Episode 01 Censored
Any consideration for me covering the widescreen censored broadcast of this series was quickly dismissed after I realized how unwatchable it is when the entire screen is black for a lot of the scenes. While it makes perfect sense to cover up the nudity, the gruesome depictions of Pandora getting cut up and their limbs dismembered were deemed inappropriate as well. The excessive censorship reminds me a lot of Seikon no Qwaser, where it was difficult to even know exactly what was being censored most of the time. It also made me question what the point of broadcasting the series like this is, as it can make it pretty hard to follow from a story standpoint. If a series is deemed mature like Freezing’s been, they should just keep it to specialty channels such as AT-X. I’m personally not against censoring on television broadcasts and would be fine with some clever use of black bars and blinding white lights, but I have to draw the line when 60-80 percent of the screen is completely blacked out and I can’t even make out some scenes that go uncensored in other series. The start of the first episode with Satellizer’s naked backside is one such example, considering that a station like Tokyo MX was fine with a similar scene for their To Aru Majutsu no Index II broadcast, plus several more as well. Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls last season was a perfect example of censorship done right, as it was integrated well into the style of the show and didn’t negatively affect the viewer’s experience. The deal breaker for me isn’t the nudity though, but the fact that I can’t discern what’s going on in some of the battles and have to start making assumptions.
As for the episode itself, it’s taking me some time to get accustomed to hearing Mitsuhiro Ichiki (Takeyama in Angel Beats) as Kazuya, since he makes him come off a lot wimpier and clingier than his manga counterpart. Whether or not that’s due to how the production staff envisioned his character I don’t know, but I’m starting to think so after seeing the amount of blush that was animated on his face. It’s as if a conscious decision was made to draw his eyes a lot larger than the female characters as well, making him come off even more feminine in this adaptation. I can’t say I’m a fan of these changes, but I am secretly holding out for further character development in Kazuya that will have Ichiki using a slightly more respectable voice like he did with Naoya in episode thirteen of Kaichou wa Maid-sama. Noto Mamiko on the other hand hasn’t been able to show why she’s been cast as Satellizer just yet, seeing as she’s a girl of very few words, even when Ganessa continued to run her mouth and resorted to using “Pandora Mode” against her, a battle form that is only permitted for use against Novas. However, this episode did foreshadow a bit of Satellizer’s past and alluded towards why she can’t stand being touched, so I’m starting to think it was to portray her girlish side. In any case, Kazuya’s already made her realize that she doesn’t mind coming into contact with him for some reason, and the next episode with third-year Kannazuki Miyabi (Kuwatani Natsuko) should build on that as the hazing of the misunderstood girl continues.
Much like I was suspecting, the premiere last week expanded on the backstory and now the series has started following the manga more faithfully. If that continues to be the case, things should get much more interesting once Kazuya finally gets settled into West Genetics and gets to know Satellizer better. Visually, the one notable exception is the change from Pandora Mode from a suit of armor to simply a coating of Volt Texture that surrounds the Pandora’s body and their hair and eyes turning white and yellow respectively. I’m not too sure what the reason is behind this change, other than maybe that it showcases the character designs more. I can’t even see it being for fan-service purposes, since that Pandora Mode armor got torn to shreds all the same.