Spring 2013 – First Week Impressions (Part 3)

suisei_no_gargantia-01-amy-bellows-squirrel-chamber-mecha-curious-salvage-treasureThis post reviews: Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san, Shingeki no Kyojin, Zettai Bouei Leviathan, Suisei no Gargantia, and Yuyushiki.

Watching:

Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san

namiuchigiwa_no_muromi_san-01-muromi_san-mermaid-happy-swimming-flying-cuteWhat Muromi-san lacks for in depth, complexity and characterization, it makes up for with its adorable cast of characters, its charming comedy and a handful of scenes with wonderful animation.  Perhaps the most notable aspect of this anime is its art and character designs.  To me, it seems like the anime plays tribute to an older or atypical style of animation which really helps emphasize the characters and helps out with the comedy, too.  The anime is cast with bright, vivid colors in a warm light giving the show an inviting and enhancing atmosphere that really appeals to one’s eyes.  It helps compliment the energy and exhilaration on screen too, especially when Muromi-san is present and acting as enthusiastic as she does.  The humor in this episode was rather simple but effective and is sure to develop when more mermaids join the cast and can allow the style of humor to expand beyond crazy girl meets lethargic boy.  There isn’t much value in terms of story and characters and, although that usually is a negative for me, it makes sense given that Muromi-san is a 12-minute comedy anime that doesn’t need a story or intricate characters.  Every episode of Muromi-san is supposed to be fun and enjoyable without needed to cater to any type of story or theme or whatever.  And as long as you’re having fun and enjoy watching Muromi-san, there’s no reason to stop.  It’s an easy choice to pick up for this season.

namiuchigiwa_no_muromi_san-01-muromi_san-mermaid-sexy_pose-fish_tail-seashells-bra-cute namiuchigiwa_no_muromi_san-01-muromi_san-mermaid-seastars-seashells-shurikens-mischievous

 

Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan)

shingeki_no_kyojin-01-eren-shock-panic-fear-emotions-eyes_wide_open-lossThere are six major categories for which I use to understand, evaluate and appreciate anime.  They are art, characters, entertainment, setting, sound and story.  All an anime needs for me to like it, or even love it, is to excel at just a few of those categories and even my favorites don’t measure well in all six.  So when an anime comes along that surpasses a majority of anime in all six categories, what does it say about that anime?  Well, after one episodes, it’s a bit too early to hail it as the best anime of the season, but it certainly speaks well for what to expect from this anime for the next 24 weeks.  What I enjoy most about Shingeki no Kyojin is its setting and how it is communicated to us.  Rather than waste some precious time for a narrator to tell us about this world, it shows us various details spread neatly throughout the episode and embeds it within the dialogue.  Not only that but the setting of Titan is uniquely distinctive and its threats and modes of warfare are both remarkable and thrilling.  The art and animation is nothing short of spectacular too, and the use of lighting and shading is phenomenal.  I won’t get too much into the characters or story since both are in their infancy but both show promise, especially with how unnerving and expressive the siege on the city was portrayed.  And though I was expecting the anime to be entirely serious, there were a few bits of genuine comedy tossed around in this first episode that made me smile.  I was expecting the entertainment to be solely through the battles and action sequences but there seems to be some well-timed comedy throughout, too.  Really, this is easily the most impressive anime of this new season and one I adamantly recommend to anyone and everyone who has yet to watch the first episode.

shingeki_no_kyojin-01-mikasa-sister-quiet-serious-stare-listening shingeki_no_kyojin-01-hannes-soldier-scared-awe-shock-fear-distress-panic-horror

 

