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[In Which I Review] New anime, Winter 2016

Wolfwood2

Registered User
Validated User
#21
- And of course the asshole who pickpocketed her phone on the train, and arrived late to the operation (with a bemused unrelated perp in tow)
I'm pretty sure the "unrelated perp" is the one who pickpocketed the phone. The asshole saw it happen and exited the train to catch the pickpocket, which is why he's late.
 

Arilou

New member
Banned
#22
(It's apparently called "Norn9" because there are 9 dudes aboard, and somehow the three girls - including Koharu - don't count. Whatever)
I'd assume the guys are the "9" while the girls are the "Norns"? (since well, there's three of them)
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#24
I'm pretty sure the "unrelated perp" is the one who pickpocketed the phone. The asshole saw it happen and exited the train to catch the pickpocket, which is why he's late.
Uh, didn't catch on that. It kinda comforts my opinion that this first episode was way too busy for its own good.



And now, nearly everything else.



Girls Beyond the Wasteland (Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu)
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a visual novel about highschool students producing a visual novel.

Characters

Buntarou, our male lead, is your usual "helps out everyone" aimless high-school student, but at least he's got good banter with his friends. Since this is a VN adaptation, it takes the slow approach of making us spend a lot of time with him just going about his day before the plot finally gets introduced. We do learn that he has some decent writing talent, but moreover he's good at taking charges during crisis and making everyone work together while assuaging egos. All skills that should be invaluable later on.

His close friends include Yuuka, his tomboy childhood friend with a talent for acting, and Atomu, the third wheel who's doomed to fade into the background.

Kuroda is a weird girl who keeps checking him out. After a tense not-date, she eventually reveals she's been scouting him for her VN-making circle. She's very driven about it, viewing it as her future career rather than just something to keep busy during high school. That, er, may be a bit over-optimistic, but hey, this is a wish-fulfilment fantasy.

Production Values

Perfectly okay.

Overall Impression

It's your average "school club" series, basically. Its origin means that it's more interested in setting up the long game than rushing through particularly noteworthy sequences ; as a result, it lacks some punch to really catch the audience's attention.

I'm willing to give it a second episode to see whether it picks up a bit, but as a Thursday show it's facing fierce competition for my time.

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Phantasy Star Online 2 The Animation
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of the MMORPG of the same name. Well, kinda.

Characters

Usually videogame adaptations are set in the game's universe, and follow its plot. Not so here : this is set in a futuristic highschool where PSO2 is the latest big fad.

Itsuki, our protagonist, has never played the game before. He's been too busy with his studies, helping out various clubs, and being generically nice to pay attention to the game everyone else is playing. That's until he's summoned by...

Rina, the student council president. She "offers" him the place of vice-president after it's gone unexpectedly vacant during the holidays. He's all the more bemused when she tells him the whole job is to play PSO2 and report on it. WTF ? Oh, well, sounds easy enough...

Cue every little detail of Itsuki learning to play the game. This includes a huge dude in armour heavy-handedly offering the nOOb some help for his first quest. (It's obviously Rina "in disguise".)

There's another PC/girl watching over the whole thing who's obviously going to be introduced properly next episode.

Production Values

Nice enough, I guess ? I certainly would have liked to study in this futuristic school, given the facilities. (Well, minus the weird paranoid rent-a-cop at the entrance. THAT was just weird as a thing to spend so much time on.)

It does manage to make PSO2 look somewhat cool (if hopelessly generic), so there's that.

Overall Impression

Well, that's certainly a weird adaptation choice. Have the writers given up on imposing structure to a sprawling MMORPG universe, and instead falling back onto well-worn highschool tropes ? This has the unfortunate effect of most of the screentime being devoted to characters telling us that PSO2 is a cool game, instead of actually showing it. Especially as it looks like any other MMORPG, and the narrative destroys any attempt at showcasing its worldbuilding.

As an advert, it feels like a failure. As an actual show... Well, the characters have little depth, the weirdness of the PSO2 craze being the student council's main focus isn't particularly compelling, and it's kinda dull overall. I'll pass.

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I've given up on writing a full review for Divine Gate. This is an adaptation of a smartphone game where characters aligned with six different elements fight against each other. The show makes it darnedest to try and build up my interest into the token plot and make it look visually interesting, but I just don't care. I just can't summon the energy to take interest into whatever is going on here, and the characters certainly aren't appealing enough to carry the show.

