2013 Winter Anime Season


Chart 2

And so, in an attempt to get back into the swing of things, here are all the anime (that I know of) for next season, and my thoughts on them.  I’ll try to give any info I can and if PV’s are available, I’ll put a link for them.  Also, I’ll exclude stuff like Milky Holmes and PreCure, because, really?

Nekomonogatari: Black – (PV) – Yes, I put this first because I’m an asshole, but also because I really like the Monogatari series (and it’s also not on the chart).  Anyway, this isn’t actually a show, but a four part movie-thing airing on New Year’s Eve.  If I’m correct, it chronologically takes place after Kizumonogatari and before Bakemonogatari.  It’s about Hanekawa’s cat-thing and what happened the first time she was possessed by it.  Other than that it’s a Monogatari story and Shaft; you know what you’re getting.

Savanna Game – From the description, this sounds a lot like somebody cashing in on the Hunger Games craze; well, either that, or Mirai Nikki, but whatever.  Considering that I don’t see a whole lot of amazing looking stuff this season, it could be worth looking into.

Puchimas!: Petit iDOLM@STER (PV) I’ve never seen any of the iDOLM@STER shows or played any of the games, so I don’t really have any reason to watch a cutesy, comedy oriented spin off about a bunch of little dolls getting into “humorous” situations.

Ai Mai Mi(PV) – “The anime adaption of the four-panel manga Ai Mai Mi.”  Okay, that’s pretty much all you need to know about a show like this.  High school, girls, comedy, it’s a veeeery unique concept that’s obviously never been done before.  You know what to expect, so if you like shows like that, go ahead.

AKB0048 Next Stage(PV) – The sequel to that show with about 1000 main characters about a bunch of girls who sing pop songs to save the universe or something.  So, yeah, I don’t really have too much of a desire to watch this, even though I’ve heard it isn’t actually as bad as the ridiculous synopsis makes it out to be.

Ore no Kanojo to Osananajima ga Shuruba Sugiru(PV) – I read some of this manga just to see what it was about, and it’s pretty damn lame in my opinion.  You have a bunch of lame cliches and a bunch of attractive females ready to mount some completely bland and boring guy at a moments notice.  Once again, you can probably tell what you’re getting with this from the summary.

Senran Kagura(PV)So yeah, have you ever played Senran Kagura?  It’s pretty goddamn ridiculous; it’s pretty much a standard hack-and-slash game with a copious amounts of tits and ass thrown into it to make people buy it.  So I assume this show is going to be little more than Boobs and Swords: The Animation.

Bakumatsu Gijinden RomanPretty much the only thing that comes to my mind when I read the synopsis is Robin Hood, which isn’t really a bad thing I suppose.  There isn’t really a whole lot of information on it, so there isn’t that much to say on it’s behalf.

Zettai Karen Children: The Unlimited – Hyoubu Kyousuke(PV)I’ve never seen the original series that this show is a spin-off of, so watching this probably wouldn’t be in my best interest.  Although, often times, spin-offs can stand on their own, so I guess it would still be possible for me to watch it and grasp what’s going on.

Senyuu.(PV)Yeah, not really sure about something like this.  It’s one of those really short episode things (five minute episodes) so it’ll probably be more on the goofy comedy side of things.  But whatever, if that’s your cup of tea, go for it and watch it.

Boku wa Tomdachi ga Sukunai Next(PV)The sequel to Haganai, which came a bit faster than I expected.  I thought the first season was pretty good, so I’ll probably watch this season on and off as well.  But I just pray to Satan that the annoying-ass nun girl gets run over by a bus or something.

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai(PV)This is a Shaft anime, so I’m legally obligated to watch it and to like itAnyway, it’s about some shut-in girl and her brother… and I don’t really know much beyond that.  Oh, and the PV is pretty crazy too.  Hopefully, Shaft will pull through and give me something else to watch this season.

Mondaiji-tachi ga Isekai kara Kuru Sou Desu yo?(PV)  – Yeah, both the synopsis and the PV for this show are pretty… something.  I don’t really know what to make of it actually; it doesn’t look particularly good to me, but I guess something about the oddness of it makes me want to try and see what it’s really about.

Beast Saga An anime for a toy series of robot animal things.  That’s all you need to know.

GJ-buHigh school people doing “funny” high school things.  And that’s all she wrote.

