Posted on 27 October 2011 with categories: Guilty Crown



Seriously, what is this show doing in Noitamina? I mean, if this was going to be an experiment for another 2-cour series, there would have been much better series for that: Chihayafuru, Fate/Zero or even Last Exile.

I know that series need time to build up. I’m not expecting series to immediately deliver right from the start. Instead what I’m looking for in the opening episodes of a series is hints that it knows what it’s doing: hints that it knows what good storytelling is, that its characters are well acted. Those kinds of things. I’m not seeing them here.

In fact, this episode showed even more that this show is wasted potential. There are two main reasons for that. First of all, this episode shows the main character running around and drawing weapons out of everyone. In the end, this just turns out to be him random props out of people and moving on to the next. This show doesn’t do anything with them. Or, take the point at which the male lead and his best friend make up and promise each other not to tell about each other’s secrets. The main character conveniently tells him that he did that, instead of the creators showing how he did it. It’s a pretty big point here, as only second later it turns out that the friend did screw him over in the end. That’s just lazy storytelling.

And yeah, then there was the fact that this episode was full of cliches. I mean, even Fractale wasn’t this bad. The fanservice was incredibly pointless, the jokes were the same you see everywhere (and of course the same old boob joke couldn’t be missing). Oh, and why did the female lead move in with the male lead again? I mean, what exactly has she actually done in this series? She’s been completely useless so far!

There really isn’t anything that really stands out in this series. The whole drama around Shu’s friend is very inconsistent: on one hand we have these terrorists who know perfectly well that they will be tortured to death if they get caught, and they act surprisingly calm to one of their comrades (who has vital information and weapons for their plans) gets too naive and gets caught. Shu meanwhile is a wimp in the bad way. To compare him with Mirai Nikki: there the lead is a wimp, but he knows he’s a wimp, and at the same time he has legitimate reasons for trying to survive. Here, I have no idea what it is that the male lead wants. On one hand he wants to be left alone, then he wants to help the terrorists again, but then he’s too scared to look people into the eyes… he doesn’t really seem to understand the situation he’s in.

The thing is also that I praised the first episode for looking gorgeous. The thing is, that even in this area this show can be eclipsed if it isn’t careful. Last Exile is well on its way to show better graphics than this series, Un-Go is well on its way with much better artistic direction, and the same goes for Chihayafuru. This show has the budget. It has the inbetween animation, but it doesn’t seem to want to do anything with it.
Rating: — (Lacking)

Posted on 20 October 2011 with categories: Guilty Crown



This show is gorgeous, it’s directed by Tetsurou Araki (the director of Death Note and Kurozuka) and animated by Production IG. It’s bound to be action packed, and for those reasons I’m going to blog it. I don’t have any expectations for this beyond mere eye candy, though.

Here’s the thing: we’re in the middle of a very creative season, with continuations of shows with incredibly rich and imaginative settings (Last Exile, Hunter X Hunter, Fate/Zero), new series with really creative premises and purposes (Ben-To, Un-Go, Chihayafuru, Mirai Nikki and even Phi Brain). And here this show comes with its superpowered teenagers, bland boy meets mysterious girl, stereotypically sadistic villains… and that’s pretty much it. Beyond the fact that it can shoot a good action scene and that this show looks amazing when it wants to, it just doesn’t have anything that sets it apart.

What I’m really afraid of is that this never really gets fixed. My big problem here is that this thing is written by the same guy who wrote Mai Otome and Macross Frontier (ignoring for a moment that he also came up with Seiko no Qwaser). Thankfully these first two episodes were not as bad as Mai Otome: this show is unremarkable, not bad, obnoxious and stupid. However, I’m more and more beginning to see this as the spiritual successor of Macross Frontier, but without the idols. It too looked pretty, but had a very weak story and bland characters, who never really seemed to know where they were going.

I was hoping for this episode to prove me wrong, but instead this was even more generic, due to the lack of quiet moments. First of all there are the usual questions: why do both the military and the rebels, despite having plenty of adults, depend on teenagers to pilot their mechas? If you have a reason for it: then that’s fine, but don’t just put some cute girls in mecha suits just for the sake of fanservice.

Also, the blond kid. Whose idea was that; seriously? This guy is the only actually bad character in this series so far. In every single scene, he’s portrayed as a psycho with a temper, even when there’s no reason for him to be so. I mean, the bomb girl in Mirai Nikki was psycho for a reason: she was risking her life in the middle of a truckload of explosives that she set up herself. This guy instead is like “muhahaha, I’m evil; bump into me and I’ll kill you!”

