Ashita no Anime

Anime of Tomorrow

Tag Archives: C3

Second Anniversary

Marlin-samaTwo years ago, I announced that I was starting an anime blog. Based on my previous attempts to share my thoughts with the world up until that point, I wasn’t optimistic that this would be anything more than a temporary diversion that I would abandon after a few weeks. But here I am not only still going strong, but expanding the scope of my projects to greater and greater objectives.

I set out to make my voice heard in order to counter the mainstream opinions and give anime fans a chance to think about not what they like, but why they like it (and often why I don’t).  To all my readers, I won’t say that I couldn’t have done it without you—because I most certainly could have.  But the journey wouldn’t have been nearly as fun and interesting without you.  And for that I say thank you.

I’d like to take some time now and reminisce about some of the high points over the past two years and do a “greatest hits” list of posts I enjoyed writing and/or others enjoyed reading.  So I invite you to make yourself comfortable as I take you on a journey that started back in summer 2011…gosh it feels so much longer. Has it really only been two years?  Read more of this post

Anime of the Week (5/13 – 5/19)

Anime of the Week – Acchi Kocchi
I don’t know that I’ve ever applied this word to an anime before, but I think the best way to describe Acchi Kocchi is “precious.”                                
May 13 Accel World Ep. 6 For all of Haruyuki’s talent, it’s a terrific character flaw to see that he still has the shortsightedness of a newbie.
Black Lagoon Ep. 4 Some of the story ideas for this anime are really off the wall, but at least they manage to keep things interesting.
Black Lagoon Ep. 5 You don’t have to explain everything, but some details can’t be overlooked—like why there is air in a sunken ship.
Fate/Zero Ep. 19 This is the kind of story I was hoping to see more of in this series. Not the predictable stuff that hogs so much time.
May 14 Eureka AO Ep. 4 I think the strength of this series is how it’s honest and doesn’t put up any pretenses. The story is all it needs.
C3 OVA While delightfully off-canon as most OVAs are, it also fails to recapture the series’ spirit. At least it manages to be lighthearted.
May 15 Black Lagoon Ep. 6 I can’t tell if this was just an unlucky job or the start of some larger plot arc that is slowly revealing itself.
Acchi Kocchi Ep. 6 This anime succeeds again at putting charming twists on some stereotypical school drama scenes. It’s an adorable romance.
May 16 Sankarea Ep. 6 “Give me freedom or give me death,” is a simple enough theme and associating death with freedom is a really cool concept.
Jormungand Ep. 6 After the opening battle I had a funny thought that all cargo ships rounding the southern end of Africa should hire Koko.
May 17 Hyouka Ep. 4 I like mysteries, but this was a little too information heavy. The hesitation at the end also indicates this isn’t over.
Ladies vs Butlers Ep. 1 Somewhere I’d heard good things about this anime, but it’s a poster-child for what happens when ecchi goes too far.
Tasogare Otome Ep. 3 This anime’s playfulness combined with the way it makes light of its darkness makes it both fun and insightful.
May 18 Sankarea Ep. 7 This review of Chihiro’s history with Ranko would have been a lot less interesting if it wasn’t for his zombie mania.
Eureka AO Ep. 5 It’s pretty clear that Ao is in the process of finding himself. But what intrigues me most is Generation Blue’s motives.
Tasogare Otome Ep. 4 I’m impressed by how well this anime transitions from playful to serious without skipping a beat. It’s beautiful.
May 19 Accel World Ep. 7 Is this episode about camaraderie or about learning to forgive yourself? Either way, it was a little too sentimental.
Acchi Kocchi Ep. 7 Well-scripted timing of romantic humor is definitely this series’ best asset. If you like moe this is a must watch.

