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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Fall Anime 2014 Season First Impressions: Part 1

World Trigger:  In a simple world composed of bullies/monsters and those brave enough to stand up to them, we give you shonen battle, no frills attached.  There's something to be said for men facing up to their fears and protecting the weak like manly men, but it still feels a bit shallow and empty.  Heck, even Mushibugyo was protecting the world from giant bugs.  That didn't make Mushibugyo any good.  It feels like a very mediocre series right now, but I hear it gets better later in, so who knows.  The alien invaders from another world who are immune to all normal Earthly weapons but not magic blades wielded by heroes thing is getting a little overused as a trope though.  I like it in Freezing, but by the time World Trigger gets around to airing, it's already a very old and overused concept.  I'd like to see a little more creativity in my shonen battle genres.  Anyway, let's wait and see where things go from here.  Pass.

Cross Ange:  What's with the needless nudity in this series?  And the random perverted moments seemingly thrown in at random?  Plus, what's with people suddenly bursting into song at all the wrong moments like this is some zany musical?  The number of things that are wrong with this series is vast, but the number of things that are right are quite small.  A few things in the show's favor -- Nana Mizuki's voice acting -- a Shinsekai Yori like world where magic-users conflict with non-magic-users -- a sudden plot twist which gives the main character a new perspective on all her previous sheltered life's views -- currently outweigh the bad things in the show.  But that doesn't mean the grace period for this show's life will last forever.  I'll give this series the benefit of the doubt for now, but honestly, mechas fighting dragons is a really retarded concept.  I can't believe this is going to end well.  Pass.

Ushinowaretta Mirai wo Motemote:  The romance in this series is a little hamhanded.  It just feels a little off that all these girls would randomly like this guy, despite him not having any redeeming traits that would lead you to believe he would actually be this popular.  Luckily, this story isn't really about the romance.  It's Steins;Gate.  Almost exactly.  A foreign object suddenly appears.  A girl suddenly dies.  Time travel is the only way left to change the future.  Can our heroes escape their destiny?  Stay tuned for the next episode of steins gate ZZZzzzzzzz!  Pass.

Madan no Ou to Vanadis:  Again, this show has way too much random nudity.  The girls are dressed in ridiculously immodest, impractical clothes that no girl would ever be caught dead wearing.  And then they give up on even that and just show the girls bathing nude because hey, why should a show treat their characters with even the slightest bit of human dignity?  If you can get around the stupid fanservice aspects, what you have is a pretty realistic portrayal of mankind's barbaric and warlike past, where people fought 'just because,' having no real ideological basis for their conflicts, which allowed for such shifting loyalties that the warriors on the opposing sides could readily switch allegiances multiple times without anyone even calling them out on it as dishonorable.  Fighting in the past used to be a sport fought solely for prestige and wealth among the nobility, and that really showed in this first episode.  The woman ruler was more interested in the sheer love of battle than actually winning the war.  The imprisoned subject actually hated his own country but fought for it anyway because that's how one got ahead in life.  And so on.  Since the past is somewhat interesting, because it provides a real insight into how truly unevolved people are morally, and how important culture is in keeping us civilized, I think this story can be quite the tonic for the soul.  Pass.

Danna ga Nani wo Itteiru ga Wakaranai Ken:  Another dumb story where a guy has a girl despite having no redeeming traits that could have possibly landed him the girl in the first place.  Add in the ridiculously short length and what you get is complete crap.  I feel bad for Yukari Tamura, whose lovely voice is the life of this show, because she had to do the same for the previous dumb comedy Murami-san as well.  When is she going to get a good role again?  Fail.

Sora no Method:  Sora no Method is a series with incredibly high expectations.  This is from the writer of Kanon and Sola.  It had better be good.  What the first episode did is try to live up to those expectations and fall just a little bit short of them.  The art and animation were gorgeous, about as good as the so-far standout Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works.  The voice acting sounds good too.  The characters are overall likable, but right now too many of them are associated with dumb gimmicks instead of their own unique soul.  One is always carrying around a dinosaur.  Another wears ear muffs from childhood all the way to adulthood without ever taking them off, apparently.  This kind of clumsy 'characterization' is not what we're looking for.  The melodrama of the girl suddenly getting angry and driving away her friend for no good reason was unnecessary, but at least the issue resolved itself quickly in the same episode so I won't hold too much against it.  Right now Sora no Method is behind the first episodes of both Kanon and Sola.  Even so, it's better than practically everything else that's aired so far.  Let's hope it rises to meet its potential in the future.  Pass.

Grisaia no Kajitsu:  A famous visual novel series finally reaches the silver screen.  It was obvious this series was going to be both good, and full of sexual content.  It delivered on both promises, but the second aspect has annoying censor light rays until the blu-ray comes out.  Honestly that's fine, because the story is just fine without the sex.  But when you adapt a visual novel full of sex into anime, I wish viewers would at least understand what they're getting themselves into and stop being such prudes.  The character introductions were amazing.  Aside from the one violent silent girl, who really came off as shallow compared to the other girls, the other four really stood out as unique, awesome characters you want to know more about immediately.  There is a deep undercurrent in this show and nobody is showing their true selves yet.  This episode looked fantastic, sounded fantastic, and quite simply was fantastic.  I expected this series would enter my rankings, and I still expect that result.  The only question is 'how high can it go?'  Pass.

