Winter Games: Episodic Collaboration Project

Trying something new for the new year seems to be a good idea, right? I haven’t done episodic reviews ever since I was recruited to do them on MAL. Heh, I was once paid to blog about anime. Ridiculous! Well, I figured I’d try episodic reviews again BUT I want people to join me as well. So I assembled a team for a collaboration project, and that’d be my excuse to do episodic posts. I got Leap, Irina and AstralGemini to collaborate with me on a group episodic project. How does it work?

Well, we’ll do our episodic posts but we’ll also do predictions on the following episode. One plot related and one character related, and we’ll tally all our right predictions. At the end of the journey, the one with the least correct predictions, AKA the loser, will be punished!!! They’ll receive a penalty given by the others, so this is serious game, folks. Our pride and status as bloggers is on the line, so I predict none of us will be talking to each after all this is over. To officially make this project cooler, Leap christened it as:

Cool, right? Oh gawd, I hope I don’t lose. As an added fun bonus, the other three bloggers also chose the show we’ll be collaborating on. We actually got together last December, and we couldn’t decide on a show all three of us can watch. Last minute, we decided on Grancrest Senki, Yuru Camp and Sanrio Danshi. It’s a diverse group of shows, and it does represent this collaboration as well. We’re a group of anime bloggers with different personalities, and I know one of us likes camping. I just don’t know which one, and no one tell me! I’ll guess it. It’s a good practice for the prediction game.

Light novels seem to have gotten serious now, huh? I’m stuck in 2014, so the trend there is boobs and naked ladies. What’s up with all this serious talk of war and strategies without a harem around?! I don’t approve of this! But anyways, Leap chose Grancrest Senki for the group to watch. This is a plot heavy anime of sorts, so I think our prediction game will be challenged here. The first episode is all exposition though, but it does open with a very contrived wedding. It’s apparently a symbol of peace that two warring factions are now unifying after a long time battling each other.

Unfortunately, no one bothered to notice that ominous CG device just doing its own thing in front of the altar, or something. What the hell is that? And no one bothered to beef security? Of course some radicals will not want change, so you should expect the unification to turn sour. You can even say heads will roll, and they did. In this contrived setting with a contrived evil thing left unchecked, a contrived event happens that ruins the unification. This dude also stopped our lead from preventing the demon to chop heads, so you can bet a bad guy reveal soon enough. Oh wait, no predictions yet.

Anyways, our idealistic bland lead soon meets his tsundere partner, obviously a damsel character. So the wedding established the premise, and so the two groups are at war again. There’s a Factory Federation and a Fantasy Alliance. The rules for the Crests are also established. You create them using Chaos, and you can power them up by consuming more chaos. Basically, you’re leveling it up. I like the yin yang concept here. Crests are good born out evil, strengthened by evil, so good exists because of evil and evil is consumed by good.

After that is established, our bland lead fights a monster, gains rank and then invades a castle. Yeah, we’re not rushing anything here. He also creates a contract with the tsundere channeling his inner Shirou as he obtains his Saber, oh wait, a Rin. Let’s wave hello to Zero Tsukaima as well with that mage-master contract. Anyways, bland lead got a castle, and the scheming tsundere announces that he aligns with the Alliance. So far so good, I guess. The true test of quality is determined around the third episode with this kind of anime, so we’ll just have to sit tight. Is it promising? Every light novel adapted anime is honestly promising, but I’ve been burned enough by awful LN anime to be wary of all of them. This one also feels complicated, so I expect the worst.

Then again, this anime has a good pedigree with the author previously doing great work with Record of Lodoss War. This is also A-1 Pictures so this won’t suck. The worst an A-1 Pictures anime can do is a six out of ten. Shinichi Omata is also a talented director, as shown in Shouwa Rakugo, and he handles fantasy well, like in Sankarea, so this anime is in good hands.

Notable Character of the episode: Siluca Meletes

Look at her invoking her Asuka, and laying that tsundere on thick. I already hate her.

Gawd almight, a marshmallow anime. AstralGemini chose a cute girl doing cute things anime for his pick. He actually debated choosing this or that one set in Antartica. Like, really? Was the choice too difficult? Now, I’m not a big fan of marshmallow anime, mainly because they’re really hard to review. They’re all the same, and I bet you my blog this anime has a club about knitting. Oh wait, it’s a camping anime. Hey, cool premise though.

Actually, I’m really impressed by this anime. The first episode is really well done. The “laidback” part is nicely established through its atmosphere and pacing. The anime opened with just a girl setting up camp, and the visuals come at you immediately. The animation follows with its intricate movements, and the soundtrack completes it as you’re suddenly drawn into a scene of a girl putting up a tent. Damn marshmallows, sweet enough to enjoy, and this one is no different.