What’s more is that this show is too busy portraying its bad guys as assholes, rather than actually make compelling villains. The point where they killed those random civilians (who strangely were never mentioned again after their death; not even people mourning about them). What’s also bugging me is the existence of the female lead: why is she in this show, really? All she’s done so far is give powers to the male lead (which, according to what people are saying, can be done by everyone else as well). Oh, and appear in his school. Why was there a need to show that in the most cliched way possible?

However, what has also really bugged me so far: I’m seeing very little of Tetsurou Araki’s distinctive style here. I’m a fan of Death Note, Kurozuka and also that one story he did for Aoi Bungaku: the atmosphere and direction there were rock-solid, but they were nothing like what was shown here. This show needs to grow. Get rid of that psycho blonde and focus more on the characters without wasting time on pointless side stories or making the action too repetitive.
Rating: – (Disappointing)

Posted on 14 October 2011 with categories: Guilty Crown, Last Exile - Ginyoku no Fam, Some Quick First Impressions, Un-Go

Last Exile – Ginkyou no Fam

Short Synopsis: Our lead character is a young genius pilot.
Well, first things first: it’s awesome to see Gonzo back. It’s not just the series they make. It’s because of their balls: they like to take risks like no other studio out there, and that’s why I became a fan of them, even though they did release their fair share of crap. Now, as for this series: it looks just gorgeous. The CG is still up to Gonzo’s high standards and the creators didn’t just copy designs from the first season, but came up with a whole new set of eye candy that certainly does not stand out as inferior to its predecessor. As for the story of this episode: it’s definitely more childish than the first season, and shows a bunch of teenagers being able to disrupt an entire fleet. The first season had this too, but was a lot more subtle about it, especially with the enemy fleet having very stuck-up commanders and deploying no vanships whatsoever to intercept the main cast. There’s also fanservice, though thankfully not as much as was feared. The acting is overall very good, though it does have a number of weak points. The direction is also quite solid, despite the lighter tone. This is a typical example of a first episode with a lot of potential to become amazing, but also with quite a number of things that can hold it back and didn’t work out as well as you’d hope. Yup, that’s Gonzo alright.
OP: The OP of the first season was much better.
ED: A familiar voice. The song is a bit redundant after hearing it in other EDs, but the picture slideshow looks nice.
Potential: 80%

Guilty Crown

Short Synopsis: Our lead character meets a half-naked girl.
That was absolutely gorgeous. The first episode of Guilty crown is a visual feast, in the way that just about every frame is meticulously detailed and well drawn, in the way that only Production IG can do for a television series. If they keep this up, then this will very likely be the prettiest Noitamina series of the year. As for the rest of the episode though: there were a number of issues I had with it. The biggest is that outside of the visuals, I miss creativity: the scenario of this episode had a been there, done that”-feeling, and the main characters are a bunch of walking cliches. On one hand you have the really bland male main character, and on the other hand we have this female who has special powers, is his childhood friend, and gives the male lead a special weapon that he can use to kick ass. There have been way too many shows already with that premise, and the only thing that this show really added to that was its gorgeous visuals. This is a show that needs to grow significantly. But heck: at least the characters are far from as stupid or annoying as they were in Fractale.
OP: Good idea to combine it with the content of the episode.
ED: A bit of a dull ballad with nice art from the promo images.
Potential: 75%

Un-Go

Short Synopsis: Our lead character solves mysteries.
Here is a very interesting one, and I don’t mean that in the way you might expect. At first this episode started off like your average murder mystery series: the protagonists happened to be stuck in a room full of people where someone conveniently got murdered. It was well built up, but strangely mundane. Then however the second half came around and this episode just kept switching moods, themes and atmospheres. This series is attempting to breathe a new wind into the episodic murder mystery genre. This episode had science fiction, horror, and the post-apocalypse all stuffed together. This was the strange case of not the culprit getting some surprise added depth, but the setting itself became a lot more intriguing once this episode started putting the pieces of its puzzle together. On top of that, this episode was well produced and well directed with very natural camera work. The creators definitely took creative liberties on the original work it’s based on, and the episodic set-up really allows them to try a wide variety of different stuff. Oh, and as an added bonus this episode had the best use of music and sounds of the entire season so far. My only warning for when you plan to check it out: the characters. They are not on the list of priorities for this series.
OP: A bit of a dull song, but lots of neat eye candy.
ED: By far the best ED of the seasons. Heck, even the OPs get nowhere as close to the imaginative visuals and music that was displayed here.
Potential: 90%

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