joiedecombat: (stoic)
2012-04-27 09:48 am
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Anime Roundup

Accel World: Nerdy teenager finds solace from the real world in futuristic VR cyberspace. Then a mysterious girl gives him the ability to access an "accelerated world" via a program that "speeds up his brainwaves" until it's as though time stands still. Remains to be seen if this is going to stay interesting or degenerate into a shounen tournament series, but Haruyuki's VR pig avatar is adorable.

Another: New student transfers to a high school which appears to be haunted: his classmates are strangely secretive, and there's a mysterious girl in his class who only he seems to be aware of. Then people start dying. Gruesomely. Might be worth a look if you like horror and ghost stories; it does pretty well at creating a creepy atmosphere and I find the nature of the haunting interesting. We're a good few episodes into it and taking bets as to who's going to die next.

Bodacious Space Pirates: A teenage schoolgirl discovers that her father was a famous space pirate, and since he's recently died she's the only one who can inherit his Letter of Marque and take over as captain of his ship, the Bentenmaru. Adventures in space piracy ensue - thus far, the "piracy" the Bentenmaru engages in appears to be more along the lines of creating a live onboard show for fancy space cruises, but the show implies there's some serious business on the rise as well.

Hiiro no Kakera: Teenage girl is summoned by her grandmother back to a small town where she learns that she has a mystical heritage and it's time for her to learn to step up and keep the world protected, with the help of a bunch of quirky bishonen. Based on a visual novel. Very pretty, but the prettyboys are a little goofier than I like in my sparkly shoujo anime. I might watch a few more episodes and see if I warm up to it, though.

Jormungand: The adventures of an arms dealer and a child soldier who hates weapons and arms dealers because his family got killed. We were not able to find a single solitary likeable character in the first episode, which mostly consisted of the arms dealer shooting up a bunch of people for trying to hold up her weapons shipment in Customs.

Ozuma: By Leiji "Captain Harlock" Matsumoto. Post-apocalyptic desert world! Ships that submerge under the sand! Pirates! A mysterious girl! Ladies with fabulous eyelashes! Sand whales! Worth a look, especially as it's only like six episodes long.

Sankarea: Boy with a zombie fetish tries to bring his dead cat back to life and meets an upper-class girl with enough issues of her own that she's willing to volunteer to test his zombie formula. Not sure where this is going, not sure I'm interested in finding out.

Shirokuma Cafe: AKA Polar Bear Cafe. Slice-of-life comedy about a lazy panda and a cafe run by a polar bear. Although Polar Bear serves coffee and Panda is forced to get a job (as "part-time panda" at a local zoo) by his mother's ongoing threat of sucking him up with her vaccuum cleaner, all of the animals are drawn with surprising realism, which just makes it that much cuter. Only seen one episode so far, but it's really kind of charming.

Tasogare Otome X Amnesia: AKA Dusk Maiden of Amnesia. Another haunted high school story, but this one's not horror; the ghost is president of a paranormal investigation club (her body is buried under the club room) and, with the help of a student who's able to see and interact with her, appears to be trying to find out the circumstances of her death. The premise is kind of interesting, but the execution leaves something to be desired; the first ten minutes of the first episode are shown from the point of view of someone who can't see the ghost, and then replayed shot-for-shot with the ghost's presence included, in a way that was clearly going for a "once more with clarity" kind of thing but was mostly just unnecessary.

tsuritama: Boy who struggles with social anxiety and panic attacks moves to an island town, where a kooky boy who claims to be an alien invites himself into the first boy's home, takes him fishing, and derails a couple of his panic attacks by shooting him in the face with a squirt gun which seems to have mind-control properties. There's no way for me to convey in a summary how cute this is, but it's very cute, and full of bright, bright colors.

Upotte!: Just when I think I've gotten a handle of the Japanese tendency for weirdness, they pull something new. For instance, this show. I wasn't thrown by the idea of a slice-of-life comedy show about a school for moe anthropomorphic guns - I'm not sure why someone would think of this as an idea for a show, but whatever, it's Japan. But then the first episode uses the premise primarily as a vehicle for metaphors about sex, and I just don't know what to make of that at all.

Zetman: From what I can tell from the first episode: highly inethical corporation created experimental monsters and used them as pit-fighters to entertain the rich elite, until the "players" revolted, killed a lot of people, and escaped. The one scientist not quite as inethical as the others rescued a child from the project before the company could exterminate their remaining specimens, and ran off with him to live as a hobo and try to raise him as a human despite his superpowers, an effort complicated by the fact that the corporation is still looking for him and the "players" are still out there as well. Or, to sum up still further: homeless teenage superhero? The animation is really pretty and the characters seem interesting - I plan to watch more.

