I’m really having a hard time understand what I’ve just seen. This post is going to differ completely from my usual format because I literally have no desire to write anything about this show nor did I have any inclination to get shots of the show – the show was composed of a heap of incongruent, empty stereotypes and random plots and I spent most of the episode thinking – “what exactly am I watching here?”
First you think the show is about these three girls and the male lead who is going to be a ‘fatherly’ figure. Then you find out 2 of them are the male leads step nieces ( the flirty 10 year old loli and the lovey-tsundere 14 year old) and one (the epic moe, 3 year old) is the blood related niece. Then we get a really awkward and clumsy character profile in the shape of the fan-service galore female love interest. Then you top it off with the male lead practically perving on the step nieces – one of which spends her time looking at photos of the male lead on her phone. And eurgh, the nauseating overclocked-moe 3 year old’s seiyuu is disgraceful – the character is a lazy way of getting “aww”s and it was unbearable.
If this isn’t a set up for a quasi-incestuous relationship vs voluptuous empty fan service girl vs pseudo incestuous loli – then I don’t know what is. And I certainly have no interest in finding out.
The story is completely garbled, there doesn’t seem to be any semblance of coherence. The parents promptly go missing after going on a plane supposedly (I’m guessing this happens in the next episode as it was in the synopsis but not the opening episode – which is silly), giving him the emotional set up to adopt them (as if the state would let him keep 3 kids) but also the plot device to allow all those wrongly lewd scenes, the majority of us, do not care to see.
The male lead is agonisingly empty and completely devoid of any kind of colourful personality. He just exudes the biggest ecchi stereotype – he’d drool over a melon if it had some oestrogen and mammary glands. Even the most prominent female love interest is, to put it bluntly, like a box of coiled wires – yea its full of different and colourful stuff, but its just a mess. I really don’t know what is going on in this anime.
There is no comedy, there are no touching moments, there is no drama and there doesn’t seem to be anyone I feel even mildly drawn to. So all in all, it sounds like I’ve bashed the show a lot but if I’m honest, I have no idea how to score this. I’ve never been in a position where so much of what I have watched was so neutral and meaningless that I’m not sure whether I just spent 25 minutes or so watching thin air. I definitely wouldn’t give it a favourable score but at the same time, I don’t feel as if it deserves a poor score.
Yes, the production was nice and everything was clean and yes, I was never actually bored once (though, I was confused all the time) however, that isn’t enough to give it any major positive merits. I actually don’t know what to score this however, I’ll doubt I’ll be watching any further… My body was not ready for this. Seeing as this is the only late night Tuesday anime release, I guess I get Tuesdays off. Win.
|Likelihood I’ll be watching: Unlikely||Likelihood I’ll be blogging: Zero Kelvin|
Judging by the caption above, you may have guessed what I was hinting at. Ano Natsu de Matteru is basically a reanimated and character shuffled version of Onegai Teacher. Though it is highly reminiscent of that anime that I remember quite fondly having watched some few years back, I don’t know whether it is any better. The art looks the same, the character modelling is pretty much the same especially seeing as the artists were of the same origin. Even the animation doesn’t look that updated, its quite clear this doesn’t have a huge budget – though I would say just from seeing the first episode, its clear onegai fans will flock to it regardless. But that exactly there, is the main issue. Is it an onegai remake or is it an onegai rip-off? The former being something to look forward to and the latter being something the original fans hate.
Well, after watching it, I was pretty unsure as to what I thought however, I think I’ve sussed out what I think about this show… Its a rip off. Namely for a few reasons. The first, is characters. The characters in this Ano Natsu are nowhere near as engaging. The main character seems to be toting some sort of pseudo intellect – whilst narrating and talking over himself, that’s impressively contrived – about the first few seconds of the show before promptly getting decimated by the incoming alien. But that isn’t even the half of it, he then seems to show us nothing about himself other than he is a big cliché and not the good kind that makes you think back fondly, more the boring kind that makes you think that if it weren’t for his clothes, you’d barely be able to notice his existence as a personality. Giving him a camera and acting like a wanabee producer does not make him a “deep” character and neither does it give us any kind of input. I didn’t feel connected to him in any way as compared to the main characters in Onegai. The rest all seem pretty much to be clones of the Onegai character sets and situations – sister leaves, alien arrives and stays, paves way for some lewd situations to occur, there are already numerous blindingly obvious hints as to where the romance is heading. The good thing about onegai was that the romance always developed, in Ano Natsu, it seems like its already there and for anyone who has watched the original, it feels like you can already guess. Its obvious he will pick the alien girl over the human (first time I’ve referred to people in terms of the human race when it comes to romance…) and the rest is just side story really. But even the alien doesn’t seem that interesting. She has been typecast to obviously give us the fan service and the romance but all in all it just makes her seem kind of lack lustre. I just can’t get my head around why this would be better than Onegai or even, why you would make an inferior copy. Even the side characters are bland – there is the obvious loli copy with the cliché fufufu laugh, there is the lazy meaningless shy girl there to provide that cute edge – worst of all though, so far the whole alien thing just seems to be a side plot – for some reason alien technology requires you to kiss people to heal them and if you’re in a skimpy towel, its even more effective.