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

Anime of the Year 2011

What’s immediately clear about C^3 is that it’s trying to be a philosophical discourse about the bonds of humanity to the tools we use.  What’s amazing is how well it accomplishes this goal—shattering the initial trepidation that this series might turn out to be nothing more than a gilded brick.  Haruaki’s strong, competent personality provides a natural foundation for the other characters to rely on, but the real gem comes from the sadistically cute voice acting of Yukari Tamura.  Watching her magnificent portrayal of Fear was plenty to elevate C^3 to number five on my list of 2011’s best anime.

#4. No. 6

It’s not often an anime comes along that blends issues of science and morality as well as No. 6.  It reminds us that the natural resources of our world can be our greatest sources of inspiration and innovation.  But we also need to respect the power of nature, especially when dealing with phenomena we don’t fully understand. Accepting our own place in nature is also pivotal to our survival, which goes hand-in-hand with our respect for our fellow humans. Through a bit of fantasy, science fiction and post-apocalyptic ingenuity, No. 6 fits nicely into last year’s fourth place.

Wandering Son touches on some very important, often misunderstood and undiscussed issues dealing with the growth of children into young adults.  Its core theme deals with gender identity and how this confusion and desire to be someone very different from society’s expectations can lead to turmoil.  This anime takes a very candid view of what men and women are expected to be and tells a story through the eyes of some honest young people about acceptance and being who you want to be, rather than what someone else wants you to be.  It’s a powerful concept, the art is beautiful and the wonderful music is the icing on the cake that puts Wandering Son at third place for 2011.

I’ll come right out and admit that my choice for A-Channel to be the second-best anime of 2011 was highly biased by my own personal experiences—the lens through which I view the four main characters. Although each of the four girls are colorful and unique, I can see a little of myself in each of them.  Like Run, I have a hard time waking up in the morning and I’m bad at reading the atmosphere of social situations.  Nagi is smart, wears glasses and is sensitive about her self-image—just like me.  Yuuko and I are both tall and ticklish.  And Tooru hates hot summer weather, which is also one of my greatest enemies.  It’s just good, hilarious moe fun and its charms will put a warm smile on your laughing face.

Everything about this anime is so spectacular it’s easily capable of deflecting the attacks of any naysayer and I predict this title to be one of the most cherished, memorable anime in history.  We’re literally witnessing the rise of an anime for the ages—something that will transcend generations to come.  Its accomplishments are too numerous to go into detail here, so I’ll do my best to keep my enthusiasm brief.
1. Madoka took the magic girl genre that generally doesn’t get a lot of love from more casual anime fans, threw away everything wrong and then added its own original flair to show that the right amount of creativity can make anything shine brightly.
2. The story is deep and intellectual.  Between imagining ways of warping space and time, then twisting the delicate emotions of young people who wish to fulfill their kindest desires resulting in tragedy while distorting misunderstood feelings, culminating in a selfless, powerful will that can alter the physical properties of reality itself, there’s no shortage of deep thinking and fresh ideas.
3. Music and art that merge the story and setting into a complete piece, crafted with such flawless skill that we’re unlikely to see this level of quality again for quite some time. It’s just so tight and focused, not a second, not a color, not a single word is wasted fluff that would distract from the central story.

It’s really just a no-brainer that Magic Girl Madoka Magica would be my anime of the year.

C3 Cube x Cursed x Curious (review)

Final impression – spectacularly human (9/10)

Autumn 2011 (12 episodes) (alternate titles – C^3 – C Cubed)

When Haruaki received a mysterious package from his father, he should have guessed it might turn into a girl.  Fear-in-Cube is a cursed torture device that has accumulated centuries of hate and death, allowing her to manifest as an intelligent being in her own right.  She was sent to live with Haruaki so that she might escape the cruel destiny that has compounded into the misery of her existence.  But that’s not going to be easy when the slightest trigger of violence can send her into a blood frenzy of flying guillotines.  On top that, she’s the target of underground organizations of all colors.  Some see her as an abomination to be destroyed while other seek out the power she possesses to use for their own misdeeds.  Either way, she’s going to have to depend on wise-beyond-his-years Haruaki to make sure she stays true on her path to rehabilitation.

