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Spring 2011: First Impressions (Part 3)

April 26, 2011

Okay, so we’re well into the Spring season now and I’m finally caught up on everything, so let’s get this final First Impression post done shall we!

Softenni

Urgh.  Softenni is awful.  Why are there so many fecking cows in this show!?  I think they spent more time messing about with cows than they did playing tennis (although saying that, the vast majority of the time is spent on crappy T & A fanservice) and I think the only time I laughed was when the cow ate their tennis ball!  Complete chore to sit through, wonder if anyone is actually still watching this rubbish…..

Animation was meh – overly pastel with generic character designs (why is Potemayo in this show??).  Music was rubbish, voice acting contrived…….in all honesty I really am unable to say anything positive about this show.  Maybe if you like forced humour, tennis, cows & pantyshots all wrapped up in a pastel parcel, you’ll like Softenni…..if not, there’s nothing to see here.

Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi (A Bridge to the Starry Skies)

This is so bad – I mean it doesn’t even have a single scrap of originality – this is like every eroge ever stuck in a blender!  The only time I laughed was when the aunt character started making fun of the generic male lead’s tiny dick, reducing him to tears – nothing more fun than seeing a generic male lead in tears! As for everything else, you know the drill –  generic male lead with sick-moe little brother, runs about the place bumping into moe stereotypes every few minutes and molesting them in some way…..and you already know that he’s going to end up with redheaded retarded moe girl, so there’s no point in watching anymore.

In terms of animation………urgh, the colours & hair hurt my eyes, the only thing I kind of liked was the two-tone eyes and I’m being generous there.  Music is terrible (especially that OP  – some seiyuu just shouldn’t sing) and the acting is pretty awful too.  Definitely not watching anymore.

Fireball Charming

If you haven’t seen the first season of Fireball, I’d recommend watching it – after all it will only take about 20mins to watch the entire thing!  Each episode of Fireball is only 2mins long, and that continues in this second season.  Its more of the same, with Princess Drossel and her servant/adviser all alone in their big post-apocalyptic castle.  Drossel has had a redesign between seasons, so gone is the Hatsune Miku-esq twin-tail design, and in is a more streamlined design, with much more emphasis on the hips.

Jokes are pretty repetitive, but it’s still fun and it’s not like Fireball takes much of your time to watch.

Tono to Issho: Gantai no Yabou

Here’s another short series, but unlike Fireball Tono to Issho isn’t worth your time as its completely unfunny.  Season 1 was terrible so I have no idea why there is another season of this…..although I suppose there are a lot of characters in the Sengoku period to  exploit.  I suppose you could watch it for the seiyuu – there’s a ton of great names on board for this, and given its short running time I suppose its pretty harmless.  But still, its hard to believe how poorly written & animated this series is!  Avoid unless you’re a big fan of the seiyuu.

Aria the Scarlet Ammo (Hidan no Aria)

This may have been sort of decent, if I hadn’t of seen the exact same thing 10 times before – if you’ve seen any JC Staff anime in the past few years, you’ll already have seen Hidan no Aria.  Why does the world need yet another Rie Kugimiya tsundere character!? I have a fairly high tolerance for KugiRei tsundere’s, but even I’m getting extremely pissed off with them – the woman has a pretty decent range & she can act, give her some other bloody roles please Japan!  On the plus side (a minor plus though) the male lead is sort of watchable – I do like split personality characters though and the setting is interesting.  Still that’s not really a big enough plus to really justify continuing to watch this (giving it a fair trial though).

Animation is decent enough, it’s just a pity the camera seems to be glued to the loli’s thighs.  Character designs are very generic, music is pretty decent & aside for KugiRie being KugiRie the voice cast is pretty good.  Watch only if you’re a huge fan of JC Staff being JC Staff, otherwise you’ll soon get annoyed.

Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko (Electromagnetic Wave Woman & Adolescent Man)

SHAFT but not on full-blown SHAFT-mode (ie: the camera does stop moving completely sometimes & there aren’t more than 5 head-tilts), Denpa Onna had a decent, but not overly thrilling premiere episode.  The main character is a bit dull, and he seems to feel the need to narrate everything he does in a monotone – sorry to inform you generic lead male, but Kyon you are not, please stop trying.  The women in the show are all suitably nuts, we don’t even get to see Erio until the very end as she spends the entire episode wrapped in a futon with only her legs to convey any emotion, and her mother appears to be a grown up version of Ami from Toradora!  Still I did enjoy this show, and there are hints of a plot in there somewhere amongst the witty dialogue which is a bonus.

