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Autumn 2010 – First Impressions (Iron Man & Letter Bee Reverse)

October 2, 2010

Next up we have two shows that I was quite looking forward to – Iron Man and Letter Bee Reverse (Tegami Bachi 2)

Iron Man

Oh Madhouse, is this what you’re putting out after that six-month delay? I expected much better than this. For a start there’s a bit too much assumption that the viewer will already be familiar with Iron Man; I’m not, I haven’t seen the films and have never touched the comic, all I know of the series is from popular media and word of mouth – essentially I was going into the series with no meaningful knowledge of the franchise, and so some throwaway references to past events went clean over my head. My initial impression of Tony Stark is that he’s an egotistical womaniser with more money than sense who loves to hear the sound of his own voice (although if I had Keiji Fujiwara’s voice I’d like to hear myself talk too ). Seriously this episode was like 90% Tony Stark talking about himself/buttering up Japan and 10% actual Iron Man action! The plot of having the Dio suit stolen is a pretty standard way to start a show, so I’m hoping they’ve got a few more original ideas in the bag to turn things around. However overall it’s not a bad show in terms of premise.

The animation is where I have major issues. I was expecting great things from Madhouse, especially considering how good the trashy High School of the Dead looked last season. As such I was bitterly disappointed by the blocky character designs, heavy shadowing and poorly animated movements. The CGI is also pretty bad – its shininess doesn’t mesh at all with the rather dated looking character animation; thankfully the backgrounds are much nicer (even the ED animation is much better actually). Basically the animation looks completely different to that shown in the trailer released last summer, and it’s not a change for the better. I also have issues with the way every few minutes there’s a fade out to a new scene – its like the director has the attention span of a 3yr old, and it made for quite disjointed viewing.

Music is pretty decent, but extremely overblown (even when there is nothing actually exciting happening on-screen) and at times it nearly drowns out the dialogue (that’s a pet annoyance of mine). The OP is fairly short, but reasonable and I quite liked the ED. The acting isn’t particularly brilliant, but then again the script was very wordy and expositionary in this episode – can’t imagine it being very fun to act out.

It doesn’t bode well that Iron Man has so many issues in its premiere episode, I’m hoping things get better so I’ll keep it on for a couple of episodes before making my mind up completely.

Letter Bee Reverse (Tegami Bachi 2)

I know I’m terribly biased since I really enjoyed the 1st season, and the show has a major advantage since it’s a direct continuation, but Letter Bee Reverse probably has the best 1st episode of the season so far (not that it has much competition at the moment). Thankfully there was no hanging about, or long recap of the previous season – it just picked up from that evil S1 cliffhanger and continued on (which is probably why Crunchyroll have just picked up the episode numbering from 26). Lag is still a horrendous cry-baby, but he kind of has a valid reason to be extremely upset in this episode (just realised how difficult it’s going to be to review this episode without spoiling S1), and it was adorable to see Niche try to comfort him and attempt to bury her own insecurities at the same time. All the usual suspects got a bit of screentime in this episode, but really the majority of the time was given over to Lag & Niche trying to deal with the aftermath of S1’s climax.

The animation is just as pretty as it was in S1, and the full cast has returned to their roles. The new OP & ED are pretty decent (although not as immediately catchy as the 1st OP was) and I really liked the animation – particularly the ED animation.

This show really benefits from how much time was spent on development and world building in S1, the plot can really just run now without worrying about leaving the characters cold – I’m very much looking forward to the rest of the series; just hope that Studio Pierrot don’t repeat the same mistakes regarding filler in this season.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 4, 2010 10:45 pm

    Iron man not to bad not really happy with the cgi armor looks but I guess that is a minor detail but I will be watching it just to see what madhouse has done with a marvel character.

    • October 7, 2010 8:45 pm

      I was kind of hoping it would be more fabulous or something – I wanted Madhouse to really put their own stamp on the graphics of the show (like last summers PV suggested) – it just looks a bit clunky to me at the moment.

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