Autumn 2013 – First Impressions (Part 3)

galilei_donna-01-kazuki-middle_sister-karate-sleeping-bed-pillow-surprise-upside_downThis post reviews: BlazBlue: Alter Memory, Tokyo Ravens, Galilei Donna, and Samurai Flamenco.

This is the final part in my series of my First Impressions posts on the Autumn 2013 anime season.  Anything that wasn’t reviewed in these posts was already dropped prior to the season beginning, thought I did watch a few episodes for shows that I never considered keeping.  Some were not as bad as I had originally envisioned and others were right about where I expected them to be.  However, none were good enough to justify keeping, so we’ll leave it at that.

 

Watching:

BlazBlue: Alter Memory

blazblue_alter_memory-01-ragna_the_bloodedge-the_grim_reaper-protagonist-silver_hair-chopsticks-boredI like dumb anime, but I only like a certain type of dumb anime.  And fortunately for BlazBlue: Alter Memory, it’s that type of dumb anime that I like.  It’s one that consists of mindless entertainment in the form of crazy, over-the-top battles, a ridiculous ‘who cares?’ storyline and a cast of vibrant and amusing characters that match the wacky attitude of this anime.  And that’s it.  That’s all it needs.  All I wanted from BlazBlue was to be a silly fighting anime with frequent fights and a storyline that doesn’t oversaturate and bore the audience to sleep.  I think the show knows that the audience just wants to see people fighting each other and so far, it delivered with two adequate fights in the first episode (three if you add that little skirmish with Taokaka).  And with probably a dozen characters left to introduce, it knows it can’t skimp on the fights because otherwise fans of that one lesser character are gonna be pissed and complain.  I’m perfectly fine with the balance of the story and entertainment at this point since it can’t be just random, arbitrary fights the whole time, so hopefully it can maintain this balance until the finale and then do whatever the hell it wants.  I do have to admit the production values for this anime are rather careless (the OP sequence was made entirely out of clips from the episode… meaning they didn’t get it done on time or have no clue what the hell they’re doing) and fight sequences were shoddy.  My two worries moving forward are related to the lack of animation quality during fights and if the anime decides to spend more than a minute on the story in each episode.  If it manages to keep either aspect from becoming a problem, then BlazBlue should be one of the more entertaining anime of the season.

blazblue_alter_memory-01-taokaka-catgirl-masked_face-red_glowing_eyes-hungry-drool-confused-startled-braided_hair blazblue_alter_memory-01-noel_vermillion-NOL-officer-salute-military_uniform-beret-cute-blonde_hair

 

Galilei Donna

galilei_donna-01-kazuki-hozuki-hazuki-sisters-karate-engineer-law_student-trouble-boredI’m not really sure what to think of Galilei Donna after one episodes but I like what I’m seeing from it.  The first episode decided to take the approach of making everything exciting with the entire episode comprised of chaos and action instead of matching monologue with monologue of tepid introductions and character backgrounds.  That’s not to say we didn’t receive any of that vital information but it was largely communicated through expression and action rather than the girls saying, ‘I’m a lawyer/karate champion/engineer’ and ‘we’re all sisters except we have absolutely nothing in common with each other.’  The art and animation are pleasing throughout the entire first episode and the music is already a favorite compared to the other shows this season.  There’s a lot of color and movement in this anime.  The story is more than a bit complicated at this point with the information we’re given, so I can’t say too much about it right now.  It seems suitable so far but I worry it will devolve into the sisters learning about each other and becoming close siblings and fighting this super-secret evil organization through each expertise (law, karate, robotics) and then live happily ever after.  I’m already feeling a bit nauseous after typing that out and I pray that the story won’t go down that route but it has the building blocks in place for this unfortunately familiar and formulaic story.  If that turns out to be the case, I can regret that later.  For now, Galilei Donna is a keeper.  Also, that dad is kick-ass awesome.  I hope he doesn’t die anytime soon.

galilei_donna-01-hozuki-youngest_sister-mechanic-engineer-spotlight-search-escape-scared galilei_donna-01-geshio-father-awesome-long_hair-handle_bar_moustache-hippie-

 

Samurai Flamenco

samurai_flamenco-01-hazama-harakiri_sunshine-superheroes-sentai-justice-meeting-conversation-inspiration-delusionalMost of the anime that I love and cherish are fun, flashy, sexy anime with style, sparkle and flare.  Samurai Flamenco isn’t that.  The remaining anime that I love and cherish are shows with hearty and valuable “substance”, abstract concepts and ideas about various subjects that build upon each other and mature as the show progresses.  Samurai Flamenco might be that.  I don’t know what it is or when it happened but Samurai Flamenco really clicked with me in this first episode.  There’s just something about the two guys, sitting around and watching reruns of old hero shows, and exchanging thoughts and theories on justice and curry.  Maybe because I identify with the concept so well when watching anime or whatever with friends?  And the constant conflict and bickering between the two sides… somehow that’s familiar as well.  I certainly enjoy seeing the angle of the normal cop (who’s like me) argue with the irrational idealist (all my friends) whenever they get together.  It’s just so much fun to see that reflection in this anime, and I found it oddly satisfying, in almost a romantic, idealistic sorta way.  As for the anime itself, it’s not really my cup of tea.  I’ve never really been a big fan of ‘heroes’ or ‘justice’, probably because I always identify with the villains and their wacky ideals in anime as more entertaining or engaging devices.  It was like that with Lunatic in Tiger & Bunny and I hope I have the opportunity here too should the role for a villain or antagonist be required.  The art and animation weren’t really tested in this first episode without much in a way of displaying it, but it’s fine for what it wanted to do with its first episode.  I do enjoy Hazama as the helpless romantic as a driving force in this show but my favorite is Goto, the rational cop who’s trying to talk sense into Hazama will identifying his own idea of ‘heroes’ and ‘justice’.  This might not be the fun, sexy or even popular anime of the season but it might be one of the best “substance” anime of the year for me.

