[In Which I Review] New anime, Winter 2015

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Argh : three new shows for Friday, plus two leftovers from Thursday. This is going to hurt.

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Assassination Classroom (Ansatsu Kyoushitsu)
(22 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a comedy shonen manga series.

There was an OVA in 2013 adapting a random manga chapter, from a completely different cast, crew and studio. It's everything but required watching, as this is a much better introduction to the premise. The OVA was kinda crap, anyway.

Characters

Koro-sensei is a weird yellow tentacle monster that showed up out of nowhere one day and destroyed most of the moon. As you do. He plans on doing the same to Earth in a year's time ; but it the meantime, since just hiding would be no fun, he's going to teach this random high school class in Japan. They can try their best and kill him ; he promises never to harm them. It just won't be easy, as he can move at up to Mach 20.

Mr Karasuma, from the Department of Defense, explained all this to a bemused classroom. He added that the world's governments were happy to comply with Koro-sensei's wishes, as (1) nothing they've tried has more than very temporarily inconvenienced him ; (2) at least this way they can keep an eye on him ; and (3) you never know, maybe one of the students will get lucky and nail the freak. By the way, there's a $10-million for whoever does the deed, if saving the world wasn't enough motivation.

Now, most of the class are background figures and barely get a few lines each ; presumably they're going to be developed properly in future episodes. We're starting with...

Nagisa, who gets the second half of this first episode. He's so wimpy and feminine that it took me a while to realize he was a guy. A few of the bigger boys coerce him into trying to suicide-bomb Koro-sensei. The point here is to make clear that the yellow freak WON'T allow his students to hurt each other, or indeed any harm to come to them. He is quite impressed by Nagisa, though, which must be the first time someone has ever said this with the poor little dude.

Production Values

Hey, did they get the character designer from Dangaronpa ? (Yes.) There's some very heavy linework here, giving characters much more presence than you'd expect from their relatively generic looks. It helps compensate for the okay-ish-at-best animation.

I was wary of director Seiji Kishi's involvement, but he does have a knack for comedic timing and brutal mood swings ; this is thus the kind of material he's best suited for.

Overall Impression

Hmm. I have a strong suspicion this is hewing very close to the manga's original structure, which is always a challenge given how you don't pace a joke the same way for different mediums. But so far, it's mostly working out ; the manga was already strong enough to support this approach, I guess.

Now, the big question is whether the joke can support 22 episodes. I'm not sure ; a lot will depend on how much the other students can stand on their own. A good sign is the hint of a secondary plotline, with this class actually being the rejects and dropouts who didn't cut it for the better classes ; and Koro-sensei turning out to actually be a darn good teacher.

Anyway, the gags are more hit than miss as of now, so I'm willing to give it at least a few more episodes to see where it's going.

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Death Parade
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Remember Anime Mirai / The Young Animator Training Project ? It started as a way for the Japanese government to subsidize the training of a new generation of animators through series of of random high-concept one-shots. But by the third year of it, you could see that studios were using it to test the waters for pilots of longer stories. (Especially obvious was Arve Rezzle, which didn't have a proper story at all.) Now, for the 2012 edition everyone was focused on Little Witch Academy, to the point of overshadowing the other high-point of the year : Death Billiards. Which is now getting a TV series, two years later.

Characters

The unnamed Barman of the Quin Decim is our recurring host. He's here to deadpanly lay out the rules to whoever enters what is clearly some sort of purgatory : you must play a random game as though your life was on the line ; and only after that are allowed to move on. He wouldn't advise refusing to play. (Cue shot of many bodies hanging in a back room.)

Our "clients" this week are a newlywed couple who died in a car accident. As they play a bizarre game of darts (with each hit on the target hurting their partner), it turns out that he's a jealous asshole who had strong suspicions she only married him for his money, and is pregnant with somebody else's baby.

There are a couple of waitresses who'll round out the regular cast, but they barely appear yet.

Production Values

Rather good ; it can certainly sell the atmosphere, and make even a game of darts epic.

Overall Impression

Uh oh. Death Billiards was a perfect introduction to the premise, to the point I'm wondering why they didn't just re-broadcast it. Instead, they've produced a whole new "let's explain the concept slowly" first episode, and it really suffers from the comparison. It covers most of the same beats with more histrionics and less subtlety (including the bemusing decision of clarifying the final fate of the couple), as well as drastically reducing the screentime of that fun sardonic waitress.

