Weekly Round-up: Magical Mecha and Painful Dialogue.

This weeks Shenanigans are bought to you by the Letter A, the Number 7, and a bottle of whiskey. For your perusal this week:

  • Wizard Barristers, Episode 2.
  • Nobunaga the Fool, Episode 3.
  • The Pilot’s Love Song, Episode 3.
  • Witch Craft Works, Episode 3.
  • Strike The Blood, Episode 15.
  • Log Horizon, Episode 17.

Wizard Barristers, Ep.2.

I may have mentioned it last week, but this is a damned good looking show. Unlike some of the other series I’ve been catching up on recently, the animation style is wonderfully consistent, even with large CGI Elements being introduced. WIth other series I’ve wathced where CGI has been used to touch up the animation, the quality has varied from looking like its only half been rendered to almost jarringly smooth. I’m looking at you, Arpeggio of Blue Steel. Anyways, this week we caught up with our heroine Cecil just as they get bailed out for the ruckus at the end of episode one. We’re then swiftly move forward to the preliminary hearing for our accused murderer from episode one, and frankly the judge’s ‘what the shit’ expression regarding Cecil’s battle clothes is absolutely priceless.

Also, I've been playing with GIFS.
Also, I’ve been playing with GIFS.

It’s become pretty clear that Wizard Barristers isn’t really about courtroom drama. Very soon after this, Cecil and her boss legged it off to try and catch the gang who actually perpetrated the robbery in episode one, and we were treated to the fact that one of Cecil’s magic powers is the ability to create a four storey tall mecha out of any metal in the facility.

HOLY SHIT.
HOLY SHIT.

Curiously, Wizard Barristers isn’t following the formula a lot of the other shows I’m watching are doing at the moment by spending time giving us the life story of every character. We’re getting to know Cecil herself pretty well, but everyone else at the office’s personality is being drip fed to us – apart from fellow Newbie-Barrister Hotaru, who is just being a stereotypical vicious bitch.

Oh, It's ON!
BURN.

I do hope they develop her character a bit more, at least, because at this point she’s just a fucking irritant. Wizard Barristers is well worth a watch, but at the moment is very distinctly finding it’s feet. The storyline isn’t bad, per se, but these first episodes felt more like an extended introduction than anything else. I’m also hoping for a little more dramatic focus from the show in future, as the action scenes felt a little bit superfluous. Visually, I’m impressed, but I hope the writing picks up a little.

Nobunaga the Fool, Ep.3.

I want to like Nogunaga the Fool. Really, I do.  The silliness of the premise, combined with the promise of hot mech-on-mech action should be enough to get me enthusiastic to watch week after week

But I have to admit, it’s not easy.

And the biggest problem is that I haven’t yet figured out how they’ve managed to make an anime about medieval historical figures from both Europe and Japan fighting each other in giant magical-powered samurai mecha this appallingly fucking DULL.

Okay, just to say, the action scenes are good. The mech designs are good. The character designs are good. The visual animation is excellently done. But none of this matters one jot if you don’t have a script to back it up, and frankly the dialogue in Nobunaga the fool is absolutely godawful.

Pictured: Painfully Generic Dialogue

Most of this episode was taken up by a battle scene between the Oda clan and the Takeda clan, and even this was tinted with annoyance for me. For a start, it doesn’t help that as a character this interpretation of Nobunaga Oda is an insufferable arsehole.

Bellend.
Bellend.

Despite this, he manages to take out approximately twenty enemy mecha with a goddamn bow and arrow shot through their convenienty placed plot device armour.

Seriously, Imperial Stormtroopers get a better deal than this.
Seriously, Imperial Stormtroopers get a better deal than this.

After two fairly hopeful episodes, I’m hoping this one is a blip, because if it keeps on in this vein I can’t see it keeping my interest. I’m willing to give it a fair crack of the whip, but it really does need to pick up a bit.

The Pilot’s Love Song, Ep.3.

The Pilot’s Love Song used plot movement – It’s Super Effective!

The problem with just about any fantasy setting is the amount of time you have to spend establishing  the setting. After last weeks time spent building up the characters, this we were treated to a bit of time getting to know our hero, Kal-El. As it turns out he has a Mysterious Past©, to the surprise of literally no-one.

As it turns out, Kal-El is really Karl, former Crown Prince of the Balsteros Empire, the setting for the anime. After the revolution, Karl was adopted by his new family, and his former identity was ‘killed.’ His prime motivation, however, seems to be hatred towards the magic user who helped overthrow his families reign.

