Monday, August 5, 2013

Anime Review: Problem Children are Coming from Another World aren't they?

First as a head's up, given that Otakon is this weekend I'm not even going to try and get reviews up so the next review after this will be a comic review on 16th, just going to go ahead and take a whole turn off (also to give me a little more time to prep for my upcoming move, expect a post on that in the next couple of weeks).

Some people might remember, if they read the footnotes, that a friend and I tried out quite a few currently airing/from the past winter season shows and after this we agreed that this was better than expected which was what I had heard from other places as well. So when I needed something quick to watch, and after trying a few things I thought I would like and didn't, well, why not?

Problem Children are Coming from Another World aren't they? (Mondaiji taichi ga Isekai kara Kuru soudesuyo?)

Summary: In the world of the Little Garden those with special gifts (magic) compete in games for glory, fun, and for the sake of their community. One little community is failing badly and summons three children, each from a different world, who are bored of their lives to come play and fight for them and that plan ends up working much better than you'd expect.

The Good: There are a lot of different subgenres underneath the fantasy flag these days; high fantasy, low fantasy, urban fantasy, dungeons and dragons-eque fantasy, that odd blend of science fiction and fantasy you sometimes find and so on. This show fits into an odd subgenre that I usually only find in anime/manga/light novels, it’s like dungeons and dragons-esque fantasy with it’s approach to monsters and how the world is structure (ie, it feels a bit flat, cardboard like as if the characters are just players in a tabletop game) yet it’s a little different in it’s approach, even for the characters this is literally just a game. I’ve seen some shows like this or ones that seem to stand on the line before and it’s not my favorite approach to fantasy, I feel like a lot of times they use it as an excuse for lazy setting building and easy comedy but this show actually manages to pull it off much better than usual and made me smile. The characters aren't very well fleshed out but some of them develop a little bit and even though the three leads each fall into a standard archtype, the quite one, the rich girl, the punk boy, they do defy their stereotypes more than you'd think. That's what made the series work for me, it's quite generic in some ways but different enough that I didn't feel bored by it.

The Bad: I shall be blunt, while part of the last arc made sense the game the characters had to solve made not much sense at all (heck, for people who don't often read translations of light novels, that kind of plotting and logic is what you find in a lot of them, guessing I can't just blame that stuff on the fan-translators anymore). I'm positive there was a better way to set up that story without having it contradict itself, that was just incredibly frustrating. And even though I said I liked the story enough for being rather generic, yes I would have loved it if the story had been less so, if the characters had been fleshed out into having real backstories, not just a collection of tropes thrown together.

The Production Values: Can someone please explain to me why when an anime has a lot of special effects on screen the entire picture seems to dim? I've seen it in other shows but not as often as this show, it got rather distracting after a bit. Other than that, the show really doesn't do anything different artistically or musically wise (although the opening did grow on me more than I expected and the I laughed the first time I saw the ending), same as the rest of the story.

So, for being the best generic fantasy show that doesn't take itself seriously that I've seen I'll give it 3.5 out of 5 stars, might watch a second season (although looking at it's first volume sales that looks pretty unlikey) but wouldn't really recommend it or plan on buying it. For those who want to see it crunchyroll is streaming it.