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[In Which I Review] New anime, Summer 2014

MadMac

Registered User
Validated User
Sounds terrible. In my experience, the only thing that has a hope of saving this sort of set-up is if the characters manage to be more than a collection of clichés. It seems that this one failed in that.
Before I finally checked out, the entire first episode was nothing but a pile of cliches breathlessly stacking on top of each other, until finally you had a towering mountain of things that have been done better a zillion times elsewhere. I'm not convinced this show was written by an actual human being with thoughts and feelings. It feels more like the first true procedurally generated anime.
 
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Quasar

Feeling kinda smurfy
Validated User
I read the no Blade Dance (I loath that English translation of the title) Light Novels and really enjoyed them. Will eb watching the anime soon.
I can't say I was enthused by episode one. Partially because of the character designs. And it just makes me think of Dragonrar...with characters being wizards rather than dragonriders.
 

Mejiro

I think I'm a Drow now
Validated User
Blade Dance of the Elementalers (Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance)

This is awful on just about every level. Avoid like the plague.
I didn't find it awful as such, but it is so very, very generic. If you were to describe it to me in a few months, I wouldn't know if you were describing this, making up a deliberately generic show, or describing one of any number of other shows. I could probably shove it on when doing something else and drift in and out, but there seems little point when the entire show is so standard and generic. It might go somewhere more interesting, but I'm not sticking around to find out.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Nobunaga Concerto
(12ish episodes ?)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of yet another manga where a random Japanese teenager travels to the past and switches places with Nobunaga Oda.

Characters

Saburou, our lead character. Not very bright, shallow, terrible at Japanese history (he vaguely remembers about this Nobunaga dude) : the perfect protagonist for this kind of story ! How he travels to the past is refreshingly unexplained (it just happens suddenly).

Nobunaga himself happens to be passing by, on the run from servants who want him to stay at home. Hey, random weird lookalike, want to take my place for a while ? I'll give you this cool sword. Saburou's all "hey, cool sword" (after a bit of "where's the camera filming this, anyway ?"), but quickly realizes that Nobunaga's early life was a bit prison-like, and wants to go home.

Kichou, Nobunaga's wife. "Wait, he had a wife ? She's cute !" And so Saburou decides to stay around a bit more. She's all too happy from the attention, after him seemingly having forgotten all about her. ("I know it was an arranged marriage, but still...")

Nobunaga's servants are baffled by their master's bizarre new behaviour, despite his renewed healthiness. Has he lost his mind ? One of them lets himself be convinced it's better to just kill him off, but Saburou somehow manages to deflect this. And hey, he can't die now ; this would totally wreck history and stuff ; after all, Nobunaga's supposed to conquer Japan or something. The servants then marvel at their master's "hidden ambitions".

Noboyuki, Nobunaga's younger brother, sees the occasion as his chance to get rid of him. After manipulating that servant failed, he tries something against Kichou... but it doesn't work out ; he winds up being sent off to an asylum for his trouble.

From now on, Saburou is taking this a bit more seriously. He's started reading his history book (although it's way too imprecise to be of much use). Anyway, he's going to try his best ; Nobunaga totally conquered Japan and lived happily after, right ? (Ahah, no. We even had the history lesson at the episode's beginning reminding us how it's supposed to end ; Saburou didn't pay attention, as usual.)

Production Values

Cell-shaded CG characters everywhere ! You ever love it or hate it ; I think it works quite well, giving the anime a bit of an "historical painting come to life" look. It helps that the CG backgrounds are gorgeous. And there are some nifty stylistic touches here and there.

Overall Impression

For a premise so well-trodden, this is a surprising breath of fresh air. Part of it is that it's played entirely straight by most characters, with the comedy resulting from the clash of cultures. But the real selling point here is the sheer charm of Mamoru Miyano's performance, perfectly convincing as this little git way out of his depth. It's impressive how you end up rooting for a character so punchable.

It's fun, it's charming, and it looks great. I didn't expect to enjoy this at all, but it turns out I did. I'm in.
 

Ikselam

may one day be worthy of your grace
Validated User
But the real selling point here is the sheer charm of Mamoru Miyano's performance
Amusingly enough, he just got done playing Space Nobunaga in that Nobunaga mecha show nobody liked.
 

ShanG

青铜时代的中&#
Validated User
They made a series of Nobunaga Concerto? I read the first few chapters of that, it apparently won awards in Japan. It had a kind of old-timey art style to it which I liked (reminded me of Lone Wolf and Cub, a bit).

