Spring Anime 2011: Initial Report Part 1   Leave a comment

I figured I should start my first post with my thoughts on the new shows. In the Spring anime season of 2011, I have watched some series so far out of GOD how many, while ignoring some titles, mostly sequels I never got around to, like Gintama and Kampfer. The titles I’ll be doing has at least 2 episodes out, so I can give a better opinion on if I should continue or not.

There were also also OVAs and specials that aired, but I feel I won’t do justice for these consdering the interval of their airing. So I decide to wait and finish their run before doing reviews from them. Also don’t worry since this is the just the first part, I will do impressions on other shows I’m interested in, like Kaiji and The World God Only Knows (Kaminomi). Now let’s get this thing started.



Title: Nichijou
Genre: Slapstick Comedy
Produced by: Kyoto Animation (Lucky Star, K-ON)


I find this insulting on my knowledge of robotics and science… But Nano-chan is soo moe

A show about schoolgirls and daily life is no original concept. The “buildup-buildup-JOKE-reaction” style of 4-koma is neither. But Nichijou from the get-go was the buzz of the season, mainly because of the studio and the staff working on it. KyoAni has been famous for doing this kind of shows because of their insane fluid animation and attention to details, both background-wise and character-wise, WHICH we can see right from the opening. I’m no animation buff, but there’s definitely some inspiration there by modern techniques such as Kinetic Animation and Kinetic Typography.

Now AS FOR the content however… the jokes were hit-or-miss for me. I felt the timing, or the content themselves were of varying degree and quality. Also I’m not Japanese so I don’t know how they find skipping ropes and random masks funny. I find the SHEER randomness of this show to be detrimental. But amidst a sea of jokes, one or two funny ones can be found. Especially with the main(?) character Nano, which is a robot WITH A BIG WIND KEY PROTRUDING FROM HER BACK . Yes, you should have at least an idea how the jokes work.

So far, I find this show entertaining, I keep my expectations fairly low even with the staff working on it. Sometimes I find randomness funny, but I feel there’s a level of mastery that is absent between a classic like Excel Saga and Nichijou. Perhaps they need a Nabeshin fix here maybe?

VERDICT: CONTINUED



Title: A-Channel
Genre: Slice-of-Life
Produced by: Studio Gokumi, Aniplex


“Totally original”

From the average-to-good show about schoolgirls to the NOT SO good show about schoolgirls. I’ll keep this one brief: I did not find this show amusing. There was nothing in this show that sticks in me. Hidamari Sketch had the crazy trippy visuals, Lucky Star had the anime otaku references, but A-Channel has NONE. The characters are just these archetypes with no quirks whatsoever. They also keep on hammering the lesbian sub-tones of this show into my face several times. Yuri usually gives the show more tense, but for this one I was just annoyed. Also I feel like the creator of the show or manga only had a couple of jokes in mind, and decided to make an entire show from it.

However, I find the music cues appropriate, which is maybe because Aniplex had part of the production. The OP and ED though were very, very generic. B-grade Lantis generic moe song, as I describe these. Again, the opening sequence was again Kinetic Animation-inspired, I guess which gives eccentricity to the appeal. But I can’t find anything in the show worth sticking to.

VERDICT: DROPPED



Title: 30-sai no Hoken Taiiku (Health and Physical Education for 30-year olds)
Genre: Adult Comedy
Produced by: Studio Gathering


I love red shorts

The title says it all. Or does it? …Yeah it does, subtly. This show is about teaching men how to get girls and how to make love. Not from a romantic perspective though, but from a very dark (not black) comedic view. Lots of symbolisms present in the show. The single male character encounters the “God of Sex”, while giving himself some sexual relief. The “God of Sex”, while NAKED, orders the main guy to get himself a real sex partner, but the main guy refused. So later the “God of Sex” offered his own hole (you know, that one) for the guy just to let go of his virginity. So this show has both hetero- and homosexual jokes in it. Ecchi also guaranteed. Are you sold yet?

This show has very good music to it, and visuals are very well presented. Given I watched the HEAVILY CENSORED version, I still find the show funny and appropriate for its audience. Again, the modern kinetic style opening sequence is beautiful and should be enough to love this show. The length of the episodes shouldn’t give you any problems, only 15 minutes each. This show very well reminds me of a fairly old show, REC, but it is still quite different. Give this one a try, as I know I’ll watch this until it ends.

