Anime of Tomorrow
Tag Archives: game
Every once in a while something strikes you like a bolt of lightning and elicits an emotional response that immediately compels you share the experience with others. Thank goodness we have the internet to release these kinds of urges expediently.
I started playing Katawa Shoujo a couple weeks ago and I’ve been very impressed with it so far (more on that some other time). Having completed Emi’s arc recently I decided to go again and pursue a different girl. This time I’m playing Shizune’s arc and this jab at the Republican party had me laughing so hard my sides hurt by the end of it. Looking back it probably shouldn’t have been that funny, but it really is just absolutely priceless. If you haven’t expanded the screenshot on this post go ahead and do so now before you continue reading. Think about it a little bit, too—especially if you haven’t played Katawa Shoujo.
It’s been said that good jokes shouldn’t need to be explained, but I don’t hold to common wisdom all the time. This will probably give away my political leanings but won’t contain any major spoilers for the game, so don’t worry about that if you’re thinking of playing it sometime.
Basically, Misha (the girl on the left) is your stereotypical ADD / airhead character that has a hard time understanding people (much like the Bush presidency). The saddest thing is that this comment by Hisao (Katawa Shoujo‘s protagonist) is really kind of an insult to Misha because her character is at least portrayed as being smarter than George and more kindhearted than Dick. Truthfully, I’d rather have had her bubbly, bouncy if sometimes thickheaded personality running the American government instead of dumb and dumber. We’d probably have gotten just as much done in those eight years and we could have had an anime character running the White House. =P
Is it really just a coincidence that Misha and Shizune are members of the student government…or am I stretching this analogy too far? What do you think of this buried joke about 2000s politics in the middle of a dating game? Is it too late for this kind of humor to be effectual or did Four Leaf Studios manage to get the punchline in just before the expiration date?
Final impression – short-lived, repetitive fun (6/10)
Autumn 2011 (12 episodes) (alternate title – Bokuha Tomodachiga Sukunai) (title literal translation – I Don’t Have Many Friends)
Kodaka was never very good at making friends and being half-Japanese with dirty blonde hair didn’t help his popularity at school. Yozora was always a tomboy and couldn’t get along with the other girls. When she forces Kodaka to go along with a new club she’s made for the explicit purpose of making new friends, their circle grows in ways they didn’t anticipate. It turns out Sena, the most popular girl in school, wants to seek real friendship instead of the empty admiration of her posse. Then things get ridiculous when Yukimura joins in order to work on developing his masculinity. Then the easily excitable Rika enters the scene to be with a group where she can let loose her passionate personality. As this varied group of social rejects stumbles their way through discovering the norms of youth, their clashes of personality set off fireworks of camaraderie.
When I first started watching this anime I had high hopes this was going to be a satirical story about how socially awkward people have a hard time making friends. What I got was a harem anime with an underlying subplot about the reunion of two childhood friends. There’s nothing immediately wrong with that and I don’t feel mislead. But I think a better plot catch would have been to appeal to a fan base that can relate to other people who typically have difficulty making friends. And on that note I am a bit disappointed a chance for a more meaningful story was passed up. This is especially poignant when several entire episodes of this short series are devoted to the characters just playing video games together in their clubroom. Overall, it’s dispersed with some very memorable moments that give a smile and a chuckle, but all the rest just melts into background noise. The pacing is quite poor and never gets a chance to wow the viewer.
Initial impression – subtly beckoning
Autumn 2011 to winter 2012 (26 episodes) (title literal translation – Future Diary) (more info)
What would you do if you were given a diary that tells the future? Well, if Yukiteru is anything to go by, you’d use it as a cheat sheet to get all the answers correct on your tests. But other people would surely use their future diaries for more nefarious ends. These characters include a killer who uses the info to track down his victims and Yukiteru’s female stalker Yuno, who uses hers to keep tabs on his daily life. But underlying all the shenanigans the character’s future diaries allow them to do they’ve just been entered into a game by Deus Ex Machina, the god of time. This game pits the players against each other in a survivor-style, winner-takes-all contest with the reward being nothing less than Deus’s throne. Given the diverse cast that’s been hinted at, there are definitely going to be many different paths intertwined in an attempt to achieve the prize. It’s really compelling and keeps you invested in the events, especially when Yukiteru becomes god’s chosen favorite after cheating his foretold death. How will he end up using this incredibly versatile power? Will it corrupt him or can he turn it into a tool to help people? And how will Yuno play into the proceedings when the winner must off all the other competitors to become the heir to the god of time? Mirai Nikki presents itself terrifically in the first episode with good pacing that keeps you on the edge of your seat and leaves you wanting more.
Initial impression – a quiet little drama
Autumn 2011 (12 episodes) (title literal translation – Pure White Symphony) (more info)
Mashiro-iro Symphony is this season’s h-game turned anime and early indications are good. The art style mirrors Akane Iro ni Somaru Saka (the two anime have the same character designer) while the writing style goes with an Ai Yori Aoshi atmosphere that glows with a kind of innocent sincerity. The setting then takes inspiration from the premise for Kaichou wa Maid-sama except with a gender role reversal; having young men integrating into an all-girls school—rather than the other way around. It’s not a bad flavor and I’m interested in seeing how it develops. The plot doesn’t seem to be rushing anything, which is either a sign of future stagnation or good pacing—only time will tell how that turns out. Another point Mashiro has going in its favor is how it introduces the lead heroine without being too in-your-face about it. If Mashiro continues with this trend in future episodes, I see potential for a decent series.
