Weekly Digest 4/18-14 – Sidonia no Kishi, Escha & Logy no Atelier, Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin

Knights of Sidonia - 02  -5 Atelier - 02 -8 Nanana - 02-5

Ok, I have to ask – what the hell is the deal with the bear?

Sidonia no Kishi – 02

Knights of Sidonia - 02  -1 Knights of Sidonia - 02  -2 Knights of Sidonia - 02  -3
Knights of Sidonia - 02  -4 Knights of Sidonia - 02  -6 Knights of Sidonia - 02  -7
Knights of Sidonia - 02  -8 Knights of Sidonia - 02  -9 Knights of Sidonia - 02  -10
Knights of Sidonia - 02  -11 Knights of Sidonia - 02  -12 Knights of Sidonia - 02  -13
Knights of Sidonia - 02  -14 Knights of Sidonia - 02  -15 Knights of Sidonia - 02  -16

I certainly want to like this show, but there are some major flies in the ointment.  Between the really ugly character CGI and the fact that a big story is being whittle down to one cour, I’m already finding myself thinking about what might have been rather than what actually is.

That’s not to say there aren’t some things here that I like, because there certainly are.  Knights of Sidonia seems to be a pretty credible hard sci-fi plot, with all the requisite components.  I wouldn’t mind if there were something more to the Gauna than just horrible blobs eating humans for the sake of a story, but as baddies go they are pretty scary.  The way the death of cadet Yamano Eiko (Nanako Mori) seamlessly followed her flashback was skillfully done.  And we’re getting all sorts of interesting bombshells dropped casually – hermaphroditism, photosynthesis, the dead going to the “organic converter” – that have my modestly curious to find out more.

There are some issue apart from the visuals, though.  The obsession with body humor isn’t working too well, because so far Sidonia no Kishi isn’t too slick with humor period, and as a result this just feels kind of tired and juvenile.  I find the character interactions rather stilted generally, which I admit makes me suspicious that the bad CGI is coloring my view of them – but I really think it’s the writing and direction more than that.  It’s all about the big story here for me, so far – at some point I’m going to need to get drawn into the story of Nagate or some of the other characters on a personal level or I suspect my interest level is going to start dropping pretty quickly.

Escha & Logy no Atelier – 02

Atelier - 02 -1 Atelier - 02 -2 Atelier - 02 -3
Atelier - 02 -4 Atelier - 02 -5 Atelier - 02 -6
Atelier - 02 -7 Atelier - 02 -9 Atelier - 02 -10

I want to like this one, but it’s really not for me.  I might be able to stick with it for a while if it weren’t for Murakawa Rie’s performance as Eschy, but she’s at the level of insufferable for me.  Basically this is a cute girls (and one boy) being cute show that happens to be set in a post-apocalyptic twilight world, but it all plays as too bland and cloying for my tastes.  There’s an audience for this sort of material but I’m not part of it, and there’s nothing to be gained in pretending otherwise.

Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin – 2

Nanana - 02-1 Nanana - 02-2 Nanana - 02-3
Nanana - 02-4 Nanana - 02-6 Nanana - 02-7
Nanana - 02-8 Nanana - 02-9 Nanana - 02-10

Well, at least the schedule is lightening up.

I didn’t dislike the premiere of this one, but it took a major step backwards with this episode.  And when you start out with abject mediocrity, that’s not a good situation.  This always seemed like a pretty formulaic piece of work, but this week you add a trap – played by KanaHana no less – and another annoying performance by Asumi Kana.  Plus, the main relationship is clarified to be another case of a teenaged boy being used as a doormat by an abusive and irritating female lead (so what if she’s a ghost?  She’s still a jerk).  Not good.

The only remotely interesting thing about this show, really, is on what possible pretense NoitaminA could even pretend that they’re airing it.  As much as I’ve intellectually given up on the block it still galls me to see something this generic air in it – there have been worse NoitaminA shows but I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a complete and total lack of effort.



  1. F

    Hrm… interesting.

    Well, I don't yet have the "this could be so much more" feeling from Sidonia, though I know what you mean in general. I kinda hope it will stick to its guns and do some slow world building, and in a certain way try to remain modest in accordance with the eps alotted to it. In other words that it not cram too much too fast – kinda like Pilot's Love Song did last season.

