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[In which I review] New anime, Summer 2012

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#91
Poems of Love (Chouyaku Hyakuninisshu: Uta Koi)
(12ish episodes ?)

What's it about ?

Remember Chihayafuru last year, about that card game based on 100 classic Japanese poems ? This is a (very liberal) adaptation of those poems. At least, the ones about love stories. Which is about half of them, so that's plenty enough material.

(Adapted from a very popular josei manga.)

Characters & Plot

Fujiwara no Teika, the dude who's supposed to have compiled the 100 poems, serves as our host for what is basically an anthology series. I like his sense of humour, for what little we see of it. (And it's nice to have Yuki Kaji in snarky mode for a change.)

There are two tales here. The first one involves the lower-class Ariwara no Narihira seducing Fujiwara no Takaiko, who's set to marry to Emperor soon, and thus doesn't have time for such dalliance. You've seen this story thousands of times before, but this one works thanks to Narihira's incredible charm and impeccably smooth technique, and Takaiko's very genuine reactions.

The second tale is about his brother Ariwara no Yukihira's happy marriage, and it doesn't really go anywhere. It seems to be mostly an excuse to flesh Narihira's backstory out a bit.

I have no clue whether we're going to see any of those characters (besides our host) again later. I kinda doubt it, as I seem to recall the 100 poems having been written over a span of several centuries.

Production Values

This is a very good-looking series, with thick outlines and several other design choices contributing to make it look a bit like ancient Japanese paintings.

The ED features rapping. Of course it does.

Overall Impression

There is a lot to like here : it's gorgeous, the dialogue is very well-written indeed, and the characters have a lot of life in them.

But... It's an anthology of archetypal love stories. There's a big risk of them quickly starting to repeat themselves. One of them this episode is already lackluster, and I really doubt this is going to keep my interest for long.

Still, I'll at least try to stick with it for one more episode. Maybe they'll find a way for it sustain itself for the long run ?
 

SunnyD

New member
Banned
#92
Man, that fairy dystopia show is disturbing. The visuals to it are obviously designed to appeal to small children (simple character designs and heavy use of bright colors), yet they include things like headless, skinless chickens running around and the bread bot tearing itself in half and gushing what is initially assumed to be some sort of blood. If it is scheduled for a timeslot kids can watch, no wonder Japan's youth are so fucked up. I wouldn't want to leave the house either if during my formative years, a cartoon convinced me random wandering slices of bread would jump out of the shadows, tear themselves in half and spurt blood all over me. Hell, I wouldn't even want to eat sandwiches after that. "No! Don't cut the crust off, it'll bleed!" Damn, and to think the Grape Ape gave me nightmares for years when I was a kid... o_O;
I think it enhances the comedy.

Because of people's reactions like yours, not even joking.
 
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DJorgensen

New member
Banned
#93
First, I wouldn't call it a "reaction." It is more a statement of consensus. Even the Japanese think their kids are screwed up. They've got the whole NEET/Hikkikomori thing going on at epidemic levels, otakudom has descended into anime-obsessed stalkerdom, hell, girls over there are styling their hair to look like Alien facehuggers grabbed them by the wrong side of their heads...
 

Ikselam

a heavy bear to cross
Validated User
#94
There have been other Holmes pastiches in recent years, though Hyouka has been very much the best so far.
I just got caught up on Hyouka, and episodes 8-11 made me glad I revisited it after putting it on the backburner. That arc was so well staged.

edit
Between Natsuiro Kiseki and now this, I'm not sure how much longer I'll be able to handle not living in a gorgeous, idyllic seaside village full of peppy highschoolers and friendly townspeople in real life. Especially since Boston... is kind of like the alternate-universe cyberpunk nightmare version of that.
 
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Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#95
Binbougami ga!
(13 episodes)

What's it about ?

Comedy about a Misfortune God harassing a high school girl. Or is it the other way around ?

Characters

Momiji, the Poverty God. Well, presumably one of many, as we open with her boss giving her a new assignment. She does not seem to enjoy her job too much, although her new "victim" did strike a nerve. (I say "victim" in the loosest of senses, given how Momiji kinda reminds me of Wile E. Coyote.)

Ichiko, an ultra-rich, ultra-popular, F-chested high-school girl. She knows it, and enjoys it tremendously, thank you. Calling her an entitled jerk would be an understatement. (I have to say I've been enjoying Kana Hanazawa's career twice as much since she started getting those bitchy roles ; her venom tongue is a pleasure to listen to.) The plot here is that she's actually leeching off the good fortune from everyone around her, hence why she's got so much. Momiji's job is to resolve the situation.

Suwano, her butler. He's mostly there to provide Ichiko with an emotional bond... although even that isn't taken too seriously by the show.

Some of Ichiko's classmates are given enough prominence in the OP that they'll probably be important later on, but not yet.

