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|
I have been waiting for this for quite a while now. I waited in anticipation and I watched in anticipation. I really wanted this anime to be good. I didn’t want to be disappointed. I didn’t want to hype myself up. I would have cried if this anime turned out to be rubbish – the anime mystery/psychological thriller genre has been too bland for too long and the prospects of a new show which actually looked half decent filled me with hope and joy. Suffice to say, it didn’t let me down. We’ve had all sorts of anime in the Winter 2012 season, so far. We’ve had the token boobies anime, we’ve had the I’ll destroy everyone else anime, the Harem of the season, the mind-rape of the season, the consistently average yet still amusing one and the “wtf, its absurd but I still love it” – we were still in desperate need of a serious, intelligent and well thought out plot anime. The prestigious title went to Steins; Gate last season for me, and this season it looks like the only considerable contestant for it is Another. Its styled, it looks set to have a pretty well laid out story, it has atmosphere and most of all – its mysterious; ruddy mysterious. (Will anyone get that reference? ). The reasons I was filled with hope by the first episode are three fold:
ART & PRESENTATION
There is a sort of Serial Experiment Lain art where a lot of the scenery is decayed or seems to be spotted red – whether intentionally for atmosphere or just for general theme, I quite liked it. The colouring and textures in this anime is general quite thick, the production was obviously done in two modes of thought. One for beauty of presentation and one for atmospheric art. I was surprised at how quality a lot of the shots were, the characters were animated very well and there seemed to be pretty good detail – though, one could argue also, a lot of the scenery is static so it is easier to mould high quality shots, either way though, it look great. They made it vibrant and clean. The other mode of production, is for atmosphere – here the colours fade, a lot of the hue’s decay and we get a more flat or monochrome set. This certainly isn’t a bad thing though – we get a great atmosphere. A lot of the shots in the anime are of dolls, the lighting is purposefully fixed in certain angles and the colours are distorted to give them a much more serene but also haughty look at the same time but the picture quality is arguably dropped. The production was clearly planned to give maximal impact where necessary but still look good the rest of the time. The result is that we get a variable amount of scenery, it doesn’t feel like a depressing anime 24/7 and at the same time, when a dramatic scene appears, it has more impact when in contrast to its other shots. So overall, the art in this show was pretty good for me. It felt just oblique enough to be pretty odd but not so much so or so dramatised that it just looked boring. Overall, quality of animation was high.
Another seems to be quite a simple anime at first glance. It starts with a cliché narration about the death of someone who now seems to be haunting the classroom. Everyone in the class seems to be able to see this popular, pretty, smart girl who was supposed to be dead but it doesn’t seem to appear to the rest of the school. It then switched over to our main protagonist, Sakakibara Kouichi who has just moved to the town where the aforementioned situation occurred and appears to be still occurring. It really didn’t seem to be anything particularly special in terms of the premise of the anime. However, the thing that makes Another so interesting is not that it appears to have an extremely complex story line which is completely unbeknown to the viewers, rather it makes obvious the general plan of action and sets the scene for a story to unfold ever so slowly and ever so subtly… *shudder*. The “neo-orthodox” horror novelist Ayatsuji Yukito isn’t trying to hide anything in the opening episode – everything feels wrong, everything feels eerie and everything feels so out of place that the whole scene may crumble if you were to even try to disturb the perversity of the atmosphere. The story doesn’t start subtle, it moves subtly. What we get here is a gothic, romantic tale. It is obvious where the anime is heading, but the path it took is completely unknown and the path is beaten into obscurity. We get so little from the anime that all you do is wonder what the hell is going on. The story really looks set to not be overly gory or a huge horror, but more of a distinct bloody anime (horror in character) with major mystery elements. It isn’t hard to see that this anime is ruddy mysterious and its only going to get ruddy good. I have no idea what to make even of what I have learnt. Kouichi can obviously see Mei but he clearly isn’t supposed to. Can the class see her too? They are aware of her “existence” yet deny her any partake in the class. Are they pretending, lying? We are told they are closest to the horrible truth. We are told they alone do PE without any other groups but other classes team up. The aged desk of Mei is still there yet it seems like no one notices it. I just want to know more – everything about this anime is such that nothing is ever truly answered. Even Kouichi’s direct questions are answered with “You’ll know soon enough”. This may sound like a put off but honestly, this is paced so well that I want it to be drawn out. I have an epic feeling for the story in this and if it turns out anything like I hope, Steins; Gate may have some serious heat for contender of epic storylines.
STYLE OF DELIVER
So many lines are styled in this anime, its hard to keep up. Its really is like a visual novel (not the anime kind, the 10,000 page kind). The well placed crows with Mei, Mei’s dolls, the flashing of the various dolls throughout the show. The BGM is chilling and I honestly had some goosebumps. The way we only ever hear but not see Kouichi’s grandparents, the supposed “Golden rules” of the school. The way the dad is away tied up with something to do with Kouichi’s deceased mother (I’m guessing its the dad’s wife hence husband but there is no explicit reference). I’m assuming they are linked in to this story and this creates this line of time stretching through the story. The silence of the students at times. The silence isn’t gaps in speech, its put in to have an effect. I feel like I’m watching Evangelion again, every line has meaning and the anime is stirred with motifs. Why does Kouichi ask for who Mei is written? Mei: From the Kanji for “sing” but also “sympathy” and for “scream” – could this be more explicit yet subtle at the same time? The anime is visually stunning but at the same time it looks delapadated and it feels like it is wrong. We have a serious psychological horror/mystery here. I really, really want it to pan out. The first episode has me completely sold.
