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[In which I review] New anime, Winter 2012

Kurotowa

Weird Science Nut
Validated User
I'll say this for Symphogear, I'm eager to see the second episode. Now, part of this is certainly because I'm jaded enough that defying my expectations is one of the best things you can do to get my interest. Which is no promise of actual quality, but it'll get me back for a second episode. My trope-o-meter was getting pings from all across the genre spectrum that first episode. You've got the concerts and music from an idol drama, transforming female warriors from a magical girl show, a secret task force command center out of a giant robot series, and monsters that remind me most of something out of a sentai serial. Either this is going to turn into something very fun, or it's going to be a trainwreck mishmash throwing random stuff together around poorly leveraged CD advertisements.
 

bv728

Was he a violent man?
Validated User
Brave 10Yukimura, the local lord. Isanami was advised to run to him, but he doesn't think she's worth the trouble and throws her away. He changes his mind after seeing the effects of the life-sucking jewel : this looks like something worth controlling, although he'll need more muscle to keep hold of it. Hence his decision to assemble 10 warriors for that task. (Yeah, I don't really trust this dude either.)
The impression I got is that he sent her away to draw out the assassins, not that he wasn't actually interested until he got a glimpse of the jewel's power. As the protagonist notes, he's gathered some very skilled heroes already.

And the moment at the end with the ninjas was perfect, if almost completely out of tone.


... Because, let's be honest, there's not a shred of originality in the plot itself or the way it unfolds. This is rife with clichés, and only the tongue-in-cheek sense of fun makes it watchable. It's a show that knows it's stupid and invites us to join the ride anyway. I think they had me at "Daisuke Ono" anyway ; I'm a sucker for mediocre shows starring him.
Sometimes, all you need is one voice actor who has the right tongue in cheek attitude to transform mediocre genre into decent mockery.
 

Jeph

生き物
Validated User
Just watched Mouretsu Uchuukaizoku, and man that was fun! It impressed me right off the bat with its not-completely-bullshit shuttle reentry discussion, the characters are likable, the pacing is good, the setting looks nifty. I'm hooked for now. :)
 

s/LaSH

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Just watched Mouretsu Uchuukaizoku, and man that was fun! It impressed me right off the bat with its not-completely-bullshit shuttle reentry discussion, the characters are likable, the pacing is good, the setting looks nifty. I'm hooked for now. :)
It does look like they put a bunch more thought into it than you'd expect. Sure, the setting looks awfully familiar - but large chunks of it are so explicitly because of anachronistic fashion. Maid cafe? Weird old-fashioned thing. Clueless protagonist? Uses Space!Google to get a clue. Probably An Assassin Posing As A Bodyguard? Not fooling anyone. I'm not expecting it to be a redefining work, but it's not annoying or particularly pandering, and it has a pleasantly engaging level of smarts. Really hoping for a decent continuation.

Looks like it's based on a light novel series, and those are often a good source of smart world-building and plot; one does tire somewhat of straight manga adaptations. Hopes are high.
 

Wolfwood2

Registered User
Validated User
It does look like they put a bunch more thought into it than you'd expect. Sure, the setting looks awfully familiar - but large chunks of it are so explicitly because of anachronistic fashion. Maid cafe? Weird old-fashioned thing. Clueless protagonist? Uses Space!Google to get a clue. Probably An Assassin Posing As A Bodyguard? Not fooling anyone. I'm not expecting it to be a redefining work, but it's not annoying or particularly pandering, and it has a pleasantly engaging level of smarts. Really hoping for a decent continuation.

Looks like it's based on a light novel series, and those are often a good source of smart world-building and plot; one does tire somewhat of straight manga adaptations. Hopes are high.
I realized that this actually reminds me of a Rogue Trader plotline. The ancient trading charter can only pass into the hands of the Master Trader's true heir, so the eccentric crew has to go grab the only bloodline descendent.

No prior knowledge here, but my strong impression is that somehow at the end of the war there was an agreement that the existing privateer charters would be allowed to keep going as long as certain requirements are met, but no new ones would be issued. So a license to be a legal privateer is a rare and precious thing that some folks are after and others want to make sure all of them are revoked. (Probably if the heir doesn't take up the mantle within the 'grace period' mentioned.) Does that seem about right?
 

s/LaSH

Member
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I realized that this actually reminds me of a Rogue Trader plotline. The ancient trading charter can only pass into the hands of the Master Trader's true heir, so the eccentric crew has to go grab the only bloodline descendent.

No prior knowledge here, but my strong impression is that somehow at the end of the war there was an agreement that the existing privateer charters would be allowed to keep going as long as certain requirements are met, but no new ones would be issued. So a license to be a legal privateer is a rare and precious thing that some folks are after and others want to make sure all of them are revoked. (Probably if the heir doesn't take up the mantle within the 'grace period' mentioned.) Does that seem about right?
Warhammer 40K: Miniskirt Edition.