Suisei no Gargantia (Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet)

suisei_no_gargantia-01-red-protagonist-hero-looking_back-sunrise-spacesuit-helmet-mechaGargantia is a fascinating, sensational, and passionate anime that is easily one of my favorites of this Spring anime season.  What enchants me the most about this magnificent anime is how it is written, not merely the dialogue alone but how the story is presented, how it is staged and how well the episode flowed from start to finish.  Not only did the episode flow in a logical manner, helping exhibit the situation, introduce our protagonist and the remainder of the cast, and detail how our hero learned about the setting through a lengthy hostage scene while communicating back and forth with his only friend, a mecha named Chamber, but the dialogue was expressive and meaningful (and even reaching to levels of hilariousness).  The world of Gargantia is also fantastically animated, full of motion and liveliness as seen through the space combat and chase scene.  Additionally, the anime is brilliantly colored too, featuring a bright and energetic color scheme that really differentiates the characters from the metallic setting and from Red who’s a bit monochrome in his battle suit.  As for the cast and story of Gargantia, there isn’t much to say at this point since we’ve just finished our introductions but each has the potential to be the best this season has to offer.  The cast features some enjoyable characters with strong, independent personalities.  On the other hand, the story seems a little ambiguous and ambivalent right now but I am dying to see how Red explores and merges with this new world and how it joins up with the space warfare from the first half of the episode.  Who knows, Gargantia might end up being my favorite anime of the season, especially if every episode from here on out is at this level or somehow improves.  This is yet another anime I vehemently recommend as I am sure everyone who watches it will not be disappointed.

suisei_no_gargantia-01-amy-squirrel-happy-smile suisei_no_gargantia-01-red-chamber-spacesuit-mecha-pilot-warfare-future

 

Undecided:

Yuyushiki

yuyushiki-01-yukari-yui-yuzuko-friends-slice_of_life-comedy-excitedYuyushiki is a tale of two halves.  The first half of the first episode featured mundane comedy masking a tedious slice-of-life set-up where three girls wandered around their first day of highschool aimlessly.  It was incredibly boring.  The second half, when the girls got to the Data Processing Club and goofed around on the internet, was brilliant in its entertainment value, proving to be amusing and enticing almost instantly.  Really, it’s like I watched two different anime in the span of one episode of Yuyushiki with one being really, really bad and the other one being legitimately good.  As you can guess, I’m at a crossroads with this anime since I was certain I wanted to drop it after 12 minutes and certain I want to keep it if future episodes are just the girls surfing the internet for 20 minutes at a time.  I can see myself going through peaks and valleys with this anime depending on the skit and the jokes but if it’s still hilarious every so often, it’ll be a keeper.  I’m not terribly impressed or thrilled with the characters, especially since Yuzuko and Yukari appear to have the same personality and play the same role in the comedy (both are the boke or funny man) and Yui is a tepid tsukkomi (straight man).  It isn’t great like most other comedies that I enjoy but it’s functional if less than ideal.  There really aren’t any significant portions of animation to note after this first episode and the art style isn’t my favorite but it still is cute.  Depending on how the comedy performs in the next episode (really, it depends on how much time they spend in the computer lab), I’ll be deciding on keeping or dropping this anime.

yuyushiki-01-yui-yuzuko-gag-comedy-shocked-cute yuyushiki-01-yui-yukari-comedy-joke-reaction-clapping-cute

 

Dropped:

Zettai Bouei Leviathan

zettai_bouei_leviathan-01-leviathan-dragon_girl-pointy_ears-smile-happy-staff-magic-blue_hairWhile there were some positives from the first episode of Leviathan, it wasn’t enough to overcome the tremendous feeling of bored that overwhelmed me while watching its debut episode.  There was absolutely nothing in this episode that lit a fire underneath me or beckoned me to keep watching.  The story isn’t much of a story with three girls becoming friends and saving the world from an invasion of bugs or something (if this is wrong, sorry, I stopped paying attention somewhere before the bar fight).  And although the characters are incredibly cute and endearing, there really isn’t much in the way of personality or role in the story to keep me interested in their adventures or character growth.  I always have a soft spot for fantasy settings such as this and it seems like all the characters are human-shaped dragons or fairies.  It makes me wonder why these three magical girls were given the names Leviathan, Bahamut and Jormungand when those are some of the most storied and fabled dragons of the world’s folklore.  Maybe the parents of these girls knew that they’d save the world when they were in their teens?  Who knows.  The art and animation seemed to be a bit below-average which probably reflects the below-average budge this anime has and the fact that the voice casting for this anime is all A-list talent.  And while the anime features highly talented seiyuu voicing its characters, the dialogue is unfortunately simple and, at times, even shameful which made the episode feel awkward and sluggish more often than not.  I found it a pretty easy decision to drop this anime after the first episode but I do regret not being able to see these cute dragon girls for the remainder of the season, so hopefully someone out there will post dozens of screenshots every episode for all of us to enjoy.

