The Secret Santa Project is run by the good folks over at Reverse Thieves, and this year, I was faced with the task of watching and reviewing at least one of the following: AKB0048, Fireball & Fireball Charming, and gdgd Fairies. I chose the latter two, which are both short shows.
Fireball & Fireball Charming
Fireball is an interesting series. It’s one of Disney Japan’s first forays into producing original animated material, and the end result is quite the watch. The premise of the show is simple: the show derives its humor from quick, lighthearted banter between two robots, Drossel, heiress to the von Flügel estate, and her servant, Gedächtnis. Although each episode is only around 2 minutes long, the show makes good use of that time in establishing a solid comedic flow between Drossel’s childish personality and Gedächtnis’s gentle comebacks. Over the course of both the first and the second season, Charming, the series builds up a good series of running gags.
But Fireball is most charming (heh) in its attention to detail. Visually, the 3DCG works well with the mechanical designs, and Charming especially is a real treat to watch in HD. Most notable in the series, however, is the setting, a dystopian war between humanity and the robots. It’s evident that a lot of time has been put into the world-building, but as a part of the humor, all of it is just tantalizingly out of sight off-screen. Charming goes even further, rewarding the viewer with continuity nods to earlier episodes and the first season.
If you have about an hour to spare, definitely watch through both seasons in a single sitting! There are worse ways to spend the time.
On that note…
No, I kid, gdgd Fairies is… well, it’s a decidedly low-budget production that revels in the fact. The show is split up into three sections: “gdgd Tea Time,” where the main characters, pkpk, shrshr, and krkr, chat about mundane topics, “The Room of Mental and Time,” where the fairies practice their magic in what is basically a lawyer-friendly Hyperbolic Time Chamber, and “The Voice-over Lake,” where they look into alternate dimensions and make up dialogue on the spot.
The very first thing you’ll notice is that the CG in gdgd is terrible. The show makes liberal use of what look like the default textures and models in the 3D modelling program they used, especially in the latter two segments, which incidentally end up taking up more and more time in the episode as the series progresses. Some of the throwaway character models used end up becoming characters in their own right, such as Fusako Mochida, a middle-aged woman in lingerie with purple hair, and The Hippo that Always Gets in Your Way, a hippo that always gets in pkpk’s way.
If that last part sounds ridiculous, it’s because, well, it’s a ridiculous show. But if you can stand the atrocious production standards, gdgd Fairies is hilarious, even surreal. “The Voice-over Lake,” pretty much just the three voice actresses improvising in a recording studio, is especially a delight. And there’s even a season 2 on the way!