Wednesday, November 5, 2014
Last Seen: Episode 5
Summary: Set in a pseudo Western European medieval era during times of war. Eleanor Vertalia(?), one of the Vanadis of Zhcted, leads the battle into Brune. There are seven Vanadis, each having received a powerful weapon from the Black Dragon to reign over one of Zhcted's seven territories. The power of the Vanadis invokes dread and fear in their enemies.
An earl in the service of the country of Brune, a young archer by the name of Tigrevurmud Vorn, experiences the Vanadis's power firsthand after being defeated on the battlefield by Eleanor. However, she chooses to spare his life after witnessing his skills, but in exchange, he is asked to serve her...and then to cede his lands.
First Impression: This was a mixed bag right out of the gate. To start the ball rolling, I found this anime from, of all places, Imgur, one of its scenes being used in a .gif that made it to the front page.
[Aside] Reference [Aside end]
The poster was kind enough to cite the anime used for the gif, and I was interested by the scene so I went looking for it. Things got more interesting from there out. See, I was under the impression this was an old anime that had already completed. So I briefly checked Crunchyroll for it, (not expecting much, Crunchyroll basically purged their entire archive when they went Legal), and then started hunting the less official anime streaming websites for it. Short story? I didn't find it as easily as I was expecting. Finally, I just googled it, and of all places, it shows up on HULU. Hulu, the next thing to be TV, since TV. Then comes the next shock, when the first thing Hulu does is slap a big ole RATED M FOR MATURE in my face. That got a kind of 'Ehhh..?' from me. Hulu being very "TV'ish" their moral standards bar is set a lot higher than most things since they use the standardized maturity rating system TV and movies do(as far as I can tell). Never-the-less, that colored my opinion pretty darkly right away. As a point of reference, Hulu's summary is GARBAGE. It painted this in a very.. well. Hulu's summary + the other summary I read made this sound like a very clean fit for the Harem genre.
That is the standing I went into this anime with. Be aware, this is never the kind of opinion any anime wants me to start watching it in, it's a good way to get dropped within two episodes. Here I am however, having watched five episodes(the last of which was a pain in the arse to find, by the way).
It should go without saying that it impressed me, so far.
Personal Opinion: Two thumbs, WAY-way up. Is it mature? Yeah, I'll say it's mature. Except that it's mature as such that I wouldn't want children to watch it until they were older, not because I didn't want them to be poorly influenced by its content, but because I wanted to be sure they were mature enough to understand all of its content and appreciate it. I'm just going to put my best card on the table right away, and say that this anime had a bath scene within the first episode, and it impressed me. That sentence would have been a contradiction anywhere else in my life. The show got the ball rolling pretty fast out of the gate with how...human all of the characters were acting.
I'd use the word mature, but it has a similar connotation baggage the way 'Hard-boiled' used to. A specific check-list of things a trope tics off to fit into that description. The same kind of baggage that comes with the word 'Realism' in games lately meaning making it more Gritty and Edgy(and typically brown and grey, sometimes red).
In short, this show is mature in the way that Maturity should have always been. Intelligent self-controlled adult mature, not this puerile teenage 'mature' that seems to be the norm and expectation in anime lately.
Then as things are picking up nicely, I see them rolling towards what I presumed to be a gaping chasm of a plot trope, a bath scene. Right as it's rolling up to it, my joy is slowly bleeding out of me, and I'm thinking, "ah great. Here comes the check box tic in 'generic bath-scene #264, complete with scream and slap' so the show is officially anime'ish."
He walks around the corner, there's the lady, my face is going for my palm....and then my jaw hits my palm instead. I'm gently pushing my jaw back up as the show soars over the chasm.
Four episodes later, and the show is rather keeping pace with that kind of scenario. After a scene with more of the Vanadis together interacting, and later when they introduce our main male lead to his second Vanadis, the show had the potential to be spinning a very strong Harem chord through everything...but it hasn't so far. Hell, there was even a second bath scene, as similarly impressive in maturity as the first. I still feel like that chord is looming somewhere in the atmosphere over the show, but I'm honestly not worried about it for once. Why? Because I trust the main characters so far to handle it in a mature manner.
God, that sounded really weird, but it's true. For the first time in a long time, I trust in the main characters to not suddenly have their brains short circuit and go full derp to appeal to some expectation of 'what the fans want'.
