Thursday, July 24, 2014

[New][July 2014] Tokyo ESP (a.k.a X-Men Japanese Edition)

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.

Monday, July 14, 2014

[New][July 2014] Akame ga Kill!

Sooner than he could ever imagine

Summary: Under the rule of a tyrannical empire, Tatsumi, a young swordsman, leaves his home to save his poverty stricken village. However, when he arrives in the capital and begins trying to join the military and looking for his friends that left the village with him, he becomes deeply entangled in the corruption of the Empire, and almost loses his life until he is saved by a member of Night Assassination group.

First Impression: I'm actually starting to get a bit sick of having to do first impressions for anime adaptations of manga I'm currently/have read. It poisons the whole point of me writing my first impression, but whatever, I still have something to use for this.

I've started to add in a new judgement point for what I think of the quality of a show, and I'm trying at the moment to adapt it outside of shows made from manga:
A) Do they balk from showing the truly Violent nature of scenes, and the Evil of Humanity? and
B) How do they display/frame it, and where is the emphasis?

It will take some additional work for me to figure out how to judge such things without the easy comparison I can make when it's an anime made from a manga, but I've encountered and remembered several shows that seemed like they would be so much better than they actually were, because I failed to notice that they were shying away from showing anything truly meaningful.

Previously I wouldn't have a great comparison to make, but the First Impression I get from this show feels like how people talk about George R. R. Martin's works. I haven't actually read anything from him despite it being on my to-do list, so that comparison may be poor, but it points you in the right direction.

First Opinion: I can say with some authority this is going to be an extraordinarily complicated show. Not speaking in technical means, or of the plot and story, but emotionally. You're going to want to stay on the tips of your toes with where you place your heart and bonding as this show moves forward, whether it will adhere to the manga or not. No character has impenetrable Plot Armor, no Villain is evil just for the sake of evil like some Cartoon Villain. Gray Morality will be a plot element, but not the focus. The focus will be more the duality of human morals, or that's the kind of feeling I get from Akame ga Kill with my knowledge from the Manga. I'm giving this a good strong recommendation, with a warning:

The first episode brings me both happiness in the studios methodology so far, and sorrow because of it. I actually have put off watching this show for a first because of concern that the studio animating it would botch and neuter it like they did Chaika but ... now because I'm not sure I want to watch it as it moves forward. You see, I already know what can happen ... and I'm not sure I want to see it brought to life and motion in my mind again. I'm happy that the studio remained completely true to the manga for the entire first episode ... even including the ending, which was basically my 'Trial by Fire' for this show in my mind. Things are going to get progressively worse from that point, either from the studio botching the staging and meaning despite trying to show it accurately, or from perfect execution making it all the more horrifying. The things this show will show you, are representations of things that ... well, unfortunately exist. Particularly the 'villain' at the end of the first episode. People that are like that actually exist, some have actually done bits and pieces of the things the show contains about them. All the show does is gather the bits all together and then string them up pretty to be a good story.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

[Ended] Chaika the Coffin Princess (Hitsugi no Chaika)

Simple Effective Comedy

Pros: Drama, Quality Action in small amounts

-The shows base story is sound, and Drama/Human-Interest focused
-While few, the action is of good quality, the Magic flashy
-As per the usual of having a strong element of Human Interest, the Characters are solidly interesting, even the somewhat minor ones

Cons: Simple, Cut short, and less than it could be

-The original story is much stronger, and much longer
-The Magic is a little ridiculous, even if soundly explained
-At the end of the day, Shallow. Although this could be explained by the promise of a second season

My Opinion: This should be fairly obvious if you've read any of my previous Chaika posts, but I was sorely disappointed by this show. I was fully expecting this to end in 12-13 episodes like it has...although the promise of a second season took me by surprise at first.

