Summer 2013 – First Week Impressions (Part 1)

love_lab-01-riko-the_wild_one-tomboy-salute-admired-cute-awesomeThis post reviews: Free!, Stella Jogkuin Koutouka C3-bu, Danganronpa, Love Lab, Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku, and Servant x Service.

I realize that about a dozen shows have aired at this point and that, as always, I’m late with these posts, so if the show you’re looking for isn’t in this post, it should be up sometime soon… hopefully.

 

Watching:

Stella Jogkuin Koutouka C3-bu

stella_jogakuin_koutouka_c3_bu-01-karila-honoka-yachiyo-rento-survival_games-airsoft_guns-protective_eyewear-poseHonestly, C3-bu probably belongs in the Undecided section since I wasn’t terribly impressed with the first episode, especially with this style and set-up in the shadow of Girls und Panzer and resembling Upotte!! with its girls and guns motif.  The anime has only a minimal amount of originality so far and the all-girls club at school has become so tired and cliché it’s becoming a negative.  The only positive here is that the girls actually do what the club says, but we’ll have to wait and see what future episodes hold, especially if cake and tea are involved.  Regardless, the first episode proved to be somewhat entertaining with its cast and comedy and the battle sequence at the end proved that it takes the survival game aspect seriously but with some lighthearted fun, too.  To say the episode was enjoyable would be accurate but that mainly stems from the action sequences at the end.  The first episode did lay a solid foundation as this anime has room to grow with its characters and story which should be facilitated by the girls shooting each other with airsoft guns.  The art is a bit cutesy, helping out with the lightheartedness and comic aspects of this anime, and the animation was rather remarkable during the battle sequence, leading me to hope that the survival games in this anime are drawn as well as this first episode.  Overall, the anime did enough to warrant me keeping it and I have faith that it’ll continue to be fun throughout but this one is probably destined to mediocrity, even in a mediocre season like this summer appears to be.

stella_jogakuin_koutouka_c3_bu-01-sonora-handgun-firing_range-eyewear-awesome stella_jogakuin_koutouka_c3_bu-01-yura-survival_game-goggles-headset-forest

 

Danganronpa

danganronpa-01-monobear-monokuma-prinicpal-mascot-sweat-comedyWith the first episode of Danganronpa serving exclusively as an introduction to the characters, the setting and the plot, we weren’t able to infer much about how the remainder of the anime will play out or even how the episodes will be structured.  Nevertheless, given its unparalleled style and fairly interesting plot, I have to say that Danganronpa has me interested in what it has to offer.  The art and animation are what stands out to me the most, particularly with its striking character designs and attention to detail.  The cast hasn’t really had enough time to establish each character beyond what they look like and what they’re good at, but it seems there’s plenty of potential for them to grow, provided they don’t end up dead first.  As for the story, Danganronpa seems to have strong elements of comedy, mystery and horror at this point which is a unique combination that has caught my attention, but I’m curious which one will dominate as the series progresses.  Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed the first episode despite it being 24 minutes of introducing everything, so I figure the series should get even better once the real action starts in episode 2.  Definitely a series worth keeping around for now.

danganronpa-01-sayaka-idol-panic-despair-fear danganronpa-01-aoi-swimmer-tan_skin-jersey-athlete-salute-comedy-cleavage

 

Love Lab

love_lab-01-natsuo-huggy-dakimakura-hug_pillow-kiss-saliva-comedy-embarrassingLove Lab’s first episode was cute, charming and comical, a combination that’s a reliable recipe for success.  Add in some rather humorous (and impressive) animation and a pair of characters with ideal chemistry and Love Lab actually comes in as one of the best anime of this summer.  What makes Love Lab so enjoyable is that everything seems to fit in well with each other.  The style of comedy is mild and situational but the presentation is often physical or visual which fits in nicely with its delightful art style and smooth animation.  The characters both have amiable personalities, making them both fun to watch, and they complement each other by how they contrast each other.  Furthermore, the anime has hardly any substance to it and all the romantic aspects are downplayed for comedic purposes making this one a pure comedy through and through.  I was originally expecting this to be have heavy yuri or romantic undertones to it but there was none whatsoever in this first episode.  And as for complaints, I don’t have any.  Love Lab has proven to be the most surprising of all the shows this season and is already among my favorite for the Summer.

love_lab-01-riko-serious-comedy-reaction-hair_side_tie love_lab-01-natsuo-crying-comedy-hug-cute

 

Servant x Service

servant_x_service-01-yutaka-taishi-comedy-suits-welfare_departmentAnother comedy, Servant x Service features a style of quick jokes around an office setting that focuses on workplace humor and other young adult circumstances.  Servant x Service is pretty mild but consistent when it comes to its comedy and it doesn’t try too hard with irrational or unbelievable characters, so it’s actually pretty fun to watch.  That being said, it doesn’t really ever become hilarious but it does lead to a number of smiles and smirks throughout.  The art and animation for Servant x Service is actually pretty basic and uninspiring, but it’s sufficient to keep its characters cute and to deliver the comedy in an appropriate manner.  It doesn’t seem like it’ll be one of the better anime of this season, unless it grows quickly with its comedy and characters, but I do like its setting and its adult characters as a change of pace from schools and teens like every other anime in this post.  Furthermore, I have a sweet spot for this anime because it does remind me slightly of my work, especially the aspect where people yell at you for no goddamn reason when it’s something completely out of your hands.   So while it isn’t near the top of this season in terms of comedies or other aspects, this one is certainly a keeper for me.

