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Autumn 2011: First Impressions (Tamayura ~Hitotose~, Chihayafuru & Mashiro-Iro Symphony)

October 7, 2011

No let up in the new releases – hard to keep up!  Today we have Tamayura ~Hitotose~, Chihayafuru and Mashiro-Iro Symphony.

Tamayura ~Hitotose~

So this first episode goes right back to the beginning and shows how our insufferably nice, photograph obsessed heroine ends up going to live in a remote town – it was about exciting as painting my nails (which is exactly what I ended up doing to avoid giving into the impulse to just close the file).  I do not get on well with iyashikei shows – I just do not get them.  I can see that everything is all very nice but really this type of show just makes me inpatient and irritated rather than ‘healed’; I want stuff to actually happen!  I could have accepted this first episode of Tamayura as a stand-alone OVA as it covers how the protagonist gets over the death of her father and embraces photography as a means to remember him better, which is actually pretty sweet (albeit presented in an extremely dull way).  But this is the first episode of an entire TV series, and I already know what’s in store from suffering through those two OVA episodes last year – a whole lot of nothing.

The production is decent enough – it’s all very bland though so I didn’t even have any stunning visuals to distract me from the dull script and voice acting.  I don’t really have anything to say about the music either, other than it was unremarkable as the script.

Basically I knew I wasn’t going to like this.  If iyashikei shows are your thing I’m sure you’ll love Tamayura, but I’d rather have several root canals than sit through another episode of this snorefest!

Chihayafuru

Now this is something I immediately liked – looks like the dark days of Marvel adaptations are finally in the past for Madhouse.  The episode starts with a teenaged Chihaya trying to set up a Karuta club in her high school without much success, and immediately backpedaling to her elementary school days to show how she got into the card game in the first place.  I like Chihaya’s character quite a bit, while she is blunt she’s not a ditz, which is such a relief – I hate brain-dead female leads.  We obviously have a love triangle forming (because the show couldn’t just be about card games!) where one of the boys is withdrawn & serious and the other is obnoxious & prone to jealous fits -I’m sure the power of card games will bring them all together though.  Seriously though, the Karuta game is very interesting – it’s a memory game (for both the poetry verses & placement of the cards) as well as test of reflexes, I’d actually like to learn to play it, so I’m looking forward to seeing how the show addresses the competitive aspect of the game (hoping it’s something similar to Hikaru no Go or Shion no Ou).

The production was excellent – animation was gorgeous (if slightly flowery when dealing with the teenaged Chihaya) with some nice use of CG – hope it stays this pretty!  I liked the voice acting, Chihaya is thankfully spared from being given a vapid squeaky seiyuu, and Asami Seto even provides the ED which is a pretty ballad.

Chihayafuru is definitely a keeper, I’m really quite looking forward to this show now.

Mashiro-Iro Symphony

This is every bit as bad as I was fearing unfortunately.  Manglobe have officially sold out as Mashiro-Iro Symphony makes TWGOK look like a masterpiece (and I hated TWGOK).  I could have forgiven the show somewhat if it was amusing & didn’t take itself seriously, but unfortunately Mashiro seems to think that it is a very srsbns adaptation full of unique characters……which it just isn’t.  Mashiro is the epitome of generic, a purely by-the-numbers eroge adaptation what doesn’t even seem to attempt to make itself stand out from the swarms of similar shows.  The worst crime it committed was wasting nearly half its first episode on the retarded-moe imouto getting lost in the rain while good-natured onii-chan ran about the place looking for her – exciting viewing this was not.  I could have accepted retard imouto & nice onii-chan as characters, but then they just had to do the incest thing where the imouto tries to get into the bath with her onii-chan – Cara’s face introduced itself to the desk at that point.  This show just has nothing going for it.

The production isn’t even all that great, although I think that’s mainly due to the horrendous character designs.  I have a real hate of overly fussy, frilly character designs – just looking at all that hair/ribbons/frills gives me a headache (can you imagine how long these girls take to get dressed in the morning!?) and Mashiro seems to be full of said overly fussy character designs.  It also has this cat..ball…thing, that actually scared the crap out of me when it went Uryuuu~! Am I meant to find such a creepy monstrosity adorable, because all I want to do is get as far away as possible from it.  Voice acting is typical of the genre, but the imouto is particularly bad – her seiyuu sounds bored out of her mind.  Music is typical of the genre & pretty unremarkable.

So yeah, feeling a touch ranty about this, but I’m probably most upset about the fact this awful generic mehness came out of Manglobe’s doors – I wouldn’t have been half so annoyed if this was the usual Nomad/Dogakobo/DEEN offering.  Manglobe I am very disappoint.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2011 10:06 pm

    Chihayafuru is looking very good. Chihaya is an interesting character. Wow! What a freaking great idea! A lead character who is actually interesting. I like the Karuta aspect, because I like stories about people who do things they love even when everyone else thinks it isn’t cool. Madhouse is doing a good job with the art and animation so far ~ I think that flowery shot of Chihaya at the beginning was meant to be a joke, because it is immediately followed by everyone criticizing her for standing on a chair and wearing sweats.

    • October 8, 2011 3:00 pm

      Its depressing to think that we get excited over having a female lead with a bit of personality.

  2. October 7, 2011 11:54 pm

    Wow, several root canals > another episode of Tayamura?😄 I haven’t seen it yet though, since the subtitles went bonkers on my VLC player.
    Chihayafuru is pretty interesting though. I’m curious to see what direction it will take in future episodes (i.e. more focus on the game, or on character drama/romance).

    • October 8, 2011 3:02 pm

      Yeah Tamayura & it’s type of show is my idea of hell – I can handle ecchi harem antics much better than I can handle iyashikei shows.

      I’d imagine Chihayafuru will go for a mix of both elements – hopefully the love triangle aspect won’t get too obnoxious.

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