Warning Zone: The Ancient Magus’ Bride [TV series]

[Click here to see my review of the first OVA and second to third OVAs]

magus-brideThe What:
Hatori Chise has always had the misfortune of seeing youkai and all manner of fae creatures. This has made her life not only extremely dangerous, but also isolating. With relatives thinking she’s a horrid child or walking misfortune, she’s dropped off from place to place until she finally ends up on auction in the underground, not caring what happens to her so long as the pain of her wanderings is done. But the person who buys her isn’t what she expected. For one thing, he isn’t really human….

The Why:
If you read my reviews for the OVA prequels, I had noted that there was a scene of violence that was sudden and a bit shocking, only barely allowing the show to remain in a YA rating from the scene not lasting too long. Sadly that level of violence doesn’t just return in the TV series, it gets significantly worse. Not that we see more blood, parse, but rather the sounds, voice acting and cinematography all make the physiological horror of the violence pretty… well, disturbing. Especially the torture scenes near the end of the series. There is an episode where cats are brutalized for an elixir, arms sliced, eye plucked out… Overall, there were multiple episodes that were really hard for me to stomach. Sure this is a boon to the studio in that those scenes are supposed to be disturbing and the way they are framed does that job seamlessly. But that also means this show has no other place in my blog but the WZ.  If you are squeamish at ALL with violence, this show is a hard skip.
And if violence doesn’t scare you? Well… The first part of this show is decent. The writing for the lead is slow, but steady and the show don’t tell is strong, which really keeps the world vibrant. The visuals are great and the world of the fae is both beautiful and extremely dangerous. The music is also quite memorable, which we don’t often enough in anime.
My main issue, aside from the uncomfortable levels of violence, was the ending. The strides the lead made towards independence take some large steps backwards as she once again depends very heavily on her captor/master/teacher/friend (?). I’ve never been fond of the mythological beast falls for mortal shtick and this show didn’t convert me. I will give them credit for mentioning, more than once, that fae are not like mortals and thus can’t even view life and love the same way. But the fact that the male lead is a “half formed,” makes that idea murky enough for the show to walk the gray area of “maybe she can change him.” Which is an angle I hate even more. People changing on their own as they learn and grow is one thing. People changing for the sake of keeping someone else under their control and influence? Noooot my fav.
Overall, this show was poised to take on some heavy topics in a well written fantasy setting. And while it does do a bit of this, perhaps even more than most entire franchises manage, it also had some downs that retract progress made. And I’m pretty certain the reason for this backtrack was simply due to the expectation for this to be a romance. The writers pretty much wrote the lead into a corner and realized they had only two options: keep the story character-based and go in a very different direction from how they originally marketed their product oooooor force the leads together and keep the title going strong despite requiring the entire supporting staff to go out of character for this to take place. Spoiler alert: option A was left in the dust.
I still think the OVA and beginning of the series was strong, but yeah. The ending kinda killed this show for me personally.

 

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Warning Zone: AHO-GIRL

(note: I usually try to keep WZs apart, but due to tech issues with my next review, this will have to do for now. Full review coming up next week!)

ahogirl01The What:
There’s this really stupid girl and she lives next door to a very sarcastic guy that in no way is a rip off of Kyon from The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya

The Why:
The female lead outright sexually assaults not only another female student, but also the male lead. And while this felt, at first, similar to the above mentioned worldwide hit, the difference was in the intent. Haruhi never meant to RAPE her classmate. Yoshiko has every intention (and admits it verbally) of raping her friend.
That’s it. That’s all it takes folks. I closed this series out at that scene and have not gone back. I’m not sure why people find this kind of thing funny, but I know too many rape victims to laugh. Solid pass.

Warning Zone: My First Girlfriend is a Gal

eed7fc69b13becbd1063477f9ddcfc191499793628_largeThe What:
A guy  with no good attributes is surrounded by cute, big chested females. This show is just trash, ok?

The Why:
Crunchyroll REALLY needs to get their tagging system under control. This show opens up with a light flare barely covering the female lead’s underwear. Knew it was bad at that point, but, hey, some shows don’t get worse. Kenchi, for example, manages to rise above its fanservice. But this show wasn’t anywhere near that level. Only a few minutes more and we were introduced to the “little sister” of the lead and her boobs are far bigger than her head and she has a very clear sexual infatuation with her brother. I turned it off. This is soft porn, no way around that. And CR needs to start tagging these shows as such.

