Looks like there’ll be three parts for my First Impressions posts for Summer 2013. After this, I might post a couple of Weekly Anime posts before I go on hiatus, though I might try something different for the month of July. I guess we’ll see once these posts are finished up.
Kiniro Mosaic (Yellow Mosaic)
Easily the cutest anime of the season, Kiniro Mosaic is a delightful and entrancing anime full of endearing moments, heartwarming skits, and a style of adorable comedy that makes you want to hold and hug the characters instead of laughing at their jokes. It also helps that the art and animation are presented in a way to compliment these elements, always in a bright pastel style and frequently featuring chibi characters and simplistic, cartoony faces. It’s easily the most charming anime of the season and I couldn’t help but find myself smiling throughout. As for the substance of this anime… well, let’s just say it really isn’t the strength of Kiniro Mosaic. I doubt that Kiniro Mosaic will have much in the way of a plot or character development, though you figure that something will have to happen for this anime to fill a full season. You figure the anime will be primarily comedy and slice-of-life, something which this anime seems to succeed at, though you figure there will be stories throughout. It’s hard to say exactly what this anime will be like since most of this first episode was reliving a flashback when Shinobu lived with Alice in England and then introducing Alice’s arrival in Japan. I hope that the anime stays as cute as this first episode, but I wouldn’t mind sacrificing some of that cuteness for an original plot and expressive, emotional characters. That being said, the captivating and charming nature of this anime is reason enough to watch Kiniro Mosaic and any sort of meaningful plot and character maturity will be an added bonus to what is already a delightful anime.
Monogatari Series Second Season
I’ve always loved the Monogatari series, though lately, I’ve been a bit disenchanted with the series. I feel in love with the first few episodes of Bakemonogatari, specifically Hitagi Crab and Mayoi Snail, but the remainder of the series kinda pattered out when it became obvious that the show was following a repeating pattern and offered nothing new besides another addition to the harem and another unique obstacle to solve. I immediately forgot all this by the time Nisemonogatari started and dove head-first into the series only to otherwise regret my decision by the time the incest reared its ugly head and the Tsukihi arc was almost forgotten. Nekomonogatari rekindled my interest for the series by recalling some of the more favorable aspects of the early episodes of Bakemonogatari, but it never recaptured that magic that caused me to fall in love with the franchise in the first place. Enter Monogatari Series Second Season which begins the series again by revisiting all the girls of Bakemonogatari with follow-ups to their original issues which spawned the stories of the original anime. Hoping for something different or, at least something to differentiate it from all the others before it, I have to say I am somewhat happy with what the first episode of Monogatari Series did though I’m reserving my opinions until more of the series and the sexualization reveals itself.
That being said, I absolutely love that the series began again without Araragi appearing and instead, focusing on Tsubasa, the evolution of her problem and her complicated but amazingly engaging relationship with Senjougahara. It certainly helps Monogatari that this was the first time to see the series through the perspective of someone other than Araragi and that we were able to witness a wonderful conversation between two of the girls, so I was pleased to see that. Furthermore, I found the writing and the use of those unique ‘Scene Cards’, particularly the ones that read ‘It didn’t hurt at all.’ ‘Yet it hurt a lot.’ to be brilliant displays of character expression and self-reflection. And I do like how the girls have changed too, with Tsubasa having short hair, ditching her glasses and with Senjougahara also wearing her hair short. Oh, and having Senjougahara playing around with Tsubasa in her underwear, this time with crab panties instead of the distinguished stapler/scissors/boxcutter panties from before, was a nice tribute to the original Bakemonogatari. That being said, the only real negatives from this series are that the art, cinematography and directing for this series feels the same as all the others before it and, while still entirely unique and often breathtaking, it has become a bit anticipated or expected. Like I mentioned before, I want something more from Monogatari to differentiate it from the series or to do something that replicates the magic from Hitagi Crab/Mayoi Snail that I loved so much. Either way, you probably get the point that I’m expecting a lot from Monogatari, so hopefully it can deliver in either one of two ways that I’m looking for with this new season. And even if it doesn’t, it still will probably be my favorite of this Summer.
