Ashita no Anime

Anime of Tomorrow

Monthly Archives: February 2012

Anime of the Week 2/19 – 2/25

Anime of the Week – Black★Rock Shooter
Somtimes the most innocent, unassuming comments can be the most painful. But when someone sinister is manipulating everyone’s feelings from behind the scenes, just how low will everyone’s hearts drop?
February 19 Persona 4 Ep. 18 I’m liking the additional side stories that the anime is adding to the video game’s plot. I guess it’s only natural.
February 20 Shana III Ep. 19 What a confusing episode. This series has always been clumsy with its dialogue. If you need to say something, just say it.
Rinne Ep. 7 This was a nice team building episode and a good lesson to everyone out there who thinks good deeds will always be praised.
Nisemonogatari Ep. 7 Kaiki’s send off was rather anticlimactic, but when I think about it I’m not sure why I expected more from him.
Mirai Nikki Ep. 19 I like the attitude of the new Yukiteru. He’s finally getting down to business. But this episode’s cliffhanger is weird.
Feburary 21 Another Ep. 7 I hope next week’s swimsuit episode will be handled with appropriate grace. This could be make or break for this series.
Zero F Ep. 7 Sometimes this series really gets its act together. Beset by troubles on every side, Saito manages to set a new plan in motion.
February 22 Ano Natsu Ep. 7 Secrets are starting to be revealed as outside forces coax the true feelings from the hearts of this group of adolescents.
February 24 Guilty Crown Ep. 18 It’s like this series has reverted back to its beginnings. Shu is a wimp, Gai is an ass and Inori is a mystery.
Amagami+ Ep. 8 Junichi and Kaoru may get along really well, but that doesn’t make for a good story. They’re more like siblings than lovers.
February 25 BRS Ep. 4 Humans are amazing creatures. The ways we adapt to the changes and challenges in our lives are fascinating and insightful.

*You could have read these tweets in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Anime of the Week 2/12 – 2/18

Anime of the Week – Another
The writers gets big points this week for being able to read my mind. If your classmates are going to ignore you, call their bluff.
February 12 Guilty Crown Ep. 16 With the level of deceit surrounding Shu, it’s no wonder the world is beginning to fall apart—but can it still be saved?
BRS Ep. 2 What happened? All through the episode was a story of being bound, unable to escape. But now…everyone is suddenly freed? Huh?
Inu x Boku SS Ep. 5 This anime had some real potential to be sophisticated, but it’s since devolved into a menagerie of hyper sex jokes.
Nisemonogatari Ep. 6 The intricacies of “no doesn’t always mean no,” is too terrible a weapon for women to use indiscriminately.
Amagami+ Ep. 5 So far the Ai Nanasaki arc has been the most lovey-dovey story. Along with the quirkier girls, it’s set to a good pace.
Amagami+ Ep. 6 I thought the original series’ story of Nanasaki was too simple, but I’ve taken a liking to this style and her character.
Symphogear Ep. 3 Tsubasa and Hibiki are not getting along and some of Hibiki’s careless words are not helping their relationship.
Kill Me Baby Ep. 2 This series is cute and funny most of the time, but it just doesn’t have the permeating appeal of other moe anime.
February 13 Zero F Ep. 3 Although somewhat ineloquent in its writing, this anime does a decent job establishing some rather complicated politics.
Zero F Ep. 4 Saito has come a long ways from being a lowly familiar in season one, but he’s still unable to escape his troubles with women.
Mirai Nikki Ep. 18 In some ways I’m glad to find out there’s difficult circumstances behind Yuno’s craziness, but really it’s just so sad.
Rinne Ep. 6 Has this mecha anime finally started to reveal its true colors? Is it going to follow a more supernatural path like Evangelion?
Zero F Ep. 5 As much as Saito eyes other girls, he’s quite faithful to Louise. Sometimes he just gets stuck in a bad or worse scenario.
Zero F Ep. 6 Despite this being the obligatory fanservice onsen episode, there was actually a decent amount of genuine romance.
Feburary 14 Another Ep. 6 Sakakibara’s fantasy with Misaki was absolutely priceless. But the madness is just setting in as people become more desperate.
Shana III Ep. 18 The final battle is going to be long, with ideals being the combatant’s main motivation for victory. This will be good.
February 15 Persona 4 Ep. 15 I really liked the crossover music from Persona 3 in this episode. The real turning point of this series starts now.
Persona 4 Ep. 16 I wonder how many first-time viewers were able to guess Naoto’s secret before this episode. I think it should’ve been easy.
February 16 Ano Natsu Ep. 6 Thankfully this anime’s swimsuit episode has a good ratio of plot to fanservice as the unrequited love circles are revealed.
Persona 4 Ep. 17 I’ve said there’s not enough extra flavor in the anime to set it apart from the video game, but this episode delivered.
February 18 Guilty Crown Ep. 17 Ok…now what? I’m eager to see what happens next, but it feels like we’ve reached a bad end with no other options left.
BRS Ep. 3 Mamiko Noto is an awesome voice actress. There’s been a change in pace that makes the first two episodes seem like a mini-arc.
Amagami+ Ep. 7 I’m not sure Kaoru is a good match for Junichi. The two of them are so similar there’s no complement in their relationship.