Final impression – interesting premise, uninteresting characters (4/10)
Autumn 2011 to winter 2012 (25 episodes) (title literal translation – Chihaya Swoop) (more info)
Chihaya Furu has a familiar feeling to it. It reminds me of a lighthearted Shion no Ou—a story of a group of friends brought together by their passion for a game. But unlike a sports anime, the focus is on the people and not on the sport, which is where most sports anime go wrong. Nobody has any obscure superpowers nor is there any banter analyzing boring technique. However, the game that’s bringing them together is karuta. For those of you not in the know, it’s a game where cards are placed on a table in front of you and as an announcer calls cues, you have to slap your hand down on the correct card the fastest. As the characters themselves comment, it’s not well known outside of Japan. So Chihaya Furu puts a very interesting spin on this idea of being the best in the world at something that isn’t very popular. It’s a cool concept, but I’m not convinced the characters have any lasting appeal, even though I’ve only watched one episode. This may be an anime I might revisit in the future, but for now there’s other titles I’d rather be watching.
I’ve become so inspired by the recent Madoka☆Magica expansion for the Japanese trading card game, Precious Memories that I’ve decided to expand the scope of Ashita no Anime and start translating cards. It’s my hope to add more titles in the future besides just Madoka.
I ask anyone who might be reading to link back to my Precious Memories section and help me get this information out to the people who will need it most because I’ve searched all over the internet and I’m confident this is the first English language website that is providing translations for full sets of cards from Precious Memories. For the time being, please enjoy the new additions to the site.
Final impression – emotional, but not tear-jerking 7/10
Following the death of their parents, Haru and Sora move out of their spacious apartment in the city and head back to their family’s house in the countryside. Beset by money woes and the loss of their family, they have to readjust to the small life and begin by rediscovering their childhood friends. The girls Haru played with as a kid have grown into young women, and they haven’t forgotten the nice boy who was always there when they needed a friend. Beset by troubles from seemingly every direction, Haru constantly must balance his love life with taking care of his antisocial twin sister, Sora. In doing so, they shed the innocence of their childhood and begin to grow into adults.
It really baffles me how it was possible this anime was able to be aired. I’ve watched hentai with fewer sex scenes than Yosuga no Sora (admittedly you never get to see too much, but it’s darned explicit compared to the usual fare I deal with from h-games turned anime). The development of the plot follows the formulaic standard that was set by Amagami SS just a season earlier; Yosuga no Sora separates the story arcs of the different girls into distinct “plot universes,” with each path following to its eventual conclusion of having that girl become Haru’s lover. This is opposed to the traditional way of having the story meander from girl to girl, ending each indistinct arc with a “let down” / “lets be friends” ending before the conclusion with the main girl he was destined to hook up with anyways. The music is really nice and the drawing style is very pretty. But given its very open portrayal of sexuality, Yosuga no Sora isn’t for everyone.
Final impression – too similar to season one 6/10
Spring 2011 (Alternate titles – Kami nomi zo Shiru Sekai II)
Keima the dating sim master, continues his mission to free troubled girls from possession by demonic spirits. The only way to accomplish this is to heal their hearts, which will drive the devils out. At this point, his demon-catching partner, Elsie will capture the wayward spirit in an oversized bottle to ensure it doesn’t cause any more harm. However, things get tense when Elsie’s colleague, Haqua arrives and she becomes jealous of Elsie’s accomplishments. An evil spirit possesses Haqua and Keima might be out of his league to handle the situation without some serious backup.
The whole premise of illustrating the differences and similarities between real girls and dating game girls is still a satisfying trope, but it’s not something I want to continually see different variations over and over. With only about a three month break between the previous season of The World God only Knows and this second season, it’s hardly surprising that the second season feels rushed out and contrived. Little has changed and season two feels like a simple continuation of season one. While I definitely enjoyed the first season, the second season continues with more of the same and there is still no real conclusion (if you’re interested in this anime’s concept, I strongly suggest checking out season one first, before watching season two).
Final impression – decent enough 6/10
Spring 2011 (Alternate title – A Bridge to the Starry Skies)
Kazuma Hoshino and his family are moving back to the countryside from the city. His parents send him and his little brother ahead so they can start the new school term. As he begins to get settled, he starts renewing old friendships from his childhood, such as the fun but ditzy Ui and the cute but serious Madoka. New relationships form as Kazuma settles in, like the tomboy Ibuki, the reserved Hina and the gentle Tsumugi. High school is fun times with club activities, study sessions and town festivals. As a former city kid, Kazuma is encouraged to participate in everything, which serves to raise his popularity. In the midst of these events, the girls surrounding Kazuma have realized that he’s pretty cool. But who’s going to get Kazuma to fall in love with them may require a committee decision.
Yeah, so I’m one of those weirdoes who likes h-games that have been turned into non-h animes. Hoshizora e Kakaru Hashi isn’t a very good example of this type of transformation done well, but it’s somewhat respectable. There’s a decent balance between all the girls and their stories flow nicely to create a cohesive story. The art style and music are nothing to write home about, but I’ll forgive Hoshizora because it has some fun moments that exemplify how h-game anime can be clever. A good example is when one of the girls points out that there’s nothing strange or embarrassing about bloomers being part of the girls’ gym uniform because women wear far less clothing in public when they go to the beach. The ending is quite dramatic as well and gives a nice feeling of completion that a lot of anime seem to be lacking lately. While the story is a little corny at times and predictable, the satisfaction of Hoshizora’s completeness makes it a small success.