Tuesday, October 10, 2006

In the Wake of the Week - Fall Week 1

A bunch of first episodes are out subbed, which makes me want to thank the Anime Gods for what looks like it's going to be yet another incredible season. While most of the US is left watching reruns on network TV thanks to the MLB playoffs, I'm in Anime Utopia, where it seems like the blue frog hasn't had a moment's rest as it endlessly pulls file pieces from the ether.

For better or worse, here are some random thoughts on the first week of the season:

- Is it just me, or do all the girls in Kanon look thirty years younger than Yuichi? I think Ayu's at least a foot shorter, if she kisses him at the end she won't be able to do that kawaii stand-on-her-toes thing, she'll need to climb a ladder.
- Nayuki in Kyoani's Kanon doesn't come across like Forrest Gump anymore, so maybe we'll get a decent love triangle this time.
- Is there a bigger bitch this season than Shouko in Asatte no Hokou? I loved the first episode, but I keep hoping she'll get run over by something heavy--I understand she's bitter but an adult taking her bitterness out on a sixth grader is pretty bad...
- Adult-form Kareha's offspring will never go hungry.
- Tequila + Apricot = better than all 26 episodes of Strawberry Panic.
- I can't help feeling the character designs in Tokimemo are generic, but God, everyone screaming NEKOMIMI!! was funny. I wish my high school had been like that, although back then we didn't have cell phones and we'd have had to write the details for the welcoming party in cuneiform.
- Shaft's Negima is just...awesome. Watching this I have to thank Haruhi/God/Buddha/Allah or the god of your choice this got a remake.
- Nose-pinching is the best personality quirk I've seen in a while.
- AugustSoft's character designer should be designated a Living National Treasure.
- I was wondering why people on the moon would agree to be ruled by a royal family instead of having a democracy or something, but after seeing Feena-hime my questions are answered.
- It took a few minutes to get used to, but Sasami's new seiyuu isn't bad--the original could sound like fingernails on a chalkboard after a while though, so not a high bar to clear.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Summer Power Rankings

The summer season is at an end--one of the good things about being an anime fan is that there's always something new, as some series come to an end and new ones start much more frequently than you'd see in network television. While sometimes I think it'd be nice to see a series like Zero no Tsukaima get as many seasons as Dawson's Reservoir got, the advantage to anime series' shorter length is they actually get time to wrap up the story and don't drag it on with endless filler episodes (certain long-running shonen anime excepted). While there are a number of series below that I'll miss, at the same time it's hard not to be excited about everything that's coming up this fall. Kanon, the new Negima, Yoakena, Galaxy Angel Rune, Happiness, Gift, Asatte no Houkou, and Megadere are all fall shows that have me waiting on the edge of my chair. But this isn't a fall preview, so here for anyone with the free time to kill reading it, are my rankings for series I've been watching this summer:

The Big Three

(#1) Zero no Tsukaima - It's a tough call between this and School Rumble, but Tsukaima had a better ending than 2-gakki so Tsukaima gets the top spot. The animation quality and character designs were good, and while I hear they left a lot out from the novel, the plot kept me watching too. The Saito-Louise banter was the best part of the series for me--if it had gone 26 episodes maybe it would've gotten old, but in 13 it didn't. I wish some of the side characters like Tabitha had gotten more screentime, but given the length of the series I think it was a wise choice to keep the spotlight on Louise and Saito.

(#2) School Rumble 2-gakki - Yes, the Harima-Tenma-Karasuma triangle feels like it hasn't evolved at all since the first episode of the first season. And no, I have no idea how the manga-ka is going to pair Harima with anyone realistically, given how single-minded he is about Tenma and how single-minded Tenma is about Karasuma. But it's still Sukuran, and Sukuran is definitely one of the series I'd want with me if I was stranded on a desert island (with a DVD player and electricity to run it).

(#3) Love Get Chu - It seems like almost no one is watching this but I love what I've seen of this series. I'm not sure why exactly--the artwork is nothing to write home about, and the story isn't anything ground-breaking, but I've already watched the four episodes that have been subbed more than once. It's just got a good cast of characters and it doesn't follow the harem series mold--yes, you can tell it's based on a dating sim since the girls outnumber the guys, but it's not "all the girls chase after the male lead" like you'd expect. It's really more a story about Momoka, the heroine, trying to make it as a seiyuu, with the "Love" part coming in the second half of the series (no, I haven't seen those episodes myself, but Hinano has been reviewing the raws).

Middle of the Pack

Akazukin - I loved the OVA that came out a couple years ago, so I went into this with high expectations. The animation for the TV series has been disappointing at times, but it's TV and not an OVA so I shouldn't be surprised. It felt like this started a little slow, but now that they're actually in Fandavale I'm hoping things will be picking up.

Chocosis - Only seen the first five episodes but I like it so far. Yes, there are times I feel like a pervert for watching it since it's got plenty of imouto fanservice, but with the yellow tape it's more family-friendly. I'm glad they don't seem to be going for a Haruma x Choco ending though.

Inukami - I could do without the frequent elephant sightings, but it's hard for me not to like a series where Yui Horie plays a tsundere character. Comedy, fanservice, action, Inukami has a little of everything, and the second half of the series even promises some drama and plot thrown in.

Tsuyokiss - Mediocre animation, but it's hard not to like Sunao, and I like the fact the story's mostly from her perspective. I understand it's a lot different from the game it's based on, but not having played the game (or knowing anything about it really) I'm not disappointed. Kani and Sunao working in the curry shop was pretty entertaining, although I'm not sure what's up with the owner's face...

Utawarerumono - If the main character had been Eruruu this would probably give Tsukaima a run for its money for best series for the season, but to me this just degraded into 'war of the week.' Too little screentime for Eruruu and too much hack-and-slash dropped this to the bottom of my list. The sci-fi elements towards the end reminded me of Hanihani, because they seemed just as out of place. The special was just nasty, too--couldn't they have taken a cue from the Shana-tan specials and found a source of humor other than diarrhea? A chibi Eruruu sitting on Hakuoro's head had a lot more potential. Overall, since for me even average anime is more entertaining than anything Hollywood pukes out, I'm still glad I watched this.


Demonbane - I should know better than to watch anime with giant robots in it, since there's never been a giant robot series that I liked. All the H.P. Lovecraft references were a plus in my book, but although I watched five episodes overall I just couldn't get into Demonbane. The bad guys having the good guys cornered only to back off for no good reason just had me rolling my eyes too.