[In Which I Review] New anime, Summer 2014

MadMac

Registered User
Validated User
#41
I have yet to watch. I don't know if I will. I don't mind fanservice (And hey, I'll specifically watch a show FOR it), but if the story, characters, and everything else are bad... I'll pass. And this one seems to be getting tanked pretty hard. May still watch the first episode just for shits and giggles though.
I couldn't get past like 8 minutes myself. It's really, really bad in that "watching paint dry" sort of way that makes it unbearable to watch even just to poke fun at it.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#42
So, Persona 4 The Golden Animation. I reviewed the original series back in 2011 ; this is a weird spin-off that adapts an updated rerelease of the game.

The selling point here, apparently, is a new character being added to the main cast, Marie. The script thus chooses wisely to fast-forward through a very bare bones version of the plot (skipping all the business related to Konishi), so that Marie can get 5 minutes or so of screentime after the end credits. To say that her introduction feels very forced an unnatural is an understatement ; she's just dropped in without any explanation by the gamemaster. The core problem here is that this series is at its best with deadpan weirdness, and Marie's way too melodramatic to fit in. So, well, it doesn't quite work.

(By the way, the whole thing seems to have been reanimated from scratch, with a somewhat higher budget ; every single scene is slightly different from the previous series.)

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Magimoji Rurumo
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of an ecchi comedy manga series.

Characters

Shibaki, our generic high school protagonist... no, scratch that, he's a complete pervert. His terrible reputation at school might be slightly overstated (he does have moments of white-knighting, or just plain misunderstandings), but let's be frank : he's a horndog.

Rurumo, a deadpan witch who shows out of nowhere to claim his life. Well, not exactly out of nowhere ; he did make a half-assed summoning ritual with the occult club earlier that day, but had not clue it would actually work. (The show loves to put explanatory flashbacks like this just a bit too late, which makes him look like he has a two-minute attention span.) Anyway, they eventually find a loophole to avoid such unpleasantness... Except she comes back a few months later.

Chiro, her cat familiar, eventually explains the score in private to Shibaki. Rurumo has been demoted for her previous failure and needs to recomplete her training, which takes the form of single-use magic coupons Shibaki can use to direct her. (She can't do magic of her own initiative anymore.) What she doesn't know is that those coupons are tied to Shibaki's life : once they're all gone, he's toast...

Production Values

About average, with just about as much focus on fanservice as you'd expect.

Overall Impression

Well, that was unpleasant. The jokes are mildly funny, but there's an overall sadistic atmosphere that leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Sure, a lot of comedy in general revolves around terrible stuff happening to people who don't (or do) deserve it, but this show pushes it too far into gratuitously malicious territory. It's all the worse when it tries to make a bid for audience sympathy at the end with the dramatic twist : it doesn't work, as the protagonist is too much of a jerk for me to care.

There are much better comedies this season ; I have no time to bother with this one.

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Love Stage!!
(10 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a yaoi romantic comedy manga.

Characters

Izumi, our main character, is drifting through college. He's got delusions of becoming a manga artist, but his art's worse than mine. He's basically just an otaku, fanboying over this one magical girl series.

His parents would very much like him to follow in the family business, i.e. show business. Mom's still acting, while Dad has moved on to running a talent agency. (Bro is fronting a famous rock band.) But Izumi just won't have any of this. He just feels too awkward on set.

A decade or so ago, Izumi did act in a wedding agency's commercial with his parents ; he was a last-minute replacement for the child actress catching the bouquet. (Yes, actress. Izumi looks so feminine that it wasn't hard to wing it.)

Ryouma, who was the boy playing opposite Izumi in that commercial, is very interested in the wedding agency's project of making a sequel. His one condition is reuniting the whole original cast. The parents are delighted, as he's now a very famous actor/model. Izumi's way less enthusiastic, but they eventually managed to bribe it into participating.

