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Spring 2010 – First Impressions (SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors,Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin and Uragiri wa Boku no Namae o Shitteiru)

April 11, 2010

This afternoon I gave SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors and Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin a whirl.

EDIT: Its the post of ridiculously long titles – Uragiri wa Boku no Namae o Shitteiru (Betrayal Knows My Name) is added to the mix!

SD Gundam Sangokuden Brave Battle Warriors

Decided to watch the first episode of this for the craic – it was every bit as lulzy as I was expecting! It’s just such a ridiculous concept – turning the Romance of the Three Kingdoms characters into these adorably ridiculous looking SD Gundams is just so wrong on so many levels – yet I can’t deny that I was entertained throughout the 12min long episode. Plot is exactly like any other Three Kingdoms adaptation, but the script is so cheesy its hilarious!

The most surprising thing about this is how well it’s produced. Seriously, it looks like Sunrise’s A-Team are working on the backgrounds, and the animation and BGM are fabulous! However that ED has to be the single cheesiest song I’ve heard in quite a while – I couldn’t stop laughing Voice acting is fittingly over-dramatic and hammy, all adding to the general feel of stupidity……it was fun!

I was entertained, and its got a short running time, but I won’t be keeping this on……its just too stupid!

Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin

Wow. Now that is how you do hard-hitting drama. Madhouse are not pulling any punches with this series – there is no hesitation to show the abuse these teenagers suffer in a post-war correctional facility/prison. If you are anyway put off by physical or sexual abuse this is probably a series you’ll want to skip; however if you think you can stomach that, then Rainbow is looking to be a fantastic series. You can cut the tension with a knife – I was completely gripped from beginning to end! The major theme seems to be forging firm friendships to gain the courage to survive against the odds. Of course to get the highs you need the lows……..and boy do they put the characters through hell; and this is only the beginning! Judging by the OP the series will follow these seven teenagers through their confinement and into adulthood – I’m very much looking forward to seeing how their experiences shape their adult lives.

In terms of animation, its excellent as we’ve come to expect from Madhouse. The direction was a bit iffy at times, but generally top-notch. I can’t imagine any other studio attempting a series like this – Madhouse’s dark style is as perfect for Rainbow as SHAFT’s quirkiness is for Arakawa Under the Bridge. The voice acting is good, but there are a few moments of OTT-ness were it seemed like the seiyuu were trying too hard……but in the grand scheme of things that’s a minor quibble. The OP and ED are brilliant – think that this is best OP of the season!

Definitely keeping this series on – it’s so refreshing to see an anime studio try such a dark series, generally this kind of show is left to live action drama’s or movies. I’m interested to see how Rainbow fares in anime format – think this has the potential to be truly excellent.  Do not let the rather flower title put you off – this is anything but rainbows, fluffy kittens and sunshine.

Uragiri wa Boku no Namae o Shitteiru (Betrayal Knows My Name)

Uraboku (as it shall henceforth be called – that’s a long title!) was actually pretty decent. I was expecting a wafer thin plot, and that’s kind of what I got; but it’s wrapped up in quite an attractive package. It’s pure fujoshi bait though – the lingering close-ups, chains and rose thorns imagery, the long coat and hair fluttering in the wind, the hints of a tragic angsty past, and completely stereotypical bishie characters; it’s all clearly calculated to hit all the right fujoshi buttons. But you know what, I don’t care! I like the way Uraboku does not try to be anything other than what it is……sometimes its nice to stop being so critical just enjoy something that’s pretty shallow at the end of the day. I can pretty much predict how the plot is going to play out just based on this 1st episode, but I doubt that will hamper my enjoyment any – to be honest I’m just pleased to have a new BL series to watch!

The animation is OK, not groundbreaking or high budget – in general the feel is quite typical of the angsty bishe genre (I get X/1999 vibes from it). The character designs aren’t as pretty as my favourite CLAMP bishes, but they’re not hideous – rather generic though. The direction and consistency was fairly good though – if it keeps this up it will be doing well. The cast kind of sent my Inner Fangirl into fangasms though – every time a new character opened their mouth it was “Ah, its Souichiro Hoshi!” “Ooh! Akira Ishida!” “Kyaa! Takahiro Sakurai!” “Yay, Marina Inoue!” “JUN FUKUYAMA~!!” *cough* I am so shallow The fact that there are even more drool-worthy names like Daisuke Ono and Mamaru Miyano yet to appear just further delights me

The OP and ED were surprisingly decent, and I quite liked the accompanying animation. The BGM does its job well too, without being overly dramatic. Overall I’m quite pleased with how Uraboku is shaping up. I was going to watch it regardless, but seems like it could actually be quite interesting!

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