First Impressions: Shangri-La, Z Mazinger, Cross Game, Sengoku Basara

My third bunch of first impression posts for this season. If you would like to read the whole lot, I’ve put up a ‘first impressions’ category off to your left. See, right there, the only one without capital letters. Not sure why WordPress won’t let me put capital letters on it but I’ve stopped trying to figure out what WordPress does to my posts long ago. On the other hand, Bokutachi no Blog has reached an impressive 400K hits, so thanks to all those people who somehow manage to find out site by typing ‘boobs’ into google.


My Rating System Explained!

A = If you watch anything this season, watch this

B = Very good, sometimes surprisingly so.

C = If you have the time, you should check this out

D = Not my kind of thing, I won’t be watching this

E = Bad. Very bad, ignore this show

F = Frustratingly awful


shangri-la-01-large-01-650x365The original delight I had when I saw the previews gradually turned to sour as I saw some of the trailers. Would Gonzo mess up yet again? Would they finally collapse and have to resort to making hentai? Thankfully no, they did not. Not if the first episode is anything to go by. Shangri-La is an anime with real potential.

shangri-la-01-large-04-650x3651The Carbon Tax idea is great, particularly the idea to set them as the villains in this story. It’s a bit confusing to follow but that just means you are going to have to pay attention. The scenery is luscious and you have to love Range Murata’s character designs. There are a few really odd things about this, such as the transvestites, but they prove this anime’s determination to stay a bit left of centre.

snapshot20090409113748It’s hardly perfect now and there are a few oddities, such as the amazing anti-gravitational effects of Kuniko’s skirt and some of the fight scenes are a bit odd (according to Shangri-La, A horny transvestite>6 men armed with sub machine guns) but still, this really is an anime to keep your eye on.

Rating: B+


Z Mazinger

vlcsnap-18874I’m not sure how to review this episode so I’m just going to give you a run down of events that took place over the course of the episode. You may have to bare with me because I watched this a few days ago and my memory might be a bit fuzzy.

vlcsnap-18919So first the main character appears and says stuff. Then there’s a fight with Dr.Hell involving giant robots and lots of fire. Then some other giant robots appeared elsewhere, followed by a bunch of old men with beards with one of them apparantly painting his face blue. Or maybe he was suffering from hypothermia. It was around this point that I stopped paying attention to the subs.

vlcsnap-189611Then we came to this house with some women in it. It started being attacked by a bunch of guys with swords but then men on robotic horses came out and killed them all. Then these two women called levi and pevi or something were in a giant robot and were killed. Then the screen set fire rather randomly. Then the main character appeared yelling something in Engrish, followed by the appearance of another giant robot who called himself ‘Zeeoouus’. I think the halfway point was around here.

vlcsnap-19123Then that women from earlier appeared and said stuff to the man with hypothermia. Then a volcano erupted, which probably explained why the screen set fire again. Then a man with no head appeared, followed soon after by the main character yelling something else in Engrish. Then somebodies dad died so there had to be soppy moment until the main character appeared again. Then the main character was about to fight an undead horde but then the episode ended.

Rating: A+ if you are accompinied by friends and vodka. Otherwise F-




Cross Game

vlcsnap-20321It wasn’t until I watched Cross Game did I realise exactly how bad Z Mazinger was. While Z put as much garbage as it possibly could into the episode, Cross Game kept it so simple that it just worked perfectly. You just knew, even before the season began, that this would be a hugely underrated anime.

vlcsnap-20844The simplicity and intelligence at which Cross Game went about it’s business was so bloody refreshing. While some anime will have characters bawling their eyes out and going on long spiels about how sad/confused they are (bloody Toradora at times), Cross Game kept it so simple and god was it effective.

vlcsnap-83150But why oh why did they have to keep those horrible character designs? I mean, it’s one thing to keep faithful to the original manga but this isn’t 1970 anymore, people have moved on a bit. Still, I think I can handle the animation if it produces a slice-of-life series of this quality. And no, it’s not just about sports.

