But before all that, a few words about Sword Art Online II : well, so far, it’s not doing a bad job of not rubbing me the wrong way, like Alfheim Online did. The writing is still pretty poor (go, go, tepid exposition !), but the setup of bringing in Kirito to investigate a bizarre murder spree in a new game setting is a decent one. (Also, anything that marginalizes the absence of chemistry he’s got with Asuna is welcome.) I might still watch this after all.
A couple of shorts before moving on to the full Monday shows…
Mobile Suit Gundam-san is yet another of those comedy SD skits Sunrise puts out occasionally. (This one adapted from a 4-panel gag manga.) It starts off by an Austin Powers-style naked dance by Char, which should give you an idea of the high level of humour we’re dealing with here. It’s mildly funny, but nothing to go out of your way for.
Secret Princess Himegoto adapts a manga about a pretty boy being blackmailed into crossdressing by the student council. It’s got a main character called Unko (“Poop”). That kinda sums up my opinion of it.
So, Persona 4 The Golden Animation. I reviewed the original series back in 2011 ; this is a weird spin-off that adapts an updated rerelease of the game.
The selling point here, apparently, is a new character being added to the main cast, Marie. The script thus chooses wisely to fast-forward through a very bare bones version of the plot (skipping all the business related to Konishi), so that Marie can get 5 minutes or so of screentime after the end credits. To say that her introduction feels very forced an unnatural is an understatement ; she’s just dropped in without any explanation by the gamemaster. The core problem here is that this series is at its best with deadpan weirdness, and Marie’s way too melodramatic to fit in. So, well, it doesn’t quite work.
(By the way, the whole thing seems to have been reanimated from scratch, with a somewhat higher budget ; every single scene is slightly different from the previous series.)
Black Butler – Book of Circus spends its first episode re-establishing the premise with a “Day in the Life of Sebastian Michaelis”… Not that there’s anything wrong with that, as it’s a charming setup, and the script does get to play a bit with clever ellipses. I’ve got no clue where this would fit in continuity, but it’s not like this franchise ever sweats this kind of fine detail.
Anyway, this is good fun, and I’m glad it’s back.
(Also, no Grell whatsover for now, which is a definite plus in my book.)
Hey, someone finally fansubbed the first episode of Fran♥cesca : Girls Be Ambitious, more than a week after it aired !
… Having had a look at it, I can easily see why nobody bothered to do it for so long.
The high concept is that this is a series of 11-minute episodes built around a recently-created mascot character for Hokkaido, the titular Francesca. Who happens to be some sort of undead idol or something. But she barely shows up at the end of the first episode ; in practice, it mainly features the head of the anti-undead Hokkaido forces (of course a cute sassy girl)
investigating killing the shit out of a recent surge of zombies rising from the ground. Also, tons of jokes that probably make sense to people who know of Hokkaido’s culture, but are completely impenetrable to me.
As far as promotional vehicles from tourism boards go, this one at least has the merit of originality. But that’s pretty much it ; it looks badly-animated (is this Flash-based ?), and at its core it’s comedy where I don’t get most of the jokes. (Which don’t look that funny, anyway.)