sickVisionz (Level 24)

I'm realizing that I have NO CLUE about what's airing in Winter 2014 and no idea what to watch.
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The Spring 2012 anime season is kicking into high gear. Some shows have already started airing and a glutton will be arriving this week. This season has more shows that I want to check out than usual and as they air, I plan on writing a quick first episode impressions on them. Now, it's important to note that these are not reviews of the entire series. They are simply my quick opinion on on the impression that the first few episodes gave me.

Yurumates

One of those times where drunk college girls don't lead towards a fun time.
One of those times where drunk college girls don't lead towards a fun time.

Quick Summary

A high school graduate moves into an apartment building filled with crazy college kids.

Quick Thoughts

"It&squot;s only 3-minutes? Nooooooo!"
"It's only 3-minutes? Nooooooo!"

The opening theme was incredibly short for this series. That should have been the first sign. Anyways, this episode kicked off decent enough. The animation was good enough, the art style reminded me of Hanamaru Kindergarten a bit, which was a bit of a let down due to me having seen an image somewhere that looked like it was ripped straight from Scott Pilgrim. Anyways, things seemed decent enough to continue on and just at it seemed like it was going to start getting to the funny, the screen went black and I saw the familiar Crunchyroll "replay" symbol. I had no clue whatsoever that this was a three minute anime series.

Quick Verdict

2/5 Dropping It

Nothing really grabbed me, but it did seem like it was about to get pretty good before it ended. I'm not interested in watching a three minute series though and, unfortunately, I'll probably have completely forgotten about this once there are 30 minutes worth of episodes that could be watched back-to-back.

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Sengoku Collection

Tsundere Nobunaga has 99 problems, but a bitch ain't one.
Tsundere Nobunaga has 99 problems, but a bitch ain't one.

Quick Summary

A teenage tsundere Nobunaga Oda is teleported to modern day Japan.

Quick Thoughts

Many will either write this series off or fall in love with it based off that summary and what it brings to mind. After enjoying some goofy moe fanservice shows, I'm willing to give stuff like this a shot and I'm glad I did. I really enjoyed this episode. The tone reminds me a lot of Cat Planet Cuties (I hate that name change more and more every time I hear it), but with less fan service. The second both of them kick off you know what to expect, but there is a surprising amount of heart and genuine funny bits to be had in both along with your typical girl and boy comedy gags.

Simple, yet effective artwork.
Simple, yet effective artwork.

I also really enjoy the art style of it, especially the backgrounds. They have an almost watercolor look, which isn't particularly unique on its own, but there is often a cloth-like texture underneath it that gives it the impression that it was drawn on tapestry or some other similar surface. When combined with the relative simpleness of the art (including the characters), it really creates an inviting tone that I fell in love with over the course of the episode. The animation ranges from average to good, with the best element usually being Nobunaga's hair blowing in the wind with a level of fluidity that really draws your attention to it.

Quick Verdict

3.5/5 Sticking With It

Who knows how things will go in the future, as the show apparently will have a new historical figure put in the role of an anime stereotype every week, but this episode ended up being far more enjoyable than I thought it would and I'm glad I checked it out.

View the Wiki - Watch the Series

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The Spring 2012 anime season is kicking into high gear. Some shows have already started airing and a glutton will be arriving this week. This season has more shows that I want to check out than usual and as they air, I plan on writing a quick first episode impressions on them. Now, it's important to note that these are not reviews of the entire series. They are simply my quick opinion on on the impression that the first few episodes gave me.

Rock Lee and His Ninja Pals #1

The best thing about the episode is that there is a dude in a Jason mask. Take from that what you will.
The best thing about the episode is that there is a dude in a Jason mask. Take from that what you will.

Quick Summary

Rock Lee rescues a young girl whose family is being harassed by loan sharks.

Quick Thoughts

After watching this episode I had the same expression on my face as she does.
After watching this episode I had the same expression on my face as she does.

I like goofy comedies. I truly do. The more random and nonsensical they, the better. Pani Poni Dash, Animaniacs, Eek the Cat, Tiny Toon Adventures, Hayate no Gotoku, etc., are some of my favorite series when comes to animated shenanigans and the one thing they all share is that they are very much whatever type of series. Anything goes in them. Things don't always make sense. In fact, things often don't make sense, but that's the entire point. No logic, no reasoning, just comedy. They are willing to do whatever it takes to get a laugh out of the audience, everything else be dammed. So, I came into Rock Lee with a pretty open mind and looking for something ridiculous and it certainly delivered that... but it wasn't funny. I was only supposed to tune in for 24 minutes and I called it a wrap at about the 13 minute mark when I hadn't laughed a single time. In the shows defense, I truly believe it's targeted at children who might find normal Naruto to be scary, so we're talking kids aged 4 to 7. I'm a good 20+ years past any end of that spectrum. I could go on and on about how lame it is, but at some point I think it would be like an adult complaining about the lack of sophisticated storytelling in Teletubbies.

