Posted on 28 March 2011 with categories: Anime Reviews, Dragon Crisis




The past Winter Season was a dark season… for Studio Deen in any case. They came out with more series than any other series, and all of them were disappointing even despite my low expectations. I mean, I am a fan of them and all, but the reason for that is most definitely not their consistency!

I originally wanted to be a bit more generous with my rating for this series, but the more I thought about this show, the more I realized that it just doesn’t have anything redeemable. There’s no reason to watch this thing; everything it does has been done better a thousand times already. Dragon Crisis at heart is a boring cliche-fest that lacks any sort of ambition.

The structure of this series consists out of six two-episode arcs. This show somehow manages to do the impossible and become progressively worse with every successive arc. Seriously, just when you think that this show couldn’t get any worse, it manages to finds some way to prove you wrong until at the end, the creators just outright give up. Every arc is pretty much focused on adding someone to the lead guy’s harem. Yeah, that loses its charm really quickly.

Beyond that the writing is just outright stupid. This is the kind of show that was written by people who think that teenagers (its target audience) have the mental capacities of a lobotomized squirrel. Characters act solely on what’s convenient to the plot and make the most bizarre leaps in logic at times. Any attempts of this show to become genuine is overshadowed by their complete stupidity. Add that to a plot that is just chockful of plot evices, deus ex machinas and inconsequential techno-babble that too make no sense whatsoever. All of that really is not helped by a really annoying cast of cliches and stereotypes that are supposed to be characters in which hardly anyonee stands out.

One of the big eslling points of Dragon Crisis looked to be its animation, with Masashi Ishihama (the guy behind the gorgeously animated Read or Die and Welcome to the Space Show) as its animation director. But even factoring in the lower budget that this series received, the animation is surprisingly bland: it’s not used well, the characters are all carbon copies of each other with just different hairstyles and despite a relatively high framerate for Studio Deen’s standards, none of the visuals stand out as particularly impressive.

The reason why I still consider a series like Fractale to be good, despite the way in which it too has a lot of flaws, is because it still is a very enjoyable adventure. There is absolutely nothing enjoyable about Dragon Crisis. None of the drama works, its stories are completely void of any creativity, its characters are just there to get in the lead guy’s pants and it just had no intention of trying to do anything even remotely interesting.

Thats the big problem with Studio Deen: they’ve been losing their talent left and right and just aren’t trying hard enough most of the time. They need some incentive: something to really get them to produce the really good stuff again, because this… this just is a complete waste.

Storytelling: 4/10 – Completely unambitious, doesn’t know what it wants to do and therefore is full of deus ex machina and plot induced stupidity.
Characters: 5/10 – None stands out. It’s just one big harem with all the cliches in place.
Production-Values: 8/10 – Not as good as you’d expect, but doesn’t cause this show to get any worse than what it already is.
Setting: 5/10 – This show looks like it adctually has a complex background with its dragons and rare artifacts, but in the end it’s nothing but mere cliches and techno-babble.

Suggestions:
Dragonaut The Resonance (Yes, I’m actually recommending Dragonaut over this one. At least that one had some ambition!)
Fractale
Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou

Posted on 24 January 2011 with categories: Dragon Crisis




As of this post, Showa Monogatari is being degraded to “Sporadically Updated”, because I have no bloody clue when its final two preview episodes are going to air. I am going to blog it properly once it airs in the upcoming spring season, though. It seriously needs more attention, because it’s exactly the series that anime needs at this point in order to diversify again.

Now, obviously Dragon Crisis has a lot of flaws, Kugimiya Rie being one of the major ones (granted, any voice actress would have been annoying with such a character, but it still doesn’t really help to have her as her voice). The reason I’m choosing this over Gosick is that the cumulative good points impressed me more. Gosick has its creativity, but that’s also about the only thing that has impressed me so far. Instead the characterization is bland and it leaves a lot to be desired when revealing its mysteries.

I think the difference in characterization is best illustrated throughout the male leads. They both have their own backstory, and both are rather girly. Dragon Crisis however acknowledges that its main character is just a kid, while Gosick doesn’t: the male lead jumps back and forth between an annoying whiny brat and a chivalrous hero, while Dragon Crisis looks much more into the characters of its main character and the reason why he refused to do anything at the end of the previous episode: I mean, we pretty much have this kid who is being forced at such a young age to do really dangerous stuff, just because he happens to have crazy parents and huge powers. The expectations that were placed on his shoulders are huge, and for once a show actually tries to highlight that, instead of taking it for granted that a young kid is supposed to be this big hero.

