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!
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.
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|