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[In which I review] New anime, Winter 2014

JELEINEN

Sizzler Black Squadron
Validated User
The weird thing about Pilot's Love Song for me was the odd mix of Japanese and western names.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I tried, but I just can't gather the will to write at length about Robot Girls Z. It's a very gimmicky show (mecha-girls patterned after mecha from vintage shows such as Mazinger Z) that falls completely flat for me. I have no nostalgia for those old series (they were before my time), and the actual machines are what I find the least interesting in that genre anyway ; crossing them with moe girls doesn't help. And it's not like these shorts really do anything with the premise aside from pure fanservice.

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D-Fragments!
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a comedy manga about one of those high school clubs that don't do much of anything.

Characters

Kazama, our male lead, is a Delinquent. He's even got a posse named after him (with an ugly short fat dude, and a tanned hunk who may be partially foreign). On the other hand, they're way more talk than actual action, and it's even joked later on that there are far more prominent delinquent group in this school anyway. Really, Kazama is more the straight man than anything here.

Roka is a small girl who's the head of the Game-Making-Club. Who don't actually create any games (they just play around), and don't even have the required number of members for the club to survive. So obviously she's desperate to find new members, by any means necessary. The joke here is that each of the members patterns themselves after an element ; Roka wields "fire" (read : moe) as a weapon. And when that doesn't work, she can fall back on her alternate type : Darkness.

Other members : Sakura, who's Water (read : waterboarding) ; Minami, who uses Thunder (with a taser) ; and Chitose, who's Earth mostly by virtue of having her hands dirty when she punches people. They've actually got a bit more depth beyond that ; I won't spoil the joke with Minami, but Chitose managed to get elected Student Council President, apparently by beating up everyone else to submission. Why this devious mastermind is slumming it with such a club remains to be elaborated.

Ataru used to be part of Kazama's group of friends, except he stayed a straight arrow and is now the Student Council Vice-President. Er, the "straight arrow" part shouldn't be taken at face value : he looks to be as much of a pervert as the lot of them, if not bigger. At the very least, he's very attracted to Chitose, and it's obvious what their rivalry is really about.

Production Values

Quite good ; the action sequences are animated fluidly, and the director knows how to set up atmosphere for a throwaway gag.

Overall Impression

Well, crap : I found this hilarious. It's got some impressive comedic timing indeed, and more than one joke. It helps that it's got characters with actual personalities, served by some great voice-acting. (In particular, Hana Kanazawa as Roka is a riot.) And it's just very funny. I have no clue whether it can sustain itself for three months, but I'm game for it.

This is the very reason why I try out everything : it's a kind of unassuming gem I could have let pass by otherwise.

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Hamatora the Animation
(?? episodes)

What's it about ?

A back-alley team of Private Investigators. Who happen to have super-powers, and occasionally fight super-powered crime.

(There's a manga version being published concurrently.)

Characters

Nice is nominally the PI agency's leader, but it's like herding cats, and his occasional stubborness doesn't help. A running joke is that he's terrible at managing his finances. His case this episode : investigating the disappearance of several college girls. (He also effortlessly foils a bank robbery while making a withdrawal.) His power : listening to music makes him super-fast, I think.

Murasaki is his purple-themed partner. He's much more suave and sophisticated, but just as stubborn. He takes the case that will actually provide them some decent money : protecting the safe of a rich family, whose patriarch has died without explaining how to open it. His power : either super-strength or super-resiliency, I can't quite tell.

Also working with them : laid-back Birthday (electrical powers) and Dr Ratio (x-ray vision that lets him see weak points in enemies), who both take a bodyguarding job.

Rounding up the agency's cast : Koneko, who acts as their secretary, and Hajime, a gluttonous girl that even the opening titles have no clue what she brings to the table. Also : the owner of the restaurant they operate out of.

Art is a police detective who's old friends with Nice. He seems delighted to have the team's help for what the police don't have time to deal with. (He's the one footing the bill for the first case.) There are hints he's got a hidden agenda, though.

As it happens, all three jobs are actually different angles on the same case ; they solve it together by the episode's end.

Production Values

Very stylish indeed. The wild colour shift for the slo-mo power activation sequences are especially pretty.

