Summer 2011 – First Impressions (Blade, Sacred Seven & Nurarihyon no Mago S2)
Another day, another bunch of new shows! Today we have Marvel vampires, meido armies and demons with too much hair gel…..or Blade, Sacred Seven and Nurarihyon no Mago: Sennen Makyo.
So vampires then. I’m once again slightly underwhelmed by this latest Marvel/Madhouse collaboration, but its by no means the worst of the lot (Iron Man still holds that crown) and I think I may be able to stick this one out for the entire run! Blade has style and most importantly, lacks squawking teenage characters (Hisako was the main reason I bailed on X-Men). Of course its cheesy and overblown, but that’s exactly what the Blade series seems to be about (although my only exposure to the franchise are the Hollywood movies XD). I do hope that they introduce some more vampires with a smidge of personality, because at the moment they’re just cannon fodder for Blade’s blades, and even though its pretty fun to watch them spontaneously combust, I would like some to put up a bit of a fight aside from the main big bad.
The animation isn’t wonderful, nor is it terrible, and there are some pretty cool action scenes……..as well as some truly terrible dancing scenes! Character designs are fairly decent (huge lips though) and seem to move well. The OP & ED are both instrumental, the OP is heavy on the guitars & drums (in fact all the music in the show seems to be like that – Blade is loud) whereas the ED is the usual orchestral number that all these Marvel/Madhouse series seem to be fond of.
So not a disaster, but I’m still a touch apprehensive about how shallow everything feels. Will keep Blade on for another few episodes to see how things go.
So I came out of that episode rather puzzled about just how I felt about Sacred Seven. I do know that I thought it was a lot of fun, because it’s camp as hell and pure Sunrise; however at the same time I couldn’t help but feel that there was something missing – that little extra sparkle that would make this show awesome. Sacred Seven feels like its taken elements from a ton of entertaining shows and mixed them all together, but it seems to be missing something that elevates it above similar shows – an identity that is uniquely its own. Also at the moment the characters don’t really have any personality – Protag-kun is most definitely no Lelouch, so I’m hoping the next few episodes fix that. Still Sacred Seven is a very fun show – its got a Meido army, mecha, giant rampaging mythological statues (rampaging statues are popular this season), sparkly transformation sequences (not quite Star Driver Fabulous~! though) and the protagonist spins about on what is either a tiny ride on lawnmower, or a really small scooter!
Production values are as good as you would expect from Sunrise, and the action was full of movement and interesting shots – probably among the best I’ve seen lately. I also really, really liked the OP – both the song and the animation are brilliant, and the ED theme is pretty good too (hoorah for Yuuki Kajiura!). Voice acting was reasonable – although that talking rock Miss Rich carries about has an annoying verbal tic.
There is plenty of potential in Sacred Seven, even if it doesn’t define itself as a must watch, it will still be tremendous fun to watch – gotta love that Camp Sunrise Mecha show feeling!
Nuraruhyon no Mago: Sennen Makyou
So this second season seems to be being handled by a different team to the first season, because this first episode, even though it kind of went over old ground, was really quite stylish and well put together. This first episode went way back to when an 8-year-old Rikou first accessed his demon side in order to save his school friends – the first season did touch on this as well, but it was done so much better in this episode. The brief scene of a 5-year-old Rikou and his father at the very beginning of the episode seems to be the main set-up for this season as the girl in that scene appears in a lot of the promo art. If the rest of the series manages to turn out writing like this, NuraMago may just be worth paying attention to!
In terms of production, Studio DEEN have turned out a very pretty show indeed – they’ve even managed to get Rikou’s ridiculous hair moving somewhat naturally now! Direction was pretty damn good too with lots of interesting angles. I’m kind of anxious about how good this episode looked, hopefully DEEN haven’t blown their budget! The OP played in place of the ED this week – catchy song and once again, very stylish animation.
So I’m really rather impressed by how good this initial episode turned out to be. I just hope that the upcoming plot is as good – less school hijinks, more youkai fights please!