Production is good, quite restrained direction from Shinbo/SHAFT though.  The OP is amazing……in that I am completely amazed that there is a human out there with vocal cords capable of making that horrendous noise; in all seriousness I couldn’t stop myself from listening to it, like you can’t stop yourself from watching a carcrash – amazing.  Apart from that though the music is good.  Voice acting is ok – generic male is very monotone & boring to listen to, and most of Erio’s dialogue was muffled due to her being in a futon, but its reasonable acting I suppose.  Shall be watching more~!

Ao no Exorcist (The Blue Exorcist)

Don’t be fooled by this first episode, Ao no Exorcist isn’t actually about a clumsy, trouble-magnet of a teenager’s search for work, the action at the end of the episode is much more like what you can expect from this series.  That being said I did like this first episode, it did a great job of introducing the characters before all hell breaks loose and Rin’s world gets completely shattered, still it’s not really the best indicator of what Ao no Exorcist is about.

The production was quite impressive (although this is the flagship series of the season) – I think I like the anime character designs even more than the manga ones!  The cast is fantastic – really can’t fault anyone, the OP & ED are a bit cheese-tastic (whats with the random dancing in the ED!?) but otherwise the music is excellent too.  Definitely keeping this on, very pleased with how it’s turned out so far.

Deadman Wonderland

I was worried about an anime version of Deadman Wonderland, and it seems I was right to be so. One of the key features of Deadman Wonderland is its unflinchingly gruesome violence and insistence on always going with the worst imaginable scenario – nothing good ever happens in Deadman Wonderland – ever.  The anime has that to a certain extent – it made the Redman’s wiping out Ganta’s class worse by spending a bit of time on Ganta’s friends, but there is censoring and that hurts the impact of the violence a bit.  Also Shiro is one of retarded moe’s poster children, but Kana Hanazawa is really going full on retard in her portrayal of her, which is distracting – Shiro is a point of levity in the series, but I’m finding her more annoying now than anything else (its like fecking Nessa all over again!)  Still things could have been much worse, so I applaud Manglobe for staying as true to the manga as possible.

Production is solid and there’s plenty of blood flying about, and even though the camera cuts away from the worst of the gore or employs dark shadows as censor bars, the idea is still put across well.  BGM is a bit overblown at times, but overall its decent – ED images are a touch spoilery IMO, but the song is decent enough.  So not quite the disaster I was fearing, reasonably confident Manglobe can pull this off – looking forward to seeing what they do with the show as the real test comes with the Carnival Corpse stuff.

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Boku-tachi wa Mada Shiranai (Ano Hana)

Oh hello Mr Melodrama have you met Mr Subtlety? No? Maybe you should get acquainted sometime soon!  I really dislike it when shows expect you to care about their characters without making any effort to make them actually likeable.  So what if this group of kids have all drifted apart after the retarded moe child died? Why should I care, they all seem like brats now and retarded moe child is still fecking infuriating even if she is now a ghost!  Still I can’t find it in myself to outright dislike AnoHana, because it does have some nice moments, and with some careful character development it could turn into a good show.  I’m still annoyed by obvious it was in its manipulation, just having a dead girl in the show does not automatically make me teary, put some effort into characterisation goddammit!

All’s good on the production front – A1-Pictures are really doing very well at the moment, and even though I’m not overly fond of this style of character design, there’s no denying that the animation is smooth.  Music is also pretty great, but the voice acting is again way too heavy on the melodrama (and in the case of Menma, helium fueled).  AnoHana is definitely going to need time to grow into itself, I’m giving it that chance.

[C]: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control

I have very little clue about what this show is all about, but I do know that I liked it a lot.  Its got that duel-world thing going on that we saw last season in Yumekui Merry, where everything in the Financial District / Dream World is infinitely more interesting than stuff in the real world, but that contrast just adds to my interest in [C].  I like that Mr Protagonist is quite flawed – this whole initial episode was basically about him caving to the temptation of vast fortunes that Creepy Clown dude was dangling in front of his nose, and that makes him much more interesting than if he was very goody-goody or too desperate about getting money (that’s Kaiji’s job after all).  Although I do have to say that his reaction to being stalked by Mr Creepy Clown teleporting about his room was slightly unbelievable – “kindly piss-off and let me do my homework” isn’t really what I’d be doing if a Clown suddenly stuck his head through my desk!  On the whole, not a lot was actually explained in this episode – its much more show than tell, so I’m really looking forward to finding out more about this world as I find the concept of financial deals being done via epic card-game/pokemon battles!

