Another week, another crazy episode of Nichojou. Didn't have time to watch any anime until the weekend, so this post will be a bit later than usual. Pleasantly surprised to see that this week was better than the last few weeks for most of these shows. Or perhaps it's just that I'm just hungry for some entertainment after a long, stressful week.
Mr Alberto's epic fail was EPIC. Overall, this episode wasn't as funny as the last one, but the first skit before the OP was so damn funny that it was totally worth it! The dialogue, the characters, and even the animation was funny! It's so sad that the rest of the episode, and the rest of the series can't match up to some of these great moments. I know many people who will write this off as having too few good jokes (and I would agree), but those few good ones are really one of a kind. The only moments in anime I can compare this to is Gag Manga Biyori. If you haven't seen that, go find it somehow (probably can find remnants of it on Youtube) and watch it! Guaranteed to have you ROFLing in seconds.
Hanasaku Iroha 7
It's cool to see side characters like Tomoe get more screen time. This episode was certainly good fun, which pretty much sums up with initial impression of Tomoe anyway. I wonder if they will do this with every character at the inn. Perhaps we will see "Bean man" getting a back story too?? At the rate this is going, I can see P.A. works throwing us into a Maeda-Jun-style crying fit with the closure of the inn or something similarly dramatic. Build up is always nice, but it still needs a little something to tie things together. We might be getting that next week, with, maybe, the arrival of Ohana's beloved Ko-chan! Thank you P.A. Works! m(_ _)m
Things are getting REALLY interesting! Our lead character will be starting to feel very lonely and isolated soon as he seems to be the only one who can remember what happened in the different "World Lines". As usual, Mayuri is awesome, while "Christina's" mildly tsundere attitude continues to entertain. I said last week that I didn't like Moeka, and this week didn't do much to change my opinion. Seriously, she hardly does anything this episode! I have no idea what role she plays at this point, other than being part of our protagonist's harem.
If you asked me for one reason why I love AnoHana, I would say that it is the characters. Every week you see them grow ever so slightly, and so naturally. Jintan attempts to go to school again, and ultimately fails. But he performed admirably, standing up for a friend by drawing all the attention back to himself. Now it's even harder for him to go back and face his classmates, but I feel that he has grown and gained so much courage in the process. Most of the time, you don't really know what is going to happen in the next episode of AnoHana. That idyllic feel, drifting through life not knowing what to do, seem to personify some of these characters (Jintan and Menma more prominently than others) and I guess characterizes this series as a whole. But eventually everyone will get out of this slump and move on with life. I bet my muffins on it.
Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko 6(*)
This has been building up for some time, but we finally get some movement in the romance front! We delve into Ryuushi's mind this episode as she narrates for the most part, giving us some insight on her feelings for Niwa. Moreover, Meme managed to completely blow her cover and revealing it to Niwa (through Ryuushi's surprised reaction). Ryuushi is still cute, Erio is still cute, this whole damn show is cute. They need to make more Denpa Onna merchandise for me to fawn over and perhaps buy a few ^.^; Can't wait to see the situation next week!
read more anime-related posts at my blogspot @ http://the-visual-medium.blogspot.com/
I've decided to stop blogging Ao no Exorcist, and perhaps even stop watching it if I don't have the time. C and Deadman Wonderland might be continued next week. Seems like I'm going through Anime burnout and just can't get myself to watch most of them. The only ones I was excited to watch this week was Hanasaku Iroha, Nichijou, Steins;Gate, AnoHana, and Denpa Onna. 5 series is a decent amount to blog so... onward!
Hanasaku Iroha 6
This series doesn't have a lot of fan service, but when it does, 90% of them involve Nako. I've already complained last week about how I don't enjoy the current format, but I'll let it slide this episode since we get to see Ohana and Nako in china dresses (>.<)b Seriously though, I think I might be getting used to this format. It isn't so bad, considering this is a 26 episode series. There's no need to rush. But I wish to see more Ko-chan!
Things seem to be picking up a little. Well, maybe a lot. They actually tested and found out the conditions and restrictions of their so-called time machine! Hearing Kyouma spout nonsense and teasing/bullying Mikase is a joy to watch as usual. The thing that surprised me was the return of quick cuts and a weird dream sequence. Finally, Steins;Gate is getting weird again! I guess most of this has to do with the original story (which the producers probably won't modify), but it does help in building an atmosphere of mystery and weirdness. Oh, and I don't really like Moeka. She isn't really moe...
