Anime Blog
Neverending New Beginnings: January 2011

15 Jan 2011

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

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Winter 2011 Anime First Impressions (Part 2)

This continues the earlier Winter 2011 anime written a week ago. This covers anime that has been aired and watched since the last entry of that post. Here, there are anime that I'm more likely to drop, looking at the content.

There was some tiny text below the title indicating a caution or warning should part of the video and/or audio (especially parts like opening, ending, and insert songs) be uploaded to places like YouTube or NicoNico Douga. What's the difference a caution and a warning? Here are some tips bases on what I've come across and actual experience, and it's related to what companies are listed in the credits and, more confusingly, be removed under the parent company of one of the listed companies or the little known full name. (Note to those who can't read Japanese: The name might be listed as plain-text Katakana/Kanji instead of the logo or romanised name, and don't expect the subs to translate that since they usually only bother with the music that's being played as it's happening.)

(By the way, I'm watching Hourou Musuko ep1 and Mahou Shojo Madoka Magika ep2 as I'm typing the first and second entry of this post)

Is this a Zombie? (これはゾンビですか?)
Caution: Kadokawa is listed in the credits
Episode 1: はい、魔装少女です (Yes, It's A Girl's Magical Clothes)
Aired on 11 January, watched on 12 January

This looks like an earlier version of the opening, because the opening animation in episode 1 is different. The music remains the same though.

It's already the beginning of the episode and the protagonist already reveals that he is a zombie, with the people around him not even realizing that. To prove that he can't die, he jumps in front of a truck to save a kitten who was crossing the road with its parent. It causes shock and confusion to witness since he is flung into the air, far away from the accident site.

Well this started when he was killed accidentally for being in a middle of a fight. Next thing he knows, he's caught in the middle of an another and was sawed into pieces. The girl who was fighting tried to fix him, but somehow mistakenly transfers her powers to him that makes her powerless. When another monster appears, he has no choice but, with the transferred powers, turn into a "magic girl". But those powers did not transform his body that gave the following impression on seeing: a pervert.

The other trailers gave me a completely different impression of the anime. How it turned out is on the negative side of shock. The character design of the main character is boring and, in the "magic girl" mode, disgusting. If I'm looking for a more serious magic girl anime in this season, that would be Madoka. I'm sticking with this for a while though, because of the interesting opening and ending, the potential to improve, and characters that have yet to appear being shown.

I Don't Like You At All, Big Brother! (お兄ちゃんのことなんかぜんぜん好きじゃないんだからねっ!!)
Aired 9 January, watched 14 January

Since the very first time I saw the character design, I have already felt my dislike towards this anime. Even when compared with Kore ha Zombie Desuka? above, the glaring main negative point is the character design: long, thin necks, odd body proportions. You might think that this is a sister-brother love like the the Autumn 2010's OreImo, but this is below average for me.

When I watched this, more glaring negative points is the opening and the first part of the first episode, though there are some serious stuff in the second half. In fact, I've even had my doubts about watching this that there's even almost a week's delay between it being aired and actually watching it.

Wandering Son (放浪息子)
Warning: Aniplex and Enterbrain are listed in the credits
Aired & Watched 14 Jan
Episode 1: おんなのこって なんでできてる? ~Roses are red, violets are blue~ (Why are Girls Able To Do It? - Roses are red, violets are blue)

This anime has the obvious watercolor-like look that oddly matches nicely, almost like a still motion and blacks are not complete blacks. However, the watercolor look seems to last throughout the whole episode, including the opening and ending credits.

This anime is about a boy and girl who are in middle school who wants to become the other gender due to circumstances. If you are looking for fanservice like that of Sora no Otoshimono or anything other than a lot of dialogue, this is not what you are looking for as it's on the opposite end of that scale. The degree of seriousness is there.

There are some scenes designs that can appear otherwise. Take the above image for example: by just looking at it, is it a dormitory or a bedroom? Well, here are the things that are telling me this:
  1. The two girls are in uniforms
  2. A double decked bed
  3. Hallway is barely visible, and the parts that could be seen is bare
  4. The boy knocked the door
There's a manga of it, but I had not read that yet. I've found a general summary of it though:
Shuicihi Nitori appears to be a shy and quiet preteen boy, when he transfers to a new school he quickly makes friends with the tomboyish Yoshino Takatsuki who sits next to him. It soon becomes apparent that both Shucihi and Yoshino are more than simply a sensitive boy and masculine girl, they both are transgendered. Together they decide to take the first steps toward becoming the people they want to be.

Wait, what? Transgendered?! Anyways, it looks like there aren't any new anime of interest until March or April, not including OVAs and movies, so that's all for now.

6 Jan 2011

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

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Winter 2011 Anime First Impressions (Part 1)

For the first time, I am writing this review as I'm watching the titles below, with the first in the Winter 2011 lineup. Season 2 of To Aru Majutsu no Index is not included in this since this is a spillover of the Autumn 2010 anime lineup.