Sagara, the uptight manager, is one of the few people on set who knows Izumi's not a girl (the others being his personal makeup/costuming squad, who've been sworn to secrecy). You can see him obviously having little patience for Izumi's apathy, but damn it this is his job and he's going to do it well. What he didn't anticipate : somebody changing the script at the last moment to include a kiss between Ryouma and Izumi. Uh oh...

Production Values

Not very good ; the standard yaoi character designs are rather ugly.

Overall Impression

Well, it's yaoi. I was all prepared to write it off as "not my thing", especially as it looks rather shabby.

... And then the jokes start hitting a homerun, and it turns out I'm actually enjoying this quite a lot. This is fun. That the premises seems devoid of the rape subtext so endemic to the genre is a big plus, but it's just got charm. Izumi's parents are ridiculously entertaining, the little pokes at show business are quite funny, and the whole thing is quite well scripted overall, with good comedic timing.

I'm surprised to say this has a good chance of staying on my watchlist.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#43
Black Butler - Book of Circus spends its first episode re-establishing the premise with a "Day in the Life of Sebastian Michaelis"... Not that there's anything wrong with that, as it's a charming setup, and the script does get to play a bit with clever ellipses. I've got no clue where this would fit in continuity, but it's not like this franchise ever sweats this kind of fine detail.

Anyway, this is good fun, and I'm glad it's back.

(Also, no Grell whatsover for now, which is a definite plus in my book.)

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Invaders of the Rokujyouma?! (Rokujouma no Shinryakusha!?)
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a supernatural romantic comedy light novel series.

Characters

Koutarou, our male lead, wants nothing more than starting a generic high school life. Sure, Mom is gone, and Dad is always away trying to earn some dough, but he's not going to let that get him down. He's got the mandatory perverted best friend, a budding relationship with the president of the knitting club, and is on good terms with his new houselady. (Who happens to be his own age.) He can't believe his luck on this place being so cheap.

Sanae, the ghost girl haunting the room, might be part of the reason why. Anyway, she doesn't want to share, so will he please go away ? (Koutarou starts rummaging through his stuff for religious charms.)

Yurika, the inept magical girl who crashes in the middle of their battle to warn them that there's dangerous amounts of magical energy here, so they need to evacuate immediately. Er, please ?

Kiriha, the envoy from an underground race who just so happens to emerge into this room, and wants to use it as her base to CONQUER THE WORLD !

Theiamillia, a princess from an alien race who wields Nanoha-like magitek devices, and seems able to summon just as much firepower. Fortunately she comes with a supervisor in tow, immediately chiding her on the fact that destroying the planet would go against her mission of making its people submit to her will.

I'm surprised the walls are still standing by the end of the episode.

Production Values

Well, it seems studio Silver Link have finally surrendered and are now making anime that look just like everything else. Oh, well. It still looks quite good, with good effects for the battle sequences.

And of course, notable amounts of fanservice.

Overall Impression

Okay, I have to admit, the joke is pretty funny, as more and more ludicrous invaders keep barging in and making the previous ones go lulwat. (The next episode's title suggests that even more are due to come, but they're not on promotional materials.) But once you've introduced such a premise, what do you do with it ? Now that a non-aggression pact has been signed, we're already back to a more conventional harem romantic comedy setup, and that's not really promising.

I'll go with my gut instinct and give it a pass. We've got better comedies airing this season.

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Tokyo ESP
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a manga series about mutants ESPer terrorists trying to take over Japan.

Characters

The Brotherhood of Evil Espers have launched an attack against Tokyo, which involves multiple bombing and stuff like stealing the Diet. You know, the whole building housing the Parliament. (And obviously that makes a lot of hostages.) The Doctor, our Magneto figure, has illusion powers ; his right-hand-woman teleports around, which makes her swords even deadlier. They have various other members in the building and on the ground.

The authorities' reaction is rather lackluster. All those tanks deployed everywhere beforehand ? Completely useless. The attempts to parachute special forces onto the flying Diet ? The copter can't even get close enough. Section Four of the Anti-Esper forces are the only one shown as remotely badass (yay bike-fu !), and they can barely manage a fragile draw against one esper.

