Fall 2013: First Impressions Round Three

Round 3: Where I weigh in on more of this season’s anime, and talk about some random stuff. And also realize there’s a lot of shows now airing.

NouCome

So this anime is off to a great start. For such a ridiculous name and concept, choosing to spend a solid portion of the opening episode on a ridiculous SERIOUS CHOICE MONTAGE was pretty great. Furthermore, with the entire idea being so absolutely ridiculous (side note: the fact that this ridiculousness has become the norm in LN adaptations is kinda interesting), the really over-the-top execution and “not taking itself too seriously” vibe turned out pretty well (as opposed to Yuushibu, where I think this didn’t seem to work out). Feels a lot like Outbreak Company, actually, with a clearly ridiculous setting playing off tropes/cliches, having fun and not taking itself too seriously. The characters are also impossibly crazy and filled to the brim with tropes, as expected, but somehow end up coming off as surprisingly unique. The actual portrayal of the “YOU MUST CHOOSE NOW” mechanic also earns points for being quite hilarious. And simultaneously deep.

NouCome 1

I also have to admit, I died when this came on screen.

NouCome 2

Also, the Sensei is pretty great.

NouCome 3

On a less positive note, I tend to not like humor where someone gets pretty much shafted all the time, as the MC does in this case with his multiple choice dilemmas throughout the course of the opening episode; however, the results were so ridiculous (and clearly not so negative) that I think this series can work for me. Plus, they were kind enough to offer us a choice as to whether to watch or not at the end of the episode! Draggle, Froggykun, and I seem to have picked the former; Flawfinder the latter (although very more justifiably so).

Tokyo Ravens

Male blushing too strong. Actually, the blushing in this opening episode was a little bit over the top, but hey, there are much worse things to be nitpicky about. Like ‘dat traumatic past and lack of drive in the MC, which is obviously a clear parallel to today’s youth and the current economic recession, a message to the Japanese youth today who are lazy, escapist bums that have led Japan to decadence and ruin: THE OTAKU GENERATION (this makes sense because it’s in anime and thus targeted towards otaku – it all fits!).

Tokyo Ravens 1

Right. So stepping back a little, I’d have to say overall this was actually a pretty strong showing for a show I hadn’t even considered watching going into this season. For me, I liked the way overplayed and overdramatic nostalgic piano background music – added a nice touch to the show and MAXIMUM PANGS OF NOSTALGIA FOR TIMES GONE BY. And it’s even set in summer, that season anime loves to use for nostalgic, life-changing transition periods (i.e. melodramas)! Plus you get a love triangle set up from the get go, with the two childhood friends and the HAUNTING PROMISE OF THE PAST. The third wheel dude is also pretty great.

Tokyo Ravens 2

And then they go from a sad nostalgia show to flirtation at the summer festival and blowing bubbles. BECAUSE THE SHOW’S JUST WAITING TO BURST THEIR BUBBLE OMG TOO CLEVER.

Tokyo Ravens 3

And lol dramatic flashback drama soon after, followed by drama – saw that coming. But what I hadn’t seen coming was the random hot blond chick licking a lolipop and followed by LOL CGI SUVS. And then it suddenly went from sad piano to banging awesome dubstep COMPLETE WITH SENSUAL LICKING OF A CHOCOLATE BANANA. And then they enter this random fighting magic scene, the chick captures the guy, and then kisses him just to piss off his “girlfriend”. Under fireworks. Held in the arms of a giant glowing machine robot who seem to have cyperpunk Buddhist overtones.

Tokyo Ravens 4

God I love this show.

Diabolik Lovers

I’m a bit late to the party here, but thought I might as well chip in anyway. I originally saw all the talk about the “rapey” nature of this show and went “Pfttt – I’m a terrible, perverted otaku with all sorts of strange fetishes and a raging inner fujoshi who managed to make it through all the Fifty Shades novels, so I’ll probably be fine.” Then I watched the opening episode. Only two words:

My. God.

Diabolik Lovers

This show is everything that it has been advertised to be. And, after watching the next 3 episodes, it doesn’t get any better (if anything it gets worse, and you don’t have to just take my word for it). I totally do not judge if these types of fantasies are your thing, but I know I’ve met my match – I’d have to sit down and watch/play these types of things for a while to get acclimated. And, for a guy who actually liked Crime Edge and managed to make it through all three Boku no Pico episodes without cringing too much, this came as a (un?)pleasant surprise. Side note: Tomoko from WataMote had a picture from the game/show in her room, which, given what we learned about her, fits her personality quite well. It’s actually a pretty cool use of indirect characterization that also appeals to the fanbase.

