Posted on 31 October 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, Subete ga F ni Naru

The plot thickens as we are given a little more insight into Dr Magatas room. In this episode we learn quite a few things. That in Magata’s room she has a robot called Michiru which seems to be built with the sole purpose of imitating Magatas voice and to lock the door, and that Dr Magata suffered from DID.(Dissociative Identity Disorder) However I find myself wondering if her case of multiple personalities is genuine as she seems to be far too much in control of it. If anything it looks more like she invented her other personalities as a means of dealing with loneliness. This episode makes clear that none of Magatas other personalities were involved with her parents murder and states that the only one who could kill them was her core personality. However she claims that a doll killed her parents which according to the main characters could suggest that Magata did kill her parents but was forced to by someone else. Other interesting facts was Magatas messages on her computer which suggest that she knew that she was going to die. In murder mystery, usually everything introduced is in someway related to the murder and this one certainly makes it hard to connect the dots. But allow me to speculate a little. There is heavy focus on the director’s relationship with Dr Magata so it’s clear that is related to all this.

The easy explanation would be that the director killed Magata and that would clear up some issues. After all the director has the most access to the facility and from Magata knowing she was going to be killed, she would be more willing to accept it if it was someone she loved that was ending her life. Her interview with Moe would also factor into this as maybe she felt a connection to someone who was also in love with an older man. But if the Director killed Magata, then who killed the Director? Again, a easy assumption but it could have been his wife. Having learned about there relationship she might not have taken to kindly to it and killed the Director. There is a certain disconnect between the two murders. The first was clearly very calculated, and yet the second looked more like a impulse murder with a simple stabbing. But the directors wife lacks the screen time to consider her major factor. But another question is on my mind, is Magata truly dead? The show itself seems reluctant to have the characters examine her body as Moe was interrupted by Souhei before she could get a close look. The first to pronounce her dead, the doctor, did it rather suddenly. He was strangely not put off by the situation and straight away when to check her Pulse. It’s potentially possible that he was told to lie. Who knows, maybe Dr Magata is actually hiding inside the Robot, pretending to be an AI? Well alright, that’s rather ridiculous.

I rather liked Moe’s reaction to the dead bodies. Often in murder mystery the actual effect of death on people is played down so as to not let the drama effect the puzzle of the murder. Still here we have Moe attempting to brush off her shaken up nature and attempt to play detective. Yet her feelings are clear to everyone present. I still find the lack of character development on the others to be detrimental as I want to start pointing fingers but can’t really do that if the side characters have no characterization as of yet. There is also a issue with the shows rather bland presentation as while trying to find screenshots for this episode I found it difficult. While the shows substance is excellent and intriguing, I find that there doesn’t seem to be an effort to make it visually interesting. Counters to that claim would be that dream sequence at the end of this episode or some of the other more surreal moments. But other than these moments it just feels very…static. Though to the animators credit, there is only so much one can do with a story that has characters primarily talking in a room and not much else. But perhaps use of more visual metaphor could make things more dramatic though that runs the risk of ruining the mood of the scene. I may complain about that but I must admit to loving this series, nothing quite gets my brain working on all cylinders like a good murder mystery. Come up with a theory, watch it get shot down, come up with another one. That’s what makes these kinds of stories special.

Posted on 28 October 2015 with categories: Currently Watching:, One Punch Man

I feel there are certain anime that upon watching the first episodes, you know that it will be something you are going to remember. This may be far too soon to say but the first two episodes of One Punch Man give me that exact feeling. The whole way through this episode I had a dumb smile on my face and eyes glued to the screen. Saitama using all his godlike power to try and swat a mosquito had me laughing very hard and the action scenes are simply beautiful. I am not the only one with high expectations of One Punch Man as many are hyping it up and claiming it will be the next western breakout hit like Attack on Titan. I acknowledge that could be possible seeing the superhero movie boom is still going strong and One Punch Man is a very western styled show. Of course the cynic within me is still holding back my excitement as I have long seen many anime fall from grace at the halfway point but the source material is strong as well as the studio so the chances of them messing up is quite slim.

