Summer 2012 – First Week Impressions (Part 2)

This post reviews Natsuyuki Rendezvous, Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate, and Joshiraku.

Watching:

Natsuyuki Rendezvous – There’s something irresistible about Natsuyuki Rendezvous and it’s not just how ridiculously adorable Rokka is.  It’s something in the air, just the way the anime bares its romance and tension, not through energy and emotion but a lack thereof.  Rather than a pack of teenagers unable to control their hormones or some otaku’s disturbing fantasy animated out for everyone to feel awkward by, Natsuyuki Rendezvous feels like a legitimate romance with an amusing twist added in with the dead husband floating around.  And given the cast of characters, a fine selection of refreshingly calm and intelligent adults, it is not wonder why Natsuyuki is such a gem among the other anime this season.  However, this anime is not without its faults, of which there are aplenty.  There is no energy in this anime, no sense of urgency or sense of passion or excitement.  You’d almost believe they lived in a world where emotions were heavily taxed with the way they interact with each other.  And the melodrama is so heavy, it continuously bogs down the anime, only reversed when Rokka can dispel it with her bright smile.  And that only works some of the time.  But otherwise, Natsuyuki Rendezvous is a wonderful romance anime that seems destined for greatness.  If it’s able to fix a few of its flaws and provide some interesting romantic stories and tensions, then this Natsuyuki will be near the top for anime this season.

Joshiraku – What makes Joshiraku a delightful comedy is that it mirrors real life.  The characters resemble human beings, not those overused anime archetypes or wacky personalities that plague your average anime comedy.  The delivery is often subtle and clever, never over-the-top gags where CHARACTERS START SHOUTING SO YOU KNOW WHEN TO START LAUGHING or anything relating to otaku humor that was original material back in the 1980s, like when Taro Every Lead falls on Blonde Busty Senpai and gropes her… oh wait, that was never original or funny.  The subjects are commonplace and often relatable, as well as intimate and individual.  Who hasn’t experienced a time where you and a bunch of friends are just talking about random stuff and it leads from one topic aimlessly to another, dotted with amusing or down-right hilarious moments for a damn good evening?  Conceivably, what makes Joshiraku such an entertaining and enjoyable anime is that it reflects real life much better than any other anime, much like Daily Lives of High School Boys did in the Winter.  It is remarkable with how it presents itself.  However, not every aspect of Joshiraku is quite this impressive.  The comedy is rather tame, never really producing moments where you throw back your head and laugh until your sides pain you back into reality.  With a hefty amount of the humor derived from puns and lost in translation, we’re only able to understand only a fraction of this show’s true humor and are left with a close English substitute.  And at times, often at the beginning of a skit when the girls are just beginning the conversation with each other, the anime can be a bit slow.  Nevertheless, these are minor complaints which that can be improved as the season goes on. Joshiraku is a pleasant comedy that is certain to amuse and entertain with its cast of young, captivating rakugo artists.  It easily earned a spot on my Summer viewing list and appears to already be one of the top anime this season in my eyes.

Undecided:

None this week, though through peer pressure, it looks like Binbougami ga! will be kept, though that’s probably what I was planning on regardless of episode two’s zany antics.

Dropped:

Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate – Well, that was painful.  I should’ve recognized from the tags that this anime would be another unoriginal trainwreck: school, clubs, elections, harem, romantic bullshit, childhood friend, abysmal lead, etc. etc.  Oh, and to top it off, the anime is censored, too.  Yeah, seriously, what’s the point when there’s only a couple pantyshots that need censoring anyway?  What a waste.  The cast is more devoid of personality than normal.  Essentially, every line of dialogue is the output of what you’d expect from whatever anime archetypes were present provided it was their turn to talk (because everyone patiently waits their turn to respond in conversations?)  I didn’t realize people still enjoyed anime like this seeing as three of four of these titles are produced every season.  The best part about this anime (besides a couple of cute girls) was the big red box with a giant “X” in it.  It was always there, in the corner of my eye, from start to finish, beckoning me to click it and release myself from this torment.  Just knowing that release was there, that safety, that escape, that at any moment this anime would be over, gave me the power and endure and press onward in order to give this anime a fair chance.  But I didn’t last more than 7 minutes before using it and saving myself.

