Out of all of the new spring shows popping up, one has one of the strangest premise that, in the end, works to it benefit. That show is Mysterious Girlfriend X, a romance shows that looks at the bond between our two characters, Tsubaki and Urabe, through the use of drool. Yes, thats right, drool. And while strange and kinda disguising that is, it is the key that connects the two characters together, from how Tsubaki first fell in love with Urabe to how tasting the drool allows the two to understand each other feelings. It is weird but that is the whole point of the series is the weirdness of love.
When I first heard of the adoption of one of my favorite manga series I was a bit worried. The studio behind the animation and art work was being handle by Hoods Entertainment, which their resume is filled with the most over the top ecchi, fan-service, hentai shows like Seikon no Qwaser and Manyuu Hikenchou. The manga was very subtle with it fan-service so giving it to a studio that had been all about fan-service will probably harm the series. To my surprise, the show isn't over the top at all and instead is focus on the main theme of the show and allows the fan-service to help it instead of being a ploy to get views. The whole art style has a very old school feel with a touch of modern coloring. The characters don't have overly big eyes, hair colors are of real life hair colors, and simple body shapes. While this retro style may not be for everyone, it works to make the show nostalgic feeling. There also a interesting using of lighting and symbolism, specially in the dream sequence, showcasing the capability the Studio can do.
The director, Ayumu Watanabe, is famous for the Doraemon series that also has a very old fashion and it is apparent that he is bring this good nice nostalgic feel to a few modern series like MGX and Space Brothers. Deko Akao, the script writer, has done some weird titles like Natsu no Arashi! and Arakawa Under the Bridge and it is uncanny how sorta Shaft like MGX is when it isn't Shaft behind it. It is telling that she is behind the script by how well paced the episode was and the clever set ups. The cast is compose of two upcoming actors, Miyu Irino as Akira Tsubaki and Yuki Kaji as Kouhei Ueno. Both have a very boyish voices that fit the innocents of their characters. However, the most striking voice of the bunch is Ayako Yoshitani as Mikoto Urabe. This is her first time voice acting (She been in movies and live action dramas) and has a interesting deep and intriguing voice that is unexpected to what would Urabe would sound like but kinda fitting. All of this combines to make a solid series.
From the first episode, it looks that MGX will be able to hold up well with it strange premise. Cheers to it premiere.
Next episode: Panty scissor attack and nakedness.
Check this series out on Crunchyroll and coming soon to Hulu and Sentai"s Animenetwork.
Its here, the festival episode and it not just any anime festival episode but a Persona 4 one.
The festival event was one of my favorite moments in the game and now the anime since it was really letting lose all of the characters in some sort of strange event. We finally get to see the rendition of Romeo and Juliet / Hamlet, Yu trying to avoid fortunetelling Margaret from Ai, and the group dating café goes well with YU getting in to character. By far the best one was the famous beauty and cross-dressing pageant. Seeing the people's reactions to the guys dress up was just hilarious. I still wonder how was Naoto able to pull off dressing Teddie up? The beauty pageant also had some nice comedy moments
While all of this was happening, Yu was getting his social link on with Ayane Matsunaga (Sun arcana). Her story isn't very dramatic as Yumi Ozawa was but it a nice one that is supported by Yu helpful nature. It was also nice that they gave it little more time for her little story to develop than some other social links. There was also some development with Rise as she's figuring out what she wants to do with her life. It looks like Yu is taking the friendly route with Rise problem instead of the lover which means he may be looking at someone else to fall in love with.
The fun isn't over yet as we head to the Amagi Inn for some hot bath time.
Investigation team, GO!
Feels like yesterday that Madoka Magica was airing and every anime threads and forums were at the edge of their sits see what will happen in the next episode. Now we can finally have this masterpiece of a anime in our physical anime collection, specially this limited edition.
