Anime and Manga — Reviews and Previews
Well, it’s the beginning of November! That means I’m ankle-deep in fast and furious novel writing courtesy of NaNoWriMo, which always cuts into my anime time. But that’s why we’ve got Armchair Madcap LiteTM, the low-calorie alternative to your usual programming! This month, I’m looking at a few of the new Fall 2012 anime seasons that weren’t picked up for legal simulcast before I posted my season preview, but which have gone live since. Please consult back to that [aforementioned season preview] for the rules I ascribe to with this sort of thing, then sit back, relax, and read all about the weirdness of this season’s late-bloomers.
Lychee Light Club
Plot: There is no plot here. Something about a robot that runs on lychee fruit, and the club that built him to kidnap girls and rule the world. Or something. … I have no idea what I just watched.
Review: I mentioned that I was interested in this show because of its pure, unadulterated weirdness, and it certainly lived up to that reputation. Each episode is only two-minutes long, with no real central plot, and a cast of characters that sport all the cliché apparel of a cult but have a surprising range of personalities, from the geeky kid who only wants money to the cheerful one who keeps asking if he’s cute enough. It’s… It’s not terrible, but even though it’s not exactly roll-in-the-aisles funny, either, the weird premise and the short run time keep you from looking away. I rolled through all four available episodes in one sitting. Would I have done so if each one were twenty minutes long? Almost certainly not, but there’s something to be said for a show that doesn’t overstay its welcome. That having been said, this cute little non-offensive gag show is apparently based off a pretty serious and oftentimes gruesome manga. I wonder what happened in that particular board meeting…?
Verdict: Lychee Light Club is something you watch because you’re bored and there’s nothing else on, or because you like the odd goth-rock meets Wii-characters aesthetic. I’ll pass on any future episodes, but I probably would have been more interested if it’d followed the manga’s darker path.
Plot: Time marches on, and technology marches with it, bringing on the advent of personal miniature robots known as Shinki. Some Shinki are merely administrative assistants and companionable friends. Others, however, don armor and armaments and battle it out as Busou Shinki – Armored Goddesses. Whether they battle for honor, for glory, or simply to please their master, each Busou Shinki fights to win! Also, they don’t wear a lot of clothes! … … I have no idea what I just watched.
Review: If your idea of the perfect woman is a 15cm tall machine who wears a thong and calls you master, this show is for you! It’s built around a bunch of figurines who are decked out for battle, but the vast majority of this episode was three Shinki cleaning up a house and whining over who gets more love from their owner. The two fights it did feature were impressive feats of technical prowess, with well-integrated 3D models that didn’t stick out too awkwardly from the 2D backgrounds, and the choreography was pretty spot on, too. Busou Shinki should have featured more of that, or at least given us more background information on the world, the technology, or the time period. Instead, we got a harem episode, only all the girls are five inches tall and have visible ball joints. (Those ball-joint-inclusive character designs are another high point; at least the show is honest about what it’s trying to market.) As far as being a harem show goes, this doesn’t look like it’s going to break any molds, but it probably won’t be a festering pile of crap, either.
Verdict: Busou Shinki wasn’t worth the additional wait, and it definitely doesn’t hold up against the rest of the season’s stand-outs. I wouldn’t be averse to watching a compilation of the best fights, however.
Plot: The girls of the Astronomy Club have a problem: their club is going to be shut down if they don’t start attracting new members! Unfortunately, Club President Kyoko Todoyama rules with an iron fist, and she refuses to allow anyone to join unless they overcome a bizarre obstacle course of trials and tribulations, including defeating each of the club members in (anime-themed) battle, reassembling a torn-up yaoi manga, and winning at rock-paper-scissors! She also strips her underclassmen! And the club advisor is a cat! … … … I have no idea what I just watched.
Review: Will someone explain to me why the main character of these types of shows is always an overbearing bitch? Kyoko is not a nice person. She’s practically a rapist, she only refuses new members because it’s “fun,” and as far as I can tell, she’s never done a single nice thing for anyone in her life. Why hasn’t this club ousted her yet!? Why hasn’t there been a coup!? Honestly, this show was just so weirdly bizarre and full of completely-unnecessary fanservice that it rendered it practically unwatchable for me. Poor Hakata takes more weirdly sexual abuse from Kyoko than Mikuru ever took from Haruhi, and it’s obvious that Ebiten is trying to (belatedly) capitalize on the Haruhi craze while failing to understand the meaning of “restraint.” Ebiten has managed to find almost the exact combination of elements to ensure that I never again want to watch this show. Even the yaoi-loving fujoshi couldn’t save it for me.
Verdict: Blech. Just, blech.
*Apparently this is actually just Crunchyroll’s formal upload of the webcast of this show from last season (I knew the title sounded familiar), so I didn’t even actually need to watch this. Dammit Crunchyroll, why you gotta play a girl like that?
I was hoping that some of these last minute simulcasts were unpolished gems waiting to be discovered, but it looks like I’m staring down at a bunch of leftover niche drivel instead. Fall 2012 has two more chances to impress me, which I’ll cover in the post two weeks from now! Until then, let’s all just hope this season ends on a high note, rather than leaves me yearning for the good ol’ days when I was watching K, Psycho-Pass, and Blast of Tempest!