Spring 2013 – First Week Impressions (Part 2)

aku_no_hana-01-kojima-smile-laughing-perverted_best_friend-art-animationThis post reviews: Hataraku Maou-sama!, Photo Kano, Yahari Ore Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru, and Aku no Hana.

Watching:

Hataraku Maou-sama!

hataraku_maou_sama!-01-sadao-devil_king-fry_cook-black_pepper_fries-nervous-sweat-magicHataraku Maou-sama! is a charming anime thanks to its genuine comedy and pleasant cast of characters.  While the first episode focused primarily on setting up the story with Sadao meeting Emi in modern Tokyo, Maou-sama provided tremendous insight into its sense of humor and its presentation, working in a number of amusing jokes regularly throughout the episode.  In addition to that, we also witnessed the transformation of Sadao and his underling, Ashiya, from world-conquering demons to underemployed foreigners.  It really introduced the series well and gave us a baseline to go from, already showing us development in the characters that’s both meaningful and hilarious.  The story will only progress from here and it will likely show Sadao and Emi compete with each other in this new realm but instead of awesome super-powers and magic, they’ll be competing as ordinary humans.  The results are sure to be hilarious and I wouldn’t be surprised if some romance blossoms between these two fated rivals.  Given that the physical setting is Tokyo, I’m not entirely impressed, but I do enjoy the fantasy undertones throughout and the fact that the characters are all from another world and one that’s modeled after an RPG video game.  The art and animation were above-standard and pleasing to watch thought nothing noteworthy occurred in this episode.  I’m already excited about the next episode of Maou-sama and I hope that every episode from here on out can reproduce the same level of quality and amount of comedy that made the first episode so enjoyable.

hataraku_maou_sama!-01-chiho-cashier-mgronalds-twintails-smile-nervous-cute hataraku_maou_sama!-01-chisaki-manager-boss-smile-friendly-pantsuit-tie

 

Undecided:

Nothing here which means the other three are…

 

Dropped:

Photo Kano

photo_kano-01-haruka-maeda-childhood_friends-osananajimi-harem-cameraHey, did you know you’re watching an incredibly dry and derivative harem anime?  Let me remind, again, you that I am childhood friends with the smartest, most popular and athletic girl at our school?  And that I’m buddy-buddy with the busty tomboy on the Softball team?  And like every girl at school because of my camera?  Oh, and how could I forget that this is generic every-school in Japan?  And that super wacky club I joined, the one with those crazy characters and that one otaku girl, why, everyone does that in Japan, right?  Yeah, you can totally self-insert yourself into this miserable excuse of fan wank, especially if you’re one of those camera otaku who loves to take those slightly ecchi pictures of girls without their permission.  Oh, what’s that?  The girls in this anime want you to take their pictures and that they don’t mind if you’re spying on them from afar?  Wonderful!  It’s like this anime was written by the hopes and dreams of every lonely otaku with a camera who dreamed about taking upskirt of every girl in school.  Yeah, that’s probably the only type of demographic that could possibly watch and appreciate this mess of an anime.  And if the entirely unoriginal story, characters and setting weren’t enough of a reason, the art is clearly substandard and the animation nonexistent.  Hell, even the fanservice in this anime is awkward with all those spine-breaking poses everyone is doing.  Really, there is no reason to continue watching Photo Kano unless you’re the kinda guy who wishes they could photograph every girl in school in a variety of outfits doing supposedly sexy poses without getting arrested and thrown in jail.  Yeah, that’s it.

photo_kano-01-nonoka-tomboy-softball_team-mitt-smile-harem-short_black_hair-cutest_girlphoto_kano-01-hikari-photo_club-silent-serious-kuudere-harem

 

Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru (Oregairu)

