Monday, February 28, 2011

[OVA] .hack //Quantum

Currently finished: Episode 2

When I first heard of this new .hack OVA, I thought "oh, great, someone is reviving another franchise that has been beaten to death to try to pocket some quick cash." My initial thought was not to bother with it at all. But then, me being me, who has set my goal to become the ultimate living anime encyclopedia, decided to grab at least one episode and see how it is. Man was I surprised.

By now, I think anybody that know the name of .hack something is probably going to be pretty familiar with the general premise of the story: somebody playing this virtual reality MMO game ends up discovering this huge conspiracy behind the company that makes the game, usually involves someone's mind got trapped in the game--It's been like this since the very first of its kind, .hack //Sign. Although lately, there has been quite a few terrible .hack series, you gotta give the credit to the original .hack //Sign. At the time it was made, MMORPG is not nearly as widely known as it is nowadays. You have to give kudos to those who came up with the idea, not to mention the original .hack //Sign had a pretty decent story as well.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the matter in hand. Back when .hack //Roots aired, I could not follow through even to half-way point of the series because it was so slow and boring. I was expecting the caliber of work that was similar to .hack //Sign but I was completely disappointed. Then a couple of new .hack came out that fell in expectation due to the exact same problem.

.hack //Quantum however, shined some new and refreshing light onto this aging and badly beaten franchise.

For starters, the main character is very clear defined and interesting. I think they've employed the "clumsy girl" concept very well in creating this character. Two, being an OVA has the advantage of moving plot very quickly--you don't have to wait for 5 episodes before anything interesting starts to happen. It dropped you right in the main event and you are actually anxious to see what's coming next. They don't seem to be much, but these two critical points in my opinion actually managed to turn this badly beaten franchise into something quite unique and interesting. While the final episode is yet to be released, I'm going to go ahead give it a first impression score of:


By the way, there are some something in episode two that references something in .hack //G.U. So it might be beneficial to watch that before you start .hack //Quantum since it may give you better insight knowledge in understanding the historic timeline within the story.

One other note, it's kind of hard to image the main character, Sakuya's voice is done by Kana Hanazawa (花澤香菜) who played the voice of Kanade from Angel Beats, as well as Anri from Durarara!!. The playfulness in her voice makes her sounds so much different.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Kore wa Zombie Desu ka: Sudden Transformation

Currently finished: Episode 6

I totally didn't see it coming, but episode 6 made a sudden turn that made the story go from light and little stupid to dark and heavy, really dark and really heavy, the kind of dark and heavy I really like nevertheless. If you've followed my blog for a while, you'd be getting a clue what this anime has actually become.

It's really hard to describe what happened without spoiling anything, so I'm just not even going to try. But I would say that if you don't like the earlier episodes due to its stupidities, you should try to make an effort to at least reach episode 6 before making the final decision on whether you should keep it or drop it.

GOSICK: I Don't Quite Get It

Currently finished: Episode 7

After the first two arcs, I thought I started to get a grasp about what this story is about and who Victoria is. But then the next arc came around, now I'm just totally confused. It seems every time they feed you some useful information on how to solve the puzzle, they throw in some more puzzle pieces to confuse you more. I understand that they are trying to keep the character Victoria to be as mysterious as possible since that's their main selling point, but sometimes you gotta give the audience something to keep them going. Right now, it seems they're purposely trying to confuse us. I don't really mind it, since I believe a good puzzle usually makes a good story, it's just I think they've gone a bit overboard on it.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica: Magical Girl, Tainted

Currently finished: Episode 7

If you told me two months ago that someone could make an extremely dark and twisted magical girl anime, I'd probably have laughed at your face and said you're crazy. However, as unfeasible as it sounds, such thing do exist, and Madoka Magica is the proof.

At first I didn't think much of it, but the fact this is produced by SHAFT should have rung a bell because SHAFT don't usually make glittering magical girl animes. They almost always try to push something extremely weird or just out right offensive in their products. Just take a look at some of the animes they've produced lately: Bakemonogatari, Arakawa Under the Bridge, Dance in the Vampire Bund, and Maria Holic.

So, with that kind of portfolio, it is not surprise to see what Madoka Magica turned out to be what it is. This truly a piece of work, so good that I'm bumping off the no.3 spot of my season's top five pick and award it to Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica.

