Oigakkosan’s Winter 2015 Bracket (Third Round)

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The current crop is pretty good and, despite rough patches, actually turning into something memorable. That may not sound like much but, as my fellow reviewers will testify, memorable is a high bar to reach in my book.

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Binan Koukou (8+7+8/10) vs Yatterman Nights (8+6+8/10)

By far the hardest pair to resolve, Yatterman’s stronger third episode and greater potential for an interesting story ultimately won out. I know! I know! This isn’t super surprising in the grand scheme of things. Binan is just a gender-swap twist on the Sailor Scouts genre but it delivers really really really good dialog each week.

Add Yatterman’s difficult-to-understand-without-significant-background second episode, drab color pallete, and slow pace and I truly considered siding with the simpler of the two shows.

If you enjoyed Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun and other tightly written school comedies, you owe it to yourself to give Binan at least three episodes. So far it’s shown no intention of becoming a BL show, nor has it stuck strictly to the safety of it’s formula.

Still, there’s a formula at its core and there’s not much at stake. Certainly, not much that I can see writing about each week?

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Oigakkosan’s Winter 2015 Bracket (Second Round)

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Winter’s second week was obviously less busy than the first. However, due to World Break – 02’s late arrival in my stream, the decision took longer to make than anticipated.

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Seiken World Break (6+6/10) vs Junketsu no Maria (7+8/10)

Junketsu no Maria is a deeply sincere show, with rich characters and setting, and a quality art style. So it’s hardly a surprise that World Break won a lot less of my interest with it’s typical super protagonist enters magic school and wins all the harems formula.

That said, you may still enjoy World Break because it takes its deeply flawed scenario to heart. The magic system, which sometimes involves lengthy poetry narration and in-air finger writing is so dumb and impractical you just have to laugh at it all.

If nothing else, it’s well meaning but dumb characters are likable and, even though it’s only used to justify “protagonist wins” and the ecchi love triangle, the concept that students have multiple lives with multiple family and romantic partners around and knowing each other even though they’ve never met has tons of potential.

Sadly, just not enough for me to write about each week.

Seiken Tsukai no World Break – 02

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What really sets World Break apart from other shows is how openly it accepts ridiculous tropes of its genre, and anime in general, yet how it also feels so halfhearted when it presents them.

There’s even a tasty-looking crepe shop in this episode that the girls go to for no particular reason…though buying a crepe is immediately interrupted by a gigantic monster, which prompted the animators to just stop drawing the crepes that should still be held in the characters hands.

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Forgetting about the crepes, forgetfulness seems to be the thrust of the episode over all. It opens with kissing from various girls, including a loli-chan for ‘magical healing reasons’ but quickly shifts to the romantic tensions of the three main characters, who don’t seem to have any need for tension since they all seem to actually like each other…

Then it shifts to two of the three being invited to the school’s sports team* then a training montage, then some T&A on a sleeping girl, then shopping for a present, then fighting a monster, then saving the day — it just keeps shifting and shifting from one theme to the next in a forgetful sort of way.

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On the upside, World Break was funny-bad again. I really wasn’t expecting a HYDRA to attack a shopping mall for no reason while our love interests were buying crepes.

Additionally, while our hero has zero personality, at least he’s reasonably nice about it and a little more attuned to the emotional needs of the harem building around him.

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On the down side, the HYDRA fight was dull to say the least. The heroes basically walk along the serpent’s body with their swords out to cut it, and even when the hero shows up, he basically floats through the air finger-painting his goofy magic spell until the hydra is all dead.

Everything about the visuals comes off as lazy or budget. Frankly everything about the storytelling too, but if it doesn’t even look that good, who cares right?

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World Break isn’t going to survive its semi-finals match against Junketsu no Maria but I’m not holding that against it. It’s not trying too hard and I don’t get the sense that it thinks we should try too hard to care about it either.

At the end of the day, it’s just a silly, almost ironically by-the-numbers action/magic/harem show and that’s all it wants to be.

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Oigakkosan’s Winter 2015 Bracket – Semifinalist Poll

Some of you have expressed a desire for the semi-finalists to get more chances to prove their worth and, now that I’ve cut my review list down to 6 shows, I’m not against this.

Seiken Tsukai no World Break – 01 (First Impressions)

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World Breaker is the third generic magic-school-battle-harem anime I’ve reviewed this season and in many ways, it’s the worst. However, and this is a deeply subjective opinion on my part, I found it so bad I was laughing my ass off for the first half of the episode — and that should count for something!

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In a nutshell, World Breaker’s… world… revolves around a small group of people who inherit the memories of their ancestors… and magic. Each student’s magic (yes this is a magic school anime) manifests in the form of some sort of energy field armor, as well as being able to materialize historic weapons around the student’s dog tags. Also, some people can cast dark magic in the form of spells or something.

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At school, this means that students will know each other, even though they’ve never met… sorta. Many of them have spent past lives together, after all. Though, in the protagonist’s case, he doesn’t have a strong sense of memory and only barely remembers his sister and lover of old.

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Summarizing the first episode is pointless. It’s more or less like Absolute Duo, except with more interesting character relationships, but delivered more (or equally) generically. There’s a lot of boob-grinding and flapping of arms and who cares.

The important details are: the protagonist’s ancestral sister and lover are in his class, both want his sexual attention, and that he’s very powerful all of a sudden. Possibly a dragon. Somehow…

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The good: What sets this otherwise idiotic show apart from the others in its genre is how absurdly terrible it is — and how enthusiastically it pursues its terribleness. In fact, it spends an uninterrupted 90 seconds AGGRESSIVELY GRINDING the protagonist’s face into some deep breasts at lunch time to prove that point.

World Break takes it’s lack of visual style and general ugliness seriously too. The character design really is weird and abstract but it’s damn well going to make them flail around and show off their skins as much as possible if you’re going to bother looking at them in the first place.

Strange praise I know, but it’s already a strange season.

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The bad: About half way through, World Breaker runs out of manic steam and it settles in for a run of the mill magic school fighting story. The protagonist stands up to the bully who bullies his sister and loses until he remembers he’s the best he’s the best he’s the best and then wins with superpowers.

Also, did I mention there are already two other completely generic shows in this genre this season? Beyond the laughably bad, made me shit my pants giggling opening flash-forward where our hero is casting magic through finger painting, there isn’t anything new here.

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My first impression is actually hard to pin down. On the one hand, I thought World Break tried so hard to be bad that, at times, it was actually really funny. However, it can’t escape the fact that it is a terribly generic show fully of tropes and soft-ball ecchi that pales in comparison to all the free hentai Google-san will provide for 30 seconds of effort.

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I really can’t imagine caring about this show but, I suppose, if you are going to watch any of the shows in this genre, at least it put in the effort. Keep in mind that effort was to be actively bad, but it’s still effort and worth some small respect all the same.

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