*You could have read these tweets in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Persona 4 The Animation (ongoing)

Impression – straightforward, yet philosophical

Autumn 2011 to winter 2012 (more info)

As good as the Persona 4 video game was, I wish its anime series would deviate more from the default script or fill in some more fine details that have thus far flown under the radar.  Arguably, fans of the video game are going to be the primary fanbase of the anime, but if there are no surprises for us we’re not likely to give very good opinions to more casual viewers who may only have a passing interest.  So the plot of Persona 4 is stuck in a weird catch-22 where it needs enough new material to keep the old fans interested but it also needs to stay true to the original story.  In some ways, it’s suffering from some of the same problems as Fate/Zero.  But it’s more than worth it to watch Persona 4 just for the killer music and sharp art style that is an intrinsic quality of Atlus.  One of the things the anime does get right that is a perfect mirror of the video game is the pacing of events to match real dates and create a tangible passage of time.  And while the story may have felt more natural in video game format, it’s still totally awesome.  Its best points are a cast of varied, loveable characters, a good sense for spinning elaborate mysteries and an overarching theme of emphasizing the importance of the bonds we share with our friends.  When you think about it like that, there’s not much else to be desired.

Fate/Zero (ongoing)

Impression – superbly grand, but hampered by some problems

Autumn 2011 and spring 2012 (more info / part 2)

I’m of the opinion that a little more time could have been spent waiting to get the series released in one 24 episode block without this huge lapse in pace, especially when it ends on such a big cliffhanger.  Because Fate/Zero is a prequel, it also means that in order to keep consistency with canon, the story needs to conform to some rigid guidelines to fit what comes after.  Knowing that none of this is going to end well puts an emotional barrier between the viewer and a lot of the characters, prohibiting real attachment.  The result is that the viewer feels like an outside observer waiting for the inevitable, rather than wanting to get invested in something that’s ultimately going to be futile.  It’s sad because the new side characters are colorful and there’s a lot of spirit in their personalities.  But I don’t want to suggest that Fate/Zero is a waste of time.  It’s gorgeous and emotional, but also deeply thought provoking; delving into some really fun, dark corners of the human psyche.  The twisted personalities of Ryuunosuke and Caster manage to contort morality to match their own ambitions and that’s always an interesting exercise of mental gymnastics.  However, the fact that this survival game that is the Holy Grail War has thus far resulted in no casualties for the participants is a telling sign that the writers are pandering to the fanbase rather than thinking things through organically.  Fate/Zero is beautiful and epic to watch in the way that Type Moon always puts forward, but it’s not nearly as immersive as I’d hoped it would be.

Dropped Anime (winter 2012)

Last Exile – Fam, the Silver Wing (4/10)

Dropped at episode 4 of 21 (more info)

I remember fondly the sense of urgency and mystery that filled the original Last Exile and made it a great introductory anime to anyone who wanted to take a closer look at the steampunk genre.  The magic of the original series has been lost over the years and its second season has become just a boring old pirating anime, set in a world at war that deals with issues of honor in very contrived ways.

High School DxD (4/10)

Dropped at episode 2 of 12 (more info)

There’s good ecchi and bad ecchi.  To its credit, High School DxD falls somewhere in the middle, but there’s still way too much ecchi for its own good.  The plot is really quite silly and the character designs portray the women with completely unreasonable proportions, purely for fanservice purposes.  Its redeeming feature is that it actually has a somewhat original and interesting story to tell, but that’s not enough when the rest of the anime feels as though there’s no effort invested in its creation.

