Purely based off its title, I was expecting Shinmai Maou no Testament to be in the same vein as the rest of this season’s action-fantasy series (a presumption further enhanced by the episode’s immediate title card of “The Day I Got a Little Sister”); but wildly enough, Shinmai Maou went the full harem route for thirteen whole minutes into the episode, a path that I probably would have preferred for the aforementioned shows as well to be honest.
In a particularly lukewarm season of anime, the action-fantasy series don’t come to impress. After a rather unsuccessfully majestic opening scene of MMORPG-esque party-quest nature, Seiken Tsukai no World Break eases into the commonplace high school setting to tell an overly-comfortable tale of teen angst and magical lore.
Kantai Collection -KanColle- is the second of four shows apart of studio Diomedéa’s relatively big presence in this not so big season of anime. Some may or may not know that it is based upon an online card game that is currently experiencing a tremendously successful reception in Japan, a popularity that more than strongly derives from the series’s idol-licious cast of characters.
In the condensed form of something such as a one-minute and fifteen-second opening sequence, a series like Absolute Duo may seem like it has a perfectly decent value of entertainment to offer―what with the fast-paced montage of busty, blade-wielding beauties, intense magical warfare, glorious sunrise/sunset backdrops, bromantic camaraderie, and a tone of fantastical tragedy―but getting into the bulk of the actual content reveals a pretty slow burn of a show.
Even beyond the blatant usage of the word “yuri” in the show’s title, Yuri Kuma Arashi is dead give-away as an Ikuhara Kunihiko brainchild with its visual style and forthright attempt at establishing an animal mascot for the series. Go a little further into the premiere episode; and from a directorial standpoint, you may notice those familiar creative touches of Ikuhara’s preceding series, Revolutionary Girl Utena and (more recently) Mawaru Penguindrum, such as the accentuated scenes situated in fields, meadows, beds of flowers, shots of gigantic winding staircases, strands of hair dancing in the wind amidst flower petals, and the strange phasing in-and-out of dimensions wherein supernatural authority figures bestow some kind of judgment or declaration upon our protagonists (wow, that last one sure did raise the bar quickly).
I can’t say Brynhildr in the Darkness is a particularly different and or unique series, but I also can’t say it seeps into the mold of the generic. Though in knowing that it comes from the same mind that authored Elfen Lied, I can say that it definitely flaunts some more traditional story-telling elements;