Saturday, May 14, 2011

Nichijou: I Am Wouldo Cube

I was close to dropping Nichijou after the first epsiode - you could say it's Azumanga on crack, but I didn't like the cast nearly as much as Azumanga or Lucky Star's. But somehow, episode after episode, it manages to grow on me all the same - last week's principal doing a German suplex on a deer was one of the funniest scenes I've seen this season, and this week we get the epic wooden cube drama at the beginning and Wakamoto Norio at the end. Got to think they could have done more with Wakamoto-sama's talents in the preview, but still a solid episode.


Minion #6 figures out which way the wind is blowing first.

If it's voiced by Wakamoto Norio, it's an ancient superweapon.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Spring Midterms: Denpa Onna, Sengoku Otome, Gosick

Part 2 of the spring midterms post - because it's Friday afternoon, and if you're trapped in a cubicle anyway, you might as well entertain yourself writing, I think...

Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko


Good Points
- Best cast I've seen this season. Erio is almost moe enough to make my laptop spontaneously combust, Ryuushi is pretty fun to watch, Maekawa's nasu outfit cracks me up, and Meme is like Ami-chan from Toradora on crack. The male lead isn't a spineless wimp who's inexplicably surrounded by girls either. +4
- I like writing in my free time, but to be honest I suck at it - it's always hard for me to come up with a truly original story, so when I see something like Denpa Onna I end up awestruck. Not that it's 100% original, but the whole thing with Erio losing her memories, the futon pizza-eating, aliens, and so on - I don't think in a million years I'd come up with this. +2
- The bike ride over the cliff. +1
- Shaft completely crushing my fears this would be all distance shots and random frames of real-life food, alarm clocks, and such. Animation quality isn't perfect, since ep 4 the first half especially seemed like the B-team was drawing the facial expressions, but when it looks good, it looks, very, very good. And the scenes around town actually remind me of the last time I was in Japan, they're not cutting corners on backgrounds. +1
- No idea where they're going with the plot - will it turn out aliens really are involved? Or will this be like Haruhi if everyone was just quirky and Nagato wasn't an alien, Koizumi wasn't an ESPer, Mikuru was just ditzy, and Haruhi just got bored easily? I kind of hope we'll have that Asakura Ryoko moment where it'll turn out there really is something going on, but right now I have no idea, and that keeps me watching the clock for the next episode. +2
- Awesome character designs. Yes, I'm a sucker for good character designs. +1

Bad Points
- Animation a little weak in spots in episode 4, facial expressions just a little off. But given everything else about this series I like, it just seems like quibbling to even bring it up. -1

Total Seishun Points: +10 - I think this is very likely to be my favorite anime of the season.

Sengoku Otome


Good Points
- Interesting premise, with our heroine sent back to the Warring States (sengoku) period of Japanese history. +1
- Hideyoshi's a good heroine, fun to watch how she deals with life in a different era. +1
- Talking dog - thought this could suck, but he's actually pretty funny. +1
- Good character designs, and the animation quality isn't bad either, for an anime based on a pachinko game especially. +1

Bad Points
- After the first couple episodes, I get less and less motivated to watch this every week. I guess the 'collect all the armor parts and conquer the land' plot is...well, a little lacking. -2
- Tokunyan is evil, but not for any good reason - there's pretty much zero character development. -1

Total Seishun Points: +1 - on the cusp of getting dropped, but hoping the plot will get more interesting once the armor's all collected. We don't know why Hideyoshi's teacher is back there yet either.

Gosick


Good Points
- Victorique (Victorica?) is awesome. Has attitude, brains, and moe, a deadly combination. I'd probably spend 24 minutes a week watching this even if it was just Victorique playing Scrabble the whole time. +4
- Kazuya - some people complain he whines a lot, but let's face it, he had serious balls in the Queen Berry arc and is a good combination with Victorique. +3
- Setting. Saubure's a cool location, with the mountains, the impossibly tall library, the old-school European buildings, and so on. +1
- Drill hair. +1

Bad Points
- The "mystery" parts are...kind of weak. I guess it's good it's not something needlessly elaborate like some episodes of Detective Conan, but if you're a big mystery fan, you'd probably be let down. -1
- Avril. She's not a bad character, but do we really need a fake love triangle here, when we've already established Kazuya and Victorique are rabu-rabu? -1
- Fortune-teller dude at the Grey Wolf village - separating Kazuya and Victorique is not acceptable, WWII or no. -1

Total Seishun Points: +6 - somehow feels like losing a little steam since the first cour, but have high hopes for the rest of the series. Another reason to look forward to Fridays.

