Classroom Crisis – 01 (First Impressions)

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Rundown:  On the terraformed Martian colony of Fourth Tokyo, the principled Sera Kaito is the homeroom teacher of an elite advanced technology development (A-TEC) class, which consists of eight students including his sister Mizuki. When their incoming new transfer student is taken hostage by disgruntled asteroid miners, Kaito comes up with a plan to save him in time using the class’s experimental X-2 spacecraft.

The class’s ace pilot Shirasaki Iris takes off in the X-2, which Kaito meant to pilot, and makes it in  time, but the hostage, Kiryu Nagisa, already released himself. Back in the classroom, he scolds Mizuki and the program’s persistent waste of company resources, and announces he was sent to downsize and dismantle A-TEC.

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Let’s start with The Bad:  This episode takes its sweet time unveiling the titular “crisis” (in fact, it’s the last line in the episode), as well as revealing that everything we’re watching is happening on a terraformed Martian colony. Which begs the question: Why? This is a slice-of-life/underdog story that just happens to take place in space, but it could have easily taken place on present-day Earth, with an experimental plane instead of spacecraft.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the setting; it just seemed superfluous. I’m sure Hannah would agree with me after watching something like Sidonia: If you’re going for a space setting, go hardCC’s space action was simplistic to the point of ho-hum-dom: Girl flies plane while everyone else watches. And other than her and the somewhat generically nice teacher, no other characters (and there were plenty of ’em) distinguished themselves.

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Now for The Good: While it felt like it took forever, I actually didn’t mind the sneaky slow burn to the revelation this is a much more exciting setting than the blue skies and plain classroom indicated. I also liked the no-nonsense Iris taking the initiative to resolve this week’s hostage crisis.

I also liked the idea of generational kaizen, or continuous improvement, of the human race. They’ve colonize the solar system, but they’re neither satisfied or done there; they want outer space. Sera Kaito was once one of the students in the A-TEC class, and now he’s teaching them, so some of them can teach students when they’re where he is. All the while, the principles of “modesty, loyalty, honesty” and “safety first” are ingrained in all the students.

Iris may not think of her own safety (or, indeed, the potential costs of the rescue mission versus abandoning Kiryu), but she does think of people first, as in people over money. If humanity is to attempt a march across the stars, pinching pennies isn’t the way to do it. I like the challenge of the episode’s final exchange: Here’s someone who is primarily with the financial health of the company, about to shake things up in a program where money has never been a concern, and has been the better for it. Whose will will prevail?

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Gatchaman Crowds Insight – 00 (First Impressions)

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What is it: A sequel to the stylish, upbeat Summer 2013 series. Thanks to his gamification of mass altruism through the online app Crowds, cross-dressing tech whiz Ninomiya Rui has brought a measure of harmony and stability to the world.

After a brief recap of the story so far, this half-episode introduces new threat in the red Crowds of an organization called VAPE that wants to prove the defeated alien Berg-Katze right. They go after the Prime Minister’s state jet, but Rui, Hajime, Sugane, Jo neutralize the threat in grand fashion, before preparing to meet a newly-awakened Gatchaman living in Niigata.

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Why should you watch? If you watched and enjoyed the colorful, zany CGI-enhanced hijinx of Gatchaman Crowds, this looks like more of the same. Only now, rather than battling an evil alien, they are battling a faction of society that still believes Crowds can do more harm than good, using the same tech as the Gatchamen to create chaos to prove their point.

The visuals are as slick and lush as the original, the action is fun and inventive but never flies off the rails, and the soundtrack is as bumpin’ as ever (though it will be hard to beat the original OP).

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Why shouldn’t you watch? If you didn’t watch the first show, the three minutes of backstory hardly do it justice, so I don’t see why anyone would start with Insight. Also, while the show looks and sounds good, the messages and motivations of its characters can be a little loosey-goosey. Hajime in particular is a cool, likable heroine who gets the job done with a wink and a song, but rarely lets us into what kind of person she is.

The Verdict: I for one will be watching this “happy cyberpunk” variant of the magical girl/guy—genre. The tech is magical, but it’s driven by good old-fashioned, perpetually dueling human concepts of altruism and egoism; of hope and fear, with all the gray in between. I’m also interested in learning what the new characters bring to the mix, hoping they don’t make the show too, well, crowded.

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GANGSTA. – 01 (First Impressions)

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What is it: As the title suggests, a gangster show, and a perfectly serviceable one at that. It takes place in a world pretty much like ours, only perhaps a bit colder and harsher (your locale may vary). It’s populated by all the usual suspects: wiseguys, pimps, prostitutes, dirty cops, and Worick and Nic, two gangsters-for-hire.

Nic is deaf and good with a sword; Worick wears an eyepatch and is good with his words (and handgun). They take on a job from Police Captain Chad to clean out a new gang led by a prick named Abbot that’s breaking the rules, and have no trouble doing so. In the process, they make a friend in Alex, a woman once under Abbot’s heel, but once Abbot is checked out, she answers the Handymens’ phone.

