This episode was rather different from the first – it dialled down the humour and has a more character focused story. I guess that is to be expected as the first episode needs to introduce everyone however, from watching this episode I think I’m starting to see where Area no Kishi is heading. Kakeru seems to have some good character development going on and perhaps Suguru isn’t as generic as I first thought – though all the fangirls being absent from this episode did help. In any case, Area no Kishi seems to be trying to be a proper shonen show, and I’m not so sure that being so serious over an issue such as football, is going to work. As I said before, I can appreciate the passion and esteem which some people afford football and footballers however, what I don’t understand is dramatisation of said things. Like this:
Killing intent?… You’re just playing football – even if you take it very seriously, I don’t think anyone has a killing intent. Lines like these might work in Naruto or Bleach because they have huge action scenes and a lot of people do actually die however, I do not think playing high school football is really equivalent to fighting tailed demon beasts or fighting with swords. Despite this though, I still find myself getting drawn more and more into Area no Kishi. I quite like the way Nana is getting used more and more as a mediator to reveal what Suguru is really thinking to us viewers, seeing as he is not a central character who does monologues or the chatty type for that matter. Though, I’m still not sure about the possibility of a love triangle, I am more inclined to say that its becoming more and more apparent that Nana likes Kakeru. Whilst the alien part was just cheesy in the first episode, I think it was actually a pretty good idea in this episode Kakeru shares things with us we may not have found out otherwise and we get this whole pathetic fallacy going on resulting in the tension between the brothers. This isn’t gcse english but, that is what it was. So the scripting in this episode was good. Though again, I found that at times, the dialogue didn’t seem to flow for example – If the alien person knows that he has a weak left, then why is he going into a monologue about it?! Surely you don’t tell someone that they know something then repeat it? Whilst it isn’t a huge issue, I just felt the writer was struggling to expose a lot of the back story that is missing and we are wondering about so used plot devices like this.
All that said, I did like the episode. Great character development going on, I’m beginning to connect with the characters and slowly, semblance of a detailed and dramatic plot line is forming. The end was particularly of surprise. I didn’t expect that and I’m quite curious what the outcome is. I think it will become such that Suguru will reveal his dream to Kakeru who will be motivated to become the Area no Kishi that Suguru wanted and he is going to get good as Suguru recovers so they can live out that dream. Cliché and predictable however, I think it will be entertaining nonetheless. So overall, I’m looking forward to the next episode. Kakeru looks set to get serious and the show looks set to pick up in momentum.
The episode made me randomly think of this:
I found myself taking to this anime quite a bit. It revolves around the character of Shirakiin Riricho, a tsundere type of female protagonist, who has a complex about her own personality and her consistent tendency to insult people without good reason. Although she cannot help but do so, she also desperately hates herself for it. So to remould her character, she enters the Ayakashi Kan. This is an apartment complex which features a Secret Service member per resident. Although Riricho has rejected an SS member to accompany her, Miketsukami Soushi turns up to serve her – she soon learns he was the fox spirit she saved in her past. The plot doesn’t sound majorly original but actually it is quite interesting. This show has action, humour and looks like there is a pretty good story behind it – I’m not sure if there will be a romance as its hard to tell how the characters see each other but either way, I found myself liking it.
The anime doesn’t seem to be trying to follow any kind of over-done character traits. Whilst Riricho might seem like your typical tsundere character, her background and personality actually seem to stretch a bit deep. She seems to have a back story which we as an audience can empathise with but it isn’t overly dramatic or trying to force us into tears. She doesn’t seem cliché and actually just from the first episode alone she actually gives us quite a bit of detail and managed to break any prior conception of her being generic. In the backstory, she is from a prominent family and ever since she was bullied by some people, because of her status, she started to become initially harsh to people without good reason. It does actually seem genuine and I did actually feel quite sorry for her – her situation wasn’t some clichéd over-drama or some sort of ridiculous idiosyncrasy of the tsundere class – she actually had a decent story and one we could relate to. So as a main protagonist, I did like her. Her design was well done and whilst we did get some ecchi-ness and a bit of fan service, it seemed natural. It wasn’t something that was shoved in our faces or portrayed in completely unrealistic situations. Despite there being fan service, it actually wasn’t highlighted nor was it even very explicit – its clear this show isn’t trying to be ecchi, there just are some scenes like that. This isn’t anything like High School DxD – the fan service is barely noticeable and it doesn’t draw any significant attention, rather, it seems very matter of fact. They’ve also given her quite a bit of a humorous role – she isn’t a joke character but she seems to react and have jokes in quite a natural fashion. The humour isn’t exasservated – it just comes out in the natural conversation. Despite her tsundere character, she doesn’t seem to burst into tears and become mushy when she does reveal her proper emotions – if anything, I’d question whether she was a proper tsundere. Either way though, I’ve enjoyed her character thus far and a good main protagonist is always the way forward for a new show.
