Spring 2010 first impressions – Over and out

Let's do this one more time

Yes, yes, it’s me.  No, no, I’m not back.  Yes, my thesis will eventually be finished, one way or another.  Nope, I have to go to some supposed crappy place for around a year so I won’t be able to post anything yet again.  Anyways, it’s late, and I have stuff to do so I’ll try to keep it short.

Anyway, I think this season is ok.  There’s at least some anime to have fun with.  The bad news is that nice stuff like Baka to Test and Hanamaru Youchien are over.  The other bad news is that trash the level of which the world has hardly ever seen (aka Qwaser) as still ongoing.  It’ll probably be a while before I can watch more than 3-4 episodes of this season’s series due to various reasons but whatever… Here goes.

Working!!

I thought I’d start with something nice.

... I want to work there... Let me work there... Let me work overtime >_< ... I might consider working for free, too.

The apparent premise of this one is some nice family restaurant having some nice people working in it (well, maybe excluding the nutcase manager and an androphobiac girl that views men like a swarm of cockroaches or something).  They sent this loli-looking girl with big boobs hire some help and she ended up finding a good-natured weird guy (he’s into little, defenseless things, or just a closet lolicon).  The cast so far consists of the aforementioned guy, the aforementioned tiny girl who happens to be his senpai at school, as well as a One Piece Sanji-looking chef, a plain-looking but somehow happy-with-whatever second chef, a 28yr old manager who’s a bit rude and can beat up people if they annoy her subordinates, an otherwise sweet, supposedly beautiful girl going around the restaurant with a katana, and a girl who seems pathologically afraid of guys (although that doesn’t prevent her from beating the crap out of them).  The first episode is basically showing the new guy around the place and getting to know the other staff.  The cute jokes and the warm and fuzzy atmosphere complete the package.

Yes, I don’t see anything resembling a plot.  While this is an introductory episode, it has the unmistakeable markings of a slice of life/comedy series.  It’s sweet, it’s fun, it’s moe, just watching it makes you feel nice and relaxed, without dying of sheer boredom after a while (like a  certain other well known watery slice of life series).  Damn, I could watch this thing all day.   The art is certainly inviting, to the point it feels like being in that wonderful place is a dream come true, but I’ve had that feeling with a number of slice of life series so I’m not sure whether it’s the setting, the artwork or both that help with the magic there.   Now, if this wasn’t apparent by the screenshot above, moe haters should just watch something else, obviously.

Would I like to watch this?: Well, if I had one series to pick, this would be it (then again there’s also K-ON!! but later on that)

B Gata H Kei

I realize this is not for everyone.

Lucky guy is lucky?

This cutie there is Yamada (her family name is a secret, said the jiji erogami).  She’s a supposedly a natural bishoujo through and through.  She also wants to get her 100 sex partners before she graduates (seriously, what do they teach kids these days…)  She’s also a virgin and rather clumsy as far as dating and sex are concerned so she finds this cherry-kun (Kosuda Takashi, but let’s call him Cherry-kun, it’s easier) and wants him to be her first, before she begins her grand quest for that hundred hit combo.  Things turn rather awkward because they’re both inexperienced so that leads from one ridiculous situation to the other.  While Yamada tries hard to lose her virginity (yes, facepalm there), she unwittingly starts treading on cliche but adorable romantic occurences.

Yes, there’s ero humor all over the place so anyone who can’t stand the heat, run for it.  Yes, there’s abundant fanservice.  No, it’s not QB, LvB or Qwaser level (and I doubt they’ll ever get there).  Yes, it does seem obvious that by the end of the series, Yamada is just going to fall for Cherry-kun instead of pursuing her original goal.  The how that happens should be fun to watch, although there are enough stuff to make a number of people cringe and run in horror.  Yamada on her own seems a strange mix.  She wants to have 100 sex partners but she’s inexperienced, gets embarrassed easily, gets freaked out when things get too hot and generally feels like she’s more on a quest for getting the guy she picked rather than becoming a sex queen.  One element that kinda picked my interest is the other girls AND guys in the OP/ED sequences, sometimes appearing as couples.  It should be refreshing to have more people around that hopefully don’t go for the main characters which has become tradition in many anime like this one.  Just for the record, Tamura Yukari (our very own eternal 17 Yukarin) is singing (OP/ED) and starring (Yamada) so yukarin fans have an extra reason to watch this.  The character designs are what you’d expect from anime featuring bishoujo, appealing and perfect, besides Cherry-kun, who’s the only guy we’ve seen in the series so far and looks as average as he’s supposed to.  I can’t really say much, having seen only 1 episode so far, but besides the gender switch premise (ie it’s the girl supposedly hunting guys, virgins for starters), I doubt there’s something you haven’t seen or might miss.  I say so far though, because I still believe these extra characters in the OP/ED might add the necessary flavor to make this stand out more than just another cute/ecchi romantic comedy.