servant_x_service-01-megumi-lucy-public_services-training-comedy servant_x_service-01-saya-happy-excited-sparkles-blonde-business_suit-cute

 

Undecided:

The six anime in this post were fairly easy to determine based on what I like and what I’m looking for, so there’s nothing here.  All that remains from this first week review are the two anime that failed to convince me that they’re worth watching…

 

Dropped:

Free!

free!-01-haruka-swimming-pool-back_float-water-moonlight-relaxingIn what’s probably the most polarizing anime of the season, thanks in large to a cast of supposedly sexy and scantily-dressed teenage swimmers, Free! seemed like one of those anime that’d you’d either love or hate.  But after watching just one episode of Free!, I realized I feel into a third category that seemed to be underrepresented among the hype and the hatred: boredom.  The first episode of Free! was completely underwhelming and unimpressive, a combination that kept me largely indifferent throughout, much like Haruka’s reaction to everything that isn’t water, swimming or speedos.  His apathetic personality, together with Makoto’s anxiousness and Nagisa’s happy-go-lucky nature, left me with no real feelings or connections to any of the characters.  At least Rin is a jerk and likes competition, so he’s somewhat enjoyable as a character, but was too much of a bitch to his friends to make him likable.  And honestly, with all the club anime going around, I have to say that swimming just doesn’t do anything for me.  Surpisingly, the art and animation seemed to be subpar for Kyoto Animation save for the brilliant and gorgeous water effects, but it felt like watching a lower-quality episode of Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! that wasn’t funny or charming at all.  I was actually kinda hoping that Free! would be fun or interesting or even original, but it seems to be another run-of-the-mill school club animation without a plot and without an interesting cast.

free!-01-makoto-haruka-childhood_friends-school_uniforms-bored-boring free!-01-nagisa-swimming_pool-water-splash-playing-happy

 

Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku (Chronicles of the Going Home Club)

kitakubu_katsudou_kiroku-01-natsuki-botan-sakura-claire-karin-going_home_club-comedy-chibi-cuteKitakubu Katsudou Kiroku is yet another school club anime, except instead of being a club that actually does stuff, this is a club about girls who go home after school… or so it seems.  In reality, it’s another anime about a bunch of girls who get together and do stupid stuff.  Yeah, it’s another one of those anime.  Unfortunately for Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku, it doesn’t really have any merits to it besides the fact that you can stop the episode after 6 minutes and not feel bad for yourself.  None of the characters are particularly interesting or enjoyable, being a grab-bag of your favorite anime tropes, like the super rich girl, the strong tomboy, the super energetic club leader and two wildcards.  The comedy is always something silly or wacky with the main girl shouting a punchline like, ‘That’s so crazy!’ or something to that effect.  I can’t say I’m too terribly impressed with the art, especially with so little in the way of animation, but I suppose it would be the best aspect of this anime if I had to choose.  Either way, I decided to go home myself after only a few minutes of this unsatisfactory anime, and I strongly suggest others do the same.

kitakubu_katsudou_kiroku-01-natsuki-nervous-timid kitakubu_katsudou_kiroku-01-sakura-club_president-blonde-energetic-happy

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  1. #1 by gedata on July 9, 2013 - 10:39 PM

    eh, I’ll try sticking around with Free! just for the reactions. It does have some things going for it, some of the fanservice was kinda funny (like the apron scene) and the ED is great.

    • #2 by avvesione on July 10, 2013 - 11:21 PM

      Free! has some nice things going for it, but it really doesn’t appeal to me at all. I do like that the series has some humor to it, especially with Haruka and his attraction to water. Hope you enjoy the series!

  2. #3 by Artemis on July 10, 2013 - 1:05 AM

    Love Lab really surprised me – I hadn’t planned on watching it at all based on the premise, which sounded not only uncreative but also cheap and tawdry. Right now though, it’s actually standing near the top of the pile for me. I’m glad, because so far nearly everything else I’ve tried has been underwhelmingly average. I was particularly looking forward to Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi and Makai Ouji: Devils and Realist, but the first episode of each definitely didn’t inspire me.

    • #4 by avvesione on July 10, 2013 - 11:24 PM

      Yeah, I was expecting Love Lab to be more of a romantic anime instead of a pure comedy like it is. I guess that’s why it’s always worth giving an anime a chance, even if you think you won’t like it, especially since Love Lab is one of my favorites this season, especially with everything else being kinda mediocre by comparison.

  3. #5 by donkangoljones on July 11, 2013 - 6:14 PM

    I share your same tired opinion of all these school club anime. I understand that just because there’s a lot of them, it doesn’t make them all bad. But my first impression of these kinds of shows has veered progressively negative over time.

    All that said, Love Lab and Servant X Service really surprised me. And I did get a lot of laughs out of razzing Free! while I watch it.

    • #6 by avvesione on July 15, 2013 - 7:42 PM

      Yeah, the whole school club setting for anime has become pretty mundane that when I hear about them, I hardly get excited. That being said, it’s always worth checking them out since the setting doesn’t really prove to be a true indicator of the quality or the characters, with shows like Love Lab serving as an example. I really wish shows would move out of that setting, like Servant x Service, even if the humor and characters are similar to the school club counterparts.

  4. #7 by Paupai on July 13, 2013 - 1:50 PM

    I rather watch Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku than watching some goofy romance, hero/heroine, love themed anime because those goofy anime are showing the same scene over and over again.

    • #8 by avvesione on July 15, 2013 - 7:44 PM

      Not me. Given the choice of either of those options, I wouldn’t watch either. Just because Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku is better than some anime doesn’t mean that it’s good enough to watch.

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