October 12, 2016
October 09, 2016
I'm not going to dignify it with all the exclamation points they included in the title (fuly 8 of them). I quit after about 1 minute and have no urge at all to watch any more of it. It will, frankly, be worth plundering come the day, assuming I can keep my lunch down while doing so.
Here's an example of what the show has to offer:
It's a bad sign when a fan service show doesn't get a post at Fapservice, but this one hasn't, at least so far.
This ranks down with "milk vampires" on the "thoroughly disgusting" scale, and below "High School DxD". And that takes some work.
The art in this is really gorgeous; it's very well done. The character designs are nice for the most part. The basic conceit of the show is a bit strange, but that's true of many series which otherwise turned out to be really good.
But this series, at least so far, isn't really good. It's actually pretty bad. The problem is the writing. The story is melodrama, with bad guys who are REALLY bad, almost mustache twirlers (despite being clean shaven) and a female lead (Princess Fine) who is so brave and kind and dedicated that she's like a refugee from a Ghibli movie.
Everyone associated with the good guys is handsome or beautiful and is honorable and kind and brave and self-sacrificing. You kind of expect them all to have halos.
Everyone associated with the bad guys is brutal and sadistic and evil. Where are the horns and the whiff of brimstone?
The bad guys are Germans, from the nation of "Germania". The good guys are from the Duchy of Eylstadt. They show a map at one point, and a far as I can tell, the director cut a piece off of Austria to be Eylstadt.
There's only one character who is an enigma, Major Belkman. Nominally he's a German, but he isn't acting like all the others. What does he really want? What is he trying to accomplish? Unfortunately, that isn't the story; he's a minor character (at least so far). If I had to guess, I'd guess he's a witch or related to them. But he's an obvious candidate for a heel-face-turn before the series is over.
But I don't intend to wait for it. Dropped.
October 08, 2016
The first half of this episode is "A day in Fuuka's life". It's a week after the previou episode and they've gotten into a routine. Fuuka sleeps in a spare bedroom in Nove's apartment, and gets up at 4:30. She goes to the gym and cleans it, and then Einhart shows up and they go for a run, and then go to Nove's apartment for a big breakfast.
Fuuka works the front desk until Yumina shows up after school. The kids show up after that, and Fuuka trains. And after the gym closes she does some final cleaning and then goes back to Nove's apartment and collapses in bed.
She doesn't look unhappy, and considering her history it is understandable. This is one of the better deals she's had lately and everyone treats her well. Her day is a long one, but the work isn't onerous, and the training is effective. In just a week she has already noticed a change.
Einhart knows that Fuuka has a huge well of magic and part of the training by everyone is to try to teach her how to access that and bring it out. It appears occasionally; once in a while she throws a punch and her fist glows and the punch is particularly powerful. But she doesn't seem to be able to do it consistently.
And another thing they want to do is teach her "Power Mode". That's the new collective name for the adult mode transformations of Einhart, Vivio, Rio and... Miura and Corona. Who have also learned to do it. And that's pretty cool. (That may have been another reason Miura came over, to learn that.)
They manage to get her to do it for the first time in this episode, even though she doesn't have a magical device. (Yet.)
This show is developing nicely.
October 05, 2016
Guess what? We're all going to live together! Six girls plus the viewer, presumed to be a guy. In the first episode we're all moving in and cleaning up the place.
This is the house in which we're all living together. That chick on the Segway is the new character and she hardly appears in the episode. But this one sure does!
October 04, 2016
AKA "Soushin Shoujo Matoi". I think this could end up being pretty good. There are demons who come to Earth and possess people, turning them demonic. Ordinary weapons are useless against them, and the first one we see is defeated by a young woman that the British Army calls "fatima". For her it's easy. She seems to have a power they call "Divine Union".
And then we leave the UK and go to Japan where we meet our main characters, most of whom are difficult to take seriously. The show appears to not be massively serious; it isn't horror though some of the images we see in the first episode could have come from a horror series. The main character is a middle-school girl named Matoi whose interesting wish is to be ordinary. She doesn't want to be special.
Her mother is dead and she lives with her father, Shingo, who is an odd one. Their relationship is a bit strange anyway because she calls him "Shingo-kun". He's a police officer and gets called away all the time to investigate bizarre crimes.
Matoi's best friend is Yuma, who is daughter of the high priest of a shrine who is a clown. Anyway, with one thing and another there is a demonic appearance at that location and it defeats everyone who tries to fight it. Yuma found an ancient scroll which describes how to do exorcisms and is all excited to give it a try, and it works, sort of. Only when the divine power comes down out of the sky it doesn't go to Yuma; it goes to Matoi. And she transforms into the spitting image of her mother, with a fancy costume, and easily defeats the demon.
It looks like Matoi has the ability to summon some sort of goddess and to join with her, gaining tremendous powers. (Or maybe it's Yuma who does the summoning.) Matoi doesn't want this, and it looks like part of this show is "reluctant hero".
