With the first episode or two of the new season’s anime out it’s time to give my first impressions of all the shows I’m watching. As this will be quite text and picture heavy I’ll get started right away. Note: Series are ordered in roughly the order I enjoyed them except for the two OVAs at the bottom of the list. Also I like Angel Beats and K-ON equally well. Anyway let’s go!
It’s been a while since I’ve been anticipating a KEY show as much as this. That’s not to say that I haven’t been excited about a KEY anime every time one has aired. What I mean is that just like when I watched AIR and Kanon I don’t know what will happen. I tried to keep myself spoiler-free for CLANNAD but because of various reasons I ended up learning a little too much. I still enjoyed it but it lacked the same impact for me as the previous two shows. Since I don’t know what’s going to happen every week this should be exciting.
Angel Beats has an interesting premise. Basically those who die young due to accidents are reborn in this world that looks like a massive school campus populated by NPCs and the dead. Those that follow the rules of the world eventually disappear. This world is basically a stop on the road, a testing ground on the path to rebirth. Think an MMO where the subscription is paid with your life and “losing” brings you back to the mortal world. In the second episode it’s shown that they even have a massive guild from which the characters procure weapons and ammo located under a massive underground dungeon. If that doesn’t scream RPG I don’t know what does.
The main cast actively fights back against this world and its overseer Tenshi. In their previous lives they could not do anything to fight back against the inevitability called death. In this world they get that chance so they wage war against Tenshi to remain here instead of being reborn. Since they are already dead it’s impossible for them to die again so any normally fatal injuries will be healed eventually which could lead to some brutal showdowns in future episodes. It’s definitely an interesting take on “fighting death.”
When I heard that AB was not being animated by KyoAni I wondered how it would turn out. P.A. Works is relatively new but so far their properties have looked pretty good and AB is no exception. The entire first episode was well animated and nothing seemed awkward. The backgrounds and the various lighting and particle effects were well done and the style was consistent. The design of the massive dining hall in particular was quite overwhelming and impressive. I wish UVA had a dining hall like that which could house a concert in the middle of dinner.
I just love the music of AB. When I first heard the opening song My Soul, Your Beats! I was floored. Lia’s singing and the piano accompaniment are just brilliant not to mention how well animated and arranged Tenshi’s piano playing is. The insert song from the lifting mission is also impressive and I never get tired of it. I can’t wait for all the singles to come out. I just hope they’re out when I’m not too busy.
If I had to point to one fault it would have to be the style used to draw the characters. What I really like about KyoAni’s adaptations of KEY’s work is the staff’s ability to accurately mimic the art style of Hinoue Itaru which made the experience feel more genuine as if the studio went through their best effort to accurately adapt the visual novels to the TV screen. However AB seems to be a little off in that regard. The artwork itself is not bad per se but still it doesn’t look like Na-Ga’s original illustrations. However this is merely a minor detail which I can live with.
So far my favorite male character is this guy only referred to as “TK” even though he’s said only a handful of lines. However when I saw this blond guy in the background wearing a blindfold or a headband over his eyes or something and with a pair of handcuffs hanging around his neck I pretty much arbitrarily decided he was awesome. When he was finally introduced formally he was described as this mysterious character and when he finally said something it was in this exaggerated English with an awesome pose which “proved” my point about him being a pretty cool dude. Did I mention he also dances?
In regards to female characters the choice is quite easy so far. It shouldn’t be too hard for regular readers to guess but the answer is Tenshi. She has that quiet and subdued personality I really like which predisposes me to liking her more statistically speaking. However that doesn’t guarantee I will like a character otherwise why would I like Hirasawa Yui so much? To push me over that limit takes either likable actions or heart-melting voice acting. In this case it was the latter. As soon as Otonashi confronted Tenshi for the first time and she spoke I was sold. Something about her voice sounded so familiar that I couldn’t help but gush over it. After I realized it was the same voice as my beloved Mizutani Eri I knew it was over. I just love Hanazawa Kana’s voice so much that I added her to my top seiyuu list. It’s not just Tenshi’s voice that I like though. She has some cool abilities and her fights during the lifting mission and guild raid were quite exciting. I’ll be looking forward to Tenshi revealing more of her moveset.