VERDICT: CONTINUED



Title: Battle Girl: Time Paradox
Genre: Ecchi, History, Fantasy
Produced by: TMS Entertainment (D. Gray Man, Itazura na Kiss)


Instead of playing music, you should be saving battery little girl.

First I was so-so in picking up this show because of this poster (check those bazonkers), but in the end I find this show…. interesting. Mainly because of the plot. I can’t explain this in a normal fashion so I have to do it this way

(movie trailer voice) “IN A WORLD… OF ANCIENT WAR-TORN JAPAN… RULED BY WOMEN… A GIRL… WENT BACK IN TIME… TO CHANGE HISTORY… OR DID SHE?”.

So, this show has time-travel, tales of ancient battles, and TITTIES. What’s to not like about this show? No, in all seriousness, the fanservice in this show was not that much, which is to the show’s benefit, and I find the campiness of this show entertaining. Maybe it’s the fact that the main girl is so stupid and klutzy, or the fact this show’s plot is swiss cheese all over. The jokes were cliche “time travel related” jokes, which is different from the 4-koma style which is 90% of shows right now. Animation and music is not bad, but not yet quite Production I.G Sengoku Basara level. I’m not very familiar with the Sengoku Jidai (Warring Era) of Japan, which helps or else I’ll just be annoyed the whole show. If you are with this kind of thing, definitely check this one. If not, just watch better shows about time-travel like the Haruhi movie or something. I’m the kind of guy who thinks we need more Hollywood movies like Army of Darkness or Back to the Future, so I’ll stick to this one for the meantime.

VERDICT: CONTINUED



Title: Dog Days
Genre: Ecchi, Magic, Fantasy
Produced by: Seven Arcs (Nanoha, Sekirei)


Soul Calibur 4’s best feature yet

Dog Days was pretty much generic fantasy story from the start. Guy goes to another dimension, where magic exist and people wage war to rule kingdoms with magic, guy becomes hero to save X kingdom yaddah yaddah yaddah… But I ask you, what things could possibly make this show worse?

Imagine a PLETHORA of characters, a bunch of pre-pubescent girls, don’t forget the unsubtle in-your-face fanservice, forced comedy, generic anime tropes, and a bad concept. The mere idea of how this fantasy world “Hey no one dies in war and war is fun so we have commentators and fanservice and blobs haha so funny xD” works offended me in many levels. I’d like to make this review brief so if you wanna check how this show makes you feel bad about yourself, then please do so. One paragraph is not enough to explain the atrocity of this show. Dog Days for me is the clump of all BAD anime, borrows all the BAD things from BAD anime, and decide to make a BAD show out of it. I wish Seven Arcs just made more Nanoha and not this shit.

VERDICT: DROPPED



Title: Dororon Enma-kun: Meeramera (as in meh-ramera)
Genre: Adventure, Action, Fantasy
Produced by: Brains Base (Shin Getter Robo, Mazinkaiser)


You’d best be careful with those nunchucks old lady.

Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera was based from the the original Dororon Enma-kun show from the 70’s. Why do I have to say this? And why do I have to put Shin Getter Robo and Mazinkaiser beside Brains Base instead of maybe, Durarara and Baccano? Because you know if this show is for you. Hot-blooded manly faces, screaming super attacks, insane levels of misogyny, and lots of child innuendo. Madness you may say, but for Go Nagai (The father of the super robot genre) and his legion of fans this is the defining formula for success, including me of course.

The story is pretty much simple: A boy named Enma-kun has the power of fire, and he and his friends (taken from various Japanese mythos) the snow girl, the Japanese rape frog I MEAN the kappa, and a talking hat(?) saves the world from demons looming about. Since this is a Go Nagai show, there’s suppose to be a girl that is the bait for all these demons every episode. Oh and did I mention jailbait fanservice and monsters with varying kinds of phallus?

All I can say is if your new to these things, and can feel those many barriers preventing you from watching this show, you clench your fists, scream at the top of your lungs, and then proceed to punch your bedroom wall hard repeatedly. This is A+ recommended for ANYONE because these are the kind of shows that anime NEED TO GO BACK to. Also, this is an alternative retelling so there’s no continuation or anything. So don’t be a sissy and watch this one PRONTO!

VERDICT: CONTINUED



Title: Hanasaku Iroha
Genre: Drama
Produced by: P.A.Works (Angel Beats, True Tears)


“Stop messing my life! You don’t understand me!”