This is a bit worrying. Hopefully this was a one-off misfire, and the next episode will hit the ground running now that the exposition's out of the way. There's a lot to like here, but it can't just tell the same story again and again, with diminishing returns.

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The iDOLM@STER - Cinderella Girls
(?? episodes)

What's it about ?

The iDOLM@STER is a massive multimedia franchise, originally adapted from various videogames where you manage a unit of idols. There was a big TV series in 2011, adapting the original game (+ various other spin-offs, including a movie last year). But you really don't need to know anything about it ; while Cinderella Girls takes place in the same universe, it adapts a different game, features a completely different cast and has a slightly different premise.

Characters

Uzuki is your archetypal idol hopeful : not much skill, but tons of enthusiasm to make up for it. She's sticking with her training even though all her classmates have long given up, in spite of all her rejections. And now she's finally getting a second chance to join 346 Production's Cinderella Project !

The Producer (no name given, following a franchise-wide running joke) from 346 Production has a big problem : he looks very creepy and menacing, and has trouble expressing himself in anything else than a few terse words. Really he's just a bit shy and inexperienced, but that fearsome appearance doesn't help him dealing with...

Rin, a random high school girl he crossed paths with. He's determined to recruit her, despite her explicit and repeated lack of interest in becoming an idol, and her growing annoyance at the rumours of a creepy stalker hounding her. (Which sounds worse than it actually is, but he does approach her every day in the street...)

As this kind of things happen, it's Uzuki who eventually convinces Rin to give it a try.

Apparently there are at least a dozen new idols involved in the Cinderella Project (presumably introduced in further episodes), but the Producer needed to recruit a trio of them before going any further in developing Uzuki's career. (Presumably the third member is the one making a cameo auditioning for it at the episode's tail end.)

Production Values

Decent enough. It's always a shame that this franchise's idol songs are consistently forgettable crap, but them's the breaks. At least their dancing looks good.

Overall Impression

The iDOLM@STER (2011) had an absolutely terrible first episode, sketchily introducing all 12 of its idols (+ the supporting cast) at once and using a "documentary" gimmick that only mucked out its Producer's actual personality (not that he had much of it, but still). This is a very notable improvement, taking things much more slowly and devoting itself to only a couple of girls and the Producer. It's all the stronger for it, especially as it opens on the start of their story instead of joining it halfway through. Which is only to be expected, as the whole point of the Cinderella Project is to offer a "from nobody to idol" narrative.

But what really makes this episode sing is its impeccable comedic timing. It gets a ton of mileage out of its Producer, who's got way more presence and charm than his 2011 counterpart, and manages to be funny just by by being onscreen. He's also got really good chemistry with Uzuki and Rin, which bodes well for when the cast's size increases.

I expect a pleasantly forgettable workcom like its predecessor ; this is turning out to quite surpass my expectations.

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Gourmet Girl Graffiti (Koufuku Graffiti)
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a food porn manga.

Characters

Ryou, our protagonist, is living mostly alone (with her aunt barely having time to check on her from time to time) as she prepares for her high school entrance exams. Her parents are working abroad, and her grandmother, with whom she lived and who taught her all her cooking recipes, died a bit ago. Understandably, she's a bit depressed (although she puts on a brave face), and feels like she's losing her cooking talent due to having nobody to cook for and eat with.

Kirin, her cousin "from the same grade" (but two heads smaller), who's suddenly been "invited" to visit on weekends so she can attend cram school and prepare for Ryou's art high school's entrance exams. That didn't go too well with Kirin's parents, especially as she insulted her mom's cooking in passing. (Sure, it's poorly presented and generic, but still.) Conversely, she loves Ryou's elaborate cooking, and Ryou enjoys the audience.

Presumably the cast's size will increase later on, for example featuring Ryou's classmates ; but for now, we're focused on Ryou and Kirin getting to know each other.

Production Values

Despite "Chief Director" Akiyuki Shinbo and studio Shaft's names being on the credits, this barely features any of their usual quirks. It just looks very good, with maybe some artful shot composition at times. Also, Ryou has a very erotic way of eating, for no discernible reason.

Overall Impression

That was... okay, I guess ? It's not really what I wanted out of a Shaft series ; instead, it's some gentle comfort food, appropriately enough. Nothing wrong with it, as slice-of-life series go, and at least I didn't fall asleep watching it ; but there's little here to really go out of your way for.

I'm giving it another episode, but it's on the bubble.

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Unlimited Fafnir (Juuou Mujin no Fafnir)
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a light novel series.

This has absolutely nothing to do with the Fafner in the Azure sequel that airs on the same day within minutes of it.

Characters

Yuu, our protagonist. He's a "D", a vague of children who were born with superpowers after Dragons showed up and wreaked havoc on the world (just by existing, due to their massive size). He's apparently the only male D, because of course. Initially he worked in the armed forces, but he's now joining Midgar, the academy where all the D girls in the world were rounded in and are training for anti-dragon warfare.

Mitsuki, his younger sister, and also the student council president. Finally reunited after three years apart ! She hopes he won't embarrass her.

Iris, a white-hair girl he first meets when she's taking a skinny dip on the beach. (/facepalm) A bit of a ditz, she's actually less resentful of that terrible first encounter than you'd expect. She still lets wild rumours propagate, of course.

Lisa, the spokesperson for all the students who are outraged by a boy's presence in their school. Also, his powers are lame.

Their class's teacher is mainly there to provide clumsy exposition. Including this uncomfortable tidbit : Dragons can turn Ds into their own rampaging kind, which is a good reason why nobody liked Ds in the first place.

Production Values

Terrible. And this is of course the fanservice-heavy version of studio Diomedea, as you'd expect from this kind of material. It's especially thick whenever Iris is involved.

Overall Impression

Yeah, this is crap. Maybe there are a few interesting ideas here, but they're drowned out under tons of the usual light novel wish-fulfilment clichés, and facepalm-inducing fanservice. All the characters are annoying, to boot.

Pass your way, nothing to see here.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
On the one hand, I'm thankful for this Saturday offering me the respite of only one truly new show.

... On the other hand, it's something so utterly bizarre I'm at a loss how to describe it.


The Rolling☆Girls
(?? episodes)

What's it about ?

This really feels like saw the weirdness of last year's KILL la KILL & Zvezda as a challenge : yup, we can top that !

So here's a post-apocalyptic setting where the Earth's actually mostly fine now that the upper crust have left, and normal people are cleaning up. Sure, Japan is now a mess of independent prefecture-states, but we're more at the level of inter-youth gang squabbles than actual war. It looks more like sentai battles than anything else, with champions called "the Best" and squads of underlings called "the Rest".

Characters

Nozomi, our kinda viewpoint character, really wants to join her area's defense squad... and she's finally been accepted as a trainee. Not that she's supposed to go anywhere near where the fighting is happening, but she's too enthusiastic to care.

Masami, the squad captain, has been the one pulling the brakes ; she's a close friend of Nozomi's family and doesn't want her hurt. Anyway, she's pretty good at coordinating the local defense with...

Maccha Green, the local Best (on loan from what looks like a bigger organisation). This masked hero wears a super-suite that lets her pull incredible moves, but her chief weapon is obfuscation, abusing sentai mystique to make it look like she can call on Maccha teammates of other colors, as well as on a full-blown mecha (actually a decoy balloon). Oh, who are we kidding, she's totally Masami, and I'm amazed nobody on her team has noticed. (Or maybe they're just humouring her.)

Shigyo, the Best from the rival neighbouring area, has challenged Maccha Green in their latest effort to make a move on her territory. She wields an array of bizarre weapons (a giant safety pin ?), and wants to had Maccha Green's suit to her collection (which doesn't sound creepy at all). She's pushed back once, but like all good sentai villain she's already preparing her next plan. Also, she's totally made Masami, not that she really cares.

Yukina, a girl from nearby who comes with an urgent message to the squad HQ... and never gets to deliver it, as everyone mistakes her for a new trainee and take her with them on their next mission. Not only does she have a pour presence, but she's got an even worse sense of direction (three days to cover a few kilometers by bike ?).

There's also a blonde girl wearing a gas mask hanging around. Normally I'd say such a striking character design marks her as a major character, but the squad members include a dude randomly wearing a lizard head mask, so maybe it's just a fashion statement.

Production Values

Impressive. This is a very colourful post-apocalypse, as it looks like the rich took all the greys with them. And the fight scenes look incredible, however improbable it is for human beings to pull these moves. (Let's jump dozens of feet in the air !) There's always something happening in the background, too.

Overall Impression

I'm not sure I understand yet what's going on (especially all the stuff with the rival factions), and I'm surely missing most of the context for political satire... but I don't care. Everything happening on screen is so hilariously bonkers that context doesn't matter. Seriously, the baddies invite the whole squad to an amusement park, and it's a trap where they've removed the tracks of the rollercoaster ! How can you not love this ?

