Spring 2011 – First Week Impressions (Part 1)

Hey, shouldn’t this have been posted last week, you know, the first week of the season?  Yeah, I guess this is five days late, so I hope no one is mad or anything.  Unless it’s adorable.

And yeah, that’s from the second week of Hanasaku.  And it’s everywhere.  Oh well.

I’ve finally gotten around to watching a majority of the opening episodes of the anime I planned on giving a try this season.  Selecting 23 shows means I have to be hasty and pass judgment whether a show shall be deemed worthy of my weekly attention or dropped due to whatever circumstances or flaws I can find.  And if I can’t find any, I’ll make one up.

Also, this post is being broken into two parts since I haven’t run through every show and I plan to give each one a fair shot and not every show has aired, so these are just the first ones I’ve tried.  I’m not going to include Dog Days, Steins;Gate, or Sofuteni since I already covered those in my initial posts.  Instead, the following are my opinions on the shows I’m planning on watching weekly for the next three months (at the very least).  And then after that is the dropped section.  And you can tell which ones I like since I gave them pictures.

Watching:

Nichijou (Brain Off) – Nichijou’s comedic strength lies in its versatility.  Nichijou combines various styles of comedy of varying lengths into a well-rounded anime.  The show is able to build up longer segments, often laden with small jokes until reaching a final, triumphant gag, and it’s able to hit you quickly with a scene lasting less than a minute with no words whatsoever.  And in either case, they get you to the same result: amused (if not smiling or laughing).  While it isn’t the best comedy this season, it does comedy well and it has a solid cast for what it’s trying to do.  Even if I am not laughing after every scene, I still enjoy watching the show regardless of how funny the jokes are.  And that’s the sign of a good comedy.

Hanasaku Iroha (Brain On) – If I had to pick the best show of the season after the first week, I wouldn’t hesitate to nominate Hanasaku Iroha.  And if I had to provide a reason for that selection, I’d say because Ohana Matsumae is already my favorite character this season, simply based on her personality and actions.  Ohana is just a teenage girl trying to make the best of her given situation.  Unfortunately, she has to do it all herself, seeing as no one around her cares enough to help her transition from a school-centered urban life to a working at a rural ryokan.  And when she tries to reach out or be helpful, she just ends up doing more harm to herself and making the situation much worse.  But she’s not caving in and crying at every hardship she faces.  And you can’t help but feel like rooting for her.  Also, every other aspect of the anime is excellent including the animation, characters, story, sound, and entertainment.

Tiger & Bunny (Brain On) – The concept of Tiger & Bunny is certainly the highlight of the series.  The show revolves around superheroes who participates in mundane superhero activates like saving the city from crooks and preventing civilian casualties.  Oh, except they are followed by cameras and helicopters broadcasting their gallant actions live to bars and homes around the city.  And even more is that there’s a point system which allows the superheroes to compete between each other to see who the best superhero in the city is.  And their suits are developed by major corporations who sell advertisements while employing these crime fighters.  It is just so creative.  The show has stunning animation and delivers in the action and comedy departments and is one of the top shows this season.

Fireball Charming (Brain Off) – Fireball Charming is a rather simple show, comprised of only two minute-long episodes in which a pair of robots go back and forth over whatever happens to be the topic of the day.  The dialogue is skillfully crafted with that fine artisan touch that makes every line a worthwhile addition to the conversation.  Even the pauses are valuable, as they allow your brain to comprehend what just happened before getting to the joke.  And the animation is magnificent.  The way the robots move, with Drossel von Flügel moving seamlessly and Gedächtnis all clunky and linear, is my favorite animation detail.  It simply reinforces the feeling that Drossel is a youthful and sleek daughter and Gedächtnis is her frail and aged butler.  A delight to watch.

Dropped:

Sengoku Otome (Brain Off) – Sengoku Otome is about a girl named Hideyoshi who, through her stumbling and bumbling, gets transported back in time to feudal Japan where female personifications of historical figures offer to have her help them find a sacred relic, the Crimson Armor.  And while the first episode successfully set up the plot, I felt no human feeling in the show.  There was no concern for Hideyoshi to get back to her current time or for the warlords, Oda and Akechi, to investigate this strange person and instead asks her to help them out.  Things just happened like they were predestined events ready to go once the time came.  No character felt any strong or passionate emotions and, as a result, it felt artificial.  That and I watched Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls so seeing female personifications of Japanese historical figures is nothing special anymore.

30-sai no Hoken Taiiku (Brain Off) – With virtually half the screen censored and every other line of dialogue also altered, there was no real point in watching this.  I originally thought it would try to be 100% serious and just come across as a hilarious joke but it was trying to be funny and serious at the same time, which is never funny.  Plus everything was censored, so what’s the point?

Dororon Enma-kun (Brain Off) – I debated with myself if I should keep this show or not and I eventually decided against it.  The first episode featured dazzling animation, a blend of retro and modern, and a fun premise introducing all the main characters and the storyline of the show.  I was entertained by the episode and considered keeping it as one of the weekly shows but something was off.  I just never really liked the sex-themed jokes.  Specifically, the granny in the bathhouse, the whole exchange about panties and no-panties with Enma, and then the monster using his dick as a weapon in battle really turned me off of the show quickly.  But whatever, that’s the style the show has and that’s kinda what I expected.  And I think I’m a little burnt-out of youkai in anime.

Sket Dance (Brain Off) – It’s an anime that takes place in a typical Japanese high school.  The three main characters are a really helpful, kinda-dumb leader guy, a beautiful but abruptly angry/violent girl, and a silent computer-geek who communicates through a text-to-speech program on his laptop.  And this circle of friends helps people around school (meaning no overall plot).  So, let’s review: we have a generic setting, a generic cast, and no central plot.  But I was giving it a shot because it’s considered a comedy.  Well, unfortunately, it isn’t the type of comedy that I like.  I failed to find any jokes even the slightest bit amusing.  Just not the kinda show that I like, let alone watch.

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  1. #1 by Marina on April 14, 2011 - 12:56 AM

    I like your quick and concise impressions of each of the anime. It comes across clearly to the reader, and for the most part, I agree with many of your observations. Hanasaku Iroha, Nichijou, and Tiger & Bunny are most definitely the top 3 of this season for me so far, though I’m looking out for C and Deadman Wonderland. I’ll be curious to read what you have to say about those as well.

    I’ve never actually seen or heard of this “Samurai Girls.” Is it any good? Because I’ve never encountered an anime like that, with historical fiction and female leads, I found Sengoku Otome mildly interesting. Are the two fairly similar, and which would you more highly recommend?

    • #2 by avvesione on April 14, 2011 - 9:09 AM

      Hyakka Ryouran Samurai Girls was an alright anime. What got me about the series was its art style (backgrounds, use of ink blots) but my interested waned in that aspect as it progressed. It’s pretty ecchi and has sorta a harem element, so if that’s not your thing, then you probably shouldn’t watch it. Its strength lies in its action and comedy (more the action) and it turned out to be an entertaining show but it wasn’t one of my favorites from Fall of 2010.

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