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Short Reviews: Part 14

August 24, 2009

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Few more reviews, now back to the very 1st ones I ever wrote! Please Save My Earth, Blue Submarine no.5, Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora, K-ON! and Kekko Kamen after the cut!

Please Save My Earth: Interesting sci-fi OVA, but has a really random final episode – 3.5/5

PLOT: The plot was interesting. The issue of a past life affecting ones actions in your current incarnation is a subject that I personally find fascinating and it is fairly well explored in the series. However I got the feeling throughout that things were happening way too fast, the action seemed to be rushed with not a lot of breathing space given to the viewer. However considering this OVA series is based on a 21 volume manga series I think they did quite well condensing the material. The downside is that because I am unfamiliar with the source material I felt fairly confused for much of the time – too much happens with not much explanation IMO.

ANIMATION: Again this is an OVA series so the animation quality is quite high. The art style is typically 1990’s as this was released in 1993. There isn’t a whole lot of action, but what there is is animated well. The character designs were quite good, but the giant cat freaked me out! (You’ll know it when you see it).

MUSIC: The music didn’t really stand out, but it wasn’t grating or hard on the ear either. There are no opening or ending credit sequences either.

VOICE ACTING: The voice acting was excellent, no issues with any of the cast. As usual I find that psychotic children are the most disturbing things in the world (even more so than chibi-neko’s!)

OK so, fairly interesting story, slightly confusing, very random last ep, but overall a decent watch.

Blue Submarine no.5: It is a short OVA series, but the time is used well and there is a pretty decent plot – 4/5

PLOT: Really interesting exploration of a future world after an environmental disaster and the evolution of a race of aquatic mutants. The characters are well rounded; none are perfect but all the more likeable for their flaws. It’s a short series, but they make the best out of the time and the series end up being really quite good.

ANIMATION: The action sequences are well executed and have great animation (except for the very noticeable CG, but I’ll forgive that), the water was particularly well done (which is good considering the main focus of the series is on or in the stuff!) Character designs are good as you would expect from a studio like GONZO, but I still think that Hayami & Hei (from Darker than BLACK) were separated at birth!

MUSIC & VOICE ACTING: The soundscape was very jazzy sounding, but this seemed to fit the action well, however at times I felt that the sound effects and music drowned out the dialogue. The voice acting was also very good, and I liked the effect on the voices of the beast creatures.

Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora: Shambolic mess of clichés and cheesy awfulness – 2/5

PLOT: My general thoughts on the series is that it wasn’t as awful as I expected (although granted my expectations going into the show were nearly in the minus figures!). There was a plot, a very clichéd one, but a plot all the same. It could have been better if it had not have taken itself so seriously. A bit more parody / comedy would have lightened the whole thing considerably and made me rate it higher. Because so much was played straight I found myself giggling at parts that where meant to be dramatic! The main character Kuu is the weakest in the show (her obsession with the word ‘Ouji-sama’ was enough to drive anyone nuts). The ending was not what I was expecting, but I was expecting the extra helping of cheese that appeared after the credits finish!

ANIMATION: Probably the only good thing about the series. The animation is pretty, OTT, but pretty. Oh and it has a flying horse, mecha and lots of multi-coloured hair!

MUSIC & VOICE ACTING: I wasn’t keen on the music, but it was OK I suppose. In terms of voice acting, I wanted to gag Kuu every time she opened her mouth, her voice was awful! But aside from her everyone else was decent – although you could tell the seiyuu were struggling with the godawful script!

In short a series that I wouldn’t inflict on anyone! Avoid.

