First Impressions On: Winter Anime, and other things

So I notice it’s been a long time since I posted anything anime related, but I haven’t started a draft review on anything I planned so this should further delay them as I think about what anime series (Kaiji animes, and live action movies are currently the frontrunners), and anime movies (Unico and its sequel are being draft) to review this year. It’s also winter seasons, and from what I gathered the series that were too premiered this season have already started. I don’t consider posting first impressions much since I don’t feel they require much effort from me no matter how I think about them. Unlike a review, my immediate impressions on a single episode won’t be as detailed as when I complete something, and my thoughts on what I’m initially experiencing can change the longer I stick to it. I’m also not organized in expressing my initial thoughts on anything often finding my thoughts going somewhere else on a regular basis. For this instance, I’ve been lacking in the creating content aspect so it’s the least I could do.

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Assassination Classroom Season 2

Studio: Lerche

Length: 25

How many have I seen: 1 out of 3 that currently aired as of this moment

I didn’t like the first season of Assassination Classroom much for the same reason I found One Punch Man average; the comedy in both barely made me laugh. However, at least One Punch Man had the decency to be short, while it did relish in shounen tropes it at least cut out the filler portion when One Punch Man joined the battle, and had a cleared a direction. The first season of Assassination Classroom had nothing One Punch Man did right to even be average. For instance, the tone is all over the place with it wanting to be a light hearted comedy, but also provide serious commentary on the flawed education system in Japan. The first problem with this is it’s being done in the shounen genre where characters, and conflicts are usually kept simple. Instead of fighting their opponents with fists the cast in Assassination Classroom fight against their opponents with Test Scores which yes, is as lame as it sounds.

It also couldn’t shift between tones successfully going all out in being serious, or being light hearted for its whole run. Never finding a perfect mixture of the two tones. Creating a disjointed series of events when it came to delivering its material. Then there’s the story which was predictable. Given the tone it aimed it was made clear the students would fail to kill Kuro Sensei until maybe the last episode, but that quickly got spoiled with the existence of a second season. So the premise itself ruins the experience in season one since the existence of a second season confirms threat Kuro Sensei doesn’t get kill. When allot of the humor relies on that lone aspect it’s a one joke series that get tiresome to witness.

The story also follows a classroom filled with 25 characters in the first episodes. Obviously it can’t introduce everyone in the first episode unless it wanted a pilot episode to be two hours long, but why Lerche studio didn’t bother changing anything when adapting the manga into anime is a bigger issue. For instance, why bother having a classroom with 25 students only to introduce two more students later on in the series that receive more screen time than those that who appear in the first episode. Simply make them part of the initial cast from the first episode to avoid this issue, or remove the fluff characters that don’t do much. By removing the fluff characters it give more time to the ones who actually contribute to the story be better utilize, and allow them more chances to grow as characters. Also, why have a main character when the classroom goal are the same. It would have allowed viewers to get to know other characters, and what they were struggling through. Instead, it has it leading character with feminine looking guy Nagisa.

Now when the first episode aired I had to read subtitles to know what was going on. I had to, get this, pay attention to the anime English subtitles along with everything else on screen. You could imagine the cringe-worthy comments I sometime bother reading on my goto legal, and illegal anime streaming site when viewers were surprised Nagisa was a dude. If you saw the English dub I understand it’s not as easy to catch, but for those who had to read subtitles what were they doing while watching the anime? In the middle of the first episode when Nagisa has a flashback there’s a subtitle that says “Ooh. Well, that’s it for him” followed up with “I better delete him from my address book”. In this scene, Nagisa is being shunned by his classmates, and within the scene is given a literal spotlight pointed at him. Nagisa is also in a dark room with him being the only visible character, and barely visible outline of others students in the background. So the characters obviously couldn’t be talking about anyone else in this moment with how it was being presented either. Which begs the question, what were the viewers doing watching an anime with English subtitles if they’re not going to bother to pay attention!