Quick Verdict
1/5 Dropping It
I watch a comedy to laugh. That's the only purpose of them. That's the only thing I expect to get from them. They can fail at every other aspect, but if they make me laugh then they've done their job. This one didn't.

View the Wiki - Watch the Series

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The Spring 2012 anime season is kicking into high gear. Some shows have already started airing and a glutton will be arriving this week. This season has more shows that I want to check out than usual and as they air, I plan on writing a quick first episode impressions on them. Now, it's important to note that these are not reviews of the entire series. They are simply my quick opinion on on the impression that the first few episodes gave me.

Ozma (Episodes #1-3)

Leiji Matsumoto's familiar band of characters makes their return to the world of anime.
Leiji Matsumoto's familiar band of characters makes their return to the world of anime.

Quick Summary

A mysterious woman escapes from the military and is taken in by sand pirates who vow to protect her.

Quick Thoughts

Arguably the best looking Matsumoto series.
Arguably the best looking Matsumoto series.

I'm a Leiji Matsumoto so this one was a guaranteed watch. Leiji's signature art style is in full effect and is very pretty to look at in HD. The colors in the show are vivid and bright, which really makes the screen shots lovely. The animation is a mixed bag of quality where a single scene might have beautiful and fluid elements (for example, someone on a motorbike with their hair blowing in the wind) combined with something truly awful looking (in the same example, the actual movement of the bike may be perfectly still and clearly a motion tween). All in all it makes the animation average out to being good enough.

Captain Bainas is ready to kick ass and take names, in that order.
Captain Bainas is ready to kick ass and take names, in that order.

The story so far has been tense, yet still has a sense of fun and adventure to it. Nothing is reinventing the wheel by any stretch of the imagination, but it's been an enjoyable ride so far. The characters are your standard Leijiverse fare, which means very tropey and everyone looks like someone from another Matsumoto series. Gido (voiced by Sho "Aizen" Hayami who does his best to compete with Rie "Insert Tsundere" Kugimiya for the title of Most Typecast VA) could pass as Captain Harlock cosplaying as a masked Gundam baddie, Bainas is a pretty clear cut yet awesome clone of Emeraldas, and Maya is a tall and slender woman with mysterious background just like Maetel, but these similarities are par for the course in Matsumoto's works.

Quick Verdict

3.5/5 Sticking With It

Matsumoto is one of my favorite creators and I've enjoyed everything that I've seen by him. Ozma is no different, although it being based off of an unfinished manga from over 20 years ago and only scheduled for six episodes pretty much guarantees that the series will simply stop rather than reach any type of conclusion. Still, it's been a blast for its first three episodes and I plan to stick with it for the long haul... if you can call 6 episodes a long haul.

View the Wiki - Watch the Series

Space Brothers #1

Five minutes deep and this is easily one of the best anime of 2012
Five minutes deep and this is easily one of the best anime of 2012

Quick Summary

After losing his job, one brother returns to the dream that he and his brother shared of becoming astronauts.

Quick Thoughts

It's a rough job market, especially when you've been blacklisted for headbutting your last boss.
It's a rough job market, especially when you've been blacklisted for headbutting your last boss.

I can't quite put into words what I expected coming into this series, but the first episode left me pleasantly surprised. The level of humor was something I wasn't expecting. I was expecting something more serious, and honestly a little dull, but what I got was a sitcom with some heart to it. I find Mutta, the main character, to be easy to relate to. He just lost his job (for headbutting his boss who was talking crap about his astronaut little brother) and is forced to move back home with his parents. I've had that as a nightmare ever since I moved out of my parents house so I totally feel for him there. Additionally, he's having an incredibly hard time finding a job, something many people can associate with in the current economy. Despite some of the comedic or fantastical elements of the series, it's very down to earth in a way that I don't usually see in anime and is a nice counter to Ozma, which is a much tropier series.

The OP made me cry tears of joy in its splendor.
The OP made me cry tears of joy in its splendor.

As far as production values are concerned, the animation is nice. Not quite as high as a series like Nisemonogatari, which was something along the lines of a master class in animation, but everything was appropriately fluid and I didn't notice anything that I would call a negative. The animation essentially bottomed out at good, so no complaints from me. I don't usually care for most anime opening themes but this Space Brother has a a flat out great opening song that came off as a nice combination of Radiohead and modern Duran Duran. Definitely my favorite opening song that I've heard so far this year.

