Winter 2015: First Impressions – Aldnoah.Zero 2, Shounen Hollywood 2 and Kuroko’s Basketball 3
Flood of releases over the weekend so lets have a look at some of the sequels first. Bullet-proof protagonists, hard working idols and more magical basketball – Aldnoah.Zero 2, Shounen Hollywood -Holly Stage for 50- and Kuroko’s Basketball 3.
Aldnoah. Zero 2
So the continuation of Aldnoah.Zero picks up the story 19 months after that dramatic final episode…..so of course very little has actually changed. Everyone miraculously comes back just as we had feared and act as if no time has passed at all. Plus despite the characters being nearly 2 years older everyone looks exactly the same – like hair cuts and all! This episode serves to re-introduce our cast of one-note characters and basically rehash the usual format of the vast majority of Aldnoah.Zero episodes – throw-away Martian with unique mech attacks > earthlings attempt to fight back > red-shirts get killed > the support cast get involved and also lose > Inaho arrives to Gary Stu his way to victory single-handedly. Fire in some extra plot details involving Slaine & the Martian royals and you have your typical A/Z episode.
On the upside, the show still looks good (static character designs aside – giving Inaho a cybernetic eye does not count), which goes a long way to my continuing to enjoy watching this disaster. Aldnoah.Zero is not a good show – the writing is an absolute mess – but it is still a stupid amount of fun to watch, and for that I am pretty pleased to have it back this season.
Shounen Hollywood -Holly Stage for 50-
We rejoin our fledgling idol group to find them starting to gain a bit of recognition for all their hard work. The boys are now putting on regular shows and generating a bit of a following, but none of them are content to rest on their laurels, and still work hard not only at putting on a great show, but also walking the streets to do promotion and taking time to ensure their theatre is in good repair. Its details like this that make ShoHari such a great show – all this behind the scenes stuff showing the boys actually putting effort into chasing their dreams, even all the unglamorous aspects that are usual glossed over. We also see the first signs of competition between the boys for the spotlight and the idea that some of them are going to be more popular than the others – how their friendships weather such competition will make or break the unit – I’m really looking forward to the rest of the season!
I think the budget may have been increased for this season, or at the very least this episode looked pretty good and there was some nice dance animation. ShoHari still isn’t the prettiest show with its rather distinctive character designs, but there is a lot of effort put into the details – you can tell that the animators are really doing their best.
Great to have more Shounen Hollywood, I really didn’t expect this show to get a sequel.
Kuroko’s Basketball 3
Yay KuroBas is back!! This first episode mostly served as a recap to remind of us of key players, teams and matches thus far in the Winter Cup. But we were also introduced to an absolute arsehole who used to be a starter with Teiko until Kise took his place – shall be interesting to see if he is as violent on the court as he is off it. But yeah, more Kuroko!! I’m super excited!
New OP and ED are excellent – always love the effort put into the animation, I’m also looking forward to collecting another batch of phenomenal end cards. This is the third season of Kuroko, you’re either on board with its brand of BL flavoured basketball magic or not at this stage.