September 29, 2014

My schedule for fall 2014

Monday, Oct 6: Inou Battle

Tuesday Oct 7: Trinity Seven

That's all that interests me with the potential to watch all the way through the season.

But I've got a few trainwrecks I want to sample, so I only promise to watch half an episode of each of these:

Thursday, Oct 2: Amagi

Wednesday, Oct 8: Daitoshokan

Thursday, Oct 9: Twintail

Sunday, Oct 12: Girlfriend (maybe only a quarter for this one)

Quite frankly, the main point of all of these is to scout them for plunder potential.

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September 27, 2014

Twin Angel

So this was fruitful. I ended up with 84 candidates for the top rotation, which I'll process and install after I make this post.

I didn't watch the show; as is my usual habit I went through the episodes in reverse order just so I wouldn't get hooked by the story. But once I was finished, I came away with the unmistakeable impression that the show is a deliberate spoof of Sailor Moon. One of the big giveaways was the dreamy guy who shows up wearing a mask and throws white roses around. But there were a lot of other things. It isn't just Sailor Moon they're spoofing; there are a lot of other characters who are clearly takes on things.

There's the crazy girl from the newspaper club who is constantly looking for scoops. There's the clumsy girl who keeps tripping while carrying trays of crayfish. There's the enemy girl who's blonde and tends to wear goth-loli clothing who fights using giant mechas. And there's that teacher; yeesh.

Just all kinds of things that look like they're intended to be funny. And, in fact, I would classify this show as a comedy even though it does get serious at the end, for a while.

It feels like a sequel, but ANN doesn't list anything else except for a 2-episode OVA, so I don't know.

Anyway, it wasn't bad. And the girls are cute and the art is decent and I got 84 grabs out of it. So that's not shabby.

UPDATE: Another thing that makes it seem like a spoof is that Haruka and Aoi's faces look exactly the same when they're Twin Angel and when they're not, and yet people who know them as civilians don't make that connection.

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September 26, 2014

Nisekoi -- reject

3617 frame grabs isn't enough! The top rotation is hungry and needs to be fed!

So my attention was drawn yesterday by Nisekoi, a pretty standard harem comedy from the description. The story bears a very vague resemblance to Romeo and Juliet: our hero is the son of the head of a Yakuza gang. He ends up romantically entangled with the daughter of a rival gang.

But that's where the resemblance ends. There are at least two other girls who are also, apparently, after him.

When I'm considering plundering a show which I'm sure I won't like, I check a few episodes out in the middle, with sound turned off and no subtitiles. And that's what I did with this one; I downloaded a couple of raw BD rips, and took a look at episodes 6-8 and 17-19 IIRC. And what I mainly recall was a preposterous number of face faults, mostly by Our Hero.

The other thing was that the web site for the show implies that the girls are nicely shapely, but I sure didn't see any evidence of it in the show. They were always wearing loose baggy clothing or other things which deemphasized their figures.

Moreover, the episodes I was looking at were all haremette-of-the-week, which is a sign of incompetent scripting. With only four girls in a 24-episode show, if they're doing that it means they have no other story.

Now I may have been unlucky, and a beach episode (or other swimsuit episode, if there is one) would redeem a lot of sins, but I don't feel like looking any further. With a six-episode sample out of 24, I really should have seen more I could use.

So this one's off the list. Maybe I should try Yuru Yuri. If I can stomach it. It's been a long time since I glanced at that one and my memory is that it's probably useless, too, but maybe I'm remembering wrong.

UPDATE: Nope, nope, nope. I just took a look at Aroduc's archive for the show, both seasons, and it is as I recalled: no boobs. Yuru Yuri is crossed off, too.

It's interesting how some shows present middle school girls as totally undeveloped, and other shows stack them like a brick shithouse (you should pardon the expression). Makes you wonder, don't it?

UPDATE: One problem with using Aroduc's archives to shop is that he sometimes makes up names for the shows, so it isn't always easy to map them back to the real thing. But it looks like Twin Angels has potential. Episode 8 is a beach episode.

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Yes, that's more like it!

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September 25, 2014

Fairy Tail -- ep 198

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It's been a hell of a day, but the excitement is all over now because the good guys won, so Lucy gives into an impulse and hugs Natsu. Who doesn't seem to mind.

