Hyperdimension Neptunia was a 12-episode fantasy/ comedy TV anime that aired from July 12 to September 27 of this year. The series is an adaptation of a video game RPG series developed by Idea Factory and Compile Heart, with the anime adaptation being created by David Production. Funimation currently has North American streaming rights to the series.
In the virtual world known as Gamindustri, the four goddesses of each country agree to a “friendship treaty” that bans each country from using military force to gather Share Energy, an energy source that grants a goddess influence and power over any territory in Gameindustri where their populace strongly believe in them. While the goddesses learn to get along with one another, they have to face enemy threats attempting to exploit Share Energy for their personal gain over the world of Gameindustri.
Neptunia is yet another case of an anime series shamelessly being used as promotional material for its video game source material. It also panders fairly heavily to the otaku crowd with its milking of the moe craze for its female cast and nods to the video game industry coming from characters, country names and elements to some of the worlds that the characters visit.
All the characters seen throughout this series milk differing character archetypes that they don't really grow out of and have little depth to show for it, many of said characters milking differing character types that have become popular from the moe craze. Much of the female cast serve to pander to its audience with their character quirks, idiosyncrasies, revealing or fetish-themed outfits (these especially prevalent with the transformed states of the goddesses) and usually getting into suggestive predicaments during comedic or serious moments.
The series also panders to video game fans as character names, countries and elements to the worlds that are visited by the characters are nods to past and present elements of the video game industry. For instance, Neptunia and Neptune are references to Sega's canned attempt to create a Genesis/ 32X combo video game system called the Neptune, and Nepgear being a nod to Sega's handheld game system from the 1990s called the Game Gear.
The series attempts to mix comedy and adventure in its focus on the goddesses focusing on the group either bonding in crazy predicaments involving whatever video game nods that are referenced or dealing with any random enemy threat either causing trouble for anyone among their group or attempting to whore up Share Energy for their personal gain. Both elements to the title's storytelling are hard to care for because of Neptunia's shallow characterization and a number of the villains in the series being hard to take seriously as threats because of their comical behavior or incompetent actions. Even in the instances where the group have to deal with a serious threat, Neptunia quite often milks plot devices that are either too convenient or milk the tiresome “power of friendship” cliche to thrash the enemy they confront.
Itsudatte, My Santa! was a two-episode romantic comedy OVA series animated by TNK and released to video on December 7, 2005 in Japan. The series is based on the 1998 manga series created by Love Hina and Negima creator Ken Akamatsu. The series was licensed and released twice in America by Funimation. Funi's release was notable in that when first released in December 2007, Funi later ordered a recall of the series when they accidentally made a printing error with My Santa's TV rating being TV-PG. They released the series the following November, this time with a TV-MA rating for its packaging. Both releases of the series are now out of print.
A young man named Santa is known to hate Christmas because of being born on Christmas Eve and was never known to celebrate festive occasions as a child because of neglect from his parents. A cute girl named Mai appears before him on the streets on Christmas Eve night, claiming to be the real Santa Claus and wishing to make Santa happy for the holidays.
My Santa is a rarity for an anime in that it is themed around the Christmas holiday. However, the holiday theme doesn't save this short OVA series in being a cliched, poorly written and rushed mess.
The characters of the series are walking paper-thin archetypes that have little in the way of personality and depth, with any back story they have also lacking focus as they are only backdrops to set up the show's romantic antics with Santa and Mai. Even the romance to this is uninspired as the series rushes through developments in the relationship between Santa and Mai, lacking any kind of buildup or believability to have you think their love is anything besides superficial.
The comedy to the series is also uninspired, having the bad habit of rushing through gag after gag that lack much reason to even happen and the moments falling flat in getting a reaction out of yours truly due to feeling forced in their delivery. Plus if you are an Akamatsu fan, this series does have fan service and some ecchi content that pop up on occasion with innuendo gags and some nude shots of female characters. However due to the bad comedic delivery and subpar visuals of this series, the occasional sexual humor fails to deliver and the female characters aren't as appealing on the eyes compared to Akamatsu's work on the designs of his cute and attractive gals for Love Hina and Negima.