It's thus not surprising that most people are pining their hopes on the return of the White Girl, who apparently showed up in previous crises to save the day. It's just too bad that the anti-Esper ban covers her too. But come on, like that's going to stop her.

The episode does a good job of building suspense around her arrival. Instead, most of it is devoted to her band of usual associates stepping up to help out, however little they can. (It's not like the psychometric and precognitive kids can go hand-to-hand against the baddies.) They haven't been in contact with her, but surely she's coming any moment now, right ?

This is apparently set in the same universe as Ga-Rei: Zero, and its heroines have a gratuitous cameo right before the shit hits the fan. I've not watched that series, but their one minute of interaction and the overall writing quality at play here have bumped up my list.

Production Values

Very impressive. A lot of budget is spent on making the superpowers look cool, and it shows. (They really didn't need to make the teleporting effects look so elaborate, but I'm glad they did.) It's a big spectacle show, and it delivers.

Unfortunately, this is also the kind of world where super-powered women have their suits' zippers down to their navel for no good reason. Oh, well.

Overall Impression

Well, that was fun. It's not exactly high art, but it's well-filmed superheroics with some strong atmosphere and a decently-rounded cast. Good soundtrack, too. Sometimes it gets a bit too stupid for its own good (lol the normal dude who wields two guns at once, like that ever works), but most of the time it looks cool enough to get away with it.

I'm game for this.
 

redwulf25_ci

Clown Pope of Wushu
Validated User
#44
Okay, I have to admit, the joke is pretty funny, as more and more ludicrous invaders keep barging in and making the previous ones go lulwat. (The next episode's title suggests that even more are due to come, but they're not on promotional materials.) But once you've introduced such a premise, what do you do with it ? Now that a non-aggression pact has been signed, we're already back to a more conventional harem romantic comedy setup, and that's not really promising.
Well, the logical place to go from "non-aggression pact is signed" is to "non-agression pact is or seems to be violated or rules lawyered around".

Edit: And having watched it myself now it seems that non-aggression pact only covers A: Damaging the building. B: Bothering the neighbors C: The people we met in this episode who've actually signed it. Lots of room for shenanigans even before non-signatory parties show up.
 
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Rainfall

Registered User
Validated User
#45
This is apparently set in the same universe as Ga-Rei: Zero,
There goes my interest. Just as a heads up, the first episode is very likely to misdirect you about what the show is about. Or if it's going to be of any value.
 
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Kurotowa

Weird Science Nut
Validated User
#46
There goes my interest. Just as a heads up, the first episode is very likely to misdirect you about what the show is about. Or if it's going to be of any value.
That's a bit unfair, though I can see why you'd think that if you don't have the full picture.

The manga Tokyo ESP is by the same creator as the manga Ga-Rei, and it's a minor conceit that they're in the same universe. The plot overlap is pretty much nil. The anime Ga-Rei: Zero was nominally a prequel to the events of the manga Ga-Rei, but it was an original story and had very little in common stylistically. I don't know how they ended up deciding to do it that way, but that's what it was.

Edit: And now that I actually check out the first episode of Tokyo ESP, for some inexplicable reason they've gone the GR:Z route all over again. First episode at the end of the story, followed by a leap back to the start of the story that's mostly in a different style. So I suppose Rainfall's comment is entirely fair. Honestly, WTF?
 
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Ikselam

just a bear— can't even fly
Validated User
#47
I was going to say, it sounds like they started at the end of the first manga story arc.

edit: One of my only regrets about watching Ga-Rei Zero is that I did not see it when it aired, and thus did not have the opportunity to be hoodwinked as thoroughly as I would have been, had I been exposed to the publicity campaign.
 
