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Spring 2010 – First Impressions (Arakawa Under the Bridge, Working!! and Hakuouki)

April 6, 2010

Another three series today – Arakawa Under the Bridge, Working!! and Hakuouki: Shinsengumi Kitan.

Arakawa Under the Bridge

Ok that was a lot of fun I was slightly wary of it going in as the Shinbo/SHAFT magic has worn off recently (how he hasn’t burned out completely is a mystery! The man is seriously overworked), however Arakawa was actually really well put together! The episode was split into 9 ‘chapters’ to reflect the short gag style of the manga – but aside from the title cards to mark each chapter, the story flowed quite well. As expected from the summary, the characters are completely out there. Nino thinks she’s from Venus, there’s a fella who thinks he’s a Kappa and Kou is so neurotic that he has a near fatal asthma attack if he thinks he owes anyone anything! Going by promo art there seems to be a pretty big cast for this series, so hopefully the comedy will stay fresh – as an introductory episode I ended up laughing quite a bit so that’s a good sign

The animation is quirky, but not as OTT as some other Shinbo/SHAFT works. The backgrounds and skylines are nicely drawn and characters mesh with the backgrounds nicely. Good deal of expression to the characters too – reminiscent of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei at times actually…..especially with Kou (who’s also voiced by Itoshiki-sensei himself, Hiroshi Kamiya). The voice acting is top-notch – as I said this is another Hiroshi Kamiya series and I enjoy his ranty neurotic performances; Maaya Sakamoto is excellent as the deadpan Nino and Keiji Fujiwara is Kappa-man……genius No OP or ED this week, and BGM seems fairly decent.

definitely keeping this on for a while – just hope it stays fresh and funny, I tend to get annoyed and bored by gag series extremely fast if there isnt enough going on to hold my interest. It would feel wrong not to have a SHAFT series on the go though

Working!!

Meh, completely underwhelmed. This kind of show just isn’t for me – it’s another show where the 4-koma source material is blindingly obvious as there are just a number of short snapshots of day-to-day life in this family restaurant which is staffed exclusively by ‘lol-quirky characters!’ This kind of lazy concept just irritates me more than entertains me, as it just relies completely on the characters being quirky – no attempt is made to make the script good

The best thing about Working!! is the cast – its star-studded, but there isn’t really much for them to work with in this series. The animation is ok I suppose, nothing exciting – some nice attention to detail in the backgrounds…..I’m not fond of the character designs much. Music is quite meh, the OP was placed as the ED this week – it’s rather uninspired.

Yeah think this is the 1st show that I’ll be dropping – there wasnt enough to really interest me in watching another episode, it was completely average and not really my kind of series. That will teach me not to get distracted by shiny cast lists!

Hakuouki: Shinsengumi Kitan

Well that was pretty! Thankfully it also has hints of a fairly interesting mystery/horror type plot underneath the pretty reverse-haremness Not much outside of the summary happened in this episode – we’re introduced to Chizuru, get a glimpse of some possessed looking men, and then are introduced to all the pretty bishies who then chat for the remainder of the episode while looking pretty It’s very obvious that Hakuoki is based on an otome game from the prettiness, but despite my misgivings going into the series it seems to have a bit more depth (and blood!) than I expected. Chizuru is thankfully not annoying – nothing worse than a harem with an irritating central character (unfortunately this is all too common) she seems to have a bit of backbone and intelligence at least. At the moment the bishies are rather bland stereotypical harem members – hopefully tragic angsty pasts will be explored at some stage to add extra dimensions

The animation is actually very nice – although considering its Studio DEEN its unknown how long this quality will last. The character designs are extremely pretty (I’m saying ‘pretty’ a lot ) and the whole historical backdrop is nicely done. Nice solid cast, although quite wooden performances this episode. Quite liking the music too – OP and ED are fairly generic, but pleasant on the ear.

Shall be keeping on for the pretty factor, but also hoping for some decent plot now that I’ve seen the 1st episode…..I’m a sucker for mystery series

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Weeajew permalink
    April 6, 2010 10:48 pm

    Arakawa: painfully one-dimensional cast and lame humor, perfect for the type-B otaku who wants to re-watch the Shinbo show and pretend they’re watching something fresh, without suffering the consequences of actually watching something fresh.

    Working: perhaps more type-A friendly than Arakawa on account of trying to present slightly more realistic characters trying to live their boring lives vicariously through their coworkers. Like a more otaku-friendly Ristorante Paradiso that will bore the casual viewer just as much.

    Hakuoki: an obvious reverse-harem complete with flowery allegory, bishies, boring jibber-jabber, and all the Shogunate stuff we’ve seen before. Best left for it’s intended audience of type-A fangirls or people who want know what reverse-harem is all about without suffering through an overly girly setting.

  2. April 6, 2010 11:28 pm

    Totally agree with you on Working. There was absolutely no flow and no effort to make the 4-koma adaptation change in anime form. Lazy directing and dull jokes that are nothing more than character quirks, followed by another character saying ‘she has this character quirk’. Fecking dull stuff.

    Arakawa is fantastic. Jaded Shaft is obvious but this show is so suited to them that even jaded shaft make it work. I read somewhere that in the past 2 years, Shinbo has directed 11 anime

    • April 6, 2010 11:37 pm

      I’m not a fan of slice-of-life at the best of times, but Working has to be one of the worst examples of the genre – its like they blew their writing budget on landing the star-studded cast 🙄 Lazy series is lazy.

      11 series in 2 years! Good god no wonder he’s hit a bad patch lately! Arakawa is perfect for Shinbo/SHAFT though – I can not imagine any other director/studio taking it on……hopefully this is a sign of them getting their mojo back. I do like SHAFT 😛

  3. April 7, 2010 5:07 am

    I really liked Arakawa and Hakuoki. As a former restaurant worker, I can imagine enjoying some Working on occasion, but won’t be anxious for each week’s release. Of the three, Arakawa seems to have the chemistry, as all three voice actors were just great, and worked so well together. I am also happy with the way the first episode of Hakuouki turned out; it looks great and promises an interesting story about samurai. (See? I’m easy to please).

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