Would I like to watch this: It’s cute enough, and I want to see where this is heading (with the extra characters and all), so I’d watch at least a few more episodes.  Then again, I’m a sucker for stuff like that, so I’d watch it unless it turns seriously crap.  Of course, I’m known for keeping up with the anime I pick, regardless of how crap they turn in the end (Kampfer anyone?)

Kaichou wa Maid-sama

Dragging her guy around

Look people, a shoujo anime in our midst!

People who’ve watched, say, Special A, Itazura na Kiss or pretty much any shoujo anime will feel the shoujo vibes.  The main character is of the strong girl leads variety of shoujo anime (the other variety being something like Kimi ni Todoke’s Sadako).  She’s the student council president, she works really hard, she studies hard, she’s resolute, she’s serious and all that stuff you expect of a strong female lead in a shoujo anime.  Then there are guys all over the place whose asses she has to put in line for being jerks and all that.  She’s in a school that used to be all-male, so the male-female ratio is still rather high.  The guys apparently aren’t used to having girls around and act like idiots or something.  So our heroine managed to become Student Council President and has been kicking their ass ever since.  Family issues caused her to apply to this school because of low tuition.  Family issues also caused her to get a job at the maid cafe.  Then there’s this guy, who’s so cool and handsome and smart and has better grades than her (yes yes, we’ve never seen this before)  without trying much (or so says our kaichou).  He finds out she’s working at a maid cafe but not only doesn’t reveal her secret but protects her for idiots that harass her.  And the budding romance is upon us.

Damn… I didn’t think I’d finish the first episode miniview but that’s it really.  No, I’m not saying it’s bad or anything.  What I AM hoping is that it does something to differentiate itself (if not significantly, at least in an obvious way) from all the stuff we’ve seen so far.  If your time is limited and you’ve watched any of the shoujo anime I’ve mentioned, I doubt skipping this would do much harm.  Otherwise, your guess as to how this anime will turn out is as good as mine.

Would I like to watch this: Well, I generally do watch some shoujo anime so I’ll keep watching this in hopes it can get a discrete identity of its own.  I wouldn’t hold it against anyone for not watching though.

Angel Beats

If you know me for some other place online (or have caught certain comments I make sometimes), you’ll already know that when I hear “KEY” the first thing I can think of is just how much will the overhype be this time and just how miserably will they use their Deus Ex Machina this time?  Will it be Ayu? Will it be balls of light? Will it actually be something decent like Air for once?

“It’s Haruhi alight… it’s Haruhi…” -Kyon

Ok, I do admit the premise seems interesting enough.  When people die (and people die when they are killed!), they go to this afterlife place that looks like a school, sort of a waiting room or something.  I’m not sure if just students killed violently (accident or something) go there or it’s something for every departed soul.  Anyway, once you go there, you’re supposed to act like a student until you get erased.  We don’t know what erased means.  Do they go to the true afterlife?  Are they sent to oblivion? Are they reincarnated? So, this guy appears there, with his memory almost wiped out, and meets this nutjob on the left that wants him to join her squad.  That’s Yuri (or Yurippe.  Or Yurihi.  Or maybe Haruhi -it does taste like chicken, after all).  Yuri leads the SSS class into a war with this place, possibly God and his instrument, Tenshi, the supposed student council president who looks like a cute, rather silent, girl that can block bullets and do other stuff.  Yuri’s issue is that she doesn’t want to get erased, so she argues that, while she couldn’t prevent her death in real life, she can live in that afterlife place as long as she fights Tenshi and doesn’t go along with playing student.  Then there’s an issue of not wanting to be reincarnated as something other than human, if reincarnation applies.   An extra bit of information is that most of the students at school aren’t dead people, they’re what Yuri calls NPCs, basically really well programmed drones that help the dead souls get assimilated.  Yuri’s plan is to keep fighting, possibly forever and recruit as many people as she can, while trying to keep Tenshi at bay.

