Anime Mondays #27 (Summer 2013 First Impressions!)

Here’s your spoilers: this post has a prize inside like the cereal box.  Just scroll down to the bottom if you want to claim it first.

Now that that’s out of the way, this week, I took some time out to watch first episodes of a lot (for me, anyway) of the shows that are currently airing this season in Japan.  Please be warned that I HATE watching anime weekly (case in point, I’ve binge watched over half of Orange is the New Black on Netflix since Friday — and I am starting to pre-write this post on Saturday) and I don’t know if I will continue to write about each show on a weekly basis.  I also haven’t started a couple I was really looking forward to watching and…I have no idea why.  Apparently, I’d rather write about some random shit I found on Crunchyroll by scrolling backwards through the simulcast list.  Let’s get this party started.

All images are from MAL, and there are spoilers up to the episodes listed!

Naruto – Episode 1 Naruto cover

I’m painfully aware that this is not new.  In fact, I don’t know why I even started this, seeing as it’s 220 episodes for this series alone, not counting spin-offs, and everyone either talks about how terrible it is or how ridiculously in love with it they are.  But it was cheap on amazon.  And I’m trying to find a show that will fill the void left in my heart by the ending of Soul Eater.  This show is not going to be it, but now I’m compelled to finish it because I started it.  Naruto is about some kid who wants to be a ninja, but sucks at it.  However, he doesn’t really suck at it, he’s just got these powers locked up inside of him.  The first episode didn’t really do much except for try to prove how much of a bad ass this kid would be, but I’m not really buying it.  I’m sure it’ll improve as it goes on (after all, it has 200+ episodes to convince me), but for now, after one episode, I turned it off and continued the Smallville marathon I’m trying to complete before Comicon in August.  I’m halfway through season 2.  I don’t know if I’m gonna make it.

Watamote – Episode 1 Watamote Cover

The full title of this show is really long in both Japanese and English and doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either way, so let’s just go with Watamote.  So there’s this girl, and all she wants is to be popular, especially with boys.  However, she’s a giant weirdo.  Like…seriously.  There’s no other way to describe her.  She’s even worse that the protagonist from The World God Only Knows.  Like, that guy’s a douchebag, and this girl isn’t, but she just…wants to conform.  She makes facebook duck faces and puts her hair in pigtails and tries to give herself an extreme makeover to fit in with the other kids at school, and completely and utterly fails.  It’s funny, but it’s like…I want to give her a giant hug and cry my eyes out for her.  She reminds me more of Konata from Lucky Star than anyone else for some reason I can’t quite put my finger on.  Maybe it’s the art style.  This poor girl has giant bags underneath her eyes, and if she Google searches all this crap about making friends and being cute, she should probably start with a makeup blog and learn about concealer first.  Just sayin’.  I like this show, though.  I don’t know if I’ll continue it weekly, but I’ll definitely finish it sooner rather than later.  You can stream it on Crunchyroll if you want to check it out.

Blood Lad – Episode 1 Blood Lad Cover

Okay, so in the first three minutes of this show, I got a complete Soul Eater vibe.  Like, yes!  This could be it!  This could fill the void left behind by my beloved Death the Kid.  Plus, I love vampire anime.  Don’t judge me.  At least I don’t love Twilight.  Anyway, this vampire (who is obsessed with Japanese otaku crap) is the boss of one territory in the demon world, and a human girl mysteriously comes to his world.  He, of course, goes batshit on her, talking about junk like Final Fantasy, and I laughed so hard I almost spit out my Diet Coke.  However, shit hits the fan when she ends up dead and becomes a ghost.  Our good vampire friend claims to not be that interested in her anymore, but he makes it his mission to get her soul back into her body and revive her.  Um…okay.  This series is only ten episodes, so I really don’t know how they’re going to cram what feels like a gigantic plot into this tiny series, but I’ll stick with it.  Even if Viz won’t release it on DVD until like 2015.  It’s definitely not going to be my new Soul Eater, but maybe it could be my new Vampire Knight.  You can check this out on Hulu/Hulu + if you don’t want to wait 13 years before it gets a dub.  Why you so slow, Viz Media?

High School DxD – Episode 1 High School DxD Cover

So, I know this isn’t new either.  But the Funimation Roku Channel had two episodes of the dub up, so I gave it a shot.  And I’ve said it way more than once, but I’ll say it again: why does Japan ruin perfectly good concepts for shows with a shit ton of fanservice???  And it’s so much more than that here, it’s like full out cartoon nudity.  Yuck.  The dub is actually hysterical with all its boob references, even if I think I heard a “hells yeah!” in there somewhere.  But, Jesus Christ, I’d much rather see an edited version of the animation.  Sadly, the plot seems really interesting: these girls are all devils and this loser guy keeps getting killed for some reason yet to be explained, but the girls keep bringing him back to life.  I don’t know, I’m all for the occult stuff.  But I just…can’t.  If they start busting out some bananas for no reason Girls Bravo-style, I’m out.

