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First Impressions: Autumn 2015 – Part 1

October 3, 2015

autumnanimeOkay then the floodgates have opened and I’m already half buried under a flood of new shows to try out, but I’ll do my best to get these posts out in a timely manner.  First bunch of new shows are a mixed lot – strong showing from the sequels, but the new series aren’t really anything to get excited about.

First up is:

  • Lance N’ Masques
  • Hackadoll – The Animation
  • Heavy Object
  • Noragami Aragoto (S2)
  • Soukyuu no Fafner: Exodus (S2)
  • K: Return of Kings (S2)
  • Young Black Jack
  • Kagewani

Lance N' Masques - 01Lance N’ Masques

Well this was hilari-bad.  I ended up laughing quite a lot at this first episode, but I’m not entirely sure if that was what the series intended.  The concept is pretty bog standard (and very reminiscent of Hayate no Gotoku) with a talented young man rescuing an isolated, rich loli, but I have a feeling that this is mostly meant to be played straight rather than for pure comedy value.  The over-the-top and flamboyant presentation of your masked & cloaked fella waving about his massive lance spouting the cheesiest White Knight lines, all feels like straight up parody, as does the terrible stereotypical gangsters, teenage delinquents, random maids and the strange talking horse-girl-thing.  However it also seems to want us to feel some sort of sympathy for our hero with his daddy issues & wanting to have ‘a normal life’, and for the loli with her sad isolated lifestyle – you can’t really have it both ways, especially not when the ‘serious’ stuff makes the viewer giggle at its genericness.

The show also looks pretty awful, mainly because of the god awful character designs.  Those squished faces with the giant eyes that seem to float all over the place, non-existant noses and itty-bitty mouths, are just ugly to look at.  I mean the show does manage a few scenes with some pretty decent action animation at the start & end of the episode, but the blobby character designs just make it hard to take seriously.

So yeah, don’t think I’ll be surprising anyone when I say I’ve dropped Lance N’ Masques.

 

Hackadoll the Animation - 01 Hackadoll – The Animation

Moving onto the first of the shorts this season has on offer.  This one has 10 minute long episodes, and it wasn’t actually all that terrible.  Not my thing, but not terrible.  Here we have anthropomorphised versions of some sort of entertainment app that are sent to make some poor fujoshi’s life ‘easier’.  Naturally our trio of Hackadolls are utterly incompetent and hilarity ensues. 

It’s simple and cute and doesn’t really pretend to be anything other than what it is.  Personally I’m not really interested in watching any more, but there is nothing particularly bad about Hackadoll.

 

Heavy Object - 01 Heavy Object

Good lord this was an absolute chore to get through!  It has been a while since I’ve seen a opening episode to an action series that was so utterly tedious, mainly because there was very little action on display.  The show itself doesn’t look all that bad, just very standard.  Can’t say I like the character designs much and the action scenes look like they’ll be entirely CGI, which I’m not really a massive fan of.  However the main issue is that the old light novel adaptation issue rears its ugly head here. There is just way too much running narration – it never shuts up, it’s like an audio book!  Exposition dump piled upon exposition dump – the deluge of information was incessant and none of it was particularly interesting to me.  Future world with shifting national borders, constant battles with massive war machines, world sparsely populated with standard anime archetype characters – there you go, that’s basically what the first episode of Heavy Object established.

I’m sure the series does have a point, the LN does seem popular, and given it is from the same author as the Raildex series, I really shouldn’t be surprised by the fascination with technobabble and details – but that still doesn’t mean I can forgive such a dull opening episode to the anime.  Some effort should have been put in to make the anime more engaging – I was quite literally zoning in and out during all the talking, and then rolling my eyes so hard they nearly fell out of my head during the boobs/seatbelt scene that contained some of the only action in the entire episode.

Basically while this may improve now that all the exposition is over, I have zero interest in watching more.  So I’ve dropped this Heavy Object.

 

Noragami Aragoto - 01Noragami Aragoto

Well this was a pretty solid re-introduction to the Noragami world.  It managed to touch on all the main characters, remind us of their personality quirks and still got some new plot-points peppered throughout.  This season will be mostly focused on Bishamonten and the root of her antagonistic attitude towards Yato – it’s one of the strongest arcs in the manga and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing it animated.

On the production side, the quality seems to have slipped a bit – some scenes are noticeably lacking in detail and a bit off-model in the wide shots.  It’s still a beautiful looking show over all, but it just made the slightly off shots all the more noticeable to me.  New OP is pretty cool – it’s done in a similar style to S1’s, but I think I prefer S1’s still.

So yeah, good to have Noragami back – definitely keeping on.

 

Soukyuu no Fafner Dead Aggressor - Exodus S2 - 14 Soukyuu no Fafner: Exodus S2

I don’t think many people are watching Fafner, which is a shame since it is pretty interesting once you get past the layers of technobabble.  The first part of Exodus was quite a slow burn and took a while to really get going, however once it did start rolling it was definitely a satisfying watch.  This first episode took time to remind us of where the plot is, and spend some time with the characters before getting back into the alien battling action.  I’m looking forward to seeing where the story goes in this second part of the season.

