So, I read on ANN that Crunchyroll was premiering three new series today. I have to say, for $10 a month, it’s a helluva deal. Of course, it hasn’t always got the best selection, but there’s plenty of it. Given that I’m probably paying less than a half-buck per episode watched, and I have too much free time, it’s pretty easy to kill time watching even anime that I am not that crazy about.
Which, in a nutshell, is how I came to watch Dragon Crisis and Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? today. I had some interest in Zombie to start the season, but about Dragon Crisis, the best I could muster to say about it was “generic, no interest.” Well, that was before I realized it was set in modern-day Japan. I was thinking it was in a fantasy world. Hey, +3 points for that! So I watched it and quickly found it that it was in a fantasy world; it just looks like modern-day Japan. There’s a Society, and it recognizes groups that look for “Lost Precious'” which are magical artifacts. Everyone wants to score the big one and find an ‘S’ class. Then it gets even MORE generic and paint-by-the-numbers. Warning, massive spoilers, especially for Zombie below the fold.
Nebbish, uninteresting male lead — Check
Who lives alone — Check
Who has a shy classmate secretly in love with him (Check — she’s so shy, she has to practice saying “good morning”)
Add the busty, assertive female — Check
Who is just back from America — Check
Acts a little too familiar with the male lead — Check
Is his second cousin — Check
And ends up freeloading at his place — Check
Plus one loli – Check
Who has a one-word vocabulary — Check (actually she learns 3 or 4 more by the end of the episode)
And arrived in a box — Check (but not naked — Yay, missed one there!)
Who is a magical girl — Check (in fact, she’s a dragon; apparently they look human at birth and get scaly later)
And instantly attaches herself to the male lead — Check
Even crawling into his bed to sleep — Check
There’s actually a cute point or two here and there (I liked the butterflies), but not nearly enough to rescue this show from mediocrity. Looks like a black dragon is showing up next episode. Oh well. It’s cheap to watch…maybe another episode. Note: Animation by Deen. Yeech. They deserve every bit of their reputation.
Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? looked a little better, but I got a strong feeling it was derivative of Princess Resurrection up until the last few minutes, when it went all Macademy Wasshoi wacky instead. They simplified things by having Aikawa start the show already a zombie and with Eucliwood Hellscythe, the Necromancer that zombified him living at his place. She’s autistic / mute, communicating by notes, but in his head, he fantasizes her demands as sexy requests. When he gets a bit carried away, she slaps him down, never turning a hair. He still attends school normally, though he has to be careful of the sun; it causes him to dehydrate badly. Most of the show wasn’t that funny, except for the beginning and the end. I’m hoping that the low spots were due to the need to establish the setting, because the funny parts were reasonably good. When Aikawa gets hit by a truck while trying to save a kitten, the cats’ expression is hilarious, as is the toupee, the clothes-stripping trees, and of course, landing, naked, on two of his female classmates. Erm, maybe not.
Still, it was funnier to watch than describe. Later, while hunting for the serial killer that murdered him (resulting in his zombification by Eu), he runs into chainsaw wielding Haruna, the loli “Maso Shoujo” Or perhaps “Masou.” This is Crunchyroll after all, which missed an entire line or two, so what’s a lost vowel? (edit: later they do spell it Masou). Why it’s not Mahou, I’m not clear; I think she’s calling herself a genius from the context. Anyone care to comment? Anyway, after offing a nasty magical creature with a chainsaw, (more Princess Resurrection vibes) she’s surprised Aikawa is still talking — she did sort of cut him in half while killing the monster. (He got better.) Seeing as mages are supposed to be secret, she tries to wipe his memory, but somehow he absorbs all of her magic — including that supporting her uniform. Insta-nekked loli. Sigh… Of course she ends up staying at his place too. (check). And he lives alone, except for Eu (Check).
So the next day, he’s hanging out at school waiting for it to get dark enough to go home, when another nasty monster shows up, attracted by the magical energy he’s holding. After some absurd homo-erotic humor, Haruna shows up does her magical girl transformation — going through the entire henshin deck (which is actually a bit restrained) — only her clothes disappear again; she doesn’t have enough magic to support herself. The bad guy (who upon dropping the disguise is proved to be a giant crayfish) rants that mere humans are no match.
“Those ridiculous panties aside, human, why is there magic in you?” Aikawa boasts about how being a zombie means he’s much stronger than a human, and proceeds to pound the crayfish, which is enough to make it pause, but not stop it — especially given that Aikawa breaks his own arm in the process. Haruna steps in and tells him “well you’ve got my magic, repeat after me — here’s the activation mantra.” He does so…
Bear in mind that this is right after his full-on henshin deck — complete with moans. Oh. My. God. Even the crayfish thinks he’s a perv.
So he promptly kicks crayfish tail, but in doing so, blows up what’s left of the classroom, ejecting them high into the air.
Once he defeats the crayfish (who is still calling him a cross-dressing pervert), then he crashes…right into all the students doing after-school stuff on the athletic field.
That had to hurt. This had to hurt more:
The reaction of the other students just had me rolling. (“Pervert!” ClickClickClickClickClickClickClickClickClickClickClick!) Then Haruna showed up, wearing a curtain, and proclaimed him to be a Masou Shoujo. “You should be honored!” Kiss. Of. Death. (What happened to magic being secret?) I doubt zombies have much of a social life, but poor Aikawa is now thoroughly ruined for marriage.
Next week, it looks like we add the ninja swordgirl, who might also be a vampire.
It’s definitely offbeat; I haven’t seen anything quite this crazy since Macademy, though I doubt it will have the same underlying theme. One obvious aspect of this show is that, since he became a zombie, Aikawa has also become a weirdness magnet. Strange stuff happens around him, and it appears he’s going to attract a pseudo-harem in which none of the girls have an actual romantic interest in him. He’s comically traumatized by it all, and things are going to get worse before they get better — if they ever do. This is pretty good, so far. Had a slow spell, but it’s worth watching to see how ruthlessly they’re going to subvert the tropes —
if they can finesse avoiding the above scenario AND the typical harem, it might be really good. (edit: I was confusing the two shows when I wrote that.)
That still won’t rescue the animation — Studio DEEN again. Sigh.