April 29, 2014

Mystery Meat -- Fairy Musketeer Akazukin

It's 39 episodes long, and I've watched the first 8. It isn't too bad. The hero, Souta, is supposed to be 14 but the way everyone is drawn, and the kind of voices they all have, it's more like this is grade school.

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(Ringo)

Ringo is his neighbor, childhood friend, and almost-tsundere (she doesn't physically beat him but she crabs at him constantly). Her voice is Rie Kugimiya.

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(Ibara, Akazukin, Shirayuki)

Akazukin has the same voice as Nanoha, and the seiyuu is just as good as always. "Akazukin" means "red hood", and she's Little Red Riding Hood. Shirayukihime is Snow White. Ibara (means "thorns") is actually Sleeping Beauty. Together with a talking wolf named Val, they are the Fairy Musketeers, whose symbol is a four-leaf clover.

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(Gretel)

Two of the opponents are Hansel and Gretel. They are aided by a talking cat screwup named Randagio who has the ability to summon and control magical beasts called "nightmariens". And we've already run into Hameln, whose weapon is a horn. (No flute.)

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Once there was a man who was wise and intelligent. The king gave him a job to do, expecting him to fail. But he succeeded, and in so doing gained great magic, to supplement his knowledge of science and technology. After that, he became insufferably arrogant and lazy, but increasingly powerful. The king was actually Kami-sama and for reasons not yet revealed, he decided to split the world in two.

Elde is the world of science and technology, and Fandevale is the world of magic. (And, evidently, of fairy tales.)

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Souta and Ringo live in Elde and attend school there. Souta's mother vanished when he was very young, and his father is away working a lot, so Souta mostly lives alone. Ringo comes over to wake him up every morning, and she often cooks for him.

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(Shirayuki, Souta, Akazukin)

Souta is a little strange: he can talk to flowers. They often respond by changing physically, becoming stronger and healthier and more beautiful, which is widely known, so he isn't teased for this. But most people don't truly believe, either. Anyway, there's a fairy tale his mother told him (the one about the arrogant hero and the king) which he keeps reliving in his dreams, which ends with monsters dragging his mother away and chasing him. In his dream, she doesn't finish the story.

He's out walking one time and hears a mysterious voice, repeating that same fairy tale, and he follows it. Turns out Souta is "Elde's Key" and only the key could hear it. The one speaking was one of Randagio's nightmariens, who attacks Souta and tries to capture him. Before he can, Akazukin appears and defeats him.

Then we get a series of introductory episodes, bringing new characters into the story. First Shirayuki, then Hansel, then Gretel, then Ibara, and the stories tend to include Man-from-Mars elements as the Fairy Musketeers try to operate on Elde without causing problems. Eventually they decide that they have to return to Fandevale, and take Souta with them. Ringo ends up going along, and as of ep 8 they're on the other side and the gateway to Elde is now closed, so they can't return until they win.

The final boss turns out to be Cinderella. We see her briefly a few times when underlings report to her.

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It's a trifle, and it's rather too cute, but it's been fun so far. I'm not sure I believe that there's really 39 episodes worth of story in this concept without loads and loads of filler, but time will tell.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Mystery Meat at 01:05 PM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
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April 26, 2014

Mystery Meat -- Momotaro, Divine warriors of the sea

This movie is historically interesting, not just because it's among the earliest Japanese animated features to survive. It was first shown in Japan on April 12, 1945, almost exactly 4 months before the end of the war.

What's it about? It's about how the Japanese were going to win.

more...

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March 13, 2014

Mystery Meat -- Wonder Momo

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In 1987 there was an arcade game called "Wonder Momo". Bandai has decided to refresh the franchise, and will release a new game for PC and Android this spring, or so it is reported.

As part of the intro process for this game, a five-episode ONA was released. Each one is 7 minutes long, and it just got posted on BakaBT.

more...

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February 16, 2014

Mystery Meat -- Psychic Academy Aura Banshou

I thought this would turn out to be trash, but I got sucked in and ended up watching the entire thing in one sitting. It's 24 episodes which are anywhere from 7 to 9 minutes long. It's listed as an ONA, which I guess explains the varying lengths.

I'm not saying it's earth shattering, but it's a lot of fun. It doesn't drag, and Our Hero (named "Ai") isn't annoying, and he doesn't have a self-selected annoying best friend, and the story is interesting, and the girls are cute. Ai has a crazy roommate but he isn't annoying and anyway he doesn't appear very often.

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This is Myu. One of the other girls has the ability to look in a crystal ball and find out things, and she says that Ai and Myu have 100% synchronization of their aura, or something like that.

