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Monthly Archives: April 2011

This week I’ve been trying to watch more of this season’s new anime… seeing which ones catch my eye and which ones might have real potential. I found a couple of real winners between this post and my last one… and lets start off with the best and brightest.

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai: Abbreviated Ano Hana from here forth, this anime’s title translates to something akin to “We still don’t know the name of the flower we saw that day.” It is the story of 6 friends who used to be inseparable back when they were little… but they grew apart after one of them tragically died. The anime focuses in on one of the 6 as the main character, the former leader of the group. He didn’t handle his friend’s death so well and, over the years, eventually grew into a hikkikomori, a hermit… not attending school, not going outside unless he can help it. Suddenly, he finds himself haunted by the ghost of his dead friend, wanting him to grant her wish. Though he believes her to be a hallucination manifested by his stress, he sees this as a chance to maybe make some peace, since he blames himself for her untimely death. Ano Hana strikes me as the sort of anime that can be absolutely GREAT if they do it right. I have a lot of hope for this series. At time of writing, there are only two episodes… but I have high hopes for the remaining 10.

Sekai-Ichi Hatsukoi: The title translates to “The World’s Best First-Love” and this one is actually kinda hard to put my finger on. Some times I can’t decide if it is an anime about two attractive manga editors who happen to be gay or two gay lovers who happen to be manga editors. That fact makes it one of the very best gay romances I’ve seen to date! It isn’t just a story about a romance between two gay guys, it is also an office drama/slice of life kind of affair. It doesn’t feel forced or rushed in the least and, despite a few extremely improbable happenings, I haven’t found anything yet that really faults the story. Not only is it a romance, it also helps you get good insight into the production of shoujo manga! I’ve seen 3 episodes so far, and I’m enjoying it.

Hanasaku Iroha: Iroha is a story about a girl who is left by her good-for-nothing mother and goes to live with her grandmother at an old-style Japanese inn… however, life isn’t easy there. No one likes her, her grandmother is mean to her, one of the only other girls her age tells her to die first thing and the other is scared of her! Nothing is working out well for Iroha. But does she give up and commit suicide? Of course not! That would make for a really short and artistically inspired anime! (I would watch that.) No, instead she decides to buckle-under and do her best to make friends and learn her new job. It is good in a normal sort of way. The jokes are funny and I’ve never objected to the slice of life genre before. All-in-all, I’d say it is worth a watch if you like this sort of anime. Nothing ground-breaking, certainly, but enjoyable.

Honto ni Atta! Reibai-Sensei: This… show… first off, the episodes are 5 minutes each, including the ending credits… but it feels… not as funny as it would like to be. Maybe it is my personal sense of humor, but it just stikes me as a show that desperately wants to be some sort of odd crossing of Hell Teacher Nube and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. I found it odd, however, that it was the second anime this season where my favorite character was Oda Nobunaga. Anyways, yeah… exorcist teacher… class of archetypical characters… simple jokes… easily skippable… easily watchable… You won’t lose or gain much by this one.

I still have A-Channel to watch… I will report on it next post.

The new season is on and I haven’t had a chance to watch everything… there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I have, however, had a chance to try a few new ones… I thought that this week I’d offer first impressions. Since most of them don’t even have a second episode, it is far too soon for me to offer any sort decent estimate of an anime’s quality… but the first episodes have certainly given me something to think about.

Torkio: This one seems like a good, old-fashioned silly show about ridiculous manliness and finding tasty foods. I honestly couldn’t have thought of a better way for it to start, either. A crossover special with One Piece! It gave¬† me plenty of opportunity to learn about the main character, his sidekick and a quick cameo from his friends. It was exactly what a crossover should be. A plausible meeting, both parties got plenty of time to shine and show their stuff and it didn’t try to force itself into cannon. Toriko was enjoyable and light. I don’t expect too very much out of it in terms of drama, but it looks enjoyable.

C: I was rather happy to have discovered C. It has an interesting angle… and I REALLY don’t want to describe it as “kinda like pokemon”… but that is the vibe I’m getting. Basically, money is power… and you can place your future on the line as collateral… in order to get money… but you have to fight against other ‘entrepreneurs’ and their monsters… and the loser commits suicide. It is an interesting premise, I’m curious about how well they will execute it. Visually speaking, though, the anime is VERY sharp. I look forward to following episodes.

Steins;Gate: This one is particularly interesting… It appears to be about time travel… but it isn’t taking a very direct route there. The thing that REALLY interests me about this one is the lens by which we watch this world… appears to be cracked. The main character is clearly insane… or at the very least looney. It brings me back to Welcome to the NHK, in a good way. What happens when an insane man witnesses an impossible event? If everyone thinks you are nuts anyways… who would believe you when you said you saw someone get murdered and then reality rewrote itself? I’m curious to see where they take this plot… but I’m going to watch this one… oh yes.

Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko: I take it back. The main character from Steins;Gate isn’t insane. THIS GIRL. This one kinda reminds me of Arakawa Under the Bridge. We have a perfectly reasonable and normal guy… and a nucking futs female to foil him. Similarly, this one TOO is an alien. Though she is trying to decide if the Earth is worth blowing up or capturing… and to avoid contamination, you she stays wrapped inside a rolled-up futon for a lot of the anime… an odd one, to be certain. I’m gonna give it a few more episodes to see if it really grabs me… but I, honestly, am not sure about this one. It is worth a shot, try two episodes and see if it is your thing.

Battle Girls: Time Paradox: Okay… so… this one brought out some strong emotions in me. I remember reading the synopsis and feeling physical pain… but I decided to download it… Now, I’m a big fan of Oda Nobunaga… I just love the man. The basic plot of this anime is that a girl named Hideyoshi gets transported from modern-day Japan to an alternate world with nothing but women… and it is exactly like the warring states period. Okay… tough pill to swallow, but lets start the episode and… WHAT ARE THEY WEARING?! NO! PLEASE DON’T TELL ME THAT SHE IS NOBUNAGA!? Ouch… it hurt so badly… but… I persevered… and then they started talking. Nobunaga quickly became my favorite character! I actually began to enjoy the series because, darn it, she acts like Nobunaga! Sure, her armor is highly impractical… but she is on a quest to find a better set of armor! And unite the country! It sort of feels like your other “person gets sent through time to a period that may or may not be Arthurian England” stories… but it is actually sort of charming. THIS is what last season’s Samurai Girls should have been… and, you know… despite the costumes… I’m not actually seeing that much fanservice. I’m two episodes in and Nobunaga alone will carry me onwards, unless they make her do something very un-nobunaga-like… good thing I wasn’t too fond of Mitsuhide.

I will watch more and post about them, as well as update you on any really good or really bad turns these ones take. Good continuing anime this season so far include The World God Only Knows, Kaiji and, of course, One Piece. One Piece is always a winner.


So, the new season is upon us and the old season is over… and there were disappointments. The last episode of an anime is something that leaves a lasting impression of the show as a whole. Since the audience doesn’t get another episode, they will often think of the last one they saw when talking about that anime in the future! If you had asked me about either of my key offenders two weeks ago, I would have said they were decent shows… The last episode, however, is the place where decent shows either transcend or get discarded. Welcome to the garbage bin.

First up, Onii-chan no Koto Nanka Zenzen Suki Janain Dakara ne!!… the anime whose name I will never again type after this post. Heck, I just noticed that I misspelled Dakara in the tag the first time I talked about it… and I just can’t be bothered enough to fix that.¬† This anime was funny, yeah… but at the end of the day, it is just another harem show. I saw hope in its genre-savvy ecchiness… but no. You know what happened the last episode? The same thing that happened every other episode. No closure. No meaning. No depth. The same. Old. Routines. After you have seen the same sort of harem bickering and interactions… you begin to gain a sort of clairvoyance. You begin to see ahead half a minute…. hey, hot soup and two bickering girls… bet that is going to hit his crotch… called it… IT GETS DULL! I originally thought from the first few episodes that Onii-etc would be different. I mean… we had the not-a-blood-sister… the “childhood sexfriend”… there were setup points… but it was just the same-old same-old… There are some shows so interesting that you can forgive a “nothing really happens” ending… this was not one of them.

Actually, quick side note… the “nothing really happens” ending is entirely different from the “life goes on” ending. The first one maintains a status quo in hopes for more seasons. The second says that this continues, but that this continuing is only a natural extension of us, as the audience, having only a brief time with the characters. If the “life goes on” ending gets a second season, we REJOICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (See Genshiken 2, School Rumble 2 (but not 3) and Arakawa Under the Bridge) But… if a “nothing really happens” anime gets another season… you see more of the same old same-old. If Onii-etc got another season… I wouldn’t pick it up. Not unless someone told me that he made a freaking choice and married one! ..not that most harem anime do that, out of fear of losing fanfiction-based audience. (Tenchi Muyo GXP goes the other way, though. ^_^)

The other major headscratcher was Kore wa Zombie desu ka? I’m… not entirely sure the anime had an end… I mean… suddenly, someone pulled the drama tag and there were super-powered beings… and one of the better harem choices was going to explode because she had a fire guy inside her… and… the heck? Plot spaghetti is what we are left with. There is nothing here. This is a miserable pile of shredded hopes and dreams. This isn’t even like Death Note, where it feels like the writer died and was hidden in a closet while his aides tried to figure out where he wanted the story to go… This feels like the author had ideas for a 48 episode anime and wanted to reference each and every arc in as vague and rapid-fire a way as possible… and then return things to their places just in case they get a second season… I haven’t read the manga or the light novels… maybe the pacing is better over there.

I will tell you one thing that didn’t disappoint, though… Tobaku Mokushiroku Kaiji. Kaiji was THE most intense anime about rock-paper-scissors I’ve ever seen. That isn’t a fair description of the show, but it is really hard to sum up the awesomeness in this show about gambling, human nature and bad decisions. When I saw that it had a second season coming, I was so very, very happy. The first episode didn’t disappoint. I heartily recommend its first season to anyone.

I intend to watch some of the new shows this week. By about two weeks from now, I should have a general feeling about a couple of them… hopefully I can find some winners… hopefully.

 

 

 

Kaiji