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Spring 2010 – First Impressions (Heroman, B Gata H Kei and Kaichou wa Maid-sama)

April 2, 2010

Alright! It’s the official start of the Spring 2010 anime season, so time to get going with the First Impressions.  I generally attempt nearly everything (barring sequels to things I’ve never watched and kiddie shows) to see if there are any hidden gems or surprisingly good shows.

First off we have Heroman, B Gata H Kei and Kaichou wa Maid-sama.

1. Heroman

Oh where to start! I’ve been having mixed feelings about this ever since I first heard about it; and now that I’ve seen the 1st episode, I’m still a bit out at sea. Heroman is a very interesting attempt to blend the best of East and West – we have the excellent BONES and the popular Stan Lee working together to produce……..this weirdness. Theres a strange disparity between the phenomenal production values and the extremely cheesy concept and writing – it just wasnt working for me

First off there’s a ton of over used cliché’s. Joey is a poor, orphaned, wimpy, unpopular, geeky boy with a high-pitched voice, who gets bullied because the rich, popular, blonde cheerleader character likes him for some unknown reason. Joey is also acquainted with the local mad scientist, works part-time at a coffee shop frequented by Stan Lee, and has a nack for repairing electronics……with glue. So far so dull.

We then get to the Heroman activation scene – Heroman is really fecking scary!! If a huge-ass robot suddenly appeared in my room and glared at me like that, I’d be running for the hills. Joey on the other hand is bloody delighted by this weird turn of events, and only protests mildly when said huge robot picks him up, demolishes half his house and heads for the convenient car-crash that just happened in the background!

As I said the production values are excellent – BONES never fail to deliver eyecandy, and this is no exception. However there are some weird character designs – especially in the hair department Crutches-guy has this huge fro thing going on, mean-jock-older-brother-guy has this pointy hair that reminds me of ‘Attention Dualists!’ guy from YGOTAS, and then there’s that teacher with the red mini drills…….. Then there’s Heroman itself…….now thats a fecking weird-looking mecha. Its got the biggest thighs I’ve ever seen!! They’re even bigger than the Virtue Gundam’s in 00!! It’s also got these human eyes that are all kinds of mean and scary looking….I’m quite freaked out by the thing actually

Oh I forgot to mention Joey’s epic button bashing! I know they’re trying to get away from the normal piloted mecha tropes, but seriously? Controlling Heroman via a series of increasingly OTT button-bashing movements was not the way to go!

The OP & ED. OP is fairly standard J-rock number, as is the ED – but really liked the ED animation, tis like a series of slightly animated omake manga panels complete with lulzy engrish!

Now when Heroman finally gets going it’s actually pretty cool – but the action scenes are all too short and the slice-of-life introductory rubbish is too drawn out. My 1st impressions of Joey are pretty bad, and Heroman scares me. Despite all this I’m still going to give the show another couple of episodes as I’m intrigued by where they’re going with this, I’m sort of bewildered as to if this is a parody series or srsbns! Next week has giant grasshopper aliens in flying saucers, I have to see that at least!

2. B Gata H Kei

I was dreading this as the concept just sounded all types of wrong; but guess what!? B Gata H Kei is actually really funny! The original manga is a 4-koma and that was really obvious in this 1st episode – the jokes came thick and fast structured around two short stories; Yamada’s introduction and 1st encounter with Kosuda and then her quest to get him in bed begins – starting with that illusive 1st kiss Yamada is fantastically entertaining to watch – her brain lives in the gutter, shes obsessed with sex and is extremely aggressive, but has this remarkable naivety that renders all her attempts to land a sex partner null and void! I feel sorry for Kosuda, the hapless object of her harassment; Yamada’s actions are impossible to predict and leave him confused and embarrassed more often than not. Yamada freaking out over his erection was priceless – you do have to wonder how she plans to lose her virginity if she’s petrified of the most necessary organ! If the rest of the series maintains this level of comedy this series could be worth keeping on

In terms of animation, Hal Film Maker are pretty solid – this isnt anything exciting though. Theres lots of fanservice, but it’s not fanservice for the sake of it……considering the concept the fanservice kind of is the plot though The music is a bit generic, but its decent enough and I quite liked the OP animation.

Where this show really excels is in the voice acting – fantastic cast all round with more great names yet to appear. Yukari Tamura isn’t the most obvious choice for an aggressive perverted girl, but she’s truly excellent as Yamada. Yui Horie is also great as the put upon best friend and even Mamiko Noto appears as Kosuda’s supportive sister

So surprisingly entertaining, will keep on for another couple of episodes in the hopes that the brilliant writing isn’t a one-off.

3. Kaichou wa Maid-sama

Well that was pretty much what I was expecting – very predictable, but watchable. Misaki is a stereotypical tsundere and Usui is an aloof popular guy – classic shoujo archetypes all the way…….however this 1st episode was well done for that it is. I’m missing some fluffy romcom from my life at the moment, and haven’t been reading much shoujo manga lately, so this series may be something to keep on to fill the void. I don’t really want to be challenged when watching shoujo – all I want are likeable characters, bishies and some kyaaa~ moments to satisfy the Inner Fangirl Kaichou wa Maid-sama seems certain to deliver all that. Misaki is a touch irritating – very domineering, her dere-dere side will need to come out a bit more as it was mostly tsun-tsun this episode. Usui is very bland at the moment – serious development needed (preferably of the tragic past kind) to make him an interesting bishie

Animation is nice – it’s a bit like JC Staff have merged their two usual styles. The soft Nodame/Honey&Clover approach being employed on the backgrounds and the shinier smoother animation of Hayate/Railgun used on the character designs. Theres plenty of expression, but can’t help but think maybe this would have been prettier if the approaches were switched – shoujo character designs tend to look better in softer palates…….but I’m nitpicking now.

This duality is reflected in the OP and ED too. The OP is very upbeat and concerned with highlighting the meido-service, whereas the ED is very definitely targeting fangirls with service shots of Usui and an accompanying slow J-Rock number In terms of voice acting, Ayumi Fujimura’s Misaki seems a bit hyper in this 1st episode – think she needs to tone her performance back slightly and Nobuhiko Okamoto’s Usui comes across as a bit bland, although he didn’t really have much of a chance to talk in this episode.

Overall its seems like a fairly solid shoujo series, not much wrong with it but also not a lot to really rave about. I’ll give it a few more episodes to see how it goes.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. April 3, 2010 1:29 am

    Very funny (and spot on) summary of Heroman. Psy (aka “Crutches-guy”) seems like he has some potential, but I didn’t connect with anything else. I can imagine a kid who hasn’t seen it all a million times thinking it is awesome, though — especially because Bones did a great job.

  2. ukato permalink
    April 3, 2010 11:10 am

    YEEEEEESSS!!!
    I’m so glad that B Gata H Kei didnt turn out to be crap! Now im just hoping Cara will do regular weekly blogs on it too~~ *nudge nudge wink wink* xD

    But, well i need to see it soon, same with last ep of BakaTest (TT.TT cant believe its already over…. TT.TT)

    • April 3, 2010 12:35 pm

      More chance of me bloging Heroman for the lulz at the moment – there isnt much I could actually write about with B Gata H Kei! 😛

      • ukato permalink
        April 3, 2010 11:51 pm

        lol, true, if you did blog it could only be along the lines of something like:
        “Yamada lifted her top/flipped her skirt/took off her pantsu/undid her bra/left down her hair/random gust of wind and Kosuda gets an erection and Yamada freaks out and gaps off. XD I can so see that happening like every episode ^^

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