It’s time for another exciting episode of ‘A Crunchyroll of the Dice!’ Before we big, a quick reminder of the rules that I set for myself with this challenge:
- I pick two series at random on Crunchyroll and watch the first episode
- If it has multiple seasons, I go with season 1
- I have to at least try to watch the episode, no matter what show I get
Now, last time, I got pretty lucky and drew Love Live! and Sword Art Online, both of which I ended up enjoying. Did I get as lucky with my random picks this time? In a word, no. Let’s see what happened:
Wolf Girl and Black Prince
Well this was an odd start. I’m vaguely aware of the name of the series and the general premise (girls gets boy to pretend to be her boyfriend by being his ‘dog’) but haven’t really bothered to look any further into it. From the opening scene, the first thing I noticed was the art style. It’s pretty atypical shoujo in terms of the female lead, Erika. She has the standard hair, big eyes and so on. Meanwhile our first look at the male lead is equally normal: he’s your standard male in such things, designed to be overly pretty and looking like he’d fit in in pretty much any yaoi series.
After an OK opening song, we head into the story proper. The frame rate on the animation seems pretty low in comparison to most other things I watch, and it’s immediately noticeable. The problem is, it doesn’t seem to overly utilise the frames that it has, and so the animations looks a little cheap.
Anyway, the supporting female, San, is fairly moody at the start but lightens up a bit once they reach Erika’s classroom. I get the impression that San will be a sort of ‘rock’ for Erika to lean on, maybe a voice of reason. Erika needs that. She immediately spies two girls, Marin and Tezuka, and decides to befriend them. The problem is, all they talk about is their boyfriends (who are apparently adults) and what they do in bed. Erika’s way of dealing with this? Lies. She lies about having a boyfriend, and says he’s into bondage. They talk more about their love lives, oh and the two incredibly boorish girls are suspicious because Erika doesn’t have any photos of her boyfriend, San has been ringing her to help keep up the illusion but isn’t happy about it … if it seems like I’m skimming all of this, it’s because I am. The whole thing was sped through in the show and not given the time it could have anyway, though.
Anyway, Erika decides to continue the lie by snapping a photo of a stranger. She shows that to her two friends and one of them, I don’t know which, recognises him. He’s the ‘Prince’ of the school, Sata Kyoyoa, of course! Anyway, he happens to walk by just as Erika is being quizzed about this and drags her away. He listens to her story and agrees to help her. Then he says she has to spin around three times and bark. Yup, you read that right. Apparently his face changed when eh said it, but Erika was obviously paying more attention than me because I didn’t notice much of a change. Erika refuses, he says he’ll spill the beans, and she does what he says. OK, then he did get a bit psycho looking. It looks like the ‘Wolf Girl’ part of the title is because by lying about having a boyfriend, she’s like ‘the boy who cried wolf’. I can’t help but feel that that particular story has been misused there. She hasn’t told a lie about the presence of danger then, when faced with a real situation, not been believed.
The mean girls turn up again. I just realised that they look a little like the ganguro girls from Durarara. Odd. They try to play up the bondage thing from earlier but Sata stops it becoming an issue and he and Erika start walking home. There’s a moment where he’s looking longingly at a dog and starts getting all pastel-coloured-sorta-flowery-background covered. Could it be that there’s an emotional reveal about a long lost childhood companion coming? Nope. He’s attracted to dog’s eyes. OK then. Every potentially sweet moment has been twisted into something else thus far.
And it’s over.
Well that was … something.
Rio Rainbow Gate
Following the exploits of casino dealer Rio Rollins Tachibana (no relation to pro wrestler Seth Rollins, Ladybeard’s manager Naoko Tachibana, or any sort of anthropomorphic representation of the city of Rio) … Rio appeared in some pachinko games and Dead or Alive Paradise. DOA is a fighting series famous for having an abundance of characters with bouncy breasts. I think I can see where this is going.
Opening scene has some slow trumpet music that reminds me of every scene ever in Sonic X when Rouge the Bat was talking. Rio is in bed. Here comes her pet ferret, Chip … and he pulls the covers down, giving us a brief shot of underwear before we cut abruptly to an old man in a car with a very young girl. As it happens, the girls is called Mint and the old man is her Grandfather who has a liking for casinos. He decides to release Mint into the wild and sends her off into the city with only her teddy bear, Choco, for company. She takes in a magic show, a live action display of a boat crashing, then wanders off to the casino.
Here comes Rio with some very shiny legs and bouncy bits. It turns out she’s known as the Goddess of Victory. We know this because everyone keeps calling her it and an actress, Rosa Canyon, tells Mint that it’s the case. Mint calls Rosa an old lady and Chip makes an appearance. He has a fur marking in the shape of a spade, which is pretty convenient but somewhat cute. There seems to be a man spying on Mint too … I bet he’s after Choco. Anyway, Chip leads Mint to Rio, who is busy shining and bouncing all over the place. Oh, and she brings luck to the patrons of the casino. You see, there’s this thing called a Mongolian Death Worm that’s so poisonous that if it bites you, you die, if you touch it, you die, if it looks at you, you die, and if you walk over the ground where it stood, you die. The cryptozoological wonder is not in Rio Rainbow Gate, but Rio’s effect is just as potent. If she just happens to walk by and you carelessly ogle her, you instantly seem to win a jackpot. How she’s still got a job, I don’t know. The casino manager should probably pay her to go shine and bounce around a rival’s casino for a laugh.
