New 2014 Fall #2

And now, the welcome return of Log Horizon.

A fierce knight is about to appear.
A fierce knight is about to appear.

The first episode of the new season has odd bookends. First we see some people we don’t know doing battle, which I think a flash-forward, and at the end an odd scene with Shiroe and Akatsuki, in real life garb, talking about being defeated, and it’s Christmas Eve. When we get to the current time it’s a little after Halloween, so there’s our timeline. A hell of a way to set things up. In between the teaser and the preview it’s the usual new-season stuff. Quickly introduce the regular characters in a non-crisis event, then move on to Shiroe and the problem at hand. They need money!

Naotsugu is ready for the punchline.
Naotsugu is ready for the punchline.

Shiroe isn’t telling everybody everything. We’re told the guild needs cash for operating costs but Shiroe tells some people that he needs far more than that, like all the money in the world. Naturally, he won’t tell us why, just pushes his glasses up. The ending, and a line Naotsugu says, hints that he might make a mistake in negotiations, or doesn’t trust his allies enough, or too much. Hard to tell. The sad part is he’s cut himself off from a number of people who could help him with this, and it means that we won’t see much of Akatsuki except for quick scenes where she pines for him. But it’s early yet. Once again, I probably won’t write about this show, but I’ll watch it anyway.

This hand is about to snatch a precious jewel.
This hand is about to snatch a precious jewel.

I thought about skipping Magic Kaito because I thought there would be nothing of interest to me. I should have followed my instincts. We start with the mysterious Kaito Kid, who has reappeared after eight years, and an annoying kid named Kaito, whose magician father vanished eight years ago, who takes an interest in catching him. We watch him make an ass of himself in the classroom, not that anyone there minds, including the teacher, and the startling (to Kaito, not to us) revelation that he’s the son of the famous thief. So he decides to catch this reappeared Magic Kaito and get to the bottom of it.

magickaito1-1

I suppose its old-school style might be appealing to some, but for me it simply feels wrong to use such an approach in a modern setting. Maybe the worst part is Nakamori, the inspector who’s devoted his life to catching Kaito, and is completely incompetent, as is the police force he commands. The thief steals a jewel and they just stand there and gape. It takes Nakamori forever to realize Kaito might be on the roof and then he uses the stairs to get there. Meanwhile, Kaito has a showdown with his father who really isn’t, and the long term plot, which might actually be interesting, kicks in. A shame I won’t see what they do with it. This kind of storytelling might have been fun twenty years ago, but we’ve moved on.

A flash-forward from a flashback, or something.
A flash-forward from a flashback, or something.

Madan no Ou to Vanadis is one of those shows where I keep reaching for my notepad to scribble all the weird, pseudo-European names they throw at me. Basically, we have a young Count Vorn (call him Tigre), who, trying to make a statement in a battle his side’s already lost, tries to take out the enemy war maiden, Eleonora (call her Elen), who takes him prisoner and treats him better than his own side ever did. Brune, his old side, is in it for plunder, and since his lands are poor he’s treated like shit. Meanwhile Zhcted, the supposed enemy, gives their prisoner a decent room, good food, respect of the soldiers for his bow prowess, sexy war maidens, and lots of looks at Elen, including a seeing her naked scene, which she doesn’t mind at all. Which side would YOU choose?

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It’s tempting for all the wrong reasons. A light, ridiculous old Europeanish war tale with lots fanservice. The first episode was told serviceably, though I wonder about starting with a scene which jumps to a flashback which loops back to the first scene, all in the first five minutes. I’m interested in learning about these two countries and why they’re fighting, but I’m not expecting coherency there. I’ll probably watch another episode or two, realize how stupid it all is, and drop it then.

Pipes in a fancy lab.
Pipes in a fancy lab.

Not sure what to think about Ushinawareta Mirai wo Motomete yet. We start with a scene of high-tech labs, a cube, and a disappointed scientist, then switch to a happy high school situation and follow a boy named Sou doing your normal high school things, except the class beauty Kaori is living with him and his family, or it’s the other way around. They’re members of the astronomy club, who go around breaking up fights between other clubs, or beating them up might be a more accurate description. Oh, one of the club members, Hanamiya, now has that cube. Love triangles are revealed, confessions are made, and then blammo! Kaori gets hit by a truck and dies. As I was trying to fit that into my brain, they scroll back in time to a few days before and introduce an earthquake and a naked girl fallen to earth. O-KAY!!

The astronomy club, getting into another fight.
The astronomy club, getting into another fight.

I’m relieved that they just didn’t kill kaori off. That would have meant a tragic over-toned, getting over it series, and who needs that? Not sure that replacing it with time loops and mind games is any better for some people, but it is for me. The mind games will continue as apparently there’s a heavy Proust influence going on. I’ve never read him, so I might be in trouble. All I ask of the show is to go light on the unrequited love, heavy on the SF weirdness, and for more of Airi, my favorite character so far, and not because of the fanservice. Oh, series, if you’re going to toss in a lot of time loops, don’t get too confusing with them, okay?

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2 thoughts on “New 2014 Fall #2

  1. I agree that the storytelling and vibe of Magic Kaito felt too old school. Didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, but it still has potential I think.

    Madan no Ou and Log horizon are okay shows for me. Not too excited but I’ll keep watching them. I have a feeling that there are going to be lots of time loops in Ushinawarete Mirai so I’m bracing myself for it. that having said, never played the visual novel or whatever.

    Nice writeup though.

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