Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Fall Anime Round-up!

Once again it’s time for a whole slew of new anime to premire and time for me to be a bit later than everyone else with the reviews since I’m trying to cram them all into one batch again. But before I get to the fall anime I do need to talk about the summer anime a bit first since that was a bit of an odd season. Since I’m only continuing with two shows (Space Bros and Sword Art Online) I’m not going to make a full post about them, it should suffice to say that I still like Space Bros (probably because I identify more with adult characters in anime today than teenaged characters so I welcome a show with adult characters and enough episodes to really develop all of them) and as for Sword Art Online, well, obviously I’ll talk a lot about this when the show finishes up in December, and already did a bit in Accel World, but the author seems to write okay main storylines that are based on some cool ideas but doesn’t really get how to write short stories so they all turn out rather similar and not as good. There are two other shows that are kinda continuing as well, apparently when Eureka 7 AO was given it’s 24 episode timeslot everyone forgot to account for the Olympics taking over that time for two weeks and, since the main network (TBS?) doesn’t want anyone else to show the last two episodes before them and doesn’t have any free time until November they simply aren’t getting shown until then (and since I’m blogging differently in November, same as last year, that review probably won’t be up until December). Kokoro Connect is also a weird case, it’s going to have another arc that is made up of DVD-only episodes and that normally wouldn’t cause me to delay a review but since this is four, cohesive episodes I’m going to delay that one as well. The only problem is that the first DVD comes out in late October so, even if they release one a month, that review probably won’t be until late January/early February. I already have the majority of the review written up and ready to go, I’ll just add to it/edit it based on whatever happens here.
As for fall shows I will mention that my most anticipated show of the season, the Kyousogiga series, isn’t on here because apparently that is going to be an OVA series and the first episode came out back in August. Looking at the air dates for that, I would like to have the review for that one up around Christmas but don’t know how likely that’s going to be and that’s also going to be tricky since I just recently learned that the manga adaptation actually fills in some of the gaps in the series so I’m going to have to figure out how to address all of that. So, with allllllllll of that in mind, here’s what I actually tried out and what I thought of it.

Blast of Tempest
Mahrio’s friend Yoshino vanished a month ago and, while Mahiro is a little worried about him, he’s not overly concerned especially since he’s still coping with the murder of his sister a year earlier. So Mahiro is completely caught off guard when he’s confronted by a young lady with a gun demanding where Yoshino is and claiming that he’s become wrapped up in a world altering plan involving disasters and magic. But Mahiro doesn’t have a chance to doubt her when strange things start happening around them as well.

I’ve read a bit of the manga and I have to say that the first few chapters of the manga were a lot easier to follow than the first few episode of the anime which does worry me. The pacing was smoother and exposition felt more natural and I have seen people say the first episode was confusing and it shouldn’t have been that confusing. On the positive side, the series looks great and the OP is quite catchy (with decent Engrish! Then again, considering this season has also given us K’s Engrish practically everything is going to sound better by comparison).
Blast of Tempest is an Aniplex show so it’s streaming on Crunchyroll and will have a (probably overpriced) physical release down the line by them.

Chunibyo Demo Koi Ga Shita (which has been given the truely strange title of  Regardless of My Adolescent Delusions of Grandeur I Want A Date!)
Chunibyo translates to “second year diseases” in English and it’s a belief possessed by many 8th graders that they possess magical powers and do crazy things as a result. Yuuta is a recovering Chuni and would quite like to forget about that part of his life. However, when he comes across another sufferer at his new high school it looks like that might just be a pipe dream of his.

My cynical side wonders just how much anime is responsible for this disease and also thinks that it certainly explains more than a few things. In any case, this was an okay first episode. Everything was set up and it wasn’t boring but didn’t catch me either (probably because, as weird as my friends and I were at that age, we were never this weird, or if we were we went through that period yeeeeeears earlier, like elementary school) and the show was trying too hard to be “cutesy”. Normally I’d give the show another episode and see how it does but the problem is that The Anime Network is making this a subscriber only stream beyond the first episode and I'd rather save up my money to buy one of their physical releases instead of for streaming a show I'm not sure I'll like
Chuunii is one of Sentai’s pick-ups this season, however since it's going to be subscriber only I'm going to have to skip this one.

Sakura is a high school girl who isn't the girlest of girls and is completely capable of kicking anyone's ass and has a sense of justice as well. So of course she's going to investigate when she sees what looks like people being burned alive in a local park although she may have gotten involved in something truly dangerous indeed. 

