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[In which I review] New anime, Summer 2011

JELEINEN

Sizzler Black Squadron
Validated User
I commented on most of these shows in the other thread, so I'll just post thoughts about stuff I've watched since then.

Thinking more about Blood C, I've decided that my enjoyment will depend a lot on my ability to treat it as a separate property from the movie. I think it might be OK if it can avoid the other sins of the previous TV series.

Ro-kyu-Bu - who the hell decided to license this? I hope ThecompanformerlyknownasADV got a really good deal on it, because I seriously don't know a soul who'd buy it.

I liked Double J, but then I'm a huge fan of shorts.

I'll wait to comment on any more until Jhiday has made his posts on them.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Kamisama no Memochou ("God's Notebook")

What's it about ?

NEET detectives (and a couple of high-schoolers) fight crime.

Characters

Narumi, our point-of-view character. A high-schooler whose family moved around a lot, he stumbles on the NEET detectives by chance and never really manages to get away. He's something of a loner, joining the Computer club because there's nobody else there. Also, he's got very little presence (people forget he's even there at least twice in the episode). I quite like him : his sarcastic narration is quite fun, and his straightforward approach to problem-solving is a nice contrast to the bozos surrounding him.

"Alice" (not her real name, MAL tells me) is the brains of the NEET detectives ; she's the "always stays in her room and can barely function socially" kind of NEET. An elite hacker, she alternates between "very smart monotone" and "sickeningly cute" in a way that doesn't really convince me (Yui Ogara can't pull it off as well as Aoi Yuuki did in GOSICK).

The NEET field agents mostly act as a group : there's the big guy with an attitude, the survival-gamer who plants cameras everywhere, and the smooth dude who's totally not an escort. Oh, and they're in friendly terms with a group who are totally not local yakuza.

Ayaka, a potential love interest for Narumi, is one of his classmates who approaches him because she's the only member of her club too (the Gardening Club), and they can help each other's club survive. Or something. Anyway, she's the one who brings Narumi and the NEET detectives together (they're regulars at the restaurant she works part-time at), although he'd already stumbled on them in one of their cases before.

Our case for the week revolves around the mysterious disappearance of a high-school girl practicing "compensated dating". It's noticeably darker than the zany hijinks of the NEET detectives, although the writers manage not to make it too jarring.

Production Values

This reminds me somewhat of Durarara!! : it's not particularly outstanding quality, but there's a real attention to detail and body language, and the backgrounds give a real sense of place to the proceedings.

The soundtrack is particularly good, and... wait. Random rapping ? Big sweeping violins on moving scenes ? Hello, Taku Iwasaki ! It's always a pleasure. (OP & ED are nothing to write home about, though.)

For some reason, the first episode that aired as a preview is double-length (45 minutes). I have no clue whether this is just for the pilot or it is supposed to be the regular format for the show.

Overall Impression

Well, now we're talking. This is the first show this season that impressed me. It's got a fun premise and a good handling of characterization for most of the characters (which is important, considering the heart of the case resides in subtly conveying the self-destructive feeling of the main three characters involved). My only concern so far is Alice herself, who feels a bit too artificial a character to really work.

Still, this is a promising show. Let's see how future episodes shake up.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Yuruyuri

What's it about ?

Slice-of-life comedy about middle-school girls in the "Amusement Club", who loiter around doing nothing in the Tea Club's room (which they've hijacked after it got dissolved). Surprisingly light on yuri-related content, despite the title and the theme of the magazine publishing the original manga.

Characters

Akari, the butt of most of the jokes. It at first looks like she'd be the main character (including the "late-for-school, slice of bread in mouth" cliché scene), but she quickly fades into the background... to the point that the last half of the episode devoting itself to the girls trying to make her a more striking character.

Kyouko, the hyperactive idiot. She's also the only of the main girls who's actively a lesbian (although all her come-ons get brushed off quickly).

Yui, the straight man (er, girl) of the group. Not much to say about her.

Chinatsu, the newcomer who joined the Club by mistake (she wanted to join the Tea Club) and that Kyouko never let go (Chinatsu looks exactly like the Magical Girl character she's a rabid fan of).

