Just a quick note before beginning with the aforementioned anime, I’ve decided to keep Gen’ei wo Kakeru Taiyou which was previously cited as undecided. The second episode showed enough promise and growth to justify keeping it, despite the fact that it does have some questionable issues and is largely mediocre. Still, the anime has proved to be entertaining, so even if there are issues with the story or the emotions, it still is worthwhile to watch.
Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui! (No Matter How I Look At It, It’s Your Guys’ Fault I’m Unpopular!)
Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui!, which shall be effectively and thankfully shorted to Watamote from here onwards, is one of those few comedy anime that excels at more than just comedy. Often times, comedy anime are sufficient to produce laughter and amusement, but suffer in other categories like characters, story, art and animation or whatever. Watamote however, as shown through its first episode, proves that it won’t have an issue with these aspects, but rather, uses them to its advantage in its comedy. The main character, Tomoko, has a unique combination of social anxiety and narcissism that constantly puts her in hilarious situations. Thanks in part to her awkward and shy behaviors; the visual aspect of the anime is fraught with uncomfortable situations and responses by Tomoko which usually end in laughter. And thanks in part to her bold and analytical internal monologues, which combine beautifully with how she acts; she’s able to add comical commentary throughout all her misadventures, effectively doubling the fun and entertainment of every scene. As a character that will be leading and carrying this anime, having someone as strong as Tomoko is essential. As for the story, there’s enough variety as misfortune in Tomoko’s life to keep the anime feeling fresh and funny. Thankfully, the anime doesn’t really try to analyze Tomoko’s social anxiety or her behavior, so any growth in her character should feel genuine among all the comedy. And the art and animation in Watamote is a wonderful display of excellence. No doubt, director Shin Oonuma (ef – a tale of memories, Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu, Tasogare Otome x Amensia) knows how to spice scenes up with unique, unparalleled illustrations to keep the anime visually appealing and he’s doing the same with Watamote. And all this without even really mentioning the comedy which is among the best all year. Watamote is definitely a keeper for the Summer and one that I highly recommend to anyone, even if they aren’t even remotely interested.
Silver Spoon (Gin no Saji)
Is there an obligation that anime set at an agricultural school are required to be educational? Silver Spoon debuts as an anime about a young, naïve city kid finding himself in rural Hokkaido at an agricultural school simply because he wanted to get away from his parents and this was the only school that offered dorms. Unfortunately for him, he had no idea what he was getting himself into. Silver Spoon offers a distinctive approach to the typical school anime by focusing on agriculture, teamwork and providing tidbits of actual education through its story and characters. And while this does mirror Moyashimon on multiple fronts, it doesn’t focus intently on microbes, fermenting and brewing which gives it an entirely different focus and a seemingly unique approach. I don’t have much of a problem with the cast besides that the main character, Yugo, who is supposed to be educated but acts dumb and dense when things slightly ‘agricultural’. That and I don’t understand why we aren’t getting more of Aki who’s clearly the best character, but that’s another issue altogether. I do enjoy the story by taking place at an agricultural school, especially after Moyashimon 2 left me feeling disappointed and unsatisfied last year. The comedy and humor is present but not entirely effective, but that figures to change once we’re more familiarized with the cast, their personalities and the quirks that will eventually drive the humor in this show. The first episode wasn’t anything spectacular but it did show that the anime has all the right tools and materials to build a fun, educational and valuable show with enough potential to be one of the best this season. It’s a keeper.
