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[In which I review] New anime, Summer 2013

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#21
Love Lab & Danganronpa weren't available this morning, so they'll have to wait until this evening. In the meantime, let's have a look at the two other shows that I could watch...


Stella Women's Academy, High School Division Class C3 (Stella Jogakuin Koutou-ka C³-bu)
(13 episodes)

What's it about ?

Slice-of-life comedy about an (all-female) airsoft high school club.

Characters

Yura, our point-of-view character. She's a very shy and introverted freshman who's just entered the Stella Academy, which seems to have more budget than small African nations. She's trying to change herself and get some friends, but it's an uphill struggle.

Sonora, her roommate, barely appears onscreen at all ; as a senior, she's still off visiting her family before school starts. Yura finds tons of guns and military attire in the room & starts getting a bit suspicious...

Besides Sonora, there are four members to the "C3" club : the strategic-minded one, the tea-and-cake-providing one, the hyperactive small one, and the way-too-much-into-this one. They're definitely looking for more members, and would be delighted to add the weirdo they found play-acting Rambo with Sonora's gear to their group.

Production Values

Hey, since when does Gainax have budget again ? This looks quite nice indeed, with beautiful backgrounds and a very well-designed mock-battle scene at the end. (I especially love the jazzy soundtrack that starts playing there, making it very intense indeed.)

Overall Impression

Hey, this was surprisingly fun ! It's not a particularly innovative concept ("cute girls doing cute things... with guns !"), but the characters are charming and the jokes work. It's just very-well executed overall.

This looks like a keeper to me.

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Rozen Maiden
(13 episodes)

What's it about ?

Magical dolls fighting each other.

(In case you're wondering, this is a complete reboot of the franchise ; not having watched any other version, I'm treating this as a new show.)

Characters

Jun, our male lead. He may be a recluse, but the breakneck pace doesn't have room for much elaboration. He receives a box with a living winding-doll out of nowhere one day, and stays in perpetual bewilderment of all the craziness that ensues.

Shinku, said winding-doll. She's part of a lot of seven that are part of the "Alice" competition, where they all battle against each other. I gather that the idea is that each one has a portion of the soul of someone important, and the goal is for the winner to collect all seven bits, by absorbing their opponents'.

Suigintou is clearly the baddie amongst the seven : she's got black wings, which is never a good sign, engineers confrontations between the other, and kill-steals on at least one occasion.

Suiseiseki is at least on friendly terms with Shinku, and doesn't look like much of a threat anyway -desu. She's come to ask some help against her twin Souseiseki -desu.

We actually see all of the dolls this episode, including the one who doesn't have a proper body anymore.

Production Values

This looks much nicer than I'm used to from Studio DEEN, with tons of CG elements that sometimes look a bit like overkill (the ballpoint-pen, really ?). There's no denying this has got tons of budget, at least for the first episode.

The OP is the ALI project doing the same song they always do. The ED is a much more atmospheric piece.

Overall Impression

Hey, who's got their finger stuck on the fast-forward button ? There's just so much stuff happening in this episode that it becomes a bit overwhelming, and doesn't allow much depth for any of the characters. As a result, there's very little incentive to care about anything that happens. There doesn't seem to be much substance beyond the battle royale plot involving dolls with pretty clothes.

The main problem seems to be that it needs to slow the hell down and give the characters room to breathe ; as I don't expect it to do that with such a short running time, I won't be bothering with it.
 
#22
Rozen Maiden 2013 pretty much took a stance of "If you are watching this, you probably know the basic plot of the previous iterations" and basically had its first episode focused only in introducing the formerly Manga-only 7th Doll and all the events that sets up the gimmick of the Reboot Manga's First Arc:

Spoiler: Show
The next episodes are gonna be centered on the always regretting Alternate-timelime Jun who will have to deal with the fact Fate found his new address five years after rejecting that first invitation, as he gets tasked by the Classic-timeline Jun to turn the tables in favor of anyone other than the 7th...




In short, I'd probably file the series in the "3 Episodes before the Verdict" category.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#23
Okay, that finishes unselling me on the new Rozen Maiden : as a newbie, I have no desire to delve into this level of intricate continuity.

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

I suppose I should say some words about Symphogear G ? It's still as much a mess as the first season, but it looks very nice indeed and delivers exactly what you'd want out of it : a Nana Mizuki/Yoko Hisaka song duel as the central set piece.

