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.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Seiyuu Video: Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou (Toyosaki Aki, Yuuki Aoi, Hikasa Youko)

Here is a promotional video showing the three main female seiyuus from Ichiban Ushiro no Dai Maou talking about the show and their characters:

Toyosaki Aki (left) talks about her character, red-haired Soga Keena, being  a magician who can make herself invisible, but has to take off all her clothes to do it. She calls her a "forest girl."

Yuuki Aoi (center) describes her character Korone, saying that she is an android with a little tail that is her on-off switch, and says that when the tail is pulled she makes a sound. The other two seiyuu laugh when she makes the sound, because she makes a very neutral sound quite unlike the sexy sound she makes in the anime, and which young Ao-chan apparently had a lot of trouble learning to make.

Hikasa Youko (right), who was Mio in K-On, says her character, Hattori Junko, is easily embarrassed, and speaks like a man.

These three also do the show's radio program together.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hirano Aya: I'm Not Getting Married

Now Aya herself has directly denied any plans for marriage, writing in her blog. She apologizes for acting so confusingly, but jokes: "Didn't I say that I didn't want to get married?"

And so she did. I myself posted here in March 2007 that she said on the Sumomomo radio show that she had long decided not to marry, that it imposed too many restrictions, and that if it came to that she would just live with someone. I wouldn't take that statement totally seriously, but she said it and remembered it, so it counts for something.

Aya joked today: "Please understand that I want to be able to have cold feet right up until I announce it myself on the blog. Lol. Amazing."


Hirano Aya -- More Friends, No Marriage

Today on Aya's blog, she has another pic of herself at dinner with friends. And elsewhere, both her agency and her friend Sasaki Nozomi deny she is married.

This time, she was eating with two of her co-stars on Jewelpet, Sasaki Nozomi, and Saitou Ayaka, perhaps along with some unmentioned staff or managers:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Hakuouki -- Characters and Seiyuus

A samurai reverse harem anime? Yes, and a good one, so far. A real story, involving the Shinsengumi. Good animation and backgrounds. Some action. Characters with presence. A heroine played by Kuwashima Houko. Heroes played by Shinichirou Miki, Morikubo Showtarou, Toriumi Kousuke, Yoshino Hiroyuki, Ohkawa Tohru, and others.

About the only thing I find wrong with it is the difficulty of keeping all the names and faces straight.

So I've made a characters/seiyuus page with pics of all the main characters (the thirteen whose pics are on the official site) and their seiyuus, with a bit of info about each seiyuu. Click here or on the image to go to the full page.

"Hirano Aya Married!?" Commotion on 2channel

The presence of a ring on the ring finger of Hirano Aya's left hand has sent her 2channel threads into a tizzy of congratulation and slander.

I myself didn't notice the ring in the picture I posted earlier of Aya with Sasaki Nozomi:

On 2channel, her supporters are congratulating her or expressing sadness that she is taken. And her haters are laughing at her supporters for having her taken away, and also rolling out their constant put-downs of her appearance and talent and wishes that would "just die."

It is a truism of the Japanese entertainment world -- of the seiyuu world in particular -- that when a seiyuu is known to be married, he or she loses fans and work.

But before we and 2channel all get too excited, I should caution you that this has happened before. Rumors of a relationship with Taniyama Kishou had a brief vogue. And she has worn a ring on her ring finger before. For instance in a photo from February 2008:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Yuuki Aoi -- Role of Mina Tepes "The Pride of My Life"

At Sunday's open recording session for the last episode of Radio in the Vampire Bund, Yuuki Aoi broke down and cried.

She says in her blog that she felt so bereft that it was all over: the radio show and the anime itself. She says she loved them both, in particular working with Saitou Chiwa.

She calls the role of Mina "the pride of my life," and says she was pushed to "hone my soul" in getting into the character and conveying her feelings in words.

Here is a translation of the blog post:

Today was the open recording session of Radio in the Vampire Bund,
and the final episode of the show (>_<) who were in attendance will already know this, but...
I ended up crying at the event...
I'm very sorry (>_<)
But seeing the end of something I had given my all to...
I just felt so bereft.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hirano Aya and Sasaki Nozomi Have a "Leisurely" Dinner Together

In both their blogs, Hirano Aya (left) and Sasaki Nozomi have reports of going out to dinner together last week.

Nozomi says they talked and talked and still had more to say. She says they were laughing two minutes out of three, and she was surprised when she realized that three hours passed.

Aaya says that they have been regulars in shows together for a long time -- in Jewelpet now for over a year and before that in Lucky Star -- and she was happy to finally go out for a meal together.

I'm reading fine entrails here, but it makes me glad that Aaya is spending time with someone new, laughing and having what Nozomi called a "leisurely" meal.

Personally, from what I think I know of them both, it seems to me that the relaxed and sociable Nozomi would be good for the tense and driven Aaya.

As for what they ate, Nozomi includes a picture of a green salad in her blog post.