Luck & Logic

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

A tie-in to a card game that’s coming out in February.

Characters

Monsters are invading the world and through randomly-appearing sky gates and wreaking havoc, so it’s up to special warriors to fight them. Specifically, the few teenagers with enough inborn Logic to be able to contract with the Goddesses and combine with them to fight off the nasties. The mechanics of which sound suspiciously like adaptations of the card game’s rules.

By now, the process is well organized, with prospective fighters being “invited” by a government agency to help out, whether they want it or not. As exemplified by one Yukari.

Half the episode is spent on the local squad of three (leader/pointer/sharpshooter) and their goddesses as they fight off a few critters. Until they get out of their depth and require the involvement of…

Yoshichika, our protagonist, who used to be an elite warrior until he crashed and burned two years ago. While he’s promised his younger sister that he’ll be a good, prudent little NPC now, he’s obviously not over his past career, and still has a bit of a hero complex.

Athena, the Goddess who went to the trouble of finding his long-lost Player Card, and thus allows him to contract with her. Cue ass-kicking, and awkward meeting with the current team. (The higher ups are delighted about his rejoining, of course ; they need the help.)

We have brief snippets of the usual genre clich├ęs : other warriors who seem to work against our heroes, corrupt higher-ups, our two leads having to live in the same room at HQ…

Production Values

Quite nice indeed. The battle sequences look good and fluid, the dayglo aesthetics are nice to the eye, and the whole thing is quite well paced.

Overall Impression

Ah. This is a show that’s perfectly competent at what it’s doing, with more flair than most of its genre… but it offers exactly nothing I’m interested in. Well executed and quite pleasant overall, but there’s literally nothing here to make me come back next week.

But if you have any interest in the genre, do go for it ; it’s a nice example for it.

Source: [In Which I Review] New anime, Winter 2016 – Page 3

selector infected WIXOSS

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Surprise ! It’s another cardgame tie-in ! Except a lot more ambitious.

Characters

Ruuko, our teenage protagonist. She’s the kind of introvert who has no friends besides her family circle. Obviously we can’t have that, and it’s quickly going to change.

Her grandma, for example, would be delighted for her to get some friends. She’s way too nice to press the matter, though. I like her morbid sense of humour (that’s quite the nasty punchline for Skyline Tetris), and it’s easy to suspect she knows a lot more than she’s telling.

Ruuko’s older brother doesn’t seem to be living with them, although he visits often. (Where are her parents, anyway ?) Cue standard sibling antics, as he’s a bit of a slob. Out of nowhere, he gives her a starter deck for this new popular WIXOSS cardgame that even girls are into. Except it’s not an ordinary deck.

Tama, Ruuko’s avatar card, might be Augmented Reality pushed to far. Not only is the character in that small piece of cardboard somehow animated, but she’s also talking. Admittedly, not very coherently. Also, only Ruuko can hear her. At least at first.

Yuzuki, one of her classmates, immediately zeroes on her the next day. See, there are only a limited number of players (“Selectors”) with those special cards. If you win while battling each other, you get a wish to be granted. (Which sounds very dodgy to me already.) If you lose three times, you’re out… and I’m not certain it’s only the card who disappears. Anyway, she’s sure the newbie is easy prey.

Kazuki, Yuzuki’s twin brother, watches the match. Except he can’t hear the cards (you have to be a Selector), nor see the very elaborate VR interface the two players are somehow immersed in, so that must be very boring. He compensates by providing some exposition about the rules, as he feels this match is a bit unfair to Ruuko. Not that he should bother, as Tama is somehow super-powerful. Yuzuki is lucky the match gets interrupted (and thus becomes a draw) by the schoolbell. Also, her tentative wish seems to involve being able to bone him, so, er, yeah.

There are various other Selector/card showcased in the OP sequence, so I’m sure we’ll run into them eventually.

Production Values

Very good. If there’s one thing this show does very well, it’s atmosphere. There’s a constant sense of dread, not helped by the creepy gory dreams Ruuko starts having after getting Tama. All the fantasy/VR/whatever sequences are gorgeous, if a bit dark.

Overall Impression

Well, that’s a way to get me intrigued by a card-game show : have it drowning in murky paranoia. Oh, sure, there are still scenes designed to showcase how awesome the damn thing is, but it’s easily compensated by the impression that it’s all a trap and that this is going to end very badly for all involved. The usually super-cute Tama looking like a bloodthirsty berserker during battles compounds that feeling.

I’m seriously getting some Madoka flashbacks here. I doubt this is going to be anywhere as good, but there are worse aesthetics to ape.

Okay, show, I’m intrigued. Where the heck are you going with this ?

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2014.

Majin Bone

What’s it about ?