With that said, it appears that this anime season will indeed be thin like previously imagined.  It’s not necessarily that the season is terrible but more along the lines of there being a smaller volume of anime to watch compared to the previous seasons.  In reality, I’ll be busy with quite a number of anime, especially considering the fact that a few are already in the undecided region and all require another episode before their second judgment.  Nevertheless, it’s not the amount of anime that’s watched but rather what anime is watched.  And as long as there are good anime this summer, which, of course, there are, then this season will be a success.

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  1. #1 by windyturnip on July 10, 2012 - 10:18 AM

    I’m not sure what I was expecting from Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate. I tend to avoid the harem genre like the plague, but I decided to give this one a chance for whatever reason. The only redeeming quality this anime could have offered would have been the fanservice, but they had to censor even that. It’s rare for me to drop an anime without even finishing the first episode, but Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate forced me to do just that.

    • #2 by avvesione on July 10, 2012 - 10:04 PM

      Thanks for the honest comment. It’s hard to admit it but yeah, I was looking forward to the fanservice, too. It’s too bad all it was was one pantyshot, too, so even then it wouldn’t be worthwhile to watch had it been uncensored. Anyway, the series wasn’t worth watching to bring with, so it’s not surprising to see pretty much everyone drop it after this first episode.

  2. #3 by wavedash on July 10, 2012 - 3:05 PM

    From what I’ve heard, in the visual novel Koichoco has the MC get with a girl of your choice like halfway into the story, and then the game explorers politics and stuff for a while.

    I highly doubt this is going to happen in the show, though.

    • #4 by avvesione on July 10, 2012 - 10:07 PM

      You know, I’d actually like to see a harem anime do that where the lead picks a girl and progresses from there. Not only would it force the characters to change and switch the dynamics around, plus it would keep the series from feeling like it staled in terms of its relationships and romance.

      Still, like you said, it probably won’t happen, so there’s really no use building up hope for it. I’d be interested in the series more if it did that but, to be honest, I doubt there’ll be anything that brings me back to that anime.

  3. #5 by foshizzel on July 10, 2012 - 4:31 PM

    Joshiraku: Crazy and over the top and it is also another cute girls doing cute things series as the anime clearly said at the start and I find it very funny, but I did watch it when I was tired so I missed out on half of the “jokes” so yeah I recommend watching that early in the night xD

    Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate: I don’t blame you for dropping it! It was quite painful for me as well, but I think I was interested in the “labcoat” girl because she looks quite cute to me! Then again that series is typical harem stuff which = zzzzzzzzzzzzzz and it seems to be way to wordy because I was honestly lost hahahah

    • #6 by avvesione on July 10, 2012 - 10:11 PM

      Wait, you thought Joshiraku was crazy and over-the-top? Erm, my reaction was a bit different, more along the lines of it being witty and subtle. It was at times pretty crazy but for the most part, the characters were calm and talking “normally”. Maybe I was spending too much time staring at Kukuru or something…

      Yeah, the science girl (lab coat girl) was the cutest in the series, though the pantyshot girl would’ve probably been my favorite had I kept watching. I dropped it about a minute after the ‘yaoi stick’ line, so I never saw what the second half was about but I heard it was about school politics or something worse than harem antics. Ugh, talk about a catastrophe. Sorry to hear you had to go through that painful experience, too.

  4. #7 by Joojoobees on July 14, 2012 - 1:10 PM

    I think it might be tough to get the jokes in Joshiraku even if you watch it early in the evening, because a lot of them rely on Japanese cultural knowledge and puns in the original language. It was a pretty interesting watch, nonetheless. I had seen something once about this style of theater in Japan, so a whole show with that as a setting (sort of) is enlightening.

    • #8 by avvesione on July 15, 2012 - 1:17 PM

      Well, even if the puns and cultural humor don’t translate out entirely, the subs are at least someone funny and give you the indication that puns/topical humor is being made. Really, it’s the best we can get without studying/living in Japan. And then there’s always the humor that doesn’t rely on either which managed to be strong throughout the first episode. Overall, I really enjoyed Joshiraku and am excited to see how it turns out his season.

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