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[LTTP/WIW] Various anime from the 00s and beyond

KoboldLord

Registered User
Validated User
Got it in one. That cheap discounted boxset at my local retailer had been taunting me for months and made me quite curious.

Six [*] episodes in, I'm very pleased with it.

(Although that "animation production" credit for JC Staff, really ? What animation, pray tell ?)


[*] Gotcha ! But hey, I did say 20ish.
Just a heads up on Kare Kano, the show doesn't end very well. They were expecting a second season and a budget until about three episodes from the end, and the change in quality is conspicuous.
 

JELEINEN

Sizzler Black Squadron
Validated User
Got it in one. That cheap discounted boxset at my local retailer had been taunting me for months and made me quite curious.

Six [*] episodes in, I'm very pleased with it.

(Although that "animation production" credit for JC Staff, really ? What animation, pray tell ?)


[*] Gotcha ! But hey, I did say 20ish.
Studios do a lot of farm out work when not working on their own productions to pay the bills.

Fun trick you can do with Kare Kano: In episode 11, pause at about 14:30 then advance frame by frame.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Moyashimon ("Yeast Monsters")
(11 episodes, 2007)

My previous exposure

There's a sequel airing this Summer, and since it's on noitaminA it'd have gotten on my radar sooner rather than later anyway.

Beyond that and the notion that it's about cute microbes or something, I knew nothing of it.

What's it about ?

Sawaki, our protagonist, is a new student attending an agriculture university. He can see microbes (bacteria, fungi, viruses, the whole lot of them), not as what they look like under a microscope, but as cute inch-tall little critters. He's not too fond of this talent of his, and tends to keep it secret, but it turns out to be quite useful in the world of agriculture (both with the "good" fermenting microbes, and the "bad" toxic microbes).

But this is mostly a background thread, as the core of the series is a slice-of-life story involving the ensemble cast of Sawaki, his best friend Yuuki, Pr Itsuki (an ineffable microbe specialist who takes them under his wing), angry grad-student Hasegawa, never-do-well second-years Kawahama & Misato, and various over recurring characters.

What did I think of it ?

I didn't expect this at at all. Sure, it's very educative about how microbes are SERIOUS BUSINESS in agriculture, and the quirky "Sawaki-vision" does a lot to liven up all this exposition... but mostly it's just a really good college slice-of-life series. Heck, the high point of the series is that hilarious two-parter with the survival challenge, and that had nothing to do with microbes.

This was well worth watching, and I can hardly wait for the second season.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
And now I've become aware that a live-action version of Moyashimon aired on noitaminA in 2010. Since Kaze has made the first episode available for free on YouTube, I checked it out.

And, er, it's definitely a far inferior adaptation. Where the anime was at it best when it was willing to go deadpan in the face of insanity (especially with the wonderful mouthless poker faces from Itsuki & Misato), the live-action cranks up the hysterics to eleven. It thus ends up as annoying instead of charming. (Also, Hasegawa's actress can't pull off how intimidating her character is supposed to be. Admittedly, she ain't helped by the lecherous camera.)

Yeah, I won't be bothering with the 10 other episodes. Let's rather wait for Moyashimon Returns this July.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Episode titles that instill dread into my heart :

"The story so far (Part 1)"



(That said, those weren't THAT bad 1.5 episodes. Good showcase for the soundtrack, at the very least. And the technical cards were quite instructive : while the first 10 episodes hovered in the not-really-impressive 2,500-3,500 cells-per-episode range, the 12th shows a sudden drop to 900ish. Yikes. And the 13th barely recovered, with 1,300ish. This show really had budget issues, didn't it ? It's impressive how little it impacted on my enjoyment of it. Well, 1.5 recap episodes aside.)
 

CynoT

Nuclear Energy Advocate
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I used to (and still, occasionally) tell people that KareKano is a case study of how to save money in the animation business while still remaining (nominally) an animation.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Some closing thoughts on His and Her Circumstances :

On balance, I don't mind that it ends in mid-story. Sure, poor Arima kinda got the shaft, with most of his angst left unresolved. But if there's one impression I got from the series, it's that those kids are going to pull through their teenage angst and live (mostly) happily ever after. I don't NEED to see a "happy ending" ; somehow I know they're gonna be okay. That's the unifying theme between all the digressions, from Tsubasa acknowledging her new family, to the love story between Yukino's parents, etc. : life may be tough and a bit crazy, but it's going to work out.


