It's that time again already!: Some Autumn 2011 First Episodes (+ Steamboy and stuff)
It seems hard to believe that a new season is upon us already. Perhaps it's because I did so little with my life over the Summer period, but hey, here we are. Once again I haven't really delved into the previews, though a couple of titles sprung out at me. Same drill as last time I suppose, though these days I'm internet-impaired so I don't know what kind of rate I'm going to get through things alas. So, to get the ball rolling.....
Back my presumably popular demand is the continuation of the Bakuman series, which is a story by the creators of Death Note following two aspiring mangakas on their rise to....semi-fame. There's also an incredibly cheesy love story thrown in there too, but you'd do well to ignore that. I actually really liked Bakuman's first season - there was a great cast of characters, brilliant soundtrack, and the story progression kept making me want to tune in for the next episode - and this one seems to be doing more of the same. No one really likes our main player Mashiro, whiny sod that he is, but Bakuman's always delivered a vast and eccentric array of supporting characters who are all loveable in their own way. Right from the off season 2 delivers a whole bunch of new faces, all of whom seem interesting enough to divert from the bland stupidity of the protagonist. I look forward to seeing more of them!
So our dynamic duo have just been serialised in JUMP to kick-start the new series, and find themselves immediately thrown into a world where they're surrounded by professionals and so much is expected from them. Less is made of this change of tempo than one might expect, but I guess they haven't gotten down to the actual drawing as of yet. I'd really recommend watching the first season, well, first if you're interested in this one as you get the background and the character introductions. I enjoyed this episode though, and hopefully this'll shape-up to be another good series.
Will I keep watching?: Most likely
Cube X Cursed X Curious (or C³)
My prior knowledge of this show consisted of the lines "A school battle action & love comedy with ecchi elements." and "Watch this if you liked To Aru Majutsu no Index", so naturally I gave it a go. And I got what I was expecting all things considered.
The sum total of backstory and premise for this series is literally 'Mysterious box shows up at door of teenage boy and then girl appears'. Haven't heard that one before. So we find out this girl's called Fear, and then there's some drivel about absorbing people's negative emotions etc. etc., and then the childhood school friend comes over.....What next, they're going to run off to school leaving the alien child all alone to run amok in an unfamiliar world? Wait, that's actually what's going to happen? Ok then, so I now know how the rest of this series pans out. It was fun whilst there was some air of mystery.
Of course despite how this one doesn't reek of creativity, there's still some room for extra/unexpected development if they really try. Plus I'm a sucker for shows like this, so I imagine I'll see it through. Unless of course the deja vu becomes too painful to handle.
Also it has a silly name.
Will I keep watching?: Despite my better instincts, yes
Working'!! (that's really not how you name sequels...)
If what Bakuman's doing can be classed as "more of the same", then Working'!! might as well be a carbon-copy of the first series at this rate. I wasn't really expecting anything fresh, but where Bakuman brings in new sets and new characters Working'!! is recycling all of its former glory. Who knows, maybe this is just that typical "first episode of the second season where you're reintroduced to everything that's going on", but I would've liked to see a bit of a change-up.
That being said, I loved the first season and I did enjoy this episode, it just felt a little stale. The character interactions are brilliant, and it's one of those shows where a lot of the comedy comes simply from facial expressions. The characters themselves are fairly unique which, surprisingly enough, is a nice change. Of course they're all absolutely broken people, but that's the fun of it.
I really need to get to the synposis-y thing earlier on in these summaries.... Ok, it's essentially about a restaurant and the people who work there. Hijinks ensue. That's all you need to know really. It's a great laugh, though as I say this second season won't be anything more than supplementary - go watch the first one! It has Daisuke Ono for crying out loud, and he's not even playing Daisuke Ono - he's a badass chef!
Will I keep watching?: I'll definitely give it a couple more episodes, but unless I see something fresh or comparable to the one-off hilarious moments in the first season then I'm gone
Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai! (or if you prefer, Majikoi - Oh! Samurai Girls)
Skimming through the synopsis for this one I saw the phrases "samurai ancestors", "healthy fighting spirit", "secret base" and "welcome two girls". Last one sort of threw me off my game, but I was intrigued all the same. Turns out the first episode of this one was simply a massive pitched battle between two school classes (somehow numbering 900 and 500 people respectively), featuring many well-endowed female students. Considering it's one of those shows, whatever this genre is, I was surprised by how cool the action scenes were. Also the handful of male students thrown in there actually seem to have some personality, which is unheard of in series represented by pictures such as the above ^.
Not quite sure where the show's going from here though. There's more than a little hinting at a harem situation, which is not in the least bit surprising, but I'd totally be up for just a season comprising of these battles.
Will I keep watching?: Bring back 'Battle Girls - Time Paradox!'
So that's all I've seen of the new season thus far, though hopefully I can get some more in tomorrow when the Megavideo limit shared between 3000 people resets...
Anyway, I joined up to the Uni's 'Sci-fi and Fantasy' society which, as it turns out, has an anime night every week. Needless to say I'm a fan. Brief reviews of what we watched this week:
I'm going to have to preface this by saying that there was no Japanese audio option on the DVD, and thus we had to be subjected to the English dub. No doubt due to my horrid disposition this hampered my enjoyment of the film somewhat, but at the same time Patrick Stewart running around a floating castle smashing stuff up is always hilarious. It did mean suffering through 'British accents' however. Note how 'British accents' are very different from British accents. These are the voices that people speak in when they're pretending to be British, but don't exist (and never have existed) in our fair country. Painful.
So it's just your typical alternate Victorian steampunk setting, and this kid's father and grandfather have discovered a whole new ultra-powerful form of steam! Exciting stuff I tells ya. But the problem is, one of them is blatantly, comprehensively evil (the one not voiced by Patrick Stewart). The thing that kept on eating away at me throughout the film was just how much our protagonist refused to accept that his father had become the embodiment of purest evil. For crying out loud, in one of his first scenes he's standing atop a giant castle, back-lit by the Sun, with his arms spread wide whilst giving a maniacal laugh. If that's not a dead-giveaway I don't know what is.
The kid's evil father is building this "steam castle" thing to supposedly share the wonders of science with the world, but in actuality is just using it to deal arms to everyone under the sun and bolster America's power (bastard). All the contraptions that we see are actually all really funky, as one would hope from a steampunk film, but a lot of it seems rather pointless. A bit of background to the setting or people's motives might have helped get me through easier. As it was, by the end of the film there was just a massive exchange of fire between two poorly-defined sides with their own bizarre inventions, vying over this uber-steam.
I guess the words that spring to mind now when trying to describe Steamboy are "cool" and "ok", which aren't exactly awe-inspiring. I suppose it's a little dated these days but not by much, so could do with a little touch-up artwise, but until now I was struggling to think what exactly it was that was holding the film back, though now I've put my finger on it. The girl. Lose the girl and the movie could be so much better. You don't even have to replace her with another character she was that much of an annoying non-entity! The voice and the clothes and the stupidity...Just scrap it all.
What I will say about Steamboy though is that it was certainly a diverting couple of hours. If you see it for cheap in HMV or something then pick it up, just check to see if there's a sub first...
The other thing we watched the other day was the first two episodes from Eureka Seven, a series that I've been meaning to watch but never got round to. From the moment FLOW came on for the OP I was practically hooked (man do I love those guys), and then ES took it further with surfing mecha! How cool is that!? Without wanting to go into too much detail / without being bothered to go into too much detail, the first two episodes were really cool and I'm going to make sure I go through the rest of it sooner or later.