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Summer 2011 – First Impressions (No.6, Mawaru PenguinDrum & Mayo Chiki!)

July 9, 2011

Managed to wipe my phone last night so spent the majority of the evening trying to fix it… this is a bit late, thank god its the weekend!  Today I watched two boys in a storm, a girl resurrect thanks to magical penguins and one of the least convincing reverse Traps ever…….or No.6, Mawaru PenguinDrum and Mayo Chiki!


I liked this a lot.  Sometimes when approaching a sci-fi adventure series, the setting can overwhelm the characters and what you end up with is a very pretty show filled with vapid characters and a feeling of wasted potential *cough*Fractale*cough*, excuse me.  Thankfully this is not the case with No.6 as it has chosen to keep the focus on the main characters first and foremost, and show the world as they interact with it – it’s really nice to be shown a world and what effect it has on the characters, rather than be constantly told what is going on.  It was also a rather slow-paced opening episode, not really telling us an awful lot about the upcoming plotline and also seemed to take place at an earlier point than what the promo materials, OP & ED suggest  Also since this is a manga adaptation I hope they haven’t wasted too much of their limited running time on things like Shion daydreaming in class and being utterly oblivious about his little girlfriend’s feelings; not that these didn’t add anything to the show, it’s just that I am very aware that No.6 only has 11 episodes to tell its story in – I don’t want another show that feels too big for noitaminA.

Now I suppose I’d better mention the thing that keeps popping up about this show – the BL vibes.  They are definitely there, but I doubt very much that the show will make anything out of it and nor do I think that anyone should avoid the show because of them…….still to fangirls like myself, No.6’s two main characters are extremely easy to ship (and the adorable ED animation basically does our job for us).  Still its easy enough to ignore if you wish – everything is very innocent given Shion’s naivety and Nezumi’s inexperience with kindness.  So don’t be put off, I mean it’s possible to see BL in just about anything if you’re skilled enough! 😆

Bones are doing a solid job with the production as expected (although there is a touch of obvious CGI going on in some shots), and I just love the feeling of space that the show has.  There is a light, airiness and focus on natural things like trees & wind and even hand-knitted jumpers, and their juxtaposition with the man-made objects like that Moon Drop building that seems to fight with the wind for dominance in the soundscape.  The acting is also great, Shion is believable as a very intelligent youngster, who is also quite naive about the workings of the world; whereas Nezumi really comes across as suspicious and nervous as well as street-smart where Shion is book-smart.

Okay going on a bit too much, this is turning into a full length post…….I think I’m interested enough in No.6 to be seriously considering blogging it (health dependent).


Marwaru PenguinDrum

Where do I even start with this series!?  There was just so much to take in in this initial episode that repeat viewing is practically required (even then I know I am missing an entire layer of subtext), Ikuhara is most definitely back.  To those of us who have seen, and loved, Revolutionary Girl Utena, the homages and same sense of style is easy to spot.  This show couldn’t come from anyone else than Ikuhara – it’s as easy to see as the Shinbo stamp on a SHAFT show.  We’re sent on a rollercoaster ride as the show swings between drama and comedy, the surreal and the fabulous – its dizzying, but at the same time effortless and an awful lot of fun.  I won’t even attempt to try to decipher the symbolic motifs in the episode here, but the obvious ones are the apple, trains and the idea of predetermined fate…….which seem to point to Kenji Miyazawa’s Night on the Galactic Railroad (but since I haven’t read it yet I can’t comment on that much).  Regardless, PenguinDrum looks like its going to be a show that will spark many, many discussions – I’m really looking forward to reading all the posts on it!

The main thing that really strikes you about PenguinDrum is its use of colour.  No other show this season has quite the same sense of style – Uta-Pri may be shiny and very very colourful, but it’s used a very garish fashion, where PenguinDrum’s use of colour seems to be designed to draw your eye to details in the background.  Take the sibling’s home – there is just so much to look at in that house, so many colours and little touches – you could stare at stills for hours and still find new things!  The way mundane things are drawn so technicoloured strikes a sharp contrast with other shows that make the mundane just that – mundane. PenguinDrum’s backgrounds are probably the best of the season – even though they’re populated by cardboard cutouts!  Oh, and I have to mention that transformation sequence – holy crap, so awesome; never before has walking down stairs been so brilliant!

Running out of space again……too much to talk about!  I’ll just finish up by saying that this was a very strong opening episode, filled with great animation, excellent music, interesting characters and a truckload of potential.  Definitely looking forward to the rest of this series.


Mayo Chiki!

And now onto something completely different – couldn’t keep the standard high for all three now could I? 😆  Now here’s the thing, Mayo Chiki is crap.  I know it’s crap, it knows it’s crap, everyone knows it’s crap…….but I still enjoyed this episode quite a lot.  In a similar manner to Hidan no Aria last season, I think I’ll be watching all of Mayo Chiki this season, because every now and then you need to watch something generic and crap with your brain turned off.  Mindless entertainment, that’s what this is.  There’s nothing new or original about this show – its got all the normal tropes present and accounted for; the imouto wake-up call, the walk-into-bathroom scene, the “whoops I tripped and accidentally half stripped & molested you” moment, the mistaken for gay moment and the fella with uncontrollable nosebleeds.  However its the way these tropes are presented that’s fun – more fun that the show has any right being.