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Pandora in the Crimson Shell: Ghost Urn (Koukaku no Pandora)
(12ish episodes ?)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a manga from Masamune Shirow, of Ghost in the Shell fame. Except at the stage of his career where he can indulge into drawing what he's always wanted to : lesbian quasi-porn. This time around, where the ladies have very petite bodies indeed.

Characters

Nene, our protagonist, is a rather naive cyborg who had so much of her body replaced that she's often mistaken for an android. She was on a cruise to wherever, playing videogames, when she caught the attention of...

Uzal, a mad scientist who claims to be fighting whatever is causing those random highly pyrotechnic attacks all around, and "helps" our heroine get to the safety of her lab. It's very obvious well before we get onscreen confirmation that she's gaslighting Nene so that she can become a powerful tool and weapon against her enemies.

Clarion, an android, is Uzal's main underling ; one of the chief reasons Nene goes along is that she finds her cute. Also, a way for Nene to power up (installing new apps that are totally not malware) is for her to put her hand in a cavity in Clarion's crotch and... DAMN YOU SHIROW.

Uzal also has a squad of incompetent underlings in fetishistic outfits (bunny girl, maid, etc.), because of course she does.

Production Values

It's colourful, the action sequences are well-executed without overstaying their welcome, and beyond the obvious there's way less fanservice than you'd expect.

Overall Impression

There are bits here I quite like. Uzal as a Totally Not Evil mad scientist has heaps of charisma. The running gag with the reporter who always gets hit by collateral damage is mildly funny. And it's certainly not boring.

But then you get to the actual premise, and NOPE NOPE NOPE. It doesn't help that every character is so one-dimensional I really don't care what happens to them, or where this is going. The season is way too busy for me to bother hate-watching this.

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DAGASHIKASHI
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a romantic comedy (with a strong emphasis on "comedy") manga series about the heir to a sweets shop.

The title is a pun, by the way ; "Dagashi" are traditional (cheap) Japanese sweets, but it can also be read as "but still...".

Characters

Kokonotsu, our male lead, is the heir to a rural sweets shop, but to his father's despair, he'd rather draw manga instead. Until one day, comes a girl who looks just like one of his drawings...

Hotaru is from that one famous sweets-making dynasty. She's here to headhunt Kokonotsu's father, as the company would really enjoy his expertise. While he appreciates the offer, he does need his son to agree to take over the shop when he's gone. So she takes for her new mission to convince Kokonotsu. A good chunk of the humour comes from the contrast between her headstrong personality and her sheltered upbringing, as this is her first trip to the countryside.

Saya is the barrista at the local coffee shop, and obviously crushing for Kokonotsu. But she's too tsundere to say it outright, and he hasn't picked up the hint. Of course, she takes very badly to Hotaru hovering around him.

Production Values

Decent enough. What makes the show visually distinctive are its character designs, and they mostly work in context.

Overall Impression

This is a perfectly okay romantic comedy. There are some good gags, some bits of awkward pacing at the story skips from a scene to another, and the characters have good chemistry together.

In any other season I'd be gladly enjoying the show. With such a busy schedule and heavy competition ? It may fall into the cracks.

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BBK/BRNK (Bubuki Buranki)
(12ish episodes ?)

What's it about ?

Hmm... An youth adventure series featuring some mecha action. Also, a rare show not adapting anything.

Characters

As a kid, Azuma used to live with his parents and twin sister in a small house in the countryside... with tons of mechas (the "Buranki") lying around, sleeping ominously. Sometimes one of them wakes up ; it's quickly made clear that Mom is some sort of semi-retired superheroine who subdues them and keeps them under control.

While Azuma was a rather quiet and fearful kid, his sister Kaoruko was a bonehead tomboy who kept endangering the both of them. She got it into her head that the Buranki needed to be dealt with definitely, and that by aggressively kickstarting her own powers she could kill them all. This was of course a massively stupid idea, as she wakes them all up at once. The best Mom can do at damage control is to stay behind while she sends off Hubbie and the kids while she stays behind to try and contain the Buranki. And by "off", I mean off the huge space rock the whole sequence has been taking place in, and down to Earth. The impact may have cause some collateral damage.

Cue to 10 years later. Dad and Kaoruko are nowhere to be seen. Mom is the official scapegoat for everything wrong ever, to the point that it's obvious that there's a lot of cover-up going on. Azuma had been roaming the world looking for something, and gets arrested nearly as soon as he puts a foot back in Japan.

