July 07, 2008

What's Wonderduck Watching: Five First Episodes

So the new season of Anime has begun to roll out.  Five shows that I was interested in all came down the pipe within a few days of each other, so I decided to marathon 'em.

I have to admit, the Summer certainly holds more promise than the Spring season did (though these shows'll have to work to be as good as Soul Eater)... click below to see What's Wonderduck Watching!

In no particular order:

SEKIREI

Somewhere, George Bailey is happy...
Take one helping of Ikkitousen, one dash of Dragonball Z, and a dollop of Love Hina, mix them all together, then throw the mess into the trash.  The result might just look a little bit like Sekirei.  I went into the series expecting little, and so far, it's lived down to my hopes.  Above picture aside, the art is, frankly, disappointing... and it's supposed to be a fanservice/fighting anime.  The art and animation is what you're supposed to be impressed with!  I'll give it a few more episodes, but if I want fanservice with my action, I'll watch Ikkitousen.  And I am.

SLAYERS REVOLUTION

The one who eats and fights...
I'd be lying if I said I knew the whole Slayers universe.  I've seen about 10 episodes of the first series, and nothing else.  But those 10 episodes were enough to make me want to see the rest, and to put this new show right near the top of my "must see" list.  The old gang is back together: Lina, Gourry, Amelia, Zelgadis... they're all here.  So far, it's just like the old shows with better graphics.  Same humor, same voices, same personality.  That can either be good or bad, of course: if you don't like the earlier shows, you won't like this one.  If you DID, however, you'll be eating it up.

MAHOU TSUKAI NI TAISETSU NA KOTO: NATSU NA SORA

"Sora!  Why don't you match the background at all?"
The sequel to Someday's Dreamers, which I haven't seen.  Sora's a magic user, which doesn't seem unusual in this world: she's just been accepted to the Magic Academy in Tokyo. The whole first episode goes by before she even leaves for the Big City, so who knows how this one is going to turn out?  Could be good, could be bad.  I fear, however, that I'll never get that far, for one huge reason: the art.  As you can see from the above screenshot, in many ways Natsu na Sora is a beautiful anime.  The quality of the backgrounds is superb, and the night sky in one scene is the best I've ever seen.  The problem is, they blew the budget on the backgrounds, and refuse to make the character art detailed, or even consistent from shot to shot.  It's maddening how they can go from gorgeous to gah! in the same frame.

HIDAMARI x365

Yuno's back!
Not so much "slice of life" as it is the whole freakin' pie, Hidamari Sketch was possibly my favorite anime of 2007.  Hidamari x365 is the se/prequel to that show (sequel in that it comes after the first show, prequel in that the first episode tells the story of how Yuno came to the art school... and who knows what'll be in episode two, anyway?), and it's more of the same.  Same characters, same art style, same surreal touches, same love of rubber duckies, the works.  If you liked Hidamari Sketch, you'll like this.  If you didn't... *shakes head, walks away mumbling*

STRIKE WITCHES

Mecha Musume to the rescue!
Way back when, I said that the Strike Witches eight-minute, 54-second long promo was the greatest piece of anime ever.  Anticipation has been running high for the series ever since.  Now that it's here, all anybody is talking about is that none of the girls wear pants.  I'm now going to tell you the reason for that:

Pants would make it difficult to get into the Striker Unit, and perhaps the Striker Unit needs direct contact with the witch to work.

See?  Simple!  No pants for everybody!  After episode one, the anticipation seems to have been justified.  If they can keep the quality of the series at the same level (a questionable point, to be sure), this is gonna be a 5-star winner.  The premise?  Just before WWII begins, an alien race called the Neuroi invades Earth.  All the countries of the world set aside their differences to defend against the aliens... and get their butts kicked.  It appears that Europe has fallen, leaving Britain the remaining bastion of Humankind on that side of the pond (as opposed to The Pond).  Inventors created the Striker Units to amplify magical ability, the only thing that seems to work against the Neuroi.  Of course, teenage girls are the ones who can best use the Striker Units.  Tah-dahhhhhh!  The greatest concept ever.

Then name most of the characters after WWII fighter pilots (Erika Hartmann, Sanya Litvak {who is NOT a trap, darnit!}, Charlotte Yeager, etc etc etc), and it just gets better and better.

So that's what I'm watching to begin with... there's still a bunch of series on the horizon, of course!

Posted by: Wonderduck at 10:50 PM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
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1 We don't know that yet about Litvyak!

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 08, 2008 01:24 AM (+rSRq)

2 She's not a trap, she's not a trap, she's not a trap.  I can't believe it.  I WON'T believe it.

Posted by: Wonderduck at July 08, 2008 06:41 AM (AW3EJ)

3

"She" is one of the few to wear pants.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 08, 2008 10:09 AM (+rSRq)

4 Tights!  They're tights!  The blonde with the glasses and one of the German girls also wear leggings/tights/whatever, and there's no thought to THEM being traps, is there?  A full 27% of the Sky Girls wear 'em!!! 

Don't make me bring out the mechaduck, Steven.

Posted by: Wonderduck at July 08, 2008 05:24 PM (AW3EJ)

5 I'm not afraid of you! My anti-bionic-duck death ray is nearly complete. MWAAHAAhaahaa!

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 08, 2008 09:43 PM (+rSRq)

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