And then there's Sakamichi no Apollon (Kids on the Slope), which deserves its own post.
joiedecombat: (random chance)
2011-10-13 09:28 am
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Anime Roundup

The new fall anime is out, so animenite is trying out a bunch of new series again:

Chihayafuru: Will probably not last at animenite, as it seems to be primarily a slice of life / romance series about a pretty but socially awkward girl with a passion for a very Japanese card game called karuta, and her two childhood friends who used to play it with her. Seems cute, and the art style is pretty, although I don't know if I'm interested enough to watch it on my own time.

Fate/Zero: Prequel to Fate/stay night, of which I have neither played the game nor watched the anime, but I've osmosed some details thanks to others I know being into it, enough to know that this is guaranteed to go nowhere good. We've seen two episodes so far and people are already losing their damn minds. In particular, Caster invoking Cthulhu made it a big hit with the animenite crowd, which makes me a little worried about this bunch.

Kimi to Boku: Slice of life about four high school boys who've been friends since childhood. Not sure what theme they're going for; the first episode was about the uptight one's efforts to get one of the two apathetic twins to join a school club, any school club. Apparently they had almost no budget for animation, as a surprising amount of the episode was only barely what you'd call animated. We spent most of the episode trying to convince Billy that yes, all four of those characters are boys. My overall reaction is pretty much "meh."

Kyoukai Senjou No Horizon: The file actually broke halfway through the episode, but nobody was too broken up about it owing to we couldn't tell what was supposed to be going on and the character designs are ridiculous. Special mention to a number of female characters who looked like they had fully-inflated helium balloons taped to their chests in place of breasts. Something about training for battle was all I got out of the episode itself; investigating online provides some further backstory about Earth being destroyed, an "upper world" which was also destroyed, the laws of causation breaking down, and... yeah, I don't know either, and I'm not sure I care too much.

Mawaru Penguindrum: Actually from the summer season, but I don't think I mentioned it before now and we're still watching it, so I might as well include it. From the mind of the guy who brought us Revolutionary Girl Utena, and it shows: two brothers take their ill sister to the aquarium, whereupon she drops dead, and is brought back to life by the penguin hat they bought her as a souvenir. The entity of the hat possesses the girl and commands her brothers to "find the Penguindrum," and crazy ensues in copious amounts. This is one of those shows where we're twelve episodes in and still nobody has any clue what's going on.

Phi Brain: Proving once again that the Japanese can make an action series about anything. This time it's puzzle-solving, which is not that far off the wall as compared to the action series about economics and the tournament sports series about baking bread. Our hero is an obsessive puzzle-solver who, in the first episode, solves a labyrinth which results in his forming "the contract of Orpheus", gaining a funky-looking gold armband and the ability to "use a hundred percent of his brain." The art style kind of bothers me. Third anime of the night to feature an appearance from Koyasu Takehito, who is once again in every damn thing (in this case, he's also in Kyoukai Senjou No Horizon and Mawaru Penguindrum).

Persona 4 the Animation: I already tl;dr'ed about this one. It seems to have caught the group's interest so hopefully we'll stick with it. I have gotten around to actually playing the game as well, up to slightly past the point covered by the first episode, which turns out to have indeed greatly condensed things, probably for the better. Thus far, in spite of some reordering of events which I think works better in the episode format (specifically, the protagonist summons Izanagi during the first visit to the TV world), it's a remarkably close adaptation. We'll see how it goes from here.
joiedecombat: (Weiss)
2011-04-26 05:58 pm
Entry tags:

anime roundup!

Hey, I haven't done one of these in a while.

Tales of the Abyss: Basically just like the game in most respects, apparently, so handy for anyone who can't be bothered to actually play all the way through. Also, Takehito Koyasu as Jade, so that's a bonus. As I have not managed to finish the game myself, I am not sure how much is being left out, but I have it on reasonably good authority that it's at least not making any substantial deviations.

Level E: The basic premise of this one is that the Earth is positively rife with all kinds of alien visitors, and everyone knows it except the Earthlings. The primary example is the Prince of Dogura, the trollingest troll who ever trolled; almost every storyline turns out to have been brought about by him messing with someone's head in some fashion or other. As such, the level of crazy is quite high.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Your basic magical girl series gone horribly, horribly wrong. I can't really say much about this one without spoiling the twists, but suffice to say that the perpetual stuffed-animal cat smile of the obligatory cute animal mascot gets more and more disturbing the further you get into the series.