Another thing I quite liked about this anime was the animation. We do not have an anime with a massive production budget however, for what it does have, the anime does pretty well. We get some really nice colours in this anime and there is a bright atmosphere about the anime. Whilst perhaps graphically, it isn’t stunning, visually, it is presented really well. The use of colour, the lighting in certain environments and the general character designs are coloured really well. Not much is particularly done to make this anime notable in terms of style of delivery which as a supernatural shounen, I was slightly disappointed about but, I guess there are some interesting character transformations. Every character in this seems to he a half monster-half human being and each with their own abilities and transformation – they did look pretty cool and I was impressed at how nicely they were presented. Despite the show having supernatural aspects and there being monsters who will come after them, I do not think this show will turn into much of an action anime, more of a story/mystery anime – especially since it is only scheduled for 12 episodes and the manga is only a few volumes long. So, it is possible that we may get a very odd ending, one that may differ from the manga or they may rush it to get a good ending that will leave viewers wanting more – I guess only time will tell. I can see it falling into a monotone but hopefully, it won’t.
So there are two ways this anime could go. It could be a very atmospheric, (minor) action, shounen with a nice mystery background, a bit of humour and some character development or it could also just turn into episodic mush where the female protagonist cries about her past and her faithful dog cries with her and tells her how wonderful she is. My initial thoughts were more in line with the latter however after watching the episode, I am now of the former opinion. Riricho and Souchi seem to have a good dynamic, there is quite a bit of humour, the characters are likeable so far and I empathise with them and largely, it does seem to be set to deliver some nice visuals and action. Its got a nice formula and it could turn out to be one of the better anime of the Winter 2012 season. I want to find out more about the characters, the story and hope to see some more of the supernatural aspects. So here is to hoping Inu x Boku SS turns out great, with a first impressions score of 8/10 from me.
|Likelihood I’ll be watching: Definite!||Likelihood I’ll be blogging: Definite!|
Thermae Romae is an anime about a roman architect who fallas through a large hole in the bathroom floor, which appears to be some sort of time travelling wormhole, and it takes him to modern day Japan where he proceeds to have the most ridiculous conversations and be astonished by everything around him. All in all it looks ridiculous and to be honest, it is. However, ridiculous isn’t always bad and I think Thermae Romae is evidence of that.
There are a couple things that make Thermae Romae distinct and consequently, determine whether you will like it or completely hate it. The first, is the animation. Its got really crude animation being composed of smooth line backgrounds and hard edge stills. These stills are then the people who barely move apart from their mouths to talk and their eyes to blink. They do also change facial features and to be fair it doesn’t seem too still but at times its just random. At one point there was a guy with a paper bag in the Roman bath, some old guy in the Japanese bath sucking on his own teeth and various other things which just looked silly or ugly. That said, the drawings are meant to be more “realistic” as opposed to anime/cartoon styled. This means that the Japanese people look Japanese-ish and the Roman person actually looks Roman. The art looks really simple and whether this is down to the fact that the production values are low or this is the desired animation style the author wanted, I’m not so sure. I haven’t read the manga so I cannot comment on its format though I suspect it is very similar hence, the way it is animated is probably the wish of the author. This way it keeps that comic style of portrayal which is required to make something like this work. If I’m being honest, if the whole thing was animated as per usual, I don’t think it would have the desired effect so in this sense, I guess the author made a right move. That said, I’m still unsure as to whether I like this style. I wasn’t very convinced at the beginning however, as I watched, it kind of grew on me. The only gripe I guess is its annoying seeing some of the people who look ugly or just that the facial expressions are blatantly recycled.
