And now were back for more impressions of the new anime titles airing this spring season. Aside from the previous 14 I gave impressions in Part 1, there are still about 16 shows I haven’t got to yet. So for this part I have to give impressions to 12 more titles, and the remaining 4 would be added as addendum. I’m not planning to make a Part 3, just to keep the reviews compact and all in one place. So without further ado let’s get now to the rest of the Spring 2011 titles.
Title: Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko
Produced by: SHAFT (Bakemonogatari, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei)
I find it funny that it always has to be the Pizza delivery guy who gets to witness weird stuff
I was a bit reluctant to watch this one, since this is another Akiyuki Shinbo SHAFT show, with a young girl as a lead character. And based from past experiences with SHAFT shows, the female lead in their shows almost always seem to be this incredibly moe and cute but cynical and self-indulgent character. Most of their shows have long, mindless, meandering dialogue, and they pay too much attention to many details, in which many of them doesn’t even have a connection to the situation. I do not know if many of the fans of SHAFT anime fans like these kind of stuff. I don’t like putting various conundrum in a show, it just makes the show more pretentious. And that seem to be the case with this one, the new show called Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko.
The show starts with this young boy who goes to a suburban town to live with his aunt. He later finds out that he has a young girl cousin, which happens to be wrapped in a mattress, like a spring roll. The girl calls herself “Denpa Onna” and she proclaims herself to be an alien. She likes to exaggerate her language, watch white noise on TV, and oh yeah, she likes pizza. Later the girl revealed her face by removing the mattress, and “wow” she happens to be cute.
The first two episodes focused on the setting, the main guy’s school, and the girl’s past. What I can say about the show is, the animation and character designs are very consistent. It looks like a good budget was put in this show. But I can’t say yet what the show is trying to be. Is it a slice-of-life show? Maybe an alien-fighting action show? Maybe drama? The possibilities are too wide. And I think that makes the show so-so for me. Two episodes are not enough to call a decision yet, maybe in the next two or three episodes. But it’s a SHAFT show, so I should know what to get in-store.
Title: Hidan no Aria (Aria the Scarlet Ammo)
Genre: Action, Mystery, Drama, Romance
Produced by: JC Staff (Shana, To Aru Majutsu no Index)
“And for some reason the vaultbox is bulletproof. Who the f’ makes bulletproof gym equipment anyway?”
The taste of anime fans today are widely ranging. They want to have everything in a show (Code Geass I’m looking at you) as much as possible. Action, high school comedy, fantasy, mystery, maybe science fiction. Hidan no Aria is no different, it has an ounce of everything.
Hidan no Aria is set in this alternate Japan, where there exists a school of “armed detectives” called Butei High. “Butei” are supposedly trained high school detective students, which, are also allowed to carry guns and various weapons. It’s like spy school. They take quests (real live cases), ranging from a missing cat to solving high profile cases like the mysterious “butei massacre” that happened before. Our main character is this male character who comes across this little girl who appears to be the highest ranking butei in class. The girl wields dual Colt Governments, two katana, is tsundere, and she is voiced by Rie Kugimiya.
So this show is basically Shakugan no Shana. Except with guns. It runs in the same vein. It has the same title format, the tsundere main girl with a certain passion for flavored bread, her tsundere catchsprays, the main guy, and his mysterious power, and has the high school comedy drama action fanservice mystery romance plot to it. Except this show is inferior in any way possible. Bad story, characters are way too generic, and the action scenes were not that good. So if you have watched Shana before, you may wanna try this one. For those who haven’t, Shana is better. But I’m going to give it one a couple of episodes more until I drop the ball completely.
Title: Astarotte’s Toy
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Comedy
Produced by: Diomedea (Squid Girl)
“Scarred for life.”
First of all, ITS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN, EVER
Why did I have to say that? Because this show, Astarotte’s Toy, revolves itself around this very very stupid, out-of-this-world plot. The main protagonist finds himself in a job in which he has to become this little girl’s “toy”, which by the way this little girl is a succubus that would eventually grow up to “extract the man-juice” from the guy. And the worst thing is, they’re dead serious about the “extracting” part, since it was explicitly mentioned several times in the first two episodes. Succubi needs “life-seed” to live (in which I suppose they haven’t heard of places that offer these in vitro), and since there are no succubi males present, they have to get their own from other species in order to get their man stuff. I say this dumb of a plot is just a stupid excuse for attracting otaku lolicon to touch themselves over underage girls and spawn countless doujin.