Quick Verdict

5/5 Sticking With It

I can't think of a single negative thing to say about the series so far. When people say that modern anime has fallen off or is nothing but moe and fanservice series, I feel like series like high quality shows like this one are always forgotten or ignored. Hopefully this one won't suffer that same fate of not counting.

View the Wiki - Watch the Series

- William Taylor ( sickvisionz ) is lazy by nature, procrastinator by trade. You can also find him on Twitter @mrsickvisionzand on Tumblr at In My Lifetime.

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Articles

Winter Watch: Another #1

Who would have guessed that spending 25 minutes in the dark with a dead school girl could be so good?

Summary: Fresh out of the hospital, Kouichi begins attending Yomiyama North Middle School where he meets a mysterious girl names Mei Misaki.

Winter Watch: Another #2

He just learned that the call came from inside the house.

Summary: Kouichi continues to mingle with the students in his class and does some investigating of his own, which leads him to a doll shop that Mei frequents.

Winter Watch: Another #3

This episode features some of the most shocking umbrella usage seen since Mary Poppins.

Summary: Kouichi discovers the ghost story surrounding Class 3 and one of his classmates shows why your parents always told you not to run while holding sharp objects.

Winter Watch: Another #4

What?!?!? But if we help you and people stop dying, what will the show be about?

Summary: Kouichi continues his search for answers after Yukari's death. Meanwhile, Sanae redefines what it means to have a dropped call.

Winter Watch: Another #5

Another one bites the dust.

Summary: Kouichi finally unravels the mystery surrounding his class.

Winter Watch: Another #6

A little Pulp Fiction inspired dancing and budding teen romance makes everything better.

Summary: Kouichi and Mei's relationship grows as they bond over their nonexistence.

Winter Watch: Another #7

It hasn't rained blood like this since the rave scene in Blade.

Summary: After Class 3's countermeasures fail, Kouichi and Mei rejoin the class and search for another way to stop the calamity.

Winter Watch: Another #8

The requisite beach episode that ends up as a nice change of pace.

Summary: Kouichi and friends head off to the beach for some fun in the sun but find that everything isn't as peaceful and serene as they hoped it would be.

Winter Watch: Another #9 & #10

Even with one eye closed you can see what's coming from a mile away.

Summary: Death continues to swirl around the students of Class 3 as Kouichi and friends discover a way to stop the calamity.

Winter Watch: Another #11 & #12

"Out in the streets, they call it muuuuuuurder."

Summary: The entire class finds out about the "kill the dead person" rule and goes on a murder spree during their class trip.

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I've wanted to own something Hayate the Combat Butler related ever since I saw the series years ago, but due to the large episode count, the price of the US release was always more than I'm willing to pay for a barebones US release (8 volumes that usually retail for $25-$35) and while the price of importing was oddly less (3 volumes priced at $57), it was only so because it too was a barebones release, which didn't appeal to me. When I heard that there was going to be a theatrical film, it's eventual BD released seemed like it would be the perfect combination of price and extras that I was looking for. About after first hearing of the project, it's arrived at my doorstep.

Specs

All the bells and whistles
All the bells and whistles

Media

  • BD with feature film including bonus footage
  • DVD with theatrical cut

Audio/Visual

  • 16:9 Video
  • JP Dolby True HD 5.1
  • JP Linear PCM Stereo
  • JP Dolby Digital Stereo
  • No Subtitles

On Disc Extras

  • Movie trailers/teasers
  • Commentary
  • Trailer for live-action series

Packaging

I sprung for the limited edition which comes in a nice BD-sized chipboard case that is very similar to NISA's Premium Editions in hardness and thickness. One minor complaint I have, however, is that is that a wrap-around flyer was shrinkwrapped to the release and it's spine looks prettier than the actual spine of the box. Once opened, there is no way to attach this to the set without using glue or tape, two options I would never do under any circumstances.

Bonus Items

Usually the best part about importing, this release does not disappoint. The first thing that you'd notice about the set if you saw it in person is how thick it is. This is because included with the release is an over 300 page storyboard book of the entire film. While less massive but still pretty sweet, the release includes a multipage booklet with interviews featuring manga creator Kenjirou Hata and anime character designer Hideto Komori. Rounding out the package was something I didn't even know would be included: a strip of film cells from the movie itself. I haven't seen the film yet so I don't know exactly how awesome mine is, I was pretty stoked that it includes Nagi, Hayate, and a third character with their faces shown and two other characters (I believe one of them is either Sakuya or Ayumu) with their backs to the camera. I've heard horror stories about people getting film strips that are nothing but the back of someone's head so I'm very excited about the one I received.

All In All

I'm totally satisfied with the release. I haven't watched the movie yet so I can't comment about it at all, but it's Hayate so I'm sure it will be fine. I love the extras and the packaging is really nice.

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