July 7th, 2015.
I’ve heard people mention the terrible CG dragon, but it was just ye olde uninspired one. Better than the one in Bahamut: Genesis, that people took in stride. The CG wagon though, how awkward the characters moved, the lack of any real animation during the very limited fight sequences… the characters model I’m divided on, some of them were extremely overwrought, while a few others were quite simple, and I liked their sharpness. But man, “Kohkkaku”‘s bell-pants, and her awkward gait, quite bad.
The voice actors were also split in quality, with a lot of known voice actors doing a good job, but also a few characters, such as Mashiro and Eiha giving relatively wooden and uninspired performances, it might’ve been the point, but ehhh, especially as it left Mashiro’s death leaving relatively weak, but more on that later.
The production is nothing special, it has warts, but it’s not absolutely terrible, I’ll mark it as mostly competently made, but lacking in terms of design.
Well, this wasn’t terrible, but it was quite ungood. Every single element I can think of was, well, not good, bad even. It was a bad episode, and it was a bad premier. It sort of reminded me of Light Novel writing. In terms of characterization and how things went by, with manifest destiny, being torn between loyalties and ideals, it sort of reminded me of theatre, but here we start getting into everything that’s bad, which begins with the pacing and the way things have been presented. We were outright told the Prince’s motivation for not picking up the sword, or his mantle of princehood, or his wishes. Everything straight out, from the get-go, rather than letting it show through his actions.
We were thrown into things, and then things were thrown at us, it was extremely clumsily handled, it read like the prologue for a light novel. The dialogue lines were stilted, the characters, well, for most of them, the less said the better. Why did we need to see all those schemers? If they are the main characters, should we not learn of them as they interact with one another? If they are not the main characters, then it’s clumsy storytelling that has the need to outright tell us what is going on or make sure we know “something mysterious” is going on rather than introduce it as it becomes relevant and crosses paths with other characters, it is this aspect that felt closer to theatre, but most plays, as in most roleplaying game sessions know how to weave information just when it matters, but since this is based on material by plenty of world builders, perhaps an inordinate focus on the background information is to be expected, even as it is extremly clumsy. Just as when the theme of having to give something, some one up for power has been given to us.
But there’s just not a lot here, we have invaders, a clash of powers and interests, people just wanting to have fun. And none of it was actually handled with much finesse. It’s a prologue, so it can still recover from the way things started, and there’s something to be said by starting with the crisis that forces a character to start their Hero’s Journey, but then to add on top the previous crisis? Having characters die in what should be emotional but is left empty for lack of breathing room or any meaningful action? Meh.
It’s not terrible, because it lacks anything to make it outright offensive, but it’s almost entirely devoid of good qualities, and even the sweet visual design at times is horribly overdone elsewhere and stilted in its animation, or lack thereof.