Summer Season 2015: Initial Impressions – Shirayuki, Himouto, God Eater, Chaos Dragon, Sky Wizards Academy and Durarara S2 Pt2

[HorribleSubs] GOD EATER - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.14_[2015.07.16_02.08.16]

 

Here’s my final post on the remaining bunch of shows I watched, but had far less to talk about. Still, I think I’ve gotten everything of note, with the exception of Gatchaman S2 (which I still struggle to cement my thoughts on), Symphogear S3 or Prison School (which I’m not watching). Not bad, all in all.

 

Akagami no Shirayukihime/ Snow White with the Red Hair

[HorribleSubs] Akagami no Shirayukihime - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_10.41_[2015.07.17_00.32.43]

It’s another fantasy shoujo series and this point I’m stick of repeating the same stuff about them over and over. As such, here’s a short Q&A to let you know whether Shirayuki is worth watching:

  1. Is the animation pretty? – Yes
  2. Are the characters cute/hot? – Yes
  3. Are the characters likable? – So far so good
  4. Is the female lead capable without help from the male lead/s? – She ends up getting rescued a few times, but can hold her own pretty well. The intervention scenes come more from a place of building trust and romance than trading away her dependence and agency.

So there you have it. If you’re after a fairly decent shoujo anime, or perhaps just missing Yona as your weekly classical red-haired adventure story, you could do much worse than this.

 

Himouto

vlcsnap-2015-07-09-03h28m52s143

Oh no…

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Oh no no no no no no no no!

vlcsnap-2015-07-09-03h29m38s176

Not again, not again!

vlcsnap-2015-07-09-03h30m01s165

Get away… GET AWAY!!!!!!

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ARGHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!

[HorribleSubs] Himouto! Umaru-chan - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_00.38_[2015.07.09_03.30.54]

…HHHHH… huh?

[HorribleSubs] Himouto! Umaru-chan - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_00.39_[2015.07.09_03.31.03]

… Hmmm… we ok then.

Anyway, at this point you’ve seen Himouto’s one and only gag. Still, those 12 seconds or so were mildly entertaining.

 

God Eater

[HorribleSubs] GOD EATER - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_06.50_[2015.07.16_02.08.09]

A few years ago (or so the story goes) Trigger decided to create a budget anime (Inferno Cop) to help test their studio equipment for bugs/potential issues, prior to releasing their first full length tv production, (Kill la Kill). God Eater feels like it’s following a similar, if rather more ambitious approach, seemingly existing as a glorified tech demo for new digital animation techniques. The big difference between those two cases is that Trigger was obviously just having fun, releasing their results for free on youtube, while Ufotable has used an existing video game franchise, airing it on television with the aim of selling blu-rays.

I can see what the show’s going for with the animated style. The art has this sort of 2D painted look, mirroring the type of hand-drawn concept art often created in the planning stages for anime and video games. It looks pretty neat as still shots, but in motion it becomes apparent that the money wasn’t there to create full movement, so the result looks something closer to those digital graphic novels that tried to take off ten years back. The approach is still clearly in its infancy and in all honesty probably isn’t ready as a commercial product. It seems the show is aware of that fact, trying to disguise the barebones animation with excessive and often ridiculous directorial gimmicks like 300-esque slowdowns (often for completely incidental things like close ups of people’s feet as they walk), or those dumb negative filter shots shows like CSI occasionally do. It’s like watching a kid play with the fast forward/rewind buttons on an old vhs player.

As for the story, there really isn’t one. Monsters are attacking a city. A kid wants to kill them all but isn’t strong enough. Gains super powers. Wins. End of episode.

