Oretachi ni tsubasa wa nai – First thoughts

I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this one. It’s based on an 18+ visual novel by the same name, so I went in expecting…well, this:

Yes, it was absolutely necessary to shoot from that angle.

And while it did deliver a bunch of panchira, breast massaging and other ecchi stuff coupled with the standard nosebleed there was something strange about it, something odd that I really couldn’t explain at first. Then it hit me: the characters feel mature. They’re not highschool students, but rather young adults struggling with work, university and similar things. Sure, they might behave immaturely from time to time, but it still is a pretty large step up from what I’m used to in this kind of series (I don’t want to say the norm since it might just be me having watched the wrong stuff…). Another thing I noticed is that the cast  has several male members, it might even be close to balance between the sexes. This is not your usual harem-or-whatever-ecchi-love-story, it feels like it at least wants to be darker and more grounded in the real world. I hope it can live up to that, and I’m looking forward to the next episode.

Yanagihara, the city, looks awesome. At times it feels like I've been there.

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Hen Zemi – First thoughts

The hunter catches his prey.

Normal girl joins a research seminar filled with perverts and have a hard time adapting. This should be good.

Poor Nanako, will she be able to handle all the abuse?

*EDIT*
Just a quick tip: don’t watch episode 2 while eating.


Dog Days – First thoughts

The Hero and the Princess

Normal person gets summoned to a magical world by a princess to act as a hero in an ongoing war. The world is inhabited by kemonomimis. A plot twist is that the war isn’t as serious an event as it is first shown to be.

I have to say that watching Dog Days makes me happy. The premise might be unoriginal, but I get this feeling that the series is aware of that and simply doesn’t care. The added twist helps liven things up, as does the princess who is really cute. Tough as far as cute girls go I’m more curious about Eclair:

Why do I always fall for the dangerous types?

Just look at those eyes! She doesn’t mess around. And she fights with dual blades! Sigh…


Yumekui Merry – Final thoughts

You made Merry angry. You don't want to make Merry angry.

13 episodes that went from “Hey, this looks good!” to “Well, it’s still above average.”, and then kind of pieterd out into blandness culminating with a “believe in yourself and everything will be OK”-message. Is it really so hard not to fall into the swamp of old clichés and stale story elements? On the plus side, the visuals look great, with some scenes bordering on masterpieces. A lot of work has gone into the style of this one. Just too bad it’s a bit lacking in the substance department.

Another thing I appreciate is the lack of fanservice. Don’t get me wrong, I’m no fanservice hater (should be obvious from my other posts ^^), I just think it’s good that it’s still possible to have shows without it. Actually, when I think about it, “lack” is not quite correct, there was this:

Scantily clad catgirls probably count as fanservice

That is only one scene in 13 episodes though, kind of the exception that proves the rule.

By the way, John Doe in the above picture is a much more interesting character than Mystletainn, the real bad guy of the series. In contrast to her simply being evil, John seems to have much more complex motivations and plans behind his actions, which would make him a much better antagonist. It’s a shame he disappears from the series about halfway through.

One last thing that bothers me a bit is that there isn’t really any end to the series. Yeah, the current story arc ends and a lot of things are resolved, but the main objective is not fulfilled. Wishes for a second season perhaps? There’s also the fact thast it is adapted from a manga series which most likely continues a fair bit after the end of the anime. Speaking of adaptions, I have to go through my archive and see how many of my animes are original works. Something tells me that number might be suprisingly small.

I’m starting to drift into other areas now, so I better sum this up and stop writing before I get completely off track. Yumekui Merry starts out nicely, but ends up feeling just…bland. Merry herself is kind of interesting, but the male lead Yumeji is not, and the final villain is generic, maybe not in her style but at least in her motives and actions. It could have been worse I guess, but it could also have been so much better given the concept of entering peoples dreams. I don’t think I’ll remember this series a few years from now.


IS (Infinite Stratos) – Final thoughts

Ichika and his harem

I freely admit that this series is a guilty pleasure to me. Though it makes me a bit irritated as well, by taking the concept of a man in a female-dominated world and using it as a basis for a cliché-ridden mecha/harem show. It could have focused on the gender-switched world, see how different aspects of life would translate to that situation and generally toyed around with gender roles but noo~, all we get is a harem, and a pretty standard one at that. The mecha sequences on the other hand seem to be of rather high quality. Now, mecha isn’t among my primary interests, so I’ll just say that the battles are fluid, the final fight has a grand feeling to it without being ridiculously overexaggerated, and there are some really beautiful skies used as backdrops from time to time.

The above picture sums up the harem part of the show pretty well: Ichika chased by five girls, among which we find not one but two childhood friends, Houki and Rin. Could having two of the same cliché be considered an attempt at originality? Or does it just show a lack thereof? Hmm, this might warrant further investigation. The other girls are Cecilia, British lady-type, Laura, enemy-swayed-by-the-main-guy’s-kindness-type, and Charlotte, girl-saved-from-undesirable-life-type. Pretty much the only thing missing is a true tsundere to round out the group. Ichika, of course, don’t notice the girls’ attempts at getting into his pants no matter what they do. Classical case of harem lead denseness, which doesn’t even really disappear during the final episode. Kind of a shame, could have been fun seeing him try to please all of the girls, or having a hard time picking a favourite without feeling like he’s betraying the others.

While it would have been nice to see some innovation, relying on tried and true formulas isn’t inherently bad. I’d call this a case of “if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it”. There is something in harems that draws viewers, and indeed it also keeps me interested, even in shows that I feel I should find boring.

 

Now that's a gorgeous sky...what, I'm supposed to focus on the mecha?

Just to sum it up: average quality harem show coupled with nice mecha parts that I’m sure is deeper than they seem if you’re a fan of the genre. Watch if you like either or both of those two elements, if not you won’t miss much if you give this series a pass.


Kore wa Zombie desu ka? – Final thoughts

Armor and sukumizu - no combination is too weird

So, Kore wa Zombie desu ka? ended recently. Last episode had the gang visit an indoor swimming pool and the girls debut as idols, trying to outperform each other. Yeah, the connection is kind of weak, but it’s more like a bonus episode than anything else so we’ll let that slide. And swimming pool, of course, means swimsuits. Every recent anime seems to need those. Oniichan no koto, Yumekui Merry, Infinite Stratos, the list goes on. It might be a case of recency illusion, swimsuits have always been popular I guess, but it feel like every series I watched this season had a beach or pool episode, and I can’t recall that happening for me ever before. Anyway, I guess I shouldn’t complain. Hmm, got kind of sidetracked I think. What was this post supposed to be about again? Oh yeah, my thoughts on KoreZombie.

I have mixed feelings. On one hand I don’t want this show to end already, on the other it feels like it might be enough for now. I want more of the energetic masou shoujo Haruna, the cold-and-distant-but-actually-gentle-and-caring vampire ninja Sera, and of course Yuu, the necromancer who have stolen a piece of my heart. Any more right now might be an overload however, there’s no telling if the concept can sustain itself for more consecutive episodes. I do really hope for a second season though.

One of the best parts about this series, I feel, is that it doesn’t take itself all that seriously. Sure, you get a little darker tone during the second half, but it still pretty much does what it wants, and not what would be logical or expected. The humour is scaled back a little to give room for more story during the later episodes, but it never disappears and doesn’t get dull. That the main characters are at least partially parodying standard archetypes like the Magical Girl adds another layer to the whole. All together a solid show, well worth watching. I’m also a bit curious about the light novels that are the original work of the series. I’m wondering how how this kind of story works in book form.