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[In which I review] New anime, Summer 2013

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Gatchaman CROWDS - I like it, but it doesn't seem to be able to decide what age group it's aimed at. Half the time it seems like a shiny kids show, and half the time like a mystery.

Kitakubu etc etc - I got halfway through the second episode and couldn't be bothered to watch any more. I like cute girls doing cute things as much as the next guy, but this was just tiresome.

Kiniro Mosaic - might just be too sweet.
 

Jhiday

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And now for the last two shows that debuted this week-end...


A few words on Yami Shibai first : it's a series of horror shorts with peculiar collage-like artstyle... and it doesn't really work for me. Maybe because the first tale is so deliberately obtuse. (I think I get what the twist is supposed to be, but would it have killed the creators to spell it out ?) It's not like it's doing anything particularly original, anyway. But nice artstyle, still.

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A Town Where You Live (Kimi no Iru Machi)
(12ish episodes ?)

What's it about ?

Adaptation of a romance manga where some girl from Tokyo comes to live in the protagonist's house in the boonies and the usual hijinks ensue...

Well, except that's not what this anime series is about AT ALL. There was a short OVA miniseries a while ago that adapted a late chapter where the Tokyo girl has gone back home and the protagonist seizes the opportunity of a class trip to see her ; this new series occurs even further down the timeline. (Which makes the title a complete artefact.)

Characters

Haruto, our protagonist. He's suddenly transfered in the middle of the school year to a high school in one of Tokyo's suburbs so that he can spend all his free time looking around for the girl. If that sounds very stalker-ish... Well, her younger sister would agree.

Aoi, his older sister, whose pad he's crashing at. Since she's a busy salarywoman, she's barely ever around anyway.

Asuka, their next-door neighbour. Since her first contact with Haruto is attacking him with a baseball bat, mistaking him for a burglar, they're not exactly off on their best foot. So of course they attend the same high school ! She mellows down relatively quickly, and even starts giving him on how to better fit in class (where he's not making any friends). She's very obviously projecting some of her own issues onto him, especially her self-consciousness regarding her country dialect.

Kyousuke, Asuka's "friend" and overall nice guy. Perceptive enough to point out that, whatever they may pretend, Haruto & Asuka have a lot of chemistry together... not that it takes too much to notice it.

Eba, the girl Haruto is actually looking for, doesn't show up at all in this episode at all, although since she's prominently in the OP/ED sequences she's bound to appear at some point. Next episode will apparently feature flashbacks to the original setup, with the old supporting cast.

Production Values

There's something a bit old-fashioned about the artstyle here : thicker black lines, saturated colours... Or maybe I just watched a bad transfer. Anyway, it looks somewhat rough, and doesn't seem to be used for any artistic purpose.

Overall Impression

Well, it's always intriguing when an adaptation starts off at a very late point from the original material. I can understand why they did it : the early premise sounds generic as heck, and the story of what happens after Eba has gone back to Tokyo and the status quo is shattered seems more interesting. It does result with a series that barely has any relation to its title anymore (since it's not set in the town where Haruto used to live).

On the other hand, it seems to be a running joke that Haruto has way more chemistry with anyone but Eba, and his current behaviour looks very unhealthy indeed. So it's not like the two of them being reunited feels like something we should be looking forward to. There's kind of a sense that their romance has run its course and he really shouldn't be trying to rekindle it. And I'm not entirely sure I trust this series to pursue this to its logical conclusion.

It's an intriguing series, I'll give it that. But I have enough doubts about its direction that I'm not sure I'll see it through.
 
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