I've always thought the relationship between Natsu and Lucy was noteworthy because it was so atypical. Lucy is in love with Natsu and everyone in the guild knows it except Juvia and Natsu himself. I don't quite understand Natsu's reaction to it all. It's not like Lucy is throwing herself at him the way Juvia does Gray, of course, but he knows he's special to her, and she's special to him. Even so sometimes it seems like she's in his friend zone.

Or maybe it's just that he doesn't know what to do, or he's got other things on his mind. Or maybe it's residual left over from when Lisanna died.

In one of the OVA's, a lot of the women from the guild were down on the beach and had a "who loves whom" contest, or something like that, and one of them brought up Lucy and someone else said, "That's Natsu, right?" and they all nodded. It isn't any secret how she feels about him.

I guess she's patient. Assuming neither of them dies violently (which is a real possibility considering some of the jobs they've been on) there's time. She's supposedly only 17. I don't think we know how old Natsu is; I'm not even sure he knows. But it's about that same age, within a couple of years.

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September 18, 2014

Random Curiosity Fall 2014 preview

Here's RandomC's Fall 2014 preview, and it's another disaster of a season. (I always say that, don't I?) The only thing I have to look forward to is the Mouretsu Pirate movie coming out on BD in November, and a Strike Witches OVA.

Madan no Ou to Vanadis is this season's "Girls with big swords and big jugs" series, replacing Momo Kyun Sword from the summer season.

Monty Python failed to summarize Proust in 30 seconds; can Japan do it in 12 episodes? (Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete).

Grisaia no Kajitsu is this season's "Only guy at a girl's school" series. And where have we seen that before?

Sora no Method looks to be a replay of that show a few months back about a group of childhood friends reunited, where one of the girls was a ghost. I don't remember its name, and I didn't watch it.

Ai Tenchi Muyou! looks like it's going to be derivative nonsense, hijacked as a way of advertising an otherwise undistinguished city. The real question is where in the continuity it fits. If it's after Tenchi becomes a god, then it's hard to see how there's any challenge for him. The art looks good but the concept is idiocy and the 5-minute format doesn't seem like it'll be any good.

Orenchi no Furo Jirou has a rubber duck. It doesn't have a mermaid; he's a merman. Blech.

Inou Battle wa Nichijou-kei no Naka de is about a high school literature club (1 guy, 4 girls) who all gain super powers. Problem is, there isn't any crisis for them to solve or appropriate enemies to fight. What, exactly, the show will be about isn't clear; it may turn into a pretty standard harem show.

Well... Trinity Seven might, might be OK. The seven girls of the harem are all cute, but there are a hundred ways this could crater if the writer is lazy or unimaginative.

There is no damned way that Daitoshokan no Hitsujikai can be any good. It will certainly be worth looting for the top rotation, but to actually watch? Forget it.

I watched (and hated) Anime Runner Kuromi; I don't need to watch ShiroBako.

Did someone order a switch-hitter show? Yeesh; Ore, Twintails ni Narimasu. (barf) Clearly a case of "embrace the stupid", but not for me, thanks. (But probably worth looting.)

I think we're going to need more blades in our 8-bladed razor. How about 30 girls in a "cute high school girl" show? Haven't come close to that since Negima. And now we have Girlfriend (Kari). Potentially it might be fully one hundred girls. The website for the show says it will be running on AT-X. Does that mean there will be scenes worthy of AT-X? The mind boggles...

OK, so maybe one show. If I'm lucky. And several fully worthy of looting.

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September 15, 2014

Arpeggio of Blue Steel -- finished

And I'll give them credit: they kept surprising me. I never knew what was going to come next, but I always like what it turned out to be. This was excellent story telling from start to finish.

I think my favorite character was Hyuga; she's a kick. And another way they surprised me:

Now the bad:

So obviously they were hoping to do a sequel, and maybe explore some of that in greater depth. I-401's trip back to Japan will be much less hectic

Another complaint:

I rather like the fact that

UPDATE: Iori didn't get enough screen time.

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I ended up with 39 frame grabs, but most of them are ship avatars.