Once I shed my chains of expectations, and took the show as its own, instead of the telling of the original story, I enjoyed it (minus one volatile memory). I soundly believe that anyone who sees the anime before the manga will be much better off for it. The story, characters, and plot are all sound and well-knitted here, and you don't really appreciate Chaika's verbal tic by reading's just not as much as the original. Personally, I'm looking forward to the second season, if it actually comes. Having set themselves off from the original story, probably in a manner similar to the first Full Metal Alchemist anime, they can easily take the story and characters wherever they want in a second plot line. I speak with authoritative knowledge when I say, that the base material is strong enough to warrant a look even at a derivative like this.

Impartial Judgement: Quality story, characters that live up to it, and minus a few things, a very grounded and sensible plot. I think the term 'Anti-hero' applies nicely, although there might be a more specific term. Rather than the usual save the world story with a Hero, this show is about the dust settling, in the world after it has been saved. It's about the war-torn land and people, many of whom having lived their whole lives with war, no longer knowing how to live in this new peaceful world. I give it a good sound recommendation to anyone, with these caveats:

-Haven't read the Manga? Watch away, and wait for confirmation on the second season before even considering reading it. If the second season is canceled, consider picking the manga up then, but not before, if you're well interested in the story.

-Have read the Manga? Forget it. My expectations for the anime from the manga poisoned it for a good while. I'm strict enough with myself that I still enjoyed it anyway, but it may severely disappoint you if you let your expectations get in the way.

[Ended] No Game No Life

Let's begin the game!
A wild ride, from start to finish.

Pros: Story. Hands-down.
-Strong core plot, plus well fleshed out Story
-Highly individual characters, with strong motivations
-A vibrant world that we only scratch the surface of
-A unique and interesting color scheme

A bit difficult to step up to, and immerse in on Paper
-The summary's, even the best of them, cannot properly explain without spoiling. This is a hard show to explain and sell to people, because of how interwoven all the plot elements are, and especially for the central characters being shut-in gamers, most people wouldn't listen after that
-The color in this anime is...unique. Quite glaring and takes getting used to, could be a turn off for some
-Pure Fantasy, curbed to fuel a human-interest story. That could easily annoy either side; People here for the fantasy and surreal, and people here for the Dramatic Human-Interest. Each is tied into the other, so people who like their shows solidly grounded in realism, or completely light-hearted and whimsically fantastic may be annoyed.

My Opinion: This goes into my Glory section on my list. I keep a record of everything I've ever watched, and am watching, so that if something pops into my head, I can go find its name. I may never forget a story or plot after finishing it, but I rarely remember names. The Glory section is the top anime I've ever watched, the first of my recommendations to anyone looking for something to watch.
Counter to its appearance as a Magically Fantastical show, No Game No Life is centrally a Human-Interest driven show. From start to finish, the Characters and the plot they drive are what you're here to see, the fantastical colors and animation simply bring it to life. After having two...maybe three, curse my vague memory, anime recently promise a Second season right on the end of their first, I was greatly pained to not have that same promise for No Game No Life. This story isn't done yet, and I want the rest of it dammit! Even if the unfinished part is wholesome and complete within itself, who wouldn't want to complete the puzzle?

Impartial Judgement: Don't be put off by the summary description that the main characters are shut-in gamers, after establishing that as a character element, they quite literally throw them out of that trope into the middle of the story's new world. After that, you have to adapt to the glaring rainbow colors of the animation, while still soaking in the major plot elements that they casually drop here and there near the road. No Game No Life is a show that begs being paid attention to, down the the tiny details, and I'm informed that some people don't like that kind of show, and prefer something they can watch more casually. There's enough spontaneous vibrancy in the various scenarios Sora and Shiro get into on their path through the new world they land in, that it keeps the blood pumping. They don't drown you in important things, but it definitely adds to the shows appeal if you pick up on them.

All having been said and done, this show keeps:

Zetro's Must Watch of the Season Award
with an honorable mention to its Plot and Story. I'm tempted to give the show an award additionally for its Plot, but it is technically incomplete. The Story is a closer runner, because the story completes with the end of the anime, even though the Plot continues on past that...still, I'm not inclined to give an award to something incomplete. If this show ever gets a second season, it will be hard pressed not to receive an Award from me for Best Plot.