The Summer 2015 Anime Preview Guide
Sky Wizards Academy
How would you rate episode 1 of
Sky Wizards Academy ?
Community score: 2.4
Ah, it's THIS show. I was wondering when this show would show up. It always does, at some point in the season preview, and it will continue to show up until “cheap anime promo for a light novel fantasy-action harem” is no longer a winning economic proposition. Whether it's Absolute Duo or World Break or any number of other flavorless concoctions, This Show will live on.
Summer 2015's version of This Show involves devil beetles, the generic faceless enemy that demand an intrepid team of one teenage boy and a bunch of teenage girls to fight them. At the floating academy city of Mystogan, our hero is Kanata Age, who is branded as a traitor for some event in the past in spite of his clear heart of gold and tremendous competence (the show quickly establishes him as being as useful as thirty other men). The women our hero will tame are Rico, Lecty, and Misora - Rico's the narcissist ojousama type, Lecty's the timid one, and Misora's the red-haired tsundere. Over the first half of this episode, one of the instructors and a student council member of Mystogan explain all of this, meaning the first half of this episode is essentially one long, very budget-efficient monologue.
The second half requires a bit more character movement, but prompts no more hope. Kanata runs into Misora in what may actually be the most cliche way possible - a toast-in-mouth collision that segues into a “agh, you're grabbing my boobs!” gag. Not content to just be garden-variety stereotypical, Sky Wizards Academy deftly pivots into a “you think I'm flat, don't you?!”, finishing off with a “there's a pervert here!” You almost have to admire the show's dedication to being the most standard possible articulation of its genre.
The rest of the episode continues largely in that vein, with Kanata running into Rico and Lecty in similarly toothless “perverse” situations before he's revealed to be their new instructor. There is absolutely nothing here that dozens of shows have not done before, and even if you're looking specifically for action-fantasy or harems, this season offers shows with far more personality and sharper execution in both of those genres. On top of that, this first episode is very lethargically paced, heavy on unnecessary exposition and slow in the introduction of its obvious premise. Skip, skip, skip.
Sky Wizards Academy is available streaming at Funimation.com
If any series this season manages to be more boring than Sky Wizards Academy, I will eat a rack of hats. I would have believed anyone who told me the first episode was an hour long, because that's how long it felt. There is not a single drop of originality in the entire thing, and if you are even remotely tired of the old "he's a pervert because he looked at me funny!" joke, then you will rip your hair out by the end of the episode.
Sky Wizards Academy opens with a dull aerial battle against giant demon beetles that explode into meaty bubbles when slashed with magic sky wizard swords. I've seen enough shows that feature sky battles to know that they can be pretty exciting if animated properly, but that doesn't apply to the fight scene in Sky Wizards Academy. Characters float lazily in the air, pointing their magical buster swords at a tessellated horizon full of beetles. When there is action, it's usually a single sword chop, or a zoomed-out dash of light. Maybe there'll be more opportunities for the rest of the series to redeem itself, but if the opening scene can't even be cool, I don't know what the series will be like when the animators start running into time constraints.
And then there's the thin, watery premise. Our main dude character, an aloof "traitor" named Kanata is assigned to instruct an F-team of young pilots: a chuunibyo who thinks she's a goddess, a ditzy shy girl, and a generic Feisty McFeisterson. All think he's a pervert, because this anime is creatively bankrupt and doesn't know what else to do with its characters. It's supposed to be funny, I think, but it misses that by a mile. I could kind of see how someone could get a chuckle out of the ol' "I tripped and landed on a guy who then accidentally groped my breasts" gag, but I couldn't quite connect the dots between "My toast landed on this guy's crotch!" and "He's such a pervert!" Maybe if his genitals were inside a jar of jam.
Unfortunately, that's the entire episode. Three girls decide he's a pervert, and everyone else calls him a traitor. A lot of first episodes can be difficult to write because characters need to be set up, but this one just doesn't even try. Instead, it tries to sling in some lazy jokes, snap some close-ups of camel toes, and plant some "traitor" mystery that I stopped caring about the third time they mentioned it. If I could ask for my 20 minutes back, I would.