Haiyoru! Nyaruani: Remember My Love(craft): A Flash anime about anthropomorphized moe versions of Lovecraftian abominations such as "Nyarlko." 5-minute random gag spots, basically. Has no point whatsoever.

Wandering Son: Middle-school slice-of-life drama about a boy who identifies as a girl, a girl who identifies as a boy, their classmates, and their various and increasingly tangled relationships with one another. Rather than standard anime cross-dressing, it seems to take a much more serious approach to the subject matter and things like the double standard that applies to boys who dress like girls as opposed to girls who dress like boys. Looks like it was painted in watercolors. Not precisely my cuppa, but worth a look.
joiedecombat: (Default)
2010-10-21 12:17 am
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Fall anime roundup

A break from the shipping meme! Animenite is trying out some new fall anime series. So far:

Bakuman: Potentially interesting, although it seems like they can't quite decide how seriously they want to take themselves. So far it's looking like a slice-of-life about two high school guys who decide to become a manga team - one as the writer, one as the artist. The artist's crush wants to be a voice actress, and there's this whole promise that they'll try to get a manga turned into an anime so she can voice the lead, and then she and the artist will get married. There are some obvious problems with this plan, starting with the fact that his crush has said they can't see each other at all until this happens.

MM!: Something about a masochist joining a high school volunteer club to try to not be so much of a masochist. This is a plot that would work better if the art style weren't the kind that makes all the female characters look five years old. Also I'm really not sure what the point is beyond the male lead getting abused a lot. Pass.

Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt: Art like Powerpuff Girls. Content not so much. I'm not exactly clear on what's up with this one either; it appears to be about a pair of "angels" who are contracted to fight monsters with weapons created from their undergarments, but then again the whole second half of the episode I saw was about retrieving every copy of a porn movie that Panty starred in to prevent her image from being ruined. So, whatever.

Hyakka Ryoran Samurai Girls: Another completely incomprehensible show, this one involving super-powered female samurai with historical names, and the wide-eyed, large-breasted, frequently-naked mental five-year-old kind of anime heroine I'm really learning to hate. Meh.

Psychic Detective Yakumo: This one, I liked. The title character is a bit of a jerk, always a plus for me; he can see and talk to the spirits of the dead, and also makes some spare cash on the side faking other psychic powers he doesn't actually have. The female lead prevails upon him to help after several of her friends end up possessed and/or dead, kicking off the plot. The female lead bears a suspicious resemblance to Shuichi from Gravitation, but is not voiced by Tomokazu Seki and is probably actually female.

The World God Only Knows: A cool title wasted on its plot, which is about a guy who claims he's only interested in girls in dating sims, not in real life, and is almost immediately shanghaied into driving evil spirits out of girls' hearts by making them fall in love with him. This one makes me kind of uncomfortable: the main character seems like he's set up for a lesson about how real relationships are both more complicated and more rewarding than video game ones, and that being a dating sim expert doesn't mean he's in any way equipped to win girls over. What actually happens, meanwhile, is that (some initial screwups aside) he succeeds in setting up dating sim cliches and winning girls over with them, and then once the evil spirits are driven out, the girls are made to forget the whole thing. So yeah.

Kuragehime: The winner of the evening, about an apartment complex inhabited by female otaku - most prominently a jellyfish enthusiast - and a gorgeous, stylish cross-dresser who will probably be moving in with them.

Otome Yokai Zakuro: Some kind of alternate historical Japan in which four "half-spirit" girls (read: catgirls) team up with three soldiers to combat spirits. Mostly focuses not on the combatting but on the fact that one of the girls is tsundere and one of the soldiers is terrified of spirits and is way too prone to sparkles and random roses for any character who's not actually in the Ouran Host Club.

Squid Girl: The other winner of the evening. Cute squid girl (read: girl with cute tentacles for hair) emerges from the sea to take over the world and punish humanity for polluting the ocean. She has no idea how to do this and ends up pressed into service as a waitress in a beachside cafe to pay them back for putting a hole in their wall. Pure comedy.

