Summer 2011 – First Week Impressions (Part 1)

This post has my thoughts and impressions on Blood C, Ikoku Meiro no Croisée, and Sacred Seven.

The summer season is well underway and a half dozen shows have already aired.  Ah, a new anime season means a lot of swift and decisive action on a wide variety of shows based on our initial thoughts and tastes.  And this season is no different.

The season is still quite young, so I expect to do a few of these posts focusing on the first episode of each show.  Since many shows are airing later in the week and these are already a few days old, the opportunity for these opinions to be fresh and relevant are slowly fading and once Thursday rolls around, there’ll be six new anime to watch and discuss.  Well, enough about this boring stuff, I’m sure most have already scrolled down to the heart of the article where I actually get onto the anime and my thoughts on each show.  It’s time for you to do the same.

Watching:

Blood C (Brain On) – I’d swallow my pride and admit I’m a bit disappointed with this first episode.  Ignoring the battle sequence at the end, which I’ll get to later, the whole first episode was dull and uneventful, featuring what seemed to be a normal day in the life of Saya.  The artwork is the pinnacle for this anime season, as expected from Productiong I.G and CLAMP work together again, and the music was outstanding.  The characters, however, seem to be a little off.  Those twins came across as annoying, unlike Maru and Moro from xxxHOLiC who were comical and cute, and all three male characters seem incredibly bland and emotionless.  Especially the father after seeing Saya walk back covered in blood.  Oh right, the action sequence.  The battle near the end of the first episode was the only stimulating part of the episode but it featured magnificent animation and choreography without a noticeable drop in art quality.  The action was worthwhile but it failed to make up for the shortcomings of earlier in the episode.  I’ll still continue to watch this anime but I’ll have to readjust my expectations for this series.

Ikoku Meiro no Croisée (Brain Off) – Summarized in one word: charming.  This anime has a much-appreciated delightful and tranquil feel, quite the opposite of the other two anime in this short review.  The story features a young Japanese girl, Yune, moving to live with Oscar and Claude in the City of Lights in the late 19th century.  I’m sure there’ll be some exploration of Paris and the surrounding French countryside but I fail to see what the anime will do to keep the show interesting for 12 episodes.  The setting is unbeatable for this season of anime, breaking free from the standard of modern Japanese metropolis, modern Japanese countryside, samurai-era Japan.  And it’s not just deviating from the norm, either, I’ve always loved stories set in this time period in Europe, so the setting is a huge plus for the series in my mind.  After immediately falling in love with the backdrop for the story, I return to Earth and give the art and anime a satisfactory grade.  Nothing blew me away but nothing caused my eyes to avert the screen for seconds either.  The music was fine, too, helping establish the appropriate mood and era but nothing else beyond that.  Yune is adorable with her polite mannerisms and innocent smile but the two other characters, Oscar and Claude seem rather unimaginative right now.  I guess I should say the same for Yune since we really haven’t gotten to know her at all, but I’d feel awful saying anything bad about her and causing her to cry.  If you’re hesitating, just give this relaxing anime a try and see if it interests you like it interests me.

Dropped:

Sacred Seven (Brain Off) – One episode was enough for me to know this isn’t a series I’d enjoy.  I’ll start with the positives: the animation was definitely the best of these three anime.  The action/battle sequences were satisfying, both from a visual and storytelling perspective.  Additionally, the artwork in Sacred Seven is stunning and I find no faults with the whole superhero/mecha aspect of the anime.  While all those aspects are positives, the characters and story couldn’t be worse.  Everyone is another tired, clichéd persona brought back to another lifeless life in another generic anime story.  Here, we have our misunderstood teenage loner with mysterious superpowers who is greeted by a beautiful girl with similar mysterious powers who needs his help to prevent destruction from gigantic monsters.  Don’t forget the cute, ditzy high school classmate that is the only person in the world who will talk to our hero and has unjustifiable faith in him.  Add in the 10,000 diligent and obedient maids, the handsome butler with attitude, a bank account that has an infinity sign in place of amount, and a comedic mascot that does something, I forgot, I kinda blocked him out of my memory.  Well, that cast is a disaster.  Is the story any better?  Not much but it is.  The writing wasn’t terrible for the first episode but it was so simple and predictable that I lost interest until the battle sequence started.  The rest of the series seems to be set up to follow a stereotypical school-setting, love-triangle, hero-fights-monsters-to-save-town-and-battles-main-villian-with-similar-powers story which is a tired and overused genre in anime.  Certainly that genre has produced some memorable and lovable anime, but I don’t think this one will do the same.  The series seems rather lackluster at this point and I don’t really want to stick around to see if it improves, which I’m sure it will.  This probably will end up being a pretty decent show and I’m sure many out there will watch and love this anime.  But I already know this is an anime I won’t enjoy watching which is why have no problem dropping it after one episode.

