Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Utawarerumono - The False Masks: How to Defy all Plot Pacing Standards


Last Seen: Episode 17

I've seen plots move in unusual directions before, I mean, that's kind of one of the core sources of gimmicks for stories...
But I have never seen a Plot just go for a jet-speed nosedive for the heart of the story like this! This is amazing. I knew that they would eventually bring to full baring the story from the first season, once Tusukuru was mentioned, that was basically set in stone but...wow. I did not expect it to be so suddenly and forcefully brought to bare. The simple way they went about this, everything they explained in this episode and how they explained it, and then the foreshadowing at the end of the episode, is just too much. I hereby give this a

Recommendation: for one of the most unrestrained breaks from industry standards I've ever seen. Never before have I seen a plot with amnesia and a loaded backstory not get drawn out tortuously slow as the amnesia character slowly picks pieces of memories out and puts them together...or for them to just immediately obtain the memories that make the backstory completely clear. 
[Aside]You may be wondering, "17 episodes in? That's super slow...", but understand that they don't feature the mains amnesia at all until this point. It's all world and character building.
[Aside end]

HOWEVER:

CONDITIONS FOR RECOMMENDATION:
You cannot escape it anymore, if you really want to understand the things that are about to happen in this show, you will need the first season/series' story in its whole. Just as I said before as well, if you go to watch the first part, THOU SHALT SKIP THE FIRST EPISODE, if it begins with anything other than the Masked Man waking up. You can watch it after you finish the series, it literally is an OVA for all intents and purposes for how removed from the rest of it that it is.

Additionally, thanks to a comment in Crunchyroll, I am informed that Funimation is providing the Subtitled version on their website, and have confirmed with my own eyes. Even better, they don't have that retarded first episode, they actually start where the show is suppose to start. Which makes me wonder...if the streaming site I originally watched this on was just straight up stupid and made an actual OVA the first episode because they couldn't tell any better...
If that is the case, I apologize for raving like a lunatic about something completely false for so long.
For convenience sake, despite not knowing if Evil Cat has any particular preferences about not using links in his blog...
Funimations episodes for streaming:
Utawarerumono Season 1

A note about Funimation though: Their stream seems a little slow, so if you plan to watch several episodes at once, I recommend starting the buffer, going to get something for snakes, or doing chores or what not, and then when you come back to it fully buffered, opening the next episode to buffer as you start to watch the first.
Also, if I recall correctly, Funimation tends to lock their Dubbed episodes behind their premium wall after a handful of episodes for each Series, so I recommend just sticking with the Subtitled version.

Friday, January 15, 2016

[New][January 2016] Myriad Colors Phantom World



Summary: In the near future, monstrous creatures called “phantoms” descend upon the world when an explosion at a Biology facility releases a virus that alters humanity, making them able to see the 'Myths' and 'Legends' that had been merely that for so long. As the virus spreads through second hand exposure, people also begin to develop abilities to combat and seal the Phantoms. Haruhiko Ichijo is a student at Hosea Academy, along with Mai Kawakami, Reina Izumi, and Koito Minase. All four of them have abilities against phantoms, and are part of the schools Phantom-Hunting Club. The story follows them as they become a team in this new world of Humanity and Phantoms, for not all phantoms are of ill-intentions. 

First Impression: Very silly right out of the gate, but at the same time, practical and down-to-earth. I'm quite interested in that precious balance they've struck.