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September 14, 2014

Arpeggio of Blue Steel -- ep 4

This is a surprisingly interesting show, and it's being handled really well. I am not having to stretch my disbelief to the breaking point when I watch the battles, for instance. And I don't find myself thinking that Gunzou is any kind of Marty Stu.

I really like Iona's voice performance, so I looked the seiyuu up. My last encounter with her was as Miho in Girls und Panzer. This voice is sufficiently similar so that I believe it's the same seiyuu but sufficiently different so that I believe she's versatile.

There are obvious mysteries about Iona, and I presume we'll find out what they are before the series ends.

It's a unique concept. And I have to say that the animation looks really good. All of it is CG including the characters, and it works.

UPDATE: Well, episodes 5 and 6 were certainly a change of pace...

UPDATE: Ep 7 was a beach episode.

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September 11, 2014

Strike the Blood -- ep 24, and done

And it was a pretty good ending. Not awesome, but not bad at all. There were some things I wanted that I didn't get, though.

The series suffers a bit from "sorting algorithm of evil", but they don't climb the power curve all that fast, so it doesn't feel as blatant as, for instance, DBZ. However, it suffers from accumulation of characters, and that does get out of hand. Every plot arc added one or more permanent characters, and it gets to the point where you can't even vacuum around them.

Everyone can still move in the last plot arc, but if there's a sequel series, it's going to get pretty damned crowded in the canon.

I had one big question, about Aiba:

Anyway, it was fun, and I'm glad I watched it. And it turns out that all the BDs are out now, so I'm downloading a complete BD raw. There was some really blatant fogging going on in the broadcast version I watched, and it'll be interesting to see what they did with it.

Recommended? Yes.
Rewatch? I can see myself rewatching parts of it.

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Strike the Blood -- ep 12

I assume each plot arc is one light novel, and the third plot arc ended with ep 12. I think it was the most spectacular yet.

This show isn't giving me a lot of fan service, although we've seen two of the girls in their underwear briefly. What it is giving me is great magical battles, with lots of fireworks and lots of destruction -- and a small amount of blood on occasion, enough to make the battles believable without being so much as to be wallowing in gore. (Which I understand is the case in the series Freezing.)

I'm sensing some in-series tropes. One is Yukina saying, "No, sempai, we've won." She's said that in the final battle of each of the three arcs just before she administers the coup de grace. Another is Kojou getting henpecked by his harem afterwards, but that's de rigueur for a harem series.

Another is that every arc includes him drinking the blood of some new girl and awakening another of his familiars. He's got twelve, reportedly, so they can keep that going for quite some time.

Yukina continues to be interesting and powerful. His power is increasing and hers isn't, but she's good enough so that she isn't being left behind. She's also a smart fighter; she doesn't just rely on power and magic. And she hasn't been a damsel-in-distress yet.

Beethoven is quoted as saying that he had a hard time with endings in his pieces, because his music built up so much force and momentum that by the end most endings would have seemed anticlimactic. I'm wondering about this one; it's going to take one hell of a finale to make me feel sated and satisfied.

UPDATE: They're also borrowing ideas. The one about doors connecting all over the place, wasn't that in the Magic Users Club series?

UPDATE: And Yuuma is

UPDATE: Ep 19: "No, sempai, this is our fight." I think that was the fifth time Yukina has said that.

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September 10, 2014

Strike the Blood, through ep 4

What a novelty, an anime post on my anime blog.

A complete download of this series just came by on BakaBT so I decided to give it a try. At the very least, the girls look cute and I hoped it might offer some material for the top rotation.

On that count, at least, not so much so far. After four episodes I only got 7 images, so it's probably a washout unless they toss in a beach episode. But I'm really enjoying the show so far. Lots of cool battles, albeit with idiot enemies. But the two main characters, Kojou and Yukina, are really interesting and I like them both. It's also an interesting concept behind the story, and at least so far I'm buying it.

I'm definitely going to keep watching.

UPDATE: End of episode 8. Ep 4 was the end of the first plot arc, and ep 8 ends the second one. For a while I was afraid it was going to suffer from the sophomore curse, because it didn't seem to be as good. But it recovered and had a nice ending.

The big problem was that the second arc introduced a major pile of new characters, most of whom are continuing. But it worked after all.

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