Anime Blog
Neverending New Beginnings: April 2011

18 Apr 2011

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

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Spring 2011 Anime Preview - Part 3

Note: Since writing part 2, I've dropped Sket Dance as of episode 2. Clearly it's not something I would continue watching, especially with many other, better, anime.

The World God Only Knows 2

Well, after dropping the first season, and only watched it casually again later on, it seemed fitting that I would watch the second season casually too. Some of the reason for not picking it up regularly is probably the same as not picking it up at all, except the part of having an interesting plot.

The main reason for not picking it up is the it's-neither-good-nor-bad character design, Elise being so annoying, and a change of route every one or two episodes (this also applies to Sket Dance, which I've just dropped), and maybe the Austin Powers-like main character design.

Electromagnetic Girl and a Teenage Boy
(Warning: You might find the opening a pain to your ears.)

If you weren't paying attention to the credits, you probably wouldn't think that this is another SHAFT anime due to the obvious lack of their signature strange style of theirs, and Maria Holic Alive that they too produced also being in this season's lineup. The protagonist's aunt looked somewhat like Kawashima Ami of Toradora (Autumn 2008).

This episode is just mostly an introduction. Protagonist moves from the countryside and into the city, a lot of conversation over the dinner table, and nothing new here. What is the strange one is an unnoticed girl lying around in the house, wrapped most of her body around in a futon for most of the episode. Oddly, she doesn't want the the futon externally tied around her to be removed, until close to the end of the episode where we get to see her for the first time outside that futon as if a butterfly has hatched out of the cocoon as she was pretty and instantly mature, which is the last you would expect from a largely ignored girl who was previously only seen wrapped in a futon and behaving childishly.

Well, I'm hoping that it wouldn't take a turn for the worse. I can't really compare this with other anime made by SHAFT.

We Still Do Not Know the Name of the Flower We Saw that Day.

Well, I don't really like anime that feature a group of primary (elementary) school kids partly because of my own history during those days, or their older selves looking back, how people have changed, and how something happened to one of them. I would probably need to watch again to get what's going on. I only picked it up because of the ending theme below, or maybe something about one of the preview trailers.

This video seemed to lack animation as only the song and the credits are displayed in the closing minutes of the episode, and only parts of this video was used for the ad of the ending song album.

[C] The Money of Soul and Possibility Control

So, this anime starts with a salaryman trying to use all the cards he has on an ATM, but all failed. His very last one would give him all the money he wants and access to the surreal Financial District, but on the condition of exchanging it for his life.

I really don't get what's going on, but it seems to have that same atmosphere that Death Note (Autumn 2006) has. It's certainly more interesting to watch than Aria mentioned below. Also, it's rare for an anime where the protagonist is not in High School (college in this case), which most anime seems to be based on these days.

Aria the Scarlet Ammo

Watched a bit of it only because it was one of the titles I wrote down while looking at the previews of all the spring anime and I don't know what I had just watched. Guns? Bombs? Machine gun-mounted segways that moves by itself? Also, the level of male-orientated fanservice makes me feel uneasy and disgusted.

Sorry to say, I don't want to write much about this. Unless you are a guy that likes pretty girls with guns and in combat, I wouldn't want to even mention this anime.

To sum it up, this spring season offers plentiful amount of new anime that meets that standard of giving me a warm, fuzzy feeling, wanting to watch more, and quite good character and background design. Detail is not important as you could see that I'm watching Nichijou (least detailed BG, happy-go-lucky lifestyle), and Hanasaku Iroha (most detailed BG, goes through hardships) at the same time. This is the first time in a long while that I've seen so many good anime. Spring and Autumn are the usual season when this happens.

Will we see another time like this? There's a likely chance there won't be, at least, among the well known names we know now: the recent Touhoku Earthquake on top of the already strained economy, some of the screenwriters passing on, amongst other unpredictable reasons.

Well, let's savior it while it lasts.

10 Apr 2011

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

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Spring 2011 Anime Preview - Part 2

Here's the second part of the Spring anime, covering the second week of April. I'll promise you that it will be longer than part 1.