A large part of my enjoyment stemmed from the acting – Satoshi Hino is very easy to listen too as the main protagonist as he’s not shrill & irritating like Hiro Shimono tends to be in similar roles.  Yuka Iguchi also manages to pull of a rather convincing deep throaty voice when playing Subaru the reverse trap butler, something I’d have never thought her capable of given her performance as Enri in Fractale and the title character in Index!  Eri Kitamura kind of steals the show as Suzutsuki with her sadistic ojou-sama voice though.

Animation is decent, character designs generic, direction reasonable.  Music is also on the generic side, but not ear-bleed inducing like similar shows.  So Mayo Chiki is stupid and unoriginal, but it’s still fun so I’m watching it (until I get bored at least).


11 Comments leave one →
  1. July 9, 2011 8:43 pm

    you’re too much of a rabid fangirl these days 😐

    • July 9, 2011 8:43 pm

      Would you prefer if I was indifferent/hated everything?

      • July 9, 2011 9:25 pm

        Not me. As much as I appreciate the utter GENIUS of something like PenguinDrum, I find it refreshing to hear someone say they can enjoy something that is kind of dumb and generic for what it is.

        Sometimes people get a little too worked up about how shows have flaws of one type or another. I think people should relax a bit, and consider that the average show is probably gonna be (wait for it) AVERAGE. It’s not going to be special, or perfect, only the truly extraordinary shows get to be that good.

        (BTW, @Concerned, none of this is intended as a criticism of you. I’m just glad someone remembers that we don’t need to be elitists, and can still get a kick out of a so-so show).

        • July 9, 2011 9:42 pm

          I’m all for enjoying mindless crap (hell I loved Uta-Pri!), so long as it entertains on some level its worth watching, regardless of how generic and flawed it is.

      • July 10, 2011 12:31 am

        no it was just a response to your seeing BL in no6 :s all they did was wrestle a bit …then hold hands in bed … and call each other hot : |

        • July 10, 2011 3:19 pm

          You’re completely right – I’m clearly reading way too much into things XD

  2. July 10, 2011 4:25 am

    No. 6– I liked this show a lot! Well I liked the setting and story so far and of course the amazing Bones character designs and all that future tech. Those watches anyone thinking Tiger and Bunny? They really do remind me of that xD Now for the two main characters, yeaaaahhh I know the girls will have a good time with those two! Damn those subs your hot and holding hands ahahaha damn well I will tryyyy to enjoy that anime and overlook the BL lol.

    Penguin- First episode definitely has me hook I like the style and colors very bright and eye catching, and how about that transformation!? So niceee even thou it was like in reverse. So I guess there is a bit of incest going on? that kiss! Whoaaa, then again maybe he wasn’t in his right mind. I do wonder what she took out of him? his heart? or maybe like put something in..Anyway nice first episode.

    Mayo- Hmmm still so so on that anime I face palmed when he stood there in the bathroom staring lol! Like duddeee what the hell! Also the part when he fell on top of her. How did her shirt get unbuttoned?! LOL then again that is ecchi anime for you there are no true reasons for things of that nature to happen. Very predictable ending of course she moves in I bet..

    Two out of three shows for these not to bad will have to keep up with Penguin and No. 6 still not to sure on Mayo at this point we shall see.

    • July 10, 2011 3:24 pm

      The high tech watch things are very T&B – I want one! And yes the two boys are ridiculously easy to ship – but there is much more to enjoy in No.6, it shouldn’t be avoided just because of some BL vibes.

      PenguinDrum has lots of interesting elements going on – while I’m not fond of incest elements, it will be intriguing to see if perhaps thats part of the ‘price’ for keeping the imouto alive?

      Mayo Chiki was so stupidly predictable, but I enjoyed the execution of the generic tropes. So long as there is some element of fun I’ll keep watching.

  3. July 12, 2011 2:29 am

    No. 6 has the most potential to be either horrible or fantastic, with plenty of fugitive action for excitement’s sake. I don’t even mind the BL vibes, since it’s the show pretty much shouting “SHIP THIS, DAMMIT!” without being vague about it.

    Penguindrum was… yeah. I couldn’t write my first impressions post without my brain short circuiting all the time. But it was exciting, new, and loaded with potential to be great.

    And I’m in the same boat with Mayo Chiki. It’s bad, but it’s not bad enough as to make it unwatchable. Thus, I’ll be following for the dash of mediocrity that my anime watching schedule needs.

    • July 12, 2011 8:26 pm

      I’m hoping No.6 will be fantastic, I don’t think my heart could take another massive failure in the noitaminA timeslot.

      Penguindrum is going to be an interesting ride – the amount of excellent posts generated by the 1st episode alone was somewhat mindboggling!

      Always need a generic show to even out the viewing list~


  1. Notes For the Summer 2011 Anime Final (Part IV) « Organization Anti Social Geniuses

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