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

ru

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I'm glad to see I'm not the only one suspicious of Kyubey.


let me take a moment to say how much I fucking hate katakana. you see, Japanese has a somewhat limited phonotactics, which is represented in a very small syllabary. This means taking english words and rendering them in katakana is a lossy conversion. Which means if you convert it back to english (being too lazy to use a dictionary) you get the wrong word.

tl:dr; it's really "Gothic". there is no "th" in japanese so in katakana it becomes "gosikku" (ゴシック), which somehow turned back into "Gosick"


And then, halfway through, we get an impressive sequence in which Victorique solves a closed room murder in less than five minutes, without even going on the scene, purely from Grevil's description of the case (and those five minutes include his exposition). This scene is just delightful, with a solution that's both clever and simple enough to feel natural, and it does help that the banter between the three leads fires on all cylinders during it. If there's one such sequence in each episode, it'd justify by itself watching the boring bits.
I thought the shot through the lock was terribly obvious, but in general I find it hard to be impressed by great deductive feats when the author knows what's going on, and just has to have the detective be right, if you see what I mean.

Having said that, I did find the show enjoyable, mainly for the banter between the protagonists. Victorique is amusing, even if she is a little moe. I like the pipe. The period detail looks nice (how ever accurate it may be)

I'm curious to see whether the supernatural elements are just hints, or whether they're going to come centre stage.
 

Jhiday

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tl:dr; it's really "Gothic". there is no "th" in japanese so in katakana it becomes "gosikku" (ゴシック), which somehow turned back into "Gosick"
And this is presumably also how we got from Savoie to "Saubure" (urgh).


Anyway, on to the next review. I wasn't originally planning on reviewing this, but I'm in the middle of a Mitsudomoe marathon and I had to watch something to prevent me from dying of laughter. So here it is.


Cardfight!! Vanguard

What's it about ?

An informercial about a new cardgame.

No, seriously. There's barely any plot to it, and it takes pains to explain in detail of this cardgame works and why it's awesome.

Characters

Aichi, our wimpy protagonist. He never played the game before, but he's still walking around with a full deck, including a super-rare Vanguard DoublePlusSuper card.

Morikawa, a stereotypical bully who steals the aforementioned card. Comes with two lackeys in tow (although one of them disappears halfway through the episode - continuity isn't this series' strong point). He immediately proceeds to lose it to...

Kai, the ace player from the local cardshop. He too comes with a lackey in tow, a blond dude whose main role is to talk smack. Anyway, he's straight enough to allow Aichi a rematch to try and get his precious card back, even nicely explains the rules in minute detail for the newbie. It eventually comes out that they both know each other for some reason, although we don't learn the details yet.

Production Values

Well, there's only so many ways to make two dudes playing an effing card game exciting, so this series goes for the route of having Kai tell Aichi every other minute to "IMAGINE !" they're having an epic fantasy battle and not just sitting around a table. But even those fantasy fights are cliché and boring, matching the triteness of everything else.

Overall Impression

During the whole "climactic" card fight sequence, there are regular side shots of the shop clerk barely looking up from her book to watch over those excited idiots. They stop short of having her actually roll her eyes, but just barely. This is the only character in this show I have any empathy for. (The ED suggests she's joining the core cast travelling around the country or something, which makes my mind boggle.)

So yeah, this is despicable garbage trying to sell this crap collectible game to kids. It has no redeeming features whatsoever, it's boring, it's a transparent commercial, and everything there has been done better before. Oh, and it doesn't even have a proper ending - it stops when Aichi draws his Blue-eyed White Dragon SuperDuperAwesome card (which Kai had helpfully lended to him as a handicap) ; that's not a cliffhanger, it's just running out of screentime...

Avoid at all costs. If you have any interest in this, go watch Yu-Gi-Oh instead, which at least has the novelty of cardgames on motorcycles (or something).
 

nargun

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let me take a moment to say how much I fucking hate katakana. you see, Japanese has a somewhat limited phonotactics, which is represented in a very small syllabary. This means taking english words and rendering them in katakana is a lossy conversion. Which means if you convert it back to english (being too lazy to use a dictionary) you get the wrong word.

tl:dr; it's really "Gothic". there is no "th" in japanese so in katakana it becomes "gosikku" (ゴシック), which somehow turned back into "Gosick"
Yeah, except the japanese title isn't in katakana, it's in romaji. Now, you could make a solid case that, in that case, the title should be translated into something that carries a more appropriate impression in english, but given the market that the product is sold to in english good luck with that one.

tldr: it's called "gosick" because it's set in the republic of san serriffe.
 

ru

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it's based on a light novel series, apparently, so I blame the original author for being lazy. it's subtitled in katakana anyway, so it's not as if he couldn't have got away with the real word.

original book cover (i think):


EDIT: i've just noticed that in the picture she appears to actually be smoking the pipe...
 
