January Summary/First Impressions Part 3 (Mouretsu Pirates, Rinne no Lagrange, Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai!, Senki Zesshou Symphogear, Nisemonogatari)

Mouretsu Pirates

3 Episodes

I'm not sure about this one. We're supposed to see our cute main lead commandeer the pirate ship Bentenmaru, but we have yet to even see the said ship. Hell, we haven't seen most of the crew yet, unless "most of the crew" are all the supporting characters that has already appeared. Hell, we don't even know what "pirating" actually means in this universe. Hell, we haven't even seen the main character taking any initiation towards anything. I guess what I'm trying to say here is that Mouretsu Pirates is getting off a really slow start.

Unless this space opera is all about the exploration of this space pirates concept, I'll have to wait for the first real conflict to arrive before I make further judgements. Not that I've not been entertained so far; the animation is good, the characters are cute, but there's nothing as of yet that I would consider really interesting or funny. Let's see what they've got after they're done with the opening act.

Outlook: Neutral

Rinne no Lagrange

3 episodes

I'm surprised that Xebec, of all studios, could produce one of my favourite titles this season. And decent animaion, on top of that. Perhaps it's the help from Production I.G that made things works out so well.

I might be a little bias, but most of fun comes from the main three characters, especially protagonist Madoka herself. I've always had a soft spot for energetic, genki girls, and I feel that Madoka's energy is what brings the anime to life. Her VA, Ishihara Kaori, is a newbie seiyuu, but she already fits her role as Madoka exceedingly well. Lan (Laffinty, Fin E Ld Si), our other star, has the charm alike Yuki Nagato. The moments where she breaks her icy exterior and shows her very human emotions, despite not being one, makes her very likable. We haven't seen much of Muginami, but she's voiced by Kayano Ai, so there.

For the plot itself, it's yet another "teen becomes a mech pilot in a twist of fate" setup, but at least it's not an angsty male lead. I'm no fan of mecha anime nor I have any idea where this will lead to, but I'm fairly sure the lead characters would be quite enough to make this worthwhile.

Outlook: Positive

Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai!

3 Episodes

If you're thinking what I'm thinking, you're afraid that this would venture into the forbidden territory. Some might say, hey, technically they're not blood related right? Well... That's not the issue.

When I first checked out the manga before the start of the season, Papakiki was nothing like the harem the anime suggests. I'll say it's a bit closer to Usagi drop; a older guy taking care of much younger relatives, how they go from strangers to kins (and possible something more?), a lot of emphasis on family values, duties as a guardian, growth of the kids and cohabiting problems. There's a lot of love, but not the romance kind (yet). I think I'd prefer it that way. It's much more unique in the industry, and it'll stop people from thinking that it's yet another harem anime, only one that features an age gap.

Unfortunately, the anime seems to have different ideas. The first two episodes leaves an impression that the various girls simply appears in the protagonist's life out of nowhere, a scenario much like a stereotypical harem show. The fact that the anime highlighted the various attributes, like school beauty and tsundere, places the female characters into bishoujo archetypes and made things worse.

While I have little doubt about the Yuuta x Sora pairing in the end, I think selling the title with that kind of image is a pretty bad decision, judging by the number of people who dropped it already. I haven't read much into the manga yet, but I do hope that they dive deep into the family theme for now. Besides, they couldn't conclude a romance angle if they tried; the manga isn't even complete yet, and I doubt that they want the anime go ahead and stray from the mangaka's direction.

Outlook: Neutral

Senki Zesshou Symphogear

3 episodes

Senki Zesshou Symphogear is a poor man's MSLN. But other than the two big name seiyuus that voices the main characters of the series, Nana Mizuki and Aoi Yuuki, there is little I could give praise for.

Symphogear is like a combination of Macross and the Mahou Shoujo genre. But unlike Macross which based its success on the blend of kick-ass action scenes and awesome songs, Symphogear had the characters does the job of both. It didn't seem like it, but it turn out to be a pretty awful concept. It looks really silly to see the characters singing while getting hit and tossed around at the same time. It's like talking non-stop to a guy who's constantly punching for face. It just isn't going to work.

There's also a sharp dip in the production quality after the first episode. The action scene still does its job fine, and there some pretty cool CG and backgrounds, but some of the simplest scenes looks hilariously bad.

I still get chills whenever Nana Mizuki's character enters the battle with an awesome song, until I saw her singing and attempting to perform complicated maneuvers at the same time. It looks incredibly tiring and even I, the audience, feels breathless for her. Aoi Yuuki's singing hasn't been very impressive so far. Her "rage mode" seems to have potential for interesting developments in the future, but that itself isn't going to keep me watching this.

Outlook: Bad.