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Posts Tagged ‘sunrise’

Gundam AGE Episodes 1, 2, and 3 – The Next Generation

November 1, 2011 2 comments

It’s difficult to just talk about a Gundam series absent any deeper context. As one of the two most venerable mecha franchises in anime history (the other being Macross), there were Gundam episodes coming out before I was even alive. And although Sunrise has been willing to effectively reboot the series on more than one occasion, there are certain tropes that always seem to apply to any show with “Gundam” in the title somewhere.

Gundam AGE is another reboot, with no acknowledged ties between it and any of the predecessor series beyond the bare minimum: the name Gundam for the hero’s “mobile suit,” the usual mecha designs, and the annoying spherical robot named Haru (see above). In fact, there are enough differences, at least in the opening episodes, that I feel an initial review is warranted, even though my pledge to cover every new show this season didn’t extend to kids’ series.
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Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere Episodes 1 and 2 – Dumbstruck

Thus far it’s been a very promising fall season. We’ve had great shows, good shows, decent shows, and shows that are perhaps on the way to faceplanting but are alright for now. What we haven’t had is anything that’s just plain awful. This is actually sort of disappointing to me as a reviewer, because writing fiercely negative reviews is one of the more fun parts of the job.

Well, I am disappointed no longer. I said yesterday that Sunrise was giving us three new shows this season, and this one, Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere, is the only one which isn’t an original series. Still, Sunrise thought so highly of the original light novel series that not only did they adapt it to the small screen, but they greenlit a thirteen episode sequel season before the first episode of this season even aired. They clearly have a lot of confidence in this property, and after seeing it, I have not the slightest idea as to why. The show is a complete trainwreck from beginning to end.
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Phi Brain: Kami no Puzzle Episodes 1 and 2 – Riddle Me This

October 11, 2011 3 comments

I’ve talked some about Sunrise before, as the primary purveyor of original (not based on a manga or light novel series) anime. Other studios take existing works and adapt them to the screen; Sunrise starts with the animation and then, if the show takes off, makes manga series after the fact. It means they make some really daring, innovative, intriguing stuff. It also means that if they make a flop, you won’t be able to know for sure without watching it.

Phi Brain is one of three new Sunrise shows debuting this season, which I think is a record for them. It’s the most genre bending of the three: it’s not really classifiable as a comedy, or a drama, or an action show. It’s not even an anime anime. Wikipedia calls it an “adventure” show, which is probably as close a descriptor as we are going to get. But I think there is one immediate way to place this series on the map in terms of a recognizable genre. Phi Brain, stripped down to its core, is Yu-Gi-Oh, only with puzzles instead of card games.
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Tiger & Bunny Episode 25 – Fighting to the End

September 17, 2011 2 comments

Well, I shouldn’t have been surprised that Tiger & Bunny pulled in the one loose plot thread from last episode and did something useful with it. After the heroes gather around the fallen Wild Tiger, Maverick and Rotwang show up and unleash a squad of H-01s on the heroes. The safety feature mentioned last episode, activiated at the last minute, is the only thing that saves the lives of the heroes.

Do I mind another obvious attempt at padding through an artificial threat resolved by an artificial solution? Not in the slightest, at least this time, as the animators blew what remained of their budget in a glorious hero on android brawl. Note to studios: If you’re going to stall for time, do it with enough style and we won’t mind.
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Tiger & Bunny Episode 24 – Courage under Fire

September 12, 2011 Leave a comment

It seems that both bear and I have been frustrated by stalled narratives as of late. Tiger & Bunny isn’t stalled, per say, but it’s going a lot slower than it needs to be. The central fight of this episode could have been over in five minutes if the writers wanted it that way.

Instead, the show has Tiger and Barnaby start fighting before their time-delayed powers are ready again (and why did they charge in early in the first place, knowing they’d be comparatively helpless?) so the two play wack-a-mole with H-01 for a while. Wack-a-mole, for reference, isn’t nearly as much fun when you’re taken the part of the mole.
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Tiger & Bunny Episode 23 – Planned Obsolescence

Tiger & Bunny continues to give with one hand while it takes away with the other. Most glaringly, it doesn’t give us the action scene I craved between robo Tiger (actually called H-01) and the assorted heroes it confronted last episode. Instead, all six heroes are defeated off screen and wake up in a classic comic book death trap. Likewise, Wild Tiger breaking through to Barnaby doesn’t happen in the dramatic way I had hoped for; instead it feels like dumb luck.

That said, and while it does feel this episode dragged on a bit, just like the last one did, I’m still pleased by the overall direction of the story. Mostly, that’s because the elements of the show feel “classic” rather than cliched. But it also has to do with how, as I’ve noted several times before, Tiger & Bunny is careful only to introduce standard comic book elements after setting them up properly within the context of the story.
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Tiger & Bunny Episode 22 – Bound Together

I had several speculations about how this episode would unfold, which didn’t pan out exactly how I anticipated. Yes, Kaede had a major role in saving her father’s bacon, and yes, Barnaby remained unconvinced even after the other heroes came around. But the method by which that came about was decidedly different than the show was originally hinting would be the case.

Much of that revolves around the “Is Tiger a genius or an idiot” discussion that took up much of the last post. I stated last time that while Tiger was often slow on the uptake, he often pulled together clever deductions right when most needed by the plot. Last episode he announced he had a plan, and Tiger’s plans always seem to pan out.

This time it doesn’t, perhaps permanently resolving the genius/idiot question. Now I think it’s fair to say he’s an idiot.
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