If you've been keeping tabs on the blurbs from my profile, you'll see that I will be bringing back Ani-Crap Review next weekend. For those new to my contribution to Vice, this is a section where I post my thoughts on the worst offerings that anime has to offer which can consist of anything like ecchi titles, ultra-violent 80s/ 90s anime, horrible adaptations of video games and even some trash from notable figures of anime whom you may be familiar with. In most instances, I determine the next title I cover through a poll where I leave it up to members of this forum to determine what I will rip apart for my next review with a listing of ten titles featuring five recent duds and five older duds.
This will be my last run that I plan to do with Ani-Crap Review as I am starting to get to the point where I'm probably gonna settle down on my regular load of anime offerings. I'm hoping to push up to 50 reviews, but I'm not gonna make any guarantees depending on how long I can push things with my viewing. But at the very least, I have a few things I plan to definitely cover before I have my swan song from Ani-Crap all together. Here are the definite plans I have to cover for my upcoming run of Ani-Crap:
That's all I have to present, for now. I'll be seeing folks next weekend in my return of Ani-Crap Review.
To those who haven't received the news, this will be my last Ani-Crap Review I'll be doing for the next two months as I will be taking a hiatus from posting this section onto Anime Vice. Don't fret, as I will be back in December to continue my usual ripping into the worst of anime with Ani-Crap. The next run I plan to do with this will be my final one, though I'm hoping I can push 50 reviews before all is said and done! I actually have a planned monthly theme I want to implement with this at some point. But I'll reveal it when the time comes. Otherwise, on with the review and I'll return with Ani-Crap in December.
Seikon no Qwaser II is the 12-episode sequel to the similarly-named first season of the ecchi/ action series that I covered in an earlier Ani-Crap Review. The series was animated by Hoods Entertainment for TV broadcast from April 11 to June 28 of 2011, which was heavily censored for television airings and shown uncensored on the online streaming site called AnimeOne. The series was released to video in America earlier this year by Sentai Filmworks and can be streamed in its unedited format on the Anime Network website.
Sasha has received word that a magical circuit called the Magdalena of Thunder is present among one of the student body at an all-girl's academy called Roman Curia Surei Academy. Taking the guise of a female transfer student, Sasha is unaware that an Adept named Wan Chen has infiltrated the school as well to acquire the Magdalena of Thunder for his group's plans of world domination.
Note: To learn more about the major characters of the Seikon no Qwaser franchise, please refer to my Ani-Crap Review on the first season or any wiki article about it here on Anime Vice. I will only be covering new characters with prominent roles that appear in this season of the series.
This second season of Seikon no Qwaser carries many of the same issues that plagued its first season. The series still milks gross-out ecchi content using its breast-sucking gimmick for action, comedy and dramatic moments that are as creepy and uncomfortable as the first season and still take away from meaningful moments that the series attempts to explore.
In addition, the cast and plot elements for this series are still as cliched and archetypal as they were from the first season. If you've seen a good number of anime titles, you will pick up on things like the loner avenger with a heart of gold (Sasha), the well-endowed ditz (Tomo) and the evil organization out to take over the world (Adepts) pretty quickly.
In addition to these issues, this season is surprisingly worst than the first one since the quality of its second half takes a big hit after things are resolved with Sasha's quest at Roman Curia. The series shifts back to St. Mihailov Academy with the main cast as the series shifts to slice-of-life and comedic filler that do nothing at advancing the show's plot, even with hints dropped of a new threat looming at the academy. The final episode then rushes through its revelations concerning the new threat and hinting of more to come from the Adepts in a montage at the end of the episode, abruptly leaving the series open-ended for a possible third season.