But Astarottes’s Toy, as jailbait of a show as it is, still tries very hard to make this as a legitimate show as possible. It tries to be very subtle, even when the pretense is given straight ahead. The show also has the fantasy and romance element to it, which reminds me much of the show Zero no Tsukaima, good show by the way, BUT I can’t make myself to ignore that stupid, stupid plot even with all the sugar coating involved. The show is technically good, well drawn, has good music, an awesome voice cast, and has passable writing to it, but man that plot is just stupid. I don’t mind the jiggling boobs and panty shots, but at the same time I just know ITS NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. This show is only made for Japanese male otaku lolicon, and I imagine even they would end up disappointed. I will still watch this though, it’s not as bad as, say, Dog Days.
Trivia: Akiyuki Shinbo lent a hand in composing the series. You draw the rest from there.
Genre: Sport, Slice of Life, Slapstick Comedy
Produced by: Xebec (Negima!, Kanokon)
Asuna Harukaze is this pink haired girl who loves tennis, and apparently likes to think of indecent things, and she is a member of the Soft Tennis Club, along with the energetic Kotone, food-crazy Chitose and bizarre yet talented Kurusu. With a big tournament approaching, the girls are taking practice more seriously than ever.
Well, it is one of those slice-of-life school comedy moe fanservice shows. But I liked it in fact. I find myself giggling throughout the first two episodes. The timing of the jokes were good. I find most of the jokes funny, it captured a 4-koma essence very well. The low-budget appeal of the show definitely helps in delivering the jokes, with half-assed cartoony scenes, repeated animation and still images. And the best thing is, the show never goes back on fanservice. The fanservice is indeed good, especially since I have a knack for female tennis players. Of course some scenes had to be watermarked down for the DVD release. But aside from that, pantsu is not lacking in this show. The character designs too are worth noticing, they are indeed moe-inducing. Maybe it’s due to the fact that I just like the :3 face. I liked the OP and ED songs too. Kanae Ito is great both as a voice actress and as a singer.
For those who wants comedy, stupidity, panties, short skirts, playing with balls and tennis all day (I couldn’t get the pun working there), drinking unpasteurized milk, and just a fun moe show, watch this one.
Title: Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi (A Bridge to the Starry Skies)
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Drama
Produced by: Dougakobo (Minami-ke, Koihime Musou)
“ARRGHH Would you please cut the bad anime puns??”
As I said before, I’m a fan of visual novels. I like harem comedy, forced romance and badly written drama. The aesthetics of visual novels always appeal me to some extent. But I’m not particularly a fan of their anime adapatations, but my opinions may vary from one title to another. With Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi, my expectations were low from the start. But the show delivered in some cases.
The best thing I have to say about this show is, the background art is amazing. NOT the plot, but the art. The rural environment of the village where the show takes place is very well drawn and projected. The characters are your generic cookie cutter harem anime archetypes, but I find the character designs appealing and consistent throughout.
A little note: At first I thought that this anime came from the game producer LUMP OF SUGAR (produced the Ninomiya-kun and Tayutama games, also adapted to anime) because of the signature “long oval with a deep outline on the lower eyelid” character eyes, but in fact this is from game producer feng, which brought us Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka, a not-so-good anime adaptation of a visual novel. I later found out that the character designer for this anime, Haruo Ogawara, worked on all four titles.
Anyway, I find the personalities of the characters not that bad and not offensive, like say, the ones from Yosuga no Sora, which is why I’m staying to watch this show. The two episodes doesn’t give us any idea on what to happen, but I suggest checking this out with one or two episodes. I don’t have to tell the plot since all eroge anime has this kind of plot anyway.
Title: Ano ni Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (We Still Have Not Known the Name of the Flower We Saw One Day)
Produced by: A-1 Pictures (Kannagi, Valkyria Chronicles)
“This show is not short of anal jokes.”
What is up with god long titles of anime these days? Anyway, Ano Hana, simply, is one of the new shows from the Noitamina block (which brought to us greats such as Nodame Cantabile and Honey Clover). The show is about six childhood friends who all grew up and went their separate ways, except for one. She’s still a child for some reason. And she is living with the former leader of the gang, the main character, who is now a shut-in and never goes to school. The little girl wants the group to reunite again, and now the main character has to drag his butt off the house to get back their friends, just for that little girl’s request.
