Review-Roundup: Magimoji Rurumo 01, Zankyou no Terror 01, Persona 4: Golden 01
Instead of regretting that he has been a misogynistic pervert his entire life so far, he’s lamenting the fact that DESPITE that no girl has ever liked him. Yep… Magimoji Rurumo sure knows how to sell tragedies.
So far, I think I plan to blog Aldnoah.Zero, Zankyou no Terror and Akame ga Kill!. Persona 4: Golden may also be interesting but only if it can prove its existence with plot-twists and whatnot. But here are my first impressions for the following three series:
Magimoji Rurumo: A despicable pervert is stuck in a life of devoid of girls (and rightly so), but one day a witch appears before him since he had incidentally summoned her via some ritual. Then he stops her from saving his life while sacrificing her own because within minutes he had started to like her for some nonsense-reason. Then, a year or so later, she comes back and he has now a whole ticket-book with which he can order the girl to do magic. But then the talking cat informs him that when he used up all of those, he will die (… definitely, I mean, it’s kinda similar to the previous situation). But she doesn’t know that he will die this time around as well once more… And… It’s a fucking mess, guys!
Zankyou no Terror: Two weirdos with too much freetime do terrorist-stuff (without killing anyone) and a timid girl who’s also a bully-victim with serious anxiety-issues gets (more or less) dragged into their affairs. Also! A soundtrack by Yoko Kanno! (Yay!)
Persona 4: Golden: It’s Persona 4, but Yu is better at kicking ass and he has now an amnesiac tsundere-girl to take care of. Of course, this deserves a 1-cour-long anime series!
Magimoji Rurumo 01
Thank God we finally have a series like this one! Finally, we know what manliness is all about. It’s all about ravaging the female body… I guess. Or at least, that’s what this anime wants you to think. Well, actually it doesn’t want you to think about that, it just goes ahead and acts like that’s the truth. You want to be a man? Then you better commit all the sexual crimes leading up to rape, because fuck women consent!
Many animes have certain undertones and they’re called ecchi or even hentai, but this one doesn’t care. This first episode just doesn’t care! If you ever had doubts whether animes are too perverted, well, here’s your proof! This anime is just an abysmal effort to turn a pervert into a hero.
I don’t even give a shit that this is an episode that glorifies being a total pervert as a teenager. The problem is… well, the first of many, I guess… the first problem is the fact that this episode’s characterization of the main-chara just doesn’t make sense. Sora no Otoshimono had the same problem but it had a hammy but somewhat reasonable plothook for the more serious story-bits. So, when that series wanted to go nuts with perverted undertones, it was an obviously silly affair, whereas the more dramatic scenes were obviously very different from those silly scenes in pretty much every regard (doesn’t mean it was a good series, just that it was better than this first episode).
The way this first episode approaches its pervert-humor while turning the main-chara into some sort of hero is simply demented. It’s the most stupid shit you will have seen all year! Mostly, because it doesn’t make ANY sense! Get this: Here’s a male teenager who wants to be loved by girls. He JUST wants to have a girlfriend (but only one that is cute and beautiful, of course). But all the girls in his life HATE him. “Why?!”, you may ask. Well, he flipped skirts in elementary school, he was known for having a ton of porn and his behavior wasn’t his Sunday-best.
He wants a girlfriend SO badly… and he KEEPS doing perverted shit! How the fuck does this make ANY sense?!
I guess, it’s only thanks to the blatant, uninspired perverseness of this episode that this has really become an issue for me. I know, that a ton of animes try to play this type of bullshit as lighthearted humor but none have been that oblivious and obvious about it at the same time! Neither the series’ original writer Wataru Watanabe nor the series’ director Chikara Sakurai got it! NEITHER of them seems to have any talent for storytelling whatsoever! That, or the latter couldn’t handle the demands for fanservice from the big-shots and just delivered a VERY fucked up story for a first episode.
