Hein (fub) wrote,

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New anime

The new season is already well underway. And of course we've watched the new series, but I haven't had the time to write the reviews yet. Time to do so!

Marginal Prince: There's a very small island in the middle of the ocean, with a boarding school on it. The students there are called 'marginal princes' (because they're the 'royalty' of such a small piece of land) and they spend their time lounging about in their elegant school uniforms. When a Japanese boy gets a grant to study there, he finds himself surrounded by celebrities and very smart and very elegant boys who are rich and handsome. And who tend to burst out in song standing in the rain in the middle of the night.
All of the stereotypes are present, and if you are into boy harems, this will serve loads of eye-candy for you. I found the whole thing very 'meh', until the singing started. Then I knew I didn't want to watch any more of it. ;)

Maicching Machiko-sensei: Retro-sub, filled with fanservice. We didn't last ten minutes.

Haiyoru! Nyaruani: Apparently, it's based on the Chtulhu mythos, but that isn't apparent from watching it. And it was so static and stupid that we stopped watching after a minute.

Infinite Stratos: An Infinite Stratos is a combat mecha system that enhances the pilot's reflexes and power. They can only be piloted by women -- except poor Ichika, who turns out to be one of the rare men who have a knack of piloting one. They're not used for war, but for... sporting events (or somesuch). But there is a school that specialises in teaching young girls how to pilot their IS'es better. And of course Ichika is sent to that school, where he is surrounded by girls. And he even has to share a room with one!
This must be one of the most flimsy excuses for a harem-anime setup I've ever seen (and you know I've seen quite a few). Lots of things are not explained, such as why only women can pilot one, and what the IS is for -- I guess it's only a question of time before they're needed to repell an alien attack or something like that. Meanwhile, Ichika is getting plenty of pantyshots and violence from his female classmates -- too stupid for us.

Oniichan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne: Nao has a brother complex, to the point where she raids his room and throws out all the non-incest porn. She also calculates that she walks around in a bath-towel when he can see her, etc... And then she finds out she is actually adopted into the family, which means she and her brother aren't related by blood...
So, totally stupid and with lots of fanservice. Which is a pity, because the character designs and the animation are quite interesting.

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica: The set-up is pretty typical: Madoka has a weird dream where she must make a dramatic choice. Then there's a new transfer student who looks like someone from her dream, who seems to know about the contents. And then Madoka and her friend witness a fight between the new student and someone else where they use supernatural powers. The other person saves them and encourages them to form 'contracts'...
Even though the beginning is standard for a mahou shoujo series, the way they fight and the powers they have are quite interesting and very dynamically animated. This might turn out to be a rather grown-up take on the theme.

Agriculture Angel Baraki: Series to promote knowledge of agriculture in younger children. Baraki works as a farmer, and she is assisted by a small spirit who tells her things like how to grow rice seedlings. But then a tanuki, boar and mole want to take her produce, she transforms into Agriculture Angel Baraki, and she uses her rice stem of plenty to defeat their evil schemes and protects the harvest!
I found it interesting to see that the evil trio of the series are all animals that have been pushed out of their natural habitat to make place for crops. The way the series portrays them is like they are not part of nature, but pests that must be kept away. I found that very dissapointing for a series that yaps on and on about "nature's bounty".

Robin and his 100 Friends: Small boy who spends most of his time alone inside (and not playing with his friends outside), moves with his parents to 'green village' and decides to make new friends there. Seems to be aimed at very young kids. The visual style takes some getting used to -- these kids have gigantic ears!

Kimi ni Todoke, 2nd season: In my review of the first season I wrote that I thought it was too short. That is being nicely remedied here!

Yumekui Merry: Fujiwara has very vivid dreams, where he gets chased around a shabby town by a bunch of cats. And when he is awake, he can predict which dreams people had by looking at the multi-colored auras they have. One day, he meets a mysterious girl who turns out to be an inhabitant of the Dream World -- with no way to return. And the dream-cats turn out to be in the employ of a dream villain who wants use Fujiwara as a portal in which to enter the real world -- the recurring nightmare was a trap he set for him.
In the end, it didn't reallt grip us, though there's not much wrong with the series itself.

Koe de Oshigoto: OVA series about Kanna, a sixteen year old highschool student who helps out her older sister by working a part-time job at her company. Except the company makes erotic games and Kanna's job is to be a voice actress. Shy Kanna has to overcome quite a few inhibitions to be able to perform well -- but she wants to help her sister who has been working very hard to contribute to Kanna's college saving fund!
Very amusing and deliciously perverted without being too pornographic.

Tokimeki Tonight: Retrosub. Ranze's father is a vampire, and her mother a werewolf. But Ranze herself is perfectly normal. Then she starts middle school, where she falls for the rough charms of the class delinquent, who seems to have no interest in her. This brings her into conflict with the class queen, the daughter of the local Yakuza boss -- and during a fight, Ranze's vampire powers awaken! This is much to her parents' delight, because now Ranze can start looking for a husband among the other vampires and werewolves -- something that Ranze has her own opinion on!
Slapstick romantic comedy. It might be to your taste, but we had a hard time looking past the dated designs and animation and the somewhat unfunny goofball comedy.