Whilst this was all dealt with fairly quickly, it didn’t feel rushed, and went a long way towards making Kal-El seem a lot less blank than he was for the first couple of episodes. We also had another brief encounter with Generico McDouchebag, although not much was made of it. More interested were the tantalising hints that the groups standoffish classmate, Ignacio, knows more than he’s letting on about Kal-El’s past.

He's clearly too busy looking cool to do anything at this point though.
He’s clearly too busy looking cool to do anything at this point though.

The best thing, though, is that we finally seem to be getting somewhere. The sequence dealing with Kal-el’s past and the loss of his parents was absolutely fantastic, and gives a depth to the main characters it was previously lacking. I was enjoying the Pilot’s Love Song already, but I’m definitely investing in it a bit more after this episode.

Witch Craft Works, Ep.3

There’s no other way to say this – I love this series. It’s a wonderful blend of fantasy, silliness and action that has me utterly hooked. This week, Takamiya began he apprenticeship to Kagari, and we were treated to a bit of story movement – namely the fact that whilst Kagari appears to be invincible, any wounds Takamiya receive transfer to our favourite Witchy Witch.

Of course, most of the time that doesn’t stop her dealing out destruction with a completely deadpan expression.

BOOM, MOFOS.
BOOM, MOFOS.

We were also introduced to one of the more powerful tower witches, Chronoire Schwarz VI, who gave Takamiya a pill that would release the magical power contained within him. We also got some hints that theres a darker side to Kagari – darker, but more powerful.

Green=Power. Fact.
Green=Power. Fact.

Much as I’m enjoying the series, I’m forced to admit that we’re a quarter of the way into it and we still have only the vaguest hints of an overall story. It is a lot of fun, but I’m hoping that we’ll see a lot more plot development in the near future.

Strike The Blood, Ep.15.

Strike the Blood decided to take a departure from it’s previous pattern of four-episode arcs, give us what seemed to be a resolution, then throw out a “Holy Shit did I just see that” cliffhanger moment of epic proportions that actually dropped my jaw in shock.

A major feature of this episode was free will, and the revelation the Yuuna, Kujou’s childhood friend, is a clone of her witch ‘mother’, created with the sole intention of breaking her out of the magic prison attached to Itogami Island.

Honestly, at this point if you’re not already into this series, its unlikely to be an episode that will change your mind, but for fans who have been watching up to this point, it delivered on everything that it needed.

"Yeah, we're in that kind of storyline now."
“Yeah, we’re in that kind of storyline now.”

Honestly, I doubt there’s anyone who was going to watch the episode who hasn’t already seen it, but I still don’t want to spoil the endings. The post-credit coda was a genuine shocker that leads into a  new arc. Genuinely, my mouth is watering for next weeks episode, and it sucks that I have to wait until Friday!

Log Horizon, Ep.17.

It’s amazing how, for a show with this much dialogue, Log Horizon feels like it’s genuinely action packed. Seriously, in this entire episode there was probably about three minutes of action scenes, yet I genuinely felt I was in the middle of the new war the adventurers were engaging on with the Goblins.

Which makes it even weirder that most of this weeks show was taken up by a politically motivated conference between the Adventurers and the People of the Land. The Adventurers knew that the Lords needed their help to repel the goblins. The Lords knew it too, yet they instead elected to dick around so as to try and avoid owing the adventurers for their help.

The Moderate, Measured response.
The Moderate, Measured response.

Eventually, it comes down to Princess Lenessia to cut across the bullshit and ask the Adventurers for their help. And with that, finally the episodes of political manoeuvring are over and we’re heading back to Akihabara for the next chapter of the story.

In the meantime, the younger characters are still out in the wood, fighting a guerilla war against the goblins. Whilst it isn’t as interesting as the main story, its pleasant to see them gelling into a cohesive unit and gaining in confidence. The growth of Minori, Touya and their group has been handled organically, giving them lots of room to develop. I’m not quite as emotionally invested in their story as I am in the main trio but I can say I’m at least intrigued. We still haven’t had an explanation for why Izura was unable to add Rudy to her friends list a few episodes ago, and instinct is telling me it should be significant within the next few episodes.

There was also a throwaway joke about Shiroe’s ‘glasses of doom.’ That made me giggle more than it should have.

FEEL THE POWER IN THAT IRON GAZE AND SHIVER, MORTAL.
FEEL THE POWER IN THAT IRON GAZE AND SHIVER, MORTAL.

Log Horizon is genuinely going from strength to strength, and at the rate it’s going – and it’s apparent popularity – I’d be surprised if it doesn’t join  Sword Art Online in getting a second season.

Until Next Week, true believers!

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