We get a glimpse of the (of course obstructive-looking) Student Council, as well as a disturbing glance inside Akari's elder sister's room (which includes a body pillow of Akari as well as a stalker-level number of pictures of her).

Production Values

The bare minimum of quality acceptable these days. It doesn't help that we sometimes get random bumps of animation quality (and weird camera effects) in a way that feels inappropriate and distracting.

Overall Impression

Welcome to False Advertising Central ! The yuri content here is minimal, this is really a slice-of-life comedy with heavy meta overtones. And I've quite lost patience with the genre : this type of "we're joking about how cliché we are" humour, especially brought awkwardly in halfway through the first episode, feels like creative bankruptcy. Hanging a lampshade over your flaws doesn't excuse them, show.

Frankly, there's nothing to recommend to this cross between A-Channel and Seitokai no Ichizon that manages to be worse than either. Avoid.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Kamisama Dolls

What's it about ?

A young man tried walking away from his village full of conspiracies and deadly man-controlled robots... but it all comes back to bite him in the ass.

Characters

Kyouhei, our protagonist. He used to be a controller for one of those big mind-controlled robots they call "Gods"... but after a traumatic event, he decided to quit it all and become an ordinary salaryman in the big city. Yeah, like that ever works. The elders let him go, but it's made very clear they're still in charge of his life, whatever he thinks.

Hibino, the woman's Kyouhei's had a crush for a long time. I'm sure that he going to the same high school and joining the same company is totally coincidental. Not like he ever works up the nerve to ask her out, though (despite numerous opportunities in this first episode). She's from his village too, although she wasn't aware of the whole conspiracy/robots thing. He goes to live with her and her father after his flat gets destroyed halfway through the episode (at their invitation), which is totally not awkward at all.

Utao, Kyouhei's little sister, has taken over his former role as robot controller. She comes in out of the blue, presumably to protect Kyouhei from...

Aki, another member of the village with a God robot in tow, and a complete psychopath (if that flashback with a dozen corpses is anything to go by). He was kept under heavy lock until someone made the mistake of mentioning Kyouhei had skipped town, at which point he escaped and started stalking him (with the "randomly and gruesomely kill someone in an elevator minutes before Kyouhei steps in it" kind of stalking). He's not actually belligerent against Kyouhei, ranting about how the village elders are the real monsters, and Utao probably overreacted when she bombed Kyouhei's flat (and Aki inside) to kingdom come. (Not that I believed for a second that Aki's bodybag handled the village's MIB was any proof of his death...)

Oh, and there's a cryptic prologue with a couple of kids fighting off... something... that I can't make head or tails of. Presumably they'll explain it properly at some point.

Production Values

Pretty good animation, and the abrupt mood change from "drunken office party" to "oh my god is that a corpse in the elevator" is well handled. I also like the way how the hovering robots sing whenever they move ; it's a nice way of making them otherworldly.

Is this the first show this season with a decent OP in graphics as well as song ?

Overall Impression

Well, this first episode does a good job of raising my interest in a premise I didn't quite care for initially. Mission accomplished, I guess. The plot has potential, but it doesn't grab me as viscerally as, say, Deadman Wonderland did last season. We'll see how it goes.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel: Kyun Kyun Tokimeki Paradise!!

What's it about ?

Magical girls fighting colorful villains.

Characters

Haruka, aka Red Angel. The redhaired tomboy of the pair. Brash, terrible in class, more interested in sports and dudes, you know the type. Voiced by Yukari Tamura, of course.

Aoi, aka Blue Angel. The bluehaired girly girl of the pair. Soft-spoken, honor student, less good in a fight (but still kicking ass with her bow and arrows), you know the type. Voiced by Mamiko Noto, of course.

Their boss is actually their school's principal, who's helped by a ninja butler who likes to randomly show up from trapdoors whenever he needs to contact the pair.

The villain this episode tries to steal a necklace that is of course one of the seven McGuffins of the setting ; she's the kind of bwahahah-evil villains that thinks that transforming the pair into catgirls is an effective tactic. And it'd have worked, too, if it hadn't been for...