The show was pretty much cliche in terms of plot and storyline, at least in the first two episodes. If you have been watching anime before, or just any drama flick movie, you should have an idea on how this story would happen. The show is good and well-presented though. The background, animation, characters, the music, the OP and ED (by the way the ED was used in another anime before), the pacing and the overall feel of the show are all well done. Good cliche stories also provide a nice mix for my anime diet. So if you want to feel good and just watch something refreshing, and maybe cry at the end, definitely pick this up.
Title: C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control
Genre: Action, Fighting
Produced by: Tatsunoko Pro
“She eats money…. Like the PS3!”
I had very high expectations before watching the show, based on the names included in the production. From the director, to the character designer, to the music director, the OP and ED artists, and the block in which the show airs. But in the end, expectations were both met and unmet in some cases.
This show, C, is about a credit company from another world who lend Japanese people money, and the people would put their “future” as collateral. “Future” is described by making the debtor fight at least once a week for the rest of their lives, in this alternate dimension, in which they use “Assets”, or these fictional characters, as their weapons. Winning would mean more money in the person’s credit account. This show revolves around a boy who ended up taking the bait, and is now fighting for his life every week.
Now my thoughts on the show. I thought the animation was subpar in the first two episodes. The 2D backgrounds did not mix well with the 3D backgrounds, especially in the alternate world. The characters from the other world appear in both 2D and cel-shading at times, which for me feels very inconsistent. I thought the character designs are not that appealing overall. The background music doesn’t stand out to me much.
But I find the show interesting. Coming from a person who has no idea of how economics and how the stock market work, I do feel that the show tries its damnest to make fighting action and economics work together. It just leaves me to think things like “If money keeps on coming from another world, would that just cause inflation?” and “Why does that number have to be always 666?”. The plot holes make the show even more interesting, rather than the opposite. The show plays it straight, and its succeeding in its own way. Also I tend to finish shows with good OPs and EDs. Definitely a watch for me.
Title: Hen Zemi
Genre: Adult Comedy, Dark Comedy
Produced by: Xebec (Kanokon, Lady Versus Butlers)
“Everyone wants to be like Ron Jeremy, including this guy.”
As I come to watch this one, I had no clue on what the show was all about. Then I watched the two episodes. And man, I felt really, REALLY DIRTY after watching. The show is about the Hentai Seiri Seminar (or Abnormal Physiology Seminar), which is this f’ed up club consists of people who needs to get more out of their normal sexual needs. The group discusses different weird, crazy, and sadomasochistic practices, and do these perverse things while keeping in the context that this is all just normal club activity. The main character of the show is this normal girl who desperately tries to fit within the group of lechers and creeps. It is not clear yet at this point why she joined.
The jokes in this show are downright transgressive, and almost, if not, all of the characters are very disturbing. The show presents itself in a very subtle, but very obviously disturbing manner. You can see the light-hearted slice-of-life aspect of the show, but you can also see the graphic visual gags and the explicit dialogue in it. The only reason why this is not adults-only is because there’s no breast or genitalia shown.
I can say this anime is kind of educational in one way, which is why I’m going to continue to watch it. It’s also half-length of a regular anime episode, which helps. But I warn those who can’t stomach these kind of shows, you’d be better off not watching this.
Title: Yondemasu yo Azazel-san
Genre: Dark Comedy
Produced by: Production I.G (Cromartie High)
“Rie Kugimiya’s best character yet”
This comedy show is about a detective and his girl assistant who asks help from a little creature named Azazel-san (which is named after the beast of the same name from Hebrew Scriptures) to help solve crimes. The show is about their “adventures” and their wacky high jinx.
I also never had an idea of what of show this is about beforehand, like Hen Zemi. The first thing that came to me when I looked at the main character, was Kon from Bleach. A bear-like(?) little animal. There’s also a duck and a cow. I thought “Wow, this show must be for kids.” I WAS WRONG. This one is a kids show in aesthetic, but is pretty much adult in theme. Kinda like the ones airing on Adult Swim. The show is very dark and is very absurd in terms of its humor, and has adequate amounts of cussing, sex and and violence. It is not short of scat jokes too.