The packaging sports a nice outer cover with Madoka in her Magical Girl outfit on the front and Kyubey on the back. The cover is colored in white with pink polka dots and text is colored in shiny gold, making it standout and look very glamorous. The DVD case that holds the DVD & Blu-ray has a reversible cover art of the first two Japanese volumes along with the art work on the DVD & Blu-ray. The limited edition comes with the first Original Soundtrack, postcards of the end card art, a nice little poster, and a artbook with summaries, interviews, and a 4-koma by aokiume. The only issue I have with the volume is the Kyubey stickers feels cheap and lack any value compare to all of the other stuff that comes with this collection.
As for the show itself, it is pretty impressive how great it looks. Lots of different designs and styles that is expected from SHAFT. The dub is pretty impressive as well. Besides Christine as Madoka sounds a little forced in a few places, everyone else in the cast, Carolyn Keranen as Mami, Cristina Valenzuela as Homura, Cassandra Lee Morris as Kyubey, Sarah Williams Sayaka, and the four lines from Lauren Landa as Kyouko, all fit in well with their roles. I kinda like the way Carolyn says "Trio Finale!".
For the first of three limited edition, it a solid package specially for its high price of $74.98. Just kinda hope they replace the stickers with something that's more worth holding on to.
Sorry about missing a week but I'll make it up for it by doing a double impression on last weeks episode as well as this weeks.
Back in episode 17, Naoto is rescued and revels to the team that the killer is still out there. With Naoto on the team, they hope to get a better look at who's the real killer. Meanwhile, the mystery behind what Teddie is still foggy despite the hospital examination and Yu strengthen his bond between him and Naoto with a little meal.
Nothing too new about this episode if you already played the game from the revelation that the killer is still out there and the nice little relationship of the team. However, there were some nice anime specific situations like Kanji lending a hand to Naoto and the interesting use of abilities like Teddie's energy shower which does kinda work that way. By now I have to wonder what level Yu is at because the ability to fuse Beelzebub doesn't happen till level 77. By now the Persona's abilities have been used in an interesting way that works realistically while also borrowing from the game from what attacks work and their effects. However, Yu should had known that Mudo does not work on boss!
The hospital scene had a nice touch with showing us the process they want though when being examine. The test results part was a lot less funny due to how Naoto sounded despite her action of taking the result sheet and about to rip it apart. The bonding relationship between Yu and Naoto was short but a nice one since it took Naoto away from something serious and into something simple.
This week we have the Dojima family episode where we learn of the problems Nanako and her dad, Ryotaro. With a little help from Yu, father and daughter get back together.
It was a touching episode that was well paced and packed in lots of emotional scenes. Nanako just wanted to know if her father really does love her and Dojima is just realizing that he only been running away from Nanako by just looking for the person who ran over his wife. The thing that kinda sticks out in all this is the Ms. Dojima face. Not a single scene of her had her face showing which kinda takes us out of the emotion of the scenes. They could of made one up that just for the anime. Despite that little issue, the episode held up because of the emotional hits it made.
Next week we have the god damn festival!
Investigation team, GO!
And so we enter the TV again
With the fun times of the trip behind us, we return back to the story as Naoto try her best to pick at the team and hints at them on what she has in store with the murder case. Its soon apparent that Naoto is thrown in to the TV and having her secrets reveled by her own shadow that twist our level headed detective's world.
For those of you who don't know, I like Naoto's character above most of the other cast. She's cool, smart, and later on innocent in some cute ways. But its her background of hiding her gender and the way she acts like an adult that is reflective in society. She may be strong minded and tough but its really all an act even if she doesn't realize it. She's pretty much a kid playing around with adult type business. Her gender conflict isn't about should she act like a girl but does her gender fit with the ideal setting she's in. Even in these times it is hard for woman to fit in to fields, like the law enforcement, that men have mostly been in for years.
In the show, the conversion between Naoto and her shadow was a intriguing one compare to the game where it had many mood changes due to visual cues. At the start the mist around them was a greenish yellow and light blues but as the shadow start to poke at Naoto's emotions, the colors changed to reds and oranges, making the mood more unsettling just like how Naoto feels at that moment. Its an example of what makes animation great is that you can do things that help set the mood.
This episode of what turns out to be a two parter continues on the struggles of one's true self and I look forward to Naoto's conclusion.
Investigation team, GO!