Friday, April 19, 2013

What I've Watched From the Current Season

Sorry about the long lack of posting here- blame it mostly on getting sick. Now that I've caught up on the new season, I'll comment on what I stuck with from the winter anime season and what I've seen from this season.

From the winter season, I stuck with Tamako Market and Doki Doki! Precure. I'm close to finishing Tamako Market and wish I liked it more than I do. But I'll see how it ends.

I went from hating Doki Doki! Precure to liking it to cursing whoever decided it needs a magic baby (I knew the magic baby was coming, but didn't think much about it until she was introduced. Guess Japanese parents are going to start being bugged into buying Precure baby dolls, in addition to Precure lunch boxes, coloring books, plushies, backpacks, bed sets, action figures, compacts, etc), to liking it again (although I would love to sit down with Mana and tell her that the explosive device set to go off inside her if she says no to doing anything anyone asks of her doesn't really exist), and then being like, "...Do I want to watch this for three more cours?"

I'm not a fan of Precure as a franchise. I really liked Heartcatch and have given the other seasons a shot. To Doki Doki's credit, at least, this is the farthest I've gotten in a Precure season after Heartcatch.

HJHGTYUGCLKHYUIFVK Shion and Yayoi's hands.
(Thanks to @angelx03 for pointing out this splendiferous example of official art.)

I continued to follow Psycho-Pass each week, and am happy with how it ended. (That said, if it ever gets a second season, I will watch the hell out of it.) I think it's very much worth watching, although I know that it isn't for everyone. Not just because some people will disagree with me about its quality, but because, as Erica noted, certain difficult-to-watch scenes may be triggering for some people. Again, I thought it was a great story all-around, and I got a canon lesbian couple I like* out of two of its side characters. 

*Bit of an understatement. Anyone following my tweets on this show knows that I set on Yayoi and Shion like a pack of wolves on a deer carcass.

Translation: 
Otsukaresama deshita. (Phrase used to laud someone for their hard work.)
Thank you very much ❀

Source: Hana's Pixiv.

*resisting the urge to dump more fan art*


I have also put Zetsuen no Tempest on my to watch list since a number of the people I follow on Twitter really got into it, and word is that it ended strongly.


As for what I've tried from the new season:

Aiura (2 episodes watched):
Aiura is, like this season's Yuyushiki, an adaptation of a 4-koma manga about three high school girls who are friends. In episode 1, Ayuko runs into Kanaka and Saki after buying an ice cream cone the day before her first day of high school. In episode 2, they meet each other again at school and become friends. Kanaka is the boke to Saki's tsukkomi, and the usual 4-koma pun-based humor ensues. This didn't leave any impression on me. I didn't particularly like its first two episodes or find them funny, but didn't really dislike them either. Since they're 2-3 minutes each (not counting their surprisingly long opening and ending themes), they didn't grate on me like episode 1 of Yuyushiki did.

Aiura is streaming on Crunchyroll. Available everywhere except in Japan for premium members, and everywhere except "East Asia, Southeast Asia, Indian Subcontinent, Iran & Afghanistan, and Southern Pacific" for free members.

I know Aku no Hana (Flowers of Evil) is the big controversy of the season because of its rotoscoping, but it's a moot argument to me because I tried the first volume of the Aku no Hana manga and didn't like it. Don't see the point of trying it to opine on its visuals when I know its story isn't my cup of tea.

Arata Kangatari (Arata The Legend; 2 episodes watched):
My friends and I got hooked on the Fushigi Yuugi anime (and Ayashi no Ceres, to a lesser extent) in ye olde days of middle school. (The one friend I'm still close to from that group still owns the second half of Fushigi Yuugi while I own its first half, even though neither of us is into it anymore.) This is the first animated adaptation of a Watase Yuu series since Ceres in 2000. Watase became a shoujo juggernaut after Fushigi Yuugi, and Arata is her first shounen series, 17 volumes and still running in Weekly Shounen Sunday.

Arata is a high school boy whose former friend bullies him at school. Another friend throws him under the bus when some boys (including Arata's former friend) threaten to bully him for being friends with Arata. This series' depiction of bullying interests me because some other people and I had a discussion on Twitter a while ago about how rarely shounen deals with bullying- let alone realistically- compared to shoujo.

