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

Posts tagged “Romance

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.

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Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai [Listen to What Your Father Says] Episode 01 – First Impressions Review

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

Ano Natsu de Matteru [Waiting in that Summer] Episode 01 – First Impressions Review

Here comes… Teacher- I mean, Ichika…

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

Amagami SS+ Plus [Gentle Bite SS+ Plus] Episode 01 – First Impressions Review

Junichi’s Dream.

Win! Seeing as Amagami SS was my favourite romance anime of 2010, I can certainly say I was looking forward to this episode, and it didn’t disappoint. Amagami SS for those who did not watch the first series – which I would highly recommend, especially if you intend to pick this up – is a romance anime with copious amounts of comedy – I was literally rolling around laughing at the Sae arc in the first season. Now, whilst might look like your typical bishoujo harem anime, it has several features which make it stand out from such a dry label. Firstly and most distinctly, Amagami uses small arcs – 4 episodes in the first series – per female protagonist, to tell the story of Junichi Tachibana who has been suffering from being stood up two years prior to the story, who now meets new a new girl and we see their relationship develop. Each arc was told pretty well and all the female characters were quite likeable. Another thing which was always interesting, was seeing how the girls from previous arcs acted around Junichi, when it was another girl’s arc. This sounds confusing and probably a bit complex for the writer, but actually, its really easy to follow and it also meant there were varying jokes, atmosphere and we didn’t fall into a nauseating harem. Anyway, lets jump into it.

One thing I quite liked was that they decided to start with Ayatsuji this time, when in the last season, she was left until last. As arguably the most interesting arc from the previous season, I was definitely looking forward to seeing how they would continue her story. From the start of this episode, I already felt like I was back watching the first season with the opening scene being Junichi dreaming about bathing with Ayatsuji. Despite the way this anime looks, the ecchi nature of this anime isn’t that gratuitous, its actually rather funny but above all; realistic. Amagami is very well written in that it makes Junichi feel so much like a real teenager, like that friend that we all have and know. From his constant ‘book’ swapping with his best friend, to his extremely ‘imaginative’ mind, he seemed like your run of the mill, hormonal teenager who does tend to have genuine feelings but wasn’t typecast as an unrealistically, innocent boy. That is one of the reasons Amagami stands out so much, it doesn’t try to be especially grande in its character personalities, but this normality is what allows us to empathise with them so well. That said, a lot of the scenarios they end up in, are not all that normal – which in contrast to what I just said, is (oddly) also what makes it very interesting. I’m sure running for student council president is common in Japan, and I’m sure rallying support is pretty common too, however, doing so in a swimsuit or coordinating a large scale sabotage effort, is not. Amagami manages to take the absurd and make it the norm. I never felt as if I was watching something quite abnormal or unrealistic (As an anime fan, I’m aware of the irony in that remark) but actually I found myself engaging quite a bit with what was happening. The scenarios are never boring, and the characters are always refreshing.

Whilst watching this, I couldn’t keep a smirk off my face. I normally do not care for high school class nonsense such as the school council elections however, as I have already said, Amagami isn’t your typical school life romance. One thing I didn’t like from Ayatsuji’s arc in the last season was the whole Founder’s Festival organisation malarky, as I said, I’m honestly have no patience to sit through a whole episode about fictional school festival planning, but Amagami made it interesting! Ayatsuji’s sabotage of the only male contestant by planning it so loads of porn falls out of his bag in this episode, was just hilarious – student council elections are serious business, by the looks of it, in Japan. Just seeing Ayatsuji doing her whole good side-bad side thing, was very amusing but also, seeing Junichi wearing the trousers for once e.g during the photo shoot – where did he get professional photo equipment anyway? – was quite nice. I felt far enough away to laugh in safety, though not quite the same could be said for Junichi. His perverted nature often seems to be in contrast with his quite timid nature, especially when Ayatsuji handles him like a boss. It was great though seeing Junichi not brooding over his trauma from two years ago – don’t get me wrong, it was a clever mechanism to push the plot along in the first season but, after seeing him go through it 6 times, its effects wore – but now living life. In this episode though, we saw Junichi take some control and saw him act like a man, a rarity – trust me, especially if you saw the the Morishima arc from the first season.

It was good. It was funny, it was animated well, there was nice music and overall, I’m loving how they’ve taken the stories further from the first season. The only thing I was slightly disappointed about was the OP and ED theme, the first season had great OP music, it really fitted the anime, and there was an individual ED for each character arc which really gave it that diverse flavour. But I guess, we can’t have it all. Anyway, there was speculation as to whether this was going to be a 1-cour per character season but by the looks of it, deservedly, the show is getting a full season. I can’t wait. So for me, Amagami SS+ Plus epsisode 01, gets a solid 8. I can only anticipate this will only get better as the season continues.

Likelihood I’ll be watching: Definite! Likelihood I’ll be blogging: Definite!