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Autumn 2014: First Impressions – Terra Formars, Gundam G no Reconguista and Denki-gai no Honya-san

October 4, 2014

autumnanimeOkay new season is go!  This weekend is going to be stuffed full of new shows so going to try my best not to fall behind……should be easy enough since I’m not working right now……she says unconvincingly.

Anyway, time to kick off this torrent of first impressions posts with badly censored alien cockroach gore, colourful incomprehensible mecha and moe girls selling porn mags – Terra Formars, Gundam G no Reconguista and Denki-gai no Honya-san.

Terra Formars

So I’ve now seen two episodes of Terra Formars and I’m still not completely sold on the show.  It wants to be taken seriously with all its violence, technical mumbo-jumbo about viruses and genetically modified superhumans and the dull colour palate, but there is no getting away from the dumbness of the designs and OTT (and really horribly censored) gore!  Terra Formars feels like it should have been made in the 80s or 90s as one of those ultra-violent and hilarious OVAs!  When I look at the show through those lenses I sort of enjoy it much more – I don’t really want to take the show seriously despite its best efforts to make me do so.  I mean this series starts with a dude fighting a man-eating bear in a cage for the amusement of the wealthy – that basically sets the tone of the ridiculous yet awesome kind of action I can get onboard with!

The animation quality is decent enough to do the job, although this director seems to be completely allergic to having too much colour and loves shoving the camera in so tight we’re practically looking up the characters nostrils most of the time.  It’s a distinctive style, and sort of works for the show, but it doesn’t really distract from the fact the series is really horribly censored.  Whenever anything remotely gory happens we’re suddenly presented with a black screen with the odd slice of abstract body parts.  It kills any kind of tension and just makes me roll my eyes and/or laugh.  Clearly the entire point of Terra Formars is its brand of relentless action and gore – having your main selling point blacked out sort of ruins the point of bothering to animate the series!

Still I’m willing to give Terra Formars another few episodes yet – at least until I decide I’m overloaded with shows and something has to go.  I quite enjoy dumb action shows and the insect gimmick is interesting.

Gundam G no Reconguista

Had to sleep on this one, because holy crap was that a whole lot of weirdness!  G-Reco is an assault on the senses – a riot of colours, super-chirpy characters, scatter-shot dialogue and entirely random pacing.  I certainly enjoyed the two episodes, but admit to being completely clueless about what the hell was going on most of the time.  Tomino appears to be trying to be the most Tomino he can possibly be with this series!  The Gundam show this feels most similar to is Turn A, purely due to the fun, yet very random atmosphere that G-Reco revels in.  In terms of timeline, G-Reco is far into the future of the UC timeline, yet pre-dates Turn A – so really you don’t have to have seen any previous Gundam shows to jump into G-Reco.  Although being familiar with Tomino’s style may help ease your impending headache.

I’m still slightly reeling form an overload of stuff from these first two episodes – it is impossible to really talk about everything……like the instructor with a whip, the sudden onslaught of cheerleaders in space, UNDER NUT!, how the main character is super hyped for everything (including running full tilt into a wall), the walker bike things, and entirely random statements like “The world is not square!” and “you just stuck two random names together!”.  It makes very little sense and no meaningful attempt is made at explaining the world setting at all. Yet the show is very endearing with all its mentalness and is very pretty to look at.  The fluid, hand-drawn animation is beautiful, I really like the characters designs for the most part, and the riot of colour and sparkles make it really fun and vibrant to watch.  But it also feels oddly dated – there are techniques employed that are straight from the 80s that we rarely see in modern series, and coupled with the super-shiny modern design of the show, it comes off as a bit anachronistic.

Scenes don’t really flow into one another, feeling more like a jumble of vaguely related set-pieces rather than one flowing narrative.  The same goes for the dialogue, which is a completely baffling hodgepodge of “words” rather than anything that tells me what the actual fuck is going on.  Characters spout weird lines out of nowhere in the middle of other conversations and I’m not sure how much of this is bad translation or just LOLTomino!

There is no doubt that G-Reco is a batshit crazy assault on your senses, but it is a whole lot of fun – I mean the dancing eye-catch and that super upbeat Can-Can ED…..just LOL! I am definitely keeping G-Reco on, but probably won’t be trying too hard to understand it yet.

Denki-gai no Honya-san

If I’m honest this show didn’t really leave much of an impression on me.  I was mildly entertained by a few of the scenes – Manga Sommelier, shrink-wrap nightmares and the government officials speech stand out most – but overall this was just rather bland.  I was expecting it to be either more surreal or with more biting wit, but this approach is a bit dull and run-of-the-mill.  The characters don’t really stand out much and the whole episode is rather forgettable.

I’m also not a fan of the character designs – I just don’t like these tiny moe-blob designs since I end up wondering just what age these people are meant to be……..most of them look 12, yet they’re meant to be over 18 since they’re dealing with porn mags!

Not awful, but not really good enough to justify watching more – dropped.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Rocco B permalink
    October 5, 2014 8:46 pm

    Terra formers sound like that film starship troopers.

    • October 5, 2014 9:48 pm

      Yeah it is something along those lines – except not as amusingly camp.

  2. October 7, 2014 9:13 am

    I picked up Terra Formars for the action… though I haven’t seen much yet. OTT gore and even more OTT censorship to go with it might ruin any entertainment I could potentially have gotten out of this series.

    Gundam G no Reconguista’s pacing and unintelligibleness (that’s a word!) lost me. It’s pretty, but that alone isn’t enough for me to pick it up at this early stage. More than anything, it served as a reminder that I need to start Turn A.

    Denki-gai no Honya-san was pretty meh, agree with you there.

    • October 7, 2014 4:28 pm

      The censorship in Terra Formars is all the more frustrating when you look at what Garo got away with in it’s first episode. Guess it’s going to be one long advertisement for the blurays & manga.

      Yeah Turn A is definitely highly recommended – it has all the Tomino-ness you’d expect, but actually tells a compelling story and has wonderful female characters.

      • October 8, 2014 9:04 am

        Did you watch Garo raw, or is there some sub I’m unaware of?

        • October 8, 2014 10:02 am

          There is a sub on Nyaa – viasubs is the group. They’ve translated from a Spanish group but the quality is pretty reasonable. Believe Garo gets official release today though if you want to wait.

  3. October 12, 2014 5:12 pm

    Denki-gai: I agree about the character designs. I think they are supposed to be adults, and I think some of the humor failed because they undercut that. In particular, when “sensei” was throwing a tantrum, she seemed like a 12-year old acting like a 12-year old.

    • October 14, 2014 9:05 pm

      Yeah bad choice on the character designs – I probably would have given it another chance if the art wasn’t so bad.

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