High School DxD New

High_School_D×D_NewA more fitting title for this anime would have been High School BEF—BEF for boobs, exposition, and fights. The first word spoken in the first episode is “oppai” (breasts); some stuff is explained, usually with boobs in the frame; then a long fight scene soon followed, with boobs. Repeat ad nauseam.

On the plus side, the fanservice was impressively gratuitous and occasionally diverse (needed more Souna and less Gasper though), and the artwork was better than average for an ecchi anime. The gainaxing was sometimes animated with surprising realism, and the perverse attention to pantsu details was commendable; it looked like some girls had a different pair for each episode.

Disappointingly, the lukewarm characterization and story made it difficult to engage with anything. Issei, the main male character, had a personality that volleyed unconvincingly between lusting pervert and nice guy. His shtick, which hadn’t evolved since the first season, is beyond stale at this point. And the girls in Issei’s harem are still shallow archetypes with little agency to reach outside of their designated roles.

These faults could have been overlooked if the story hadn’t taken itself so seriously with abrupt asspulls to justify its game-esque action sequences. With the exception of some chuckle-worthy moments scattered about, the brief attempts at humor often stemmed from cliché overreactions and yelling.

High School DxD New had the potential of joining the ranks of Bakemonogatari and To Love-Ru as one of the few non-crappy ecchi-harem anime. With less contrived drama, more surprises, and better comedy, it could have been more consistently entertaining.

Robot on the Road

tumblr_nvkw4ni72M1r3rdh2o1_1280Hiroyuki Okiura, the director and master animator responsible for some of the most beautiful and hyper realistic scenes in anime, has apparently turned to the dark side. After working on such classics like Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Jin-Roh, and Paprika, Okiura has written and directed what could be arguably classified as an ecchi anime.

With the exception of Bakemonogatari, Prison School, and a handful of other titles, ecchi anime are often produced with tight budgets, have average or below average art and animation, and their stories are rarely good enough to warrant a rating over a 6. While the story in Robot on the Road is about a low 7, the art and animation are exceptional, and are the main redeeming value of this 10 minute short.

Character designs are crisp and clean, similar to those used in A Letter to Momo, which was also written and directed by Okiura. Moreover, as is the case with much of Okiura’s work, the art and animation quality is often so good that it looks rotoscoped. When the female protagonist gestures quickly or jumps, not a motion in her hair or breasts is overlooked. When the camera cuts to a close-up of her underwear, every detail is drawn out for maximum awkwardness.

The fanservice and gags are propelled by the antics of a perverted, cowboy hat wearing robot. The female protagonist spots him hitchhiking on the side of the road, and she picks him up because—hey, why not? Very little that follow makes much sense outside of ecchi comedy logic, but it’s probably not meant to since it is a comedy afterall.

You can watch Robot on the Road on animatorexpo.com. An option for English subtitles is available on the page. NSFW: contains nudity.