July 1st, 2012
All that technology, and still can’t invent decent underwear.
I have no idea why a healthy chunk of this episode even exists. If they wanted something exciting to hook the audience, they should’ve gone right from the introductory segment to the BETA invasion at the end. Instead, we got what basically amounted to a vignette of high school girls going about their daily lives, but they train with mecha! Except they’re incompetent. Thank god for time jumps getting to wipe that away and turn them into soldiers just off screen. Actually, a lot here happens just off screen that we then get told about, penis aliens included in that. I particularly liked how when the BETA began invading, the tanks and whatnot just fired over mountains at enemies always conveniently just off screen. The closest it came to making the BETA actually feel like a threat was that one of their boyfriends was apparently penis alien’ed to death. Create tension, damn it. Don’t rely on reputation and Muv Luv franchiseness to do that for you. Especially if you’re going to jump right from "HOLY CRAP! DOOM ALIENS!" to girls gawking over how cool mechs are, explaining acronyms, and then having a picnic. A little news report saying "okay, intro over, time to be afraid" doesn’t cut it.
Production was better than average but not great. Let’s not forget where the low end is though… like the entirety of Hakuouki and about 75% of Arcana. I’m happy chalk a lot of the blandness up to relatively poor direction and a general lack of emotion and/or impact through the entire episode. They didn’t miss the chance to get every single angle on the skintight suits though, or shots up their asses in them. Glad to know where the priorities lie. As expected CG vehicles abound, yada yada, no surprises on that front. BGM was a little sparse. Again, not exacty impressed by the direction of the episode. At least I can take solace in the extreme likelihood that most, if not all, of the more annoying and vapid characters from this episode will probably die next week. Something that still should’ve happened this week though if they wanted me to actually buy all the stuff they were saying that kept happening juuuust off camera.