Some old, some new stuff here.
First the new: Hyperdimension Neptunia.
If you haven’t played the PS3 games it’s based on, it’s a parody of the console wars. Neptune (the Sega character,) is one of four goddesses who watch over their respective lands. They attempt to collect share in order to grow more powerful while maintaining a peace treaty, but an unknown force is trying to weaken the four of them and possibly banish them forever.
It’s beautifully animated junk.
The characters really don’t have personalities as opposed to being types, and they actually switch types depending on their actions or forms. Neptune is a cheerful if trollish girl in normal form, and a mature older warrior in another. The Wii character Blanc switches from emotionless girl to tough talking and swearing whenever she gets angry, even in the same form. Noire the Sony character is pure stereotypical twin-tailed tsundere. Unfortunately they are done with so little art the effect is annoyance rather than good comedy. You find yourself drawn more to the secondary characters.
It’s also got a lot of fan service, and it doesn’t come across well either. Episode two is annoying because if you include loli characters in an anime, you can’t go around and blast loli fans for being creepy. Especially when it’s obvious many of the cast are there just to appeal to that fetish. There’s too much lingering on the fanservice for comfort, even by the standards of anime comedy. Too much bouncing and lingering bondage shots or slime.
It really is beautifully animated though, and the game parodies aren’t bad. Vert, the Xbox 360 character is seen playing an MMO. In Japan, I think the Xbox’s only next-gen port of Final Fantasy XI was one of its selling points. There’s rifts on the game gear (Nepgear, Nep’s little sister,) the Famicom Satellaview, and even Neptune’s name was the code for a canceled Sega system. It’s not as good as could be, but it holds interest for gamer fans. Unfortunately at three episodes in it’s a tough sell. Probably an R rating for Christians for boob bouncing, obscured nudity, token lolis, and icky fan service.
Next up is an older anime, A-channel.
Run is a cheerful, ditzy girl who is the center of a foursome. Her best friend/mild yandere Toru is a cute girl who looks like an elementary school student. Her friends Yuuko and Nagisa hang around the two. Yuuko is the pretty one who often feels Toru’s wrath, while Nagisa is the normal girl. The four of them deal with school life.
Essentially it’s Lucky Star without the geek references, or Azumanga Daioh with more attention paid to the girl’s daily lives. There can be some funny humor to it, but this also is a healing anime, and the mood tends to be sedate, and a little schmaltzy. It doesn’t have much in the way of spark, but it makes for an anime you can put on as background noise, and there is a small charm in seeing normal girls enjoy a normal life. Yutaka, Toru’s own stalker, is hilarious and steals the scenes she is in.
Other than that it’s not particularly noteworthy, and if you don’t like “moeblob” slice-of-life, this will just give you more to hate. Its not bad to put on if you can’t sleep, are sick, or just want something non-offensive to watch. I’d put it at PG at six episodes in, with minor fan service and little more than that.
Oh, also Hulu has Tiger and Bunny! Definitely going to check this one out, for sure.
Unfortunately not else has caught my eye. Crunchyroll’s summer anime seems to be lacking so far. I tried both Free! and Devil and Realist, but the strong boy’s love vibes turned me off. Gatchaman crowds annoyed me like nothing else, as it’s Gatchaman in name only. Most of the other shows haven’t sparked an interest in me yet, but I’ll fill them in as time permits. Keep an eye on non-streaming anime as well, as Discotek Media in particular is planning to release classic anime like Princess Knight soon.
What are you all watching?