NOTICE: This review covers both seasons of this title.
- Animated by Seven Arcs, a studio which makes only shitty ecchi anime, including the famous (but overall boring) Lyrical Nanoha shows.
- Directed by Kusakawa Keizou who pretty much directed ALL Seven Arcs shows.
- Story written by Mikumo Gakuto who offered us trash like this, as well as The Mystical Archives of Dantalian and Strike the Blood.
It’s a light novel adaptation so TADAAA you already know it is trash material for people with low expectations. It tries to be spooky at times, only to end up sounding as such: Thunders and spells and dramatic set up, and zooming to a wizard using magic speels full of weird lingo. In the name of God’s blissful existence I command you to… Oh! I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to grab your boobs! Really! And my Johnny magically appeared between them! I’m sorry for being a normal teenager; I’m terribly sorry! Well thanks for killing the mood you idiot!
Is this really a 2009 work? It hardly looks as one. The characters are drawn rushly, with their facial anatomy looking too sketchy and distorted half of the time. Not that they would be that eye-catchy even if they were drawn more consistent; they overused the school uniform fuss and everyone seems to wear only one set of clothes. Most monsters have really lame looks and the koala mascot animal wasn’t even shaking its mouth. So lazy! The 3D mechas also have some really crude movements, a further indication of low budget. But it’s not like the animators were amateurs; given the proper time and money, they offered wonders such as the final episodes where the budget is tripled and everything looks awesome. Even in the rest of the episodes, the characters have a lively body language despite the weak artwork in facial consistency or smooth movements. There was also variety in background settings and special effects. They did a decent job at mixing hi-tech with religious allusions, even if all that were just superficial and eventually forgettable traits.
Directing-wise it is a mixed bag, as almost every battle looks like a random line of independent shots, where things pop out of nowhere, pay no real attention to physics and end in quite boring and uneventful ways. But what a surprise, every time the lead is in an ecchi situation the girls have double as much attention and details given to their looks and naked bodies. That tells a lot about what they really cared to animate properly, doesn’t it? Anyways, the finale is an exception, since it had very good battle choreography. That dimensional eye in the sky and the energy beams were really something! If the rest of the series was like that, I would be amazed. The cinematics they used in the opening and ending videos is another sign of how they had the talent but not the interest or money to offer good atmosphere.
Intro and ending songs are ok to listen to. Not bad but not memorable in any way. Voice acting is a bit relaxed but does the trick. The dialogues is pretty skipable material, nothing special about them and you are still required to survive all those “You pervert!, I didn’t mean to” cliché catchphrases just so you can listen to the pseudo-scientific explanations and some really spooky hymns here and there. As for the BGM… it went unnoticed. I already forgot it.
Typical to most light novels, they think it is cool to throw as much as possible in the script in hopes of making it interesting, only to be quicky proven they are just lazily trying to dress up a typical harem comedy. Variety in themes and symbolisms may be making something more interesting to pay attention to, but not when it is used superficially for some really trashy content. Religion clashes with fringe science, summoning monsters, contracts with demons and ghosts, mechas popping out of shadows, teenagers with superpowers, magic gismo that fulfils wishes, alternative dimensions, ero-jokes… Yes, sounds cool, but down to it, it is a disjoined random compilation of anime clichés.
First of all, the general idea behind the story is damn good. The whole alternative dimension theory, plus the pseudo science are actually very interesting concepts. The thing is, you don’t have a clue about all that up until the last half of the second season… which is surprisingly very good just for that. That’s right, the terminology is explained almost at the end. I mean, ok, they don’t have to start by infodumping everything and revealing all the mysteries at once. But wasting three quarters of the show in seemingly random battles and ecchi humor and then expecting us to give a damn in the end is plain retarded. If you expect to make the viewer care, you should offer the juicy parts right away.
Even beyond the terribly handled story, other elements like pacing and action, were also below average up until the final arc. It offers a satisfying closure and nice last impressions, but up until then it plays out like random scenes from different series exchanging places with no order. On one episode the lead has a fight that determines the lives of millions. On the next episode… beach fan service! Yeah, that’s what should follow an epic battle for the salvation of the Earth, where each one of them almost died. Another huge battle happens, after of which we get a… spa episode! Yup, 18 episodes of archetypical date sim girls interacting with the dork lead and lots of subpar battles with robots and superpowers. And of course, the police or the army or in many cases casual bystanders simply DON’T EXIST! And wow, look at that, a high school student council is running around with enough firepower to level half the world and the teachers or parents don’t mind. Doodily doodily doo, my disbelief is trying to escape through the ventilation shafts, someone stop it!
