24 of 24 episodes seen
The result of this adaptation is mixed to put it favourably. There are times when this anime ascends to brilliance, but there are also sadly many instances where it falls to outright trite. One of the first problems evident is the appallingly slow pacing – the sisters arc takes 16 episodes to tell its story, whereas the original Index adaptation covered it more concisely in 4 episodes. The Index adaptation was a frenetic battle arc with well placed comedy, by comparison the Railgun adaptation drags its feet and peppers the storytelling with dull filler scenes.
Unfortunately there is a painfully high amount of filler present in Railgun S – which seems unforgivable given the amount of material they could adapt for this anime, all the more so since the moeblob (which the director likes inserting) feels so out of place in a battle shounen. Switching scenes from outright terrorism to moe-moe tripe about swimming costumes is pretty jarring.
On the plus side, the series introduces ITEM and the four episodes where they appear are some of the best seen in the animated Railgun/Index franchise. The battles with ITEM are fantastically choreographed and provide the much needed energy which so lacking throughout the rest of the series, they also provide a much needed change of characters (the Railgun anime all too often focuses on the same central group). This is followed with a fantastic newly animated battle between Accelerator and Touma, the production values are at the highest for this section of the story and it’s well worth watching that section of the story.
Unfortunately the series really nosedives in quality once the sisters arc ends. Once again, the show resorts to filler to plug the last 8 episodes, and delivers some of the most abysmally scripted rubbish you’ll ever see. It’s no exaggeration to say that these episodes rank amongst the absolute worst of all anime: the plot is contrived and predictable with mad scientists running around to conduct experiments to test powerlevels; it also introduces an awful mascot character whose presence on screen for some reason reduces other characters to cooing morons.
Worst of all, the filler arc greatly contradicts major storylines and plot devices present in the main series – quite why this happened when there is an enormous amount of excellent canonical content available for adaptation is extremely sad. Such is the immense dislike of this butchery that the fanbase have come to label it “Nagaispace” (there is even a wiki entry for this).
It’s worth mentioning that the animation has improved exponentially since the previous three series: it’s now actually presented in 720p HD; liberal use of keyframes makes everything look incredibly smooth too. Backgrounds (as usual) are well painted, and in some cases interestingly make use of hand-painted 3D models. If future Index series look this good I’ll be pretty happy.
All in all, I can’t help but feel like the manga did a much better job of telling the story; it’s a shame that overall it turned out to be such a poor production. I would hope that a subsequent series would address many of these issues – but after two weak series I’m not going to hold out much hope.
7 of 12 episodes seen
This may sound absurd, perhaps even trite - but here's the catch - it's actually incredibly fun. If you've watched (or read) some of the aforementioned mecha series, you should at least find amusement in how the mecha genre is respectfully made fun of; couple to that a great ensemble of characters who deliver various amusing lines throughout episodes, the result is a show which should keep you laughing throughout its duration.
At the centre of the series is the protagonist Itsuka Shidou who is tasked with the aforementioned role of dating invading entities. This of course leads to him quickly developing a harem of various diverse personalities, for which Shidou has his own personal radio-based command centre assisting him from afar - there is no such thing as going too far in Date a Live. As mentioned above, the characters in this are variously fantastic in different ways: thus there is much to like in the various harem members; Shidou himself is a decent harem lead, tackling things head on and taking care of his harem (which is more than can be said for most harem protagonists).
Behind the parody, comedy and harem aspects there is also a serious story about the invading entities causing mass devastation and killing millions of people. To counteract this there is (within the confined area depicted) an Anti-Spirit Team consisting of mecha-suited girls who are armed to the teeth with various weapons. This aspect gives Date a Live some nicely choreographed battle sequences, and helps to further along its lively pacing. Whilst this side of the story provides serious undertones, they seldom undermine the generally lighthearted disposition of the episodes.
The artwork for the series is particularly nice, with cute character designs that move fluidly when required; characters are also amusingly expressive in accordance with their personalities. I can't think of any instances where the animation fell off-model, which is impressive considering just how much detail is drawn on to each character - sure, this may not be KyoAni levels of detail, but it's nice to see nonetheless.
Overall, this is an entertaining show that applies a different twist to the harem genre and doesn't take itself at all seriously. It's well worth a watch if you can enjoy that sort of thing. read more
26 of 26 episodes seen
As the story progresses we get several timeskips (another bad plot device) and vague circumstances which allow for storyline padding and filler. It's frustrating to see characters suddenly switch personality purely because there has been a timeskip, particularly when characters seem to act in entire contradiction to their formerly established personalities. Without wanting to give too much away the story is very linear, shallow and predictable; characters are bland, one-dimensional and schizophrenic.
The artwork for the series is almost uniformly outstanding. Aside from some occasionally bad CG, this is one of the best looking anime series I've seen to date - characters move with incredible smoothness and detail, backgrounds are usually quite beautiful. I cannot emphasize just how good this anime looks.