My Opinion: This was exceptionally interesting as a first episode, and as a show. I think it's the first time in a long while I've felt like the first episode gave me a solid grasp of the nature of the show. I suppose that may be in part due to the fact that the first episode is basically trying to do just that, show you the nature of the show, with little restraint, or the usual sleight of hand tricks the industry typically goes about. Like, Ichijo literally sits down and says to someone, "now, I know you probably already know this, but just to be sure *world backstory*." I think that's amazing. It has been a long time since I saw a show just unabashedly sit and explain something...and not monologue for half an episode. I'm serious, its always been pretty polarized before this, even in good shows.
This first episode never really stops to linger on any one thing for too long, it feels like it has an agenda, a checklist of things it wants to be sure you've seen from its story and world.
For instance, its style of fan service. I'm just...wow. I'm super impressed with it.
[Aside]
If anyone has any doubts about how serious a statement that is, just search this blog for any post by me with 'fan service' in it, and you will probably find a paragraph long rant about how I think the industry is over-saturated with it.
[Aside end]
That's about all I can say about that though, "I'm super impressed with it", without being super spoiler'y. Well, okay, I can say that what is super impressive is that it doesn't break the flow of the show at all. Not even a little bit. It's so flush with the rest of the story and show that I just...I suddenly realize that's one of the primary reasons I hate fan service so much: Most of the time, the entire world slows down, bullet-time style, and zooms in, just to feature fan service, and the gravity of the whole situation seems to bend the forces of the universe in on the fan service to make it possible. It has always been just so token and tiresome to me. I still grant that the nature of how Mai uses her ability was probably(gets to the Ki of Metal scene) definitely thought up exclusively to provide Fan Service, but it still fits into the world naturally, and they don't overly linger on it like literally any other show would while it's on scene.
Meanwhile, I was getting to genuinely laugh at Phantom Worlds service. Which, I grant, probably isn't the intended effect 99% of the time, but I will give a standing ovation to anyone that fluently allows both parties to be pleased on this.

So, I give this show a Recommendation for the first episode, if nothing else, as an example of what I think fan service should be like, since we clearly aren't going anywhere in this industry without it.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

[New][January 2016] Active Raid



Doesn't 'purge' usually mean...oh. Oh No.

Summary: Set in a futuristic Tokyo, after the Third Quicksand Disaster sinks Tokyo into a quagmire, the city's reconstruction efforts are carried out using high-output, reinforced exoskeletons called Willwears. But they can also be misused, and to combat the crimes involving them, the National Police Agency establishes at its Kichioji Branch the Special Public Security Fifth Division Third Mobile Assault, Eighth Unit, A.K.A.: Unit 8. 
Active Raid tells the story of “The Eighth,” a rash and careless unit of power-armored police.

First Impression: This is really good.

My Opinion: Did someone finally manage to hammer in the nail that giant robots are impractical, on all accounts? That's two exoskeleton based series at once, now. Grant, I think Bubuki could still pull the Giant Mech card, but still, the emphasis in the first episode of both that, and this show, is on more manageable and practical (sort of), exoskeleton equipment.
The story itself is also great. Well, unremarkable really, something that has been done before. But still, great, because it's a good foundation for a great plot to rise up from. Since the story is following a Police division, there's a lot of places they can go. It could just be a 'Criminal of the Week' type of show, which would be fine, or they could string an over-arching plot over it all, which would be riskier but potentially better.
The characters are so far interesting. In fact, it feels like the show went out of its way to get that adjective in this first episode, deliberately displaying several exceptional quirks from the characters in rapid succession. I'm okay with that though, because they have a very large central cast on display, what with the so far displayed two, spoken of third, active suit wearing members, and then the cluster of other command and support people. They had to cover a lot of people in a short amount of time, and I think they did alright.
All told, this show could become great, or it could just coast along at Nice and Interesting. I look forward to seeing.

[Aside]I've had an unusual splurge of motivation all of a sudden...Three posts at once? That hasn't happened since I started my job. Must be getting back into the flow of things, either that or I just require sufficiently interesting anime to motivate me. Did I mention Erased was awesome? I'm still buzzing from it. So looking forward to that one.
[Aside end]

[New][January 2016] Erased



Summary: Satoru Fujinuma is a young manga artist struggling to make a name for himself following his debut. But, that was not the only thing in his life that Satoru was feeling frustrated about…he was also living with a strange condition only he was able to experience. "REVIVAL" - A strange phenomenon where one is transferred back to the moment right before something life-threatening occurs. This continues to happen until the cause of the threat is erased. It is as if somebody is forcing Satoru to stop it from happening. Now...he has entered his biggest REVIVAL yet...

First Impression: Holy crap this is awesome.

My Opinion: I don't usually do two posts back to back like this, mostly because I just don't have the inspiration required for the second one after finishing the first, so I'll typically push the second one back at least one day so I feel better about the quality of it, even if I watched both episodes the same day. But that's right out the window this time, because by all that is good, this show looks AMAZING. I'm not talking about the visuals, I'm talking about the story.
You could not have been paid to make a more perfect contrast follow up to my last post than with this one, because it is literally everything I just finished bitching about 25 minutes ago. The entire episode is world and character building, with one kind-of-action scene that isn't very flashy, and then the end of the episode is the big reveal of what the show is going to be about.
That time is well spent, because now I'm all hyped for this show and burning because I have to wait a day for the next one. ONLY ONE DAY, and I'm burning, damnit, I'm suppose to be above this kind of crap at this point in my life.
I fully and happily provide this show with:

Zetro's Season RecommendationFor Drama.