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Why you should watch: If you liked the thematic elements of Cowboy Bebop/Samurai Champloo, Michiko to Hatchin, Black Lagoon, and the like, this show will probably be a good, if familiar, fit. It deals with grown-up stuff like gang territory, corruption, drugs, sex, abuse, and other unpleasant things, and the camera mostly sits back and lets everything play out.

Watching the quirky duo of Worck and Nic do what they do helps this small, well-contained episode avoid by-the-numbers-ness. The town where they live and work is a maze of high, ashen walls, accentuating the claustrophobia of those like Alex trapped and oppressed within them. And like Zankyou no Terror, these two guys may not be entirely safe or sane, but they have their soft spots too.

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Why you may not want to watch: If you don’t want swearing, blood, or sexual content, stay away, obviously. But the shows I mentioned above also happen to be shows that were both more original and came out of the gate better than Gangsta, and also had their share of quirky MCs.

The milieu is almost too familiar, and while a subdued palette is called for considering the atmosphere, the show does look a bit dull, and aside from a couple neat moments (like Worick firing a gun right next to Nic’s useless ear), the combat animation isn’t anything special. Finally, Alex, so far, is a boilerplate damsel-in-distress who is only alive and free thanks to the actions of others, who happen to be male.

The Verdict: Gangsta has the distinction of being the first of six Summer 2015 anime I’ll be checking out, in addition to continuing Food Wars. It executed fine, but I wasn’t dazzled, nor did it really innovate. At this early stage in the season, the chemistry of the core trio and the promise of more gansta-y adventures warrants further watching— for now. I’ll call it a slow but solid start.

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Summer 2015 Season Preview

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summer sun” by Schneeengel on DeviantArt

July is still over seven weeks away, but that’s no reason not to plan ahead! With Oigakkosan sadly out of commission for the foreseeable future, the remaining three of us are pressing forward.

Our Spring is pretty much set, and we don’t forsee any more drops, with more drops possible. We’ve kept the field for Summer under twenty, including Shokugeki no Souma, which will be continuing for sure (not sure about Hibike!, but it might have a second cour as well). Like Spring, several of our selections are sequels of shows we’ve watched, while we’ll be skipping other sequels to shows we missed in the past.

Obviously, the list below is subject to change. As usual, we most of our info from MAL and try to go into shows without knowing too much. We’re also aiming to drop 5-6 of the shows below, ending up with our typical baker’s dozen, if not less.

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Aoharu x Kikanjuu Aquarion Logos Durarara!!x2 Ten Sidonia no Kishi: Daikyuu Wakusei Seneki Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri God Eater

1. Aoharu x Kikanjuu (Aoharu x Machine Gun) – Studio TBA (Action, Comedy, Shonen)

2. Aquarion Logos – Satelight, C2C (Action, Comedy, Drama, Fantasy, Mecha, Romance, Sci-Fi)

3. Durarara!!x2 Ten– Aniplex of America, Studio Shuka (Action, Mystery, Supernatural)

4. Gangsta.– Manglobe (Action, Drama, Seinen)

5. Gate: Jieitai Kanochi nite, Kaku Tatakaeri– A-1, Genco

6. God Eater– ufotable (Action, Demons, Fantasy, Supernatural, Military)


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Classroom☆Crisis Danchigai Joukamachi no Dandelion Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai Shokugeki no Souma Sore ga Seiyuu! Working!!!

7. Classroom☆Crisis – Aniplex, Lay-duce (School, Slice of Life)

8. Danchigai (Uneven) – DAX Production, Dream Creation, Creators in Pack (Comedy, School, Slice of Life)

9. Joukamachi no Dandelion  (Dandelion of the Castle Town) – Production IMS (Action, Comedy, Slice of Life, Seinen)

10. Shimoneta to Iu Gainen ga Sonzai Shinai Taikutsu na Sekai  (A Boring World Where the Concept of Dirty Jokes Doesn’t Exist) – J.C.Staff, Genco (Comedy, Ecchi, School)

11. Shokugeki no Souma (Food Wars) – J.C. Staff (Ecchi, School, Shounen) – Episodes 14-24.

12. Sore ga Seiyuu! (Food Wars) – Gonzo, Evil Line Records (Comedy)

13. Working!!! Aniplex, A-1 (Comedy, Slice of Life)


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Akagami no Shirayuki-hime Charlotte Gatchaman Crowds insight Kuusen Madoushi Kouhosei no Kyoukan Rokka no Yuusha Ushio to Tora

14. Akagami no Shirayuki-hime (Snow White with the Red Hair) – Bones (Drama, Fantasy, Historical, Romance, Shoujo)

15. Charlotte – Aniplex, Key, P.A. Works (Genres TBA)

16. Gatchaman Crowds insight – Tatsunoko (Adventure, Sci-Fi)

17. Kuusen Madoushi Kouhosei no Kyoukan (The Instructor of Aerial Combat Wizard Candidates) – Diomedea (Action, Drama, Fantasy, Magic, School)

18. Rokka no Yuusha (Hero of the Rocker) – Passione (Action, Adventure, Mystery, Fantasy, Magic)

19. Ushio to Tora – MAPPA, Studio VOLN (Comedy, Demons, Shounen, Supernatural)