Gintokiro's Blog – An anime blog for news and episodic reviews.

Posts tagged “Anime

Thermae Romae – Episode 02

My body was not ready!!

Lolololol This show is absolutely ridiculous. I cannot begin to imagine how this show was thought about – though they might love Japan a lot as the central premise of this show is Lucius being amazed at how much better Japanese culture is compared to Roman civilization – which isn’t really a fair comparison as the latter is thousands of years younger than the other. In any case, in this episode, Lucius was invited to a councils house to build him an outside bath but Lucius doesn’t know how to go about it. Upon finding an outside hot spring – yup, he ends up in Japan again, with all those flat faced, highly advanced slaves. One thing I can’t figure out from this show, is why he inadvertently makes Lucius refer to Japanese people as such – I don’t know. In either case its not important, though, it doesn’t help that he draws the Japanese people looking so silly.

The majority of comedy in this show doesn’t come from any kind of jokes or some sort of manzai style like the majority of comedy anime nowadays, rather from a typical routine in the plot which we can all see coming yet every time, still wail in laughter. It follows: Lucius sees the flat-faced slaves, they tell him to settle down, they hand him some traditional japanese cuisine/style of bathing and upon trying it, its the best thing ever. The comedy is made almost entirely from this formula and what makes it funny is Lucius’ seiyuu Ono Ryo and the awesome faces he gives us. We get the typical anime overreaction however, the voicing and just the sheer stupidity of his responses are what trigger off the laughs. I especially loved the style in this episode – being handed a hot spring cooked egg and then having some sort of epiphany as if he learnt a universal truth over it, with the world’s great achievements flashing behind Lucius’ gawking face; is priceless. It really highlights how really simple but actually clever the writing in this show is. Ono Ryo makes Lucius and Lucius makes this show.

Whilst the art is really crude, I am actually finding myself liking it more and more. It just suits lucius and honestly, if it was traditional animation, I don’t think his reactions would work as well. I just love the grand way the character carries himself and how epic they make his reactions. It sounds like the lowest form of comedy but if that’s so, then call me a commoner. I handn’t thought this anime would even be a serious contender as a comedy however, if it continues like this, I may give it honourable mentions for comedy of Winter 2012 season. It isn’t any Danshi Koukousei Nichijou however, it will still give you enough laughs. Here’s to looking forward to the next episode!

So that’s what Japan is like…

Amagami SS+ Plus – Episode 02

Well, it was quite obvious that Tsukasa would see through Noriko’s plot – it was far too obvious, well clearly not that obvious seeing as Junichi completely fails to see it, however, what was not obvious is how exceedingly lucky Junichi would get in this episode. For some reason Amagami seems to have a fascination with this school grounds shed (which, never seems to be in a dimension that occupies the same space as the school however, seems unbeknownst to anyone but Junichi and whichever girl he is with) and all sorts of crazy things happen there. As we all know from the first season, whenever someone enters that shed with Junichi, strange things occur – this time it wasn’t some weird play but we actually got a proper reaction out of Tsukasa. Which by far, is the best part of this new season of Amagami. Seeing all her different faces and personalities has been the highlight of the Tsukasa ark this season – whilst the first concentrated on Junichi penetrating her iron clad facade.

Whilst I often find the generous rewards Junichi gets for his quite feeble attempts to be a bit unrealistic, I also do quite enjoy the dynamic that Junichi and Tsukasa had going on. The different ways he makes Tsukasa gradually lower her guard and break her usual fake mask is always interesting to see and the relationship we see developing from it is anything other than insincere. As I said in my first impressions of Amagami SS+ Plus, I really do not care for all this high school election plot nonsense however, Amagami makes it interesting and really ties the character development into it well. It was nice seeing Sae going strong even though se wasn’t with Junichi and Risa even made a small cameo in the hall. Junichi does actually seem to try to help and we do get the feeling that he does genuinely care for Tsukasa’s efforts and even though his reward for his efforts are pandered beyond reason, I can’t fault Junichi’s character for actually coming across as mature and truly dedicated to the point where he works his butt of to try to get to a good enough university to go with Tsukasa but even acknowledging that he accepts Tsukasa would also go without him. It is nice to see Junichi actually act like a man this season, especially compared to the Haruka arc of the first season – Junichi was practically a pet.

Just a playful dog bro…
Didn’t help with dog. Still get rewarded. 

Overall though, I’ve really enjoyed this arc. Not only did we see Tsukasa grow and develop as a character and got to see her many sides, I actually thought Junichi grew quite a lot himself and showed us a few sides we didn’t know he had. They handled this story quite well, there was drama, laughs and the romance wasn’t overdone or just weird kinky stuff. So for me, even though it was only a short lived, 2 episode arc (half the length of the original) I thought they directed it really well.

I now await the next arc, looks like Rihoko is up next and despite her getting friend-zones in the last season (hard) I really hope they give her a proper ending this time.

PS.

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Sorry Couldn’t resist.


Inu x Boku SS [ The Dog and I Secret Service] Episode 01 – First Impressions Review

Look into my eyes

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 Episode 01 – First Impressions Review

What? This… anime is ridiculous?!

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 [Recorder and Ransell] Episode 02 Review

Atsushi-kun got a new toy.

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.