Fairy Tail: Villain's Mercy

Currently finished: Episode 66

It happens a lot in action animes: whenever a good guy about to lose, something moving, touching, emotional would suddenly start to happen that in turn "refills" the power gauge of our beloved hero/heroine who miraculously regains all of his/her lost power plus more, which usually end up being just enough to overcome whatever he/she couldn't last time through to fix/finish whatever needs to be done.

The problem?

Well, usually, that whole touching, moving, emotional whatever requires some time to "charge up". If I were the villain, I'd probably see a big "danger" sign hovering over whoever I'm trying to beat up, and would want to waste no time to finish him/her off. On top of that, I've worked so hard to beat him/her down to wherever he/she is at and this is probably the best time to finish off what I started since it's likely he/she is at the most vulnerable state.

However, for whatever reason, the villain, always, I mean ALWAYS just stand there not doing anything productive to prevent that as if they don't understand that whatever the warm fuzzy the good guys were feeling is actually intended to make a comeback to put him out for good.

Do the story writers really take their audiences to be that stupid? Or do they just run out of stuff to make it believable and try to shuffle this last yet most important part along and hoping the audiences don't notice it?!

By no means I'm trying to pick on Fairy Tail alone since >80% action animes probably possess this problem. It's just that so far it seems that's how every single arc in this anime has ended...

Saturday, February 19, 2011

[OVA] Goulart Knights

I think this is one of those OVA that assumes you're familiar with the story, or at least the setting of the manga it's based on, unless the manga is equally bad about giving you background information. There's no introduction what so ever, which makes you feel like you've missed like first half of the season of whatever this is. Then there's the plot, which in my opinion completely lacks of coherency. It literally feels like someone needed a TV airing slot to fill so they threw some random stuff together in a day only so that slot isn't empty. This ought to be one of the crappiest OVA I've ever seen. Oh, did I mention they have magical boy (as oppose to magical girl) transformation scenes?!

Score: 66

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Star Driver: The Galactic Pretty Boy Effect

Currently finished: Episode 18

I haven't made any post about this anime in a while because there hasn't been anything in the story lately makes me tick. However, it seemed my previous post about Star Driver had angered a huge fan of the anime who just happened to stumble upon that particular post. Whatever I said must have made him so angry that he left a comment that was longer than my original post to explain why I am a completely worthless person because I wrote what I wrote.

Well, I hate to tell ya, you're never going to put me down with sentences like that. In fact, if you haven't noticed, I like to make people angry.

Of course, me being me, I'll never let go of something like that unanswered, I retaliated with an equally lengthy reply back to his comment telling him just how wrong he is to criticize me.

If you feel like reading some heated exchange between different personal opinions, you can go ahead read the post and its comments. But that's not the main purpose I'm bringing this topic up here.

I've been wanting to talk a bit more about Star Driver for a while, but so far it's been lacking an "astonishing" event that I could justify a post about. Basically, after the initial WTF period, you start to slowly accept the world of Star Driver, not necessarily understanding it, only accepting it as it is. While there may be evidences out there to show that something meaningful could indeed be hiding under the massive amount of glittery nonsense, I still can't discover signs that would lead me to believe this is something as glorious as that comment had made it to be. But I would like to say that this shroud of mystery could actually be the key that propels it to the next level of excellence. But as for right now, I'm not totally convinced yet. At this point, it's really just a series of WTFs that keeps going up in caliber. Of course, I don't deny there's still the possibility for Star Driver to achieve a similar level like what Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo (Sora Kake Girl) had done, but until it does, I'm not going to count on it. Because so far everything in Star Driver in my opinion has been inferior comparing to Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo, in terms of story depth, awe factor, even the WTF gauge. Frankly, the "Galactic Pretty Boy" is just not doing it for me.

So, Airhersalderaz, if by any chance you stumble upon this post again, please point out anything wrong I had said. I'd like to hear them. Really, I do. But if my "opinionated, ill informed and poorly conceived" view had disappointed you so much that you wouldn't ever read my blog again, then...too bad, I guess I had win this round by default, ha! (Just kidding, but if you're not going to read it anyway, at least let me step on the shadow you left behind so I can feel better about myself).

[Dropped] Onii-chan no Koto nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne: This is Crap

Survived through: Episode 4

Criticize me however you like, but I'm still going to say this is just utterly crap, especially when it's contrasted with a recent anime that is more or less in the same category--Ore no Imoto ga Konnani Kawaii Wakega Nai that is superior in every single aspect.

