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[In which I review] New anime, Summer 2013

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#1
It's Summer ! And it means a new slew of anime series are going to start airing in Japan. In this thread, I will be reviewing the first episodes of each new series as they come out. At least, that's the plan ; but hey, I've been doing this for two years and a half, and it's mostly worked out ; I must be doing something right.

You're welcome to discuss any of the new series here, provided you wait until I've reviewed them already (but I'm usually pretty fast anyway).

Note that I will be skipping :
- Most sequel series. It's usually pointless to review them, as in most cases either you already know what you're in for, or you should rather have a look at the first season instead. This means no full reviews The World God Only Knows - Goddess Chapter or Monogatari "2nd season" (I'll probably say a few words on them if I'm still watching, though). I will, however, try out series that look like reboots (such as the new Rozen Maiden) or spin-offs (such as the bizarre Fate/whatever thingie).
- The few kids' shows that I just can't find any access to. (On the other hand, I WILL be reviewing the kids' shows I can lay my hands on.)
- Most OVAs, especially the many "extra episodes" from already existing series. And certainly no movies, at it's going to be ages until they come out in DVD/BluRay and become available outside Japan.

Be aware that the new series' debuts are sprinkled throughout the next two weeks (with the most of them on Thursday & Saturday) ; there are a lot of promising series that won't come out until "Week 2" (such as Silver Spoon, It's Not My Fault I'm Not Popular & Gatchaman CROWDS). Actually, there's a lot more promising or intriguing shows this season than I'm used to, so I'm cautiously optimistic.



The first "proper" show of the season is going to be simulcasted later tonight, but first let's get one thing out of the way...


Turning Girls is the latest web-thingie from Studio Trigger. Now, you may remember this studio was founded with much fanfare by the mad minds behind TTGL & Panty & Stocking w/ Garterbelt ; they also produced the wonderfully-animated Little Witch Academia one-shot for the Anime Mirai project earlier this year. But they've yet to produce an actual full series, and won't until this Fall. In the meantime, all they've given us are shoe-string-budget shorts like Inferno Cop and now this.

Inferno Cop had some zany charm, but I quickly got tired of it. This is noticeably worse : an attempt at satire that's not really funny, and has nothing more to say than "[female stereotype of the week] are annoying and terrible people, dur dur". Also, it looks absolutely horrible, like something that was quickly thrown together between proper projects (which it probably was).

Don't watch this crap. Especially when there are non-terrible takes on similar themes (such as the all-fujoshi new season of Genshiken) due out this very summer.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#3
And now for something completely different : a few words about the first instalment of Ghost in the Shell : Arise.

This is a series of four one-hour OVAs, the first of which was released on DVD/BluRay AND debuted in theaters about a week ago. The pitch is that it's a prequel about how the Section 9 team got together, so you don't really need to know anything about the previous movies & series in the franchise.

The good news is that it's very good indeed. The plot for this opening chapter may be a bit too convoluted for its own good, and it certainly deserves a rewatch to make sure all the pieces fall together, but then the same could be said about many SAC episodes. And it's certainly got a clever twist that puts everything under a new light... and makes the Major look even more awesome in retrospect. It's also great-looking, with impressively-animated action sequences that contribute a lot to conveying the stakes.

In many respects this is a fanservice project ("so this is how the Major met Aramaki..."), but it's well done enough not to feel too contrived. (And it refrains from having the whole of the team coincidentally investigating the same initial event.)

I should probably mention that all the roles have been recast with different voice-actors. It doesn't jar too much ; sure, Maaya Sakamoto is easily recognizable, but she recaptures a lot of Atsuko Tanaka's original performance (and there's precedent for her to play a younger Major anyway). Also, Miyuki Sawashiro seems to have a lot of fun playing a Tachikoma Logicoma, which is delightful.


The next episode is due in November ; it's going to be a long wait...
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#4
Dog & Scissors (Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyou)
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

The adventures of a deeply eccentric novel author and her biggest fanboy... who's a dog.
(Adapted from a light novel series, if you hadn't guessed.)

Characters

Kazuhito Harumi, used to be a normal high school boy... well, as normal as a guy who spends all his money on books can be. One day, he's killed in a diner robbery gone horribly wrong. He wakes up as a dog, for some unknown reason.

Kirihime Natsuno (nom de plume : Shinobu Akiyama), his favourite author. She hears his thoughts non-stop after his transformation, and tracks him down in order to get some peace. She refrains from killing him once she figures out he's the same boy who saved her life during the robbery ; she's obviously grateful and offers him to stay at her place. She remains very cold and borderline sadistic throughout the episode, though. Also, she carries a pair of scissors at her thigh at all times, hence the series' title.

There are lots of other characters shown in the OP/ED sequences and making cameos at various point (including an idol who seems to be in every commercial), but their significance has yet to become apparent.

Production Values

Quite nice, actually. There's some decent atmosphere, and it's good enough to sell the jokes. The OP sequence is fun and catchy, which is quite an achievement since it starts with Marina Inoue rapping.

Overall Impression

Well, I'll give it that : it's better than I expected from the title and outline. There are some decent jokes, and the story happens to be way less stupidly than you'd have thought.

But it's still not very good. Way too much time is spent on stale unfunny bust size jokes, and the S&M subtext is so blunt and generic that it becomes unsavoury. Moreover, there's no sense that the story is going anywhere : sure, Natsuno is already going after the killer, and there's the mystery of how Harumi became a dog in the first place, but none of these directions seem particularly promising ; this doesn't feel like a premise that can support a 12-episode series.

In another season I might have given it more of a chance, as there were a few good laughs here, but I can't justify keeping watching it.
 

Quasar

Feeling kinda smurfy
Validated User
#5
So what about the animal cruelty? The previews kind of turned me off because of that stuff...though that might be more in my head than actual.
 

durecellrabbit

Registered User
Validated User
#6
So what about the animal cruelty? The previews kind of turned me off because of that stuff...though that might be more in my head than actual.
Isn't that just your standard abusive tsundere where the MC just happens to be a dog instead of a human?
 

q_3

Hello. Can you hear me?
Validated User
#8
Probably. But for some reason it bothers me quite a bit more when it comes to pets.
Perhaps because pets are helpless and utterly dependent on their masters? Much like light novel protagonists...
 

Gojira

in a rubber monster suit
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Validated User
#9
And now for something completely different : a few words about the first instalment of Ghost in the Shell : Arise.
I squeed.

The only thing I'm somewhat disappointed about is Yoko Kanno is not doing the soundtrack. Bummer that.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#10
So what about the animal cruelty?
As with everything in this show, it could have been much worse. In this episode, it's limited to some generic bondage interrogation, and a bit of his fur getting cut when his thoughts dwelve too much on her small cup size. Indeed, once she's recognized him as her rescuer and stops wanting to kill him, she starts taking proper care of him, giving him nice food and the like.

The only thing I'm somewhat disappointed about is Yoko Kanno is not doing the soundtrack. Bummer that.
As I'm much more of a fan of Kenji Kawai's movie scores, I entered this new miniseries with an open mind... but yeah, this is a noticeable step down. Not horrible, but not much more than serviceable.
 
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