zettai_bouei_leviathan-01-jormungand-dragon_girl-pointy_ears-bandage-bag-smile-yellow_hair zettai_bouei_leviathan-01-bahamut-dragon_girl-pudding-eating-desert-happy-red_hair

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  1. #1 by Joojoobees on April 12, 2013 - 3:08 AM

    Gargantia: I had accidentally downloaded this, thinking it was the Titan show. It turned out to be pretty good. I think the character designs (particularly the girl with the pet) take some of the vinegar out of the series, though.

    Titan: I’m still unsure about this one. I recognize that it had a lot of good things going for it, but I can’t say I enjoyed watching it as much as, say Gargantia.

    Both shows certainly are promising enough that I’ll continue for at least a few more episodes to see how things develop.

    • #2 by avvesione on April 12, 2013 - 3:21 AM

      Gah! You better, those two are my favorites of the season and strong candidates for the year. I’m sure you’ll end up enjoying both since they seem to be receiving universally positive reviews from everyone.

      Anyway, glad to hear you ‘accidentally’ watched Gargantia. As for Amy and her pet, I enjoy how she contrasts Red, especially with her bright colors and native-patterned clothes. Her character really picks up in the second episode. As for Titan, surprised you didn’t enjoy it as much as Gargantia but I’m glad you’re still interested in it. Hopefully you stick with both for the remainder of the season along with Chihayafuru and RDG (and any others I’m forgetting).

      • #3 by Joojoobees on April 12, 2013 - 3:35 AM

        Hataraku Maou-sama, mostly. I also liked the first episode of Flower of Evil.

        • #4 by avvesione on April 12, 2013 - 3:40 AM

          Yeah, Maou-sama is the surprise of the season for me. It’s my favorite right after Titan and Gargantia. I wasn’t expecting much from it but am delighted after two episodes.

          Hope you’re enjoying this season as much as I am!

  2. #5 by Mwnanamai on April 12, 2013 - 4:28 AM

    I enjoyed Titan, it was a nice story well presented and there was great moments of comedy as I learned that Mikasa is a weapon of Mass Destruction ^_^.

    My reluctance with Titan is the level of Gore, which is not to say that this is a bad thing for the Anime but I am just that kind of person who isn’t very tolerant to great levels of gore. Also I am apprehensive with the direction the story might take later on, but this wouldn’t be a fair reason to dislike this anime. I just want a more mature lead, and hope we are going to lose some of the whining in the second episode.

    I really liked Gargantia, watching Red and Chamber trying to figure out the situation was like watching an episode of Firefly with Malcom Reynolds stranded in an Alien Planet. Yes He is the good guy, but He ain’t going to blush from doing some immoral stuff like hostage taking and feeling the butt of a girl, all along with some calm sarcasm dialogue with Chamber.

    The story is slightly ambiguous for everyone, but the way Red is reacting to it flow logically and makes this for a entertainment. It like it more than Titan.

    • #6 by avvesione on April 15, 2013 - 12:02 AM

      Yeah, I share your sentiments with Titan on the protagonist, so hopefully he matures quickly. As for the gore, that’s not something that deters me all that much, but I can see where it might be disturbing to some, especially in some later episodes where the battles might be shown with more detail and therefore, be more graphic.

      Yeah, I was incredibly happy with how it showed Red and Chamber assess the situation when he woke up from his slumber. The entire sequence was well done and speaks volumes of what to expect from this anime in terms of quality and storytelling.

