Exceeding all expectations.
There’s times during thin slicing when I’m wrong, and there’s times when I thought I was wrong… but then I was really right. Case in point: Kiddy Girl-and. I didn’t think much of the show, felt Ascoeur to be annoying, and even gave it the dreaded Brett Favre honor. You know what? Favre has exceeded all expectations in Minnesota (if he manages to play in the playoffs, it’s just cream cheese for that fanbase now), and Kiddy Girl-and is definitely a lot better than what I thought it would be (i.e. the bad kind of train wreck). So I’m right in that regard… in completely misjudging both what Favre had left in the tank and what the Kiddy Grade franchise would be like without Eclair or Gonzo. And, surprise surprise, shit got better without Gonzo.
(But can someone explain to me the name? Like… just random English words jumbled together like “Bubblegum Crisis”? Well, at least it’s not an anime named “The Sacred Blacksmith”… that doesn’t involve blacksmithing. But, hey, it has plenty of feel good slice-of-life lessons. And boobs.)
First off, if you told you two months ago that one fall 2009 series would rise up and just be a complete tour de force of parodies and in-jokes, which series would you have pointed to? Seitokai no Ichizon, right? It started off beautifully in this department but has since faded horribly (much like Eli Manning). No, it’s Kiddy Girl-and. It’s a show that I don’t expect these moments, but it has it in spades.
(Like when Q-feuille asks Ascoeur if she remembered the battle plan… and… well… with 30 [or 10] lives, you don’t need much of a battle plan.)
As much as I enjoyed that… I enjoyed Shiraishi starring as himself. He even got to sing the ED! I was like, “Wait, WTF, why is he here?!”
(I also like the NBC… err… Comcast “The More You Know” logo in the back. Seen it many times during my youth upon watching Saved by the Bell on Saturday mornings. Back when, you know, the TV stations ran things other than infomercials on Saturday mornings.)
They probably won me over when they brought back Alv’s and Dvergr’s ghosts… with Alv spouting her seiyuu’s catchphrase… and Dvergr spouting the catchphrase of a certain loli starship captain. I can almost picture that ramen stand on the bridge.
And then there’s other moments too, like when Dia (we’ll get to her later) meets an older man named “Peddy” who brings her lots and lots of “thick” milk. I mean… wow… just wow… between Araragi, Tomoki, Adam Blade, Chizuru, and Peddy, this has been one heck of a year for a certain character archetype. Needless to say, this might be the most intense competition for the Best of 2009 Wait, Why Is There A Dateline NBC/Comcast Film Crew In This House? award.
And the traps from the second episode… well… they were all niconico-based traps. At least they didn’t use trap-based traps. If only Seitokai had the DNA of Kiddy Girl-and… sigh. Gasp… this almost becomes a fun series to watch…
Satelight also addressed my biggest earlier complaint in that how the heck is this related to Kiddy Grade. The events from that series are causing the problems now. Though I’m still looking for the explanation as to why if ES agents are regenerated, why aren’t Éclair and Lumière regenerated? But… gasp… I actually slightly trust the story to eventually explain that now, instead of sweeping shit under the rug, Sunrise-style.
(Kiddy Grade was basically 13 episodes of pointless one-shots, and then 13 episodes of some noble/commoner conflict. It wasn’t that great of a show, but I think time made us remember it more fondly than what it was. But it did have excellent Eclair fanservice, which, I guess, makes it worthwhile. Plus, she had that awesome lipstick weapon. I do think it could have been better if Satelight worked on it instead of Gonzo. At the very least, Strike Witches fans can rejoice that their flying pantsu squadron won’t be knocked down a full grade by Gonzo. Can you imagine AIC’s crew for Otoshimono on Strike Witches instead? Wouldn’t that just finish off Araragi with massive blood loss?)
My second biggest complaint is that Ascoeur is annoying as hell. She still is. Her voice is too high pitched, and her trademarked “Hai hai!” feels like someone is scratching a blackboard each time she says it. But… they kinda managed to address this one by limiting her screentime. Recent episodes focus more on other characters, and they even introduced Dia, who completely changed the dynamics of the show.
(I’ll give you a way to enjoy Ascoeur… I keep thinking her name is “Ass-cool”. It makes more sense when you realize that the big bad guy’s name is “Cock-toer.” This anime has the greatest names. Not a plain Jane amongst them.)
Dia’s special ability is that she powers up anything that she makes mouth-to-mouth contact with. There’s just a plethora of jokes you can make. All completely inappropriate. Except if you’re Araragi, Tomoki, Adam Blade, Chizuru, or Peddy.
(Dia is also supposedly only a year or two younger than Q-feuille. That’s this month’s second most shocking revelation, right behind Adam Blade finding out that only Eve can have his child since she’s the only one who can handle his uber-sperm. Yes. This was an actual plot point for Needless.)
But it does lead to a lot of Dia kissing Ascoeur and Q-feuille, which I fully support. At the very least, she’s shutting Ascoeur up. It’s definitely the best power up of the year and should be considered for the pantheon of power ups, joining Contra’s spread gun, Mario’s tanooki suit, Samus’ screw attack, and Fate/Stay Night‘s… uh… power up orgies.
(Yes, I think they should work this kissing power up mechanic into the new Code Geass series. Can you imagine Edo period Lulu having to kiss bunny girl ninja Kallen for a power up? Or, more probably, Shinsengumi Suzaku? OTL. Forget I mentioned this.)
Can someone explain to me that design on Q-feuille’s right breast? It looks like an unhappy jester. Whomever designs these outfits for ES members… how the hell did they come up with this? “Mmm… let’s see… outfit for a seven year old (?) soothsayer… eureka! I got it! Let’s go with a creepy sad jester design, but we’ll only place it on one boob! And since there’s cutouts, she can’t wear a bra! I’m a genius!”
(Needless to say, I want to shake this person’s hand. Except if it turns out to be ef‘s Kuze.)
The Touch and Go waitress outfits… très bien! I like how they’re constantly in new waitress outfits. Definitely a plus. The animation is well-done and smooth and probably has the third most… uh… bounciness… this season behind Sora no Otoshimono and The Sacred Breasts… err Blacksmith.
The OP… sucks. Come on, try harder. Don’t just splice footage, and the song is weak too. The ED… what does it mean when I like the Shiraishi variant more than either the Ass-cool or Q-feuille one? But the eyecatches are hilarious. Gotta love ’em. They should just do a recap of the previous episode via the hilarious eyecatches instead of an OP.
I love how they managed to get Onsakumaru into this anime as the genetic (?) beast that terrorized poor Clover. And now is Dia’s pet. Which Ascoeur rationalized is their phat loot for their dungeon crawl. Her words. And you wonder why I’m enjoying this anime. Definitely exceeded all expectations, and the show is just playing with house money now. Just like Mr. Favre.
(Why are fansub groups translating it as “Genentech”? I haven’t read the manga, but I don’t think it’s right. One, Genetech is a real company… so I think Satelight would be smart to avoid using that name. Second, if you take how an average Japanese person would pronounce “genetic,” it would sound like “ge-ne-te-ka.” It woudn’t be the “juh-net-ik” proper pronunciation.)