Tantei Opera Milky Holmes: Another victim of the art style that makes every girl look five years old. Plot is a mess involving a detective academy, magical powers called "toys," and a team of "gentleman thieves" with some really annoying character tics. Totally vetoed.
joiedecombat: (Default)
2010-07-15 09:44 am
Entry tags:

(no subject)

A few more new anime:

High School of the Dead: Zombie Apocalypse Japan! Notable for jumping directly to full-on zombie apocalypse with minimal buildup (it actually starts with a zombie mob and backtracks only slightly to show the zombies first arriving at the main characters' high school and their initial reactions) and for having a main character who's very on the ball regarding the fact that he's in the middle of a zombie apocalypse (the moment he sees the first attack and resulting victim zombification - which happens within a few seconds; the zombies in this one Do Not Mess Around - he barges straight into his not-girlfriend's classroom, grabs her, and announces that they're running for it. Then they make a quick pitstop at a storage closet for weapons). A good bit of gore, and a lot of fanservice (and fan disservice, considering the number of shots of people being eaten). Might be too dark for me, but I'm kind of interested.

Occult Academy: Teenaged girl with a chip on her shoulder returns to the academy her occult-obsessed father founded to attend his funeral, just in time to deal with the evil spirit that possesses his corpse and runs amok on campus. All the while insisting it's staged, because she hates the occult (since her father neglected her in favor of studying it). Also, a naked guy descends from the sky in a pillar of light. No clue where this is going.

Black Butler II: Same premise, new kid, new butler. This one tap-dances on balcony railings. And the kid is batshit insane. And the butler from the first one is still around and toting the original main character with him in a trunk. Um, okay.

Kimi ni Todoke: The most adorable thing since Chii's Sweet Home. Slice-of-life high school drama in which a socially awkward girl gradually makes friends, opens up to others, and falls in love with the nicest "most popular boy in school" you ever saw. It's like an inversion of that romance plot I talked about back in my "guilty fandom secrets" post, where instead of one of the characters being inscrutable because he's socially retarded and actually in love with the other party, he's actually behaving more or less reasonably, she's just too naive and socially inexperienced to catch on. The really neat thing about this one, though, is that there's no makeover or dramatic change to who Sawako is and how she behaves, just her being encouraged to make the effort to talk to people and gradually learning to better navigate social interactions without having to fake anything.

It's a little reminiscent of Fruits Basket, minus the supernatural aspects.
joiedecombat: (lol fandom)
2010-07-08 12:26 am
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Summer Anime Roundup

We broke out some new summer anime for animenite. The roundup:

We could not detect any semblance of a plot in Shukufuku no Campanella, though we did determine that a guy named Leicester is the main character and he has a hot mom who likes to rub her boobs on him. Unsurprisingly this one's an eroge adaptation. Nifty character designs but nothing else going for it.

Giant Killing: sports anime about soccer and your basic "new manager called in to save struggling team, whose methods are infuriating but who gets undeniable results." Much more interesting than Shukufuku no Campanella, not that that's saying much.

On the other hand, Uragiri wa Boku no Namae o Shitteiru aka Betrayal Knows My Name aka UraBoku has a... very different target audience, let's say. This one's kind of interesting in that the main character seems to have been a woman in a previous life. Very pretty artwork. BL seems likely. Also some suspicious talk about "resetting the world" and some other supernatural ominousness.

Not quite sure where Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi (Ms. Wolf and the Seven Companions, roughly) is going to end up, but it's pretty entertaining, generous with crazy fairytale imagery, and has a fiesty female lead who beats the crap out of people with kitty-headed boxing gloves. Also a very chatty narrator who enjoys disparaging the female lead's breast size.

And then there's Seitokai Yakuindomo, which basically sums up as "one of the first male students at a newly-coed school gets roped into becoming Student Council Vice President, in which capacity his quirky female co-councilors leap to many incorrect conclusions based on the assumption that boys are sex-crazy, volunteer TMI, and generally seem to go out of their way to mess with his head." Not as much fun as Ookami-san, but funny if you don't mind off-color jokes.

Also gradually catching up on Durarara! and various other spring series. Finally got to watch Senkou no Night Raid episode 5, which to my pleasure was a Kazura spotlight episode, and yes, they are still writing him Just For Me.
joiedecombat: (I'm okay)
2009-10-22 10:58 pm

Thought for the evening brought to you by animenite.

Things I did not quite realize about my preferences re: fiction until tonight:

1) I like characters whose personalities are based almost if not entirely on their single-minded, obsessive, usually silent devotion to another person. (For example, Hagi from Blood+.)

2) I also apparently like it when characters get their arms cut off. Especially if they have to do the cutting-off themselves, because that's badass.

Sadly, Le Chevalier d'Eon is proving to have much less genderfuck than I'd hoped... although "Everyone knew his sister" is still at least a once-an-episode occurrence and the Queen of England's behavior is awfully subtexty, I am just saying. Also, aw, Durand.