Madan no Ou to Vanadis: Act 4

Fumble, foul, or failure?

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So, we open on an impressive ambush tactic.  Tigre castles his refugees and soldiers, so when the Muslin forces attack, they are met with swords instead of helpless villagers. Nice move.

Unfortunately, it only wins them the spearhead. Two thousand guys isn’t going to outfight 40,000, there’s just no way on an open field.

And…and…okay, this fight is just goofy. Tigre and Ludmila are having their mid-combat heart to heart, which is made all the sillier by the fact the Muslin soldiers are encircling them in some form of interpretative dance until it’s time for one to enter the foreground and get killed.

Well, wouldn’t you know, when you kill the most respected knight in the entire kingdom for backing Tigre, turns out the other knightly orders don’t respect you enough to remain in your control.  Three of Brune’s knightly orders arrive just in time to bail Tigre out of this jam.

This is where my historical perspective kind of kills the mood for me.  Barbarossa is just laughing off the fact 5,000 knights have arrived to kick his ass.

To put this in perspective, when the Roman Emperor sent for reinforcements to the Pope (the event that launched the Crusades) he was expecting about 300 knights.  That is to say, he thought he could beat the entire Seljuk Empire with just 300 of the mounted destroyers, even though his army had suffered it most horrific defeat a matter of years earlier. That’s how badass these guys were.

Barbarossa laughing off “Well what’s 5,000 against my 40,000 men?” is…ugh…it’s so unlikely I can’t form a proper simile to express it.

And we now understand why he’s losing.  Barbarossa thinks the mastermind is the Battle Maiden.  Oh, you poor, horribly un-genre-savvy fool. You have no idea what show you’re in, do you? Any normal universe, sure, she’d be the hero. But not here. Continue reading

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Madan no Ou to Vanadis: Act 3

AT&T sucks.

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Our blurb has nothing to do with anime today. Just expressing the past week of dealing with the internet.

Our cliffhanger was so many lies. The new priestess Battle Maiden almost instantly retreats.  Her “badass exchange” with Roland isn’t anything to really preen about either. (“Is this wall of light magic?” No shit, Roland.)

But it’s okay, honestly, as this plays into her archetype, as she was just buying time before vanishing like a ninja. Two things of story signifiance then happen (right?), we flashback that Roland is oh-so-obviously being misled about his King’s intentions. Seems the old guy’s been sick for a while, so his evil viziers are basically running the show. Coming on the heels of this is that a new minor lord has joined the fight on Tigre’s side, outflanking Roland and forcing him to pull back.

Seems our new lord, Mashas, met Sophia, the preistess Maiden, when she saved him from assassins.  They came here as a unit to tell us “the king’s off his rocker”.  Tigre is not recovering well from his wound. Follow this up with some harem nonsense.

Roland is having second thoughts. He’s clearly a cautious man, demonstrated by his tactics.  Studying the political landscape more thoroughly, he is told Tigre has no real affiliation to Zchted beyond their recent alliance. This raises his eyebrow, as does the information that Thernadier is moving troops against Tigre’s lands in his absence dealing with Roland. We all see where this going, but at least to mix it up, Roland is consistent with his position as a landless general in that he is more concerned of the presence of a foreign army in his kingdom than he gives a shit about the nobles’ game of thrones nonsense.

Tigre, meanwhile, has arisen from his bed, compelled by his weapon to find this…misty temple thing. The resident goddess possesses Titties, because sure. Even goddesses want Tigre’s dick.

Actually she’s presenting him with a test. Shoot Titties, gain unfathomable power.

Well rather than just NOT shoot her, Tigre has to kaio-ken his arrow to explode JUST as it reaches Titties, blowing away all of her clothes. Of course, of COURSE that’s what would happen. For whatever reason, Tigre passes her test.