One particularly interesting aspect is this show’s tendency to use high profile voice actors for one time roles. The very first villain, Vaccine man, was voiced by the voice actor known for playing Frieza from Dragonball Z and the mosquito girl in this episode was voiced by Miyuki Sawashiro, another great voice actor. The animation seems to be going for fluidity over artistic consistently which does mean that the art gets worst during fights but there is a lot more dynamic movement to make up for it. There are still shortcuts such as Saitama’s punches thrown at the lion king but for once we may have a anime where the best animated action isn’t in the anime opening. As for comedy we have a interesting factor going on. Jokes in the manga that were not that funny work brilliantly in the anime, yet jokes that were hilarious in the manga are lesser in the anime. One particular example is with the mantus enemy, in the manga this guy jumps through the wall and before he can finish introducing himself gets instantly destroyed by Saitama. However in the anime, right before he’s punched they added this “Huh?” and a delay before he’s killed which makes the punchline less funny. It’s small and doesn’t ruin the joke but the change does affect the humor. This extending of jokes is in other examples as well but quite honestly it’s nitpicking.

There is the question of whether Madhouse can keep up the high level of animation from the shows entire run as episode 4 does show signs of the quality slipping. That said it could just be a matter of that episode being given less attention is it is the weakest by far out of the four. Out of criticisms of the show so far the main complaint is that it’s rather formulaic. True at the moment it does seem to be following a monster of the week format but having read the manga I can say this evolves more into an ongoing plot before it gets tiresome. The next episode looks to adapt one of the highlight fights of the series so Madhouse better pull out all the stops.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Subete ga F ni Naru

Subete certainly isn’t rushing anywhere and that’s alright. The first two episodes looked to be setting up the closed circle and the third a closed room murder. What I like is that we are being clued in on the facts while the characters are so there aren’t any aspects like with Ranpo or Sako were the detective suddenly breaks the Knox commandments and presents evidence that was withheld from the viewer. We already have good ingredients here to ponder. We have two bodies, Dr Magata who had her legs and arms Amputated and was placed on a robot torolly. And the director who was murdered with a knife in the helicopter. Dr Magata was murdered in room that has only one entrance and exit. In the day she was murdered, no one entered or exited her room besides her corpse and The teacher confirmed that only the corpse exited the room and no one else slipped out during the confusion. The system had been programmed to mess up at that exact moment and that system was programmed by Dr Magata herself. Dr Magata herself was also in an adult relationship with the director despite being underage. On top of that there is a clear connection to the murder of Magatas parents 14 years ago which resulted in her getting detained here and this current murder. The pieces are fragmented but allow for speculation, this ladies and gents is true murder mystery. The difference between this and the quick fire no thought required mysteries of other shows is in just how much intelligent writing and misdirection is required to make it work. Because if at any point the author provides too much and gives away the payoff then the story is ruined. It requires a steady stream of information, never revealing the full hand. The big minus of these kind of stories however  is in how they can really only be experienced once as on a rewatch you know all the answers. Still as a great mystery writer Ryoukishi wrote “Tales can be enjoyed twice. First you love them. Then you tear out their guts.”

At the moment my issue with this show is that we haven’t been given much of an introduction to the side characters. Our mains have been given plenty of attention but without much detail on the others on the island it’s difficult to draw up suspects to the murders. I would like the next episodes to flesh out the motives and personalities of the others on the island. Particularly Dr Magatas sister who I currently think is integral to this entire mystery. Our main duo continues to have great chemistry and play off each other wonderfully. What I particularly like is how both of them are on the same level. There is no Watson in these two, both act as blacksmith’s tempering each other’s blades. Whenever one goes along the wrong line of thought the other counters and shows them how they are wrong. It’s a far more interesting power dynamic than having a Watson for Sherlock to explain his thoughts and show how brilliant a detective he is. The method in this show shows what the detectives are thinking while developing their characters and most importantly, showing that they are not all knowing gods of logic. What we have here is two very smart individuals trying to put together a fragmented puzzle and that’s just the way I like it. What is needed for the next episodes is clear, more information, more murders and more character development. Build on the foundation and at the right moment let it all come together in a giant payoff. The factor which will ultimately decide the final quality of Subete ga F ni Naru.

