Ξ April 15th, 2012 | → 0 Comments | ∇ The Anime Annals |
Jeez… so hard to write after watching Fate/Zero 15 (second ep of second season)! But I’ll try anyway
With the Spring 2012 Anime Season just underway, it’s time for me to reflect on what treats Winter left behind among the shows I was tracking through the season. There’s still one more episode of Mirai Nikki to go, which began in the Fall Season, and I’ll probably do a separate post on it later, so we completists don’t need to wait for it. The show’s been a real thrill-ride so far! Gasai Yuno = crazy + psychopathic + ultra-violent + devoted + loving stalker girl = a sympathetic character?? How… does that… work out…
Yet it’s a potential 10. Oops. Digression averted! Separate post, for later LOL But here, since I’ve been watching it over winter (scenes of violence; it can’t be helped):
Other recent two-season shows wrapping up were Shana no Shakugan Final, Last Exile: -Fam the Silver Wing, and Chihayafuru. Unfortunately, I had to drop the behind-the-manga-scene story Bakuman 2 at ep 14. It was enjoyable enough but time got too rare and interest waned a bit, so I’ll finish it up at some point. I did like the cast quite a bit.
Chihayafuru was very well-done and full of interesting characters, which is good, because they will carry such a show, basically a sports-themed anime using card duels as its center. No, not MT:G or Pokemon-style either! Karuta is a game based around Japan’s One Hundred Poets, and the tournament scenes were full of poetic imagery, drama and (believe it or not) action. I gave it an 8 at MyAnimeList, for those interested in ratings; the same 10 scale applies to Anime News Network too. An 8 is the lowest score of shows I’m satisfied with; 7s and lower are rare because I don’t stick with unsatisfactory shows, so you won’t see many of those on my List.
As a longtime fan of the original Last Exile and its sterling character designer Range Murata, I approached the sequel Fam, the Silver Wing with some trepidation. Featuring a (mostly!) new cast, it still manages to retain the flavor of the original, and while not as gripping as its predecessor, greatly entertained me. And that’s the bottom line! It could have been greater though, and under-utilized most of the original cast who popped up here and then (won’t give spoilers as to who, the surprises were fun), and it also got an 8, which is Very Good. In contrast, I gave the original a 10, because it was a Masterpiece (for my tastes, which should go without saying). It’s a rare sequel that surpasses its original!
Shana, oh Shana, to go out with such a whimper. Well, not exactly a whimper; Shakugan no Shana III (Final)‘s last battle/war scene(s) dragged on for quite a while, while Shana herself almost seemed a secondary character. I was annoyed that the titular character was reduced to bystander status over most of it. As an action series, Shana never disappoints, though a few plot-lines and characters seem extraneous and bog the pacing down. Kinda hard to believe that there won’t be more after this; I suspect that we haven’t seen the last of Shana, the Flaming Red-Haired, Blazing-Eyed Hunter. Gave her an 8 anyway. ‘cos, you know, it’s Shana
The Winter shows I followed were Nisemonogatari, Ano Natsu de Matteru, Another, Black Rock Shooter, and Kill Me Baby. Oddly enough, I didn’t feel like masochism after the latter but did after enduring the eight episodes of Black Rock Shooter. I’m not big on fighting-type anime (usally boring and repetetive battle-suited fights-of-the-week), and gave it a 6, ’nuff said. AT LEAST I TRIED IT
On the other hand we have Kill Me Baby… all I can say is wtf is this I don’t even… Let’s see… whacked-out comedy with chibi-style schoolgirls, one an assassin, the other an
obsessed devoted fangirl who continually provokes her to violence, 99% of the time directed right back at her. Sometimes both of them. Despite the simplicity and intentional stupidity it had me lin stitches a lot, so it was excellent at doing its job. I gave it an 8 for being very good at being itself Plus… best ED of the season:
Too bad the subtitled lyrics couldn’t be found; they’re half of the fun. Well, it was funny, anyway; I couldn’t get enough of it! And, neither could these stalwarts:
Ano Natsu de Matteru is winter’s romantic drama choice despite being set in the summer, a somewhat similar but polar opposite from Spring 2011′s masterpiece Ano hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bakutachi wa Mada Shiranai. Haruka Tomatsu voiced a great lead in Ichika, the other-worldly girl who lands (almost literally) in Kaito’s lap. Honestly, I love a good fantasy/reality show but this one felt as if it could have done fine without it (though it does add some flavor in the latter eps). The characters, filming a movie for a summertime school project, are strong enough to carry their own without a space gimmick. Remon in particular was fun to watch as she manipulates things to her own inscrutable purposes, writing their evolving script that dynamically changes as the characters do. Loved it, and gave it a 9. Look how lovely:
Another was the horror anime of the season; it focuses on the class who throughout recent years has been under a curse, facilitated by one of their number who is “Another”. People die pretty horribly; be forewarned (but not in the following video). Horror and suspense drench most every episode, with an effective score and atmosphere as well. Gloomy. And worth a 9 from me, because of its Excellence. Sample and hold:
My favorite show of the season was Nisemonogatari, hands down. Being a huge fan of Bakemonogatari (and all the little -monogataris), I was looking forward to this and it was well-worth the wait. With well-written and witty dialogue delivered by talented voice actors, the talking really is what drives the show. Studio SHAFT once again excels at their bold design choices, and the directing by Akiyuki Shinbo is again, consistently eye-popping and rewarding.
