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Oct 08 2008

Initial Impressions Fall 2008: First Round

I didn’t feel like studying for my Japanese test yet so instead I wrote this post summarizing my initial reactions to some of this season’s new anime. The first five series are as follows: CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~, Kannagi, Rosario+Vampire CAPU2, To Aru Majutsu no Index, and Toradora!

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First up is CLANNAD ~AFTER STORY~ because it comes first alphabetically, not because I am going crazy over it again even though I am. The first thing I would like to mention is the new opening and ending. The art and animation is good as always as expected from KyoAni but the new songs by Lia are just amazing especially the opening “Toki wo Kizamu Uta.” I’m quite happy to see that they got new songs for the show though I still hope they will play “Chiisana Tenohira” in the final episode but that’s getting ahead of myself.

As for the actual episode, things pick up pretty much where the original CLANNAD left off. This means we get to see a bunch of familiar faces and gives KyoAni an excuse to do a baseball episode! Naturally this means a strange team composed of Tomoya, Sunohara, Yusuke, Misae, and of course most of the girls. Sunohara is awful and can’t do anything right while Tomoyo plows through everyone like always. Misae, Tomoyo’s idol, does just as well and Akio uses his GAR powers to pitch baseballs at light speed. Surprisingly, Kotomi is quite competent whether she uses her brain power to calculate the trajectory of a ball or just fumbles around hoping she can catch a ball. We also get to see Yusuke’s overblown monologues and Tomoya hit the winning run.

Overall, a good way to start off the series. Looking forward to the next episode.

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Next up is Kannagi. The first episode starts off with a scene featuring the protagonist Jin playing at the shrine like always. He catches a spider and plans to surprise his friend with it but a shrine maiden approaches him from his back. She pats his head and in a gust of wind disappears along with the spider. Cut to opening.

Yet again another anime with an opening that blew my mind. I have a thing for random singing and dancing in my anime so I became really excited when I saw it and it made me more excited about the rest of the show. I can’t say much more about it other than you have to see it for yourself if you haven’t already:

After the opening, we return to the present where Jin is carving out a figure from some sacred wood and finishes it just in time to make his deadline. He moves it outside and realizes he needs his bike if he wants to move the heavy piece of art. He comes back and the statue seems to have grown roots and attached to the earth again. All of a sudden, the statue grows slightly before exploding revealing a girl inside.

It turns out that the girl, Nagi, is the guardian diety of the land who has taken Jin’s statue as her vessel somehow. Also since the sacred tree that the vessel is made of has been cut down, the impurities it has been suppressing are coming to life and tainting the land. For some reason Jin is able to make physical contact with them and not be tainted so Nagi seeks his protection…by living with him. Hilarity ensues.

I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed Kannagi from start to finish. Despite being new, Tomatsu Haruka performs splendidly as Nagi exhibiting a wide range of emotions making it quite enjoyable to watch. The scene where Nagi finds out what happened to her tree is especially over-the-top and funny. If things keep up like the first episode, it has a good chance of becoming one of my favorite shows this season. Can’t wait for more Crazy Shrine Maidens.

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In the middle we have my guilty pleasure, Rosario+Vampire CAPU2. I’ll spare everyone the trouble of trying to read my descriptions of fanservice and replace it with me drooling over Mizore so I will make this quick.

Basically everyone is back for a second year at Youkai Academy. Moka and Tsukune’s lovely reunion is ruined by some crazy stalker (that isn’t Mizore) who sends Moka cards that look like that annoying bat which say that she will kill Moka. At the opening ceremony an orange-haired girl is causing trouble and a fight between her and two other students takes place. All she does is easily evade their attacks and eventually Tsukune summons the other Moka. Tired of their antics, Moka dispatches them with two kicks and everyone cheers. Tsukune and crew leave the auditorium and are followed by the orange-haired girl who turns out to be Moka’s feared loli imouto. Cue opening:

More random dancing. I think I like this better than the first series’ opening though I still don’t get the connection between the story and lyrics at all. The animation is more fluid than normal which is sort of weird looking. At least I know where the other half of the animation budget went that didn’t go towards fanservice shots.

The best parts of the episode for me where pretty much anytime Mizore shows up. She’s so weird and the other characters are rather standard and flat that she stands out so much. She just pops out of nowhere and does strange things like poke Tsukune while smiling or hiding behind her desk as if no one can see her. My favorite scene in the episode is when Tsukune and Moka are looking at each other through their windows and start calling each others names and at the end Mizore hiding behind a bush outside says Tsukune’s name. She’s a cute stalker.