Although I can’t say Yuri is my favorite character she had some pretty moving and depressing character history revealed during the second episode. After reaching the end of the labyrinth to the guild with only Otonashi left she starts saying how bad of a leader she is for leaving the others behind. She tells Otonashi how she was the eldest of four children and daughter of a wealthy family. One day while alone with her siblings her house was broken into by several armed robbers. With her sisters and brother bound and at gunpoint she was told to find something of value or else one of them would be killed every ten minutes. She searched desperately but to no avail. The police arrived thirty minutes later. Traumatized by this Yuri cannot believe in a god who would allow such a horrendous act to occur and was the first one to rebel. Throughout this scene I was utterly speechless. With such a sad background it makes me wonder what happened to the others while they were still alive that makes them want to fight God.
Overall the first two episode were really entertaining and the concept should keep it that way for the rest of the series. The drama seems to be picking up quite early guaranteeing that I’ll be excited every week. I’m looking forward to the next episode which seems to be centered around the distraction force AKA the band.
Tuesdays are long days for me so the one thing I wanted to do when I got home was watch the first episode of K-ON! Other things happened so I was only able to watch it late at night but the wait was worth it. As soon as Yui popped up on screen and had her solo jam session in the club room I started rolling around the room and giggling (or so my imagination wants to say). I quite enjoyed Yui’s playing and she looked so cool doing it but she’s still the fun-loving girl I like.
The new season seems to be all about new beginnings. The first episode starts off on the first day of school. Yui, Mugi, Mio and Ritsu are all in their final year of high school. Sawa-chan-sensei has pulled some strings and has gotten all four of them and even Nodoka into the same class. Although everything looks perfect there is the question “What about Azusa?”
Azu-nyan, the only other member of the light music club, is currently a second year. In other words once Yui and company graduate Azusa will be all alone unless they recruit new people to the club. With this realization the current members decide to go all out in an attempt to keep the club afloat even when they are gone preventing Azusa from being all alone. However good their intentions they fail massively by doing the same thing as the year previous. In other words they handed out fliers while wearing animal suits completely giving off the wrong impression of the club. Good thing they have a second big chance.
At the opening ceremony the girls play a set of four songs. The new students seemed to be quit impressed raising hopes that the club would be filled with new prospective members. Unfortunately that was not the case. The girls try desperately to get others but it never turns out quite right. Eventually they quit and settle back into the status quo content with the current five members.
Although the show was quite enjoyable my thoughts occasionally wandered off to sadder realms. “Is this really okay? What if Azusa isn’t lucky and no new members show up?” It’s really sad to think about. Azusa seems to be thinking the same thoughts but outwardly she maintains her usual composure. I really hope the club can find success getting at least a few new members. At the very least I want Ui to formally join the light music club. She has already displayed her talent when she dressed up as her sister and played the guitar just as well as Yui. She has the skills so all she needs now is the push and motivation to join. I guess the only problem is the possible over saturation of electric guitars. They’re cool but 3 might be too much without other new members playing different instruments.
In particular the entire club recruitment strikes a chord with me and my own club experiences. As an officer of my University’s anime club for three years and counting I’ve had to deal with this issue plenty of times. Trying to get people interested, not trying to scare people off, trying to increase club membership, dealing with a tight knit group of older members who don’t want change, etc. The list goes on but the point is that I’ve seen it all in regards to club recruitment, member retainment and club administration in general. Basically I connected with the troubles of the club in a very personal way enhancing my enjoyment. It also doesn’t help that I will graduate in a year so as the months pass by the thought that I might be leaving soon or that maybe I didn’t do enough makes me a little depressed.
The first episode met my expectations for the sequel to K-ON with the unexpected twist of adding a slight bit of seriousness. I’ll be looking forward to relaxing after a long day of class next Tuesday by tuning in to the second episode. I’ll mention this really briefly but the OP and ED take a little getting used to but I like them. Should be fun to see how many people try to translate them. I wonder how fast I’ll be.
