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Monday, January 11, 2016

2016 Winter Anime First Impressions:

Musaigen no Phantom World:  Kyoto Animation is carrying the entire weight of this story on their shoulders.  If not for the glorious art and animation, this would be a hamfest of sexual exploitation and plot-going-nowhere-nonsense.  But with Kyoto Animation on its side, this becomes a work of art, a riveting masterpiece that everyone must see.  If Kyoto continues to pour this level of budget into every episode of Musaigen, I really don't care what the plot, characters or dialogue do.  I would've felt the same about Kyoukai no Kanata, but the guys kept sexually harassing the girls directly, which I couldn't stand.  In this series it's just the camera that sexually harasses the girls, and since the girls aren't aware of it overall there's no harm done.  On top of the art and animation there's also a good dollop of humor, but still, 99% of the reason to watch this show is just to see it.  Pass.

Haruchika:  P.A. Works is another studio of comparable quality to Kyoto Animation, but they really screwed up their art style with this one.  The CG looks awful.  The art looks awful too.  The only saving grace is the animation, which still looks fluid and graceful.  I'm not fond of stories about gays because the stories are never realistic.  A story about a gay should include a thousand casual lovers, hard drug and alcohol use, std's and eventual suicide.  That's how all gay lives go, so I don't want all this nonsense pretending otherwise.
28% of homosexual men had more than 1000 partners: "Bell and Weinberg reported evidence of widespread sexual compulsion among homosexual men. 83% of the homosexual men surveyed estimated they had had sex with 50 or more partners in their lifetime, 43% estimated they had sex with 500 or more partners; 28% with 1,000 or more partners. Bell and Weinberg p 308."

A gay aiming for true love is an oxymoron.  Their marital fidelity rate is a mere 4.5%.  It simply doesn't happen.  Therefore this Haruta main character is simply a figment of the author's imagination.  You can't be cool and progressive and champion gayness without actually admitting to people what the sexuality really is.  If gays acted just like straights they wouldn't be transgressive.  No one would care about them.  It's precisely because of their different behavior that the controversy exists in the first place.  A story that fails to address that is just dishonest, disingenuous, and pointless, since it doesn't actually address any of the objections straights have about gays to begin with.  To make matters worse, I don't actually like mystery stories.  Good mystery shows will hook me anyway, but a mystery show ripping off Hibike! while featuring a fake gay protagonist with bad art and awful CG?  Fail. 

Active Raid:  The Code Geass elements are there, as one would expect, but it's only superficial.  There's mecha action, jazzy brass music, mechs that roll around on wheels, etc.  But there's nothing actually good about this story.  It's a plot that can go nowhere because it's about police apprehending common thugs.  The police are contained by a bureaucracy and therefore have no agency.  All they can do is follow orders as they go about their dull, routine, repetitive lives as crime fighters.  They can't make any important decisions because all of them are made by higher-ups who tell them what to do in real time over the phone.  Therefore, there is no point to this story.  There are no characters and no decisions being made, just the grinding of the gears of a giant, impersonal Machine called the System.  Given the parameters of the story, given this awful setting, not even Homer could write a worthwhile tale.  There's just nothing to work with here.  Everything and everyone is boring and annoying.  Just a hint to all potential tale-spinners -- never, ever tell a story about police.  They aren't interesting characters, they don't have any interesting decisions they can make, their day to day routine is boring and trivial, and the 'villains' they face aren't interesting enough to merit even a second of our attention.  A story about superheroes fighting supervillains, operating above the law, vigilantes who are making their own decisions about right and wrong, is interesting.  Daredevil is interesting.  Batman is interesting.  Cops aren't interesting.  Fail.

Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu:  The art for this series is awful.  Maybe that's just due to the low-resolution version of the file, but it really felt flat and shapeless, lifeless and boring.  Like the animators just didn't put much work into the product.  There's also a really annoying loudmouth 'genki' girl who's totally unrealistic and obnoxious one has to endure half the episode long.  There's a saving grace though.  The moment the guy goes on a date with the mysterious long dark haired pretty girl the story becomes unique and interesting.  There's finally a point to everything that's happening on screen, and a goal that's been provided.  A story cannot exist without a goal, so it's very nice for a clear and simple statement of purpose to be made within the first episode.  This story could go either way in the future, but at least it's interesting right now, because Kuroda is interesting and the male lead is respectable.  Pass.

Boku dake ga inai machi:  The first actually promising series of the new season.  If it continues at this level of quality it will be a great anime in my rankings.  A down to Earth guy who doesn't think much of anyone or anything, including himself, still can't help but be motivated to save people in his direct line of sight due to a magic power of rewriting incipient tragedies.  There's a fantastically portrayed female co-worker who comes to like him, the exact opposite of the ridiculously over the top 'genki' idiot in Shoujo-tachi, someone you might actually meet in real life because she acts like a genuine person and not just some dumb trope picked up off a shelf.  And then a giant plot twist at the end that's as awesome as it is shocking.  I have no complaints with this show and only praise.  A-1 Pictures, like usual, has delivered amazing art and animation quality.  Even the ending theme is good.  I just can't wait to see the next episode for this one.  Pass.

