Saturday, May 18, 2013

Hitting the trail: Anime night sampler

Hey everyone, and welcome to Danny's Great Anime Adventure!

When a friend of mine first suggested I make an anime blog, my first question was "where do I start?", and I figured the best place to start is now.  That is to say, I'll start with what I'm watching right now and maybe double back for throwback posts, talking about shows I really enjoyed in the past or talk about ones that really left an impression.  But I can do more of that later.  So without further ado, let's do this thing.

So last night I was at a friend of mine's place for our weekly anime throwdown rediculousness and I brought some new shows for a tentative look at the first couple of episodes and I have to say, I got pretty lucky with the outcome.

The first show we watched was "Hataraku Maou-sama!" which translates roughly as "Work, Demon lord" or something of that nature.  I did see it translated somewhere on the net to "The Devil is a Part-timer" which I think is A) more apt and B) a lot funnier, so we'll call it that :P

So anyways, we watched the first episode of Hataraku and I have to say I was not disappointed.  Trying to keep things concise here, but the general gist is that the great demon king named Satan ruled over these five island in a separate fantasy world.  Then, led by a great hero, humans rose up and overthrew Satan.  And, in a climactic battle (which looked REALLY sweet, for what its worth), Satan and his first lieutenant, Alsiel, fled through a magic portal and wind up guessed it,

modern day Japan.  (I would just like to take a second to say that for the entire first segment, all of the characters from fantasy land were speaking some language that I can't readily identify, and I can't tell you how cool I thought that was).  So now Satan and Alsiel have to make their way in the world, battling such problems as getting a house, keeping food on the table, et cetera.

Hilarity ensues.

Afterwards we watched the first episode of "Dantalian no Shoka" or "The Mystical Archives of Dantalian".  Dantalian is an older show, from 2011, and is actually an adaptation of a light novel by Gakuto Mikumo.  The anime was adapted by GAINAX, our lord and savior, so that should speak for itself. So, Dantalian starts off in post WWI era Europe with the main character, Lord Hugh Anthony Disward, driving to his late grandfather's estates to look into his inheritance.  This includes the house and his wealth of rare books that he has collected over the years.  It is here that he meets a mysterious girl, Dalian, hanging out in his basement reading his books.

Dalian and Hugh get roped into the world of Phantom Books, special grimoires that unleash magic with terrifying consequences if read by the wrong person.

Sort of like if "Card Captors" was about books and they were ALL BY LOVECRAFT.  I hyperbolize, but you get the idea.

 Spooky, right?

In the first episode, the pair investigate the man who Dalian thinks murdered Hugh's grandfather to steal one of his Phantom Books.  This one in particular involved circus creatures, with the pair being attacked by things like a crazy, knife-wielding joker and a rampaging lion.
What do you think's in here?  An elephant?

Nope.  It's a dragon...

Like I said, Dantalian is an older show and has already completed its 12 episode run, but it is a relative favorite of my fiancee's (a bibliophile herself) and mine.

Finally, we polished off the night with "Suisei no Gargantia" or "Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet" which, in my opinion, took the gold medal for the night.  This is another new show, written by Gen Urobuchi, the writer behind Puella Magi Madoka Magica (which, if you haven't watched yet, watch, and if you haven't finished yet, finish.  Super solid show in my top 10)

The first episode starts off pretty standard fare...robots, space, war with aliens, and your main character, Ensign Ledo with the human alliance, piloting his robot, Chamber.  In Gargantia, humanity has established itself in some kind of super-colony called Avalon, a supposedly perfect utopia.  The first scene opens up with Ledo gearing up and shipping out to fight the Hideauze, a hostile race of aliens.

What I find really interesting about Avalon is the creepy dystopian feeling it gives off.  The opening monologue has a real propaganda vibe to it that is beamed to the alliance fighters via "REM hypnosis education", which sounds a hell of a lot like brainwashing if you ask me.

The second thing that gets me is where Chamber alerts Ledo that his military time has exceeded 145,000 hours, which calculates roughly to 6041.66 days, or 16.5 years.

This earns our boy LIMITED CITIZENSHIP and the right to visit Avalon for FOUR WEEKS.


Four weeks where you can sleep, eat, drink, and "reproduce" all you want.  Sixteen years for one free month seems a little crazy if you ask me.

Chamber fires infinite lasers :P

Without leaving any of us a lot of time to really think about it, the show throws us into an intense space battle against the Hideauze.  However, on the retreat, Ledo falls off course and is flung unconscious through space.

He comes to after about six months and finds himself inside of what appears to be a really rickety colony or space station, with strange people trying to take apart his mech.  After some snap decisions, an abduction, and an escape later, he gets out and discovers its mysterious origin.

Ledo has crash landed on Earth

Gargantia definitely was my top pick for the night, and possibly this season (I may delve into a few other newish shows like the Devil Survivor 2 animation).  It has a really solid cast of characters, looks amazing, and I feel like there's more to it than a boy and his robot.  I would strongly recommend Gargantia and have really high hopes for it in the future.

I'll update as I get farther into this series or start others, so keep and eye out.

Thanks for reading :)

1 comment:

  1. Awesome job danny! you did a great job setting up all three shows, i think i really need to watch that last one.