[New][January 2016] Bubuki Buranki

Bigger Hand for Bigger Punches!

Summary: In Bubuki Buranki, Azuma Kazuki is the 'Son of the Witch', his mother having been named as the one responsible for a massive incident that occurred 10 years ago, when he was sent down to the surface from the floating island he had been living on till then. It’s been ten years since Azuma Kazuki has been in Japan where he originally fell, and upon his arrival he is taken prisoner by a group of armed men. Azuma is saved by his childhood friend, Kogane Asabuki, thanks to a living weapon she wields on her right hand, known as a Bubuki. Learning about these weapons, Azuma becomes a Bubuki wielder himself and sets out on a journey.

First Impression: I have no idea what is going on, in this show. It doesn't feel like the show was trying to leave me like that either. It just feels like everything is being really poorly explained. Where's his sister? What the heck happened to the floating island? What was going on for those 10 years? He was in Japan? Now he's back? Why?

My Opinion: I don't know what to think of this one. It took a few seconds for it to sink in that the show was using 3D animations, so I think that isn't too glaringly annoying, at least as much as it has been for previous anime using it. The story is just all over the map. I understand In Medias Res is a great way to get the action going real fast, but...could we maybe assume for just, like, 5 seconds that the community that consumes anime might have the attention span required for you to just calmly build a world in the first episode? Like you already were for the first half of this show? Do we absolutely have to have it devolve into spontaneous poorly explained flashy fighting? I was rather enjoying this shows opening half. We were pleasantly building backstory and motivations, and character personalities. Or so I thought. The second half of the show seems to draw on precisely none of it.
Having said all that, I've concluded my bitching about industry practices. The world and story, while a bit poorly presented, are at least the correct level of interesting. Despite my opening fears that this was going to go towards the Mech Anime route, it didn't, and instead things are down on the human size level, which is much better. Everything becomes far too impractical and silly when you Giant Robot size it. As it is, the technology? Magic? Both? on display here, are already on my watchlist of things likely to be poorly thought out and explained.
Don't get me wrong, they don't have to be well explained and thought out for the show to be good. I just would like to believe we can expect to get a show that is good, without part of it just being dismissed and sacrificed. I feel like it always drags a show down when they do that.
I'd like to hold onto my thoughts until the second episode, in hopes that maybe it will take a breath and explain itself better then.

[Ended] Asterisk War


Pros: Flashy Action
-A little bit of intrigue
-Decent characters
-An Interesting World

Cons: Not Enough of Anything
-What little intrigue there is isn't actually carried anywhere, especially not any of the main characters
-None of the characters end up being fleshed out without feeling a little bit rushed.
-We learn barely anything about the world except in the very beginning, and very end

My Opinion: This Show has not ended. It just barely finished one characters story arc, and said character wasn't even introduced until the last half of the show, if even that soon. None of the main characters have had any real resolution, excluding maybe Katana Girl, who was made into a central cast character at the end of her story. If this show doesn't get a second season, it's going to be entirely unremarkable. Maybe some points for moderately flashy action. They were trying to have 'The All Powerful Hero' and still have him be easy to relate to at the same time, but it honestly feels like all they got was half of each. The time limit he has never really came into effect, it only just barely kicks in at the end of some of the fights. It feels like the show was moving to have it actually become a problem, but then the series ends. So all we get is this All Powerful Hero, who we always know will win, and there's no suspense.

