Posted by psgels on 11 April 2014 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Knights of Sidonia

Short Synopsis: Our lead character has special mecha-piloting powers
Knights of Sidonia is made fully in 3D CG. At one point, quite early in the episode, the main characters breaks two of his fingers, and DAMN, that looked painful. That’s actually one of the first times that CG animation managed to elicit that. Oh, the CG still looks weird, but I can see some definite improvements over previous series. The length of each cut for example is shortened drastically when compared to other CG shows, and that really helps things from not looking as awkward as what they could have been. Really: as far as CG goes: I have seen much, much worse. Everything added together, Knights of Sidonia is actually quite good at its atmosphere: bleak and tense through the entire episode. It’s also got a very good soundtrack to back this up. It’s got some nice ideas laying around, (although it does have one shot of really pointless fanservice). I want to learn more about this series, it dropped a few hints to some very nice ideas about what life in the very distant future would be like. I want this show to explore that.
OP: Actually a good OP that a show like this deserves.
ED: A bit poppy, but it does carry the atmosphere of the episode further.
Potential: 80%

Nanaka’s Buried Treasure

Short Synopsis: Our lead character moves into a new school.
I only lasted half an episode here. I mean, this show does not feel like Noitanima at all, it’s just a bland teen rom-com with very annoying characters. Especially the male lead is bad, his dirty mind was really painful to watch, and he just kept finding new ways to annoy me. I was already afraid that this would happen, but there have been veeery few Noitamina series that were this bland and annoying to watch at the start. There might be a heart-warming story behind this, however I don’t want to watch that while being annoyed by these dumb teenagers.
OP: Bland
ED: Boring
Potential: 40%

Ping Pong

Short Synopsis: Our lead character plays table tennis.
Yeah, this is something different entiely. It’s without a doubt the series with the best animatiom of the season. Movements here are wild and vivid, like we’ve come to expect from Masaaki Yuasa. The big question though, was whether he could do something with a topic as Ping Pong. And well, first of all let me say that this episode was very different from his other first episodes. However, it was still really good in capturing its characters. Everything felt life-like, thanks to the animation, but also the dialogue and the way in which the characters talk about each other: it really shapes them and painted a very detailed picture about them in just one episode. It’s funny when it needs to be, and it doesn’t try too hard when doing so. Plus, it also knows how to keep you hungry for more. The drama also really worked, and everything here just feels very authentic. This probably won’t be the next Kaiba, but nevertheless it’s a ridiculously solid character study as expected from a few master storytellers.
OP: Yeah, this OP is awesome. Great idea and if it weren’t for Mushishi it would have easily made the best OP of the season.
ED: Absolutely gorgeous! Really if Mushishi didn’t return with the best ED ever made, this again would have easily made the best ED of the season.
Potential: 100%

17 Responses

  1. Vawn says:

    Masaaki Yuasa + Taiyo Matsumoto is a match made in heaven. Only gripe was the minor CG near the start of the episode and I didn’t particularly like the opening. Everything else was superb. I can’t wait to see what else the series has to offer.

    • Puran says:

      There was CG all over the place (for environments), but yeah the first shot where the characters were CG was a tad offputing (although I have to say it was generally well done). I’m guessing he wants to have some sort of scene later on with a lot of camera movement, henec why they bothered to make CG versions of the characters.

      • Scruffy says:

        The thing is done entirely in CG and really it’s done pretty well. The only time I felt it was a little clumsy was when the captain gave our hero a hug. Somehow the movement was a little off. The lighting is a little harsh but I think it emphasizes fairly well that they are not under a natural sun.

        The fanservice scene was not entirely unnecessary. You will see a lot of comments later about guys asking girls to go ‘photosynthesizing’ with them … which basically involves being naked under intense lights. In the origional manga that scene was much more fanservicy with the lead accidently stumbling into the room and getting his nose broken as a result.

  2. Eric says:

    Glad I wasn’t the only one excited about this series! Loved the first episode too :D

    And I do agree that the soundtrack in this show is 2nd only to mushishi

  3. Kiavik says:

    Dude, you know this anime is an adaptation, right? It’s not all Yuasa here.

    • JaK says:

      he definitely doesn’t :P (for psgels : the mangaka is known for psychological manga’s and this is one of his best works)

      • Eric says:

        He’s aware of it. I believe in his spring preview he mentioned that he enjoyed Tekkonkinkreet who was written by Taiyo Matsumoto as well, and that that was another reason to be excited for the show.

    • Eric says:

      He’s aware of that. I believe in his spring preview he mentioned that he enjoyed Tekkonkinkreet who was written by Taiyo Matsumoto as well, and that that was another reason to be excited for the show.