And the plot…! For fuck’s sake…! It’s horrible, fucking horrible! I’m not even talking about the content, I mean, that stuff is horrible anyway, but the storytelling…! Holy shit, I didn’t even know you can get away with this type of shit… well, I guess you can and there are always a couple stinkers each year that are just unbelievably bad as far as animes are concerned. But this first episode didn’t have any sense of pacing, character, drama and so on and so on… If someone told me that it was just a bunch of poorly improvised lines from voice-actors – I would believe it! There’s no structure to this insanity! Stuff just happens! Seriously, this episode does time-jumps, plot-twists, romance, humor and character-developments with the elegance of a rhinoceros!
This abomination of a first episode is fucking shit! Scratch that, it’s the WORST shit you will have seen all season!
Zankyou no Terror 01
I really have no idea who they want to bring those two into the action. They really seem to be exiled from whatever responsibility and influence they used to have.
The most interesting part about this first episode is how it lacked any sense of morality. Usually a story would reward good deed and punish bad ones or show a twisted version where the opposite seems to be true. But typically actions are judged by a story in some way even before the audience judges them. Some character will make a point about what certain actions stand for, even before the audience is often given the chance to form their own opinion. What this episode does, though, is to let things simply happen. The way this episode develops seems almost predetermined.
This episode has neither heroes nor villains really. The dynamic between the characters is very subtle and quiet. There’s this sense of rigidity to how the plot develops until the final moments. There are a lot of scenes inside small rooms and even outside from those, there’s often this sense of dominance where society seems to enforce its dynamics. Just the way Nine and Twelve arrive in their classes as transfer-students: Twelve is drenched and yet nobody openly scolds him and Nine immediately gets dragged into the social environment of the class as these girls just swarm him.
Characters always appear to be confined by the society around them. You have the ex-detective with his partner sitting in a very tiny crammed room, you have Nine and Twelve dealing with the overwhelming attention of their classmates and then you have Lisa.
I would say, that Lisa is actually the focus of this first episode. Her feeling of confinement expresses itself very blatantly in the way she always looks for toilet-stalls to hide in. But it never seems like a need to escape that brings her to these places because even when she’s in this confined space she doesn’t feel safe or relieved. Her environment is pushing her into these tiny spaces and Lisa doesn’t seem to have the ability to fight back against this oppression.
It becomes especially obvious in the scene at the pool where she’s bullied by girls. Nothing she does there is of her own free will. The bullies basically tell her what she’s supposed to say and it’s also interesting how the bullies talk about her wants and needs for her. That’s where this sense of control comes into play that seems to define society in this first episode.
Nine and Twelve are the terrorists the story revolves around. Although, I have to say that the whole 9/11-imagery going on in this episode was rather strange, even a bit disquieting and it depends on what the series will do in the future but that’s quite a thematic burden to pick up. You need to have VERY smart writing to sell terrorism as something you can get behind (as far as this series’ story is concerned). That’s why I hope that the motivations for Nine and Twelve’s actions are revealed pretty soon. It isn’t enough to show that those two try to avoid hurting people with their terrorist-acts. There needs to be a purpose to these actions and that doesn’t even have to be character-driven, it can be an idea or a philosophy. The important thing is that this is a VERY ambitious series in the way it has started with this episode and that means the series will have to meet pretty lofty expectations with its script and direction.
The ending of this episode gives a glimpse of what this series will likely be about: freedom. For the entire episode Lisa has been pushed around by her environment and even pushed into those toilet-stalls where she freaks out by herself. Nine gives her a choice for the first time and Lisa makes a choice by becoming their accomplice. But this freedom isn’t one of self-realization within society, the way Nine and Twelve show off freedom is a very isolationist attitude. They become social pariahs for the sake of doing what they want. And when Nine lectures Twelve about their cover he always uses this generalizing “They” for the people they basically hide from. Nine and Twelve draw a clear line between themselves and everyone else. And it happens to the point where they act like aliens looking in from the outside on human society (ha, maybe they actually turn out to be escaped aliens!). Those aren’t really heroes but they aren’t villains either. It’s definitely an interesting start!
