A few words on Vampire Holmes, first. It’s an adaptation of a… smartphone game app (!) as a series of barely-animated shorts ; the premise is that this Holmes completely sucks at using reason… not that it stops him from solving the crimes. It’s supposed to be funny, but this one joke is way too slight to support even a 3-minute short, let alone a whole season of it. Don’t bother with this one.
Oh, frack it, I’m not doing a full review of Wish Upon the Pleiades (Houkago no Pleiades). For one thing, I already reviewed the pilot web-thingy 4 years ago, and this first episode is a slightly abbreviated version of the same story. I think Gainax reanimated the whole thing thanks to that sweet Subaru money, but I can’t be arsed to track the original version down to compare.
Anyway, it’s still as boring and utterly bizarre as a use of a sponsor’s money (the magical girls’ brooms roar like motorbikes ! The main character is named Subaru ! And, er, that’s it for product placement…) ; I can only fathom that the few people left at Gainax needed the money, no questions asked.
On Sunday aired a short called Rainy Cocoa (Ame-iro Cocoa), about a bunch of handsome dudes running a café. It’s a string of mediocre jokes and stereotypical characterization that just abruptly stops because we’ve hit the 2-minute mark. (There’s technically a cliffhanger with a dude suddenly showing up, but come on now.) Nothing to see there.
A few words on a couple of shorts, first.
BAR Kiraware Yasai features a bunch of vegetables having a drink and complaining about how nobody likes them. It’s mildly cute as a concept, and at least it’s a joke that fits the “series of shorts” format, but there’s nothing particularly compelling in the execution to make me come back next week.
Urawa no Usagi-chan is *COME TO URAWA CITY* a series of shorts featuring a girl called Usagi *PLEASE COME, WE’RE DESPERATE ENOUGH TO COMMISSION THIS* who has utterly normal fri- *NO SERIOUSLY, WE NEED YOUNG PEOPLE TO COMPENSATE OUR POPULATION’S AGING* -ends *TOURISTS ARE FINE TOO*…
Excuse me, please wait a second.
/Shoots the representative from Urawa City’s tourism board.
Now, that’s better. Unfortunately, while there’s enough budget to make this look decent, the producers forgot to include anything like a plot, characters doing anything, or even the glimmer of a single joke. It’s just a scene that lasts for more that three minutes and accomplishes nothing in that duration.
No full review for Saint Seiya : Soul of Gold. I’m not sure whether this is a proper sequel or just a side-story ; the premise is that a good chunk of the supprting cast sacrificed themselves in the Hades arc (which I haven’t watched), and now at least some of them find themselves surprisingly not dead (or maybe undead), in Asgard of all places. And of course there’s something nasty going on there.
This is a perfectly alright on all levels : it looks alright, it quickly establishes the premise and the first miniboss, and even takes the time to allude to the Lion Gold Saint’s origin story as a stab to make him engaging as a protagonist. There’s even a weird cliffhanger to make the viewer question what’s really going on. Quite competent all around… It’s just that unlike the Latin-American market who demands the franchise to be revived every few years, I have no particular nostalgia for Saint Seiya (easy “endless stair-climbing” jokes aside), so I don’t particularly care about this project. Not for me, I guess.
Now for the final straggler… and there’s no way in hell I’m doing a full review of Ninja Slayer From Animation.
The signs should have been obvious. It’s adapted from an elaborate prank (an alleged “traduction” of an American novel, serialized on Twitter). Episodes are barely 12-minute-long, and broadcast only on NicoNico over in Japan. (They’re in a goddarn 4/3 format !) They got the Inferno Cop guy to direct it. Of course it was going to turn out to be a no-budget, no-plot “gonzo parody”.
The thing is, this is actually much worse than Inferno Cop. I may not have liked it, but that show had personality and embraced its own lunacy. It wasn’t boring like this crap, and its shorter episode length made for much better pacing. Ninja Slayer, on the other hand, has an even thinner premise (“dude who hates ninjas gets reborn as a ninja who kills ninjas”), characters with no depth whatsoever, and just piles on cliché after cliché without ever doing anything interesting with them. It doesn’t even have the guts of going all paperdoll-style like Inferno Cop, instead having random bursts of semi-decent animation that make it look even more boring.
The only kind thing I can say here is that it’s got good colour design, and an okayish soundtrack. Everything else about it is pure, unadultered crap. Congratulations, Ninja Slayer ! You’re easily the worst show this season, and by far.