Hooray, I think. It’s time for me to begin my new show reviews for the new season! For those of you that might not be aware, or just don’t care, I tend to follow the shows as they appear on the Random Curiosity Preview page. I will watch just about anything, but not the following: sequels to shows I never watched in the first place, and, er, anything else I don’t want to watch. That will probably include sports shows, male idol shows, and yaoi. I have absolutely nothing against these genres, they’re just not to my taste. Stupidity, as I said last time, is not a deal-breaker. Also, I will introduce each show with the first comprehensible image it gives us, unless it’s all moody and starts with thirty seconds of black ooze or something. So here we go!
First is Boku no Hero Academia 2, but I never watched season 1, so that’s out. That means …
Gin no Guardian is first out of the gate. We start with some pajama-girl ogling as they talk about how their school rests on a graveyard or something, leading the adored dorm boss student, Riku Rei, to think fondly of the person who protects them all, and who also dominates most of in the OP, Riku Suigin, and his devoted cat, we switch to him in another dimension, trapped, I believe, and guarding a mausoleum against thousands of robed zombie things, mostly by hand. He has to do it every night and doesn’t seem to mind it. Then it’s flashback time to when he was a pool boy who couldn’t swim and nearly drowns, rescued by Rei, he’s told by someone.
My heart sank as I watched the OP. There was nothing new there at all. Things got a little better when we got an idea of the story, i.e, when Rei thought about Rin and then we switch to him. The battle was too ludicrous to think about, all those zombies, and got insipid when we turned to the pool flashback. I don’t really care how Rei and Ruigin met. Will there some day be a show where this sort of thing is NOT considered vital information? Well, I guess they’re trying to sell this as a romance, too. I am a little interested in how Ruigin got stuck in that hell-world, but I’m also afraid it will take too episodes to get there, and the other things didn’t interest me terribly much. Probably this is a no.
Next is Shingeki no Kyojin 2. Will it compare to the first season? Well, it starts, after a pleasant flashback of mayhem, with the unwelcome discovery that there are titans inside the walls, not in the city, but literally inside. While a woman I don’t remember the name of (easy to do in this show) interrogates a pastor who knows about it and isn’t telling. But there’s more bad news, as it turns out titans have broken through Wall Rosa. Flash back to an outpost and some old favorites (Sasha, Conny, well never cared for him myself) as they learn the news and ride off to warn everyone, leaving Miche to distract the big approaching idiots. Then this new one shows up.
In other words, this series wants to dump us into a bunch of mysteries as well as the usual gallons of blood and limbs. That’s a good way to work it. The action scenes are great to watch as usual, but week after week of battling doesn’t interest me too much. Now we have to figure out what the talking titan wants, who he’s going to show the battle gear to, and what those titans in the walls are doing there, and why they should be kept out of the sun. As for our core trio, Eren, Mikasa, and Armin, we only get one scene with them. Maybe the show will drift away from them a little. It’s got plenty to do otherwise. As for me, I wasn’t sure I wanted to watch another season of this, but I admit this episode got me interested again.
Next it’s Granblue Fantasy, the Animation, based on a game I must have seen before. We have Lyria and bigger, stronger Katalina running away on a steampunkish battleship until they run into a bad guy who wants to do more experiments on Lyria, who freaks out, her gem interacts with another one and she’s thrown from the ship in the explosion, which was witnessed by the brave young lad, er, Gran, who finds and rescues her (Katalina shows up too) until the bad guys catch up again and everyone conjures up monsters. Oh, Gran gets killed but Lyria tries to give him her powers, but is interrupted, so now they BOTH have powers, one half each I assume. And time runs out before the monsters can duke it out.
I don’t game much, so I think I’m getting the deja vu vibes from Lyria, who looks amazingly like Belldandy without the jewel. As for the rest of the art and character designs, I found them attractive in a superficial gaming way. It all looks pretty nice. But the rest of it doesn’t hold up, no, wait, there was one excellent moment when evil knights were running up to our heroes while Katalina was running up to THEM. That was a great moment, but it was about all. The story was full of awkward pauses and moments where both sides just stood there while someone talked or recovered (Pommern interrupting Lyria’s transfer wasn’t bad, though–had to laugh at that). Lyria, Gran, and Katalina aren’t much beyond their fantasy roles, much as I liked Katalina, and the flying pet sidekick Vyrn got annoying quickly. And while I praised most of the art, the Bahahmut at the end looked like a crappily drawn DnD cover from the 1970s. Nope, going to avoid this.
Next is Alice to Zouroku, a double-length episode where we watch Alice, a young girl, who has escaped from a research facility using her super-power, which is to conjure up anything she thinks of, teleportation, mind-reading, etc. She almost gets caught but gets help from another powered person and winds up in Shinjuku, where she meets grumpy old Zouroku, gets chased some more, and winds up staying at his place while he figures out what the hell is going on.
Because it’s a long episode it takes its time. I believe the show was more interested in introducing us to the characters than giving us a ton of action, which is just as well because the CGI clashes with the cute character designs. The scenes with Zouroku take even longer, but it feels more appropriate. Zouroku has to get from being annoyed and scolding the girl (and the sisters who are chasing her) to accepting Sana and deciding to help her and teach her a few things, like manners. The action-adventure plot isn’t terribly new: powered kids who escape abuse in an evil lab, but the slice-of-life side of it might help, if I’m up for a heartwarming geezer-waif story, and I’m not sure I am. I just wonder if the narrative and pacing can sustain both styles.
Tsugumomo hasn’t shown up yet, so …
Frame Arms Girls stars …, oh, Ao, high school girl of course living alone who gets a “doll” in the mail. The doll wakes up, introduces herself as Gouran, and starts asking questions to aid her knowledge of the world while Ao underreacts. Ao, you see, doesn’t want to do anything hard, like assemble Gouran’s armored parts, so maybe freaking out over a talking doll takes too much energy for her. Later, two more dolls appear and everyone starts challenging each others to fights. We see one in all it’s CGI badness.
Actually, Ao’s tendency to let things flow helps keep this episode afloat. She just reacts and asks the right questions to move the story along. I’m not sure what the story IS except she’s going to watch the robot girls fight and take notes for the company. Even with more robot girls coming along in future episodes, each of them, I assume, also not wearing pants, I don’t think that’s going to carry the season. Now, if you’re someone who likes assembling models, the show goes into a some detail about doing it right, but I’m not one of those people. And as I said before, the CGI in the battles is pretty awful.