If anything the artwork is what offers the series some salvation, since the gunfights are so well animated and fun to watch. If you can sit through a bad storyline, watch the series for this alone.
The English dubtrack for the series was unusually good, one of the best I've heard in a long time. Despite the ridiculous lines the actors were forced to read, they did an excellent job delivering them; almost all the actors seem to fit the roles perfectly, and considering the (mostly) American setting this is the more fitting the audio track to listen to. Kudos to Funimation and their team for doing such a good job.
Overall it's a very disappointing series let down by a poor script, but one of the most visually interesting series you'll ever see. Such is the weakness of the story that I can't really recommend this series, but instead encourage people to check out superior programmes such as Black Lagoon or Jormungand. read more
9 of 12 episodes seen
Here's the problem I have with "Another": the entire series is about unraveling a murder mystery but for the greatest part of the series no unraveling is done. Almost every conversation goes over the topic of mystery, but never is there anything developed. It's frustrating filler which has no right to be there.
The fact that conversations continuously retread the same subject matter also means that the characters are not given any development of their own - in 10 episodes there has only ever been scant development. It doesn't help that the characters are all cookie cutter clones from other series: the main character Kouichi Sakakibara is a sort of weak recreation of Keichi Maebara, but shorn of all personality; Mei Misaki is simply the typical Rei clone who mumbles something every now and then; none of the other characters are of any consequence whatsoever throughout the series - they are so mind numbingly dull and hastily introduced that you won't care when they die.
Speaking of the deaths in this series, they are all so ridiculous that they are hilarious. Accidentally self-impaling on an umbrella early on is the least silly death (I could go on but I don't want to spoil it for people who are genuinely interested in seeing them). The deaths are entirely gratuitous, so if you're looking for 'edgy' grimdark this may appeal to you.
The artwork for the series is excellent for the most part: backgrounds are lavishly drawn, characters are nicely detailed and animated. It's about the only saving grace this series has, though there were a few instances where NOPE necks were evident, and there is the broader problem that the visual style borrows liberally from Higurashi (which, incedentally I would recommend instead to anyone considering watching this).
The audio work for the series was... mixed. The OP theme by Ali Project is simply terrible, completely out of setting for such a series; the OST was very nicely composed, however it was extremely poorly inserted into the series itself - often score pieces seemed completely out of place, a prime example being when characters are sitting idly in a car whilst a suspense cue plays... but nothing happens. It's entirely out of keeping, however I would recommend people look up the OST when it gets released whereupon it may be better appreciated.
Overall I'd give this 5/10. It's a shame to do so, but ultimately the series is let down by an extremely weak story and a weak set of characters who undergo no development. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
Innocence is a film that will appeal to some people, but others will either find the story too lacking or smothered with philosophical guff. To be perfectly honest I found the story to be extremely simplistic and shallow, there really isn't much depth here unless if you look to the quotation of classics or philosophy as depth. Almost all of the dialogue in the film is devoted to quotation, it becomes quite tedious after a while - not least because there isn't much necessary framing for those quotations.
The supposed point this endless quoting is to question artificial concepts that have no real bearing on our world, so it ultimately feels rather pointless.
Visually the film is... inconsistent. The 2D artwork is beautiful and fluidly animated, yet it is constantly at odds with ugly 3DCG artwork. Normally I wouldn't be quite so bothered about this, my complaint here is that excessive screen time given to ugly 3DCG panoramas and sweeping shots of things-which-aren't-very-interesting. Long story short, Innocence is not as visually impressive as the first GITS film.
It's a shame that this is such a disappointing film, but if you really want to try something deep try reading the many works cited in this film. read more
7 of 24 episodes seen
Gosick is not a particularly strong detective series - the detective work is generally summarized by Victorique in 1 minute out of a 60 minute story arc, and whatever clues she alludes to are invariably invisible to the viewer. In spite of this Gosick is actually an extremely enjoyable show to watch: the drama works very well and the characters are extremely likeable (ridiculous hairstyles aside).
The story begins with Kujo, a foreign student arriving from Japan to study in the Alps who is quickly cast aside as a pariah by his fellow students. Being completely friendless, he goes to the library to discover the Rapunzel-like Victorique who is only allowed to live within the confines of the library.
At first Victorique regards Kujo as a means to alleviate her boredom, but as time progresses they sneak away for secret adventures... I shalln't give too much away, but the relationship which develops between the pair is particularly charming.
Special mention should be given to the artwork of Gosick. Throughout the series scenes are populated with richly detail backgrounds and finely animated characters - it's a pleasant and rare luxury not to see any cut corners with the animation.
In short then, the strong aspects outlined above more than make up for the shortcomings of the detective story. I wouldn't say this is essential viewing by any means, but it is nevertheless an enjoyable diversion. read more