 

Warning Zone: 18if

20150316chu_18p002_cs1e1_480xThe What:
Boy has ability to get into the dreams of “witches” and convince them to no be so bad? Plot is loose and goosey for the most part…

The Why:
This series has a few very disturbing violent parts halfway in which kept this in a solid YA rating from me for a good portion of the show. Then episode nine happened, containing full frontal nudity, sex jokes, censored cursing (we all know what they said so the censor is rather useless) and the heavy implication of rape. While few details are shown, it’s enough discomfort to land this either a firm WZ or veeeeeery near it. After thinking it over, I decided to tag this show here to be safe, although I do want it noted that had the extreme violence in early episodes not been there, I might have barely squeezed this into a YA rating instead. Why? Well, considering how many series with female frontal nudity get past the WZ around here, often due to it becoming such a common occurrence that I (and many others) are deadened enough to the nudity to not count it as harsh as it really is, I felt it would be unfair to slam the frontal nudity in this title. But with the combination of the male lead’s “little friend” jokes and the violence? WZ seemed the safest bet.

For the record, had the violence alone been the issue, this show still would have come rather close to a WZ. Not due to the visuals, parse, but more due to how the violence is handled in this show. Vengeance and hate play a big role in the “witches” arcs and it’s very, very dark stuff. I give the creator’s full credit for making hate as rightfully disturbing as it should be, but as a result the violence comes off as… heavier than usual.

All that said, again, it took until episode nine before this show’s true colors were revealed. Having watched so much of this show, I hold a rather firm opinion of it overall.

I dislike this show.

All the witches are women. ALL of them. Their “hero?” A guy. Women never save one another. It’s always the male lead being the savior. And while one episode tried to diverge from this and have the lead learn something from the witch… it still managed to come off condescending as everything was, once again, really all about the male character. And before someone tries to jump down my throat for being a feminist, consider this: all they had to do is add a few male witches. Or, better yet, a female “hero” lead that mentors the witches down too. Bam! No more issues. But as the show currently stands at nine episodes? No. This show, yes, has some interesting and engaging ideas. But I for one could never drink those down past the bitter taste of a very masculine viewpoint. So this show is a strong pass from me. If you like thought provoking stuff, try out a classic like Utena. It’s a classic for very good reason, though I fully admit that the learning curve is a bit sharper for it.

Warning Zone: Seiren

seirenThe What:
Our main wimpy guy has no ambition or talent. Irritated that one of his female classmates seems to have more direction than he does, he forces himself to go on an academic retreat with a friend. But the girl who annoys and arouses him ends up there too because anime.

The Why:
This series doesn’t show that much, but it implies a lot. Our main character has rather… graphic imaginings about his classmate. We don’t see breasts or butts, but we hear his dialog ramble. Around episode 3 or 4 the combination of sexual inner dialog and his fantasy of seeing her pee was too much and I cut ties. Technically we don’t see much other than a lump of our lead’s erection, but with the twisted dialog and wondering camera… it’s very obvious that this show is just barely staying from an M rating. But let’s be honest. It requires an M anyway.
That being said, I can see why a few people might like this show. It’s pretty brutal about the typical awakenings of the teen sex drive and it is nice to see a lead actually wish to better himself outside of the female lead. It has a few.. interesting points. But it has far too much perv for me to stick around…

Warning Zone: Ange Vierge

AngeThe What:
Magical girls fly around and are supposed to save the earth and be a team and who cares cause no one watches this title for the damn “story.”

The Why:
Crunchyroll still hasn’t a tag to be seen on this one, thus I just want to give a shout out that this is a soft porn title. No way around it. Remember Freezing years back? Yeah, that lame piece of trash FUNimation was pushing down everyone’s throats 24/7 for months on end? This is essentially just like it. Lots of naked scenes where convenient, strategically placed beams of light just happen to cover details. That said, these naked characters get into very compromising positions and discussions so there’s zero doubt as to what this title is going for.
As mentioned before, these titles are usually pretty obvious to me, but this one just sounded like a bland set up with the usual fanservice amounts. Nope. Soft porn.
And not even good soft porn (if there is such a thing), so this is probably one of the most pointless shows of this past season. You’ve been warned.