Anime Blog
Neverending New Beginnings: August 2010

9 Aug 2010

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

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Mid-Summer 2010 Review

To put it simply, this is my review of the Summer anime that survived the filtering of what I would had watched and the latter half of 24-episode Spring anime. For the summer ones, I am review them from the point of knowing more than what I didn't know at the beginning and watched it long enough to know the direction it's taking. For anime that I might drop in the near future, this would at least serve as to how I found it to be like before it happened instead of just tweeting it and not get noticed or just quietly remove it. Doing a review at the end of Summer instead (beginning of Autumn actually) means that I might not recall it accurately since I don't have reference material for it as I might dropped because of something persistent that I didn't like or something I was hoping would happen not happening.

Light Music (season 2)
Japanese name: けいおん!!
Characters: Very good, but background characters are strangely better
Background Detail: Very good, people and items are not lazily simplified/omitted and there's action even though the focus is elsewhere. Lacks people walking around, but there is interaction between the main character and a non-primary/secondary character.
How clear does it look in 720p?: Very good, 1080p + the above
Status: Watching

Well, I'm sure everyone knows what this is about or at least how popular it is, so I'm skipping the background story.

I'm glad that they paid more attention to the minor characters and explore more perspectives that were absent in the first season. For the first season, they squeezed two academic years into 12 episodes, but for the second season, it was the third year spread over 24 episodes, a 4x increase. What I'm disappointed is the lack of new songs (though Angel Beats that was airing during the first half was an overkill), and... how good the background characters are over the main characters themselves. What we have yet to see is Yui and the others graduating or performing at the Budokan, though we did see that happening at other places or to other people.

Just to add on, the opening and ending animation for the second half of this season was among one of the best I have ever seen since the 2006 airing of Haruhi Suzumiya. Those in-between seem to lack the X-factor even though they can be visually quite good. Also, visual-wise, I've never seen other anime that are at that level.

Okami and Her Seven Companions (Top image too)
Japanese Name: おおかみさんと七人の仲間たち
Characters: What's with the bizarre character designs and personalities? Why does every heroine in anime by JC Staff/Genco look like Aisaka Taiga?
Background Detail: Good, almost the same as K-on season 1. They do detail posters and bookshelves, but the wordings on them are not.
How clear does it look in 720p?: Not good, appears upscaled. Does all anime produced by JC Staff look like this too? Even the BD versions of anime released by them (eg. Railgun) seem to lack something, like contrast levels.
Status: Watching, but thinking of dropping

So, next up is "Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi" that I'm not exactly sure what it's about.

In the first scene of the first episode, we see someone being confronted by... er... what? Who would wear that? And then there's... the annoying narration who is voiced by the same person as the annoying Kuruko of "To Aru Majutsu/Kagaku no Index/Railgun" (another JC Staff produced anime). To add that, we have a shy guy with long bangs hiding in the shadows and abruptly confesses to... her. Then there's a one-sided loving couple, a crossdresser, and a useless magician.

To add on to the bizarreness they put on (ugly) costumes and attack students of a rowdy school just to meet the student council president that was just elected. We see a flashback of a heroine during a particular summer that looks a lot different than her current self. Another flashback scene shown was her being toured and bullied by classmates. It's not known when that was, but she did transfer out to where she met the little red hood . She mentioned that they were in the same class since middle school.

This is too generic mixed with things that I'm tired of seeing. Let's drop this: I don't want to waste time with it hoping what I was expecting that doesn't seem that it might happen. Also, must they put "Ookami-san" in every episode title?

End-of-Century Occult Institute
Japanese Name: 世紀末オカルト学院
Characters: It's worse than Ookami-san above in terms of design that I have ever seen for a post-2005 anime.
Background Detail: Better than K-on actually, but lacks that warm and fuzzy feeling
How clear does it look in 720p?: Quite good. Somewhere between the above two anime mentioned above
Status: Watching, but I'm not sure if I will

Occult Academy is the 3rd anime under TV Tokyo's アニメノチカラ (The Power of Anime) collaborating with people to produce anime originals that have no prior basis on light/visual novels, manga, video games or drama. I think of it as something similar to Fuji TV's ノイタミナ ("Animation" written backwards). Past shows under the Animenochikara brand include Sora no Maninami and Senkou no Night Raid, which, I've both dropped for different reasons.

