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Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fall 2013 Anime First Impressions: (Part One)

Kyoukai no Kanata:  Bleh.  Kyoto Animation continues to produce semi-retarded moeblobs that can't figure out when a bucket is on their heads.  The dojiko trips over anything and everything, and like a newborn deer finds it difficult just to remain standing on level ground.  There are other annoying tropes as well, like the girls always being the boke and the male lead always being the only sane, halfway intelligent tsukkomi.  If you can stomach all the nonsense, the plot doesn't look bad, and the animation is good.  Even so, if anyone was hoping this would mark the return of Kyoto Animation to being a serious, dignified studio, they'll be gravely disappointed.  Fail.

Coppelion:  I like the plot and setting.  What I don't like is the ridiculously overly genki idiot girl in the trio, the art style, or the slow pacing.  This show is a lot worse than I had hoped it would be.  Fail.

Kill la Kill:  I never had much hope for this show to begin with, but whatever hope I did have was quickly lost over the course of the episode.  The Kill Bill like plot is fine I guess, but everything else was terrible.  The over the top ridiculously retarded genki girl was even more retarded and genki than the girl in Coppelion, who I already hated.  It's like there's an arms race in anime going on to see just how retarded a female you can make before the public pukes.  Furthermore, the art style is just awful.  It looks more like Ren and Stimpy, ie, deliberately bad, than anime, which prides itself on looking as good as possible at all times.  The third strike that really sinks this ship is the heroine's outfit.  It's simply outrageous.  To have a girl going around in that ridiculous outfit, which is more revealing than a bathing suit, as her normal daily clothes, is just insulting.  Even Queen's Blade has more integrity than this show.  Queen's Blade has less revealing outfits than this girl is wearing.  Hell, even everyone just going around naked would be less revealing than this monstrously bad outfit.  At least then there would be no further pretense that this story is selling itself on the basis of its plot instead of absolutely lowest common denominator sexual exploitation.  Fail.

 Infinite Stratos 2:  Harem anime at its worst.  Somehow, the most clueless guy in the universe is loved by five girls, but doesn't realize this with any of them, no matter how often they throw themselves upon him.  In addition, he isn't attracted to any of them while still somehow not being gay, even though the five girls together cover every possible different type of girl in looks and personality, such that if you aren't attracted to at least one of them, you're clearly not attracted to a single girl in the universe.  Combine this absolutely stupid premise with tons of shameless fanservice and 'cool action scenes' that seem tacked on to the story without any thought about how to integrate them (just look at how beautifully the violence in Railgun is integrated into the plot and setting as a whole to understand the difference), and you get a total flop.  It's a shame because I pretty much always enjoy the show when it's about Charlotte Dunois, but even she can't make up for how awful everything else is.  Fail.

Golden Time:  The art is gorgeous, the way anime should be.  The humor is pretty good, and the characters are likable.  Best of all, perhaps, is the situation seems entirely plausible.  There aren't many shows about college, and for some reason, K-On's college arc was never animated.  This means Golden Time is really the first chance we have to cover this time zone.  These days, romances in college are just as worthless as romances in high school, because no one's ready to settle down yet.  The average age of marriage is 30, not 20, so meeting in college is pretty much pointless.  Meeting in graduate school might work, or meeting at your first career job, but college?  College is too soon, and everyone just moves away afterward.  In the modern world, romance is pretty much impossible at any time, but I'd say college is now the worst possible time for it.  If you were the romantic type, you would've committed yourself in high school, to your high school sweetheart.  If you aren't the romantic type, college is just as useless as high school, because it's just one more stepping stone on your path to a career that nothing and no one can interfere with.  In which case all possible types of people would not be seeking romance by the time they enter college.  This show even does well to point that out.  Our main character lead is not the romantic type, as he hopes to himself that he'll finally fall in love for the first time now.  Meanwhile, the heroine lead is the romantic type, in that she's still fixated on her high school sweetheart.  In order to get the two of them together, which seems to be the premise of this series, you will need to overcome this death valley of relationships that is college today.  It's the highest hurdle around, so I hope they explain how this particular relationship works out in an elegant and believable fashion.  Pass.