I read a little bit of the manga when the anime was announced to see if it was my thing and, while okay, I decided that I wasn’t really interested in the story since it didn’t seem to have a real goal in mind. But I got bored, checked out the first episode of the anime and that was a really solid first episode (even if for some reason it looks like it came out of the 90s, I think it’s Sakura’s hair). Since Funimation is streaming the show and it’s only supposed to be 13 episodes long I’ll stick with it, really I’m staying with it not because we have random people with super powers running around, that idea has been done way too many times since the dawn of time, but because I like Sakura, having a competent main character dealing with magic who isn’t magical is something that happens much less often. Sadly after poking around it seems that she’s going to be less and less useful as the story goes on (and it seems the story gets worse after a bit as well, honestly if a series goes for more than 100 chapters it’s bound to “get worse” for everyone at some point) but with such a short run I hope that it stays interesting and ends on a good note.
One of Funimation’s pick-ups, can be watched on their site. 

From the New World (Shin Sekai Yori)
Based on a sci-fi novel (not a light novel but a “real” novel) and set in Japan 1000 years into the future it’s hard to tell that the story is set in the future at all. Technology seems to have regressed and instead everyone possesses physic powers that manifest when they’re rather young. Poor Saki was the last one in her class to get her powers and but when she goes to her new school she’s told she was the last, everyone seems to have forgotten about her other classmates. Combined with things overheard from her parents it seems like this brave new world is a rather scary place indeed.
I haven’t totally warmed up to the show yet, thank goodness it has two seasons to get through all the material since it’s a bit slow to get going, but I like it so far. I especially like how the show looks, the outfits in particular are really nicely designed (not the school uniforms but all the casual outfits Saki and her family wear, they have a level of detail put into them that I don’t normally see, and as a cosplayer I am always staring at the outfits). So far the direction the plot seems to be taking isn’t something completely new and unexplored, actually I recall reading a lot of “looks like a utopia, really a dystopia” stories for school, but hopefully this story will be able to pull it off well and I’ll be able to point to it as one of the better examples in that odd sub-genre.
Airing on Crunchyroll, licensed by Sentai  

In a city where "kings" run around with their entourages and fight each other, Shiro is rather confused at the accusations and video that shows that he killed one of the kings and gets involved in all kinds of shenanigans. 

My god, this is the most “animu” anime of the season and it alternates between playing all it’s tropes straight/unironically and being completely aware of it. The first episode amused me and I thought I might follow it for a few until I got bored/it crashed and burned. The second episode wasn’t tons better but you know what, I think the show is at least a little aware of how silly it is and has decided to roll with it. And for me that can make all the difference, a serious show not realizing it’s silly is painful and calls for watching with friends and possibly involving a drinking game, a show that knows it’s silly is just fun and much easier to recommend as well.
K is Viz Media’s lone pick-up of the season and can be watched on hulu.

Kamisama Kiss (Kamisama Hajimemashita)
After her father gambles away all his money and runs away, Nanami is turned out of her apartment and has no where to go when she meets a man stuck in a tree in a local park, terrified by the dog beneath him. She shoos off the dog and tells him her story and he says that while he is off traveling she is welcome to stay at his place and then leaves. Fully expecting to be conned she goes to the address he left behind, only discover that it’s a shrine and that she has become the new land god of the shrine and has inherited not only the shrine, magical powers, and two will-o-wisp spirits but also one very cranky familiar.

I’m a bit familiar with the original manga (it’s published in the US under the same name by Viz) and so far I think it’s been a pretty nice adaptation. Nanami has spunk which makes her quite fun to watch, the pacing is quick but not too fast, and I think that a lot of the gags have translated well from the manga to the anime. The show does look pretty cheap (there was even one brief, less than two seconds, clips in the second episode where it looked like they literally didn’t finish animating part of the background) but hopefully I can enjoy this one based on what it does, not what it looks like.
Kamisama Kiss is streaming on Funimation’s website, although as a warning the player has been a bit stranger lately so hopefully they’ll put it up on hulu as well, same warning applies to their other shows but everyone seems to have had the most trouble with this show.

Little Busters!
Riki became close to his friends when they comforted and befriended him as a kid after his parents died. They're growing up however and this is their last year of school together so they're going to try and make it as special as possible and hopefully make some more friends in the process.

I have not played the original game, really I don't know much at all (although I did find out who the “main” heroine is), and I think this is a show that was made more to appeal to it’s fans than new people. Yes yes yes I know it’s not about baseball, that part was pretty obvious, it’s just that none of the characters really grabbed my attention in this first episode and everything feels quiet clich├ęd as well. If this was being simulcast by someone then sure, I’d give it a few more episodes, but since I do have to use fansubs here (and my rule with fansubs is one per season and only of something I’m almost guaranteed to buy) I think I’ll hold off and give myself time to watch something I really enjoy instead.

