Anime Briefs – More Spring ’13

Continuing the briefs on the new crop of anime, there is some amusement to be had this season.

The Severing Crime Edge: Boy obsessed with cutting hair meets girl whit cursed hair that cannot be cut. Boy turns out to be descended from a notorious killer and has the murderous scissors, a “Killing Goods”. Other descendends with respective “Killing Goods” start to show up.

root – yes, it’s a pretty silly premise. Of course weirder stuff has been made into anime. The art is decently nice, animation not bad (they did spend a good amount of effort on hair fondling animation), character designs are pretty normal. So in all perhaps slightly above average, but the attempt to give it a dark current isn’t very convincing.

risu – this is one of those weird shows where the overall plot makes it seem like it’s for preteens, but some of the content makes it seem like it’s for an, er… older crowd.  There is a fairly pervasive level of paraphilic behavior depicted.  I would definitely venture the guess that when the female police officer is being strangles suspended, there is something going on in that cut of just her dangling legs that will be on the BD version that is not present on the broadcast version, although they did show the heroine sitting in an immense puddle of her own creation…  The darkness feels a bit put-on, but it’s probably because of the cutesy character design.  Overall the production quality is average, with Saturday-morning-cartoon backgrounds and character animation that is poorly resolved.  I’ll watch it through to the end, but I’m expecting about as much as I did from Campione or Aria the Scarlet AmmoC+

Henneko – The Hentai Prince and the Stony Cat: urban legend has it that the stone cat statue at the top of the hill will take away something you don’t want and give it to someone else. One night a boy goes to make an offering to the cat with the wish to lose his façade in order to express himself better. There he meets a girl who wishes to be more mature and able to mask her emotions. Of course their are wishes are granted, but not in the way they wanted.

root – not treading any new ground here, but the art is nice, character designs cute, and pretty amusing show. Looks worth following so far.

risu – been following the manga since it started out back in the days of Mayo Chiki! and Kono Naka ni Hitori, Imouto ga Iru!, and was somewhat surprised it wasn’t animated until now.  The character design and a lot of the framing follows the manga exactly, but the story chronology isn’t exactly the same.  I’m not sure if it follows the novel chronology since I haven’t read them.  It’s very well-crafted.  A-

Mushibugyo: a feudal era Japan beset by giant murderous insects, the young samurai son arrives in Edo to serve in the Mushibugyo. the insect magistrate.  The mushibugyo are charged with fighting insects to protect the city. Idealistic and enthusiastic, he seeks to become as strong as his father.

root – the color palate reminds me of another even more anachronistic samurai anime of a few seasons back, Oh! Edo Rocket. The art is nice, and while the character designs aren’t as distinctive as Edo Rocket, they’re interesting. The animation is more than adequate. The characters have been all so far pretty typical, but still fun. I’ll keep watching.

risu – didn’t get past the show synopsis.  N

Flowers of Evil: Introverted high school boy who’s into somewhat odd intellectual books finds himself caught in a spiral of guilt and other emotions when he’s caught with the gym clothes of the girl he idolizes by another girl in his class.

root – first off, really don’t like the rotoscoping. The BG art is highly detailed depicting the city in it’s dinginess. But can’t help but think it’s all just traced. What bothers me with this is why bother animating it? The could have done this show in live action equally well. They did a good job with the audio track, often running an almost subliminal discordant constant tones to stir a feeling of unease, culminating in the unsettling ED theme. Anyway, I’m interested in seeing how the main character screws himself over and what develops.

risu – like root, I must say that I totally hate rotoscoping – it conjures up images of krappy dough-faced Disney heroines from the 60’s.  I even wonder if the backgrounds are even traced – isn’t there a Photoshop filter that will do that?  Really, considering how much work they did shooting all the reference films for the rotoscoping, they’re done with like 75% of the principal photography for a live-action, and it’s not like Japanese L/A films of this genre are high-budget with high production values!  Now that that is out of the way, I really like the anti-beautiful design theme that runs through this show.  All the characters are less than beautiful.  The setting is discordant and decaying with rusting, bad late-Showa architecture.  This is the 90% of Japan that you don’t experience through anime.  This isn’t the modern metropolis.  This isn’t the groomed suburbs.  This isn’t the bucolic countryside.  This is the real, gritty post-bubble urban decay you actually see when you experience the Japan outside what you get in a one-week tour package.  The story is real and twisted.  Everyone has issues.  At the same time I can’t wait to see the ending, I dread seeing it.  B-

Arata the Ledgend: High school boy finds himself sucked into another world and entangled in a scheme of betrayal by the twelve guardians of the princess of that world. He ends up being a wielder of a mystical sword like one of those twelve guardians.

root – why are these pretty boys, designs, and story so familiar? Ah, Watase Yuu who did Fushigi Yuugi, another story of high schooler sucked into a magical parallel world. It’s not bad, but it’s getting annoying. There’s only so much bitching and moaning you can take from these characters before you get pissed off.

risu – didn’t get past the show synopsis.  N

Valvrave the Liberator: In the future, mankind has expanded into space and now more than half the population lives in space in artificial environments. Enter average high school boy at a high school in one of these spheres. Students posing as transfer students sneak in with violent motives. At the same time a foreign military force stages an attack. Turns out they are after a giant robot that is secreted away under the school.

root – and of course the kid gets into the robot and after some angst activates it (RTFM, dumbass, heck, just agree and slick YES like you do when you install anything, no one pays attention to the terms) and of course easily defeats a number of invading units. Average art, average animation, average designs. Predictable story. The little twist at the end of the ep helps a little, but honestly not much. Dunno how much longer I’ll watch this.

risu – didn’t get past the show synopsis.  You’re really watching this stuff?  N

Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet: A distant future, humanity has been wandering in space (again?) and has established a living space, but is under attack by aliens. A critical attack staged against these aliens has failed and in the retreat, one pilot of a mech unit doesn’t make it back to it’s carrier and gets lost in the wormhole they use for traversing space. He awakens six months later in the midst of a seemingly “primitive” culture of humans.

root – the art, animation, and designs are quite good. It’s got elements from tons of other shows, call it Battlestar Galactica meets Waterworld and whatever else. Plot points sometimes feel contrived given his overwhelming superior firepower, but the plot justifies it. Even though it involves a giant robot, I’m actually liking this show so far.

risu – didn’t get past the show synopsis.  N

update:  watched the first episode.  Production quality is very good, though the story is totally hackneyed.  I can totally see how this is going to proceed and end.  The backgrounds are above average and the character animation is done well.  The character designs are fairly standard.  They totally ripped off Nadia in the heroine.  The on-board computer interface is old hat: This iteration is like the one from Outlaw Star sans character and substance.  The enemy fortress ship looks like the ship from Lifeforce!  Is there anything here that I haven’t seen before?  Maybe the bent visor on the helmet which would totally cause all kinds of optical abberations, making it nary impossible to make out anything just below the line of sight.  Great!  Distortion vision!  Who designed this thing?  Didn’t they test it out before putting it into mass production?  Maybe that’s why mankind is losing the battle against the purple-plant-nautiluses.  I’d give it higher marks if the story wasn’t so lame.  C+

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