Fantasista Doll – Episode 1 Fantasista Doll Cover

Card Captor Sakura meets Magic: the Gathering?  I don’t know, guys.  I know this was the first episode, but the plot of this show was just not explained well enough for me to want to keep watching.  Our main girl is a card game prodigy, and some freak slips a cell phone with a card reader into her bag on the train, and suddenly, she’s running for her life and being entered into a game where she controls these dolls through cards…I just don’t get it.  And they’re all bitches, too.  There’s something bubbling under the surface here, and I don’t know what it is, but it’s not dark like Madoka or anything, so I really don’t care.  This is one of those shows that I’m going to put on the backburner for a month or so and hope it gets better before I eventually finish it.  If you want to try to figure it out, it’s on Crunchyroll.

Sunday Without God – Episode 1 Sunday Without God Cover

This was one of the shows I was most excited to check out, and the first episode was, in a word, disappointing.  From the preview, I was expecting something a lot darker, and there was too much comedy in here for my liking.  Like, I really wanted this gory murder mystery with zombies, and I got some little girl calling this creeper her dad and both of them making stupid jokes to each other.  I’m trying to fill my Higurashi void, and I just don’t think anything is going to do it for me until I cough up the money for the first Umineko set.  I already bought the second.  Don’t judge me.  Anyway, this show is about some little girl whose mom is dead and her dad is a deadbeat who is told he has to be the town’s gravekeeper.  Because, you know, God just gave up on this world and turns people into zombies after they die unless a gravekeeper buries them.  It should be really good and gothic, right?  So far, it’s not.  Crunchyroll has it up, but it’s not on my must watch list anymore.

Stella Women’s Academy High School Division Class C3 – Episode 1 Stella Cover

Damn, this anime has a gigantic title.  What is it with the long titles this season?  First impression?  Strawberry Panic meets K-On! meets Btooom!.  I know…that sounds really odd.  I was super excited in the first few minutes thinking that this would be a fucked up show about girls in boarding school.  Then our main girl finds a gun under her pillow, and I was like, “if this turns into some mech bullshit, I’m out.”  Luckily, there are no giant robots to be found.  Instead, Stella is about a club full of girls who like to play war games.  No real blood is shed, even though it’s weird to see a bunch of cute girls running around shooting air machine guns at each other.  I’m guessing this is like paintball without the paint?  It really wasn’t made that clear.  But they bribe the main girl into the club with cake.  The concept sounds odd, but it was kind of charming and amusing.  However, if they stop playing the war games like K-On! stopped showing the band, I’m out.  I’ll keep tabs on this one on Crunchyroll for the rest of the season.

Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist – Episode 1 Makai Ouji Cover

I was drawn in by the character styles for this show, but once I watched it, I found I wasn’t interested at all.  The animation is weird and looks almost unfinished?  I can’t quite put my finger on what I don’t like about this show, but I’m just not that into you, Makai Ouji.  It’s basically about this rich dude who loses all his money until he finds out he’s a descendent of King Solomon or something and all these devils need him to elect them to become king of the demons…it’s just strange.  And not good strange.  The bad guy was pretty cool, though.  I was digging him.  It was like a cosplay dream, especially with his purple ombre hair.  If I get desperate for something to watch on Crunchyroll, I might try this again, but don’t count on it for awhile.

Danganronpa: The Animation – Episode 1 Danganronpa Cover

I think I’ve found my weekly show for the season.  This shit is right up my alley.  First of all, it’s got the Battle Royale aspect, where 15 extraordinary high school students are trapped in a school, and then in order for them to get out, they have to commit a murder.  PERFECT.  Let’s all watch the shit go down.  Apparently, this is based on a game, which explains the atrocious art style, but even with all the ugly characters, I’m still going to eat this up.  The first episode just basically introduces everyone and the premise (the evil teddy bear who put them all in the school has done something to their friends/family members, which motivates everyone to get out instead of just staying at the school forever), and although the characters are all cookie cutter, I was still drawn to a couple (namely the fashionista and the the blond heir guy with glasses).  The main character is pretty worthless, but as with most anime, this is to be expected.  I cannot wait for the next episode, even if Funimation releases them almost a week behind when they actually come out.  I may have to sneak around for this show.

Best of the Week: Danganronpa, Watamote, Stella Women’s Academy

Love it or Leave it: Blood Lad, Naruto, High School DxD

Hope it Gets Better: Sunday Without God, Majai Ouji, Fantasista Doll

And now for your prize: a Crunchyroll guest pass!

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Next week may be a postponement because I have friends coming in from out of town, but I’ll try to get something up, even if I’m late.  What do you think of the new summer shows?  Is there something I’m missing?  Don’t say Free!.  I’m going to get to it…hold your half-naked horses.

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