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[In which I review] New anime, Winter 2010-2011

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
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Kimi ni Todoke S2 #5 : Okay, I'm still giving Kent the benefit of the doubt, but he's acting really sleazy and dishonest here. He's more subtle than Kurumi, though.

Wolverine #5 makes me think that the writers are bored with Omega Red already too (although he's obviously still invited to crash the climax). Off to Madripoor !

Puella Magi Madoka Magica #6 : In which Madoka has yet to become a Magical Girl, eh. And e gets less and less incentive to, as we get details on some of the fine print that Kyubey had preferred not to disclose until now. Urgh. Even Kyouko stops dead in her tracks and goes all "what the hell, Kyubey ?" I love this show.

Merry Nightmare #6 does some heavy plot lifting, but I can't help feeling that Chaser John Doe's return is kinda... anticlimactic. It feels like a bit of a waste, honestly.

And in case you're wondering, the noitaminA shows (Fractale and Wandering Son) have taken the week off, for whatever reason. Still less irritating than last season when it happened on Week #2.
 

KoboldLord

Registered User
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With Yumekui Merry getting licensed, Madoka is pretty much the only thing I'm still watching. I don't know if I'll even bother to rent Merry when it becomes available, because it was getting steadily more mediocre, and there's no shortage of mediocrity.

But hey! There's still Madoka, and can I really expect more than one good thing per season?
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
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GOSICK #6 starts an arc that promises to be important, what with all the background on Victorique's mother we're getting. This episode's token mystery is no great shakes, but I'm intrigued by this "nun" character.

Freezing #6 does its best to make me lose sympathy for Rana, although she does have a point buried under all the crazy talk. Next episode seems to be a return to "random bitches attack our heroes for no reason", and at this point it's almost comical how all those assholes blur together in my mind. I'm sure they've got names and specific mensurations (as the eyecatches delight in telling us), but who cares ?

Toaru Majutsu no Index II #18 didn't have any kind of plot, as far as I can see, but it's still nice just to spend 22 minutes with those characters.

Star Driver #19 starts impressively with a superbly tense and effective "First Phase" sequence... and squanders it all on yet another boring mecha fight scene. Sigh.

Wolverine #6 introduces Madripoor... and wow, are they trying it make it even more boring than the comics version ? Those mooks didn't help.

Suite Precure #2 was everything I feared it would be : the two leads' relationship is the series' strongest point, and this came close to making it a lot less interesting. I'll give it a couple more episodes to see how the "Monster of the Week" setup works out, but I'm not very optimistic.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
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We've hit the two-months mark ! So, how are all those shows holding up ?

Puella Magi Madoka Magica (8/12 episodes) is definitely the highlight of the season. Wonderfully dark, perpetually visually interesting, perfectly paced, and never losing sight of its characters : so far, it hasn't missed a step.

I've resigned myself to Wandering Son (6/11) being a decent adaptation of a very good manga. While the visuals are beautiful, the anime brings nothing new to the table and the bizarre pacing choices make it quite obtuse for the non-manga-reader. Still worth watching, though.

There are worse things for Fractale (6/11) to be than a Miyazaki pastiche. There's a lot of fascinating worldbuilding, although it's often a bit lacking in subtlety. Perfectly enjoyable so far, but a lot depends on where it is going.

Mitsudomoe 2 (8/8) has already ended, although they're apparently airing a bonus episode from season 1 next week. Whatever. Anyway, while this sequel hasn't really been innovating (although the all-sentai episode and the few appearances by the other parents were fun), it's still sustained a very high level of funny, with the token heartwarming moment at the end of the last episode. I suspect they're running out of material to adapt, but I'm definitely there for a third season.

Level E (7/??) took me completely by surprise : it's a very funny series, with a wonderful sense of timing... most of the time. There are moments when the jokes fall flat or it spends too much time on a lackluster gag, but I can't fault it for trying something a bit different. It's walking a fine line between making the troll Prince infuriating and completely unsufferable, but so far it works.

Kimi ni Todoke S2 (7/12) has quickly settled into the fluffy routine you'd expect, although I'm not sure I remember the two leads being that dense. (After all, they "defeated" Kurumi by having a proper conversation, something they're in a dire need of right now...) The supporting cast remains the highlight of the show, with the introduction of Kent being a breath of fresh air.

