Friday, January 10, 2014

Short First Impressions: Mahou Sensou, Sakura Trick, Hoozuki no Reitetsu

I'm up for anything that makes kids cry.

Due to obvious reasons, no first impressions on Silver Spoon S2. I'd like to give noitaminA an honorary mention though for airing two pretty decent things in the same time, making this the second best combination of shows after Saraiya Goyou + Tatami Galaxy. Those were the days, folks. MAHOU SENSOU

Oh, so here's the obligatory soulless light novel fantasy high school trash. Perhaps only generic to 90% and not 100% this time but that's not much of a difference. It certainly didn't take it long to get the magical girlfriend out of the bag, unconscious even and then the protagonist takes her to the infirmary, lays her down, she starts sleeptalking, suddenly embraces him in her sleep, wakes up, sees herself embracing him, so she kicks him back and points a gun at him, almost loses her consciousness again, falls on top of him, accidentally kisses him, realizes that they are really close, starts screaming and shoots twice at him with her gun, almost killing him but thank goodness she's the worst shooter ever, that I can assure you. And because she has a magic gun, the bullets that missed him somehow turned him into a magician too and she has to take care of him. Alright, 0815 wish-fulfillment setup concluded!

Ugh. And eww. What am I supposed to say at this point? Light novels are still everything wrong with this medium and this thing here is no exception. At least it doesn't look cheap and has somewhat talented people working on it. It still failed to make me care for anything. Quick, characters! Quick, exposition! Quick, action throughout the whole episode! Not exactly the thrilling kind of action. Most of it consisted of people standing around, people explaining magic and a whole lot of grinding until very late in the episode, someone came up with a plan. Until that, it was real sword vs. bamboo sword + protagonist powers. You'd still expect the bamboo sword to break sooner and even when it did, they had a spare one so the generic sword fight could continue. That was all kinds of unexciting. I think I also had a good laugh at the chasing. People who want to kill them are after them! So what do our heroes do? Take a break and deliver a ton of exposition! We all know the bad guys only pop up once the exposition is gone anyway!

And the idiotic magic system. Good grief. Who thought that was a good idea? You become a magician if you A) are not an adult and B) get attacked by one of them. Meanwhile, half of the baddies lost their magic powers because they attacked non-magicians! Not even for good reasons. Yes, they completely forgot about that rule. But it was okay when the magical girlfriend did it with the protagonist because she ACCIDENTALLY attacked him and that doesn't make you lose your powers! What the fuck, who writes this crap?

Oh yeah, the . That is good and the only watchable thing about this. As for the rest, skip it. SAKURA TRICK

Wow, was this annoying. And I'm not only referring to the characters although those were probably the worst offenders. It really didn't help that from start to finish, we were following Haruka's stream of thought. This included exposition, explaining what someone just did, suddenly remembering things for the audience's sake so her beloved one can get some characterization as well as ultra bizarre scenarios on what might happen next according to her imagination and as the plurals indicate, that happened several times. Not so pleasant. What's even less pleasant is that she has all the awful personality traits of an INSECURE LESBIAN WITH FEEEEEEELINGS. I wanted to choke her by the end of the episode. All of that was pretty much supported by a general level of corniness and dozens of flower petals just in case you missed out on lesbian love being considered as the purest thing in the world.

Cranking up my levels of annoyance was the direction, something that went for abstraction. Over and over again. It's one of the Hidamari directors, so there's a SHAFT-ish presentation, meaning obnoxiously throwing directional gimmicks at me. When ADHD does not know when to stop, this happens. Transitions are fairly poor and the backgrounds are either CG or powerpoint and I kid you not, everything is full with fucking patterns. Sometimes only parts of the screen though. So yeah, there's a whole lot of potential sensory overload in it for you. Also a lot of sexualization but it's okay since it's "subtle" one like close-ups of thighs. Occurring every ten seconds or so I might add, additionally killing the least bit of whatever flow this could have had were the visual side of things not so prone of never stopping to do things.

Content-wiseas I said, the protagonist is an annoying moron and her inner being is nowhere near as interesting as the story thinks. Stuff along the lines of "I THOUGHT I WAS SPECIAL TO YOOOOOOUUUUUUUU" did not help. It actually got me to the point of thinking "These people have problems.". Anyway, it's not particularly funny and not particularly romantic, so if you're out for either of those, go with Robot Girls Z or KoiUta instead. It has lesbians. That's it. And it certainly doesn't try with the rest. But who knows, maybe their fluffy romance bullshit will suddenly get interrupted by the ultra-nasty pregnancy arc that will blow us all away. Feel free to bet any money on the chance of that happening. HOOZUKI NO REITETSU

This is very sedate and very dry and very calm. And frankly, I didn't find it very entertaining. Or interesting. It's a shame, really, since I thought I would like this but alas

Anyway. The humor is a bit more on the varied side. There's the kind of references you won't understand unless you're living in Japan these days and no, contrary everyone else, I don't count the dog joke in as far as that is concerned. If you can't conclude that the dog looked like some mascot dog from a bank advertisement, then baaaaaaaaad for you. Then there's the shouting stuff. And the silly stuff. Both not really up my alley, I might add. Some of the jokes are too predictable whereas others are not. I didn't really think of a whole lot of them as funny but some admittedly did make me chuckle. The incredibly dry koala debate? Not really. "You wouldn't expect Hoozuki to like these things." is less of a series of jokes than one might think and rather just downright lazy. It's also not exactly the best thing to go with considering we barely know the guy and thus hardly care. That's also my biggest problem with it. Why should I give something about a few stereotypically eccentric folks I don't know being hysteric? The execution of the setting has also not exactly been stellar so far and you could do more exciting things with it, although sometimes, they did go for some creative stuff like iron maidens being expensive and the animal torturer hell thing. It also had a Hunter x Hunter reference, so at least I can't be mad at it. Which still leaves me with plenty of indifference.

Oh well, we'll see.
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