First Impressions – Unbreakable Machine-Doll

Life-like love dolls!

First of all, as an engineer, let me say that there are so many things wrong with the first five minutes of Machine-Doll. Fortunately, we’re not here to discuss the realism of the show as it delves into magic and other shenanigans, so let’s just leave it at that.

 

Kind of Mediocre

Looks like everyone in those cars survived.

So yeah. You know the drill when CG is involved. It’s either pretty good, or it’s not so good. And in this case, we get the latter. Which is kind of an understatement, to be honest. In any case, my understanding of the use of CG is, if its not stylistically intentional or obviously necessary, it’s usually a hallmark of budget saving. If you’ll notice, the opening sequence falls under neither of the qualifications aforementioned, so I’m gonna go ahead and say that the unsightly use of CG was simply a result of cutting corners. Whether this means the studio simply doesn’t have the money to spend on the show or they’re saving it for more intense parts later on, I can’t say at the moment. But whatever the case, the CG jumping duo didn’t help improve the experience of the already mediocre premiere.

Yaya wants the mana.

That said, this first episode wasn’t a complete disaster. I say mediocre only because it really didn’t stand out from the rest of the bunch. But I do recognize that not every show can shine from the get-go. If they all did, none of them would stand out anyway. So for now, let’s stand back and evaulate Machine-Doll for what it is. We have the main character, Raishin, who isn’t the brightest lightbulb of the bunch. It’s actually kind of impressive that he managed to land the second lowest score out of the entire school, but we’ll overlook that for now. He’s had a long day and a rough train ride. Then there’s the frisky sidekick doll, Yaya, who wishes she were more than just a sidekick. More specifically, she wishes she were in Raishin’s pants. And beyond wishing, she actively tries to get in said pants while simultaneously getting out of her own clothes. I would protest her portrayal, but she’s cute so it’s OK. Seriously.

Raishin’s arms of steel.

Finally, we round off the list with Charlotte. She’s an elite tsundere, which says everything you need to know about her. And she also has a pet dragon for her sidekick. Actually, I should add that I’m confused as to whether we’re supposed to think she’s really powerful. The show makes her out as such by having other students cower before her, but then she gets in a fight and almost loses? Sure, she got ganged-up on, but when someone is introduced as one of the top-ranked candidates for the magical fight club, you feel kind of misled when she can’t even take out a gang of angry goons. Not to mention, with Sigmund’s abysmal reaction time and slow, exaggerated movements, one has to wonder how she ever got to be one of the top candidates. Unless they’re all equally unimpressive, that is.

Well, I’m sounding rather negative now, so perhaps this is a sign for me to sign off. I won’t try to hide the fact that I’m rather disappointed with how Machine-Doll looks at the moment. But as per my usual optimism, there’s still time for the show to do better. We’ve yet to be introduced to the mysterious Shouko, whom Yaya is apparently very envious of, and there’s also mystery masked man at the end whom Raishin seems to want to kill. So there’s a good chance for things to develop beyond cheap CG action shots.

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21 Responses to “First Impressions – Unbreakable Machine-Doll”

  1. skylion says:

    I’m with you in the disappointment, as I expected more from the premise itself. With this, the show is having a hard time finding an identity, having to go from traditional animation (what is with this character designer and the bleached out visuals? Oreshura again?)to that bland CGI is one thing. The other, as you stated is Charlotte’s told not shown badass nature, that doesn’t really get shown. Yeah, she got teamed up on, but why did the staff decide that was the best thing to do; other than to show off all the toys. Cheap, really.

    I’m willing to give it a bit more time, as I love steampunky magictek stuff.

    So, why did he make an automaton that wants to get in his pants, and he’s blocking as if it is too save his life? Is the pants wanting and unwanted side effects that he cannot find the bug for?

    • belatkuro says:

      Raishin didn’t make Yaya. That’s all I can say for the moment. We’ll get to how he got Yaya later on in the story.

    • d-LaN says:

      OreShura and UMD share the same artist for the LN.

  2. BlackBriar says:

    A rather bland start up but this is only the start so hopefully there’s room for improvement. The premise sounds interesting so I don’t want to give up hope. Personally, the animation used here is alright by me. At least it’s not cell shaded animation like in Arpeggio of Blue Steel which makes you feel like you’re watching a game rather than an anime. Regardless, Machine-Doll has earned my leniency.

