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8 of 12 episodes seen
Manyuu Hikenchou (MH) is fan-service and ecchi to the maximum. It is a big improvement over Omamori Himari and B Gata H Kei in that regard. Get ready for bouncing breasts...but there's also a plot and some good characters. MH is also a comedy, so expect some jokes that work well due to pretty great timing. MH also explores the unfairness of a particular caste system, and the main girl is fighting against this injustice. The female lead in MH has great morals and ideals, which makes this series a strong choice for idealists.
The two female mains have Yui Hirasawa and Mugi-chan's voice actors, so this is a good show if you liked Yui and/or Mugi in K-ON! as much as I did.
In the world of MH (which takes place in feudal Japan), breast size means everything. Huge breasts signify wealth and prosperity. Small breasts are looked down upon and seen as worthless. It is a pretty good setup for this type of series. The main character, Chifusa, has big breasts, but she is morally against the unfair cast system.
Chifusa is actually part of the Manyuu clan, which enforces the breasts-above-all doctrine, but she rebels from the clan, due to their unfair practices. She starts a journey to share the clan's secrets of a bigger size with everyone in Japan.
Chifusa gets a ton of development, unlike most anime characters! Her size increases every episode due to using the Breast Flow swordfighting technique, which reduces the opponents breast size and increases hers by the same amount.
MH is an episodic series, in which Chifusa helps people in need (or gets help for herself) around Japan. Meanwhile, the people of the manyuu clan are mad and Chifusa rebelling, so they come after her.
This story is not outstanding, but the above elements work well to create a decent narrative. There is a good setup for the fan catering and comedy. There are some completely absurd plot twists around the halfway point, which keeps the score of the story low at 5
The cast is enjoyable in this one. Manyuu has great ideals for a society that doesn't judge, making her a very solid protagonist. Kotobui Minako (the voice of Mugi in K-ON!) adds a lot of believability to this character. She is portrayed effectively as someone with a heart of gold. Chifusa's traveling partner is Kaede, voiced by Toyosaki Aki (also Yui Hirasawa in K-ON!). Similar to K-ON!, there is a lot of playful banter between the main characters. Kaede lost her breasts (due to another samurai using Breast Flow), so she is jealous of Chifusa for that. But she cares deeply about her childhood friend Chifusa.
The other characters change throughout the episodes, and none are too memorable. You've got old town elders that love breasts, little kids that miss their mom's, even more perverted guys, and more girls with big breasts. They usually have funny dialogue, and overall are good characters
Art and Sound (6 and 7):
The art and sound work well, although they aren't the best in the medium. The animation is fluid, although it is hard to judge quality (due to watching the Kira webcast version)
Sound gets a 7, largely due to the main characters' voices. This is the only combination of the Yui and Mugi voice actors outside of K-ON! and Hatsukoi Limited, so value is very high for this. The music works well, and the voices of the side characters are funny. The male characters are usually serious in a very comedic way. The music doesn't stand out, but it is decent.
I'm enjoying the ridiculousness of this whole thing. What surprised me is the comedy. The jokes are far from sophisticated, but the timing is very good. Despite having a decent story, this anime is not taken too seriously at times. It is mostly joking about tits (obviously), and there are also some lesbian jokes, as well. Shows like B Gata H Kei and Baka to Test don't have complex humor either, so Manyuu fits right in with those.
The anime's fan service is great, and it is well above any other non-hentai I've seen. Lots of exposed breasts in the webcast version. There are a lot of gimmicks with a ton of fan-service, as well. One of the villages has a bouncing breast contest, which is executed well. In another episode, a group of warriors fights an octopus, which is an opportunity for tentacle scenes (and jokes about the tentacle scene). There is also a group of kids who are addicted to their mother's boobs, so they shove their face in the girl's boobs. Meanwhile, the two main characters make jokes while all of these things happen. It is all done in a very slick way. Overall, the fanservice is very enjoyable, and way better than any other title airing today.
There are some ridiculous plot twists, which lowers the enjoyment from a perfect 10. Episode 6 has a completely ridiculous confrontation between Chifusu and her sister, which left me scratching my head. Overall, though, this is an above average enjoyment title, especially compared to other currently airing series.
Manyuu Hikenchou is a solid mix of fan-service, comedy, and social commentary (on the injustice of the breast size caste system). This is by no means a masterpiece, but it is a solid show if you are looking for ecchi/comedy, or if you like Yui and Mugi in K-ON!
Overall: 7 read more
24 of 24 episodes seen
Unfortunately, SG isn't as thrilling as Code Geass and Kaiji, and it doesn't have the comedy, romance or charm factor of most good romance/dramas.