First of all… Her personality is as bossy as Haruhi’s, she even sounds like Haruhi, only this time she’s supposedly fighting some god instead of being a nutcase potential all-powerful entity (unless she created this world to have fun in by attaching Tenshi).  I admit though,  to her credit she feels more human than Haruhi.  Secondly… Tenshi… I kinda feel sorry for Tenshi.  She basically does little to harm people unprovoked.  She supposedly issues warnings and then tries to get people back in line (ie get them to act like students, I suppose she also erases their memories eventually or something).  She fights all those weirdos who refuse to accept that they are dead.  Tenshi is moe.  I want to get an anti-SSS group together and help Tenshi in purging the infidels.   I’m all for Tenshi winning but I doubt that’ll happen.  /me votes for Tenshi for student council president next year, too.  I mean, as much as I can sympathize with Yuri, who felt her life turned out crap for no reason, I’d rather side with Tenshi.

Moving on, the character art could use a bit of work here and there, but otherwise, it’s ok I guess.  Nothing incredibly spectacular though.  The animation also seems to suffer sometimes, except when CG gives it a bit of a slight push.  If anything, so far CG effects seem to blend nicely with the artwork but it’s not like some big, ugly 3D Dragon appeared yet either.  The background music is interesting.  I kinda liked the insert song of the first episode, too.

All in all, it has all the marking to be at the very least mildly interesting and the KEY stamp to make you wonder just how are they gonna screw the thing up for anyone who’s not a raving fanboy-zombie.  I mean, judging from episode 2’s insight into Yuri’s life only further reinforces the KEY motto of “people must needlessly and without reason suffer as much as possible”, so the only missing KEY element right now is a Deus ex Machina to make things right (and totally lame).

Would I like to watch this: Well,  it doesn’t seem bad so far and unfortunately, Maeda Jun has this tendency to crapify things at the very end so you either proactively drop the thing or gamble your sanity, which is what I always do anyway and lose most of the time.

Arakawa under the Bridge

The weird anime of the season, brought to you, as always, by SHAFT.

I hope the pillar-con fetish doesn’t pick up.

This guy is on a quest to have sex with 100 pillar-like structures, whatever they may be, but he’s looking for that one unspoiled structure to be his first.  It’s by sheer coincidence that his name is Yamada.

Ahem… So there’s this son of an bazillionaire, powerful family, who’s a top Tokyo U student, he basically has everything, and will also inherit everything.  His family’s motto is “Never be indebted to anyone” and he takes that to the extreme (as well as the rest of his family apparently).  That’s until some delinquents get his pants and hang them up on a bridge.  He doesn’t ask for help in getting them back, almost gets half-naked in the process and ends up almost drowning, if not for the mysterious girl that saves him.   He begs her to let him do anything as repayment so the girl asks him to fail in love with her.  Wanting to pay of his debt, he agrees to stay with her and soon realizes she’s a serious nutcase who claims she’s not a human, sleeps under the bridge , says all sorts of crazy things and is friends with some other lunatic dressed up as a green demon, the Chief around these parts anyway.  The Chief gives new names to all who want to stay under the bridge, so the guy ends up being called Recruit (Riku Ruto).

The level of insanity in this anime is a bit hard to describe, but it should suffice to say that it’s SHAFT.  Unlike recent SHAFT productions, there was no fanservice in the first episode (unless you could the guy’s half exposed butt at some point or his shapely unshaved leg), so all you fanservice haters, rejoice.  Other than that, I can’t draw a definite conclusion for this one other than some lunatic must have written the script.  And here I thought Bakemonogatari was kinda weird.

