2015 new winter shows #2

To start, subs of Absolute Duo 1 finally showed up. After watching it, I’m not sure it was worth the wait.

We start with two guys flying around, chasing each other in the dark.
We start with two guys flying around, chasing each other in the dark.

We get a battle flashback and the credits, and then a typical walking to school on the first day bit, complete with a glimpse of beautiful girl by the boy, the hero, named Thor. And he meets a nice girl named Imari as well, who sits beside him during one of those opening ceremony speeches, only to be told by the class prez that they must first defeat the person they’re sitting with, or be kicked out. While I wonder why they bothered to introduce Inari in the first place. From there the show goes to more traditional HS hijinks where they’re told by their homeroom teacher that they’ll be teamed in a lot of ways with the person they’re NOW sitting with. Guess who that is?

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Not terribly thrilled by any of this. We got the hero with the obvious great hidden ability and the mysterious, hot, and slightly stupid girl. There was also the rather cruel opening ceremony-culling, though the show does get a good line in about how ridiculous all these school policies are. And the teacher reminds me a bit of Yoshinoya-sensei, or rather, the students’ reaction to her does. But that’s hardly a reason to keep watching. We’ll see (which usually means I’ll forget about it for three weeks and then belatedly drop it).

That's the exterior of an onsen, where, within, important things are discussed.
That’s the exterior of an onsen, where, within, important things are discussed.

Next we have Binan Koukou Chikyuboueibu LOVE!. We start with two guys, Atsushi and En, in a public bath talking philosophically about oden, when a pink wombat appears and tries to talk them into saving the earth. The boys decide to take their conversation elsewhere, but the next day the wombat is back, mind controlling their teacher, and there’s some chasing down the longest high school hallway since Nichijou. Later, a side character is possessed by chikuwabu, bitter about its status as an oden agreement, and the wombat makes the boys (five of them now) transform into magical girls, er, boys, in spite of their thinking that this is all kind of ridiculous, and defeat it with love-power or something.

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Yes, it’s ridiculous and knows it’s ridiculous, but that doesn’t guarantee a funny show. This show had some good moments. The bath scene with the oden talk took me by surprise, and I did enjoy the boys’ reactions to their silly magical garb (“It won’t come off!”) and other affectations. They’ve all seen all the magical girl shows that we have, and know all the cliches. This helps us get through episode one enormously, but they’ll get used to it soon enough, and so will we, and THEN will it be funny?

Interesting way to begin a card-game series ...
Interesting way to begin a card-game series …

My first reaction when I began to watch Kantai Collection: “Oh, so this is that game that half the people on Niconico are playing.” But that’s as far as my prior knowledge goes. I don’t know if the game has a backstory or character development like the anime is setting up. Based on the pedestrian first episode, I don’t think so. Fubuki, a “special type design,” joins the fleet to fight back against the Abyssals, warship-women who have taken over the seas. We meet her eccentric squadmates, and some others, such as the dreamy Akagi, and gets her first taste of battle. Etc.

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It looks good. When they’re battling, it’s darker than I expected, like old WWII footage. And the fighting is vivid. On the other hand, we don’t really get a feel for strategies or the flow of battle; I’m not sure what Torpedo Squad 3 did in their initial battle to earn praise from Akagi, especially when Fubuki kept falling down and then nearly got herself killed. And though the goal she sets for herself (to be a support convoy for Akagi) is admirable, I’m not sure I care. But apart from the predictability, the episode didn’t do anything terribly wrong. Worth another look.

A tank, on a suburban street.
A tank, on a suburban street.

And now, another military show, called, er, Military!. In episode one, a guy named Souhei is just sitting there in his house when two girls in a tank burst in and start blowing things up. Souhei learns he’s the son of a great military genius and these girl are there to protect him if they don’t manage to kill him first.

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It’s only five minutes and it used its first episode well, dishing out little WTF moments evenly throughout. The girls are cute and violent, and the voice actors are obviously having fun. What’s not to like? Dunno if I’ll write about it every week, however.

Outside a family restaurant.
Outside a family restaurant.

Shinmai Maou no Testament 1 has a boy named Basara, whose father is remarrying (not really), though the mother is out of the country (not really), and now Basara has two adorable sisters (sort of). The first half is introducing Basara to his sisters Mio and Maria by walking into their bathroom (and doesn’t just leave), clamping a hand on Mio’s mouth to shut her up, getting slapped, kneed, and bounced on by Mio, and getting come onto by Maria. The usual ecchi comedy stuff. But it turns out the girls are actually demons and they try to do violence on him to drive him out, and it turns out that Basara is actually a super-powered “hero,” and returns the violence. A theme of this show is building a family, you see.

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Okay, there’s more. The girls are formidable, but also targets for even more formidable demons who want their power, at least Mio’s, since she yet another spawn of a demon lord–how many does that make in the last couple years? They were taken in by Basara’s father to protect them, so Basara is essentially doing that in sort of a big brother form. This idea is appealing, but the rest of it isn’t. I don’t know how well the family comedy situation is going to work with all the demon-fighting, especially since neither had much new to it. Well, first episode and all that.

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