Possibly the best episode so far. It made me tear up at the beginning and at the end. The characters of AnoHana are all so twisted and yet realistic. Each have their own problems, but they aren't too extreme in any particular way, which makes a peaceful resolution possible. I like how they talk things out and how Tsuruko can remain calm (but still has a secret weakness!). Even the ever-positive Poppo can hurt Menma sometimes. Everyone is flawed, but someone is always there to point it out. They understand each other's pain so well. But as good as this all is, I'm really looking forward to an "explosive" moment of drama that will undoubtedly be in the climax of this series. I remember watching the part in Toradora where Taiga fights with Sumire and then Kitamura apologizes to Sumire with tears in his eyes. My hair stood on ends and the tears just kept on flowing. Amazing animation, amazing music, amazing atmosphere. This type of climax needs a good build up, and I'm sure AnoHana will be able to achieve that.
Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko 5
Ahhhhhh! Twintails Erio kawaiii~!!!! *ahem* Besides the obvious cute moments with Erio and Ryuushi, Denpa Onna pushes forward with Erio's re-integration with society. Honestly though, nothing much happens, but I won't complain. I'm thoroughly enjoying the characters right now and the awesome drawings by Shaft. Hints of story shown here and there (such as Meme's melancholy) are enough to keep my interest in this series. Sure, it's not a classic, but it's goddamn enjoyable.
I'm so glad I gave Nichijou a chance to shine! The characters are not as memorable as Lucky Star's, but the humour here is so random and freaking funny! In particular, the deer wrestling (in Street Fighter IV's paintbrush style no less), Shiritori game (Engrish indeed), and camping trip skits were really up there among the funniest moments in Anime for me. The animation is no slouch either, with random explosions and epic fight scenes, you'll wonder why KyoAni won't just go all out and make an original and expensive shounen epic. This show has been pretty hit or miss so far, but when it hits, it hits like a deer ramming into your gut, Ultra-combo style.
A short post every Sunday, 9pm (I hope!) summarizing what I've watched in the past 7 days. Notable episodes this week have a (*) beside the episode number.
This week's Anime Weekly comes in late because of Mother's Day, Portal 2 and work.
Hanasaku Iroha 5
Though this arc was not bad, I'm starting to hate this format. On one hand this allows the creator to explore a variety of situations instead of concerning with strict continuity from episode to episode, but on the other hand I'm itching to see the characters develop and follow up on certain story threads (Ko-chan!). We learn a few things about Tohru and Minko, and Minko DID turn into a tsundere, but it was mostly just revelations about their character rather than actual development. After all, Minko has always been tsundere for Ohana right? Right??
Denpa Onna to Seishun no Otoko 4(*)
Too much sparkles! Denpa loses some of its charms this episode and tries a little too hard to make Erio look like some kind of angel, but she's extremely cute and pretty anyway so I'll just let that slide. The 2 classmates more or less confirms Makoto's harem status. Ryuushi is less irritating this episode and definitely more adorable (the way she denies that she's cute). Maekawa-san is weird as always, and teases Makoto like how an older sister might. On a more serious note, I like how each of the characters deal with Erio and Makoto's dangerous flight. People around him seem caring enough to question his motive for doing that, but at the same time very supportive and trustful of him as well. Hoping to see more of Erio and how the rest of the cast interact with her as she slowly re-integrates into society.
I'm starting to get used to Okarin vs Mikase. Might even like it! Her tsundere attitude is getting more lovable! As always, the story remains tight, leaking bits of really interesting stuff each episode, including a tense moment between the part timer at the CRT TV shop and Mikase. I also love the techy little details, showing internal hard disks and Okarin buying logic chips and memory chips for the hacker guy to solder onto the IBM 5100. I don't have much to complain about this show right now, but perhaps it could go a little faster? Or maybe bring back some of that weirdness I loved in the first episode. Oh, and is Mayushii's "tu-tu-ru~!" a reference to the catchphrase Shoko-tan was trying to popularize (@3:25 onwards)?