That said, there are numerous upsides to this series. The thing is though, all the good points, are similarly taken from Onegai. Not really many positives that differ from Onegai, so I feel I would be repeating them if I bothered. There is the great country calm, the pleasantries of the summer, the really light feel of the characters and the nice development of character bonds. It has all the ingredients of Onegai. I’m sure the romance will pick up, the drama will be something to look forward to, the unrequited love will be sad but endearing and overall, the show will have a very sad yet happy ending. But again, all of this is from Onegai. Though, one thing this show didn’t inherit from Onegai, was the humour. The jokes it tried seemed forced and really boring to me – I hardly laughed, maybe 1 smirk in the whole episode. They really should work on that.
If you’re wondering why I hardly named the characters, its because their names aren’t important, they aren’t really personalised and if you’ve watched Onegai, then you’ll just think of them as Onegai characters so why bother wasting brain functions by learning needless, new names when the good old one’s suffice. As I said, everything bad in here is because its a rip, of Onegai. However, everything good is also from Onegai – and Onegai being great in its own right, automatically gave this show huge plus’. If you haven’t seen Onegai, you’ll love this. Simple. If you have seen Onegai, you’ll still like this, it just won’t be as good or constant comparison will make this one look shoddy – regardless though, as hopeless Onegai fans, we’ll watch it anyway. So I guess since I fall into the latter, I have to admit I did enjoy it at point but also due to the latter category, I similarly found it a bit shoddy. So all in all, Ano Natsu de Matteru gets an sub-standard Onegai 7/10 from me, for its first episode.
NB: Most of that positive score comes from Onegai. Nuf’ Sed.
|Likelihood I’ll be watching: Probable||Likelihood I’ll be blogging: Unsure|
Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou [Daily Lives of High School Boys]: Episode 01 – First Impressions Review
Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou is, I think, going to be the highlight comedy of the season. From the get go I was bursting out with laughter and I even had a few teary eyed moments. If you love something like Gintama, then this is a less explicit and more casual, high school version of that but still with all the humour. I had serious doubts about this previously though. It had aired as an internet short series on Japanese youtube equivalent, NicoNicoDouga and that was where it made a name for itself however, even though they were funny, they were still shorts. I had some doubts as to whether this could be sustained for half an hour – not only were my doubts unfounded but blown out of the water. I knew it would be somewhat funny, but this was hilarious. It was written well, the characters are all very likeable, solid Seiyuu and its random as hell. What’s not to love?
|On the Topic of skirts: “I found your sisters skirts. Shall the three of us try them on? Yea okay…”|
This show is great. I really am not sure how much I can write about it – not because its deficient in things to compliment rather, because there isn’t much that is wrong with it or that requires much explanation. It doesn’t have any storyline so it is episodic. It features 3 boys – Tadakuni, Tabata Hidenori and Tanaka, Yoshitake – who literally do and talk about the most random things. The jokes are increasingly random (like Gintama) and the situations increasingly hilarious (like Gintama). It has a very upbeat feel but at the same time, it isn’t trying to be over-energetic. It just is what it is (like Gintama). One thing that really got me though was the voicing done for Hidenori – the seiyuu for his character is none other than the face of Gintama, Sugita Tomokazu who I find to be an amazing voice actor – he really bring style and energy to the role. To be honest, I keep making references back to Gintama but for the first half of the show, I just kept seeing Hidenori’s character as Gin and it just felt wrong (though it was still very funny). However, I got used to it, and it only made me appreciate the character more. Despite all my comparison though, this anime isn’t the same as Gintama. Gintama usually has devices to trigger jokes, Danshi Koukousei is literally just off the cuff random. All the set ups are like individual skits, being 5 minutes long or so each – well they varied but the episode was broken up into 4 main jokes so I just guess-timated. In any case, it was hilarious and really my kind of anime.
