Winter 2017 – First Impressions Pt. II

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Sure, why wouldn’t you let a random high-school-student help you with a broken car? Surely, if a stranger tells you he can fix your car, you just let him work on it – even if said person seems to be just a teenager. It all makes perfect sense!

Some more first impressions. Among them one of the worst series so far: Handshakers. I wouldn’t be surprised if this shit got canceled midway through the season to be replaced by some re-runs. I mean, who is supposed to stomach the grotesqueness of that series for an entire season?!

Handshakers 01 Review:

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I wonder what goes through the mind of a person who hasn’t just written this line but then looks at it again and deems it acceptable…

Clearly someone’s trying to show off with this first episode. I mean, I get it, animation-technology has come so far! Why wouldn’t you try to make use of whatever is the newest hotness on the market? I just wish that person or group would’ve found a way to do so without wasting everybody’s time.

There’s a difference between just being bad and incompetence and usually some of the worst series I’ve seen still are recognizable as professional accomplishments on a very basic level. Not so with this first episode. Whatever this episode seems to consider “stylishness” is in reality a needlessly restless “camera” and a screen just cluttered with movement. Just because you have the budget to animate every single person in a scene doesn’t mean you should do so. The episode just ends up distracting from where your eyes should rest on the screen. Only occasionally the camera rests for a moment and it’s never a particular striking angle or point-of-view. So, the cinematography of this first episode is constantly switching between utter chaos and complete banality.

The script… I didn’t know Japan has legalized child-labor because it seems to me some kindergarten-brat must have come up with the atrocious concept of this series. Handshakers? First of all, it’s Handholders to be precise. And the whole revelation-bullshit with Babylon sounds like some thesaurus vomited cool-sounding names. But I guess, there’s only so much a kindergarten-kid can know, right?

Incoherent, chaotic and atrocious on basically every level: This first episode has no redeeming qualities whatsoever. And there’s no way the creators of this show aren’t aware of this. Whatever caused this series to have become this pile of irresponsible failure, it can’t be a pretty tale. Someone somewhere has fucked up big-time that this anime ended up being the way it is.

Acca 13-ku Kansatsu-ka 01 Review:

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You know what the weirdest part of that scene is? It ends with the reveal that the guy who has a problem with elite-main-chara ends up finding out that he earns more money than the main-chara. This guy seems to hate the main-chara for no reason!

I have to admit first that I have a personal weakness for cynical, blasé anti-heroes and I like mystery-procedurals a lot as well. So, I probably got more out of this episode than most other people. As an introduction, it’s pretty basic and it pretty much hits all the basic notes to qualify as an introduction.

It’s just that as bored and detached as the protagonist seems, the plot is equally boring and detached. There are no confrontations, no thrilling revelations and no dramatic character-moments. The episode is mostly just the tedium of the main-character’s job and the one-note-characters who are part of his life. As a first episode, it really doesn’t leave much of an impression.

Of course, I’m gonna watch the next episode because this show is right up my alley in terms of its tropes and genre-elements. But as a critic, I have to admit that this episode is also fairly dull in how quickly it solves the first mystery and how irrelevant the political intrigue seems. And all the exposition about this made-up fantasy-island in the form of a bird isn’t half as interesting as it should be.

Onihei 01 Review:

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I get it, these are supposed to be the “good old days” where the good guys live by a code and every villain is human trash who only deserves death – but still, it’s strange for a defender of justice to advocate vigilantism.

Gore, honor, villainy, male pride: It’s clear who this series thinks its target-demographic is. The main-characters can just run around torturing and killing folks because they are evil and they are good. And the values they fight for are as conservative as they can get. The conservatism even includes one short scene where two members bemoan how thieves aren’t as honorable as back in the “good old days” anymore.

The episode never really takes off the ground, though. At times, it’s too exaggerated and broad to be realistic and at other times, the episode seems to be reluctant to embrace its visceral, darker elements. What’s left is a fairly forgettable episode that never quite comes together.

This first episode is broad in a way that makes you expect everything to be of a larger-than-life-quality but the actual episode is SO tepid that it ends up being more of a disappointment really.

But hey, the OP is cool at least.

Random Thoughts:

  • I don’t think I will review Handshakers. That’s too trashy… Then again, I did review Cross Ange in its entirety (let’s not forget that this is a series where the writers intentionally created a plot-hole and figured they could just add the explanation as a throwaway-line during the preview for the next episode) and there’s something cathartic about critiquing something this trashy. Onihei seems too boring in its execution for a review-series. As for the procedural series… I’m not sure. That first episode is a bit of a mixed bag and all over the place in what it focuses on.

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About M0rg0th

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

Posted on January 11, 2017, in Anime, Reviews, Season Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I quite liked ACCA as well even though not a lot happened. It felt like a lot was going on in the background and that the world might be quite interesting but this episode in and of itself is a hard sell because really we just follow the protagonist around as he talks to people. Still, I finished the episode wanting more.

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    • Yeah, a lot of it was just worldbuilding as well… Man, that explanation about how these governmental institutions are organized and how they relate to each other… I never have understood why anyone would want their setting to be this complicated. This is just the first episode. I’m not that invested that I would care to learn all these intricate details. And the series probably will just try to find some excuse to explain it again if that knowledge is needed later on.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Probably 12 or 13, I assume. And I mean, the series has the setup of a procedural, so it can split its attention between episodic adventures and one main-plot which will get build-up over the course of the episodic stuff and then it will be the focus of the finale.

      As for the inspirations, it made me think of a mix between Japan (the island-state), the US (all these various states with its shared culture but slightly individualist attributes) and it’s a police-state that’s slightly fascist (but the good guys are in charge… with some exceptions who will be the villains that threaten the peace).

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve got to say that I wanted to like ACCA, but it the storytelling was just so limp and uninspired. I hope it’s an example of a show that just needed to get its set-up out of the way off the bat.

    I take it Interviews with Monster Girls isn’t your speed? It’s not brilliant, for sure, but as an analogy for the disabled it has potential, and some of the early characterization is really quite charming.

    And, of course, there’s the second season of Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu. I didn’t love the first season as much as others, as I felt the writing, especially toward the end, became really florid and unrealistic, but at its helm it has quite possibly the most talented director in anime, and even when the script fails, his talent still shines through. I’m hoping with the time elapsed since the first season, he’s really going to knock it out of the park.

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