There is absolutely nothing in Sky Wizards Academy worth your time. It's ugly, stupid, extremely boring, and if you threw a dart at a dartboard with random anime titles written all over it, you've got about 99% odds of hitting something more worth your twenty minutes. It seems like diomedéa is trying to replace Studio Arms and associates as prolific producers of lame and/or gross junk that nobody asked for on shoestring assets hoping to turn a profit, except with a distinctly light-novel flavor this time. They gave us Unlimited Fafnir and World Break last Winter, which I didn't write up for the preview guide, but they were special cases for new levels of light-novel bad, and the bottom-shelf production values didn't help them either. (Especially World Break! Holy wow guys, quality control!)
Anyway, Sky Wizards Academy has the world's easiest fantasy hook to animate: Peter-Pan style flying. (Okay, it's second only to energy beam spam/power auras, but I'm sure that element will show up later too.) Even then, the only (poorly animated) magical human-hovering we see in Sky Wizards Academy is in a short flashback prologue, so that's a huge strike against this from the get-go. The rest of the episode is taken up with our milquetoast self-insert running into a tsundere, an ojousama and a dandere one after the other, being mistaken for a pervert, and then learning that he must tutor these girls in the ways of sky wizardry to prepare for an insurmountable battle against the devil beetles that threaten the future of humanityyyyyyyyyyzzzzzzzzzz...
Anyway anyway, the girls are all ludicrously awful students and he is a sky wizarding prodigy, but his dark past and reputation as a traitor makes everyone afraid of him, so that's why he's slumming it at this academy for magical sky wizards and--it's a bad show. There's nothing pretty to look at, no endearing characters, not a drop of originality in the plot, and it's just plain no fun to watch. I was pleasantly surprised that there weren't really any out-and-out uninspired duds this season so far, but it looks like we finally got one. Watch literally anything else that's out this summer and you'll be better off.
Review: Hey, when did Kirito get transplanted into a series about aerial wizards battling bugs from a flying city?
(Oh, come on; I know at least some of you were thinking that yourselves during that opening scene.)
Based on a light novel series, Sky Wizards Academy is merely the latest in a long line of anime and non-anime titles which feature an eccentric or disgraced instructor who must whip an eclectic bunch of incompetents into a legitimate fighting force, with elements borrowed from fare like Chrome Shelled Regios added in for good measure. In this case the floating city of Mystogan is primarily composed of Sky Wizards Academy, a training ground which prepares young wizards to combat the Devil Beetles that are implied to have overrun the surface of the planet. At that institution the lowest-performing group is the notoriously bad Fireteam E601, whose members include a dark-haired beauty so narcissistic that she believes that she's the incarnation of a goddess and thus doesn't have to train or do homework (Rico); a blond-haired timid girl who's earnest but clumsy and a poor student (Lecty); and a pinkish-haired girl who has racked up more than 100 consecutive losses in combat testing (Misora). Kanata Age, a talented senior student who is reviled as The Traitor for something which happened six months earlier (i.e., the prologue), is called upon to be their instructor. Before he can even meet them in that capacity, though, he has accidental encounters with each of them which lead them to believe that he's a supreme pervert.
And really, introducing the core cast of characters is all that the first episode accomplishes. Still, the basic formula here seems straightforward enough that reasonable assumptions can be made about which direction this is going, and all signs suggest that fan service is going to be a prominent but not dominating regular component. The real problems are that none of this comes across as novel or even all that interesting and a decided lack of enthusiasm. So far none of the characters promise even faint twists on the standard archetypes they represent, and nothing shown about the setting or actions of the characters has even a whiff of freshness to it. The action scenes in the prologue are utterly unremarkable, too, and if anything here was supposed to actually be funny, it falls flat. About the only things that the series has going for it are eye-pleasing character designs and the faint sense of intrigue over why Kir- er, Kanata is called a traitor, and that's not enough.
In all, the first episode isn't so much awful as just a limp, painfully directive waste of effort.
discuss this in the forum (708 posts) |
this article has been modified since it was originally posted; see change history