15 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

Zetman episode 1

I read a bit of the Zetman manga beforehand, so I had an idea what to expect coming into the anime. That said, the anime did surprise me. I wasn’t really into the manga because it was an American superhero comic book in everything but nationality. The anime on the other hand, I disliked because it was actively bad.

Zetman has all the subtlety of a hippo tap-dancing in a burlesque outfit. Characters may as well hang giant “I WILL DIE AT THE END OF THE FIRST ACT” signs on their chests for all the scarily obvious flags they raise. Except the character in question ends up dying barely 5 minutes after he was introduced, which segues me nicely into my other criticism. The buzz I’m hearing from the people on twitter is that they packed several chapters into this one episode, trying to get an entire backstory out of the way. This left the episode feeling awfully rushed, which only compounded the incredibly obvious plot twists, adding up into this huge wave of dumb gritty action.

Dark and gritty is the recipe for the day. The fight scenes go into stencil outline mode, just to highlight how extra visceral the fights are. My problem with this sort of animation is the characters go all stencily only for fight scenes, where as for the rest of the anime their character designs are rigid. If you’re a sakuga fan, Saint Seiya Omega feels like it blends the character designs with the action much smoother. Also Omega actually looks pretty too, what with all the flashy garish colours, while Zetman’s dark and grittiness make you feel like you’ve gotten stuck in the geometry in a video game.

Even if you just wanted to lose yourself in the gritty atmosphere, Zetman doesn’t feel content to allow you to do that. Again comparing to Omega, that one doesn’t really concern itself with the details of the plot too much, meaning it’s incredibly easy to get a simple grasp of events even when you’re not paying much attention. Zetman hits you over the head with each of its plot developments so you’re forced to face their stupidity. For example, I rather liked the stripper character as she became this surrogate mother for the main character. However this effect was rather ruined when they had to highlight her sex appeal (remember Zetman is for Big Hard Men who like Blood and Tits) and made her press her boobs up against the main character in the bath. It was supposed to be an important bonding scene between the two, but they damaged the entire scene with that.

Maybe Zetman will appeal to you if you’re sick of anime having a sense of humour and want something serious and manly and completely devoid of any sort of fun. Maybe if you get off to severed limbs, and even then it’s so dark that you can barely even make them out.

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  1. RogerMoore
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    It’s like Deadman Wonderland mixed with those Madhouse Marvel adaptations. It’s wonderfully bad.

  2. SQA
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 2:30 am | Permalink

    I’ve read they pretty much shoved 11 manga chapters of world building into 1 prologue episode. Things will simply be problematic when you do that.

    Still, if it sticks to the Claymore-style of tone, there’s an audience and it can be enjoyable. We’ll see. Though manga fans will probably be up in arms the entire time. I’m still amazed a Jump series with 170+ chapters only got a 13 episode first run. You’d think it’d get 26 to flesh out its world, but I guess they’re assuming it isn’t a sure-fire money maker.

    • Posted April 4, 2012 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Correction: it’s 12 chapters (from Chapter 1 Jin to Chapter 12 Hope). That’s still a blistering pace to burn through in just one episode, especially since this was straight Seinen, and not a sketch comedy like Nichibros.

      • Posted April 4, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        Surprisingly, Cross Game managed to cram 10 chapters into 1 episode and it worked splendid. But there are a lot of pretty background art in that manga and not much dialogue, so perhaps that’s why it worked so well.

  3. Posted April 4, 2012 at 3:53 am | Permalink

    Deadman Wonderland was a fun ride, tho it clearly sailed past subtlety and landed somewhere in over-the-top-ville.

    Zetman seems to evoke the same energy, given similar aesthetics, but it doesn’t recklessly push the bounds of suspension of disbelief as much.

  4. luffyluffy
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    Like I said in my previous comment, six minutes before I shook my head in second hand embarrassment and turned it off.

  5. Daniel
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Scampy have you seen Rock Lee? It was surprizeninginglying funny. I’m sure you’ll hate it.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 4, 2012 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      I did download the opening episode, but it turned out to be a troll sub. So eh, can’t be arsed to try again

  6. Posted April 4, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    This show is bad. I mean, real bad. I’d say it’s worse than DMW for the simple reason that I managed to watch more than one episode of DMW.

    • Posted April 4, 2012 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      I wouldn’t say its unwatchable, but a lot of the nuance from the source was lost as a whole lot of content was crammed into just 1 episode. Next week seems to be more of the same, with everything leading to the fire (chapter 13-25).

      I guess the production is trying as hard as it could to get to the ‘meat’ of the main story (from “Problem Child” onwards, which is around chapter 60).

    • Scamp
      Posted April 4, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      I *think* Deadman Wonderland is worse, but I sat through much more of that to form my opinion so I don’t want to pass any judgement

  7. Valvenite
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    I actually found this to be one of the most exciting first episodes I’d seen in quite a while. The backstory was all laid out rather simply, so I never had any problem with following what was going on.

    The fight with the gang in the beginning was fun to watch, though the random metallic shines seemed a bit weird to me.

    I really like Jin as a character so far. It’s my first time seeing a character so oblivious to the way the world works not because he’s tee-hee-dumb, but because he was raised without being exposed to anything of the sort and he simply doesn’t know any better.

    As for the bath scene, I actually didn’t think twice about it, which is different for me since I normally avoid anything ecchi or fanservice-y like the plague. The fact that it didn’t end with Jin blushing and trying to hide his raging boner like so many other stories do really drilled in the idea that it was a serious bonding moment.

  8. Anonymous
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    After the Deadman Wonderland anime I kind of lost interest in manga adaptations for this genre, so I wasn’t really planning on watching this.

  9. Erif
    Posted April 7, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    You know, I was going to check this out, but I realize I’m not really interested in this at all. Oh well.

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