Zankyou no Terror (no, zankYOU!) has an effective first episode that leaves us with a bunch of questions.
We start in snowy somewhere, a nuclear plant of some sort, which is raided by two people in nuclear suits, who escape with only one explosion and no loss of blood anywhere, which is pretty good work. Then it’s six months later in Tokyo and hot as hell, and two high school boys who call themselves Nine (boyish) and Twelve (tall and austere) transfer in under different names and try not to call attention to themselves. We wonder who the other numbers are, and later, I wondered why they bothered to transfer into school in the first place. Later they set up an elaborate series of bombs and set them off, causing the building they targeted to blow up WTC style … except there’s a new classmate, Lisa, caught in there. They give her the chance of either dying or becoming an accomplice. Assholes.
Every moment in the episode looks good and well thought-out. It looks great, and the show flexes its animation muscles early when it follows the snowmobile around. What’s more, they split the time around between the boys, Lisa, and two detective types who spot a warning on Youtube. So we don’t really know what’s happening until the bombs go off … well, we can sort of guess. The show doesn’t waste time explaining things. We know that boys were an in institution and that something bad happened there, but nothing more than that. Lisa is not “one of them” but has emotional issues to deal with. Why did they save her? Twelve seems sympathetic to her but would have happily left her to die if she hadn’t followed directions. And why is that one guy an ex-detective? Unlike some shows, all these mysteries are set up subtly but clearly. Very interesting start. We’ll see how it pans out.
Next we have Ai Mai Mi – Mousou Catastrophie, a sequel to a show I don’t remember at all. And we get a lot of weird fantasy stuff, with manga stuff thrown in. I can’t make head or tail of this thing. Since it’s only three minutes long I suppose it doesn’t matter. Let’s move on.
Next it’s Rokujouma no Shinryakusha, a show tries too hard to be funny. We meet Koutarou, a boy entering high school who has moved into a place of his own to take it easy on his busy dad. Fifty bucks a month! Perfect! But his friend Makkenji tells him that it’s haunted. He sleeps through one ghost attack, but at work the next day falls through the earth’s crust and meets some cosmic girl who’s been waiting for him, the he wakes up. The next day the ghost confronts him over the apartment, which she claims is hers.
She is followed by a magical girl or cosplayer, a girl from underground who wants to take over the earth, a princess of a galactic empire, and then the landlady, who’s pissed about the mess they’re making. We’re supposed to react to this pile-on of weird females, but, as I said, they try too hard. The underground scene and the hints of people in the shadows and trees kept me interested for a while, but after the fighting began I kept hoping the next girl would show up soon because I was bored by the one being ridiculous on screen now. Also, it wasn’t terribly funny. I’ll give it another episode to see if things can settle down.
Tokyo ESP looks great, has some nice action bits in it, and it irritated the hell out of me.
Modern-day Tokyo, and suddenly everyone looks up and there’s a big rock floating in the sky, actually, the Parliment building. The MPs they haven’t killed already are being held hostage by a group of espers, a particularly nasty group, too, as they have no compunction at killing anyone who tries to stop them and anyone who isn’t trying to stop them. There are bad guys on the floating rock and more on the ground, wreaking havoc and distracting emergency and military forces until they’re at their wit’s end. Two members of an esper dispatch unit manage to fight one esper to a standstill, so I guess they’ll be recurring characters, and then there are some good espers who stop blending in and start kicking esper butt on their own.
The trouble is that the bad espers are such poor chariactures of anime villains that they sucked any sort of sympathy out of the situation and replaced it with annoyance and anger. The head bad guy, the one with the scar, starts off with a speech about how puny humans can’t see the truth so they must be enslaved, and right there the warning signs went off in my head. Of course, even bad bosses with bad lines seem to have minions, and their lines are even worse. “Strike! Mankind out!” I think hits a new low at bad villain jokes. Meanwhile, the humans that aren’t in special forces and getting killed kept saying “If only White Girl was here!” And at the end, when White Girl and her friends do indeed show up, it’s a relief. Not only because the news has all been bad before then, but because now at least some of the bad espers will shut up. I’m going to watch another episode, if only because the series does look great, but I think it’s tipped its hand early.
Finally, I think, we have Seirei Tsukai no Blade Dance. I think after the bad taste of those villains got out of my mouth it was a relief to see a poorly-animated generic show about witch-schools, magical powers, a harem, and lots of cries of “hentai!”
Well, not a relief, as I don’t think I’m going to watch this. We have Kamito entering an all girl’s magic school, where they all have pseudo-western names like Claire Rouge, or Greyworth, or Ashbell. Naturally, it starts with a Claire bathing and Kamito accidentally seeing her, magic attacks, and things move predictably along from there. The next important girl we meet is Ellis, a tsundere, (hell, every girl at the school who isn’t afraid of him is), who resents his being at the school and threatens to turn him into various kinds of food, which made me like her. And the Headmaster, Greyworth, is an evil witch who’s behind all this. None of it is very new or interesting, but it’s all agreeably dumb. I watch it again, but I won’t write about it.
I think I’m finished.