I'm still not quite sure what I think of Merry Nightmare (8/13), which worries me a bit at this point. The oppressive atmosphere works, the dream world belonging to the Soul Eater school of design is definitely a plus. On the other hand, I'm still not sold on Yumeji and Merry as protagonists (they've been mostly overshadowed by the supporting cast and the Dream Demons & Victims of the Week), which is a bit of a problem. Also, the Big Bad Evil Guy has remained entirely in the shadows so far, which doesn't give him an opportunity to display any charisma.

GOSICK (8/24) has unfortunately turned out to be quite mediocre : it doesn't work as a mystery show, and the interplay between the two leads can only carry it up to a point.

Haiyoru! Nyaruani (11/11) has also ended, and I'm still wondering what the point was. Sure, it often managed to make some well-paced jokes, but the non-ending left me entirely baffled.

Suite Precure (4/??) has yet to find its footing, but there's definitely some mileage in the two leads' rocky friendship. The 4th episode even managed to make the trio of chorus henchmen work, so there's still some hope for it.

Wolverine (7/12) has been a complete disappointment after the somewhat decent Iron Man. It piles on boring cliché after boring cliché, and overall appears to be a very slight story padded up by irrelevant fight scenes.

At this point, I'm only watching Freezing (8/12) for the lulz. I find it hilarious that every so often it throws in a scene where some characters remind us that really, the serious sci-fi plot is coming back, anytime now, honest ! What we've actually got is 8 episodes of brutal and non-sensical hazing of our heroes by a constant stream of one-dimensional bullies, while the token few adults turn a blind eye and seem more interested in a plot that seems to be happening completely offscreen.



Now, that's only the shows I've been watching. What about everything I've dropped ?
- Does Starry Sky ever rise above shallow bishonen stereotypes ?
- Does Kore wa Zombie desuka? build to a more satisfying whole ?
- Do Dragon Crisis's protagonists become more interesting ?
- Does Beelzebub ever go anywhere ?
- Does Rio - Rainbow Gate have any redeeming value ?
- Does Onii-chan no Koto nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne!! ever get funny and less eye-bleedingly ugly ?
- Does Infinite Stratos escape the shadow of its mind-numblingly dull harem setup ?
- Does Cardfight!! Vanguard evolve beyond its infomercial roots ?

In other words, have any of those shows improved enough to make me consider giving them another try ?
 

Stryke

Bang and a Boom
Validated User
Puella Magi Madoka Magica (8/12 episodes) is definitely the highlight of the season. Wonderfully dark, perpetually visually interesting, perfectly paced, and never losing sight of its characters : so far, it hasn't missed a step.
This is the only one I've stuck with, but wow what an insanely good show. It's really renewed my faith that really inspiring stuff can come out of anime that isn't the occasional sparks from the long running shonen stuff or stuff from Gainax.
 

Wolfwood2

Registered User
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Puella Magi Madoka Magica (8/12 episodes) is definitely the highlight of the season. Wonderfully dark, perpetually visually interesting, perfectly paced, and never losing sight of its characters : so far, it hasn't missed a step.
Agreed; it's awesome. And in addition to the other good qualities you mention, it's genuinely unpredictable. I really have no idea where this shit is going, but I'm loving the ride.

There are worse things for Fractale (6/11) to be than a Miyazaki pastiche. There's a lot of fascinating worldbuilding, although it's often a bit lacking in subtlety. Perfectly enjoyable so far, but a lot depends on where it is going.
I do appreciate the show show doesn't shy away from how serious this all is. People have gotten killed for reals. Some of them innocent civilians in a firefight started by the 'good guy' terrorists.

Level E (7/??) took me completely by surprise : it's a very funny series, with a wonderful sense of timing... most of the time. There are moments when the jokes fall flat or it spends too much time on a lackluster gag, but I can't fault it for trying something a bit different. It's walking a fine line between making the troll Prince infuriating and completely unsufferable, but so far it works.
I was almost ready to give up after episode one because it seemed like a boring 'alien buddy' story with yet another high school protagonist. Then at episode 3 it got awesome, and it's been pretty awesome since.

I love that Prince doesn't need a reason to troll.