    Atelier is one of those series that I find pleasant and enjoyable, but you knew that.

    But yeah – Nanana looks like it may be the biggest disappointment of the season for me at the moment. I will give next ep a try, but… well, ep 2 was pretty poor in my opinion. :

  2. It would be a bigger disappointment to me if I'd had any expectations for it.

    At least we have Ping Pong…

  3. F

    And Mushishi S2!

    To be honest I was kinda hoping for a simpler story and characters behind Nanana – not one so riddled with tropes. At least I wanted Nanana to be normal and not willing to dislocate someone's shoulder in a no win situation so she could manipulate that person to fulfil her whims.

    Sorry, but in my book that is just called being a bitch (if you will pardon my French) and an abusive, selfish bully not much more profound than those who extort lunch money from kids in elementary school. And what baffles me even more is to see people defending this?! o.O

  4. She's cute. That's enough reason to defend it.

    My "Ping Pong" comment was NoitaminA specific. Plenty of other good efforts this season – of course including Mushishi.

  5. Z

    Anime fans will defend anything so long as it is done by a cute girl.

  6. Z

    I've mentioned the redundancy of the NoitaminA block for some time now, but some people didn't want to believe it till now.

    As for Sidonia, a little choppy in the narrative this week, but I quite like how the background information is being measured out. Personally relating to characters isn't one of my prerequisites – so I'm still good on that front.

  7. E

    the noitaminA block lost my entire faith a long, long time ago. The only show of theirs I've bothered watching recently was Silver Spoon, and just because I knew who the author was – I've encountered many people who don't remember who Arakawa Hiromu is, and didn't bother with Silver Spoon because the premise isn't that attractive. And if I had been one of those people, I would've stayed away from the show just because it's noitaminA.

    So yeah, that block can call me back if (and when) Silver Spoon gets a third season.

  8. Z

    Yeah at the moment its only real defining feature is the eleven episode format. Which is nothing really to brag about.

  9. t

    I have some interest in Sidonia. the visuals/animation aren't really a hindrance here and everything else feels good. sure, it has some issues as you've mentioned. but I really enjoy this sci-fiction world. and interestingly, they don't tell everything like.."spoon-fed". sure, there are stuff that are a must..but most of things is via what's happening right now.

    Atelier – seriously?now the main character's voice and behavior bothering you?how did you survive ep #1? more importantly…how did you survive Little Busters. I say so about LB because I know quite lot of people that Komari's voice and behavior in first episode drive them nuts 😛

  10. Komari is not a strength of that show, as I said many times in the process of blogging it. But apart from her own mini-arc she wasn't a main character, and the actual story in LB – not to mention many other characters – were far more appealing to me than anything I've seen in Atelier.

  11. T

    I guess for nanana the things that bother you aren't really bothering me as much. That said, yes this episode was a bunch of steps backward from the first but I think at this point I'm more curious than put off. I've tried doing as much digging into the source material and author but came up with nothing, and since my watch schedule isn't as big I may as well see a few more for myself.

  12. j

    I'm not really sure what you want out of Sidonia, but I'm thinking it really might be the CGI that's hindering your viewing experience. I'm noticing a lot of subtle character moments where the faces don't really bring out the emotions the characters (I think) are supposed to be feeling.

  13. M

    The direction and visuals during the first third of Sidonia were sharp. Too bad they killed off one of the more memorable characters – I was slightly nodding off during the rest. That choppy frame-rate makes things feel sluggish (which I don't think is intentional). I'm still confused by Nagate's harem – the mix of template character designs and CG is a bit of an issue, I must say. The first part shows a lot of promise to come though. Really, why the hell isn't the adaptation whorehouse A-1 animating this for NoitaminA?

    The dichotomy within the NoitaminA block is embarrassingly blunt. Since it commenced, I don't think any hour has topped the House of Five Leaves/Tatami Galaxy combo. 1 out 2 ain't even bad now though – In Yuasa we trust.

  14. M

    Heh – re-watched the second episode with a fresh mind and liked it way more on second viewing.

    Now to see how today's C-Listers stack up.

  15. J

    The bear is…there. As for the Gauna, take a look at the one they encountered after it ate the girl.

  16. R

    I think the bad cgi affect the "character interaction" apreciation. On that subject (this is weird) i feel a similar vibe from the movie "demolition man" (yeah, it's weird).

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