About 2 weeks ago: why I’m bored with Uchouten Kazoku, the impact of alternative hairstyles in Monogatari Series Second Season, how Zoe’s character contrasts everyone and everything in Shingeki no Kyojin, and why the clothes are my favorite part of Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou.
Best episode of the week: Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!
Anime trending up this week: Servant x Service
Anime trending down this week: Uchouten Kazoku
Danganronpa the Animation (Episode 3)
I’ve always kinda wondered that if they made a Phoenix Wright anime, based off the franchise of popular videos games, if it would be better to follow the mechanics of the game when it came to the investigations and trials or if changed the structure to match a looser, more liberal approach to dramatic lawyer action. Danganronpa provides us with a glimpse at what it’s like to take the mechanics of a detective/trial video game and put it into an anime which was the former of my two options. The style comes across to me as having mixed opinions. While it does capture the style of Dangranronpa and manages to work well within the context of the trial, the downside is that it feels almost too blatant and automatic, helping to ruin the fun and mystery of the trial by putting so much emphasis on the bullets and accusations. I mean, having the wrong text just blow up on the screen before the audience has time to even read, let alone think or react, pretty much spoils to you what’s supposed to happen. Nonetheless, it does hold that Danganronpa-style to it that helps keep the game’s charm in this anime and helps differentiate it from, say, a Phoenix Wright-style objection. And speaking of that, if I were to reevaluate my opinion of a Phoenix Wright anime after witnessing a trial in Danganronpa that mirrors a ‘true to the video game approach’, I’d almost actually rather have it be a more liberal approach that doesn’t feel all video game-ish, but one that still captures the style and themes of Phoenix Wright (for clarification, having the objection come out after a witness is done speaking, then revisiting the fallacy rather than having GIANT TEXT appear on the screen and Makoto using a bullet).
Gatchaman Crowds (Episode 2)
3D-CGI has always turned me off, especially from an early age when the medium began to debut and the graphics and apperances were still in their primitive state. The form of using 3D-CGI has developed greatly over the past couple of decades and, with its growth and maturity, I’ve warmed up to the style, though I still tend to dislike shows that are entirely in 3D (a reason why I’m such a fan of anime is its resilience to remain 2D and gorgeous). That being said, I find the use of 3D models and animation in Gatchaman Crowds to be one that I can’t help but like. The use of these 3D models, the appearance of these models and the animation used to seamlessly integrate them into a 2D world is nothing short of spectacular and a testament to what 3D-CGI has become and what it can do. I think this is the first anime besides Tiger & Bunny that I actually like and enjoy the CGI in. Perhaps now, with the technology reaching new levels and finding forms that keep fans (like myself) happy, that 3D-CGI will begin to find more applications in the field of anime. It still doesn’t mean I prefer it over 2D animation but that it isn’t an eye sore or a reason to dislike an anime like with so many previous television shows and movies.
Genei wo Kakeru Taiyou (Episode 3)
Perhaps the greatest attribute and strength going for Gen’ei wo Kakeru Taiyou right now is the dazzling and magnificent selection of clothes the characters wear, particularly the magical-girl forms whose costumes tend to be more elegant and extravagant versions of their traditional everyday clothes. Hell, even their pajamas are cute and stylized and you can only wonder what they’ll be wearing when the inevitable beach episode occurs around episode 7 or 8. But compared to other shows with similar themes, stories and characters, you always get a mirage of school girl uniforms, either a serafuku or blazer and miniskirt, and then a skin-tight, sexy uniform or frilly, frilly, girly outfit for the magical girl transformation. And while I still enjoy those styles for the most part, Gen’ei Taiyou has done a remarkable job at selecting the outfits for its cast of characters, making them all vastly different from the each other and helping distinguish and accent each character’s personality, color, and Tarot card-themes (like the little suns, stars and crescent moon motifs that dot their clothes). I think, right now, that the design, variety and quality of clothing is my favorite part of Gen’ei wo Kakeru Taiyou.
Monogatari Series Second Season (Episode 3)
Since the setting of Monogatari is a sparely populated metropolis that barely breaks double digits, one populated by a single teenage boy and a handful of horny teenage girls, you’d figure that there wouldn’t be salon or hair stylist to provide the characters with alternative hair styles for this new season. So unless a traveling barber visited the two and gave all the girls special discounts, I’m kinda curious how all the girls got these new hairstyles. Never mind that, the new hairstyles are easily the biggest difference between this and the previous seasons of Monogatari with many characters having improved hairdos (Tsubasa, Senjougahara, Karen), some characters having different styles (Kanbaru), and some just having an outrageous style hair that makes me miss their former (Tsukihi). Because I am me and have a thing for short hair (who would’ve guessed), I have to admit that I am loving these alternative hairstyles and that, as a result of seeing them with this slightly altered appearances, I’m having to reevaluate how much I like and enjoy these characters now. It’s really amazing how such a simple and mundane procedure it is, to change someone’s hairstyle like this, can have such a profound effect like it has had on me and other fans of the series. And while I still enjoy seeing Senjougahara wearing her hair long or Karen wearing her ponytail, I find it refreshing and inspirational for this season of Monogatari to change the styles of just about every girl, to give this season something new. I’ve got to say, I’m really enjoying the cast more with these different hairstyles, though I wonder how long this effect will last or how it varies from character to character. Either way, I’m glad to see something like this happen in Monogatari and I’ve got to find and thank whoever did these wonderful haircuts.