Misty Night, the mysterious masked man that's very close to getting a lawsuit from Sailor Moon's Tuxedo Mask (he even throws roses the same way !), and is totally not the hot student council president Haruka has a crush on.

The OP teases that a third Angel is upcoming, but we don't see her yet.

Production Values

Decent action sequences, I guess. The OP is --ing annoying in its squeakiness.

Overall Impression

...zzzzzzz...

Excuse me, I nearly fell asleep from the blandness of this show. I don't think it's possible to create more generic a magical girl show than this. Presumably it's a pastiche of the genre, but there's nothing interesting or funny in the way it's done. I though at first it was a retro revival of some beloved old franchise, but aside from a pilot OVA a few years ago it seems to be completely new. As such, it's quite baffling : it's not a kids' show (it airs at otaku'o'clock), and it's not interesting enough to appeal to anyone else. Unless they keep on piling the fetishes during the fight scenes (the catgirl thing was still quite tame), which isn't my thing but there's a sizeable audience for that.

Anyway, avoid this.
 

Rabbit Éclair

high in vital bunnytonium
RPGnet Member
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Kamisama no Memochou ("God's Notebook")

[stuff stuff stuff]

Taku Iwasaki
You know, this is one of those shows I was thinking could be good, and your review plus knowing he's on it has sealed me checking into it. Iwasaki is a dude who knows how to use a bassline.
 

David J Prokopetz

Social Justice Henchman
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Unless they keep on piling the fetishes during the fight scenes (the catgirl thing was still quite tame), which isn't my thing but there's a sizeable audience for that.
It would amuse me way more than it should if the show really did pull a Totally Spies and have the villain's plot involve a different obscure Internet fetish every week.
 

Rabbit Éclair

high in vital bunnytonium
RPGnet Member
Validated User
It would amuse me way more than it should if the show really did pull a Totally Spies and have the villain's plot involve a different obscure Internet fetish every week.
Wait, is this actually a thing? To the Wiki-mobile!

List of Totally Spies! episodes said:
... And Clover and Alex experience the opposite side of beauty when they become hideous freaks with Alex becoming a fish and Clover turning into an elephant...

... a computer virus that turns people into zombies when they are exposed to it...

... abducting hunky men from around the world to keep in her "human zoo" for her own amusement...

... serious exercise aficionados the world-over start behaving strangely (i.e., they grow enormous muscles, strangely colored skin, super-human strength and seriously uncontrollable tempers)...

... a magic stone that siphons peoples' coolness (turning them into total nerds) and turns Arnold into a total hottie. Can the spies stop him before he transforms everyone on the entire planet into nerds?

... he turns his victims into dental disasters and minions – including Sam. With their friend having been brainwashed into an evil dental assistant...

... Clover unwillingly becomes a hideous ghoul, undergoing another painful transformation!

... a crazy device which physically shrinks peoples' brains, causing them to regress to a more primitive state.

... a gun ray that can not only make people look like from the '80s but also makes them younger!

... the principal plans to turns everyone into dolphins!

A mime plans to turn everyone into silent mimes...

... brand new DVD that teaches moves to all the cheerleaders but also hypnotizes them...

... a ball that contains a mind-control chip...
Oh. Um. Well then. ... is this show's lead writer just a transformation and mind control fetishist, or what?
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Iwasaki is a dude who knows how to use a bassline.
Considering that my first contact with his music was Read or Die, I'm not going to contradict you. :p
Every single anime series I've heard him on had an impressive soundtrack, and I love how he's been repeatedly able to pull off combining Ominous Chanting with rap lyrics.

Like for you, anything he's on is a must-watch for me. Heck, that was the main reason I watched Black Butler.
 

David J Prokopetz

Social Justice Henchman
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Oh. Um. Well then. ... is this show's lead writer just a transformation and mind control fetishist, or what?
Not just a transformation and mind-control fetishist - he's also into bondage, feet, and naughty tentacles. :D

(And those are just the ones that show up on a regular basis. If you count the one-off threats, you can add shrinking, giantism, breast expansion, forced feeding, hot moms, goo girls, gender-bending [both male-to-female and vice versa] and arguably vore - and that's just off the top of my head.)
 
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