Now after all that manly let’s go over to the soft side. Ohana is this girl whose mom sucks, so she was thrown away at this Japanese Inn where her strict grandmother lives. Now she has to work there with a bunch of other female characters.

I don’t watch drama really, so I have to ask this question. Are people suppose to be such huge DICKS in drama? Are dramas suppose to amp up the whole situation to the point of repeated slapping and cursing each other? This show would not leave you short of drama. The character Ohana, strict grandma and that BITCH co-worker are very much amped-up so you can enjoy the whole show. The show is full of stuff like knowing your identity, and changing to be a better person (I don’t understand Ohana’s logic though), and lots and lots of interpersonal dialogue. The show feels very real, especially with the very good background art, which is expected from P.A. Works which is a very promising studio, and their works have awesome art. Very consistent animation, and the music is very appropriate to the drama-feel that this show is aiming. Definitely if you feel jaded and bored this spring, and if you want drama, I suggest picking up and follow this show.

VERDICT: CONTINUED



Title: X-Men
Genre: Action, Superhero
Produced by: Madhouse (the king of good Japanese animation)


Now with 100% more hair

Disclaimer: I have very little Marvel knowledge, so I’ll be giving impression based from my sporadic watchings of the cartoon and the X-men movies

I have to go straight to my opinion: I think this show is better than the cartoon I remembered. The show’s animation and design is topnotch, has way less annoying cel-shading than Ironman the Anime (produced also by Madhouse), and the characters are not far off from the rest of the franchise. Though I find Cyclops a tad bit more “emo” than usual, which is of reason. Wolverine is clearly my favorite character, his design was more closer to the movies than with the cartoon, and also way better than the Wolverine anime that aired months ago.

This show started with a major spoiler, so you have to watch it for yourself. The storyline is okay, they seem to have fit that Japanese subplot quite nicely. This is a good gateway for non-fans, like myself. I’ll continue to watch this although not as top priority as the other spring titles.

VERDICT: CONTINUED



Title: TigerBunny
Genre: Action, Superhero
Produced by: Sunrise (the king’s brother of good Japanese animation)


With Pepsiman, this would be a match made in heaven.

My first impression of TigerBunny was pretty bad at first before it aired, but I after watching the two episodes, my impression went a bit higher. The premise is that superheroes in this show each have an advertising sponsor (which are real companies by the way), and they fight enemies. Enemy encounters are aired live through a game show, in which the popularity of the superhero depends upon their performance. Now is that a good premise or not? I’m willing to suspend my disbelief for that.

The actual advertising in the show are not as annoying as what I expected it to be. In fact, it helps you remember characters more easily (like Calbee-pornsite chick or the Ustream man). I think that was how the advertising part work. The show has no major problems except tiny plot holes here and there, which are trivial. I liked how they use the theme of “identity dilemma” with the main character. The CG armors however are hard to ignore. I hope the plot picks up at this point, because superhero plots are already done to death, and CG is annoying.

VERDICT: CONTINUED



Title: Steins;Gate
Genre: Science-Fiction, Mystery, Action
Produced by: White Fox


Little girl: “Poor bananas, you don’t deserve this.”

Steins;Gate was one of the anticipated titles of the Spring season, along with Deadman Wonderland and Nichijou (Deadman Wonderland will be included in the next part). It’s suppose to follow after the story of Chaos;Head, another show that aired not too long ago. But as of now, I fail to see the connection, since the two episodes that aired didn’t even give a damn clue of the story that was going to happen. All we know that there’s a crazy scientist, and I MEAN crazy, who turned his microwave oven into a text message sending device, and he’s experimenting it with bananas. He’s living with this little girl and this obnoxious fat otaku in his apartment. And that’s all I can say for now. The scientist girl appearing at the end was a real cliffhanger. For now, I’ll continue with this, since I’m a bit of a fan of Nitroplus (the makers of the game where this was adapted from), and microwaving bananas sounds fun. The creepiness factor is a good reason to watch this.

VERDICT: CONTINUED



Title: Oretachi ni Tsubasa wa Nai (We Without Wings)
Genre: Romance, Comedy
Produced by: Nomad (Rozen Maiden, sola)


I don’t like where this is going.

Oretsuba (as the cool kids call it) is the anime adaptation from the visual novel made by Navel (makers of other dating sim games such as Shuffle and Soul Link). Visual novel-to-anime adaptation seem to be the cool thing nowadays does it? Well, I for one, can say that this anime is clearly for fans of visual novels (like me), AND NO ONE ELSE.