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

Still no Love Lab for now, which leaves us with...


Danganronpa - the Animation
(13 episodes)

What's it about ?

15 of the most promising (and eccentric) of this generation's high school students, each with their own speciality, have been scouted by this new super-shiny academy... but they learn just after stepping inside that it's all a trap and they can't leave unless they kill one of the others.

Adapted from a visual novel that I've seen described as "Battle Royale meets Phoenix Wright", and that sounds about accurate.

Characters

THE GAMEMASTER is "Monobear", an impressively obnoxious bear puppet. You can't even strangle it for stress relief, as it can self-destruct and it's got spare bodies.

Makoto, our protagonist, is THE LUCKY GUY. (Or maybe THE UNLUCKY GUY, given the circumstances.) He's utterly ordinary on every respect and got his place via random lottery. Really, he's just there for audience projection, and has no personality whatsoever.

Sayaka, THE IDOL, is the one familiar face among the crowd : they attended the same middle school, and for some reason she remembers this complete nobody.

Also of note : Celestia, THE GAMBLER, who's already trying to game the system ; Mondo, THE THUG BIKER, who easily goes into other people's faces ; and Kyouko, who's only describes as THE ??? and is thus immediately mightily suspect.

(Other participants include THE HALL MONITOR, a guy whose chief talent seems to be obeying rules ; THE FIGHTER, a 8-feet-tall mountain of muscles ; THE SWIMMER, who's very cheerful ; THE BOOKWORM, always anxious and paranoid ; THE MODEL, a gyaru stereotype ; THE HACKER, who's adorably cute ; THE FORTUNE TELLER, who, er, yeah ; THE BASEBALL PLAYER ; THE SCION, whose talent seems to lord over everyone ; and the FANZINE PUBLISHER, your token overweight otaku.)

Production Values

The least you can say is that it's got a very distinctive style : cooler-than-thou character designs, surrealist colorful backgrounds, and weird shot transitions. On the other hand, it wears its status as a visual novel adaptation on its sleeve, down to the exact camera angles and the characters having stock idle animations. Most of the time, the aesthetic succeeds ; but there are times when it gets a bit awkward.

Overall Impression

Look, it's another "let's play" of a popular visual novel by the director of Persona 4 ! Not that there's anything wrong with that ; indeed, this one seems better suited to his strengths, as the jerky pacing suits the darkly comedic tone. And this story sounds like a fun ride : the characters aside from the PC are the right sort of quirky, and I'm intrigued to see where it goes.

Okay, I'm game. Bring it on.
 

Dawgstar

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#24
Oh, THIS is where Ettin gets his pictures from. Neat. I'm glad it appears at first blush to be watchable.
 

Cruton

Retired User
#25
And now for something completely different : a few words about the first instalment of Ghost in the Shell : Arise.
It's certainly different from SAC and 2nd GiG. Very much it's own beast, and not as immediately ambitious or unique. There were honestly more than a few sequences I felt were heavily influenced by Naruto, of all things.

But it was an honest and straight-forward attempt to write a GitS plot, and the writing is solid in that respect. Plus, there's part of me that loves the Major's new character design. It's such a much needed departure from the hyper-sexualized original design that I felt more and more grated against the rest of the series in 2nd GiG.
 

MadMac

Registered User
Validated User
#26
I'm having a hard time easing into this season. Nothing is grabbing me at all so far. Servant x Service has potential and I loved the hell out of Working!! but the first episode was a bit dull. I may have to just do other stuff for a week and come back when I'm more in the mood for new anime.
 

braincraft

Member
RPGnet Member
Banned
#27
I'm having a hard time easing into this season. Nothing is grabbing me at all so far. Servant x Service has potential and I loved the hell out of Working!! but the first episode was a bit dull. I may have to just do other stuff for a week and come back when I'm more in the mood for new anime.
Well, Working! didn't really hit its stride until the second season. Also, the two seasons of Working! and Servant x Service all have different directors, series composers, and scriptwriters. Can't really rely on total continuity of quality.
 

ru

temporary avatar
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#28
Stella Women's Academy, High School Division Class C3
Reminds me of Girls und Panzer, and that's a good thing.


Rozen Maiden
It's quite pretty, but I can't really bring myself to care about this. The series seems to assume that I have some emotional investment characters that have only appeared for five minutes, and I don't.
 
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