Production Values

Not very good, but the direction is solid enough to sell the jokes.

Overall Impression

Look, a comedy that's actually funny ! Okay, it's not without problems (the random popculture jokes, such as Momiji randomly starting to talk like Lupin III for a couple of sentences, sometimes fall flat), but it's got enough energy and good comedic timing to work. It helps that the two main voice-actresses have amazing chemistry together and can pull off the rapid-fire jokes and multiple tone changes.

"From the makers of Gintama and Daily Lives of High School Boys" had my hopes up, and I'm glad not to be disappointed.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
#96
Can we please just ignore the wrong-headed rants that have nothing to do with the subject matter of these reviews ? I don't enjoy reading this sort of inane flame wars, and I'd really like them not to pollute this thread.



Natsuyuki Rendez-vous
(11 episodes, noitaminA)

What's it about ?

A romantic comedy between adults, which is a rare occurence indeed. Adapted from a josei manga, obviously.

Characters

Hazuki, our protagonist. He's taken a shine to the florist down the street, and has become a bit of a stalker. Buying a new plant every weekday, applying for the part-time job... Now, if only he had the guts to say out loud half of his snarky narration, he might have a chance.

Rokka, the florist. Frankly, she doesn't make that much of an impression beyond "cute and sad", as we mostly see her through Hazuki's eyes.

Atsushi, her husband. Who casually walks around half-naked in her house just to put Hazuki off. And it would have worked if the latter hadn't learned that the former has been dead for three years. Yep, he's a ghost.

Also in this episode are the former part-timer (going off abroad to be married) and Atsushi's sister, who comes around on weekends to lend a hand in the shop. But they're mostly there to provide some gentle exposition.

Production Values

Quite good, and there's some good visual jokes of Atsushi just floating around. Gorgeous ED, too.

Overall Impression

I was all ready to ignore the noitaminA show that isn't about talking yeast, but this is actually quite good. Yuuichi Nakamura lends his usual charisma to our male lead, and makes for a fun double act with Jun Fukuyama. The "ghost" setup is a lot of fun too, and I like that the plot doesn't seem to be wasting any time.

Definitely a keeper.
 

Reki

Registered User
Validated User
#97
Ah. I didn't really enjoy this one, but I didn't enjoy Gintama or even watch Daily Lives of High School Boys. Now that I know I can expect more of the same, I don't have to bother with it any further. Definitely not for my sense of humor.
 

FortMan

Viva Romanesco!
Validated User
#98
It has been 15 minutes since I watched Moyashimon Return's ending credit, yet I'm still giggling.

Microbe Theatre is also quite funny this week.
 

SunnyD

New member
Banned
#99
After watching "Binbougami ga!" I couldn't wait for the next episode, and I'm currently plowing through the manga at the speed of light, punctuated by fits of laughter.

It's amazing.

ADD:

I have one thing to say about Eureka 7 AO's latest episode...

Spoiler: Show
ABOUT FUCKING TIME.
 
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Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
The first episode of Moyashimon Returns was a bit slow to start and very recap-y, but then it's been five years since the first season (which also took its time to really get going). I notice the chararacter designs have shifted a bit, which took me a bit get used to. Still, it does feel like it's recapturing the magic of the original show, which is what matters. (My retrospective review from a couple of months ago.)



Love, Election & Chocolate (Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate)
(13 episodes)

What's it about ?

Bog-standard high-school-set dating sim adaptation.

Characters & plot

This series goes out of its way to hit all of the genre's clichés : the generic male protagonist, the obnoxious childhood friend who drags him out from bed, her obvious romantic rival, the gay option, the pint-sized genius, the alcoholic teacher...

The plot involves the student council president stepping down and an election being held to replace him ; unfortunately, the leading candidate is a ball-busting penny-pincher who wants to dissolve all the useless clubs, such as a Sweets Club the main characters belong to. And her only credible opponent is a corrupt jerk. So our male lead gets drafted by the club into being an outsider candidate...

There's also a weird pre-credits subplot about the resident newspaper newshound getting the scoop on shady dealings and become the victim of a hit-and-run for her trouble.

Production Values

Average. The school does have some nifty near-future technology, the most pointless of which must be the awesome self-folding tables in the Sweets Club. No wonder some people would want to cut on the spending a bit...

Overall Impression

You know what ? I kinda enjoyed watching this. Sure, it's a cliché-storm that brings absolutely nothing new to the table, but there's some self-aware charm to it. Maybe it's because Yuuichi Nakamura lends his usual charisma to the male lead ? (God knows he's the main reason I found Clannad watchable...) Maybe it's the hints that the corruption subplot is actually going somewhere ? Or the bits of weirdness such as the protagonist's "truth-vision" ?

Okay, show, you got my attention. Don't waste it.
 
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