Summer 2010 Part II

Occult Academy

Thus far Aniplex and TV Tokyo’s Anime no Chikara project has been nothing but duds, however they seem to have finally gotten some things right on their third go around with Occult Academy. That is, they actually managed to make a fairly entertaining first episode. The direction is solid, the animation is very well done, and the character designs are quite good, even if they have freaky eyes at times. The only things that didn’t really strike me as interesting in this first episode are both the plot and characters. To be fair, not much of the plot is known yet, but when your show sports a main character who exclaims how much she “HATES THE OCCULT,” almost as a catchphrase, I some how get the feeling that we’re not in for a terribly interesting story or convincing character development, which is something I expect from a project proudly labeled as Anime no Chikara. A naked dude also shows up out of nowhere and embarrasses the main female lead. I’m cautiously optimsitic, but I don’t expect anything much beyond average.

I guess this show has a 1990s throwback gimmick going on, but SHAFT does that sort of thing way better. I guess they actually do the 1980s more often, but that’s way cooler anyway.

Sekirei: Pure Engagement

The first Sekirei series was what, two years ago? It was back when I was actually employed in some fashion, so it has to be something like two years ago.

This first episode does an okay job at bringing the previous viewership up to speed, but it’s not a full on recap, so it assumes you re-watched the first series at some point in the interim. Not like Sekirei has a terribly interesting plot, but it is actually quite plot driven, so it’s good to brush up on some of the basic details. Despite being mostly new animation, this first episode is somewhat boring, and the strangely mild amounts of fanservice don’t do much to alleviate that. It reminded me that the first series actually had a fair amount of boring moments as well, so I’m not sure if I really want to sit through this one. However, the opening animation promises something in the way of interesting plot revelations, and if this series manages to bring the story to a close, I may want to stick with it. But if the next two episodes aren’t that interesting, I’ll just drop it.

Also, I never noticed how bad the artwork in this show can be. I’m not even talking about the not-quite-Mogudan-sized-but-still-rather-large titties, but about simple things like fabric folds and facial closeups. Maybe it’s just a style thing

Strike Witches 2

Ah yes Strike Witches, I knew you wouldn’t let me down. Between watching the first episode of this and re-watching the first season on DVD, my weekly dosage of Strike Witches is at just the right amount. That said, much like Gundam sequels, the first episode of Strike Witches 2 is basically the first episode Strike Witches 1, with new bits here and there that hint at bigger and better things to come. But yeah, beyond that it’s more of the same, which is only a good thing. So long as they’re able to strike the right balance between fanservice, character development, and interesting world exposition that made the first series the gem that it is, I’ll be a happy camper.

One thing to note about this second series is that it’s being produced by AIC, with a lot of the core staff being the same people who worked on the original at Gonzo. The show is more or less visually consistent with season one, but the girls are a bit rounder this time around, and the animation is way more fluid and consistent. The directing also seems to have been cranked up a notch, as this first episode is rather exciting.

Asobi ni Iku Yo!

Jesus Christ, I forgot just how boring setups like these could be when they’re pulled off with absolutely nothing in the way of style. Listen, I like the fantasy harem setup. It’s one of my guilty pleasures, but my one caveat is that they have to have some kind of hook that ropes me into their formulaic clutches. I guess this actually has a hook, but it doesn’t really interest me. One thing that does hook me personally is the Okinawan setting, but it isn’t played up nearly as much as it should be. I mean, there is a bombshell American woman named Jack, and everyone on the island seems to own a ton of guns, but there’s no real landscape porn that can really soak me into the setting.

Aside from a setting that’s not even pulled off well, everything else is very boring. Boring characters, boring character designs, boring fanservice, and a boring light novel plot to wrap it all up in. That said, there are two interesting things about this show. One is the background music, which is pretty well done and somewhat catchy, and the second one is a singular female character. She has long black hair, glasses, a flat chest, wears pretty dresses as well as cross pendants, has good taste in handbags, and likes to rent DVDs. She is also powered by Hanazawa Kana, one of my new favourite seiyuu. However she’s eventually revealed to be some kind of military murder machine, so I’m not sure if I can like her anymore. There’s also some cheesy 3D CG.

I may stick around for the next episode, but I don’t have high hopes. At all.