When I started to brainstorm for my review for C3, my first instinct was to start with something defensive that made an effort to excuse some kind of shortcoming.  But then I realized that the brilliant composition of this anime needs no excuses to protect it from simple-minded twits who only want to focus on perceived shallowness when all they’re really seeing is the reflection of their own bias on the surface of a vast, deep ocean.  And C3 is splendidly deep.  It is a story about the human qualities of our tools—the extensions of ourselves we create in order to enhance ourselves to either our benefit or our detriment.  When we use a tool long enough we often start to apply human characteristics and personality to it as it becomes an augment of our bodies; even taking on a share of our own souls. Thus are our tools extensions of our own creative or destructive tendencies.

Yukari Tamura gives a sparkling performance as C3's heroine, Fear.

The theme of C3 is societal responsibility—we must clean up our own messes as well as the messes that happen to cross our paths rather than pass the blame or hope someone else picks up the slack.  It’s an uplifting triumph of chivalry and of people who genuinely wish to make the world a better place. Additionally, Haruaki is one of my favorite male characters in recent anime because he’s not perverted, introverted, spineless or shy around women.  The overused trope of the weak male lead finally gets tossed out and that makes me incredibly happy. Given this anime’s style, I could very easily have seen it devolve into some ecchi harem show like Mayo Chiki or Boku wa Tomodachi.  But C3 decidedly stays away from that territory and keeps things classy, even avoiding an obligatory swimsuit or onsen episode that populate so many anime that seem to lose their creative sparks halfway through.

Anime of the Week 1/1 – 1/7

Anime of the Week – C3 Cube x Cursed x Curious
The deep metaphors of this anime heighten it well above any inflamitory attempts at defamation and the character acting is top-notch.
January 1 Fate/Zero Ep. 13 The dynamic duo of Ryuunosuke and Caster is delightfully twisted and delicious in the way they feed each other’s egos.
January 2 Toradora OVA Even two years later, this anime still knows how to put a funny spin on the simplest of concepts and give you a big smile.
Hidan no Aria OVA As hot springs episodes go, this one isn’t awful. However, it does focus too much on ecchi to the detriment of the story.
C3 Ep. 11 I feel an affinity for Haruaki’s wisdom and selflessness. He’s a strong, rare character. He is a natural axis for the story.
January 3 Persona 4 Ep. 12 The twist in this episode was a fabulous surprise for everyone who was expecting a copy and paste from the video game.
Shana III Ep. 11 With all the soft, wishy-washy feelings in the first two seasons, I never thought I’d see true romance in this series.
Shana III Ep. 12 It feels like this series has revealed a natural decisiveness that always existed but never had a chance to show itself.
Working 2 Ep. 13 Because of the nature of this series, it just wouldn’t feel right to have a concise ending. That’s an uncommon quality.
Boku wa Tomodachi Ep. 12 I really liked the long flashback in this episode detailing Yozora’s inner thoughts. It wrapped things up nicely.
Ben-to Ep. 8 This anime was never very sophisticated, but what’s with inserting two new characters with absolutely no introduction?
C3 Ep. 12 This is a beautiful metaphor of the relationships we have with our possessions. Where does the tool end and the human begin?
January 4 Mashiro-iro Ep. 5 This anime is sweet, but oftentimes silly. This episode was ridiculous in the way it depicted Ange the wandering maid.
Squid Girl 2 Ep. 7 I like how this anime doesn’t try to explain things too much and just keeps up the pace of its quirky comedy.
Squid Girl 2 Ep. 8 Usually the anime of funny misunderstandings is Working!!, but Squid Girl can put a silly spin on those situations, too.
Squid Girl 2 Ep. 9 The reality of the world is often sad. But if you’re an outside observer, others’ misfortune suddenly becomes hilarious.
Squid Girl 2 Ep. 10 With the three stooges, all things are possible. I was wondering if this anime would ever get a winter-themed episode.
January 5 Mashiro-iro Ep. 6 I like the sweetness of this anime, but it’s getting to be a bit much and sadly, it’s getting overly predictable.
Squid Girl 2 Ep. 11 What is it that makes Chizuru such a frightening person? Is it her eyes or her calm demeanor while she threatens people?
Squid Girl 2 Ep. 12 Chizuru may be right. While Squid Girl didn’t invade the world, she can certainly invade the hearts of her viewers.
The iDOLM@STER Ep. 17 I think Makoto shows us that we need to use our talents more, even if we don’t particularly like those talents.
The iDOLM@STER Ep. 18 Ritsuko is one of the more interesting characters. She actually has a back story that relates well to the setting.
January 6 Ben-to Ep. 9 The abuse Satou goes through is sad. But if he’s such a good fighter when it comes to bento, why can’t he protect himself?
Ben-to Ep. 10 As rivalries go, taking out a duo by yourself is unlikely. I anticipate some cool team building as this anime wraps up.
January 7 Ben-to Ep. 11 It must be a universal constant that now matter what the competition, there’s always someone bigger and better to challenge.
Ben-to Ep. 12 Satou really doesn’t deserve the title he was given. The chivalry he showed in this episode makes up for his past failings.

