Spring 2011: First Impressions (Part 2)
So this is later than promised because I caught a fecker of a flu that made me feverish with fainting spells – fun times. Anyway, here’s the next batch of my first impressions – I thought two posts was going to be enough, but there’s still a heap of stuff unaired/unsubbed so there will be a third post pending. Still not entirely sure what I want to blog, head isn’t in any mood for thinking about that either so guess I’ll decide once I’ve seen everything.
Yondemasuyo, Azazel-san TV (You’re Being Summoned, Azazel-san)
I actually really enjoyed this initial episode. Its got a really short running time (about 15mins) and as such has a really quick pace, never-resting on one gag too long. I was really pleased to see that the humour hasn’t really been toned back too much, Azazel is unrepentantly crude which just makes it even more fun! The characters are quite colourful, and even though there is a lot of shouting it didn’t get annoying because I was too busy giggling at their antics.
The animation is solid, character designs are odd but that just helps the comedy along. Voice acting is fantastic, I don’t have much comment on the music. Shall be keeping this on, I much prefer it to Hen Zemi TV.
So I’m following the manga for this and was well aware of what laid in store for me plot wise when I opened the Sket Dance file. The plot of this initial episode is pretty weak (although arguably the mystery element was superior to anything Gosick has presented us with to date) but served its purpose as an introduction to the characters and setting well. Sket Dance takes a while to get going (like all Shounen Jump series really), but once you warm to the characters it’s a fun series – very middle of the road but it doesn’t really do anything too offensive or wrong. Then again I have a well-known weakness & high tolerance for shounen tropes so perhaps I’m not the best person to be asking about this show!
I’m fairly pleased with the production values, everything seems to be done to a reasonably high standard, however what on earth were they thinking with that background music!? I normally take some sort of note of the BGM in passing, just generally noting if it works well with the atmosphere of the show, however in Sket Dance’s case the BGM demanded my attention throughout the episode simply because it is so fecking terrible! Seriously, its been a while since I’ve been so distracted by terrible BGM, it just stops short of making me want to mute the flipping episode. I hope they tone it back in the future. In terms of voice acting, I’m loving Sugita as Switch, but Hiroyuki Yoshino is going to take a lot of getting used to as Bossun – he’s a lot more shouty than I had imagined in my head. Still overall I’m pretty happy with the adaptation, they seem to be doing quite well given the fairly average source material.
Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera
I don’t quite know what to make of this. On one hand its better than I was expecting, on the other that still doesn’t mean that it approaches what I normally term ‘good’. Certainly its the best looking Go Negai show I’ve seen to date thanks to Brains Base’s animation, and it has some really off the wall moments (old woman swinging her boobs like a lasso & huge metal penis sword fight thing are the ‘highlights’). However the whole thing just seems to be trying too hard and a lot of the humour misses its mark, although it is relentless in firing them out there so some did genuinely make me giggle.
The animation as I said, is good although the action scenes could have done with a bit more originality & interest. The whole feel of the show is really dated, like an elaborate parody of 70s gag shows – it’s quite amusing! I loved the OP, it was really fun and I found myself singing along quite quickly. Voice acting is again a touch on the ‘we’re shouting so it must be funny!’ side, but it’s not too obnoxious. I’m going to give it another two episodes to see if the novelty value wears off.
Its business as usual for SHAFT with this Maria+Holic sequel – everything from S1 is back for S2……including Kanako’s irritating personality. The major problem with Maria+Holic is that its characters aren’t really all that interesting – Mariya, Matsurika & God-san are the best of the lot and they often get sidelined in favour of squawky Kanako & her bland harmettes. This episode was reasonable enough, but a lot of the comedy fell flat for me – it felt like they were just chucking things in for the sake of it, and if it wasn’t for SHAFTs signature SHAFTiness there would be absolutely nothing remarkable about the show.
Animation, as always, is good (as long as you’re a fan of SHAFT being SHAFT) – the new OP has a pretty odd song choice, but I loved the animation a lot (not quite meido-guitar though). Cast is back so the voice acting is the same as S1 (ie: lots of shouting) – essentially if you’ve watched S1 you’ll know what to expect from S2, and since I watched all of the 1st season I’ll be watching this one. It’s not the worst show in the world, but it’s not the best either……not SHAFT’s finest.
Sekai-ichi Hatsukoi (Worlds First Love)
So……BL! I went into this fully expecting a rerun of Junjou Romantica with sightly different characters, and I enjoyed the trashiness of Junjou so would have been alright with that, but Sekai-ichi Hatsukou actually turned out to be kind of good! I mean there was no smut at all (well aside from a flashback to the OVA) and the episode actually spent time developing the characters! Really does speak volumes about the usual quality of BL anime that I’m surprised at the writing was pretty good in this series. The setting of a shoujo manga editorial department is also interesting, I don’t expect the show to really go into this seriously like Bakuman, but it does provide plenty of entertainment value (and pink – lots of pink).
The animation is pretty much DEEN – they do their best bless them, but those character designs are just never going to be brilliant. Voice acting was good (helps that the script is actually well written & funny), music is……there. So pleasantly surprised, I was always going to watch this, but it’s still a relief to see that there is some scope for a good story rather than just smut!
