Winter 2010 – First Impressions (Hanamaru Kindergarten, Seikon no Qwaser and Nodame Cantabile Finale)
Yeah, Cara is quite creeped out right now – I don’t have the full on goosebumps and uncontrollable shivering, but there is some definite creep factor going on here. I can not abide this kind of uber-cute show – it just freaks me out! I did try to see past the cute, but there wasnt really much there so ended up fighting the urge to close the player a couple of times throughout the episode (I made it all the way through with only 2 pauses! ). So the entire focus is a recently graduated male kindergarten teacher and his class of children strange moeblob creatures – but they couldn’t leave it at that, oh no; they just had to up the creepy factor by introducing romance! WHY!?? Please don’t make this go all Kodomo no Jikan – with these character designs that would be taking wrongness to a whole new stratosphere! Anyway, other than the weird romance subplot this was mostly basic introductory slice of life stuff – hardly the most interesting of 1st episodes, but not awful – I did like the way they showed the freaky moeblob children’s home lives in addition to their time at school – no parental abandonment yet!
Animation is decent (if you’re not utterly freaked out by the character designs that is…….unfortunately I am ) and colour palate is light and watercoloured. There’s some nice attention to detail in the backgrounds too. The ED art was pretty nice and detailed too.
Voice acting is just as hideously squeaky as I was fearing and the ED made me want to tear my ears off (those women should never be allowed to sing ), but the BGM was passable.
So as predicted I hated this – but hey, at least I tried!
Seikon no Qwaser (Qwaser of Stigmata)
Well I watched the censored version and boy was it censored. No random white fog or black boxes, just good old-fashioned zoom, pan and tilt! I swear this episode spent more time zoomed into the walls than it did on the characters faces (although giant-boob girl’s giant boobs got plenty of screen time – as did everyone’s arses ). There are scenes where they seem to have removed some audio too – perhaps the girls screaming was deemed too orgasmic sounding all I know is that it made for pretty distracting viewing. I’d much rather have sat through the squicky fanservice than spend half the episode wondering just what was so bad they had to completely divert the camera’s attention from the characters!
Right enough complaining about the editing choices, what about the content? It’s pretty standard stuff really – lots of introductory stuff about the two (dull boring and generic) female leads, Qwasers and Icons – a wee bit of slice of life and a couple of semi-decent action scenes. The premise is interesting enough on its own, but clearly all the attention is going to be on the fanservice – my advice would be if you’re going to watch this series, wait for the uncensored broadcast. As it stands there is more fanservice in the ED art than in the actual episode! Also controversy may be involved with all the religious iconography in the series.
Voice acting is pretty generic. The OP is ok, but doesn’t quite gel for some reason – its a bit all over the place; ED is better but nothing special. Did really like the BGM in the episode though – good music is a must for any action series.
So a weird start to Qwaser – there is potential there, but not really enough to tempt me to keep this on.
Nodame Cantabile Finale
Ah Nodame Cantabile, it is nice to have you back. This final season starts where ‘Paris’ finished, continuing on with nary a recap. Basically you’ll only watching this season if you’ve seen the others so its just right back into the normal Nodame-ness that I love. This first episode nicely reintroduces the main characters and establishes where they are all at and what they are aiming for – everyone is working hard for competitions and the like.
The animation is as nice as ever – pretty pastel colours, good facial expressions and good use of CG in the orchestra sections. The music and voice acting is still every bit as wonderful as in the previous two seasons also.
I’ll definitely be keeping this on, but hope this final season is better than Paris and recaptures the brilliance of the 1st series. Really looking forward to seeing how Chiaki and Nodame’s relationship develops; wonder how this will all end?