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

Anime of the Week 12/4 – 12/10

Anime of the Week – Guilty Crown
I’m glad to see Shu finally taking some initiative instead of being lead around by the nose by Gai. Unfortunately, he’s in a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation that’s certain to give him nightmares no matter which decision he makes.
December 5 Fate/Zero Ep. 10 I have a sneaky feeling that Rin was given her own episode for no other reason than she’s a popular character…
December 6 Mirai Nikki Ep. 9 Amano needs to stop being so accommodating. He’s in a survival game and already had a hand in several people’s deaths.
December 7 Working 2 Ep. 10 I’m not sure how to characterize Inami. It’s like she’s bipolar. One minute she’s violent and the next she’s lovestruck.
December 8 C3 Ep. 10 The concept of turning two curses against each other to create a complimentary balance appeals to my more poetic sensibilities.
Infinite Stratos OVA Really what was I expecting? The series wasn’t fond of closure, so why should the OVA be any different?
December 9 Squid Girl 2 Ep. 6 Mini Ika Musume always puts a big, stupid smile on my face. This series does a good job telling stories silently.
Guilty Crown Ep. 9 The ability to see true thoughts would be cool, but sad if your loved ones weren’t really who you thought they were.
Boku wa Tomodachi Ep. 10 A lackluster episode. I’ve seen much better versions of the private beach house theme in countless other anime.
Persona 4 Ep. 10 I’m curious about the large amount of time that was skipped at the end of the episode. Is it time for more side stories?

