Animé Review Week 2

A new week and new animé episodes to watch (at least until December). This week, I add four new entries: Gundam AGE, Guilty Crown, UN-GO, and Last Exile: Fam the Silver Wing.

Fate/Zero, Episode 3
Waver and Rider
Rider giving tips to Waver

Gilgamesh, what a jerk. I already love to hate him. So, we learn what the last episode’s ending was all about: somebody moved his first chess piece on the board. These people also happen to be cheaters! But it’s not that important, because there are more cheaters on the way.

Waver and Rider! Rider really wants to conquer the world and totally loves United States army weaponry. They make a nice team. Rider knows everything about war and Waver seems well prepared, in a bookish kind of way, though not so much in the nerve department. I really like them together. They make a nice change to all the melodrama without being just comic relief.

Iri has never seen the outside world. Saber was so nice to take her for a walk and she was so knightly about it. Lots of IrixSaber shippers were spawned into being after this episode was aired. And, finally we get to see Lancer and it looks like next episode is going to be Lancer vs Saber, with Rider watching the show.

Also, Bill Clinton makes a cameo on TV because the of story Fate/Zero happen in the 1990s.

Chihayafuru, Episode 2

Episode 2 was hard to watch, not because it was bad, but child bullying strikes a cord with me, and this episode was all about that. It continued the flashback from the first episode and I suspect we will get back to the present in the next episode. Also, we finally get to see a karuta tournament. Japanese poem reciting is closer to singing than I ever imagined. The main character, Chihaya, is quite energetic and endearing. Taichi is a jerk and Arata is still a bit of an enigma to me. These animé characters are quite alive and full of emotion, characteristics that are transmitted well through the animation.

Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, Episode 2

More exposition, more boob fondling, naked main character, and the introduction of a transgender character and android who seem to be important to the plot. Looks like the novels tried to put ALL of the TVTropes cliches together or something, which makes this a bit of a nerd dream, but the animé adaptation needs to work on its pacing to make it interesting. Besides that, I’m close to dropping this, unless the plot goes somewhere in episode 3.  Kind of sad in a way, because the show has really good voice acting and the setting looks interesting (the fanservice doesn’t, though).

Person 4, Episode 2

Kuma, kuma. I really liked the bear in this. The second episode was an improvement over episode 1. The main character is more talkative and his courage stats have increased. I didn’t play the game, but I like how they included the game system into the animé. So this episode advances the plot a bit. We get to learn more about one of the characters and how he feels by encountering his shadow in the “TV world.” We also get a nice fighting sequence. Unfortunately, I heard a few rumors about the studio doing this and we might get a crappy adaptation later on.

Gundam AGE, Episode 1

I’m not sure what I’m expecting out of this, but it really feels like a Gundam for younger viewers (compared to, let’s say, Gundam 00 or Unicorn). Although, at the same time, there are a lot of references to the older Gundam and the art style isn’t as childish as I thought, it’s more like retro art style with vivid colors. The first episode is standard Gundam episode 1 fare: somebody built a Gundam, bad guys with mobile suits attack, the main character sits in the Gundam and saves the day. Also, Flit is rather nice as a main character. Quite mature for his age, in fact; he also seems a lot more outgoing them most Gundam main characters (less emo I guess). I have no idea where this show is going, besides the promised three generations. The first episode was probably a bit slow, but I think it’s worth watching a few more episodes to see if it’s a worthy Gundam series or not.

Guild Crown, Episode 1

Available on NicoNico.

This show received a lot of hype, but I don’t think it lived up to it. I’m not a fan of insert song, the episode direction was a bit all over the place, and the main characters are boring. Oh and on-shoot killing mecha with a big sword is a bit of overkill. I’m going to watch episode 2, but I don’t think I’m going to stick with it much longer. The only interesting part was the metaphor with Japan being a human body with antibodies (security forces) and virus/diseases (rebels).

UN-GO, Episode 1

I didn’t really think of watching this show, but I’m glad I did. It’s a detective story where the main character is really good at his work, but he’s called the Defeated Detective because the corrupted political system makes sure the truth never reaches the rest of the world. It’s based on a Japanese story written in the ’50s (never translated into English). Our charming detective also has a sidekick/boss called Inga, who is just trippy. The art style might not be to everyone’s taste: pointy chin, long legs, etc. I kind of like it though since it fits well with the animé tone and direction. There also seems to be a bit of a supernatural element to the story. Right now, it’s mostly coming from Inga.

The first episode’s intrigue wasn’t extraordinary. It was easy to know what happened before the reveal, easier still if, like me, you read all the Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle detective novels. But I don’t think it it was meant to be a surprise either.

Last Exile, Episode 1

This show is available on NicoNico.

Catching a whale
This is how you catch whale in Last Exile

Last Exile is back, baby, and it has amazing airships, designs, combat, and animation. But, please Gonzo, no more naked characters in my otherwise totally awesome opening sequence. The image with the music works really well and it’s full of symbolism, too. It definitely wins the best opening of the season and best first episode for me as well. Just enough exposition, lots of action, good pacing, and good characters. The whaling sequence is simply amazing for the introduction.

Our main character is Fam, a young Sky Pirate who hunts skyfishes (airships) for a living. I love the Sky Pirates, they work well as a group and they are crafty. The main character, Fam, is a nice change from Claus from the first series. She’s outgoing, energetic and determined. She’s very much alive and spunky. She also has a lot of space for growth and change. The opening kind of promises this to us, and I hope it delivers. The other main characters, Milia and Gisèlle, don’t get as much focus in this episode.

There seems to be a lot of connection to water in the show, with the Grand Lake, the opening starting underwater, and the “whaling” context. The opening is also full of Christian religious imagery, the first series had a bit of that, but here it’s hard to miss.  I’m not sure if the show will still have a lot of “show, don’t tell,” but it already showed a few things in the first episode that newcomers won’t understand without watching the first series or reading about the setting.

2 replies on “Animé Review Week 2”

I played Persona but for some reason I can’t quite bring myself to watch the anime.  I will probably get around to it eventually, but I guess knowing the plot from playing the game makes the idea of watching the show less exciting (like trying to watch the Death Note anime after reading the manga and knowing all the twists already).

I am SO taken with Fam and the Sister Princesses in the new Last Exile.  It’s so refreshing to have an anime that passes the Bechdel test in basically the first minute of the show.  I hope the show remains about these characters.  I’m delighted at the prospect of a quality female-driven adventure show.  It helps that Fam is adorable and I would take her as a little sister any day.

I was hoping for a little more from Chihayafuru because I’ve been really into game-related anime in the past, but the game really isn’t the driving factor so I’m not actually as into it as I was hoping.  It also seems like there’s not much room for strategy with the game of karuta, aside from knowing things and being fast?  I don’t really see myself watching much more of it.

Un-go sounds interesting, though!  I’m an avid Sherlock Holmes fan and I also enjoy odd art styles (see: my deranged obsession with Kaiji and Akagi).  I’ll be sure to check that one out soon.

I’ve read comments from a few people who have played Persona and don’t enjoy the anime. Seems to be a trend. They really pushed the “gaming” feeling with it.

Last Exile: Considering the gigantic cast I expect the focus to move around, but for Fam to get most of the spot light. Also, I’m guessing the real plot doesn’t start before episodes 4-5 (this is typical of 20+ episodes series).

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