Nothing else needs to be said really. First episode was awesome. I want more. It fulfilled my expectations and I hope it will only continue to surpass them. It left me curious as ever and made me more excited than I’ve been for a long time at the prospect of such a meaningful anime. Its based on a critically acclaimed novel, the quality is superb, a solid story and great stylization. What more could we ask for? I see no reason why this (if it continues its trend from ep 01) isn’t set to be one of the best shows of the 2012 year – and for that, Another, gets the first 9/10 of the 2012 year from me.
|Likelihood I’ll be watching: Definite!||Likelihood I’ll be blogging: Definite!|
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.
Zero no Tsukaima F is back as the fourth and final [the F stands for Final, in case you missed that] season. Its back again… To disappoint us again. After the fiasco of the third season, I wasn’t sure I even wanted to bother looking at this one. However I shook myself off and sat down to some more love-hate, story-mush, mahou tsundere lack-of-action anime. Just a quick recap for those who watched the last season but since its been over 3 years, have probably forgotten: Firstly, there was the story. Oh wait… There wasn’t one. There were some new characters (who didn’t do much), we met an elf and Sheffield kept making moves on Joseph. Nauseatingly enough, we also had Tabitha added to Saito’s harem. The only updside to the season was we got rid of the annoying Kirchie as she tagged out for Tabitha to pursue older men – in the form of the newly returned Colbert sensei. But no one cared he returned and there was hardly any action – he just casually came back from a season long departure. Saito and Louise were boring – they argued, told each other to go away then immediately regretted it. What was the point?! Even worse, Siesta then replaced Kirchie as the well endowed, flirtatious one who constantly lusted after Saito. We had all hoped Henrietta would at least bring some interesting side drama but nope, her and Louise just became best friends. The void power loss was negligible despite worrying about it for 2 seasons, no one cared about the runes and half of the cast didn’t do anything – Joseph is the king of pointless characters. Why does Saito even have this massive harem? He is an awful character, consistently looking at other girls, consistently bullies Louise and his personality really isn’t anything great. Why does anyone stay with Zero no Tsukaima? It is funny. Or, it was funny in the first season and somewhat amusing. But after 3 seasons, the jokes were boring and repetitive and the show had generally degraded. Despite this, it still garnered a large viewer base and admittedly, I was part of that. I have no idea what it is about Zero no Tsukaima that makes you despair about watching it, whilst consistently going back for more. Its like a drug. So, in my addiction, here are my thoughts on the new season, covered in two main points:
SAITO & LOUISE
Immediately the first thing that jumps out at me about ZnT is the humour. Its been updated by some measure. Most of the comedy seems to revolve around Saito and Louise and I did laugh out loud a few times – I enjoyed the back and forth they had going a few times. Now that the annoying, bi-polar tsundere trait Louise had in previous seasons, is less exaggerated, they can act a lot more natural. Even though they didn’t get married or anything and they aren’t officially together, they are very couple like. I don’t know what they will do about the romance now seeing as its all quite in the open – their feelings, that is. Despite this though, they still found a way to act petty and have goes at each other as if they didn’t already know they liked each other. I just found the show to be contradicting itself. Its trying to maintain that first season tsundere, romance awkwardness, at the same time as the open confession at the end of the third season. What we get then is a disparity between what they obviously know and how they act. The show just seems to have gone too far for its own good – what made it popular in the first place seems to have been diluted down the seasons and instead of embracing the new direction, they are trying to re enact the old seasons. So for me, whilst Louise and Saito have good humour, the consistency of their relationship seems to be breaking down.
PLOT & CHARACTERS
There is also a new foray of new characters however, no one seems even mildly interesting. Louise meets the pope who casually announces he is also a void user. Just like that. The pacing here is awful! They spent all of season two swooning over the amazing, master void magic and how special Louise was blah blah. Then, all of season three was spent murning the void magic loss and weeping over the tsukaima bond breaking. Then in season four, void powers are suddenly common place. Louise is one, the pope is one, Joseph is one and also Tifania is one. Yea… I just found this to be absurd. All that hype the previous seasons was for nothing – Louise still isn’t special. Its such a lazy plot device, I’m astounded they thought fans would gladly accept this. I just feel like they’re beating a dead horse. Stop with the random tsundere attitude, stop with the drab characters and stop with the repeated plot devices.
To summarise then. Just from looking at the images above you can see what I mean about the disparity between reality and how the couple act. They seem perfectly willing to act like a couple yet consistently seem to be denying they are. But at the same time, you can also see how the dynamic between the two makes for some pretty good laughs. Despite all the bashing I gave this episode, I again seem to have fallen for that ZnT drug and admittedly, I did actually find myself enjoying it – in a reminiscent kind of way. Is Zero no Tsukaima worth a watch? I’d say so. Would you be sorry if you never watched it? No, you probably wouldn’t. But, if you have the time to finish off the series with this season (or watch the first season if you’re new to the franchise) then I’d say go for it. It won’t be at the top of your list, but it you don’t have anything immediately in mind – pick it up. You’ll love to hate it and hate to love it – as cliché as that sounds, its the most accurate way to describe how I feel about it. So, the premiere return of Zero no Tsukaima’s fourth season, gets a familiar (familiar in that its consistently average) 6.5/10 from this blogger.
|Likelihood I’ll be watching: Decent||Likelihood I’ll be blogging: Uncertain|