It helps that the show is brimming with life from all corners. It hints at tons of little side stories that give depth to its background. Maybe they'll be told, maybe not, and that's fine. (Also, the advertised synopsis sounds like this is just scene-setting and the Maccha Green/Shigyo feud is merely an appetizer for a bigger story.)

This is so charmingly kooky I can't help being on board.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
So, I could either watch a couple of shows I don't give a rat's ass about, or catch a look of another show with some actual buzz behind it, and had a way more interesting genesis...

... Yeah, I know what I'm reviewing right now. World Break & Samurai Warriors will have to wait until tomorrow.



Yatterman of the Night (Yoru no Yatterman)
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

History lesson time !

40 years ago, studio Tatsunoko started producing what would become known as "the Time Bokkan series" (named after the first installment) : sentai-ish comedy shows with highly referenced humour. Most of them were released in the 70s and 80s, with a few revivals into the 90s and 00s. Most famous of them was Yatterman, the second Time Bokkan series, which got to last for a very respectable 108 episodes.

Now the one other big thing the Time Bokkan have in common, despite being mostly unrelated plot-wise, were a trio of ineffectual villains with highly distinctive character designs (the blonde vixen "leader", the tall gadgeteer with a big nose, and the big dumb muscle) who were recycled from series to series, to the point that by 2000's Kaitou Kiramekiman they got more screentime than the titular leads of the show. It wouldn't be wholly inaccurate to think of them as the Team Rocket Trio of their time.

Now, the last time Tatsunoko made a modern revamp of a beloved property of their back catalogue, we got Gatchaman CROWDS.

This series is completely unlike Gatchaman CROWDS in nearly every respect.

Characters

This is set long after the sentai heroes, Yatterman, won. We're generations away from the original Dorombo trio, and there was a conclusive end to the war several decades ago. (It looks like the moon got destroyed in the process or something.) As a result, the Dorombo (and their eventual family) got exiled to a hellhole, away from the idyllic new Yatter Kingdom.

Leopard, our protagonist, is the grand-(...)-daughter of Doronjo, the original leader of Dorombo. Now, she initially didn't know this ; she was brought up to romanced tales of Yatterman being paragons of Justice, and only learned of her legacy by happenstance about when she turned 9. Obviously, she rejected it ; Dorombo where thieves, and stealing is bad. And it's not like her loving mother has been anything but laudative of the heroes.

Voltkaze, genius gadgeteer and heir of Boyacky, & Elephantus, big strong guy and heir of Tonzura, are basically part of this happy family ; their ancestors have always served this family, and it's clear they're enjoying taking care of the young Leopard. (They also have a pet pig called Sir Oda.)

Unfortunately, Leopard's mom gets a dire case of the cough of death, and requires medicine that can't be found here. So Leopard decides to take a small boat to try and reach Yatter Kingdom, with Voltkaze & Elephantus helping her. Unfortunately, even at sea there's this big giant wall encircling the exile zone and preventing them from leaving. But hey, the Yatterman are showing up ! Maybe they'll help ?

The Yatterman are jerks. (And it's interesting that they don't even look human here.) They start shooting before Leopard can explain, with radically more firepower than strictly necessary. Our trio (+ pig) barely escape with their lives, and can only bury Leopard's mother. The girl is herself completely shaken up : does this mean Yatterman were always the bad guys ? And Dorombo the real heroes trying to bring them down.

Well, fudge this : Leopard, Voltkaze, Elephantus & Sir Oda are going to put on makeshift costumes homaging their predecessors, and bring the fight to Yatterman. They may be hopelessly outmatched, but they've got Justice on their side.

Production Values

Very lovely. Tons of fun little slapstick background events, and the character designs contribute a lot to make Leopard look like an adorable little girl, selling very well the loving family atmosphere.

The complete change of tone when things get more serious is well-handled, too, with some interesting deformation of the Yatterman's traditional sentai designs to make them look more menacing.

Overall Impression

Well, this is the classic deconstruction of a superhero show : what if the villains were right all along ? But this series starts off more cleverly than that ; there's a very real possibility that Leopard is mistaken and the real problem is merely whoever's in charge of Yatter Kingdom right now. It's not like her mom looks like she's got any bitterness or wishes of revenge, even with the strong indication her own sister was collateral damage to the final battle when they were just kids.

