First Impressions: Girls Beyond the Wasteland, Divine Gate, and Norn9

winter season

Yeah, I know people are recommending that Rakugo show, but yeesh, a fifty-minute episode. No, I don’t have anything against an anime episode of that length, but I don’t have time to watch it tonight. That’s too much to chew on when I’ve already watched and written about five other shows already. Anyway, on with the rest of the junkpile…

Girls Beyond the Wasteland

Shoujo-tachi wa Kouya wo Mezasu - 0101

Two brief thoughts:

  1. I wish these shows would get right to the point. There were only two things that I needed to know. First, our hero is a scriptwriter. Second, the girl above wants his help to make a bishoujo game. Everything else in this episode was a complete and utter drag — a collection of scenes whose purpose in life was to serve as useless padding. A round of applause, please, for they did their jobs well. Too well, perhaps. After all, if I wasn’t already forcing myself to finish the whole thing, I would’ve turned the show off after five mere minutes. Pacing, pacing, pacing. Characterization doesn’t mean we have to idly embrace inanity in the name of “this is what school life is really like!”
  2. Man, I can’t remember the last time someone asked me to indulge in one of my many weeb fantasies, and it didn’t turn out to be a cute girl! C’est la vie! Next thing you’re telling me, my cute coworker wants to act out her favorite hentai scenes with me.


Divine Gate

Divine Gate - 0101

“While the water may fill up the holes on the road,” laments the main character, “it will never fill up the hole in one’s heart.”

Jeeeeeezus fuckin’ Christ, you’ve lost me already. There’s no way I can take any character seriously when they utter a sentence like that. But besides Aoto’s ridiculously over-the-top melodrama, Divine Gate’s pretty much devoid of anything that might be of interest. So, uh, some gate opened up, and in doing so, it connected three planes of existence. As you can probably already guess, two of those three planes happen to be heaven and hell respectively, but in this universe, I think we refer to them Celestia and Hellini… Helli-something. I don’t even care, because it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t. No matter where you’re from, you still look plainly human. So what’s even the point?

Divine Gate - 0102

Honestly, the only thing that perked my interest in this entire episode was how the trains in this universe have giant-ass windows. That was the only thing. I was like, “Whoa, that would be pretty cool in real life….” Yep, the super powers did nothing for me. Kids with the ability to conjure up the elements is just bog standard stuff anyway. I mean, it’s anime. When do kids in anime not have super powers? But continuing on, if you reach the Divine Gate or something to that effect, your wildest dreams will come true! Intriguing enough, yet? No? Aw, why not? Seriously, though, I don’t even know what the plot is other than this vague desire to access the anime’s namesake.

And don’t get me wrong, because I don’t actually mind that the main character is whiny. After all, I like Kylo Ren as a character. But he never fucking said lines like “The droplet trickling down his cheek flows into the boy’s heart, and while they may create a ripple, it will never become his tears.” Oh lord, slay me now.


Norn9 - 0101

If the first episode is anything to go by, this show barely has a plot either, but it doesn’t need one. It’s plainly obvious that Norn9 is an excuse to stick a bunch of cool, attractive teenagers in paradise. That’s all it takes for a compelling story, after all. You put a bunch of hot people in an enclosed area, and something exciting is bound to happen. Kinda like how life was first formed on this planet! Yep, just make sure to take these beautiful kids away from the rest of the ugly, disgusting world full of untalented people toiling away to earn a simple, meager living. Why, they don’t even have super powers! But alas, there won’t be any unabashed, crazy monkey sex or anything. We’ll just begin the slow process in which the attractive teenagers get to know each other, live with each other, and learn the power of friendship with each other. Ugh.

We’re told that The World — yes, The World — handpicks these kids, and that their job is to ultimately help maintain the peace in the real world. As a reminder, the real world is that disgusting place down there that we won’t spend too much time in. I mean, the people down there can barely take care of themselves. Left to their own devices, they’ll just kill each other for no particular reason. Someone reading this post will no doubt proclaim, “But isn’t that actually true?!” Yeah, yeah, so we best pick a handful of ubermensches to make the decisions for them. Some kid with a scar on his face claims, however, that he and his pretty friends may eventually become enemies in the future. When these kids eventually have to do their jobs (whenever that is), they’ll be split up. If that’s the case, it’s hard to imagine how these kids will be any better any maintaining the peace versus the rest of us pathetic groundlings…