  3. #7 by ninetybeats on April 12, 2013 - 8:30 AM

    Suisei no Gargantia was really good. I didn’t know what to expect from that show, but the first episode was well worked out. I wanted to see what was going to happen next right after watching the first episode.

    • #8 by avvesione on April 15, 2013 - 12:19 AM

      Glad to hear you’re enjoying Gargantia as much as I am. I too went through the same motions following the first episode, wanting to continue it right away but being forced to wait a week like everyone else. I hope the anime stays this great since it is one of my favorites for this season.

  4. #9 by elior1 on April 14, 2013 - 12:13 AM

    @awesione are you going to do review for to aru railgun with biri biri?

    • #10 by avvesione on April 15, 2013 - 12:20 AM

      I won’t be writing about Railgun in one of these first impressions posts (since my first impressions of Railgun was years ago) but I will be covering it in my Weekly Anime posts this season. I hope to have my first one out soon, so keep an eye out for it.

  5. #11 by Zammael on April 14, 2013 - 10:57 PM

    After two episodes, I can tell which will be the greater show:

    Suisei no Gargantia on all counts. Moreover, I suspect it is a classic Urobuchi critique of a certain aspect of Japanese life, given that on the official site, Gargantia was written for the youths (teens to early 20s). Basically they are the graduating class about to step out into the Real World. That angle adds weight to the first episode where Ledo’s 16 years of experience in the army parallels institutionalized education or system or corporation. Their goal was basically eat, sleep and screw – the basic requirements of society. Moreover, Ledo asserts that he dreams about the colony but feels comfortable with his role as a soldier in space – which reads as comfortable conformity to the school environment.

    It’ll be interesting to see where Gargantia takes off from here, whether it builds into a full fledged critique of our modern society where youth grow in, and what takes place once Ledo is dumped out of the comfortable womb of society, utterly clueless and rudderless, lacking a goal.

    As for Attack on Titan, it seems to be little more than straight-up shounen with your average shounen main lead, bellyaching about being weak and needing to get stronger. So far the character is far behind the standard shounen plot, unlike the now-classic Shin Sekai Yori.

    • #12 by avvesione on April 15, 2013 - 12:29 AM

      You make an excellent point about Gargantia being an analogy of modern Japanese life, such as with the military training being equivalent to schooling and earning a leave to go to the colony being similar to earning a job in the real world. But then you have to wonder about the other aspects of the anime and what Urobuchi is trying to communicate with his story if that is the most prominent theme of the story (which I don’t think it is). Given the war with aliens and the subsequent arrival on Earth with its backwards people, I don’t see the narrative having any significant meaning with them, at least right now. And to answer the obvious question, no, at this time, I don’t really know what I think Gargantia is about yet besides humans trying to understand each other when neither side knew the other existed just yesterday. Maybe after a few more episodes, I’ll have a better idea.

      As for Titan, yeah, it does seem a bit shounen right now, but that hasn’t deterred me from falling in love with the setting, the mechanics of this world, and the visuals which illustrate it. Titan and Gargantia are undoubtedly my two favorites this season and both are about equal to me right now.

  6. #13 by Artemis on April 15, 2013 - 3:32 PM

    I’m so happy that there are a couple of really solid anime shows premiering this spring. Two episodes in and it’s already apparent that Suisei no Gargantia is going to be one of the best of the season – maybe even the best depending on how Hataraku Maou-sama! pans out. (Although RDG: Red Data Girl is surprising me by how not-crap it is. Judging by the OP it was going to be a super-size reverse harem, but so far the story actually seems to be holding up under its own steam.)

    • #14 by avvesione on April 18, 2013 - 5:32 AM

      Like you, I’ve been impressed with a few of the shows this season and even surprised at a couple (Maou-sama! comes to mind), so there seems to be plenty of shows to watch, even if this season is lighter than most for me. I hope that it keeps up like this from here on out!

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