The many dimensions of animation.
I’m still playing catch-up thanks to a busy work week, so you’ll pardon me if these are on the short side. Nothing in this batch to make me quite as over-the-moon excited as Erased or Shouwa Genroku, but I had more fun than I expected from a pair of them, despite how ugly the animation looked at times. Hit the jump for CG and DG and all the rest.
BBK/BRNK (Bubuki Buranki)
Original Series: Directed by Komatsuda Daizen and written by Jiro Ishii
Streaming On: Crunchyroll (click here for a list of regions)
In a Sentence: Azuma Akira becomes embroiled in a supernatural political conflict connected to the event that split up his family 10 years earlier.
How was it? Imaginative and fast-paced with enough character beats to make me care… but dat CG tho…
This is a good premiere. It’s one-part family drama and one-part bombastic battle, taking time to establish the main characters’ backstory and familial relationships before chucking the audience into a deluge of characters and competing factions and “bubuki”-powered fight sequences. There are a lot of balls in the air, and it may turn out to be a cluster they’re not prepared to properly explain, but so far it’s entertaining enough that I’m willing to ride along and give them time to flesh out the world.
It is also packed to the gills with distracting CG characters. It’s not always bad CG, and sometimes it’s even quite competent, but when it’s bad it’s really bad, and even when it’s good the designs clash distractingly with the beautiful painted backgrounds. Still, I overlooked it in Nobunaga Concerto thanks to a well-developed cast and story. So far, BBK/BRNK is good enough to keep the animation from being a deal-breaker. I’ll give it two more to see if that holds true.
On the Fence
Bursts of hilariously overwrought dialogue aside, I liked this one a lot more than I thought I would. “Fantasy world suddenly overlaps with human world” seems to be the trend of the season, but where the other shows fell into sexist cliches and overused gags, Divine Gate is more a straightforward low fantasy series, interested in building character drama and interpersonal bonds as much as it is exploring its fantastical elements.
It’s clumsy and melodramatic at times, but it’s also earnest and charming at others, and I can’t shake the sense that its heart is in the right place. Also, the opening theme is really cool. Studio Pierrot has a tendency to pick good material as of late, so I’m going to go with my gut and give this one another episode to see if it can tone down the superlatives. Hopefully its strengths can overcome its weaknesses.
Pandora in the Crimson Shell (Koukaku no Pandora)
Rikdo Koshi will always have a place in my heart for giving us Excel Saga (even if the manga did fumble its way to an incomprehensible conclusion), but this is no Excel Saga. It think it’s a lot more clever than it is and gets caught up in awkward fanservicey bits and lazy animation. I had tentative hopes from the cyborg concept, but when the nonsensical fight sequence with the cat-girl maid robot (yep) started happening, my hopes plummeted along with my interest. I’m out.
Phantasy Star Online 2
I was thinking this would be a fantasy series set in the universe of PSO2, but no, it’s actually about people in the real world playing an MMO together. It’s an advertisement, and not a very good one. I skipped out halfway through and feel no remorse about that.