Summer 2015 – First Impressions (Part 1)

gangsta-01-nicolas-benriya-deaf-money-cashThis post reviews: Gangsta., Okusama ga Seitokaichou!, Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace, Classroom Crisis, Gate: Jietai Kanochi Nite, Kaku Tatakaeri, and Wakaba Girl.

A quick note, I’m actually caught up on all of the new shows that have aired this season, but have fallen behind on these posts due to being out of town (again). There will be four of these First Impressions posts for Summer 2015, with the remaining parts out soon.

 

Watching:

Classroom Crisis

classroom_crisis-01-aki-subaru-mizuki-yuna-sakugo-kaito-kojiro-tsubasa-kaoruko-makotoClassroom Crisis has a certain endearing charm thanks primarily to its characters and their chemistry together. Unlike many school anime that focus on general studies, all of the students in Classroom Crisis are connected through their passion for engineering and researching advanced space flight, so the students all have a natural connection with each other. Furthermore, as demonstrated by the first episode, they function as a somewhat cohesive unit, with certain characters taking charge for certain roles. And to facilitate this, most of the characters have some level of depth and personality that lends to the idea that this anime is about a cohort of teenagers rather than a few special students in school of 3,000. The setting is clearly a strength too, not only because it’s a sci-fi setting taking place on Mars, but that it’s focusing on the technology and interstellar travel. In a sense, the setting reminds me of Mouretsu Space Pirates, albeit without the silly privateering focus. Additionally, the art and animation are simple and delightful, and fit a more relaxed mood that I think will predominate the series.  That said, I’m not sure what most of the anime will concern itself with, and my main reservations with this series pertain to the plot with the Kiryuu appearing before the class at the end of the episode. Everything else has worked hard for me to keep the anime this summer, but it’ll depend on the plot with how highly it ranks.

classroom_crisis-01-mizuki-happy-cheerful classroom_crisis-01-iris-helmet-visor-cool

 

Wakaba Girl

wakaba_girl-01-mao-nao-moeko-schoolgirls-friendsIt’s hard to pass up a cute, chibi, 4-girl, slice-of-life/comedy anime like this. Wakaba Girl doesn’t pack a powerful punch, but the anime is entertaining with some of its humor. And when a joke isn’t funny, at least you have chibi girls making cute faces, so it doesn’t feel like a total waste of time. And with only 8-minute episodes, it doesn’t require much of a commitment to sit, watch, and smile once a week. That said, if any element of this anime’s formula had been changed (cute, chibi, and 4-girl), I probably wouldn’t be watching it. Really, Wakaba Girl is kinda flat, but I can’t really say no when everything else is so pleasant. Let it be known to animators in Japan that those 3 elements together are an obvious weakness of mine and that you could get me to watch probably anything if you include all 3 factors in a healthy balance.

wakaba_girl-01-wakaba-hime_cut-twintails-stare-cute wakaba_girl-01-mao-nao-moeko-wakaba-comedy-chibi-reaction

 

Undecided:

Gangsta.

gangsta-01-worick-benriya-eye_patch-gun-blondeI want to like Gangsta, I really do. So much of this anime appeals to me with its harsh, graphic setting, its knowledgeable yet neutral protagonists, and its alluring while joyless art style. It has a lot of elements that tell me that this is the anime for me… yet, I couldn’t help but feel somehow bored with this first episode. Even the climax of the episode, full of action, drama, and retribution felt… lackluster. Although there are a number of things I enjoyed about this episode, I didn’t enjoy it overall, and it’s difficult for me to pinpoint where something went wrong. Really, Gangsta is an enigma which means I’ll want to keep it around for another episode or two. However, if this unsettling boredom doesn’t dissipate, I’ll consider dropping the anime, but I don’t really expect it once the story picks up and more police and mafia are involved. That being said, this first episode wasn’t terribly impressive.

gangsta-01-alex-prostitute-smile-tan_skin-blue_eyes gangsta-01-chad-detective-police-cigarette-smoke

 

Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace

ranpo_kitan_game_of_laplace-01-kobayashi-awe-stare-yellow_eyesOne episode really isn’t enough material to make a correct decision for Ranpo Kitan: Game of Laplace. After all, the focus and content of this first episode was to establish its characters, its setting, and its first mystery, all of which feel incomplete at this time. After the second episode, and probably at the end of the first mystery, then I think I’ll have a better idea, especially in regard to how the mystery is presented and solved. Still, I can’t help but feel unenthusiastic with Game of Laplace, especially with Hashiba and Akechi. At least Kobayashi is interesting in his quirkiness, but Hashiba is dreadful and Akechi is jaded with his redundant personality of “genius detective boy”. Still, I want to see how this first story arc resolves before I give up on this, but it’s not looking good at this point.

ranpo_kitan_game_of_laplace-01-hashiba-best_friend-glasses-waiting ranpo_kitan_game_of_laplace-01-akechi-genius_detective_boy-plain-bland-boring

 

Dropped:

Okusama ga Seitokaichou!

okusama_ga_seitokaichou-01-ui-most_beautiful_athletic_smartest_blah_blah_blah_girlIt was awful.

okusama_ga_seitokaichou-01-ui-determined okusama_ga_seitokaichou-01-ui-blush-looking_up

 

Gate: Jietai Kanochi Nite, Kaku Tatakaeri

gate_jietai_kanochi_nite_kaku_tatakaeri-01-youji-military_uniformSo, yeah, the anime wants to portray the main character as some gallant hero who serves Japan with courage and pride, but really, all he cares about is buying anime porn. It doesn’t really make a consistent product when the anime wants this guy to be admirable and glorious and then have him talk about doujinshis and otaku stuff the whole time and not seem to care about anything he’s doing for Japan. I can’t tell if this is supposed to be glorifying the JSDF or patronizing it. Like, I can’t tell what this anime wants to do, and I can’t tell who this anime is trying to target. You’d think that this is targeting otaku, but wouldn’t it be better if it were all cute girls fighting monsters instead, something like Strike Witches or Garupan which have demonstrated success? Like, I don’t get anything about this anime. Usually when an anime is awful, I can at least identify some group of people who might like it. This? I can’t. It’s a mystery to me, and it’s one that I won’t be solving any time soon.

gate_jietai_kanochi_nite_kaku_tatakaeri-01-youji-blood gate_jietai_kanochi_nite_kaku_tatakaeri-01-youji-crying

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  1. #1 by JekoJeko on July 11, 2015 - 2:37 AM

    Regarding Gate, the contrast between the serious military vibe and the MC’s otaku roots is something I love. Rather than champion one or the other, the show feels like it’s doing thematic work between the two with neither the fantasy or military side looking like they’re being celebrated as the conflict raged this week. Rather than directly target someone or say something, the show is building up questions that won’t immediately have answers in the viewer’s mind or in the show.

    Not all stories start with a clear ‘target market’. Some of the best embrace multiple in order to explore aspects of all of them in relation to one another. How did that little girl in episode one feel, seeing all the monsters from TV suddenly kill people in real life and get killed themselves. Can she tell the difference between fantasy and reality? Can we?

    I definitely think Gate has more potential than you’re seeing in it.

    • #2 by avvesione on July 11, 2015 - 8:40 PM

      The two sides (military versus otaku) don’t really sit well with me, but that’s probably because I’ve rarely ever enjoyed otaku stories or characters in anime (and of those that I do enjoy, they’re pure comedies except Welcome to the NHK).

      That being said, the second episode seemed to correct a few of the major issues I had with the character and anime, but it wasn’t enough to convince me to keep the show.

  2. #3 by Njin on July 11, 2015 - 9:21 AM

    You are getting a lot wrong impression on gate. Its an anime about fantasy armies getting their asses handed to the, by a modern military army. It’s just live civilization. Just give it a few more episodes for it to show.

    • #4 by avvesione on July 11, 2015 - 8:42 PM

      Well, I did give Gate another episode and I see what you mean about the anime being about defeating fantasy armies, but that’s really not my thing. The second episode was a mild improvement over the first, but not enough to affect my decision.

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