---------


On a completely unrelated note, I've been checking out the French dub for The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. (Because, hey, I've got the discs, I might as well watch them at some point.) The script is relatively decent, although not without some blunders (such as Yuki calling Haruhi a data-interface like herself while expositing over tea). The actress for Haruhi does a decent job, and I liked Itsuki's horrible acting in episode 0.

But the big problem here is Kyon. I may be too used to Tomokazu Sugita's rendition, but this version sounds way too passive and laid-back. It just barely works for episode 0 (where Sugita went for a somewhat similarly smarmy tone)... but this Kyon never sounds angry, and that's just wrong.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Le Portrait de Petite Cossette (Cossette no Shouzou)
(3 36-minute episodes, 2004)

My previous exposure

After the success of Bakemonogatari and Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Akiyuki Shinbo barely needs any introduction, and his name should be reason enough to revisit his earlier works. Especially after stumbling onto The Soultaker last year in my half-joke "Spring 2001 in review", which showed that his directing skills were already impressive more than a decade ago.

I've had mixed luck with Shinbo's back catalog in the past (Soultaker was impressive, Negima!? okay, but I couldn't get through more than a few episodes of Pani Poni Dash and Hidamari Sketch), but this is a short OVA series, so why not try it out ?

What's it about ?

Our generic male protagonist mans his uncle's antique shop while the latter gallivants the world. One day, he stumbles in his inventory onto a cupboard hiding the portrait of a girl. Also, one of the glasses inside allows him to see the image of said girl... and to talk with her.

From that point starts a very creepy relationship, to the increasing concern of his few friends and the local psychic. And that's before the bodies start piling in.

What did I think of it ?

With the routine use of peculiar angles, the thoughtful composition of every shot, and the use of editing as punctuation, there's an hypnotic quality to Shinbo's directing... and by this I mean it often makes me drowse and lose focus if I'm not quite hooked by the story. In his good series, there's usually a sudden jolt in the plot that forces me to pay attention (Bakemonogatari's sudden child abuse flashback, Soultaker's descent into insanity, Sayonara Zetsubou-sensei's social commentary, everything in PMMM). Here, it's the twist about the portrait... but that's in the third episode. So I'm left with two episodes of creepy atmosphere that I couldn't make much emotional attachment to, and a very good ending that puts a completely different spin on the previous happenings but still makes perfect sense.

So I'm a bit conflicted about this one. The ending was very good indeed, and Shinbo's craft shines throughout, but I can't ignore I couldn't quite care about the first two-thirds of it.
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Thread resurrection !

I haven't been watching much anime besides the weekly grind this summer, but I seem to be getting back into it recently. I'm slowly going through the very depressing adventures of the most emo robot ever ; in the meanwhile, I needed some random comedy to cheer me up a bit (especially now that I paused my Futurama marathon).

Girl's High (Joshikousei)
(12 episodes, 2006)

My previous exposure

It was mentioned in passing in a recent ANN column as "the anti-MariMite". Okay, bring it on.

What's it about ?

It's a slice-of-life show featuring six girls attending a girls-only high-school. The high concept is that they're crude and make tons of sex-related jokes (despite most of them having no experience whatsoever, obviously).

The plots alternate between standard slice-of-life fare (the sports and culture festivals), some more risqué material (the love hotel episode) and more character-focused drama.

What did I think of it ?

This is a very decent show struggling under the weight of very pervasive and immersion-breaking fanservice. The pervert camera is on full-on mode here, oggling the girls and never missing an opportunity for a panty shot. This is more than a bit annoying, especially considering how the ED sequence manages to show the main cast sexing it up while still remaining tasteful (and looking like potato sacks teenagers). Fortunately, the fanservice does get a bit lighter later on, with a couple of episodes even having no panty in sight whatsoever.

Similarly, the gross-out sexual jokes of the initial episode quickly get phased out in favour of character-based humour... with some dashes of utterly random slapstick (such as drama queen Kouda's instant bizarre cosplay shtick) and various parodies. It also gets sometimes into some weightier subjects (bullying, a rape attempt...) that get dealt with an appropriate mix of seriousness and levity.

Once you get past the adolescent pubic hair jokes and exaggerated personalities, there's something surprisingly genuine about those girls' portrayal. The series is at its best when it lets them act like actual teenagers. I especially liked the flashback to Himeji's eating disorder, which is treated as a joke throughout, but still looks very real.

Thus this is something of a mixed bag : a fun little gag series burried under tons of creepy fanservice. But hey, at least it cheered me up.
 
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