Da Capo III(PV) I’ve never watched any of this series and quite frankly, I don’t really understand how you keep a dating sim anime going for this long, but they’ve done it.  Technically, this isn’t even the third season of the show; both the first and second parts each had their own season, so this is technically the fifth.  I mean, Jesus, how much can there be going on in this story.

Chihayafuru 2Didn’t watch the first season, and this show really seems like you need to know what the hell’s going on it it to actually enjoy it.

Hakkenden: Touhou Hakken Ibun(PV)Both the summary and PV more this show come off as kind of “meh” to me.  It seems like the typical fair when it comes to things like this, so I don’t really have any desires to watch it.

Citicle Detective Inaba(PV) Okay, so the synopsis for this show is filled with all kinds of “what” in every shape and size.  A half-human-half-wolf detective with a hair fetish and his cross dressing secretary solve crimes and stuff.  Okay.

Tamako Market(PV) Also known as, “That show that looked like some K-on! spin off that they kept showing at the end of all those Chuunibyou episodes”.  And that’s just what it seems like, another light, K-on!-esque comedy thing.  But at least it’s by Kyoto, so it’ll look all nice and pretty.

Maoyuu Maou Yuusha(PV) This is one of the few other shows that looks like it could at least be somewhat interesting.  There aren’t really a whole lot of straight-up “fantasy” anime these days, so at least it has that going for it.  The PV also makes it look interesting enough, so I’ll probably end up watching at least the first episode or two.

Kotoura-san(PV)A school romance comedy thing with a girl that can read minds.  Yeah, doesn’t really sound terrible or like it’ll be anything all that special either, so whatever.

Amnesia(PV)I really hate when shows that sound like they could potentially be interesting have really weird and confusing summaries to go along with them.  I guess it could probably be okay, but once again, that may be because there isn’t a whole lot I want to watch this season.

Mangirl! Four girls.  Slice of Life.  Comedy.  Done.

Vividred Operation(PV) Yeah, would have never expected that the Strike Witches guy worked on this, would you?  To me, ti looks like Strike Witches had an orgy with a bunch of magical girl shows and this show came out.  Looks like a pretty normal almost-lesbian magical girl show, so that’s all I have to say about that.

Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! – Review


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Hey, remember when you were 14 and you thought you were some cursed magic warrior from another realm sent here to defeat the evil Shadow-Somethings by the Ruler of Where-Ever-The-Hell?  Yeah, neither do I, probably because I’m not a complete loser, or it might just be because I didn’t spend my childhood in Japan, and who knows what living in a place like that could do to you.  Regardless, Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitaiis about just such a thing, and on a rather severe level at that.  Apparently, it’s some form of “illness” that causes young Japanese teenagers to act really weird and crazy and have delusions of being some superhero thing.  But I mean, come on, it’s Japan, I’m sure that’s not restricted to just kids.

The show is about Yuuta, a former victim of the “disease” known as Chuunibyou, also known as “Being a Weird-ass”.  However, he’s put all that behind him in the hopes of making it through his entire high school life without people willing to saw their own arm off just not to be seated next to him in class.  He’s completely done away with his childhood persona “The Dark Flame Master” in exchange for being a normal everyday kid.  But because this is an anime, things aren’t really allowed to go easily for the main character.  He meets a girl named Rikka, who seems convinced that her right eye is in the possession of some magic powers from another dimension or something, and she wants Yuuta, or rather, The Dark Flame Master, to aid her in achieving whatever non-existent goal her magic eye requires of her.

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In a lot of ways, the first half of this show is basically The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, only if Haruhi wasn’t actually God or whatever, and none of the stuff she thought existed actually did.  And the fact that the series was done by the same animation studio doesn’t help either.  You have a girl obsessed with weird magic stuff, her level-headed male sidekick, a club dedicated to the sole purpose of indulging the girl’s strange interests, and a bunch of other odd characters that come along for the ride.  The second half, however is decidedly different from the first, and diverges itself from a standard “quirky kids doing quirky things” storyline while dealing with themes of growing up as well as the importance of always being young at heart.  It never gets terribly dramatic and serious, but there’s a decent amount of emotion in the last few episodes that give story and characters a bit more meaning.  The ending is also somewhat cheesy, but you pretty much come to expect it from shows like this so it didn’t bother me too much.

The show continues from Yuuta and Rikka’s first meeting in a rather episodic way for the most part, and spends most of it’s time establishing the two main characters and their relationship.  This is where the show really excels in my opinion.  To begin with, the relationship that Rikka and Yuuta inevitably develop is very believable and natural, which is something that can’t be said for plenty of anime in the same category.  More often than not, anime romances develop due to nothing more than the demands of the plot, but here it’s enjoyable and easy to see how their relationship changes as the story goes on.  While Yuuta acts as the standard straight-faced male, he seems to stand out from his archetype due to his natural interactions with Rikka.  He isn’t the same overly-nice, bland and forgettable male lead that pretty much every shounen romance in existence seems to be stuck with, and he’s a much more believable character because of it.  In the same way, Rikka is a tremendously enjoyable female lead, and it’s not just because by most people’s standards she’d be legally insane.  It’s primarily because the show is about her, why she acts the way she does, and the way she changes over it’s course, though saying too much would spoil some things.  The way she interacts with Yuuta and the rest of the characters is also very entertaining, and adds a lot of enjoyment to what would otherwise be a rather normal school slice-of-life show.

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The supporting characters are somewhat hit and miss in my opinion, or maybe it’s because that Yuuta and Rikka are such strong leads that the rest of the cast seems kind of ho-hum.  Kumin is all but a body to take up space and is literally asleep through most of her screen time.  In the same way, Isshiki is only there to give Kumin something to do, to have the standard best male friend, and to give another small subplot to the story.  I also found Dekomori pretty annoying and useless for the most part (her “catchphrase” didn’t help matters a whole lot either), until the end when she was actually given something to contribute to the plot.  Nibutani was the only other character that I actually liked, which is odd, considering that I don’t thing you’re really supposed to like her all that much.  From the first few seconds you see her you expect her to play the archetype that her character and personality are obviously meant to play, but I absolutely loved the complete 180 she takes later on, and by the end of the show it’s pretty hard to see her as you originally did.

Because the show was one by Kyoto Animation, it’s no surprise that the animation is very good and surprisingly consistent in quality throughout the course of the show.  There isn’t really thing all too spectacular about the art style, but because of all the small details and quality of animation they put into it, it really makes it enjoyable to watch.  Another thing worth mentioning is the refreshing lack of ecchi and over-sexualized scenes in the show.  As far as I can remember there isn’t a single ecchi scene in the entire series (though it’s hinted at in the very first scene) and the scenes containing any kind of sexual innuendo are few and far between.  Oh, and the anime-standard beach episode?  Only about thirty seconds of it are actually on the beach, and none of it is spent going “Ooh look at the girls in their swimsuits!  This is for you, hentai artists!”.  Absolutely glorious.  The last thing to say about this show is a kind of hard thing to put into words, and that is: it’s just fun to watch.  I guess it’s kind of the same for shows like Clannad and Haruhi, in that, nothing really important every happens, but they’re still really enjoyable and memorable shows.  The show utilizes so many of the good qualities that exist in anime while simultaneously getting rid of the bad ones, and simply gives an overall enjoyable experience.

Kyousogiga (series) – First Impressions


Well, I decided that I had to come out and talk about this, since I was so excited for (and a little let down by) the original ONA, and I still think it has one of the coolest PV’s ever.  My problems with the original were mainly those related to it’s running time: a mere twenty-something  minuets.  Now that isn’t really a whole lot of time for a standalone story, especially not one that takes place in a world as crazy as this one.  Thankfully, it looks like they kind of worked out that issue this time around, because this series is now getting a five episode series type-thing.  However, these episodes are apparently all going to be only ten minuets long for whatever reason, so I really hope they buckle down with the writing this time around and provide some kind of idea about what exactly the hell is supposed to be going on here.

One of my other biggest problems with the ONA was it’s story.  I said before that the original felt like it was a random episode out of a much loner series, and I still think that’s a pretty good description of it.  The ONA had little to no explanation about what was going on in the world, though that was somewhat understandable given the time restraints they were under.  However, now that they have more time, I wonder if anything that happened in the ONA will actually be cannon for this series, because if it is, I guess I know the ending… kind of.  Even this first episode didn’t do a whole lot to help me understand what’s going on in this world.  The scenes with the scientists (that were also present in the original) kind of give the idea that the “Mirror World” or whatever it’s called, is some kind of computer simulation type thing that the characters are in.  But the whole world gives off much more of a fantasy feeling than a sci-fi one, so maybe I’m not clear on that.  I still don’t know what Koto is at all, I don’t know what she’s training for, I don’t know who that fox guy is; I just don’t know jack shit about anything that’s going on here.  But I guess that’s okay for right now.

