Ξ July 30th, 2009 | → 2 Comments | ∇ The Anime Annals |
The Summer anime season is well underway, bringing a diverse assortment of quirky, funny, bizarre, earth-shaking, bloody, quixotic, action-packed, romantic, and… well, silly series to track impatiently from week-to-week. Currently I’m attempting to keep up with eight series, and considering dropping a ninth due to its somewhat disappointing premise failing, in spite of its promise.
Umi Monogatari has gotten a bit tedious to watch, given its Magical Girl tendencies (of which I’m not a fan) incorporating typical Transformation Scenes and “battle-o’-the-week” scenarios, and a pretty lame side character (a sea-turtle replete with bushy moustache and hat) (!). Normally I like to give a series at least 4 episodes before pulling the plug, but what with all the other shows to watch, this one can definitely go to the back burner. A shame, since its marine underwater setting was scintillating and would have been like a breath of fresh air to explore. As it were, if I were a fish. But this is one I’ll wait for reviews on after it’s completed its run.
So, in addition to the Spring series that I’m continuing (Requiem for the Phantom, Shangri-La, Saki, Pandora Hearts, and Hatsukoi Limited), here are the few, the proud, and the non-marines. Oh, ouch. Blame that brain-fart on Haruhi Suzumiya’s “Endless Eight” arc, which I just finished before starting this post. Remind me never to do that again. What a mind-fuck LOL
So, we might as well start with that! Of course, we’ve gotta have a little OP eye-candy for reference
Watch them while you can, and use Full-Screen for superior effect! (And, if a goddamn stupid intrusive ad pops up over the video, CLOSE THE FUCKER WITHOUT READING IT :-(
(-anti-ad rant off)
This long-awaited sequel to the instantly-notorious season one of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya is following in the footsteps of its predecessor (which ran its episodes in seemingly-random order) by “re-running” season one interspersed with new material. Kind of. Sort of. After one new episode entitled “Bamboo Leaf Rhapsody” the next new show began an arc that is still being wailed about (and aired) today. It’s called “Endless Eight”, and my god, the otaku are MOANING! No doubt it’s due to the seventh straight episode that repeats the previous scenes and dialogue of the prior episodes, but with slight variations to everything. Included in each are several minutes’ worth of “revelations” that are (hopefully) leading to a resolution.
And, I have to confess, like Itsuki says (repeatedly, in each episode LOL), I’m kind of enjoying it. There, I said it But what an uproar by the non-fanboys over the supposed “cheating” done by Kyoto Animation! It’s not like they’re just duplicating the material; each show does involve new animation, and is still enjoyable to watch. The characters are already well-established what with the phenomenon that began in 2006 with the SOS Brigade infiltrating even Western countries and inciting a fervor not seen before or since, and they’re all still acting in their idiosyncratic and familiar ways. There’s simply not a new plot in each show; just one long arc, just like… an arc. There’s a point in the arc’s title besides the alleged number; I say “alleged” because in the title screen the “8″ might not be an eight after all, but viewed sideways, the symbol for eternity. Since the arc involves a timeloop where a slice of time has been removed during Summer break (most likely by Haruhi since she’s a [*spoiler*]) and where it ceases to exist after August 31, it could very well repeat itself for eternity!
Let’s hope that it just refers to eight episodes. But I’m very sure that KyoAni has something up its sleeve, as so much of what they create is with much thought, deliberation and intent. Besides just trolling their fans LOL
The second new series which I’m watching that began recently is Sora no Manimani (aka “At the Mercy of the Sky”), a gentle-yet-rambunctious high-school star-gazing anime that has mixed in some light romantic possibilities (hard to tell as only three episodes have been done) along with some outright funny scenes, and adds in the childlike wonder of discovering the stars and now graduating to watching the night skies in the students’ Astronomy Club. There’ve been some real laugh-out-loud moments, mostly involving the ready-to-bleed Club President, and the most recent episode entitled “Planetarium” was lovely with its ending depiction of constellations, planets, and our galaxy. Very nice
Oh look! The OP
And now for the sequel to a series I simply love, Spice and Wolf. This show completely took me by surprise. Never would I have imagined that a series about traveling merchants, economics (medieval-style), and a wolf-god-girl might catch my fancy, but it did, in spades. Very clever writing and dialogue, and with characters that not only develop well but also involve you deeply with their concerns and fears, their calm and mercurial temperaments, and the precariousness of their well-being, it is one of the most unique shows that I’ve seen. Just be prepared to learn a LOT about monetary and trade matters. With that being said, it will not bore you ;-)
Well, maybe if you’re a mecha-freak or an action-nut it will LOL
And Horo (“Holo,” in some circles), the wolf-deity, is such an amazing character; so very well fleshed out with her alternating craftiness, vulnerability (though she wouldn’t admit it), affection, and manipulation (not to mention a fondness for apples LOL)… she’s become one of my most-favorite anime girls. Er, wolf-girl. Um. Funny, anime girls with animal appendages and ears, tails and so on never struck me as being particularly attractive. Horo shot this all to hell! Really, I adore her.
Plus, she could probably drink me under the table LMAO
One thing that struck me about the series was how well-designed it was; not only the characters but also the realistic medieval-style settings, the approprite background music; even the episode’s title cards all look so well-thought out. And the OP and ED…
Well. Words will not suffice! Here they are
Season 1 OP:
One of my favorite EDs ever, this version of Season 1′s ED features lyrics with a “follow-the-bouncing-apple” done by the fansub group:
So, a friendly word of advice: If you’re ever traveling through the deep woods, make sure you have plenty of apples! I’ll leave you to discover season 2 on your own; season 1 is a definite pre-requisite
And now, as a preview of the next Summer Season installment that focuses on the “darker” anime that I’m currently watching, I’ll offer up a hyper-realistic series that depicts Tokyo before, during, and after an earthquake of 8 on the Richter scale hits it. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 really hits home (as a native San Franciscan), and is portrayed unflinchingly through the eyes of its three main characters. Not too much else to say except that it is REAL.
It’s still early on (I’ve only seen the first three episodes), but I can see the potential for a lot of growth, especially in the self-centered main, middle-schooler Mirai, who between bouts of feeling angry about her life and family, selfish attitude and (at first) intolerance of her little brother Yuuki, has already begun to see things in a different light now that her world has been so terribly shaken up… and the three have to figure out a way to get to their homes. You wouldn’t imagine that it could be that hard, but do imagine yourself in that situation… when presented with the evidence that this show presents to you, you’ll think differently about things, I think.
Here’s a twofer; both the OP and ED in one!
Well, there you have it. Or half of it! Stay tuned for Part Two