In a world where tanks are a part of everyday life, and pre-UN countries send teenage girls out in war machines to fight not to the death, but to the white flag, one rag-tag team will face their toughest opponent yet. Can they overcome all the odds, work as a team and deal with all of their various family issues and rise to the top?
Of course they can. Girls Und Panzer is an underdog story with just about every trope from the genre ticked off. Think Cool Runnings as an anime, except tanks instead of bobsleds. The knowledge that the girls of Oorai High School can’t lose – at least not always in conventional terms – should make this a by the numbers affair. That it manages to be not only supremely entertaining but equally tense and heartfelt speaks volumes for a familiar idea well implemented. Read the rest of this entry
The brief question and answer session after the screening of the K-On movie yesterday was preceded by the announcement that a further, dedicated event would take place the next day. Free but ticketed, it was an unmissable opportunity to get an insight into what K-On was like to develop as well as working for one of the premier animation studios, Kyoto Animation.
Starting off with a message from Andrew Partridge, the festival organiser, that there should be no recording of any kind: video, audio or photographic. This reinforced yesterdays message passed down from the production company and with news that it would be enforced this time around, the message was loud and clear. (This means except for authorised stills if they are ever released, no photos on this post) Read the rest of this entry
“What are you watching?” “It’s about a rebellion and government sponsored mercenaries, but in space.” “What’s it called?” “Bodacious Space Pirates” “…” “…” “Want to watch a documentary on polar bears?”
These are not today’s surly pirates who kidnap and extort or even those of yesteryear who rape and plunder but- well, in three episodes there hasn’t been much of any kind of piracy. The assumption is that there will be pillaging and perhaps even looting at some point, it may even take place in space but whether these endeavours will be bodacious is the primary question. Read the rest of this entry
Ben-to is completely crackers. And, for a while, you can believe it knows how crackers it is. Then it runs out of steam and its concept can no longer sustain what is already pretty flimsy.
“why are the twins are fighting for discount food given their nouveau-rich status?”
It’s in good company with the likes of Tenjou Tenge and Ikkitousen which take a similarly flippant view to the high-school brawler genre, populating their casts with impossibly buxom ladies. Here proportions are fast and loose with one recurring character – charmingly known only as “Brunette” – only ever shown from the neck down and waist up.
Obnoxious, but typifies the opening episodes which trudge through the regular tropes of harem building and “must get stronger” mentality from the protagonist. The story of bored students fighting over discount bento boxes is completely absurd, likely borne from a creatively blocked writer witnessing a minor scuffle one evening in a convenience store and spinning it out. From there it’s only a short mental hop to the grandiosely titled “wolves” who value guts and glory over smart thinking, through to the lesser dogs or the belligerent boars. Read the rest of this entry
There’s definitely a space between “High” and “School” so why High School of the Dead dropped it for the canonical abbreviation H.O.T.D. is unknown but this is just one of many oddities the first three episodes of the zombies-invade-Japan series contains. It plunders recent genre movies with gay abandon but still feels unique; it lays on the gratuitous – blood, breasts and banter – but never feels protracted or beyond the pale; it has a punk rock opening and ending themes but steers clear of banshee-strangling or ALI PROJECT dirge. What the series so ably does is nail the necessities and leave everything else to sort themselves out: characters are stereotypical and bland, the storyline hackneyed, but damned if it doesn’t fire full bore with the action while keeping the pace quick and letting the tension build.
“carnage, combat and cleavage blend together into a heady cocktail that stimulates all the right areas of the lizard brain”
It is another uneventful day at Fumiji High School: Takashi is loafing about, Saya is berating him, Rei is in class, and no one has any idea of the apocalypse unfolding around them. A single zombie inadvertently bites and kills a teacher at the school gate and from there, panic and terror spread until the entire school is either the walking dead or in hiding. Takashi and Rei meet up with other survivors including the kendo club’s champion, a firearms enthusiast and the ditsy school nurse; together they manage to procure a bus and escape from the school, but with the city in ruins and discontent brewing in the group there is the important question of whether they will ever see their families again. If they want to survive they’ll need to put aside whatever quibbles they have with each other and find a way to exist in the now ruined world. Read the rest of this entry