Overall Impression

Hey, that's actually quite good ! The mystery story is well-constructed, the characters produce some lively banter, there are some decent jokes, and the fight scenes are fun to watch. That it's not actually an adaptation of anything even gives me hope that it'll be able to properly pace its story out (an issue that has plagued many recent shows also directed by Seiji Kishi).

So far, so good. Let's see how it develops.
 

Quasar

Feeling kinda smurfy
Validated User
D-Fragments!
(12 episodes)

Overall Impression

Well, crap : I found this hilarious. It's got some impressive comedic timing indeed, and more than one joke. It helps that it's got characters with actual personalities, served by some great voice-acting. (In particular, Hana Kanazawa as Roka is a riot.) And it's just very funny. I have no clue whether it can sustain itself for three months, but I'm game for it.
I found it pretty amusing too. Reminded me of Student Councils Discretion in some weird way. Maybe just because Hazama is the straight guy and the girls of D-Frag are archetypes.

Curious to see how crazy it goes.
 
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Wolfwood2

Registered User
Validated User
Yeah, D-Frag was worth a few chuckles. I hope it doesn't sideline Kazama's gang in favor of the girls. I liked the more balanced cast.
 

LordPanther14

Registered User
Validated User
The setting for Hamatora reminded me of Getbackers and Darker than Black. Definitely going to be following this one.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
A few worlds on My sister came! (Onee-chan ga Kita!).

First, the good news : despite what the title sounds like, it's not incest porn. It's not even really incest (although there may be a bit of baiting in that direction) : this series of shorts follow a teenager whose father has remarried, with a new older stepsister in tow. The "joke" is that the girl keeps invading the boy's personal space, to his great distress ; nothing sexual here, she's just very fond of the novelty of having a kid brother.

It's watchable, it's mildly funny (in a cringe comedy way), but there's nothing particularly worth going out of you way for here.


SEQUEL WATCH !

Since there wasn't much new airing yesterday, let's have a short look back at the various sequels that premiered recently before the onslaught of new series tonight.

Saki - the Nationals is definitely some more Saki : tons of new teams briefly introduced for the National tournament, any excuse used to still keep around teams that have no business being here (including the Side-A people, with whom I'm not familiar), some lesbian teasing (including a very gratuitous public bath scene), the same old tired running gags (tacos !)... It pretty much confirmed that I just don't care anymore.

Seitokai Yakuindomo * starts with a new school year, which is a bit jarring for those of us who've watched the OVAs (which spilled into that timeframe). There's a lot of time spent on reintroducing characters and running gags, and as a result the episode feels a bit empty and lifeless as a result. Hopefully the series will find its groove back soon enough.

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren also brings in a new school year, which at least gives Dekomori an excuse for being in high school. There's a ridiculous new status quo that feels very forced (but at least they keep joking about it and spend the whole episode dealing with it), and as always Fake Mori Summer is the best character in the show. (Her "reverse chuunibyou" is hilarious indeed.) And again the "Lite" shorts are more entertaining than the actual series.

Hey, more Wooser shorts ! And the first episode suffers from barely having any of him in it. I understand the joke they're going for here, but it's stretched too long for me to find it funny. But it should be back to normal next episode, so fair enough.
 

Arbane the Terrible

11th-level Minion
Validated User
Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! Ren also brings in a new school year, which at least gives Dekomori an excuse for being in high school. There's a ridiculous new status quo that feels very forced (but at least they keep joking about it and spend the whole episode dealing with it), and as always Fake Mori Summer is the best character in the show. (Her "reverse chuunibyou" is hilarious indeed.) And again the "Lite" shorts are more entertaining than the actual series.
I still like Dekomori better, but she wouldn't be half as much fun without her feud with Nibutani, 'tis true.
 

Rabbit

Registered User
Validated User
Hmm. There's nothing particularly wrong with this : it does some good (if not particularly innovative) world-building, establishes the characters quite well, looks quite good overall...
It's Last Exile with the number's filed off. Brother/Sister for Klaus/Lavie. The cutesey steampunk euro look and I bet there is a hint of inappropriate cross class romance. Also to the end of the world (or whatever) sounds "grand stream"-ish,
 

Dawgstar

Member
RPGnet Member
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Yeah, D-Frag was worth a few chuckles. I hope it doesn't sideline Kazama's gang in favor of the girls. I liked the more balanced cast.
Going by the ending credits, which will be the OP, I'm a little worried everybody's going to get buried in the cast of thousands.
 
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