With the new season of anime officially kicking off over the weekend, I wanted to take a look at some of the offerings, hoping to pick up a surprise favorite like I did with Gakkou Gurashi over the summer. While there’s no psychological zombie thrillers on the table, there are a lot of knights, sword battles, and fan service.
So much fan service.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a pretty average guy, and I like girls. It’s just, there’s a point at which fan service goes way overboard, and actually throws me completely out of what I’m watching. It can be done with a subtle touch that makes it barely noticeable, or it can be the whole focus on the anime. So far, we’ve gotten a lot of the latter, and none of the former.
It’s not encouraging, is what I’m saying.
Anyway, that aside, I’ve picked four of the fall seasons new shows to take a look at for this post. I’m not checking out any of the second season shows, as this blog wasn’t around to touch on the first seasons, and in a lot of cases, they are shows I’ve not seen yet. This is strictly first season looks, which narrows down the field, as there are a lot of second seasons kicking off. There’s also a few shows that look interesting that haven’t started yet, so I’ll save those for the part two.
Yes, I really do want a surprise like I got with Gakkou Gurashi. Not holding my breath so far, so you know.
At first glance, the premise of the show is interesting. Set sometime in the future, the nature of warfare has changed dramatically after the introduction of a new kind of war machine, the Object. Basically a massive mecha that is near indestructible, the first Object ever deployed wiped out a couple of navel fleets and withstood a tactical nuclear weapon, making it the ultimate weapon of war ever deployed. Soon after, the United Nations collapsed, as did most governments, resulting in four international conglomerate powers taking control. These powers continue an unending war waged via Objects, a so called clean war, as the Objects battle it out in remote locations, with territory changing hands as soon as the fight is decided.
While it’s certainly a no fuss, no muss way to conduct a war, it also institutes war as a common, every day thing that never really ends. The only lives really at stake are the pilots of the Objects, and traditional armies are more or less kept around for managerial tasks, clean up duty, and other minor issues.
Like I said, it’s an interesting concept, and the design of the Objects is certainly a departure from traditional mecha. They look like engines of war, and are not sleek, nor graceful at all. They aren’t fast, flashy or anything like that. They are giant, lumbering, weapons. If the show had made that the focus of the first episode, they might have actually managed to capture and keep my attention.
Instead they spend nearly half the show talking about boobs. From the perplexingly eighteen year old base commander, to the pilot of the Object at the center of the show, the main character spends more time either staring at, or trying to find a way not to touch a girls boobs. Seriously.
What makes it worse is that he has a really long freak out over possibly having to touch the Object pilots boobs, when she’s being choked to death by the belt straps of her Object pilot seat. I am not making this up. While the woman is being suffocated, he rants internally about whether or not he should touch her boobs to save her life.
I have a red hand print on my face from all the facepalming I was doing at the sheer stupidity of this scene.
While Heavy Object has promise, they are gonna need to quickly move away from bad boob jokes and over exaggerated fan service to accomplish much more than being an also ran in the fall line up.
Of course, of the four shows I’m looking at, it’s the only one that isn’t about knights, so it gets points for being different at the very least.
Gakusen Toshi Asterisk
Sometime in the unspecified future, thus establishing a theme for the season as a whole, a natural disaster nearly destroyed the whole of the world. In the aftermath, many humans were changed, gaining special abilities and powers. As the world rebuilt, the “Starplus Generation”, teenagers with these powers, attend a special school called Hogwarts, where they are sorted into one of the six houses and train with their wands for a yearly event called the Goblet of Fire.
Wait… hold on… I think I have this confused with something else. Let me check my notes.
Ah, yeah, here we go. The teenagers attend a special school called Asterisk, where they train their special abilities with swords for a once a year event called the Festus, in order to bring honor, or something, to the super special branch of the academy they belong to. I think. There was a lot that wasn’t made very clear, but basically it’s Harry Potter: The Anime.
Once the brief history lesson is over, we join our protagonist as he catches a handkerchief that fell from a window. Being a nice guy, he uses his powers to hop up there and give it back, sees the female protagonist in her underwear, and must endure a duel with her for having sullied her honor. The female protagonist is kind of an asshole about it, and honestly tries to kill him, feeling that is the only fair recompense for him having destroyed her virtue. Or something.
Oh, look, more fan service. Now with a completely unreasonable female character! And a standard format “nice guy who bumbles into nudity” character, as well!
Gimme a break.
While the animation and the fight sequence was pretty well done, the show itself was underwhelming to say the least. I mean, living in a world full of people who can leap tall buildings in a single bound, and she gets pissed because a guy jumped up into her open window to give her back her super precious hanky, to the point she tries to kill him, seems a bit of an over reaction.
Again, the show is really gonna have to have to go a long ways to be interesting at this point, as it really gets off on the wrong foot, at least with me.
Rakudai no Cavalry
Set in the modern day, for a change of pace, magic wielding knights are common, and attend special schools where they learn to hone their abilities. Capable of summoning a sword, and even armor, through their innate magical ability, they train at these academies for annual battles between the schools, in order to determine which is number one.
This seems familiar.
At one such academy, there is a young man who is the lowest ranked knight the school has ever seen, a Rank F. Joining the same academy is the Rank A princess of a foreign country. If you are guessing that he quickly sees her in her underwear, leading to her demanding he commit suicide in order to repay her for having sullied her purity, then the two having a duel, then you guessed right.
So terribly familiar.
Well, at least Gakusen Toshi Asterisk didn’t end up with the “I saw you partially naked” duel leading to the female protagonist trying to molest the male protagonist in his sleep. At least, not yet. It’s only the first episode.
In a twist I can only call uninspired, the schools in both Rakudai and Gakusen have had several year long losing streaks at the annual battle, and only the male lead can turn that around. Seriously. That’s in both of them.
What the hell?
Lance N’ Masques
Okay… gonna take a stab at explaining whatever the hell that was.
Apparently, in the modern age, there is still an order of knights that goes around doing good deeds and such. Man, I really feel like I just saw this somewhere. Anyway, one such knight goes wandering off to do good deeds, and save fair damsels, who then think he’s a pervert because of how he acts after he saves them. Which is to say he gets down on one knee and all but proposes to them.
This leads him into contact with a girl who looks to be maybe ten, and decides to take him home with her, leading to shenanigans of the underage sort. Seriously. He wakes up with this little girl in his bed, and the maid thinks he seduced her. Which is suppose to be funny.
There’s also a complete idiot and a horse-girl looking for the knight. Or something. That part just confused me.
No, the whole thing confused me. It’s all done with Moe animation, and where Gakkou Gurashi was a good example of how to use it, this is a really, really, bad example. I can’t tell how old anyone is suppose to be. The maid looks likes she’s maybe 12. It was all very confusing, and this is one that I can’t say I’ll be even giving a second look.
Oh, and yes, there was fan service. With the horse girl. I don’t even know what to make of that.
So far, not a stellar start to the fall season. We’ll see if some of the late comers bring anything worth while. For now, I need to scrub all the half naked girl knights out of my brain.