My fall anime reviews continue onwards with reviews for Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road, Lord Marksman and Vanadis, and Trinity Seven.
Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road
Yowamushi Pedal follows Sakamichi Onoda, an Otaku, who discovers that he is a talented bicyclist, and after being asked to join the Bicycle Club, he does so, which leads to an underdog story of teamwork. After getting hooked on the popular sports anime, Kuroko no Basuke (Kuroko's Basketball), I looked for another sports series to fill the void, which led me to Yowamushi Pedal. Sports anime is now one of my favorite genres, and after watching the first season of Yowamushi Pedal, it might just be my favorite sports anime. Yowamushi Pedal: Grande Road is the second season of the series, and it literally picks up in the middle of a race where the previous season left off. Essentially, this second season is more of an extension of the previous season, rather than a true second season, which is perfectly fine, considering how much fun the first season is. Even though I will keep my full opinion of Yowamushi Pedal for an in-depth review after this second season finishes airing, in short, I love it. It is one of my favorite anime, and I literally watched about 50 episodes in one week to catch up with what was currently airing. If you like sports anime, you should be watching Yowamushi Pedal. The characters are likable, the bike racing is intense, and TMS Entertainment's animation is appealing and consistent.
Watch if you like: Sports anime,
Madan no Ou to Vanadis (Lord Marksman and Vanadis)
Madan no Ou to Vanadis (Lord Marksman and Vanadis) is set a Western European high fantasy world with dragons, magic, and the like. In this world, two Kingdoms are at war, and when the battle is nearing the end, the main character, Tigre, an extremely skilled archer, targets Eleonora Viltaria, the leader of the opposing army. After Tigre fails to kill Eleonora, instead of killing Tigre, she makes him her prisoner and eventually he joins in an alliance with her. What ensues is Tigre, Eleonora, and their other allies trying to defeat the Brune Kingdom.
Lord Marksman and Vanadis has all the makings of an epic fantasy adventure, and, unfortunately, it falters due to several issues, although it is not without merit.
To start with the positives, the Lord Marksman creates a fantasy world that, while derivative, is relatively well constructed. It contains many of the standard high fantasy tropes like dragons, magic, and a medieval setting, which is not all that common in recent anime.
Another strong aspect is that the characters use strategy and tactics to win the large scale battles. The tactics used are not even close to the same level as Code Geass or the top tier strategy anime, but it is used well enough in the Lord Marksman to give it more of a realistic edge.
One important aspect to mention is that the series is technically an ecchi/harem, although it plays out more like a love-triangle with the series focusing on two main female leads along with the male character. However, there are a couple of other female characters that show interest in Tigre. Despite being a harem, the romance aspect is sidelined since Tigre is usually busy fighting the war.
Tigre is a decent standard hero character, and his general noble heroism provides a decent reason as to why the female cast likes him. As for the female cast, Eleonora and Mila are the only ones that receive much screen time, and they are generally entertaining characters to watch. However, none of the characters seemed particularly compelling enough for me to care what happened to them in the story, which leads into another negative aspect.
The series' plot is fine, but it does not do a lot to hook me on the story. It is a strange mixture of convoluted and simplistic. They throw in political elements, and yet those elements do not mix well with the rest of the series. Also, the ending is a bit rushed.
Yet another criticism is that the antagonists are dreadfully boring and clichéd. Sometimes, clichéd villains work, but there was far too much of the villains giving exposition, yet not doing anything.
Satelight's animation is generally solid. The character designs are appealing, albeit exaggerated for the female characters, and the fantasy world is brought to life with bright and vibrant colors. Unfortunately, there is one big flaw that hinders the series in general. To show most of the big battle scenes that the series leds up to, all the viewer gets to see is a brief action scene with the main characters and then CGI chess pieces on a map to show what happened during the battle. The strategy used is not nearly interesting enough to make chess pieces with narration entertaining to watch. Likely, this is a problem with the budget, but it still prevents it from being something special in the fantasy general. Also, as with most ecchi, there is fanservice. Generally, the fanservice is medium, and mostly relegated to specific scenes.
Overall, Lord Marksman and Vanadis does some things right and it has a lot of potential, yet it falls short of being anything more than average due to plot issues, lack of production budget, and weak antagonists. With that said, it is still enjoyable at times, especially if you are dying for high fantasy anime and don’t mind dealing with some annoying ecchi tropes.
Watch if you like: High fantasy, Ecchi/harem,
Trinity Seven: 7-nin no Mahoutsukai
Trinity Seven: 7-nin no Mahoutsukai follows Kasuga Arata, a seeming normal high school student, who lives with his childhood friend/cousin, Hijiri Kasuga. After the Breakdown Phenomenon, a powerful magical event happened, consumes Hijiri along with the rest of the city. Arata is then told that he is a powerful mage and is assigned to attend Royal Biblia Academy. The academy is somewhat like Harry Potter’s Hogwarts in that it trains mages, except the anime's version of magic is much more science fiction-esque, but of course being an anime, it is an all girl's school with Arata being the only guy. Also, the seven most powerful mages are referred to as the Trinity Seven, and Arata works with them to defeat the evil mages, as well as doing typical wacky ecchi antics.
Instead of subverting or parodying ecchi/harem clichés, Trinity Seven decides, for better or worse, to revel in them. In general, the ecchi/harem genre is a guilty pleasure genre since it is often dumb and without substance, yet is often funny and can present interesting concepts, and Trinity Seven succeeds in this respect.
As for the characters, from the ninja Levi to the powerful Lieselotte Sherlock (yes, her name is Sherlock), each of the seven girls are memorable and distinct with fun various traits, which drives the typical ecchi humor. Some of the archetypes used are actually not that common in the ecchi genre, and thankfully, none of the girls is the annoying tsundere type that hits the main character repeatedly. Don't get me wrong, I love tsunderes, just not the ones that continually beat up the main character.
As for the main character, Arata is a somewhat unique ecchi protagonist. Instead of the usual character that is almost afraid of girls and completely obvious, Arata is completely open about how much he loves being surrounded by so many pretty girls. There have been a couple of other characters like him in the past, but he is different enough to be fun to watch.
The series' concept of mages is executed relatively well, despite the lack of originality. The plot is also not bad, but again clichéd to a degree, although it is just original enough not to be a hindrance. The series ends with enough closure to be satisfying, yet still opened ended enough for more content.
Studio Seven Arcs' animation is rather good. Somehow, it manages to make the use of 3D animation for backgrounds and other smaller things that actually blend with the rest of the series.
Being an ecchi, the series biggest flaw is obviously the fanservice, and it is definitely a fanservice anime, unfortunately. It is not Highschool of the Dead level fanservice, but it does not shy away from being what it is, and there are a few really weird moments. If that is not something that you want to watch, then just don't.
Overall, for what it is, Trinity Seven is a very fun anime. It does not have a lot of substance nor is it all that original in terms of plot, but the varied cast of characters and solid humor makes it an enjoyable watch.
Watch if you like: Ecchi/Harem,
Did you watch any of these anime? Are you interested in any series? Please comment below and let me know.
Fall Anime Review: Part 2
The Fruit of Grisaia
In Search of the Lost Future
Rage of Bahamut: Genesis
Wolf Girl and Black Prince
Yuki Yuna is a Hero
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