The first two episodes were brimming with panty shots, breast groping, pranks involving panties, below-the-belt jokes, fluid gags, a tsundere, loli girls, maids, and BAD ENGRISH. This show also took the whole thing to next level by actually showing males stimulating themselves and showing male juices splat over. Now is awesome or what? I hope you can sense the sarcasm from my statement.

But the first two episodes also give us sort of a fantasy subplot, but it is not described well, and those who only played the game should know. I never played the game, but fantasy subplots eventually lead to forced drama, and I love some good ol’ forced drama.

As a visual novel fan, I will continue to watch this because I’m fated to this curse of watching shows like these. As for the normal people out there, this show is totally bad and there are no reasons to watch this.

VERDICT: CONTINUED


Title: Toriko
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Action
Produced by: Toei Animation (One Piece, Dragon Ball Z)


This face tells me he’s just hungry.

Based from a Shonen Jump title, Toriko is about a manly chef who goes around the world to hunt animals, and serve them as food for himself and his buddy. The first two episodes were pretty much standard adventure and formulaic action, akin to other kids shows like Pretty Cure and Power Rangers. The adventures remind clearly of One Piece, and the whole “Gotta Hunt Em All” plot and the existence of different fictitious animals is reminiscent of Pokemon. But why am I watching this kids show?

Because Toriko is manly. He’s manly and he’s hungry. Hungry to fulfill his dreams. Hungry for food. He likes to show his hungry (rape) face everytime he wants to hunt and eat new animals. He’s an adventurer, a fighter, as well as a food connoisseur. His hand can literally become his fork and knife, which is awesome because using steel forks and knifes are for sissies. And I still don’t understand why he uses forks and knives even though he’s Japanese. But I know one thing, his love for food cannot be denied. And someday, someday he can finally have the best full course of his life.

You love One Piece? You love Mister Ajikko? Then you should love Toriko.

VERDICT: CONTINUED AS LONG AS I LIVE



Title: SKET DANCE
Genre: Comedy, Action
Produced by: Tatsunoko Pro (this studio is known for old stuff and classics)


SKET FRANCE!

Another show based from Shonen Jump, SKET DANCE is about these three people who likes to help people. For no specific reason they like to help people. That is the code of being member of SKET DAN. By the way, SKET stands for Support Kindness Encouragement Troubleshoot. I wonder why…

In all honesty, I was not expecting much at first. But after watching, I fell in love with the show. The characters were very fun to watch, I should mention that Himeko is now mai waifu and I will feature her in future articles. The comedy is very, very eccentric, both in visuals and in dialogue . Their facial expressions are genuinely funny, which is rare for Japanese anime. The comedy pays close attention to detail, timing and execution. Based from the ending sequence (which by the way you will love if you like The Pillows and/or FLCL), they show you the other quirky characters, which should give you more comedy as the show progresses. And that’s why I will continue to watch this.

VERDICT: CONTINUED



Title: Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi
Genre: Boys Love, Romance
Produced by: Studio DEEN (Kyou Kara Maou, Amatsuki)


“Broke-bakuman”

First I should tell my dear readers that I’m not a homosexual.

Now with that aside, I’ll do an honest impression of Sekai-Ichi Hatsukoi. Studio DEEN and the director of this show, Chiaki Kon, has produced many BL titles before. I never watched any of them, so I can’t give any opinion. But I liked the first two episodes of Sekai-Ichi Hatsukoi, an anime about two male manga editors who share a past relationship. The show has the “cheesy romance” as well as the “serious side” aspect to it. And the show never goes far beyond the romance aspect. It has comedy too. It gives both importance to the “plot device”, which is their work of editing shoujo manga, as well as the plot itself. The “seme-uke” relationship works well with the overall “cheesiness” of the story.

The show is presented well, each episode has a good English (not Engrish) title, which makes sense and is very appropriate for the story. The music cues are also good. I like the ending, even if I don’t listen to Japanese boy bands like NEWS, Arashi or what have you. So I’ll definitely keep watching this, but I need to watch this in proper dosages to keep my sexuality intact.

VERDICT: CONTINUED



Up to the time of the writing I’m still waiting for second episodes of the other shows, so expect a second part in the following days. I’ll also do a mid-season and season-end report on all the shows I continued to watch so expect also that. This is my first legitimate post, so just bear with me should you find any errors in the article.

So until then.

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