Anime Review: Love Live! School Idol Project, Sword Art Online, Girls und Panzer

anime_love-live

Love Live! School Idol Project

So, you would think with an anime about a bunch of school girls in skimpy dress dancing on a stage that they would be taking every opportunity to show off some inappropriate cloths or body parts. Surprisingly this show has completely clean. There was some “chest grabbing” by one of the girls as a method of getting people to talk, but it really is not in a provocative or erotic way. More of a “talk or i’ll squeeze harder and cause pain” sort of thing.

Nothing really stands out about the show. It has a decent plot, at-least it starts decent. Three friends find out their school is going to close if it doesn’t get enough interest from prospective students since their enrollment has been declining. They don’t like that one bit so they (rather the main protagonist Honoka) decide they are going to do something about. (I don’t remember if they said it was a girls only school, but I don’t remember seeing any boys.)  So of course, how do you get girls interested in going to a girls school?  You put girls on stage in flashy costumes… Uhh, yeah, I guess, maybe… possibly.. that works.. It would kind of make more sense to me if it was a bunch of young boys in the audience jumping up and down; but what do I know I’m not a teenage schoolgirl from Japan. Like I said, the plot starts good but that is about as far as it goes, it doesn’t really develop into anything further.

Much like the plot, everything else about the show is decent, but doesn’t really go anywhere. This is one of those shows which I enjoyed watching, but will honestly probably never watch again. Entertaining once, but without a plot that develops it’s kind of hard to have re-watch appeal.

Summary: Good show. Nothing spectacular. Decent story of girls trying to save their school from closing.
Seasons: 1
Season length: 13 episodes
Episode length: 22 minutes
Content: Clean.
Language: Japanese with English subtitles

Sword Art Online

anime_sword-art-onlineThis is one of those shows that kind of pisses me off at the end. Not because they bring somebody back to life at the end just to make a happy ending or anything like that. But because it is a great, clean show right up until the end and then they throw in some garbage just, well, because. I know it probably sounds odd to put it this way, but I get when a show puts garbage and nudity up front: because they want to get people hooked who will hope for more later. I don’t get when they do that at the end because it really doesn’t serve any purpose. Everything is clean for 23 episodes and then on episode 24 they put in some junk. Really? What just to make some shmuck happy and feel like he didn’t waste 6 hours of his life “for nothing”?  Bah, whatever. </rant>

That being said, I absolutely loved this show. It did a great job on story line, plot development, comedy, developing characters, pretty much everything. The story revolves around a virtual reality MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) where people hook up to a virtual reality system so that they can be fully immersed in the game universe. However, something goes wrong shortly after the launch of the latest game. The players are all trapped in the game and will not be allowed to disconnect from the system until somebody beats the game – but that could take months! In the mean time, if you die in the game, you die in the real world so it quickly becomes a dog-eat-dog world with players fighting to survive, literally.

Kirito is a skilled swordsman who has been playing these games for a long time. Does he have the skill to complete the game and beat the final boss? His friends think he might, but he is too afraid of making a mistake and getting people killed. Especially another player that has become very important to him. Can he manage to beat the game, and save this newbie girl that has become the center of his life? Will his skill be good enough to save everyone or will he have to sacrifice people along the way to ensure his own survival?

Back to episode 24. About half way through the episode one of the female characters is being held hostage. The antagonist rips her top off rendering her exposed for I would guess about 5 minutes of the show. Most, if not nearly all, of the time the camera angle is from the back or mostly obscured by hair from the side. At-least one time, however, it pretty much does a full frontal shot from a medium distance. While technically a few strands of hair block things, there is not much left to the imagination of the viewer. If the studio every re-edited this scene to remove that part of obscure things more I would have called this a perfect show.

