artstyle. Wait, no, that's not quite it ; I liked how it added to the already intense source material. That's the problem with Ping Pong : the plot and characters are dull as dishwater, and the artstyle only makes them even less sympathetic.

Which is a shame, as I usually enjoy Yuasa's work. The Tatami Galaxy is a masterpiece ; Kick-Heart was fun ; and I'm currently in the process of watching Kaiba, which is a joy. This feels completely joyless, and doesn't seem to work to his strengths.



No full review for Escha & Logy's Atelier ; I fell asleep watching it and have no wish to try it again. It's very boring indeed, with flat characters and a complete lack of any kind of narrative tension. You'd think a JRPG adaptation would have more punch, but no.

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Nanana's Buried Treasure (Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin)
(11 episodes, noitaminA)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a series of supernatural/adventure light novels.

Characters

Jugo, our protagonist. He's moved to the "island of students", which sounds like a great place but leaves him with a tight budget. The rent having to be paid in advance should have raised a warning flag, but now he's stuck in this apartment.

Nanana, the ghost living in the room. Basically a NEET, since she can't leave. And it doesn't take much time for her to gain the upper hand in this cohabitation. Her background is fascinating : she was the leader of the seven student who founded the whole place, and the one who provided the funds (from a mysterious treasure) to bankroll it. The circumstances of her assassination are opaque, to say the least.

Ms Ibara, the owner of the apartment block, was another of the seven founders. She's renting the room on purpose so that Nanana will be less lonely.

Production Values

This looks great : the island looks like a great place to live, and the architect seems to have gone to town with the weird but awesome-looking buildings and monuments. The opening adventuring sequence features some great animation, too.

Overall Impression

This is a lot of fun. The premise is promising, the Jugo/Nanana interplay works, and the progressive exposition is well-paced. It's just brimming with joy, and that's hard to dislike.

Of course I'll keep watching it.

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Knights of Sidonia (Sidonia no Kishi)
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a S-F/mecha manga.

Characters

Nagate, our protagonist and point-of-view character. He's spent most of his life scrounging for subsistence in the dark maintenance tunnels in the underground of the Sidonia space colony ; out of desperation, he's ventured outside and got caught stealing rice.

Amazingly, the authorities not only treat him well (after some initial confusion), but immediately invite him to the military upper class : they want him to be a mecha pilot. You see, his father figure had him train for hours each day in an old simulator, and even after his death he kept at it. They're aware of this (who was this guy, really ?), and want him on board. He's not too good on his first try, as the software has evolved a bit by then, but he can manage. Especially on that older machine which has the right control scheme for him.

Notionally, Sidonia is at war with some squid-like aliens. Protesters see this diffuse menace as a way for the rulers to stay in control forever (genetic engineering may have been involved to keep them alive), as it's been decades since the last sight of the enemy. Of course, that's the kind of talk I heard last in Attack on Titan, so yeah. No way that routine ice-mining mission would have gone fine.

The other mecha-piloting students have various reactions to Nagate's arrival : some are snobbish of the upstart newbie, some are curious, some don't care. Presumably we'll get to know them better in further episodes.

Production Values

This is a fully CG-animated series, and maybe the first time I've seen it work on a TV budget. The characters move and act like human beings, and their faces emote properly. The action sequences are well-directed and enthralling, and can even manage slapstick.

The one problem here is that, with everyone in similar uniforms, and designs that aren't big on facial details, it's a bit hard to tell all the characters apart. I'm pretty sure that's intentional for the multitude of pink-haired clones all voiced by Eri Kitamura, but it's still an issue for a good chunk of the cast.

There's some minor fanservice at a few points, which falls a bit flat with that artstyle.

Overall Impression

Oh, nice, a proper S-F show. There's clearly a lot of SCIENCE! weirdness going on in the background here (a functional third gender ? WTF ?), and it's already hinted the show is willing to deal with the social impact of it all. Sidonia certainly feels well thought-out as a setting, and still the heavy exposition manages to give enough room for the characters to breathe.

This has the potential to be spectacular.

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Mekakucity Actors
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

This is an adaptation of the Kagerou Project, which started as a series of Vocaloid songs before being spun-off into light novels and manga series. (I'm not quite sure why the animated version gets a new title.)

Characters

Shintaro, our protagonist. He's a shut-in NEET who hasn't come out of his room for at least a year, and isn't in any hurry to do it again. Unfortunately, he's spilled some soda on his keyboard, and the inconveniently-timed holidays prevent any shipping for at least 5 days, so the agoraphobic has to go to the mall.

Ene, the computer program a "friend" installed on his computer a couple of years ago, and who just. won't. shut. up. Show, you really shouldn't tease me with a mute button for Kana Asumi if it doesn't work. (I kid : her usual "bubbly exuberance" shtick is a perfect fit for the character, and she makes a good foil for Shintaro.) Also, she's downloaded herself onto his smartphone, so she can follow him on his shopping trip. Did he think he could escape ?

Since this was a bit too uneventful, the mall is taken hostage by a group of criminals. Who've taken over the centralized security network of the place, and are very smug about it. I smell a theme. Now, if only someone had a super-computer-program on hand to wrestle control back from the thieves...

There's a couple of weird guys in hoodies who like the look on Shintaro's face, and offer to help untie him and provide a distraction. Presumably we'll learn more about them next episode.

The episode opens on a weird flashback where a girl in a high school uniform talks to Shintaro. With both of them sitting on a giant clockwork mechanism. Hmmm...

Production Values

Head tilts ? Careful composition of shots that tell a whole story without the need for animation ? (And gratuitously gorgeous animation when it's funny ?) Sprawling landscapes where the mad architect has overdesigned everything ? Random cinemascope format ? Non-realistic colours bordering on chiaroscuro ? That flashback ? I am shocked to see SHAFT & Shinbo's names on the credits.

Overall Impression

This is SHAFT at its SHAFTiest : not only the overpowering style, but also the endless conversations and the recurrent themes (including the playful otaku-bashing). The good news is that it works : the setup is simple enough to avoid confusing the viewer, and the direction only adds depth to it. It certainly helps making Ene less irritating than she could be.

Moreover, it feels like the staff are having a lot of fun making this, and it's communicative. (Unlike, say, Nisekoi, which is the perfect example of SHAFT on autopilot.) I'm game : bring it on.
 

Rainfall

Registered User
Validated User
#70
Moreover, it feels like the staff are having a lot of fun making this, and it's communicative. (Unlike, say, Nisekoi, which is the perfect example of SHAFT on autopilot.) I'm game : bring it on.
I must say I'm REALLY liking this one for some reason. Wich is weird considering I've lost all interest in Monogatari.
 
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