Another irksome aspect of the whole series, for me, is Assassination Classroom oozes in its double standards, and wearing it on it sleeve like a badge of honor. I mean, it is wrong when the fictional school does not treat all students equally, but it’s not wrong when the anime itself places more focus on certain characters inequal. By this logic, the series itself is about as villainous represented as the school system it criticizes with no irony, or self awareness to use it in comedy. There other aspects of the series I didn’t like, but the biggest one is Kuro Sensei weakness. I won’t spoil it for those who haven’t seen, but for anyone who seen M. Night Shyamalan movie Signs you know it already since it’s the same as in that movie. It makes this particular twist a bigger gap in logic since Kuro Sensei gets slower the more he gets exposed to this substance, except for the fact it breaks logic establish within the anime when it doesn’t effect Kuro Sensei speed in previous episodes before it’s reveal.
So what about the actual first episode of season 2 for Assassination Classroom? It was tolerable, and a bit amusing. Kuro Sensei, and eventually the student were playing hook up in the pilot episode which as expected of shounen goes nowhere in the episode. Like last season, the first episode didn’t make me laugh much, but unlike the first season pilot episode. Season 2 shows to be leaning more on the lighthearted side of its tone which is welcome for now. As far as first impressions goes it didn’t get me hooked as someone who disliked the first season, nor did it change my perspective in any way. To be honest, it was probably a good move for season 2 to standout like it did to ease viewers back into its story. However, having rolled my eyes at the discover it’s listed for 25 episodes is not a comforting idea for someone who dislikes the series. My prediction for the series, if it falls trap to the same issues of season one, it’ll end up being a bad anime. I would give the first season for Assassination Classroom a 3/10, which is the same rating I gave to Aldnoah.Zero (both seasons) which is one of my most hated anime series.

Assassination Classroom Season 2 First Impression Score: 4/10

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Bubbuki Buranki

Studio: Sanizgen

Length: Unknown

How many have I seen: 1 out of 3 that currently aired as of this moment

I wasn’t excited for this series when I looked into it. The one reason I knew about it was the studio behind this, Sanizgen, animated the anime Arslan Senki last year. While I did like Arslan Senki simply for the plain fact it was at least competent compare to what anime came out in 2015 the story was typical, and average for the genre. You have young royalty naive in the understanding of the world getting his whole kingdom taken away from him from either a forgotten bloodline/someone loyal to the king, and the young royalty having to roundup warriors to create an army to take back his kingdom. You seriously can’t get any more typical than that for a fantasy/war drama story as the major narrative points are telegraphed before they occurred. Saying this kind of story has been done to death would still be underplaying how frequently the template use in this specific genre format. The same applies to the animation; when it stayed in 2D animation it was okay, but when 3D was involved it was jarringly bad at times. While the story did evolve by having its protagonist get involve in the politics of running a kingdom, and had good pacing to progress naturally it had too many characters most of whom didn’t receive development. If I didn’t enjoy it I would rate it a 5, which on my scale I consider to be average. Me simply liking Arslan Senki doesn’t make the anime better than average. I could confidently say both anime of Kaiji, regardless of me liking them, are excellent anime series. Arslan Senki is simply average, but it’s the kind of average that did specific things right for me to like it.

Bubuki Buranko on the other hand gave me more to worry about when I saw the trailer. I’m not against 3D animated series, unless they are from Japan since generally they don’t spend the time, nor money on 3D animation compare to what the US provides. It’s seriously pathetic that Donkey Kong Country, a 3D animated series from 1996 has consistent frame rate, but both seasons of Sidnoia no Kishi/Knights of Sidonia that came out in 2014, and 2015 don’t even have that. My hatred for the sci-fi trite that is Knights of Sidonia is further exemples when considering Donkey Kong Country also has more expressive characters. What’s further maddening is Donkey Kong Country had some terrible musical numbers, yet those sometime hilariously awful pieces of music provided me more entertainment than anything I’ve seen in both seasons of Knights of Sidonia.