I actually really love the OP and ED of this anime as well. The OP is vibrant and fun, and holy almight, Asaka’s voice is orgasmic. More importantly, the credit is done in English. That’s so adorable, and I love the confidence of the staff prominently putting their name in their work. They’re confident this anime will be a hit, and I agree. From the OP alone I can tell this anime will be popular. I’m also really happy for C-Station (the studio). This OP feels like a victory party for them, and I smile because I know they have potential. I know they’re good after watching Girlfriend Beta, and this anime seems to be their big chance to actually prove the masses of that. I also love first time director Yoshiaki Kyougoku really embracing this anime. You can tell he has talent from the way he captured the laidback pacing. First impressions for this anime are strong, and I hope it stays consistent. As for the ED song, I really love Eri Sasaki’s voice. She has good command of her wonderful voice, and she compliments the dazzling guitar riff that makes this song so beautiful. I can feel the ambition pouring out of this anime, and I really wish it the best.

Marshmallow shows aren’t about story, but more focused on moments. Let me list down my favorite moments in the first episode.

  • THIS is a reference to something, but I just don’t know what. Someone tell me!
  • Kagamihara eating cup ramen is a triumph of animation. It utilizes the animation, the sound (of slurping) and a keen attention to smart camera angles and pacing to deliver a really convincing scene of a girl eating ramen. It was so good that I got hungry watching her eat.
  • She uses a bathroom. Boo! Camping is all about being with nature! Is digging a hole and using leaves too hardcore? I guess it is.
  • I love the narration. It’s actually useful tips for camping, and I smiled when the narrator was explaining the importance of pine cones in starting a camp fire. This anime is so engaging, I can bet a lot of people would want to go camping after seeing this anime.
  • She camps alone. That’s a red flag. I guess the camping culture is just laidback in her world, but the forests in my country are populated by drug dens and rapists. It’s also common to hear campers being lost in the woods, so I really want to scold her right now. She’s doing it in winter as well, where not a lot of people can’t be informed that she’s going camping. It’s just not right. I’d suspend my belief though, since I want to support this show.

Doing this weekly will be a good idea, since marshmallow shows are best consumed on a weekly basis. With that being said, I really want more of this anime. I guess good job AG for picking a good one. Does it beat Irina’s choice though?

Yes, it beats Irina’s choice. And gawd almight, what the hell is this show? Sanrio Boys is an odd name. Sanrio, like Hello Kitty and stuff? Or is that just a coincidence?

Oh wait, nope. The premise of the show is a group of hot boys liking Hello Kitty and the other Sanrio mascots. Holy fudge, what in the glorious hell is this?!

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This anime is pretty bad, and I would love to see the other bloggers react to it. You can tell it’s an “ad anime” featuring a product. Super Sonico is the same, since her anime is just an advertisement about the Sonico product line. This anime is the same, since it’s hawking the Sanrio mascots. Why in the f*cking hell didn’t they just make a Hello Kitty and friends anime? They are kiddie mascots, but the target demographic for this anime is, what, teens? They want Hello Kitty to be hip and cool for the millennial Japanese teens. Ok, fine. Love Live was a successful “ad anime” so we’ll never know.

But this anime is obviously forced. The story is stupid, and the characters are really just empty mascots meant to sell something on TV. The show’s thirty minute run had a lot of moments where I was laughing my ass off. The pacing has no cohesion, the animation is awful and it’s about hot guys liking kiddie mascots. Also this:

Wha? What the f*ck? Ahahahaha. I think this anime is along the lines of Bakumatsu Rock or Megane-bu. They’re bad shows, but they’re harmless and also fun if you got into the right mindset. I’m a story slut, so I just cannot believe how gloriously bad this anime is, on its first episode as well!!! It follows a guy that likes a Sanrio mascot, and then his grandmother dies, of all things, and then he joins a group of guys that like Sanrio mascots as well. The flow of the episode is insane. So the main character pokes a mascot’s butt, then a flashback about him liking the dog mascot, his grandma dies, he is chased by handsome dudes around school, and then he gives this cringy line at the end:

Sanrio Boys…? I’m pretty sure this was the moment. The moment my youth began to be colored by a shining light that it didn’t have before.

Oh, gawd, no. This is too f*cking much. Ohmygawd, this episodic journey will be a very fun one.

Pierrot is a bad choice to animate this show. With its forced story and nonsensical setup, the animation will be its selling point. Pierrot isn’t really that good at animation, and they’re known for taking short cuts. You need a Studio White Fox or a Sunrise to really sell this concept. Pierrot’s animation is cheap here, and characters barely move. Their eyes don’t blink, and they often just say their lines in a weird pose. I can see this stupid anime working, but it really needed to be handled by a more consistent studio.

If you can sense a bit of “Bleach” in some of the characters, then you’ve spotted Masashi Kudou’s influence. I haven’t seen Bleach, but I don’t expect much from the director. I have zero hope for this anime. I just wish it can be a “so bad it’s good” kind of anime. Takashi Aoshima will be writing the script though, and he handled Aho Girl from last season. I just hope he keeps this one fun. I also apologize for my unfair review of this episode. I’m sure Irina’s take will be more interesting (HERE, HERE and HERE).

– – – – – – 

You can also check Leap’s thoughts on the episodes HERE. AstralGemini’s as well, HERE. See you all in the next episode where the prediction game starts, and the animosity begins!

5 thoughts on “Winter Games: Episodic Collaboration Project

  1. Pingback: Anime Seasonals 2018 — The Winter Games: Week 1-2 | Leap250's Blog

  2. Pingback: 500 Followers, a Call for Collabs, and an Announcement! – The Lily Garden

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