Welcome one and all to the latest instalment of Otaku Digest, we are back this week after taking last week to celebrate all the couples of anime and now we are back to taking the new series from the winter anime season and giving their first episodes a good once over to see if they are even worth sticking with for the long haul. So far this season there actually has been a fair amount of series that have crossed the line of being viewable beyond that first impression episode which is a nice change but means major catch up time for this anime enthusiast. This week’s entries are Fairy Tail Zero, Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R and Norn9: Norn + Nonet.
Fairy Tail Zero
First this week we have the prequel story to the fan-favourite long running anime Fairy Tail which began airing on January 9 and it’s a magic, fantasy and shonen anime. We all know the current state of the Fairy Tail guild but do we know how it came to be? Fairy Tail Zero brings us back to the founding of the guild. We meet Mavis Vermillion, a servant for the red lizard guild. She is highly mistreated by the guild master and his daughter Zera but Mavis remains positive through it all, always remembering what her mother told her about fairies never visiting those who cry about their problems. After an attack on the guild, Mavis saves Zera by pulling her out of the wreck and into the forest. Seven years pass by when Warrod Sequen, Yuri Dreyer and Precht, powerful wizards all, arrive on the island in search of a powerful jade gemstone – a mission that will change the course of magic history.
I can already hear the cries of protest that this technically isn’t a new series but a prequel, which is entirely true and I hold my hands up to that. But, it is also born from its own manga, which I am taking into account in including it in Otaku Digest this week. Yes, again, I do realise that the entire opening of this anime is based around the wanderings of Natsu and Happy. But really, is there any better way to begin a prequel anime than to introduce the originals to open the origin story of the forming of the Fairy Tail guild? First off, this anime not only shares characters with Fairy Tale, but it may even excel over the original in the use of music. Those classic background tones mix in with a more pop-based sound for various scenes and transitions, making them all the more effective. It’s also got one of the best opening themes we’ve had in a while, so there’s that! I have never fully followed the Fairy Tail series, but I have enjoyed what I’ve seen and I have to say this anime has sold me on the entire franchise. Although nothing really action-packed happens, the use of chibi children characters and just the character back stories in themselves make the entire thing worth it.
Will I Continue To Watch: Yes an interesting back story will definitely unfold here
Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R
Next this week is the magic and comedy anime Nurse Witch Komugi-chan R or Nurse Witch KOMUGI R which first aired on January 10 and has been adapted from an OVA series called Nurse Witch Komugi-chan. In this anime we are introduced to three aspiring idols: Komugi Yoshida, the clumsy one; Kokona Saionji, her classmate and Tsukasa Kisaragi, who is an idol that dresses in make attire. Where the other two’s popularity is on the rise, Komugi only seems to get lower end gigs, but she is persistent to live her dream. Her life changes in an instant when she comes across Usa-P an injured creature who she nurses back to health and in return for her kindness Usa-P offers her the opportunity to become a Legendary Girl who can use magical powers. Now she adds a third life to the juggling pile with being a Magical Nurse who must face off against mysterious masked figures. Can she handle all three roles she now has in her life and what does this mean for her dream?
It is the moment I have truly dreaded! My favourite aspect and genre of anime has merge with what is almost my nearly hated current fad in anime, the idols craze. I know it’s not just a fad anymore and has been around a long time now, but I have managed to avoid any overlaps into the magical girl realm – until now. Just going by that CGI sugar-coated opening scene, this hasn’t not changed my mind or lessened my distaste for the overly preppy and candy-coated idol based anime series. Yes, magical girl anime can be just as sweet but at least they have depth in action and can stand on their own merit without having to throw a current fad on top of the genre. I really tried to give this episode the benefit of the doubt but I just cannot deal with the fact it’s just using every trope from the magical girl genre pretty badly. There’s also the fact that with the whole idol side, there is not even enough action in the magical girl segments to balance or salvage it at the end. As usual, the transformation scenes and outfits are adorable but there is no saving a series that is beyond saving. I might be nit-picking but this turned something I love into something shameless that I despise.
Will I Continue To Watch: No, nothing more to say here
Norn9: Norn + Nonet
Lastly this week we have Norn9: Norn + Nonet or Norn9 which originally aired on January 7 and is a school, Shoujo and romance anime. Set a in the near future, we meet Suzuhara Sorata – an elementary school student from the Heisei Era who is guided by a certain song is one day warped away to another time. He is sent to a new place that still looks familiar to him thanks to the images of Meiji or Taishou period towns from his school books. Here, in this new world, he comes across nine young men and three ladies who he joins on a journey aboard the cryptic Norn ship which is a giant globe that floats through the air.
Is it just me or have these type of series become a dime a dozen now? These “new boy new town” series have slightly had their day, but I will still give the benefit of a doubt since there seems to be more to this episode than meets the eye. The first thing to notice is that the animation is flawless and excellently done, I mean that opening scene with the forest and the vines was gorgeous beyond words. Without even seeing the full episode this anime had begun to change my mind about it, between the opening scene and then the breath-taking opening theme with a tune that is reflective of more classic anime. I have to admit the summary for this series does not do it justice; You think you know what you are about to watch but this anime turns that on its head. There is no messing around with a series of big explanations, it simply jumps straight into the story so it manages to keep all the dialogue interesting since the watcher has no idea what is going on and needs to know more. I felt the need to apologise to this anime for my first thoughts about it and thank it for changing my mind!
Will I Continue To Watch: Yes, I need to know what on earth is going on!