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Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#48
Edit: And now that I actually check out the first episode of Tokyo ESP, for some inexplicable reason they've gone the GR:Z route all over again. First episode at the end of the story, followed by a leap back to the start of the story that's mostly in a different style. So I suppose Rainfall's comment is entirely fair. Honestly, WTF?
Uh ? Sure, the decision to start this anime series in media res is a bit weird, but it's a decent way to start with high stakes and awesome pyrotechnics.

I don't see anything wrong with this approach, so I'll just start watching Ga-Rei: Zero and see what the fuss is all about...

...

HOLY FLYING --ING SHIT.

... I just have no words. I can totally understand why this would put people off. I'll keep watching because I'm curious where this is going, but darn.

I'll reassure you : Tokyo ESP isn't pulling this kind of crap. (At least, not yet.) It's violent, but entertainingly so, and it treats its side characters with some degree of respect.

edit: One of my only regrets about watching Ga-Rei Zero is that I did not see it when it aired, and thus did not have the opportunity to be hoodwinked as thoroughly as I would have been, had I been exposed to the publicity campaign.
Well, I found by accident the perfect way to replicate the experience nowadays : watch the first episode of Tokyo ESP just before starting on Ga-Rei: Zero.

Spoiler: Show
Tokyo ESP seems to be set during the flashback sequences of Ga-Rei: Zero, and gives some ample screentime to Section Four. They're not very effective against espers, but they still look somewhat badass while fighting them off.

While I knew Ga-Rei: Zero would mostly be about those two girls' past, the last thing I expected during the first episode was seeing Section Four be summarily wiped out. Even when they started dropping like flies, I expected Bike Girl and Two-Gun Dude to make it out of it, somehow.

Ahahah, no.
 

Rainfall

Registered User
Validated User
#49
Uh ? Sure, the decision to start this anime series in media res is a bit weird, but it's a decent way to start with high stakes and awesome pyrotechnics.

I don't see anything wrong with this approach, so I'll just start watching Ga-Rei: Zero and see what the fuss is all about...

...

HOLY FLYING --ING SHIT.

... I just have no words. I can totally understand why this would put people off. I'll keep watching because I'm curious where this is going, but darn.

I'll reassure you : Tokyo ESP isn't pulling this kind of crap. (At least, not yet.) It's violent, but entertainingly so, and it treats its side characters with some degree of respect.
Now to be fair towards both Ga-Rei Zero and Tokyo ESP, I'm violently allergic to being trolled by media. I cannot state how explosively bad my reactions are to that kind of crap. I've never watched a single second of anything related to Haruhi after dropping out of endless eight five episodes in and I was a fan before that.

So people should probably give Tokyo ESP a chance, it's probably going to be an enjoyable series. People who are not me that is, because my teeth clench just at the thought of watching it. ;)
 
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Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#50
In case it wasn't clear from my review, this season's one troll show seems to be Akame ga KILL!. Most everything else is relatively straightforward.

Some "Week 2" thoughts :
  • It's now clearer what Glasslip is going to be about... and nope, I don't care. Neither about those vague precognition powers, not about the main characters as a whole. Even the melodrama is kinda rote. Not gonna bother with any more of it.
  • Locodol, on the other hand, gets a pass for being quite charming. Not sure how long I'll stick with it, but it'll do for now.
  • Argevollen somehow manages to stay entertaining despite doing nothing new whatsoever. Guess I'm in the mood for a generic mecha show done competently.
  • Tokyo Ghoul has found a way to keep Kana Hanazawa's character around, which should be enough to keep me happy in the short term. I just hope that beyond the initial shock, the protagonist is going to actually do something anytime soon.
  • Ah, now that we're done with the exposition, it's much clearer what Aldnoah.Zero is going for. And hey, I'm all for "Attack on Mecha". (Which isn't remotely accurate a description, but the soundtrack does sound mightily familiar.)
  • Speaking of which, is it just me or has Yuki Kajiura's score notably improved for Sword Art Online II ? Or maybe it's just that the director has gotten better at giving it some room, and the combat setpieces are finally worthy of her talent.
  • Barakamon is still charming as all heck.
 
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