Fortunately, he has a bunch of friends (he has not seen in a while) who come to his rescue from the fascist cops. They all have Bubiki, aka "hands of Buranki", aka weird super-weapons with eyes. The issue being that the most elite of their pursuers have better ones.

Production Values

Bless studio Sanzigen (Black Rock Shooter, Arpeggio of Blue Steel...) for keeping trying to make cel-shaded CG animation work on a TV budget. 1/4th of the time here, it doesn't quite work : the body language and the facial animation are a bit awkward. But the rest of the time, it really shines : the action sequences are marvelously kinetic, the scenery has an impressive sense of scale, and the nice colourful designs for characters and weapons really pop. The epic score helps quite a bit, too.

Overall Impression

Wow. This is almost very good, but just shy of it. Not because of the actual plot, which isn't particularly distinctive ; it's all in the energy of the storytelling, and the quality of execution. Which makes it all the worse when there are blips into the uncanny valley. And that's a shame, as it's otherwise quite enthralling (and enough to make be ignore my qualms about the minor plot holes).

I'll be watching a few more episodes, hoping it can keep up its frantic pace for the long run. We'll see.

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Luck & Logic
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

A tie-in to a card game that's coming out in February.

Characters

Monsters are invading the world and through randomly-appearing sky gates and wreaking havoc, so it's up to special warriors to fight them. Specifically, the few teenagers with enough inborn Logic to be able to contract with the Goddesses and combine with them to fight off the nasties. The mechanics of which sound suspiciously like adaptations of the card game's rules.

By now, the process is well organized, with prospective fighters being "invited" by a government agency to help out, whether they want it or not. As exemplified by one Yukari.

Half the episode is spent on the local squad of three (leader/pointer/sharpshooter) and their goddesses as they fight off a few critters. Until they get out of their depth and require the involvement of...

Yoshichika, our protagonist, who used to be an elite warrior until he crashed and burned two years ago. While he's promised his younger sister that he'll be a good, prudent little NPC now, he's obviously not over his past career, and still has a bit of a hero complex.

Athena, the Goddess who went to the trouble of finding his long-lost Player Card, and thus allows him to contract with her. Cue ass-kicking, and awkward meeting with the current team. (The higher ups are delighted about his rejoining, of course ; they need the help.)

We have brief snippets of the usual genre clichés : other warriors who seem to work against our heroes, corrupt higher-ups, our two leads having to live in the same room at HQ...

Production Values

Quite nice indeed. The battle sequences look good and fluid, the dayglo aesthetics are nice to the eye, and the whole thing is quite well paced.

Overall Impression

Ah. This is a show that's perfectly competent at what it's doing, with more flair than most of its genre... but it offers exactly nothing I'm interested in. Well executed and quite pleasant overall, but there's literally nothing here to make me come back next week.

But if you have any interest in the genre, do go for it ; it's a nice example for it.
 

Albertorius

Registered User
Validated User
#25
The only reason I won't take you on your offer... is that I'm planning on starting an "All of Macross" marathon very soon. (Basically, as soon as I'm done with this season review and the few instalments of my Gundam threads I have left on my plate.) That's better, ain't it ? :p
That would also be very interesting, yeah ^_^
 

Quasar

Feeling kinda smurfy
Validated User
#26
Overall Impression

I expected this to be very good, as a premise so off the beaten path (adult characters, in the 1970s, and all about the beauty and joy of acting) doesn't get adapted to anime without strong source material and a will to convey it properly. I didn't expect it to be THIS good and enthralling, to the point that it took me a while to notice how long the first episode was.

By the way, this length was the right choice to start off the adaptation. Not only does it carry the story towards a stronger catharsis, but it also gives ample room to have the characters actually perform rakugo, and show off how awesome a spectacle it can be. Yotaro gets to perform a full "Burglar Goes Straight" routine, and it's never boring. Ditto for Yakumo's "Vengeful Woman" skit. (And if the choice of those pieces feels a bit on-the-nose... Well, that's obviously on purpose from the characters themselves, who put a lot of themselves into their performances and often have a point to make. Ditto for Yakumo's offscreen performance of a "scare 'em straight" piece in prison, of course.)