What this show does right, though, is selling out trio (+ pig) as genuinely good people who all love each other and have an actually good point against the "heroes". The sins of their ancestors really shouldn't be still weigh on them, and yet they do. As such, they're the underdogs we really want to see win. It's not subtle, but it's got enough heart to work.

This looks like the fun (and accessible) romp I wanted this show to be ; I'm glad my hopes were fulfilled.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Samurai Warriors (Sengoku Musou)
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

This season's token visit to the Warring Kingdoms period, because the schedule just wouldn't be complete without one. Adapted from a series of hack&slash videogames.

There was a OVA prologue of this that got broadcast 9 months ago and completely fell under my radar ; fortunately, Crunchyroll had the good sense of snagging the rights to it, so I'm probably watching it momentarily. This first episode does a good job of getting the viewer back to speed, anyway.

Characters

This show earns immediate brownie points for having everyone at about the right gender (and even some of the cast over 20 !), although the presence of a number of skimpily-clad warrior girls makes me doubt its strict historical accuracy.

Another good surprise : Oda --ing Nobunaga does NOT feature in this ; it's set after his death, with Hideyoshi now running the show and on the verge of conquering all of Japan, with Kanto as the last holdover. This isn't a time period usually covered by this subgenre, so my interest perks right up.

Our actual protagonist is Yukimura, hot-headed middle-ranked warrior. The type who runs to the sieged enemy fortress just before the all-out assault to ask for a duel with their top general, in a probable effort to avoid bloodshed. (He's got a girl sidekick/future-wife in tow, mostly to square off with the general's similarly-female top sidekicks.)

Nobuyuki, his brother, is obviously facepalming offscreen, but goes off after him to help him out (with his own girl sidekick in tow). After all, they do love each other.

And then they win. (With the help of the full force coming right after them, of course.) And we get the full "happy ending" course, including the sudden marriages. At episode 1 out of 12. This is obviously not going to stand.

Production Values

Okay enough. Everyone wears way too fancy armour to really feel historically-accurate (to say nothing of the somersaulting around), but at least everyone has distinctive enough character designs to help mitigate the massive number of character introductions.

Overall Impression

Fascinating. A Sengoku-era series that completely bypasses Oda Nobunaga and goes for the relatively unexplored territory of what happened next ? That's quite refreshing, and enough to catch my interest a bit. But on the other hand, there are still some silly bits here that could grate on me very quickly if left unchecked. The characters have yet to win me over, and I'm still unsure how complex the politics at play here will turn out to be.

There's a lot that can go wrong here, but it's at least earned my checking out the OVA, and probably a second episode. I'm curious.

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World Break: Aria of Curse for a Holy Swordsman (Seiken Tsukai no World Break)
(12ish episodes ?)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of yet another light novel series set in a magic high school. You know the drill.

Characters

Moroha, our male lead, is a new freshman at the academy. Like all of them, he's the reincarnation of past warriors, and as such should regain his memories and abilities with the right prodding. Which will be sorely needed, if the talk of various nasties roaming the world and the mandatory opening epic battle flash-forward are any indication. Unfortunately all of this is still hazy for him.

Satsuki, one of his new classmates, doesn't have that problem. She's already got a good handle on her abilities, and remembers Moroha as her beloved brother in a past life. And now there's no pesky incest taboo to hinder them ! (I have no words. What happened to Ayana Taketatsu's career for her to be so regularly pigeon-holed into bro-con roles ?) Aside from that, her main trait is that she's very enthusiastic about their mission of saving the world.

Shizuno, another classmate who manages to steal Moroha's first kiss "by accident", to Satsuki's furor. Given how constantly she's gently trolling them, I'm sure there's more to it. At least she doesn't feel malicious.

[Random Asshole whose name I can't be bothered double-checking], who quickly comes to blow with Satsuki after mocking her "ally of justice" mindframe. He humiliates her, leading to a rematch where Moroha tries to teach him a lesson... and unlocks his own powers just in the nick of time.

Production Values

This is actually quite sharp-looking. Vivid colours, nice animation, gorgeous backgrounds... Some care has been put into giving motion to this.

There's quite a degree of fanservice at play here, if only from the script managing to fit in a locker scene, a shower scene, some clothing damage, and girls rubbing a guy's head against their chest. Given all that, the execution almost feels positively restrained.