Apparently this animated adaptation abridges a LOT, including the bullying that informs how Arata reacts to much of what happens later. I plan on reading at least volume 1 of the manga, to see how different it is. Never gave it a chance before because I read a review some time ago ripping Arata as worse than Fushigi Yuugi's protagonist. Going from the anime, I don't see what's so bad about him. Unlike Miaka, he is an introvert and has some trust issues because of his two former friends, but he isn't whiny or immature or bumblingly incompetent or anything.

Arata's wish to disappear is granted when he switches places with a boy from another world, also named Arata. They each take on the other's appearance to the people around them- confusing for all involved because the two boys have very different personalities.

Protagonist-Arata finds that he is not only in a magic fantasy world, the boy he switched places with has been falsely accused of trying to kill that world's ruler, Princess Kikuri, by her twelve guardians. Watase being Watase, the Twelve Guardians are bishounen and probably have tragic backstories. It is one of the guardians, Kannagi, who attacked Kikuri while the other guardians looked on, before her magical defenses went up and she went into a self-preserving comatose state.

In episode 2, protagonist-Arata turns out to be capable of wielding a Hayagami (a relic weapon inhabited by a god) that was being kept by the clan the other Arata comes from. The Twelve Guardians are the only other people shown capable of using Hayagami. Protagonist-Arata (I'll just follow the other Arata's lead by calling him Hinohara from now on) manages to communicate with Arata because... it's a long story, but they get on the same page about what happened. Hinohara is put on trial for what happened to Kikuri. Kannagi has him sentenced to exile to some horrible place instead of execution because he wants to learn more about why Hinohara can use a Hayagami.

It's a solid show so far. Again, I'm curious about how much was left out by the manga, and how much of a difference that makes. It's easy to see the similarities to Fushigi Yuugi: the feudal China-influenced alternate world (although unlike in FY, Arata's alternate world isn't directly modeled on feudal China), the teen being spirited there, the betrayal of friendship, the magical fighting bishounen, and the communication between worlds using personal objects. This show isn't too much of a Fushigi Yuugi clone to stand on its own- Watase has tweaked the elements she's re-using enough to avoid that, and it helps that none of Arata's personalities have equivalents in Fushigi Yuugi so far- but watching it did feel like a blast from the past.

Streaming on Crunchyroll. US and Canada.


Glass no Kamen desu ga (It's Glass Mask, but; 2 episodes watched):
A series of shorts parodying the characters of Glass Mask. The first episode reimagines Maya and Ayumi as "yankee" girls, Tsukikage-sensei as the leader of the Scarlet Angel gang, and Hayami as a cop. The second episode features the characters in an office setting, adding Hayami's fiancee to the mix.

This series kind of works as a one-time inside joke. Its first episode was weird more than anything, and made me want to try the next episode just to see how far the writers could take this series as a parody. While its first episode is no masterpiece, its second episode made me cry a little on the inside at how bad it was. Just watch or read Glass Mask.

Glass Mask is about a working class teenaged girl named Maya working her way towards being an actress worthy of the ultimate role- the Scarlet Angel. (Or Crimson Goddess, depending on the translation.) She meets a retired actress, Tsukikage-sensei, who sees the potential in her and helps her train. Hayami, a rich guy with a tragic past who initially gives Maya the impression of being a complete dick, secretly supports her as a fan, sending her roses and messages of encouragement.

Maya's biggest competition for the role of the Scarlet Angel is Ayumi, a girl of the same age whose parents are a famous actress and director. Ayumi wants to prove her worth outside her parents' shadow and is often, ironically, one of Maya's few pillars of support because she sees Maya as the only person who understands her, as the only person whose acting skills rival her own. In short, Glass Mask is excellent and you should watch or read it if you can- especially if you're looking for shoujo that isn't romance-centric, for a change of pace.

The 2005 Glass Mask anime adaptation (a.k.a. the good Glass Mask anime adaptation) is completely available on Crunchyroll. Can't find information on region restrictions, sorry. : \

Devil Survivor 2 the Animation (1 episode watched): 
I had to consciously try to remember what happened in this one.