The story follows a man called Okabe, who calls himself a Mad Scientist. He attends a meeting in a building near Akihabara for a conference discussing the theories of time travel.

He was soon brought out and questioned by a lady (Kurisu Makise) he has never met before, questioning what he had wanted to tell her, but he is sure he he was elsewhere at the time she claimed to have met him.

Not long afterwards, Makise was found dead, and there's a satelite crashed into the building he was in. What's even stranger was that he was told that the lecturer of the meeting he attended never turned up, puzzling him further on what just happened.

At his base, he talks to the TV with an image of an Llama with a human face, use a space gun-like remote control, and mobile phone operated microwave oven. It's funny to see his reaction when the TV broke and thinks that somebody has been sabotaging his "equipment" and sent it to be repaired. It's a bulky CRT TV, so it is troublesome to carry.

Back at the base again, he noticed that his friend never talked about a message he sent to him. On being asked, he said that the message was sent days earlier. Something strange is happening. What's even stranger was that Kurisu Makise is somehow alive again, despite Okabe seeing her lying on the floor lifelessly in a pool of her own blood. Looks like some time traveling is involved.

"If these two are images of the same woman, and the left image taking place earlier than on the right, how is this possible?"

Sket Dance

(Audio only; A company listed in this anime's credits might remove the video version via content ID)

Every aspect of the anime seems as if the odd mix of Setokai Yakuindomo (Summer 2010) and Bleach (Autumn 2004; ongoing) were mixed together, but it has that energetic, feel good feeling.

Sket Dance follows the misadvantures of the Campus Support Group, which solve problems brought to them by students and staff, along with the abilities of its members

Although not as obvious as A-channel or Nichijou, this is an another slice-of-life anime with no real plot. It seems that every episode might have a new client. The first episode got me confused as it focused on the said client instead of the group: I actually thought that he would actually join the team.

Members of the group: Bossun (lying down), Himeko (reading magazine), Switch (with computer)

Maria Holic Alive
まりあ†ほりっく あらいぶ

Knowing SHAFT, this opening can't be the one you will be seeing for the rest of the season. There's this song, the old-school music, oddly huge typeface size, and the animation in this opening itself appearing to be a summary of what happened in the first season back in Winter 2009.

Still in Amenokiseki Academy, Kanako still nosebleeds on thinking too much of girls, although she's a girl herself. I didn't liked the first season and wanted to see if this was better, but it seems to be the same. Looking at the other titles, I would say that this would be the first title to drop.


Well, this is that other anime by Studio Gogumi that supposedly competes with KyoAni's (Kyoto Animation) Nichijou that is also in the Spring lineup (see part 1). Studio Gogumi is so relatively new that the only other anime you could search is the OVA of Koe de Oshigoto from last year. On closer look, you would notice that most of the staff are the same people form GONZO who worked on Saki (Spring 2009). GONZO has been in the news around 2009 for having financial problems.


The opening seemed warm when compared to Nichijou, which is energetic.

Characters from left: Nagi, Yuko, Toru, Run

Being one of the few anime with character design meeting my standard, here's an another slice-of-life anime to enjoy. It looks like there might be some yuri involved, especially when Yuuko and Toru are in the same scene like Toru whacking Yuko's breast (twice in this episode) because she's so jealous about its size, though poor Yuko herself doesn't seem to know about it. Toru is so fond of Run that dates back from before Run had met Nagi and Yuko, that she whacks anyone else in the way, including Run's male friends.

Seemingly out of nowhere, there's an insert song not long before the ending theme that wouldn't look out of place as the final scene in the final episode, but this is the first episode and there's a scene between this and the ending theme.

That's all for part 2. Part 3 would cover anime airing soon, which looks likes there's another 5 more anime that I would be interested in that would stretch for an another week.

FYI, episode 2 of Nichijou just aired.

9 Apr 2011

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

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End-Winter 2011 Anime Review

The Winter season has ended, and the first episode of the first Spring anime has begun, but the Tohoku Earthquake (officially named as "Great Eastern Japan Earthquake Disaster" or 東日本大震災) has disrupted. As of the time of writing, people living in the tsunami-hit areas and the radioactive treat from the damaged Fukushima No.1 nuclear reactor plant still have yet-to-resolve issues. In case you know nothing about radiation, there's radiation everywhere. Current radiation levels in Tokyo is lower that that of other major cities in the world.

