Friday, 16 May 2014

bryn who?

More mini anime reviews today.

I'm doing my best to catch up with the ones I'd not watched from this season, but there's quite a few!

Brynhildr in the Darkness

There's a particular type of show I have no easy terminology to summarise.  A good example of it is Freezing and it sort of involves physically torturing or causing excess pain to characters.  A bit like torture porn, but not actually with torture.  In the case of freezing this was also wrapped up in fan-service, and Brynhilder has a smattering of this too, but it's more like this is a cross between a fairly generic instant girlfriend / harem show and that over-the-top cruelty show.

It's not a blending that really works.  The normal anime pap stuff is unremarkable and the nasty pain stuff is excessive, so it feels like two separate shows have been cut together.  It also doesn't help that the show's humour is of the silly & fan-service varieties.

You end up with this weird thing of flipping between a generic high-school anime with stupid silly gags (or tits gags in later episodes) to moments of nasty pain and suffering.  One moment the hero will be cracking gags about how the heroine can't do times tables and the next she'll be leaking blood from every orifice and clearly having a very bad time of it.

I dunno - it all just feels quite poorly put together.

No Game No Life

No Game No Life is a bit of a weird show.

I would say it's definitely gown on me compared to my impression from the first episode.  In the first episode the hero came across as quite an arsehole, to be frank, and I was very doubtful as to whether I would continue.

My issue was he was quite annoying, tbh - he was very arrogant, and for no real reason.  He was also a NEET, along with his sister, and if I have a continuing criticism it's that it does pander quite a lot to anime tropes.  There are some big chunks of fan-service, for example, which I don't mind specifically, but it is the sort of thing that mires the show in the predictable.

However, it's also very good at undermining this stuff.  The failing in the first episode is that it didn't really use that trick at all, so the guy was just an arsehole.  It wasn't until the second episode that it poked fun at him.

However, even though I've enjoyed it more, I still have some issues.  The whole thing seems a bit pointless - I don't really know why they're doing what they're doing.  Also things can be quite inconsistent - one moment they're giving a big speech to hundreds of people, the next they're being all agoraphobic about going outside and there being "too many people".  I also find the colour palette quite jarring - it's like having an acid trip in a candy factory - though I can see what they were trying to achieve.

Baby Steps

This is actually a sports anime, though you wouldn't be able to tell from the title.  I've found in the past I often enjoy sports anime more than the sports themselves, generally because they often treat the sports in an odd way.

In this case, the basic idea seems to be that the main character is able to improve through the use of analysis - he sort of works things out and can then implement various strategies or techniques once he's worked them out.

Now that makes the anime quite interesting, but it means it veers off into a bizarre world where the decades of practice that real tennis players need in order to reach professional standards can essentially be circumvented by someone who can remember what shots a player tends to use most often.  Yeah, it's a bit odd.

But a particular redeeming feature is the main character, who's actually a bit different from the usual high-school main character type and you do end up rooting for.

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