A lot of crazy speculation after last week's episode, including one that, honestly, I thought was too crazy to be true. Turns out the guy who suggested that was right on the money. As awkward as that sounds (for those of you who know about it), the producers have done a remarkable job of tackling that issue. It's still awkward, but more awkward for the characters, standing there and seeing their friend in that state, than it is for us the viewers. Everyone has issues in this anime, and I can see the writer going deeper into each of their personalities and weaving a wonderful tale out of it. I wish more writers and directors can portray characters with such seriousness and realism (without too much melodrama) as what the ex-Toradora staff here have managed to do.
Ao no Exorcist 3
It's quite a pain to sit through such a cliche and poorly paced shounen series. A revelation that the weak and caring brother isn't weak and that he has hated his big brother all this while. They fight. And then they make up. While some shows might be able to pull this off well (Karekano has some quickly resolved conflicts that weren't too unnatural), Ao no Exorcist just doesn't. Yukio still feels like a cold, distant character, while Rin is just too hot-blooded. We don't get to see or understand the characters beyond their shallow stereotype, so it's hard to empathize with them or understand why they made up so fast. The dog/principal apparently didn't care much for them as well and let them fight it out. Oh well. At least we're getting Hanazawa Kana next episode!
Deadman Wonderland 3
Every week after watching Deadman Wonderland, the only thought that crosses my mind is that it dares to be violent and bloodly without going over the top (at least not to ridiculous levels). So far, that's the only thing it has going for it. Also, the rather realistic portrayal of a dystopian society is slowly going to turn into a fantasy/ science fiction hybrid. Could be good though if there are detailed explanations and epic fight scenes.
Going Public! While the fights themselves are not that visually impressive (good CG, but bad choreography), the concepts behind it are quite interesting. You can literally buy your way to victory if you have supporters to buy your stocks. We see our main character making his Initial Public Offering this episode, as well as destroying the life of someone he knows, signalling a change in how he views the system. I like how the world and the concepts behind it are being revealed, but the characters still seem flat. What about the girl he likes? What about his dad? This series has no soul.
There's no clear winner among the bottom 3 (Ao no Exorcist, Deadman Wonderland, C), as none of them have been good enough for me to give a (*) yet. I guess I'll continue to blog them for a while more.
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Madoka's final 2 episodes were shown last week, and what an EPIC ending that was. I almost mistook it for a Gainax series, except less crazy. Also, a lot of the Spring shows have been quite good, so I'll have a hard time reducing them to a bloggable amount (3 to 5?)... but I'll try anyway!
Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica 11, 12(*)
After a long wait, Madoka is back to blow our minds! But it doesn't really do that. Those following Anime Weekly would know how much I love this series (and in particular the 10th episode), but the ending here just fails to deliver the same level of excitement and mindfuckery as the previous episodes. However, I really have to commend the director for being able to pace these 2 episodes really well and bring it to a nice conclusion. Without a doubt, episode 11 and 12 has benefited from the delay as they had more time to choose the scenes they want to show and tune the pacing so that it isn't rushed nor outstays its welcome. I'll have a full review of Madoka up within the next 2 weeks.
Most likely blogging
Hanasaku Iroha 2(*), 3, 4(*)
The visuals continue to astound me week after week! Unlike Star Driver, Hanasaku Iroha keeps up the quality by giving us beautiful backgrounds and well-animated CG. I particularly liked the quick zoom from one room of the inn to another, done with well-rendered CG that isn't too in-your-face. Story-wise, this series seems to slow down a little and ease up on the drama for episodes 2 and 3. The novel writer's arc wasn't that interesting, but it did serve as a situation to develop the characters a little. We see Naoko's bravery and strength a little bit and get another person's perspective of Ohana's character. Episode 4 explored more of Minko's personality and hints at her slowly opening up to Ohana. I'm actually starting to like Tohru too ^.^
For Hanasaku Iroha to stay interesting, I think they should stop introducing random characters (like the writer) and focus more on developing the cast. In particular, Nako, Tohru, and grandma still have a lot of potential, and of course the newly introduced Yuina. Oh, and Ko-chan too! I hope they don't drag out the Ohana - Ko-chan situation out too much...