Why? What did THAT show that just NOT shooting her would?  Unless she was specifically testing if he HAD that ability to control his power so delicately. But if it’s, as she says, just showing his resolve, how is shooting an arrow KNOWING it won’t kill Titties any different morally from just not shooting Titties? Continue reading

Madan no Ou to Vanadis: Act 2

Boobs are one hell of a drug.

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Catch up continues here on DDA.  And it opens with Wonder Woman mounting Green Arrow…

No, bad Doll, play nice. This is the series that at least pretends it has aspirations.

So after a bit of “how AWESOME is Tigre?” from the girls, we actually get consequences for what’s occurred so far.

Yes, you do have permission to take a breath. We might not be so lucky in the future.

Both Tigre and Ellen are on the Thernadier radar now.  And as bad guys would have it, they’re no longer considering Tigre “warm up” practice for the inexperienced men.  He’s now a legitimate military target, as is Zchted. To counter Ellen’s power as a battle maiden, Thernadier will be sending its own Battle Maiden. Escalation!

Unfortunately for the bad guys, they don’t have the self-awareness to realize they’re in a harem series. Sending anything with a vagina to take care of the protagonist is like trying to send a twelve year old girl into a mall alone to go to church.  If you’re lucky, she comes within sight of the target before being distracted by the cutest plushie in Build-a-Bear.

Ellen’s having a hearing with her king.  Yes king. This is unexpected. How is Tigre going to win a GUY over with the power of his dick? And not an attractive one, at that.  This is ruining all of my immersion. Continue reading

Inou-Battle: Act 4

No, Trigger, not like this!

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Final leg of this series. How does it stack up against our horrifically low expectations? Do you even need to ask?

So we open that Tomoyo has failed in her publishing attempt. I’m…I’m not sure if I’m upset this isn’t given more emotional weight, it’s almost played for laughs with how she beats up her body pillow. But on the other hand, it is nice to admit it isn’t the end of the world, after all, she’s a kid. She has her life ahead of her. So not dwelling on this is a good message, all told.

You know, maybe I’ve been overly hard on you, show. Maybe…

Oh, she IS despondent that Hatoko loves Andou.

…Fuck me for giving you the benefit of the doubt, Inou-Battle. I really should have known better.

So Kuki is spending summer vacation trying to get between Andou and Chifuyu, who is still this world’s most adorable lolita dominatrix.  None of this is particularly amusing. Though I did like that the kids ignored the car and were after the stuffed whale consolation prize.

Aaaaaand we get to endure Kuki falling in love with the world’s biggest dick. What will save us from this?

Water park shenanigans with Sayumi…damnit. Just your average harem date, without a lot to elevate it. Save for the very end when Mephistopholes pulls out the F card. Oo, something that’s almost kind of interesting! Continue reading

Inou -Battle: Act 3

I already told you, I don’t have any money! 

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So, Andou has a sister. I adore her because she kicks him. We need more of that in this series to offset the awfully cliche harem.

We’re getting some insights into Hatoko’s relationship with Andou this episode. They’ve been close for a very long time, arguably best friends, though we have had no inclination of this prior to this episode. Yeah, that’s what I’ve come to expect from you, Inou-Battle, just raise a plot point you never bothered to work on, and expect us to give a damn.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the Tomoyo stuff is actually MORE interesting because at least that stuff has something resembling a dramatic backstory. Tomoyo’s constant bitching about Andou’s fantasy-oriented head and the reveal she was an aspiring author, that’s what we call development, such as it is.

But the Hatoko stuff? It’s weighing this episode down like an anchor.

And THEN she goes crazy, because wimminz, Amirite?

No, I’m gonna count. Three minutes. That’s 180 seconds. Of Hatoko screaming her crazy pet peeves about how Andou doesn’t appreciate her company.

We then follow it up by showing us the foreshadowing to this meltdown….after the meltdown.

Tomoyo? You’re fucking doomed if you’re being taught to write by the people who wrote this shit.

And more cliche harem drama. You know how it is.  Andou thinks for a moment that he was a bother to one of his harem hens, and the other harem hens slap him out of it, because no, NO harem hen could be unhappy with Andou’s penis!