I'm still not quite sure what I think of Merry Nightmare (8/13), which worries me a bit at this point. The oppressive atmosphere works, the dream world belonging to the Soul Eater school of design is definitely a plus. On the other hand, I'm still not sold on Yumeji and Merry as protagonists (they've been mostly overshadowed by the supporting cast and the Dream Demons & Victims of the Week), which is a bit of a problem. Also, the Big Bad Evil Guy has remained entirely in the shadows so far, which doesn't give him an opportunity to display any charisma.
Yeah, it's never quite come together, and with only 5 episodes to go I'm not sure it can. I think maybe this needed 20+ episodes rather than the 13 it's apparently getting.

GOSICK (8/24) has unfortunately turned out to be quite mediocre : it doesn't work as a mystery show, and the interplay between the two leads can only carry it up to a point.
I like it, but I don't know if I can explain why. Maybe because Victorica has style.

Is it really getting 24 episodes? I hadn't bothered to check and had been assuming a 12 or 13 episode season.

Haiyoru! Nyaruani (11/11) has also ended, and I'm still wondering what the point was. Sure, it often managed to make some well-paced jokes, but the non-ending left me entirely baffled.
The show trolled the both of us.

Now, that's only the shows I've been watching. What about everything I've dropped ?
- Does Kore wa Zombie desuka? build to a more satisfying whole ?
No, not really.

- Do Dragon Crisis's protagonists become more interesting ?
Ryuji remains pretty forgettable, but there's an interesting undercurrent that Rose is in some ways the more mature and smarter of the duo. Her instincts are usually right, and her bouts of jealousy/insecurity are subtle (by anime standards).

- Does Rio - Rainbow Gate have any redeeming value ?
Yes, actually. There's something quite intriguing about the lead character Rio, which is that she only gives a shit about one person. Now I've got to clarify what I mean by that. Rio remains the usual self-sacrificing, uber-protagonist who is 'friends' with everybody and is always willing to go out of her way to meet any request.

But as you watch the show, it become apparent that Rio has no emotional investment in any of it. She does what she does because she's 'nice' and because giving people what they need is her role in life. However, none of it touches her. If that was it I might assume that she was merely a flat character with no depth, but then there actually is one person that she cares about and reacts radically differently to. The contrast is pretty striking. After watching Rio spend most episodes totally confident and not giving a shit about anything, the show starts hitting the connection with the only character she cares about. Everything takes on a different, much more serious tone. When it involves Rina, all of a sudden things matter.

Though it's still pretty silly.
 

bv728

Was he a violent man?
Validated User
- Does Infinite Stratos escape the shadow of its mind-numblingly dull harem setup ?
In the most recent episode, an eyepatch wearing L.O.D.O.K (Loli Organism Designed Only to Kill) went insane, turned into a giant statue of the main character's sister, was defeated by the main character, and then later saved his life, kissed him deeply, and declared him her wife.

It was a lot more boring than this description makes it sound, although, admittedly, the mecha action wasn't incompetant, and the facial expressions on the end were actually pretty funny.
 

dshaffer

Pervy Catgirl Fancier
Validated User
I loved the 'He's going to be my wife!' bit. Just so out of nowhere. I rather liked Charlotte in men's clothing, so I'm sad to see that go.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
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Validated User
For anybody who still cares, Freezing has finally found its plot back with the 9th episode (out of 12). Although, in typical style, none of the major regular characters are directly involved. (But then, it's a grizzly massacre that very nearly manages to be uncannily creepy, so all the better for them...) The mood whiplash after the exploitative nonsense of the last seven episodes is jarring, to say the least.



I'm not going to do a full review of the Supernatural - The Animation series of OVAs, but here are my thoughts on the first episode : it's perfectly okay, but I'm not sure I'm going to keep watching. You can really see the "standard American TV series" setup (two brothers on a road trip investigating weird stuff in a new location each episode). The two leads have good chemistry, it's got a decent sense of style, and it's pretty good at what it does (paranormal thriller). On the other hand, the open-endedness of the premise (it adapts "the first two seasons of the TV show", plus various original stuff) makes it clear there'll be no real resolution in those OVAs.

Still, if I was more interested in the genre, I'd probably give it more of a chance, but I'm already watching too much stuff.
 
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