Impartial Opinion: If a second season comes along for this show, it might be quite impressive...on the other hand, they seemed to be hinting at just outright removing the limiter on the main character at the end, so that could easily unbalance the show completely, if they don't shift the focus more onto other characters.
The actual world seems quite interesting, but we barely get enough of it in this season, heck we don't get anything at all about the major calamity that made this world the way it is, unless you read summaries from websites.
All in all, I feel like while I did enjoy the show while it was airing, having it cut off so abruptly left a bad taste behind. I'll look forward to a second season, but without it, this show just feels half-done.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

[Ended] Comet Lucifer


Pros: For the Genre archetype it channels, it does a great job
-Story is decent, if predictable
-Characters are not shallow
-Actions pretty good

Cons: It really didn't NEED to channel the Mech genre.
-Story is very predictable, just in small segments
-Characters aren't all that deep either

My Opinion: For a long time, I thought maybe I was over-reacting, branding this as a Mech anime. It kept feeling like there was...something off about just calling it that. Of course, the show then promptly broke out in what amounted to an all out Mech war, so that went right out the window. But I never did kick that feeling of something out of place, and now that the series has concluded, I know what it was, why I kept coming back to this, where I've dropped other Mech anime, especially the last two Gundams I was aware of and started watching.

This show didn't NEED Mechs. At all. In fact, there were any number of other ways they could have everything they wanted, and left the mechs behind. The mechs just add a layer of ridiculousness to the show that gets in the way. At one point, one of the characters even refers to the whole transforming mech thing as an Exoskeleton-something-or-other. That would have been totally better than giant mechs, a human-sized or just larger than human sized exosuit. It would have made more sense too, than tiny pebbles-snake to mega-mech. I never understood why the non-human-made mechs were a thing in this show, and it was never really explained either. Clearly, that's not their original or real form, they just present that way for...reasons. Mostly to appease some marketing studios demands that fans will absolutely love it more if there's giant robots in it.
...I wish I could say they were wrong, but they're probably right.

As far as the story goes, it was predictable, in segments. No, I couldn't see how the show ended coming from the start, but I did see pretty much every major plot development coming before it got there. The show's base ideas that are presented in the story are good, and interesting, if at least only to my tastes. But the show never really capitalizes on them. I suppose that's my biggest complaint about the show, other than the apparently need to have Giant Mechs: It never really dwells on things long enough, or explains things adequately enough.
Listen, I understand that a lengthy scientific explanation puts people off, but not explaining anything at all, just makes everything cheap. If you have no rules to restrict you and make you innovate, then you could pull a magic mc'guffin out of a hat at every turn to fix all your problems. The show does that. All the time. It's really annoying, because they could have done the exact same things, but if they hadn't just magically pulled them out of thin air, and had actually taken some time to do some setup and foreshadowing, or even just a brief explanation, it all wouldn't have left behind such a sour taste.

At the end of the day, the show does it's job. It's interesting, and it doesn't just focus on the Mechs and Mech battles like you'd typically see from a Gundam franchise show. It actually has characters with some depth, some backstory and personal motivations, and the story itself isn't bad. But beyond that, everything has this sort of...shallow feeling to it. Like it could have been so much more.
[Aside]
Come to think of it, they even ousted the end credits for some Slideshow stuff to show story developments after the last climactic battle...
I wonder if this show got budget cut at some point. Maybe there's a manga or some light novel or such out there somewhere, that actually took its time with things. At time of writing, I haven't been bothered enough to check.
[Aside end]
I'd like to think that we can aspire to greater lengths than just 'does the job, passes the time'. I was tempted at many times to say, 'good to check out if you wanted to see what it's like when mech anime actually have decent story and characters'. But that's the wrong idea isn't it? That implies that this show was held back by featuring mechs. It could have been magic, or focused more strongly on the stone/crystal based lifeforms idea, or advanced flipping dimensional technology. Why are the Mechs so bad?
The answer is as simple as this: When you feature the mechs, you are always and inevitably tempted to just throw them into a fight whenever things get tough with the plot and story, rather than properly sitting down and thinking out a good idea. It's far too easy to just say 'fuck it, MECH FIGHT'. That's the problem with Mechs. Mech fights inevitably get boring, because they are robots. They come to the table preset with what they can use, and inevitably use it up, if not in one battle, then in the next. Which means you constantly have to think up new things to put on the mechs, and reasons for those things to make sense. All of which could have just been hand-waved away with literally magic, and you could have focused instead on character or story development and motivations.
When you put the Giant Mech in the room, it sucks all the power out of everything else that is there, because it's just too impractically huge.