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That's Orina AKA Saara, certified Childhood Friend. She's also infatuated with Ai, and gets very jealous sometimes. But she isn't a tsundere. There aren't any in the show, another pleasant surprise.

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As chance would have it, they're roommates.

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The other member of the harem is that blonde, name of Faafa. She's really weird, in part because sometimes she's a guy named Ren. Who was her younger brother, and I didn't quite understand the explanation of what happened.

Unfortunately, the 24 episodes make up about as much material as 8 or 9 normal-length episodes, and while it does tell a lot of story, it doesn't come close to finishing any of it.

It's based on a manga which eventually ran 11 volumes and finished in 2003, so I assume the story went well beyond what I saw and did get finished.

Even so, I didn't feel cheated at the end. The part they did make into an anime feels pretty complete. There are plot elements left hanging, but they don't really nag.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Mystery Meat at 09:28 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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February 15, 2014

Mystery Meat -- Groove Adventure Rave

This is based on a manga done by the same mangaka who does Fairy Tail. And there was a crossover OVA between the two that came out last year. I was curious to see whether it had been made into an anime, and yup, there it was on BakaBT.

In the OVA, Haru ends up teaming up with Natsu, and Wendy ends up with a couple of martial artists (one man, one woman), Gray with some guy who looks like him but is bad tempered, and Lucy ends up with Elie. Elie is tremendously stacked -- even more than Lucy -- and that's a plot point, since Fairy Tail is there searching for a big-breasted woman who wrecked a casino, and though Elie isn't actually the one, she fits the description and for a while Lucy and Happy think they've found their target.

So I was curious whether Elie in GAR was always drawn like that. Turns out not, and I'm not sure why they decided to change the character are so drastically. Fan service, I guess.

Once I looked at the cast list, I got really curious. First, Elie is voiced by Ayako Kawasumi, and so the Ayako Doctrine applies. Second, Haru is voiced by Tomokazu Seki, who is one of my favorite seiyuu. I don't think he's ever given a performance I didn't like, and sometimes he is absolutely brilliant.

So I just watched the first two episodes. I can't fault Kawasumi or Seki, but frankly it was mediocre. The problem was the writing, really. Also, I think I've gotten spoiled by modern animation technology. This came out in 2001 and it's all hand-animation on cels. Which means it's rough.

Also, Plue is annoying. In Fairy Tail there's an identical character, one of Lucy's summons, but it doesn't show up very often and it doesn't matter. (Except once; it won a battle for Lucy one time. Which I have to admit was pretty awesome.) But it's a major character in GAR and I still don't like it.

I'm not hugely inclined to watch any more.

UPDATE: See for yourself:

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UPDATE: In terms of the writing, part of what drove me off is that the initial meet-cute made no sense. Why would either of them have any urge to travel with the other, besides physical attraction? And I don't believe that's enough to justify it.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Mystery Meat at 10:43 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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July 01, 2013

Mystery Meat: Aiura

Today's Mystery Meat is Aiura. It has the reputation of "Thighs! Thighs!" and I did see that even starting with the first episode.

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The art looks like JC Staff, especially the backgrounds, but they weren't involved in it.

It's another micro-anime. Episodes are one minute of OP, 2 minutes of material, 30 seconds of ED, and another 30 seconds of material for a total of 4 minutes. But it doesn't seem as if it's trying to be a breakneck comedy so much as a nice place to visit, and the pace is very comfortable, even a bit languid.

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But it doesn't really work. The storytelling pace is about right for a normal 24 minute episode, and just about the time that things are getting moving, all of sudden there's the ED right in the way, and we're out of time.

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And, well, I didn't get into it. After four episodes I was bored and had no urge to watch any more.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Mystery Meat at 01:28 PM | Comments (6) | Add Comment
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June 30, 2013

Mystery Meat: Teekyu

Today's Mystery Meat is "Teekyu". It's a micro-anime: twelve episodes of only 2 minutes each. The OP is 30 seconds, so each episode is 90 seconds of concentrated merriment. (It says here...)

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It feels cramped, for want of a better term. Once the OP is done, the dialogue begins, and it never stops until the end. Everyone talks fast and there are no pauses between characters. It's like the whole cast was overdosed on caffeine the whole time.

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The animation isn't very good. There isn't actually all that much animation; it's mostly stills.

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And the character designs are very basic, both in terms of how they look and how they act.

Was it funny? I didn't find it so. A lot happened but I don't remember even grinning once about any of it. Even with only two minute episodes I found myself bored and stopped after the fourth.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Mystery Meat at 09:44 AM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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March 06, 2013

Mystery Meat -- Kagaku no Yatsura OVA

So I have no idea what the hell this is. ANN says its an inclusion with the latest volume of a manga, so let's take a look and...

