Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Saraba D.C.S.S., Canvas 2, Rec, and Shinibara...

The start of a new season means the end of the old season (damn, I'm on a philosophical roll today) and that means saying goodbye to a few series I'll miss:

- D.C.S.S. (end): I'm glad Shinsen finished this, I was starting to worry--not a bad ending, but definitely didn't have the same punch as the original. Granted, I think the original Da Capo had the best ending of any game-to-anime series, so this was always going to be a high bar to clear. Aishia at the end was eerily parallel to what Sakura went through the first season, but again it just lacked the same punch. In the end, my biggest complaint with D.C.S.S. is it needed more Kotori, damn it, but this turned into the Aishia Show long enough ago that I'm mostly over it by now. I'm still glad it got a second season, D.C.S.S. is a better sequel for Da Capo than Remember My Memories was for To Heart at least.

- Canvas 2 (end): This was a much better series than I expected it to be. It lacked the "make you cry like a little girl" punch of Kanon or Da Capo, but it was still a good, dramatic story. I have to give the writers credit for making an interesting story without any girls in the sky, magic sakura trees, demons, virus researchers from the future, katana-wielding bishoujo, maid robots, or bishoujo falling out of trees in the snow. I really liked how the girls in the story formed friendships and interacted with each other--Elis and Tomoko hanging out, the art club president pushing Elis to overcome her fear of red, and all the little things like that just made it seem more realistic. Too often, the plot of ero-games is "girls all orbit around one guy" and they don't interact with each other much at all--they might as well be in six or seven completely separate stories. Canvas 2 wasn't like that, to its credit everyone affected everyone else in some way, somewhat like real life. The ending was a surprise but since the girl I wanted to win "won", I'm all in favor of it--and I give the writers credit for not letting us into Hiroki's head enough to let us know which way he'd choose until the very end. Overall, not a classic, but better than your average game-to-anime series.

- Rec (end): This was one of my favorite series last season--it started with a bang, but maybe a more realistic first episode than you'd normally see for this type of show. Yes, some people will complain Aka was a little "fast" sleeping with Matsumaru less than 11 minutes after the series started, but that's the way the real world works sometimes...although probably not for your average otaku, I guess...I mean, sure, when I was single there must have been HUNDREDS of times I got lucky with a seiyuu in training on a first sort-of date but that's probably just because I'm so damn hot ^_^; I'm sad to see this end because Aka-chan is off the moe scale, but on the other hand if they'd dragged this out to 26 episodes it probably would've gotten old, and the tenth time some misunderstanding got between Aka and Matsumaru I'd be screaming at the screen for them to just get together again already. I definitely hate the CM transitions though, and I'd rather it had been nine full-length episodes--but these are minor quibbles, and overall I'd probably buy this on DVD if it makes it to region 1. Hell, they could fit it all on one disc.

- Shinibara (end): Shinigami no Ballad, after episode 1, I was really afraid was going to go for a "let's make the viewer cry from an untimely death" approach each episode--but surprisingly, episode 1 was the only time one of the central characters bit the big one. The rest of the series is more about death's effect on those left behind, and how they get on with their lives (with a push from Momo). I thought it did a good job being touching without crossing The Line into melodrama. Momo and Daniel get more screentime than usual in the last episode, but there's no real "last episode" feel to it, it's just another self-contained story. Hopefully they make more of this, it did a good job capturing the Zettai Shonen feel (and it definitely had the same odd camera angles).

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