Winter 2014 First Impressions Part 3: Planes, Gods, Pupa

[HorribleSubs] The Pilot's Love Song - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.00_[2014.01.15_20.45.31]I don’t think anime is dying. But I do think this season is one of the weaker winter lineups, especially at the top. It’s not that bad in the middle though. There are still plenty of enjoyable shows. Variety doesn’t necessarily give quality, but I think it’s almost never a bad thing. 

And so, for part 3, we have three varied premieres. 

A Pilot’s Love Song
I don’t know where this flight is headed, but I’m definitely flying with it. 

[HorribleSubs] The Pilot's Love Song - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_16.11_[2014.01.15_20.46.15] [HorribleSubs] The Pilot's Love Song - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_17.13_[2014.01.07_11.31.23]

This was far from perfect but I really liked it. The setting was introduced well, along with competent world building mostly thanks to the the visuals (I’ve already watched episode 2 while writing this and it’s hard to separate the world building in my head, so if ever this wasn’t true for episode 1, it most definitely will be for episode 2). I really like it when you can see and feel the setting even if the show doesn’t explain the details to you. And it’s steampunk-ish, so I naturally like it. The atmosphere created by the show also enhances the feeling of the world and the characters — and I’m a sucker for good atmospherics. The only worrying thing for me was the awkward intra-episode pacing. The 2nd episode was a lot better in this regard, so I guess there’s less reason to continue worrying.

[HorribleSubs] The Pilot's Love Song - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_19.13_[2014.01.15_20.49.30]Some scenes bordered on being overly dramatic for me. I understand why they decided to NINA VIENTO! the NINA VIENTO! part, so that’s okay. But the Axis under the tree could’ve used a little restraint. That scene was a bit of an immersion breaker for me. Claire and Kal-el’s climax also. Speaking of the pair, I quite like them. They give off an innocent charm. But back to the lack of restraint in some scenes, these are just minor things now, but if this happens frequently and on the the very important scenes of the series later, it could hurt the series big time.

The characters weren’t really special or anything (yet), but I think they’re good. The dialogue was good enough to show character.  There were hints at an interesting story in the episode, as well as in the OP and ED, but I found the way the things were introduced to be uninteresting. The awkward intra-episode pacing also didn’t help. 

Deespite my problems with it, I’m still very optimistic with this show (episode 2 was also an improvement over episode 1 in terms of execution). Not to mention the author of the source material increases my faith in the story.

Noragami
We have a god and a neko girl as our protagonists.

[HorribleSubs] Noragami - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_07.50_[2014.01.15_22.28.32] [HorribleSubs] Noragami - 01 [720p].mkv_snapshot_12.39_[2014.01.15_22.31.34]

Well directed and somewhat interesting. It definitely isn’t something special, but it was executed pretty well. It was fun to watch because of that. I like the art. I also like the camera work and the animation here. The character interactions were also funny from time to time.

This also has a bit of the feel of Zetsuen no Tempest. Not surprising given that they’re both shounen, made by the same studio, uses a similar art style, and has male characters made for the female audiences. I think there were even some scenes that were framed the exact same way as some scenes from ZnT (the scene of the 1st image above is an example). I like Bones and also very much liked Zetsuen no Tempest, so that’s a plus. It isn’t anything special but it’s good. I’m following this for now.

Pupa
Onii-chan~ omnomnom ❤

[Vivid] Pupa - 01 [CE1D736E].mkv_snapshot_01.28_[2014.01.15_20.34.56] [Vivid] Pupa - 01 [CE1D736E].mkv_snapshot_01.10_[2014.01.15_20.39.29]

This really feels like wasted potential. And with the staff it had, BIG potential. The short format just didn’t suit it. There were a lot of awkward transitions. Scenes feel like they’re just part of a summary because there was no build up whatsoever. Some scenes feel like they’re too long for the format, but I doubt cutting them and inserting other scenes would’ve made this better. Addings things could’ve hurt the show even more. Shows like this rely on building up the suspense and atmosphere, so it’s almost impossible to make this show work. Maybe we even got to see the best this material could offer if only given 3 minutes.

I have to wonder why Mochizuki Tomomi signed up for this. Maybe he just didn’t care about this and intended to use this as scene-specific practices for himself and as training for animators. Or maybe this was the best funding he could get (a promotional shorts series for the manga), and he’d rather just make it in this format than not make it at all. Or maybe he just wanted to try adapting Pupa in this format and monstrously failed.

[Vivid] Pupa - 01 [CE1D736E].mkv_snapshot_03.14_[2014.01.17_22.35.35]The material appeared to at least have potential, and it had a really skilled director in Mochizuki Tomomi, who in my opinion, has the skill to make this something special if given the right length. I can only wonder what it could’ve been if it had more time to build up everything and show the details. The art and color, along with the music and sfx was already successful in creating an atmosphere even with the limited time it had. In general, it actually looked good and sounded good, even with minimal animation (the budget must have been really low). It even had some pretty symbolism. It’s really disappointing that this show didn’t receive the length it deserved.

Hopefully, this still sells well or boosts manga sales a lot to prompt the producers to produce a full length TV series. That’s unlikely to happen, but I can hope all I want. It happened to that mountain climbing short series, so there’s a chance, even if it’s slim.

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About cladinblue

Clad in blue and surrounded by fields of gold.

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