So the 3D was off putting, and the synopsis did nothing for me. It was promoted as an original creation from the studio, but given how typical the story was in Arslan Senki it didn’t boast any positive reactions from me. When I finally got around to seeing the first episode it was a mess of a pilot. Now, while seeing it I found the anime surprisingly tolerable, but once I thought about it I realize what an absolute trainwreck it was. For starter, the world building does not answer anything. Half of the episode is spent on this planet, or crater inhabited by machines called Buranki. Where they came from isn’t explained. Why the main character family lives on this crater isn’t explained. The main character has a heart that everyone wants, but there’s no explanation for what it does. Since I was bored, I just traded the word Heart for Penis in my head to laugh at laugh at the story. It’s also all action in the first episode as the characters it introduces have little defining features to them, and half of the episode is spent on the main character being in constant danger. Four times, within the first episode the main character could have died, but doesn’t.

Everything else in the series was so badly established I stop caring before reaching the end of the first episode. When it does end there’s even more questions that pile on. Since it isn’t established what a Buranki is imagine my confusion when the main characters is shocked when one is simply a pile of bones now. So, the Buranki are organic machines? If so, how come one of the weapons, called Bubuki, is a hand from one of these Buranki? Can they feel emotion? Because if they can, it’s twisted to think children with this knowledge would actively take limbs from this organism, and use the limbs for combat. Also, one of these Bubuki simply looks like a more upgraded of Glover.

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Yeah, remember this guy? Though, a dark anime adaptation of Glover would be better.

One positive thing I will say about it is the 3D animation had consistent framerate for the first episode is already better animation than both seasons of Knights of Sidonia which never had consistent frame rate in a single episode. Just like in that series, the characters all move robotically, and unlike Knights of Sidonia, the voice acting in Bubuki Buranki is bad. My prediction for the series is that it’ll be a story of children fighting against evil adults to save the world. I’ll still finish the anime since, at this moment, it didn’t feel like a chore to get through. While the story was a trainwreck it didn’t do anything to personally frustrate like the other 3D anime, Knights of Sidonia, constantly did in every episode. I doubt the story will evolve into anything decent, but it ends up being tolerable it’s a step up for Japanese 3D animation.

Bubuki Buranki First Impression Score: 2/10

I don’t give a VAN DAMME: 10/10

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Dagashi Kashi

Studio: Feel (No, seriously that’s the name)

Length: 12 Epsiodes

How many have I seen: 2 out of 3 that currently aired as of this moment

Now I didn’t intend to see this anime series because the synopsis sounded boring. It’s a slice of life about a candy store. Nothing about that description interests me? So why did I see two episodes of the anime? My little brother dropped the anime 10 minutes in, and said he didn’t want to see it. So I told him I’ll also see it since yes, as horrible as it can be at times, seeing bad anime is necessary to develop standards for the medium, and different genres.

The first episode was surprisingly entertaining for me so I saw another. Unfortunately, the anime reminds a bit of D-Frag where the humor relied on characters acting over the top over minor things. The humor does appeal to me, but just like with D-Frag, there likely won’t be character development, nor much of a story to tell. Granted the two episodes of Dagashi Kashi I saw did make me laugh, but the jokes don’t have any structure to them. It’s random for random sake. It’s not something like Monty Python, and the Holy Grail (a favorite of mine) that while random has a structure to delivering it jokes that makes them funny even on repeated viewing. I also seen it over a dozen time because the story wasn’t an afterthought making the sight of people reacting angrily to the ending hilarious for me.

Episode 2 had one of those WTF am I watching moment, but even stranger was it duplicated part of the opening to the original Mobile Suit Gundam replacing the robots with candy products. It was a surreal sight to  behold which had me laughing. Narratively it was a stupid to get exposition, but at the same it was so nonsensical I was laughing. If you like slice of life you might enjoy this, but the main reasons I don’t like many slice of life anime also hold true here. There won’t be much of a story, virtually no conflict, little continuity in anything, and the characters will be probably learn something from a life changing experience without showing the result of it. The animation is okay I guess, but the one issue I do have is Saya Endou, and Kokonotsu Shikada eyes are very off putting for me. It seems like they never stop taking cocaine with their wide eyes never blinking. Which is why I theories by the end of the anime it’ll be reveal they were Vampires the whole time, and the candy are made out of people. It’s simply genius.

