Right now, it seems as though there will be a total of three parts for the First Week Impressions posts. If you don’t see a certain anime in this post, it will probably be reviewed in a post that follows this.
Devil Survivor 2 the Animation
Although the first episode of Devil Survivor 2 did not leave me terribly impressed, there were plenty of positives in the first episode alone to warrant keeping the anime as well as hints that it should pick up rather quickly. The most notable positive from this episode would be that it isn’t afraid to thrust the characters immediately into these bizarre fights and thrilling or suspenseful scenes. It’s an anime that isn’t going to shy away from action which indicates that there should be plenty of action and excitement in this anime. The story and set-up, at least at this juncture, is surprisingly dumb given what we’ve seen, especially with this death clips app controlling life/death/summoning and a super-secret organization overarching the whole monster battle system. The main characters are borderline boring right now (except for the sidekick, he’s boring) but it should pick up once the story does and, if not, there should be interesting characters joining the extended cast soon. The art is respectable and the animation splendid although the subway battles were a bit too dark to really appreciate the character and monster movements. As for the setting, it seems to be another rehash of Tokyo getting invaded by whatever and having teens fight back. Nothing terribly impressive there but the monster battle system might prove to be a strength depending on how it integrates with the story or the individual characters. So while not the best show of this young season, it’s definitely one worth keeping given its positives and its potential.
Red Data Girl
The first episode of Red Data Girl proved to be both surprising and impressive, showcasing a rather remarkable setting, one that intertwines a rustic rural landscape with Shinto magic in a modern Japan. Not only that but how the setting affects the characters, specifically Izumiko with her divine hair, sheltered upbringing and spontaneous magic, I am honestly intrigued. The visuals in this anime are spectacular and remarkable, too. The characters and backgrounds were beautiful throughout the episode but the most impressive illustrations were during the underwater scene where the computer lab flooded and submerged our heroine. That scene alone really changed my opinion on the anime for the better. However, as you can see I’m still undecided on it which brings me to the other aspects of the anime. The whole guardianship with Miyuki’s character, certain to evolve into a romance over time, is all I need for me to drop this anime. I absolutely hate the set-up with his character and the direction the story is going. I am willing to give the anime a chance to correct itself out of this spiral, but this type of romance story is one I cannot stand. The other issues I have with the series beyond the story are that the remainder of the cast failed to make much of an impression on me. Hopefully some more interesting characters show up soon because there needs to be something this asinine story about forcing a young boy to be the guardian of a young girl. I’ll give Red Data Girl a chance to improve with its second episode but, given its plot thus far, don’t be surprised if this anime gets dropped next week.
Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge
Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge leaves me feeling conflicted. The first episode proved to be fun and entertaining, especially when the two main characters Kiri and Iwai were involved in generating the humor and laughs. The ordeal with Iwai being ‘cursed’ and the ‘Killing Goods’ being weapons for a death game sound intriguing and I’m curious to see how they will be used. The only other characters that were featured in this episode, the two ‘murderers’ have the potential to be interesting too, depending on who they’re used since they’re both still mysterious at this point (except one is a student at Kiri’s school or something?). As for the rest of the anime… meh. I’ve never really been fond of survival or death games before, so depending on how Crime Edge manages this aspect will prove vital to whether I keep it or not. You already know the romance angle will be played strongly throughout the anime between Kiri and Iwai and that’s something I’m not looking forward, too. These types of forced romances are always the worst kind of stories and that alone would be an excellent reason for dropping this anime. Also, considering that this will be a death game anime, you figure the remainder of the cast will be gimmicky players with specific weapons, so there isn’t too much hope for genuine interactions between the characters unless the two other girls watching over Iwai join their side. The action might be the best part of the plot but I’m not sure how a battle between a pair of scissors and a syringe will work out. Well, I suppose in the next episode, I’ll find out how that battle ends up, as well as whether I’ll want to keep Crime Edge or not.
Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince
You know you’re dealing with an abysmal anime when the best thing that I can recall from the first episode is that I only watched it for 9 minutes. And even then, I still regret lasting that long. Majestic Prince isn’t so much of an anime than it is a lengthy list of problems. For starters, the characters aren’t so much as humans as they are wandering one-dimensional personality traits. The klutzy girl is always klutzy in everything that she does, the stupid protagonist is stupid in everything he does and the other three reacted not as a person would but how their one flawed personality trait defined they would. I don’t even recall the characters thinking or showing emotion once during my experience with Majestic Prince. And speaking of flawed, there is art and animation in Majestic Prince. The CG animated space battles was passable at best, you can’t be terrible impressed with 3D models flying through open and empty space. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the art. The stylization or appearance of the characters in Majestic Prince is a balanced combination of lazy and ugly. None of the characters show any discernible detail or effort besides the wacky faces that popped up whenever someone attempted something humorous. It’s something I’m not used to and something I don’t plan on getting used to either. I didn’t make it far enough into the episode to understand or appreciate the plot but it seems like a bunch of losers are going to save the galaxy for no practical or gratifying reason. I mean, I could understand it better if they were the best fighters in the school or something, but this is the equivalent in stupidity of asking a bunch of 4-year-olds try to prepare a Thanksgiving dinner (except that would be more entertaining than Majestic Prince). Oh, I suppose there is one other positive that I can comment on from this first episode: that I won’t be watching this anime anymore.
It’s amazing how much of an impact one character can have on an anime and, unfortunately for Karneval, the protagonist here absolutely ruins the anime for me. Nai is way too needy and dependent as a character, never thinking for himself or even about himself and always going on and on about his boyfriend, Karoku. Even during the fight and subsequent escape, he never showed interest or really any appropriate reactions to the events going on. I could understand if he were drugged or sedated somehow but it seems that he was too busy thinking about Karoku and where he went. The rest of the cast, however, proved fine, especially Gareki who really carried this episode once he began setting off the bombs. The action in this anime does seem a bit variable with the fight in the mansion being lame but the one on the train enjoyable, possibly because the one in the mansion was just bombs going off twice and the train scene featured an actual fight. As for the plot, I left the episode without a clue on what was going on besides Circus being a super-secret organization and Nai is searching for Karoku because he never ceased to mention that whenever he could. I’m not really certain who or what the other characters are doing yet but I suppose that it will be revealed eventually. The art and animation in this anime is gorgeous, especially in terms of its detail and character design. I’d love to continue watching the anime based on its aesthetics alone since it is pleasing to the eye, but it just isn’t my type of anime. After watching the first episode, I already hate the helpless, absentminded and emotionless protagonist Nai and the story never really hooked me with its factions and groups waging a magical war against each other. It might be worth checking out if you can get beyond the protagonist, but for now, I’m done with Karneval.