The thing that will draw people to Thermae Romae though, is undoubtedly the comedy that the show is supposed to have. I do not know if it will be for everyone however I found myself laughing a few times and thinking how ridiculous this show is. But it was more of a surprise at how, not-bad, it was. If anything, it was alright. The comedy is composed of Lucius interacting with modern Japanese people. He thinks they have flat faces and comments on their facial features. Luckily, the author also noted that they weren’t speaking the same language so didn’t understand each other – which I was predicting would have been a big faux pas. He also goes around being amazed by fruit milk (milkshake?) and wonders in amazement at the fan and the bottle opener’s complex, advanced technology… It sounds stupid when read aloud but the voice acting is pretty good and the character images actually bring it to life – so that you do actually get a few laughs. The facial expressions, the over-done voicing and all the surprises from Lucius really make the anime funny. After all, it must have been funny enough to warrant an anime from the manga alone. Lucius then takes the various Japanese bath attributes back to Rome and he gains the largest and most popular bath by painting the wall, general Japanese bath etiquette and the fruit milk. One thing I didn’t understand though was, how did he know how to make the fruit milk? Well, its not like the anime makes any sense anyway…
So overall, Thermae Romae isn’t what I expected at all. However, whilst it does have its upsides, I wouldn’t say these are particularly substantial upsides. The humour was good but it wasn’t anywhere comparable to other famous anime comedy.It is only 15 minutes (only about 11 minutes actual screen time) though so I am not expecting it have as many laughs. I guess its a bit of a fun watch but I doubt it will be a major hit for this season. The animation is horrible at parts but bearable at others and the humour is sparse but its not bad. Though I can see this anime getting hugely polarised reviews, Thermae Romae gets a 6.5/10 from me for just being original and somewhat funny. Probably keep on the back burner just because it is short.
|Likelihood I’ll be watching: Decent||Likelihood I’ll be blogging: Decent|
Recorder to Randoseru, has gone down a different route for this episode. In the first episode we were introduced to the concept, we had quite a lot of laughs and generally the whole show seemed to have that upbeat feel to it that makes it instantly loveable. This episode however, whilst I still do like the characters, has deviated from the traits in the first episode that made its premier so loved. Namely; the humour. The humour has taken a hit and seeing as the humour is the chief feature of this show, it isn’t really the best move to take. Now, it isn’t that Recorder to Randoseru has suddenly become less funny, rather this episode was spent trying to convey some context and meaning into the characters. It was titled “Everyday with Atsumi” – hence we were taken through (and extremely abridged) version of her normal day. Though it just consisted of her talking about how milk doesn’t help her height but she still loves it. Then it switches to a conversation about Atsushi where Atsumi’s friend thinks he’s cute (little does she know…) and Atsumi shows us how he isn’t – as we all obviously know. There is then this shopping scene and a sibling love kind of ending with the kind of Usagi Drop hand holding frame – I was reminded of Usagi drop because Atsumi was so small and Atsushi so tall, I automatically thought of Daikichi and Rin. also, the character relationship is a very innocent one and resounded strongly with the Usagi innocence. Now this is all fine and good, I’m glad to see Recorder isn’t just a slapstick however, the major flaw in a move like this is, its a 4 panel anime short derivative. This means we only have about 2 minutes of precious screen time – this could have been spent making us laugh but instead we got a character development or rather, a profile expansion per se. 2 minutes is not long enough to expose such a thing, its only long enough to make us laugh. Which, I must say I only did so once in the episode.
One thing to note was that the animation was still top knotch. It only exemplified the very kawai, moe traits of Atsumi and tbh, its hard not to like her character.
Well, there isn’t much to say. It was a nice episode, everything still felt very pleasant, it was still light and there was a little bit of humour. Whilst I do really appreciate the authors attempts to make the characters more than just joke machines, and trust me I do think highly of character development, I felt that whilst it did leave a lasting impression, I was a bit disappointed I didn’t get my unique brand of Recorder comedy. So I guess this episodes goes 2 ways – if you watched this for the comedy, this episode may have been a bust. If you don’t mind seeing a bit more of the main character relationships and enjoy the general innocent feel of the anime – this episode is a pleasant watch. You decide. I’d be interested to know how others saw Recorder to Randoseru.