Koukaku no Pandora:  Ghost in the Shell was never meant to be a comedy.  Fail.

Divine Gate:  This did not look and feel like a real world.  It looked and felt like a dumb cartoon.  Fail.

Phantasy Star Online 2: The Animation:  For something with 'the animation' in its name, it sure had a lot of CG.  Which looked awful, of course, as always.  On top of that, the plot was boring and pointless, as were the characters.  I have no idea why they thought this would be an entertaining story.  Rather than watch other people play boring video games, wouldn't it be better to play a fun one yourself?  Just cut out the middleman.  What a dumb concept.  Fail.

Luck and Logic:  For a stereotypical chuuni fighting show, it's unoffensive and entertaining.  It reminds me of Black Bullet, which I eventually tired of and dropped.  But for now I like the show so I'll stick to it and see how it goes.  Pass.

Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R:  A parody of Pretty Cure.  This is not a bad thing.  If you mimic Pretty Cure, my third favorite show of all time, you'll end up great yourself.  The humor was also hilarious throughout.  I basically have no complaints with this show, but the ceiling of its worth is limited due to its derivative nature.  Pass.

Oshiete Gyuraluko-chan:  Coarse humor, ala Seitokai Yakuindomo or Prison School.  I steer clear of this uncomfortable stuff.  Fail.

Landlord is in Puberty:  This show is too short to be worth the mental space required to keep track of it.  Fail.

Dimension W:  Is this the next Cowboy Bebop?  The animation is incredible, constant and refreshingly non-CG.  The voice acting is top notch.  The action is brilliant.  The girl robot is beautiful.  The protagonist is almost exactly like Spike.  I didn't expect much going in to this show, but I was sold on it by the midway point and thrilled by the end of the episode.  This is a huge new candidate for my great anime rankings.  I think it's even better than Boku Dake ga Inai Machi.  Pass.

Schwarzesmarken:  I despise the fights with the beta.  They are poorly done, poorly animated, and totally unexciting.  However, the whole East German communist oppressors thing is a breath of fresh air.  Communism is barely ever criticized in any work of art.  The human rights crimes of communist countries are all brushed under the rug.  It's about time for someone to open up and be honest about it.  Pass.

Hai to Gensou no Grimgar:  Beautiful art, maybe the best art ever.  Great animation, perfect characters, an ideal setting, a plot that flows naturally and is full of infinite potential.  This show has blown all the competition out of the water.  I can only speak about it in superlatives.  It's the new Sword Art Online -- though naturally I don't expect it to be as good as SAO, it's at least not a disgrace to it.  Pass.

Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu:  I can tell they put a lot of work into this show, but there is nothing more boring than rakugo.  Making an entire series about it is folly.  It didn't work for Joshiraku either.  Fail.

Saijaku Muhai no Bahamut:   It feels like I've seen this series a thousand times already.  Japanese light novels are depressingly uncreative.  However, the execution for this version of the exact same series of events -- boy falls on top of nude girl, girl challenges him to a magic duel, boy amazingly wins, boy joins all-girls school and has a cute imouto, etc, etc -- went off pretty well.  I found it fun throughout.  The art is good, and the characters are endearing.  This show isn't going to set any world records, but it's harmless entertainment in its own way.  Maybe I'll tire of the tropes later, but for now it's doing just fine.  Pass.

Mahou Shoujo Nante Mouiideskura:   As an anime short, it doesn't have a decent budget to do what it's trying to do.  Fate/Kaleid Liner is the budget you need for a mahou shoujo series.  Still, I like magical girls so much I'll even watch dumb shorts like this one.  Pass.

Ao no Kanata no Four Rhythm: Do you feel like flying today?  Strap on a pair of grav shows and join the adventure!  Experience the excitement of Flying Circus.  Get hype!  From the makers of Koi Choco comes the #1 award winning visual novel of 2014, or was it 2015?  Anyway, we knew this was going to be good and it went exactly as planned.  However, it's still not on the level of the first episode of Dimension W or Boku Dake ga Inai Machi.  It needs to be less silly and more interesting.  The characters need to feel a little more human.   The number of new series to keep track of keeps piling up though.  The winter season is shaping up to be a lot better than initially expected.  Pass.

Subarashii Sekai hasn't aired yet, but by the time it does Musaigen will already be at episode 2.  As a result, my first impressions post will have to end here.  I'll discuss Subarashii at the next available time.

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