Honestly other than that, there really isn’t anything that makes Rosario+Vampire really stand out for me. If you didn’t like the first series, expect more of the same and vice versa. I’m only watching for Mizore.

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Next is To Aru Majutsu no Index. The story takes place in a technologically advanced city made up of almost entirely students. Using this advanced technology, the students are able to use “esper” powers such as lightning. One such student Touma’s right hand is full of misfortune which essentially spreads bad luck and nullifies attacks. Unfortunately he is not immune to its power so he too is cursed by bad luck so bad things always happen to him.

One day he finds this weird nun, Index, hanging on his balcony railing who is really hungry. He prepares a meal composed of spoiled food from his electricity-denied fridge. She reveals to him the existent of magic and says that there are people after her that seek the 103,000 Grimoires she supposedly poses. Afterward Index leaves to go to the church while Touma goes to his extra classes. When he returns home, he finds Index collapsed in front of his door bleeding while an intimidating man approaches from behind and claims to be a magician.


Interpret this as you wish.

For some reason I can’t help but think of Shana when I watch this despite that the two main characters are not much like Shana or Yuuji at all. Not sure why though. Maybe because it’s produced by J.C. Staff and has an opening sung by Kawada Mami. Whatever the reason, it’s hard to deny that To Aru has some nice looking art. I’m definitely interested so I will keep watching.

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Lastly is the show that I thought would be my quasi-Shana anime but really wasn’t, Toradora! The main protagonist Ryuuji is a scary looking guy and has a reputation of being a delinquent so almost everyone including teachers fear him and give him their wallets. The other main character Taiga also has such a reputation; she is known as the Palmtop Tiger for her incredible strength despite her small stature. When they first meet, she does a Sky Uppercut sending him to the ground.

Things get really interesting when Ryuuji grabs the wrong bag and she goes berserk and tries to take it back. She lets go accidentally and runs away. When he gets home he finds an empty love letter from Taiga. Later Taiga comes out of nowhere and starts attacking Ryuuji with a bouken in his own house telling him to forget about the letter or to die. After some pretty weird stuff, Ryuuji agrees to help Taiga confess to his best friend.

Toradora turned out to be very different from what I imagined it to be in a good way. Because I tend to watch a lot, I see certain things too often so they don’t stick out so much. This is why weirdness and uniqueness are some of the most important things I look for when watching anime. Kugimiya Rie does a wonderful job as always in her usual tsundere loli role especially with the strange mood swings that Taiga always seems to have. Looking forward to the next episode.

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Overall, a good start to the season. It looks like I really will be watching more series than I had initially planned to. Still, there are still plenty more new series for me to see so expect another round of first impressions relatively soon.

Permanent link to this article: http://honya-ch.com/2008/10/08/initial-impressions-fall-2008-first-round/

4 comments

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  1. Citrus

    Even though I could tell you all this in person, I just have to put it here for all the Internets to see.

    >>Yusuke’s overblown monologues
    Best part of the episode, not that the rest of it was bad. Baseball ftw!

    >>I think I like this better than the first series’ opening though I still don’t get the connection between the story and lyrics at all.
    Nana Mizuki doesn’t actually care about R+V, she’s just using it to promote her music.

    >>Toradora!
    Sage for Toradora. Taiga isn’t cute at all, and I’m saying this as a general tsundere fan.

    And how come you didn’t let me do Gundam in this!? Or is that coming up in Round 2?

  2. Oguma

    the only one out of these that I’ve actually watched so far was Clannad and Toradora. Clannad, I was very satisfied with and I had to pause the video a few times because I was laughing so hard (like Yusuke’s monologue).

    Now, don’t crucify me or anything, but I’ll have to agree with Tomo-san that Toradora really didn’t do a whole lot for me…Taiga kind of annoyed me

  3. Honya

    @Citrus: Round 2 is coming up eventually, don’t worry. If you want, you can do a Gundam 00 Season 2 standalone entry; would save me some time and your entry about it would most likely be better anyway.

    @Oguma: From what I have seen across the internets, ToraDora! is a pretty polarizing show; you either love it or hate it. For me it’s not a matter of whether I like Taiga or not but rather that she is a type of character I don’t see too much of. Sure I enjoy the normal moeblob and all but stock characters like that unless very well characterized rarely leave a strong impression on me after seeing so much of them everywhere. This is why Taiga stands out and I wanted to watch more ToraDora!

    If it matters she goes into DereDere mode in the second episode and shows how sad (as in pathetic) of a person she really is which I being the ronery person that I am can’t help but empathize with.

  4. Oguma

    well, I watched the second episode and I can say that I don’t hate Toradora, nor do I love it…I just kinda like it. Who knows, it may grow on me

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