Persona 4: Golden 01
Did they really need to make her such a tsundere? That whole spiel gets old REALLY fast…
At this point it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s gonna be a new Persona 4 anime for each romantic route you can take in the game. Seriously, what the hell is this thing doing on TV as a full-fledged series? Persona 4 already had an anime-adaptation! I mean, what’s the message here? ‘Guys, this first anime… it wasn’t great… so let’s make another one!’ or ‘Guys, this first anime was THE most amazing thing to have ever graced anyone’s TV-screen… so let’s make another one!’ or ‘Who doesn’t like money?! I tell you: Nobody… so let’s make another one!’ or ‘Guys, instead of making a new series – let’s just make the same series AGAIN! … so let’s make another one!’. All these are likely interpretations of what the motivation for this series could be. Honestly, even imagining any of those to be true, I’m rather mystified by the decision.
Persona 4… well, the first anime, wasn’t a great series but it was good. Its strengths were clearly its characters that had some really good banter going on. Persona 4 is an ensemble-series actually considering how its best moments all rely on multiple characters of the cast playing verbal ping-pong with each other. And this episode definitely foregoes any sort of serious introduction with the assumption that everybody already knows who the characters are.
And it’s in those banter-scenes that the first difference becomes apparent: Yu is slightly different from how he was portrayed at the beginning of the first anime-series. He still has a penchant for deadpanning but now there’s an almost cocky undertone to it and he seems much more self-confident in the way he acts.
Also, his first encounter with his Persona and the shadows shows him easily overcoming a ridiculously large opposition. To use videogame-terminology, this feels like New-Game+ Yu. This is a character who’s way more powerful than he has any right to be story-wise. In a videogame, a new-game+ refers to how you would restart a game with all of the experience-points, levels, abilities and whatnot intact from the end of the previous game while replaying the game at a higher difficulty. That’s how Yu’s self-confidence and power feels to me. And he also has this sudden headaches with weird sound-effects attached to them speaking of some plot-twist that probably tries to establish that this series isn’t just completely rehashing the first adaptation.
The other thing this series seems to focus on is Marie. She’s basically given to Yu by Igor in the Velvet Room with the hope that he will protect and guide her while she experiences the outside world for the first time. It’s kinda problematic how she’s just handed over like an object and that she doesn’t have any apparent agency in this matter. And it doesn’t help either that she’s a typical tsundere, showing signs of ‘cute’ embarrassment while verbally abusing Yu. She also has amnesia because everyone knows that taking someone’s memories away definitely makes them more interesting. After all toddlers are just brimming with meaningful character-drama.
But I’ve said that Persona 4 (the first series) wasn’t perfect and it doesn’t seem like this episode has delivered any solutions for my actual problems. The battles are the first one because they were stylish with their imagery but the dullest part of each episode. This one, even though it was kinda cool how ridiculously epic the fight got, was more tedious to watch than exciting. These videogame-adaptations seldom find a way to convert the battle-system into a dramatic version that’s exciting even without any player-input. But these adaptations always try too hard to stay faithful in some fashion to the battle-system in the videogame. That kind of stuff just doesn’t work in a TV-series (or a movie)! What it does instead, is just end up being an obvious reference to the videogame – and nothing else. Just referencing something NEVER works for a series or a movie, when it’s supposed to be part of a story’s drama.
So, I’m interested to see what plottwists this series comes up with to justify its existence but I don’t feel like this one will be better than the first Persona 4 series. Instead, it has the appearance of just offering ‘more Persona 4’ and if you like Persona 4, you will probably like this new series as well. Instead of reinventing its formula, Persona 4 Golden just expands it without changing its basic ingredients.
Posted on July 11, 2014, in Anime, Magimojo Rurumo, Persona 4: Golden - The Animation, Reviews, Zankyou no Terror and tagged Anime, まじもじるるも, Magimoji Rurumo, Persona 4, Persona 4: Golden, reviews, Terror in Resonance, Zankyō no Terror, 残響のテロル. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.