A website that can show how other people would look dying gruesomely becomes popular. Devil Survivor 2's protagonist and his best friend sign up for it and see pictures of each other being crushed by a train. Specifically, the train that's about the arrive where they are. This makes them nervous, but they aren't able to leave before the train arrives. As they lie on the brink of dying, the mascot from that website asks if they're willing to make a contract to survive. They agree and download a demon-summoning app, surviving unscathed. The only other survivor is a girl from their class. The demon summoned by the app she downloaded saves them from the other demons that appeared there. Somehow, they make it outside the train station, where people are panicking about what happened. Everyone's cellphone reception goes dead and aliens attack. The protagonist fights the aliens off with the magic tiger his app summons, and the government people watching are amazed that he summoned it because it's an extra-special demon.

Eh. A lot happened- it just didn't leave much of an impression.

Streaming on Crunchyroll. US, Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, and Scandinavia.

Hataraku Maou-sama! (The Devil is a Part-Timer!; 2 episodes watched):
The only funny comedy this season.

In a fantasy world where demons and humans are at war, the human side overtakes the demons, causing the demon king Satan and his henchman Alciel to retreat to our world. They wind up in Japan, where they have human bodies. A couple police officers mistake them as cosplayers. Satan and Alciel (now going by Maou Sadao and Ashiya Shirou, respectively) register as Japanese residents and settle into an apartment. Satan takes a part-time job at "MgRonald's" to help them get by, and they start acting like a bickering old married couple. At the end of this episode, Satan realizes that the woman he gave his umbrella to on the way to work is Emilia, the knight who led the human side of the war and drove him out of his world.

In episode 2, Emilia threatens to stab Satan but doesn't because, as he notes, she only has a flimsy one hundred yen knife. She stalks him for an opportunity to kill him, and instead realizes he's completely domesticated. She lives in a nicer apartment, but alone, and doesn't seem to be eating much better than Satan and Alciel. She works in customer service at Docodemo, a company modeled on Docomo, and goes by the name Yusa Emi. Just as Satan's Japanese surname plays off the Japanese word for "demon king", Emilia's plays off the word for "hero."

Emilia visits Satan at his workplace to challenge him to meet her after his shift, which he responds to by treating her like any other customer ordering a burger (which she ends up buying.) Satan's co-worker Chi gets jealous of Emilia, but he doesn't get it. (Thankfully, this plot point is miniscule, at least for now.) When Satan meets Emilia after work, an unseen assassin shoots magic bullets at them. Emilia winds up crashing at Satan and Alciel's apartment because she dropped her wallet running from the assassin. (Small handwave- she had to spend the night because she lost her wallet- presumably because she couldn't take the train without it- so if Satan could lend her a thousand yen to take the first bus home in the morning, couldn't he have just lent her the money to take the train home before it stopped for the night?)

Fun show so far. If you want a comedy that doesn't suck, you should check it out. I also find it refreshing that, fantasy trappings aside, it's about working young adults instead of, I don't know, more high schoolers. I'm not sure how seriously to take the assassination plot point right now. How will it affect this show's direction? Guess we'll see in the next episode.

Streaming on Funimation. US and Canada. Episode 3, which should have come out yesterday, is being delayed until Wednesday. Episode 4 is still scheduled to stream next Friday.

Kakumei Valvrave (Valvrave the Liberator; 1 episode watched):
The best show about mech-piloting this season- meaning that while it isn't good, it didn't bore and annoy me the way Majestic Prince did. (And unlike Majestic Prince, it doesn't have horrible character designs.) Valvrave is bad in a cheesy way- complete with a "wtf" moment after its ending credits. Valrave takes place in the far future, with humanity living in space. Some terrorists who fail at reading as threatening, despite this series' best efforts, attack Haruto's school. Haruto's crush is like, "Wait! I see someone knocked out in that car. I'll save them, nothing bad will happen to me!" right before being killed. Haruto winds up piloting a mech, causing Valvrave's equivalent of Twitter to explode (best part of the entire episode), and saves everyone.

So yup, pretty stupid, but entertaining in its own way. Not sticking with it, though.

Streaming on CrunchyrollUS, Canada, UK, and Ireland.

Ketsuekigata-kun! (Blood type-kun!; 2 episodes watched):
As a lot of you know, blood types in Japan are associated with certain personality traits, like horoscopes.