Iga no Kabamaru: Another comedy retrosub. Kabamaru's grandfather died, and old lady Akoko, who had a crush on him when she was a teenager, takes him to the city. To her eyes, colored by old memories, Kabamaru is handsome and noble, while in reality he is a lazy glutton. Her niece finds him disgusting, with reason...
Another retro goofball comedy. You can see the setup of most jokes coming from a mile away. We were even less interested in this than in Tokimeki Tonight.

Beelzebub: Oga is the toughest delinquent in a school filled with delinquents. No matter how many attackers, he is boss of them all! One day, after beating a bunch of guys into a pulp, he sees Alain Delon floating by in the river. It turns out that Alain is transporting a baby, and he entrusts the baby to Oga. Of course, Oga doesn't really know what to do with the baby, but he does find out soon enough that the little brat can generate electricity and that he will shock anyone when things don't go his way -- and the baby seems to approve of violence... It turns out that this is the heir of Hell, and he has chosen Oga as his caretaker! So now Oga must care for the baby, assisted by the Hell maid Hilda.
I always suspected Alain Delon was a demon, and now his secret has come out!

Starry Sky: A bit like Marginal Prince, with oh-so-elegant boys. However, this time there's also a girl involved, and the setting is a school that specialises in everything to do with stars -- though how they can teach astrology next to astronomy remains a mystery.

Gosick: In 1924, Kujo is sent to the European country of Sauville as a transfer student for St. Marguerite Academy. However, his black hair and dark eyes remind the rest of the students of a dark legend and so he is shunned. One day, he meets Victorique who is technically in his class but who never attends. Instead, she lounges about in the library, being bored. And ever so often, a police detective with an amazing quiff appears when a case completely stumps him -- and Victorique will solve it for him without even breaking a sweat. She adopts Kujo as her pet of some sorts.
The first episode is innocent enough, but there seems to be some overarching plot, while still having a case each week. The animation is good, the backgrounds are lush and the character designs are... unique.

Fractale: In the 2300's, a global computer network called Fractale has been built, which enables telepresence anywhere in the world. This has created a world filled with hikikomori who prefer to send their avatars over. Even families don't live together in this hyper-individualised world, as is the case with Clain's family. Clain lives in a cottage by the sea, and sees only the avatars of his parents (who don't live together either). Clain is weird in the sense that he likes to go places in person, which is how he meets Phryne, who is being chased by some shady characters. He helps her out, and she gives him something mysterious...
Really interesting concept -- both as an adventure story and as a social commentary on where Japan might be in 100 years, if the current social trends persevere.

Wandering Son: Shuichi is a shy boy, who would rather dress as a girl. And Yoshino is a masculine girl, who would rather dress as a boy. Obviously, that's not very easy to pull off when you're in middle school and you have to contend with the pressures of your classmates, your family and society in general. Apparently we start in the middle of a story, because Shuichi has already confessed to Yoshino, but she has turned him down, which adds another complication to their relationship.
I really wonder what they will make of this. So far, it treats the kids' feelings with respect, without making a joke out of it. It looks beautiful too.

Kore wa Zombie Desu-ka?: Ayumu is a normal highschool student, until he gets murdered by a serial killer. Next thing he knows, he is revived as a zombie by a necromancer who needed a guard (and who totally leeches off him). During one of his patrols to find the killer, Ayumu encounters Haruna, a magical girl. Due to some misunderstandings, her magical powers are transferred to Ayumu and he has to fight in her stead as well.
Total over-the-top comedy with blood splattering everywhere, while poking fun at the genre conventions. I thought it was plenty funny.

Dragon Crisis!: Ryuji's parents are treasure hunters, so he has been living on his own for a while. He is actually part of their organisation, but since treasures is all they seem to care about, he is not very enthousiastic about finding more 'preciouses'. Then his cousin turns up and she takes him with her to steal away an artifact during a transaction. It turns out that this suitcase they've stolen contains a red dragon in the form of a girl -- who takes an immediate liking to Ryuji. However, the other dragons don't seem to think she should stay with him and come to collect her!
It looks attractive enough, but it has all the makings of a rather standard anime -- so we'll just have to see if they can keep it interesting.

Freezing: Earth has been invaded by aliens from another dimension who use some sort of reality warping power. However, some girls ('pandoras') are trained to use that power too (aided by a male 'limiter'), and there's a school where they are trained in combat -- on each other, the nanomachines will grow back their limbs anyway... Bridgette is the most bad-ass of them all (which you also can deduct from the size of her bust), but she doesn't have a limiter yet. And of course a (relatively) innocent boy enters the school and causes her to lose a vital fight by interfering at the wrong moment...
If the combination of blood-spattering combat, jiggling busts and pantyshots appeal to you, look no further! The rest of us will simply shrug and move on.

Level E: Yukitaka moves out on his own to attend a highschool where he was scouted because of his baseball skills. However, he finds a weird guy sitting in his apartment, claiming to be an alien and evading all of his questions. And there was a meteor impact not too far from the city. And when the so-called 'alien' leaves for a while and re-appears with very sophisticated technology, he admits to having amnesia. Obviously Yukitaka can't deliver the guy to the government agents, so he lets him stay...
Looks great, is funny at times but also has all the makings of some great plotting.
Tags: anime, first episode review

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