Shingeki no Bahamut:  Rarely has a series ever been so bad.  The entire tone of the story is American.  This could have come out of Hollywood.  Irreverent, full of people acting cool and cracking jokes in the middle of combat, full of mindless violence which serves no purpose. . . It hurts just having to describe this series.  The main character is the classic 'lame but cool' American trope which hates morally upright protagonists and prefers those who sexually harass women, get drunk and steal without a second thought.  If you like American tv and movies, you'll love Shingeki no Bahamut.  It was practically Pirates of the Caribbean 6.  If you have any standards, you will hate this series with all of your heart and all of your soul.  I can't believe an anime in such bad taste was actually made.  I thought better of Japanese than to mimic the likes of us.  Fail.

 Nanatsu no Taizai:  The pig is a stupid character and shouldn't exist.  Sexual harassment isn't as funny as Japan seems to think it is.  Their battle power levels are too high for just the beginning of the series.  With such massive attacks, it looks pretty stupid when people just get thrown in the air like in loony tunes, suffering basically no damage as a result of them, just because the show is 'for kids' and therefore all violence is ultimately a retarded waste of time because it can't harm a hair on anyone's head.  I can think of a lot of problems with this show, but nevertheless it's shonen action and the quality of the genre makes up for all the faults.  What we have is an epic fantasy setting, likable protagonists who don't sweat the small stuff, good music and good art.  That should be enough to get by for now.  Of the two new shonen battle series though, so far World Trigger is looking like the better of the two.  Hopefully this show gets better if it wants to follow in the shoes of Naruto and Fairy Tail.  The Naruto manga is ending in just five chapters.  Nanatsu no Taizai has some big shoes to fill.  Pass.

Garo:  Another America-like entertainment product, and almost as bad as Bahamut was as a result.  Typically, the hero starts off in a prostitution den, thus establishing his 'cred' as a non-moral male lead.  Somehow in America this is considered necessary before anything else can begin.  After that is the typical mindless action sequences that over-glorify how cool everyone is without actually contributing to any plot progress.  Slather on the awful American style humor where, upon killing someone, you have to immediately come up with a lame pun-based double entendre dirty joke, and you have the ultimate in American entertainment.  This is seriously as good as American entertainment can get.  It's like the perfect epitome of James Bond and all the rest that's considered the flower of our cultural accomplishment.  Japan has a culture that's a million times more beautiful and brilliant than anything America can produce, so I hate when they devolve back into catering to our wishes like this.  It's disgraceful.  It's degenerate.  It's despicable.  Fail.

Inou-Battle Within Everyday Life:  This story has a humorous premise, though it's questionable how long the comedy will last or whether it will get old soon enough.  In addition, it has great art and beautiful character designs.  Beyond that I can't say much.  A bunch of school kids get super powers but have no enemies to fight with them, so they generally just sit around doing nothing instead.  It's funny, but is it going anywhere?  We'll just have to wait and see.  Pass. 

Danten ni Warau:  I couldn't even finish the first episode.  Fail. 

Amagi Brilliant Park:  This is an innovative story concept.  People from a magical land end up stranded here, and decide their only marketable skill is to perform magic as a theme park attraction, while covering up the fact that it really is magic.  It's not an unreasonable idea, but due to their poor management skills it just isn't working.  This is why they end up hiring a human to help rearrange the park for them so that it brings in customers and their refugee life can continue in comparative comfort a little longer.  With Kyoto animation behind the product and the author of Full Metal Panic being  the source material, this show really couldn't go wrong.  As expected, it was a great first episode.  However, compared to the likes of Grisaia it's still just a pale shadow of what true brilliance looks like.  Can Amagi up its game?  Or will it just stay good compared to all the mediocrities in the rest of the fall lineup?  That's still left to be seen.  Pass.

Akatsuki no Yona:  Reminiscent of Saiunkoku Monogatari, we have yet again a woman from a noble house as the protagonist in a seemingly Chinese fantasy historical fiction world.  But this time things are notably improved.  The men are not all imbecilic, but seem to have a will of their own.  If the men can act like men instead of idiots, then this new and improved version of Saiunkoku could easily reach my best anime rankings.  The red hair is a lot like 12 Kingdoms, another Chinese historical fiction fantasy featuring a female protagonist.  12 Kingdoms is in my rankings, so if you copy it you should end up with a good result.  As always with shows like these, the potential is magnificent, I think realistic fantasy epics are the best possible setting for a story, so it's all about the execution from here.  Pass.

Trinity Seven:  This show stinks of chuunibyou.  Random magic power ups without any effort.  Girls falling for the main character male for no reason.  Getting to have ecchi situations all over without any investment or any consequences.  It's like Nanatsu no Taizai on steroids.  But oh well.  It could be worse.  As things stand there seems to be an interesting plot in the guy searching for his lost cousin, and getting to know all these new girls might be fun.  I'll stick with it for now.  Pass.

I'll cover the remaining new shows and rank them in terms of how excited I am to see each new episode and what I plan on watching in my next post.  Since a few new shows aren't slated to air until the ones I've already reviewed have already reached their second episode, it would be too late to post my first impressions if I waited any longer.  11 passes as opposed to just 4 fails is a great start to the fall season.  If it keeps up like this, it may be the best anime season of the year.  When you add in all the still running series from past seasons, it looks like the viewing schedule is going to be of tremendous size by the end of all this.  It's like Christmas has come a few months earlier than average.

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