Uchouten Kazoku (The Eccentric Family)
Uchouten Kazoku is an anime that has featured quite a stunning and gorgeous visual style but left me feeling unimpressed with its story thus far and its limited cast of characters. The strengths of Uchouten Kazoku lie in its illustrations and its animation, both featuring a distinct presentation that rank among the best of this year. The first episode featured numerous scenes with large amounts of seamless, dazzling animation which is certainly pleasing to my eyes. I wasn’t really certain whether I’d like the character designs or not, but after seeing them move around in the elegant world that they reside in, I’ve grown to like these character models, especially since they facilitate the high-quality animation that this anime should be known for. The setting, mixing together the heritage of tanuki, tengu and humans in Kyoto is certainly something that appeals to me. However, that’s about where my praises for this anime stop, as all that really remains are the story and the characters. I can’t say I find any of the characters particularly interesting or engaging, though I do enjoy Yasaburou Shimogamo’s sense of individualism and adventureism by running around the city dressed as a trap in that serafuku. However, I fear that once he looks like a guy again, I probably won’t like him as much, so hopefully he crossdresses for the remainder of the series. As for the story thus far, I can’t say I’m particularly interested in it either. I do seem to enjoy the storytelling thus far and how the story has evolved, but the romance isn’t really all that enjoyable, at least not as much as seeing the tanuki and tengu sides conflicting with each other. I hope that the anime begins to take another direction soon with its story. Otherwise, Uchouten Kazoku had a fun first episode with its magnificent art and animation, so I’m looking forward to watch more, even if the story and characters don’t evolve the way I want them to.
Gen’ei wo Kakeru Taiyou (Il Sole Penetra le Illusioni/Day Break Illusion)
Although Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou featured enough positives in its first episode to warrant watching a second, there’s still that sinking feeling based on its PVs and its Opening animation that this anime just won’t be that good. The main reason why I have doubts about this anime is not because this strongly resembles a poor man’s Puella Magi Madoka Magica, but that this series will try too hard to make itself seem serious despite it having no emotions or progression to validate its depressing and thoughtful nature. For example, the whole tentacle plant attack and murder of her friend were done without much in the way of expression or significance, but rather came across as cheap and petty shock tactics. The same can be said for the runaway truck and the mansion on fire, too. And while it is unfair to compare this to Madoka, it’s almost like someone explained to them some of the highlights of that magical girl anime but forgot to mention the character growth, the writing and dialogue that made that anime so enjoyable. The PVs and the Opening animation seem to reiterate this point with scenes of blood, tears and despair, so all the warning signs are there, after watching the first episode, to think that this anime will be little more than a frustrating plot told through substandard storytelling. That being said, I did find a few aspects of the story to be enjoyable, particularly the day after Fuyuna died, with Akari going on as normal, so I can’t say that everything about this story is terrible. I do figure that with everything introduced, we’re in for a bit of an explanation in the second episode, so hopefully then I’ll understand the direction of this anime and whether it’s a positive or a negative. The art and animation aren’t too much more than mediocre and it is super loli (though with the number of loli anime this season, it really isn’t that significant), but I do like the cutesy, colorful style that was featured in this episode and I thought that the battle sequence at the end was visually appealing with its use of colors and animation. I’m not sure what to think about the characters right now, but they seem to be a pleasant group of girls. I guess I’ll have a better idea about them and the story of Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou after the second episode and, by then, I should know whether this is worth keeping or not.
Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi (The Sunday Without God)
Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi is one of those unfortunate anime where the negatives simply outweigh the positives. What was particularly damning about Kami Nai is that none of the characters were enjoyable, with Ai being another tiresome, lackluster loli and Hampnie being an absolute dick. The comedy and chemistry between the two seemed to be lacking and the whole situation that Ai was placed in, with the whole village being slaughtered like that, came across as detached and confusing. I can’t say I really enjoy the setting of this anime either with no births and zombies predominating the world but it did show the potential to grow depending on the various villages and settlements Ai visits. The art was one of the few positives of this series, though I did run across a few scenes where the quality dipped and a few others where the quality nosedived. And really, I just kinda felt bored throughout the first episode which left me with a poor impression of what’s probably to come in future episodes. I mean, if I’m already feeling apathetic to the characters and the story at this point, there really isn’t much reason to continue, especially when the other aspects of this anime fail to differentiate themselves to me. Hopefully this anime will improve but I won’t be sticking around to see whether it does or not.