Inspired by 1001 Nights, Aladdin is a young boy with a djinn in a pipe, a promise, wants to make friends, and wants adventures, all of which sounds like the makings of a shonen show to me!

Well that was more enjoyable than I expected, like Code;Breaker I read the first chapter of the manga and wrote it off as not for me but Magi actually starts with a different chapter (which I think was a good idea), again is streaming legally, and just did something right. I didn’t like all the boob jokes (there was just too many of them), and forgive me twitter, I was teasing all of you in my head for getting confused over Aladdin’s gender and I totally understand why now (if it helps I was confused by the lead in Little Busters, both are way more feminine than most boys ever sound). But the action was solid and if it’s streaming for free then sure, I can give it at least a few more episodes and see where it goes.
Another Aniplex show so it can be viewed, a few days after the original broadcast but without the one week delay for free users  on Crunchyroll.

My Little Monster (Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun)
Shizuku isn’t interested in anything accept getting good grades at school and the only way she can be convinced to bring handouts to an absent classmate is being bribed with a study guide. The guy in question, Haru, was suspended at the beginning of the year for fighting with bullies and has no intention of going back to school, except that it turns out that he’s quite friendly and seems to like Shizuku so maybe he’ll start going back because of her….

Another shojo series that has quite a bit of comedy in it (KK seems to be more comedy than romance, MLM it’s closer to 50-50 and Sukitte has no comedy in it at all yet) and while not everything is perfect (yes I know that Haru is supposed to be socially awkward and just not get some stuff but his actions/words feel more like, well, how a not-well-adjusted character in an anime would do/say, not a real person, and I dislike that kind of fakeness of character) it’s amusing and I’m going to stick with it. Also, I may or may not be shipping the chicken with the duck from tsuritama.
Streaming on Crunchyroll

In a future where everyone's mental state is constantly monitored and some people are criminals without ever having committed a crime, there is a section of the police dedicated to chasing down those whose mental patterns have become erratic and erasing them if necessary. Akane is the newest member of the force but who knows if she'll last or if she'll succumb to all the stress and become a latent criminal herself.

One half of the noitaminA timeslot, eh. It's cyberpunk, it's "dark and edgy" and it's way too early to tell if it'll do anything new, crash and burn, or just be a cop shows that plays around with deeper idea but never makes use of them. I think, and hope, that it will look at it's system, acknowledge the flaws, and then play with it (a bit like what Un-Go did last year), if not it's going to be a boring and frustrating two quarters.

Funimation picked this one up and it's streaming on their site  

The year is 2019 and in the true, "Steins;Gate" timeline Katio and Akiho are the only two members left in their school's robotics club and Akiho is determined to complete the giant robot the club has been building for years. But the club is in trouble of getting disbanded so they have that to worry about as well so building a working mecha might end up being the least of their troubles.

The other noitaminA show (and yes, it's the same universe as both Steins;Gate and Chaos;Head, I checked the worldline numbers and spoil me on anything and it won't end well for either of us) which had a rather quiet first episode. I'm not entirely sure why but it clicked with me more than P-P did, possibly because I remember how slow S;G was to start and how I nearly dropped it later on. I've been warned that the series is a bit slower paced (since it's set over an entire school year) but I'm okay with that as long as the plot works.

Another Fuimation pick-up, it can be viewed on their site for free but does have a one day delay.

Say “I Love You” (Sukitte Ii na yo)
Mei has been ostracized by her classmates for most of her life so when one of the most popular guys in her grade starts taking an interest in her she of course thinks it's a prank. But for whatever reason Yamamoto does seem to have fallen for her whether she's happy with this idea or not.

Ah, if KK and MLM were lighter, more comedic shojo series this is the more "serious, realistic" (angsty) shojo show, which might explain why those other two are being streamed and this one wasn't. If it was being streamed I'd watch more but as it stands it's just too "angsty" for me, Yamamoto strikes me as creepier than Haru from MLM (at least there the characters are aware that he's kinda crazy, here Yamamoto's behavior of following Mei around and bugging her are presented as if they're normal) and I just don't want to watch an illegal fansub of a show like that. 

So there you have it, I'm watching nine shows total (plus stuff from older series that is complete and live action shows, I'm so behind in those though) and it's certainly an interesting mixture this time around, hope everything either stays strong or gets even stronger!