The human world is under siege from the demons – it is up to an intrepid hero known only as “hero” to defeat the demon king and save… wait a minute, this is sounding awfully familiar.
Yeah, what were the odds that two shows in the same season would have more or less the same, awfully specific and fairly original premise? Unlike Maoyuu Maou Yussha, Senyuu. is actually a comedy, with a run time of about 5 minutes an episode. And it starts out pretty damn funny! By constantly riffing on and poking fun at old JRPG tropes and clichés, Senyuu. manages to elicit quite a few laughs. Even some of its original jokes – such as the impracticality of sending the descendant of the original legendary hero to defeat the demon king when it’s been generations and he now has hundreds of descendants (solution: call them “hero #x” and send them all out and see who succeeds) – are rather good. Not bad!
But as it progresses, Senyuu. declines in quality, opting to make every joke “someone does something, hero shouts in disbelief” instead of anything clever. I get that it’s meant to be the whole Manzai comedy thing, but it’s not done well here and before long just gets tiresome and grating. The fast pace and fun parodies that characterised the early episodes get left by the wayside and everything just grinds to a halt. It still has some entertaining moments, but when your comedy has become tedious and annoying something’s gone wrong.
Posted in 2013, Review, Winter 2013 | Tagged Senyuu. | Leave a Comment »
…Well that’s an unfortunate title.
Mangirl! charts the comedic journey of a group of young girls as they create a new manga publisher! Or a manga magazine or something like that, I don’t know how the manga industry in Japan works which tells you something about how educational this series actually is about its chosen topic. Not that it really matters; the premise is nothing but a means to provide some context to drive some character driven comedy. And, well, it’s amusing. There’s some decent humour going on, even if it does get a little predictable at times – the characters are hardly massively original after all.
But that’s fine – at 3 minutes an episode it doesn’t need to be a comedic masterpiece. Just succeeding at being amusing is more than enough to have made it a worthwhile watch and the inclusion of a couple of good laughs here and there is a great bonus. That said, there really isn’t anything special going on here and the comedy, while perfectly adequate, is nothing to write home about. The art’s pretty good for a series of shorts, but you won’t miss anything by giving Mangirl! a skip.
Posted in 2013, Review, Winter 2013 | Tagged Mangirl! | Leave a Comment »
First impressions mean everything. They can make or break a series: crap first episode, no-one will want to keep watching it; great first episode, and it can generate a ton of early positive buzz, even drawing watchers in who would have otherwise passed by it. Beyond this, that first impression will set the tone for at least the immediate future for the series and the discussion surrounding it. And to say that Kotoura-san left one hell of a first impression would be putting it all too mildly.
From the previews and synopses and stuff it looked like your standard after-school club s’life, but with a twist! The twist is psychic powers. Or to be more precise, the eponymous Kotoura’s ability to read minds. Nothing particularly remarkable, but no reason to be suspicious or anything.
And then the first episode was one long chain of tragedy and misery and depression and despair and oh god oh god oh god ;_;
Yeah, it got people talking. Hard.
Unfortunately, a first impression is just that: the first of many impressions, one that won’t necessarily last and is frankly unimportant compared to the final impression.
Off to an upbeat start then
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Posted in 2013, Review, Winter 2013 | Tagged Kotoura-san | Leave a Comment »
Spice and Wolf’s lack of a third season has been hurting many anime fans for some time. Everyone wants it to happen, but with every passing day it gets less and less likely. So it was only a matter of time before someone else stepped in to try and fill that gap, or at least as best they could. Maoyuu Maou Yuusha is the product of that, a story written by an impatient 2ch user and Spice and Wolf fan, designed to satiate the cravings of others like him as much as possible. In it we have a fairly reserved male with his enigmatic supernatural female companion (who’s body is a point of note in some regard), as they go around doing economics and stuff in a medieval European-esque fantasy setting. This adaptation even sees the two franchises sharing their two leading voice talents! It is influenced by Spice and Wolf to say the least.
It says something that even something as obviously derivative as this is still very much a breath of fresh air in the current anime landscape, but that’s a discussion for another time. Maoyuu Maou Yuusha is about economics and politics and magic and demons and shit. It’s pretty alright.
I know we shouldn’t be demonizing economists, buuut…
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Posted in 2013, Review, Winter 2013 | Tagged Maoyuu Maou Yuusha | 1 Comment »
Nonsensical and non-sequitur based humour is incredibly difficult to pull off. Even Monty Python, the gold standard for this kind of comedy, could be incredibly hit-and-miss. But when something succeeds at it, the results can be hilarious in a surreal, subversive way; when they fail, it can end up resembling the worst kind of lolrandumb output of an internet-addled teenager.
Ai Mai Mi is, by and large, the latter.
Ostensibly, Ai Mai Mi is a series of 3 minute shorts about four girls in an after-school manga club – Ai, Mai, Mi and Ponoka – as they deal with all manner of weirdness in their day-to-day life. What we actually get is a string of incoherent and entirely disconnected skits that rely on their absurdity to get laughs instead of any actual, y’know, jokes. There’s no build up, no payoff, no characterization, no intelligence, nothing that could really be construed as comedy.
Not to say it’s entirely without merit or unwatchable – there’s a certain amount of amusement to be gleamed from its inherent strangeness, and there’s definitely a couple of genuinely hilarious moments – it’s just that Ai Mai Mi is more mildly confusing than actually funny.
Nice ED though.
Posted in 2013, Review, Winter 2013 | Tagged Ai Mai Mi | Leave a Comment »
Robotics;Notes was never going to have an easy time. Not when it was following Steins;Gate, one of the most critically lauded series in recent memory. I’d say there were high expectations, but most discussion before its airing was rather muted. Nobody believed it could have ever been as good as Steins;Gate. Fortunately, by being part of Nitroplus’ and 5pb.’s Science;Noun (or Semicolon or whatever you want to call it) metaseries, it was also preceded by ChäoS;HEAd. Which was absolutely shite. Nobody believed it could be worse than that (spoiler: it isn’t). Expectations were surprisingly balanced and realistic.
This time around, instead of dealing with conspiracies involving time-travel and murder à la Steins;Gate or conspiracies involving dimensions… and swords and… whatever the fuck Chaos;Head was actually about, we get conspiracies involving robots, augmented reality and the motherfucking sun.
Let’s build some fucking robots!
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Posted in 2012, 2013, Fall 2012, Review, Winter 2013 | Tagged Robotics;Notes | Leave a Comment »
Cyberpunk and anime have a long history together. Many, many cyberpunk anime series and films came out in the 80’s and 90’s, some of them hugely influential – Akira, Ghost in the Shell and Serial Experiments Lain are rightly regarded as classics. So it seems strange that there haven’t been many – if any – to come out in the past few years. Beyond Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, there weren’t really any notable cyberpunk series in the 00’s. It seems the genre became untrendy, or unfavourable. Which is a shame, really, if you consider just how integral technology has become in that short amount of time.
Enter Gen Urobuchi and Psycho-Pass.
Gotta love that in media res
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Posted in 2012, 2013, Fall 2012, Winter 2013 | Tagged Psycho-Pass | 1 Comment »