In exchange… the setting doesn’t make any sense. I mean… I still have no clue how Rose ended up in that suitcase if she said earlier that she specifically meant to go to Japan in order to see Ryuuji. Ryuuji’s parents suck as well for failing to give him a safe environment to grow up in. And I mean, this is the umpth wish fulfillment show that we’ve got here, in a world in which dragon princesses hatch in eggs in the middle of nowhere and bond with the first person they lay their eyes on.

The action of this series and especially the use of CG is really sweet, though. This episode as well: the soundtrack and animation both are excellent. Especially considering how we’ve got Studio Deen here. This show really looks unlike any other show they’ve produced so far.

Right now, the biggest potential pitfall is when it goes into something I’d like to call “kidnap ping-pong”, in which Rose just keeps getting kidnapped, waiting for Ryuuji to save her over and over again. I mean, I can understand a storyline that revolves around Ryuuji and Rose protecting each other from the dragons, but please make it a bit more varied than that.

Obviously the end of this episode was annoying and quite sappy. And yet, it also felt surprisingly genuine to me. I can’t really put my finger on why that was, but it’s another of the reasons why I decided to pick up this series.
Rating: * (Good)

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%

Shoutbox

Name:
Email:
For:  
Mail will not be published
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:15 AM)
    @Realist: I think that may be to do with that I can get more emotionally involved with a movie too and that they are quicker to watch and more consummable too. But your right though while I prefer certain things I will watch/read anything out there from anywhere.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:11 AM)
    @Emma I’m kind of surprised that you prefer one over the other. You strike me as the type of person who appreciates all forms of fiction.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:08 AM)
    @Realist: Also alot of anime/manga are going to be series rather than a single volume or a movie. There is more to cover when writing about a series and find to write about, takes a bit longer too.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:07 AM)
    @Realist: Ah, that would be because I have more practice writing about films than anime/manga and am more familiar with writing that type of review. Ontop of preferring American/European films to anime/manga.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:02 AM)
    @Emma Why do you think films are easier to write about it? Just because people have less constrained expectations of what films are supposed to be and don’t expect you to treat the material a certain way? I feel like some people are (unjustly) put off when you try to write about anime/manga as if it was any other form of literary fiction.
  • Mikey
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:01 AM)
    Mahouka 3: Well, “that” scene wasn’t subtle at all.
  • ninjarealist
    (Sunday, Apr 20. 2014 12:00 AM)
    I mean @Emma lol
  • ninjarealist
    (Saturday, Apr 19. 2014 11:59 PM)
    @Realist Sounds interesting, although the lack of german accents definitely sounds like something that will irk me. It’s not a dealbreaker but I don’t like when fiction just ignores the language realities of their setting.
  • Aires
    (Saturday, Apr 19. 2014 11:57 PM)
    Also reminder that orphan black season2 starts tonight if there are any fans here :)
  • Aires
    (Saturday, Apr 19. 2014 11:57 PM)
    oh okay thanks guys for the warning.

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Featured Posts

Clipboard07

Ping Pong – 02

Yes, I know that more people here were involved in making this series beyond Masaaki Yuasa. It’s written by the creator of Tekkon Kinkreet, Taiyo Mashimoto. That guy is awesome. And the combination between those two makes this series even better. Because here’s the thing: anime is significantly different from manga or light novels. Beyond […]

Clipboard02

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – Stardust Crusaders – 02

We can never quite get rid of magic fights at a school, now can we, Jojo. Ah well, I forgive it this time, just due to how hilarious it looks seeing these ridiculously bulky men walk around pretending to be high school students. It’s just so over the top, and yet Jojo sets itself apart […]

Clipboard01

Mushishi Season 2 – 02

Oh yes. This is it. This is what storytelling should be about: telling real stories about real people, all with their own problems that need to be overcome. And this show does that time and time again in just one episode. I still can’t believe how authentic this series is. The thing is, when I […]

Clipboard02

Mushishi – Tokubetsu-hen

Mushishi holds a really special place in my heart. Back in November 2005, when I started up this blog, Mushishi was one of the first shows I picked up to cover weekly. At first I didn’t think much behind it: it just looked interesting and I wanted to cover it, but as it went on […]