Things aren’t as good on the production front – it’s mainly the character designs that are putting me off, there are way too many off-model shots; loving the world design for the Financial District though!  Direction is brilliant for the most part, and even though the CGI on Mr Creepy Clown was a touch obvious, it just added to his otherworldly feel.  Voice acting and music are both of a decent standard – really liked the OP and both the OP & ED have fantastic visuals.  Really quite excited about [C].

Pretty Rhythm: Aurora Dream

Oh this was hilariously bad!  Not in an offensive way, but in a completely cheesy “I can’t believe clichéd anime like this are still getting made” kind of way.  On no level does anything make sense, not even for a children’s cartoon – this show actually insults the intelligence of most 5 year olds.  The dojiko female lead has no personality beyond “teehee, I’m so clumsy & just love fashion!” yet suddenly gets dragged off by a talent scout (hello paedophile!) shoved onto stage & oh wow, suddenly she has hitherto unnoticed innate talent…….I mean what the hell!?  To make things worse there’s another girl in the show that has clearly worked hard on her dancing, yet is instantly sidelined in favour of miss “oh I tripped over air 2 minutes ago but look at this perfect jump I’m about to do now!”  However despite that I didn’t hate the show – it’s just so bad I laughed the entire way through it!

The animation & music are also awful, with some of the worst CGI dancing I’ve ever had the misfortune to see, and a godawful live action ED.  Save yourselves some pain & avoid this!

Hyouge Mono (Tea for Universe, Tea for Life)

This was weird.  I’m not really sure what Bee Train were going for in this show, but it was kind of fun but at the same time pretty boring – I’m actually amazed they managed to pull that off!  The entire cast consists of older men and its set in that ever popular Sengoku period, but there is not a moe blob or a bishie in sight which is quite refreshing.  The lead character is extremely neurotic (he really loves his tea) but at the same time he’s really quite sensible and capable of holding a normal conversation (and oh boy is there ever a lot of talking in this show), but nothing really happens in the episode and I found myself rather bored.  I think it may be me not getting on with Bee Train’s tendency towards slow-paced shows with a ton of talking – I just don’t like them.

Production is very solid indeed, and I really liked the strange facial expressions the protagonist pulls (although that just added to my confusion about what the tone of this show was meant to be).  Loved the OP & ED to bits – easily the best bits about the show IMO, and the voice acting was also pretty decent.  However overall I wasn’t really sucked into Hyouge Mono so won’t be watching any more….its in no way bad, just not my cup of tea (oho!)

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

So there we have it, First Impressions for Spring 2011 finally complete (well mostly…..Moshidora still hasn’t been subbed).  As for what I’m blogging, at the moment Ao no Exorcist is demanding my attention (even though I’m reluctant to blog something I’m reading the manga for after how Bakuman turned out) and I’m also interested in [C], however I won’t be deciding until the end of the week.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. April 26, 2011 1:28 am

    I had more fun reading this review than I did watching most of these shows!

    I haven’t written off C, but it did leave me wondering if I was the only one who would freak out if a clown teleported into my room and froze time.

    I think Pretty Rhythm is evidence of a plot to make the world stupider. I’m already sorry I watched it, because I destroyed those brain cells without the pleasure of getting drunk.

    • May 1, 2011 9:23 pm

      Hahaha, thanks~!

      [C] I’m still enjoying, not really sure where they’re going with the show though so hoping they start coming up with some substantial plot soon. And I fully agree about the clown (although clowns in general scare me).

  2. April 26, 2011 7:47 am

    whats with the random dancing in the ED!?

    I dunno what you talking ’bout. Anime always needs more dancing!

    • April 26, 2011 8:30 am

      Not when it turns my badass shounen characters into boyband rejects!!

  3. April 26, 2011 9:45 am

    The second ep of Ao no Exorcist was actually kind of freaky O_O the stuff with the gate and the priest…

    • May 1, 2011 9:25 pm

      Ao no Exorcist has a lot in common with D.Gray-man in that respect (thankfully Ao no Exorcist seems to have a much bigger budget than DGM!)

  4. April 26, 2011 12:31 pm

    “You NEVER go full retard!”

