The Season at a Glance: Spring 2010, Part III
[singlepic id=310 w=640 h=480 float=center]
descent’s take: One of last year’s most enjoyable and yet often hated series is back once again. KyoAni is up to its usual tricks, transforming Kakifly’s 4-Koma into a series lacking emotional depth but heavy of the desserts, laughs, and moe. This season begins at the start of the main cast’s (except Azusa) 3rd year at school and we are treated to their somewhat failed efforts at recruiting new members to their club once more. The introductory scene with Yui playing her guitar before school was actually a strong point and it was nice to see her being rather useful for once even if it was the result of even further forgetfulness. I was a tad put off by the final message which was basically “let’s give up its cool with just the 5 of us”. While I’m all for not adding lame new characters the lack of redeeming qualities, that isolationist philosophy is a tad troubling, but I digress from the cuteness (and sometimes the manga doesn’t translate epically to the show). But enough of descent trying to poke holes in one of his favorite moe series; K-ON once again came back strong doing what it does best, showing us the cute and fluffy daily lives of 5 girls in their efforts to be a moderately successful rock band. I love it and will continue to watch.
Music: I’ve been back and forth on this with people but I really despise the OP music this time around but love the animation sequence itself. The ED is almost like a sequel to “Don’t say lazy” in form and sound and is actually pretty darn awesome.
[easyreview title=”” cat1title=”A First Glance” cat1detail=”Nothing special here but K-ON is unchanged but still great.” cat1rating=”8″]
ramenpoodle’s take: Spring of last year, at exactly this time, I was just getting acquainted with the “Fab 5” of the anime world: Yui, Mio, Ritsu and Mugi. “But that’s four,” you say. Well, Azusa didn’t technically appear until later, so I hadn’t even met her yet. But this fantastic 4koma adaptation is back and better than ever. No doubt having improved on their animation techniques even further after the spectacular, and I mean SPECTACULAR Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya film, KyoAni delivers again on all accounts. K-ON!! looks great (it’s in widescreen this time around), sounds great (don’t listen to descent, the OP and ED are nothing short of awesome XD), and feels great. If you haven’t been following the manga, then prepare for some darker tides on the horizon, because you will feel the pain of Azusa’s impending isolation! PAIN, I say! PAIN!! In other words, slice-of-life haters should be expecting some plot this time…
Other than that, it’s the same old cute K-ON! you know and love. And that’s never a bad thing.
[easyreview title=”” cat1title=”A First Glance” cat1detail=”Yui and friends have gotten a tune-up since their last outing.” cat1rating=”9″]
Our thoughts on Mayoi Neko Overrun, Rainbow nisha rokubou no shichinin, Senko no Night Raid, and Working!!
[singlepic id=311 w=378 h=533 float=center]
Mayoi Neko Overrun
descent’s take: As a concession to readers of the manga I will not yet give up on this series. But it is hard to say that I found much to be excited about in this first episode. Take the first few minutes for example: panty shot, lampshading of a textbook tsundere, more pantsu jokes, and the bam! Naked loli. Somehow I felt that as a series that is obviously built on a premise much deeper than fan service was trying too hard and leaving a rather bad taste in my mouth. Look fanservice is ok at times and like 99% of series have it, that is not the problem but it IS a problem when you feel like they are trying way to hard to sell the show with it. As the episode went we were treated to something that was all over the place: more of loli Chise trying to annoyingly hang out with the main characters, some rather annoying male friends, and plotline with a little kid and a magical cat and its all related somehow to Fumino’s deep dark past (which is what I am more interested in), and multiple references to a sister who doesn’t show up till the very last seconds. Somehow I still LIKED the main characters, I can tell that in the end Fumino, Takumi, and even Chise (if the manga is to be believed) will improve the level of the show as it goes on. However resting on its own laurels Mayoi Neko Overrun did itself no favors and has to do some recovery to refining its appeal.
Music: Really nothing special here imo. Both songs obviously incorporate the “nyaa” theme to an extend but nothing was really catchy and its not going on my playlist.
[easyreview title=”” cat1title=”A First Glance” cat1detail=”This show has promise but seemingly did everything it could to get me to stop watching before I got started. It will get another chance though.” cat1rating=”5.5″]
ramenpoodle’s take: I think after watching the first episode of this, a new Most Tsundere of All Queen of Tsunderes must be crowned. Sorry, Selnia Flameheart from Ladies vs. Butlers!!. And yeah, although I am a fan of some tsunderes when they’re well-written (I can has Taiga nao?), this is not a good thing. Fumino is, as descent said, a textbook tsundere, although this is more like a Xerox-every-page-out-of-the-textbook tsundere, almost to the point where it seemed like they are making fun of the tsundere trope. Oh, if only they were. Then I could say the series was at least excellent at something. Unfortunately, it becomes increasingly clear that they weren’t.
The episode only becomes more of a clutter when they awkwardly try to shove some backstory and loli action into the mix, and while the loli herself is a welcome addition, the situation they’re placed in isn’t, and who really cares about the backstory of a girl that unlikable anyway? For fans of this series, I apologize for this seemingly harsh review, but I’ve read some of the manga, and while that was just slightly above mediocre, this was a bad pilot episode. Almost as bad as the Natsu no Arashi pilot way back when, but that’s another story (and that series is actually good by the way).
But hey, a bad episode is only that, right? Just one bad episode. The series will probably improve as it goes on. Probably. Please?
