Posted on 30 March 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka?




That’s it. With this I’m done giving these generic looking moe shows a benefit of doubt. Kore wa Zombie Desu ka is not as bad as Dragon Crisis. In fact, it has a few parts that are actually good, especially in its first half. It lead me to believe that, in fact, we might get a very enjoyable fanservice show here. Unfortunately though, this show then proceeded to run all of my hopes into the ground.

Let me start with the good stuff: this show is quite creative when it wants to be. When it wants to, it can use its cliched ingredients, insert some good chemistry between the characters, throw in some crazy plot twists and create an excellent tension. There really are a few excellent episodes in this series, especially the first and the one about the slasher. It’s just that there’s just so much crap in the rest of this show.

Zombie is at its best when the chemistry around its characters is dynamic. It’s got well written banter that works well with its nonchalant zombie main character. It’s quite enjoyable when it doesn’t take its own cliches seriously and instead tries to put them into a creative scenario. Most of the time though, it just forgets this and devolves into dull moe hi-jinks. Eventually, it just gives up trying to be interesting and just opts for lazy slice of life that’s just there to fill up time. The characters in this show are nowhere near well written enough to remain enjoyable when they’re not funny.

The big nail in this one’s coffin though is that it has no bloody clue how to tell a good story. The drama in the first half can actually get quite good when the show still is a collection of random episodes about the important characters, but it completely falls apart when it tries to build up for some overall storyline. The drama gets incredibly cheesy, and the worst part is that the creators don’t even realize this, so they just keep stretching the cheese ad nauseum.

The entire second half of this series is based around complete stupidity from one character that ends with one heck of a Deus ex Machina (several of them, actually). And then, when the climax is over and you thought that things couldn’t get any worse… episode 12 will destroy any good memories that were still left with one giant middle finger to both its audience and cast of characters.

Studio Deen. Please put some people who can actually tell a story on your next series. I mean, you’ve showed in the past that you can make genuinely good moe shows with Touka Gettan and YamiBoushi. Why so much laziness?

Storytelling: 7/10 – When it wants to, it can be very enjoyable and dynamic, but this doesn’t happen often enough and gets ruined by some terrible episodes and drama.
Characters: 6/10 – Try to be serious, but fail. Try to be enjoyable, but fail as well. Only when they try to be themselves they work well.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Pretty decent animation. Certainly not the worst.
Setting: 7/10 – Has nice ideas, but doesn’t use them often enough.

Suggestions:
Touka Gettan
Higurashi no Naku Koro ni
Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito

Posted on 28 February 2011 with categories: Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka?



oh boy, this was a disaster. It was an episode that was doomed to fail, simply because of the decision of the creators to include the new girl into the cast of major characters. I mean… what exactly do they hope to get out of someone with such a terrible backstory? This episode could at least have been enjoyable if it wasn’t for her utterly contrived reason to fall in love with the lead character. I mean, is she supposed to be another parody or something?

This pretty much was an episode that contained nothig but character building, oly to come with some drama at the final minute. So, after having to sit through some completely generic dating scenes, what do we get? The lead female gets kidnapped. Ooh, we’re original now. Seriously, what happened? The drama in this show used to be so good. Cliches like these could be excused in the introduction of a series, to get the plot started. Not when you’re nearly done!

The only enjoyment in this episode was in the small details, like surprisingly smooth animation, the hilariously named “Mask Donalds”, good poses and facil expressions and the surprisingly good food jokes ehre, even though cooking girls usually are beating the same dead horse over and over again. Like I said: it could have been an interesting episode, but when the creators have such a terrible premise for an episode, what can really be done with it?
Rating: – (Disappointing)

Posted on 22 February 2011 with categories: Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka?



Yes guys. If you gripe and kiss a girl you only met five minutes before, you will totally get away with it and she’ll even fall in love with you. I mean, I know that this episode provided a reason for it but it nevertheless was a really flimsy one that has been used to death by now.

Zombie’s episodes are either great, or boring cliche-fests. This was a clear example of the latter. This episode had some decent chemistry, which prevented it from being a complete disaster, but still the largest part was pretty boring. I mean, in the previous episode I didn’t complain about the fanservice because of the way it was used. This time it was just tasteless, especially when the X-Ray glasses popped up.