Generic kids’ tokusatsu show, tying in with a card game.

Characters

Shogo, our generic teenage protagonist. His most prominent character trait is that he really likes reading his porn mags, because teenager. Aside from that, he’s completely nondescript, for perfect audience identification.

He’s got a decently-sized supporting cast, with a generic bossy father, a generic sarcastic older sister, a generic childhood friend who’s obviously attracted to him, and her generic mother. Also, her generic dog.

The plot involves “meteorites” falling onto Earth, but those are actually baddies (?) in techsuits. One of them happens to fall in childhood friend’s backyard, kicking off the plot : after touching it, Shogo is shocked to learn he can swap into a techsuit too !

There are three mysterious dudes hanging around in the margins, fighting some of meteorites when nobody’s looking. They seem quite interested by Shogo becoming a potential ally.

Production Values

Quite good, overall. Unfortunately, while the action sequences are well-animated, the samey character designs for both sides of techsuits make it impossible for me to tell what’s going on in them.

Overall Impression

BO-RING. It’s an average Tuesday Morning Cartoon, and there’s absolutely nothing to make it stand out from the pack. It’s not particularly bad, but I can’t see myself returning for a second episode. It’s not like I had any enthusiasm for writing this review.

via [In Which I Review] New anime, Spring 2014.

Fantasista Doll

(12 episodes)

What’s it about ?

It can’t be a real anime season without a card game show.

Characters

Uzume, our middle-school protagonist. She used to be good at card games in elementary school, even winning a tournament, but that’s pretty much behind her now. Well, at least until someone slips in her bag a special card-reading-device and a few cards during train rush-hour. She’s then tricked into activating her account (with way too much personal data), which summons…

Sasara, a card-generated warrior who can materialize to defend her from attackers… well, provided Uzume combines her card with some actual equipment cards, otherwise she just shows up nearly naked. Oops. Once that’s dealt with, she’s quite powerful.

Uzume’s opponent in this battle, obviously wanting to get those super-special cards, uses a ninja warrior and has lines like “I won’t forget this ! Next time I won’t hold back !” Urgh.

There are four other card-beings in the lot Uzume got, all with different one-note personalities (the motherly one, the barely-speaks one, etc.). They’re outraged when Uzume asks them to do her chores, declaring her the worst master ever. Oh, come on.

I’m pretty sure the scientist-dude stalking Uzume in one scene is the same guy who shows up later wearing a fancy uniform and a cape, standing ontop a lamppost outside her room at night, to declare her worthy of the Dolls.

There are tons of other members of the supporting cast that don’t really get much depth, such as Uzume’s bossy little sister, her “big sister” figure who seems to be in high school, and her various school friends.

Production Values

Decent. There’s one cute design idea : having the Dolls appear as flat ghosts on transparent surfaces. It’s barely used at all in the show proper, though.

Overall Impression

Sigh. There are a few okay jokes here, but there’s no escaping that this is an obvious toy commercial (at least, I hope that’s the idea) with a generic plot and flat characters.

I’m very tempted to give it a bit more of a chance, as it’s sometimes funny, but it’s too lackluster to make the cut in such a busy season.

via [In which I review] New anime, Summer 2013 – Page 5.

Digimon Tamers

(51 episodes)

What’s it about ?

Digimon is just another fad cardgame… or is it ? There’s an awful lot of critters wandering around in the edges of the city, fighting harsh battles for unknown reasons.

Characters

Takato is our standard-issue kid protagonist. He somehow stumbles on a bizarre Digimon card that transforms his card player into something else entirely… which eventually creates a whole new critter from his handwritten designs. He thinks it’s AWESOME… until the critter starts spouting fire at the scenery. Oops…

There are a couple other kids running around separately that can “see” the critters while they’re moving around digitally… An aloof girl and a technophile boy. They obviously know quite a bit about what’s happening, but they barely get a couple of lines each so far.

There’s also a shadowy organization that secretly monitors the critters for whatever purposes. Their apparent leader is always compulsively clutching on some object I can’t see.

Production Values

Average. The CG sequences are a bit clunky but perfectly serviceable.

Overall Impression

Much better than I expected from a cardgame tie-in. This is the one season that’s actually any good, right ? It’s pretty good at building a foreboding atmosphere, and the conspiracy angle looks promising. There’s nothing particularly irritating, the product placement is reasonable, and I’m positively intrigued on where this is going.

I could see myself adding it to my popcorn “to-watch” list in the near future.

 I don't think store-bought cardplayers are supposed to scan random notebooks on their own, are they ?
I don’t think store-bought cardplayers are supposed to scan random notebooks on their own, are they ?

via [In which I review] New anime, Spring 2001.