Wherein our courageous blogger/reviewer ventures into the unexplored lands of the newest anime season, sampling the inhabitants’s offerings, and running for his life after being mobbed by a particularly vicious tribe of panties.
Luckily there’s a lot more in the fall season for those of us who are not underwear fetishists. Clicky clicky!
I’ll list the shows in the order I watched them so you can imagine my seesawing mood as the day advanced.
Rosario to Vampire CAPU2
The day started with an anime that I’d half-jokingly stuck in the “Maybe” category of my preview post. To tell the truth, I wasn’t expecting much from the show, apart from some colorful character design and blatant fanservice.
Well shit. The fanservice’s censored, and in a way that often doesn’t make sense since we are treated to the most anatomically detailed, crotch-hugging shot ever not thirty seconds into the first episode, only to have the later and more innocuous instances obscured by the show’s cheeky bat mascot. The hell?!? Don’t get me wrong, Strike Witches hasn’t transformed me into a white cotton addict, I just… don’t… get it. (Note: It seems not every TV station airing the show went ahead with the censoring… which confuses me even more.)
As for the character design, Moka the vampire girl bore an uncanny resemblance to Lala from To LOVE-Ru, or maybe it’s the other way around, but that was enough to turn me off cooooooompletely, and I haven’t even watched To LOVE-Ru! The rest of the harem consists of an underage witch who wishes she could be half as awesome as Zhuge Loliang from Koihime Musou, a big-boobed blue-haired bimbo, and — finally! — the cool-as-ice Mizore, who is by far the most visually appealing character of the series, which in hindsight is like taking home the gold from the Special Olympics. She has ice claws and wears striped stockings that scream style. Sho shexy.
As for the story (hahahaha) Generic Teenage Male Lead #162 is attending a school for monsters with the above-mentioned harem at his beck and call. After Someday’s Dreamers any and all such premises make me want to smash myself in the face with a red-hot frying pan. Will not watch again unless the season lacks another show I could label a guilty pleasure, and even then, there would be a lot more guilt than pleasure.
Shikabane Hime: Aka
I decided to wash my mouth of the foul taste left by Rosario To Vampire by watching my most-anticipated show of the season, Gainax’s zombie romp Shikabane Hime: Aka, which roughly translates as Princess of the Corpses. Or Corpse Princess. Damn ambiguous Moon speak! Despite my raw looking like it was filmed with a handheld camera by a midget located inside a horse’s rectum I was instantly rewarded with oodles of dark atmosphere, which makes sense, after all. It’s Gainax, not Gonzo.
The titular princess is a schoolgirl who gained undead powers yet retains her humanity and fights monsters with the help of a Buddhist monk who runs an orphanage. Apparently it’s to gain entry to heaven or blah blah blah. The one monster we got to see was a perverted demon with bone wings who kidnaps and steals the souls of young women. The Princess disposed of him by gutting him with her dual Uzis and pushing him through a billboard off a skyscraper, a fall that she herself can survive as long as a human with warmth hugs her afterwards to bring her back to life. Woooow.
I liked the atmosphere a lot, and the humor was light but twisted, in a way only Gainax can supply. I do wonder where it’s headed or what type of overarching storyline we’ll end up with; frankly, twenty-five episodes of nothing but monster-killing would get boring sooner than later. But I will watch again. Hopefully with better image quality.
After a short break I followed up with Toradora!, another “Maybe” show for which I held a modicum of affection, mostly because it had a little girl petting a tiny tiger and that’s cute beyond words! Surprisingly, though, the male protagonist came off as one of the coolest, most likable characters so far, a teenager cursed with his father’s roguish looks that terrify his schoolmates… even though he’s a nice guy at heart.
Not only did the voice acting steal my heart, but the dynamics between the characters are interesting since Ryuuji (the guy) and Taiga (the lil’ girl) start out hating each other’s guts, instead of falling in love at first sight, which is a refreshing change from the usual “boy meets girl” premise. Not only that, but they both have crushes on the other’s only friend, which complicates matters even further.
Will I watch again? Hellz yeah. Funny, original, and even touching at times, as when Ryuuji finally is able to get past Taiga’s carapace and she shows a tiny bit of gratitude near the end. If the show can maintain this level of quality I’ll enjoy blogging it.
Hokuto No Ken Raoh Gaiden: Ten no Haoh
Two in a row? I’m fucking invincible! Let’s move on to a brilliant and complex drama set in a dystopian post-apocalytpic wasteland that depicts a grueling life in an amoral society where might makes right.
I said I would give this one a shot, but man oh man, it’s the antithesis of everything I love in a quality show. The humongous Aryan protagonist with rippling muscles. The sultry female sidekick. The ridiculous superhuman feats of punching. I’m far from immune to the charm of a good GARRR… but Hokuto No Ken has nothing but GARRR. Plus the animation sucks! Along with both the OP and ED themes.
Will I watch? Well, I truly believe the anime world needs more shows set in a post-apocalyptic future à la Mad Max, just… not this one.
Madhouse sure knows how to make a visually titillating show. After Kaiba they’re back with Casshern SINS, and although the latter’s animation isn’t as childish and exaggerated as the former’s, the stark contrast between the opening night sequence (so dark you can barely make out the action) and the second half of the episode (set on a bright beach during the day) sets up the conflict within Casshern, a cyborg who’s lost his memories. Huh, memory loss again. Oh well.
There really isn’t much to chew on in this episode besides character introductions and a couple of battles where Casshern goes berserk and rips a bunch of robots’s guts out. But it looks good, sounds good, and has a ton of potential to evolve into a show with a conflicted protagonist carrying a dark past. Will watch because I wuv Madhouse.
A very good crop thus far compared to summer. The three shows I will definitely continue watching — Shikabane Hime, Toradora! and Casshern — are also vastly different in tone, style, and subject matter. The other two are stereotypical anime made either for ten-year-old hyperactive boys or for twenty-year-old pocket-mining school dropouts, neither of which describes me.
I’m still waiting for Tytania, Michiko To Hatchin, CHAOS;HEAD and Kurozuka to show their faces. When they do I’ll finalize my list of fall blogging shows. Until then, have fun!