Would I like to watch this: Well, unless something really crappy happens (like how I dropped ef ~ a tale of melodies~ midways), I doubt I’ll drop this.  The weirdo shock value is high and the potential is limitless so it’s more or less a good pick for people who appreciate strange settings and bizarre comedy.

Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou

Disclaimer : This series has exposed boobs.

We hereby solemnly swear to get into all sort of embarrasing/ecchi situations together.

This guy wants to be a high priest (not sure what the spooky image of a lechery Pope is doing there, though).  Being a high priest means being really good and pious and all that (so I’m seriously not sure what a lechery Pope image is doing there). He genuinely seems to mean well.  So he meets this girl that comes from a family that has protected emperors for centuries, and they seem to get along, until they arrive at the Mage Academy and he gets his career prediction.  “Demon King”.  That’s the direct opposite of the lecherous Pope occupation (ok not direct opposite cause apparently the Demon King also seduced girls).  The whole school starts fearing him and every attempt to amend the situation only makes matters worse, with stuff blowing up and people believing all the more than he really is a potential Demon King.  He also doesn’t fail to get the samurai cutie in all sorts of embarrassing situations before the episode ends, and she, in turns, never fails to run after him trying to cut him up.

Not much to say about this one besides being an anime based on piling one misunderstanding after another and add some fanservice when it can.  Having seeing things like LvB though, this level of fanservice doesn’ t feel like much, although those who can’t stand fanservice should look for something else cause there is fanservice going around, basically in the form of the main girl getting (half-)naked on more than one occasions, as well as her weird pantyshot (how do you call that… it seems like a fundoshi but..).  I did enjoy the first episode though.  I hope it doesn’t degrade into too much fanservice or repeated jokes though.

Would I like to watch this: Well, it has cute girls, fanservice, an unwilling villain and his supposed self-appointed sidekick, and a number of other characters not yet introduced.  The thing I don’t like is how he supposedly has some sort of hidden power and ends up blowing stuff up on a massive scale.  Not sure, just a hunch that it might turn lame when it’ll be overused, or maybe the reason could be lame… Who knows… All and all it felt funny enough, not hilarious but acceptably amusing for those that haven’t gotten tired about the whole misunderstanding trope in anime.

K-ON!! (or K-ON Second season or K-ON S2)

Yui is back.

Ah, the yuri returns. YuixAzunyan for life!

For those who have already watched season 1, I doubt there’s much to say other than the girls are back, along with all the yuri and all the things we know and love from season 1.  For those who haven’t watched season 1, go watch that first, then come back.  Not much seems different.  The girls return for their last year as seniors and the episode is primarily concerned with getting new members so Azunyan won’t be ronery next year when all her club senpais have graduated.  The girls have supposedly earned a bit of reputation at school (ie people do say their performance is good), but alas, no one wants to join for some reason.  The usual tactic of giving out fliers while dressed in ugly, disturbed-looking animal suits didn’t help, as usual.  They tried other tactics only to fail miserably again.  In the end, they agreed that they can just keep all the yuri to themselves and hope they get members eventually.  On the bright side, Moemoekyun-senpai won’t be alone this year cause nutcase-sensei put all club seniors in the same class.  Other than that, the first episode was all about Yui being extremely Yui (ie adorable, utterly silly and all yuri for Azunyan) and K-ON picking up from where it had left, like only a week had passed since the last episode.

The OP sequence is as cute as ever, and the ED sequence is as… well… K-ONish as ever.  I was never into K-ON songs, but I think I kinda preferred the previous ones.  As far as animation goes, it’s the usual K-ON quality, some people like it, some people think it’s the bane of anime everywhere.

I wanted to review the whole thing, but my time is non-existent and it’ll be as non-existent as ever for months to come so that’s the only K-ON S2 review I’ll do I suppose…

Would I like to watch this: Obviously.  It’s K-ON.  There’s Yui.

And that’s my final post for many months to come (unless army proves easier than my crappy thesis paper and I get enough days off to be able to finally relax without feeling stressed all the time).

Anyways, thanks to everyone who’s read my posts so far, I’ll see you all again in some months, hopefully.  Laters.

PS I’m too tired to check for spelling and all that, so excuse that, I’ll try to get to it next weekend if I can.

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