The one saving grace of this episode is the return of Vampire-senpai.

This is, quite literally, the worst episode we’ve had. At least we’re more than halfway through this crap. Continue reading

Inou-Battle: Act 2

 

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Yes we’re playing catch up. This seems like the best compromise because I don’t have the hours to throw at this stuff right now.

Episode 4 begins well enough, focusing on Chifuyu. And as you’ll recall, she is one of only two actually funny characters here.

This episode starts off rather silly. It has a good “Chifuyu abuses Andou with superior intellect” gag, passable cosplay humor (but nothing really funny), and some interesting character study emerges about Chifuyu. There’s some shots fired at socially-directed peer groups, and a good examination of jealousy and friendship.

Of course this is wrapped up in several layers of pedophilia jokes so take what you can.

Chifuyu’s reactions are pretty good.  Slightly flanderized, but this can be attributed to her age and her well established personality. The way she hides behind her plushie on paper sounds like too much, but as played across from the blunt and intimidating Satomi, it feels incredibly natural. So good on that high water mark.

In all, not an offensive episode. Probably because this managed to focus on Chifuyu’s personal drama and not how she was a harem hen. Let’s see if they can go another 22 minutes without fucking this up. Continue reading

Inou Battle: Episode 3

 

Why is the best stuff the stuff your show ISN’T about?

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This week we open on a new character, Sagami, and Andou in their teacher’s room.  The pair get into a fight over what kind of nerds they are.  I love the teacher, Satomi. Can I say that? Her expressions perfectly mirror my own to this HILARIOUS comedy. She then does what many wish they could do with this show: Throw it out on its ass.

So, no doubt, this week Inou Battle embraces its harem elements entirely. Especially in terms of camera angles

Hey. Hey guys. Where’s your KILL la KILL “it’s being done ironically” shit now?

Perhaps that’s unfair. This is way worse than KILL la KILL ever was.  Between Satomi using her feet to grab everything and having conversations with the girls’ bare legs, this week is extremely obnoxious. We even get an upskirt on Hatoko.

Oh, it’s fine. It’s an underskirt. That’s not as embarassing as seeing panties, this is what underskirts are there for, after all.

Tomoyo then says that it doesn’t matter how he justifies it, no girl really likes getting peeped on.

…It’s a rare harem series that both bullshits its way through an upskirt, and then proceeds to tell us the protagonist was STILL morally repugnant.

It’s sports day, and OH GOD THIS IS BORING. Trigger how you so boring?

We then learn why Hatoko loves Andou: he stopped the kids from calling her a dumb nickname.  Oh, well…it’s a little trite but I’ve heard worse, and having a Hatoko episode will be…

Wait, they’re ALL going to explain why they love Andou now?  Really? We’re doing a sewing circle of how great Andou’s dick is?

Well to save us from this, is Andou.  Yep. Andou is the comic highlight of this episode.

I’ll just give us all a moment to let this sink in. Continue reading

Madan no Ou to Vanadis: Episode 3

My Lord, the tide of battle seems to have turned against us!

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So we open recapping the off-screen battle (or mostly off-screen battle) from last time.  While the Thernadier’s lost 300 of their 3,000, Ellen’s forces have lost 100, so this basically keeps things at an even split, both forces losing about 10%.

Now for a moment that’s…almost surreal. We get a map-cut-away after seeing Geoffrey…I mean, Zion…going insane in his tent.  It’s like one of those battle documentaries that specialize in ancient fights.  Little divisions are laid out on the field, we’re told the strengths of the forces…I don’t expect this to go anywhere, but the juxtaposition of the military documentary and trite harem bullshit at least raises the eyebrow of curiosity from me.

Oh, speaking of trite harem shit, here’s Titties! Totally ruining the drama of the war room with her insecure vagina problems. Women, amirite, fellas?

