Earlier this week I discussed some of the new TV series that summer 2008 has brought our way, and after catching a few more shows after that post, I’m happy to report that the new season isn’t a complete failure and that there’s more to see than loli panty shots.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Oh wait, THERE IS.
Anyway, clicky clicky for the rest!
Birdy The Mighty Decode
Birdy The Mighy Decode begins with a manhunt in space. Our heroine, surprisingly named Birdy, is a daring space Federation Inspector who flies a whale-shaped fighter, can rip an armored hull apart with her bare hands, and nearly captures her two alien fugitives. Hell yes.
Two minutes in and I was impressed: the animation was great, the soundtrack featured a heroic brand of toe-tapping techno, and Birdy herself had not gotten on my nerves at all. “Sweet,” I thought, “finally some tasty sci-fi to snack on for the summer.”
Then the opening credits started rolling. Lo and behold, instead of Birdy taking front stage, yet another high school boy lead popped up on my screen.
“Oh for fuck’s sake,” I muttered, shaking my fists.
The short version: Birdy is after Geega the alien, who slipped through her fingers in the intro sequence and fled in an escape pod to Earth where, naturally, he chose to blend in and cover his tracks by becoming a famous TV producer. Birdy herself picked the far less conspicuous disguise of a renowned pop idol, with her (possibly gay?) android buddy Tute posing as her manager. She catches up with Geega in an abandoned building where… I dunno, something is going on, another one of those obscure secret projects the show will tease you with for the next six months before begrudging you a half-assed explanation.
So how does the high school boy enter into this? Senkawa’s his name, and the night Birdy catches up with Geega, our alpha male brings his female friend Hayamiya to said abandoned building for a bit of urban exploration. They are caught in the line of fire as Birdy (wearing some fucking awesome high-heel boots) takes on Geega. Being a badass space Federation Inspector, midway through the fight, Birdy mistakes Senkawa the effeminate human boy for Geega the monstrous engine of destruction and accidentally rips Senkawa in half. Oops.
Fortunately for Senkawa, Birdy saves what remains of his skin by merging her body with his, and it’s oh so sad that I can already tell the kinds of mishaps this will lead to. Body-swapping/sharing is a setup that’s already been around the block a couple of times, but I’ll give this one a shot, since I want to see if it ends up doing better than ToLOVERU in the “space girl takes over boy’s life” genre.
World Destruction doesn’t mess around. The protagonist, the beautiful and deadly Morte (eye pictured above), has one ambition, if you hadn’t figured it out yet: destroy the world.
Of course she won’t, if only because World Destruction is based on an upcoming Nintendo DS game by Sega, and destroying the game’s world would shut the door to any possible sequels. Gotta milk them franchises. And so I am inclined to believe that Morte will change her mind about the Destruct Code she carries. Possibly with help from clueless Kyrie who likes to disguise as a beastman.
I could write more about World Destruction but here are the only two things you need to know.
- Hungry for some decent fantasy? Disappointed by Slayers Revolution, whose title sounds eerily similar? Go for this. The production values are much improved and the show doesn’t take you for an idiot.
- One of the main characters is an alcoholic eyepatched teddy bear detective/bounty hunter. Ladies and gentlemen, I do believe we’ve found our shoe-in for Best Character Design 2008.
Telepathy Girl Ran
Ran, the titular telepathic girl, lives an everyday life in blissful ignorance of her mental powers until she starts hearing the voice of a girl. Said girl voice turns out to belong to Midori the telepathic transfer student; the first episode paints her in a not-so-nice light, with her only goal being awakening Ran’s true powers, but a quick peek at the opening and you’ll figure out these two will become friends. Odds of girl-on-girl telekinetic action: high, but brief.
I was a little bored by this episode, to tell the truth: Ran’s family spends a good five minutes fussing around the breakfast table and delaying the apparition of the plotline. You remember our friend plot, the one who moves the story forward? Yeah. Here’s a hint: don’t cram him down my throat in the last three minutes of your episode.
Telepathy Girl Ran wants to combine slice of life and a dash of magic realism. It can be a powerful mixture. But then again, there’s a new show that does it so much better, I can’t bring myself to care about Ran and her world, even though I’ve always wanted to see a realistic take at how someone with telepathic powers learns to live them.
If you have the same desires then I’d forget about Ran and just skip to the next show.
Before we go any further, allow me to indulge in a bit of celebratory hyperbole.
FINALLY A SHOW THAT DOESN’T SUCK BALLS.
Ah, much better. As you can tell, I’ve been waiting for a TV series with a bit more flair than typical, and I hope I’ve found it in Someday’s Dreamers. Its full title, by the way, is Mahou Tsukai ni Taisetsu na Koto: Natsu no Sora, so you’ll forgive me if I stick to the convenient shortened English translation rather than advance my carpal tunnel syndrome every time I blog this show – which, given this amazing first episode, should be often. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The story follows Sora, a girl who lives in the Hokaido countryside and who can use magic; but this seems a normal occurence for Someday’s Dreamers‘s world, since everyone is happy for her that her apprenticeship at the magic school in Tokyo has been confirmed. In any other show with a similar premise, the first episode would therefore involve our fresh-faced heroine being dropped off at the Mage Academy and meeting every single important character before lunch break, with a strong chance of panty shots and a magical battle cliffhanger ending.
Someday’s Dreamers either didn’t get the memo or doesn’t give a rat’s ass what it’s supposed to do, and I wuv it for making that decision. Like any “normal” girl, Sora instead takes stock of the life she’s about to leave: she celebrates with her mother, visits her father the tree, has a final Hokaido dinner of her favorite dishes, and so on. She even finds time to help out her best friend, Michiru, who wants the boy she has a crush on to know her true feelings before he moves away. And that’s the only glimpse of magic we are afforded in the episode, as Sora conjures up light-falling snow in the middle of summer, while Michiru and her crush Toyama talk in an abandoned shed. It’s an amazing scene, especially when you consider the word “magic” is close to losing all its meaning after it’s been prostituted by a million shows where fireballs and lightning bolts fly across the screen with uncanny regularity. This, though. This is magic.
I should mention the animation. Although character animation is meh, the backgrounds are the most photorealistic I’ve ever seen, to the point where I started wondering if they weren’t just that, photos. I’m still not sure; either way, they heighten the slice o’ life mood by making Sora’s world look so fresh and real.
Someday’s Dreamers has rocketed to the top of my list for new favorite anime of the summer. Not a surprising feat considering the competition, but still, you cannot ignore a show that carries itself with such grace and assurance. As long as Sora’s arrival at her school is done well and an interesting overarching storyline appears, I’ll be glued to the screen. Birdy and World Destruction might be worthy distractions, depending on plot direction.
Today’s Karen is: RELIEVED