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  1. #1 by tomphile on July 6, 2011 - 9:49 AM

    I was about to watch Blood C…until I read this. It seems it wasn’t as good as it was hyped to be.

    • #2 by avvesione on July 6, 2011 - 6:20 PM

      Well, I had some pretty high expectations for Blood C mainly based off my previous record of CLAMP anime. I think my review here is pretty honest of how I felt about the first episode, but I’ll continue to watch it and it still will end up as probably my second or third favorite anime this season. Hopefully I didn’t scare you, or anyone else for that matter, away from any anime. I hope everyone tries each anime for themselves to see what they like.

  2. #3 by Marina on July 6, 2011 - 5:06 PM

    Despite the majority of poor reviews for Blood C, I still plan on watching it when it is officially aired. I’m a huge CLAMP fan, and I really enjoyed Blood the Last Vampire. It might help me to go into the show with low to no expectations so I’m not too disappointed like many people are.

    As for the other two, both Ikoku Meiro and Sacred Seven are now on my watching list after I saw the first episodes. I enjoy Ikoku for pretty much the same reasons as you, though I wouldn’t toss it into the “brain off” category just yet. I think there’s much to be said about the meeting of West and East, and how Yune represents those mixed emotions. Sacred Seven was a surprise since I didn’t know what to expect at all except that I know I like Sunrise’s work in Tiger & Bunny. I took the combat maids with a grain of salt, figuring it was the producers playing a bit of a joke on their viewers. It’s kind of comical how everyone in the anime acts normal around the maids, as if they’re an everyday, regular occurrence.

    • #4 by avvesione on July 6, 2011 - 6:27 PM

      xxxHOLiC and Tsubasa are two of my all-time favorite anime and Code Geass (whom CLAMP did character designs for) is up there, too, so whenever I see anything CLAMP, I’ll watch it. I think I started off Kobato a little disappointed but ended up loving it like any other CLAMP series and I think the same will probably happen for Blood C. I’m really looking forward to the next episode next week.

      One reason why I put Ikoku Meiro in the ‘Brain Off’ category is that it’s a relaxing, charming anime with a simple story (so far). Calling something ‘Brain Off’ isn’t a bad thing seeing as I consider tons of my favorites that way (Aria, Madoka, Ika Musume, etc) including 3 out of my top 4. Hopefully people don’t consider that a negative label since that’s not what I meant it to be.

      And for Sacred Seven, I think it’ll end up being the best anime I end up not watching this season. Seems like everyone is watching it and it has been well received among friends and other bloggers. All I can hope for is that you and everyone else watching it enjoys it!

  3. #5 by tsurugiarashix on July 9, 2011 - 7:54 PM

    Interesting list. I am doing the same thing you are doing now, although I haven’t dropped anything yet (Scared Seven going to give it one more shot).

    • #6 by avvesione on July 9, 2011 - 8:07 PM

      I’ll probably scan through the second episode but it seems like a school episode that will introduce the setting, the characters, and had one new monster fight. Unless it does something completely different, it’ll remain dropped. And I’ll keep an eye out on other blogs since I know a few people are watching it and writing episodic posts, so I’ll keep an eye out for it.

  4. #7 by kidkonseptual on July 11, 2011 - 1:42 PM

    The twins from Bood-C are my favorite characters of the century and I would pay for an ending showcasing their “t-winning ways.”

    When they’re playing basketball I couldn’t distinguish the characters from the poles. I enjoyed the action a lot, however at some point (before going into Saya-slayer mode) she “all of the sudden” is able to slice the dude up. It was weird.

    The Croissant show is possibly the easiest anime to watch, dare I say ever?

    • #8 by avvesione on July 11, 2011 - 3:20 PM

      I still like Maru and Moro from xxxHOLiC more than those twins but they might have a chance to do something those two couldn’t and that’s be involved in the story. Would be nice to see them in some sort of dire situation or conflict over the course of the series. I’d like them a lot more if that were to happen. And I think we’ll learn what’s going on with Saya’s personality and why it changed so suddenly.

      As for Ikoku Meiro, it certainly is easy to watch. But then again, aren’t all anime since we’re just sitting and staring at a screen for half an hour? =P

  1. Notes For the Summer 2011 Anime Final (Part II) « Organization Anti Social Geniuses

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