Overall Impression

This looks quite good, and there are some okay beats, but I still can't quite shake my impression that like many of its ilk, it's coasting on the "magic school" setting and its associated default hijinks to substitute for an actual plot. Since I have little patience for those clichés, I have trouble getting invested into even a better-than-average execution of it. (It doesn't help that I've been badly burnt by the likes of the Irregular at Magic High School.)

Let's be honest : there are many shows I'd rather be viewing than this.

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So, the tally after nearly everything has premiered (ranked by approximative decreasing enjoyment on my part) :

I Must Watch (6) :
- Yuri Bear Storm
- The Rolling Girls
- Yatterman of the Night
- Maria the Virgin Witch
- The iDOLM@STER - Cinderella Girls
- How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend

+ the automatic sequels : Durarara!!x2, JoJo in Egypt, Aldnoah.Zero, Kuroko's Basketball 3, Tokyo Ghoul VA

On Probation (6) :
- Happy Cooking Graffiti
- Assassination Classroom
- Death Parade
- Samurai Warriors
- Cute High Earth Defense Club Love! (may be giving it a second episode, against my better judgement)
- Testament of New Sister Devil (ditto)

I Won't Watch (4) :
- World Break
- Kantai Collection
- Absolute Duo
- Unlimited Fafnir

This is an AWESOME season. Despite having quite a small total number of new shows (and plenty of sequels where reviews are irrelevant), it's got many very good ones that are quite promising, more than I'm used to for a "normal" season. Even a good chunk of the stuff on probation I'm quite positive about. Heck, even the crap is more uninspired and/or poorly executed than actively bad.

(And that's without accounting for the numerous already-airing shows I'm still watching. I continue having fun with the likes of Shirobako, Parasyte, Gundam Build Fighters TRY or Log Horizon 2. This is going to be a very busy season indeed.)
 
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Mengtzu

Another Kill Team...
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I'm not sure Samurai Warriors (the game) actually fabricated any of its female characters, but it is happy to base an elaborate female warrior on a very tenuous historical mention of somebody's daughter or sister. For me that's a positive though you're right that most of them could stand to put on some decent armour.

Likewise while it should be reasonably historically accurate in terms of who was at which battle and which side won, it'll get gonzo within those bounds (as you've seen from the armour). The franchise is a Dynasty Warriors sibling and thus tries to match their gonzo'd up version of the Three Kingdoms period, so its opening bid is already a long way from the historical record.
 

Ikselam

may one day be worthy of your grace
Validated User
Is Sengoku Musou the one in which Masamune Date hex-wields, or am I thinking of Sengoku Basara?

edit: Google to the rescue, I am thinking of Sengoku Basara.
 
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Bull

Professional Game Convention Drunk
Validated User
I can't keep any of these series straight. I also find them to be usually not that interesting, so end up not watching them, so guess taht's ok. :)
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Surprise thread resurrection !
There are a few more shows debuting a bit late over the next few weeks, starting with...



ISUCA
(10 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a supernatural action manga series.

Characters

Shinichiro, our generic male lead. A completely unremarkable high school student. He's even got the mandatory perverted best friend to make him look better.

Sakuya, a classmate of his that goes around shooting shape-shifting nasties with a bow and arrows. Apparently her family has been doing this for many generations. She gets progressively more annoyed as Shinichiro keeps getting in her way. Especially regarding...

Tamako, a catgirl (with a maid outfit in the credits) who is NOT the gigantic feline going around killing students. That's a completely distinct monster, and Sakuya would have executed Tamako by mistake if Shinichiro hadn't jumped to her defense.

The cast list includes an actual character named Isuca, but she's yet to show up (or her significance to be explained).

Production Values

This is from studio Arms, and as usual for them this is borderline softcore porn. The pervert camera is on full force here. Mind you, I'm pretty sure Sakuya getting heavy clothing damage and magically raped during the climactic fight scene were in the source material too.

And of course there's some clumsy censorship for the TV broadcast.

Overall Impression

Remember how I was saying that this season was pretty good, with at worst a few very boring and generic light novel adaptations ? As it turns out, the token creepy fanservice-fest just decided to premiere late. (Not that it really impacts on the season's overall quality.)

Even disregarding the problematic content, this show has very little going for it : the characters are one-dimensional, the basic plot is nothing special and has been done better elsewhere, and the tone is all over the place (going from "comedy" hijinks to gruesome horror and back). Aside from having some relatively decent animation, it's terrible on just about every level.

Really don't bother with this one.
 
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