The situations these boys get in are nonsensical. Its a slice of life anime but in all honesty, their conversations and reactions are anything but real life. Whilst some people may find time to be this ridiculous, for the most part, the rest of us don’t. However, it makes for an amazing comedy anime. They play on all of the random anime clichés, the end scene was a full satire of the whole serious shonen/romance meetings. I found myself literally, almost rolling on the floor laughing. They nailed the clichés to a tee, they pick out those ridiculous little facets of anime and exploit them and of course we get those Japanese culture jokes but they all just seem so random, its absurd.
In any case, I feel like I’m just repeating myself by saying it was just random and hilarious but that is the only way to describe this show. I loved it. I’m sure it will go on to be a success for the season. Its only been confirmed 12 episodes sadly but I just hope the remaining 11 episodes are just as funny as the first – if they are, we have another serious contender for the winter 2012 comedy title next to Recorder to Randoseru for me. So, Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou gets a staunch 8.5 from me.
|Likelihood I’ll be watching: Definite!||Likelihood I’ll be blogging: Probable|
Mirai Nikki is quite a unique anime. There is quite a diversity about it – people will either love the raw audacity of the show or will slump their jaws at the riot pacing and overwhelming, absurdity of the show. I fall into the former for this. Episode 13 really shows what I mean. Its just packed with that weird Mirai Nikki feel where all the weirdest stuff is happening around the most commonplace situations. Just when you think Yuno has calmed down in regards to her overclocked, Yandere personality, she then springs this. Not only trapping others in her wake but also trapping the very person she adores. Yuno is probably the most psychotic yandere to grace the anime scene in a while and to be honest, she amuses me to no end. Her actions are so wild and her motivations are so decadent, yet the audience cannot help but love the character – if not actually want her to succeed. She does all this so easily – it never feels like her actions are strained or the show is purposefully trying to be weird, Yuno, is just crazy. Anyway, I’ve raved on about yet she was actually shown very little in this episode. Despite her not being shown in the episode at all until the last few seconds, her yandere presence was all over the episode.
This episode mainly consisted of Akira running around playing ace detective however, I couldn’t help but feel that actually, his supposedly genius deductions were pretty obvious to the audience. I guessed half of the things he was thinking before they were uttered and whilst I like the character, I feel he isn’t actually that impressive a detective – that, or the police really suck at their jobs in this anime seeing as Nishijima was pretty much Akira’s lapdog. As well as Akira, Hinata also got quite a bit of the spotlight in this episode. She was fangirling Yuki quite a bit in this episode and its quite obvious she has become infatuated with Yuki quite a bit, much to the disdain of Mao (who I laughed at perving on Hinata with a camera in the bath scene) – just don’t let Yuno find out. Back to the main point though, I just didn’t understand how they fell into some of these traps, either Hinata is incredibly slow or… well, that is pretty much the only explanation. Why would Yuki contact her? How did he know she was there? Wouldn’t Yuno have done something? Why go by yourself? Fail reasoning. Even Akira. He says hold the door open for what is quite clearly a trap, what does the person who says “you can count on me!” do? He lets go and waltz in all casual. And surprise surprise (/sarcasm) they got locked in and promptly gassed. This is what I mean about the absurdity of the show and the completely chaotic pacing. Despite all these glaring flaws, I still loved the episode. Mainly because of Yuno, mainly because of this:
This episode was pretty light though, no one got hurt. No one got stabbed. No one was impaled. No one was blown up. And I guess least serious of all, no one got Yuno’s crazy eyes. Those things can kill. I feel like a fangirl right now… Not that I care, Yuno makes Mirai Nikki what it is. In all honesty, she should be the main character. So it was a decent episode overall, a nice cool down to the mass drama of the last few episodes. I can’t wait for the following episode though, no doubt it will be ludicrous, but by Mirai Nikki standards, ludicrous is just the usual.
Symphogear is a very odd anime – a good kind of odd but, nonetheless odd. We haven’t had an anime like this in a long time. Barely anything is explained about the story but straight away a lot of the plot is revealed and then the anime only continues to charge on. It isn’t apparent in Symphogear what is happening and what relevance it has to anything, there are a lot of different groups of people doing things and a lot of plans being set in motion but, we are for the most part, left without any explanation.