Still, this episode did have some good points, like being able to kill Megalos with noodle soup, or the various things that were written on the Tanabata-notes. The math explanations and weird theories about some demonic Santa Claus showing up at Tanabata also were pretty fun. Those were all mere details, though.
Rating: – (Disappointing)

Posted on 14 February 2011 with categories: Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka?



This episode… was something else. Talk about gore here, seriously. This episode was a really intense one thanks to that demented villain who didn’t care at all how much she wrecked her own body. Usually when anime use regenerative powers, it makes the action scenes rather dull, but this really is one exception because the creators still managed to make the gore look really painful.

After all of the build-up, it also was great to see Hellscythe finally use her words. Seriously, the last thing I’d expected this series to be was a good drama, but this show knows exactly how to create a tense atmosphere and use its characters for the best with it.

Now, this episode did introduce what will probably be the major villain of this show… who still needs a ton of work though. He’s quite generic at this point: really evil and brainwashes others to do evil stuff for him. His back-story of being related to Hellscythe could promise to be interesting, but if his character isn’t interesting then that backstory also isn’t worth much.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Posted on 7 February 2011 with categories: Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka?



As for choosing which Studio Deen series to blog this season, last week sealed the deal for me. What does Dragon Crisis do? A beach episode. What does Zombie do? GIANT FLYIONG WHALE! It’s really a shame for Dragon Crisis: it does have a pretty good execution. It’s just that the story is way too cliched.

Now, I am a fan of Studio Deen: whenever they’re good, they’re really good and whenever they’re imaginative, they’re really imaginative. Obviously that part of them is nowhere to be found in this season, but Zombie is still pretty good. I originally didn’t want to blog it because I’m already blogging two other comedies this season, but episode four showed that this show also delivers in the drama department.

Having said that though, this fifth episode was a step down, partially due to the ridiculous amounts of fanservice in it. The saving grace there was that at least the fanservice was diverse: it was not the same scenario repeated over and over like what most harems do, but the creators like to keep it at least a notch creative.

In the same way, the story is pretty cliched and this episode showed that this show also isn’t the best at combat between human-like creatures (the whale battle last episode was very good, though), but it’s the details here that are surprisingly creative, and the dialogue is surprisingly witty at times. Ayumu is quite likable with his nonchalance. For now, that’s enough to keep me interested, though this show WILL get very annoying if the rest of the episodes are going to be like this one.

In the same way, the drama was decent, but it in its turn did turn Haruna in a typical tsundere. Yes, this show is inconsistent, and I hope that the second half will make good use of this. There are only 12 episodes, after all.
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Posted on 10 January 2011 with categories: Dragon Crisis, Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka?, Level E, Some Quick First Impressions

Dragon Crisis

Short Synopsis: Our lead character meets a cute girl who can only think about him.
Hmm, this is one with a lot to like and a lot to dislike. To start with the positives, it has one of the best soundtracks of the season so far (and with this season, that is saying something), the animation is surprisingly good for a Studio Deen series and this feels unlike any other series they’ve done before. The action is creative, the car chases are exciting and the characterization for half the cast was actually pretty decent. Ryuuji may be very girly for a guy, but this show actually acknowledges it and gives him more personality beyond “ew, a naked girl!”, and Eriko also turned out to be much more than just that fanservice character which she appeared to be at first sight. Now, the bad thing about this show however is that it just doesn’t make any sense, and it believes that it actually does. This leads to some bizarre situations like hordes of incompetent faceless mafia members that are involved in a plot that has so many holes that there is no way that it can ever be explained, a guy who just skips school for the heck of it and BY FAR the most clingy female lead I’ve ever seen. It’s a very strange combination between something that tries to tell a serious story and something that just wants to act as wish fulfillment by having cute girls continuously spoon over the male lead. The different parts of this episode didn’t mesh well together at all, but I do admit that there’s some potential here.
OP: One of the most unique OP songs I’ve heard in a long while.
ED: Again unique, but this time in a bad way.
Potential: 60%

Kore wa Zombie Desu Ka?