  4. Winter Season 2014 Preview says:

    Loved it. Definitely understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea though.

  5. BigFire says:

    It helps that I speaks Mandarin so I can skip that part of the subtitle. Yep, this is definitely one of the show I’m watching this season.

  6. petitorenji says:

    worked on by Studio 4C ppl?
    loved how crisp the animation is for multiple ppl moving at diff rates

  7. tamerlane says:

    yuasa suuuuuux but surprisingly this didnt! showed more attention to mood and tone in this episode than any other yuasa show did in their entire runs, so that’s promising

  8. Akikaze says:

    “The big question though, was whether he could do something with a topic as Ping Pong.” I hope you meant from the animation front, cause this is an adaptation and the manga is known to be great.
    This is one of those cases where I feel the mangaka just does not receive the appreciation he deserves, Taiyou Matsumoto is after all a critically acclaimed mangaka, with plenty of amazing manga produced.

    Anyway, I love both Yuasa and Matsumoto’s works, so yeah, this should probably be great.

  9. ebisu says:

    About Sidonia, that wasn’t an entirely pointless shot of fanservice (I thought the same at the beginning). That was showing you the photosynthesis room for the women. Though I would have prefered seeing the one for the intersex :P

  10. dpulver says:

    Loved Sidonia – that was great, brimming with interesting hard SF ideas, politics, and promise of good action as well.

  11. Bam says:

    I also think the CGI for Sidonia worked better than I expected. Some of the more detailed cellshaded segments and backgrounds were actually very stylish and it was one of few CGIs that imitated regular anime style and movement correctly.
    The framerate drops in some specific scenes are pretty jarring tho …

  12. Arno says:

    Sidonia looks great technically but I have doubts, considering how Gargantia turned out last year.

    We already have the boy coming from elsewhere and driving a mecha, the floating colony and a girl who takes care of the boy, grossly out of place fanservice and the totally unnecessary transgenders, and ridiculous monsters with tentacles.

    And politics which might reveal something about the origin of those monsters… And… maybe the boy will eventually change his mind about the war too…

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  • ratsgnoF
    (Tuesday, Jun 30. 2015 07:27 AM)
    @Emma I agree. When you look back, teenagers are retarded and do a lot of stupid stuff.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Jun 30. 2015 01:51 AM)
    @ak184: Sporadically mildly entertaining with an enjoyable final stretch. Though at times I found myself falling in and out with the series.
    @Aidan: I would be more than happy to read your yahari review.
    @RatsgnoF: Looking back at being a teenager, I can’t say that moment of a persons life isn’t free of melodrama.
  • ak184
    (Monday, Jun 29. 2015 11:53 PM)
    Out of curiosity, for those who were watching it, what did you all thought of jojo stardust crusaders? Now that it has recently ended
  • ratsgnoF
    (Monday, Jun 29. 2015 05:35 PM)
    IMO I think that emphasizes how important their relationships are with each other. It shows how the characters have developed and change. They’re very vocal about how they feel and what they want. To the point where it would seem melodramatic.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jun 29. 2015 03:17 PM)
    @Emma, I never disliked the movie. And I do think it did that archer vs Shirou fight much better. But the problem with it is that it basically removes coherency from the story. People would just be downright confused watching it if they have no knowledge. The movie is pretty much fan service.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Jun 29. 2015 03:13 PM)
    I was actually thinking of writing up a Yahari review. Overall I enjoyed it but I felt that it got far too melodramatic at points over relatively little. It just felt like the characters where making mountains out of molehills.
  • ratsgnoF
    (Monday, Jun 29. 2015 07:59 AM)
    That exactly why it’s so good. It’s not very cliche like most animes. The characters themselves have very interesting personalities. Personalities that are actually unique. Not those personalities that every main lead has. Very cliched anime is bad. I can literally predict what happens next watching it the first time. Seeing those 3 interact and struggle is very enjoyable It’s kinda down to earth in a way.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Jun 29. 2015 07:02 AM)
    I think, watching Yahari, that its time I stopped bashing the “Too many teenagers thing in anime”, better to make the teenage characters we get actually interesting people.
  • ratsgnoF
    (Monday, Jun 29. 2015 06:57 AM)
    If they do plan a season 3, it probably won’t be out for about a year or two. The last 2 episodes were adapted from volume 11 which was released 5 days ago.
  • Emma
    (Monday, Jun 29. 2015 06:48 AM)
    That final episode of Yahari’s second season pretty much left me saying “Season 3 where and now”
    And “You can’t end this here”.

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