Anime Blog
Neverending New Beginnings: Winter 2011 Anime First Impressions (Part 1)

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.