To wrap this overly long post up in summary, I found out this is an actively airing anime after the major pain in the arse it was to find the fifth episode since Hulu didn't have it. I only found out after watching the fifth episode and the auxiliary site I was using telling me episode 6 was not yet out that it was still being aired. So now this is on the list in a nice happy throne made of maturity, parked somewhere behind Parasyte the maxim, as the rest of the line up squabbles for the comedy seat, or lounges in their 'Second season pass' seats.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Sorry, can't be bothered to find a screenshot for this one
Pros: The story that they didn't carve up.
-Although it is technically an extension of the original story...and they technically muffled some of it, they didn't flinch away from the more graphic bits of the show. Well...some of it anyway.
-Up until the last 2-3 episodes, the story is the impressive original work that made me so eager to see this anime
Cons: The ending, hands down.
-I saw the paving stones they laid for it early on, but I was honestly okay with the alterations they made, because they looked like they were just to end the story quickly, which the original content easily allowed for with minimal alteration. Instead, they horribly carved it up like Freddy got a job as a butcher.
-The ending is channeling waaay too much 'magical girl' themes. It's disgusting. particularly in this shows context
-The ending isn't anything like the original except for two points, which I can't mention because spoilers.
My Opinion: Skip it. No, really, just...skip it. Go read the manga.
A) The story has several more potent moments that the anime trimmed for time
B) It doesn't go magical girl at the end like this did, and
C) It keeps going.
The story is much more impressive than the ending of this lets on. The first 10 or so episodes are a good taste of what it has to offer, but after that it starts cutting corners. Hard. No one would give this thing a drivers license. People would die. (oh wait, they already are. Bad Joke, Fnar Fnar).
I put the last episode for this off for a very long time, as is readily apparent from this posts time stamp. I wasn't looking forward to this last episode at all. After the one previous to it, I just couldn't see them concisely wrapping it up without horribly butchering anything. Normally I wouldn't care so much, it would just be another in the pile of 'butchered to shorten the anime because budgets' or whatever other reason they have for it. This particular show though, could have ended better. Like, 100% the manga facilitated a concise ending for this many anime episodes. Hell, I thought the manga had ended where the anime chooses to stop, it was that ready for it. All they would have had to do was trim a few pieces of foreshadowing that lead into the story after, which they were already doing anyway. But no, we get this carved up corpse of a thing.
Impartial Judgement: Aside from the original story having crawled up my arse and died making a stink all over the place, it's not...horrible. Certainly in the realm of most of the things you would find from anime about magic, it's much more interesting, for it's down-to-earth practicality of what it would really be like if we had magic within our reach. Just another way for us to horribly murder each other, en masse. Oh, and sometimes help some people, when we felt like it.
All that aside, I'm trying really hard to be impartial after the bad taste the last few episodes left in my mouth.
In summary, I recommend about the first 9-10 episodes just for the colored motion picture of what the manga can offer you. If you absolutely cannot stand reading manga, which I honestly can understand, then I don't recommend this show at all, unless an incomplete or poorly stitched together story doesn't bother you at all. If those don't bother you, then I recommend this with complete abandon, because it is still heavily built from the good story and plot of the original material. The only thing that may be grating is the characters, some of them are a little trope'y at times.
They always prefer to behave and act in context of their horrible situation, but when the pressures off, it feels like they switch into these weird almost-too-trope to stomach persona. . . actually...that makes a little bit of sense. Any kind of light-heartedness in the kind of day-to-day hopelessness these people live with would feel a bit forced...Never thought of that before. Really, I'm just dredging for the cons I couldn't think of three paragraphs ago. I've given my poorly rendered two-bits for this show.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Summary: Hiryuu Palace, of the Kouka Kingdom, has no one else next in line for the throne other than the fifteen year old princess Yona, who had been raised with sheltering care. The night of her sixteenth birthday arrives, and she expects it to be a wonderful day spent with her peace-loving father Il, her servant and friend Hak, and her cousin Soo-won, who she has had feelings for since childhood. However, her father opposes her getting married to Soo-won. When she goes to visit her father that night to convince him to let her marry Soo-won, everything ends, and begins anew.
First Impression: Again with the action hook? More subtle this time with just a time flash forward, but still it annoys me. Hell, maybe just me. Maybe people like that promise of where things will go. that doesn't make it seem any less cheap to me, even more so on a show that could sell itself on the story and characters alone. Yes, once again, this is an anime from a manga I'm currently reading. So the first impression is colored from the start.
