Monday, September 30, 2013

Hyperdimension Neptunia: The Animation

Hyperdimension Neptunia: The Animation comes off as a love letter to its dearest of fans and on the hand, a potentially alienating experience for any new ones. Whatever the case, despite it being a clustered and cluttered adaption of the franchise, it is fair to call the series "selfless and indulgent enjoyment" for almost anyone as an anime and a fair representation of its brand.


Series Name: Hyperdimension Neptunia: The Animation

Studio: David Productions

Episodes: 12

Genre: Action, Comedy, Sci-fi


By this point in my long viewing history I should know better than to give too much credence to a video game adaptation. Even if it was one that I have knowledge about and adore such as Neptunia - it is the same standard handicraft meshed in. Much like a thousand of game adaptions out there, it wont bother explaining much to you or bother holding your hand: you either know the material or don't. Aside from that, you might also miss out on some of the more minuet nuances germane to the adaptions source material like relationships, timelines, etc. Despite these things, Neptunia is really one of those productions where you would probably careless for specifics and go for what really counts: the antics of cute girls doing cute and crazy things. Factoring in action and fan-service into the mix, too. If you haven't played the game, you needn't worry much, since I highly doubt that will impact your enjoyment and just information that is better left unchecked until your ready for it.

Much like its video game counterparts, Neptunia: The Animation still follows the basic gist of its 4 anthropomorphized game console goddess in the world of Gamidustri; that now ushers in an era peace while continuing to compete for shares - a source of strength for the goddess that comes from their followers. Taking plot-lines from its other three games, the series creates a chunky amalgamation of things that sort of reassemble all of them, but very much so an original production that is ladened with references, in-jokes, and the variable fan to lip service moments. It seems like I never did leave from playing the games with Neptune, goddess of Planeptune still exhibiting her penchant for lazing around to play games and shooting off clever one-liners or the loveable various villains from the series trying so hard to be evil. Yet, going into the naughty and titillating side of fan-service, you can expect some good treatment, whether it be showing off the goddess buxom bodies in combat to the more questionable scenes that go away beyond innuendo. If you are familiar with anime, you seen all this before. Again, the series is very accessible to those unfamiliar with the game as well, since Neptunia's storyline makeup consist of alternate dimensions like the animation - so the only omission in any great detail is character background information. Besides, why care about that stuff when you get enjoy hot-bod girls fighting to save the world, right? I know I am

Joking aside, I really do think that this is a fairly decent series and can be viewed as standlone. Director Masahiro Mukai made some sound decisions in showing off some the best aspects of the series as well as making it relevant to its admiring mass, but it does feel like it is lacking a lot of in details as it does stitch from the three games. You can't pack everything into one of these types of productions obviously, although, since the series does flounder to arc to arc, it largely feels empty and the weak writing is definitely an indication. The episodes felt like they were over before they began, and often ended up asking myself "Wait, is that all?!" a couple times per episode. I am not exactly sure if adding more episodes or making longer would have fixed the problem, but Mukai could have stand to add more content or at least implement the content he had to work with in a more effective way. It works out in the end, but he definitely doesn't have content segmented well to cover a 24 minute period.

The animation side of things, courtesy of David Productions is another "hit-or-miss" in terms of positives points that seems and turn into negatives. It is hard to deny that Neptunia is a budgeted production, but it dangles the carrot of high production values in your face rather well for the first three episodes. Everything from transformation scenes to materialization weaponry give off a nice futuristic vibe and virtual visual display that comes complete with the sparkly and shiny effects. However, the series pays very little heed to character designs that come out with distorted faces, and sometimes appearing grainy and washed out. Undoubtedly, these are things that will and can be redrawn/fixed in official releases, but the flashy animation does very little to support the actual character animation and artwork. Personally, it very disheartening for me, since I was expecting so much from the studio. The soundtrack is also just as unimpressive with very little to add. Lending his compositions to series like Queen's Blade and Freezing, Masaru Yokoyama's work just doesn't seem to fit in for this show and very forgettable. Its subjective, but the vocal opening and ending themes seem to be more appropriate and adequate.

In terms of game adaptions, Hyperdimension Neptunia: The Animation still falls into the category of average for me, but as far as enjoyment goes, it gets a very high score. Again, it shouldn't be too off-putting for newcomers, but its devotees will mostly be ones that will get the most out of it - if they can overlook the scenario setup and writing. Regardless, if you have been curious about the Neptunia universe, but not enough to delve into the games, then the animation is a semi-fair substitute. It is not a good substitute mind you, yet as far as capturing the essences of what the games have offer, it does moderately well in conveying it - sometimes better than most adaptions can dream of.PROS: Interesting cast of characters, fair adaption of the game franchise, nice background and foreground animation

CONS: weak writing, inconsistent character design animation, weak soundtrack
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