What time is it, everybody? GOLDEN TIME!!!
Actually it isn't, it's time for the latest episode of Jtor AM, but Golden Time is involved, so it's kind of true. This week: the Toonami people try to get us hyped about a new anime... | subscribe
[Editor's Note: It's a little late in the season for First Impressions, but you know what? It's Valvrave. How could we resist?]
When last we left Valvrave the Liberator...
Actually, that phrase is a tad bit awkward, in my cas...
There comes a time in most people’s lives where they have the desire to escape from their own personal problems. In some cases, these individuals create a special reality that lets them relax peacefully. While things may seem fine and dandy, the harsh truth is that they're only delaying the inevitable that awaits them in the real world.
Based on this notion, Kyousougiga takes us into a realm where absolute happiness is nothing but a hollow illusion. Depending on the strength of our will, we might get lost in the wacky colors and antics that Mirror Kyoto has to offer.
After recovering from a delightfully painful doughnut addiction, I have decided to substitute my cravings for yummy fried pastries with a healthy serving of fruit. By combining my new habit with a well-balanced mix of street dancing and Sengoku Era combat, Kamen Rider Gaim is shaping up to be a nutritious addition to my tokusatsu diet.
Depending on how the story turns out, writer Gen Urobuchi might change the way we see fruit by the time that Gaim reaches its resolution next year. Until then, join me below as we dig into the first two servings.
Ever since Guilty Gear tantalized us with wonderfully animated cutscenes, we've been begging the world to give us an anime based on one of Arc System Works' fighting games. We rejoiced upon hearing that BlazBlue would be the anointed title, although I'm still miffed they didn't go with Guilty Gear.
I wanted 26 episodes of Bridget. Is there something wrong with that?
Now with the holiest of gifts delivered, does BlazBlue hold up to all that I've hoped and dreamed for? Is every second a moment of pure bliss? You know where you'll find the answer (and my disappointment): after the jump.
Typically, there're a few shows every season that critics can write off as dumb fanservice and/or otakubait shows, and from the promotional material, Outbreak Company looked like it was going to be one of them. To a certain extent, it is a pandering otaku show; the premise, featuring an otaku brought to a fantasy world to be the "ambassador" of otaku culture from Japan, is obvious wish-fulfillment material, and there's plenty of anime in-jokes to be had. From the fanservice angle, there's lots-- not only do we have a character who wears a maid costume 100% of the time, but there are jokes about breasts of all sizes.
Yet, while fanservice shows are notoriously lazy, Outbreak Company breaks the mold by harboring some rather strange, if welcome, ambition. I have to admit, whatever I may have expected from this show, it wasn't a meditation on the limits of good intentions when they come in the form of cultural imperialism, explorations of different kinds of social caste systems, and the way art can be a powerful weapon against political extremism. All of which this show touches on in its first three episodes.
I don't get it-- what's going on here? It's like half the staff of Outbreak Company got a memo that said "We are making a groundbreaking show that will both criticize otaku culture, yet also show why such enthusiast culture is positive, and perhaps even necessary for the advancement of human society," and the other half got a memo that said "LOL boobs, lolis and maids, let's do this thang!"
There's a saying in show business: "Don't start the show with a show-stopper".
Usually that advice is taken to mean something along the lines of saving the best parts of the performance for last, or to emphasize proper pacing. However, this nugget of wisdom can also be flipped around, so as to implore would-be performers not to open with the worst parts of their show, lest they drive away the audience they so treasure.
Just like you shouldn't lead your stand-up routine with the rape jokes*, you probably shouldn't open a new season of your anime series after a break of nearly two years with an extended fanservice episode that doubles as a lengthy ad for a fanservice OVA.
Heck, not only should you not lead with it, you also shouldn't continue with that behavior, as Infinite Stratos 2 does.
Yozakura Quartet-Hana no Uta makes me feel tired. It should be a good show: the premise of a town full of humans, monsters and half-monsters who all live together in a strained peace has potential, and the action scenes have a fun, over-the-top, X-Men sort of vibe to them that I enjoy. But I just don't have the patience for every stereotypical anime thing this show has in its bag of tricks.
