My lineup for fall is finally complete; every show I plan to include is here. A couple shows didn’t make the grade: After watching a series of decent video game adaptations, I had good expectations from BlazBlue. I’m sorry to say however, that the first episode was nothing short of terrible. I typically follow the “3 episode rule” when giving anything new a shot, but BlazBlue falls flat by being an anime based on a fighting game with awful fight scenes. And when I say awful, I mean to say that the fighting and animation were so terrible, the fights in a low budget ecchi show are masterpieces compared to the garbage I saw in this first episode. Don’t even get me started on how they manage to tackle the trainwreck of a storyline from the games.
The next show to get an early cut was: Arpeggio of Blue Steel: Ars Nova. This show had a really interesting storyline about futuristic battleships commanded by cute girls invading the seas and dominating mankind in the future. I’ve been enjoying the manga for quite a while, so I was really looking forward to this. The story is really cool, but the entire show is animated using CG. I typically don’t mind the use of CG in anime, but the low frame rate and robotic character motion of the human cast was too distracting for me. When one of the positive critiques of the show is “the characters look great when they aren’t moving,” something has gone seriously wrong. I’ll be sticking to the manga for this one, and so should you.
Okay, with the bad stuff out of the way, it should be said this is looking like a really awesome season overall. Not everything here is a “must see”, but there is lots of cool shows airing right now. Oh yeah, one final bit of news: A third season of Strike Witches and an OVA were officially announced. Are you prepared for more adorable alternate-universe WWII aviation?
The adventures in the nuclear wastelands of Tokyo continue, as the girls find survivors living in a shelter beneath the hospital. Soon the girls are on a search in the wastelands for a little girl that has gone missing, and even more mysteries pop up and the events move along. From the looks of the OP animation, this show is going to get really crazy.
The vital “E-Pandora” project is underway, but there is still enough time for swimsuits. Skimpy swimsuits on hot girls are a vital component of any military research, I’m sure I read that somewhere. Anyway, the research facility wants to test out the new “Evolution Pandoras” against the natural originals, so that mean’s it’s time for sexy Pandora fights. Strangely enough, the girls aren’t maliciously dismembering one another for fame and glory as they did in the first season; In fact, they are actually merciful. I actually found this to be a pleasant change of tone, maybe even a bit shocking.
Galilei is an original anime airing on Japan’s Noitimina program block. Like most Noitimina anime, this show has some big industry names behind it, along with big expectations. This anime is about the Galilei sisters, a trio of girls who descended from Galileo himself. These girls are being targeted by a mysterious group looking for a relic left behind by Galileo. As strange as this sounds, you will be surprised even further when you actually watch it. This episode opens with a futuristic airship sending in mecha to pillage a methane hydrate mine and a little girl fighting a flying drone in a nuclear power plant with a backpack/grenade launcher. The episode ends with a group of what appear to be sky pirates being fought off by a giant flying goldfish/mecha with missiles and a chain gun. I honestly had no idea what the hell was happening, but wow, it was pretty fucking awesome. This show is the surprise of the season, and it has the potential to be one of the best shows of the year. Don’t miss this one!
Summer break is over, and the first matches of the new semester have begun. Ichika is struggling to keep up with the other pilots, even more so with his new long-range weapon. Now the president of the student council has decided to give Ichika some “private tutoring.” We should all know where this is going by this point…
It’s been a long 3 months, but the best/worst anime of all time is back! The last season of Valvrave brought us big robots, space Nazis, body-swapping space vampires/rapists, idol/attention-whore/mecha pilots, L-Elf killing everyone, needless timeskips, and secret space-vampire societies. What madness can we look forward to this time? Only time can tell. Things pick up right where we left off last season, and shit gets crazy faster than you can say, “What the fuck is going on?” I couldn’t be any more delighted to see Valvrave return this season.
On this week’s session of Trigger’s wild ride, we learn more about the wacky setting, the Ultima uniforms, and the odd uniform that Ryuuko stumbled upon. This somehow turns into a match against a tyrannical Tennis club, and I’m not sure if they so much play Tennis as much as try to use Tennis balls for torture/murder. In case you haven’t realized it yet, even amongst crazy anime, this is the craziest fucking anime anyone has ever seen.