Working is shaping up to be an entertaining slice of life comedy about the employees of family restaurant Wagnaria. Since there is no real story I’ll just focus on characters. All of them have their own strange quirks which should make for some entertaining watching. The main female Poplar is this very short high school student that is pretty much useless despite how hard she tries. They need a new part-timer so she recruits this guy Takanashi. At first he mistakes Poplar for a lost child but eventually he joins because he isn’t just a lolicon–he’s a minicon, a lover of all things small.
Throughout the rest of the episode the rest of the cast is introduced. In particular the one I’m most interested in is Inami this girl who’s terrible around men. Though she is quite afraid of them she decks Takanashi when they first meet with a single punch. She then proceeds to yell out loud like a maniac that there’s a guy in the back and hides behind Yachiyo who herself always carries around a katana. Inami is just so cute that I want to protect her too. I detect possible yuri in here.
Kiss x Sis (TV)
I blame Aorii for this. I had no plans to pick this up but then last week Aorii showed me the OVA and then suddenly now I’m watching the TV series. Basically as the name implies the series is about twin sisters that are in love with their step brother going quite far to seduce him on a daily basis. There really isn’t much for me to say at this point other than for the time being it does not have the same level of fanservice as the OVA. That’s to be expected since this is a TV series but you know what? I hope there’s more of it later on since that’s basically one of the reasons for watching it in the first place. Without it the show isn’t nearly as funny as the OVA. Hopefully there will be more mind-breaking what moments as the series progresses.
Since this will come up at some point I’ll mention it here. My favorite of the twins is Riko. Ako is okay and all but Riko’s quiet yet more bold personality makes her more appealing to me. Not to mention she’s can be quite the aggressive tease. Oh crap did I just say that!?
Mayoi Neko Overrun!
I watched Mayoi Neko Overrun for the art but I’m staying for the weirdness. Mayoi Neko is about Takumi who lives with his older sister in his house that doubles as a bakery by the name of Stray Cat. By the way for some reason they have lots of cats in the house since his sister always brings home strays.
Anyway the first episode starts off normally with Takumi having a dream about his time as an orphan. Childhood friend Fumino wakes him up and the typical childhood-friend-wakes-up-protagonist fanservice deal ensues. Takumi goes on to explain who she is and her personality. She is painfully stereotypically tsundere. When Takumi says that Fumino means the exact opposite of what she says he means it. That’s not really my thing but whatever. On the way to school Takumi meets up with his friends which I can’t say much about.
Here’s where it gets slightly more interesting. Apparently the school has a policy of letting students without parents go to school for free. In other words orphans have their tuition waived. Right now there doesn’t seem to be too much focus on it but there is obviously a theme revolving around the idea of “where in the world do I belong.” First there is the fact that the protagonist is an orphan, his sister brings in stray cats and the school’s policy. This show is about things without a normal home. Hopefully the show deals with this aspect as the show develops since it has much potential for drama.
Back to the main narrative. Some inconsequential stuff happens and other characters are introduced. First off is Chise the granddaughter of the school’s superintendent. She pretty much treats the school and its students as her personal play things which puts her at odds with Fumino. She has two maids that for some reason voice their opinions of their master openly which is quite amusing. Did I mention that Chise is a massive otaku. In fact when she shows up she causes a ruckus by trying to have people cosplay with her. At some point she finds this random girl on the street and takes her home to her otaku paradise of a room to play dress up but when she takes her eyes off of her the girl disappears.
Back with the main cast Takumi discovers that a cake that was supposed to be delivered that day has been ruined by some unknown troublemaker. A string of chases entails and they end up making a new cake to deliver late. On the way back home Takumi’s sister returns with a new stray…the girl that Chise tried to cosplay with and the cake thief. Suddenly catgirl GET.
Overall despite the signs of generic fanservice the premise and nice art are keeping me interested not to mention I might end up liking some of the characters. I also kept thinking his sister looked like Miura Azusa so that worked wonders on my expectations.
B Gata H Kei
Like many others I was drawn into watching this based solely on the premise. In condensed form the show is about this 15 year old girl named Yamada that has just entered high school. She feels it’s strange that she hasn’t had sex yet so her goal is to find 100 casual sex partners. However there’s a slight problem. She is absolutely clueless about what her goal entails.