Steins;Gate 2, 3(*), 4
A semi-smart series with quasi-science, but it gets most things right. For one, when trying to hack into SERN (of course not related to CERN), our "super haker" goes the most practical and realistic root; SQL injection and hacking into their email database. Moreover, some jumbled up hexadecimal codes appear on screen and the first thing they do is to reference ASCII tables and other character tables. Smart! A good amount of research must have been put in to get the John Titor story, time travelling theories, and various computing/hacking elements right, and I should salute the writer for that. If not for some awkward dialogue (childishly calling each other hentai), the rest of the script seems fine. Oh and both Feyris Nyan Nyan and Mayushii Nyan Nyan are aweeesome! As usual, Hanazawa-san is unbearably cute in her Mayuri voice, while "super haker's" voice is oddly appropriate and fun to hear. One thing I noticed, which might or might not be deliberate, is the screen flicker in certain scenes. I've confirmed it's not a monitor issue, and it can be consistently reproduced. Either this is a hint at the diverging world theory OR it could just be the fansub groups goofing up. The former is much more interesting.
AnoHana 2, 3(*)
AnoHana likes to take its own sweet time. It isn't till episode 3 when I finally understood the direction the writer was taking this series. But let's start from episode 2. "Anaru's" character is explored a little and we get to see what she is like beneath all that make-up. Honestly, it's the characters that really drive this series. Having a diverse group of friends brings about interesting group dynamics. Just like what Wondering Son did before it, the writer could just create a situation and put the characters in it and it'll still make for a very interesting show. It's how the characters interact with each other and how they deal with a common history and problem that makes them shine. And that was showcased very well in episode 3. This series is aiming to dig deep into the psychology of this group of friends. As each of them begin seeing their own version of Menma, we will uncover the guilt each of them felt for the incident many years ago. I really like where this is going and I hope this lives up to being yet another awesome noitamina series!
Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko 2, 3(*)
Surprisingly, Denpa Onna does not suffer a lot from Shaft's usual bad in-between animation. It is generally fluid and beautiful to look at. However, it is also sparse on animation. In that sense, it reminds me of Bakemonogatari but with less focus on typography. Another departure from usual bad Shaft habits is the interesting amount of emotional depth and complexity to the plot. Erio might be a bishoujo with a moe-some voice, but her character has deep dark secrets. The explanations about her past that trickles out each episode slowly fills in the blanks and make you really care about her more and more. By the end of episode 3, I was completely enamored by her character. The combination of interesting back story, emotional depth, great voice acting and of course a nice character design makes her one of my favourite characters this season. This series is becoming a really enjoyable show for me, and I hope people will look past some of it's weirdness to uncover the interesting plot underneath.
Ao no Exorcist 1, 2(*)
This is a true blue hot-blooded shounen series (pun intended). Ao no Exorcist reverses recent trends by focusing solely on a small group of characters and having a simple plot. Rin Okumura is Satan's son. His foster father is a priest that brings him up. I feel like I've heard of a similar tale before... hmm... Anyway, this is as straight forward as it can be. Rin quickly loses his foster father in what seems like a Peter Parker (or any other death-triggered superhero) moment. It doesn't pretend to be what it is not, and for that I respect it. The director did take a bit of time in the first episode to fool around though, so I'm a little worried those moments might creep back in again. If the producers can keep up with this same pacing we saw in episode 2, this should turn into a decent action show.
C 2, 3
First and foremost, let me just say that I HATE the CG in this show. It's not overused yet, but I can see it being a major component for the rest of the series since most things in the Financial District is rendered in CG. But perhaps I'm just being too hard on it. The fights are quite decent to watch, and the mysterious Financial District has definitely piqued my interest. Episode 3 in particular explored this aspect and right now I'm more interested in this than the main character's past. His character just seems a little inconsistent and the people he meets in the real world are just not that important anymore. With 26 episodes to work with, the producers have the time to fully flesh out this world and make it really interesting (especially with how it interacts with the real world).
Deadman Wonderland 2
The producers really pull no punches here. They know how far they can go and proceed to step on that line every time. Certainly not a show for everyone, the blood and gore here can be quite disturbing without being stupidly over-the-top. It treats itself seriously throughout and show the desperation of all the prisoners in it. The only anomaly is Shiro. She just... doesn't really make sense in this story. With the exception of Red Man and her, everything else has been following a rather strict reality so far. What her role is and WHY the prison guards and administration don't talk much about her will definitely be a key plot point later on. For now, I just want them to speed up with the introduction to the systems in place at this Deadman Wonderland.