Astarotte no Omocha! (Lotte’s Toy)
It could have been worse. It could have been a lot worse, and in a way I almost wish it had of been. Instead this felt rather middle of the road and ‘meh’. It took me two attempts to watch the whole episode, because my Crunchyroll stream got fed up midway through the 1st time round – I know exactly how it felt too, Lotte’s Toy isn’t even terribad, it’s just boring – it had a loli in a bath with an inflatable banana & didn’t do anything further with that! There was a world of potential for this show to be every kind of wrong going, but what we got feels like another tepid season of Zero no Tsukaima, with a younger version of Louise.
Animation is very flat and dull, direction is rather uninspired & fanservice was just there. Music was godawful as was the voice acting (why does Rie Kugimiya do that screechy high-pitched whine in these roles!?). Yet despite there being no redeeming features to this anime at all, it still could have been worse & perhaps if it had of been I’d have more to say about it!
Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai II (The World Only God Knows II)
Well its back, and there is no real discernible difference between last season and this aside from the odd sounding OP (maybe it will grow on me). I’m not really a fan of TWGOK, I sat through the entire 1st season waiting for something to happen that would mark this series out as different from others of its ilk, only to be disappointed. Keima is still the archetypical loser male lead, and the girls he has to ‘capture’ are still just as 2D as the girls in his games. The girl in this arc is basically Sasaki from AzuDai in denial and I think I watched the episode half asleep since I don’t really remember that much about it!
Animation is just as good as S1, music is interesting for the most part (at least Manglobe seem to be putting effort into the OST if nothing else). I still don’t like the voice acting (Hiro Shimono is really grating on my nerves these days). Again its a case of ‘watched the 1st season, will watch the 2nd’, but I’m really not fond of TWGOK so if its watchable that will be good enough for me.
So the 1st episode ended up being a crossover special with One Piece, and the Strawhat crew where probably the only thing I really liked about the episode (and even then it kind of felt like really sub par One Piece filler). I decided to give the 2nd episode (which is the 1st episode of Toriko proper) a go just to see if it appealed to me any more……but it didn’t. I just don’t get Toriko. It should appeal to me, its got the ridiculous premise & every shounen trope conceivable fired in there, but I still found myself bored stupid throughout the episodes. I don’t like the character designs, the characters themselves are dull, the world was amusing for all of 10 minutes and then got stupid and I just don’t see any scope for an interesting over arching plotline.
The animation production seemed to be pretty decent, but the character designs are just hideous! The OP song was amusing, but the BGM in the actual episodes is pretty crap……voice acting was decent enough, but once again way too much shouting for no reason. Looks like for the first time in quite a while I’ll be passing on a shounen show – Toriko just isn’t my cup of tea.
Tiger & Bunny
I like this. I really enjoyed the first two episodes and it seems like Sunrise knows what it’s doing with the show. I really enjoyed the portrayal of the mass media, with all the advertising plastered over the heroes costumes & the reliance on big companies for sponsorship – its like a cynical look at the importance of such things in modern sports. One of the best things about Tiger & Bunny is the fact it has actual adults in its lead roles – no whiny teenagers, plus the writing is just excellent – the world has been set up quite well and the show looks like it will spend ample time developing the characters; all very positive things so far!
The animation is excellent, although there is a touch too much obvious CGI for my liking – still everything is nice and smooth & the character designs are interesting & varied. Voice acting is great so far & I also like the music – OP is a bit dull though. Definitely looking forward to more from this show – its off to a great start.
Random use of the semicolon aside, Steins;Gate got off to a really intriguing start – I have no clue whats going on, but I like it! Like Chaos;Head before it, Steins;Gate starts out in a neurotic muddle – lots of stuff is fired out at us through the grandiose ranting of our main character (a self-professed ‘Mad Scientist’). Things don’t add up, the timeline is out of sync and there is a creeping feeling of things just being ‘wrong’. The cinematography has much to do with this – the colours are washed out, the focus jumps to odd things at random times & certain objects have an injection of bright colour that makes them seem not fully part of their surroundings. However its Kyouma’s constant chatter that really makes Steins;Gate interesting. He fires out lots of technobabble, and his paranoid claims about ‘The Agency’ make him seem like a lunatic, but Kyouma’s projected persona seems to be carefully crafted – he wants people to believe he’s a Mad Scientist for whatever reason. Still its hard to determine just whats real & whats not in Steins;Gate, it will be interesting to see what they do with the introduction of a time travelling plot line.
Production values are solid, voice acting is excellent & the use of music creates a really interesting atmosphere. Steins;Gate is definitely a show to keep an eye on this season.
Urgh. This was an utter chore to sit through – not once did I crack a smile……why do people like shows like this, I just don’t get it. A Channel wants so badly to be the next K-ON! that it seems to have forgotten to try to create its own identity – I hated K-ON! watching a poor imitation of the show was just unbearable for me. A Channel consists of three girls being insufferably nice to each other, with a fourth one tacked on to be the yuri stalker / stereotypical tiny moe character (complete with long sweater sleeves & a baseball bat). Not one of the characters has a personality outside of the tiny box of moe stereotypes, nor do they show any signs of developing one anytime soon. Urgh, just thinking about this show pisses me off.
The production values are average – there’s nothing really noteworthy about the show and the character designs are pretty horrendous with giant oversized heads and stick like limbs. I can’t remember the music & the voice acting was unremarkable. Nothing could make me watch anymore of this!
There we go, another batch of impressions! Final batch will probably be out during the week when the rest of the seasons shows air/get subbed.