Ok, and now I cover the rest of the season’s early episodes, in quickie format.
Hyakka Royouran Samurai Girls — Enough has been said about the setup elsewhere, so I’ll just cover it briefly: Alternate modern day Japan, in which the Shogunate never fell, magic works, and Sword Maidens defend the traditional-looking land. At a prestigious school in Edo, a young man has arrived to teach swordsmanship, but instantly becomes embroiled in factional politics; rebel girls vs. a repressive student council. And then the magic girl shows up and kisses him… It’s been compared to Ikkitousen, and while, yes, it’s obviously a panty-fighting show, it’s already looking to beat Ikkitousen out for several reasons:
- More coherent setting — hopefully backstory, too.
- No dumb ho for a lead.
- Stronger male lead
The girls are dead-sexy gorgeous, but the inkspots are a little offputting. Uncensored version is needed here. Definitely looking for the second episode.
My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute — Ok, the problem here is the source material. Normal 17 year-old guy has a little sister that acts cold to him… until he finds out that she plays porn games. Imouto porn games, exclusively. After that, she’s fully tsundere towards him, demanding that he help evaluate her collection by playing it. I read enough of the manga out of curiosity to reach the conclusion that she’s a total bro-con, but can’t admit it to herself — throughout the first half-dozen chapters, she gets further and further out there, trying to interfere with his social life — out of obvious jealousy. Unfortunately, this appears to be a one-trick pony. Given that the whole thing is being played for laughs, I find it just pathetic in conception. It’s not a “wincest” show in the, er, consummation, so it’s got a hard limit on how far it can go forward, and if the guy ever puts his foot down to stop her, then the show’s over, so he has to be a weakling, and I don’t see that changing. At least he seems to understand that, yes, she’s weird about him, but he promised not to treat her like she’s weird, which precludes his trying to stop her tsundere not-really-a-seduction-attempt at getting his attention. Edit: Most of that rant was based on the manga. To be fair to the animé, the otaku in-jokes are pretty good, and the art detail in the first episode was outstanding.
Iron Man — It just didn’t grab me. The Japanese were supposedly given carte blanche to make any changes they wanted to. Instead, they appear to have stuck almost precisely to the (movie) backstory with Tony Stark going to Japan to work on peaceful nuclear power and at the same time, he’s created a new suit, which he’s going to equip hand-picked successors with, while he retires as Iron Man. Unfortunately, this version of Tony Stark has neither the charm nor the character of the one in the movie, and he just never grabbed my attention. Frankly, even though he’s supposed to be a womanizer, it bothered me when he tried to come on to a female scientist heading up a special project for him … Tony Stark never struck me as a sleazebag before, but here he didn’t even bother flirting with her first; it was almost, “Hi, want a position on my staff? I was skipping inside of ten minutes.
Star Driver — No. I’m sorry, but NO. I just can’t take even a generic mecha combat show seriously when the bad guys see the hero (in a mech that makes me think of the Brit slang “poofter”), and in all serious terror, exclaim, “Oh, NO! It’s the Galactic Pretty Boy!” I’m serious. It wasn’t ridicule–they were actually afraid. I, on the other hand, was ROTFLMAO. Not following.
The World God Only Knows — The first episode was terribly compressed, and I hope that they’ll back up and cover a bit of Elsea’s assignment to the “Capturing God” at the beginning of episode 2. There’s some important back-story there, even if it is hidden between the lines. (Edit: they didn’t but they did cover Elsea’s [I prefer the manga spelling] introduction into the family.) So far though, this show is the probable winner for the season. Humor, cute girls (if minimal fanservice), and there’s actually a plot behind it all, Given the length of the manga and speed with which it’s being rolled out, there is little chance that the first season will do more than hint at it. There is one serious refrigerator moment though; a lot of the capturing antics happen at school (not just in the episode, but through the manga), yet no one seems to notice them except the target.