Posted on with categories: Currently Watching:, Young Blackjack

Sorry for the lack of updates but I was hit with a sudden nasty case of Kidney stones which left me in hospital for a few days. I had a Keyhole surgery which left me not in the best shape for a week so I can’t say I was in the right mood to blog. Details of said operation would likely make you cringe and cross your legs if you happen to be a guy. Needless to say I was glad to be knocked out for the procedure. So now it’s time to play catch up.

Blackjack continues to be a solid show. The show does lack subtlety however as characters tend to act in over exaggerated manners and everything is placed in your face. That said it might not need it. The stories themselves are interesting in their own right and the over the top nature tends to lighten up some otherwise deathly serious situations. But what I find to be its most interesting aspect is the moral dilemmas Blackjack faces. Episode 3 in particular is a perfect example of how just because a person is technically doing the right thing, does not mean they are not a terrible person. It really begs the question that if the right thing is being done for the wrong reasons, is it is a good deed? The characters themselves seemed a bit too much of a strawman but I liked the dilemma they placed on Blackjack. Both seemed unwilling to put there own neck in a noose to save a life but when it came to Blackjack they were essentially morally blackmailing him. They forcibly got him involved and placed him in a situation where he must put his profession at stake, all the while demonizing him as if he doesn’t help this deserter then the man would most certainly die. The female student is a perfect example of someone using the moral high ground to inflate their own self worth and ego. A kind of person seen all too often in the planes of the internet.

Placing it during the Vietnam war was also master move as it puts Blackjack in one of the most perilous situations for a doctor to be in. I am honestly surprised with how the series is handling the drug addict doctor’s character. Most of the time this kind of character is a walking moral life lesson to not do drugs, yet he’s actually one of the more morally upstanding characters in the show. Using his experiences with past mistakes to help keep Blackjack on the right path. He also acts as a good trigger to place Blackjack in the hotspot of the Vietnam war with his attempt at redemption. There are the moments of old school such as the old “Oh my god, look at him being so amazing” inner monologues but I really like where this is going and so far Blackjack is delivering on a fairly unique experience.

Posted on 23 October 2015 with categories: Game Reviews

So at a time when when Konami is busy burning every famous gaming franchise it has to the ground and trying to mould the ashes into pachinko machines, I thought now would be a good time to take a look at a Konami title that’s been on my backlog for a while. Suikoden is a turn based RPG with parties of six with 108 recruitable characters. The story is somewhat based on a Chinese novel called “Shui Hu Zhuan” by Shi Naian.

 

The plot details the son of a General in a corrupt empire who is pushed into joining the Liberation rebel army after the court Magician targets his best friend. His friend turns out to be a be a person who has been living for 300 years guarding a powerful rune the Magician wants called the soul eater. Before he’s captured, he entrusts the Rune to you and thus the tale begins to build up the Liberation army, rescue your friend and overthrow the evil empire. The biggest problem with the story is with how weak the villain is. The Imperial army is just obnoxiously evil as many people in it don’t see anything wrong with their obviously wrong actions. Its more moronic than evil in that regard because at least a villain like the Joker from Batman doesn’t try to justify things with logic like “That orphanage attacked me first!”. There are other soldiers who are evil because of a magic black rune but that excuse is just as weak. Windy the Court Magician acts as the main antagonist but her motivations come down to wanting the Rune so she can destroy the world. Near the end of the game her backstory is revealed that people burned down her home and she just wants revenge but for a woman who’s been living hundreds of years that motive is just petty. She doesn’t end up being the last boss, the last boss actually being the king who seems a lot more complex but only gets two scenes in the entire game. A majority of the games story has you traveling to lands to gain new allies and a strange formula happens. Almost every single time you go to ask someone to join, they refuse you saying they don’t want to get involved. Almost immediately after the imperial army shows up and gives them a reason to join. Examples include, a teacher doesn’t want to become your military strategist but when the army show up and take his students hostage to force him to work for them. After rescuing the kids, he joins you. A doctor doesn’t want to become involved but then a General takes him prisoner, you need to rescue him and he joins you then. Or you try to recruit a officer from their army, he says no and at that moment a higher ranking officer tries to rape his wife for his own amusement. Quite honestly its like these guys are trying to help you in their own way and your army builds up from the number of people they tick off. The elephant in the room is why is it that the imperial army never attacks your base because it’s clear that everyone knows about it seeing as every person you recruit goes to it without direction.

