Friday, February 26, 2016

Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai review

It's time for another fantasy school battle anime for this season. Taimadou Gakuen 35 Shiken Shoutai
used the same copy paste formula; a dense protagonist with his own harem, heroines with recognizable traits, element of fantasy and school tournament at some point. The good thing about this anime is its unique setting, where a bunch of high schoolers hunting down witches with considerably darker tone in it. However, it turned out to be tad disappointing; it fails to execute given theme and setting properly, with convoluted plot and really rushed story as a whole.

The 35th Test Platoon of Antimagic Academy is one of the squads enrolled at an academy specializing in raising the witch hunters, whose job is to find and neutralize any magical threats! Unfortunately, they're a group of failures nicknamed the "Small Fry Platoon", a platoon formed from a bunch of self-centered people who have personality problems and can't cooperate. Will they manage to overcome their weaknesses and shine as the strongest platoon? (Source: Baka-Tsuki, edited)

The story started off promising, with a scene out of a battle zone giving you a sense of upcoming epic war that could potentially come afterward. However, the viewer was later on got cut off by your typical ecchi harem scene and pointless fanservice. As the storytelling is handled by arcs, each of these arcs consists of a set of episodes that focuses on a problem and specifically about a girl. It is mostly predictable as any generic writing when Takeru attempts to save them from whatever problem they have.  While it initially handles the buildup and emotional appeals well, it quickly dies out as an arc is wrapped up with rushed conclusion before moving on to the next one. Some of the writing and dialogue sounded really cool, but repeated again and again making them to fell rather redundant. There are some funny and comedic moments between the arcs that are really enjoyable to watch, but again, most of them are just pointless. New characters keep popping out from each arc, but most of them appear just for the sake of making into the show, with no explanation as in what and why are they doing so. The only saving graces of this anime is the action scene which is really cool at time with beautiful choreography coupled with fluid animation. The ending left the viewer with so many questions, only to promote the source material itself.

This anime features the same generic anime archetype you could found in every fantasy battle anime. Up first we have Kusanagi Takeru, the main protagonist of the Antimagic series. As the main protagonist of a harem series, he has the 'nice' quality that almost every one of those dense protagonist up to date have. As a wielder of the Kusanagi sword arts, Takeru spends most of the series on missions to aid the girls in his Platoon of their problems and does so with promise to share half of their burden, building up legion of potential wives along the way. The rest of his squad members are also girls and throughout the show, their relationship with him ventures into the harem-esque territory. We got Ouka Ootori, a token tsundere with a hate for witches and cold personality. As time goes on, she develops unrecognized feelings for Takeru and stay like that for the most of the story. Her rivalry with Mari Nikadou, a witch formerly affiliated with Valhalla, also gets personal and irritating to watch as time drags on. Mari however are much more likable since she can be really dependable at time. Then, there Usagi Saionji, a shy yet emotional girl with some lack of common sense and desire to marry Takeru. Being a busty loli, she is easy to tease and is quite the wimp. Her background story is not pretty despite her high-class family status. Ikaruga Suginami, the genius and professional hacker of the group is also well known for making suggestive and often sexual jokes towards her teammates while being really carefree about everything else. Finally, the show had to include a kuudere character to fill in the void so they include Lapis, a relic eater with gothic loli appearance and "lack of emotions" personalities. The rest of the side casts are not really worthy to be mentioned, mostly due to lack of screentime or irrelevant to the overall storyline.

The art and animation are above average, and the quality are kept constant throughout the story. The general usage of bright colour during the day and darker tone when an incident ensued  makes it look really nice. The usage of variety of special effects especially for the magical parts, from colourful spell to fancy spellcircle makes it visually attractive. The detail on weapons, power suits, mechs, and the like are spectacular, but the usage of 3DCG gives a really awkward feeling at time. The technological aspect of the setting also looks solid despite the shallow backgrounds. Animation are fluid especially during battle scene. As for the music, the OP and ED while not really stellar, are enjoyable to listen to.  The soundtrack is surprisingly well crafted. With the stereo beat and fast paced cinematics, it correlates effectively with the action.

Should you consider to watch this anime? I would say not really, and you would miss nothing by not watching it. Some people might enjoy it for the light comedy and heavy action without caring too much about the story. But really, besides the action and soundtrack, this show is more like an advertisement for the light novel. If you are interested more in the story, then do feel free take a look at the light novel review and decide for yourself to give it a read or not. With its heavy rushing and lack of characterization, there’s hardly any time to craft a consistent story. In the end, it’s a waste potential.

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