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[In which I review] New anime, Winter 2012

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
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I'm not sure I like Hanekawa's new look, either.
Yeah, it'll take some time getting used to. It is consistent with her character development last season about being more honest with herself, though (the "prim 'n proper class representative" look having been a deceptive façade).

if they keep killing off supporting characters the moment they get some screentime it's going to be a really boring series
While I can agree with this, I immediately wrote off this particular character as dead meat as soon as they said "let's both be careful" to the MC (who obviously has plot armor until the very end of the series). You really shouldn't tempt fate like that.
Spoiler: Show
And you just can't have a useful and trustworthy adult in a teenage horror setting. That just isn't done.



Five episodes in, I still can't quite decide whether Symphogear is crap or deceptively clever. There are some flashes of brilliance and unexpected brutality that always take me by surprise and entice me to keep watching. This episode : Ryouko, the charmingly ditzy head scientist.
Spoiler: Show
Who's really the Big Bad.
 

Kurotowa

Weird Science Nut
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I agree entirely on Symphogear. It keeps showing these flashes of clever ideas under the cheap animation and blandly generic bits. The heroine's magic power armor has high heels ...which trip her up in a fight, so she does a power stomp to snap them off. She leaps at the opportunity to fight monsters and save the world ...and the adult characters worry if someone like that is really right in the head. It's just that I have no confidence at all that the series will pull a Nanoha like genre yank successfully, and that the flashes of good ideas won't remain buried under a pile of crap.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
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Smile Precure !
(50-ish episodes)

What's it about ?

It's February, time for yet another iteration of the Precure franchise. (Kid-friendly magical girls, basically.)

This year, the dominant theme seems to be stories.

Characters

Miyuki, aka Cure Happy, our hyperactive protagonist. A fan of all kinds of stories, from fairy tales to TV superhero shows, as long as they get a happy end. She tends to voice her overactive trains of thought in public, which brings her tons of intrigued looks from bystanders. As it is, I can't decide whether I'm charmed or I want to strangle her ; hopefully she'll become a bit more subdued once the cast gets a bit more rounded.

Candy, the mandatory annoying toyetic critter. She manages to be even more ineffectual than the average (she looks for Precure warriors by randomly shouting "Precure !" in the street).

Our antagonist this episode is Wolfrun, a wolf-dude. So far, he's utterly generic.

We also get a good glimpse of the girls slated to become the other four Precure ; there's the hyperactive one from Kyoto, the shy one, the responsible one, and the well-bred class representative.

Production Values

Perfectly alright. This time around, we get bright colours and character designs that are way less fussy than Suite Precure, although it's not quite as stylised as Heartcatch Precure. It's a good balance, I think.

This is somehow a season saddled with terrible-to-bland-at-best OPs (even Persona 4 and Mirai Nikki have switched out what were the best OPs of last Fall), and this one doesn't detract from the rule. The ED's a bit more catchy.

Overall Impression

Well, at least it's not Suite Precure. That was quite dire indeed.

So far, it's off to a slow start. It looks like we'll need four more episode until the team is assembled and the character dynamics become clearer ; there's some promise but it's too early to judge. And we've barely seen anything of the villains.

I'm going to reserve my judgement for now.
 

Scholar and a Brutalman

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Daily Lives of High School Boys is a very funny show, and the characters are acting more like actual teenagers than in most other anime, but I found the bullying sequences in the latest episode were quite painful to watch
 

Ikselam

may one day be worthy of your grace
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I think I'll start watching Moretsu Pirates. "Just plain fun" isn't something I watch a lot of anime for; I trend toward geek-cred and reputation for "intelligence." Granted, that approach has gotten me Nanami Kiryuu's antics, so it might be working out.
Spoiler: Show

Looks like the pirates will be taking center stage this week, so the tone may change a bit, but so far it reminds me of original-series Star Trek more than anything else. I was definitely not prepared for a fairly sober sci-fi adventure in which 80% of the fanservice consists of lovingly detailed spaceships and computer systems (with shots of the heroine's unruly, salmon-colored hair rippling in zero-gravity making up another 5%). It also scored laugh points for having an opening-credits song that's written to sound like a J-pop sea chanty -- and featuring none other than former Megadeth member Marty Friedman on electric guitar.


Speaking of fanservice, I'm also terribly enjoying Aquarion EVOL. In large part because of the scenery porn (which I believe is drawn by some of the same French fellows responsible for the backgrounds in Basquash) and colorful, supersaturated visual design, but also because I have a soft spot for super robots as overt metaphor for adolescent sexuality. I can't explain it; I loved Star Driver for the same reasons. Both that show and this one hit my sweet spot for over-the-top absurdity with just the right amount of self-awareness.
 
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Wolfwood2

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Miniskirt Space Pirates surprised the hell out of me in an extraordinarily pleasant way.
Space Pirates charms me because its creators are obviously terribly concerned with making sure that everything makes sense. "See what that character did just there? We're going to explain why she did it and what she's thinking, and you can see how this is part of a perfectly rational plan. Wait, does this action seem reckless to you? We'll have another character question it, so that the first character can provide a justification."

I mean, it's actually a little uptight, but I love it anyway.
 

ru

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i agree - although it was a little clunkily paced, all the stuff about orbital dynamics, active vs. passive radar, stealth tactics and electronic warfare just made me really pleased.
 

Aikireikinu

Tsundere Cat
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It's scratching an itch for hard science fiction anime that I didn't even know I had. Assuming it doesn't go off the rails later in the season, I'm definitely picking it up when it comes out on DVD.
 

Ikselam

may one day be worthy of your grace
Validated User
Space Pirates charms me because its creators are obviously terribly concerned with making sure that everything makes sense. "See what that character did just there? We're going to explain why she did it and what she's thinking, and you can see how this is part of a perfectly rational plan. Wait, does this action seem reckless to you? We'll have another character question it, so that the first character can provide a justification."
I mean, it's actually a little uptight, but I love it anyway.
My understanding is that the light novel series, upon which the show is based, was written by an author who skews more toward the "hard" end of the sci-fi spectrum, and that he basically added the miniskirts and piracy to pull people in so he could tell them about spaceships.
 

Rabbit Éclair

high in vital bunnytonium
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My understanding is that the light novel series, upon which the show is based, was written by an author who skews more toward the "hard" end of the sci-fi spectrum, and that he basically added the miniskirts and piracy to pull people in so he could tell them about spaceships.
Dammit, I'm sold. I've gotta look into this show.
 
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