It does allow me to say with authority that this is a Human Interest and Drama centered story.
Interestingly enough the opening music...has no lyrics. Which is precisely the kind of thing I like, especially since the musics good.
[Aside]*cough*need to have better music*cough*without lyrics to cloak it*cough*[Aside End]
Personal Opinion: I'm looking forward to this. Tentatively. I'm enjoying the manga as it's translated...but as usual, I know nothing about where the manga actually is in terms of being completed or not. On the flipped side of the coin, I'm not looking forward to this...because I've already seen it. Unlike almost all of the manga-to-anime that have passed through this website while I've been subbing here, this is one where knowing the story spoils the fun of it. As it is, it took me way too long to get to watch the first episode. The second ones already ready, and to be perfectly honest? I was having a hard time devoting my usual full attention to the show.
Which is great by the way! That means they're completely following the stories script from the manga so far. I think maybe a few scenes were glossed over, but I'm 100% okay with it because I can't remember those scenes, and therefore have confidence they are insignificant.
I do believe I've mentioned before, that I have 75-100% perfect memory when it comes to plots and stories. This is just one of those stories that isn't well suited to repeat watching. For me at the minimum.
To wrap things up in summary: I recommend this. Highly. Not going to do anything rash like throw an award out yet, since the manga hasn't completed (or at least been completely translated), but what I've got tells me this has good things in store for you. Things may be a bit...fluffy out of the gate with Yona being all lovestruck maiden'y right up front, but stick it out. Things roll up at an exponential speed, right at the end of episode 1.
Last Seen: episode 2
Well...that was fast. It has only been the second episode and already the tone was so...sedated. They spent basically the entire first half of the episode just in the setting of a Club doing its normal recreational style activities. That was really vague of me to say, but it was the only thing I could think of that doesn't spoil anything. The other half was spent...going deep. Like, straight up serious set. What really impresses me is how they didn't grind gears shifting tones. The tone shift was very fluid with the pace of the show, which is what I didn't expect. After this episode, it brings to mind the previous episode when Kudou was introduced and explaining herself. I recalled that, amidst the humor, that was peculiarly of a much more serious tone than the rest of the show. I was already expecting the show to play a few depth cards with the comedy cards, but not this fast, or this strong.
Thus it is, that I have come to the conclusion that this show isn't just using down to earth realism to balance out the comedy, that is to say: they are not using it to give us a break from drowning in comedy. Instead, it appears it is going to be a staple of the shows core tenets of activity.
That makes this show so much more valuable on my roster. I love these kinds of comedy shows the most. I enjoy my comedy a great deal, but it gets . . . dull? Grating perhaps? When there is just too much of it. Ah, I suppose one could say that it becomes too unrealistic when it is just all humor, all the time. There are several ways to balance out comedy, but realism is my favorite, because it brings the characters closer to home and heart.
Grant, it is much rarer to see comedy not being balanced these days than previously in time, but this kind of thing is a scale, and scales can be tipped too far one way or the other. So far, I'm finding this shows balance to be of surprisingly good quality. Not to mention that the things they get serious about are of good Human Interest value, which is a plus in my book.
Saturday, October 18, 2014
Summary: Five students suddenly acquire supernatural powers...but soon realize that there are no wars, conspiracies, evils empires, nothing amazing at all, in their high school life. They instead decide to idly have fun by wasting their powers away.
First Impression: Comedy-Action. Whatever or wherever else this show tries to go, or feature, the core of this is definitely Comedy, plus action, in that order. After 'I Can't Understand my Husband' turning out to be a 3/5 minute anime, I suddenly was struck by the concern while re-reading this ones various summaries that it would also be a short-episode anime. Fortunately, it is not.
Personal Opinion: On account of it being a full episode anime, this is a show I'm going to look forward to week to week. From where they've started the show, the only place it can go is up. It either will maintain the status quo where it is, and stay comedy-action, or it will try to incorporate some depth with the comedy. If it succeeds or fails, ultimately the failure can only be entertaining, and the success intriguing.
To be straight-forward honest, I like the comedy in the show. At first I thought it was just going to be a 'Chunnibyou' (or however the roman'ization of that is spelled) centered story, which I personally don't find all that interesting, but instead it's straight up a fantasy/surreal story, and I've enjoyed just about the entire first episodes comedy, so I am pleased.