 

Suikoden’s game changer for the genre is the ridiculous amount of playable characters and to get a good ending you have to collect them all. It’s because of this I recommend a guide as its easy to just miss one of these guys. There are points where you can get one killed and doom yourself to a bad ending. The large amount of characters does lead to a problem of too much quantity as a majority of them whom you recruit, you will just toss them into the castle to never be used and use only a select few. The only time this changes is when the game forces you to use other characters which can be pace breaking as you are forced to return to the castle and put a character in your party just so you can advance through the story. Your castle headquarters is a great touch as its nice to see it grow as you collect more characters. The characters personalities are fairly one note and don’t really develop much beyond that. One of the most notable characters in the game, Mathiu, is more or less the high point of characterization and mainly because he’s a non playable character you deal with the most. One major problem with the game is one that you can see in the screenshots. Even by PSX standards this isn’t a pretty game, it’s at Super Nintendo standards at best and even that had more alive environments. The area’s are drab and basic, some bordering on ugly. Controlling your character through these places is stiff as you cannot move diagonally and feels restricting. Luckily areas are often very short and you can get through them very quickly.

 

The battle system is pretty standard. You have attack, items, defend and magic. There’s also a unite option that when certain party members are together you can do combination attack like in Chrono Trigger. Magic doesn’t have MP but instead you can only use certain spells a certain number of times. You spell uses come back once resting at an inn and as you level up you get new uses and new spells. Things which really help are the options to bribe enemies and set everyone to attack which makes random battles go by so much faster. It’s a simple but satisfying system. Levelling up in the game is rapid as there are a large cast of playable characters. This makes it easy to get low level characters up to a respectable level as having them in a party in a high level dungeon can have them around the same level as the other characters within a few battles. The mechanics of the game are fairly solid but there are a number of small counter intuitive things that prevent it from being great. For one at the beginning of the game you cannot run. You are forced to walk everywhere and you will only be able to run once one character of your party has a holy Rune equipped. That will allow you to run in towns and areas. However to run on the world map you need a true holy Rune. The Holy Rune can only be got a third into the game and True holy Rune is only on a Character called Stallion. You will pretty much need this Rune the entire game but it means that one member of your party must always have it equipped. There is only one Rune slot per character so that means that character will not be able to use magic or other beneficial runes. The Holy Rune only provides the benefit of dashing and nothing else. When that character is forcefully removed from your party, its back to walking everywhere again. On the matter of runes you can only equip runes at runemaster shops which are in some places and not in others. What this means is that you could have to travel to one town to smith your weapons and then walk all the way to another one to equip runes.

 

Another problem is equipment where each of your six characters can carry a number of items but in order to equip something it needs to be in that character’s inventory which leads to annoyance as you are forced to trade items between characters and make room so you can equip them with the right armour. Considering that you will be getting new characters a lot, you will be fumbling around these menus quite often. Many irritations are solved as you progress and collect characters such as unlocking a world map that lists towns and areas when you recruit a map maker or all the shops being in one area in your castle when you recruit blacksmiths and shopkeepers. But these conveniences only come in the later and till then you will have to deal with numerous annoyances and even when you do get everything some of the things don’t quite go away. For example you will go through this routine a number of times when you return to your castle, first you change characters and for that you need to go to the fourth floor of the castle, talk to someone and remove and add party members, then you go to the vault on the third floor to store items in your inventory to make room for new ones, then go to the second floor to the blacksmiths were you sharpen your weapons. Not enough money? Well then go to the gambler on the first floor and make easy cash. Then go to the first floor, buy equipment and items, move around and equip purchases, go to the runemaster and equip runes and the go to the inn, rest and save. Finally you go to the basement and teleport back into the field. You do most of this every single time you go back to your castle and there’s loading between each floor. This eats away a large amount of your time.

 

The game throws in small changes with army battles and one on one battles, both which boil down to rock,paper,scissors rules. They don’t add much other than dramatic flair but it’s still nice to have something to break up the RPG battles. Music is not really notable, one or two tunes might stick in your mind but nothing that would make you nostalgic in later years. There is a rather odd quirk with the sound however as I noticed that they somehow thought that using a elephant roar sound for a dragon’s roar would go unnoticed and believe me it does not go unnoticed. I had to do a double take when I heard that unsuitable roar the first time. It’s even stranger because the final endboss has a dragon roar that’s normal and why is it they couldn’t use that? The final verdict is a pretty good RPG held down by unintuitive mechanics, lacklustre graphics and a weak story.

