Winter Anime 204: Part Four

A lot of them this time, but several four minute or less anime show the limits of that length.

I finally got a chance to see Robot Girls Z. It’s unusual in that it releases three episodes at a time. The plot is simple; the barbaric Robot Girls beat up on the adorable Mechanical Beast Girls. I mean, the heroic Robot Girls save the day! All of them are based on Go Nagai super robots, with the Mazinger Z, UFO robot Grendizer, and Great Mazinger turned into cute teens with a propensity for violence. But the stars of the show are the poor Mechanical Beast Girls. led by a cutiefied Baron Ashura, as they fail to destroy the Robot Girls Z.

If you like Moe with a side order of parody, it’s great. I have to say both Doublas M2 and Kingdan are off the charts when it comes to cuteness scale. The poor Mechanical Beast Girls though…

Strange+ is absolutely horrible. It’s three minutes, and it still seems three times as long. It has painfully bad jokes, and  no backstory whatsover. The first episode has the detectives guarding an old man’s golden statue of himself from a thief, and they foil her by the use of exploding butts. No, seriously. There’s also a “trap” character who actually speaks with an adult male’s voice, which makes for some serious cognitive dissonance each time he opens his mouth.

It takes some serious talent to make a three minute anime unbearable.

Pupa looks to also be a disappointment. The first episode without the credits clocks in at two minutes and thirty seconds. It’s impossible to tell a horror story at that length. It’s so compressed that mood can’t be set, and fans of the manga are up in arms over it. Given that it’s based on an ultraviolent manga involving a sister infected by a disease that forces her to feed on her brother’s regenerating flesh, maybe its not a bad thing the anime is bad.

Onee-chan ga Kita suffers from the short length as well. Boy gets new big step-sister, big step-sister pervs on boy. Several people have commented on the resemblance of the big sister to Renge-chon of Non Non Biyori. The short length doesn’t let the sister or brother get enough character development to make this any more than a one or two gag bro-con tale. Not as bad as the two above, but still eh.

Magical Warfare is…odd. It switches between three different tones in the same episode: horror, shonen action, and some comedy. A kendo student finds a mysterious girl at his school who is being pursued by magicians. It turns out she is one too, and apparently factions of magicians have been infighting among themselves in a separate, ruined world. That battle spills out on the real world, but it has rules, and one step can make you lose your magic forever.

It’s average at best. The rules seem arbitrary and things are introduced which aren’t explained or have little relevance right away. Apparently it;s also very easy to transmit the power to be a magician, too.

Z/X Ignition also is average. In the far future, massive spherical voids land in cities across the world. These voids disgorge a ton of monsters, who cause chaos and destruction. Three years later, three young people fight to protect the peace of Kobe, Japan. The monsters are now tamable, and different factions fight each other over control of the land.

Honestly this one bored me. It feels like Digimon, but without the evolutions and a bit more real-world in its tone. It doesn’t feel thought out well. For all the destruction, the world of three years later seems not much different from our own. Not sure also how to take the first battle, which two ten year olds fight each other with their pets, and are actually targeting the tamers as much as the mons that fight. It might be likable if you have nostalgia for Digimon, Pokemon, and Yugi-oh but want it to be a little more mature.

Engaged to the Unidentified had sort of a wasted first episode. A teenage girl on her birthday finds out she has an arranged marriage to a quiet boy. The boy’s sister moves in, and immediately enchants the girl’s older sister who goes all lolicon on her. There’s some subtext about the girl being special but the odd thing is the episode doesn’t set anything up as opposed to introduce the characters as normal people. Even then, they prefer having the loli menaced by the sister than actually explaining why the arranged marriage exists.

It’s a very slow start. A bland male lead doesn’t help either. Animation on this one is great, though.

Hozuku no Reitsu is Gintama in hell. Weird, offbeat humor about a demon civil servant as he deals with the legendary Momotaro, stuck in hell. He also chats with his boss about his love of animals and desire to go to Australia for a vacation. This one you have to watch for yourself. It has a dry humor to it that you’ll either love or hate. I liked it, but an awful lot of good animation seems wasted on it.

Kind of an average batch this time. The 4 minute shows are the worst of the lot. It’s possible to make a good show at that length; a good example of this is Poyopoyo. These ones didn’t, though. The rest were a little flawed, or offbeat enough not to make the A-list. They wouldn’t be bad otherwise, but there’s a lot of anime this season, and all of these might not make the cut depending on your interests.

Pupa is R. Most of the rest range from PG to PG-13. Hozuku is set in Buddhist Hell, but it’s more like a bureaucracy and normal life than that. What’s interesting about Buddhist and Taoist hell is how mundane the concept is, and also how specific. You get hundreds of different layers of hell, and a checklist of what each level does to people.

I think this is about all the anime I want to see. Kind of an odd season. I may do a part five if there’s anything I missed, but there’s no shortage of good anime to watch.

4 Comments on “Winter Anime 204: Part Four”

  1. Yami Shibai was a really good horror series in 4 minutes. I feel like they could have done it in 2:30 with those bite-sized premises, but Pupa has an overarching plot. That’s a tall order – it felt more like a highlight reel for a show than an actual show.

  2. stardf29 says:

    I really liked Engaged to the Unidentified; it’s my favorite of the non-sequel shows. I think it’s better to think of it as a slice-of-life with an arranged marriage aspect, rather than a serious show about an arranged marriage. The show’s based off a 4-koma, after all.

    • dmdutcher says:

      I think my problem was that I kept expecting the “heroine has magical powers/is a key to another land” sort of thing to pop up. The main story felt really slight otherwise; there was little tension resulting from the arranged marriage, and it was more about their sisters than the actual couple. This would be okay if we had the usual big reveal at the end of the first episode, but nothing there.

      I’ll wait and see how it goes.

  3. Annalyn says:

    After reading this post and Frank’s comment, I decided to try Engaged to the Unidentified… it made me chuckle, but there are so many tropes, I wonder if it’s supposed to be some sort of parody.

    Also, the fiancé has the presence of Kuroko. The talent? Not so much, but he appears to have a good heart.

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