To Aru Majutsu no Index II — Looking good, although the first episode was a bit lighter than the first series, on average. Until the end, when we see Kannazaki (the one-pants-leg woman with the no-dachi), and it starts getting dark again. Like the first series, it was fairly talky, but not as bad as before. This is another series I’ll be watching for every week. For a while anyway; the original Index was one I dropped and later came back to. History could repeat if it starts bothering me with all the talk, talk, talk, again.
Yosuga no Sora — Even without the preview warning, I would have smelled the ero-game pedigree from a mile off. The problem isn’t that the twin sister is one of the paths, the problem is she’s a needy, clingy, selfish, lazy (if somewhat sexy) bitch, with a serious bro-con. Oh, and she shows up in brother’s bedroom at the end of episode one, strips, and tells him, “Make me come.” I have to watch episode 2, just to see how bad the trainwreck becomes. Well, that and the masturbating meido. I think we have another “Should Have Been (Was) Hentai” award winner here. (Edit: Well, so much for that. Talk about cheating. I was looking forward to an epic trainwreck, and I got the mother of all chain-jerks.)
Soredemo — Covered in the earlier write up. Don’t know if I’m continuing it or not; probably until I see the blonde, anyway.
Cold Hands, Warm Heart — Not sure if this is a current-season project, an OVA, or what. Looks kind of like a cross between TRON, The Matrix, GITS, and a post-apocalyptic science fiction short story I read years ago about a child raised by household robots. (It’s fairly famous, and by a well-known author, but it’s been too long for me to remember much.) Anyway, as for the show, it’s intriguing so far, but I’m not sure where it’s going. A young girl travels space (or cyberspace, or both) with a guardian computer and a person she downloaded into a robot. There’s obviously a back-story involving her father, and the uploading of people into cyberspace.
Bakuman — Making manga and love triangles since 2010! Not interested, downloaded but haven’t watched.
Togainu no Chi — Intro bored me, and I remembered there’s no female presence worth mentioning. Didn’t make it through the OP.
MM! — I made it to the OP, and that only because I didn’t remember from the previews what this show was about. Enough said.
Squid Girl — Downloaded, but I just haven’t gotten around to watching it yet. Doesn’t sound like my cup of tea. (Edit: ended up skipping through it. Felt sorry for the squiddie.)
You Are Umasou — I’m not sure what these shorts are supposed to be, or if they’re even part of the current season, or someone’s side projects; probably off of a promotional DVD? Looks like it’s aimed at kids.
Panty and Stocking with Garterbelt — Almost forgot this one. I took a brief look at the manga. It’s trash and animated like a kids show. Zero interest. If you’re going to be crude, find a different style to do it in. (Edit: Ok, I’m cheap. I may just have changed my mind, enough to watch the first episode:
This gag is secondary to what is clearly the showrunner’s favorite joke, which is that Panty is a big ol’ slut who sleeps with every guy she comes across, speaks almost purely in thudding double entendres and even makes semen-drinking jokes. It’s a laugh riot, especially after the 28th “Panty is a slut” joke in a row, let me tell you.
In FULL agreement, so far.
It should be mentioned that during the girls’ transformation sequence – a sex-drenched poledance wherein the leads molest themselves while removing their underwear – the character designs suddenly snap out of the Nickelodeon mode and become much more traditional sexy anime girls. This is Gainax, after all, and naturally they’re still sticking with the cynical marketing moves (if the streets of Akihabara aren’t flooded with ero figures based on these character designs by the end of next week, color me shocked)
Oh, ok, well, that’s different, then. It’s GAINAX…. with the mostly passing of Gonzo, who else is there to keep the torch lit? (“AIC — go back and watch Strike Witches II, you perv!”)
Update: Oh dear God. It was worse than I thought. All the artistic style of of a below-average Nickelodeon series, with dialog straight out of a low-class whorehouse. Who green-lit this project, and what drugs were they on? I feel seriously soiled by the few minutes I watched. Oh, and the pole dance sequence sucked. I think the animation director only ever saw one in his life, and was drunk at the time.