Most shows would have the above sequences as their key plot points, inserting world-building and characterisation in-between. God Eater, in contrast, is content to use a Wikipedia summary from Attack on Titan as its entire inspiration, with drawn out shots of scenery or people moving about taking up the remaining space. I know this is based on a Monster Hunter clone, so the goal is to kill things rather than watch cutscenes, but some attempt at knocking an actual scenario together should have at least been attempted. Come on Ufotable; surely you still have a stack of ideas you had to cut from F/SN? As it currently stands this anime is nothing but a selection of promo images thrown together. Dropped

 

Chaos Dragon

[HorribleSubs] Chaos Dragon - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_04.10_[2015.07.17_00.31.21]

You know, I could actually go into a rant about how utterly lazy and incompetent this was, but it doesn’t feel worth putting in more effort to actually talk about Chaos Dragon, than the show itself bothered with. From the rambling, nonsensical dialogue, the angsty m.c. and his sacrificial lamb buddies to the scenery chewing villains; this was a complete mess of ideas, none of which had any mooring on the story.

It’s safe to say I never really had high hopes for the show, what with it being based on a D&D campaign by Nasu, Urubuchi and the DRRR! guy, but considering their pedigree I thought we could at least get an Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere situation, where the show is a terrible mash of ideas, but at least has interesting concepts strewn in along the way. We don’t even get that though. Chaos Dragon is less a case of ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ than it is  another example of the generic and half-hearted cash-ins you see appearing at least once or twice per season, only with poorly written info-dumps to pad it out. I mean just compare the events of this episode with last season’s, Seraph of the End, and you’ll find pretty much the same episode in a different setting.

This was easily the most incompetent series of the Summer Season.

 

Kuusen Madoushi Kouhosei no Kyoukan/Sky Wizards Academy 

[HorribleSubs] Kuusen Madoushi Kouhosei no Kyoukan - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_01.52_[2015.07.14_21.28.52]

Ok, so we start off with a battle with a bunch of cheap-ass looking cgi monsters, looking suspiciously like the enemies in Strike Witches, which is rather convenient considering the fight takes place in the sky. There’s a girl flying about dressed in the type of improbable schoolgirl/lingerie hybrid outfits anime loves so much, while another wears one of those military/shrine girl getups last seen in Kancolle. Anyway, Little Miss Light Novel gets saved by a flying Kirito knockoff (I guess they’re all using magic), complete with a janky looking counterfeit SAO sword, who struts about annihilating foes on the battlefield like he’s the Second Coming of Tatsuya, before causing an enormous explosion as Kancolle-sama and some other dude carrying the unconscious form of Light Novel (the show doesn’t actually explain what happened to her) make a quick getaway. Then the scene shifts to a floating magic academy in the clouds, apparently ripped straight out of Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere.

It was around this time that I checked the timestamp hoping the episode was nearly over, only to realise a mere three and a half minutes had gone past. At which point I quietly closed the tab and carried on with the rest of my life.

 

Durarara S2…Part 2

I wrote a pretty scathing review of the first part of Durarara X2 immediately after it aired, complaining about the constant focus on the teenage self-inserts taking screen time away from way more interesting cast members, & postulated that the apparent shift in Mikado’s character would just be used to cause more awful drama like in the second half of S1, where he, Masaomi & Anri spent an entire arc isolated from one another, moaning that they didn’t know what to do (hint: it’s called starting a dialogue with someone). Anyway, let’s see what season 2 part 2 has to say about that….

[HorribleSubs] Durarara!! X2 - 13 [720p].mkv_snapshot_00.00_[2015.07.09_04.34.52]

Well, we’ve only just started the OP, and wouldn’t you know, if it isn’t Mikado walking by himself in the dark.

[HorribleSubs] Durarara!! X2 - 13 [720p].mkv_snapshot_00.06_[2015.07.09_04.35.08]

And why there’s Masaomi & Anri, looking in separate directions. So close… yet so far.

[HorribleSubs] Durarara!! X2 - 13 [720p].mkv_snapshot_00.05_[2015.07.09_04.35.02]

But hey, at least Mikado’s got a cool new jacket. So edgy…

 

 

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