This series, which runs at two to three minutes an episode, anthropomorphizes the different blood types to poke fun at their stereotypical behaviors- how they date in episode 1, and how they respond to societal expectations in episode 2. It is kind of interesting from the point of view of learning more about what the blood types are associated with- more specifically, since I'm narcissistic, seeing what my own blood type's supposed to be like, even though I know blood type personality traits don't hold any more water than horoscope personality traits.

I am amused that whoever's producing this show felt the need to include disclaimers telling viewers not to make fun of other people based on the blood type stereotypes riffed on in this show, and that the blood types' personalities are incidental and don't actually have anything to do with their blood types, even though that's the point of this show? I guess I fail at having type A blood, since I'm not shy about asking someone out, don't see social norms as a gospel of the only right way to live, and like trying new things. lol

Majestic Prince (1 episode watched):
Some teenagers are chosen to pilot ships in a special mission for a space war. I don't remember much else, except that there was a slickly animated space fight and the girl on the far right in the screencap above was really annoying. I think the lead was like, "No, I won't give up!" at some point. I can't say the same about continuing this series.

Streaming on CrunchyrollUS, Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.

Otona Joshi no Anime Time (Adult Women's Anime Time; 4 episodes watched):
In January 2011, NHK aired a one episode adaptation of a prize-winning work of fiction by a female author, under the name Otona Joshi no Anime Time. That episode is about a woman named Noriko who returns to her hometown five years after marrying and living abroad, now with a four year-old son and intending to divorce her husband.
She doesn't tell her family what she wants to do as far as we see because she doesn't want to spoil the enjoyment of being with them for the first time in years. She remembers Hisao, the man she fell in love with before she met her husband, and meets him to get closure on what happened between them. I thought this was an excellent character study of someone dealing with how her life played out versus how she wanted it to play out- and still taking action to move forward. (i.e. Divorcing her husband instead of stewing in misery "for the sake of the kid"- like kids can't pick up on their parents being unhappy- or some other reason.)

I've watched all three episodes of the Otona Joshi no Anime Time continuation that aired this past March, each based on a different prize-winning work of fiction by a woman. Each OJnAT episode was animated by a different studio- the 2011 one by The Answer Studio, the first 2013 one by Production Reed, the second 2013 one by BONES, and the third 2013 one by Wao World.

OJnAT's second episode is the most wish fulfillment-y of the bunch. It is also the one that anyone who reads this blog would have the easiest time predicting my response to.

This episode is about a woman named Mimi who leaves her cold, unappreciative husband for a man who has actual affection her and appreciates her cooking- albeit in a way that made me want to elbow him in the gut at points. I would side-eye any guy who calls any single woman who is younger than him an "onna no ko" ("girl"), and his analogy comparing Mimi to a pet was icky even though, I know, it was meant to parallel her feeling like the abandoned kittens he saved from dying. I couldn't get as irritated as I might have by Mimi having no life at all beyond cooking for, cleaning for, and having sex with her boyfriend because she had such a god-awful life before meeting him. Her boyfriend telling her that she's good at cooking is the first time anyone has told her she's good at anything, so, in a way, I can understand where she's coming from in making cooking for him her life's purpose. Kind of hard to begrudge someone starved almost to the point of dying being overjoyed at getting something to eat, you know.

In short, I can't say I liked this episode, even though it was well-executed. I did like how it combined live action footage and animation.

Otona Joshi no Anime Time's third episode is about Hatoko, an office worker approaching her fortieth birthday who has some interesting choices on her list of top ten life moments. lol She is single and spends a lot of nights with her good friend whiskey, thinking over her life's top ten. Even she recognizes that this is a sad way to spend time.

A lot of older folks, I imagine, would sympathize with Hatoko being like "Holy shit, I'm almost forty? It doesn't feel like I'm almost forty. My life really hasn't gone the way I wanted it to." I was amused by her flashback to she and her middle school best friend predicting with dead certainty what their lives would be like at twenty, thirty, forty and when they're in their twilight years. (Like I'm completely beyond doing that. >_>; )

Her life not only did not go as planned because she is single and never married, she has a job with a snotty kouhai and friends who don't listen to her when she brings up non-trivial topics.

She decides to attend her high school class reunion because her first boyfriend Yuusaku, who she dated for three weeks in middle school before he dumped her for an older girl, is attending. She counts her time dating Yuusaku as the high point of her life's top ten. (To give you a better idea of her standards for that list, her grandma's funeral is on it too.) She expects Yuusaku to be a handsome adult, and hopes sparks fly when they run into each other.

Hatoko's batshit plan aside, I liked the part of this episode taking place at her class reunion because, even only about five years out of high school, I've been surprised at finding out what has become of some old high school classmates.

Hatoko runs into Yuusaku at the reunion. Rather than go to the reunion's after party, they get drinks and go to a love hotel. She later finds out that he wasn't Yuusaku, and laughs it off. Good for her being able to laugh it off, but I don't know if I would count something like that as my top moment in life. lol Although, yeah, we've established that she has some unusual criteria for that list. She learns to cook using the insanely expensive cooking ware he scammed her into buying and enjoyed the time she spent with him in the hotel, so I guess she got something out of it.

My impression of this episode is mixed- it is one part amusingly relatable, one part stupid and one part unintentionally funny. It also has my favorite art style of the OJnAT episodes.

OJnAT's fourth episode made me want to call home and apologize for taking so much for granted. It's a heartbreaking look at Maho, a woman who works as a cashier at night to support her family after her husband loses his job. Her husband, college-aged son, and high school-aged daughter don't care about how much she's doing for them, and her elderly mother only wants her to listen to her complaints, never listening to Maho.

Maho emotionally hits rock bottom before essentially telling everyone to go fuck themselves and deciding that she will live for herself more. The make-up drawn on her from that point on is a nice touch. I like that this episode focuses on family instead of romance, for a change of pace in this series. It's a rather bleak portrait of a family, but it's an involving one and also very much worth watching as a character study of Maho.

Railgun season 2 (1 episode watched):
I feel confident saying that the people writing the Railgun anime adaptations write Railgun better than its original creator. I lost interest in the Railgun manga, but still look forward to seeing how this season plays out.

While season one of the Railgun anime followed the Level Upper arc by resolving Kiyama-sensei's quest to save the children Academy City used as guinea pigs, in the manga, she gets carted off to jail after Mikoto defeats her and we never see or hear of her again.

The second season's first episode nicely bridges the two seasons, as Mikoto, Kuroko, Saten, Uiharu, and Uiharu's roommate Harue visit Banri (one of the kids Mikoto and the others saved at the end of season 1, and best friends with Harue) in the hospital to give her a present. A criminal recovering in that hospital makes a break to escape with help from his friends, taking Harue hostage in the process. Of course, things turn out fine, with Mikoto, Kuroko, Uiharu and Saten all getting chances to be awesome. Early on, we also meet Misaki, a Queen Bee at Mikoto and Kuroko's school who uses her mind-control ability to warn Mikoto from challenging her status in their school.

In short, fun episode. It highlighted the characters who made the first season great (the Sisters Arc's biggest weakness in the manga is its dearth of Kuroko, Saten and Uiharu (well, that and Touma lol; couldn't care less about him or the Index series); here's hoping they appear at least a little more in the animated adaptation of it), and I'm looking forward to watching episode 2 this Sunday. My only complaint about Funimation's treatment of this series is their translating Kuroko's "Oneesama" as "Sissy." That one stupid translation choice isn't a deal breaker for me, but, well, it is stupid.

Like Railgun season 1, Railgun season 2 is streaming on Funimation. US and Canada.

Red Data Girl (1 episode watched):
15 year-old Izumi lives at the Tamakura shrine, where she was raised. One day, she gives herself a haircut before going to school because she wants to be different. Because her hair is tied to her powers, which influence electronic devices, her haircut affects how her abilities manifest.

Her absent father wants her to go to school in Tokyo, but she tells him that she will stay in her hometown and he has no right to make decisions for her since he's never around. Unfortunately, this is the only spirit we see from her the entire episode.

Her guardian, a man named Sagara who looks like he could be her brother even though he has a son her age, picks her up early from school. He takes her to a hospital to have her abilities tested. When he brings her home, we meet Sagara's son Miyuki, who is Izumi's destined guardian and an asshole. Going from the next episode preview, he will become Izumi's love interest. Blech.

I don't see any reason to watch more based on this episode- especially because I found so little to like about Izumi and so much to dislike about Miyuki.

Red Data Girl is streaming on Funimation. US and Canada.

Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan; 2 episodes watched):
In a Medieval Europe-like setting, Eren and his adopted sister Mikasa live in a city bordered with fifty meter walls meant to keep out the man-eating giants, called Titans, that roam outside. The walls have held out the Titans for a hundred years. Eren doesn't want to spend his entire life inside the walls, and thinks that doing so is living like livestock. He plans to join the Recon Forces that venture outside the walls to attempt to reduce the Titans' numbers and learn more about them.

The day his parents find out what he wants to do, Eren's father leaves on a trip, telling Eren he'll show him what is in their basement after returning. A sixty foot Titan then breaks down the outermost wall, Wall Maria. A lot of townspeople are either crushed by rubble or eaten. The latter fate befalls Eren and Mikasa's mother as a friend of hers forcibly carries them to safety on her request. Her legs being incapacited, she couldn't run away herself.

In episode 2, Eren, Mikasa and their friend Armin make it out of the breached territory, into the safety of the land surrounded by Wall Rose. Because the refugees put a strain on Wall Rose's food supply, the citizens of Wall Rose send the adult refugees on a doomed "campaign" to reclaim Wall Maria's territory. A few years later, Eren, Mikasa and Armin join the youths being trained to kill Titans in the event of future attacks.

I like this show (it's in my top 3 of the season, with Gargantia and Railgun), but you might loathe it. Why might you loathe it?


  • The brutality of its premise. Too stupid to converse and driven to eat humans for the sake of eating humans- not for nourishment- the Titans are kind of like zombies, except that they aren't dead and can swallow you whole if they feel like it. I've taken a look at the manga, and the anime isn't as violently graphic, but there's still no shortage of blood spraying and horrific implications here. I am a horror fan and am completely fine watching something like The Walking Dead, so, although I am not a gorehound, my tolerance for that kind of thing is higher than most people's. (Although I still can't stand torture porn.)
  • Araki Tetsuro, who directed Death NoteKurozuka, Guilty Crown, and High School of the Dead, is directing this series. His vision is not subtle. As with this show's premise, I can understand some people being repelled by it. Even though there are a couple points in these first two episodes at which the direction feels overwrought to the point of being cartoonish (like when the leader of the Recon Forces snaps and rants that they haven't gained anything, for all the soldiers they've lost, after the mother of a fallen soldier asks him if her son's death helped the human cause), it mostly doesn't bother me and fits the mood the story's going for.


My biggest knock against this series is the question of how the huge walls meant to keep out the Titans were built after the Titans appeared. It would be an easy enough plot point to address- say, by making it that the walls existed before the Titans showed up and the surviving people in the area retreated behind them after things went to hell. For now, I'll stay hopeful that this plot point will be addressed satisfactorily.

Attack on Titan isn't high art, but I like it as popcorn entertainment/effective horror/a shounen series that will end, and want to see where it goes. Adding icing to the cake, Okazu reported that this series will have a yuri character named Ymir, who looks to be one of the teens training to fight the Titans.

Streaming on CrunchyrollUS, Canada, UK, and Ireland.

Sparrow's Hotel (1 episode watched):
Easily the worst-looking show this season, Sparrow's Hotel is another series composed of shorts.

Sparrow's Hotel follows the staff at a hotel. Most of the gags revolve around busty, none-too-bright, physically formidable Sayori, pictured above- Sayori fishing a hotel key out of her cleavage because she wanted to keep it warm for a (pretty startled) customer, her disappointing a customer who thought she was asking him out by being like "Do you have any plans after your stay in this hotel? Do you want to make an extended reservation?", mistaking a customer's love confession as his saying he loves the hotel, and making apple juice for a drunk customer by smashing an apple with one hand.

Hopefully next time someone adapts a 4-koma manga about grown-ups, it will be one that is good.

Streaming on Crunchyroll. Crunchyroll didn't list their region restrictions for this show when they announced it, but said they would later. I can't find any further news from them on that.

Suisei no Gargantia (Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet; 2 episodes watched): 
Urobuchi Gen's first one cour series since Madoka Magica, Gargantia is very good so far.

