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Spring 2012: First Impressions (Sakamichi no Apollon, Jormungand & Tsuritama)

April 13, 2012

We’re now getting into the shows that I was most excited about.  First up is drums, guns & fishing…………Sakamichi no Apollon, Jormungand and Tsuritama.

Sakamichi no Apollon: Kids on the Slope

Loved this episode – thank god it turned out to be just as good as I hoped, I really would have been crushed if Apollon turned out to be mediocre!   Apollon is a very grounded kind of story, but it is exceptionally well told, paced and directed – I really could not ask for anything more from this opening episode.  The character introductions and interactions feel natural and there is a wonderful flow to the pacing – nothing is too forced or unrealistic, you can really tell that it is the steady hand of a seasoned pro directing this show.  The characters themselves are pretty standard archetypes, but they’re well written and superbly acted.

On the production front, this is a gloriously well animated show.  You just have to look at that drum solo scene to appreciate the quality – the timing perfectly matches the soundtrack & the motion is just fabulous!  I really can’t believe how good the character animation is in the this show – so much attention to detail!  The music is also great, however there wasn’t as much BGM as I was initially expecting – but it is early days, the characters are only discovering music at the moment.

Very impressed with Apollon, definitely keeping on!

Jormungand

Well looks like our pre-season impression that Jormungand would have lots of Black Lagoon vibes, was spot on!  I enjoyed this episode quite a lot – we are dumped right into the action and left to soak up snippets of information from the characters conversations & actions; it’s an exciting and interesting way to start a show, although not unusual.  I am quite sure I didn’t really grasp all of what was going on in the plot of this episode, but that’s not really important as all we really needed to get was what the characters were like, and it accomplished that with ease – this show has two cours to tell its story, we’ve got lots of time to get to grips with the finer details of the arms dealers world.

I wasn’t all that sure about the character designs – bemused as to why Koko is practically albino, does anyone actually have hair the same shade of white as their skin, but it all works pretty well in the show.  Guns are rendered in loving detail and action is well choreographed with some nice direction choices.  Voice acting is great, but the music is a touch underwhelming.

So a positive start to Jormungand, looking forward to more.

Tsuritama

The other noitaminA show now, and strangely this has basically the same plotline as Sakamichi no Apollon!  It was quite interesting to see how much a shows tone can change just by changing the artstyle and keeping things much more on the whimsical side.  Where Apollon feels like a serious, highly polished show, Tsuritama is much more lighthearted and absurdist, employing a more energetic, if not quite so refined, directing style.  I like both shows for different reasons.  I enjoyed Tsuritama’s weird side – it’s got an indian fella having dinner with a duck, it has a weird attention grabbing character proclaiming to be an alien and wielding a water gun that appears to fire memory erasing water, and it has a really funky granny.

The quirks continue in the art style.  Originally I thought Tsuritama looked rather normal compared to some of Kenji Nakamura’s other shows, but it does have some very interesting stylisation going on, particularly with the way the backgrounds are rendered in gloriously bright colours.  The character designs are fairly standard, but there are lots of interesting facial expressions and movement going on – it’s quite an attractive looking show!  The voice acting is ok –  not overly fussed on Haru’s hyperactive squawking, although Yuki’s neurotic monologues are well done.

Overall I wasn’t completely bowled over by Tsuritama, but it was a pretty good opening episode.  Will be keeping on and hoping for more randomness to come.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2012 6:41 pm

    Sakamichi no Apollon deserved a round of applause for its animation and character introduction. I hope it keep up with this standard throughut the season.

    • April 15, 2012 2:01 pm

      I also hope it can keep up this standard for its whole run – really liked this episode.

  2. April 15, 2012 5:25 am

    Sakamichi no Apollon— DAT DRUM SOLO! Maaaannn that was amazing! I was quite shocked how interesting this first episode was…usually I would pass on something like Apollon because I don’t really get into music much. Then again there was always that other show about cute girls playing “music” whenever they got around to doing that! I will have to watch more of this series.

    Jormungand— FK YA Guns! First episode was like watching a random action movie and I agree it has a very big black lagoon feel to it, but yeah character design wise…wuttt the…hell!? They don’t even use any color in this series lots of dark grey and main character is sooooo albino why!? Hopefully they explain that bit later on.

    Tsuritama— Now this series has color all over the place and it seems to be really insane at times like every fake drowning scene? At first I laughed and then it started to get slightly annoying! Maybe it was just me picking on it but seriously every time he got nervous? LOL I guess it is just that characters gimic? That duck oh wow that duck scene made me laugh so hard❤ Gintoki❤

    • April 15, 2012 2:07 pm

      Despite years of playing instruments I’m somewhat clueless about music too – but still it’s hard not to be impressed by Apollon regardless of how clued in you are to the music element.

      The bleached out colour palate worked somewhat, but I think that was done better in Steins;Gate as it actually served a purpose of instilling unease there. In Jormungand the lack of colour just makes the show look a bit unfinished!

      I actually liked the drowning imagery – it represents how protag-kun feels like the weight of peoples stares & expectations are actually physically smothering him. It’s an interesting way to visually show his social anxiety order. This was done in a much simpler & more grounded manner in Apollon, by just having the main character get nauseous; but Tsuritama needed a more visually dynamic way to show the same issue.

      • April 15, 2012 3:22 pm

        Yes, I think Jormungand would have worked better with a heavy color palette — lots of grayed colors, which would give it a more oppressive feel.

  3. A Day Without Me permalink
    April 20, 2012 12:29 am

    I’m trying so so soooo hard to not OT3 the main characters of Sakamichi no Apollon already.

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