Note: Any late night anime aired at or after midnight would be considered as early morning of the following day. Example: Tuesday 25:31 would become Wednesday 1:31am

Rio - Rainbow Gate
Episode 1: ゴッデス オブ ヴィクトリー (Goddess of Victory)
Aired on 4 January, watched and written on 5 January

The first thing that comes to mind is that the dealer, Rio is supposedly a woman who brings luck to anyone who sees her at the casinos she goes to. Then the protagonist, Mint, a young girl who carries a teddy bear around, wonders what the adults are all crazy over. She came with her grandfather to do some business and then the girl gets bored quickly and so on. This was based on several video games that feature Rio enough to have this to come out.

From the trailer, I could already tell that this is not the kind of anime I'm looking forward to watch. Elements that turn me down from the first episode are: revealing uniform of the dealers, body measurements mentioned for no particular reason (also mentioned in the preview), no built up tension leading to the villains attacking for the teddy bear, and, most importantly, scary looking eyes that make them look like in a daze. Well, this was displayed in the trailer too, but episode 1 made it more obvious.

To tell you the truth, this is so boring to watch as an anime. It's obvious that it has fan-service and no real storyline that I could see. Combine that with the character design is a sure way to have me to not pick this up after only the first part of the first episode. There was no opening in this episode. Might have been as an ending for this episode: but I'm not hanging around to watch it.

IS - Infinite Stratos
Episode 1: クラスメイトは全員女 (All of My Classmates Are Girls)
Aired, watched and written on 7 January
Warning to YT-uppers: MediaFactory, TBS, & Sony Music Communications are listed in the credits

An opening scene
What better way to break away from the typical birds chirping or happy music (or a flash forward to a time around where the series would end) to start a new anime series than to have going straight to the action of what the anime is about? Well, actually, my focus of where the anime started is after the opening theme. It's on the first day of school, after the entrance ceremony. As you can see from the trailers, most of the scenes are from the first episode, like what I'm describing below appearing around 6 seconds into the trailer above.

Orimura Ichika has just been admitted into an IS academy, and is the only male in the entire world who can operate those exoskeleton machines. Since the very beginning, most of the girls are already interested in him for reasons that are various and unknown. Well, it's a girl's natural reaction of wanting to attract guys.

They are both eating the same kind of food
This episode focuses on him and his childhood friend Houki Shinonono who was from the same Primary/Grade school since year one up to year 4 and were both in the kendo club. Ichika doesn't seems to remember what happens after that year, and Houki seems to have some kind of a mixture of love and hate towards him. What's even more shocking is that they both share the same dorm room. Whether we see this relationship go downhill or not, it's still to early to tell.

It's interesting that the voice actors of (Houki & ED singer) and (Cecilia Alcott; girl with blonde hair) are involved. Background character and landscape design are among the best I've seen since K-On season 2 (Somehow, I don't feel the same for Index/Railgun). Yes, though insignificant, background details, even for unimportant characters, does create the atmosphere of the place. Scarily, the technology and architecture of the academy (including the dorm) is almost something of what I had in mind of Mihara Academy in my novels on my main blog. I've never had any actual drawings of it, so I can't complain about it. There's that odd feeling of possibility that there are some relationship with this anime and Strike Witches in terms of character design.

Yumekui Merry
Episode 1: 夢現 (Half asleep and half awake)
Aired 7 January, watched and written 8 January

First opinion: Watched it for a few minutes, but could see that this isn't something I could watch. The part just after the opening was just so absurd seeing talking cats chasing a man. I don't want to watch this.

Second opinion: Well, watching this again after Madoka, Gosick, plus the above trailer, it does make me change my opinion a bit. It's not as bad as what I thought it might have been that I might continuing watching more to see if it interests me more. Still, I'm not a fan of talking animals that can walk on two feet and talk like a human.

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magika
Episode 1: 夢の中で会った、ような・・・・・ (Met in a Dream, or something like that....)
Aired 7 January, watched and written on 8 January
Warning to YT-uppers: Aniplex is listed in the credits

Well there are two things I want to talk about first: there are too many anime that has "Mahou Shoujo" in the title that I kept confusing it with Nanoha. Another thing is that, if you have been reading my past reviews, since at least around when I talked about Bakemonogatari (Summer 2009), you might have seen me complaining about how the animation studio, SHAFT, has been using unnecessary effects that kind of spoils the anime, but this one looks quite good. I heard that the character designer who did Hidamari Sketch is involved with that of this anime too.

(Sometimes I wonder if this is a misinterpretation of ゴシック, which means "Gothic")
Episode 1: 黒い死神は金色の妖精を見つける (The Black Reaper Has Found a Golden Elf)
Aired and watched on 8 January, written 9 January

This anime takes place in the early 20th century of a fictitious country in Europe (don't remember the name) where horse carriages are still mixed with automobiles, but still not used to visitors from places far enough to be very noticeably different from what they are used to.

The protagonist is from Japan on a cultural exchange program in a large academy. The people around him there called him the black death god because nobody else there has black hair. While researching in the library tower, he saw something bright from near the roof. After a long climb up, he finds a botanical garden and a strange girl who could see facts that are otherwise not known or faked.