Kill Me Baby (3/10)

Dropped at episode 2 of 12 (more info)

The super-deformed moe style certainly isn’t for everyone, but what kills Kill Me Baby is the serious lack of personality in its characters.  Sonya is supposed to be aloof and detached, but seems much more bored and apathetic all the time.  Agiri may always be up in the clouds and look spacey, but her voice sounds either like she’s about to fall asleep or maybe she’s on drugs.  Lively Yasuna does her best to make up for the two cinder blocks she hangs out with, but when they’re content to just leave her behind I can’t see how the plot of this anime could possibly go anyplace exciting.

Inu x Boku SS (3/10)

Dropped at episode 5 of 12 (more info)

The idea of tsundere Ririchiyo being naturally driven to adopt this personality by virtue of her cloistered and bourgeois lifestyle is a level of depth in character creation seldom seen from this character archetype.  Giving her a doting companion / bodyguard who will naturally be able to melt her icy personality through his devoted loyalty was the perfect complement to Ririchiyo and the beginning of something really cool was all set to wow the viewers.  And then it all went horribly wrong as it floundered in a sea of misplaced and pointless S&M jokes.  Really, this is one of the strangest changes of tone I’ve seen in a long time.

Senki Zesshou Symphogear (3/10)

Dropped at episode 3 of 13 (more info)

Hibiki and Tsubasa’s relationship is on bad terms, but it’s mostly because Hibiki seems to turn off her social skills in favor of playing the starstruck underdog to Tsubasa’s cold, professionalism.  It’s also paced way too slow, with too little information revealed about the origins of this war and with supporting characters who clearly understand more than the combatants.  Being a singing anime with less than mediocre music is also not a great way to sell a title to fans who are interested in that kind of genre.  Symphogear could have been a cool, technological / magic girl anime along the lines of My-HiME, but the fight scenes are clunky and the characters are either super bitchy or socially incompetent airheads.

Anime of the Week 2/5 – 2/11

Anime of the Week – Another
As more of the history behind the strangeness of class 3-3 gets revealed, the mystery evolves just enough to hold your interest but still keep you filled with anticipation.
February 5 Amagami+ Ep. 3 There’s something refreshing about the personalities of the girls in this anime. They’re all so unique and likeable.
Inu x Boku SS Ep. 4 Natsume is really creepy. If the purpose of this episode was to introduce some new characters it wasn’t done well.
February 6 Rinne Ep. 5 I like these moments in stories when people’s true nature gets revealed. This was a cool twist setting up what will come next.
Nisemonogatari Ep. 5 I think we’re starting to get into the meat of the plot. Sadly, there was a serious lack of cleverness this episode.
Feburary 7 Mirai Nikki Ep. 15 I totally knew that was going to happen based on the large amount of foreshadowing. That was dissatisfyingly predictable.
Black★Rock Shooter Ep. 1 Initial impression – a rough diamond http://wp.me/p1Gaby-hz
Another Ep. 5 It’s finally making sense, but it’s still far from finished. I’m on the edge of my seat waiting to see what happens next.
February 8 Mirai Nikki Ep. 16 Yukiteru’s dad is too desperate and selfish. But I’d really like to understand why Minene is acting so altruistic.
Mirai Nikki Ep. 17 The line between action and inaction and the associated guilt or innocence of being a bystander is not clearly defined.
Zero F Ep. 2 What this series lacks in complexity, it makes up for with a compelling pace that makes you want to keep watching.
February 9 Shana III Ep. 16 I want to know what role Pheres will play in the upcoming battle. She’s a random element that will make things interesting.
Shana III Ep. 17 I love these kinds of meaningful conflicts in which each side is principled and neither has clearly good or evil motives.
Ano Natsu Ep. 5 How fast will the story proceed now that the secrets are getting revealed? Next is the obligatory swimsuit episode. -_-
February 11 Amagami+ Ep. 4 Ordinary girl Rihoko gets a fairly simple ending to her love story. It’s happy and elegant without being sappy.

*You could have read these tweets in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

Guilty Crown (ongoing)

Impression – half over, all awesome

Autumn 2011 to winter 2012 (22 episodes) (more info)

At the halfway point of Guilty Crown, it feels like everything is finished.  But…there’s still another full season of content.  It’s very clear that this anime has decided to split its story into two very distinct arcs, which I’m worried is going to give the impression that the first arc was just a drawn-out way of establishing setting for what is now the main story.  Just how much of what happened in the first half is going to matter in the second is still up in the air.  But with such an abrupt change of direction, much of what came before may not continue to contribute meaningfully to current events.  An anime that’s only half-important to watch is liable to only be half good.  But I feel that I’m being overly pessimistic with that evaluation because Guilty Crown has some really brilliant action.  It’s also trying its best to be a supernatural thriller, and while I give an A for effort, when the best it can muster is an apocalypse, I’ve seen much better compositions on that theme in other anime.  My advice is to watch Guilty Grown for its gorgeous music, smooth art style and top-notch fights that exhibit some amazing spontaneity and creativity.