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

Last Week’s Tweets 11/27 – 12/3

Anime of the Week – C3 Cube x Cursed x Curious
C3 is definitely this season’s most underappreciated anime. I expected to watch a lot of good anime this season and I found myself disappointed with several series I had high hopes for. Cube is a surprise hit and it seems to be going largely unnoticed, which is really sad.
November 27 Shana III Ep. 8 Current events feel like the run down to the final battle. But with 16 episodes left, it’s far from over. What’s going on?
Fate/Zero Ep. 9 While this episode was important for character building, there was absolutely no plot development to forward the story.
Guilty Crown Ep. 7 Why is Shu back at school? This makes no sense. Didn’t the GHQ learn last episode that he’s a member of Funeral Parlor?
Working 2 Ep. 9 Sato’s life must be frustrating. Yachio’s life is too narrow. Takanashi is easily influenced. Yamada is a two-faced fraud.
C3 Ep. 8 Even when this anime has ecchi moments, it’s still brilliant and well composed. Yukari Tamura is in her element as Fear Kubrick.
Boku wa Tomodachi Ep. 8 That was a very different spin on the obligatory swimsuit episode. It’s nice to see a break from stereotypes.
Last Exile 2 Ep. 3 I guess the plot is progressing…? I see the character’s motivations, but their methods are haphazard at best.
Last Exile 2 Ep. 4 It’s all just too random. I can’t follow the plot without reading someone else’s summary. Fam is such a scatterbrain.
November 28 Persona 4 Ep. 8 The comedic twists continue to please, even if they aren’t very surprising for people who have played the game.
Mirai Nikki Ep. 8 Is this anime one big parable about how nice guys finish last? Amano needs to be more careful to avoid these situations.
November 29 iDOLM@STER Ep. 15 It seems that the key to improving daytime Japanese TV is to substitute all of the regular hosts for anime characters.
C3 Ep. 9 This was the setup episode for what is this series’ final arc. Not all the new villian’s motives are clear, but it’s still fun.
Ben-to Ep. 3 For being an anime about fighting over boxed meals at supermarkets, the metaphors are surprisingly deep and significant.
November 30 Ben-to Ep. 4 This anime’s ecchi colors were shining brightly this episode. Fortunately, it didn’t detract from the usual high-tempo pace.
December 1 Ben-to Ep. 5 Superficially, the plot of this anime could fit into many settings. The fact that this war involves box lunches makes it fun.
Mashiro-iro Ep. 3 Most of this episode was the ordinary fare of tsundere-ness, but the twist at the end put a huge smile on my face.
December 2 Ben-to Ep. 6 For an episode that was supposed to be about an epic rivalry and a grand battle, there was very little tension or energy.
Guilty Crown Ep. 8 And… the obligatory swimsuit episode. At least it didn’t take too much time. Sadly, this episode was a dead end.
Ben-to Ep. 7 Two swimsuit episodes in a row, but across different anime. The ridiculousness of this show compliments its ecchi and hilarity.
Persona 4 Ep. 9 I’d known Rie Kugimiya was the voice of Rise when the P4 game was released in Japan, but it’s cool to hear her for real.
December 3 Boku wa Tomodachi Ep. 9 Kodaka is one of the coolest and most composed male characters in a harem-esque anime I have seen in a long time.
K-On! (Movie) Set somewhere between the final episodes of the second season, it watches as if it was a missing segment from the TV series.

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

Last Week’s Tweets 11/13 – 11/19

Anime of the Week – Working!! 2
It’s nice to slow down and appreciate the little things that make life worth living. The silly relationships between the characters of Working!! 2 make this anime a joy to watch.
November 14 Boku wa Tomodachi Ep. 4 Despite this episode being nothing but a long string of moe stereotypes, I was smiling the whole time.
Working 2 Ep. 4 Ah, the confusion and misunderstandings. The whole episode is a tribute to the adage, “assuming makes an ass of you and me.”
Working 2 Ep. 5 There’s two ways to react when you see other people loafing around. You can either reprimand them or join them.
Fate/Zero Ep. 6 Some more story building. An interesting episode that makes me wonder… Just who is the most ruthless character?
Fate/Zero Ep. 7 My favorite servant’s existence is on the line. I was hoping for a longer run. Then the ending is a cruel cliffhanger.
Shana III Ep. 6 Some shoddy history building leading up to what I presume is going to be some good action in episode 7. I can’t wait.
Guilty Crown Ep. 5 I like the music and art style of this anime, but the more I watch, I’m less convinced the story is going anywhere.
November 15 Boku wa Tomodachi Ep. 5 I wonder how many more times in this short series we’re going to see everyone get together and play video games.
Working 2 Ep. 6 Some people are really bad at reading the atmosphere in social situations. I can sympathize with Takanashi’s troubles.
Mirai Nikki Ep. 6 Using a future diary to endear yourself to your future mother-in-law must be every lovestruck/stalker girl’s dream.
Persona 4 Ep. 3 I’m seeing some small side tracks from the story as it was told in the video game, so I’m getting more optimistic.
November 16 Boku wa Tomodachi Ep. 6 The rivalry of Yozora and Sena is weird but also indescribably fun. Sadly, the rest of the plot feels transparent.
Persona 4 Ep. 4 The action and the drama are much better composed as the series continues. I wonder if this pace can continue…
Persona 4 Ep. 5 I was wondering how the game’s side-story arcana characters were going to fit into the series. It’s feeling rushed again.
Working 2 Ep. 7 I’m not sure what to take away from this weird episode besides the fact that Yamada’s older brother is Sakai Yuji.
November 18 Persona 4 Ep. 6 With only six episodes left, there’s no way this series is going to end without feeling badly crunched. Sequel? OVA? Movie?
Guilty Crown Ep. 6 This anime is very pretty, but the plot is getting murkier with each episode and character motives are just inconsistent.
C3 Ep. 7 The way this anime cleverly flits from ecchi to elegant and humorous to serious is simply wonderful. Such clever composition.
Boku wa Tomodachi Ep. 7 Has this anime’s formula already run out? It’s still interesting and funny, but it’s now lacking freshness.