Pending additional episodes, I don't see this one becoming spectacularly amazing as far as plot-depth goes, I can already predict a handful of possible directions the story will go, and I'm not expecting any surprises from it. Regardless, I enjoyed it so far, and that's what counts in the end, right?
WELL NOW, that's one way to start the party
Summary: Aliens(?) arrive one night on earth, infecting life forms and developing off...or in them.
First Impression: This one's going to be a wild ride. Action seems to be a feature...but not the core? Which feels strange. The first episode spends most of its time world-weaving and fleshing out the characters a fair bit.
Personal Opinion: I'm already deeply interested. This seems rather unique, not only in the realm of Aliens in anime, but also in feature parasites, and the way the main parasite behaves and acts. It leads me to suspect this is going to feature a very strong Human Interest element. Possibly intrigue but...this doesn't feel like the kind of show that would deviate to that, nor the kind that would reveal intrigue as one of its elements in the first episode. Despite featuring a rather well detailed action scene, it's presence almost at the end of the episode is very refreshing. I am ever so tired of the philosophy that we all need to be fish-hooked in the first 5 minutes with action or we can't be bothered to pay attention. I wish it would hurry up and die out, but ultimately, that's something that will only happen when a lot of people want it to. As it is, this show still played a Horror-hook in the opening scene. While rarer than an Action-hook, and as such a bit novel and interesting still, it's the same idea.
All in all though, I like everything I've seen so far. This is going high up on the weekly anticipation list inside my head. I give a whole-hearted Recommendation for this one,
Assuming gore doesn't bother you. It has a lot of that, it seems. Also, really really weird mutations and stuff all the time when the parasites are involved. If the 'Uncanny Valley' and it's effects bother you too much, this show is going to mess with you.
Monday, October 13, 2014
Summary: This is Log Horizon, continued. It picks up where it left off.
First Impression: This is a Null value.
Personal Opinion: I've been looking forward to this. With Magic High Irregular ending recently, Shiroe will fill the niche that Tatsuya was occupying quite nicely. Somehow, the two seem similar to me, scheming their way through their problems while dealing with restrictions and consequences. (not as many consequences for Tatsuya, but you get the idea).
They start out right out of the gate with a few flash-forwards of upcoming scenes and action, before they play the opening. I'm not...fond of such things. I hate spoiling information with a passion, and I have been more than a little obsessed with avoiding it in the past. Likely onwards into the future as well. However, I remember commenting that the show felt like it had an underwhelming amount of action compared to what it seemed like it would give, and the flash-forwards may be a way to placate those who eagerly seek and await that action.
They also kept the old opening, with new scenes overlaid on the music. A mixed bag for me, I don't really like the first few lyrics sung in english, and it's only after them, about half way through the opening music, that it really kicks into music I like, but I don't outright hate it I suppose. Haven't skipped it yet, so I guess that's a plus for it. I am, however, saddened to see the outro go, and a new one brought in. I rather liked the old outro a lot. New one is okay, is good, but nostalgia blinds me from fully appreciating it.
Me? I just want to continue to watch Shiroe scheme and plan his way through things with the group of friends he's got. So...I'm not the best for an objective opinion at the moment.
I gave Log Horizon's first season my Best Story award when it finished before, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't expecting it to somehow live up to that again. Statistically, most anime don't do that, and I normally don't like expecting things, more disappointment. I like this show too well to stem that in though I suppose.
Mahesvara, huh? Let's see...ah, AKA Shiva. Gotcha.
-Characters are human. Up until the last few episodes, no one is linear, most of the people have motivations for what they do, good or bad. Not just Evil for the sake of Evil.
-Interesting Magic. Perhaps a personal taste, but I found the way they physics'd up the magic in the show quite charming. It's not just magical farts from the ether, there are Laws, rules, and Limits, and people have to live with their consequences.
Cons: Complexity. This was apparent almost from episode one. The show is ridiculously technical with its magic, science, and physics. I know it had to have turned some people off when it boggled their brains.
-Despite appearances, the plot of the show basically stays the same from episode 1, all the way to 26. We follow the lives of the 'mysteriously unusual' siblings, as various things go wonky around them and they react. Grant, it doesn't need a hugely interesting over-plot since all the sub-plots make up for it, and maybe the overhead plot comes together better in the complete story, but that's not what we get, so it loses a few points.
