Oops. This is a little late because I got a little busy over the weekend. Nevertheless, all the shows are in, and it’s finally time to wrap up this Fall 2016 preview guide. I honestly wasn’t expecting to hit my regular 4-part preview post, but hey, there WERE two shows thrown into the mix that I had no intention of watching. To round things up, we’ve got parallel worlds and (not so) parallel boobs, er… ghouls? I dunno what that last one is about, really, but yeah here goes–
This show may be a little hard to digest at first, but Flip Flappers has a sort of “Alice in Wonderland” almost “fairy tale” like feel to it, presenting us with lush visual landscapes and otherworldly sights. It’s not very clear what this show is trying to do with its smorgasbord of ideas, but the opening sequence likely points this show towards a certain Magical Girl appeal.
Not that the genre has seen better days, but there is something really intriguing in the way the show goes about setting itself up. On the one hand it has an allure to it, but on the other is so estranged that many of the events lack a sort of emotional baggage to it, making Papika and Cocona’s early scenes of friendship feel a little flat and undeserving. Nevertheless, I’ve fully engrossed by the visual language that the show is trying to portray, mixing sharp cuts and wonderfully deformed “high-speed” elements. There’s a lavish sort of visual flourish that accompanies the fairy tale-like elements that the story’s pedigree alludes to as Flip Flappers takes its cues from Kiyotaka Oshiyama — the animation director behind shows like Gurren Lagann and Space Dandy.
So all-in-all, this pilot episode gave us very little to work with, but left a distinctly sharp impression of its vivid potential. I like shows that seem confident enough to be a little eccentric, and on many levels this works well in Flip Flappers‘ favor.
Initial Ranking: 8.5/10
I’m thoroughly confused by this show. Other than the fact that I’ve never really understood why original creator Chiyomaru Shikura has a fascination for titles with strange punctuation (original creator Steins;Gate, Chaos;HEAd, and Robotics;Notes), the pilot episode of Occultic;Nine is pretty much all over the place. If sharp cuts and eccentric cinematography worked to heighten the visual flourishes of Flip Flappers, it pretty much went the opposite direction for Occultic;Nine — disjointed sequences that serve to bombard the viewer with a huge amount of information. Apart from the obviously large cast of characters, temporal events seem to work in a convergent fashion (as has always been the style for Shikura’s novels), but in the case of this series, feels overwhelmingly busy.
And then there’s the fact that there’s a lot of tropey fan service thrown about. You can basically make a check list for all of the generically re-hashed characters on display: from the self-proclaimed NEET Yûta Gamon to the grotesquely over-endowed and generally clueless Ryoka Narusawa. There’s even a middle-aged gay guy, a gothic lolita, and a bespectacled snoot. If that’s all it took to make a cast of characters “engaging”, then I think people need to take a serious step back and re-evaluate just what type of stories we’re engaging ourselves in.
But that’s not to say that the show is without merits. The animation is superb, mixing a wonderful palette of colors with favorfully “sketchy” character outlines. But this is undermined by shoddy camera work that feels more fidgety than it should, ultimately creating confusing sequences that only add to the confusion on screen.
This pilot episode has been a strange one, to be honest, but at the same time to be expected of a direct-to-anime adaptation of a graphic novel. There are many ways for this show to blow up, but I’m sorta hoping that it gets its act together. Because it is, really, a pretty intriguing concept. But intrigue is best served with temperance and deliberateness — something unfortunately lacking in this first episode.
Initial Rating: 6/10
And there you have it! I’ll release a summary post in a bit for people who are a little too lazy to go through the four different entries for this season’s shows. True, I’ve limited myself to just 7 odd-so titles, but it feels like a number that isn’t TOO unwieldy. As for weekly recaps or episode reviews, we’ll see. I won’t stop to make any promises given my poor track record — but knowing most of you out there, you probably already know that. 🙂