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JELEINEN

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First two volumes got released by tokyopop.
Cool. Thanks for the heads up. Now I'm going to have to try and find them; assuming they didn't go out of print right away and are now incredibly rare like the Welcome to the NHK novel is.

The best part about Vanguard was the awesome Jam Project opening. Otherwise, it's a forgettable merchandising show aimed at ten year-olds. Not surprising to see this kind of show though since apparently CCGs are booming over there (Bushi Road sponsors just about every anime production these days).
 

KoboldLord

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A couple days late to the party as always, but Madoka is on my watch list. I probably won't even try most of the shows on this season, but there are still a couple maybe worth looking into.
 

Jhiday

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Freezing

What's it about ?

The future. The world is at war with alien creatures called "Novas", whose powerful "Freezing" fields prevent conventional warfare. The only thing that can get close enough to them is a "Pandora", a magically empowered girl sensorily paired with a "Limiter" younger guy. The series starts in the middle of a "Carnivale", a battle-royale training exercise/exam at the Pandora/Limiter academy.

Also, boobies and panty shots. Lots of them.

Characters

Bridgette L. Satellizer, the current top Pandora at the academy. Very, very badass (she dispatches #3, #4 & #5 while barely breaking a sweat, and before that wins a 1-against-11 fight). Not exuding much personality, and voiced by Mamiko Noto, of all people.

Kazuya Aoi, a new male freshman at the academy. Spends much of his screentime angsting about his dead sister, an elite Pandora who died heroically 4 years ago. Or did she ? When he stumbles onto Bridgette, he's convinced she's his sister. And thus dives head first into her chest, because that's what brothers do. While the Carnivale's still going, which obviously distracts her and causes her defeat at the hands of #2. (Well, it's slightly ambiguous in the cliffhanger, but the next-episode-preview suggests that's the result.)

Lana Linchen, a ditzy female freshman, whose chief role is to get exposition delivered to by her teacher (who fought alongside Kazuya's sister way back when).

Production Values

For some reason the version I watched is at a 4:3 ratio, which is presumably a mistake (there are various shots that are clearly truncated).

Overall, it looks okay, although the action scenes don't flow that well. And the character designs are very generic.

While the OP has a decent moody song, it looks very cheap, with tons of static shots and scenes recycled from the actual series (including Bridgette's transformation sequence, which we saw in detail two minutes ago in the pre-credits sequence). The ED song is pretty bad, and playing to candid shots of the various girls. Urgh.

And wait, this is a daytime show ? (Seriously, the information I can find says it airs at 9:30am on Saturdays.) But... we actually see naked tits at one point ! WTF ?

Overall Impression

Well, the good news is that it's better than Infinite Stratos. It managed to make me give a toss about the plot and the world-building, there's an urgency and stakes to the fights (there's some technobabble about how Pandoras can regenerate from near-fatal injuries and amputated limbs, but the hospital manager "would really like to have this Carnivale with zero casualties", so it ain't a sure thing), and if you like some fanservice and gore there's plenty of it. And it obviously does have some ambition.

On the other hand... Well, it's still a fanservice-fuelled "panty fighter" series, and you can really hear the plot gears grinding as the premise is forced into a harem setup towards the end. Also, the non-linear storytelling is sometimes a bit disorientating, between the Carnivale, the lesson scene, Kazuya's subplot and the flashback to his sister's last stand.

I'm really not sure about this one. There's a somewhat decent story that compels me to watch another episode to check whether it's going anywhere, but I fear it's going to be smothered by the fanservice and the harem hijinks. I'm fearing a new Daimao, here.
 

ru

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hmmmmm.

some time ago, I read some of the manga for this, and then I stopped, as it made me distinctly uncomfortable. There was far to much implied (and occasionally overt) sexual violence in it - that's not something I need in my viewing.


And wait, this is a daytime show ? (Seriously, the information I can find says it airs at 9:30am on Saturdays.) But... we actually see naked tits at one point ! WTF ?
I looked it up, and it's being broadcast on AT-X, which is a specialist anime cable/satellite channel. They're noted for broadcasting uncensored versions of shows that get censored for terrestrial TV.
 
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