The story has a lot of interesting sci-fi concepts. The little laboratory team has a machine that can send text messages to the past. If the receiver of the message in the past acts upon the message and significantly changes the past, the future is changed as well. Later on, there is a machine that sends memories to the past. That is also very cool.
The text message machine raises a few questions. If the text messages change the past, only the things affected by the message are different from the previous reality in the SG world. If one rewrites ("shuffles") history and changes world lines, shouldn't many things overall in the world get shuffled and changed? If you shuffle a deck of cards, will they be in the same order as before you shuffled them? Even things not affected by the text message shouldn't be the same, if the world is rewritten. This is just one example of the logic gaps or questions in Steins; gate.
The outline of the plot is good. An evil organization, SERN, has learned about the time machine, and they are trying to take it over so they can rule the world under a police state. In episode 12, there is a great plot twist that really gets the story moving. There is a promising outline for a story, which progresses after Episode 12.
However, almost everything before episode 12 is so boring, and drags horribly. In one episode, the lab team sits in front of a computer for 20 minutes, which is very unexciting. The first 11 episodes are filled with bad attempts at humor from the cliched members of the lab team. The second half picks up the pace, but it is dragged down by the dramatic harem, where the male lead helps each girl in need. The harem in SG is weak because it does not match the thriller genre, and the romance is average at best.
SG finally gets thrilling in the last couple episodes, and ends very nicely. Overall, the SG story is good, but with a lot of wasted potential.
The best character in SG is the male lead, Okabe. He plays the mad scientist role very well. He likes to stir things up with the other lab members and make some jokes. He pretends to call on his phone, which is usually funny. He is a crazy eccentric, which works. Despite being head of the science lab, he is sometimes as dumb as the average harem lead. But overall, Okabe is a solid character.
The problem is the rest of the characters. Instead of a female lead with personality, we get a textbook tsundere (Christina) instead. She caters to the Toaru Majutsu no Index fanbase. If you've seen many tsundere series, you may be tired of the stale act after the first couple of episodes.
The fat male assistant, Daru, provides pandering jokes (about having "2-D waifus" and the like). His jokes feel really out of place most of the time. The other female main is the same as Shiro from Deadman Wonderland, and she adds nothing to the series.
The side charactes are even worse. There is a cat maid, which is really out of place in this sci-fi series. Even more out of place is the boy dressed in drag, who has a crush on the mad scientist. The characters are harem-style, which does not fit in a good sci-fi story. Okabe's interactions with the girls (and guy) is really awkward in the second half, with a lot of ridiculous drama. One of the lowest points of the series is Okabe going on a date with the trap, which does not fit the "thriller" label.
There is some very good interaction between Okabe and Christina throughout this series, but the rest is annoying. 6 is a high score for an average cast like this.
Art and sound: (7 and 8)
The art is a strong point of SG. The characters are drawn very well and are attractive. There are some well-done special effects for when time traveling machines are used. The art looks good, although it is similar to many other series. But the dark atmosphere is conveyed well.
The sound is great. Okabe's voice actor (Miyano Mamoru, best known as Yagami Light of Death Note) does a great job of voicing the mad scientist. Christina's voice is also excellent. The soundtrack works well with the plot and setting, although none of the tracks are memorable.
The emotional aspect of SG comes through very well at times. In the middle of the series, Okabe repeatedly goes back in time to save his best friend, Mayushi, and fails each time. Okabe has to watch her die many times, which is very sad and depressing. Also, the romance between Okabe and the girl he confesses to is done well. It's far from the best romantic relationships in anime, but it works well. The romance/drama is one of SG's stronger qualities, as expected from a VN adaptation.
The negative for enjoyment is that SG is not thrilling, except for a few episodes. Some of that is due to the time-travel setup. If Okabe messes up, he can just rewind and try again an unlimited number of times. It is more thrilling when a characters actions have consequences. For example, if Kaiji (from the Ultimate Survivor Kaiji series) messes up one of his gambles, he'll die or spend the rest of his life in a forced labor camp!!! In SG, the character can just press the reset button. The time travel in SG is better for emotions than thrills. Some of the logical leaps in the final episodes were cringe-worthy, as well.
Overall, Steins; Gate is a good series, but it is very overrated. It has some good points, but it is not a masterpiece. Other series (particularly Noein and The Tatami Galaxy) have used time travel better, without weak characters and plot holes. SG's strongest points are interesting sci-fi concepts, Okabe's character, and some of the romance/drama. However, several flaws keep this down to a 7 in my book.
Overall: 7 read more