Clockwork Planet – 01 (First Impressions)

One of the downsides of choosing what anime to watch, in part, by their promotional art, is that just as a mechanical clock will one day fail, sometimes a piece of art will let you down. Clockwork Planet is evidence of this. The promo art didn’t look that bad at all, but the show’s a dud.

Just to give a quick recap: In a post-apocalyptic world built almost entirely of gears (?) Miura Naoto is a fairly wimpy tinkerer who dreams of becoming a proper clocksmith. Just when he wishes out loud that automata would rain down upon him, one does, a state-of-the-art model named RyuZU. Naoto shows what he’s got by repairing her.

Then RyuZU becomes Naoto’s trusty servant, in a very silly ceremony in which she sucks on his finger (though it’s an efficient way to collect genetic material with which to imprint).

Later, they check into a love motel because his house was destroyed when she dropped in. Naoto can’t help but see RyuZU as a pretty girl and not a mere automaton, because, well, she looks like a pretty girl.

Meanwhile, Marie Breguet, who is some kind of scientific-commercial big shot despite being (or at least appearing to be) very young, laments the loss of an automaton (RyuZU), clashes with the military, and finds out that said military is going to purge the Kyoto Grid, sending 20 million people to their deaths. She also sleeps in the buff…because…

I needn’t go on. World made of gears? Casual military mass murder? Characters who look like little kids? A very low-budge and unattractive production? I believe I’ll pass.

Seikaisuru Kado – 01 (First Impressions)

The Gist: Kojirou Shindou Cabinet Office Director-General for Policy Planning, is at Haneda Airport for a business trip… then his airplane gets absorbed by a giant glowy cube, 2 kilometers from edge to edge.

A lot of bland meetings amongst politicians ensue, featuring a so wacky it hurts female mad scientist and various attempts to ‘save’ the passengers. Despite emitting visible light, the cube emits no radiation and absorbs pretty much everything aimed at it. (RADAR and AP Tank rounds alike)

Then an alien pops out. Or a god. He says hello to humanity, Shindou standing by his side…

You should give Kado a look because it hints at an interesting core idea — that we all spend our lives never knowing what is right or the right thing to say (during a negotiation) because we aren’t gods — and then throws a god into the mix. (probably requiring a degree of negotiation of the protagonist)

Despite being fully rendered CG, it doesn’t look horrible either. Don’t get me wrong! I loved Knights of Sidonia but the color pallet was very limited and the environments were only functional because of the scifi setting. Kado manages a much broader range of color, real world environments, and items. (It just doesn’t do a great job in the animation department, I’m afraid)

You can probably skip Kado because, despite interesting potential, the first episode was very dull. Characters aren’t so much introduced as thrown in front of the viewer with a wall of text describing their role in government. Everything is stiff due to the CGI rendering. And god damn that scientist is just annoying as hell — and cliché.

Verdict: There’s no denying I’m curious who “Yaha-Kui zaShunina” is and I do enjoy the distortion effects of his technology. But that’s about it. Oddly, the music was the biggest stand out for me. Is that enough to review the show going forward?

Maybe? At least for one more episode…

Busou Shoujo Machiavellianism – 01 (First Impressions)

The Gist: Aichi Coexistence Private Academy was once an all girls school but, for reasons not entirely clear, it was made co-ed. However, this resulted in the girls bringing weapons to school and, eventually, the rise of the Supreme Five Swords—the baddest warrioresses on campus who ultimately run the school.

Now, Aichi is the destination for male students too tough for the regular school system and Nomura Fudou, our unwitting protagonist, fits that bill to a T…

You may get a kick out of Armed Girls’ if you can roll with how silly it all is. The art is decent enough, with short-cut but acceptable action animation and good enough character designs. Everyone in the cast speaks with a slight accent. All the boys are in drag. The first of the five swords wears a literal devil mask, which breaks cheekily after she and Nomura accidentally kiss. Silly stuff like that.

You may groan and roll your eyes at Armed Girls’ because everyone in the cast is basically a pretentious a-hole, a cliché, or both. (The french girl’s haughty fake laugh is especially cringe inducing)

The pace is also a bit slow, with an over reliance on characters standing still to yell at each other and/or introduce special techniques that don’t stand out visually from each other. The result feels very formulaic and, combined with the characters all being unlikable, Armed Girls’ doesn’t feel like much love was put into its production.

The Verdict: Nomura Fudou seems like the intended protagonist, obviously, but in many ways Rin Onigawara is set up to experience more emotional change along the way. Regardless, I’m not sure Busou Shoujo Machiavellianism actually has a protagonist, as Rin and Nomura  get about the same screen time and neither has an especially compelling backstory, mystery, or quest.

I didn’t find Busou Shoujo Machiavellianism especially funny or exciting. It’s just good enough to review, but not so much so that I actually want to review it. For goodness sakes, the only eventful element of the first episode is Nomura x Rin’s accidental first kiss, which is itself a total cliché…