I'm not here to talk about the new Spring season, but how the Winter season has been. I have to say that this is the most disappointing lineup ever, but let's cover it to at least say how bad it was.

Oh, before I continue on here's a list from the winter season that I've mentioned in the two parts of the First Impressions posts that I never picked up:

  • Rio - Rainbow Gate
  • 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!!)
  • Is This a Zombie? (これはゾンビですか?) → reason

Kind of short isn't it? Well, it doesn't include ones I've never mentioned, like the second season of 君に届け (To You). Anyways, here are the anime I'm featuring in this post:

Infinite Stratos
IS <インフィニット・ストラトス>

At first, it seemed like one of the best anime for the season. The layout, as my thoughts at the first few episodes, was eerily almost similar to what I had in mind for a location of one of my novels in terms of the technologies and facilities of the school.

Looking back, I don't remember what this anime is about at the top of my head besides harem, fighting with seemingly incomplete machines, some arguments. Well, men may like this, but not me. I'm more of having anime with serious storyline, and the occasional slice-of-life ones. Suddenly, anime from 2006 and earlier seems visually dated now.

I never liked this typical common thing where the character would go "it's the summer vacation! Let's buy swimsuits and head to the beach/sea!" or something like that. Sadly, even the good anime I had watched has that thing too. What is making the difference is this:
  • Someone disappears and/or got killed, most likely with thunderstorm too
  • Nothing happened. The beach just happens to be nearby.
  • Camera angles focuses a lot of the girl's swimsuits and them playing around
If you had read my review of Nichijou in Part 1 of the Spring 2011 preview and were wondering what I was talking about, here's why:

You can see that there's not much to look at.

Wondering Son

It was one of the few titles that I've never thought of picking up with its low profile and if it weren't for being in Fuji TV's noitaminA slot.

The theme surrounds around gender-bending subjects of a middle school boy (Nitori) and cross-dresses frequently after school, but it does raises topics like gender equality. If you are looking for erotic things that most anime based on this theme like Kämpfer (Autumn 2009) and To Love-ru (Spring 2008), you would be disappointed as there aren't any. Rather, it leans towards the side of being serious to the point that they actually want to be turned into the opposite sex. Though nothing as extreme as Kashimashi (Winter 2006).

Character and scenic colouring seemed like watercolour with soft colours that somehow matches the theme of this anime, but the contrast is too bright. Character design is okay, but not enough to be popular.

Well, let's end this with a live performance of the ending theme song.

A Specific Prohibited Catalog of Magic - 2
(Autumn 2010, 24 episodes)

This review only covers the later 12 episodes, and the anime as a whole. Please refer to the end-Autumn post for the first 12. Some of my opinion of this, and the 2nd OP video, is already written in an another post.

With influence from its more recent Railgun spin-off, character design are improved, Uiharu having more appearances that she actually speaks in (Saten only appear in its DVD special), and winter uniforms you would actually see them wearing. There are also rumors of a Railgun2 and Index3, along with the person directing this series since Index1 having left/sacked or something recently. I don't know what this means or if I should be happy/sad about it.
Still sticking to the same format, the later part still suffers from having too many episodes fighting with some nuns or priests. The pace is too slow too.
Which is more exciting to watch? A young man that has no abilities except blocking even the most powerful magic with his right hand, or a girl who has the most powerful eletric-based attack ever? Oh, and how useful and annoying their partners are too.

Puella Magi Madoka Magica

It's not everyday that you see a magical girl themed anime to have this scary and dark feeling, or ending the series on a sad note. Produced by Shaft, the usual traits that are included with all the other anime produced by them are obvious. I'm tired of describing what they are, so I'm not saying them. To name a few, they are Natsu no Arashi, and Maria Holic. I've never watched much of Arakawa Under the Bridge or Sorede Machi wa Mawatte iru, so I can't say if they were good from after where I dropped it. In general, I don't really like most of the anime produced by them. Also, they have this trend to add horizontal bars (usually plain black) in an already widescreen aspect ratio for a prolonged length of time.

