The Season at a Glance: Spring 2010, Part 1

2010_spring_anime_collage

It has been an exciting start to Spring 2010: moe, maids, robots, romance, and even American mecha are all part of some of the season’s most anticipated series. As the amazing banner (thanks panda!) above suggests, the Anime Insights crew will be bringing you our thoughts on what we have witnessed so far, some first-glance ratings, and an indication of whether we will be following it as the season goes on and thus worth you time as well. For your convenience this rather lengthy post will be divided into three parts, feel free to chime in with your thoughts! On to the reviews! (Alphabetically of course)

-descent

angelbeats

descent’s take: Most anticipated title of the season for me and its currently living up to its billing quite well. Angel Beats boasted an amazing production pedigree and offered us viewers a new Key-associated original story. We are presented with a dark and intriguing tale woven in a school-themed afterlife where everyone is fighting and yet no one can die. A mysterious(-ly attractive) and powerful being, Tenshi, enforces the rules but yet being a model student just might be the very thing that causes your existence to be erased forever. There is a diverse cast of well-designed characters  bringing us many of the usual tropes but made much more interesting by having everyone armed to the teeth and conducting large-scale operations just to keep food on the table. They are headlined by the charismatic battlefront commander Yuri, the mysterious “angel” Tenshi, and the protagonist Otonashi who is still trying to come to grips with it all.

Episode one left me hooked with a great introduction, cool-looking combat mechanics (an important factor in any action-related show I watch), and a concert/battle scene that was as over-the-top as it was awesome. The show left me aching for more and I can’t wait for my Saturday fix.

OP/ED: Didn’t get to see the OP this week, the ending is a beautiful reflective piece that sets a calming tone to cap off what will likely be some serious ongoing action. The concert piece very fitting as well, don’t know if it’s going to be good in single format though.

[easyreview title=”” cat1title=”A First Glance” cat1detail=”Amazing start, will be covering this show weekly on A.I.” cat1rating=”9.5″]

nutbladder_arakawa_under_the_bridge_01_2fabd769-mkv_snapshot_21-12_2010-04-09_02-43-21

Arakawa Under the Bridge

descent’s take: I never really planned on watching Arakawa, before seeing the first episode everything about this series originally screamed shallow comedy in a ridiculous premise.  Well I was wrong, and with more time it might turn out that I was really, really wrong. Arakawa already looks set to take on issues of social norms, acceptance, and human relationships in a serious but yet creative manner while having some good fun along the way. We must thank Kou, our protagonist, who is so caught up in his philosophy of total self-reliance that he is willing to jump head first into his crazy new living arrangements to create the setting for what might be one of the better series this season. In Nino we have an aloof free-spirit who seems to somewhat enjoy her less that easy life but seemingly still yearns for a genuine human connection despite all her Venusian weirdness. The animation is genuine Shaft and the setting is perfect for a comedy with plenty of melancholic and contemplative moments thrown in as well. I anticipate Arakawa will make me laugh, cry, and think before all is said and done and I will be glad to have experienced it.

Music: No OP/ED but the music threaded throughout the show masterfully sets the “out-there” tone that defines every one of our characters so far.

[easyreview title=”” cat1title=”A First Glance” cat1detail=”This surprised me and I will definitely be watching.” cat1rating=”8″]

b-gata-h-kei

descent’s take: Girl wants to get laid 100 times during her high school years. Sounds like some hentai-%^&$ right there brah! Well don’t get your hopes set that high you perv but plenty of your other desires will be fulfilled in this ecchi comedy produced by Hal. Yamada is absolutely hilarious as the main character who desires to be nothing less than the school slut while having absolutely no freaking clue how to even get that first notch on her bedpost. Her dogged pursuit of “cherry-kun” Kosuda is the source of endless hilarity and more than enough awkward ecchi but it could potentially turn into a cute romance if Yamada doesn’t pick the Harem end. B Gata H Kei is definitely a bit explicit and not for everyone, if the synopsis didn’t tip you off let me be the first to say that you get about everything you expect from a show supposedly about sex. The amount of fan-servicey moments is a bit much for my tastes and the character designs are definitely on the bland side. B Gata will provide some laughs this spring; just make sure the little kids aren’t watching.

OP/ED: The catchy intro is solid enough but not all that well animated. Panty shots but also some touching cuteness abound. Ending song is mellow and thus not exactly what I am looking for in this show, kinda unique for featuring some random real-life stills amongst the show-related tidbits. Any and all background music made no impression.