On an annoying side note, the slimy “journalists” of Kotaku put up an article demonizing this show because of the method Ryuuko uses to give blood to her uniform and power it up. The author somehow cooks up the idea that Kill la Kill “glorifies” wrist-slitting and could potentially increase the Japanese suicide rate. You’re going to have to take my word on this, because I absolutely refuse to put up a link and give these dirt bags web traffic. Please, for the sake of video game/otaku/geek culture, rational thought, and overall betterment of humankind, STOP GOING TO KOTAKU.
This week we learn about the hard life of spirit hunting. After Mirai defeats her first spirit, Akihito introduces her to a secret shop that pays for the drops left behind by defeated spirits. Akihito then tries to get Mirai to open up a bit and join the Literature club (which is more or less a hangout spot for spirit hunters), and learns about Mirai’s dark secret.
Riki has a somewhat steamy moment with Yuiko, which causes him to develop a crush on her. When he decides to tell the guys about it, the male members of the Little Busters team up on a mission to help Riki hook up. This quickly devolves into an argument of who has the strangest 2D fetishes, because that is how ‘Busters roll. Good luck Riki, you will need it.
This anime takes place in a strange fantasy/steampunk setting, in an alternate universe version of industrial revolution-era London. The story is about a “puppeteer” named Raishin, and his “puppet” a powerful doll in the form of a cute girl, named Yaya. Raishin is attending a special academy with Yaya in hopes of using her to get revenge on the person that killed his family. Also, for whatever reason Yaya has a perverse attachment to her master, so there’s that. This anime reminds me a lot of “Steel Angel Kurumi”, and I’m sure anyone who can remember that show can easily see the resemblance.
Now, while I really like the premise, setting, and characters of this show, there are some odd animation quirks that bug me about this show. One of the first things viewers will notice is the animators shoved too much of their work onto the CG team. As soon as the action heats up, everything turns over to a somewhat jarring CG that feels out of place. This misplaced use of CG mixed with a somewhat bland and washed out color palette really puts a damper on the aesthetics of this anime, but it doesn’t quite bother me as much as Arpeggio did. This is probably the least impressive show I picked up this season, and I’ll admit I’m only here for the cool setting, a bit of nostalgia, and the adorable antics of Yaya.
Nadeko’s fascination with the snake god quickly gets out of hand. This is perhaps one the most twisted episodes of this show, ever. I’m not going to spoil anything, so you can experience the madness for yourself.
Ore no Nounai Sentakushi ga, Gakuen Love Comedy wo Zenryoku de Jama Shiteiru (AKA Noucome): Episode: 1
(My Mental Multiple-Choice Power Is Completely Ruining My School Romantic Comedy)
Absurdly long and drawn out title? Check. Rabid hatred from “professional” critics? Check. This can only mean one thing; we have ourselves another light novel adaptation. Noucome is about a student whom is forced by some higher power to make choices as if his live was a visual novel game. The choices always force him to do embarrassing things, and refusal is punished with the sensation of intense pain. This odd situation is placed in a setting full of strange characters and outbursts of random humor, compounding the fun. There was a fairly negative reception to the first episode, but I found myself laughing my ass off the entire time while watching this. This is mostly random humor and low-brow kind of stuff, but it was still lots of fun to watch.
Shinichi somehow manages to avoid being executed after letting out his inner lolicon around the princess, and must begin his work. Not only does he have to find out what kind of anime, manga, and games appeal to the people of this strange land, but he also has to find a way to translate it for them. There are references galore throughout this episode; part of the fun is seeing how many you can pick up on.
Yuusha ni Narenakatta Ore wa Shibushibu Shuushoku wo Ketsui Shimashita (AKA Yuushibu): Episode: 2
(I Couldn’t Become a Hero, so I Reluctantly Decided to get a Job)
After an unexpected bit of world building and a brief explanation of magical technology, we return to the sexy misadventures of working at magical Best Buy. Fino’s tenancy to act like a threatening dark lord around customers isn’t really the best approach to selling refrigerators and air conditioners, so Raul teaches her the ways of customer service. The weird brand of humor in this show somehow works, even without the bits of ecchi stuff here and there.