Nagi no Asukara:  Sigh.  PA Works styles itself as a very artsy studio.  It isn't content to churn out endless school slice of life stories like Tari Tari, no, it must be creative and prove how much better it is than everyone else.  First with Uchoten Kazuku, a completely awful show that everyone other than art critics hated (as proven by blu-ray sales), and now with Nagi no Asukara.  They're doing the same thing.  Let's give the modern world a strange alternate mythological history.  Then let's animate people under the sea because we've always wanted to draw that.  Then let's put fish on people's knees cuz it's cool and weird.  Let's be provocative and cutting edge by talking about menstruation and farting.  And on top of all these bad stylistic decisions that are done solely for the sake of standing out, rather than them being in any way useful to the plot, you have an overly violent main character who's always grabbing and shaking people, yelling at people, and generally being a jerk or denying obvious true things at all times.  If I wanted to watch dysfunctional people I wouldn't watch anime, I'd watch freaking Geraldo Rivera, Judge Judy, or whatever.  If I wanted to watch annoying people and their bad relationships I could just go outside.  Anime is supposed to deliver a dream, an experience you can't get anywhere except in art -- a happy place where good people do good things.  This is the furthest from that experience -- it's just the animators enjoying themselves at our expense.  How many flops does PA Works need to make in a row before they learn?  Everyone hated Red Data Girl, everyone hated Uchoten Kazuku, and now everyone should hate this show too -- though I guess the cute wide eyes of the girls and their baby-like mannerisms might be enough to make even this crap sell, who knows.  Fail.

Yūsha ni Narenakatta Ore wa Shibushibu Shūshoku o Ketsui Shimashita:  Unbelievably awful crap.  I thought this series would be like Hataraku Maou-sama, given the title and premise.  Instead, it was simply a melange of panty shots, jiggling boobs, and condescension towards retarded/overly genki/lacking all common sense girls.  Every scene was just another excuse to put a girl in a compromising position, though that wasn't even necessary.  In this world, apparently even walking or sitting down is enough of a plot-based excuse to go full out porno in the animator's head.  I can't believe this crap was allowed to pass through editing and reach the public at large.  Fail.

Strike the Blood:  Another Blood Lad.  An unmotivated vampire bitches and moans about everything in his life, doesn't get along with anyone, and refuses to suck blood even though he's a vampire.  A vampire hunter comes to kill him, but instead just ends up flashing him with her panties and wiping the inside of his thigh.  The action segments seem tacked on and pointless, as they weren't integral to the plot and needed the street punks to be way more criminal than people really are.  As unbelievable as the setting is, what's even more unbelievable is all the character interactions throughout the episode.  Tsukuyomi Moon Phase was so much better than this crap.  If you want to watch a show about vampires, just try that.  Or Fortune Arterial.  Or Dance in the Vampire Bund.  Or Shiki.  Or Bakemonogatari.  Or Rosario Vampire.  Or Vampire Knight.  Or Vampire Hunter D.  Or, hey, wait, it seems like this theme has been way too overused and no further vampire shows should ever be made again.  We hardly need this banal crap as though there's an unfulfilled ecological niche that desperately needs attention.  I could see a need for mermaid shows, so at least Nagi no Asukara had an excuse.  But I think we're good on vampires.  Can we please quit making shows about vampires?  Fail.

Outbreak Company:  Best show of the season by far.  After so many abysmal series in a row, I was beginning to doubt whether modern anime was any good at all.  Then a show like this comes along and banishes all those doubts away like the Messiah.  First off, I absolutely love the premise of this show.  A hard core fan of anime, who's basically worthless in Japanese society, finds himself to be the most coveted asset imaginable in a foreign fantasy land.  Not because he suddenly develops super powers or anything, but precisely because he's a fan of anime.  You see, this fantasy world's entertainment is still 'on the level of the stone age,' so the main trading commodity Japan has with this new magical land is Otaku culture.  And who better to run the diplomatic and cultural and economic exchange with this new land than a super-Otaku like our main character?  What a dream come true.  I sure envy that guy, and once his job is done Japan has promised him a stipend for life.  Even better!  Man what a dream job.  It's like he died and went to heaven without ever having to die even once.

