First, a little awards news: Nominees for the Seiun for Best Media (roughly equivalent to Hugo nominees for Best Dramatic Presentation) include two anime series, Bodacious Space Pirates and Eureka Seven AO. E7AO is a particularly unsurprising choice– I’ve never seen a TV show that so desperately needed a viewer advisory on the front of it that content contained herein may be unsuitable for those without a solid grounding in written sf. (If that description piques your interest, I have another warning: it’s going to be incomprehensible if you haven’t seen its predecessor Eureka Seven first.)
April 1st also brought news of this new series which had somehow slipped under the radar. (Hat tip to Cheryl Morgan for pointing that one out.)
There’s a lot to get through this week, so it’s going to be all quick takes…
Space Brothers #51 – And so the payoff moment of the season closer is… a woman stopping in her tracks to cry at the sight of an opened window. Can you imagine a Hollywood-made show allowing character-based drama to take center stage like this in science fiction? I mean, yes, your better sf TV shows certainly have character development, but the really big moments are saved for the last-minute escape or the big battle, aren’t they?
This episode also did something rather unusual for anime. It tends to idealize the high-school years, but the reality for many Japanese students is more like Nitta’s experience of a grueling endless round of school and study that drove him to try to leave this planet entirely.
Hunter x Hunter #73 – Action has its place in the world too, though! Especially over-the-top action featuring the introduction of Killua’s duel-wielded exotic superconducting yo-yos! (Note to self: There’s gotta be a Superconducting Supercollider joke in this somewhere.)
Meanwhile, Gon falls back on one of his tried-and-true tactics: allow his opponent to beat him up, and display his preternatural toughness by just standing up again, and again, and again, until the opponent gives up and does whatever Gon wanted him or her to do out of sheer exasperation. Gon has little in the way of guile or cunning, but he has stubbornness, and he knows how to use it.
Majestic Prince first look – Presenting your team of stock losers: the nerd, the tough kid, the goof-off, the ice queen, and the girl obsessed with boys. They’ve got the worst scores in the battle school. They can’t even act like a team. So naturally, they’re the ones who have to go into real combat to protect an outpost under attack long enough for it to be evacuated, and somehow they suddenly develop the minimum competence necessary to make the mission work.
This might be setting up for a shock reversal, but at the moment the best and most original part of it is some nifty CGI in the battle scenes.
International stream: Crunchyroll (US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa)
Devil Survivor 2: The Animation first look – Demon-summoning 21st-century style: hook up with a creepy supernatural social media site (which like everything else these days appears to be stuck in beta), answer a survey, get the app downloaded to your phone, and off you go!
As an RPG adaptation, this is stuck in a straightjacket from the get-go, but it’s making a pretty good effort of it so far. The thing that worries me is that there are 14, count ’em, 14 characters in the opening and closing sequences, and every single one of them is going to have to be introduced, get their personal summoned demon(s) named and displayed, have at least one significant fight scene, and then everyone but the hero and villain will have to be either killed or shuffled aside somehow so that the two of them are the only ones left for the final battle. That’s not likely to leave a lot of screen time to develop the deeper plot.
International stream: Crunchyroll (US, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Netherlands, Scandinavia, South Africa)
The Devil Is a Part-Timer! first look – The first four minutes are an entire fat fantasy series, from the Dark Lord marshaling his armies to conquer his entire world to his ultimate defeat by a hero wielding a legendary magic sword, complete with detailed map and invented language. And then the Dark Lord and his last remaining general open a magical gate to somewhere else…
…and find themselves in modern magic-less Tokyo. Undaunted, the Dark Lord becomes Sadao Maou, part-time fry cook at “MgRonalds”, and his general starts searching the local libraries for clues to any magic remaining in this world.
This could have been really stupid. But by playing it straight and giving the protagonist the intelligence and will you’d expect from the almost-conqueror of an entire world, it’s highly enjoyable so far.
International stream(s): FUNimation (US) at least; some sites serving other countries haven’t announced what they’re carrying for the spring yet.
Zettai Bōei Leviathan first look – Don’t bother. It’s one of those RPG worlds where no one has any native curiosity or intelligence and must be motivated by the game’s tutorial character, the female characters are all going around dressed like a prize is about to be handed out for the most impractical and revealing outfit, and the town is even described by a character in RPG tropes. (“We have all the standard shops– a weapon shop, an item shop…”)
If you really must look, the international stream is at Crunchyroll (Americas, UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Scandinavia, Turkey, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa).