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Friday, July 6, 2012

Summer 2012 Anime First Impressions:

Jinrui Wa Suitai:  This series is avante garde comedy.  If you're in to plots making no sense, settings being vague splashes of color, and the world being doomed, then this is your show.  But you might also like it if you just want to laugh.  I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but a loaf of bread crawling through its own carrot juice before finally collapsing is one of the funniest things I've ever seen.  If the series can keep up that level of comedy, I'll wade through any amount of nonsense to see more of it.

Chitose Get You:  What's with this sudden influx of short, three minute gag anime series?  They're all too short to genuinely get to like, and they tend to be low budget too.  Morita-san was the best of them, but they're all best set on 'ignore.'

Yuru Yuri:  Yuru Yuri is back, and it still has its unique set of charms:  It's pretty, pleasant, and funny.  The girls and the world are pretty, their relationships are pleasant to behold, and there's always another great joke just around the corner.  Yuru Yuri can rely on sexuality too much, but that seems to be a big selling point in Japanese markets so it's hard to blame the producers.  High School DxD sold like bonkers, so I guess we should be thankful that some people have the taste to stop at the Yuru Yuri level.

Tari Tari:  This episode blew me away.  A bunch of interesting and funny people, none of whom act unrealistically or over the top.  Fantastic art (as expected of P.A. Works), great dialogue (I love the scene where the girl imagines what she should have said in the bathroom instead of what she did say), and a great plot that seems destined to unite everyone in the show together.  This show has everything.  It reminds me a lot of Hansaku Iroha, though I doubt it will ever be that good.  If it's even half as good, though, it may be the best show this summer.

Campione:  This series tries to do too much in too short a time period.  It throws you into a circumstance that actually requires a lot of explanation, without any explanations.  It introduces characters, but only displays their most superficial personality quirks, because it doesn't have enough time to make them into real characters you can get a real feel for.  Then, characters keep changing so much from scene to scene, that you feel cheated and betrayed because everything they told you five minutes ago about the character no longer applies.  The fights are far too simplistic and easy, as is the romance.  The only cool thing I can say about the series is the heroine is very pretty.  Maybe in time it will fill in all the gaps the first episode left.  But then, why should I waste any more time on merely the hope of an anime becoming good, when there are shows that are good from the start to watch instead?

Muv-Luv Alternative Total Eclipse:  This series makes no sense.  Why are school girls being trained as pilots in war?  Why is there a war with aliens that is so closely matched in strength that the war lasts more than one second?  Presumably, among all possible states of civilization and technology, the odds of meeting aliens that are on exact par with our own is mathematically zero.  The setting is so fantastic that I can't get myself to care about anything.  I just keep repeating in my head, "this is stupid, this is so unrealistic," to the point where I can't even interest myself in the characters or dialogue.  Science fiction is serious business.  If you can't write a realistic sci-fi, then don't write one at all.

Arcana Famiglia:  In Italy a group of mobsters with magic powers decide to have a tournament for rulership of the gang plus the hand of the fair daughter of the current mob boss.  Now this is a story I can get behind.  The girl is a total babe, well worth fighting over.  Maybe not worth launching a thousand ships over, but luckily only 8 men or so are involved in the tourney.  Any girl worth her salt can get eight men to fight over her, right?  We can expect everyone to use their powers in clever ways to outplay their opponents and win in battles that aren't direct ki clashes, because, after all, they are a bunch of crafty Italians.  This is a sort of meat and potatoes anime that doesn't promise to teach you anything about life, but does serve as a good roller coaster ride all the same.

Natsuyuki Rendezvous:  Let's talk about narrow plots.  Narrow plots constrict viewer interest into an infinitesimally small subject.  In Natsuyuki's case, the only subject of interest is 'will boy x get with girl y?'  However, the suspense surrounding this question can only last so long before it just becomes annoying.  Since there are no obstacles keeping them apart, this question should be able to be resolved in two or three episodes at most.  What, then, will the rest of the story be about?  I have no reason to care about anything else in this fictional world, so I can only assume that the entire story revolves around this long, drawn out, torturous suspense, in which case the story will be absolutely terrible.  This is a good first episode, but by its very nature it is making sure all future episodes will be bad.

Bimbougami Ga:  This is another instance of narrow plots.  The story has somehow, in just one ep, become endlessly repetitive and obnoxious, because it centers around one single question, 'will character x drain character y of her fortune, or not?'  This is a strictly physical question, like Wily E Coyote vs. the Roadrunner.  Either it will eventually happen, or it won't, and the story instantly ends if it happens, so that means it never will happen, which means the whole story will be about the status quo staying the status quo, forever.  How could such a story ever be interesting?  Why did they so foolishly make such a narrow plot focus in the first place, such that there's only one issue to revolve around, which requires that the issue not ever be solved?  There was some good humor in this ep, but the bad design of the story in general, as well as the needless coarseness and reliance on shock value behind everything, makes this a total washout, whereas Natsuyuki is bound to washout only at some future date.

Koi to Senkyou to Chocolate:  Beautiful art.  Most notably, beautiful girls, especially the girl with short, black hair and a quiet, laconic personality.  To be expected from an adaption of an ero-game.  But here's the problem, the ero-game traits are still there in other ways, too.  One boy surrounded by millions of girls who all like him for no apparent reason, plus one gay guy just in case you swing that way.  Rampant, blatant sexuality at all times that your eyes and ears just can't escape from.  Girls acting way too cute, as though they don't have any problems in the world and get along magically and perfectly with everyone around them.  It's just not a good premise from which anything good can emerge.  This show is slightly more classy than High School DxD, but that's about it.

Hagure Yuusha:  Meanwhile, Hagure Yuusha is exactly on par with High School DxD's class.  Needless nudity, zooming in on bouncing big breasts, and a lecherous hero who sexually assaults every girl in a ten mile radius is the strong solid foundation of this series.  It also has wonderful elements from other anime, like a bunch of boys acting like badasses always talking with smirks on their faces before they start hitting each other with magically enhanced fists.  It's some sort of combination of every bad anime ever made, with nothing whatsoever unique to itself.  Worst series this season?

Kono Naku no Hitori Imouto ga Iru:  There's plenty of ecchi in this show too, but I wouldn't dismiss it as quickly as the previous two.  There's a reason everyone would be gunning for this guy, he's the heir to an enormous corporation and anyone who marries him will be a billionaire.  The guy is genuinely looking for a wife in this high school, as that's the condition for him to become the next company president, so it isn't just worthless, short term sexual romance we're talking about here.  All of a sudden we have the same situation, one guy surrounded by a lot of girls who are throwing themselves at him, but the entire situation is understandable and even somewhat cool, because the context is different.  This is sort of a story of hunting, how to bag the guy and get the cool billion dollars, more than just a romance.  I'm not sure where his lost memories of his younger sister and her strange fixation on him come from or how they're in any way relevant to the story, but I'm sure that will also be revealed in time.  It's not like there's any proof she's really his younger sister, or half-sister, or anything.  It could be a delusion she thought up herself.  Only time will tell.

I'd like to cover more new series, but the second episode of series like Tari Tari are about to air, and a first impression based on the first episode wouldn't make much sense, or be much of a guide to anyone on what shows to watch, if these series have already entered their second week.  So I'll have to publish what I do have now, and cover the rest later.  All in all, a weak beginning to the summer season.  But there's more to come -- the last two series in the spring season, after all, were Hyouka and AKB0048 -- so we just have to wait and hope.

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