New 2014 Fall #3

By the way, this is post #1000. I hope you’re enjoying me so far …

Hi Rin!
Hi Rin!

We’ll start with Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works. The original FSN came out back in my earliest days of anime viewing, and I can still remember me as a wee lad, staring at the screen, saying cute things like “Damn it Shirou! Quit being so goddamn noble and let Saber fight for once! She can kick ass a lot better than you!” Fortunately, the UBW version, which I’m not familiar with, focuses on arguably anime’s greatest tsundere, Rin, and episode one shows her working hard to conjure up her ideal servant, Saber. We all know what happens …

ubw1-1
ubw1-2

Much of it is a delight. Archer takes one look at his new master and decides she couldn’t possibly do the job, while Rin is still pissed off that Archer isn’t the one she wanted. So we get a lot of snarking and retorts, and a command spell to demonstrate who’s boss here, not that we at home needed to know. But once the dust settles (or after Archer cleans it up … heh) they stop with the insults. Mutual respect, with a few sarcastic lines, replace them. And we watch Rin being bossy, smart, absent-minded (I can’t believe she forgot about the clocks) and blushingly cute. The only weak points come from the infodumps they insert to clue in new viewers. After that it’s time to get to the plot, a wounded Shirou, a fight with Lancer, and Saber’s appearance. I don’t know if I’ll write about or follow this show, but I think the serious fans of the franchise are in for a treat.

We start with Angelize's golden hair.
We start with Angelize’s golden hair.

Cross Ange: Tenshi to Ryuu no Rondo starts with half-naked women riding mecha fighting a bunch of dragons. One of the women, Ange, is obviously our star. Then we swich to a flashback of how she got to be fighting dragons and we see this happy kingdom called Misurugi, where all the happy people use “mana” to take care of their problems. It’s a happy land, because all the people who can’t use mana (normas) are imprisoned, I guess to fight those dragons. Princess Angelize is about to turn 16 when it’s revealed that she’s a norma, and a combination of that and some palace intrigues gets her stuck in an all-women’s prison camp, with, apparently, everything that comes to one’s sick mind when you think of them, happening to her.

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About the only thing that would make this remotely interesting to me would be if she started a political uprising and overthrew the regime, and that might happen; the show takes pains to show how unfairly norma are treated, even before the cavity searches at the end. But it looks for the moment like Ange is going to do nothing but battle dragons and flash her panties at every opportunity, not my cup of tea. The storytelling wasn’t bad, but it’s awfully predictable, and I’m not buying into this society they’ve built up. Pass.

That thing is a fearsome bamster.  Isn't it cute?
That thing is a fearsome bamster. Isn’t it cute?

World Trigger … I don’t know if I have the strength for this … After a brief battle where “four-eyes” is rescued by some hero kid, we get a lengthy exposition about how aliens (whimsically named “neighbors”) from another dimension showed up in a peaceful city and started wreaking havoc, and the Border agency that pops up in a ridiculously large and crude-looking fortress to fight back. “four-eyes” is actually a kid named Mikumo where he’s entrusted with the diminutive transfer student named Yuma, who of course is more than he seems. After some bullying scenes we get another Neighbor attack, this one nicknamed a bamster (another cute name), and the identities of both Yuma and Mikumo are revealed.

I like this guy.
I like this guy.

Nope. The show feels crude. The artwork and animation (what there is of it) certainly are, and the infodump they started with and the subsequent classroom scene reminded me of Magic Kaito, and that’s not good. Yuma’s calmness and lack of any definite morals are the best thing in the show, because you’re never sure what side he’s on or what he’ll even say next. But he otherwise got on my nerves. Mikumo is your typical do-the-right-thing-and-get-beaten-up loser hero type, also not appealing. And the bamsters aren’t much better. Okay, it’s a show for kids, and they might like it, but there are better shows out there for me to watch … er, I hope. I haven’t found much yet this season …

A typical medieval castle.
A typical medieval castle.

Nanatsu no Taizai is another shonen show but it has a more up-to-date feel to it. We start the aftermath of a massacre, where a dozen or so Holy Knights get slaughtered by evil people called the Seven Deadly Sins, who then vanished or something. The too-long infodump (but shorter than the one in World Trigger) is vague on that. Jump forward to now and we have a kid running an inn with his talking pig buddy, getting along with the generic medieval European peasants, when the Wandering Rust Knight arrives and scares everyone off. Turns off it’s a girl in disguise, looking for the Seven Deadly Sins because the Holy Knights have just accomplished a palace coup. Then some of those knights show up to capture/kill her, and both her and the kid running the inn’s true identities are revealed.

nanatsutaizai1-1

It’s a fun first episode. The kid, Meliodas, manages to be brave and plucky without being terribly annoying, even when he’s innocently groping the girl’s boob. The girl doesn’t have much of a personality yet. The pig (named Hawk) nearly steals the limelight from both them. They sneak in little mysteries to keep us interested, like the kid’s inn not being there last week, though they used up most of them already and the next few episodes will involve collecting the other Sins. Also, there’s a Holy Warrior guy who witnessed the slaughter ten years ago and now is out for revenge, making him a good guy fighting for the wrong side. The animation isn’t much better than World Trigger, but the art is very nice for the kind of show this is. I won’t write about it, probably, but I might keep watching.

Out of these monstrous depths will appear ... an apple.
Out of these monstrous depths will appear … an apple.

Finally, we have Grisaia no Kajitsu, where Yuuji, an abnormal high school boy, wants a normal high school life, and so has been placed by the Ministry of Defense in a normal-looking high school where there are only five other students, all girls, all weirder than he is. We meet them one by one: Sachi, who dresses as a maid, Amane, who changes clothes in his room, Makina, a child who can barely have a normal conversation, Michiru … let’s call her a tsundere, and finally the aloof, possibly deadly Yumiko. All of them are put through their paces, which includes numerous panty shots, as they meet Yuuji, while we get hints as to why they’re all there and what their dark pasts are. And why Yuuji has deadly weapons under his bed. Episode two is called “School Murderer Yumiko,” something to look forward to.

The entire class, save Yumiko, who's plottng murderous things no doubt.
The entire class, save Yumiko, who’s plottng murderous things no doubt.

Not bad. None of the girls are terribly annoying yet. In fact, Michiru has a lengthy scene full of weird behavior yet the show manages to pull it off. The weak point so far is Yuuji himself. In episode one he’s a straight man and a Tatsuya-level bore and little else. But the unexplained things, like what they’re all doing at that government-run school, or why Yuuji knew Yumiko would try to slice him with a box cutter, are interesting enough that I’ll keep watching for now. Besides, unlike a lot of people I tend to like harem series.

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