Hey everyone, the Winter 2013 season is almost halfway done, with the surprise announcement of GJ CLUB and the availability of the Crunchyroll app for Panasonic TVs! We also have an awesome Monster Hunter cosplay contest going on with a chance to win a copy of the game, so go and check it out!
As you may have heard, Crunchyroll's line of supported devices continues to grow with the addition of the Crunchyroll app for Panasonic TVs with Viera Connect! Now you can watch your favorite anime and drama straight from the comfort of your Panasonic TV without the need to connect any additional devices!
The application is available in North America, South America, and Asia (excluding Japan), with videos in HD up to 720p. The Crunchyroll app is available for subscribers only, so for those of you who want to try it out, check out the free trial!
Enjoy your favorite anime shows on your Panasonic TVs with Viera Connect!!
Let me get this out of the way first: I'm not writing this review because I drew the shortest straw or anything. In fact, I've been looking forward to be the one reviewing gdgd Fairies' 2nd season ever since the first one ended. I'm a huge fan, I even pre-ordered a gdgd Fairies t-shirt. I've been trying to piece together this review in my head for months, doing my best to come up with the optimal way to entice you, my faithful readers, to give the anime a try.
Unfortunately, even as I'm writing this, I still have no idea how I'm going to do that.
I think the most important thing to know first and foremost is that gdgd Fairies is ugly. According to my research, the entire anime is made with a freeware 3D program called MikuMikuDance, or at the very least, they are trying to emulate its look. This means the models are simplistic, the textures are gross and blurry and animation is blocky at best. And yet, this decision to make gdgd Fairies look like crap is what gives it its character, more on that later.
After the opening theme, we are reunited with the three fairies having tea. In this part, we are witness to the girls' daily conversations. Pkpk (that's her name, clearly fairies don't like vowels) is the innocent, cute pink-haired fairy. She is more or less the main character and her gullible personality makes her an easy target for the other two's antics. Shrshr is the energetic blonde, she complains a lot and often brings really dumb ideas to the table but without her around the fairies' conversations would definitely lack some spice. Lastly, krkr is the one with a mushroom on her head. Always keeps a straight face, has a twisted mind and rarely talks, but whenever she does, it'll either be something cryptic, a prank or a punchline. She's amazing.
In the second part, they will generally go to the Magic Room. In this Magic Room, the fairies' magical powers are infinite, so with a flick of their wands they can make anything happen. One of them will step up with an idea about what to do and they will go with it. If this is your first time with gdgd Fairies, this is most likely the part where the following adjectives will properly describe your facial expression: "incredulous", "speechless" and maybe "amorphous". "Old Man Jumping", live broadcasting over the internet, a giant Rube Goldberg machine, a RPG simulation with worthless attacks, a rain of rhinoceros, almost naked beefy men prancing around for a picnic... all in a day's work.
Just when you thought it couldn't get weirder, the last segment one-ups them all; the Dubbing Lake. The fairies look into a small pond and see a glimpse of other worlds. A small sequence will play with no audio, and the girls must come up with a "dub" for this sequence. The sequences can be anything, like, for example, a dancing man with a whip wearing women's leather clothes getting drilled in the sides by another man wearing the drill as a hat. Also the drill makes sparkles. You can't make this shit up. New to the second season, a new contraption makes its appearance: the Magic Speaker! A sound plays from it and the fairies take turn imagining what could be making this sound. This often leads to some surprisingly nasty scenarios!
What makes this last segment so great, though, is that, as far as we can tell, the voice actresses are literally improvising their lines throughout the whole thing. They will chat with each other as if they'd be standing in the recording studio coming up with the dubs for the Dubbing Lake on the spot, often completely forgetting to stay in character, breaking the 4th wall, laughing at how good that last ad-libbed dub was and even poking fun at previous anime they've been voicing! I can't help but feel a sort of complicity watching them be themselves and go along with their infectious, honest laughs.
Add to all this the new little eyecatch jokes before the opening, the opening and ending themes that always seem to have that little something different about them, the fake episode previews picturing the fairies as characters of other popular anime and the epic 5th episode time travel gimmick that will make you want to go watch the first 4 episodes again and you've got a great package filled with original ideas, great attention to detail and surprising developments. Even if a part of the show falls flat, another one is just around the corner to change the mood completely, there is no such thing as an episode of gdgd Fairies that does not at least bring a smile to your lips.
So, really, gdgd Fairies walks a line even finer than "so bad it's good". It walks its own line, the "so bad yet at the same time brilliant" line. This also makes it hard to sell, because, what are you going to say to your friends? "That part where they dubbed a diaper-wearing man farting so hard he flew into the sky was amazing!"? No, gdgd Fairies has to be experienced first hand to be truly understood, don't even try to rationalize it like I did, just go right ahead and show them your favorite episode, maybe they'll get it.