Diabolik Lovers 2

Which means, actually, that I’ll probably be following this. The reasoning? My goal with anime is to become not only a critical academic, observer, and/or critic but also simultaneously stay a real fan – I want to be able to understand (and either enjoy or remain neutral towards) most genres both internal and external to the fan base. (This also is the reason I find a lot of Western writing on anime “lacking”, since they’re mostly written by people who just don’t viscerally “get” otaku, but that’s a discussion for another time.) So, I’ll keep watching this and see how it goes. Maybe by the end the idea of crying from abuse and/or torture, getting death threats, and being treated like an ugly sack of potatoes only good for consumption (but by people with tragic pasts, mind you!) will start to become more appealing than it sounds.

Beyond the Boundary (Kyoukai no Kanata)

Let’s get this out of the way first: Kyoto Animation did this show. And everything you’d expect from that comes out of it, such as similar leads, similar (fantastic) art and animation, great scripting, great body language, etc. It’s all there.

Kyoukai no Kanata 1

That said, let’s talk about some the show itself. The concept here looks cool, with the ideas of Spirit Warriors and youmu. The plot looks like it’s going to move at a decent pace, given the progression of the episode. Plus the fight scenes look like they’re going to be really good. Finally, the central conflict over heritage, bloodlines, tradition, and all that is a really interesting one, especially considering the Japanes obsession with blood types and whatnot, plus many of the class differences (which essentially amount to the same thing) that permeate our society today. It also does some cool meta-stuff and involves the supernatural, which might inevitably lead to comparisons with a certain other show.

Kyoukai no Kanata 2

All in all though, the show itself seems to be doing some really cool stuff, so count me in this season.

Yozakura Quartet

Woah – panty shots! I’m actually surprised that I’m surprised at this – I hadn’t realized they’d been mostly phased out until I started looking elsewhere (and I wouldn’t have even noticed the panty shots in the first place if a friend hadn’t pointed them out!). Camera angles have been replaced by more direct upskirting methods, it seems.

Yozakura Quartet 1

The series actually looks pretty nice though. We had a lot of action going on in the first episode, which, combined with a cool (and decently sized) cast, a very interesting magic system (the giant fishbowl conjuring was pretty legit, as was the giant goldfish outbreak), and a nice color palette (I love lots of light colors), among other things, is more than enough to keep me watching for a few more episodes yet.

Nagi no Asukara

The underwater thing is pretty cool idea, and the world is interesting. The role of tradition and magic actually reminds me somewhat of Tsuritama, even if the premise seems completely different.

Nagi no Asukara 1

I do have to say though, a huge turn-off for me is the really tsundere male lead. Which is odd, because, looking back on it, many of his actions were actually the exact same ones a tsundere female love interest might do, except I see those as endearing. Makes me think a bit about some of my preferences and judgements here. I think part of it is that in a tsundere female love interest situation, her behavior frequently has little impact on the male lead, who sorta puts up with her. Plus, the embarrassing nature of her “tsun” quality is amplified much more than I see here, which makes her actions seem more “loveably”-driven rather than just “being a bitch”-driven. But still – seems I’m a little bit hypocritical.

Nagi no Asukara 2

That’s a little bit off track though. For the actual first impressions, however, I don’t have much to say that hasn’t been said, so I don’t think I can add too much there.

—–

Right. Got one more round of these coming up for Samurai Flamenco, Galilei Donna, and maybe another show or two that I’ll try and get out in the next couple days. Otherwise, I’m pretty much done with the new season taste testing at this point.

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4 responses to “Fall 2013: First Impressions Round Three

  1. My goal with anime is to become not only a critical academic, observer, and/or critic but also simultaneously stay a real fan – I want to be able to understand (and either enjoy or remain neutral towards) most genres both internal and external to the fan base.

    Same here! I watch all sorts of anime to stay in touch with all levels of fandom. That said, I’m not watching Diabolik Lovers. Nope. Even my fujoshi friends hate the crap out of it. I say if you want the best of what the reverse harem genre can offer, go for Uta no Prince-sama. It’s pretty fab and I guarantee the boys will make you swoon <3

    Uh, ahem, what was I getting at? Yes.

    Nice write-ups but the thought occurs to me how are you going to keep up with all of these anime. lol

    • Haha, point taken. Given how much I swooned over Free!, I think Prince-sama will be right up my alley.

      As for keeping up with all this anime, I don’t plan on it, so no worries there! I might be following around a dozen shows, tops, but no more than that (thank goodness!).

      • I lol’d so much to this conversation xD But by all means, yeah, try UtaPri …

        I dropped Diabolik Lovers by the second episode. I’m actually not that bothered with the rape-y feel to it but I’m just not a fan of pure vampire stories.

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