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3:00 PM on 04.22.2014

First Impressions: M3 The Dark Metal

A unique art style and mysteriously dark premise was beckoning me, telling me that this show had the potential to bring something really interesting to the season. With Junichi Saito at the helm, director of acclaimed Sailor ...

Dae Lee


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First Impressions: Kamigami no Asobi  photo
First Impressions: Kamigami no Asobi
by Brittany Vincent

Kamigami no Asobi is a lively reverse-harem series based on the visual novel of the same name, and if it ends up anything like the Hakuoki series, it should be a treat to follow. It's got everything: gorgeous boys (for everyone into that), fanservice, and a heroine who might actually be able to hold her own, unlike Diabolik Lovers' Yui. It's also rocking animation that doesn't prompt me to recoil in horror from the screen. I think it might be worth following!

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First Impressions: Nanana's Buried Treasure photo
First Impressions: Nanana's Buried Treasure
by Karen Mead

This show probably sounds like a really good idea on paper. It's filled with cool concepts like treasure hunting and classrooms that attack you until you solve puzzles, but it's also filled with multiple girls in maid outfits and tons of stale harem humor that kills the momentum early on. It's like two different kinds of shows were crammed together: one of them is a show about a group of students embarking on an exciting treasure hunt on a mysterious man-made island, and the other one is a harem show about a pervy dude who has a beautiful magical girlfriend floating around his apartment. Two episodes in, I don't feel like these two concepts have given any indication of working together.

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First Impressions: Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san photo
First Impressions: Inugami-san to Nekoyama-san
by LB Bryant

Normally, I don't like reviewing shorts because it's really difficult to get a full review out of something that's less than five minutes long. Every so often though, you come across a short that manages to pack a ton of laughs, heart and potential into a bite-sized package. This is one of those times. 

In this yuri comedy, you have two main characters and a supporting best friend character. Inugami-san is a girl who likes cats despite her name and Nekoyama-san is a girl who likes dogs despite her name. They are introduced by a straight man... err, mutual friend, and thus begins their friendship. 

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First Impressions: Love Live School Idol Project Season 2 photo
First Impressions: Love Live School Idol Project Season 2
by LB Bryant

It's been around a year since the last time we saw the girls from Otonokizaka High School and a lot has changed in that time. The nine girls are still school idols, but now Honoka has stepped up to become the new student council president. More importantly though, it seems that after a successful first event there will be a second Love Live competition for school idol groups to participate in and everyone wants to enter...except Honoka that is. For the entire first episode, the girls try to figure out why Honoka doesn't want to enter the competition and how they can change her mind.

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First Impressions: Black Bullet photo
First Impressions: Black Bullet
by LB Bryant

Taking place in the not too distant future, humanity has been infected with giant bugs called Gastrea. These bugs attack humans and infect them with a virus which then turns the victims into giant bugs themselves. There is no cure. The only defense that humans have against these attacks are cursed children: young girls who were infected with the virus while still in the womb. These girls are born with superhuman physical capabilities and are able to fight off the Gastrea, with the help of their 'promoters,' or normal humans who keep them in check. This series is about one such pairing: a loli is named Enju and her promoter Satomi Rentaro, who lost his parents ten years earlier in a great war. 

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First Impressions: Soul Eater NOT photo
First Impressions: Soul Eater NOT
by Jeff Chuang

When Soul Eater first rushed on to the screens and shelves of North America years ago, it brought along a fun story about Meisters with special powers who team up with Weapons who are also people with special powers. Its stylish visuals and shounen battle formula made for easy watching with some attractive characters. Soul Eater NOT, a spin-off manga-turned-anime, picks up the main thing Soul Eater left on the table: its setting.

In that sense, Soul Eater NOT is everything like Soul Eater: you have this crazy school full of people with super powers, people fight, and it's hardly what you'd expect of an everyday life sort of existence. In Soul Eater NOT, people still turn into weapons and students study to better hone their powers at school. Soul Eater NOT is, however, everything Soul Eater is not about: a few school kids getting along and growing up together, without the pressure of having to save the world.