Imagine falling unconscious while at your part-time job. It seems awful enough, but then envision waking up with your memory wiped clean and an otherworldly spirit stuck inside your soul. It sounds like a nightmare, but that is just the beginning of the nameless heroine’s troubles in AMNESIA, the anime based off the popular otome game of the same name. To aid those unfamiliar with the game, AMNESIA immediately captivates with its fluid animation and unique designs, and then, while retaining the charm of an otome game, weaves a suspenseful mystery as the heroine attempts to piece her life back together. What makes this so enchanting, however, is that AMNESIA is definitely true to its name; because the heroine serves as an avatar for the viewers, her puzzling situation entices those watching to clear the fog in her life while seemingly sharing her amnesia.
The most immediately noticeable aspect of AMNESIA is definitely its unique art design, and the opening showcases its capabilities exactly. Each male character is connected to a card suit and color, and the animation is so consistently fluid that their colors are brilliantly vibrant, especially when they splash against the darker colors. Every character has mesmerizingly tri-colored eyes, and their respective colors even flow into their character designs; some have hair colors that transition into darker shades at the ends, which matches their fashionably gothic attire. Trench coats with countless belts, different colored pant legs, high laced boots, patterns and buttons galore, the cast certainly stands out, but is also distinguishable from each other thanks to their individual colors and card suits. The overall style is extremely distinct, and coupled with quality animation, AMNESIA is definitely enjoyable to look at.
It’s not just the visuals that make AMNESIA so appealing though; its intricate story creates a suspenseful mystery while still retaining the charm of an otome game. The fact that the heroine must hide her amnesia or be doomed to forget how to even breathe is daunting because, in a society where even word choice is based on your relationship with whomever you’re talking to, her task is particularly difficult. The mystical nature of her amnesia could lead to devastating consequences, but the magic in AMNESIA can also be pleasant. The spirit responsible for the heroine’s amnesia is an otherworldly, but undoubtedly cute boy that that supports the heroine as she tries to hide her memory loss. However, her world soon becomes even more confusing to the extent that neither she nor the audience can be sure of what is happening, and this not only contributes to the mystery in AMNESIA, but heightens the tension as she tries to make sense of her world.
What truly makes AMNESIA’s tension a success is not just the infliction of amnesia on the heroine, but also on the audience itself. The heroine is nameless and says very little apart from general observations and reflections on the story so far, so she becomes an avatar in this way for the viewers; we’re free to insert ourselves into the story. This is a common element in otome games that does not often translate well into anime, but it functions well in AMNESIA due to its mystery elements. The only information revealed to the audience is what the heroine knows herself, so attempting to solve the mystery becomes even more engaging as we ourselves fill the role of the protagonist. AMNESIA becomes purposefully confusing to match the heroine’s perplexed mind, and just enough clues are dropped throughout each episode to provide us information while still feeling the heroine’s confusion. This makes filling the role of the protagonist more engrossing and, in the end, worthwhile.
Even though AMNESIA is based on an otome game, it isn’t just about dating cute boys. Its fluid animation and unique designs keep it fresh and appealing - which does help make those boys extra handsome - and while it has its light-hearted moments, its intricate mystery also keeps it suspenseful. As the heroine is just a stand-in for the audience, who become the real main characters, the mystery is even more engaging. Trying to clear the fog of the well-plotted confusion in AMNESIA could very well give you your own case of amnesia, or at least for the duration of each episode.
I’ll admit, I’m not much of a magical girl fan. Perhaps it’s just part of the anime culture that I never understood or . This includes the male equivalents of magical girl, like Ronin Warriors (Look into your heart, you know this to be true). I just didn’t understand how a combination of recycled animation and friendship were supposed to equate to a compelling story.
I’m not sure if everyone feels this way but, given the popularity of Evangelion, there is something about that concept that pulls at us on a fundamental level. This idea also presents itself in a few of my childhood favorites like Power Rangers and Big Bad Beetle Borgs.
If it seems like I’m getting off topic just hang with me while I bring it back in.
In addition to the thematic similarities everything I have mentioned have in common, Vividred Operation has something that I haven’t really seen since Dragonball: Fusions. It may seem simplistic, maybe even childish. But when it is done well it is always awesome. I’m not sure what makes for a successful recipe. In this case, maybe its the unique combination of the different fighting styles of each of the girls. Maybe it is the fact that each is a different color and when they combine the result is the combination of those colors.
I’ll stop trying to explain it like that.
Let me put it this way. I haven’t felt this way wondering about power combinations since I watched Digimon back in the day and tried to predict what each of the digimon would evolve into.
A muscle that a lot of series try to flex but very few manage to truly employ with any effect are the “holy shit” moments when they present new weapon or powers that are meant to impress. Vividred Operation has this in spades. They show you a new weapon or power and with a SINGLE glance you know that that thing is gonna tear shit up. Then you get the immediate satisfaction of seeing it do just that, often in a more impressive version of the manner you had imagined it would.
Sponsored by Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3
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