Ahem. Yes, that is my guess: the Letter of Marque is probably exceedingly poorly written, basically letting the bearer get away with anything with no term limit or clarification of ownership. So of course it's stupidly valuable to ne'er-do-wells. Why the Letter hasn't been revoked by an act of law by its issuing government in the century since its inception, I don't know; either it's a massive oversight, or galactic politics are a wee bit more underhanded and dangerous than the clear-skied and smiling people of the colony world would indicate.
 

Littleredfox

Registered User
Validated User
galactic politics are a wee bit more underhanded and dangerous than the clear-skied and smiling people of the colony world would indicate.
I'm going with this, since the Sea of Morningstar Government employs a Legendary Space Pirate [Ririka showed up on the first page of the visual google, after all.] as a Traffic Controller at their Space Port. Which implies they aren't too unhappy with the Space Pirate's continued existence.

Spoiler: Show
The school yacht club has another one of the seven original pirate ships.



Presumably the White Swan doesn't still have a Letter of Marque. :)
 

Jeph

生き物
Validated User
Oh, a little quibble I have with the sub's translation: Umi no Akeboshi should be Morningstar of the Sea, damn it, not the other way around.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Aquarion Evol
(1st episode is a 42-minute special)

What's it about ?

In the future, Earth (?) is under assault from interdimensional kidnappers in giant mecha. In response, the authorities have set up their own mecha response forces, segregated by gender. Also, a good number of people seem to possess random superpowers.

Characters

Amata, our protagonist, projectionist at the local theater. (Business isn't great, what with people staying at home to avoid the random mass kidnappings.) He's a fanboy of a very cheesy 10-year-old movie he keeps projecting... and he sounds like he knows the main actress personnally. His superpower is that he starts flying whenever he gets excited (he weighs his shoes down with lead to avoid the embarrassment).

Mikono, our female lead. Amata finds her crying during his favourite movie's projection, and it's tepid romance at first sight. She spends most of her screentime either panicked or crying.

Cayenne (prophetic visions of DOOM) and Zessica (some sort of force attacks ?) are regular pilot of the mecha defense forces trying to fend off yet another attack... until Amata suddenly flies himself and Mikono into another mecha, and forces all of them to unite into a giant flying combining mecha ; despite the confusion they all manage to stall the attackers enough to send them retreating.

Nobody seems to have much of a clue why this happened, aside from the top general of the defense forces (who repeatedly refuses to provide any exposition for the benefit of his colleagues), and a dude with an eyepatch who gets to spout vague nonsense in random locations without any indication of who the heck he is.

Production Values

This episode screams "we have BUDGET !", and may be slightly too much in love with its CG animation. Still, it's impressive stuff.

The soundtrack comes courtesy of Yoko Kanno, although I'm not sure whether this is one of her lesser efforts or the bizarre editing just does it a disservice.

Overall Impression

This is a complete mess. It completely lost me 7 minutes in, when it became clear that piloting mecha was a blatant metaphor for sex ("it feels so good !" "Us pure maidens uniting with a man ? Ew !"). The incessant tone shifts, haphazard pacing and bland characters don't help one bit. And once you get past the shock and awe of the production values, you're left with a very pedestrian story that piles on the clichés without bringing anything new to the table.

Also, the protagonist is yet again played by Yuki Kaji, whose whiny voice is a sure means to make any action lead sound like an annoying loser. Yeah, no thanks.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Another
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Horror series set in a little town. 26 years ago, a middle school student from class 9-3 called Misaki died. Her class acted as though she was still attending up to the graduation. And the urban legend would be only mildly creepy if it had stopped there...

Characters

Kouichi, our protagonist. He came to live with his grandparents in the town because his father is busy teaching in India (Mommy is dead). He's of weak health ; a lung collapse makes him miss his first few months of school. And of course he's now attending class 9-3. There's a lot his classmates aren't telling him yet, although the implication seems to be that his name is somehow associated to tragic circumstances (despite him only having been around for a few months long ago and not remembering much of it).

Mei Misaki, a mysterious 9-3 student with an eyepatch. Kouichi crosses her path in the hospital as she goes to the morgue to "offer a gift to the other her"... Er, yeah. Given how she later claims not to recognize him at school, I'm guessing twins or something.

I'm not getting much of a handle yet on the other classmates. Sure, they're obviously hiding something, but I'm not sure who's actually important there. (And what's a "Countermeasures officer", anyway ?)

Production Values

This is a PA Works production, so of course there's lots of scenery porn and cautious attention to body language (the latter of which is key to such a series). This is their first attempt at horror that I know of, and boy does it show : there are lots of random shots creepy dolls or awkward closeups that feel a bit clumsy ; unlike, say, SHAFT, they're obviously not used to doing this. Similarly, the soundtrack may be laying the atmosphere a bit too thick.

It's also a pity that the careful buildup in the prologue is marred by a terrible OP song by ALI Project.

Overall Impression

I really wanted to like this : sure, horror shows in little towns with a dark secret are a cliché, but this looks like a decent attempt to go back to basics. Unfortunately, it's trying a bit too much, and the atmosphere doesn't fully gel.

Don't get me wrong, there's a lot I like here ; I'm probably going to watch it through. But it could be better executed.
 
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