For me, this kind of comedy would either make or break, depending on the characters. But the problem is I didn’t find the characters appealing at all. The unsubtle adult comedy doesn’t help either. It never got me to laugh even once. I think these kind of shows must be riding in on the whole “Panty and Stocking” bandwagon. But Panty and Stocking has brilliance and art behind it. This show is just badly written and badly drawn. I feel sorry for Production I.G, since Cromartie High was a masterpiece. Also, one of my favorite directors worked on this show, Tsutomu Mizushima. Since he is a good comedy director, the problem must be in the source material itself. I don’t find the comedy working for me, so I’ll be dropping this one.
UPDATE: APRIL 29, 2011
Title: Deadman Wonderland
Genre: Shonen, Action, Fighting
Produced by: Manglobe (Michiko to Hatchin, Ergo Proxy)
Kurein! Kurein! OH WAIT WRONG SHOW”
Deadman Wonderland is perhaps is the most popular show airing right now, because of the huge following of the manga. The story follows a middle school student convicted of murder, then goes to this special prison called the “Deadman Wonderland”, where prisoners are being exploited for entertainment purposes. This premise reminds me much of the Hollywood movie “The Running Man” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, acting legend and senator. Except it has magical powers. I was not that impressed by the story, but this anime is very violent, almost close to the manga adaptation. Lots of blood and people getting killed. The animation too in the first two episodes were stunning and very kinetic. The voice acting in this show is very convincing, because the voice actors working in this show are popular ones like Romi Park (Ed from FMA) and Kana Hanazawa (Tenshi from Angel Beats). And a renowned studio is working behind it.
But there is one thing I noticed. Why do most action anime today have the ugliest trashiest OP songs in them? That OP theme is so trashy, and it sounds like sexy-rock crap. I despise it. The same goes to Kaiji. Japan should not follow the steps of crappy American emo culture, and they should stay to good and fun music. Man, that OP theme is BAD. But fortunately the ED theme is good enough to counter-balance the bad. So I will continue to watch this one.
Title: Ao no Exorcist (Blue Exorcist)
Genre: Shonen, Action, Mystery
Produced by: A-1 Pictures (Persona Trinity Soul, Occult Academy)
Happy Birthday to You with love, from SATAN
Here’s the premise: Rin Okumura is a boy who bears the curse of being Satan’s son. One day, demons attacked him and his foster father, who’s a priest. His foster father sacrificed himself to save Rin. To avenge his foster father’s death as well as to prove himself, Rin decides to follow the path of an exorcist.
Based from the description given, it sounds like every anime made before. The story and the plot is not spectacular. And there is a “made for general audience” feel to it, with the execution of the story. There is a lot of “bromance” too in the show, for the fangirls. But Ao no Exorcist has some good points to it. First, the animation is good, and it feels great watching it in HD format. The action scenes too were not that disappointing. Also, the dark themes of the show reminds me a lot of D.Gray Man, which was not that bad. And the OP and ED themes are also good. The OP is “Core Pride” from UVERworld, this heavy rock song with a weird saxophone riff, and the ED is this K-pop song that sounds like Super Junior rip-off (not to diss the 2PM fans out there, but to me every Korean boy band sounds like Super Junior). I’ll keep following on this one, but I’ll have to marathon this or I’ll be bored to hell.
Title: Moshidora (Moshi Koukou Yakyuu no Joshi Manager ga Drucker no Management o Yondara) a.k.a What If A Female High School Baseball Manager Read Drucker’s Management
Genre: Sports, Baseball Drama
Produced by: Production I.G (Kimi ni Todoke, Eden of the East)
Why is she soo “mai waifu”?
A warning before watching this show: Not only is the title GOD-FREAKING-ASS LONG, but this show also AIRS EVERYDAY! I MEAN EVERYDAY! I should give credit to the fansubbers for keeping the subs with this one. And with that, let’s go to the very elaborate premise of the show.
“A Female High School Baseball Manager Read Drucker’s Management.”
That’s it. The story is pretty much standard baseball drama, you got this losing team, and this manager who wants to turn their streak around and wants to go for the championship spot. This hot brown haired manager now tries to apply the concepts of Drucker’s “Management” to her baseball team, to some success. She tries very hard to put terms like “marketing” and “customers” into her methods.
As for the anime itself, it was very, very average. I was expecting something very interesting like One Outs, but I should’ve checked first the station where this is airing. The animation is too average for a sports anime. And I feel that the storyboarding is half-assed. There are too many long scenes and has less action. These problems might be due to the crazy airing schedule. If you have time to watch anime everyday, then try to pick this one to kill time, like me. But don’t expect too much.