 

K Return of Kings Episode 01 - KnaveK – Return of Kings

Oh lord this was so fecking pretty!  Seriously, so much time, effort and money must have been poured into this episode because it was just gorgeous. I will be the first to admit that K is a pretty prime example of style ruling over substance, because the story is a very simplistic gang war with superpowers kind of one, but I really don’t care when a TV series gives us this much eyecandy.  Every single character, right down to the minor side characters, has a great, memorable and detailed design (so many bishies~!).  The backgrounds all look amazing and the camera swoops around showing them off from every conceivable angle (so much so I was getting dizzy at one point).  And this is all without really talking about what makes K so memorable looking to start with – all the colours!  Rainbow coloured filters, sparkling dust motes, shafts of sunlight and lens flare are all layered over the animation in such a gratuitous manner that makes K look pretty unique even from a Go Hands standard.

I find it impossible to watch an episode of K without grinning like an idiot – it just makes me happy.  As I said, the plot is hardly anything to get excited about, but the sheer cool factor that the characters and the direction bring, mean that the simplistic plot is pretty irrelevant to me.  I just want to watch these characters bounce off each other, and that episode had that in spades.  It’s a joy to have K back on my screen – definitely picked up.

 

Young Black Jack - 01Young Black Jack

I enjoyed this quite a lot.  Mainly because young Black Jack is hot, but also because I like how it tries to blend in some serious social commentary about the student movement in the 60s, with some super anime aesthetics.  Seriously the random assortment of character designs on display is quite something to behold – there’s these super dated, stylised characters chatting away to the super bishi Black Jack and it really looks strange.  Actually the whole show has that kind of weird spliced together feeling (just like Black Jack himself I suppose) including the OP, which has animation that really doesn’t fit the music choice (although the whole thing is pretty cool to look at).

The show just feel like it is just doing whatever it wants to and doesn’t really care about setting a consistent tone, and I’m surprisingly okay with that because it is fun.  The fact that there is a lot of shirtless scenes (with more promised in the next episode preview) is entirely coincidental.  I’ll be watching more of Young Black Jack!

 

Kagewani - 01Kagewani

Well this is definitely in the same vein as Yamishibai, right down to the animation style.  It does work well for this kind of horror themed short, since everything is distorted and unnerving to start with.  Seems there is going to be a recurring character who has some sort of personal interest in the strange creatures that are the focus of the series, so maybe there will be more of an over-arching plot thread in this show.  I’m keeping it on for now, it’s not brilliant, but I quite like these short horror shows.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. October 3, 2015 7:05 pm

    Seems we agree so far on the shows we’ve both watched – I loved Young Black Jack and Noragami, though neither feels like 5 star quality. Lance N’ Masques, I’m giving a chance out of sheer desperation for things to watch, but it was not good. Heavy Object is dropped like… a heavy object.

    I’m holding off on watching K until a decent release surfaces, since I’ve heard the quality on the streaming sites leaves much to be desired. Wouldn’t bother me (as much) for most other shows, but for K the animation quality is the main draw!

    • October 4, 2015 12:54 am

      Yeah the streaming quality for K was a touch grainy (as you can see from the screencap), but I wanted to watch it ASAP. Will probably watch it again once a better quality release comes out though!

  2. October 5, 2015 3:30 am

    I only watched three so far of what you covered and man, we are on the same boat with Heavy Object.

    I kinda liked Noragami (because it seems like it never left from the way it reintroduced itself. Yay!) but I agree that was less visually impressive as compared last season.

    Kawegani reminds me of lyrics videos in YouTube animation wise but I think it’s a decent first episode if you can get through the visual style. I have yet to watch K in full and never watched Black Jack (although I am seriously contemplating if I am going to follow that one). Is it necessary to know the main Black Jack series for me to appreciate Young Black Jack?

    • October 5, 2015 9:43 pm

      I’ve been hearing that Heavy Object gets better and that this 1st episode was just set-up, but that still doesn’t absolve it of the sin of having a terribly boring opening episode.

      I’m hoping that Noragami is just saving its time & energy for the more visually striking action scenes. I don’t mind plainer in-between scenes if we get some stellar action again.

      Young Black Jack is pretty stand alone since it is a prequel. You just need to be aware that he goes on to be an amazing maverick surgeon in the future really.

      • October 7, 2015 5:07 am

        Yay! Thanks. Young Black Jack added to my current list this Fall.

  3. October 7, 2015 7:32 am

    Wow nobody is giving any slack towards Heavy Object T_____T but idk ill watch cause its from the same writer of Index/Railgun and JC staff has worked with him in the past! It’s just sad that nobody wants to give it two more episodes to develop anything. Yeah it took a bit of time to get into the history and details on what an object was, but its 24 episodes which means yeah the plot is going to be super freakin slow.Then again certain characters did talk a whole lot and Heavy Object is from a damn LN so those things are going to be dumb cause thanks SAO.

    • October 7, 2015 9:04 pm

      My problem is mostly with the presentation of the anime – I’d be more inclined to give Heavy Object a go if it wasn’t such a lazy adaptation, even SAO’s first episode was more interesting! The info-dumping of all the history and details was just awful – may as well have read the LN instead.

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