Meanwhile, the fantasy land has its own personality and charm, projecting itself as both different and familiar to modern Japan.  The petite empress is really cute, anyone would take an instant liking to her (as our hero does.)  The maid is also great, as is her discriminated against half elven back story (straight out of Tales of Symphonia, and I think intentionally, lol).  This is so much better than Dog Days, which had a somewhat similar idea.  Man, it's just better than everything.  The art is beautiful, the voice acting seems to be a bunch of unknowns but they still did great, the ending theme was delicious, it just went from strength to strength.  My only worry is that at a mere twelve episodes, it won't have enough time to fully develop the potential of this introduction.  But for now, what a breath of fresh air.  Hopefully the Fall season still has some more good surprises in it like this one.  Pass.

Log Horizon:  For a ripoff of Sword Art Online, it sure does manage to suck.  You'd think that if you just completely copied a much better show than you, you could at least end up as a passable anime series.  But no, this is just trash.  The characters are supposedly real life Japanese trapped in a MMORPG.  Unfortunately, there's no explanation for how this is scientifically possible, it's just somehow taken as a given that one day they woke up and it was the game world.  There's no explanation by the game makers why they are trapped in the game, the characters are just left to their own devices.  As though this weren't bad enough, the characters in the story don't act realistically at all.  For instance, the knight guy says embarrassing things at the top of his lungs that no one would say out loud in real life.  Meanwhile, a girl talks as though she's role playing even though she should be living the game world like the real world now that they're stuck in it.  The same girl keeps hitting this guy in the face as though violence is funny or acceptable in daily life when obviously it isn't.  Then there's the retarded genki older sister who hugs total strangers and gushes over them like an uncontrolled mountain brook.  Every single character is annoying and doesn't act like a human being would act like at all.  They're just a bunch of awful anime tropes mixed together with no attempt at understanding human psychology.  This is like the exact opposite of good literature.  Can we please have a season two of Sword Art Online already?  We don't need any more of this shitty game.  Fail.

White Album 2:  An expertly crafted, well paced, well drawn anime.  The natural way these bonds grew from stranger to friends is really well done.  My only worry is the show seemed to lack heart, and was more like a robot's rendition of romance -- sort of like Vividred was a robot's version of mahou shoujos, and Tari Tari was a robot's version of school slice of life.  Sometimes a show should deviate from 'well done' just to be more genuine.  I can't exactly place my objection, but it didn't give me that blossoming feeling that a truly good series has like Outbreak Company.  Even so, a good series by the book can get you pretty far in life, and both Vividred and Tari Tari are in my rankings, so it's not a terrible direction for a series to take.  In a season of so many god awful shows, White Album 2 is looking pretty good.  Pass.

Little Busters Refrain:  This isn't really worth mentioning, it's so obvious, but everyone should be watching Little Busters Refrain.  The reason I ranked Little Busters so highly is due to the plot developments in this season and the one after, EX, so it wouldn't make any sense to stop halfway through at just the original series.  Pass.

Sekai de Ichiban Tsuyoku Naritai!:  A humorously good show.  More tasteful than Kill la Kill, well drawn and full of great voice actors like Ayana Taketatsu.  But that's as far as it goes.  There is simply no way Pro Wrestling makes for a good idea as a story.  Pro Wrestling is already inherently stupid.  Add in that it is girls who are doing the pro wrestling, and suddenly it's ecchi wrestling instead.  Furthermore, the cries of pain of tortured girls should not be a turn-on, so having girls in pain in scanty wrestling outfits creates a terrible cognitive dissonance.  Fail.

Ace of Diamond:  In order to stand out as another baseball anime, this show would have had to be incredibly good.  I've already watched and liked Moshidora, Cross Game and Major.  There's only so much baseball I can take.  If you can't beat those series, you aren't worth watching as just an inferior copy of them.  Though this show has the typical heated rivalry drama and badass cock of the walk contests, it doesn't have much else going for it.  The humor is straight out not funny, and just recoils on the work making it look much worse than it would've been without any attempts at humor.   If you're a fan of baseball and just can't get enough shows about baseball, Ace of Diamond will serve.  But for regular folks, just stick to Major and Cross Game, you'll be much more richly rewarded.  Fail.