Mirai Nikki (ongoing)

Impression – sometimes clumsy, but always inescapably exciting

Autumn 2011 to winter 2012 (26 episodes) (more info)

It’s a satisfying accomplishment that Mirai Nikki manages to create a compelling scenario that keeps two very different people together for a common goal—even when one is a boring, weak, down-to-earth average Joe and the other is an obsessive, willful, crazy, psychopath.  But while the necessity of Yuno and Yukitero staying together feels like a match made in hell, it doesn’t help the rest of the anime when so many of the other characters keep passing on their chances to win this survival game.  It usually boils down to massive personality flaws borne either of a pretentious and overconfident nature or simply overindulging in the thrill of their admittedly finite powers of prediction.  Either way, the end result causes them to foolishly forfeit the opportunity of an unbelievable reward.  But setting aside that niggling little shortcoming, Mirai Nikki is dramatic and unpredictable, which keeps everything tense and thrilling.  The twists of this often painfully engrossing anime always leave me wanting more.

Black★Rock Shooter Ep. 1

Initial impression – a rough diamond

Winter 2012 (8 episodes) (title synonym – BRS) (more info)

And so begins the anime that was inspired by a Vocaloid song.  The first episode is showing excellence, but comes with quite an emotional roller coaster; leaving me only slightly optimistic about the tone of this series.  It would seem that with only eight episodes they’re rushing content and a slower revelation of this anime’s darker elements would have been better—allowing more time to set the mood.  That being said, there’s still an air of novelty around the concept of our inner psyches engaging in epic battles as we experience the tumultuous drama of our daily relationships.  The art style is also trying something unique with reality looking plain and somewhat unrefined; switching to a sharper and edgy theme when the action starts.  The talent of Kana Hanazawa greatly adds to the depth of the composition, which is going to be a necessity to pull off the range of feelings Mato is inevitably going to experience.  At its core, Black Rock Shooter is an experimental anime that’s breaking new ground and it’s off to a promising start.

Anime of the Week 1/29 – 2/4

Anime of the Week – Nisemonogatari
Despite the very different direction of its plot, the writing of Nisemonogatari is living up to the standard of excellence that made Bakemonogatari awesome.
January 29 Amagami+ Ep. 2 A somewhat ordinary, but cute conclusion. I’m a big fan of those moments when an icy girl’s personality starts to melt.
Mashiro-iro Ep. 9 Panya is supposed to be a cat, but why does she look nothing like the other cats in this series? It’s somewhat disturbing.
January 30 Mashiro-iro Ep. 10 That was an exciting, emotional twist. My interest in this series almost reached the point that I was going to drop it.
Mashiro-iro Ep. 11 This anime handles its romance pretty cowardly. At this point I’m not sure what compelled me to continue this series.
Mashiro-iro Ep. 12 After watching a generally mediocre anime, it felt really rewarding to have such an awesome finale. Bye bye Pannya! ^_^
January 31 Another Ep. 4 I totally knew that was going to happen based on the large amount of foreshadowing. That was dissatisfyingly predictable.
Ano Natsu Ep. 4 The setup has now finished. The mishaps of the first three episodes have been cleared and the real story can finally start.
February 1 Rinne Ep. 3 How serious does this anime want to be? At first it’s mecha in rather slow battles, then it tries too hard to be uplifting.
Rinne Ep. 4 Oh c’mon…did they seriously continue the swimming race while someone was drowning right in the middle of the course?
February 2 Nisemonogatari Ep. 2 Gosh this anime is a master of language. The poetic meanderings of twisting conversation is amazing in its complexity.
February 3 Guilty Crown Ep. 15 This was an episode filled with big transformations. How will this new Shu deal with the trials that he’s going to face?
Nisemonogatari Ep. 3 As the plot thickens I’m increasingly absorbed. This anime creates its own powerful gravity and I’m rendered helpless.
February 4 Shana III Ep. 15 There were some really brilliant moments in the battle, but I feel it was far too complicated to have been so effective.
Nisemonogatari Ep. 4 I can’t recall Shinobu talking much in Bakemonogatari, but I like her character after her conversation with Araragi.

*You could have read these tweets in real time as I updated my status by following me on Twitter.

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