The original left me with the impression that it was an incomplete work.  Thankfully, something was good or popular enough to allow the creators to continue it, and I’m glad they did. Although this episode gave me almost nothing in terms of plot, I’m hoping that will change after the next few episodes.  But it would be so much easier to follow if they would just slow the hell down and stick to a single timeline without jumping the fuck all over the place, in the normal world one second and the mirror the next, with absolutely no sense of continuity between the segments.  I mean come on guys, just a hint of an idea of what exactly is going on would be nice.

Like the original ONA, the artwork is also really unique and creative and kind of reminds me of a more tripped-out version of Spirited Away.  It’s certainly one of the more  visually interesting anime I’ve seen in a long time.  But for some reason I can’t find a high quality version of this episode anyone (the same thing happened with the ONA), so I guess this is also being distributed over the internet.  For a series as colorful and elaborate as this I don’t know why they would choose to stream it over the internet instead of just opting for a DVD/Blu-ray release like a normal OVA, but I’m sure that’ll come eventually.

 

Taking a Break from Episodics (And Not Quiting)


Well, for the past few months posts here have been rather sparse for a few reasons.  First, I’m going to college next week and I had to work a lot to pay for a bunch of college-type shit.  Second, I’ve been having to drive across the state a lot because of family stuff.  Frankly, getting locked down into the schedule of, “Okay, I’ve got to download this episode by this time, watch it by this time, and write something by this time” is kind of frustrating and hard when when you have a bunch of stuff to do.  This is why I’m probably not going to be doing a lot of episode by episode stuff for a while (at least for two seasons).  Instead, I’m going to try to do more straight review type things, or editorial articles.  Hopefully not having the pressure of being pressed to do something will give me a little more drive to write something when I feel the desire to do so.  It should, at the very least, at some variety to what I put on here.

Well, that’s that, glad I got that over and done with. Hopefully, I’ll  see you all soon, but if you’ll excuse me, it’s five A.M., I and should really try to get some sleep.

Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita Episode 4 – Rules of Press


While this is kind of an… odd… concept for an episode, it still is actually pretty funny and entertaining, although I’m not quite sure what this actually has to do with the decline and death of the human race.  Normally when I think about the human race dying out, I don’t instantly jump to a group of people trapped inside of a manga that they have to make a best-seller in order to escape, but I guess that’s just what you get with this show.  But like I said, even though it doesn’t really make much sense, and it doesn’t really fit in with the rest of the series (though I guess there isn’t really much that could) it’s still entertaining and fun to watch.  And that Chess scene was fucking awesome.  Hilariously awesome to the utmost degree.

So, like last week’s episode, this one is also a heavy satire of the manga industry, it’s fandom and what it takes to sell manga, although it could really apply to any form of entertainment.  This time our almost unnamed heroes have to find a way to make the manga they’re trapped in become the number one selling manga in the world so they can conclude the series, thus escaping the manga they’re trapped in.  Yeah, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me either, but thankfully Pink Girl can’t make too much sense out of the whole thing either, but goes with it anyway because they have to get out.  As she’s been so far, she stands as the voice of reason in such a ridiculous and crazy situation.   Her and Y are also really funny together in my opinion, because they’re different and play off each other, but they aren’t complete and total opposites like most comedy pairs in anime.  And since these people obviously know what they’re doing when it comes to crazy stuff like this, they have some pretty good jokes along the way of their ridiculous adventure.  Although it may be sad to admit, there’s a lot of truth to what’s said in this episode.  Like most long running manga, as they go on, they make their plot increasingly ridiculous and more complex in order to keep the three second attention span of the average reader.  I also thought the whole twist thing was pretty clever, seeing as how when a series or manga starts to do that, that’s usually a good jumping off point, because it’s a definite sign the creator has run out of ideas to do.

