Spring 2009 Anime Impressions – Slap-Up Party -Arad Senki-

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This title is first show of the season that I decided to watch after the season started. I noticed a few people talking about it and the character designs looked interestingso I figured why not. It comes from Gonzo so I figured I’d give it a go and see if Gonzo could get lucky with this title.

Rating: episode 1 – 8/12B+
Rating: episode 2 – 7/12B
Anticipation Level: medium

First off, I wonder if Slap-Up is an Engrish version of the word slapstick because this is definitely meant to be a comedic series. It’s set in that quasi-medieval time period which seems so popular this season and our hero brandishes a sword that contains an elfish flying slug character named Roxy (probably the same Roxy we see in the opening scene). Over the course of the first two episodes, if the OP/ED is to be believed, our hero has met the first two characters that will agree to quest with him. In the near future, he’ll probably meet the last member (also judging from the OP/ED) and, if this show continues being conventional, our group of intrepid heroes will get mixed up in some sort of problem that’ll leave the fate of the world in their hands.

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If the quick story recap above sounds like I wasn’t totally impressed with this title then you’d be right. There where definite parts to Slap-Up Party that impressed but other parts didn’t. I liked the character designs, which was what initially drew my attention to this. Another thing that I liked about Slap-Up Party is it’s sense of humor. The comedy parts were more prevalent in the first episode which accounted for the higher score but the second episode still got me to chuckle a handful of times. I think Slap-Up Party might be trying to walk the fine line between telling the story straight-up and parodying this type of story and setting. I bring this up because the comedy seems to be coming from this standpoint; it’s not parody but at the same time, it appears to understand some of the inherit comedy in stories such as this one.

One of the areas that didn’t impress me is the characters. After two episodes, they feel too much like pre-fabbed characters that just got plopped down into the show. It’s still too early to penalizing this show for weak characterization but developing the characters will need to addressed soon or the rest of the show has to get awesome enough that it doesn’t matter – kinda like what Sengoku Basara is doing right now. There were two things about this show that I noticed but they were both kinda odd things to notice so I don’t know if I should count them against the show. The first is the amount of recycled footage in episode 2. I know it’s normal for a show to have at least a bit of this and I don’t know why this is the first title that I really noticed it but I did. I think it could be troubling for the show in the long term if by the second episode they’re already cutting corners. The other thing is even odder. The voice that was picked for the tall, muscled woman that is introduced in the second episode is, in my opinion, very off. It’s actually distracting my attention which is about a first for me.

After two episodes, I have the feeling that this title probably doesn’t the ability to be one of the top titles of the season but as long as it can continue to be funny and entertaining, it’ll be a solid second-tier show that will be worth following. Especially since, outside of K-ON! and Hayate, there hasn’t been too many shows this season that have made me laugh.

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