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[In which I review] New anime, Summer 2011

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#61
A Dark Rabbit has Seven Lives (Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi)
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Teenage vampires. Or something.

Characters

Taito, our average high school male protagonist. Nine years ago he got bitten and enslaved by his childhood sweetheart, but somehow he's all forgot about that now, aside from random dreams about it. But that changes when a getting ran over by a truck makes it clear he's immortal (decapitation's involved) and jumps up his memories. He then sets out to find her back.

Himea, said sweetheart. She's been imprisoned in limbo for 9 years, and is thus a bit disappointed he's taken this long to save her. His "awekening" allows her to escape, though. She then magically ages her body up from 6 to 15, because her reunion scene with Taito would have been creepy otherwise. (Not that this isn't creepy, but...) They barely manage to get together when she's stabbed by...

Gekkou, presumably our antagonist. The idol student at Taito's high school, he's quite the jerk beneath the "perfect" façade. His superpowers include opening portals and the like, so I wouldn't be surprised if he was the one to trap Himea. He's followed around by a devoted groupie who mainly helps provide exposition.

There's also Haruka, Taito's current not-girlfriend (although she'd obviously like it to be more), who hovers around him to help with exposition delivery and then suddenly disappears from the story once Taito goes around looking for Himea.

Production Values

This looks like a horrible style clash. The basic linework is the kind of bright and shiny stuff, with everyone having wild and technicolor hair, that you'd expect from a much brighter show ; but it seems to have been processed through a brown filter, jerked around to produce unending Dutch angles, and peppered with random post-production embellishments (way-too-elaborate CG runes ! weird CG stylings on the screen borders that look completely out of place !) in a desperate effort to make it look darker and edgier. It's a complete failure, and just looks hideous.

It doesn't help that this show is marred by absolutely inane censorship. Whatever you may think about a gratuitous upskirt shot of dozens of Gekkou's groupies, it's just stupid to add a big white ray of light in the middle that completely fails to hide most of the panties. And that's far from an isolated occurrence (either for the censorship or the tons of gratuitous panty shots).

Overall Impression

Oh, dear. This sure went to hell fast.

There's a wonderful pre-OP sequence where Himea bites Taito (in a dream/flashback) that is deliciously creepy and contains some genuinely good dialogue. But after that it's a disjointed mess that barely makes any sense or has any logical flow. We also get some abysmal dialogue, such as when Taito stops dead in his tracks to deliver a mightily awkward six-line "As You Know" description of Gekkou to Haruka. There are a couple of good scenes here and there (such as Taito's body wandering headless for a full minute, or most of Gekkou's groupie's banter), but even those are marred by the terrible artstyle.

Damn, there's a decent nugget of a story somewhere in there. But the execution is far too bad for me to even consider watching another episode.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#62
R-15

What's it about ?

The Academy of Inspiration, where teenage geniuses from every possible field are gathered to cultivate their talent. Also, smut.

Characters

Taketo, our protagonist. He's the best at what he does, and what he does is... writing porn novels. Since middle school. No, really, that's the plot. Obviously, all his female classmates tend to view him with disgust... which isn't unwarranted, considering how whenever he looks at one of them, he starts imagining them in porn scenarios and writing it in his notebook (when he's not dreaming aloud). From what we can see of it, his output is cliché-ridden purple prose that sounds more laughable than arousing.

Ritsu, genius mathematician, his best friend, aka the Gay Option. He's very defensive of Taketo, despite the guy not deserving it at all.

Raika, genius photographer, seems to be the only girl who genuinely likes Taketo and his perversion. They're both in the Newspaper Club, and as such are tasked with interviewing...

Fukune, genius clarinette player. You'd think she'd be perfect fodder Taketo's writing, but he's actually somehow unable to write anything smutty about her (although he can still write cliché-ridden magical girl stories about her). Of course, his attempts at getting close to her are a complete disaster, given his (well-deserved) reputation.

The campus is filled with geniuses in every possible field. We've got a genius inventor (whose rockets coincidentally always seem to target Taketo...), a genius idol singer... and even a genius narrator who delivers a complete summary of Taketo's life story. Which is admittedly the one genuinely funny joke in the whole episode.

Production Values

Average, and of course with tons of fanservice. We get to see a good number of Taketo's fantasies, and it's no wonder some of them are heavily censored.

Overall Impression

Dear gods, that was painful. Setting aside the repulsive premise and the bland characters, it commits the worst sin possible for a comedy : it's not funny in the slightest.

I'd say this was easily the worst show in the season (yes, worse than pedo-bait Ro-Kyu-Bu), but there's still three to go and at least one of them looks like a strong contender. But it's certainly down there with the worst things I've ever watched.
 

Uthred

Nature's critical miss
Validated User
#64
Blood-C

What's it about ?

High school girl fights monsters in bloody sword-battles. And there end any similarities with the rest of the Blood franchise.

Overall Impression

Oh, dear. When I watched the short Blood - The Last Vampire movie a couple of weeks ago, I got the impression that the franchise was about a stoic vampire-hunter fighting an endless battle who scared the heck out of any hapless bystander.
Its not entirely clear here but is the entirety of your exposure to the franchsie the movie or have you seen Blood+ as well? Based on previews this seemed to be aiming for something closer to Blood+
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#65
Its not entirely clear here but is the entirety of your exposure to the franchsie the movie or have you seen Blood+ as well?
Nope. And it's not got good enough buzz for me to get into a 50-episode marathon. (Especially as I've got tons of other stuff on my plate.)
 

JELEINEN

Sizzler Black Squadron
Validated User
#66
A Dark Rabbit has Seven Lives (Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi)
Damn, there's a decent nugget of a story somewhere in there. But the execution is far too bad for me to even consider watching another episode.
That decent nugget of a story would be 3x3 Eyes.

