Ξ May 10th, 2012 | → 0 Comments | ∇ The Anime Annals |
It’s a really weird airing schedule this anime season! Since so many Spring series’ airings are scattered between episodes 2 and 5 this week it’s hard to determine where the season’s midway point is going to be, so I’ll just get a jump on it now and tackle the shows I’m sticking with as this season “nears its middle”.
After falling behind (again!) for almost two weeks, I have a boatload of shows to catch up on, and so decided to put on hold (or drop) 4 series that were losing my interest. Since time is in short supply, I find myself looking for any good reason to drop or put on hold a marginal show; there’s just not enough time to catch them all!
Now I know how an Agent feels ;_;
But in sifting through so many shows, one is bound to find a jewel:
So, we may or may not continue Tsuritama (kids and an alien learn to fish), Medaka Box (yet another high-school “problem-solvers” club), Haiyore! Nyaruko-san (I prefer horrifying Cthulu-mythos creatures please, not cute little girls), and Zetman (just didn’t win me over but may try again later).
That’ll leave me with eleven, but I see that the first episode of AKB0048 has just been subbed, so I’ll check that out and see if I can reach twelve. Another idol-based show might be a little much coming so soon (relatively) after The iDolm@ster, but I’ll try anything that looks promising. Several favorite seiyuu are in it (Yui Horie, Yukari Tamura, Mamiko Noto and Miyuki Sawashiro); I always enjoy hearing their takes on new characters. If it’s too girly though I’ll have to pass regardless LOL (It might be a show geared especially towards adolescent girls due to the elevated status of this huge pop merchandising machine, in which case nice, but not for me.)
(EDIT: Apologies for the blank vids below, but a few get yanked as happens A LOT on YT, which goes to show that you should try to watch these asap when posted. You’d think that the Corporations would understand that we’re sharing them to increase their profits, not profiting somehow from “misusing” their Product.)
At this point, the cream of the Spring crop is Fate/Zero, Kids on the Slope, Hyouka, Eureka Seven Ao, and Space Brothers. Next tier of excellent shows are Jormungand, Sankarea, Accel World, and Tasogare Otome x Amnesia. Rounding up the little doggies are Acchi Kocchi and Kimi to Boku 2.
The most pleasant surprise for this music-lover is Kids on the Slope, aka Sakamichi no Apollon. Talk about a breath of fresh air! Set in the mid-sixties, layered with smooth animation (especially the musicians), great characters (with a possible love-triangle in the offing?), and an authentic jazz-drenched soundtrack, Kids provides an intimate glimpse into the hearts of those who love music, specifically, jazz.
My eyes (and ears) popped at the mention of Art Blakey when the record-store owner pulled out a copy to show the MC, a crotchety young fellow into classical piano until he meets the school delinquent who worships at the altar of cool (and is a mean drummer himself). His determination in learning this new, free, method of expression at the piano is wonderful to behold:
The love and respect for jazz is palpable and admirable; highly recommended to those who appreciate and feel the love of music! Throw in the (relatively) placid mid-sixties backdrops, cultural similarities that cross barriers, and such wonderful characters, you’ve got a show you can really dig into with relish, man
Fate/Zero continues its awesomeness previously reported. May not work as well with someone unfamiliar with the story of Fate/stay night, but this is great, epic, storytelling set in an intriguing universe (Nasu-verse) of distinct rules and definitions. The animation by Studio ufotable is top-notch as always, and especially highlighted in the intense action scenes. ‘Nuff said, except for this:
Hyouka is the latest from Kyoto Animation, producers of that blessed (for me and many others) triple crown of Air, Kanon, and Clannad. I’ll basically watch anything they can put together, so that alone is reason enough (until/unless the unlikely event that I get bored with it). Even though Angel Beats! lacked a certain… oh, I dunno… “Key element” (*cough*), it was a fun show, though not anywhere near the dramatic peaks of those three joined-at-the-hip classics.