K-ON!: Overloaded with generic moe, nice animation though – 3/5

PLOT: Oh K-ON! You had so much promise at the start, if only you hadn’t of gotten lazy and stopped even trying to be original. Based on a 4-koma manga about a group of highschool girls who form a band, I never really expected much of a linear plot from this show as 4-koma’s are more suited to slice of life and comedy……however I didn’t expect K-ON to abandon any attempt at plot in favour of drinking tea and endless cosplay in blatant attempts at pandering to the fanboys. The massive popularity of this series just goes to show you how well KyoAni know their fanbase – they have quite literally taken all their previous shows, stuck them in a blender and marketed the result as something new, when in fact you would struggle to find an iota of originality in this show. The characters are amalgamations of other KyoAni characters, the script seems to have been written with the sole intention of getting the girls into as many different cosplay opportunities as possible and the entire production just screams “this is just passing the time – please buy our stuff”. I know I’m not exactly the target audience for this show, but given the fact that I really have liked KyoAni’s past titles I was bitterly disappointed with how little substance K-ON had.  Lucky Star has an even thinner premise, but it delivered so much more entertainment and really memorable characters. All K-ON has left me with is a bunch of cookie-cutter moe-blobs and a catchy ED!……OK rant over.

ANIMATION: Thankfully I have good things to say about the animation. KyoAni are excellent when it comes to attention to detail and K-ON is no exception. They have taken great care to depict the instruments the girls (rarely) use accurately, and have obviously gone to great lengths to study how they are played – the finger movements are really nicely done. The mouth-flaps when Yui or Mio are singing also show great attention to detail. However as I’ve said before, you would be hard pressed to find any originality in the character designs – each of the girls adheres to the moe-blob conventions and are designed to appeal to the different tastes of the fanboys……same with the wide range of costumes the show has.

MUSIC & VOICE ACTING: For a show centred on a band the limited amount of music in the show is pretty craptastic, which doesn’t help matters! The OP is pretty good though and the ED is insanely catchy (yes I do have it downloaded!). The voice acting is great, although the seiyuu are wasted on the lacklustre script – they do their best though.

So yeah I wasn’t impressed – my rage mostly comes from a sense of disappointment though as K-ON is fairly entertaining if you go into it with zero expectations, however since I am familiar with what KyoAni can produce when they are on form, K-ON stands out as a real low point in their back catalogue to me.

Kekko Kamen: Good god why did I watch this!? – 2/5
PLOT: Um. Well one has to wonder how the pitch for this show went……

“Hello Mr President-man I have an idea for a new female superhero! She fights for Love & Justice and saves students from the perverted punishments of her teachers!”
“Oh? Sounds interesting, but how will you make the heroine unique?”
“Well – She’ll have a red mask and red boots and gloves.”
“Yes, and?”
“Well she’ll be completely naked otherwise and her finishing move will be to slam her crotch into the enemies face!”
“……….I’m sorry, what!?”
“BTW, its not hentai”
“Oh in that case – work away!”

Yeah. This has to be ecchi-est series I’ve seen that isn’t out and out hentai. It also has to have the oddest cast of characters; I mean the Principal is called Big Toe-Nail of Satan! The variety of the punishment teachers is also way out there, although S&M Nazi-woman from the 1st episode stands out in my mind thanks to the rotating swastika. All the characters lack anything in the way of depth though – although I wasn’t expecting any to start off with! Oddly for a show filled with naked superheroes, perverted teachers and clothes that explode; Kekko Kamen isn’t all that offensive……its completely tongue in cheek and obviously doesn’t take itself seriously. The script revels in its own cheesiness and even breaks the 4th wall occasionally – which is good as it saves this series from being utterly offensive and just plain wrong.

ANIMATION: Well its not good…….although the variety of ways they thought of to get the main girls clothes off is commendable! Kekko Kamen’s poses are obviously parodies of the traditional hero poses – she kind of reminded me of Sailor Moon when she went on about Love & Justice – which was odd.

MUSIC & VOICE ACTING: The only music of note is Kekko Kamen’s theme tune which was so cheesy you couldn’t help but laugh. I ended up watching the dub as I somehow managed to download Italian subs. The dub is as OTT and crap as you would expect – I think most of the amusement I got out of the series stemmed from the terrible voice acting; for example, the S&M Nazi woman in ep1 came complete with a godawful fake German accent, lulz ensued!

So yeah, Kekko Kamen is not something I’d ever recommend anyone to watch – but its harmless enough.

So all I have in my backlog are a handfull of reviews I need to completely rewrite as they are only based on a handful of episodes or not structured properly.  I’ll get them posted when I have time.

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