Dice, Bookworm, Azur, Average, Prodigy

[catching up after finishing off the main story in Cat Quest and surviving the run to Zora’s Domain in BotW…]

(cover of the next Average book)

After School Dice Club: Ep 2, Enter The Crush, with game Cockroach Poker. Really didn’t need a boy in my gamer-girls-doing-gaming-things show. Ep 3: Incan Gold subtracts the boy, adds two older girls, and actually has a plot twist.

Ascendance Of A Bookworm 2 & 3: after the first one, I ended up reading the first two light novels, and it’s tracking pretty closely. This seems to be a rare case where they realize they have good source material and are actively trying to use it well. No complaints.

Azur Lane: dropped; due in large part to the giant (tee-hee) cast, the story is incomprehensible, and the fan-service is being done better by fans on Pixiv.

Didn’t I Say To Make My Abilities Average In The Next Life? Ep 1: “Ain’t no ‘Adele’ here!” I presume Mile’s first 2.x years in her new world will be told in convenient flashbacks. This is another case where I took a look at the light novels, and the anime team has jumped over several chapters and made some significant changes to what they’re using. It looks like the manga started in the same place as the novels, so this one has a whiff of trainwreck about it. Also, the novels quickly turn into girl-power-power-fantasy, with Mile not only being able to do anything while pretending to be “normal”, but also power-level her friends with a few quick tips. It gets old fast, even with her finally starting to figure out that she was sold a bill of goods by her reincarnation advisor.

High School Prodigies Have It Easy Even In Another World : Ep 2, Enter The Loli Catgirl. Our Business-Hero proves his worth to the village skeptic, and acquires his future waifu. Side note: Business Hero’s voice sounded familiar, and while his DanMachi character Takemikazuchi doesn’t get a lot of lines in the anime, I hear him a lot in the DanMemo game.

The Ghostess With The Mostest

I missed Yuuna And The Haunted Hot Springs when it aired. An assortment of screenshots and short video clips convinced me to give it a shot, and I found it a perfectly delightful harem comedy. Sadly, there’s no US Bluray release, and Crunchyroll has the steam-and-lightbar-censored broadcast version, and they don’t have the 3 uncensored OVA episodes, so off to the torrents we go!

(NSFW after the jump)


There’s gotta be a pony in there somewhere!

New anime series I’m going to give a shot:

  • After School Dice Club (funimation): three high school girls play European board and card games. Ep 1: Marrakech. Highlight: class rep girl sports red half-rims.

  • Ascendance Of A Bookworm (crunchyroll): reborn as an adorable moppet in a world without books, Our Heroine starts making them herself. Ep 1: creepy wizard uses drugs and magic to discover the secret origin of the adorable moppet.

  • Azur Lane (funimation): a bountiful harvest of bountiful shipgirls. Ep 1: 95 seconds of blah-blah before they even show a girl, then all of them at once in the OP. Really feels like it’s only for people who already know a lot more about the game than the 95-second explanation they just gave, and have a large checklist of girls who must appear. I’ll give it at least until Belfast shows up. Quote: “war, war never changes”, sigh.

  • BlackFox (crunchyroll): masked ninja girl battles the forces of evil in a future world, with a series logo that looks suspiciously like a Grendel mask. Ep 0: origin story, in which Our Hero is briefly introduced as an adorable ninja moppet, only to grow up offscreen and come home just in time to experience a tragic loss that leads her to swear revenge on two creepy guys.
       No, wait, this isn’t a series at all, and the “preview episode” I watched earlier this week is no longer available. It’s been replaced by a 90-minute movie.

  • Didn’t I Say To Make My Abilities Average In The Next Life? (crunchyroll, but not up yet): during her reincarnation into another world, Our Heroine wishes to be average, but didn’t specify average what. Most promising element: series composition by the same guy who handled Endro!.

  • High School Prodigies Have It Easy Even In Another World (crunchyroll): seven seriously-overspecced teenagers who more-or-less run modern Japan crashland in a fantasy world and proceed to take over. Ep 1: four minutes of blah-blah about how awesome each one is, followed by what’s sure to be only the first of many opportunities to show off their mad skillz. They opened with two pairs of giant boobs, though, so it can’t be all bad…

Saturday Update

Gave Cautious Hero: The Hero is Overpowered But Overly Cautious (funimation) a shot. The OP song was so bad I skipped over the credits, which is never a good sign. The in-your-face trope-awareness and self-conscious wackiness was… discouraging, to put it kindly. It would have been less awkward to have signs popping up that read “laugh now”.

Looks like Average starts Monday.

They had me at hel-lo!

The producers of “High School Prodigies Have It Easy Even In Another World” (crunchyroll) certainly know how to set the mood with the opening scene:

Interestingly, the official web site has a full English translation.

