chaostangent

Posts within the “Anime” category

Augmented

A review of the first Sidonia no Kishi anime series

The first trailer that I saw for Sidonia no Kishi (Knights of Sidonia) was linked to by someone who was obviously very excited at the prospect of the series. For me, the trailer produced only indifference: giant robots, monsters, space; I’ve seen all of this before. Even the post-broadcast Netflix announcement trailer wouldn’t have convinced me, and I only saw that having watched the whole series. The core issue being that robots fighting in space is an easy sell but it’s not what makes Sidonia a special series. You can’t tout super-massive architecture, questioning the nature of humanity or glorious science-fiction as selling points in a minute and thirty seconds.

what humanity was before has ceded to pragmatism and necessity, to survive it must change and adapt

Many people have categorised the series as “hard” science-fiction which seems like a misuse of the term. Sidonia is very rich, but its use of laborious and detailed scientific explanations is extremely limited and most of the time non-existent - this isn’t Banner of the Stars. This is about a gargantuan colony “seed” ship, the titular Sidonia, floating through the cosmos defending itself against grotesque aggressors, the Gauna.

Read the rest of this entry

Grateful

A review of the Hitsugi no Chaika anime series

There aren’t many ways of describing Hitsugi no Chaika (Chaika the Coffin Princess) that don’t boil down to it being “solid”. It starts pleasingly enough pitching a late medieval fantasy world where unicorns aren’t brushed snow stallions but grotesque slathering monsters, then proceeds to flesh out its trio, then quartet, of main characters before concluding with a satisfying end. A second season (or continuation of this season depending on your point of view of staggered broadcasts) has been announced which is unsurprising given that the series has been well received and has enough mileage in its premise to carry it through another dozen or so episodes.

The titular Chaika is an amnesiac goth loli with apple cheeks and a clipped, almost breathless cadence to her speech who is looking for the remains of her father, Emperor Gaz. Enlisting the help of the mercenaries, or “saboteurs” in the series’ lingo, Toru and Akari, the group set off to help Chaika in putting her father to rest. The issue being of course that Gaz was killed because of the war he started that lasted two hundred years, and his remains were separated so that his immense magical powers would not allow him to reform, T-1000 style, and start up hostilities all over again. Nothing is ever easy.

Read the rest of this entry

Heaving

A review of the Seikoku no Dragonar anime

There’s a principle in writing drama coined by Anton Chekhov called simply “Chekhov’s Gun”. It’s a straightforward idea with the spirit of it being “don’t include anything unnecessary”; a lot of anime do it anyway as either a hangover from their manga or light novel source material, as a way to entice viewers further than the first episode, or as a misguided attempt to construct a foundation for additional instalments. If that’s Chekhov’s gun, then Seikoku no Dragonar (Dragonar Academy) is Chekhov’s arsenal. It’s frankly staggering how such a multitude of bits of back story and character development are shown but then never utilised again.

evil schemes so laughably ineffective that all they achieved were minor property damage

Daughter of Avalon? Nope. Silvia and Ash’s history together? Nope. Arranged marriage? Nope. Morally ambiguous teacher? Nope. The list goes on and on until by the end you could make a doily out of all of the plot threads that are left hanging. What you do get in Dragonar then is a whole lot of things you’ve seen before but forced together like ill fitting jigsaw pieces. You’ve got the precocious and pink-haired loli from Zero no Tsukaima, the improbable harem of Infinite Stratos and the throw-away fantasy leanings of too many series to name.

Read the rest of this entry

Irridescent

A review of the Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko anime series

Apathy seems to have been a trendy topic for anime the past few years, culminating in 2012 with Hyouka’s Oreki whose, if you’ll forgive the pun, entire driving force was to pursue a languorous existence, free of exertion. Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko (Electrowave Girl and Youthful Boy / Ground Control to Psychoelectric Girl) may have preceded Hyouka by a year but nevertheless rails against this trend of laziness, ironically doing so in the most languid and nonchalant way possible.

It doesn’t start as such. The first episode is, for the lack of a better phrase, very SHAFT, by which I mean very Shinbo. It’s sparkling, protractedly verbose and cut together with just enough self-assured rough edges to be purposeful.

It’s pretty terrible.

Read the rest of this entry

Comedy club

On Plastic Nee-san, Koe de Oshigoto, Binbougami ga! and others

I have a confession to make: I often decide what anime to start watching based on gifs I come across on Tumblr. Which is how I came to watch Plastic Nee-san (Plastic Big Sister).

With thanks to Evangelikon for the gif.

Read the rest of this entry