Seasonal Anime Podcast – First Impressions – 2013 Fall Anime Season

Hey everyone, I participated in a podcast again, together with Deadlights (Deadlight’s Anime Blog) Flawfinder (Standing on my Neck) and Slashe (Behind the Nihon Review) with two new members, Landon (Mecha Guignol) and Tom (Nigorimasen) Today we talked about the past Fall season. You can find the link here, enjoy: http://deadlightanime.blogspot.nl/2013/10/seasonal-anime-podcast-first_12.html

Clipboard07

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Review – 89/100

There are a lot of ways to adapt something. Shounen battle series tend to very quickly fall into a very dull variation of that: really slow pacing that goes on forever with long boring drawn out battles that all look like each other. David Production looked at them, and just said “we can do better!” […]

Clipboard06

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – 26

Oh Jojo. What an ending. I did not expect what would happen here at all. Perhaps the ending was not as impressive as with Psycho Pass or From the New World, but still this is every way in which a shounen series should end. You hear that, other shounen series? Watch this for how endings […]

Clipboard05

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – 25

Okay, so I thought that this was the final episode so I was ready to go all out. And then at the end of this episode there was this “To be continued”-message. Yeah, I was confused. But boy, am I glad, because it means that there will be one more episode of Jojo. They managed […]

Clipboard06

Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure – 23 & 24

And here are the penultimate episodes of Jojo. And seriously, I loved the fights here. The creators really went to the extreme, while keeping true to their philosophy of putting huge over the top powers on one hand, and really delicate things on the other. One one hand you have Stroheim yelling like crazy, while […]

Latest Reviews

Clipboard03

Kick Heart

Okay, so I didn’t want to exit 2013 without having seen Masaaki Yuasa’s Kick Heart. It’s only twelve minutes anyway, and I consider him to be one of the best anime directors out there. The story here is pretty silly and mostly serves as a backdrop, so I mostly want to talk about the nature […]

Clipboard01

Kyousogiga Review – 90/100

Everyone’s taste is different, and that’s a wonderful thing because that allows us to have so many different forms of media that all aim toward their own niche. My blog is obviously written from the perspective of my own taste, and even when a show doesn’t cater to it (which is nearly always), I love […]

Clipboard04

Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Lovecome o Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru Review – 80/100

Noucome! You do not want to know how long I have been waiting for a series like this. More than half a decade, at the very least. Finally a series comes along and puts the incredibly overused harem genre in its place. And it actually does it well. Thank you! So to elaborate: the harem […]

Clipboard01

Pokemon: The Origin Review – 75/100

Normally I try to avoid spoilers with these reviews, but screw it, it’s Pokemon. Pokemon The Origin is a bomb of nostalgia. If you haven’t played Pokemon Red, Blue or Green, then you will not enjoy this one slight bit. This really is made as pure undilluted fanservice for the fans of the first games. […]

Clipboard08

Tamayura – More Aggressive Review – 75/100

I’m not going to dedicate a post for my impression for the final three episodes of this series. It was just too boring to write much about. I guess that that gives a pretty accurate indication of what I think about this series. Right at the start of Tamayura’s second season, I asked one question: […]

Clipboard04

Silver Spoon Review – 86/100

When Noitamina started airing two series per season, it was amazing. It’s a timeslot that on average tends to be aimed at a much older audience than usual, and having two series with the same mentality definitely helped to bring more diversity to anime overall. Unfortunately it’s a schedule that could not be kept up […]

Clipboard07

Yondemasuyo, Azazel-San Z Review – 82,5/100

Reviewing a comedy sequel usually is quite simple: in most cases it just drops the bomb and runs out of inspiration, and in rare cases it actually manages to stay hilarious. The tricky thing with these kinds of series is that you need to remain funny, and you need to have the inspiration for that. […]

Clipboard05

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet Review – 81/100

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet tells the storyline of a planet that is completely submerged, with only giant ships residing on the surface, while one of those ships gets visited by this guy and his AI-mecha from this very technologically advanced civilization. Yes, this show is about world building. What this show managed to do […]

Clipboard01

Yahari Ore no Seishun no Love Come wa Machigatteiru Review – 82,5/100

I like surprises, like when a series comes that just turns out to be good against my expectations. Yahari Blahblah from the outside had all the signs to turn into yet another one of those high school comedies: snarky male lead, pointlessly long title that fails at being witty, various other cliched side-characters. And they […]