At the time of writing, this was an extremely popular show on the streaming sites. There are multiple manga volumes, a video game, 2 light novel story arcs (over 13 volumes between the two) and of course the anime. It has been licensed for release in North America with an English dub. And this story did not even begin until mid 2009, with most everything starting late 2010. The primary light novel driving everything has 12 volumes so far. The first 2 is the Aincrad story arc and the next 2 are the Fairy Dance story arc, both of which are covered by this anime. There are another 4 or 5 story arcs covered by the light novels meaning there is an ability for another season of the anime, and indeed there are rumors of a continued show. I say continued show instead of a season number because there is debate on wether or not Fairy Dance was season 2 or part of season 1 (there was no break and indeed it is listed as episodes 14-25 I believe). Anyway the next story arc would likely be Gun Gale Online if you want to try and find definitive information on it.

Did I enjoy the show? Yes, despite the junk in episode 24. Will I watch more of the show if they make new seasons? Definitely.

Summary: Great show and story line. Would watch it again! Lots of action without taking over the story completely.
Seasons: 1
Season length: 25 episodes
Episode length: 22 minutes
Content: Clean. One episode around #5 has a girl in her underwear going to answer the door before realizing she isn’t dressed. Another episode around #13 shows his sister in the bath/shower. Episode #24 shows the main female character being stripped of her clothes. I am hoping season 2 is cleaner.
Language: Japanese and English

Girls und Panzer

anime_girls-und-panzerThis is another show I was really surprised at. Let’s face it, much like Love Live! this is a show about a girls-only high-school. I fully expected to shut it off after the first or second episode from an obscene amount of underwear and skin being flashed around. As I said, I was surprised. There was absolutely nothing improper in the show (as always, take this with a grain of salt – who knows if something happened while I looked away, but going through 12 episodes and never seeing anything is a good sign). The worse I ever saw is part of one of the episodes has most of the girls in their swim-suits washing the tanks to get them all cleaned up and ready for operation.

Girls und Panzer, that is Girls and Tanks, centers around a group of girls trying to save their school. Sound familiar? Seriously though, this story has absolutely no connection to Love Live! and a completely different story line. In Love Live! the issue was the school didn’t have enough students so unless they can get more prospective students interested, the school gets shut down. With Girls und Panzer, the school is going to be shut down – period. Basically the girls get the powers that be to agree that if they can win a tankery competition the school can stay open. Winning means beating every single other school participating, and oh yeah, they haven’t had a tankery program at their school in years.

What is tankery? Well, some schools have tennis, some have soccer, some have baseball and some? Well some have tankery! Tankery is the “sport” of tank warfare and learning to be proper girls through that sport.  Uhh, okay. So aside from that, the idea is pretty cool. You get two schools together with a bunch of tanks on each side manned by school kids. They go around a practice field (which includes the town, too bad if your shop gets blown up!) trying to disable the flag-tank of the other team.  And yes, they use live rounds!  Seriously though, there is no way tankery could actually exist without 80% of the participants dying each round. Even still, it’s kind of like paintball wars but with tanks. I’m thinking that would be a cool game to play!

That is basically the story. Can the girls manage to get all the way to the top and win? Beyond that, they build the characters up pretty well. The primary plot doesn’t develop much, but there are a few side plots that develop pretty nicely. In addition to that, they do some pretty cool “special effects” (if you can call it that in animation) in regards to the tanks, points of view, and creative ways of fighting tank vs. tank. I thoroughly enjoyed the show even though it felt pretty short (12 episodes).  I think there are actually 15, but 3 of them are “.5” episodes where they just rehash the past few episodes and introduce some of the new characters in more detail.

Summary: Fun, clean show. Good entertainment with a creative idea driving it all (tankery).
Seasons: 1
Season length: 12 episodes
Episode length: 22 minutes
Content: Very clean.
Language: Japanese with English subtitles

1 comment for “Anime Review: Love Live! School Idol Project, Sword Art Online, Girls und Panzer

  1. February 3, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    Thank you for helping people find clean anime!

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