In no specific order, here are some initial impressions from the new anime season.
Ore Imo - What is there to say? This carries on nicely in the tradition of the first season. Overall, there were no surprises, and I will be sticking with this one to the end, something I knew well ahead of time. I hope everyone saw the specials though, since they are not on Crunchyroll, and this season carries on assuming you’ve seen them.
Devil Survivor 2 - I am very biased towards this show. As a Megaten fan, I’d probably watch anything derived from any of the Megaten games without complaint. That being said, the premise that you can summon demons from your cell phone is absurd, but neat. I’ve never played the Devil Survivor series, but why would you ever upload your friends picture to an app that claims it will send you a video of them dying? Why would that ever seem like a good idea? Besides the bizarre decision making by our protagonists, the show has an interesting premise, good fights, and is full of nice details from the games. It will probably be full of mumbo jumbo and a nonsensical plot, but I’m in for the long haul.
Red Data Girl - I have very high hopes for this show. The artwork and the atmosphere are distinct, and the scenario is not a standard cliche. Or, at least much less of a cliche than usual. I’m a big fan of the way they are contrasting old versus the new. And by making the MC, Izumiko, not understand her powers or what her purpose is, it lets the audience discover this alongside her. I’m excited to see where this goes.
The Severing Crime Edge - Do you have a fetish for hair? Well, then this is your show. The first scene is straight out of a horror movie, with Haimura Kiri approaching Mushiyanokouji Iwai, the Hair Queen, and being so captivated by her long hair, that he unconsciously pulls out a pair of hair cutting scissors he keeps on himself. Perfectly normal, right? Also, those same scissors were used by a serial killing relative of his, which somehow makes them have the special ability to cut Iwai’s cursed, un-cutable, hair. This show is dark and moody, but I’m not sure why. Also, in the first episode, he’s able to cut her hair. So where does that leave the plot? I guess he has to protect her now from a random evil association, for no apparent reason. I have little hope for this show. I’ll give it an episode or two, but at this point, things are looking dismal. Dropping this is inevitable.
Majestic Prince - This show has mecha. I like mecha. But, the first episode was very overstuffed. They really did just whip right through all the setup with barely a breather in between scenes. So far, MJP seems pretty generic, but not necessarily in bad way. Over the first episode I grew to like the artwork and character designs, which are a tad strange. It’s pretty charming, and doesn’t seem to be taking itself too seriously. By no means a must watch, but as a mecha fan, I will be sticking with it for now.
Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet - So far, so good. It uses the ‘stranger comes to town’ plot very well. The mecha battles were nice, and the (albeit cliched) reveal that he has crash landed on Earth worked well. I’m interested to see where this goes and when the alien bug creatures will decide to attack earth. I wish I had more to say, but it was just a nice way to spend twenty minutes. No drop on this one.
From the beginning, there is little to like about the premise to Girls und Panzer.
Well, that’s not exactly true.The creators are certainly gunning for the attention of a myriad of fandoms. Moe fans, Military fans, WWII fetishists. Depending on your tastes, Girls und Panzer might have been a dream come true. If you are a member of this particular fandom trifecta and enjoy all three of these elements, you were probably in heaven from the moment you read the title of the show.
Not so much for myself. The trend of combining moe with random other genres and topics screams laziness and gives me little to no faith in the quality of a show. Admittedly, there are moe shows I do like, and I enjoy plenty of anime with nonsensical premises, but if you want to make a show about tanks, just make a damn show about tanks.
Luckily, someone on the Girls und Panzer staff really did just want to make a show about tanks. For all its faults, the actual tank battles in Girls und Panzer are great. They are well done, gripping, and get you invested in the strategy of the matches, the outcome, and the fate of the girls Tankery Club. I could watch a whole season of just the tank battles and the various strategies employed. Much in the same way that Chihayafuru got me really interested in the minutiae of karuta, Girls Und Panzer got me interested in the minutiae of tank combat and battlefield strategy.
It should be said, despite my praise, that I can’t comment on the show’s military accuracy. While I found the combat compelling, it will take someone else to decide whether or not any of this is remotely possibly or accurate to real tank abilities and combat dynamics. To the credit of the creators, they (poorly) attempt to explain why no one ever dies or is injured by the flurry of tank shells being launched back and forth.
Most of the scenes not involving tanks are acceptable at best. Certainly not atrocious, but not gripping. I appreciated the the rivalry between Miho and her older sister, and the idea of her fleeing her family and their traditions is interesting in its own right. The rest is, if not weak, then fairly generic. The plot device of the school being on the verge of closing is so overdone it has transcended cliche and become some sort of genre hallmark. For a very recent example, Love Live uses the exact same device. I do love underdogs, but they sort of stop being underdogs once you see the same device a billion times.
In all honesty, I can’t remember much of anything that happens besides Miho’s backstory and family rivalry. There were some decent hang-out with the rest of the cast and get to know them sequences, but that’s pretty par for the course. I don’t think the creators were too concerned with getting you to remember the girls names, as there are about 40 female characters. Instead they are divided into easily remembered groups, such as the volleyball club, first years, etc. I appreciated this.
A final point: The premise is utterly absurd (why do they have tank clubs?), and so is the world Girls und Panzer takes place in (the city and school is located on the deck of humongous aircraft carrier). This almost doesn’t have to be mentioned, because if you’ve been an anime fan long enough, you learn to roll with the punches. But I did wonder who paid for all the property damage the tanks unleashed upon random towns and villages.
One line review. Come for the tank battles, stay for the tank battles.
Abandoning blogs and all forms of social media is yearly ritual for myself. There is a certain pleasure to be had from removing yourself from all internet activities and acting only as an observer.
So, after 8 months of inactivity, a full re-read of the Wheel of Time series, and a multitude of anime simulcasts and series under my belt, I return with no promises.
I may make posts about films, about books, or about anything really. But, as Anime Boston approaches, I will try to chronicle the past 8 months of anime viewership.
But we all know how this really works. I post and re-blog pretty pictures, and everyone follows suit. The machinations of tumblr.
A belated toast to the new year and new beginnings,