Weekly roundup: The Season has turned.

It’s a new season, so the time has come to review the anime we’ve all been eagerly looking forward to. As you may have noticed, I tend to cherrypick a few shows to round up, so this seasons selections are:

  • The World Is Still Beautiful
  • Blade and Soul
  • Kamigami no Asobi
  • Captain Earth
  • Black Bullet
  • Brynhildr in the Darkness.

Now, normally I do them in the order they’re released each week, but I haven’t been paying attention, so I have literally no fucking idea which is coming out when. Deal.

The World is Still Beautiful Ep.1

Well, I’m a sucker for both fantasy and romance, so the World is Still Beautiful pretty much had me both coming and going. Ostensibly, the anime is the story of Nike, the fourth princess of the Duchy of rain, who is sent off to marry the sun king and cement their countries alliance. Nike also has the power to – seemingly – both control the wind and call forth the rain. Given that the story has already established that it doesn’t rain in the kingdom of the sun, I’m pretty sure this will get significant at some point. In this first episode, Nike disembarks from her ship two days before it was meant to land, and inconveniently misses her escort. Given that they seem to be plotting to kill her, that probably a good thing. After an encounter with some petty thieves and the kindly owner of a local inn, our heroine promptly arrives in the capital and finds out that the all power sun king is a child, seemingly younger than her.

With the typical Anime reaction.
With the typical Anime reaction.

The first episode was an enjoyable little intro to a new fantasy world, with some fun comedic moments, and some hints that there are deeper plotlines to come. Nike is a strong female lead, who seems to be more than capable of protecting herself, although the fish-out-of-water plot device is rearing its head a bit. The World is Still Beautiful certainly shows a lot of promise in it’s debut episode.

Don't let the smile fool you, she can kick your arse.
Don’t let the smile fool you, she can kick your arse.

 

Blade and Soul Ep.1

Based on the popular Korean MMO, I didn’t really know what to expect from Blade and Soul, but I can tell you exactly what I got: McFantasy. Blade and Soul is a tale about an assassin trying to clear her name after being wrongfully accused of her master’s murder, whilst fighting against the soldiers of an evil empire and oh my god my brain just cramped from the sheer generic nature of that sentence.

Okay, perhaps I’m being a little unfair. We’re only one episode in, but Blade and Soul is going to have to work pretty hard to overcome that cookie-cutter fantasy storyline. Alka, the main character, is the typically stoic assassin – and by stoic, I mean that she speaks approximately twice in the course of the whole episode. Generally, her role seems to consist of drowning the scenery in fresh claret.

You know when you've been tangoed.
You know when you’ve been tangoed.

There are upsides. The show is very pretty, and the character design is nice enough. There’s also a bit of fanservice for them that likes it.

I don’t ask for much from my anime, but my main prerequisite is that it has to at least grip me on an emotional level. Blade and Soul hasn’t yet done that, but since it’s only the first episode, I’ll give it a fair crack.

 

Kamigami no Asobi Ep.1

When Yui Kusanagi is transported to a heavenly academy of the gods, she quickly finds out that she has been selected by Zeus to act as humanities representative and teach the tearaway young deities about the intricacies of the human race. That’s pretty much the extent of the plot of the first episode, which spent most of its time introducing us to absurdly pretty-boy gods, most of whom look like they’re in need of a good kicking.

And every single one is introduced with a background of blooming flowers. I’m not joking.

Every...
Every…
Single...
Single…
One.
One.

As an inverse-harem anime, Kamigami no Asobi looks like it’s going to be fairly amusing. It’s not the kind of anime where you go in looking for Evangelion levels of philosophy, that’s for damn sure. But it has potential – its already got my wife hooked. We’ll see where it goes.

 

Captain Earth Ep.1

A bit of a strange one here. Ostensibly, Captain Earth is your by-the-numbers mech anime with a lone hero and a power-up sequence that I have a horrible feeling they’re going to trot out every episode or so. That said, it may just be me, but I get the impression that there’s a deeper plot here than meets the eye. Main character Daichi is our titular captain, but the first episode was interspersed with flashbacks to his childhood and the friend with strange powers he met ten years previously. We didn’t get very far into the meat of the story in this debut episode, but there’s definitely potential here. I look forward to Episode 2, just to see where it takes us.

 

Black Bullet Ep.1

I don’t really follow much anime news – I tend to pick up on stuff after a series has started airing – but even I noticed that there was a definite buzz around the launch of Black Bullet. Set in a future where mankind has been forced back into an Enclave by the viral mutants the Gastrea, Black Bullet made a good impression on me in its opening episode. With it’s macguffin metal in the form of Varanium, an alloy that can kill the Gastrea, we were introduced to Rentaro and Enju, our two main characters who are a promoter and initiator respectively. Promoters appear to be private agents who combat the Gastrea alongside their initiator partner,  children who caught the Gastrea Virus in-uteri and can control it to give themselves superhuman powers.

Or, As I call it, Bullshitanium,
Or, As I call it, Bullshitanium,

I definitely enjoyed this first episode, that had the odd comedic interlude, but also a decent amount of action. We didn’t get an awful lot of exposition on the storyline, but we did get a brief introduction to the basics of this sci-fi world, that sets us up well for the rest of the series.

 

Brynhildr in the Darkness Ep.1

When I found out that Brynhildr in the Darkness  was written by Lynn Okamoto, the – somewhat warped – mind behind Elfen Lied, well, that pretty much guaranteed I was going to watch it. In this first episode, we’re introduced to Ryota, a young man who blames himself for a childhood accident where his friend Kuroneko was killed. He’s suddenly caught up in trouble when Neko Kuroha, a girl who bears a striking resemblance to his dead friend,  transfers into his class.

Out of context pictures are awesome.
Out of context pictures are awesome.

This episode showcased a lot of potential for this series, which is no less than I expect given the talents involved. The revelation that Neko is a magic user at the end of the episode gives us a nice setup for next week, and I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing where we go from  here. Visually, the anime is excellent, and you can see Okamoto’s style all over it. The OP is also pretty creepy, which hints at a darker edge to the show we’re yet to see.

 

Well, by the gods, that’s a whole week of content you’ve got out of me this week folks! It’s been an enjoyable time, and I hope some of you will be kind enough to leave me your thoughts in the comments. If you like any of the screencaps I’ve taken, feel free to click on the gallery page and browse through them. I get them by fullscreening my crunchyroll stream, so they’re perfectly proportioned for desktop wallpapers.

See you soon,

-Ben

 

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