I do have expectations, but when looking up studio Feel, and seeing they created titles like Bikini Warriors (original creation from what I could gather), Kiss X Sis, and Makura no Danshi (an original creation) quality isn’t really a priority for Feel. At this point, I think they’ll settle for making an anime that at least is popular on some level. I pretty sure it’ll be popular to some degree because of Hotaru Shidae is hyper, weird, has purple hair, and has the fun personality. She also is shown eating candy suggestively too.

Dagashi Kashi First Impression Rating: 4/10

Amusement Rating: 7/10

 

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Dimension W

Studio: Studio 3Hz

Episodes: 12

How many have I seen: 1 out of 3 that currently aired as of this moment

Now finally on to the first anime that premiered this year that had me facepalm in how lame it was. The studio behind this doesn’t have much of a resume so to know if they could pull off something decent, but the first episode looks cheap. In certain shots, there are backgrounds that are a single color wall. Whether or not it’s stylistic is hard to tell since the anime can’t afford to have good CGI in its opening animation for a car chase. Along with having little substance, and lame action in the first episode it comes across as trying to be cool, but failing. Try to imagine a an old man in his 80s trying to be gangsta and that’s this anime in a nutshell.

My biggest issue with this anime besides being lame, badly explaining the story, and a main character is who doesn’t do much at the moment are the ass shots of the loli. In the world of Dimension W there are these things called coils which to the best of my ability are basically robots that harness energy. One of them just happens to look like a little green hair girl. Who begs the question, how perverted will the people behind this anime be? They had various ass shots in one episode that would you mistake this for an A-1 Pictures animes. I have don’t much to add to this one since the studio is relatively new, and they aren’t impressing me in any category of the anime.

I do expect this anime to be bad since the last anime that used a song from the band Stereo Dive Foundation I seen was Kyokai no Katana/Beyond the Boundary which was an absolute mess of an anime. So with that reasoning, I expect this anime to end up being bad too. Sure the logic makes no sense, but when the first thing that comes to mind after a single episode is lame than I pretty much put on my conspiracy theorist cap on to make correlations between things I hate. It also has dancing into the opening animation, and so far out of the three anime I saw that include dancing in its opening only Princess Tutu I like which has allot of elements I don’t care for, but man, the anime is very great regardless of my lack interest in those things (young kids romance, fairy tales, balet). The other two anime being Death Parade which was a mess of writing, and finally Overman King Gainer which, yes, has an awesome goofy opening song.

Dimension W First Impression Score: 3/10

Lameness Rating: 9/10, or Steven Seagal

 

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Hai to Gensou no Grimgar

Studio: A-1 Pictures (dun, dun, duuuunnnnnn)

Length: 12 Episodes

How many have I seen: 1 out of 3 that currently aired as of this moment

For me, Madhouse, JC Staff, and A-1 Pictures are a trio that no matter the quality of whatever anime they make I always given so much material to work with. No matter what anime I see from them I always have so much to say about whatever they made. Madhouse I love no matter whatever trash they put their name on (Death Parade, Mahouka Kouku no Rettousei), and I think positively of them for bringing to life Death Note, two seasons of Kaiji, Trigun, and several other great works into animation. Even JC Staff for how uninspired they come across have made things I liked. A-1 Pictures on the other hand has made some of most infuriating anime I’ve seen from any studios.

First off, there’s Sword Art Online which has some terrible, terrible writing. However, I enjoyed the first season for the bad writing, sadly that wasn’t carried over into season 2 as it was simply bad. Season 2 of Sword Art Online was very boring, tedious, and not much happened in it. Then there’s Aldnoah.Zero which is the anime I think about first when it comes to broken writing. Sure I said Death Parade has broken writing, but at least it did a few things right with the characters. However, Aldnoah.Zero offers nothing in the story department. Things simply happen just because, and there’s no logic to it. It expects you to sympathize with a character who was part of a group that assassinated the princess of the universe which sparked a war. It wants you to feel sad for the fact her father died by the hands of the people she helped, pretty difficult when she shows no sympathy for causing the death of million of innocent people, and even still tries to kill the real Princess even after being betrayed by the people she was suppose to help.

