April 16, 2014

More on trigger discipline

Speaking of trigger discipline, I always cringe when I watch this scene:

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Lynn is about one mistake away from blowing that guy's head off. On the other hand, Sasha and Chiaki do it right:

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Chiaki's finger position is a bit odd, but that's because the grip on that blaster was designed for someone with bigger hands. She can't lay her index finger along the trigger guard because it's too far away.

Sasha, of course, is doing it perfectly. She's aiming the weapon straight up, where there isn't anything she cares about, and holding it with both hands, and her finger is extended, not on the trigger.

Beauty and brains.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 03:59 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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April 12, 2014

Seikoku no Dragonar -- ep 2

So we've got an antagonist. Nasty woman with huge boobs, a dragon researcher who wants to dissect Eco. Bah.

This show feels like a transparent attempt to remake Zero no Tsukaima. It's got all the same ingredients, except they're all mixed around. Eco (the dragon) is very much like Louise, and Mariya Ise is doing her very best Rie Kugimiya imitation on the voice. (When I first heard it I thought it was Kugimiya.)

And we've got a princess. And we've got a maid. And we've got a dragon in human form. And they're all at a school. And one of the girls is tsundere. And so on.

The naming sequence, on the other hand, was right out of Magician's Academy. Ash kneels down and looks at the girl and says "Your name is Eco" and then she glows and his arm glows. And we're told that their astral flows are bonded, whatever that means.

All of which is to say that this is just about as derivative as it can be.

That's OK; it's still fun. It just isn't particularly profound. But that damned teacher could ruin the show.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 08:43 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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April 09, 2014

Soul Eater Not! -- ep 01

This was really good!

I somehow had the impression this was going to be a slapstick comedy. But it began light and then got serious. It isn't silly at all.

The basic conceit of the series is that some people have the ability to become weapons, and other people known as Meisters learn how to wield them. Obviously the weapons are doing something magical, but not clear that the Meisters have any equivalent.

When a weapon transforms, their consciousness continues and they can move and control themselves to some extent.

Our protagonist is Tsugumi, and she's a weapon. But at the beginning she hasn't learned to control her transformation -- which is part of why she's at the school. At freshman orientation the new students get told that they need to pair off for training. But what with one thing and another, Tsugumi ends up tripled, with two Meister candidates named Meme and Anya.

We do get to see Tsugumi do her full transformation in this episode and it's pretty cool; turns out she becomes a halberd, which is a fine weapon no matter how you look at it. It's certainly nothing to apologize for. Anya was wickedly good with it, too. Evidently she's had training fighting with pole arms. (I liked her smile when she saw that Tsugumi had become a halberd.)

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My biggest surprise in the show was seeing a character who had the same voice as Mami Endo from Mouretsu Pirates. It's not the same character, by any means, and she's only in two scenes, but I expect she'll be around some more.

I'm definitely hooked and will certainly watch more of this.

UPDATE: I suppose I should make something clear: I never watched the original Soul Eater so I have no baggage. Taken on its own, I really liked this. The concept is intriguing, and I'm looking forward to seeing why Meme was admitted to the school, and I imagine that we're going to get some wonderful training scenes. Anya's fighting in the first ep was magnificent (and really well animated).

UPDATE: From what I'm seeing on other blogs, people who did watch Soul Eater don't seem to happy with this one.

UPDATE: The character with Mami's voice is named Maka, and apparently this was a cameo. (There were several cameos which I assume were characters from the other series.)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 06:24 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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DBKai -- second season ep 1

They completely skipped episodes 194-199, which is Mirai no Trunks returning to his own time, and the entire Afterlife Tournament. (It's kind of a shame; I thought Paikon was pretty cool and they cut him out completely.)

It picks up with Gohan going to high school, and they compressed ep 200 and half of 201 into this episode. And according to the next-ep preview they're going to be all the way up to ep 205 (when Goku announces that he's coming back for the tournament) in the next episode.

They're really cooking. The rest of DBZ not covered before was 98 episodes (194-291). I wonder how big it'll end up with all this clipping?

There surely was a lot they could cut out. They shrunk 193 eps into 98 before; they should be able to do at least that much cutting this time around (considering how much filler and flab there was in the Majin Buu arc).

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 03:27 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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April 08, 2014

Mahou Shoujo Taisen -- ep 01

This is a complete waste of time. Evidently Gainax thinks so too, because it's only 4 minutes long, including a 45 second OP and 10 seconds of credits at the end.

UPDATE: Just to remind everyone, this was the one which supposedly had a magical girl for every prefecture in Japan. I don't think it's going to work out that way, though. There was only one in the first episode, from Miyagi prefecture.

UPDATE: This is the magical girl for Miyagi prefecture:

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And these is the terrifying, horrible, magical monsters she is chasing through a mall:

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She only manages to bash one of them with her club.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 04:41 PM | Comments (3) | Add Comment
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Blade & Soul -- ep 1

This is Aruka:

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She's wanted by the Palam empire, who have put a bounty on her head dead-or-alive. She ain't that easy to kill, however; she's blazingly fast. In the first few seconds of the show she dodges bullets and kills four gunwomen who try to shoot her, by slicing their throats.