samurai_flamenco-01-masayoshi_hazama-superhero-sentai-justice-sunglasses-bike_helmet-scarf-gloves-suit samurai_flamenco-01-goto-police_officer-patrol-hat-rational-justice

 

Undecided:

Tokyo Ravens

tokyo_ravens-01-harutora-hokuto-touji-friends-summer-matsuri-festival-yukata-cotton_candy-takoyaki-corn-food-happyAfter watching the first episode of Tokyo Ravens, I found myself feeling a bit of ambivalence to toward the anime.  I thought I enjoyed the first episode but I also thought I was trying to force myself to like the first episode.  At times I was bored but at times I was entertained, too.  The characters are decent but none are neither great or terribly pathetic (though the main guy is somewhat pathetic at this point).  The story seems messy in its presentation in this first episode but, honestly, who’s watching this for its story?  The setting is the only thing I can take away from this episode as a certain positive since the idea of shamans battling random stuff seems cool but the execution of that aspect, not to mention a rather tame modern Japan backdrop, took away from of the glamour and excitement.  And the music that I loved from the PV was only passable rather than an exclamation point.  So in summary, I’m still really mixed about this anime.  Right now, seeing how heavy my plate is this season, I’m expecting to drop this anime after another episode but I want to give it one more shot to see if this is what I really want or if the anime can make me change my mind.  Hopefully it won’t take 24 minutes to do just that but if it does, then I can make some room if this proves to be better than the worst anime I’m watching this season.

tokyo_ravens-01-harutora-hokuto-close_together-blush-romance-friendship tokyo_ravens-01-natsume-angry-unhappy-summer_dress-floppy_hat-cute

 

Dropped:

Nothing dropped from this review either.  That means that this season will be quite a busy one, although that’s a byproduct of the quality anime this season and not that I’m bored and burdened with free-time.  Actually, it’s quite the opposite, but my schedule should clear up nicely when I move back home.  Hopefully then my Weekly Anime posts will come out at an appropriate (or even reasonable) time each week.

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  1. #1 by Joojoobees on October 13, 2013 - 8:04 PM

    Gallilei Donna was better than I thought it would be. Not too sure about Tokyo Ravens, though.

    • #2 by avvesione on October 16, 2013 - 4:59 PM

      Galilei Donna has a lot of potential but I’m not sure how great it will be when it finishes. Depending on how the story and characters evolve, it might be pretty good, but I just don’t see it right now.

      Tokyo Ravens will probably be dropped but I’m giving it one more episode just to make sure.

  2. #3 by Artemis on October 13, 2013 - 9:59 PM

    Likewise, I enjoyed what I saw from the first episode of Gallilei Donna, even if I have very little idea about what kind of anime this will turn out to be. Also like you, I really liked Samurai Flamenco, which felt just a bit more solid than Gallilei Donna and will probably turn out to be one of my favourites of the fall season.

    • #4 by avvesione on October 16, 2013 - 5:01 PM

      I’d agree with your assessment that Samurai Flamenco is better than Galilei Donna. Both are fine anime but, after the first episode, I have to say that Samurai Flamenco seems to be better all around in terms of its ideas and story. I don’t expect Galilei Donna to surpass it, but that’s more a factor of SF being great than GD being bad.

  3. #5 by Tzaphqiel on October 14, 2013 - 3:18 PM

    I’m glad to hear that you had a fairly good first impression with Samurai Flamenco because that one did seem interesting to me and I though that I might check it out.

    I also wondered about the BlazBlue anime and, from the sounds of it, it might be a nice fun series much like how Dog Days was before all of the ridiculous fanservice popped in throughout the second season. Though I do hope that the animation isn’t too bad (or, at least, doesn’t keep the same pace that you observed so far), because I kind of look forward to sakuga sequences in fight scenes (or at least interesting fight mechanics).

    • #6 by avvesione on October 16, 2013 - 5:03 PM

      Yeah, Samurai Flamenco is one of my favorites after the first week of anime. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a calm, serious anime with lots of dialogue.

      BlazBlue might be fun, but I’m not sure where it’ll head after the first episode. It might turn out to be a non-fanservicey Dog Days, which would be great, but it might also turn out to be a shitty Queen’s Blade minus the fanservice there. As for the animation, it was noticeably bad in certain areas but adequate overall. I guess we’ll find out more when there are more fights in the latter episodes.

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