Oh man, and there’s the piece of garbage that is Gunslinger Stratos. If it wasn’t for Ninjaslayer From Animation I would have given the award for worse animation to Gunslinger Stratos. No one should ever had to expose to those awful action scenes, and the brief moments it shows characters flying towards the camera. Everything about the anime is terrible, but when you apply the story, and characters it’s even worse. It becomes so convoluted it’s hard to follow. Exposition, upon exposition, delivered by characters who are one dimension without anything interesting about them culminated into an anime that went out of it way to take life away from my soul. Well, A-1 Pictures did animate Shinsekai Your/From The New World which is easily the best anime with A-1 Pictures name attached to it. I recommend seeing that anime from the studio, but everything else from A-1 Pictures I’ll say be cautious with.

Now with A-1 Pictures latest offering they have recycle ideas, and nothing much else. Expected this from the studio who for some reason, decided to be faithful to the manga of Fairy Tail even though every battle is won by the power of friendship. I have other issues with the writing of Fairy Tail, but seriously, the fact A-1 Picture didn’t bother changing the material into anything good demonstrates a lack confidence from them in understanding good writing, and good storytelling. The backgrounds seems like concept for an anime not the finalize version of them. While characters design are bland like the vanilla conversations revolving around a group of teenagers that have amnesia. Seriously, I would want to have amnesia so I could rewatch Death Note for the first time again, and be addicted to it to remind myself how immensely enjoyable anime can be.

Hai to Gensou no Grimgar First Impression: 3/10

 

As far as anime goes that’s about it from what I saw. I’m planning on seeing Showa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, but likely won’t write about it. So what’s the other things in this blog entry? Well more impressions, and not anime related.

 

 

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The Man In the High Castle

Length: 12 Episode

Duration: 60 Min.

Distributor: Amazon.com

Episodes Seen: 1 out of the 12 that aired

One thing about me that isn’t noticable online is my lack of viewing live action television series. The last live action tv series I followed was Breaking Bad. It was a tv series that had everything I wanted from a tv series that couldn’t be done in movie format. I was hooked from the first episode, and never once ever considered dropping it. For me, both Breaking Bad, and The Twilight Zone (1959 – 1964) provide some of the best pieces of writing on television that I don’t have feel an urge to see anything else on tv. They appeal to me on every level offering engaging characters, and contemplative storylines. No matter how acclaim any live action tv series I won’t see it unless I get recommend to see from a friend. And even then I probably won’t finish it for good reasons, or something arbitrary. For instance, despite friends, and families telling me to see Game of Thrones I don’t bother with it since I’m not really into the Fantasy genre.

Another example is me completely dropping The Walking Dead despite, yes, friends, and family insisting I continue to see it. I like season 1, but completely dropped it midway into season 2 because it was going to turn into every single zombie movie ever made. The reason I liked season 1, and the first season was because there was room for expansion for this tired story. Zombies stories are one of the least interesting type of stories for me. If anything has zombie it already loses my interest because of how disinterested I’m into these creatures. However, in the first season characters go to a place they think is safe, it get overrun by zombies, then have to look for a to place to live. It did this three times during season 1, and I was okay since zombies stories in general are secluded so I would welcome a change in scenery. Then came season 2 where literally nothing happened for like what, 6 VAN DAMME episodes. It was boring, slowly becoming more trite by its usage of zombie movies cliches, and then finally the violence is not enough for me to see anything zombie related anymore. I saw a movie called Dead Alive directed by Peter Jackson which is the bloodiest, and goriest movie ever made. It’s because of that movie blood, and gore is something zombie media can longer capture me with. They need a story, but with The Walking Dead it’s repetitive with season 2 showing characters will live temporarily in a safe area, then it’ll get overrun by zombies, and the characters have to look for a new place to live. I barely see zombie movies so what makes my offline friends, and family think I’ll dedicate my time to an entire tv series on zombie is beyond me.

Now, as for The Man In the High Castle I was very interested in seeing it. World war 2 is a subject, and a part of history I’m sucker for. Just the insane amount of events that occurred, and the larger than life figures during that time never made me bored relearning the same things in every history class in high school. So when I saw a tv series that depicted an alternate version of WW2 where Germany won I had to see it. I will give the pilot episode the credit that’s very cinematic, and the set design is fantastic. The world building is also excellent. My favorite moment being the main character wonders what’s falling from the sky, and the police that’s helping him tells him it’s the hospitals burning the unwanted. I’m not sure on the exact wording since I it back in November, but that was a good moment for me.