Norn9 - 0102

But in the meantime, we’re content to frolic around in a veritable Eden. Oh, these kids will work. Don’t you worry about that! They’ll have to… clean their homes… catch dinner in a river… pick fresh fruits from a tree. Hoo boy, what a tough life! Usually, when our stories revolve around cool, attractive people, we kinda just ignore that the rest of the writhing masses — the ones who really make it possible for the cool, attractive people to be able to do what they do — exists somewhere else in the world. That’s why a lot of shows are located on some ridiculous posh school academy located far and away from the real world, or some remote, idyllic island just off the coast of Japan, so on and so forth. Norn9 just grabs these kids, stick them in some ship that somehow has its own ecosystem and climate, and away we go.

What’s laughable is how painfully telegraphed everything is. Oh, you mean the seemingly friendly boy that dotes on our heroine might actually have a dark side? You don’t say! Man, I’ve seen plenty of otome adaptations, and I have never encountered a character like that before!

Oh, we’ve hit a thousand words once again. Unfortunately, I have to work tomorrow, but who knows? Maybe I’ll sneak in a show or two at lunch, so I’ll have something to write about when I get home.

7 thoughts on “First Impressions: Girls Beyond the Wasteland, Divine Gate, and Norn9

  1. Akeem

    I couldn’t watch beyond the wasteland or norn, the shows -especially norn- look soo bad. The art is terrible and yeah their mind numbingly boring. Divine gate was funny to watch, the did make me cringe. I’ll be following that one at least.

    1. Akeem

      Forgot to say that i like the new look, mostly the text style and size. I could be wrong and it’s the same but it looks better now. The landscape orientation will take a little getting used to however since everything is centered like it used to be.

  2. spectreandy

    Phew, you sure chose a trio of quality anime for this post.

    Really? “Girls Beyond the Wasteland”? What the fuck are you even talking about? This shtick was already “perfected” by “Saenai Hiroin no Sodatekata”. You know, that OTHER show that tried and fucking miserably failed at trying to be self-aware of its cliches, but ended up being a fucking run-of-the-mill sub-genre harem anime anyway?
    Oh, these made-of-out-of-nowhere-girls suddenly want to make a visual novel pandering to the masses of otaku. The majority of the team being hot chicks. Like holy shit, is this hack writer even trying? It’s a lazy asshole who saw Saenai get a moderate amount of attention and tries to jump on a bandwagon that doesn’t even exist. Because, y’know, GAMER GIRLS are such a hot commodity. Yeah, girls that are designed to be the next “Miss Japan” are stuffed in rooms to meet the deadline of the upcoming Comiket. Yeah, that makes sense.
    This show isn’t even deserving of a spot on Harem Hill (that won’t continue). Yeah, because it’s that predictable, I guess.

    The last two shows are just awful. If I had to describe the two in a two words, it would be these: SEASON FILLER. Teens with elemental super-powers or teens in an overly opulent setting, the latter being a shoujo setting? Oh, I wonder how these two shows will pan out? Will it be the same as the dozen other genre related shows that have come out the past two years?

    Also, (a personal pet-peeve) PINK HAIR. WHY. WHY. PINK HAIR. Does pink hair have some sort of innate power to it, or is it because it catches viewers’ eyes by being totally fucking obnoxious? Literally nobody cares about fucking Sakura and her pink-ass hair.

  3. andmeuths

    Norn9’s female protagonist has all the warning signs of a terrible Shoujo/Otome game protagonist. A passive caricature of a human being that…. I can’t even phantom who these protagonists are supposed to appeal to.

  4. phantomphonesringing

    Rakugo is meh. It’s got style, but underneath all that the narrative is nothing we haven’t read a million times before. The protagonist is an underdog who persuades his genius mentor to take him in with glare of determination no jutsu. Except for the first 5 minutes nothing about his behavior suggests he was ever poor or a prisoner, that is I guess until he eventually has to compete with megane rich boy. The female lead is not even there since her story is actually about the mentor’s (her guardian) tragic past with her father, and how the protagonist resembles her father. I guess there’s a meta lesson in here about how the storyteller’s skills can make the stupidest stories seem deep.

    1. Emmannuel Alexandre

      I seriously don’t have patience to sit, stare at the screen and see the guys becoming talking heads for 10 or so minutes, even if they’re presenting something. It makes me bored to no end.


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