Impartial Opinion: The story could have been so much more. At the end of the show, it just feels like the whole plot was suddenly put on crack to make it wrap up in time, and so many things are just completely glossed over and never explained. The characters are all basically great ideas, but never fully fleshed out enough.
All told, this entire show feels like everything is suspended in some weird limbo between two states of completely great, and incredibly mediocre.
If there is an original source to this anime, I'd recommend checking that out, because if it goes past where this ends, it may end up being pretty great. If this show itself is original, then it's a resounding meh at the end of it.
There was a lot of good build up in the show, but the ending is just...very unsatisfactory. We don't get to spend any time with the resolutions of any characters arcs or personalities. Any of them. Everyone is either dead or severely glossed over.

Which reminds me, In case anyone thought from the massively colorful and playful art style of this show that it pulls punches with violence all the time...no. People die. In sometimes very bloody ways. It's just...most of the time everyone is crammed into a massive tin suit that COMPLETELY protects them from all harm, all the time. Either that, or people actually do die in those things and they never felt like telling us about it. Maybe I missed it. Eh.

Monday, November 2, 2015

[Ended] Monster Musume



Pros: It knows what it is, and it doesn't really pretend to be anything else. It has a good deal of sensibility in it, at least for what it is.

Cons: And what it is, is harem with a lot of erotic appeal, wrapped around a nice guy trying to do the right thing, prohibited by law from doing anything sexual with any of the entourage of women that all want to sex him up.

My Opinion: As the series went on, I started to notice a trend with me. Every single time, after I had finished and closed the tab, a minute or so later, if I remembered I didn't read the ending Species Info Page, I always went back and jumped the video to it so I could read it. Once, I went back and checked four episodes at once, just to be sure I didn't miss a single one. I really enjoyed reading those, and I think that is indicative of something about the show. I can't speak for anything but the anime, but I think the amount of thought that went into the info pages shows that there's a certain minimum intelligence in the show, even if the theme is by far and large one of the most shallow you can find in anime, the harem.

At the end of the day, the status quo hasn't moved anywhere when the series ends, but the journey there was actually fun, even for someone like me who finds harem and fan service grating and irritating, which is saying something.

Certainly, the show is shallow by nature, that's just how harem goes. But I'd like to make the point that, as far as harems go, Monster Musume seems to have their shallow bar set a good deal deeper than the average, and I will happily sing its praises if I think that will help, even in the slightest, increase that trend across all anime. Nothing pisses me off more than a Checklist anime, because I feel like it's a waste of the animators time to work on something with a story and characters that a cheap pseudo-AI could have spit out a hundred carbon copies of.

 [Spoilers] Highlight to see, if you've already seen the show.
I found it particularly interesting that at one point in the show, it is basically decided on that the main character needs to pick someone to marry, and he actually agrees, but for the sake of harem proceeds to hum and um about who. Most of the time you never get to the point where the center of the harem actually realizes anything close to choosing someone, until maybe the end of the show.
[End Spoilers]

The last point I want to draw attention to, is the depth of the characters. While I grant that every single one of them has some kind of Trope pinned to their back, and they display it every chance they get for comedic effect, they are surprisingly not ruled by their tropes. Hell, the show even has really good reasons why the characters have their tropes. They outright say in one episode that a character is bad at cooking because their species is primarily carnivorous, and carnivores have 1/25 - 1/50'th the sense of taste of humans. That impressed me.

Impartial Opinion: At the end of the day, this is still a Harem. A harem with a unique theme, and as far as characters+story+world go, a great deal more depth than any other harem that I've ever heard of. I guess if someone wanted to break a friend into the Harem genre, (I won't even pretend to understand why), this is the best bet? At the very minimum, pretty much anything to do with Harem and Fan Service annoys me, but I still enjoyed this show every week.
If you're looking for, or don't mind (especially if you simply don't mind), Harem and lots of Fan Service scenes, I suppose I recommend this show. There's a refreshing amount of intelligence in this show for it's genre slot. Taken out of the context of harem, this kind of story and setting would be immensely interesting to me in a slightly more serious tone. Especially if it had as well constructed of characters.

[New][October 2015] OwariMonogatari



Summary: During October of his third year in high school, Koyomi Araragi is introduced to a transfer student named Ougi Oshino by his underclassman Kanbaru Suruga. Ougi tells Koyomi that she has something she wishes to consult with him. When she draws the map of Naoestu High School, she finds something peculiar on the map of Naoetsu High School she draws. This discovery reveals a tale that wasn’t meant to be told, and this makes Koyomi’s high school life totally different. This is the story that brings to light “what” makes Koyomi Araragi. This is the story that reveals the “beginning” of everything.
-Quote provided as is, from the Crunchyroll.com summary-


First Impression: See Opinion. Also, Ougi Oshino is the Creepy. Any time it goes to a close up of her eyes...