The episode starts with a girl named Miku in quite a sombre mood, drenched by the pouring rain. A bouquet of flowers gripped in her hand she is going to the grave of her dead best friend, Hibiki. The episode then flashes back in time two years where Hibiki is by herself at a concert as she was cancelled on by Miku. The concert is a flare with lights and music coming from our two battle vixens; Tsukasa and Kanade. In a room somewhere, there is some sort of golem being resurrected but I have no idea what. Promptly, some foe called the Noise appear and slaughter a lot of people. Tsukasa and Kanade sing a song with german words mixed in and promptly transform into their Symphogear armour and weapons. In a rather impressive and pretty hectic foray, Kanade decimates a lot of Noise. However, whilst blocking a massive attack, her sword shatters and the flying parts impale Hibiki. Kanade then sings the ‘Swan Song’ which obliterates the remaining Noise but also eviscerates herself in the process. Moving on, Hibiki still remembers the incident despite the world not seeming to know anything. However, soon the Noise attack again and in a desperate bid to help a small girl she runs but is soon cornered. It is during this she recalls Kanade’s final words – Hibiki starts singing, her powers go berserk and she transforms into Symphogear attire (as depicted in the first image). Episode end.
That’s a quick summary. I don’t normally summarise episodes, but I felt that this one deserved it. It really had a lot going on. In any case, how would I describe what happens in Symphogear? Turbulent. The show is a bumpy ride of action, music and a lot of other random things with no apparent explanation. However, it isn’t necessarily bad.
The art in Symphogear is certainly something I haven’t seen in a while and to be honest, I’m not entirely sure what to make of it. There is a clear style in symphogear, it seems to be combining comic style action stills that have that water colour edge, with hard edge animation. There are a lot of very pretty and very pastel textures which seem to meld together quite well. For example the school building seems to be white but actually on closer inspection has various colours blended in and it gives it a shimmery effect (click images to enlarge). There is a purposeful style to Symphogear which I must admit I found myself liking. During the fights, a song would blare and one of the Symphogear ladies would unleash a pretty large scale attack – the scene would freeze and water coloured into an epic still pose. I’d have thought it would break the fluidity of the action but actually, it gives the action tempo, spaces it out and delivers those hard hitting moments where necessary. So overall, I quite liked the use of colour and presentation. However, my only concern was the dilapidation of said graphics when there was a lot going on. As a general rule of thumb, the more is going on in a frame, the more animation is needed and so the higher the cost. There is a lot going on in quite a few of the scenes of Symphogear. As a consequence, the graphics fell quite badly to the point where faces are hard to distinguish and detail is lost. Such as in the left photo above (click photos to enlarge). In any case, I don’t feel I can complain a huge amount. You either have the epic animation and beautiful overall scenery and loose character detail or you limit how much you want to put in on a larger scale. Sure you could use stills for the large parts, but it would break the immersion. I certainly wasn’t too phased by the loss in detail, I was enjoying the music and the general atmosphere of the show too much. Much like one of my all time favourite Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, the graphics were only secondary to the awesomeness of the show. So for me, it was the lesser of two evils and something which I think works out better for the show overall.
The action was pretty cool. Suffice to say normally I’m not a fan of action where the people are just running around using random moves and seemingly just making them up as they go along however, Symphogear pulled it off really well. We had a a nice array of moves, the pacing was quick and the scenes were lively. The music in the anime just added to the feeling and whilst at first it was a bit odd hearing her randomly singing in the middle of battles, it soon turned into a really nice background music and only served to enhance the lively atmosphere of the battles. The music isn’t exactly mould breaking, its your typical female J-pop singer type songs however, Symphogear uses them to their advantage and if I’m being honest, I did find myself enjoying them quite a bit. One thing I couldn’t for the life of me fathom was, what are these Noise fellows that are attacking? The most reasonable thing I can think of is they are made of, well, noise. Hence why physical weapons do not work and only our sword wielding pop-stars can stop them, but this for me, only made me more curious as to what the whole premise of this show is. What is the Symphogear? What does it do? Who can use it? What are these songs and why are they effective? Who can use the gear and why is it so different per person? The action in this anime was outlandish, in a good way but, it only served to make me more curious. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if anything its a plus – it just means I’ll be watching to find out more.
Overall, I’m very pleased with Symphogear. If you had described it to me prior to watching, I’d have said it didn’t sound like anything I’d be interested in but, I find myself not only wanting to see more of the staunch action and absurd battles but also to find out more about this symphogear and the world this anime operates in. I have a feeling there is a lot of backgrund info to this anime and there are certainly a lot of questions I want answered. So congrats to Symphogear, I’m certainly hooked for another episode. More action, more character and story detail and some more music – its got a good formula for a successful mainstream anime. All in all, Symphogear gets a heavy 8.5/10 from me.
|Likelihood I’ll be watching: Definite!||Likelihood I’ll be blogging: Definite!|