Posted on 12 October 2015 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Subete ga F ni Naru

Short Synopsis: A group of people decide to visit an enigmatic genius girl living on a isolated island.

It’s a little odd to give this episode such high potential when on examination not a lot happened in it. In fact, nothing really happened in it. It was just a series of conversations between our main characters. Still for the duration of this episode I was completely spellbound. Our characters all seem quite interesting as Souhei seems like a man you would never get bored talking to, Shiki comes across as otherworldly and mysterious and Moe has a distinctive observation skills that will no doubt come to play later. Though Moe’s rather obvious attempts to catch the romantic  attention of Souhei are a little detrimental to the atmosphere but she does have good chemistry with him. This looks to be perfect for the style of mystery coming as with just ordinary conversation they can grab your full attention easily. CGI cars excluded the animation looks great and this really looks to be a return to form for a noitamina block of fuji Tv which looked to be going for shows with a more teen demographic instead of mature shows such as this. Admittedly some of the dialogue bushes on being pretentious but this show does present itself as being truly adult in nature. Once the plot really gets moving I think this show could become a great piece of entertainment and food for those like their anime with some sophistication.

Potential: 90%

 

Valkyrie Drive: Mermaid

Short Synopsis: A girl is kidnapped and sent to an island where girls use other girls as weapons by “turning them on”

This was a fascinating watch for me in ways unintended of it’s design. For you see as Valkyrie drive attempted to catch my attention with action and fanservice so blatant that you would wonder why they simply didn’t just go all the way and make it a hentai, I was concerning myself with questions about its setting. For example who decided that the best way of transporting girls to this island would be to jet them though a force field on some kind of rocket vehicle that is destroyed on impact and leaves the girls drifting unconscious in the water? Isn’t that a massive waste of funds to have to destroy one of these likely expensive vehicles every time they want to send a girl to the island? Wouldn’t most of the girls drown before being beached on the shore? Are girls send in pairs of weapon and wielder and who decides which is which? Who was the idiot that decided the weapons need to be activated through sexual foreplay? Why is it that only women can activate these weapons? Meanwhile as I think these questions, Valkyrie drive responds with a “Who cares about that, instead look at these boobies!” to which I reply “I haven’t seen mammaries that grotesque since Clotho from God of War 2.” There really is something wrong with the proportions of these girls that makes them visually alien. This is an experience, to watch a show that’s trying it’s darnedest to erotically entice and yet fail to get the slightest reaction from me. It’s like I am playing Bayonetta all over again, except without the great gameplay. As for story it’s basically along the lines of what you would expect but I really do need to make a point that they are pushing for the fanservice on this one. At one point they brought in a opponent who had a BDSM slave for a weapon and I really didn’t want it to go there but it unfortunately did. One of our main characters is a silent protagonist which outside of RPGs really is an off putting to see in animation. This girl can talk but in situations where talking would help greatly she stays silent. I guess if you want something for other purposes this might be your thing but frankly there are better alternatives. Not recommended.

Potential: 0%

 

Garo: Guren no Tsuki

Short Synopsis: A armoured man fights horrific spirits that possess people.

Somethings not selling me of this. Maybe it’s the similarity to Shingeki no Bahamut: Genesis as the artstyle of the characters are alike and it is the same studio or maybe it’s because this turned out to be a lot less seinien than I expected. In fact you know what this reminded me of? A Tokusatsu show sure enough the live action Garo tv show is indeed a Tokusatsu show. I can’t say much for Tokusatsu shows as I simply don’t have enough experience with them to form a concrete opinion but I believe I went into this show with the wrong expectations. Which could explain why I wasn’t too impressed with the show. The setting is nice but the feel of the story just feels half baked and far too simplistic. One particular thing I noted was that in the beginning the heroes only jumped in after the monsters had devoured all the people and the villain of the episode mainly became a villain because he was mocked but by one of the female heroes which really doesn’t make me want to root for them. The heroes as well don’t have much in lines of personality. I fear this show may become too formulaic and just doesn’t mesh well with me on a personal level. My recommendation is to just watch the episode yourself and decide if you would like to continue with it or not as I find this may be a case of a show just not being to my taste.