Urobuchi isn't doing as much work on this series as he did on Madoka and Psycho-Pass, but he is still in charge of its series composition. For anyone not sure, being in charge of a show's series composition = being the head writer, who directly writes at least one episode and plans out the rest of the series, supervising any other writers involved to make sure they write in keeping with how s/he wants the show to come out. Urobuchi scripted the first episode of Gargantia. The person who scripted episode 2, Tanimura Daishiro, has worked on several projects- including the screenplay for Wasurenagumo, which is an unsettling gem of a short horror movie. (Utterly different from Titan's brand of horror, for those of you who don't like Titan.)

As loads of other people have noted, Gargantia is a change of pace for an Urobuchi show- lighter in tone than Madoka, F/Z, and P-P.

Gargantia's protagonist Ledo is a soldier living in the distant future, in which mankind has moved into space and created a territory called Avalon for its most privileged. The computer running the battle mech that Ledo pilots tells him he has spent enough time on duty to earn four weeks of eating, sleeping, and reproducing as he pleases in Avalon after he finishes his current tour, to which Ledo has a pretty lukewarm reaction.

When Ledo and his fellow soldiers retreat from a battle against their alien enemy, the Hideauze, a Hideauze intercepts Ledo and he gets knocked off course. Ledo's mech wakes him up months later on what turns out to be Earth, which he thought had been rendered uninhabitable long ago.

Apparently global warming happened, so the people of Earth live on floating communities. The Earth people aren't nearly as technologically advanced as Ledo and, despite the obvious technical superiority of Ledo's mech over anything they have and their old legends about how some people left Earth to go to space when the Earth underwent major changes, are skeptical when he says he comes from space.

A teenaged girl named Amy believes Ledo and befriends him, and is the only one on his side when the leaders of her community discuss what they should do about him. They only agree not to do anything to Ledo because they fear he has companions out there who might want revenge. Unlike the grown-ups, Amy's kid brother thinks Ledo sounds awesome, and her two best friends are benignly curious about him.

When pirates attack in episode 2 (for all the warmth in the Earth scenes up to this point, mostly because of Amy, this series is blunt about the fact that pirates can really fuck you up if they target you), Amy asks Ledo to use his mech to help. He agrees, figuring that it will make a good bargaining chip. He kills all of the pirates with such quick, literally laser-focused precision that the Earth folks must realize by now that trying to do anything to him would have been suicidal.

Despite Gargantia's warmth- especially for an Urobuchi show- I fear for what might happen to the Earth characters if/when Ledo's people find him because of the distress signal he sent out. ^_^;

Gargantia's first episode did a great job establishing the differences between Ledo's society (which a friend and I jokingly called "Psycho-Pass in space") and Earth's society-  it imparted a lot by showing instead of telling. (And I'll admit I laughed at Ledo's mech's over-literal translation of Amy's cursing. I like how the language difference between Ledo and the Earth characters is being handled in general- more realistically than that kind of thing normally is in entertainment.) Episode 2 further established the characters, and... well, I'm excited to see how it'll play out. It's a well-written sci-fi adventure, and its visuals are sharp to boot.

Streaming on CrunchyrollUS, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Netherlands, Spain, South Africa, Turkey, Brazil, and Portugal.

Yuyushiki (1 episode watched):
Three best friends start high school. One of them is the sensible tsukkomi and the other two act as boke. There's some yuri-flavored humor that isn't going to lead anywhere. (Mostly the pink-haired one intentionally flustering the blonde by being like, "Let me kiss you on the cheek! Let me grab your boobs! Can you lick this ice cream off my face?") There are a lot of unfunny puns also. I don't expect anything ambitious from a show like Yuyushiki, but I don't think it's too much to expect to not be bored.

Yuyushiki is streaming on CrunchyrollUS, Canada, UK, Ireland, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, and Scandinavia.

6 comments:

Erica Friedman said...

I can confirm that "holy shit" moment. I'm 47 now, a good bet on actual mid-life for me and every once in a while you do get that. ^_^

Anonymous said...

Feel free to ignore Aku no Hana, but check out its ED, if you haven't already. It leaves an impresssion.

Katherine Hanson said...

@Anon- You weren't kidding- that was an interesting choice for an ED.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBlqxEIJ_Cg

Anonymous said...

what did you think of little witch academia?

Katherine Hanson said...

@Anon- Oh wow, Little Witch Academia slipped my mind until now. Visually, it's awesome, and the story's fun. I also liked the reveal about you-know-who at the end. Thank you for reminding me of it!