Autumn 2011 – First Week Impressions (Part 2)

This post looks at Tamayura ~hitotose~, Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon and Chihayafuru.

Well, this post should be easy.  All three shows in this post are in the undecided category at this point, meaning each is fighting for one of the final slots for this season.  Each show that is put in this category will survive another week and have one more chance to make its case to be kept for this season.  Oh, except Phi Brain.  That show doesn’t stand a chance against these three, so consider it dropped.

Watching:

None for this post.

Undecided:

Tamayura ~hitotose~ (Brain Off) – If you read what I said about Kimi to Boku in my other post, you’d figure that I’d shun this anime since it’s a four girl slice-of-life anime.  But no, I marathoned the 4-episode OVA and jumped right into the first episode.  Doing it that way helped tremendously since I’m thinking the OVA must’ve been a requirement to get into this series.  Without it, the first episode would’ve been pretty unexciting and you would’ve missed most of the significant stuff from this episode.

The story for this episode was a prologue to the OVA and current TV series, showing Fu’s ordeals with moving to Takehara and leaving her best friend Chihiro behind.  On the backburner was another story showing the reawakening of Fu’s interest in photography, which just so happens to be the main theme in this anime.  The writing was brilliant but it catered exclusively to the crowd that had watched the OVA and understood the characters and themes already.  Newcomers to the series probably felt it was rather plain and meaningless, unaware to what was going on and why it was significant to the story.  I don’t think it was the best way to start the series but it was a good episode for me.  Outside of that, there’s not much else to say, especially if you haven’t seen the OVA yet.  The artwork, especially in the photographs, is truly spectacular and will probably be the most memorable aspect of this anime.  The characters, while sweet and simple, will probably become a little annoying until they get some development (which I fully expect).  There is a subtle Aria vibe in this anime (no surprise seeing the creator and director of this directed Aria) but I’d hate to compare it to one of my all-time favorites since this anime would never win.  I’ll just appreciate that there’s an essence of that alive in Tamayura ~hitotose~ and enjoy this anime for its own merits.  There is still a chance I could drop this anime but it is looking pretty healthy compared to some of the others.  If this does get dropped, I’d consider myself surprised.

Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon (Brain Off) – Pretty much the definition of controlled chaos.  If I thought this anime was taking itself seriously, and it’s evident that it isn’t, then it would’ve been normal, everyday chaos but no, this is supposed to be this type of crazy.  The first episode introduced roughly twenty-or-so eccentric characters, had a lengthy and flamboyant battle sequence across the entire airship, and hinted at even more bizarre and outlandish events in the future.  There were some serious elements in this anime but those details seemed to be afterthoughts, especially when the narrator describes the world and its history while the ending credits scrolled.  This anime wants to be silly and it is fine with that.

The fighting, especially the action and animation during those scenes, were really incredible and definitely the headline from this episode.  If there are battles like this every episode, then I’d be interested in watching this anime.  The art and animation as a whole are decent and the setting is reasonable for this type of anime, bringing back strong memories of Chrome Shelled Regios (Koukaku no Regios).  The characters were never really introduced besides seeing them attack once and most seem destined to be incredibly shallow.  Even worse is I haven’t found anyone I don’t like yet, with most of the cast being indifferent or slight hatred.  Not sure what to think about the story since it’s still nonexistent.  The fanservice was another negative.  Even though it fit in nicely with the chaotic style in this series, the few ecchi scenes were sidetracking and the only real action got censored.  Boo!  Lastly, the comedy was pretty weak but that’s forgivable since it made up for its entertainment primarily with the fighting.  When considering everything together, it’s fairly jumbled, which is also an accurate description for this anime.  I’ll consider keeping it, the fighting and entertainment factors are strong, and give it another week to see how the cast, story, and chaos fare.

Chihayafuru (Brain On) – This anime is impressive in almost every category.  The artwork is lovely and vibrant, especially the colors and lighting.  And when an art style is the first thing I mention, you know it has a lasting impression on me.  The characters so far, mainly just Chihaya since this was a flashback episode, all have potential for deep and interesting storylines and development.  What’s nice is that their memorable for their actions and behavior, such as Chihaya realizing that her friends are growing up (getting a girlfriend and dropping karuta).  And that’s about it for the likeable parts, at least for me.  I’m not too interested in the whole karuta game and I don’t know if that’ll change as the anime goes on.  It seems like a device for drama and likely romance, but I think we’ve seen all there is to the game by grabbing cards the fastest.  Maybe I’m just blind to the whole game but I don’t know what else they can do and the one thing I fear is that the anime will abuse karuta and it will make the anime tedious and repetitive.  The story isn’t one of the strong points for me, either, but I’m sure it will improve.  I’m not unsure if it’ll be a story I like or dislike since shoujo anime are always discrete outcomes for me.  It pretty much should be considered a watchable right now but with my time constraints and yadda yadda yadda, I want to give it another week before buying into the series.  Of the three anime listed in this post, this is the top of the three and the most likely to be kept for this season.  But that’s only after one week.  Week two will be the decisive one, for these three (and any others that fall in this category) anime.

Dropped:

Phi Brain.  When asking myself, “would I rather watch Phi Brain or [insert name of anime above]?” after watching each show, I always came up with the other anime.  So since it’s placed 4 out of 4, it might as well be dropped now.

Don’t worry if I end up dropping an anime you like or are enjoying so far since I’ll be keeping an eye out on everything this season.  Hell, I’ve even scanned through all the anime that I originally said I’d never touch and some of them turned out half-way decent.  And if any show this season turns out to be pretty okay or pretty awesome, I’ll save it for some marathon material for whenever I have some more free time.  Of course, I always say that and never am able to marathon through anything.  Whoops.  But I’ll get around to any good show that I miss this season eventually, so give me a heads-up if you think I missed something.

