[In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2014

Wolfwood2

Registered User
Validated User
#71
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.
Is there somewhere the 'Coffin Princess' light novels have been translated into English? I don't see anything at the usual sites. (PM me if the answer is 'yes'.)
 

Quasar

Feeling kinda smurfy
Validated User
#72
Is there somewhere the 'Coffin Princess' light novels have been translated into English? I don't see anything at the usual sites. (PM me if the answer is 'yes'.)
Didn't know it was a LN, but did read the first arc or so of the manga. That at least is easily found.
 
#73
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.
Well Atelier games are rather atypical JRPG's - they're very easygoing and slice-of-life-y, and there isn't much tension or anything in them to begin. It kind of works alright for the games themselves but yeah, doesn't translate well to an anime, sadly.
 

Bull

Professional Game Convention Drunk
Validated User
#74
Mekakucity Actors

This is SHAFT at its SHAFTiest :
Just finished watching the first ep, and man... I have got no clue what the hell is going on. :) I'm also not familiar with SHAFT in any real sense, so have no idea what SHAFTiest refers to. :)

Still, it was interesting. So I'll check out a couple more eps at least.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#76
I'm also not familiar with SHAFT in any real sense, so have no idea what SHAFTiest refers to. :)
Basically, it's a shortcut to describe director Akiyuki Shinbo's style ; he has many idiosyncratic tics (most of which I enumerated under "Production Values") that make most series he has a hand in directing very recognizable. The quintessential example is the ensemble of various -monogatari series.

(Naming the style after SHAFT is a bit of a misnomer, as the studio produced a few shows without him with a more conventional style, and he was already doing this before joining with them - see for example the Soultaker. But they've been closely associated for a about a decade, so...)

The thing with Shinbo's style is that it helps keep things visually interesting even (and especially) when nothing's happening, at little cost (since it doesn't need much animation). On the other hand, it can be highly alienating for the viewer (it causes a heavy ironic disconnect from the plot), and sometimes degenerates into self-parody.
Personally, I love it, but I can see how it won't be everyone's cup of tea.

A few other examples of the style :
- Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei, a very formulaic social satire series. High SHAFTiness quotient, which melds well with the source material.
- the currently-airing Nisekoi, one of the most generic romantic comedies ever, and which should count itself lucky to have this style to spice it up.
- Pani Poni Dash, absurdist comedy even I found almost unwatchable. (Similarly, sasami-san@ganbaranai, which is borderline unpenetrable if you're not familiar with Japanese mythology, and barely any more coherent if you are.)
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica, which has a milder degree of SHAFTiness, and forces it to service the plot, to great success.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#78
M3 : The Dark Metal (M3: Sono Kuroki Hagane)
(12ish episodes ?)

What's it about ?

Mecha fighting eldritch abominations.

Characters

The main "team" assembled in this episode feels so random that even the characters point it out. We have :
- Akashi, a sullen high school student, emotionally crippled by the death of his family a decade ago.
- Iwato, his easygoing best friend. Both of them are quite good at fighting with mecha. (Are those mecha classes ? a club ? It's not quite clear.)
- Maamu, the creep in another class that keeps muttering exposition at herself, explaining in detail how everyone's going to die because of the nasties running around, uhuhuh.
- Emiru, the over-eager temp-worker who wants to climb up the ladder. Anything's better than cleaning toilets, and this is her one chance. Too bad she's kinda crap at it. Also, the way she latches onto Akashi despite his complete lack of interest can't be healthy.
- Raika, who used to be a properly licensed mecha worker (although not too good at it), and sees being sent back to training as a demotion.
- Three other members have yet to show up... Wait, there's this Minashi guy who shows up out of nowhere in the middle of an unplanned op, and that's totally not creepy.

It's heavily implied they all were caught in the same creepy event as kids.

Their supervisors range from the utterly bored to the callous assholes.

The cosmology goes this way : there's some sort of parallel dimension that keeps leaking into our world. It's populated by crystals that eat the poor people who get trapped in there, and transform them into "Admonitions", dangerous and nearly-indestructible mindless monsters. Which are then spouted back into our world where they wreak havoc. You'd think everyone would be terrified of the dark, but we're way past this stage, and most people have just gotten used to it.

There are also "Corpses" ; the one we see looks like a ghost piloting an organic mecha. If you hear their song, it's rumoured you die within 9 days.

The authorities plan to train the team so that they can explore the parallel dimension, which sounds like a great idea that can't lead to any sort of disaster.

Production Values

This seems to have some budget, and it pays off in every level : the CG mecha move beautifully, the monsters are creepy, and there's a dense atmosphere making any night scene menacing.

As a result, the light occasional fanservice is a bit jarring.

Overall Impression

This is the kind of show where you fully expect at least half the cast to be dead by the end of it. Unfortunately, you kind of want them to. Only Iwato's kinda likeable, with all the other being various degrees of annoying. It doesn't help that I can't make head nor tails of Akashi's flashback backstory, which makes it hard to relate to him.

Still, it's certainly got some ambition ; I kinda want to give it some rope to see where it's going. It'd better find its feet soon, though.
 
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