Saturday, April 17, 2010

Spring Anime -- Brief First Impressions of 22 New Shows

So far, this seems like an excellent season: no masterpieces, but several very good shows. Here are some highly personal opinions after 1-3 episodes. In alphabetical order, with the shows I like in bold red type. (Mouseover images for captions; click to enlarge.)

Angel Beats! -- A disappointment, for me. Well animated, but I don't care about the characters, and the interesting afterlife world hasn't been that interesting for me. I liked episode 3 best, though, so perhaps things are looking up.

Arakawa Under the Bridge -- Looks as good as Bakemonogatari, and there is some depth lurking there, but neither the dialogue nor the personalities have as much snap as that show. I guess I just don't really like Shinbou's own sense of humor, which this seems closer to. But I'm not going to stop watching, lol.

B Gata H Kei -- I really find myself not caring. The innocent girl's vague sexual fantasies just seem forced to me, rather than either real or amusing.

Giant Killing -- I'm not a huge fan of sports anime, but this one has me engrossed, so far. It's the personalities, which come across so vividly. And the tactics and psychology, too.

Hakuouki: Shinsengumi Kitan -- This may be the show I look forward to most each week. Kuwashima Houko as the moe-ly boyish heroine in a world of moe-ly masculine 19th-century samurai played by top voices such as Miki Shinichirou. And some real history swirling around.

Hana Kappa -- I had hopes for this, but it seems to be an ordinary family anime, in the worst sense of the word.

Heroman -- A Saturday morning cartoon with good animation and decent characters. I enjoyed ep1, but ep2 was just too Saturday morning for me. Ep3 had its highlights, but things move so slowly.

Hime Chen! Otogi Chikku Idol Lilpri -- A little girls' anime whose first episode did its job so well that it brought tears to my eyes: three young girls temporarily turn into beautiful idols (they are played by actual Hello!Project idols), meet their own idol, and help save Fairyland from decline. It seemed to be a kids anime in the best sense of the word. But episode two was completely limp.

Ichiban Ushiro no Daimao -- Another show I look forward to every week. A harem anime that works. Great pace and good characters from the director of Shakugan no Shana. And nice seiyuu work from Kondou Takashi, Hikasa Youko, Yuuki Aoi, and others.

Jewelpet 2 -Tinkle -- The first season sank into dead formula, but judging by the first two episodes, a new director and writer may have given this little-girls' show new life.

Kaichou wa Maid-sama! -- I expected more from this, and episode 3 may have begun to give it to me. The heroine and hero are forming a relationship that feels like real love.

Kiss X Sis (2010) -- Episode one was as dull as the OVA, but ep2 provided some real feeling -- if you can accept the premise of two sisters wanting to get into their younger brother's pants.

K-On!! -- Moe and well animated, but boring. Actually, I enjoyed ep1, seeing the characters again. But ep2 returned me to the feeling of pointlessness I had through the latter half of the first season. I like moe, but this seems to me to keep scratching the same shallow itch.

Mayoi Neko Overrun! -- Good character designs poorly animated, but with at least three characters who have some presence and originality, and who keep me coming back to this slightly ecchi somewhat harem.

Rainbow -- Nisha Rokubou no Shichijin -- Heavy drama that works for me. But I'm not sure I want to spend so much time with these characters in the depths of hell.

Romance of the Three Kingdoms -- Won't someone sub this? Much more interesting than the ecchi drag versions, Ikkitousen and Koihime Musou. A quite excellent version of the real Three Kingdoms, in fact. I guess I may just have to keep watching the Chinese version of this co-production, which was broadcast in China last year.

Sarai-ya Goyou -- Mochizuki Tomomi (YKK, Zettai Shounen) strikes again. Episode one was excellent, with great visual and aural rhythms, outstanding voices, and a mood and story that felt adult.

Senkou no Night Raid -- I'm engrossed so far, in the feeling of early 1930s Shanghai, and in the adventures of these characters, with their varying personalities, backgrounds, and psychic powers. But ep 1 was more interesting than ep2, so ep3 may tell the tale. One continues to worry about possible Japanese propaganda, but things are okay so far.

Shoka -- Fully worth watching for the animation. But not for the story.

Uragiri wa Boku no Namae o Shitteiru (Betrayal Knows My Name) -- A promising beginning to this dark tale with shounen-ai overtones. Good voices and mood.

Working!! -- I love absurd humor, and this has it by the ton. Fukuyama Jun at his comic best as the "mini-con" protagonist, ably supported by stars such as Asumi Kana and Kamiya Hiroshi.

Yutori-chan -- The daily two-minute episodes are hit and miss, but when they hit they are hilarious. Yuuki Aoi keeps showing me why she is rising so fast.


dingmajiao said...

I too hope for the Romance of Three Kingdom to be subbed..

abandonedfactory said...

Nice to get your impressions. I guess we're entering that period, when the obviously bad shows can be set aside, but we haven't quite seen enough to sort the really great shows from the rest.

I held off on some shows that look like they have potential, thinking I'll wait until mid-season to see if people still are enjoying them.

Still, I'm loving this season. It seems there's something to see, regardless of your interests.

Panther said...

I still think this RTK anime is better suited to be seen in Chinese dubbed than Japanese.

hashi said...

@Panther -- I'd like the visual quality of the Japanese raws, with the original Chinese sound, and English subs. Am I asking too much? Lol.

Honestly, I do like the Chinese voices. Not only does the language seem right, but the voices have something to them, too. I especially like the woman playing Diao Chan.

Aaeru said...

Thanks for the post, I agree with most of your views.

A question, just wondering if the humour in Angel Beats did anything for you. I found them just as hilarious as Working!! They both have absurd humour. I definitely watch this one for the humour.

Also does anyone know if the Chinese version of Three kingdoms have been subbed into English completely and if it has, if anyone could point me in the right direction thanks.

hashi said...

@Aaeru -- I don't get the humor in Angel Beats. In fact, I don't think I realized there was any. So maybe I have to look at it from a different angle. Thanks for the clue.

I myself don't know of any English subs for the 2009 Chinese RoTK.

dingmajiao said...

i wonder if there's any chinese raw of the 2009 production..

the animated version i've watch of RoTK was the real old one, 1993 version? i think i still have the cd..

the other was souten kouro, which i had to stop because of lack of subs..

hashi said...

@dingmajiao -- Check my season preview post for a link to some streamed episodes of the 2009 Chinese version. And/or search Google Video with the Chinese name (not Japanese): 三国演义. Probably best to add 动画 (anime). There is a mix of different versions there, but I think youku has the 2009 version.

There is a torrent (one seed showing) for a full set of Chinese rmvb files on the Chinese torrent site Once again, just search for 三国演义.

I'm probably explaining more than you need, but I want others to understand, too. And if anyone can't play rmvb files, get RealPlayer or the free codec "Real Alternative."

dingmajiao said...

ah! found it on youku.. =D

ranma9037 said...

Actually,if only it attracted subber interest,I'd get into Hanakappa.With kappei and plenty of younger josei seiyuu,you can't go wrong,lapi...

hashi said...

@ranma9037 -- Oh, dear. Does this mean I rushed to judgment and should go back and watch some more of Hanakappa? The voices sounded good, but I couldn't get into what was going on in the story, in the few minutes I watched....

Anonymous said...

I actually agree with you on all of them...
But the thing is I don't relatively like shounen-ai genre at all, so I disagree with the anime's including that genre of any kind... xD
Overall :P yeah agreed ^-^