Mint ends up back with her grandfather and the casino owner, and Rio turns up again in a maid’s uniform. There’s her underwear again because the silly artists drew the camera too low down. The Grandfather is off to gamble so he lets Rio take Mint back to her room. Good move there, letting a random card dealer that you’ve just met walk your young relative home. During their journey, the man from earlier turns up with some goons. I was right, he’s after the bear. Rio, having been in DOA, can handle herself in a fight and disposes of everyone with ease. It’s a good job too, because she no doubt needed some rest before getting up the next morning to …
…You guessed it, she starts work and immediately flashes her underwear and bounces about again. A big old rainbow ring of magic flows out from her and calms all the frustrated people losing their money, and they start winning again. She starts running a roulette game and there’s a bit about a man being unsure whether to propose to his girlfriend, so he bets his proposal on the roulette game. Rio, obviously deciding that this is fine and not at all a sign that the man perhaps should not be proposing, helps him win. Luckily, this provides a great deal of money so he can pay for the wedding.
As if by magic, the failed bear-napper appears and challenges Rio to a game. Rio says that, if she wins, he must tell them why he wanted Choco and leave the island. The man agrees but says that’s two conditions, so Rio will have to bet something else along with Choco. Mint immediately suggests that Rio should strip naked if she loses and the man accepts.
Right. Well, moving on, the man is Orlin Dunhill, the Queen Killer. Rosa will be the dealer for what will be a single round of poker, and Rio is … wearing a wedding dress. This is apparently a ritual to make her one with the game. I suspect that that was the best reason they could come up with for the clothing change and they just decided to go with it. Orlin draws his cads and he only needs to change one to potentially get a straight, so he makes the smart move and changes four, only keeping the queen. He has no luck with women you see, but the queens always come to him and so he will win with four queens. All of a sudden, Rio’s clothes explode into what looks like a magical girl transformation scene, and she’s floating in a colourful world of maths. Meanwhile, Orlin is wandering through some giant playing cards until he finds the three queens. Rio isn’t worried at all though because she’s using naked magic now. Orlin thinks he’s won … but he has nothing. Rio has a pair of twos and so wins with the lowest possible hand.
Orlin explains that he collects cuddly toys as a way to comfort himself at the loss of his wife and Choco happens to be a rare collector’s item from Belgium … only the tag says ‘Made In China’, so he goofed. It’s OK though, Rio comforts him by pressing his head into her chest and saying something that isn’t overly comforting. I’ve just realised that all the women apart from Rio have very similar faces. Rio goes to leave, Mint trips and grabs Rio’s wedding dress, ripping it away to end the episode.
The ending video … I can’t remember whether the song was any good. The whole video seems to be about Rio’s panties and boobs, which left me with this thought: there are an awful lot of anime artists that seem pretty proficient at drawing ladies underwear. I wonder if any of them ever consider changing careers and become a designer?
Let the battle commence!
I will now compare each series on several different aspects. The winning series in each category gets two points, and both series get one point in the case of a draw. The battles will be: Best Opening Episode (in terms of achieving the goal of setting the series up), Best Main Character, Best Supporting Cast, Best Storyline, Best Animation, and Best Soundtrack.
OK, so what we have here is the epic battle of ‘The Bland vs The Bounce’. Hardly McGregor vs Diaz, is it? In terms of what happened, I found it hard to get through ‘Wolf Girl and Black Prince’, but ‘Rio Rainbow Gate’ at least left me giggling about how ridiculous the fan service seemed. For that reason alone, it was a far easier watch. Best Opening Episode: Rio Rainbow Gate
Erika is a liar who doesn’t listen to reason and Rio is a lady who jiggles and magically causes her employer to lose money but retains her job. Neither one did anything to make me particularly interested in them. Erika I think will get annoying pretty quickly and probably do a whole bunch of infuriating things. Rio … I don’t have a clue what to expect out of her other than random costume changes. Neither episode left me with much to work with. Best Main Character: Draw
The supporting cast is an odd one because there wasn’t a lot going on. In Rio Rainbow Gate, Mint got a lot of screen time, but there isn’t much to her as yet other than making inappropriate bets. In Wolf Girls we had the voice of reason friend, but she wasn’t on screen long enough to get a proper feel for her. No one really sticks out in either series. Best Supporting Cast: Draw
From a storyline standpoint, Rio Rainbow Gate introduced the main character but did little else. Unless the show is really just about Rio bouncing all over the place (which I doubt is the case), it kinda failed to introduce the main story. Wolf Girl was a drag to watch, but it did set up the ongoing story about as well as you could expect. We now know what the set-up is for the tale of Erika and Sata, and that’s enough to let you know what to expect going forward. Best Storyline: Wolf Girl and Black Prince
This was an easy one. Wolf Girl’s animation disappointed me. Rio Rainbow Gate was nothing spectacular but looked to be a higher quality. Best Animation: Rio Rainbow Gate
The OST in Wolf Girl seemed pretty bland. I mean, there was nothing there that made me scream ‘that was an atrocious choice’, but nothing stood out. Rio Rainbow Gate was also nothing out of the ordinary, but I at least remember Rouge’s trumpet, so that’s gonna have to be enough to clinch it. Best Soundtrack: Rio Rainbow Gate
Final Scores: Wolf Girls and Black Prince – 4 points, Rio Rainbow Gate – 8 points
Well that was a weird battle … in all honesty, I’m probably giving the shows too hard a time here. Wolf Girl just didn’t click with me at all. Rio Rainbow Gate had far more fan service than I tend to like, but it was at least entertaining. For that reason alone, if I was going to continue with either series, it would have to be Rio. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this second edition of ‘A Crunchyroll of the Dice’, and here’s hoping I get better luck next time!