Sunday, 7 April 2013

Spring 2013: part the first

It's the first week into the new anime season, and thus as usual necessitates my need to blog about how first episodes have panned out so far (excluding Railgun and Henneko which begin in a weeks time).

So far the season has got off to a fairly mediocre start with most of the shows seeming bland. Thankfully though, there are at least some shows that have entertained me on first viewing - of these my favourite so far is Date a Live which is a mecha bodysuit/harem/comedy. It's pretty hard to directly compare it to other series (it has some similarities with the Muv Luv visual novels and other similarities with Infinite Stratos, but these are only vague approximations) the main thing that matters is that it kept me laughing for the duration of the episode, and entertained with the mecha fights.

"Gouf". The name of a mobile suit. Also
the noise MC makes when kicked in the balls.
The plot is a little flimsy: genocidal spirits are invading Earth and the main character has the task of seducing them. There isn't anything wrong with that, and indeed if you must watch a harem this season this is a pretty safe bet. The manga is good too so I'll stake my bet for continued enjoyment on that, and pray that they don't choose to make an original ending.

Susei no Gargantua is another mecha series, and one which likewise really impressed me. It was scripted by Urobuchi Gen (Madoka etc), a writer whose work varies considerably in quality; it was great to see him hit the mark on the first episode of this.

Woop woop.
The programme follows the stylings of space-real-robot, beginning with a pilot who is participating in an all out war against intergalactic alien blobs. On his return through an intergalactic wormhole he gets thrown offcourse only to wake up six months later on an unknown planet; curious humans are inspecting his mech, and they appear to be quite disconnected from the space war at large. Rather than spoil the remainder of the episode, I implore the reader to view it for themselves and enjoy just what happens.

As a side note I really should mention the character designs for Gargantua, because these really are
fantastic. They somehow find this nice halfway point between cartoon and realistic proportions, and are very visually appealing for it.

Sadly pleasing character design eludes Majestic Prince - another mecha show - which sadly has some of the ugliest designs courtesy of Hirai Hisashi (Gundam SEED). This falls more into the realm of super-robot and hot blooded Reaganistic characters battling against alien blobs again. If that's more your kind of mecha show, maybe try that one.

Oreimo decided to continue where it left off 2 years ago with a reintroduction episode. It was OK I guess, but after a 2 year gap I've lost interest in the characters and find the continuing tsun-tsun of various characters rather grating for a first episode.

Muromi-san is an entertaining smutcom about a mermaid and a fisherman who deliver jokes through a manzai routine. It's amusing enough for 12 minutes once a week.

Character designs are nice and polished.
Yahari SNAFU is yet another "guy gets roped into working with a girl" show (I guess this is becoming a thing now) with a billy-no-mates MC whose rotten personality is to be melted by a prim
and proper lady. On paper this sounds terrible, but once you see it motion and get to enjoy the interaction of the characters it's pretty enjoyable. If you do pick Yahari SNAFU up, be sure to use FFF and not Commie.

Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge is a pretty weird show. I want to label it the weirdest show of the season, but it may well be dethroned from that title by other weird shows that are currently airing. Unfortunately the strangeness isn't helped by the pitifully poor pacing and total lack of character development: the main character appears at a girls window like a creepy stalker for no reason at all, she welcomes him in as if he were a best friend, he offers to cut her hair. Just watching it feels so wrong and shameful.

Red Data Girl is an unremarkable if nicely animated show by PA Works - a studio which I am keen to emphasize as one which repeatedly lets me down with bad direction and scripting. It's about a girl who breaks anything electrical when she touches it and a guy who is forced to protect her... it's something that should be so much better than it is.

Hataruku! Maou-sama is another weird show, albeit on this occasion actually good. The first 10 minutes offer a beautiful battle between the minions of hell and incoming crusaders, with the forces Satan being duly subdued by the invading army. Using the last of his magic the devil transports himself to a different realm: modern day Earth, and thus the tone of the show switches from Shakugan no Shana to that of Spongebob Squarepants. There's something strangely amusing but also incredibly tragic about seeing Satan working as a fry cook to make ends meet. I wonder just where the show will take itself and what sort of genre it'll choose to settle in...

Every line is like this. I'm not kidding.
Shingeki no Kyoujun, otherwise known as "Assault on Titan" was garbage. Absolute drivel. I haven't been so offended by mediocre writing in a long time, but this really was awful. Set 4000 years in the future it focuses on a world where giants the size of Godzilla roam the Earth and eat humans for breakfast - which for some reason people decide to battle against on horseback. Right off the bat we're introduced to a cast who all suffer from a chronic case of being Kevin the Teenager, angry with the world being against them and stopping them from staying up all night and feeling a need to grump and grouch at every turn. The whole thing stinks of teenage fanfic writing, something that isn't helped by the ridiculous melodrama it throws at every corner. Avoid it at all costs.