I knew her goal of attracting 100 guys would change to focusing on only one guy early on but I watched anyway to see how weird things would get. Yamada is not really focusing on one guy named Kosuda because she’s somehow especially attracted in anyway. In fact he’s a pretty plain dude compared to her. She only views him as the first stepping stone to her goal of 100 partners. The thing is that when push comes to shove she can’t bring herself to do anything at all. If I had to summarize this anime in one line it would be “Virgin girl rushes sexual relationships without actually knowing what to do.” This in itself is amusing in a strange sort of way. How shy and embarrassed she gets every time she attempts something sexual is adorable. It doesn’t help that Yukarin is doing her voice so it’s ultra cute. I also find the running gag about cherries amusing though I feel really sorry for Kosuda. Yamada is an unintentional bully.
It’s enjoyable enough that I can watch this on a weekly basis but at the same time anyone who wasn’t already planning to watch this doesn’t really have to. Watching the second episode confirms it so if you didn’t like it from the start odds are that opinion won’t be changed. On a side note while watching the opening credits I was amused by the fact that every time a new girl appeared it showed their cup size. I then mentioned this out loud and found out I was the only one who noticed that. So yeah…
Kaichou ha Maid-sama!
Quite honestly I’m not too sure what to make of Kaichou ha Maid-sama. My initial reason for wanting to watch this is that I thought the whole situation would be ripe with comedy. Misaki is this “perfect” student attending a formerly boys-only high school as both the student council president and valedictorian. She rules with an iron fist that no one dares oppose with the exception of Usui, her male counterpart. He gets similar grades and is quite popular among the female student body though he always turns down their confessions making them cry. Misaki and Usui are mortal enemies or at least that’s what Misaki feels.
The anime doesn’t spend to much time developing the relationship between the two before Misaki’s secret is revealed. Misaki comes from a poor family so in addition to the various academic responsibilities she holds she works part-time at a maid cafe to help support her family. Basically Usui sees her working and for the next few days she’s paranoid that everyone else has found out. Long story short predictable events happen and Usui saves Misaki from other people trying to extort her and keeps her secret.
The first episode as a whole did not have me hooked so I hoped that the second would do that job. Unfortunately I was too busy raging at Misa and how terrible of a leader she is. She rules with absolute authority making decisions solely on her whims. She acts hostile towards the boys and won’t listen to what they want and their opinions. She’s so clearly biased against them that she cannot even command respect from them. It’s one thing for her to be an aggressive leader but when she can’t even gain the respect of the people she oversees then can she even be called a leader? I know she wants to help the girls but that does not mean she has to launch a war against the guys and it doesn’t give her an excuse to ignore pleas from both sides for cooperation. By the end of the second episode she learns to deal with it more but I’m still pissed off. I wish she was more like her little sister.
For now I can say I’m not too entertained or rather that Misa is detracting from the potential entertainment. I really hope Usui can continue to make her more tolerant of the male student body. Otherwise if she remains the same for the rest of the series I will rage extremely hard. For the time being this is at the bottom of the barrel of the shows that I am watching from this season.
Tales of Symphonia: Tethe’alla Hen
I won’t say too much about ToS since it’s mainly a nostalgia trip for me. I completed the game twice so it’s safe to say that I enjoyed the anime which was well animated. The highlight for this episode was getting to see and hear Presea. The first episode introduced a little about her backstory though at this point she still lacks a keycrest and thus also her emotions. I’m looking forward to when she gets one.
Haiyoru was a short but strange experience. Basically it’s about Nyarlko, a moe version of Nyarlathotep from Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos, and ordinary boy Mahiro doing funny things together. If you have 18 minutes to spare you can watch this. All you need to know is Lovecraft Plus and Cthuko, moe Cthulhu, is hard gay for Nyarlko.
Overall I predicted correctly that my two favorite TV shows of the season would be Angel Beats and K-ON 2. This isn’t too surprising since their predecessors are in my top 5 favorite anime. Strangely enough I’ll be watching 3 fanservice heavy shows this season which could turn out really great or really bad. Truthfully I only planned to watch two of the three from the start but whatever. At the very least I have 2 shows I really like, a few more I enjoy and only one borderline show. Time to see how the rest of the season pans out.