Title: Hyouge Mono
Genre: Fictional history, Comedy
Produced by: Beetrain (Madlax, Noir, .hack// series)
Accurate Depiction of Ancient Japan
Hyouge Mono is probable the polar opposite of Deadman Wonderland, I can see this as the most unpopular show of the season. Hyouge Mono is set in the Warring Era of Japan, where we have our main protagonist Furuta Sasuke, a follower of Oda Nobunaga. Sasuke is an “aesthete”, a person who appreciates beautiful and artistic things. The show follows his adventures as he finds himself in between the perils of civil war.
The premise, though interesting, is clearly not made for mainstream appeal. And I have problems with these kind of shows. The presentation of the show is too unorthodox, and it made me tune out several times while watching. I do not also get the comedy aspect of it. But I liked the “late night” appeal of this one. The OP and ED themes are these jazzy songs, and they’re very appropriate for the theme. But overall I didn’t find the show interesting. It’s too “unique” for my anime taste.
SPRING 2011 ANIME SEQUELS SECTION
Title: Maria-Holic Alive
Genre: Yuri, Lesbian Love, Slapstick Comedy
Produced by: SHAFT (Arakawa Under the Bridge, Natsu no Arashi)
“SHAFT anime joke #1.”
Maria-Holic pretty much follows the story of Kanae, a tall lesbian chick who enrolled into an all-girls high school to find her true love, to no success. She comes across Shidou Maria, a shy, pretty and classy girl which actually turns out to be this sadistic cross-dressing boy (thank you ANN).
The first two episodes both started with weird OP themes (they sound like an opening of a 70’s mecha anime). The show itself is still the same in vain of the first season, different situations where we see Kanae nosebleeds and Maria and Matsurika’s indifference to Kanae. But honestly, I didn’t find most of the jokes funny in these first two episodes. Maybe the punchlines never got to me. But I liked the fact that there is more Maria Holic. It’s always about Kanae and her misfortunes inside the school. And that’s what made the show “funny”. But honestly speaking, I think Shinbo jokes are becoming even more esoteric as his shows continue. Maybe he lacks material? Who knows. So I’d definitely still continue this one, and for those who want to watch Maria Holic, and has never seen any other SHAFTxAkiyuki Shinbo work, definitely start from the first season. But as they said, you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.
Title: The World God Only Knows II
Genre: Romance, Comedy, Fantasy
Produced by: Manglobe (Sacred Blacksmith, Samurai Champloo)
The sequel started right away with Keima and Elsie trying to catch the soul of this girl, which is a strong Karate dojo master. She’s tough on the outside, but apparently she’s soft in the inside. You know the drill.
The new OP song is rocking, still has the horrible engrish and the nice animation. The show though, I find a bit rushed in the first two episodes. I didn’t feel the development that much between Karate girl and Keima. But who cares, since the girl would forget the whole thing right after. I hope this is only a prelude for more exciting things to come, since I feel this show starts to suffers from its own devices. Since I don’t read the manga I have no idea at the moment.
Title: Kaiji II
Genre: Action, Gambling, Psychological Thriller
Produced by: Madhouse (Akagi, One Outs)
This is maybe the most exciting sequel to come this season. We have seen Kaiji run into different situations, and ends up gambling just to clear his debts. Well for those who watched the first season, this season not only part TWO, but everything is DOUBLED UP for you: Double the excitement, double the intensity, double the insane Norio Wakamoto exposition, double the stakes, double the Kaiji doucheness, double the Kaiji coolness (check those shades), double the assery, double the trashtalking, double the price of beer, double the ZAWA, double the awesome. The only thing I don’t like is that OP song. But right after that trashy emo song, you’re in for a definite ZAWA ZAWA moment. So for those who haven’t seen Kaiji yet, start from the first season immediately. For those who watched already, you’ve seen him rise, you’ve seen him fall, but you have never seen him…. had a date with a woman?
So far I have gave impressions on 30 titles, which I have dropped some but chose to continue many. But I doubt all of the shows I chose to continue would be present in the upcoming Mid-Season Report. I’ll be following on some titles per week, so you can expect a separate blog post for those. Also I will be making blog posts on non-Spring season shows I picked up, so also expect on that. I hope you find my Spring anime report educational and entertaining. I’d also love to hear comments about what you guys think of my bad writing skills.
So until then.