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 I'm super impressed with it.
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.