Rozen Maiden Whicheverthisis looks great, let’s get that out of the way. It’s a show that I might watch all the way through just for that, even if the story doesn’t work out. As for the story, it’s too soon to tell. Way back in my early days of anime watching I watched Traumend and found it confusing at times. Now, that was a sequel, where this new show appears to be a reboot with higher production values.
Jun gets an odd letter sent by a rabbit about winding, and the next thing you know there’s a suitcase on his doorstep, and inside is Shinku. Jun winds her up and she starts to order him around. I remember all that. I also remember Suigintou, who shows up to be unpleasant and to let Shinku know the Alice Game is starting again. We get plenty of exposition mixed in with little battles as more and more dolls are introduced, and I recalled that the dolls’ creator was a psychopath and they were victims of his cruel whims.
But even with all the catching up they have to do for us, the episode manages to get some story going. Hinaicho is eaten by Kirakisho, so she has a body to mess with. Meanwhile, Suiseiseki and Souseiseki find themselves on opposing sides and so it looks like we’ve got one captured Rosa Mystica already. In other words, the episode is very busy, yet almost comprehensible. It felt very businesslike. And it looks great.
Senki Zesshou Symphogear G pulls out all the stops in episode one, but underneath it all it’s got some of the old problems.
The show’s strengths and weaknesses weave around each other. After a depressing flashback or flash-forward, who knows, we get Hibiki and Chris (now a good guy) on a train that’s delivering Solomon’s Cane to a new home while its attacked by Noise, which is not what Noise usually do. Before, they were random destroyers but now something is clearly controlling them. All this information is delivered to us by talk, part of it by a guy who stops, in between rail cars, with the enemy shooting at them, to tell Hibiki and Chris about it, and they probably already knew. Bad … Bad. But after the girls transform they have such a fun battle with the Noise that I gave the clumsy storytelling a pass. The original series could deliver a good fight scene, and the new one has apparently upped their game.
It’s also all very silly, but so was the first series, and they up the silliness in the second half, where we find Tsubasa (I wondered where she was) preparing to perform with a new superstar named Maria while backstage people smirk with anticipation. So while the musical pyrotechnics begin we’re all waiting for the attack to start. What they come up with is so over-the-top that I almost want to applaud them. Maria conjures a lot of Noise, who are under control, and declares herself (or whoever she works for) the ruler of Earth! Well done! I had forgotten that this show liked to go for the grand when it could, even if it fell on its face doing so. It didn’t do so this week. Anyway, it looks like for now I’ll keep watching.
Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku is a more normal show about four abnormal girls, members of the “Go Home Club.” Only this club has a clubroom and don’t actually go home. We observe the seniors, Sakura, Botan, and Claire, as they enlighten the newbies Natsuki (our main character) and Karin. It has its moments. Botan fighting bears was a good bit. So was Karin’s reason for joining the club (she saw a member in a sea lion costume who had fallen over … well, wouldn’t YOU join such a club?). They break the fourth wall at times, going to go to the ED too early, or switching over to simple line drawings because Mugi (rich girl) had no concept of budget … I think. Actually, I didn’t quite get that bit. Natsuki is the straight man for most of this, but many of her reactions fell flat, or went on too long, which is definitely bad in a gag-format show. Hmm, this show is a maybe.