Spring 2012: First Impressions (Sakamichi no Apollon, Jormungand & Tsuritama)
We’re now getting into the shows that I was most excited about. First up is drums, guns & fishing…………Sakamichi no Apollon, Jormungand and Tsuritama.
Sakamichi no Apollon: Kids on the Slope
Loved this episode – thank god it turned out to be just as good as I hoped, I really would have been crushed if Apollon turned out to be mediocre! Apollon is a very grounded kind of story, but it is exceptionally well told, paced and directed – I really could not ask for anything more from this opening episode. The character introductions and interactions feel natural and there is a wonderful flow to the pacing – nothing is too forced or unrealistic, you can really tell that it is the steady hand of a seasoned pro directing this show. The characters themselves are pretty standard archetypes, but they’re well written and superbly acted.
On the production front, this is a gloriously well animated show. You just have to look at that drum solo scene to appreciate the quality – the timing perfectly matches the soundtrack & the motion is just fabulous! I really can’t believe how good the character animation is in the this show – so much attention to detail! The music is also great, however there wasn’t as much BGM as I was initially expecting – but it is early days, the characters are only discovering music at the moment.
Very impressed with Apollon, definitely keeping on!
Well looks like our pre-season impression that Jormungand would have lots of Black Lagoon vibes, was spot on! I enjoyed this episode quite a lot – we are dumped right into the action and left to soak up snippets of information from the characters conversations & actions; it’s an exciting and interesting way to start a show, although not unusual. I am quite sure I didn’t really grasp all of what was going on in the plot of this episode, but that’s not really important as all we really needed to get was what the characters were like, and it accomplished that with ease – this show has two cours to tell its story, we’ve got lots of time to get to grips with the finer details of the arms dealers world.
I wasn’t all that sure about the character designs – bemused as to why Koko is practically albino, does anyone actually have hair the same shade of white as their skin, but it all works pretty well in the show. Guns are rendered in loving detail and action is well choreographed with some nice direction choices. Voice acting is great, but the music is a touch underwhelming.
So a positive start to Jormungand, looking forward to more.
The other noitaminA show now, and strangely this has basically the same plotline as Sakamichi no Apollon! It was quite interesting to see how much a shows tone can change just by changing the artstyle and keeping things much more on the whimsical side. Where Apollon feels like a serious, highly polished show, Tsuritama is much more lighthearted and absurdist, employing a more energetic, if not quite so refined, directing style. I like both shows for different reasons. I enjoyed Tsuritama’s weird side – it’s got an indian fella having dinner with a duck, it has a weird attention grabbing character proclaiming to be an alien and wielding a water gun that appears to fire memory erasing water, and it has a really funky granny.
The quirks continue in the art style. Originally I thought Tsuritama looked rather normal compared to some of Kenji Nakamura’s other shows, but it does have some very interesting stylisation going on, particularly with the way the backgrounds are rendered in gloriously bright colours. The character designs are fairly standard, but there are lots of interesting facial expressions and movement going on – it’s quite an attractive looking show! The voice acting is ok - not overly fussed on Haru’s hyperactive squawking, although Yuki’s neurotic monologues are well done.
Overall I wasn’t completely bowled over by Tsuritama, but it was a pretty good opening episode. Will be keeping on and hoping for more randomness to come.