Thursday, 22 May 2014

more minis

Chaika - The Coffin Princess

I tend to struggle with fantasy shows.

I don't really know why this is.  I mean, fundamentally, I'm a scientist, but having said that I've no real problem with science being bent to make cool stuff happen.  Though to paraphrase Arthur C Clarke, any sufficiently advanced technology will seem like magic to the less advanced.

I guess it's like the Marvel v's DC question.  In Marvel comics there's a tendency to be Science Fiction (science bent to produce superheroes via mutants or gamma rays or what have you) and in DC there's a tendency to be fantasy ("alien comes to earth and just has super-powers because we say so", "here, have this this magic lamp/ring - it gives you powers").  And I always came down on the science side, rather than the fantasy side.

I guess I also find the repeated re-using of exactly the same things a bit tedious - orc, goblins, elves, paladins, blah, blah, yawns.

I've gone on quite a bit there, but the point is I wasn't expecting to like Chaika, but I've been pleasantly surprised.  It's actually moved up my ranking as later episodes have revealed more of a plot that seems quite interesting and it's hinted at explanations for some of the odder aspects.

In particular, I've found Chaika's staccato way of speaking quite annoying.  I'm guessing I'm supposed to find it cute, but it made little sense to me until we found out something that's probably a bit spoilery to say here, but suggests that there's a reason behind it.

Captain Earth

I want to like Captain Earth more than I do.

It's a giant mech series and is certainly a lot better than Dai Shogun.  The animation is by Bones, who seem to have a surprisingly high number of shows out this season for some reason, and is very nice.

I think the problem is the show can't quite seem to work out what it is.  There are elements that are quite like the old super-fun but super-dumb giant mech shows.  So for example, in order to pilot the mech (which looks eerily like a gundam), the hero has to launch into space on a rocket, which is sort of realistic, but then he passes through a whole series of "assembly stages" in orbit that add on various bits, that each "transform and combine" in a sudden switch to high-tech and cheesiness that's fun, but feels incongruous due to the mixing of real and absurd.

The show has lots of stuff like that, so there's a weirdly high level of fan-service, which is fine in and of itself, but it pops up randomly dispersed among really serious and downbeat scenes.  It makes the fan-service seemed tacked on (and tacky), but also makes the serious-ness seem po-faced.

And the seriousness seems like it's trying too hard to be like Eva, but the writing isn't quite strong enough to pull it off.  It also has lots of design elements that I don't know if they're meant to be tributes or copies or accidental.  For example, there's an overly sensitive half bad guy half good guy... with purple hair, red eyes and they've just given him a dark blue plug suit er I mean pilot's costume.  So it's Kaworu from Eva.

I dunno - it's all just a bit disappointing.


Haikyu is actually one of the shows I'd left initially and have since caught up on.

I'd actually been through the shows when I saw there were so many available on crunchyroll this season and had tried to prioritise the ones I thought I'd be more interested in.  As these mini reviews show, many have been quite disappointing (it's actually not been that great a season, in my overall opinion), but this and Baby Steps also show I got my guesses quite wrong.

Along with Baby Steps, this is a sports anime, which I increasingly seem to be a fan of for some reason.  In this case the sport in question is volleyball (the version played indoors on a court, rather than on a beach), which I can't honestly say I know a great deal about.

However, what makes this show is the characters - the main character is the "super genki" type.  He's actually a short-arse, and volleyball tends to favour tall players as the net is set quite high.

Quite a few of the characters fall broadly into types you've seen before - the sour-faced, arrogant, egotistical type, for example.  However, the thing that's been making the show is that it's really about breaking down those character traits.

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