Good news: one of the main characters is voiced by Ayako Kawasumi. It's been too long since we've heard her in a show. Unfortunately, her character is rather deadpan, so at least so far it isn't much of an opportunity to act.
Bad news: Horriblesubs is stealing it from Anime Network, and it's hard subbed. I hope there's a raw source somewhere and some circle picks it up.
UPDATE: Ohys has posted a raw, so I think it likely someone will post a soft-sub.
September 27, 2016
September 26, 2016
One of these is the bottom of the Pacific Ocean (Haifuri) and the other is the bottom of hyperspace (Bodacious Space Pirates movie). Interesting how similar they look, isn't it?
Maybe there's an access point to hyperspace at the bottom of the Pacific! (Bermuda triangle, poop.)
September 24, 2016
So the last episode came out, and you're probably (not) wondering what the series was about. I didn't watch it all but I watched enough to get a pretty good idea.
Good: Lots of super powered girls flying around tossing energy bolts all over the place.
Good: The girls are cute and nicely shaped.
Good: No lolis.
Good: Bathing scenes. LOTS of bathing scenes. Ep 12 was the only one that didn't have a bathing scene. I expected that they'd toss one in at the very end as a nudity curtain call, but they surprised me. Anyway, ep 12 had several girls getting MCSA'ed so there were still Buy the BD shots. I swear this show has more screen minutes in the bath than any other series I can think of. (Even more than Popotan!) In fact, more total screen minutes than any three other series I can think of, combined.
Good: Tamura Yukari did the voice of Amane. It sounded enough like Nanoha that I recognized her instantly but not so much as to make the character unbelievable. (There were plenty enough other reasons to disbelieve the character.) I really like her work and she hasn't been getting enough in recent years. It's nice that she's managing to break out of being typecast.
Good: The enemy is so abstract that there's no trace of guilt when seeing the girls shooting and destroying them. It's not even clear that the enemy is alive, so it may not even be killing.
Bad: The real story. At the beginning it would be easy enough to think that the story is about alien invasion, but it's actually about shoujo angst. Waah! I'm lonely! I'm not special and people ignore me! I wanna be a star and have people worship me! Waah! All six major characters go through that, and in particular they express their resentment towards Amane (the alpha driver for the team) because they are low ranked and they don't think she's feeding them enough power to be stars. So then Amane crashes and gets captured and isn't around any more, and we get ten episodes of the other five coming to realize just how much they like and trust and need Amane -- and then in the last episode all that comes together and their newly positive feelings save her, and the six working together again, finally clear of all the resentment and angst, kick the butt of the enemy.
Man, I tell you: if it weren't for the copious fan service I'd think this show was targetted at grade school girls. The only thing that can save five universes is our friendship with each other!
Anyway, it's apparent that the characterization and the story are simply a coat rack onto which they are hanging lots of fan service and it only had to be elaborate enough so that it didn't seem to be TOTALLY pandering -- even though it is.
It's the first series directing job for the director. He has a long track record in production, doing character designs and episode directing but this is his first series. I can't claim it's a success but it's clear he did what he was told to do so I can't say it's a bad job. The massive flaws with the series aren't his fault. Anyway, everyone has to start somewhere and I think it's good enough so he'll get other chances, and maybe next time he'll be able to do something better.
I'm not sure I believe that the BDs will sell well. The first will, but they give away the store in the first episode (EVERY major character has a bath scene) and it's not clear that customers will shell out to see all the same girls naked again, five more times. Oh, they'll sell some, but the first one will sell the most.
Verdict: Completely forgettable -- until the first BD comes out.
Rewatch? Surely you jest; it wasn't even worth watching the first time. (And I didn't watch it all.)
September 22, 2016
Part of the "Girls in combat machines" genre is that the weapon systems they use should be accurate and based on existing equipment (unless it's mechas, in which case blah).
So the tanks in Girls und Panzer are actual tanks which fought in WWII or were deployed but didn't see combat. And in High School Fleet the ships we see are all actual designs from the era (or modern ships).
Haifuri is an alternate timeline. For one thing, Japan didn't participate in WWII. For another, in that timeline heavier-than-air aircraft were never developed. There are blimps, but no airplanes and no helicopters. Which leads in some cases to anachronisms (like why Musashi has anti-aircraft batteries) but let that pass.
A lot of the ships in the series actually did exist. Harekaze is completely fictional; there never was such a ship. But it's based on the Kagerou-class which really did exist, and were excellent ships. Like most destroyers their best weapon was their torpedoes, and like most Japanese destroyers the Kagerou's carried the Long Lance, the best torpedo of the early war.
The Blue Mermaids use ships which are based on the American Independence-class littoral combat ships. Modern Japan doesn't have anything like that, but they look really cool and really modern so I'm not surprised that the director decided to poach them. Trimarans are awesome.
And there's these things, which they call "skippers". I want to call them "water motorcycles" but of course they aren't. I don't recognize them. It looks like they're hydrofoils, and it looks like they're propelled by a pair of baby jet engines. Given that everything else in the show is realistic, are these based on something real?
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