I suppose the closest thing we got to BIG NEWSU~ is Funimation suing 1337 pirates who downloaded One Piece in what is probably meant to be a show of strength but comes off as more a show of stupidity. I’ve generally found it wise to ignore what goes on with Funimation anyway and simply wait for whatever UK company decides to bring over whatever they’ve dubbed. It’s not like I can watch any of their streams anyway.
Quick note: Some of these movies may have been released before this month. However this was the first month that I knew subs existed. At the very least, including them here should help draw more attention because some of these movies have been overlooked by anime fandom.
B+ Trigun: Badlands Rumble
That was awesome! Liberal doses of everything that made Trigun good, along with a couple of the things that held it back, except for one key point: the animation quality. Trigun is a good series with a cool style to it, but the animation quality is dreadful, even for it’s time. Badlands Rumble’s animation quality was so good it almost made me cry that Trigun had to be made back when Madhouse had no budget. It’s actually quite similar to Madhouse’s other recent movie, Redline. Redline wins on the animation and style front, but Trigun has the characters to back up the style. Badlands Rumble is ultimately lacking in weight due to being a simple spin off, but more than makes up for it with style and fun alone. Highly recommended, even for those who haven’t seen the TV series. Just assume everyone knows each other and that’s all you need to know going in.
B+ Madoka Magica
If there’s one complaint I could level at Madoka Magica, it’s that the characters are boring. One thing Legend of Black Heaven did well is the characters were both representations of ideals while also being real people. The story needs to work on both a surface level and underlying one. Madoka Magica only has the characters as representations of ideals and I don’t think it has it in its repertoire to actually give these lot proper personalities. That said, everything else about this show gets better every episode. Pacing is bang on, story is perfectly constructed and the whole thing is intense and genuinely frightening. Plus the ‘girls being insufferably nice to each other‘ quota has dropped each episode to the point that it almost doesn’t exist anymore. That can only be a good thing in my book.
B King of Thorn
OK, I enjoyed that a lot. This movie has rather fallen under the radar of anime fandom and the few reviews I’ve read haven’t been all that favourable, even if many were from butthurt manga fans who I’m inclined to ignore. King of Thorn is a survival horror anime with ambitions well above its station. The story really throws you through several loops throughout its course, although having watched Adolescence of Utena the night before, King of Thorn’s plot was no where near as difficult to comprehend. I think I got it, but it might require another viewing. Sorry, I’m being awfully vague here. Do give this a shot. Just remember to keep your brain switched on and expect a metric ton of plot twists and some really bad CGI.
B- Black Lagoon: Roberta’s Trail
Massive improvement on the dreadfully boring second episode at least, albeit still not the quality I was hoping from Black Lagoon. The first half of the episode was a bunch of American soldiers shooting people in an abandoned shanty town. So basically it was like watching other people play Call of Duty, not particularly exciting. It improved thankfully, albeit in a rather shocking manner in the tone only Black Lagoon knows how to use. I know this show always had a sadistic side, but in no way was I prepared for the sound effects of the second half 0_0
B- Level E
Don’t get me wrong, Level E is a damn good show. It’s just something is holding it back. I really should be enjoying this more than I currently am. It’s probably the lack of budget. Or maybe that’s just an easy target. Something isn’t quite clicking, budget for the anime is clearly low, blame the the lack of finance. The real thing holding this back is my window repair man. He visited me right when episode 3 was in the middle of its grand reveal and by the time I’d seen him through, I’d totally forgotten what was going on in the episode.
This, Madoka Magica and Level E are all I need to consider this season worthwhile. 3 decent anime during an solstice season is my minimum requirement. The rest of anime fandom would do well to remember that system of measurement for whether a season is quality or not. As for Fractale, it’s proving to be a classic adventure type series, albeit one that is definitely a product of its time. I’m not quite sure if it’s worthy of its Noitamina timeslot tag though, especially considering I should be right in this shows target audience bracket (unlike poor old Wandering Son). Plus there’s the slight worry of mine that it will trip over in its attempts to convey a powerful message, but that’s all worries for further down the line.
I’ve come to respect this anime a bit more after having been given a week or two to mull it over. The story is essentially a ‘big brother watches you‘ dystopia with a bunch of teenage girls overthrowing the regime. But lordy me, this should have been a TV series, not have been a movie. Animation was boring by movie standards. Pacing was totally off and plot felt totally disconnected at times. Scenes that were meant to have impact were rushed over and it was just generally a mess. There were some good ideas in here though, and I absolutely fucking loved the final scene with the Big Bad Boss, but ultimately it was too messy and incoherent to recommend.
C Wandering Son
Wandering Son has one trick it does very well. The undercurrent of unease surrounding each characters interaction with each other is incredibly subtle and well done. It’s got a wry, almost cynical sense of humour, needling in these little lines that you know are going to seriously upset the character they’re said to. It’s a shame that it doesn’t focus on that part though. Every episode so far I’ve found something new to complain about. The drama confrontations are eye-roll inducing and solved in lame ways. The fluffiness is still as annoying as it was in episode 1 and they’ve even added in doses of ‘people being insufferably nice to each other’. It’s almost like this anime is trying to isolate its target audience, eh~?
Times have been dark for Bakuman these past few months. But this terrible era look to be coming to an end. The romance has been set aside. The love interest has been moved to another setting. The mangaka have increased in numbers. Are we finally seeing the story that we were promised from the start? It’s too little too late for this season of Bakuman, but does this mean the upcoming second season will actually be something worthwhile? Will this season set the base for next season to rock? Will they bring in a director who knows what to do with this material? Probably not on that last point, but one can hope.
I don’t really want to hate on this series, but Gosick just isn’t any good. The animation is dull, the mysteries are dumb and, as psgels points out, are solved less through actual logic and more through Victorique having access to the script. The only thing Gosick has going for it is Victorique and even her character is handled poorly. There’s the aforementioned lame way she solves mysteries, but even her cute parts come out feeling manufactured. Poorly written, poorly animated and poorly directed, which kinda leaves me with nothing left to watch for. Dropped.
E- Mazinkaizer SKL
I think I finally get what fans see in the Mazinger franchise. Sorta. Give them robots beating each other up and they’re brain capacities are sufficiently small enough to consider this entertainment. For gods sake though, it’s not. Mazinkaizer is dumb, which it knows and tries to play to. The problem is that it doesn’t realise how dumb it is which makes it trip over itself even further. The fights are stupid with no connection to each other. The action is lame and throws in moves that make no sense given earlier moves other robots pulled off. Characters are meant to be cool but come off as retarded. It’s just a dreadful anime. Fuck Go Nagai, fuck the Mazinger franchise and fuck the stupid oldfags who lap this crap up.
E- Yuri-Seijin Naoka-san
While I did laugh at the line about the molester coming from the Molestarian race, the fact remains that this is a 10 minute OVA making light-hearted jokes about child molestation. I can’t be the only one feeling just a little uneasy about that now, can I?