Rating: B




Sengoku Basara

vlcsnap-22309Production IG are great animators. No matter what else you decide to say about them, you can’t deny they have damn fine animation quality. But really that’s all Sengoku Basara has. I can’t really see any other reason for watching this unless you happen to like manly fellows fighting it off.

vlcsnap-22808The fighting is wildly over the top, to the extent that fighting with swords and spears result in an explosion that could knock over a women several miles away (although I got the feeling that I could knock over that women if I sneezed loud enough). The are flames and flashy lights and all sorts floating around and I do have to admit, it is sorta fun to watch.

vlcsnap-82612Production IG have two anime this season. When a studio does more than one a season, you can often tell which is an unenthusiastic adaptation and the other is their real work (unless you’re Madhouse, who can make up to 6 in one season). IG’s other work this season is Eden of the East, so yeah, this is their unenthusiastic adaptation.

Rating: D+

7 Responses to “First Impressions: Shangri-La, Z Mazinger, Cross Game, Sengoku Basara”

  1. 1 ws
    17 April 2009 at 10:42 am

    You should probably keep watching Shin Mazinger. The first episode wasn’t meant to make sense on its own since it takes place near the end of the series. The second episode is the real start.

    It should also be noted that this is the first of several planned chapters, so this may very well turn out to be Imagawa’s biggest work

  2. 17 April 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Sorry ws but even if Mazinger rated the top anime on MAL I don’t think I would go back to it. I had never seen such incoherant garbage in my life

  3. 3 goddamn
    2 August 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Episode 1 was made to be incoherent, facepalm. The series start from the beginning of the series at episode 2. Episode 1 was more a pilot episode to call back to the fans. Refusing to watch the rest because of the first episode is incoherent garbage from you. Also, you obviously don’t know Mazinger. Well here’s some history lesson. Mazinger Z is the first robot series to be piloted by a human in 1972. Its impact has been amazing and is one of the top rated anime of all time with a rating of 30%.

    For you to diss such a show that had such a cultural impact is insane from your part. Yes without Mazinger, there wouldn’t be your precious Gundam floating in the banner. That’s the problem with anime fans today. They don’t know the roots and then claim to know anime.

  4. 2 August 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Oh you kids today you have no respect for older anime. Anime used to be far better back in MY day. All ideas were original and nobody used cliche terms because there was no cliche back then. You kids have no respect and yada yada yada.

    You old guys crack me up. And yup, I knew Mazinger was the first mecha anime. Doesn’t change the fact that this was a pile of utter crap.

  5. 5 yo
    30 October 2009 at 3:22 am

    “Oh you kids today you have no respect for older anime. Anime used to be far better back in MY day. All ideas were original and nobody used cliche terms because there was no cliche back then. You kids have no respect and yada yada yada.”
    No. The first episode shows you what’s happening and the second episode to the last tells you how it happened. It has nothing to do with respect, you’re just being ignorant. This is a literary technique called in media res.

    “You old guys crack me up. And yup, I knew Mazinger was the first mecha anime. Doesn’t change the fact that this was a pile of utter crap.”.
    Doesn’t change the fact that you still don’t know shit. Mazinger was not the first mecha anime, idiot. There was astro boy, tetsujin and giant robo before it.

  6. 6 yo
    30 October 2009 at 3:24 am

    and you know what, shin mazinger is the best mecha anime this year of 2009.
    asura cryin’ is god awful.

  7. 7 kjkjk
    7 August 2010 at 2:28 am

    Sengoku Basara (Ep. 1-12) is pretty lame…
    But I’m watching it right now. People [psgels] say that Sengoku Basara Two improves a lot, and that the first twelve episodes were actually buildup for the 2nd part.
    Yes, at first glance it’s an anime that seems really spointless (after watching the first few episodes), but it might be worth watching.
    lol might.

    Some times, judging something based on it’s first few episodes is not a good idea.
    a good example is Samurai Champloo. The first three episodes are decent, at best (I would say C-). However, the rest of the series was very entertaining. (B+ to A maybe)

    Still, I agree that this new Z Mazinger is crap. The characters have no depth, and the story is pretty whack.

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