I didn't make it ten minutes past the opening theme of R-15 (which barely showed the main character).
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#67
So, that's it for this first week of the Summer 2011 anime season. I've reviewed 20 shows, and while there are still a few stragglers left, it's as good a time to take stock of where we are now.

A cut above everything else : (1)
Mawaru Penguindrum
Good enough that I'm already pretty sure I'll watch till the end : (2)
Kamisama no Memochou, Bunny Drop
Maybe, depending on how the next few episodes shake up : (3)
Blade, Sacred Seven, Kamisama Dolls
You've got one more episode to convince me not to drop you : (5)
Uta no Prince-sama, La Croisée dans un labyrinthe étranger, No. 6, Blood-C, Mayo Chiki!
One episode was enough : (9)
Double-J, Ro-Kyu-Bu, Yuruyuri, Kaitou Tenshi Twin Angel, Morita-san wa Mukuchi, Nyampire, The iDOLM@STER, A Dark Rabbit has Seven Lives, R-15

That's, er, not an awesome tally. There's some very good stuff at the top, but lots of terrible at the bottom, and not much stuff in between.
(On the other hand, there are several good Spring shows continuing - Steins;Gate, Tiger & Bunny, Hanasaku Iroha - so there's that to tide me over.)

-----------------------------------

Second episodes and sequels :

BakaTest 2 is so much "business as usual" that they've decided to open with a beach episode. Which leaves open the question of whether the writers can find new jokes with the actual premise for now, I guess. Still, there are some decent laughs to be had here (best use of the sexophone ever !), and I liked how the minivan scene was laid out.

Uta no Prince-sama #2 has the fabulous principal be awesome for one minute at the very beginning... and then vanish altogether. The rest of the episode is the kind of stupid you'd expect (wait, Generic Female Lead can't read music, but still passed the entrance exam ? HOW ?), and the Nice Bishonen being focused upon this episode is every bit as bland as the first episode let me think. Yeah, this isn't going to work out. Dropped.

Sacred Seven #2 has the good grace of explaining the plot (... somewhat), a kick-ass action sequence, and the Hellbrick being by far the best character in the show. All of which allows me to bear with the blandness of the show. I don't mind, really ; it's mostly good fun, despite not having any sort of substance or originality.

Blade #2 tugged my heartstrings by wheeling out the Cynical-Middle-Aged-Cop-Married-To-The-Job, one of my favourite tired archetypes, as our point-of-view character for the episode. The contrast with Blade works beautifully (anything that cuts on our hero's monologuing is welcome, really), and I like the introduction of a conspiracy angle (which, admittedly, is nothing new in the genre ; if anything, it's less grimdark a take on it than I'm used to). Unlike the other Madhouse/Marvel coproductions, there seems to be some real heart and passion to this one, and I'm not surprised it's the one Madhouse actually requested. Sure, there's nothing really new here, and some elements still annoy (the way the vampires are disposed in a flash, urgh), but it's all good fun. I'm definitely considering sticking with it.
 

MadMac

Registered User
Validated User
#68
That's, er, not an awesome tally. There's some very good stuff at the top, but lots of terrible at the bottom, and not much stuff in between.
(On the other hand, there are several good Spring shows continuing - Steins;Gate, Tiger & Bunny, Hanasaku Iroha - so there's that to tide me over.)
Yeah, I'd be a lot more disappointed in this season if not for the fact that almost every spring show I was watching is continuing anyways. I'm actually in the unusual position of being picky just because I can't fit many new shows into my schedule.

As far as legal streaming options go, Crunchyroll has Natsume, YuruYuri, Kamisama Dolls, Usagi Drop, R-15, Sacred Seven, A Dark Rabbit Has Seven Lives, The Mystic Archives of Dantalion, No 6 and Cat God.

(I'm a little disappointed with them this season, actually. They've got a lot of crap shows and not many of the more promising titles. Par for the course I guess, but I get lazy about visiting multiple sites.)

NicoNico has some overlap with Crunchyroll plus exclusive rights for Blood-C, Twin Angle Twinkle Paradise and Prince-Sama.

Prominent shows with no announced streaming rights include Mawaru Penguindrum (Dammit!) the sequel to Baka to Test and Kamisama no Memochou. I don't believe FUNI has announced anything yet though, and there's good odds they'll pick up at least two of these three.
 

Dawgstar

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#69
Yeah, I'd be a lot more disappointed in this season if not for the fact that almost every spring show I was watching is continuing anyways. I'm actually in the unusual position of being picky just because I can't fit many new shows into my schedule.
Seconded. While I kept up with SKET Dance, I've finally gotten around to jumping onboard the Tiger & Bunny train and will one day get back to Deadman Wonderland. There's really only one thing that's kinda grabbed me this year...

Prominent shows with no announced streaming rights include Mawaru Penguindrum (Dammit!) the sequel to Baka to Test and Kamisama no Memochou. I don't believe FUNI has announced anything yet though, and there's good odds they'll pick up at least two of these three.
...which is Kamisama no Memochou, whom nobody has. (And it reminds me one day I really ought watch Durarara!! so I can see the 'non-gritty' version.) FUNi has the rights to the first season of Baka and Test, so it would appear logical they get the second. Other than that? Yeah, I hope they get Kamisama.
 

blaster219

Registered User
Validated User
#70
Sacred Seven #2 has the good grace of explaining the plot (... somewhat), a kick-ass action sequence, and the Hellbrick being by far the best character in the show. All of which allows me to bear with the blandness of the show. I don't mind, really ; it's mostly good fun, despite not having any sort of substance or originality.
It won me over by putting the main character in a suit of magical power armour (as opposed to a boring standard mech) and then putting him on a flying snowboard.

I'm a sucker for flying/hover X-boards.
 
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