  3. Highway says:

    I liked the premise and the action, and found the fighting interesting. I think you guys are overestimating Charlotte’s power. The top 100 are in the Magical Tea Party. So she could be #95, and still serve Raishin’s purpose. And her getting ganged up on means that she’s still in the top 100 out of at least 1200 students. And I don’t know if that’s just new students or that’s all students (let’s guess all students). So better than top 10%.

    I really liked Yaya’s persistence at getting in Raishin’s pants, and wish he’d give in. Isn’t that a benefit to having a humanoid automaton? 😉

    The character designs aren’t my favorite thing about this show, they just seem kind of out of place in this type of show. The CG I think is one of those things where it’s for cost saving purposes, but it’s also for additional capability. Like yeah, if you do N action, it costs X hand drawn and X/2 CG. But implicit in that is that with CG you can do 1.5N action for still less than X. You get more bang for your buck, but the problem is that it can fall apart a little or a lot. The possible reward is a lot better. Plus, there’s plenty of hand-drawn action sequences that don’t look that good either.

    I think that CG is just going to get more prevalent, and it’s getting better. It’s just something that we have to acknowledge, but we can still give feedback that it should be better. And it can definitely get better throughout a show. Look at Girls und Panzer (cause it’s awesome, but): the CG in the first episode was terrible. Bad texture use, pasted in characters, just not good. And it turned around to have some of the best, most seamless action CG ever.

    • belatkuro says:

      Hate to break it to you but Charlotte is ranked #6.
      The only reason she seemed to be overwhelmed is that those guys were preparing for this attack for weeks and studied how to deal with her. That and Charlotte is a bit too arrogant that she gets dumbed down when in battle.

      • Highway says:

        That works fine, too. :) I’m not disappointed in that.

        She should be overwhelmed at what, 8 on 1?

        Are they going to explain what the rankings are based on? I got that Raishin was from ‘backwater Japan’, and I’m guessing it’s because he’s behind on learning stuff. But he definitely seems to be able to hold his own at this point. So could he move into the top 100 legitimately? Or is there just no way to?

        • belatkuro says:

          Technically he can as there are tests per month(?) that will change the rankings. But he doesn’t have time as the festival is pretty close. That’s why he asked the teacher earlier about how the festival works and then immediately challenged someone in the high ranks.

          The rankings themselves weren’t explained as to what is the criteria but I would say it’s the overall ranks in academic and practical performances. The only overall purpose of the rankings themselves is how you will be able to participate in the upcoming festival so it’s not something to think deeply about. Just know that Raishin will have to get in there in a different way than usual.

    • skylion says:

      Is the Magical Tea Party anything like the Debauchery Tea Party? I can’t tell any longer, cause that math you did up there fried my liberal arts brain…

      • Highway says:

        Need Moar STEM…

        Magicians aren’t usually much for debauchery, although I think “Debauchery Tea Party” is a pretty darn good guild name.

  4. HannoX says:

    I thought this was a disappointing first episode. None of the characters stood out as characters–they’re all types we’ve seen so many times before with nothing to make them stand out from the pack of similar ones. Nor was I impressed by the action scenes.

    However, I do like the premise so I’ll give it another one or two episodes. But with so many new shows to see and the fact I can’t watch them all, it’s going to have to grab me by then or it’ll be dropped.

    • Highway says:

      I’m watching everything, including all the stuff that other people seem to hate! The only thing I couldn’t get through was Megane-bu!

      • BlackBriar says:

        We can make an entire database of information out of you if that’s the case. I’m watching almost everything though Megane-bu is not one of the shows on the list (I wouldn’t give that the light of day given how it looks) and I’ve already dropped Ace of Diamond.

        • Highway says:

          At 5 minutes in Megane-bu I was reaching to turn it off, and said “No, I should give it more of a chance.” At 10 minutes, I turned it off.

      • belatkuro says:

        As much as I want to watch everything, I just don’t have time myself. As of now I already picked 21 shows with about 6 more in tow, plus two ongoing shows. Watching anime is suffering.
        I dropped the sexy wrestling anime though and this is coming from someone who watched DxD.

        • Highway says:

          Right now I’m at 25 I’m intending to keep watching, including Miss Monochrome (poor Run-san), and not including Valvrave, Tokyo Ravens, Galilei Donna, Samurai Flamenco, and Noucome. I also haven’t seen Tesagure around anywhere yet.

          I don’t know how many will drop off the list, maybe BlazBlue.

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