I’ve got wood for your sheep…

After School Dice Club, in which cute girls do cute things with board games.

I think they’ve got me with this one

Cop Craft 11 & 12

Episode 11: cops do cop things, shallow allegories do shallow allegorical things; Our Heroes outnumbered, a wild villain appears!

(in the final scene)

Episode 12: talk-talk, talk-talk, talk-talk, fight! voiceover, decision, and…done. Our Heroes ride off into the sunset, to adventures that will never be animated.

The mostly-straight adaptation of the first novel was good. The chainsaw-and-superglue attempt to race to book six as the finale, not so much. Honestly, they used the middle novels and the supporting cast so little and so poorly they’d have been better off jettisoning it all and focusing on Our Heroes versus Zelada.

Focus. That’s what was missing. The vampire story from book two? Interesting, but nonessential, with dangling plot threads that went nowhere. Tirana’s undercover work and cute whore girlfriend, which was apparently anime-original (replacing her going undercover as a schoolgirl and losing a completely different friend)? Some nice character development, ruined by the baffling decision to completely ignore Tirana’s justifiable thirst for revenge, start the next episode as if nothing had happened, and put her into the cat’s body for an episode and a half. And then suddenly we’re in book six, and as that story starts to unfold, they break it up with a clip episode. WTF?

The alternative, in the hands of a good team, would be to build on the source material and set up the confrontation with Zelada for a second cour. Do the cop stuff, do the wacky stuff, flesh out the supporting cast, and leave the audience demanding another 13 episodes.

So much potential, so sadly wasted. I’m not sure it even works as an ad for the novels, although the first few episodes got the whole set into the top 20 on Amazon Japan briefly. Since then, book 7, originally scheduled to come out in September, has been delayed, and doesn’t show a release date.

DanMachi 2.12

…and…done. With a post-credits scene setting up the next season, whenever that will be.

A quiet, warm finish, with Hestia having a rare moment of serious goddesshood before reverting to her wacky self.

New character in game? Peasant wench Ais. I’ve already got eight versions of her (and way too many Bells and Hestias, most of them useless), and the only one I’ve maxed out is Summer Princess, which was the first character I was able to max-limit-break, and still a reliable front-line fighter.

Haruhime is my only other maxed-out character, who more than doubled my high score in the current RecordBuster, allowing me to finally finish off the last of the Expert Adventurer missions and get a guaranteed 4-star pull (which, sadly, ended up being that asshole Hyakinthos; good for a fire team, if I were to pull him five more times and invest a lot of resources, but honestly, I’d rather sell him for Dulb).

“Hey, I know that voice!”

Finished watching Kanata No Astra (which really needed 18 episodes, but got 12, with 2 of them double-length), and when Ulgar’s brother got some screen time, I immediately recognized his voice as a very different character: Dennis Elbaji, from the first story arc in Cop Craft.

What didn’t hit me while watching either show was that it was the same voice actor as Kane McDougal from Mouretsu Pirates. Also Dionysus from Sword Oratoria and the DanMemo mobile game (a character who admittedly doesn’t get a lot of lines).

Kanata, of course, is another voice I hear a lot of, as Welf Crozzo. And Aries is Hestia, Yunhua is Ryu, Polina is Tsubaki (Sword Oratoria), and Ulgar was Soma (DanMachi 2).

Another interesting note: the primary scriptwriter for the series was the creator of the School Live! manga.

Sadly, fan-art of this series is pretty limited. There’s some inept porn, some awkward attempts at drawing something that resembles one of the characters, and maybe five decent pics of the girls. Nothing like, say, an extended remix of the bikini paradise scene.

The thing that makes episode 12 so unsatisfying is that they wrapped everything up by telling, not showing. Laying it out all at once as talking-heads scenes highlighted every weakness in the backstory, drawing attention to elements that frankly don’t work. Playing it out over, say, 4 more episodes would have improved the story by letting them reveal less about the universe.

Seriously, “we established a world government that abolished guns, religions, nations, languages, and the history of the world, and all of the survivors went along with it for the rest of their lives. Also, abolishing guns (except the world government’s, who never lets them fall into the wrong hands or abuses their monopoly on force), religions (nobody cares enough about those to ever, y’know, worship in secret and have their faith strengthened by persecution), nations (trivial!), and languages (even more trivial!) created lasting world peace.”

“And we all agreed to hide the secret of wormhole technology by leaving it in the hands of the company who invented it and made themselves royalty, despite the fact that they somehow let it fall into the hands of random terrorists and criminals who were responsible for accelerating the fall of Earth.”

…and that’s just the parts I noticed while they were plotsplaining. If I actually went over episode 12 and compared it with what we were shown at the start of the series, I think it would come off a hell of a lot worse. I just don’t want to, because I liked the parts leading up to that point.