What a fantastic show, Gatchaman Crowds. Thanks almost entirely due to its lead, Hajime Ichinose, the first episode of Gatchaman Crowds was a delightful blend of hilarity, vitality, action and excitement that left me impressed. Hajime is an instant hit, with her Energizer Bunny-level of energy and her unmatched enthusiasm, she’s just fun to watch, even during infodump scenes or otherwise ordinary dialogue. If this one episode proved anything to me is that this show is worth watching for Hajime alone. But thankfully, Gatchaman Crowds has more than just that. The cast thus far is extremely positive outside of Hajime, especially with Sugane being able to carry the plot thus far and Utsutsu providing the eye-candy by wearing her underwear (called swimsuit but that’s clearly not a swimsuit) casually around teammates. The mascot character of the series, Paiman, was the one character I was worried about, but being voiced by Aya Hinaro really reduced my fears about this character, especially since I think of her character now as Haruhi Suzumiya but less crazy. The plot has that typical Gatchaman feel to it with the theme of defending the planet from aliens, but it seems to hold promise of going in a different direction with a number of villainous characters featured in the opening animation. And while on the subject of Gatchaman, the number of motifs and references to the original are a pleasant touch, highlighting this show’s inspiration without being too obvious or blunt about the subject. What’s really enjoyable about the art and animation is its use of colors and motion, especially during the scenes with 3D models moving and fighting. Overall, the anime is impressive and inspiring and an early favorite of mine. I’m excited to see where this anime goes, especially with a main character like Hajime leading the way.
Fate⁄Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya
So, just a bit of forewarning, I’ve never watched or read or even researched anything from the Fate/Stay Night universe, so I’m coming into this series without knowing really any more than the names “Saber” and “Rin”. That being said, I found Prisma Illya to be easy to follow for an outsider like me and enjoyable to watch despite the fact that our lead heroine, Illya, was naked for half the episode. The show is a humorous take on the whole magical girl genre but with the characters of Fate/Stay Night, giving the show a clever and amusing premise that makes it more appealing than your typical, non-franchise magical girl show. The comedy was genuinely funny, which is a promise for future episodes, and the dynamic of the series seems to be earnest, though this first episode was primarily used to introduce the characters and setting and show how it’s different from the original materials. The one thing I’m a little concerned about was the high amounts of loli fanservice in this first episode, but I figure not every episode will have an extended bath scene like this one did, or even things like pantyshots, moving forward. I don’t have much to say about the characters or story at this point, besides that I do find them mild positives thus far, but the humor and setting are enough alone to warrant me keeping this anime for the future.
Choujigen Game Neptune the Animation (Hyperdimension Neptunia)
I came into expecting Hyperdimension Neptunia to have nothing in the way of intelligent characters, a paramount plot, cerebral writing or anything that’d make it a quality anime that I typically prefer. I did come in expecting to see cute and exciting girls have fun with each other in amusing situations and for there to be fights in battle suits that dazzled the audience. So with that heading into the anime and no knowledge prior of the games or franchise, I came out feeling entirely mixed with this first episode. While I did enjoy the adorable characters and the visuals of this series, I felt somewhat disappointed by the humor in the series save for the Yuu Kobayashi joke at the very end (which actually was the funniest thing all season, go figure). The battles were even worse, probably the most damning aspect of the anime, with minimal amounts of animation and action that could’ve been easily replaced by still frames of the girls in various poses and accomplished the same goal. The characters aren’t exactly dumb but they don’t feel all that intelligent or rational either, instead being basic anime archetypes at this point. The writing and dialogue was rather simple and basic, to the point where it felt almost elementary, and it didn’t really go into depth in the characters, story or setting leading me to believe it’ll be mainly fanservice for the fans of Neptunia. But still, I came in expecting most of this, so it doesn’t really surprise me that Neptunia is here for mainly cute girls and fun. I want to keep the anime around if it doesn’t try to develop a serious plot where the girls will save Gamindustri from destruction (although you know that that’s what’s going to happen) and is instead all about fun and humor. I’ll probably end up keeping the show around for the absolutely lovely character designs but don’t expect me to enjoy it all that much if the series stagnates or fails to improve.
Nothing here, which means that this concludes my thoughts and reviews for the first episodes of this Summer’s anime. All that remains now is to transition back into the traditional style of Weekly Reviews for a majority of these anime. So until then, enjoy all these new, wonderful anime this season!