My Opinion: A shame. The story clearly progresses past the last episode. After reflecting on it for about a minute after finishing the last episode, I realized I didn't really feel like putting this show into the 'Glory' section I reserve for my first and best recommendations to people. My first thought was that it might be the complexity, which was almost enough to make my head swim, and I know I have a high tolerance for the technical kinds of information they were using. I could sometimes follow what they were referring to, even if I didn't completely understand how it worked.
Ultimately though, it came down to the bad taste the cliff-hanger ending left in my mouth. I really F#$%ing wanted to know everything they did to Tatsuya, and it gets to the final episode, and they start peeling back the layers of mystery and! cliff-hanger. They really only reveal one secret of his, confirm the existence of another, and then completely ignore the one I wanted to know about the most. I would be lying if I said anything other than the truth, which is that I am personally emotionally annoyed by this.
The most impressive thing I noticed was consequences. No one just has something and that's it. The more power they have, the larger the consequences they have to live with. It seems to be a echoing repeat theme in the show, and is one of the last things they throw in our faces in the last episode. Paying a price for having or obtaining.
WHY is Tatsuya chained to his sister? and How?
Impartial Judgement: In short, excellent. In long hand, not for everyone. The complexity is what it is, and I've banged on about it long enough. You either don't mind it, or it puts you off. ..or you're a huge science-buff and you completely understand everything they say and criticize them for getting some parts incorrect. Ultimately I feel that it is irrelevant to the show, because when something is especially relevant they do try to explain it in more and simpler detail. Whether that is good enough or not will vary from person to person. The base characters are interesting and likable. I realized at one point that one of them..vaguely fit the tsundere trope, and that felt weird. The idea that a trope could be used subtly.
Then, I felt stupid. Of course a trope should be subtle. It's a part of a persons personality, it doesn't bloody define them. That's what is so grating about the Tsundere trope being over used. It becomes so disgustingly cartoon'ish.
In summary, if the technicality of the shows magical terminology doesn't put you off, there's a lot to love in this show. And a great big fat Cliff-hanger at the end of it to slap you in the face. Hope you weren't really interested in the two central protagonists because it's definitely not going to finish telling you about them.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
you forgot the 'definitely' from "zettai"
Summary: "Kaoru is serious and works diligently, but her husband is a super otaku and more-or-less a NEET. She is caught up in one of her husband's whims one day or the subject of his concerns another, but the two are so close that it's embarrassing to even watch them!"
Basically a three minute comedy show.
First Impression: Oh. Another minutes-long show. Bummer.
Personal Opinion: I was interested right away just because it's about a couple that is already married. Which is unusual to say the least. I was then immediately let down when it turned out it was only 3 minutes long. 3 minutes, 30 seconds, to be specific, but at least 30 of that is the outro and probably 10-20 for the intro...well assuming it gets one.
Don't misunderstand, I'm fine with minutes-long shows, it's just not something I like well enough to put a lot of emphasis on in my 'huge list of crap I really should get around to finishing' that is my save file of show episodes and manga chapters. To be honest? I got a kick out of several of the jokes, so I will probably continue to watch this, but it's undeniably something with a high risk of being forgotten, and it certainly doesn't seem like it would make me laugh hard enough to make a post here.
All that aside, I was laughing within the first 10 seconds, so it definitely had that going for it.
Friday, August 29, 2014
Last Seen: Re:Hamatora, episode 2
Heeey. You remember this little thing? From way back in January? Because I didn't. Apparently it got a second season, Re:Hamatora, in July.
I never finished the first season (until just now). I got up to episode 5, and then just...started watching other things and progressively forgetting it more and more. I think it came out roughly the same time as several 5 minute anime. It feels like I left it behind for roughly the same reason as those. Ya see, I have this problem...about leaving things alone. In particular, story and plot. The more I taste of it, the more tenacious I am to finish it...even if it sucks, just to confirm it will stink from start to finish.
Hamatora is by no means bad though, let's put that on the table now. In fact, it's very good. It does however, have a problem with presentation. literally 1-2 episodes after it faded from my scheduled watching, it went NUTS. The show comes off from the starting line looking very very shallow. They play a ton of trope cards, and play them straight. Which is usually obnoxious, and probably why I faded on this one so fast. What you don't pick up until later is that they're actually playing them straight, and then twisting them after the fact.