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  1. #1 by Joojoobees on October 5, 2011 - 10:50 PM

    I’m on for Chihayafuru and Tamayura. Horizon really struck me as a waste of time. If I’m going to waste my time, I would rather spend it on Maji de or Phi Brain.

    I think you make some good points about Tamayura. I really enjoyed this episode, but I already watched the OVA, so I was struck by quite a number of things that have significance later on. I hope others don’t miss too much and give up on this show prematurely.

    Chihayafuru: I don’t have any special knowledge of the material, but I just feel confident that this was a good setup to an interesting story. There are a number of questions posed, because there are big differences in character between grade and high school, for one thing, and then there are the problems facing Chihaya (like can she put together a club). This one is must see as far as I’m concerned.

    • #2 by avvesione on October 6, 2011 - 1:10 PM

      I think one of the reasons why I like Horizon is that it is one of my ‘guilty pleasure’ animes: random nonsense and fighting with good enough animation. I don’t think I’ll keep it but it was fun.

      Tamayura was structured for those who have already watched the OVA, at least that’s how I felt after finishing the first episode. It’ll be harder for newcomers to get into the series but they can always go back and watch the OVA if they think they’ll be interested. They should have a decent idea of what to expect since the episode did have the same style and feeling as the OVA, so hopefully some people will go back and watch that before jumping into the second episode.

      As for Chihayafuru, I want to see a full episode of them as teenagers before making a decision. I’m pretty sure I’ll keep it but I only have about 6 minutes of ‘normal’ material, what most of the series will be like, since most of the episode was a flashback. I’m sure the story will be fine (unless it turns out like Kaichou wa Maid-sama) but my main concern is with karuta. I don’t think I’m ever going to “like” that game but I’ll enjoy how the game manipulates drama and tension and if it’ll be used as a device for other themes in the anime.

      • #3 by Joojoobees on October 6, 2011 - 5:49 PM

        I definitely don’t see Chihayafuru turning out like Kaichou wa Maid-sama, but time will tell.

        Another advantage of going back and watching the Tamayura OVA, for those who hadn’t previously, is that it had a catchy OP sung by Maaya Sakamoto. The new OP just doesn’t have as nice of a melody, IMO.

  2. #4 by Marina on October 7, 2011 - 8:08 AM

    I didn’t have any problems watching Tamayura, and I haven’t seen the OVA. It did, however, pique my interest in the OVA, so I’ll probably get around to watching it soon. It has already made my list for this season, but that’s mostly because I feel like it’s been forever since I’ve come across another healing-type anime that reminds me so much of ARIA.

    As for your final choice, I’m throwing in another vote for Chihayafuru. Though the majority of the episode was a flashback, as you note, I still found it immensely interesting and promising. The pretty graphics, too, are hard to not stare at. I really hope that this show turns out just as fun as Hikaru no Go…only with love…and all that good stuff :p

    • #5 by avvesione on October 7, 2011 - 8:27 PM

      Sounds like this has been a pretty awesome season for you so far. I’m glad you’re liking Tamayura without seeing the OVA first. I think if you have some time, you should go back and watch the OVA (4 episodes) and, if you still have free time, rewatch the first episode of the TV series. It’d be interesting to see how your perspective changes and if you like the show more or not. I don’t think it should be hard to convince you since the show does have a strong Aria feel to it.

      Another week of Chihayafuru should be enough for me to keep it, as long as the second episode is just as good as this first one.

  3. #6 by SnippetTee on October 10, 2011 - 3:40 PM

    Chihayafuru is on my list simply because I’m shallow when it comes to slice-of-life that has nice animation and likeable main character. But if you’re going to ask me if I find the first episode strong, I’d say no. I’m hoping that they will manage to pull-out an interesting card game to make it more engaging because otherwise it’ll really turn out that it’s a beauty in vain.

    As for Tamayura, I’m going to follow it but I’m not going to keep up on it regularly. However, so far I’m liking it.

    • #7 by Joojoobees on October 10, 2011 - 5:49 PM

      I find that a little strange. With Chihayafuru we have several dramatic threads that already make it rise above mere slice-of-life: 1) Chihaya’s frustrated ambition to start the Karuta club; 2) the tensions in the past between Chihaya, Arata, and Taichi; 3) the changes that led to the three of them going separate ways.

      I’m interested in seeing som card-game action as well, but your comment sounds like there was nothing but fuwa-fuwa in the first episode, which is not how I saw it at all.

      • #8 by SnippetTee on October 10, 2011 - 6:48 PM

        I’m sorry but I didn’t find anything dramatic at all. The root of the tension is too straight forward and Chihaya’s reason for liking Kurata is shallow. Don’t get me wrong though, that’s why I also said I’m shallow because these mundane and simplistic plots are what I mostly follow and enjoy.

        Also I said that it doesn’t have a strong first episode because compared to the other slice-of-life anime that I’d seen recently e.g. Usagi Drop and Ano Hana, Chihayafuru’s introductory episode is just ordinary—nothing really emotionally impacting. But of course, certainly, different viewers have different ways of appreciation and different standards. ^^

    • #9 by avvesione on October 11, 2011 - 10:24 PM

      (kinda sorta reply to both)

      Second episode came out great, much better than the first episode, and pretty much dashed all my worries about the anime, especially how karuta would be used in the anime. Hope most felt that way after the first two episodes, especially since the first one was almost all to set up the second one.

  1. Notes For The Fall 2011 Anime Season Final (Part II) « Organization Anti-Social Geniuses

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