The anime begins with Maya (heroine; pictured) to attend the funeral of her father that she's not really close with at an academy he founded that is obsessed with the occult, as showed by the "this is a waste of time" look on her face. It should be noted that Hisaka Youko, who voices Maya, also voices Mio of K-On and Shino of Setokai Yakuin-domo too.

After the above, the storyline starts off with some guy who literally came from the sky, well, the 13 years in the future, and tries to stop the things that are happening in the future. Recent episode seems to add in some filters and stray off from what it seem would happen at the beginning. It's hard to watch this with character design that are... err, different from what I'm used to.

Student Council Staff Members
Japanese Name: 生徒会役員共
Characters: Girls that have dirty thoughts in their minds.
Background Detail: Almost at par with K-On season two actually. You could see words on posters in the background, nice background characters to make up the atmosphere. Well, look at the second image in this section.
How clear does it look in 720p?: Appears upscaled too, as visible with the stack of papers in episode 3, but background details make up for it
Status: Watching. Despite the themes featured, I don't find it disturbing unlike certain people

The school Seitokai Yakuin-domo takes place in Ousai Gakuen, which is a former all-girls school that has recently become co-ed. Despite that, the population of male students there is still a handful that Tsuda's (protagonist; that tiny dot in the center middle in the sea of girls on the right image) class only has 2 boys, including himself and, during events like end-of-semester ceremony in episode 6, you can still see that more than 90% of the school population are females. Tsuda chose it only because it's close to where he lives. His sister is planning on joining that school too in the following year.

On the first day, he is unnecessarily stopped by Shino (left of first image), a member of the student council, and held him there long enough until the chime of the first lesson. To "make up for it", she asks him to join the student council as the male representative.

Since it's a slice-of-life genre like K-On and have not read the manga it's based on, there's not much I can say about it in term of storyline. Also, I find this way better than Seitokai no Ichizon of Autumn 2009

Japanese name: アマガミ
Characters: ... a little better than Ookami-san, i guess
Background detail: Building structures are detailed, but not books or posters
How Clear Does it Look in 720p?: Not bad, but background and character designs
Status: Watching. It "resets" with another girl every 4 episodes, so it's annoying to see the same thing again

Amagami is based a visual novel where the protagonist would choose one of the six girls from his school, including his own younger sister, and try to win their heart.The story is repeats itself after every 4 episodes, but with a different girl and with very noticeable patterns:
  1. Waited on a Christmas night 2 years ago for a girl, but she didn't show up
  2. Just as he's about to give up the girl he will get along for the next 4 episodes would show up
  3. Protagonist did something to make the girl fall in love in him
  4. Some talk among other girls
  5. At some quiet corner, the girl would offer the protagonist to lick her belly (Erm, what?)
  6. Some talk among other characters again
  7. Relationship reaches climax around christmas
  8. Time forwards by 10 years where they are apparently married
  9. back to point 1, but with a different girl
Well, this is the pattern it seems to be taking after 6 episodes. It reminds me of "Endless Eight" episodes in Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu. Number of girls (6) + number of episodes focused on each girl  (4) = 24 episodes, so with season 2 of Index coming up in autumn, I don't think I would watch all the way until the end of the year.

Well, that's all that I had picked up for the summer season, with the rest being already dropped or never picked up, including "High Shool of the Dead" during mid-June you might have seen on my anime watch list before then.

Looking at the upcoming list of autumn anime, I can already see that there would be a large amount that I won't pick up, but I would look at the trailers and the first few episodes to be sure. To end this post, here's a hint of the latest anime episode episode I am at time of publishing.

Hint: No words were spoken in this scene