Nichijou 2(*), 3(*), 4
This is the first time I've seen a character in anime greeting each other with "selamat pagi" or mention "sepak takraw". If the above images and video aren't already obvious enough, Nichijou is an incredibly random show and can get me laughing out loud. But the jokes are just too few. Episodes 2 and 3 are possibly some of the funniest anime I've seen, but episode 0, 1 and 4 are incredibly boring! There's no connection with the characters. We hardly care about them. Many jokes fall flat and they can still drag them out like it even matters anymore. I'm giving this series one more episode. I've episode 5 blows me away, the score would be 3-3 and I would continue watching. A 50% funny rate is not too bad in my opinion, but definitely does not meet up to KyoAni's usual standards. This is possibly KyoAni's worst series since the first few episodes of Lucky Star aired (thankfully that got better over time and after firing a certain director).
A Channel 2, 3, 4
I've come to the point where I watch this series solely for Yuki Aoi (Tooru) and Kotobuki Minako (Yuuko). I really hate the slow moments whenever the insert song comes up. The songs are just not that nice to listen to and the scenes portrayed during those sequences do not get the slice-of-life mood right. Well, this will be a 15 minute show every week as I skip my way through the boring parts.
Astarotte no Omocha 2, 3
I was pleasantly surprised to see the producers cut down on the fan service elements of this show. Lotte is a little more mature than she seems to be at first sight, though a childish side of her still exists. The story progresses slowly though, and it seems quite predictable. Lotte will eventually learn to trust guys and will gain a "father" or "brother" in Naoya. *yawn* Kugimiya Rie needs to be given better roles!
The World God Only Knows S2 2
KamiNomi isn't as slow as the first season's second half, but the situations aren't getting more interesting either. It's unfortunate that I'm already following quite a few series, otherwise I would give this another chance. Besides, a new, persistent, character will be introduced in episode 3, which might change the stale formula somewhat. Well, I'll find some time to watch this, but I definitely won't be blogging it.
Hyouge Mono 1
As interesting as a tea master in the sengoku period sounds, the producers managed to make it weirder than it already is. There are scenes where it feels like they are trying to inject some humour, but the seriousness of the rest of the scenes make you question where they are trying to go with this. This just isn't my cup of tea (ahahahaha.... ok, sorry).
Gintama 203, 204
I can understand why some people simply love this series. There's a huge cast of funny, lovable characters that make the jokes flow constantly. This is something only a long running series can do, as it takes time to build up all the characters and their relationships before we can get to this point of non-stop punchlines. BUT I feel that I'm unable to follow it. It feels like I'm at a party full of people I'm not very familar with and they are laughing and having fun while I stand there thinking "haha... how fun..." feeling left out... Theoretically speaking of course. My life isn't like that at all. I'm a social butterfly. *ahem* Moving on...
Hidan no Aria 2
This isn't what I imagined the Ryuu-Taiga reunion would be like! It reminds me of last season's IS, a harem style show with focus on action, except there's no action this episode... And I really really hate the premise. All those child mercenaries still act like kids and there's no seriousness to it at all. Script Writer, please go watch Gunslinger Girl and then wallow in self-pity (imagine this spoken in Kugimiya Rie's voice).
SKET DANCE 3
The episodic nature of this series and the lack of an over-arcing plot makes it hard to recommend. It has some good timing for its humour and it moves along at a nice pace, but the quality of their weekly cases fail to interest me. Too bad... was expecting this to at least be up to Nurarihyon quality.
Softenni 2, 3
This show just gets more and more WTF moments as it goes on. And it likes to reuse unfunny jokes. Just look at the image above. The randomness is not enjoyable at all and felt more like they did not do a good job with the adaptation.
I can't believe how incredibly boring this show is. It has an interesting premise (managing a baseball team using a book on Management by Peter Drucker), but it was so poorly executed. The characters just seem dull and bored. I read on some blogs that this actually gets good later on, so I might try to catch up with it. It's broadcasting a new episode 5 days a week for 2 weeks, so I'll most likely watch it after it's done.
Among all the series I've written about here, only Nichijou might be promoted to a bloggable series while C, Ao no Exorcist and Deadman Wonderland have to compete for a slot. I generally don't like to blog about shounen series because I find it hard to talk about, but these 3 seem to have a plot that actually moves along at a brisk pace, so I might do them.