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Three-Episode Test: Uncle Yo's Spring 2018

Dancing with magical girl-men and dragons, lamenting a persona.

Welcome to the Three Episode Test, where Ani-Gamers contributors give you the low-down on what they're watching (or not) from the current simulcast season and why.

Persona 5: the Animation

Streaming on Crunchyroll

Gut reactions:
“This isn’t working for me,” or “This isn’t working for me.”

Having just finished Persona 5 (my first Persona ever) about two weeks ago, I was ready to break out, fight the power, and hangout with my Japanese Breakfast Club. What could go wrong with a J-RPG story without the grinding?

(Why didn’t I learn my lesson after the Persona 4 animation?)

The breakneck pacing offers little context, and the drab coloration turns the bright, iconic Persona style into a faded front cover of a fashion magazine.

Who is this for? The iconic cut-scenes are rendered with an animation approach that is somehow both dimly lit but entirely without shadows. And taken straight, the dialog of any Persona game reads like a world of eccentrics yelling at a silent and inactive main character. With three episodes in, I may drop the ball and go for a New Game Plus instead.

Worth the Experience of:
watching a YouTube compilation of cut-scenes to distract you from neck pain.

Dances with the Dragons

Streaming on Crunchyroll

Gut Reactions:
“Damn, at least the Bright sequel on Netflix looks promising,” or Monster Hunter was long overdue for a dating mechanic.”

I wasn’t ready for this level of political commitment and eye-straining, world-building detail. Color me impressed. With over twenty visual novel volumes printed over the last decade, it is clear that anime viewers are late to the Dances with the Dragons party. The series crams as much as it can into its buddy-cop blend of “science” and “magic,” which is anime talk for spinning, mid-air alchemy circles attached to inbred and impractical gunswords.

This semi-modern world has power-users aiming to kill off dragons, and while the series wants to bog you down with power-levels, inane terminology, and bureaucracy, our bi-shonen odd couple, Gauys and Gigina, have a reluctant bromance that will hopefully sustain the series past my initial interest in the first three episodes. So long as we end up caring about the characters and can separate them from their plethora of bizarre eccentricities, the bizarrely resplendent animation budget is going to keep my attention.

Worth the Experience of:
buying a supplementary D&D rulebook and becoming attached to the fascinating NPCs you know your party will never appreciate.

Magical Girl Ore

Streaming on Crunchyroll

Gut Reactions:
“Now You’re a Man! A Man, Man, Man!” or “Who’da Twunk Thought This Would Sell is a Genius!”

You thought Cute High Earth Defense Club Love! was a parody? Well Magical Girl Ore is the parody genre fans didn’t know they needed. Saki and her vocal partner are failing idols. Saki’s mother, up until last week, was the area’s magical girl protector with a terrifying, foul-mouthed yakuza grunt as her magical mascot. When Saki transforms, she becomes a beefy a magical girl outfit. Since she won’t use a gun, she opts for a magical girl staff to mercilessly pummel evil demons into piles of viscera.

That said, there is too much singing in every episode. Given the comedy and inclusive nature of the magical girl genre, you aren’t going to be selling any records. So here’s hoping they cut back the singing. And I’m not touching the identity politics of this with a ten-foot LGBTQ-tip, but since I can’t stop laughing, I can’t stop watching.

Worth the Experience of:
Taking your significant other shopping only to find a live pro wrestling match taking place in the food court or filming your friends on laughing gas.

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