Do you like panty shots? This show has them. Do you find it hilarious when one girl sneaks up behind another girl and fondles her breasts for no reason? That happens. Constant jokes about how the main character eats a lot? That too. I just...I don't know, guys. Am I getting old, or is this all just really tiresome?
To say that Gundam AGE was a disaster is an understatement. While the show started off well and had good intentions, it fell victim to holier-than-thou protagonists spitting out anti-war propaganda messages that made little to no sense. Not even a set of good-looking robots could save that mess. When the last episode limped to a flaccid conclusion, I wondered where the franchise would go next. It utterly failed in home video and kit sales, so the next entry would have to be something that could appeal to a wide audience, and make fans want to buy the kits again. Normally, this would mean that Sunrise would run to make another revision of the One Year War...but the thing is, that's what AGE was supposed to be. When the old standard fails, what comes next?
The answer is Gundam Build Fighters, an interesting play on nostalgia and fan service. Instead of a serious show set against the backdrop of war, Gundam BF involves kids duking it out with their special model kits. You read that right: people put together mobile suits from the entire history of the franchise and fight in virtual Gunpla Battles, with their pride in their kits on the line. If you think that sounds like a desperate attempt to sell old suits to a new audience, then you're not entirely wrong. However, that doesn't mean that the final product is bad- in fact, it's quite the opposite. I really enjoyed this lower-key Gundam.
What would a teenage boy do if he saw a porn mag on the side of the road? Take a peek, of course. What would Japanator do if it sees a new, funny, late-night fanservice comedy anime on Crunchyroll? Write it up, of course. And that's really the gist to Noucome, or My Mental Choices are Completely Interfering with my School Romantic Comedy. Normally, here at Japanator we like to use the English name that the legal streaming sites are using instead of the Japanese series nickname, but in this case, it's a choice between a 7-letter word and an 11-word title; it's a simple choice to break with protocol here.
What's not so simple is figuring out why Noucome is so funny. For a typical late-night comedy, Noucome plays the tropes like a card shark dealing with a bad hand. It bluffs and puffs, but do we, the viewer, dare to call?
Sports anime are kind of hit-or-miss with me. I loved Eyeshield 21, but couldn't get into Prince of Tennis at all, despite the fact that the show is generally considered crack for girls. So I wasn't sure what to expect from Yowapeda, a show all about riding your bike really fast. I don't particularly care about bicycles, but then again I didn't think I cared about football either, so you never know.
What I found was a show that, despite a standard premise, impresses with smooth visuals and distinctive characters that know how to be quirky without grating on your last nerve. Granted, if you've ever seen a sports anime, all of this will feel like well-trodden ground, but it's rare to see this style of anime delivered with so much polish.
Along with Samurai Flamenco, the second half of this season's renewed noitaminA segment is Galilei Donna. From Yasuomi Umetsu, the creator of Mezzo and Kite, Galileo Donna is an original story about three sisters carrying the DNA of the famous Italian scientist Galileo. Shingo Adachi is responsible for the character design and leads the animation production as well. A-1 Pictures takes these three eccentricgirls and put them under the microscope in the form of the usual heightened expectations for noitaminA.
The pedigree aside, is Galilei Donna actually any good? Can we make a call from the get-go? I'm just curious as to what the gold fish is all about.
Can you believe it's been five years since the Toradora! anime first aired? Crazy! I remember watching it in my first year of university, stuck in a cramped dorm room and going nuts every time Ryuuji did something stupid. It wasn't perfect, but it was a great first anime rom-com for me. It's probably responsible for getting me to explore more anime in that genre, so for that it has my thanks.
But hey, why am I talking about Toradora! in a write-up of Golden Time? Well, after Yuyuko Takemiya finished the light novels for Toradora!, he must have thought that he hadn't had quite enough of the romantic comedy genre yet. Scoot forward a year or so, and the first Golden Time novel hit the shelves.
With that, my expectations are set. Here's hoping for a fun, goofy and charming show! Find out if that's what we got after the jump.