At the same time though, there's something I just love about her character. Something is incredibly...off...about her, but I love the character. Those eyes though. Oooh, *shiver*.


My Opinion: It's more from the Monogatari series. That should be all you need to know. If you were already watching, continue to do so, if you haven't started watching, you need the previous seasons in your belt first.
No really, what the hell is wrong with you if you watch this first? You will understand literally nothing.

[New][October 2015] Utawarerumono-The False Faces (Itsuwari no Kamen)

I had a hard time picking an image...so I used both!

Summary: A nameless man wakes up in the middle of a vast, snowy plain he doesn’t recognize. Not only that, but he is suffering from amnesia and doesn’t even remember who he is. Suddenly, he gets attacked by an insect-like creature, but is saved by yet another strange creature attacking the insect, and a girl named Kuon... with animal ears and tail... dragging him away. Upon discovering his stranded state, she decides to look after him, and names him Haku. The story follows them as they travel, with Kuon haggling the easy-going-natured Haku every step of the way, that 'Those that don't Work, Don't Eat." But more is going on, not only all around them, but also with Haku.

First Impression: It's the second season of an old favorite of mine, you can't get more biased than that. A word of warning, so far the opinions I've read have all been you don't need to watch the first season for this one, but you're going to have a harder time with it if you don't.
In that regard, I highly recommend the first season, Utawarerumono, with one condition:

YOU WILL SKIP THE FIRST EPISODE OF THE FIRST SEASON
.
There is no debate here, you will do it.

It is the most garbage first episode I've ever had the misfortune to see, because not only is it completely asinine, completely removed in its own little bubble from the entire rest of the story, but it also is completely misleading about what the show is like and about, not to mention it contains spoilers! Just to stick an extra nail in the coffin.

Now, if you had told me it was an OVA included in a disc or something, I'd have given it high praise for probably being exactly what the fans wanted, because the thing is almost pure fan service from front to back. Which is precisely why it does the show such a disservice.
It scares away people that were looking for a show with more depth than cheap erotic appeal, and it instills a feeling of betrayal in the people that the first episode attracts because the rest of the show is extremely low-key on fan service. So low key, that when I was watching the second season, I remembered that I never cared about it in the first. They do fan service in a way that actually appeals to me, even if the erotic appeal still goes over my head. To summarize it as best I can, the fan service just sort of... naturally happens on screen, instead of the forces of the universe conspiring to put everyone in revealing poses, with revealing camera angles. It's also never cartoon'ishly over-dramatic. That alone appeals to me immensely.

My Opinion: Great. It's going to be great. It already is, and I have an entire first seasons worth of gold to back up my personal emotional sentiments with impartial evidence. (although technically the validity of said evidence is ALSO my opinion but give me something to work with here, m'kay?)

By the way, make sure to watch past the Ending Song in each episode, they have additional content at each episodes end. Not necessarily something you NEED to see, but you will appreciate doing so.

Monday, October 12, 2015

[New][October 2015] Comet Lucifer

Oh. It's a mech anime. goody.
Summary: Comet Lucifer is a fantasy set on the planet Gift, where precious crystals called Giftium are buried in the earth. The main character Sogo lives in a prosperous mining town, Garden Indigo, and loves to collect rare crystals. One day, he gets caught up in a dispute between his classmates, and somehow loses his way deep in the ruins of a mine. There, he discovers a blue-haired girl with red eyes named Felia, and his adventure begins. Also, Mechs.

First Impression: Oh. It's a Mech Anime. Well. Took them long enough to let on about that. Actually, took them long enough...oh wait. They NEVER told us ANYTHING about WHAT THE HELL IS EVEN GOING ON, ON MY SCREEN. Is this just a Mech thing? I seem to remember ... just about every? Gundam anime that I ever bothered to watch doing this. Just dropping us 'In Medias Res' style in the thick of it, and maybe eventually getting around to explaining just what is happening.