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

Last Week’s Tweets 11/6 – 11/12

Anime of the Week – Mirai Nikki
Just what is Yuno’s goal? We know she’s crazy, but is she really and truly dangerous? Either way, she’s not going far from Yukiteru’s side because her future diary is pointless if she’s not close by.
November 6 Boku wa Tomodachi Ep. 2 I love the horrible nicknames Sena and Yozora come up with for each other. This anime is ridiculously fun.
November 7 Shana III Ep. 5 The start of this series was quite slow with all the flashbacks, but things are definitely heating up now.
C3 Ep. 5 This anime matches cute and dark; bright and profound very elegantly. It’s a little scattered, but that just makes it more fun.
November 8 Mirai Nikki Ep. 2 Already Amano is getting into the thick of things, but I’m worried this kind of fast story will get too complicated fast.
Mirai Nikki Ep. 3 One moment it’s clichés galore and then it all goes disturbingly twisted. I like it, but is it actually a good thing?
November 9 Mirai Nikki Ep. 4 Yukiteru tries to escape from Yuno’s frightful personality. But getting too far away may be even more dangerous.
Mirai Nikki Ep. 5 If future diary owners keep dying at this rate, Yukiteru is going to win by episode 13. And this is a 26 episode series.
Working 2 Ep. 3 This anime does a great job highlighting the intricacies of relationships and how little actions can have big effects.
November 10 C3 Ep. 6 Given past experience with anime of this nature, I was expecting there to be a fan service episode by now. I’m happy I was wrong.
November 12 Boku wa Tomodachi Ep. 3 How many men would really presume that because a pretty girl doesn’t have a guy by her side that she’s single?

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

Last Week’s Tweets 10/30 – 11/5

I’ve decided to start a small weekly column here on Ashita no Anime for getting some more discussion about my tweets. =D

October 30 Shana III Ep. 3 Hopefully this will be the last episode of flashbacks and we can finally get things fired up in episode 4.
Shana III Ep. 4 This is one of the many times I find myself applauding someone’s motives, but decrying their methods. Best episode so far.
October 31 Fate/Zero Ep. 4 The well-balanced and excellent pacing of the battles in this anime is the reason I love Type-Moon.
C3 Ep. 4 That’s some pretty deep thinking. Understanding the world’s misdeeds and standing up for what is right rather than running from it.
November 1 Guilty Crown Ep. 2 I liked the opening song for episode 1 better than the official opening. The end of episode 2 was clichéd, though.
November 2 Guilty Crown Ep. 3 Shu has made some moral choices that aren’t working out for him. I’m glad the clichés aren’t affecting the main story.
November 4 Fate/Zero Ep. 5 In this episode we see some alliances being formed. It seems rider is going to be this series’ comic relief. <_,<
Guilty Crown Ep. 4 I love how this anime paces enough info to keep me excited for the next episode, but enough action to satisfy me now.

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

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