yahari_ore_no_seishun_love_comedy_wa_machigatteiru-oregairu-01-yukino-wings-condescending-sadistPretty much take the Photo Kano review, place it here, remove “perverted camera otaku” and replace with “typical anti-social loser” and you’ve got my impressions of Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Comedy wa Machigatteiru.  It’s pretty much got the same set-up you see in every harem anime with guy meeting girls, guy being forced into new club, typical Japanese high school, and every other cliché that’s necessary for these type of anime so that the otaku that depend on them never have to face change in their lives.  Like, even if there were an ounce of originality in this anime, would the audience that this is intended for throw up their arms and riot?  I really wonder why there is no innovation or imagination in this genre that feels like the same anime on repeat.  And is it supposed to be funny that the premise here is “this isn’t going to be a romcom” and then it goes head-first into stereotypical romcom jokes and relationship development?  Newsflash, it isn’t.  Not only that, but the characters are incredibly shallow and the dialogue throughout the episode was monotonous and predictable.  Not only that, but it is incredibly boring for the entire first episode to be the main two to three characters conversing the whole time.  The art is fine yet unimpressive, but the animation was completely absent since it was just people sitting and talking in an empty classroom for 20 minutes.  I am stunned that I am saying this but somehow Photo Kano was better than Oregairu.  However, unlike Photo Kano, I may revisit this anime since it has the right properties to be an effective sleep aid should I ever develop insomnia and need a way to quickly fall asleep each night.

yahari_ore_no_seishun_love_comedy_wa_machigatteiru-oregairu-01-yukino-smart-beautiful-club_president-harem yahari_ore_no_seishun_love_comedy_wa_machigatteiru-oregairu-01-hiratsuka_sensei-teacher-homeroom-lab_coat-tie-cute

 

Aku no Hana

aku_no_hana-01-yamada-kasuga-friends-confused-comedy-art-animationSince the visuals are the most defining, most noteworthy and most conversed subject of Aku no Hana, let’s start there first.  I must admit, I was skeptical about the animation style from the screenshots I saw but I am impressed with the level of animation and kinetics throughout the entire episode.  The sheer amount of movement is remarkable, especially with all the insignificant and wasted motions, like shifting one’s eyes or acting goofy in public.  I really enjoyed that aspect of this episode, especially since the animation was constant and consistent throughout.  Even with a few scenes of recycled animation, I found this to be the single best aspect of this anime.  However, the other aspect of the visuals, that of the art, is a disaster.  I realize there is an exchange between art and animation and that the one must be sacrificed for the other, but the characters are just way too plain to look at.  There is no detail in their appearance.  It’s lackluster.  It’s boring.  I realize that there was a compromise to accommodate for the level of the animation, but this is unpleasant.  What it did was pass a certain threshold of art quality for me, placing it somewhere below the baseline of what I consider acceptable for an anime.  If they wanted the story to be portrayed as realistic, why not just film it as a live-action TV show?  In fact, if it were a live-action show, I think I’d definitely keep it.  If it were a live-action show, I’d have no gripe about the low-quality art and I would be able to appreciate the artistic merit of the story more so.  But no, the character art is too worrisome for me, something that I just can’t appreciate for an story of this caliber.  I’m in love with the animation and kinetics in Aku no Hana but the art is just way too simple and dull.  And when the anime transitions into dialogue-heavy scenes where the animation is nil, I know I won’t be happy with the appearance of this anime.  I’m really conflicted on this issue, both simultaneously loving and hating different aspects of the concept at the same time.  If only the art quality were better, then I might be talking about this anime in the Watching section instead.

Alright, as for the rest of the anime, I can’t say I’m terribly fascinated.  The protagonist here is just another high school loser who’s horny for the most beautiful girl in school.  I know the story will pick-up quickly now that Kasuga found Saeki’s gym clothes in the classroom, but I was never thrilled with the idea of a romance/drama where blackmail is the dominant concept.  It may or may not be interesting but it doesn’t seem like the kinda story I enjoy or appreciate.  And given the way the first episode was directed, I really have to wonder how slow and meaningless the rest of the anime will be.  This first episode felt unnecessary given how little development occurred, and you really have to question the message the producers were trying to send with this first episode.  I know that they’re trying to be artsy and emblematic but this was just bad.

aku_no_hana-01-kasuga-loser-loner-nerd-examaku_no_hana-01-kasuga-serious-dramatic-art-animation

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  1. #1 by Moonlitasteria on April 7, 2013 - 9:29 PM

    Sent from my LG phone

    • #2 by Seinime on April 8, 2013 - 12:04 AM

      Where’s your comment bro? D:

    • #3 by Mwnanamai on April 8, 2013 - 9:24 AM

      Showing off eh :P

    • #4 by Moonlitasteria on April 8, 2013 - 5:47 PM

      Lol. Sorry about that. For some reason my phone is sending message by itself. I just got it fixed today.

      • #5 by avvesione on April 10, 2013 - 10:50 PM

        Ah, was wondering if you were trying to type out something but hit enter too soon.