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First Impressions: Mekakucity Actors photo
First Impressions: Mekakucity Actors
by Chris Walden

"Oh hey, a Shaft show! I didn't end up watching Nisekoi, so I'll be sure to watch this."

This was the only reason I decided to pick up Mekakucity Actors. I had no idea that I was diving into what seems like a reasonably well-established fandom, involving a bunch of Vocaloid songs and the stories that they may or may not be telling. 

I still haven't listened to any of these songs, or attempted to figure out what the deal is with this fandom, as I figured it'd be better to just go in blind. Or at least, as blind as the people I follow on Twitter would allow me to be. 

The hype reached a fever pitch when it aired on Saturday, and while screenshots of Vocaloid-y looking characters began to trickle onto my timeline, I was busy wondering whether this was going to be another Black Rock Shooter

Nah, I think we're okay. Shaft is handling it, after all!

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First Impressions: Baby Steps photo
First Impressions: Baby Steps
by Karen Mead

I really wish I was good at tennis. It's really the only professional sport that I have a lot of familiarity with, since my Mom often watched professional tournaments on TV dating back to when I was very young. I remember seeing Michael Chang score his famous, around-the-net Match Point in...what was it? 1995? Wow, I feel old, let's move on.

I've tried playing, but I just don't seem to be cut out for it. There's something wonky with my depth perception or something, so I always stick out my racket to where I think the ball is, only to be wrong and miss entirely. I don't know, maybe this is a correctable problem and I'm just too lazy to put in the requisite practice, but I've pretty much given up on ever playing seriously at this point. Now, with Baby Steps, I can explore the possibility of a world where I was not too lazy to learn how to hit that darn ball properly, and it's pretty neat.

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First Impressions: The Comic Artist and His Assistants photo
First Impressions: The Comic Artist and His Assistants
by Karen Mead

I wanted to like this. Maybe it's just due to super-fond memories of Doujin Work, but I have a bias towards any anime that happens to be about making comic books. So even though I knew this was going to be a series about a pervy comic artist that was going to be all pervy jokes about boobs and panties, I was hoping there would be a little more to it; that the humor might somehow be universal enough that I could still enjoy it, even though I get nothing out of the fanservice. Well, the short answer is, there's nothing more to it; it's just fanservice and jokes that aren't very funny.

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First Impressions: Is the Order a Rabbit? photo
First Impressions: Is the Order a Rabbit?
by Dae Lee

You know, I can enjoy some unapologetic fluff too. Sometimes these kinds of shows can be just the palate cleanser I need between heavier offerings.

It was for that very reason that I carefully curated Is the Order a Rabbit?, an adaptation of a 4-koma comedy manga by Koi. Since White Fox was announced to work on it (Super Sonico the Animation and the hilarious The Devil is a Part-Timer!), and Hiroyuki Hashimoto is directing it (episode director for notable shows like Bakuman and Angel Beats!), I felt that they could conjure up something cute and enjoyable for me to talk about, and I got pretty much exactly what I ordered.

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First Impressions: Selector Infected WIXOSS photo
First Impressions: Selector Infected WIXOSS
by Karen Mead

While taking in WIXOSS, I couldn't stop thinking to myself, "This show really, REALLY wants to be Madoka Magica," and you know what? That's probably really unfair. After all, Madoka was a groundbreaking show; there's nothing wrong with taking inspiration from it. And just because you can tell where the creators are gleaning some of their inspiration from, that doesn't mean they aren't bringing interesting ideas of their own to the table. But even so; if I had to describe this series in three words, as of right now I would say "Poor-man's Madoka."

But whether it's derivative or not, JC Staff must be doing something right with this psychic/card battle/magical girl anime, because I'm more than willing to come along for the ride.

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