Short Synopsis: Our lead character lives together with two cute girls.
Here is one that turned out better than expected. Of course, this show still has a completely stupid premise and it had quite a bit of fanservice, but it’s surprisingly well executed: the male lead has an actual personality, the scenarios are well written, the jokes are well built up and actually very funny and the action too was surprisingly good for a Studio Deen series. It’s a pretty effective romantic action comedy that knows when it needs to be completely over the top, and when it needs to be completely serious. Because of this, the few serious moments actually worked well and didn’t end up cheesy, and yet the crazy jokes also fit this show. But yeah, if you want to check this out, be aware of the fact that characters have bizarre costumes and very easily lose their clothes in this series.
OP: Decent song, but especially the visuals are nice.
ED: This one is just terrible, though.
Potential: 70%

Level E

Short Synopsis: Our lead character starts living together with an alien.
Hell yeah! Level E just delivered the best first episode of the new season, it had the most interesting back-story, it was the most intriguing opening of the entire season, it neither was overly moe or bishie, it had the best jokes of the new season, the best OP. For me, it completely blew all of the other episodes that have debuted so far this season out of the water. It’s one of those series of which I have no idea what genre it’s going to be: it has a high school student as a male lead, and yet it’s miles away from your average high school show. For a shounen series there was too little action, for a shoujo series there was too little sweetness. For a slice of life series it had a plot that is just way too interesting and a drama also doesn’t really fit. The episode was wonderfully told and I love the creativity that was put into a simple concept of an alien crash landing on earth. The chemistry between the lead characters was just fantastic. None of the characters here are typical. Hell yeah, if only because of this show, this season is going to rock!
OP: Best OP of the season BY FAR. Excellent song, great visuals.
ED: Much more generic J-Rock, but nothing bad.
Potential: 100%

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  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:10 AM)
    Seeing Hoffman in before the devil knows your dead and his character being dependent on drugs, that was another thing that hit me a bit knowing the circumstances of his death. Watching most wanted man I could also see that he was wearing out physically.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 07:00 AM)
    This is not Anno bitching about otakus jacking off to his characters and turning around and selling Rei panties, this isn’t the idiots at Shaft throwing around meaningless camera angles and the oh-so-symbolic teeth brushing scenes, this is a human being looking you in the eye with fear and telling you that he’s dying; morbid, honest, moving and remarkable.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:55 AM)
    Given my rants regarding Birdman it should be clear that I’m a sucker for these rare instances where the line between movie and reality get blurred- when an actor looks at a camera and just bares their heart out. This is the realism that reality tv tried but could never capture. this is art in one of its most sincere forms.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:50 AM)
    Oh yeah Hoffman was a massive talent and a beloved actor, so I don’t take it lightly when I call Synecdoche his greatest role ever. Given his death and knowing the circumstances of his life at the time imbues this performance with a chilling sincerity that just breaks your heart and leaves you in awe.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:42 AM)
    Oh Andrew Niccol, oh how the mighty have fallen.
    Hoffman showed up in Capote and most wanted man, the latter which I especially love and there need to be more thrillers of that vein coming out.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:37 AM)
    It’s funny how they also each have a Nicolas Cage movie. Kaufman has Adaptation and Niccol has Lord of War. Although despite the usual Cage antics neither of those movies is really that bad.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:33 AM)
    Eternal Sunshine and The Truman Show are the two roles where Jim Carrey really demonstrated his acting chops well outside of his usual comfort zone. But Kaufman moved forward from Sunshine with the superior Synecdoche, while Andrew Niccol went from doing Truman Show and Gattaca to doing young adult garbage like The Host *wretches*
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:28 AM)
    @Emma: yeah you’ll most likely enjoy it. On the surreàl scale it lies somewhere between Birdman and Holy Mountain, so although it’s peppered with symbolic imagery and thematic shots it’s still a personal story about a man’s struggle when faced with his own demise. Although a lofty statement, this is in my onion philip seymour hoffman’s best performance, and his untimely death adds another incredibly rich level of nuance to this movie.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:20 AM)
    @Bam: Adaption, Nicholas Cage =< a guilty pleasure actor to watch for the most part and little more.
  • Emma
    (Saturday, Jan 31. 2015 06:12 AM)
    @Bam: The more you mentiom Synecdoche, the more interested I get. Malcovich was a creative idea for a film and Eternal sunshine was a good spin on the romance genre which gave Jim Carrey a film worth acting in.
    Riki-oh if anything is just a heck of alot of fun.

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