Spring Midterms: Hanasaku, Kami Nomi, Softenni

I'll admit, it's been a long-ass time since I had a midterm. Let's just say, when I was in school, we used NCSA Mosaic to browse the inter-net. Instead of Web 2.0, we were talking Web 0.5. But since we're a third of the way through the spring season, might as well take some time and judge the anime that's aired so far, and that's midterm-like, right? Grades are too 20th century, though, so I'm only giving seishun points, taking my cue from Denpa Onna. So without further ado:

Hanasaku Iroha


Good Points
- Ohana: she's the cute, energetic, heroine of the series, and since this is in spite of being raised by a thoroughly negligent mother who dumps her off on her grandmother, it's hard not to root for Ohana to succeed. Plus her grandmother follows the Tiger Mom school, so you know Ohana won't grow up to be worthless. +3
- Animation quality and setting - I'm a sucker for interesting settings and atmosphere, and the countryside inn setting is pretty cool. Not quite Sora no Woto cool in my book, but visually, everything looks good and makes it feel like you're really in the Japanese countryside. +1
- Rina using random-ass dialects for the hell of it. Quirky characters are more fun to watch. +1

Bad Points
- It feels a little like a soap opera. It's a tough line to walk, but the whole thing with Grandma slapping Ohana, Minchi hating on Ohana, Minchi liking Tohru, and so on...it's hard to know when you cross the line from drama to soap opera, but I have some worries. I still think odds are good Tohru falls for Ohana, and Minchi goes yandere, but I don't know if I want to see that. -1
- I'm just not waiting on the edge of my seat for new episodes. Let's face it, Nako is kind of a boring character, Minchi isn't good at much aside from being hostile towards Ohana so far, Grandma doesn't show up much, Ko-chan seems like he's nice but not exactly a thrill a minute, and he's been out of the picture for a while now anyway. Most interesting character is probably Tohru - need more interesting bishoujos too. -1

Total Seishun Points: +3 - enough to keep me watching, and I expect it'll only get better since it has two cours to work with and develop the characters

Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai - 2nd Season


Good Points
- Haqua. Although honestly, she's not as badass as the hype made me think she would be. She reminds me of Hinagiku a little, but in ep 3 she just came across as really annoying the way she refused help and refused to admit despite being a star in school, she actually sucked dong at catching loose souls. But in ep 4 she redeemed herself a little. +1
- Elcie. Pure moe in demon form. +3
- Keita seeing straight through Haqua's pretenses. They don't call him Kami-onii-san for nothing. +2

Bad Points
- Kendo heroine didn't do anything for me at all. I wasn't a fan of Shiori either, it's like Nagakawa Kanon aside, I wouldn't want to play any of their routes, if you know what I mean. -2
- Character design for the really dangerous level 3 loose soul looked like the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Is that the scariest you could come up with? Really? -1

Total Seishun Points: +3 - again enough to keep watching, but I'm hoping the next bishoujo will be better than kendo girl, whose name I can't even remember. Kanon-chan needs more screentime too.

Softenni


Good Points
- Good cast. Not the best cast ever, but they're quirky enough and interact together well enough that it makes this fun to watch. Not sure if they'll make it to Softenni Koshien, but if the cast is likeable it covers up a lot of other ills in my book. +2
- The guy with 'God's fingers' - I don't know why, but that whole scene cracked me up. +1
- Taught me that soft tennis is an actual sport - had no idea this existed before, so I can claim this is expanding my intellectual horizons. +1
- Fanservice. Because let's face it, no one watches Xebec series for plot and dorama. +1

Bad Points
- Censor cows. -1
- The weird thing with Chitose riding on salamanders and being obsessed with food. -1
- Their coach needs more backstory, why the hell did he quit at the top? Because being badass at the sport you love is boring? Really? -1

Total Seishun Points: +2 - as long as it's funny, I'll forgive a lot.