Saturday, July 10, 2010

Summer 2010 Anime -- First Impressions of 16 Anime, One Episode In

First impressions of most of the new anime (in alphabetical order). My early favorites in red. For more details (and my pre-season expectations), check this preview post written three weeks ago.

Amagami SS -- The same kind of shounen/seinen romantic comedy as KimiKiss. Sharp portraits of interesting characters, some of whom are in love. Shippers ahoy!

Asobi ni Iku yo! -- Charming little cat-eared-alien-in-the-hero's-bed comedy, with some nice performances, a good look, a minimum of silliness, and strong intrigue in the background.

Black Lagoon: Roberta's Blood Trail -- More of the world-weariness and choreographed violence of the original series. Highly enjoyable, despite or because of the otaku-pandering of a killing machine in a maid's outfit. The first episode of a five-episode OVA.

Densetsu no Yuusha no Densetsu -- An promising fantasy quest tale. The first episode felt slow, but there was clearly something there, and episode two got moving.

Highschool of the Dead -- With its combination of horror, gore, and pantsu, it has earned sudden popularity both in Japan and abroad. The characters seemed insubstantial to me, as if there was no actual thinking going on inside them, but there is no denying the power of the great production values, the speedy pace, the horrific situations -- and the pantsu and gore.

Kure-nai OVA -- Disappointing. Had none of the human depth of the original series, just a modicum of action, reintroduction of the characters, good voice-acting, and a bit of swimsuit fanservice. I did like the new character designs, which are closer to the original novel illustrations.

Kuroshitsuji 2 -- Was season one as enjoyable as this? I gave up on that after a couple of episodes, but this time the arcane plot and characters, and a bit of 18th-century cruelty, kept my attention fixed. May become a favorite -- although episode 2 wasn't as enjoyable as episode 1.

Mitsudomoe -- I liked what I read of the manga, but this left me cold. All I saw was nastiness, not humor or charm. But others liked it. Maybe I just don't like the style of the staff, which also made Minami-ke. It seems crass and slow to me. Sense of humor is a subtle thing.

Nurarihyon no Mago -- The story and direction seemed a bit awkward, but we got the set-up and some good characters and voices. Hirano Aya and Horie Yui were both good. Excellent ED by Hirano, Horie, and Maeda Ai.

Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi -- Enjoyable simple comedy with good animation and looong legs. But not something I will keep on with.

Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin -- This looks like a surprise hit for the Anime no Chikara series. Funny and well-animated, with a desperate underlying plot involving time-travel, interesting monsters, and the end of the world. Good work from Hikasa Youko and Takagaki Ayahi, and from Koyasu Takehito in a bit part. Outstanding singing by Ayahi in the ED.

Seitokai Yakuindomo -- I loved this, and thought it animated very well the dry, absurd, somewhat raunchy humor of the comic strip. Some other people didn't see any humor here at all. Humor is indeed a subtle thing. Hikasa Youko, Yahagi Sayuri, and Asanuma Shintarou are all good.

Sekirei - Pure Engagement -- More of the same things that made the original series a hit: mammary moe, some good harem comedy, and the promise of dramatic fights.

Shiki -- Low-key but promising start. Brightened up a bit from the manga, but without losing the look. Confusing, with its many characters -- but less confusing than the manga. Excellent visual direction. Excellent OP and ED.

Shukufuku no Campanella -- So sweet it could be made of cotton candy. A fantasy city populated entirely by nice people, many of them pretty young girls. Moe to the max. I enjoyed episodes one and two.

Strike Witches 2 -- I didn't quite..make it...through....all of.....episode one, zzzzz. Nice pantsu, but this show doesn't do it for me. If you liked season one, you will like season two.

There's nothing here I think is awful. Though nothing seems outstanding so far, just about every show is watchable, depending on your genre preferences.


Cosign said...

Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin - I don't know how to like this show. What do you find enjoyable in it?

Seitokai Yakuindomo - I wish I can understand the humour in this. Something is not clicking in me. I don't read 4-koma comedy. Is this an acquired taste?

Really cool write-up. Thanks

Anonymous said...

There are people that don't find SeiYaku funny? It's just so absurd and it comes completely out of left field that it's hilarious.

I think High School of the Dead could do without the pantsu though. I think people just like the violence.

I agree that there's not much "outstanding" this season. Kinda disappointed.

hashi said...

@Cosign -- There are several good things about Occult Gakuin. First is the situation, involving time travel and some kind of threat to the world. It sits there behind the comic surface. And behind the story of the girl coming to her father's school, after not seeing him for a long time, but not to reunite with him, to destroy his work. So there are layers of interest, and unexpected contradictions.

And she is an interesting character, proclaiming that the occult is all bunk, while knowing a lot about it and actually seeing it before her eyes. Her tsuntsun confidence is interesting, too, especially in light of her being knocked off balance a couple of times in the show, especially in the last scene.

And the way the show doesn't take itself seriously, serious as the underlying events are, is interesting. Some of the humor is good, such as when glasses girl is possessed (well drawn), and still cares about getting her face marked, even while in that state.

The seiyuu work is good, with interesting and memorable voices. And the drawing and animation are good.

As for Seitokai Yakuindomo, as anonymous said, the humor is mainly in the absurdity and unexpectedness. The fact that many jokes are off-colour, and in unexpected ways, increases the impact. In addition, I like the rhythm of the show. It just has a good feel to me.

And HIkasa Youko (Shino) and Yahagi Sayuri (Suzu) are particularly good, I think. oHagi's "Doooo?" when she is saying how great she is is hilarious, for me. And Hyocchi does a good "umu." Hyocchi (Hikasa Youko) stars in both these shows, as it turns out.

Other shows based on 4koma comic strips are Lucky Star and Seitokai no Ichizon. How did you feel about those? This show stays closer in rhythms to its 4koma roots, though, than either of those, it seems to me.

RFayt said...

Maybe I'll give Occult a try too after seeing this XD~

Yakuindomo - Didnt really like it after the first episode... I had good laughs with Seitokai no Ichizon, but this one.. just doesnt strike with me...

Best show currently for me is definately Amagami SS, which is unexpected... as i only went into it for the VAs. Came out getting the PS2 game, and enjoying every moment of it.... except Haruka >_<....

Nanasaki ! <3<3<3

Cosign said...

Okay now I am with you. Yeah I did find the main character girl to behave unexpectedly at every turn.

Some part of me must have wanted THIS Seitokai to be packaged exactly the same way as Seitokai no Ichizon. I feel like it just flows better so it's easier to consume.

I am going to give both these shows another try.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that you need a smart director to make comedy work, especially if the jokes are not for everyone.

A string of jokes inserted one after another is poor effort. It's too bad since the rest of the Seitokai production is actually quite decent, with some creative cinematography and good art/color design.

Amagami SS is the definition of mediocrity. Boring storyboards, plain animation (contrast this with the outstanding key animation on Seitokai 01 and Ookami-san 01+02), bland color palette, predictable script and event planning.....on the part of the staff, little passion went into designing this series. However, they know this sells on the basis of the girls, so character quirks are faithfully recreated. It'll do fine with the target audience, but the production is nevertheless an example of what's wrong with the anime industry.

No complaints about Occult Academy here. The first episode is very well done. Seishi Minakami is a great writer, and I hope he has a solid scenario in store for us.