Review-Roundup: Shinmai Maou no Testament 01, Kantai Collection 01

[C12] Shinmai Maou no Testament - 01.mp4 - 00001Ah, romance… It really DOES come in all shapes and forms, doesn’t it?

This time I review:

Shinmai Maou no Testament 01: Some dude wishes to have cute little sisters. A couple years later he gets those. Turns out his wish has turned into a sexual fetish (or that’s how it feels like) that now finally becomes real! Except his two cute little sisters turn out to be demons! Luckily he’s a man amongst men which means he’s a hero and that means he has the right to force those two girls to fall in love with him!

Kantai Collection 01: Girls play war because how will Japan hunt whales for “research” if weird evil beings occupy the whole fucking ocean…? But it turns out it’s all fun and games with these girls who go out into the ocean impersonating ancient ships. They are real method-actors and so are more than ready to deliver lame one-liners and act all moe-like to please an audience who doesn’t give a shit about history.

Shinmai Maou no Testament 01 Review:

[C12] Shinmai Maou no Testament - 01.mp4 - 00003You’d think this is the moment where that scene gets weird/fanservice-y but no, the weird moment is the girl actually being shocked about provoking that sort of reaction from the dude after waking him up like that. This girl is seducing the guy and being disgusted by him answering those advances AT THE SAME TIME! That doesn’t make any sense!

I’m not even angry. It isn’t even trash. Instead it’s a pile of trash. But if the series wants to go that far then why should I even still care about what atrocities are happening that far down the rabbithole? The series is garbage, no question about it. I don’t need to see more than this episode to tell anyone that. The interesting thing is really just to figure out what kind of warped worldview is fueling this abomination and boy, this episode certainly doesn’t disappoint in that regard.

The series opens with a dad and his son, both covered in scars that wait in a café. It turns out that the dad is remarrying. What are they talking about? The son’s biological mother? The need of the father to move on? How his life will be changing because of this? Nope, it’s nothing of that sort. What that scene is really concerned with is that the son really wanted a cute little sister when he was like 8 or so. Yep, because when 8-year-olds say they want a sister you naturally take them serious. But hey, this is an anime, incest IS an option and you gotta remember that thanks to Dad that boy now has the chance to fuck his sister without “really” committing an act of incest. Of course, the boy denies it all. He’s a teenager so of course he’s horny, insecure and virginal. You might say that every teenage boy has HIV but that’s misleading so let’s not do that. The point is: It turns out that our main-dude DOES still care about getting a cute little sister.

And boy does he get one! He goes to the restroom of the restaurant and there he already meets his new sister halfway undressed. Then he proceeds to do something what can only be described as the most oblivious prelude to a rape-scene. She slaps him for it as if it was just another generic fanservice-scene. Does she hate him at that point? Yes, she does. And it’s the start of their romantic relationship. If you think nothing’s wrong with that, you should watch this series.

Of course nobody cares. This isn’t your typical post-modern drama-series which actually gives a shit about women. After all, men are heroes! Why would any women protest to be fucked by a hero? So of course it’s all done as big joke. And of course nobody in this episode even remarks upon why the main-dude has more scars than the Joker in The Dark Knight. He’s a dude, dudes have scars, dudes can be heroes but women… women are just trouble. And those women are incapable of dealing with said trouble actually – unless some dude helps them out. Thankfully these two women have met our main-dude who will fuck them and be their brother… not in that order necessarily but something along those lines, I imagine.

It’s never a good sign when you can look at the story the first episode of a series presents and destroy the whole thing by just asking ‘Why?’. Nothing in this episode makes sense. This episode has the sort of barebones-storytelling you either will see in fanfiction or scripts no one ever gave a shit about: In those cases the writer is basically just projecting juvenile wish-fulfillment onto a page. This doesn’t have to be a pervy wish-fulfillment, it’s really just a writer vomiting on a page without thinking about depth, complexity or the audience. Sure, with something generic like this there will be some hardcore-Otakus who will love this and then there are those who just don’t know better. The really important thing is that this episode neither is written for any sort of audience nor does it reflect the writer’s creative intent. This series neither rolls the dice with creative choices nor does it even reflect the present. They could’ve made this anime in the 80s and it wouldn’t have been anything other than mediocre back then.

So the whole thing is trash, mediocre trash actually. Nobody never gave a shit about the thing or that’s how it feels like at least. And I would be happy to end there with my complaints about this but actually this first episode does some more fundamental mistakes as well. There are a couple scenes in this episode that are simply nonsensical. In one scene the main-dude is woken up by one of his sisters sitting on his crotch while talking about “servicing” him in the morning – but then she’s disgusted by his hard-on and hates him for accidentally falling on her. Normally I would call this fanservice but if even the characters in the show aren’t really aware of what’s going on then you really shouldn’t expect for anyone to buy into this shit-scenario.