But, look, I enjoy stories about Oda Nobunaga. He's a fascinating historical figure, a ruthless and brutal warlord but also a brilliant forward-thinker, and I personally love the gun-crazy personality that Japanese pop-culture frequently assigns him. So you know... I'm not really that into a story with the premise that the real Nobunaga has been replaced with a high-school kid who gets by on pure dumb luck.
 

Argent

aka Jerry Sköld
Validated User
Just dropped in to thank you for yet another thread, Jhiday. I admire your stamina, enjoy your reviews and appreciate how much easier they make it for me in picking out new stuff to watch.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Thanks for the thanks ! They're always welcome. :D



Hey, someone finally fansubbed the first episode of Fran♥cesca : Girls Be Ambitious, more than a week after it aired !

... Having had a look at it, I can easily see why nobody bothered to do it for so long.

The high concept is that this is a series of 11-minute episodes built around a recently-created mascot character for Hokkaido, the titular Francesca. Who happens to be some sort of undead idol or something. But she barely shows up at the end of the first episode ; in practice, it mainly features the head of the anti-undead Hokkaido forces (of course a cute sassy girl) investigating killing the shit out of a recent surge of zombies rising from the ground. Also, tons of jokes that probably make sense to people who know of Hokkaido's culture, but are completely impenetrable to me.

As far as promotional vehicles from tourism boards go, this one at least has the merit of originality. But that's pretty much it ; it looks badly-animated (is this Flash-based ?), and at its core it's comedy where I don't get most of the jokes. (Which don't look that funny, anyway.)

I'll pass.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
So, just about all the new shows have aired one if not two episodes, and some are already onto their third. Let's have a summary review !

The Locks : [6 (+4)] (I'll definitely watch till the end)
- Terror in Resonance
- Barakamon
- Survival Game Club
- Sailor Moon Crystal (because of course)
- Aldnoah.Zero
- Space Dandy, continued
[+ Still following JoJo, Happiness Charge Precure, Dragonball Kai & Kindaichi R]
The Probables : [7 (+2 shorts)] (Good chance of sticking with them)
- Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun
- Locodol (ep #3 had the epitome of tourism board desperation : the lame and ugly mascot ! Please keep it up, show.)
- Black Butler - Book of Circus
- Blue Spring Ride
- Nobunaga Concerto
- Love Stage!
- Free! Eternal Summer
- Gundam-san (short enough, I get the jokes, and it's Gundam)
- New Strange+ (still mildly funny, I guess)
On the Fence : [4 (+1)] (May be weaned out soon)
- Argevollen
- Tokyo ESP
- Tokyo Ghoul (please go somewhere interesting !)
- Sword Art Online II
[+ Still considering dropping Mahouka]
Discarded on second thoughts : [3]
- Persona 4 the Golden Animation (No real interest in New Game Plus or Marie, and something on Thursdays had to go)
- Glasslip (ep #2 made me realize I just don't care about these kids)
- Akame ga KILL!
One episode was enough : [11]
- Invaders of Rokujyouma !?
- Hanayamata
- Bakumatsu Rock
- Jinsei
- Francesca - Girls Be Ambitious
- Rail Wars
- Magimoji Rurumo
- Shounen Hollywood
- Momo Kyun Sword
- Himegoto
- Blade Dance of the Elementalers


Frankly, that's a pretty good tally. We have good shows in many genres and formats, and a strong midlist I'm having trouble thinning out to get back to a saner number of shows watched.

Spoiler: Show
Crunchyroll :
M: Blue Spring Ride, Hanayamata, Blade Dance of the Elementalers
Tu: Momo Kyun Sword, Nobunaga Concerto
W: Bakumatsu Rock, Free!, Love Stage
Th: Glasslip, Argevollen, Locodol, New Strange+, Persona 4 Golden
F: Magimoji Rurumo, Invaders of the Rokujyouma
Sa: Sailor Moon Crystal, Rail Wars, Sword Art Online II, Aldnoah.Zero, Barakamon
Su: Survival Game Club, Akame ga KILL, Nozaki-kun, DRAMAtical Murder
Funimation :
W: Free!
Th: Tokyo Ghoul, Terror in Resonance, Black Butler Book of Circus
F: Tokyo ESP
Sa: Shounen Hollywood
Su: Space Dandy
Daisuki :
Sword Art Online II, Aldnoah.Zero, Persona 4 Golden, Black Butler Book of Circus

Fansub-only :
Gundam-san, Jinsei, Francesca, Himegoto

See here for Bull's more detailed listings.
 
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