Potential: 30%

Posted on 11 October 2015 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Hidan No Aria AA

Short Synopsis: A fangirl wants to be a sidekick to a Detective who does no Detectiving

That was one of the most stupid things I have seen in quite some time. I took me a while to remember just how illogical the setting of Hidan no Aria is. Armoured detectives who don’t do anything related to be being an actual detective, bullet proof sailor uniforms that leave the lower body unprotected, a school dedicated to teaching kids in firearms and using them as a swat team…every aspect of this makes one wonder just how the writer couldn’t see how utterly dumb everything is. You could say it’s intentionally not taking itself seriously but the story presents itself with far too much sincerity. The animators and artists are clearly not putting there A game into this, nor should they. For anyone should have been able to tell that this was just a bankrupt concept. Actually it’s worse than that, it’s a spinoff to a bankrupt concept. Yes, this series isn’t a genuine sequel but rather a spinoff of the likes of the Railgun series is to the Index series. The male lead of the first season is barely present while the focus shifts to Aria and the Aria fangirl who is to be our main lead. Ultimatly a bad move as if there was anyone in the previous show who was at least somewhat interesting, it was the male lead but now all we have to carry the show is a Shana knockoff and a fangirl with a voice and personality that could annoy Buddha. The action scenes present some of the most mind boggling scenarios ranging from Aria dispelling electricity by controlling vibration to make it travel down a cable and vaporize a steel pillar(This isn’t how electricity works.), to a boat chase through a town river that is solved by a sniper shooting a crane on the boat, said crane swinging to the side and ripping off a railing, swinging back with railing and somehow Aria uses this to swing through a window to the Bridge of the ship and manages to perfectly balance herself needlessly between the ships wheel and a radio device. This is just laughably ridiculous and the fact that this show expects me to take this Rie Kugimiya tsundere seriously as some badass professional is just too much. Whatever here that isn’t silly is dull and uninteresting. This is hardly a surprise but this show is not recommended at all. Even you you want to watch something bad, it’s not worth it.

Potential: 0%

 

Ore ga Ojousama Gakkou ni “Shomin Sample” Toshite Gets♥Sareta Ken

Short Synopsis: An average boy is kidnaped and forced to go to a school for rich girls in order to teach them about the everyday world.

I fear Sliver link are making the same mistake that Mangalobe made with “The world god only knows” adaption. Namely adapting almost everything decently but messing up the most crucial aspect, comedy. I know this is based on a light novel but the manga had a certain punch to it. The jokes hit hard and fast which benefited the screwball nature of the situation. But the animes pace is slow with the jokes being too drawn out and lacking impact. With the main feature taken out the rest was a rather mediocre experience which doesn’t look like it’s going to improve. It’s very clear that this got the short end of the stick when it comes to budget, the character designs have gotten a fierce downgrade. One particular causality is the main protagonist whose design makes his character seem much more generic than he actually is. The show feels watered down and I felt slightly disappointed as a result. The lacking budget really hurts the show and you can truly see compromise in it’s presentation. I don’t really think I can recommend this quite as much as I did before because while the end result will likely be a little better than a no effort harem, it won’t quite be as enjoyable as it could have been.

Potential: 15%

 

Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai

Short Synopsis: An elite inquisitor gets demoted into a squad of misfits tasked with preventing crimes related to magic.

Better than the manga but ultimately a very mediocre experience. The soundtrack is odd with some techno styled synthesizers. The action and animation are pretty decent and it’s seems that this was one of the shows Sliver link decided deserved a better budget than the above Shomin Sample. A pity as this show is fairly trope heavy and while not terrible like Hidan no Aria, lacks anything to make it stand out. The characters so far have dull designs and don’t have much in interesting character traits. The sniper girl Usagi in particular is far too annoying with her being used mainly for fanservice, having an irritating voice and spending most of the episode shouting at other people. There’s the old standard tropes as well like the accidental boob grope and the walking in while someone’s changing trope. It’s something that I think some could enjoy if this kinds of light novel plots are your thing but having experienced dozens of these kinds of stories I found myself getting very bored halfway through the episode. From off hand accounts I have heard that the light novels get better later but right now It just doesn’t have that factor to make me want to keep watching it.