But as I said, the final 6 episodes are in fact damn good and I almost beg you to skip the rest and watch only those. I was thinking something along the lines of “OMG, my date sim performed a fusion dance with Noein!” This clearly shows that the producers CAN offer something good if they try. I have nothing against showing some bare leg from time to time, but focusing on those alone for MOST OF THE FRAKKING SERIES becomes a test of nerves.
Fan service ruins the personalities of any character, and this series is yet another example. The lead character is your typical lame, spineless, useless, self-insert indecisive lead characterTM all lazy scriptwriters use instead of… I don’t know, trying not to do the obvious thing. As a result he is a boring character, who, as his archetype dictates, keeps bumping on boobs and naked women and keeps asking for forgiveness before being accused of being a sex driven beast… which translates to a normal teenager. He also has this annoying long line of hair on one side of his head, which is supposed to make him stand out from all others of his brood but it is REALLY pissing me off while starring at it. I want to yank in off!
And then there is his harem… Man, they ripped off every archetype you can find in typical eroges. But hey, at least each one of them has an extra feature to make her look a bit more unique. We get Childhood friend/ghost/part of an apocalyptic conspiracy, Miko priestess/fire user/shy with huge boobs, loli tsundere/luck eater/that changes age, bold mature glasses woman/missile thrower/with meek twin sister. Yeah, we have something cooking up nicely here. They have personalities, backdrops, agendas, there is hardly anyone useless in the story. Even the lead male grows some balls and gets more active. And they all get a decent catharsis by the end of the series.
It is a real shame how this meal was left to burn, because of a mostly aimless story and the fap service which sapped all their dignity. Seriously, if it was half as long and lacked the pointless beach and spa episodes, it could have been far better.
This is one of those cases where you scream WHYYYY? IT COULD HAVE BEEN SO GOO-OO-OOD! Japan has a thing for sabotaging itself by trashing titles with potential just so it can please roneries with softporn. The story is fine, every single character is there for a reason, the premise for epic battles and mystery is there. But they all went to hell by throwing beach episodes and boob jokes and put to death harem situations and uneventful battles, which effectively translate into 75% dead time and masturbation. And it’s not like titles such as Steins;Gate or Noein didn’t already handle the same premise far better.
Call me a grumpy old man if you like, but modern anime focus way too much on erotism to appeal to a mature veteran like myself. To a great extend the producers simply gave up on trying to be experimental. Nowadays they just rehash previous ideas with a boost of 500% more eye candy and fan service. What’s so bad with that? Well… I watch anime for the story and the characters. If I expect ero stuff, there is always hentai or some porn site. Being bombarded with ecchi humor in a series which is supposed to be action, drama, and mystery is like they are telling you “Screw the story; it’s one of the same; just look for pantsu.” Well excuse me then if my reaction to that is giving up and going for a beer…
And now for some excused scorings.
ART SECTION: 6/10
General Artwork 1/2 (crude)
Character Figures 1/2 (generic)
Backgrounds 2/2 (have variety)
Animation 1/2 (basic)
Visual Effects 1/2 (basic)
SOUND SECTION: 5/10
Voice Acting 2/5 (corny)
Music Themes 3/5 (average)
STORY SECTION: 4/10
Premise 2/2 (interesting)
Pacing 0/2 (terrible)
Complexity 0/2 (unneeded complexity to dress up a harem)
Plausibility 0/2 (none)
Conclusion 2/2 (solid and cool)
CHARACTER SECTION: 7/10
Presence 0/2 (weak)
Personality 1/2 (typical)
Backdrop 2/2 (they all have some)
Development 2/2 (they all get some)
Catharsis 2/2 (solid)
VALUE SECTION: 1/10
Historical Value 0/3 (none)
Rewatchability 1/3 (low because of too little plot)
Memorability 0/4 (no reason to remember it)
ENJOYMENT SECTION: 3/10
Art 0/1 (looks lazy)
Sound 0/2 (sounds meh)
Story 1/3 (good ideas, bad handling)
Characters 2/4 (they are ok but are badly handled)