In the sequel we get little of the original’s main heroine, Senjogahara. This didn’t bother me too much, as she had the main stage for most of the first series. The series’ real strength is in its female cast, and it was good that the others got to share in the spotlight. As I recently gushed in this Post, I was very happily surprised by Shinobu’s larger role; it was delicious as donuts!
This is an awesome character. In the first series, she appeared as an eight year-old child, always mute and motionless. No explanation was given for her; she was just there when Araragi visited Meme Oshino’s “home”. In actuality (oh yes) she’s a beautiful vampire having lived over 500 years. Her true form is shown in the original for only a flash; blink and you’ll miss her, and no identity is revealed. All you can determine is that this dangerous menacing vampire is who caused Araragi’s own vampirism, and go “whatthefuckwasthat???”. At the end of that season she began living in Araragi’s shadow and so she is in the sequel. Which is good. Because now she can talk (a lot LOL) and eat… donuts!
Gotta give props to Araragi’s seiyuu, Hiroshi Kamiya, one of the best (he also voices Nozomu Itoshiki of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and Durarara!!‘s Izaya; hilarious in all roles). Araragi is the shoulders of the show upon whose observations everything rests. This sequel focuses on his younger sisters, erstwhile fighters for justice. They say. Actually, all the show’s girls say a lot. Each of them is carefully defined and expresses herself in a way that separates her from the others. There’s not much development to speak of, but they all stay true to their character. And that’s a lot of fun
Mayoi Hachikuji is always welcome in an episode, usually encountered randomly out in the city somewhere. Her sometimes vicious love/hate relationship with Araragi (well, hate, mostly) is usually centered around his invading her very personal space somehow (let’s say). This next video demonstrates the clever dialogue and snappy pace. Caution, fanservice ahead:
The show is delightfully and playfully perverted, but doesn’t overemphasize it. It does emphasize it though, so if offended by fanservice, do not apply. I’ll have to say, while I don’t much care for fanservice, this is how it should be done, to perfection! There’s a good deal of winking at the Viewer, but good-natured and non-exploitative. Well, I guess it depends on what your definition of “exploitative” is; these are not actually real people ssshhhh!
Ah yes… the toothbrush scene. This one will no doubt live on in anime history along with “It falls off sometimes”. Squirmy and erotic, verging on the incestuous… Araragi decides to help one of his sisters brush her teeth. Yup, that’s it. SOUNDS SO INNOCENT. But see: (NSFW and ignore the stupid and misleading ‘rape’reference in the title; this is the only English sub I could find. I can’t understand why these fools are so infatuated with such a cruel word, ugh )
It looks like the next -monogatari will be the movie Kizumonogatari, which should tell the story of Shinobu’s encounter with Araragi. CAN NOT WAIT. Here’s a little bonus especially for our Japanese-speaking visitors, apparently a press conference announcing the movie. I say “apparently” because I have no clue what they’re saying! Bummer. Anyway, it does feature the voice actors for each main character, including one of my favorite seiyuu, Yui Horie (she voiced Ayu Tsukimiya from Kanon).
It’s always nice to see the talent behind the voices; you can tell that they genuinely love their work, and this comes shining through in their work that we get to gratefully enjoy.
So, Spring Season is here, and I’m getting familiar with the sparkly new shows and cast members. Always a dizzying time! After being unimpressed with the release calendar’s synopses, somehow I have over a dozen Spring shows on my Currently Watching List… but we’ll talk about that next time. What restraint
Thanks for visiting, as always; feel free to comment, as always; you’re welcome at Alastor’s, as always