Winter 2013/14 First Impressions: D-Frag!, Noragami, Buddy Complex, Mahou Sensou, Pupa
Unfortunately, I didn’t really have time for anime watching in the past season. I caught up to a few series (Tokyo Ravens, Unbreakable Machine-doll, Golden Time, Little Busters!: Refrain) in December, but that’s pretty much it. Despite my high hopes for Fall 2013, nothing was exceptionally good. Now, it is time for new beginnings as the January 2014 season begins! In this part of my first impressions, I’ll talk in a few words about D-Frag!, Noragami, Buddy Complex, Mahou Sensou and Pupa.
Some time ago, by chance, I read a few chapters of a manga called D-Frag! I quite liked it, but as it almost always happens to me, I read it for a day and forgot about it. Now, after the new anime season began, I was surprised to find D-Frag! anime adaptation on the list of airing series. Somehow, it managed to slip through without me even knowing about it.
It certainly did not disappoint me. The characters were lovable, the comedy was funny and the story looks promising. Kenji Kazama, a self-proclaimed delinquent 1st-year high-school guy was wandering around school with his two friends (also “delinquents”), thinking of a way to become recognized as the bad guys. However, when they see smoke in the corridor, Kenji immediately runs to extinguish the fire producing the smoke. That was either the best or the worst decision of his life. Around the fire are 4 girls, having fun with fireworks. The girls decide to erase the delinquents’ memories, but only succeed with Kenji’s friends: Nagayama and Yokoshima. For Kenji they have another plan.
The girls are actually party of the Game Creation Club, which is about to be closed due to lack of members. Therefore, they force Kenji to join them. After half the episode of running after him and using rather violent persuasion methods, they finally give up. By chance, Kenji manages to fall out of a window, and the president of the club, Roka Shibasaki, saves him together with her friends. He then feels indebted to the girls and hands in his application to join the club.
There’s strong suggestion to a developing romance between Kenji and Roka. Of course it won’t go so easily, because there are 3 other violent people around them, but I’m sure they will end up together at the end of the anime. Kana Hanazawa as the voice actor of Roka is also something I’m happy about – she is my favourite female VA after all.
Though not by a lot, Noragami seems to be more serious than D-Frag! The story talks about an unknown god named Yato, who is working hard to become the most famous god. While trying to find a lost cat, he gets a human girl involved. Hiyori Iki, the girl, was walking home with her friends, when she suddenly saw Yato run in from of a car. Instinctively, she pushed him out of the way, but got hit herself. She did not die. Instead, she got stuck between the “Near Shore” (the world of the living) and the “Far Shore” (the afterlife).
Now Hiyori keeps accidentally slipping out of her body, wondering around in her spirit form, with a wagging tail behind her. She even ends up helping Yato defeat a monster from the “Far Shore” and gives a 5-yen offering to him in return for fixing her new out-of-body experience problem.
Being honest, I find Noragami excellent. It has a potentially great story, which hasn’t been ruined by anything stupid yet. The overall serious theme is lightened up by funny actions of the characters and the funny character designs during otherwise dramatic situations. I find that approach interesting and thus will definitely continue watching this anime. It is probably the anime that I look forward to the most this season.
Another thing I noticed about the Winter 2013/2014 season is the amount of mecha anime. There are way more of those than usually. Normally I wouldn’t be happy about it, but for some reason, I’ve started liking a least some of the mecha genre representations. Anyway, Buddy Complex belongs to that category.
Aoba Watase is an energetic high-school guy. He has good friends, good athletic skills and even a girl who obviously has a crush on him. One day, a robot appears from the sky and starts attacking Aoba. With no real chance to defend, Aoba tries escaping a bicycle. On the way, the girl who has a crush on him, Hina Yumihara, tells him to follow her motorcycle. She ends up entering another robot and defeating the mecha that was attacking Aoba. Hina reveals that she and the pilot of the defeated mecha are both from the future, and she has actually been watching over Aoba this whole time, knowing that something like this will happen.
The defeated mecha comes back to life, though, and the pilot (who knows both Hina and Aoba) activates the self-destruction mechanism. The only way to survive is to use the same “hole” that the intruder came from – a portal to the future. In the process, the evil pilot disintegrates with his mecha, and so does Hina. Only Aoba is transferred to the future, where some kind of war is going on, and where the name Dio is Aoba’s only clue.
Buddy Complex does not appear very serious, but it is not a comedy either. I expect the story development to be quite average, as in nothing special. On the other hand, I am interested what the future Aoba is like – it is suggested that he is/was some famous hero. All in all, Brother Complex reminded me a bit of Suisei no Gargantia with the transfer to another time – just done in reverse. I’ll probably stick with the series for some time.
Now here’s the real disappointment of the season for me. Before I actually watched the first episode of Mahou Sensou (Magical Warfare), I had very high hopes for it, and thought it would be the “anime of the season” for me. Instead, I get another anime with violent reactions to even stupider “misunderstandings”. That’s right, Takeshi Nanase, another normal high-schooler, ends up involved in the magical world. That happens after a Mui Aiba, a magician, accidentally kisses and then shoots him with a magical gun. Being harmed by magic before reaching adult age apparently turns you into a magician.
I would find this okay, if not for Takeshi’s two friends (out of whom one is his girlfriend) sharing the same fate and becoming magicians too. Mui’s very annoyingly apologetic and indecisive attitude was the icing on the cake of disappointment. I’m not dropping this anime just yet – I ought to give it another chance because of my initial expectations, but for now, I’d put it in the lower half of my airing anime rankings. Bonus points for the eye power, though – I’ll add 0.5 to the score for that.
If I found Mahou Sensou annoying, then this – I’m not even sure how to react. Pupa was the most confusing ~4 minutes of anime time that I have had in a while. A seemingly normal girl named Yume Hasegawa wants to go home with her brother Utsutsu, who looks like he was just in a fight with a bear. He tells her to wait in the park. Yume nods and heads there. On the way, she meets a strange woman with a zombie cat. The woman tells her to go home before she sees red butterflies.
A few moments later we see Yume being amazed at the beauty of the red butterflies. When her brother comes to the park, he finds Yume on the ground. He asks her, what’s wrong and at that moment something rips her stomach apart from the inside. In just a short time, the normal girl turns into a huge red monster that has blood dripping from its jaw.
This short episode really reminded me of Mars of Destruction – not sure if it was in a good or in a bad way. The attention span required was the same, though. What I am sure about, is the censorship. Why would you censor the biggest event of such a short episode? They did not even have time for any introduction or background info – the anime leaped straight into the bizarre action. I’m going to continue watching this, if not because I liked it, then simply to understand what happened and what I just saw.
Posted on January 11, 2014, in Anime, First impressions, TV and tagged aiba, anime, aoba, buddy, complex, d-frag, dio, first impression, hasegawa, hina, hiyori, iki, kazama, kenji, magical, mahou, mui, nanase, noragami, pupa, roka, sensou, shibasaki, takeshi, TV, utsutsu, warfare, watase, winter 2014, yato, yume, yumihara. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.