Monthly Archives: June 2017

Mobile Fighter G Gundam

Type: Super Fighting Robots!

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Synopsis: So what do you do after your Mecha series has gone on for 15 years with waning popularity? Some people would double down on what brought them to the dance in the first place…but screw that! Who needs introspective war narratives when you could have Giant Robots beat each other up real nice!!

Pros: One of the most interesting things about Mobile Fighter G Gundam is the history surrounding it. The anime premiered on the 15th anniversary of the Gundam series. It was a franchise reboot, and the first to diverge from the original “Universal Century” timeline. This newest entry into the Gundam franchise moved away from military stories to a outlandish martial arts story. And it worked! Fighter G did revive the Gundam franchise. I know that it was the first Gundam series I watched. It’s had clear influences on other media, from Gurren Laggan to Pacific Rim. And funny enough, Neon Genesis Evangelion would premiere a year after. The premise, which is very Shoen inspired, is that each nation now lives in orbiting space colonies. Every 4 years, they hold a world tournament where national representatives fight one another in Gundam Mechas. So you wind up with things like the Canadian Gundam fighting the Russian Gundam, and etc. This was the funnest aspect of the show, seeing what each nation’s Gundam looked like and fought. It may not sound very intellectual, but it was very fun.

Cons: This was very much a “boys manga” anime (even if it wasn’t based on any manga). There’s only one Female pilot in the entire show. The story is exactly what you think it is. A passionate protagonist enters a fighting tournament to help his family. He finds 4 rivals; a cocky American, a Posh Frenchman, a Stoic Russian, and a care-free Chinese teenager. Hmmm, America, Russia, France, and China, where have I head those names put together before….(also: sorry Britain, someone had to go!). The story will not blow your mind. It mostly goes from fight to fight. Tonaly, it’s a complete 180 from the rest of the Gundam franchise. So traditionalist won’t really enjoy it. And the animation hasn’t help up in the strictest sense.

Watch it?: Great Fun (4/5)

MVP: Domon Kasshu

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Pilot of the GOD GUNDAM

Best Episode: Ep45. “Farewell Master: Master Asia’s Last Breath” (master vs student)

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Sebagebu

Type: Survival Game Club

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Synopsis: In a world not unlike our own, young women must fight for their lives in the cruel world they were born into. Momoka Sonokawa has little to rely on, other than her shooting skills and sharp instincts, in an school club where she must weigh survival against love. The love of not doing anything, money, and her general self interest.

Pros: The gimmick of this comedy is that the characters each have guns. This leads to every scenario and skit to eventually devolve into a shoot out. It can be something as official as a shooting competition, or something as trivial as who get to sit in the new fancy chair. Why do these high schoolers have guns? Because the premise of the show revolves around a “Survival Game Club,” in which members pretend to kill each other with airguns. The show, however, depicts these battles as bloody because it’s all in their “imaginations.” The show’s great. It’s hilarious. It’s full of references (flippin’ Predator shows up), and has what TV Troupes defines as “comedic sociopathy.” Meaning that the jokes often end with one extra nasty or mean action. For example, a character could jump out for hug and get hit instead. Classic joke. But in shows like Sebagebu!, the character then lands on the edge of a chair and gets their head cracked open, bleeding out on the floor while the other characters continue the conversation. It’s an extra but of spice that sets this show apart. Of course, the medium for best jokes comes from the main character, Momoka, who skirts the protagonist curse of blandness by basically being a selfish sociopath. She’s shot every member of the club in the back at least once. She’s hilarious.

Cons: The opening does not fit the tone of the show. When I first saw it, I thought I was going to have to lug my way through some NRA nut’s wet dream. Then there’s the “transformation sequences” for lack of a better term, then the girl’s each take out their guns. This doesn’t really work for the absurdist tone of the show and always felt our of place when it occurred. I got the feeling that these sequences where added when the show was running low on time. I should also point out the first half of episode 9 is a real snooze fest. Any scene without either the entire group or guns doesn’t work. Momoka’s solo adventures with her Otoku fan boy Lemon (the only consistent male presence, as the club is in an all girl’s school) works because she often resorts to shooting him. But luckily, ep9 was an isolated incident. The rest was gold.

Watch it: I hate guns, but I do love this (4/5)

MVP: Momoka

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There are multiples times when she tries to commit fraud to get rich!

Best Episode: Ep5. “Ascension!? Silent Survival / The Unkillable Twin Tail / Crusade – Raganarok of Angels and Demons” (I also recommend the Yakuza riff in ep6)

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Expelled from Paradise

Type: Almost there

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Synopsis: 98% of people live in the matrix. 2% of people live in the real world. I’m not sure why, they never really explain it. But then someone hacks the matrix, and the only anime solution is to send a pretty girl to fix it.

Pros: Expelled from Paradise is almost, almost a great film. It has all the elements. It has a glossy digital world. It has a determined female protagonist. It has a bare bones real world. It has a robot. An intelligent robot! The plot is straight forward. A security officer, Angela Balzac, is sent to stop a hacker in the real world, while learning about life along the way. She’s funny in that modern 2010’s anime kind a way. Haughty but likable. I really liked the A.I. character, Frontier Setter (was “Settler” too obvious?), and still feel his story had the most potential. That’s what I ultimately feel about the film. It was one good rewrite away from fufilling its potential.

Cons: The film employs 3D animation style with 2D-like designs. Visually, this actually works really well, as the styles blend nicely. Then the characters start moving. Movement, especially from Angela, looks too stiff and puppet like. But kudos for trying. Story wise, I think the film would have worked better if they cut one element from the story. Any element. Even the lazy biblical allusion could have been cut out (Is Frotier supposed to be Adam? Abel? That guy with the salty wife?) The thing is, the story is just a little too crowded, and would have benefited from a more concentrated, intimate plot. Ideally, something involving Frontier Setter. It’s status as a sentient A.I. with an appreciation for human culture and innate kindness is narrative gold. The story could have focused on his relationship with Angela, a digital citizen. Or his relationship with Dingo, a salt of the earth drifter. Or just his life as an artificial intelligence in a world where all the humans have chosen to live in a digital world. But instead, the film chooses the generic route and focuses on Angela’s mission with Dingo, and exploits her ignorance of the real world for wacky results. It even has the standard scene where Angela is accosted by creeps, beat them up for a while to show that she can “take care of herself,” but then gets rescued by Dingo and undermining her capabilities, because anime. In fact, the film could have benefited from not having Dingo. I like him well enough, but he doesn’t really add that crucial that couldn’t be written around. Going back to the story as a whole, it’s tone shifts from comedy to existential to action in a way that doesn’t mesh well. Although, I did laugh my ass off while watching the ending of the English dubb, because when Cowboy Dingo finally gets to sing a song on his guitar, his voice goes full Japanese. I always find it hilarious when the English writers don’t bother to translate a song.

Watch it: Honestly? Just skip to when Frontier Setter shows up

MVP: Frontier Setter

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I can’t believe they let him go by himself. He must be so lonely.

Best Moment: Dingo’s song (The Japaneses sticks out soo badly!)

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