In my first post, I slotted this firmly into Shounen, plus cheap mystery. That would be a mistake on my part. The mystery was so pathetically weak, because it wasn't suppose to be an appeal point. A more proper assessment would be Human Interest, with Comedy and Drama. Not quite sure which is greater after human interest, the comedy or the drama, but the central theme is definitely conflicting philosophies. It takes a bunch of people with individualized personalities, throws them in a room, and then stirs with a few spices of minor characters. Comedies got a large overtone on everything in the show, but that feels more like them trying to give us a breather in between slapping us in the face repeatedly.
The central story isn't about the Hamatora ... detective agency? I dunno what it is, but the story is not about it. The center of the story is Minimum Holders and Humanity.
Long story short, this thing revived from the dead in force for me. I recommend it. For the second time now, I have no idea where the show is going. They're very fond of restoring the 'Status Quo' only to mess it up worse the next time. I literally feel like I'm being double slapped every time I try to guess what it's doing next, or what it will and won't do, has done, et c.
Sunday, August 3, 2014
Oh, so that wasn't a graphical error...
You have some Creepy Cool eyes there old man.
Last Seen: episode 17
The last time I wrote about this particular anime, I was concerned about how deeply technical everything it weaves into the story was trending towards. My suspicions were correct, that you don't particularly need to understand all the technicalities, the show has made sure to explain in more detail anything that is relevant to the story and plot, as it comes up, sometimes sooner or later to try and build things up.
Grant, I still have concerns about whether their additional detail would be sufficient for anyone that would watch, but at that point it falls to a debate of how many resources the studio should use/have for long winded explanations, how flow breaking a longer explanation would be, and where the balance between the two is. You can't reasonably account for everyone, and so far I'm content with the shows extended explanations.
I just wanted to stop to write that by this point, (to be honest, a lot earlier, but this episode was the easiest to draw attention to), the show is more than worth whatever amount of nuisance you may find the oft difficult to understand technicalities of the magic.
The longer the show goes, the deeper and deeper my interest in Tatsuya. Just what on earth was done to him? The show is so brilliantly, wonderfully, annoyingly aggravatingly coy with giving us clues about him, delicately waving it in front of our faces and laughing maniacally as we try to grasp it. I dare say it's the strongest hook in my brain at this point.
Not to say that the other characters are at all lacking, far from it. Most of the time, I'll have 1-3 characters in a show that I'm particularly interested in, but Magic High Irregular is pulling aces out of its pockets for the central cast, because I'm interested in basically all of the central characters around Tatsuya. Some of them sooner than others, but I'm curious to learn more about each of them now. The exceptions being the entire student council. Just personal lack of interest at this point, instead of any notable flaws.
I'm not granting any awards yet, but I'm giving this show a strong recommendation, if the technical nature of the magic isn't a put off for you.
Thursday, July 24, 2014
Posted by The Evil Cat
Summary: People with ESP power took over the parliament, started an ESP revolt in Tokyo. But against the bad ESP'ers, there are those who rose to fight against them lead by the one people the White Girl.
First impression: Let's see, a group of bad people with special power doing bad things, at the same time a group of good people with special power trying to stop them. Hm...I think I've heard of this concept somewhere, except they're not called ESP'ers, they're called...Mutants!
I mean really, this anime should really be called "X-Men: Japanese Edition", because they're really literally the same.
Personal opinion: I've read some of the manga this anime is based off, but as far as I remember, it was nothing like this. My friend who read more into the manga told me the first episode of the anime actually is far down the road in the plot line where all hell have broken loose. That reminds me very much of Ga-Rei Zero which happens to be from the same original manga author. (Extra fun facts: the main characters as well as all the throw-away characters from episode 1 of Ga-Rei Zero made a cameo appearance). Knowing that, I think this is going to just as brutal of an anime as Ga-Rei Zero was (in terms of death toll among major characters).
If you have seen Ga-Rei Zero, you would know that the second episode is probably the actual beginning of the story. The pace is going to a lot different, and it may even feel like a completely different anime before it reconnects to episode one.
Knowing how much I looooooved Ga-Rei Zero (and Ga-Rei manga), to me, this is definitely a keeper, especially it has "Ga-Rei" written all over it. For those who have never seen Ga-Rei Zero nor read Ga-Rei, I'd recommend to give it a shot if you like action packed story with some very moving plot built in.