Fall Anime Initial Impressions

Feels like it's been forever since I've done one of these.

Gundam - G no Reconguista

It's been over a decade since Gundam series creator Yoshiyuki Tomino directed a series.  Since then the series has gone through a number of varying permutations, some good, some bad--but either way it's good to have the originator back at the helm.

I know people were expecting "Kill 'Em All Tomino" to come back and create a bunch of characters that get horribly murdered over the course of the series and make us all cry the tears of time, but from the first two episodes I'm guessing things are going to edge closer to his later work than his earlier stuff.   The series so far has heavy twinges of Overman King Gainer--with the sterile, futuristic designs that the original UC series were known for mostly tossed aside for a more exotic, almost "tribal" looking aesthetic, one that will undoubtedly help it stand out now that mecha is one of the more popular genres of this era.

So far I'm actually enjoying this series--the main character isn't an emo brat, but he's also not a completely untalented idiot who keeps getting thrown into situations he clearly doesn't have the skillset for.   And although the supporting cast needs more development, most of them are pretty likable as well.  My only complaint is that we're two episodes in and right now I have no idea what the conflict even is, nevermind why it's happening, but I'm assuming there's another 35-45 episodes to go to lay that out.

Great to have Gundam back on the air again.

Shingeki no Bahamut - Genesis

.....Buh-wha?  Wha....?  WHA?!?!?!?!   *head asplode*

No seriously, this is victory #2 for the fall, as Shingeki no Bahamut just might be the most un-anime anime I've ever seen, and that's a good thing.   You have to understand that, as a fan of any medium there are certain tropes, storytelling shorthand techniques and almost pre-set character types and character relationships that fans see frequently, because writers use them frequently.  And writers use them frequently because they're easy for the lowest common denominator fans to parse.   A milquetoast main character, the female best friend who secretly has developed a crush on the protagonist, the cute little sister, etc.

Shingeki no Bahamut is completely absent of that.  I'm not saying it doesn't use tropes, at least the TV Tropes type, because that's simply how we create stories--everything is either a subversion, an inversion, played straight or something that's a lampshade of things that have been done before, "there is nothing new under the sun" and all that.   But the anime tropes I'm used to seeing from 2000's-era anime are blissfully absent.   It's not overly violent. There's no blatant fanservice (we had a naked female and not one "bounce").  The lead female isn't brain-damaged (Gundam couldn't even manage that).  And most importantly, the main character is just some wacky idiot with an afro who's pretty good with a sword--not a god-tier "broken" soldier or some teenager spouting off mini self-help speeches about friendship every six minutes while getting smacked down into the pavement and relying on his "never give up" spirit.

Instead, we get a cool horse-mounted sword fight over the rooftops of a beautiful city.   Giant summons that look like they hopped out of Final Fantasy VII.   Absolutely jaw-dropping animation, which frankly I still can't get over.   This is supposed to be an anime for a card game, right?   Did...did no one tell the creators?   Card game animes look like this, or this, or at best this--not like Shingeki no Bahamut.   But hey, I welcome the change.

Madan no Ou to Vanadis

I don't know why I keep falling for this.  New light novel adaptation gets announced, it looks like boring haremshit, but everytime a few people say "Oh, but this is different!" and I decide to give it a try anyway.  I realize I'm an eternal optimist, but at this point I'm beginning to believe people are just saying that to see who's falling for it.

Random naked scenes.  Oversized boobs.  The main character isn't completely worthless but he may as well be in comparison to the female characters we've seen so far.   If this series does have potential then someone let me know what episode things "pick up" at, because right now this thing has been dropkicked off my watch list.

Magic Kaito 1412
If you're wondering why Magic Kaito looks so much like Detective Conan, it's because it's actually the mangaka's original (but apparently far less popular) creation, pre-dating Conan by almost a full decade.  I guess the guy was annoyed people didn't like the original as much and decided to re-use the same character designs for the main lead and female--go figure.  

At any rate, this ended up being one of my favorites of the season, behind the two Gundams and the sequel to Log Horizon.   The lead character Kaito is hilarious and the opening episode hits the ground running, introducing you to everyone you need to know, setting up a nice mystery and getting the main character started as the mysterious phantom thief "Kaito Kid".

Incidentally, that's my primary problem with this series--no one thinks to look at the kid who has the same name, likes magic and has the same height and features as this legendary international thief?  Really?  Ah well.   Anime could always use more varied genres, so having a "heist" anime come out this year is welcome--I just hope they develop his cast more. 

World Trigger

*yawns*   One of the things I was afraid of when I started this blog was getting to be one of the people who've seen so many anime that you're just not excited or surprised by most of them anymore.  But I think that's the fate of everyone to some extent if they watch too much of it, as I definitely have

Still,  I find myself struck with wide-eyed wonder often enough to believe that I haven't become too much of a cynic, so I think this is just that ho-hum of an anime.  It sets up a standard premise--beings from another dimension attacking ours, guys with super-powers fight them.  That's fairly old hat, but I don't fault it for that.  My problem is that it's so...dull.   The character designs aren't anything special, the monsters aren't terribly unique, even the powers and henshin sequence are average.   Mind you, we're only one episode in and it hasn't done anything to make me hate it, so I'll definitely keep watching...at least until I feel like it's tedious. 

Gundam Build Fighters Try
I'm gonna be honest...I'm not sure what to say about Build Fighters Try.   So there aren't any misunderstandings, this is a good thing--Build Fighters season one was amazing and this series so far has lived up to it's predecessor.   I'm absolutely in love with our new female lead already--she's basically Sei all over again...right down to the lack of talent.

The last series got pretty epic in terms of battles, so I was actually wondering how they could top some of the incredible fight scenes like against Ricardo Fellini or  Nils Nielsen, but episode one gave me the feeling like it could pretty easily since things are now 3v3 team battles.   

So far I only have two concerns: that our new female Gundam otaku can pull her weight and doesn't become the reason they lose all the time, and that the series properly balances these new characters with the older ones that everyone wants to see. 

Akatsuki no Yona

I'm not sure where I stand on this one yet either.  It had a pretty decent opening episode but I'm not terribly into shoujo.   Still and all, from the bits and pieces I skimmed from the manga the series has the potential to be pretty cool--a pampered princess' transformation into a battle-hardened warrior?   The idea alone has bought this series another four episodes to see what they have planned.

Garo - Honoo no Koukin

Not a bad start to what could have potentially been a tinderbox for Garo's fanbase. So far I'm enjoying this quite a bit--it's keeping the same level of violence and impressive choreographed action scenes that everyone's used to while also taking advantage of it's animated nature to use more fantastical settings.  Switching from modern day Japan to what looks like the Middle Ages of Europe is a much-needed change of pace that explains why they bothered to use animation in the first place.

The only thing I'm slightly disappointed by is the art style.  Keita Amemiya's designs deserve so much more detail than this.  Hopefully at least the plot and length of the series make up for it.


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