[easyreview title=”” cat1title=”A First Glance” cat1detail=”This first episode belongs in the kitty litter box, but the series will most likely improve. I await reform.” cat1rating=”5″]
[singlepic id=312 w=333 h=462 float=center]
Rainbow Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin
descent’s take: ***Warning: This is not for kids*** Mad House is going for all the marbles with this one. Rainbow is a very dark story centering on the incarceration of 7 young prisoners in post-war Japan and the echoing effects on the remainder of their lives. No punches are pulled in taking the “prison is hell” motif to its anime limits. The prison doctor is one sick %^&$ and some of the guards are apparently addicted to brutal violence as a drug. All is not hopeless however and the real message is how the guys in the depths of despair managed to pull themselves together and survive the experience. Led by the veteran, prison-wise Sakuragi it looks these young guys will have to learn to survive in a world that could care less about their existence.
Music: The OP, hell yes, it was awesome and in English too. Not a combination you see very often. The ED isn’t special but it is good enough and the music is definitely a net positive for the series so far.
[easyreview title=”” cat1title=”A First Glance” cat1detail=”Rainbow is NOT easy on the eyes but it carries with a level of seriousness that you won’t often find in anime, Madhouse could make this into a classic.” cat1rating=”9″]
[singlepic id=313 w=190 h=250 float=center]
Senko no Night Raid
descent’s take: OK my problems with the historical setting aside, Senkou still comes off pretty lame. While this isn’t revisionist history I feared, A-1 Studios, fresh off the smash-hit success that was SoRaNoWoTo is letting me down by trying to show us a MIB remake set in one of Japan and China’s darkest historical periods. The secret intelligence force is trying to do all these “deep” and complex things like playing Chinese military groups off one another while dealing with backdoor political intrigue. The superpowers possessed by the group are pretty darn stereotypical and the characters are really not that appealing from the start. I may be inexperienced with several Chinese dialects but I have to say the most of the native speaker VAs are far from believable. As I said before I won’t rail against this just yet cause I get the feeling that “Japan is great” will not be the message here and the organization is somewhat suspicious of the people back home but only time will tell if this becomes more interesting. The production values are admittedly good and as I have said many times I do genuinely enjoy seeing other locales than Japan depicted in anime and that part of this show gets my respect, as does the A-1 Studio’s disclaimer at the end which I believe does diffuse some potential problems I might have with this. Some people might also not like how the native Chinese are drawn and I’d be interested to hear more opinions on that (not trying to start anything though).
Music: The music throughout the show suits the historical and action/drama premise fairly well, not taking into account the godawful violin played at the beginning. The ED isn’t bad but until I see more of the show I won’t be able to tell if it is fitting or not, no OP this week.
[easyreview title=”” cat1title=”A First Glance” cat1detail=”I’m not looking for superhero fiction in such a regrettable historical setting. Credit to A-1 the effort is high but it is not the content I am looking for in my anime, yes they could do it but why? Reassuring me that these “Power of Anime” shows will at least retain their quality is sufficient for the time being.” cat1rating=”6″]
[singlepic id=314 w=320 h=240 float=center]
descent’s take: A-1 Pictures’ other offering this spring actual seems to be a winner in the comedy department. Based on a 4-Koma manga, Working!! is the tale of a diverse cast of characters working together at the family restaurant Wagnaria. We are introduced to one of main characters, Souta, a professed “lover of small and cute things” or minicon when he is unable to resist the charm of the show’s other mainstay the ridiculously tiny and cute Poplar a senior from his highschool. Once he begins working at the restaurant the laughs continue and I was admittedly surprised by how well this cast of characters work together to make this show fun. There is the age-sensitive but horribly aloof manager, a waitress who is armed with a katana and yet another that is deathly afraid of men, much to Souta’s misfortune. Other characters including the two chefs are also good additions to the environment, Poplar being tiny is the source of endless fun, and the restaurant seems to be a great setting for some feel good slice of life comedy with different “situations” walking in each day. The animation isn’t the best but all the same this is the kind of show that is capable of surviving such an issue.
Music: The ED fixed: OP is pretty darn awesome and will likely earn a spot on my playlist, pretty catchy. Nothing much else to talk about here at this time.
[easyreview title=”” cat1title=”A First Glance” cat1detail=”This show doesn’t blow you away but it’s still going to be a pleasant comedy with a good premise to enjoy each week.” cat1rating=”8.5″]
ramenpoodle’s take: As a minicon myself, I am predisposed to love Taneshima Poplar. She is in every way the greatest newcomer loli of the season. She can’t pick things up, she can’t pronounce names right, and she can’t make eye contact with her customers. And she is absolutely adorable for it.
Even though she is 17 and a high-school student, everyone always calls her a 12-year-old. Which is why our minicon protagonist Katanashi-kun (oops, I mean Takanashi-kun) loves her so. And this foundation is what Working!! builds upon, other than the lazy (yakuza?) assistant manager, the guy-fearing Inari, the ambiguous chef and the other chef that looks like Sanji from One Piece, (jk guys I know their names but this is way funnier). OK, so they all pretty much make up the foundation of Working!! And this is a foundation that I would love to see things built upon. If the following episodes continue as is, this might be this season’s champion newcomer for moe. I was impressed with the appetizer, and I’m hungry for more!
[easyreview title=”” cat1title=”A First Glance” cat1detail=”You’re going to love dining at Wagnaria this season.” cat1rating=”8.5″]
Thanks for reading once again, look forward to some final (more rediculous) impressions later this week.