Although it is pretty entertaining, it’s just so out of left field that it doesn’t really make any sense.  With the episode last week, the reintroduction of manga into society made sense because it could happen in the context of a world that hasn’t had those things in a long time.  It made sense because it was just a clever way to retell the history of the growth of manga and it’s fandom all while poking fun at how ridiculous most of it is.  But here, it just felt like they wanted to make fun of manga more, but didn’t have any real way to do so, so in the end they just said, “Fuck it, let’s put them in some random blank manga”.  Well, yeah sure, I guess you could do that but it doesn’t really make a lot of sense… “Well, it’ll be a dream for fucks sake, we’re making fun of manga, goddammit!”.  And I’m sure that’s how that creative meeting went.  And although I’m bringing up this point about how crazily random the plot device for this episode was, it’s probably not very fair to hold it to such a high level of scrutiny, seeing as how batshit insane the show’s been so far.  I really do hope that this series can have a bit more of a focus next week or at the very least take some time to explain what exactly is going on in this crazy world.  I still enjoy it and find it funny, but I still want to hold out hope that there’s some type of underlying story that’s coming eventually.

Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita Episode 3 – Manga and Rebirth


You know, for I long time I’ve held to the idea that if you’re going to be a fan of something, you have to be able to make fun of it.  And so, I’m proud to report that the writers of this show obviously feel the same way.  I do have to say though, this is kind of an odd third episode, though I can’t say what I would call “normal” in a show where the first two episodes were about a group of sentient plucked chickens that take over a food factory owned by fairies so they can take over the world.  Well, I guess an episode about yaoi fangirls makes about as much sense as anything else they could have put in this episode. Plus most of it’s really funny, and it feels good to see the creators of an anime sit back and say, “Look, sometimes… you guys are just fucking crazy”.

This episode is basically a social satire about the world of manga and manga fandom, although it more specifically focuses on everybody’s favorite subdivision of anime and manga culture: yaoi fangirls.  The pseudo-feminists of today often propagate the idea that all men are sex-obsessed rapists or some shit and that all girls are helpless, innocent victims of the iron-dicked patriarchy of the modern world.  However, this episode (and yaoi fangirls in general) are out to prove that women can be just as, if not more, crazy when it comes to stuff like that than men.  Hell, look at Fifty Shades of Gray; it’s a shitty sex book that a hefty majority of women have deemed as one of the best works of literature of the past decade.  I also just saw Magic Mike (make your gay jokes if you want, but my friend saw Moonrise Kingdom with me, so I had to return the favor) and every woman in that strip club (and the theater)  lost their shit when Channing Tatum was stripping.  I also told one my friends moms I saw it, and she corroborated that women do indeed go crazy at male strip clubs, and yes that was awkward.

The episode essentially retracing the history of things like dojinshi and conventions came into existence, though by a completely different means.  And by the way, why the hell did that old rich guy have a basement full of yaoi manga?  Whatever, to each his own.  The new character who barely even has a name (but hey, one letter is at least a step up from all the other characters with NO letters in their names) seemed really random.  I don’t mean her character was random, I mean she just kind of showed up out of nowhere and said, “Hey, I’m doing this thing” with next to no explanation.  There seems to be a substantial amount of stuff going on in this place, such as the UN, a race of fairy people, and some kind of Human History Preservation thing, but they seem to brush over all of this stuff as if it’s not that important.  I’d kind of like to know more about what the hell is going on in this world, like the current state of technology and whatnot, so hopefully they get to that eventually.

Like last episode, this one was also pretty funny, although having a whole episode essentially parodying a single idea did seem kind of odd.  Pink/Sensei/Moderator/Girl or whatever you want to call her was also once again one of the best parts of the show.  I don’t really know how, but she somehow manages to be sarcastic and cynical without coming off as a really obnoxious, condescending bitch.  Maybe it’s because her pink hair just makes you want to like her.  Speaking of her hair, isn’t it alive or something?  Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t recall it moving a single time on it’s own this episode.  That seems kind of odd, seeing as how they kind of left that as a cliffhanger last episode.  Well, I guess I can only hope that will be explained a little bit more in the next that will apparently take place inside of some blank manga.  Yeah… I’m not really sure how that’s going to work, but from what I’ve seen so far, I’m sure this show will make it work somehow.

Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita Episodes 1 & 2 – First Impressions


Well, I’m late on this for two reasons; one, I completely missed the first episode of this somehow, and two, this show is just… odd.  I mean, there’s a big food shortage, and apparently (or at least according to the MAL synopsis) the human race is in a state of decline due to low birthrates, which would normally translate to some Mad Max wasteland apocalypse type stuff, but I guess not here.  Everything seems abnormally bright, happy and cheerful, kind of like playing Fallout in Pyro-vision or something like that.  People may starve to death, but just look at the cute little Fairies!  A bread robot rips itself apart and dies, but sentient chickens are running the factory.  I really don’t know what’s going on here.  And the fact that the ending sounds a lot like the Azumanga Daioh OP doesn’t help matters much.  The main thing I’m trying to figure out is whether or not this is going to be a straight up comedy or if it’s actually going to be somewhat serious, although after the second episode, I’m leaning much more towards the comedy side of the spectrum.  But even then there were just some parts that seemed really serious for no real reason, such as the town meeting in the first episode, or The Assistants story in the second.  The whole plot of the show just seems a little to macabre to be the setup for a straight-up comedy, but it somehow actually does work.  The first episode felt really random and kind of incoherent, but the second episode was actually pretty funny in my opinion.

Now, on the off chance that this series is actually going to be a serious series, then it’s off to a pretty odd start.  There hasn’t really been too much explanation of what’s going on or what the whole deal with the fairies is.  That’s probably the one thing that’s keeping me from admitting to myself that this is just some big screwball, random comedy; there’s just too much stuff going on.  There’s a food shortage for humans, who themselves are in decline, there’s now a race of sentient doll-things that inhabit the earth, the main character girl is a member of some type of organization for human-fairy relationships and acts as a mediator between them.  It just seems like a lot of back-story and lore to throw into something that’s just meant for a few laughs.  Also, none of the main characters actually have names, which is, at least in movies, a sure sign of some avant-garde, artsy stuff going on here.  The Girl hasn’t been given a name, The Assistant doesn’t have a name, The Grandfather doesn’t have a name, the only thing that was given so far was that ginger fairy with the Hitler ‘stache, and the bread robot, Loaf.  So we have a vibrant an colorful world of dying people with a food shortage where the main characters have no names… is this a Japanese stoner’s version of The Road, or something?

As stated before, I find this show to actually be pretty funny, which is obviously what they intended for a lot of it.  For me, the main source of most of the humor was from The Girl and some of her one-liner responses to the ridiculousness going on around her.  If indeed this is more than just a comedy, then I don’t have any problem with her a main character.  In most anime if you have a female lead you have about a 50 percent chance that they’re going to be a complete bimbo, but if you have a female lead with pink hair, that percentage goes up to about 99.  Thankfully, Pink Haired Main Character Girl actually seems to have a head on her shoulders, and also isn’t a bitch.  That also seems to be a theme in anime; if the girl isn’t a complete and total dumb-blonde dipshit, then she’s usually a haughty prick, and there usually isn’t a lot of middle ground.  Pink Floyd over here has thankfully been able to find it and actually provide some humor for us that isn’t dependent on how stupid she is.

Fate/Zero – Review


First off, I’d like to apologize to anyone who may actually care for not writing episodic reviews for the last three or so episodes.  I’ve had a lot of stuff to do, and didn’t have an adequate amount of time to sit down and write proper reviews like I like them, so I decided that it would be best to hold off on that and write a big end-all be-all review of the complete series.  So without further ado… let’s begin.

I’ll be honest here, after seeing the first episode of this series… I wasn’t really too pumped up about it.  I had heard a lot of sub-par opinions about it’s sequel, and I already knew that it was a prequel to Fate/Stay Night going into it, so I kind of assumed that having seen that series would be a perquisite to being able to enjoy this series.  At first, that seemed to be the case with this series, as the first episode seemed to me to just be a long-winded exposition-fest filled with characters that  I though I should already be familiar with.  And so after that first hour of dialogue about things that I didn’t understand or comprehend, I didn’t think that I would end up watching any more of the series.  However, because of how good people said the novels were, I decided to go ahead and watch the second episode of the series.  And obviously, I’m glad that I decided to.