[easyreview title=”” cat1title=”A First Glance” cat1detail=”Thanks for the laughs, I will watch you, just not always on time.” cat1rating=”7″]

fffpeeps-giant-killing-01-720p-28f6f8a5-mkv_snapshot_02-19_2010-04-09_02-39-58

descent’s take: I really love football (American football too but not today), I love anime as well. The reason you’ll almost never catch me watching anime sports is because I usually find the real thing on ESPN to be so much better. What would it take get me hooked you say? Maybe an anime that tries to buildup the genuine feeling of passion and community that a hometown football club inspires amongst its fans, players, and organization. Throw in some Hoosiers-level underdog bait from the get go and Giant Killing is indeed a show currently clamoring for my attention. A prodigal son returns to Japan to take over the home town club he once abandoned for European football glory. The hardcore fans (I didn’t know J-league had those, but credit for trying Japan) have rather long memories but perhaps they should be more forgiving due to the amazing feat Tatsumi managed to pull off in England that has to be heard (in lamely voice acted English, was the guy even trying?!) to be believed. It is not just a story about a team and their coach, but also the fans, the passion, and the global reach that makes football what it is today. Giant-Killing is aiming high with some serious authenticity and has a lot of potential assuming that its story progression remains believable. It does beg the question though, what giants does East Tokyo United plan on vanquishing given that they already play in top-tier J-league? If this show goes into the realm of Asian Champions League or World Club Championship level stuff I might just become an all-out fanboy.

OP/ED: The lead-in song is perhaps the most awesome football related OP you could hope for with a neat European feel that just straight up invokes the burning football passion inside of me. The end just gives you some blah-blah rock band, could care less.

[easyreview title=”” cat1title=”A First Glance” cat1detail=”Good soccer has returned to anime” cat1rating=”8.5″]

And that’s a wrap for our first section everyone. You won’t have the pleasure of seeing descent rate everything as favorably as we go along. Look forward to part two of this segment later today.

Spring Impressions from Around the Interwebz that descent likes:

ThatAnime Blog, Yin No Piano, Wat u say, Bokutachi, Rabbit Poets, Xebec’s

Posted on April 9, 2010, in Anime, Episode Reviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. A nice review of the series that have come out so far. Guess I can comment on those I’ve taken a look at. Nice job on this since a preview doesn’t give you much as a viewer, but a glance at the start of the series can say much more about what you are getting into.

    Angel Beats – Agree completely. This is a great show to watch so far. The production values are great, but the story also has me pulled in already. We don’t know much since it was just the first episode, but it seems like a show that can keep us focused and locked in. Definitely my favourite of the spring shows this far.

    Arakawa Under the Bridge – Another series where I wish I felt the same way as seemingly everyone else. I watched, but I just didn’t feel the “wow” everyone else did. Kou is a fairly funny guy, but Nino and the kappa really didn’t draw me in. There have actually been a lot of shows that I never got into, but maybe I’ll catch up on this one when it’s done and can just burn through it. Just felt more weird, than funny-weird, or anything else really.

    B Gata – I’m actually surprised how much I enjoyed this. The premise makes you think they’ve made it to the bottom of ideas for anime. But it’s actually pretty funny and I laughed quite a bit. Yamada is a great lead. She has this insane goal, but has so many problems interacting with people. The difference between her mental thoughts and what happens are pretty fun. Plus there is a genuine relationship being built with Kosuda that will eventually kill her goal. Besides a fan of her VA so I’ll be sticking to this one. I’m fine with the OP/ED since it follows my personal view of OPs should be active to get you excited about a series and the ED should be calmer to ease you out since the show is done.

    Giant Killing – Not a fan of football/soccer so not going to jump into this. Would it kill Japan to give me a hockey anime? I would be on that like lightning. Will never happen of course, but I can dream.

    • Somehow Hockey actually seems like it could be made to work if people could be made to watch it. Just imagine all the anime-exaggerated violence and drama, “ultimate technique” style puck tricks, deadly fights. It would work if Japanese people knew what Ice hockey actually was I suppose.

      And yes, I love Yamada’s “meltdowns” whenever if comes time to carry out some of her plans. The awkward flashing scene in the closet with Kosuda will remain one of my favorites for all time.

  2. Great review; I want to respond, but the last comment you left on my blog caused me to write a post worth of response so perhaps it would be best to admire/agree/and dissent in my own little corner ;)!

  3. Under the Bridge is causing lots of hype, I expect it to die out mid series.

  4. I will have to disagree with both of those statements. SHAFT’s series almost never get hype, and this one isn’t any different. Everyone will forget about this show anyway.

    However, this in no way means it will just entirely die out. Arakawa is a certain type of arthouse situational comedy that practically runs the risk of drowning in its own uniqueness, and to me, that’s a good thing. Taking a basic 4koma manga and expanding it to a show of this scope with so much social commentary, kappa, and possibly delusional Venusians is no small task, and yet I believe in SHAFT’s ability to do this for its entire run, like they have done with Vampire Bund, Zetsubou-sensei, Bakemonogatari, and so many others.

    tl; dr, while Arakawa may die out with the popular crowd it will still hold a special place in the hearts of the arthouse fiends like me, or in the minds of people who just like weird stuff.

  1. Pingback: Anime Insights » The Season at a Glance: Spring 2010, Part 2

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