First Impressions: Winter 2014 – The Pilot’s Love Song, Hamatora and D-Frag!
The Pilot’s Love Song (Toaru Hikoshi e no Koiuta)
This was even duller than I was expecting. For all the interesting things in the setting (floating island, planes, journey into the unknown, school in the fecking sky!) this turned out to be just another school anime, with a wee bit of plane action at the start. It wasn’t even particularly interesting, just plodding along firing out plot points with little energy or real direction – I couldn’t care less about these characters and the only one I actually remember the name of is the bland male lead because he’s called Kal-el Albus & that made me laugh.
Production is also pretty meh, clearly not much of a budget for the series, which is a pity because as I said the setting is pretty cool. I wasn’t fussed on the film that follows on from this story, so I’m certainly not interested in sticking around for the rest of this series given this snore inducing opening episode. Dropped.
I enjoyed this. Sure it was more of a “ooh this is pretty cool” rather than a “this is really interesting ” kind of reaction, but I still enjoyed Hamatora. Yes it is Seiji Kishi and yes you can definitely tell from the choppy way it is directed, but that worked for me in this instance because the actually story in this episode was pretty thin on the ground. The outcome of the mystery was telegraphed early on, and while I liked how the compensated sex angle was acknowledged without any fanfare, that was the only thing of note about the actual story line in this episode.
The characters are all pretty shallow and you can tell what their personality is going to be from character design alone – not that that is a major minus, I like dem bishies after all. Production is actually reasonable – the use of neon filters when the super-powers are activated was quite cool, and the voice cast was a big draw for me with this series. Keeping on for now, it is a pretty basic concept, don’t think Kishi can fuck it up too badly.
I will say one thing about D-Frag! – it has a lot of energy, but unfortunately that doesn’t make up for the fact that a lot of the jokes fall flat. This is yet another guy is forced into joining a club populated by insane women – all the characters seem to have a quirk that they skew to the nth degree….like the teacher who thinks a taser is a valid teaching tool.
The direction is pretty good though and the episode speeds alone at quite a brisk pace, never sitting on one joke for too long. There’s some nice dynamic animation in places, but the character designs themselves are pretty bland. I did enjoy this first episode, much more than I thought I would, but I don’t think there is any further potential in the show so I’ll be dropping.