The show is about The Holy Grail War, a battle fought between seven Mages and their summoned Servants. The Mages summon a servant with and artifact and the pairs then battle each other in order to obtain the Holy Grail, an object capable of granting the owner of it any wish they desire.  Fate/Zero sounds like a very standard kind of Highlander, “There can be only one”, type of thing on the surface, but it isn’t anywhere close to that at all.  Most series like this would have a very obvious and noble main, one who stands up for what is right no matter what, and who’s only wish is for everyone to be happy or something like that.  Then the other characters would be introduced episodically each posing a new threat that our hero will obviously overcome because… well, he’s the hero, and he’s obviously going to win.  All of the challengers that the hero would face would be impossibly evil, like the type of evil who’s wish would be for everyone in the world to be raped in the ass by an elephant or something just for the hell of it.  Obviously, these people’s malicious and selfish desires would not stand a chance against the unshakable morality of the hero, and they would fall one by one, each breaking under the hero’s unbreakable desire to do good.  But this show isn’t like that in the least.  Which is a good thing if you were actually wondering.

The series, surprisingly has some fairly decent production value and animation.  Although some people may assume this is an action show, given the context of the series, it really isn’t in the end.  It has plenty of good action scenes that are doe fairly well, but a majority of the series consists of dialogue and is more about the beliefs of the characters.  But still, for a show like that, that animation is pretty good.  It generally maintains a rather dark atmosphere most of the time, and the animation complements that very well.  Some of the CGI parts of the series are kind of annoying, but that may just be because I really don’t like CGI in anime.  To be fair, however, there isn’t really a whole lot of it throughout the show, so it wasn’t that big of a problem even to me.  The voice actors are all good, with a few being perfectly cast for their roles, and some being really meh.

The thing that sets this series apart from others are the main characters, or lack thereof.  There isn’t really one true main “Hero” character, although the series obviously favors a few specific ones over others.  Also, each of the characters are given a fairly decent amount of screen time, though it takes the show a while to balance it out evenly amongst everyone.  Almost all of the masters and their servants have very unique personalities instead of the usual stock “do-as-much-bad-as-possible” villains, although the one group that fits that description fits it to a “T”, and they’re badass to say the least.  Some characters have good and selfless motives, while others are either completely unknown or so petty they shouldn’t even be in the War, and because of this there are several characters and pairs that you’ll like.  This is one of the best things about this series; because there is not a true “main character” you root just as much for one pair as you do another, and along the course of the series your opinions about certain people will be changed entirely.  It’s so much better and interesting when you actually give a shit about both sides involved in some big battle, instead of having to say, “Well, I guess I want the Main Good Guy to win”.

The show does take a little while to get started and the better half of the series is spent with the characters running around and talking, but when the series picks up, it really picks up.  And of course because of the fact that there’s no cut-and-dry distinction between who the show wants you to like and who it wants you to hate, the story is open to go a lot of different places and will mean different things for different people.  For example, some people will like a certain character for his selfless goal, but others will hate him for the methods he’s using to achieve it.  Also, while watching this show try not to make any assumptions about who’s going to win the Grail, because they’re just going to get smashed a few episodes later if you do.  As I said before, most other shows in this style simply follow the hero mowing down his evil opponents one at a time, yet this show does not follow such a linear format.  The series isn’t simply ever pair running around and trying to kill the others, and it seems much more realistic because they actually take the time to think about what they want to do, to make alliances with each other and don’t all treat each other as their sworn and mortal enemy.  Well, it makes it as realistic as a bunch of ancient Spirits battling for a magic cup can be.

Also, without trying to spoil anything, I actually liked the ending, although I’m sure plenty of people didn’t.  About halfway through this show, I was convinced that there was no way this series could actually have a satisfying ending, given that there were so many characters that I liked, and obviously all of them couldn’t win.  And like most of my other preconceived notions about the show, that idea was proven wrong as well.  The ending was kind of what I expected it to be, but was a lot more satisfying than I thought it would be too.  However, that may just be because I know that the story isn’t over and that it continues on into Fate/Stay Night.

Finally, the sheer epicness of this series makes it that much better.  It really isn’t too often that something with such a simple concept can become so much more than what you expect of it.  It’s a rarity for a show to have so many likable characters, good and evil alike, and for that show to be able to give each of them enough of their own time to show what they bring to the story.  The show does take a little while to get started and the better half of the series is spent with the characters running around and talking, but when the series picks up, it really picks up.  This is one of the best all-around great examples of an anime that I can think of, not really because it does anything terribly new, but because everything it does it does so well.  The series definitely fulfilled all the promises of epicness that a Magic War fought with ancient spirits could fulfill, and on top of that, it gives great characters with great personalities, and a satisfying story.  In my opinion, it’s fucking great.

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