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Short Reviews: Part 13

August 18, 2009

blog review2Couple more reviews touched up – getting back to the really early ones now and they are steadily getting shorter!

One: Kagayaku Kisetsu e, Moyashimon, Psychic Academy, Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu and Shamanic Princess after the cut!

One: Kagayaku Kisetsu e: A very confusing but nicely animated 4 part OVA series – 3/5

PLOT: Oh my where to start!? This series is a complete muddle – at no point did I have any clue what was going on, yet I was strangely captivated by it all the same. I only actually found out what it was all about when I read the Wikipedia entry on the original eroge after I finished the show! Reflecting back it makes a hell of a lot more sense ^_^. Thus I’d say that this series would only be for those who were familiar with the original source material.

ANIMATION: The anime itself is beautifully animated and is completely saturated in symbolic motifs (however most of the time I had no notion what they were meant to be symbolising!). The shows that come immediately to mind when watching this are Kanon & Munto both by KyoAni due to the character designs, atmosphere, use of colour and camera angles – there is no denying that this is a very well presented series.

MUSIC & VOICE-ACTING: The music has to be mentioned. Its very, very expressive and dramatic which was jarring on occasion since I could see nothing on screen that could be deemed dramatic at points! The OP & ED are very cheesy though which is out of place given the quality of the background music in the actual episodes. Each episode has a different instrument as its theme; piano, violin, flute, cello – all the pieces used in the series are very orchestral. The music is the driving force in this anime as the dialogue is completely minimal! As a result I don’t actually have an opinion on the quality of the voice acting!

So all in all a beautifully presented series that on the surface appeared to have no plot (well I suppose it is based on a H-game!), but was captivating all the same.

Moyashimon: An absolute gem of a show, I enjoyed every last second of it – 5/5

PLOT: This a very quirky series as the entire plot circles around the main character and his strange ability to see microbes (and he sees them as adorable chibi versions of their real appearance!) so, it really is all a bit unusual. Sawaki’s gift/curse/condition doesn’t exactly lend itself to high drama or action, and so the individual episodes of Moyashimon tend to be fairly slice of life and not about a whole lot. Sawaki sees germs; people get surprised about this, often entertaining various ideas of how they can make money out of it; but at the end of the day, most situations end with the main characters getting heavily drunk :P. This may sound a bit boring but tis all brilliant fun and I was laughing out loud quite often (to the extent that mother actually asked what on earth was so funny). It’s also refreshing to have a series centred around university students as opposed to high school students as the situations are slightly more mature (very slightly!). As an added bonus you get a free micro-biology every episode in the form of a ‘Microbe Theatre‘ at the end of each episode – what more could you want from a series!?

ANIMATION: I loved the artwork, the character designs are very good and the bacteria are so cute! The animation quality is also very high throughout the series. The opening credits are fantastic, I loved the live action scenery with the 3D microbes floating about.

MUSIC & VOICE ACTING: I really liked the music used in the show, the OP is quite hummable & the ED is just maddenly catchy (if not a little demented). The voice acting is outstanding. All the seiyuu are top notch (even if I was slightly distracted at 1st by the fact Sawaki = Sunohara/Shinpachi(Clannad/Gintama) and Kawahama = Ishida/Sasuke (Bleach/Naruto) but I quickly got over that).

All in all a very quirky, funny, randomly educational, sake-filled anime experience & a joy to watch – highly recommended to anyone looking for a light-hearted quirky comedy series.

Psychic Academy: Oh my, this was terrible and I can’t believe I watched it all – 2/5 (I’m feeling generous)

PLOT: Hmmm tenuous at best. It did have the potential to be interesting, but they seemed to abandon pursuing any real plot resolution in favour of ecchi comedy moments (which were OK I suppose but I’m not a fan of this genre anyway *is biased*) I also found the short episode times (24 x 10min episodes why!?) pointless and annoying.

ANIMATION: I really disliked the artwork in this series. I didn’t like the character designs and felt the colours were too harsh. I particularly hated the uniform designs (bright blue & bubblegum pink!??) & Zero’s hair (how the hell does he see!?)

VOICE ACTING: The best thing about this show is the voice acting. I especially loved Zero’s voice actor because I half expected him to launch into an Itoshiki-sensei style rant (Zetsuboushita~!) every time Zero went slightly OTT, as Kamiya Hiroshi voices both characters.

So overall I wasn’t much impressed I’m afraid. I can however see that this series did have the potential to be much better and more interesting. I assume that the manga explores things much better, but I’m not interested enough to pick it up.

Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu: I managed to finish this in a day and really enjoyed it – a strong 4.5-5/5

PLOT: The plot centres around Sagara Sousuke, a 17 year old special ops agent of a mercenary group called Mithril (yay LOTR reference!), and the high school girl he is assigned to protect called Chidori Kaname. Fumoffu is the lighter spin off of Full Metal Panic! and where FMP! focuses on the more serious issue of Chidori being kidnapped etc, Fumoffu’s focus is purely romcom (a very good romcom!).  Both the main characters and the side characters are extremely likeable, I only had issues with Tessa (but even she grew on me eventually).

ANIMATION: Its top notch as one would expect from KyoAni, full of the wonderful backgrounds (just look at the opening animation!) and quirky camera angles that they are famous for. The physical comedy is well executed and the action scenes are fluid – lovely to watch.

VOICE ACTING & MUSIC: Voice acting is superb. Satsuki Yukino (Chidori) & Tomokazu Seki (Sousuke) are extemely talented voice actors and have a huge catalogue of work behind them. I don’t have much to say about the music – it was good but nothing remarkable.

All in all its a very well crafted comedy series – I liked it so much I bought the box set 😛

Shamanic Princess: Beautifully produced OVA series with a pretty decent plot – 4/5

PLOT: Dealing with a magic user sent to retrieve her worlds power source, Shamanic Princess is surprisingly well developed for a 6 episode OVA. The 1st thing to note about this series is that chronologically eps 5&6 form the prologue to the main story detailed in eps 1-4. The 1st 4 eps carry the majority of the action, but the last 2 eps have the most character development. It is in these 2 backstory exposition episodes that we find out what motivates each of the main characters to do what they did in the main arc, and ep 6 ends where ep1 begins, rounding the series off neatly. So overall I felt the plot was nicely worked out and enjoyable.

ANIMATION: This is an OVA series and as such the animation quality is quite high. As this series is from the mid 90s the artwork is in an older style (ie HUGE eyes). It is however very intricately detailed; the backgrounds and buildings are beautifully drawn. The action sequences are also very well done. Tiara’s fighting style in particular is very graceful and makes for interesting action scenes. The character designs are all very unique with no two characters looking alike.

VOICE ACTING: Excellent cast in this, all the seiyuu are very experienced and breathe life into their characters. Again Tiara stands out as she displays a large range of emotion throughout the series, Sara was also very well voiced.

MUSIC: I have to mention the music. There is a massive range of background music in this series ranging from classical to sort of electro numbers! However this wide range of music really fits with the visuals, the 2nd ending theme in particular fits the melancholic, wistful feel of much of the last 2 episodes.

Right think I’m done waffling now! I really enjoyed Shamanic Princess, it’s a lovely little series with a decent plot, interesting characters that have depth and very intricately animated – a good watch!

More when I have them fixed – have to go back to my partial reviews and rewrite them to reflect my final impressions and thats taking a while. I’m also working on the Top 10 posts – have some stuff written, but keep changing my mind about the ranking of the series! 😛

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