My Opinion: This was looking kind of promising, minus the 'I have no clue what is happening at all' thing, for most of the episode. I was just waiting for them to finally tell us something about the little red crystal thing Sogo was so flipping thrilled about. But no, they couldn't even give us some techno babble to partially slack our thirst of curiosity, and explain more later, they just...teased that they were about to tell us something, and then had him rushing off again. I swear I spent half the episode just watching Sogo run, climb, and hover board all over. Grant, the animation looks nice? I guess? Not that I was ever one to give a shit about how pretty the animation is. 

So yeah...my opinion? I don't farking have one yet besides that this is definitely a mech anime, and those tend to be mediocre at best, with a 1% chance of being good sometimes.
When just one giant robot type shows up on screen, particularly when it's just a work machine like it was here, it might not be a mech anime. But when they spend a full scene animating said robot running for a full minute and change, and then another kind of robot appears, and a fight happens, that is definitely a mech anime. Not an anime with giant robots in it, it is an anime about Mechs. There is a difference.

I mean really, I don't expect every show to immediately tell us everything that is going on right away, that's just bad design, but you can't tell us nothing. So far all we know is some very obscure and vague ideas about the relations of the first 4 main'ish characters. I have no opinion beyond stating basic facts. Maybe in another episode or two. Even then, it feels like the show is pulling me along by the nose to find out whether I will even care about it or not, trying to squeeze pennies out of my basic curiosity by pumping their initial view counts. Or however it is anime make money, I dunno.

[New][October 2015] Asterisk War


Summary: Invertia…an unprecedented disaster that struck the world during the 20th century.
Because of this disaster, numerous cities around the world were destroyed. However, this event
also gave rise to a new species of human born with unique skills: The Genestella.
The instability after the disaster saw the return of Monarchies in some countries in the wake of the declining power of the existing major nations, and a new united governing body, The Integrated Empire Foundation, came into power. Now, the best Genestella of various countries are sent to battle for supremacy in a Battle Entertainment Festival, "Festas", at Rikka, an academic city built on the water, and the winner is said to be granted any desire, so long as it can be accomplished in the world. The students are divided into six separated schools that host Festas once a year.
The story follows Ayato Amagiri, as he is chosen for the school that presently has the worst record in the recent Festas'.

First Impression: I don't know if you noticed, but this anime's summary literally sounded like someone hacked up random pieces from the last 2 years of anime's summaries and spit glued them together to make a new story. I don't even feel like bothering to point out any of them because it feels so obvious that this thing was, at the minimum, inspired by, and at the worst, plagiarizing story ideas. Grant, I don't think that it is inherently bad to do that, but the thicker the copy paste, the more indicative it is of low quality and corner cutting.
Having said all that, I walked up to this show actively looking to drop it, because it sounded so uninspired and being able to take a show off the list of things to juggle for potential posts sounded immensely tempting. I am however, keeping this one, and looking forward to it. Ever since Magic War (Mahou Sensou), I know better than to assign expectations, but still.

My Opinion: I'm just going to straight up raise my hand and say that I'm immediately biased on this show. Since it seems to be an industry standard now to bold-facedly swing a hook at the audience with an opening action scene, I'm giving this show points for said hook not being a poorly manufactured 'In Medias Res', or for it just spitting a protagonist into a fight before we even know for sure we're looking at the protagonist. Instead, we get a scene from the past, and the show quickly seeks to let us know that by mid episode. 


Additionally, they immediately pull a check-box standardized Fan-service scene out of their pocket and throw it onto the table, and not completely piss me off with it. Grant, I'm always going to argue that this shit is unnecessary, and can wait till later in to the series when we have proper attachments to characters, if not just outright never happening at all...but they handled this quite maturely. At the very least, the closest thing to maturely since Madan no Ou to Vanadis. She still ends up trying to punch him for ogling her, but the show itself doesn't try to pretend like she's doing it for any other reason than just because she's angry and it will make her feel better. Which is really the only reason any character ever does this tired token scene. Still, points for her actually giving him a chance to apologize, and thanking him for the reason he was even there in the first place being of good intention.

All in all, I like the world building they've done in the first episode. Which is another point, despite two fights in quick succession right at the start, the first episode is pretty much exclusively devoted to introducing and fleshing out characters, and their world. That is always a good sign, albeit not a guarantee of quality. Just the potential for it. So, I'd say keep your eye on this show at this point. If it seems like it's theme is to your tastes, it may very well shape up to be a great show. Hard to tell at this point.