Here’s a proper (and prim) promotional video, subtitled for your very edification
I know that the entertainment value of a KyoAni series will be high, with little-to-no fanservice or other cheap devices to keep me tuned in, so this school-based mystery might be unique enough to keep me watching. I bet that it will
I loved the original Eureka Seven. It’s the perfect example of why it’s good to take recommendations seriously in spite of initial misgivings (as long as the person recommending is on the same wave-length as you are). I saw: young kid, literal air-board, mecha, childish cartoon-y action scenes and figured “it’s for kids”. Well… I recommend you don’t do that Since the episode I previewed was on Adult Swim, and English-dubbed, I think I got that impression because the voice acting was so Saturday-morning-cartoon-like. When I eventually watched it (after a friend’s recommendation) in the original language with subtitles it grabbed me after just a few episodes, and I tracked down all 50+ to watch in bunches at a time. I will definitely own it one day
Major spoilers for Eureka Seven in the following clip, but for those interested in Ao and don’t want to track down the original series, this’ll make for a nice little reference. It captures the feeling(s) quite nicely:
The sequel, Eureka Seven Ao, is kind of in the same boat as the Fam sequel was to Last Exile; it’s a tough mountain to climb in reaching the heights of such prestigious original shows. It’s still early, but Ao is shaping up nicely in evoking (and hopefully bringing back) some original characters and atmosphere, and not tease us as with Fam‘s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameos. Waiting for a girl with turquoise hair to appear…
Space Brothers is another out-of-the-(sky)-blue surprise. The story involves the older brother of a young astronaut being invited to compete and train for a mission to the Moon, the same space-bound goal that they as kids vowed to reach together. Real Life interfered with the elder Mutto’s plans (as RL is wont to do), but the pointy-haired Hibito became a top-ranked astronaut for the fictitious NASA in this smart, funny, sci-fi/reality-fused series. The touching dynamic between the brothers is a joy to watch as they play off each other like brothers will, no matter their age. Here’s the awesome kick-ass OPening theme:
A big plus for me was the instant recognition of Tiger and Bunny‘s voice-actor for Tiger, Hiroaki Hirata with the first words out of his mouth! I couldn’t get enough of his Tiger; his tired-but-enthused “middle-aged-man” persona never got -well, “old”
I couldn’t find one YouTube example of him speaking as either Mutto or Kotetsu (Tiger), so here’s an AMV of Tiger & Bunny, with spoilers if you haven’t seen it. Now THAT was a superhero action anime for all time! Kotetsu is feeling his age, and wondering if he was meant to stay in this cynical televised sponsor-laden “modern” competitive super-hero environment…
It’s my birthday today so I get to think about that kinda stuff, not that I’m into Time or anything. But yeah, I’m pulling for Mutto to make it, just like Tiger
The remaining shows I’m just not familiar enough with to estimate anything about except that they’re all potentially very good; I never know until the last frame is spent! Those second-tier shows I mentioned may be slow-growers (which I like) and so won’t be apparent until I get to the point where I’m going “I can’t wait until next week!” We’ll let you know when that happens xD
Of the last two, Acchi Kocchi is my guilty pleasure of the season; something silly and stupid to pass the time and fit into that kind of mood. It’s good to have a variety, because I have a variety of moods! And one of them happens to be silly and stupid, so.
Kimi to Boku 2 (aka You and Me) is another “different” show, one that features… just… guys… and acting like (school-aged) guys. But the personalities are so carefully crafted, even between the twins, and all the characters so funny and real-to-life, that it can’t help but be an enjoyable way to spend a half-hour. Whenever I consider dropping it, I just watch one more episode and am finding myself looking forward to What Happens Next.
Those three words are like manna to a writer, and probably a big reason why I love anime so much
So here’s the last part of the season finale from season 1, as a random sampling of whatever it is that this show deals in. I don’t exactly know what that “it” is, call it personality, heart or sentiment, but I like it, so it’s all good despite the fact that it’s “a show about nothing”. And no cliffhanger xD (Setup: The boys have been tasked with helping out in a hyper-active kindergarten/day care center, where one of them has a crush on the teacher there…)
Such a great scene… That’s why I like this show so much! Even the secondary characters bring out the best in the main ones, as seen above. That was a great way to end its first season, and now I’m following season 2 out of a genuine curiosity and affection for these characters. Slice-of-life anime at it’s best, IMHO, as is everything else in here
Thanks for visiting and reading; comments are welcome as always