Ellen splits her forces up, and we follow the main one, led by her and Tigre.  The fight’s okay.  The slightly-above-average combat is balanced by the not-even-total-war standards of the establishment shots.

Things go well for our heroes, but then Vernadier launches its dragon into the melee.  Ah, the fight we’ve actually been waiting for.

…Which Ellen ends in a single move…well..damn. Continue reading

Ore Twintails ni Narimasu: Episode 2

Kind of a chore this time.

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Well this week starts off simply enough, with Twirl and Soji in his room, with Aika bursting in chasing the pair after being left behind on the battlefield.

Here we get a slight explanation as to the motives of the villains (while seamlessly sidestepping “Why must Soji turn into a girl?” question yet again, hopefully this isn’t a set up for a very lame joke).

The aliens are after a power source called “elemela”, which Twirl calls an “Attribute Strength”. Twirl defines it as a person’s love for something specific.

But why  a twintails fetish and NOT something stronger, Aika asks, like love?  Twirl’s answer is rather ingenious.  Love is an instinctual process, it is a product of evolution and thus common to all people. But the Ultimagill are psychic vampires, and they feed on mental energy.  Thus, this attribute strength, being more learned behavior and thus more conscious in nature, is something they prefer as an energy source.

Which, in a moment of this show being better than it deserves to be, ties into last week’s points about the Tailred powers being tied to Soji’s wishes, tied to his will. Conscious desire trumps knee-jerk reaction.

Now the exceptionally goofy part, of all attribute strengths, the love for twintails exceeds all others in power.

*Glances over her ecchi folder*

No argument here. Continue reading

Ore Twintails ni Narimasu: Episode 1

Falling down! Do you know how long it’s been since we had that trope?!

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I’m having a difficult time deciding right now if Twintails is being self-aware, or plain old Pythonesque with its absurdity.  I do enjoy myself an absurdist series, Baka to Test and InuHasa are my favorite anime comedies.  And I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with just being goofy.  For example, Yahtzee has often lamented that modern games are gritty-gritty, even in their concept if not art and game play, I believe the example he used was a game of a lasagna chef fighting giant frogs, or something.  I dunno, I’m working off memory here.  But you know how I know he’s right? There is a cute Smash Bros parody called Smash Kingdom, and at one point the villains are discussing adding new villains to the roster, when who comes in? The Eggplant Wizard. You know, the bad guy who fought Kid Icarus.

And just the idea of it is really, really off-putting.  Media has been conditioned to be “real”.  Because the closer you get to “live action doable”, the more “legitimate” you are, so the sentiment goes.  We have this Pavlovian response to things now.  How do you sell the idea of an Italian plumber fighting a giant turtle lizard thing to rescue a princess NOW?  Frankly you just don’t.  And the fact you have that gut reaction to the old chaotic days of the NES and it’s goofy games says a lot about where we’ve ended up.

Bringing this whole thing around to Twintails, this is what really informs my reasoning regarding this show.  Call it flimsy justification if you like, but I do WANT to like this series, and it doesn’t bother me if the show is necessarily silly in its stakes.  Now I don’t think it’s really EARNED that affection yet, as I said, because it often feels like its trying TOO hard.  But this could be an effect of the pilot, growing pains perhaps, but on the whole it’s off to an okay-start.

Meet Soji, a kid with a fetish for the twintail hairstyle. It’s orientation day and he spends the first assembly looking around at all the girls of the appropriate hairstyle.  His best friend, Aika, will be playing the role of twintail tsundere for this series.  We get some “goofy” first day jitters gags, nothing really good.  Scratch that, I do like the gag of how Aika and Soji “talk” to each other without talking.  It’s good exposition on just how long this pair has been together that they anticipate each other’s thoughts, and rather cute in its delivery.

But going to Soji’s family restaurant is where the action begins, along with Soji’s mom trying to get him laid. Kind of tired, but, frankly, every time a mom tries to tell their kid to get hitched, you really SHOULD be replacing what they say with “get laid!”, if only in your head. Continue reading