Potential: 10%

Posted on 10 October 2015 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

JK-Meshi!

jkmeshi

Short Synopsis: Three girls banter and teach you how to make Japanese snack food.

As a comedy anime this show is laughably bad and clearly produced on a minimal budget. The characters do not move and the CGI is some of the ugliest I’ve seen. The writing might be even worse…but how is the recipe? Well I gave this one a try and can honestly say that miso soup with fried tomatoes and sesame seeds is delicious. Can I recommend this anime? Absolutely not. But if you’re interested in Japanese cooking you should skip the tv show and check out the recipes.

Potential: 0% (but worth checking out the recipes)

 

Hackadoll

hackadolllone

Short Synopsis: Inept, moefied, androids cause mayhem in their laughable attempts at assisting humans.

So apparently this show is an ad for a Japanese news app, which is ironic, because this is frankly some of the best animation I’ve ever seen in a TV short like this. Of course Trigger are known for front-loading their work, both in terms of animation budget and writing quality, so I’m guardedly optimistic about this show. But the first episode was a lot of fun, both visually and comedically. I will definitely be following this.

Potential: 75%

Komori-san can’t decline 

komori-san

Short Synopsis: A school girl is unable to refuse requests and develops special skills as a result.

I found this show to be lacking in both humor and taste. Which is a shame because I love the art style and the voice actors seem to really be trying. But the comedy is just not very funny and what makes this show truly repellent is the overdone breasts fanservice that borders on fetish material. Maybe someone else will like this style of show but I found it dreadful.

Potential: 15%

Hakone-Chan 

Hakone-chan

Short Synopsis: A shrine deity revives in the form of a child.

This is a pretty bland narrative about a shrine deity and a boy who is of course in unrequited love with the girl of his dreams. But I like how direct the narrative is and how capriciously Hakone-chan behaves. This is nothing ground-breaking but for the most part well-executed. But of course the creators have to go and throw in a stupid fanservice joke, which doesn’t bode well for the future but I think I will keep watching.

Potential: 45%

Magical Somera-Chan 

Somera-Chan

Short Synopsis: Somera and her sister endure random acts of violence.

This is a screwball comedy, which I usually like, but I guess this just isn’t my thing. The animation and voice acting are great and I can’t point to anything specifically that I found problematic about the writing but this just didn’t make me laugh. The again, unlike some of these other comedy shorts, I definitely think this show will have a following. It’s just so bizarre that I think some people are bound to love it.

Potential: 35%

Posted on 8 October 2015 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

Sakurako-san no Ashimoto ni wa Shitai ga Umatteiru

Short Synopsis: A boy and a girl who loves bones come across a skeleton on the beach.

One thing I think anime should take note of is that if you plan to have intrinsic photorealistic environments then you should try to blend the character art styles to match said environments. The anime characters of this episode present a disconnect similar to that of the cartoon characters of Who framed Roger Rabbit. While the characters are present, it doesn’t feel like they belong. More like they are standing in front of an overly decorative set. The soundtrack is very bombastic, presenting a score more suitable for a high fantasy adventure rather than a mundane mystery show. It’s far too intrusive, with high pitched violins while the detective is explaining her theory. The story of the episode itself is decent but suffers from over-presentation with heavy visuals to show the explanations of the main detective. My previous assumption about a Sherlock and watson relationship turned out correct and sadly the main character is as bland as his design suggests. Our main girl is mildly interesting but possess far too few likeable traits, and her gimmick of loving bones is already wearing thin. This is a mystery show when essentially solves itself without any viewer speculation which is disappointing. One particular annoying aspect is the show portraying the police as deeply incompetent in order for our main detective to seem more brilliant and I find her deductions to be far too based on assumption. I admit to being overly harsh on this show and there is still some potential as the cast branches out and more interesting mysteries appear, but the first episode is lacking a hook to catch me.

