Monday, November 24, 2014

Anime Review: Tonari no Seki-kun and Magica Wars

This is why I usually take November off, I simply run out of things to review and have to scramble a bit, especially when it comes to anime. Thankfully after doing this for so long I've started to anticipate this so I'm going to do something I haven't done in a little while, I'm going to talk about two series of shorts that came out in this past year. Since two mini-reviews is totally the same as one full length review, right?

Tonari no Seki-kun (My Neighbor Seki-kun)

School is boring, Yokoi will admit that but her neighbor Seki-kun is determined to do as little school work as possible by spending his time goofing off in the back of the classroom with an impressive amount of creativity. And that's the story of My Neighbor Seki-kun (which can also be translated as "My Neighbor's Seat"), it's a simple story with the barest bit of continuity and it's surprisingly fun. Yokoi isn't just an observer of Seki-kun's antics but also a commentator and occasionally interloper, that keeps the stories from getting too stale and predictable which was my biggest fear going into the show. The skits themselves are just funny, half of them don't make any sense but it's always amusing to see just how out there, just how crazy Seki-kun can make these little stories and it certainly feels more like how a kid would amuse themselves than an adult. Finally, because of all of these crazy little skits I think the story nails just how middle and high school feels: dull, repetitive, and as if you could miss huge chunks of it without really missing anything. I know that here in the US many teachers are trying to change how teaching is done so it's not just 40 minutes of being lectured to, 8 times a day but there was something comforting about those classes, I knew that I'd be able to pay attention and also lose myself in whatever doodling or day-dreaming I wanted to do. Somehow Seki-kun manages to capture that mood perfectly and makes me remember just how much I don't miss high school!

Magica Wars

Japan has many different prefectures and they all have their own traditions and problems so of course all of them will have their own magical girl! And that's the basis for Magica Wars, based off of a cell phone game this series has episodes that are too short for any kind of plot and so few ideas I doubt that even longer episodes would have been able to help. To be perfectly honest, I watched this show since I looked at the character designs and thought that some of them might be fun to cosplay so I wanted to see more and that's what I got. I actually did like two of the arcs in the show, the final one concerning the Kyoto magical girl (since her story was framed differently from the rest), and one in the middle featuring the girl who looks like a Gatchaman (even the show admits it!) since she had a really different personality that made her interesting. The rest of the stories were all very bland, featured characters with stock character traits instead of actual personality, and almost every single mascot character was pervy which confused me as much as it made me roll my eyes. I'll admit I would watch a second season but that's only because I looked around online and saw that they haven't used all of the magical girl designs in the show, I can't recommend this show at all unless you really want to spend half an hour watching the two arcs I actually liked, there's just no point in watching this instead of an actually good magical girl show!

I watched both of these shows on crunchyroll and, while both are unlicensed, the Seki-kun manga has been picked up by Vertical for release sometime in the future. I doubt that I'll purchase the series, it has to be a really special comedy for me to want to view it twice, but I'm sure it would fit in well with the other manga that my library has been purchasing lately!