Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Animated Oddity in Dragon Spring: Preliminary thoughs on the Spring 2012 Anime Lineup

I originally meant for this post to happen a few weeks ago, as more of a haven't-seen-it-yet-but-these-are-my-first-impressions post regarding the upcoming anime.  Computer troubles prevented this from happening when I wanted it to, so I decided that it might be better to delay it until I could make it a mass review of the various first and second episodes that I'd seen.  Reviewed in this post will be two series that I wanted to check out (Fate/Zero, Haiyore! Nyarlko-san), and one that I wasn't particularly interested in, but decided to check out anyway because of it's sheer WTF factor (Upotte).  Not included in this review is Hyouka, which didn't really grab me from the description of the premise, but will gain my viewership because of (a):good art quality, and (b)KyoAni.  (Come to think of it, that second point makes the first rather redundant).  Hyouka is airing a few weeks behind everything else this season, and I've decided that there's no real point in putting this post off any more than I already have, so it'll come in a later post (I plan on doing more detailed posts for the shows that I don't drop, anyway).

Fate/Zero is Fate/Zero, really.  Since this is the second season, I didn't really have any new thoughts on this, but since my thoughts from six months ago aren't posted on this blog, I may as well ramble about them for a bit.  For now, though, the laconic version:

Fate/Zero is awesome.  Go watch it.

Six months ago, as we were approaching Autumn of 2011, there were three shows that I was tentatively looking forward to.  Foremost of these was Working'!! (season 2), followed by cautious optimism regarding Persona 4: The Animation.  Fate/Zero was on the list of shows that I wanted to check out, but I wasn't really looking forward to it like I was with the other two, in part because I wasn't really that "into" the whole Nasuverse thing.  I was very pleasantly surprised, with high-quality animation, a story that inherits all of the good parts of Fate/Stay Night but also fixes a lot of the pacing problems that I had with the original, and Kajiura Yuki (Gen Urobochi's pretty rad as well).
Season One ended right before a major battle was going to begin.  The two episodes of season 2 that I've seen so far complete that battle.  While I was slightly worried when the first of those two didn't meet up to my (admittedly probably too high) expectations, the second reassured me that the second half of this series will probably manage to clear the bar set by the first.

(For those who are interested in checking this anime out, Crunchyroll and Hulu both have it as of this posting.  Fansub-wise, UTW and Hatsuyuki have releases of it).

Haiyore! Nyarlko-san
 The following is a conversation that I had with my sister in December 2010:
"Hey, they're making an anime where a bunch of Cthulhu Mythos characters are teenage girls."
This was regarding Haiyoru! NyarlAni: Remember my Love(craft-sensei), a web-animation series that came out in Winter 2011.  NyarlAni was a short-form gag series based on a series of light novels, and suffered from the unfortunate problem of not being very good.  I dropped it after a few episodes, due to computer issues and being occupied at the time with watching better anime.
So when I saw that they were going to make another anime from the same books, with full episodes and an actual plot this time, I assumed my tried-and-true outlook cautious optimism and decided to watch it in hopes that this one wouldn't be so bad.
Pictured Above: The Crawling Chaos with a Thousand Forms
At the moment, I've only had opportunity to watch the first episode (Only two are out at the moment, anyway), but it seems like it may be pretty good.  My initial fear was that it would just turn out to be some random harem where all of the girls are named after Mythos characters (this fear manifested after watching the web-series, where that accusation is more or less true).  The author does seem to know enough of the Mythos to get by, although there are still a few slip-ups...
Who'd have thought that the Cthulhu gods were aliens?!
Who would have thought... well, for starters, how about Lovecraft himself?
Still, I managed to be entertained.  Beings of unspeakable terror are being portrayed as teenage girls... wait, is this show being written by ZUN?
I'm not actually this excited about the show, but I wanted to use this image somewhere.

(Haiyore! Nyarlko-san is available on Crunchyroll, as is the web-series.  Ahodomo is also doing subs for it.)

Well, I suppose it's a good thing that I didn't end up watching some harem show that drops my IQ by a few points every episode...

...well, crap.
They say that a picture is worth a thousand words, and I have one that sums up this series perfectly.
Okay, I actually might have laughed at this line
 Schoolteacher gets job at new school.  The girls at this school are actually guns.  I am never going to remember character names for this show, because they're basically random combinations of capital letters (The girl pictured above is FNC, aka "Funko").
I am glad that I watched this episode, if only because I now have this image

Not really enthusiastic about this series.  I didn't find much of the episode itself funny, I wasn't able to derive as much amusement out of the premise as I'd thought I could, and the plot is (for the time being) more or less nonexistent.  I'll reserve final judgement until I get to episode 3, but my expectations for this show are currently not being met, and I didn't expect much from it in the first place.
(Crunchyroll link, for anybody who wants to have their own opinion.)

Some Final Stuff
More detailed, single-series-per-post reviews will be up when I get around to it.  I might also pick up some other shows (Uchuu Kyoudai seems to be doing rather well, so I might start that one).

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