        Either way, hope you’re enjoying all the new anime airing this Spring!

  2. #6 by Seinime on April 8, 2013 - 12:07 AM

    I would argue that the graphics are plain since the protag views the world as plain. That’s why the color schemes are dull and uninspiring as a result. Of course, you can also write it off as poorly budgeted…

    Regarding the live action aspect, I doubt that they’d be able to pull off some scenes in the live action series, ex. Nakamura’s stare. They have two ways to do this: use a beautiful actor and try an intimidating stare, which probably won’t work too well. The second, use an ugly actor with an intimidating stare. That in fact, might cause even more controversy. Just food for thought. Making the visuals pretty backfires in itself, in a way.

    • #7 by avvesione on April 10, 2013 - 10:54 PM

      The poor art adaptation could be a result of poor budgeting or the fact that rotoscoping takes a lot of effort to draw each frame (and thus, not enough time to fill out the details). But if it were intended to be that way as a statement on how the protagonist sees the world, then I can’t help but shake my head. Why would you go through the effort to make an anime look worse on purpose? That’d be a terrible decision if it were true.

      As for it being a live-action, I think it’d give away a better impact since the characters would be able to show their emotions and expressions better than what’s possible with this art style. I mean, if it were live-action, I’d still have issues with the story and the characters but the art style wouldn’t be an issue and I’d prefer it to what the anime is currently, even with a less intimidating stare.

  3. #8 by donkangoljones on April 8, 2013 - 1:07 AM

    I’d have to respectfully disagree with Aku no Hana. It was definitely dull and bland when it came to the portrayal of characters, but I’m so curious about how dark and twisted keep saying this narrative is, that I’ll tolerate an average to below average first episode this time.

    I will say I was surprised by the Maou-sama review. I figured from the previews it would be trash. But even if it is funny, I’m not sure it would be kinda thing to keep watching. I wasn’t a fan of Working, so this probably wouldn’t work for me either.

    • #9 by avvesione on April 10, 2013 - 10:57 PM

      Hope you enjoy Aku no Hana more than I do; the story didn’t seem to hook me at all nor did I find the main character the slightest bit interesting.

      As for Maou-sama!, yeah, if you’re not big into comedies, it doesn’t really seem worth it. The main value I see in the anime is that I was entertained throughout and found the set-up to be genuine despite becoming a cliche in recent seasons. I doubt it’ll maintain its success, but if I continue to laugh, it’ll be worth it for me.

  4. #10 by foshizzel on April 8, 2013 - 1:27 AM

    Hataraku Maou-sama! ftw! Awesome first episode I think and Nyaruko-san W will fill my needs for laughter or horrible Majestic Prince…yeah…

    • #11 by avvesione on April 10, 2013 - 10:57 PM

      Yeah, watching Maou-sama, Nyaruko-san and a few other comedies will be enough for me this season. I don’t see the point of continuing Majestic Prince, but that’s just me.

  5. #12 by Mwnanamai on April 8, 2013 - 9:40 AM

    Aku no Hana art is horrible and lower than the manga own standard. No go for me.

    http://acerailgun.files.wordpress.com/2013/02/aku-no-hana-1.jpg?w=500

    You liked Hataraku Maou-sama ?!? I am a bit surprise, so I guess I am going to put it on my “plan to watch” list then, for when I have more time.

    • #13 by avvesione on April 10, 2013 - 10:59 PM

      Comedy is my favorite genre of anime, so I’m always more lenient on comedies than I am any other type of anime. Maou-sama! made me laugh a few times which is more than enough for me to keep a comedy anime, even if it begins to degrade over time.

      If you like comedies, I’d recommend giving it a shot.

  6. #14 by Gedata on April 8, 2013 - 11:12 AM

    Well, I’m watching Aku no Hana just for the controversy.

    • #15 by avvesione on April 10, 2013 - 11:00 PM

      Hope you’re able to enjoy it.

  7. #16 by Xiammes on April 8, 2013 - 12:28 PM

    Hataraku has potential, but also has potential to get really terrible. Still it had one of the best first episodes this season.

    • #17 by avvesione on April 10, 2013 - 11:01 PM

      Yeah, I don’t really see it getting much better than this first episode and I can see it completely bombing in the second half. That being said, as long as I’m laughing and enjoying each episode, I’ll continue watching it.

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