This isn't a show for kids. In the first episode alone Aruka's body count is probably above 20 (it's hard to say given how chaotic one scene was), and we also see a village laid waste with lots of people being shot. It looks like the scenario overall is going to be Aruka wandering around looking for revenge, collecting other women warriors who also want revenge.

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This is Morii, her first recruit.

I'm not seeing anything particularly original here in terms of story or scenario. The enemy reminds me of the one in Blue Dragon as much as anything. And the idea of "superb swordsman accompanied by a small group of friends wandering in the world pursued by enemies" has been done lots of times before.

I do have to give them points for the character art. It all looks high budget.

In some ways it's refreshing to have a show in which there are lots of battles and people are actually killed in those battles, but on the other hand in some ways it was a bit nauseating. It felt gratuitous, death-porn.

Will I keep watching? I think I'll probably give it one more episode, just to see how it develops.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 08:44 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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April 06, 2014

Seikoku no Dragonar -- the girls

Here's the harem:

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As of the end of the first episode we haven't yet met two of them. Of those we have met, the one in the blue dress is Sylvia, princess of the kingdom.

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The one in the back in the red dress is Rebecca, student body president.

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And here's a crowd shot showing several more of the girls (not from the harem).

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If you're paying attention, you will have noticed something they all have in common, and I don't mean the school uniforms. If I didn't know better I'd think this was an H-game adaptation. (I need to check; maybe it actually is. (UPDATE: Nope; it's based on a series of light novels.))

Moving right along, the harem does have several pettankos, and my guess is that they're the only ones in the show. The girl in the green dress is Anya, and she serves a guy named Milgauss who works for an enemy kingdom. Anya may be a ninja.

The one in the front in the pink dress is Ash's dragon, who showed up at the end of the first episode. We don't yet know her name. And the next-ep preview makes clear that no, she doesn't spend all the time naked.

The other two haven't yet been introduced. Even so, it's evident that there's going to be plenty of eye candy in this show.

ANN has a review of a graphic novel based on the original light novels, and gives it a thumbs-down. Pretty much: "Scads of fan service, scant story and characterization". The anime looks likely to also offer scads of fan service, and we can hope that the story-telling is improved.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 08:57 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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April 05, 2014

Seikoku no Dragonar -- ep 1

I think this is going to turn out to be pretty decent. It's trodding well-worn paths, what with a fairly large harem already established, and a magical girlfriend right at the end of the first episode, but the art is good and...

...and the lead guy isn't a wimp. We already know that his parr (his dragon) is going to be tsundere and he's going to get beat up by her, and that's unfortunate, but in the first episode he's got a spine.

He's also got by far the largest dragon mark, and he's already established as being unusual (he's the only guy who can mount someone else's dragon).

Meanwhile, the setting and the art are quite nice. It seems to me that Dragonar academy is deliberately patterned after Hogwarts, but that's OK.

It's not going to be great art; it's obviously going to be loaded to the gills with fan service, for one thing. (Reportedly his parr never wears clothes.) But it seems as if they're trying to avoid the worst of the worst of the cliches of this genre, and they may be going to try to tell at least something approximating a decent story.

We can only hope.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 12:53 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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Fairy Tail restarts

The first new episode of Fairy Tail in a year is out, and it begins with a bang, with a flash-forward to future-Lucy in the devastation brought about by the return of the dragons. Most of the episode takes place in the dragon graveyard, which is suitably spooky. It's a great beginning. Next episode or the one after will begin the last day of the tournament, everyone-versus-everyone out in the town. That should be exciting, but it's also going to include Team Natsu arrested by the Princess's troops.

Which is to say that they're picking up the story in the manga right where they left off, rather than trying to do something new. And that's great news, because the part of the story that's upcoming is outstanding and should make for great anime.

(Oh, and the picture of Lucy I just posted is from the new episode.)

UPDATE: Spoiler comments about the latest manga chapter (379) below the fold.

more...

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April 02, 2014

2014 Spring viewing schedule

Sunday: DBK. Expectation: I'll watch up to the point where Vegita kills Puipui, and then give it up. (I'll also skip most of the Great Saiyaman episodes because those were stupid and Gohan is a dork.)

Tuesday: Mahou Shoujo Taisen. Expectation: One episode, just to see how they handle it, and then drop.

Tuesday: Soul Eater NOT. Expectation: There's a chance this one will be entertaining. I'll make a decision after the first ep.

Thursday: Blade and Soul. Expectation: One ep and drop. What I'm expecting is Queen's Blade with smaller boobs.

Saturday: Seikoku no Dragonar. Expection: One ep and drop. It's just barely possible it will have enough good fan service to make me come back.

Saturday: Fairy Tail. Expectation: I'm hooked. As long as they keep making episodes, I'll keep watching. I'm caught up on the manga, and there are all kinds of things coming that will make good anime.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 07:20 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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