Kemono Friends – 01 (First Impressions)

screen-shot-2017-01-11-at-11-19-06-am

Originally, I misread this as Kemo-Friends. Boy was I disappointed…

Kemono Friends is a kid friendly cell shaded show about a cat girl and a human boy learning to appreciate each other’s strengths on an adventure. Sort of. It cuts to a zoo keeper talking about the cheetah at points and has an RPG-like quality, in how cheetah refers to her attacks and that they are fighting monsters together.

If you’ve ever fiddled with 3D animation, you’ll immediately recognize some of the weird cheats KF employs in its animation. Cheetah-chan’s animations aren’t terrible per-say… more that her walk and run animations play overtop of a model that is dragged along a path with little connection to its implied movements. The result looks wrong, which only hinders the already frumpy models from working.

I could shrug this all off as being a cheap kids show but there’s something oddly sexualized about Cheetah-chan’s animations. Her panting and back-arching breathing gestures in particular feel like they were stripped out of some ready-made H. Just weird all around and oppressively dull for a full 24 minute program.

16rating_4

Advertisements

DanMachi – 04

dan41

Hestia isn’t the only one who wants to support the underdog Bell. When his hunting mentor Eina Tulle (Tomatsu Haruka) sees how hard he’s worked to raise his levels, she takes it upon herself to help him out even more. There’s a little mutual attraction in there. Eina is a kind and attractive half-elf a bit older than him (19 for the record), and Eina because her hapless lil’ Bell has grown stronger, and she can see him as more of an equal than a mere beneficiary.

dan42

Bell too is a lot more confident with the blade Hestia gave him, and with good reason: it’s a great knife. When he sees an unsavory chap meanly chasing down a wee urchin, he steps in to protect her almost reflexively, though it’s Ryu who scares him off with the threat of violence she’d rather not use, lest she go out of control. Which is for the best; Bell isn’t used to these types of situations.

dan43

I loved how Eina’s shopping date with Bell allowed him to inadvertently check in on Hestia at Heph’s shop, dutifully working her debt of. I also loved Bell and Hestia’s lovely domestic moment where she’s still in bed, exhausted from her hard work, while he’s off to his own work in the dungeon. We’ve got a power couple in the making here!

Eina also suggested Bell hire himself a supporter to make things more efficient in said dungeon, and lo and behold, the little waif he saved turns out to be eager to take on that role for him: a cat-eared girl named Liliruca (Uchida Maaya). She seems capable enough just from the visual of her bearing a comically huge pack on her slender shoulders.

dan44

But something isn’t right; the camera keeps cutting to Lili smiling, as if enjoying a private joke. She and Bell have a great day in the dungeon, but to Eina notices Bell’s knife isn’t on him. He fears he dropped it (just when he was saying how much he relies on it; perhaps too much), but Lili frikkin’ stole it and tries to pawn it off.

Yet again, she crosses paths with Ryuu (she’s everywhere!) along with Syr, and Ryuu knows immediately what’s going on, and knocks the knife out of Lili’s hand with a coin.

dan45

Liliruca done fucked up thrice: first, by stealing from someone as kindhearted and honorable as Bell, who gave her a job in good faith; second, by stealing a knife that’s only sharp when he’s holding it (Yeah bitch! Biometrics, Oh!); and third, messing with a guy who has allies all over town, invested in his well-being and always looking out for him, like Eina, Ryuu and Syr. It ain’t just Hestia!

dan46

Another great moment: Syr leaning in to a clearly guilty Lili as if to say “See? You mess with the Bell, you get the horns,” and giving her a friendly unspoken warning not to try to pull such a stunt again. Not only would she probably not be successful, but it’s just not what she should be doing.

dan47

Lili just came at Bell from the wrong angle, out of an expectation he’d be like all the other adventurers she’s dealt with, who screwed her over. But without the slightest hesitation, Bell splits their huge dungeon cash haul down the middle, virtually stupefying her.

But he’s right: he couldn’t have made that money without her. Without realizing it, she’s become a part of his support system, only she’s unique because she’s in the dungeon with him.

dan48

What else? Oh, Ais is up to her usual activities, hunting something big, Freya changed into a ridiculous get-up even Victoria’s Secret would be embarrassed to sell (IMO Eina and Eis’ more modest outfits were sexier) and is planning to use a grimoire (next week’s episode title) to “draw out Bells power”, meaning it’s good he has another set of eyes watching his back.

Finally, Hestia is super-jelly upon spotting Bell and Lili holding hands…not long after letting Eina and Hestia cross paths, and getting all touchy with Ryuu in front of Syr. Not cool, Bell. Gotta learn to compartmentalize your harem!

8_mag

Show By Rock!! – 01 (First Impressions)

sbr1

Cyan Hijirikawa, a first year from class 3, wants to join her school’s rock music club but she’s too shy and ends up living in her imagination instead. Then she gets a high score playing pinball on her cell phone and is sucked into a magic scifi world here everyone is anthro and 3D rendered musicians fight dark monsters or have their music-skill-crystals sucked out and become dark monsters themselves.

Then she defeats a giant dark monster with a single guitar riff (using a heart-shaped guitar she unlocked in her pinball game) and signs a contract with a shoddy music studio run by an egg man.

sbr7

SbR asks us: what would happen if TRON, Sonic COLORS and an Idol show had a baby with a ho-hum shy-girl high school rock music club show? The answer is, of course, is a schizophrenic but stylish mashup that just barely holds together as it lurches between rendering styles, characters, and worlds alike.

And I almost turned it off because the first 5 minutes are presented straight faced as a dull shy-girl-becomes-bold trope. Mind you, SbR would have done a decent enough job, even by that genre’s standards. I’m just not into that genre and 5 minutes is asking a lot of an audience that doesn’t know what it’s getting into.

sbr6

You may enjoy it: if you like absurd and over the top style-first shows, with simple but up beat themes about love music and togetherness. Bros, blushing cuties, and ‘I’m gonna take you down’ (with my music) faces flash all over this thing.

The humor is also knowing, and almost clever at times. (egg man’s tour bus gets plowed by a limo so long it takes 2 scenes for the back window to reach our heroine)

sbr5

You may want to avoid it: if over the top cute, blushing cuties, and bro-power gets on your nerves. This is ditzy girls and idol boys save the day through and through and, while there is obviously a tongue and cheek plot about the evil industry exec who brought Cyna into the world because she’s a master guitarist he needs to play the perfect song to take over the galaxy… well that’s the plot so if you don’t think that will be funny, run?

sbr9

Over all, the visual styles are great on their own but don’t mesh together. It comes close but the 3D is so glossy and that the 2D can’t integrate, no matter how saturated the colors get. Oddly, its worth nothing that the styles don’t overlap either — 3D scenes are fully 3D and 2D scenes have no 3D objects, which only further emphasizes their separation.

sbr2

I went in blind and was both entertained and surprised by where Show by Rock!! went. I’m not sure I actually like it, and I don’t plan on reviewing it during the season, but its a fun romp and most likely worth your time.

If for no other reason than it’s totally bonkers.

7_ogk watch_ogk