This is one of the strongest starts for a show this season, with a depth, a heart and sheer quality of execution that's to a whole other level compared to nearly everything else. I want to see more of these fascinating, pluridimensional characters and their struggle against the impeding death of their chosen artform, so I will definitely watch this to the end.
I loved it too. I kind of wonder what network accepted a double episode timeslot for a show like this. And how it was funded...I kind of expect it to crater like Aku no Hana did in terms of disc sales. Certainly I see little in the way of merch opportunities.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#27
I loved it too. I kind of wonder what network accepted a double episode timeslot for a show like this. And how it was funded...I kind of expect it to crater like Aku no Hana did in terms of disc sales. Certainly I see little in the way of merch opportunities.
According to what little information I can gather, this first episode was originally released as two OVAs, bundled with recent manga volumes. The sales must have been good enough to greenlight a full series.




Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R
(12 episodes)

What's it about ?

Komugi started her life as a minor (if colourful) side-character in Soultaker, a 2001 anime series mostly notable as an early example of Akiyuki Shinbo developping what would become his signature style. (As a Shinbo fan, I loved it, but it's a convoluted multiple-conspiracy paranoia-fest that often ends up lost into its own ass, and thus a bit of an acquired taste.)

In the following years, studio Tatsunoko inexplicably released a few OVAs starring Komugi (maybe the merchandise sales for her were strong or something), without Shinbo (now off to transform SHAFT into what it's today), and recasting her as an actual magical girl. (In Soultaker, she was a looney experiment who behaved like a magical girl. It's the contrast with everything else that made the joke work.) Some of the wider ST cast got randomly converted into supporting roles, with way too many inside jokes for the show's own good. The end result was a parody of the genre which just wasn't very funny.

And now, more than a decade later, for some unfathomable reason, we've got yet another retool of the concept, starting with the origin story. Can they make it work this time around ?

Characters

Komugi is now just an ordinary energetic middle-school girl, with a barely burgeonning idol career on the side. (As in, she's doing advertising outside local shops, and her fanbase are those three old dudes.) She keeps dreaming about hitting the big time, though.

Kokona, her best friend, is arguably close to there. She's PERFECT at everything at school, the student council president, has a decent idol career, and has even branched out into acting recently. She's super-nice, too.

Usa-P is a weird critter stalking Komugi and coercing her into becoming a magical girl. He's obnoxious and kinda creepy, of course.

The supporting cast is kinda big, between Komugi's family, the people at the girls' talent agency, their classmates, the two other critters who are obviously going to power Kokona and another girl up too... as a result, none of them rise above being one-dimensionally generic.

Production Values

Okay, I guess. At least the fanservice levels are positively subdued.

Overall Impression

Oh, dear gods. They've somehow managed to make it even worse. It's blander and less energetic. In an effort to map more closely to actual magical girl shows' structure, it's become tedious and boring. It doesn't even have the weirdness of the bizarre Soultaker cameos (which admittedly nobody would get now), instead replacing them with more generic Tatsunoko sight gags (which aren't particularly funny either).

It's terrible on every level. The jokes are beyond trite, and sparse on the ground. But it's too self-aware to work as an actual magical girl show, either. And it's just not funny, which is the worse sin a parody can commit.

Stay well away from this one.
 

redwulf25_ci

Clown Pope of Wushu
Validated User
#28
I'd assume the guys are the "9" while the girls are the "Norns"? (since well, there's three of them)
It appears to b the Norn Project (That's the impression I got from one of the computer screens) so my thought was that there would be nine people who were on board with the program and three secret traitors trying to sabotage things.
 

Shay Guy

Registered User
Validated User
#30
Sculpture Boys (Sekkou Boys) is an original concept about a bunch of male idols... Well, the first episode is mostly focused on their new manager, just fresh out of art college. With not much artistic talent, and completely burned out of painting sculpture after sculpture after sculpture, she moved on to a field where she would only deal with actual people. Or so she thinks, as her new charges are... a quatuor of classical busts. Talking (and presumably singing) busts. (After all, as the agency's president says, there's no danger of them sleeping around, so that's one less headache to deal with compared to "normal" idols.)

The premise is patently absurd, but the show manage to sell it by ignoring the actual title characters for most of the episode, and instead building to the manager's inevitable freakout. Even if you're aware of what the series is about beforehand, the joke is so well-paced that it still works. I'm not sure there's 12 (even short) episodes of material here, but I'm willing to give it a try.
This one reunites much of the staff of the Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches anime. Including the head writer, whose comedy chops you've commented on before, so it's no surprise that it's funny.
 
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