Potential: 40%

 

Dance with Devils

Short Synopsis: A girl gets targeted by a student council of boys and cloaked burglers

Well that’s one way to start an anime. I must admit I rather liked the chanting and the gothic atmosphere of those first two minutes. But then I realized….it’s a musical. A musical reverse harem with supernatural elements. A fascinating combination but I am certainly not the target audience of such a show. Musicals are something I find a little too cheesy for my tastes, I remember having a firm hatred of the songs in disney movies. The second half shows there might be more effort put into this than a regular reverse harem but it still suffers from many of the tropes that plague the genre. Our protagonist is still a blank slate who has a bunch of hunky boys going after her who fall into the usual lineup.This is bound to be better than Diabolik Lovers for those looking for this kind of show but well being the man I am, this doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest.

Potential: 10%

 

Osomatsu-san

Short Synopsis: Old Showa anime characters try to make themselves relevant again.

Our show starts with a black and white cartoon talking about how this show is a return of a anime made over a decade ago and even has one of the characters pointing out that it may be too old for the current generation to enjoy. Certainly hit the nail on the head with that one. So they…turn it into a generic boy band idol anime. So I sat there, clearly seeing that this was a joke and waited for the joke to end. And it didn’t. The joke went on and on to start referencing everything from attack on titan to shounen anime. I got the joke by the first minute and even then I didn’t find it all that funny. I have said many times that anime comedies are something I can’t really appreciate but I feel that there is just far too much “Shout till it’s funny” and “Look at the anime we are referencing” going on for my to consider this good comedy. Admittedly I find the idea of old showa anime characters trying to be relevant by copying popular threads to be somewhat amusing but from what I can tell this isn’t going to be the actual show. Instead the next episode looks to be the genuine first episode. I find the black and white segments of the show to be a prime example of just how far anime has come along and thank god for that because the old Osomatsu show looks to be pretty terrible. I think this is one you have to make up your own mind about, if this first episode gets you laughing then maybe the humor of the rest of the series might be your thing but for me what’s presented hasn’t sold me on this show.

Potential: 20%

Posted on 6 October 2015 with categories: Some Quick First Impressions

One Punch Man

Short Synopsis: A superhero is bored because all his fights end with one punch

This one truly is set to be shoe in for one of the hits of the season. The only major concern I had regarding it was whether Madhouse could live up to the art of the manga and they certainly did not disappoint. The animation in this episode was perfect, that last scene with Saitama fighting the subterraneans was a marvel to look at. The art on the other hand may have people torn, I personally have no problem with it but I do think it looks rough at times. But other times it looks beautiful, channeling the style of american comic books more so than anime. The story itself is a dilemma that likely faces every shounen protagonist once they reach the pinnacle of power. Namely the absolute boredom of being so overpowered that no one presents a challenge any more. Saitama’s transformation from salaryman to powerhouse is sudden but it really gets across just how empty he feels with his status of being the strongest. Humor in the episode managed to make me smile, in particular the giant man’s accident and Saitama’s smirk nearly got a chuckle. If you are watching anything this season, chances are this should be on your list.

Potential: 95%

 

Shingeki! Kyojin Chuugakkou

Short Synopsis: Attack on titan without titan’s getting attacked

When the only joke you have is referencing a much better show you could be watching instead of this then maybe you should rethink making an anime out of it. This is pretty terrible and they are milking the Attack on titan name for all it’s worth. Even parodying the famous Opening with there own version but the joke essentially is just referencing Attack on titan scenes. Even the most diehard of fans would find this lacking. If there are any other jokes in this show, it’s of the juvenile kind that a four year old wouldn’t even laugh at.

Potential: 0%

 

Utawarerumono – Itsuwari no Kamen

Short Synopsis: A man finds himself in a land of animal people with no memory

This certainly is taking its time but I appreciate that at least it’s letting the viewer in on the story without being too expository. The humor is hit or miss, it has it’s charm sometimes but can fall flat hard. The amnesia trope is overused but at least with this character he’s not dwelling on it too much. Amnesia characters tend to get caught up in getting their memory back but our main here is shaking it off pretty well which is good because this trope is too common. Animation has some still frames though for the most part it’s a decently animated anime. The setup here is pretty solid and our two mains are fairly likable but the story hasn’t really started yet so it’s still a question on how good this anime will be. From what is presented so far I say this is looking to be a satisfactory watch that should at least keep people entertained in between other shows.

Potential: 55%

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