24 April 2013

Anime Wednesday: the current season

I'm watching four shows (I think) this season. Here's a quick run-down.

Hataraku Maou-sama! (The Devil is a Part-Timer, (US) streaming at Funimation) In this comedic urban fantasy, the Demon Lord Satan and his chief general Alsiel escape their home world, Ente Isla, and land in Tokyo. The Hero Emilia follows them through and finds them, vowing to destroy him, even if it uses the last of her magic. On Earth, they don't have access to their powers.

When Maou and Alsiel arrive in Tokyo, they have to find an apartment, get jobs and bank accounts, and all the usual things an immigrant has to do. Maou gets a job at not-McDonalds, and his coworker Chiho gets a crush on him. Alsiel plays housekeeper and cook and berates Maou for wasting money. Emi works in customer service for DoCoDeMo (a play on Japanese telecom firm DoCoMo).

Why you should be watching: It's a comedic fantasy about a demon lord and his chief minion stranded in Tokyo, with their sworn enemy stalking them. Also, in episode 2, there seem to be larger things afoot, when a mysterious attacker tries to kill both Maou and Emilia, which become more threatening in episode 3.

Shingeki no Kyoujin (Attack on Titan, (US) streaming at Funimation) In this epic fantasy, humans live inside walled cities to protect themselves from 50-foot-tall giants. The protagonist, Eren Jaeger, and his friend/relative of unspecified relationship, Mikasa, swear to exterminate the giants.

The town where Eren and Mikasa live is attacked by giants, who have a new secret weapon: a mega-giant that's taller than their hundred-foot walls. The survivors flee to an interior town, where short rations lead to a sizable portion of the survivors being sent out on a death mission to fight the giants.

The giants are creepy and disturbing. They're fifty feet tall and have way too many teeth. They eat humans, but they are about as intelligent as cows.

Why you should be watching: I'm not going to lie, the first two episodes are extremely fucking brutal. People die horribly, and it's shown on screen. The show has very high production values: the animation is sharp and detailed. It appears, so far, to be that rare beast: an epic fantasy anime that doesn't totally suck. Also, the band that does the opening are probably Nightwish fans.

Suisei no Gargantia (Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, (US) streaming at Crunchyroll) Ledo is a soldier fighting in an intergalactic war. His mecha is attacked as he attempts to dock with his ship and be teleported back to base. He gets sucked through the wormhole and ends up on a mysterious watery world. His mecha is salvaged from the ocean floor, and the AI wakes him from stasis when the salvagers try to break into the cockpit. After some hijinks, he (well, the AI) figures out that he's on Earth, which the rest of humanity believed was frozen.

Why you should be watching: The show is by Production I.G, which means quality SF animation. It's written by Gen Orobuchi (Madoka Magica). When Ledo is fighting the aliens, they use superstrings, and they create wormholes with some other string theory stuff. Watching Ledo interact with the people on the ship is fun, and the writers don't gloss over the fact that they're speaking completely different languages. Ledo's AI translates for him.

Kakumeiki Valvrave (Valvrave the Liberator, (US) streaming at Crunchyroll) This is what Sunrise is doing since there's no Gundam this season. Humanity is moving off of Earth, thanks to Dyson spheres becoming practical somehow. There are some politics going on, and a group of four teenaged solder-terrorists attacks the place where the protagonists live in order to steal some technology. They kill some people, their mecha invade and kill more people.

Hapless protagonist Haruto watches the girl he was about to profess his love to get killed, and he decides to pilot the mysterious new mecha that was being stored underneath their school's swimming pool to get revenge. To pilot the mecha, he has to press "yes" on the prompt "to pilot Valvrave, you must forsake your humanity."

Why you should be watching: Don't. Seriously. The mecha is cool, but it's every mecha show ever rolled into one. And apparently vampires? And the protagonist is a hapless loser motivated by manpain--and so is the main antagonist! I am hate-watching this show, like I hate-watched all of Gundam AGE. Seriously, I gave this show the finger at least five times in episode 2. Do not try this at home. I am a trained professional.

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