HOLY SHIT LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THOSE THINGS!!! HOW CAN SHE EVEN WALK???

er, sorry...

The first girl we see is a classic pettanko.

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It's barely possible she's a cyborg. Her right hand may be replaceable, or that may have been a sight gag.

And then it gets gross. NSFW below the fold.

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February 23, 2013

Mystery Meat: Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Kira

I admit; I downloaded this in search of cheesecake for the top rotation. May I present, for your viewing pleasure, Magical Bijin Rika-chan?

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And, to make a complete set, Magical Loli Rika-chan:

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I hoped that this would be like Nurse-witch Komugi compared to Soultaker. Soultaker is a horror title, but Komugi leaves all the horror behind and is basically a fan service romp.

Well, this left all the horror of Higurashi behind, and found all new horror instead. And didn't manage to find any fan service to speak of.

It's four episodes, each one standing alone. Those pictures are from the second one, in which Rika and Satoshi end up in a parallel universe where Rika is a magical girl who defends against a group of four adults who are evil magicians. Once Rika finds out what's going on, this is her reaction:

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The fairy is Hanyuu, and this isn't the strangest thing in the episode.

Episode 1 was Keiichi, going through a series of nightmares, each of which ends with him waking -- into the next nightmare. The third one was about a pair of twins where one twin was trying to set up the other twin with Keiichi. And the fourth episode is about a (even younger) Rika coming in from an alternate timeline, and meeting the current Rika. All of them are extremely spooky, even the first one, which was supposed to be funny.

It's a strange experience. It would probably have been a stranger experience if I had watched the main show, but I remain convinced that it isn't the kind of show I'd like.

And, it didn't yield enough interesting shots to be worth incorporating into the top rotation.

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October 11, 2012

Mystery Meat -- Baby Princess 3D paradise 0 (Love)

I once coined the term "5-bladed razor" to describe shows which include ridiculous amounts of some particular thing, just to outdo anyone that came before. In the "hordes of sisters" category, I thought we had reached the limit with the show Sister Princess. In that one, our hero finds out that he has 12 younger sisters. His father seems to have been a tomcat, and had thirteen kids by thirteen different women.

Well, I just learned that there's a show that tops it. Baby Princess 3D Paradise 0 [Love] is a one-ep OVA, and it's today's Mystery Meat. (Pardon a momentary digression. That's what ANN says it's named, and that is what was used on the file. But the title page in the actual show says "2D", not "3D".)

Our hero is a senior in high school named Youtarou. He has recently joined his mother's family. He is one of her nineteen children, all the rest of whom are girls. That's right, he's got fully eighteen sisters, ranging from age 19 to a newborn. So this show leaves Sister Princess in the dust.

Little of this is explained in the show. Maybe it's explained in more depth on the studio's page for the show, but I can't read it.

I can't figure out where he fits in it all. The ANN page claims he's a high school senior, and that's the kind of clothes he wears, but there isn't room in there for that. The oldest girl is a college freshman and she refers to him as her otouto, so he's younger than her. But #2 is a high school senior, #3 is a junior, #4 is a sophomore, #5 is ninth grade, and we've got every other grade below that, all the way down to the newborn. Nor is there any indication that one of them is his twin. So where does he fit? Is he really offspring of that woman?

Having just slaughtered a few more catgirls, I admit it's silly to talk about those kinds of things when dealing with a show like this. They aren't paying any attention to whether it makes sense, and neither should we. But it has to be said that Mom is setting records for fertility, at least in anime. I don't know of any anime mother who has had 19 kids, all of whom survived, and none of which are multiple births. How many fathers are involved in all of this? No idea. But while she was creating all this life, she also had a career as CEO of a talent agency. Which is mind boggling. And there doesn't seem to be any man living in that house besides Youtarou.

I think the most amazing thing about this show is how many of the cast members I recognize. Kana Hanazawa, Haruka Tomatsu, Rina Satou, Aoi Yuuki, Mariya Ise -- this is not a B-list cast.

So how does it play? The word I wanted to use is "nauseating". Least that's what I thought before I started watching it. But that turned out not to be right. We'll get back to this at the end.

The first five minutes consists of introductions. Our Hero comes home from school and all the others are there and we get to see them all. Each one has her own intro placque that gets displayed, and I'm gonna put them all below the fold. (They weren't in order but I've sorted them.

And since a lot of the other shots I'm going to include are NSFW, everything else is below the fold, too. (I won't be using NSFW tags, so be warned.)

more...

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Mystery Meat at 08:52 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
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