Of course you could also always go back to how the main-dude immediately considered the two main-girls to be his family (despite wanting to fuck one of them) and the episode made it a point for the main-dude to save their lives despite the failed mind-control-attempt. For fuck’s sake, this series doesn’t even bother to have a story! And having read the synopsis: don’t get me started on this contract-bullshit that will come up in the next episode probably… This series’ story is garbage but this episode even manages to be even worse than that.

Episode-Rating: 4.0/10

Kantai Collection 01 Review:

[C12] Kantai Collection - 01.mp4 - 00000I guess, this is this series’ lame attempt to “nuke the fridge”. And just like when Indiana Jones And The Crystal Skull did it, I was more confused than anything else about why anyone would just throw such a moment into the first act.

Japan and history: Animes rarely aim for accuracy when it comes to these two topics. Kantai Collection is probably the best example of such a thing. I mean, it’s not like animes have never done something like this before. Girls und Panzer, Hetalia and all those countless examples of WWII-ships being turned into cute spirits: Animes, much like Japan, don’t really try to be historical when it comes to discussing the 20th-century-past. Instead you get series like this one where certain facts get fetishized or moe-ified in this case.

This series does have its own setting as well, though. The Abyssals are presented as an enemy that controls the oceans of the world. More than that, the admiral who commands the good guys is the only guy in this scenario. Everyone else is a girl: The Abyssals as well as the ships are all girls. And the episode actually does make one interesting choice in never showing the admiral who would be the only guy. You only see him in passive, silent roles before the “camera” would cut away to another scene. Technically you only see girls in this episode and while one of the girls actually does interact with the admiral the episode never actually shows that dialogue.

So it’s an all-girls-series apparently but that doesn’t mean the number of characters introduced in this episode is low. In fact, there are way too many characters in this first episode for any of them to make an impact. Naturally they all have a distinguished personality (considering how popular those characters are in Japan) but this episode does little to turn all that into a compelling presentation of what this show has to offer.

This is one of those multi-layered shows that aren’t really complex but instead are simply incohesive in how they spread their attention between various character-types. On one level you’ve got the battles. A voice-over narrative explains to you that the Abyssals are bad and some cute girls are there to kick their asses. On another level you’ve got cute girls just being themselves around each other which lead to a lighthearted or melodramatic clash of personalities.

And the good girls are the spirits of famous ships. So there’s some gimmicky catchphrase/character-work going on that reflects the personality of the battles those ships are famous for. Personally I don’t really care about this sort of moe-ification of history and I don’t really see a point in that so… yeah, that part of this series does nothing for me. Then there are the battle-scenes. Girls with weaponry fire related-to-their-background-weapons at the Abyssals and it’s all flashy without a lot of substance and style. Well, actually, there’s some style present in the battle-scene of this first episode. The battle-scenes try to evoke images of WWII-scenes and the explosion of an atomic bomb. Just like that, some summoned plane drops something that looks like a nuclear bomb. So yeah, stylish but not in any way what I really care for. You need to do a whole lot more to make scenes like that one work. It’s a fucking battle and it never even felt tense or dangerous. And the heroism-moment of the episode wasn’t very good either because of that.

The other side of the coin is the girly stuff. Naturally I don’t think any girl would or should act like those girls in this series but yeah, it’s moe-melodrama-time or at least that’s what I was thinking while watching this episode. Way too many broadly-written characters are presented to the audience-stand-in who isn’t a great character herself. I have NO idea who’s who in this series. This episode has thrown SO many characters at the audience without giving any one of them a individualistic personality. Well, or I guess, you could say that they have individualistic personalities but the way they are presented none of them seem memorable. One of them clamors about night-battles which is probably a lame historical reference and I couldn’t care less about that part. It was neither funny nor interesting to hear a character talk about that bullshit.

Maybe they should’ve spiced it up with a theatrical lesbian romance or something… This episode actually did have a bit of a budget as far as its animation was concerned. And the series is somewhat popular as I’ve mentioned. But this episode was just SO boring. Where’s the drama, where are the conflicts…? You can’t tell me that some new gal trying to fuck her personal ojou-sama will fuel this entire series… Even if you’re a fan of all-girls-series this episode didn’t offer a lot of substance in terms of where this series wants to go.

Episode-Rating: 5.0/10

About M0rg0th

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.

Posted on January 8, 2015, in Anime, Kantai Collection, Reviews, Shinmai Maou no Testament and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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