Everything else from the characters, and story was very underwhelming. It depicted the Naiz as simply being evil, and the people rising against as good guys. For something of this premise I was hoping for more grey in presentation of the characters. Hitler for instance is a grey area to talk about. Sure he killed dozen of Jews, but at the same time got Germany out of an economic pitfall. There’s other stuff too, but basically Hitler is difficult individual to put in one category if you take into account both the good, and bad he contributed to the world. So that one negative mark towards it.

Another thing I didn’t like was how much nothing the pilot episode was. It ends simply being two people thrown into this rebellion against the Nazis meeting up at a specific location. That’s some dull creativity right there. Everything in between was also disappointing. I did like the fact there was a Jewish character who had to hide his religion because of the world he lived in, but there was no hint of more complex feelings on the matter. Nothing like why he remained in the Jewish faith despite the world around him, or if he consider Hitler is possibly correct about the Jews. Now our main character is a simple guy who wants to fight against the Nazis since it’s the right thing to do I guess. There’s nothing wrong with that, but when I picture an alternate take if Germany won WW2 this isn’t what I expected.

The Man In the High Castle First Impression: 5/10

 

 

Gakistal (The Bridal Mask In English)

Length: 1 H.

Episodes: 28

How many have I seen: 1 out of 28 episodes

I went into Gakistal after receiving recommendation from a friend who’s a fan boy of this series. Now I should get across this isn’t my first time seeing a Korean television. I did see the 2011 Korean series named City Hunter back in 2012 on Netflix. I liked it. It had a great soundtrack, good action scenes, and a solid writing. One thing I didn’t like was the romance was the will they, or won’t they date variety which became tedious. That’s saying something when I tell you the series was only 20 episodes long. However, that’s about it for my experience in Korean television. I always considered seeing more Asian television series. One thing I don’t like much about Western television is there’s always a clear distinction between television action, and movie action produce material. It’s the budget, but Asia film industry aren’t as crazy as spending hundred of millions into a single film. So when they produce an action series for television you can’t really there’s much of a difference because the way Asian production manage money differently than US productions.

With that said, I was disappointed with the first episode. Not because it didn’t have any action, but because I was entirely bored seeing it. If we cut out the average fight scenes I’m left with a story that has boring characters, mixed up politics, and no clear direction in what it wants to be. Gakistal is set in an era where Korean is being oppress by the Japanese and forcing them to speak Japanese, yet all the characters speak the Korean language. The masked Gakistal vigilante isn’t our main character, but instead someone who has to capture him. So the series could be a cat, and mouse came with the main focus being the cat constantly failing to capture the mouse. I don’t know about you, but unless it’s Tom & Jerry I’ll probably get bored with this formula. Especially when taking into account there could possibly be 28 episodes of this. The acting, and set design was fine, but like with The Man In the High Castle it offered nothing for me to gravitate towards.

Gakistal First Impressions: 4/10

 

Japanese Spider Man

Length: 24 Min.

Episodes: 41

How many have I seen: 6 out of 41

The only television series in this blog post I would recommend you see. If you like power rangers, and cheesy storylines this is the series for you. It deviate heavily from the original source material probably all Westerner are accustomed too. In this version there’s no Peter Parker, but there is Planet Spider, and some nonsense about the main character father waiting on for around several centuries to give his son the power of Spider Man. Yeah it’s goofy, but at the same time that’s was charming about it. It has a retro feel to it that is undeniable from its presentation. I would say more on this series, but if you like Power Ranger you should enjoy this since they both have the same formula. Also, that theme song. Classic 70s cheese.

Japanese Spider Man First Impression Rating: 7/10

 

Phew! I think that’s about everything I wanted to give an impression on. I would rate my impression of recently becoming an uncle, but there’s scale to express how happy I am for my family. Plus, at 21, I’m already receiving old people jokes, and handed canes. Well, if you made it through, I’m impression of you is a 10/10. Until next time, something, something, something.

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