In fact, I'm willing to go so far to say that if what I said in this post makes you angry enough to want to post comments criticizing me, then you can just stop reading my blog--I have no regret losing you as a potential audience for my blog.

The biggest problem with this story is the lacking of substance. Aside from a very few commonly used tropes, there is nothing, I repeat, nothing in this story that I feel worth even slight time of mine. If this is not the worst anime of 2011, it'd at least be the worst anime of this season.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Letter Bee Reverse: The Art of Anticlimax

Currently finished: Episode 17

Whoever directed this really has some talent, the talent of making things anticlimactic, that is. Aside from keeping the pace of the story extremely slow, they somehow managed to make some parts that supposed to be exciting completely anticlimactic. Whatever they did, somehow managed to always suppresses any and all excitement. When you feel like certain part of the story you're supposed to get excited about, somehow you just can't.

On the other hand, however, I'm not saying this anime is bad in any way--as anticlimactic as they had made it to be, it is still surprisingly interesting. Although I think it has more to do with the story itself than the directing or screenwriting.

On top of that, I think it had suffered the exact same problem as To Aru Majutsu no Index did where there are too many offshoots need to be in place before the main plot starts to roll, and instead of having an extra long series, they decided to make two full seasons with first one being all the offshoots that would be eventually used later in the main story. It's hard to say whether this is a good approach because a incoherent first series could lead to a bad overall impression for the story which eventually hurts the later one. But at the moment, I don't think it's of much concern here because it seems this series so far had received pretty high rating.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Level E: Hilarious, Subtly

Currently finished: Episode 4

This is a very strange and somewhat unorthodox story. It leads you running all over the place on a wild goose chase only to circle all the way back and show you there is no goose then points and laughs at you. The funny thing is, you don't really feel angry after being played like that. Instead, it actually feels quite enjoyable. The hilariousness of this anime is all in its subtlety--it's really hard to describe, you really have to watch it to understand what I mean.

At this point, I have to say, this is fast climbing to become the best anime of the season. This series definitely worth your time.

Fractale: Slow Start, Quick Boost

Currently finished: Episode 4

Even though it has a pretty slow (and somewhat boring) start, the recent two episodes had really pumped things up.

For starters, things starts to come together as a story and the significance of each character starts to slowly show up. Then there's the introduction of the background. The first two episodes felt somewhat weird because we have no background information. Series of events in the next two episode explained the background much better--you start to understand the way of life for people that supposedly live "normally" in this world. On top of that, the pace of the story has also gone up quite a bit, which gives is a much needed "turbo boost" after the somewhat slow start.

So if you're at episode two and considering dropping it, don't. Give it another two episodes and it might change your mind.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

IS: Infinite Stratos: Lack of Compelling Reasons

Currently finished: Episode 4

One of the biggest problems I have against this anime at the moment is that so far they haven't presented any compelling reason why IS is such an important thing in this world. All they've been doing in this academy is to use IS as effective combat machinery, yet there is no clear indication of any current ongoing wars either between nations or against extraterrestrial beings. Then why do any world government invest so much into IS? It's hard to believe they're merely going to use all this destructive power it holds only in Olympic competition.

True episode 4 they finally introduced a possible enemy for this story, but that still doesn't help in explaining why the world is so interested in such machinery with no apparent real usage outside this academy. Maybe when they feel like taking a break from enlarging the harem, we can get a proper explanation on why this world is so fascinated in IS.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica: Not Your Typical Magical Girl Anime

Currently finished: Episode 4

Ok, this anime may possess many characteristics of your typical magical girl anime, but this is NOT your typical magical girl anime. The typical magical girl anime audiences, who probably was just expecting glittering stars and magical girl costume transformation are going to get something dark and twisted thrown at their faces.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

[Movie] Broken Blade 3

After a much longer wait (about 3 month longer between 2 and 3 than 1 and 2), we finally get to see the next episode of this 6 parts movie series.

This episode, is really more or less the same with previous two. Even though the plot does move forward a little bit, more time is spent on fancy mecha acrobatics slow-mo's. At this point, it literally feels like they take one piece of important information at a time, wrap it around with three layers mecha battle to produce a 45 minutes long movie. But at least we get to see the real reason behind the war in this episode.