chaostangent

Posts with the “fanservice” tag

Oestrogen onslaught

An Infinite Stratos 2 review

One of the odder bits of history for me is that the original series of Infinite Stratos broke me out of a slump with anime that had, until then, lasted for several months. It was brain-dead entertainment with few, if any, redeeming features and I was happy to assign watching it as aberrant behaviour. After all the story just ends without conclusion or explanation which isn’t surprising when it is the epitome of the harem setup; but whatever the first anime series did half-heartedly, the second (with the oh-so confusing title, Infinite Stratos 2) does with ferociously awful gusto.

just a hostage situation in a maid cafe and invites to fun-times at an amusement park

Not content with five girls all chasing the sole male, Ichika, two more are added (sisters, natch) and join the queue for wooing the dunderheaded lead. After all, this isn’t the story of a boy being able to pilot a heavily armed mechanical exoskeleton when only girls have been able to do it before. This isn’t even the story of a secret shadowy organisation trying to do… something nefarious. It’s about five, then seven, sexually frustrated girls trying to impose their own vision of lusty romance onto a boy whose obliviousness to their overtures borders on the mentally deficient. All the pesky and sporadically engaging CG combat just gets in the way of cooking for him! Or celebrating his birthday! Or going on play dates with him! Or just outright chasing him!

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Yozakura Quartet: Hana no Uta

Screenshots aren’t going to sell you on the latest Yozakura Quartet anime: Hana no Uta (Song of Flowers). The borderline lazy and haphazard line work and wildly varying character styles between episodes will be enough to turn anyone with a jaded artistic eye away. If you actually watch it though, well the animation still errs on the side of janky, but aesthetic issues tend to ebb away when it becomes clear how refreshingly playful the thirteen episode series is.

a teenage ogre at odds with her power? Hey wait is that a witch in a pink mini-skirt?

This starts with a cast that is comprised of nothing less than a cat-eared telepath, a pair of terrifyingly strong ogre siblings, a half-demon who can summon objects with just a word and a nurse descended from Dr Frankenstein. Eclectic to say the least and the kind of barely restrained bedlam that constitutes interplay within the core group can range from dancing to a Wii fitness game during a town meeting to mock battles overseen by a lackadaisical town spirit.

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Fighting fanservice

The recent airing of the second series of Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls poses the question of why the stylish but lacklustre first season was deemed worthy of a sequel, but also conjures up the spirit of genre stalwarts such as the long running Sekirei and Ikkitousen franchises - each series with a more ridiculous alliterative subtitle than the last - as well as one-offs such as Tenjho Tenge. The specific taxonomy of these series is usually spread between "fantasy", "martial arts" and the all-encompassing "fan service" categories, but works equally well as just "fighting fanservice" (FF).

smutty, double-X chromosome fighting still sells

With a few exceptions, the entire point of these series is to group voluptuous girls together so they can beat seven shades of tar out of one another, usually with disastrous consequences for their clothing and decency. Twice tickling the lizard brain for those who are titillated by such things then: violence and sex. Tweak the variables from breasts to blood though and you have horror (see Blood-C, Elfen Lied, Ga-Rei Zero etc.). Catering to base desires though doesn't leave a lot of room for story or character development with many of the plot lines and episodic stories simplistic even if they were in a children's Saturday morning cartoon and utterly worthless for anything other than hurtling the cast from one arena to the next.

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Ben-to

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 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.

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3 Episode Taste Test: Strike Witches 2

Where have all the young men gone? Sure there are the military men, barely old enough to hold a meaningful rank, but the Strike Witches 2 universe is entirely bereft of any young boys. Perhaps ages six through sixteen are spent in secret training to reduce the number of assaults due to the girls' complete lack of clothing below the waist. Or perhaps the Neuroi, the opaque alien aggressors, are an analogy of male puberty. Regardless, the opening three episodes of this second season start out much as the first and it isn't until the cringeworthy third episode that the uncomfortableness of watching young girls with no lower clothing on suffering through compromising situations sets in. The change of studio from the beleaguered GONZO to AIC Spirits hasn't changed the aesthetics, but it has reduced the crotch shots and increased the piercing light of censorship. Otherwise, for better or worse, the premise and execution are left entirely in tact.

a zero-sum series, each shred of development evaporates as soon as the characters visit a bath

After the events of the first season, the Neuroi were pushed out of Britannia and into Romagna, however as a communication channel was about to be opened with the now humanoid enemy, another force descended to Earth, consuming the all in their path. City after city is razed in this new offensive and entire squadrons of Strike Witches are decimated with the ferocity and volume of attacks. Yoshika meanwhile has graduated from school and is considering what to do next when word of an attack involving her comrade Lynne comes over the radio. The desire to protect her friends is too great, so it is that the 501st reforms to combat this renewed threat.

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