    Denpa Onna fascinates me at the moment. While I’m definitely compelled to follow Exorcist & C because of the interesting worlds they inhabit, Denpa Onna has a slight mysteriousness to how it’s portraying & handling its titular character that intrigues me most. While the 2nd episode can have one easily write off the series as another high school harem comedy, it also reveals a little more about why Erio is the way she is & the implications are rather tragic.

    I don’t think I’m crazy. I’ve noticed that SHAFT revels in works that mix & match & play around with mood & tone, letting pathos & bathos mingle freely within moments of each other causing for a very heady feeling at the end. You see this in their comedy Natsu no Arashi when slapstick gives way to American firebombing during WWII, & in Arakawa where absurdist gag comedy is buffeted by biting social commentary & surprising sentimentality. I tweeted briefly about this, but the ending to Denpa Onna’s 2nd episode is setting the stage for either something metaphysical to occur, or to become a more grounded allegory for the dangers of delusion & isolation.

    I personally hope that they *do* opt to explore Erio’s delusions as straight as possible, or at least spend some time on the ramifications of being as eccentric as she is, because a rich lode of drama can be mined from that successfully if given sufficient time to develop. If the audience, along with the protag, begin to feel more sympathetic to her, how transcendent would it be if it were revealed that her eccentricities were a manifestion of her coping to a recent horrendous trauma? The success of this anime will depend entirely on it’s treatment of Erio.

    Wow, I didn’t mean for this comment to become what it did. I’m writing this on my phone & I’m supposed to be asleep! Oh, & uh, I’ll refrain from commenting on Denpa’s OP.😉

    • May 1, 2011 9:33 pm

      The thing about SHAFT is that they never really commit fully to the drama-bomb. I completely agree that there is plenty of potentially interesting directions that they could go with Erio’s condition, but the likelihood of them going that route is pretty slim given the male gaze the show has by having Makoto as the main character.

      There is of course elements of more serious drama mixed in (which is what makes Denpa Onna so compelling), but on the whole I think Denpa Onna is going to be lighter fare – after all SHAFT are on the wind down from the non-stop dramafest that was Madoka!

  5. April 26, 2011 1:33 pm

    Softenni- Not that bad but not that great either! Coming from the same studio that did To-love -ru I was expecting almost the same type of comedy and of course fanservice! Just another mindless show for me anyway.

    Aria the Scarlet Ammo- Hahaha yes it’s basically Shanan with guns and no magic? or Toradora?! OMG! Anyway this wasn’t too bad, at least the main guy is kind of cool with his hidden “power”

    Denpa Onna- Random and made by Shaft?! Sounds about right for me, the first episode mostly sets up Erio and that creepy aunt Meme! I think the everyone in the town are actually aliens, at least that’s what I think anyway hahaha

    Ao no Exorcist- By far my favorite of spring next to Nichijou! Amazing animation and character designs are nice as well. I do get a mixture of FMA and DGrayman from this show, which is fine by me.

    Deadman Wonderland- Bloody and violent hahaha great stuff, poor Ganta! guess that field trip is on hold for now. He looks like Renton from Eureka7 anyone else notice? Hahaha anyway great show so far! Shiro cranking up the Nessa to like two hundred! That Opening song damn I think I listened to it twenty times so good.

    Ano Hana- Dem character designs! So goooood! And I had no idea they where HoTD designs, really nice show so far this probably will be the sad show that makes you cry at the end xD

    C- So far things are going good, I was not expecting a card battle game with monsters! The only complaints so far are the random use of CGI on the demons, did they run out of money on the animation?? Anyway that’s a small complaint, I shall watch anyway.

    Damn spring has soooooo much anime! And shocking they are actually good too.

    • May 1, 2011 9:37 pm

      Those are HOTD designs in AnoHana? Well I suppose that explains the length of Anaru’s skirts!😄

      Spring this year really is huge, but I’m not really finding that much is screaming ‘must watch’ at me. I find that I’m only getting excited by Gintama, Ao no Exorcist & Denpa Onna.

  6. April 26, 2011 5:01 pm

    I am far from finish checking out the first episodes of some of these shows but my fav so far are Ano Hana and Ao no Exorcist. Having said that, it has been a while since I last follow so many anime in one season.

    • May 1, 2011 9:39 pm

      AnoHana still hasn’t really made much of an impression on me either way yet – I’m not overly fond of the characters & while each episode is watchable & ‘nice’ I don’t find myself drawn into the world much……not good given noitaminA’s limited episode count, I should really be made to care by now.

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