Gingitsune:  I don't like Japanese mythology.  There's way too many gods, rules, and customs.  I guess I shouldn't call it mythology though since Shinto is still the religion of the present inhabitants of Japan.  In any case, shows based off of Japanese folklore are legion, because there are so many legions of folktales.  But every one of them makes for a poor story simply because characters wishing or praying their problems away is absurd.  There is no God, so humans have to take care of their own problems themselves.  We need to strengthen people's willpower until they learn to overcome all their own problems, not fob them off with fairy tales about Gods swooping in and answering their prayers.  What a weak girl this protagonist is.  She can't do anything herself and just relies on God for everything.  There's nothing actually good about her, herself, she just happens to luckily be able to communicate with God.  Well isn't that nice.  But as for the rest of us who can't communicate with God, what are we supposed to learn from this story?  It's absolutely worthless to us non-prophets.  God I hate God, and His discriminatory bullshit of showing Himself to some people but not others.  What a bullshit God.  The God of bigotry apparently, since he simply refuses to treat us all equally.  Fail.

Walkure Romanze:  This show is a joke.  My principle objection is that armor, to be useful armor, would never look like a skin-tight metal bikini.  It would be one smooth hunk of metal that wouldn't be related to the female form whatsoever, because that armor has the most structural integrity.  If a girl wants to wear plate mail, she'd be wearing so many layers of cotton cloth between herself and the plate anyway, that her bosom would never become an issue by the time it reaches the metal shell.  This is because plate mail would cut into the skin if worn directly, and furthermore, it wouldn't have any shock absorption without the cloth layers, and furthermore, the conductivity would be killer.  Can you imagine full plate mail out in the summer sun directly touching the skin?  They'd be burnt alive.  In winter they would be frost-bitten with cold.  If you're going to do something, you should do it right, and pay careful attention to detail. That's what makes a show seem genuine instead of just a child's fantasy.  Furthermore, jousting is an extremely dangerous sport.  Girls should never participate in something so barbaric and deadly, even assuming they were strong enough to wield lances or sit upright with full plate on.  The only reason jousting existed in the first place is because it served as valuable practice for the battlefield.  The moment lancers became obsolete, the sport was discontinued immediately.  Since these jousters are just doing it for fun, in what seems to be the modern world, the entire premise is simply ridiculous.

The world simply doesn't hang together.  Each of its separate parts makes no sense when combined with the other parts.  Why are the girls wearing German military outfits from the 1800's combined with Japanese school girl mini-skirts?  How does one run away from a horse that is chasing after you and not get caught immediately?  Why is there so much ecchi in a show about jousting?  The two have nothing to do with each other.  This show is so much worse than that pro wrestling one.  The number of objections you can raise against its stupidity is enough to just beat your head against a wall.  Fail.

Super Seisyun Brothers:  I really dislike the short anime format.  So little can possibly happen each episode that only a truly terrific series, like Yama no Susume, can make it worth my while to watch.  This isn't a truly terrific series.  Fail.

Miss Monochrome:  This is also a short series, but it's cute.  As we all know, cute is justice.  Therefore, anything this show does is okay.  Especially that awesome dance sequence at the end.  I want to take her home!  Pass.

 This completes the first half of fall season reviews.  The second half will be out once all the remaining series air their first episode.  But if I waited any longer, the second episode of these series would have aired without even their first episode being discussed yet.  As such, I had to pull the trigger despite the full list being incomplete.

As you can see, the fall season, at least what we've seen so far, is awful.  It may be one of the most pitiful showings in recent history.  But there's still some things to be happy about.  The summer season had 14 watchable shows.  So far, the fall season now has 11 (counting the surefire good second season of Valvrave).  So all we need is three more successes in the remaining shows to break even.  And even though most new series were awful, Golden Time and Outbreak Company were fine, so there's a bright spot even for new franchises to point at.  Let's just hope the remaining series do better than this batch managed~

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