Shingeki no Kyojin (Episode 15)
Even though Zoe’s character is portrayed in a comical, almost wacky manner, I absolutely love how she contrasts the rest of the cast in regards to Titans. Hell, even her portrayal as a whimsical and humorous character helps reinforce that contrast since that itself is a distinction of her character, too. Regardless, it’s refreshing and stimulating to see a character of her caliber being interested in the Titans to such an obsessive degree whereas the remainder of the cast would gladly trade anything they had to live another day without seeing a Titan. And going one step further, Zoe is the only character to really show genuine compassion to the Titans though you could argue that her experiments are rather cruel and painful. Still, you’d never see a character in Attack on Titan cry over the death of a Titan like Zoe did when she found her two ‘pets’ were murdered. I can’t help but find her character to actually be my favorite as a result, finally seeing a character who breaks the common mold of the series over scared or fearless people who hunt or run from Titans. Zoe is different. And not only that, but she’s portrayed in a comic light that makes her character fun and amusing while also being intelligent, informative and able. It’s great to have a character like Zoe in Titan, especially now after having the same or similar character archetypes through virtually every episode before. My only hope from here moving forward is that she’s featured frequently, that her character grows along with the story and that she doesn’t find a premature end like so many other characters in this anime.
Silver Spoon (Episode 2)
Teachers in anime are kinda a neglected bunch of characters, often portrayed as comical or motherly background characters that really don’t do much in the way of inspiring or stimulating their students unless they’re one of the five members of a shitty harem anime. That being said, I find the new equestrian teacher in Silver Spoon, Nakajima, to be just the opposite. He’s a teacher first and foremost but he also assumes that mentor role with Yugo and his other students. But especially with Yugo, who’s not really sure he wants to be in the equestrian club or even wants to be at a rural high school in general. I have a feeling that considering his presence (alongside Mikage in the equestrian club), that Nakajima will have a substantial effect on Yugo’s character at various points throughout Silver Spoon. He has that certain air, that certain quality to his character that hints that he’ll have a significant impact on the story of Silver Spoon and on Yugo’s character. So with that, I’m looking forward to what Nakajima will do in Silver Spoon, especially considering that none of the other teachers have made a noteworthy impact to date.
Tamayura ~more aggressive~ (Episode 3)
How quickly do my opinions change. I remember enjoying the Tamayura OVA, struggling and disappointed with Tamayura ~hitotose~ and considering not even picking up Tamayura ~more aggressive~ after remembering how discouraged I was after the 12-episode TV run. But with just three episodes into Tamayura ~more aggressive~ and I find myself in love with the franchise like never before. Perhaps it’s because the new characters, Kanae and Shimokamiyama, provide refreshing roles in the series in how they assist and develop Fu’s character and that the two biggest problems for me (Ko and Komachi) have had minimal screentime. Or maybe because the series is focusing on the newfound Photography Club and on photography in general as compared to previous episodes of ~hitotose~ which alternated between charming stories and boring snorefests. But with this new season of ~more aggressive~, Tamayura has taken a more aggressive approach to its characters, its story, its themes and its presentation and the sequel to this franchise is off to a fascinating start. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sequel score more than one point higher than an original, especially since Tamayura ~hitotose~ places last in Autumn 2011, but this has been the biggest surprise of the season, especially since I was considering skipping the series after my disappointment two years ago. Thank goodness I gave this anime a shot and have felt rewarded ever since.
Uchouten Kazoku (Episode 3)
Despite being the most popular anime of the season according to anime bloggers, I can’t help but find myself bored with Uchouten Kazoku and I think I know why. My main issue with the series is that it deals too much with politics. Between the Shimogamo family’s internal struggles and those with the other Tanuki clans of Kyoto to the internal rumblings between the Tengu clans to the ‘Friday Club’ to Incident A and Incident B and just everything that everyone talks about… it’s all political and it’s all a bit peculiar at this point. It’s a little hard to develop connections with these characters and these events when they all happened in the past and all are interwoven to create the complex and extravagant setting that is Uchouten Kazoku, but it’s all that every really happens. Everyone is focused on the past and virtually every dialogue is tied to one of these prior events or are political in nature. And, as a result, I can’t help but find myself uninterested when characters are talking about some event that happened in the past, especially when it’s all that ever happens in an episode. So while I do appreciate the level of detail and complexity in Uchouten Kazoku, I have to question its relevance and purpose to the story and to question to what degree does it necessitate, especially since it’s reached the point where it’s begun to negatively affect the story and the characters. But then again, maybe that’s only the case for me seeing how it has unrivaled popularity among other bloggers to date.
And before I forgot, while I’m on the subject of the past in this post, doesn’t Yasaburou’s male human look kinda remind you of Ted “Theodore” Logan’s look from Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure? I mean, that black vest on that white T-shirt and that mullet-style haircut with tight jeans… doesn’t it just scream 80’s fashion whenever you see Yasaburou? I think he needs to go back to being a trap with that serafuku like we saw in the first episode.