That aside, this anime has a level of seriousness and sadness that stands out in a good way, but it's hard not to mention the "unique" style that SHAFT has added to all the anime produced by them because they add things that are visually distracting and annoying. Bakemonogatari, also produced by them is a good anime, but you could say that they ruined it.

Plot and story-wise, it's actually quite good. As of the time of writing, I didn't get to watch episode 12 due to the numerous news coverage relating to the recent 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Tohoku region and its chain reactions around when episode 11 was being aired. The schedule says that the delayed episode should have aired on April 6, but I haven't been able to watch it. It eats into the schedule of the Spring anime.

I could have higher opinion if I could follow the heavy storyline in the latter episodes and the oddities of the production studio that made it.

To reflect the sadness in the anime, here's a piano version of the opening by a skilled pianist:

Well, the winter season didn't have much new anime interesting enough to have me looking forward to. Among which, this winter season and the previous autumn season don't have total regular episodes to be about 24. Index2 was an exception, but as I said before, it was a disappointment. Hourou Musuko (放浪息子) is the only one I had look forward to a newer episode in the following week, which I had not even though of picking it up until it started airing.

8 Apr 2011

Posted by

Haruka Takahashi

Labels : , ,

Spring 2011 Anime Preview - Part 1

(Note: Due to the earthquake that happened while typing on 7 April, it's not known how this would affect the already-affected schedule from the 11 March earthquake.)

This year's Spring line-up offers more interesting choices than before for quite a while. Spring and autumn seasons are when these usually happen. Due to the intensive news coverage earthquake in Touhoku and its resulting tsunami, the schedule of some has been changed around, most commonly by a week. Anime like Moshidora, a winter anime originally scheduled in late-march, is pushed to a month later.Its OP/ED CD releases, due early April, seems unchanged.


Produced by Kyoto Animation, the same studio that produced anime like K-On and Lucky Star, this anime gives me this warm fuzzy feeling that I've never felt for quite a while. Something most anime I've watched lately seem to lack a lot.


As with most anime made by them, the opening and ending themes are so good that it makes you want to watch it over and over again. This has the x-factor that most anime I've watched lately seem lack, especially the ending where there's only a static image that zooms (High School of the Dead; Summer 2011), scroll (Durarara!!; Winter 2010), or the characters running without moving or changing scenery (Infinite Stratos; Winter 2011).

There seems to have an another anime in the spring line-up, A-channel, is said to be of the same genre as Nichijou, but better. It's still to early to tell though.

Oh, before I forget here's the ending:

Fundamentals of Blooming

This is an anime original produced by PA Works to celebrate their 10th aniversary.
The story surrounds a girl called Matsumae Ohana (松前 緒花) in Tokyo who is tired of living in the city. Her mother doesn't seem to care for her and has found a new boyfriend. Ohana too doesn't know her other relatives as her mother never introduces them. With this, she moves to her grandmother's place in the countryside that, upon arriving, finds out that it is a large Ryoukan built in the Taisho era.

A surprise thrown to her is that her grandmother saying that she is "a product of that ungreatful child" and having to work right away. She meets up with the other people working there, including her uncle.

The background of a broken family is something serious, especially from the child's point of view. Being an original, there are no references to say what will happen next. I will stick around to watch it.

Most anime with potential intense atmosphere have the opening moved to the very end, with the actual ending animation not appearing. This can happen in certain episodes (usually the first and 2nd last) of that anime.

Well, this is shorter than what I wanted to be, but the schedule is so stretched out that the above mentioned anime would already be in their 3rd episode by the time the last in the Spring lineup starts airing. Next up would be part 2, most likely to talk about Steins Gate and Sket Dance as I've just watched those earlier on the day this post is published (late night of 7 April).

I'm currently doing the draft of the Winter 2011 end-review alongside and doing some fine-tuning to it, so this could take a while as I'm only done with only the entry of 1 anime out of the several I plan to list in that post.