Ashita no Anime

Anime of Tomorrow

Tag Archives: girls

Listen to Me, Girls. I Am Your Father! Ep. 1

Final impression – scattered and uncoordinated (3/10)

Winter 2012 (12 episodes) (Japanese title – Papa no Iukoto wo Kikinasai!) (title literal translation – Listen to Papa!) (more info)

I don’t have any idea what this anime is supposed to be about.  Themes, clichés and subtext fly in from every direction and add to a mishmash of confusion.  Is it just a story about an unlucky college student, a spunky love interest teasing his sexual preferences or his quirky niece who has daddy issues?  There’s really no reason all of these themes couldn’t flow seamlessly into one another or even become mixed into the characters as their personalities become more developed.  But Listen to Papa! seems to only be able to do one theme at a time and the transitions from one idea to another feel really unnatural.  There’s a lot of unestablished history that we’re just expected to accept without explanation.  A much more gradual introduction would have really helped the process of getting to know everyone satisfactorily.  But probably the biggest niggling detail about Listen to Papa! is its nonsensical title.  It’s very clear that the male lead has no children and all of the young girls are his nieces.  This gets even more poignant when you take into consideration the subtitle, Listen to me Girls, I’m your Father!.  A better title would have been, “Listen to Uncle.”  But no matter what you call it, this is just a poorly constructed anime right down to its most basic foundations.


Majikoi – Oh! Samurai Girls Ep. 1

Final impression – plotless  (3/10)

Autumn 2011 (12 episodes) (Japanese title – Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!) (more info)

At Kawakami High School disputes between classes are resolved with grandiose battles.  It reminds me of those two combat episodes of School Rumble.  You know…the one where they did the cavalry game at the sports festival and the one where they fought with air rifles.  Then add a touch of the Olympic combat of Dog Days and you’ve got the less than mediocre Majikoi.  The first episode just drops the viewer right into the middle of a battle with no setup or reason to care who wins.  The course of the fight wasn’t even constructed with any kind of development besides some contrived epic mercenaries who were there for no other reason than for the underdogs to win against the atypical, cocky top seed.  It’s a thinly veiled, juvenile sports story that’s been done a million times and Majikoi does nothing to revolutionize the trope.  Since I can’t tell what else this anime is about, I’m completely uninterested.  It makes absolutely no room for plot development and if this first episode can’t construct the most basic elements of a story I have no hope for the future.

Ro-Kyu-Bu! (review)

Final impression – So average it hurts (5/10)

Summer 2011

When the boys’ high school basketball team gets suspended because of their coach’s misconduct with a minor, rising star player Subaru doesn’t know what to do with himself.  At his aunt’s urging, he is invited to coach an elementary school girls’ basketball team.  He’s reluctant to do so at first because he’d rather be a player than a coach.  But the girls have a desire to improve, which motivates a part of him that he didn’t even know was there.  Their energy inspires him, which he’s going to need, because if their team doesn’t improve before their next match with the boys, the girls’ basketball club is going get canceled.

There’s not a whole lot of overlap between sports and loli anime, so Ro-Kyu-Bu! wins points for being unique at least.  It isn’t a very interesting anime, but given its wacky premise, it could have been much worse.  This is helped by the fact that it deviates greatly from the more boring tropes found in sports anime such as superpowers or long, drawn out commentary analyzing a particular character’s stats.  Additionally, it stays away from the “it’s a trap” tropes found in loli anime (for the most part, at least).  Ro-Kyu-Bu! also isn’t afraid of portraying a more realistic view of life’s challenges.  Sometimes, no matter how much we cheer for the underdogs, they don’t always win.  With all the praise I’m lavishing on this anime, when it comes down to drawing a conclusion, it’s only mediocre.  Just because something deviates from stereotypes doesn’t suddenly make it good.

Hyakka Ryouran – Samurai Girls (last thoughts)

Final impression – refreshing, but could’ve been better 8/10

Fall 2010 – (title literal translation – Blooming Flowers – Samurai Girls)

The young samurai Muneakira returns from his travels around Japan to find the wanted criminal Yukimura being hunted by his childhood friend, Princess Sen Tokugawa.  Yukimura is a diviner and has come to the capital to warn the country’s leaders that a calamity is on the horizon.  However, Sen’s brother, the de facto leader of Japan, has written off the prediction as heresy and has ordered her capture.  However, things get messy when Muneakira’s chivalrous nature leads him to take Yukimura’s side.  When the battle is looking bleak, a mysterious samurai girl named Jyuubei descends from the heavens to defend Muneakira with her otherworldly strength.  Who is this monstrously powerful young woman and what is her relationship to Muneakira?

Samurai Girls is set in a fantasy-style modern Japan, in a world that experienced a very different end to World War II.  As I often do when a specific plot element excites me, I’m going to mention that I have a soft spot for alternate history stories, so this anime may rank higher on my scale than others might rate it.  Given the excessive ecchi, even I would have expected my own rank for Samurai Girls to be a much lower score.  But there’s a lot of innovation throughout the anime that is very fresh; resulting in the ecchi being more icing on the cake than excessive sugar.  Using inkblots to censor the anime’s TV version was a stylistic stroke of genius.  Unnatural rays of light that censor other, similar anime like Koihime Musou are getting cliché and tacky.  But enough about the ecchi.  Samurai Girls as a concept isn’t anything new.  Attractive women with superhuman abilities is common enough, but it gets executed very well in Samurai Girls.  There is a great balance of story and action, with pretty much every character having likable, relatable traits.  The art style is also refreshing, with very sharp shading and thick lines that makes the entire anime look like it was painted with a wide brush.  Excellent opening and ending theme music round out a surprisingly awesome anime.

The World God only Knows II (last thoughts)

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).

A-Channel (last thoughts)

Final impression – moe comedy at its finest 10/10

Spring 2011

Run the spaz, Yuko the beauty, Nagi the nerd, and Touru the attitude.  Combine them to make a four high school girl mix-up of misadventures and hilarity.

I know the moe sub-genre is not well received by everyone.  But if you are one of those people who avoids moe like the plague, I really encourage you to set aside your prejudices and give A-Channel a good-natured chance to tickle your funny bone and work its charm on your heart.  There are so many moments in A-Channel that I think a lot of people can relate to, especially our desires to acquire the best attributes of our friends.  In this way, there are also some good life lessons to receive as well.  In the end, we all need to remember to be ourselves, celebrate our differences, and simply enjoy each other’s company.

The first anime most people think of when you mention the word “moe,” is usually going to be Lucky Star.  Other titles you’re likely to hear will include The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, K-ON!, Working!! and Ichigo Marshmallow but those have a bit more than just moe going for them.  During the history of this sub-genre, there have been many more downs than ups, but A-Channel has made its legacy proud and really set the bar high for future moe anime.  It’s also worth mentioning A-Channel’s great opening and ending tracks as well as the theme songs that accompany each episode to add a little extra to the experience.  A fresh art style, a varied cast with an amazingly constructed web of relationships between the four girls has resulted in what is the best comedy anime so far for the year of 2011.

Yuru Yuri Ep 2

Impression – moe

Ayano, the hard-working student council vice-president, is upset with the fact that the lazy Kyoko has the best grades in the class.  When she goes to confront Kyoko, Kyoko reveals that she gets good grades because she can cram study the night before a big test.  Shaken, Ayano threatens to take away the clubroom from Kyoko if she can outscore Kyoko on the next test.  Kyoko accepts the challenge on the condition that if Ayano fails to outscore her, Ayano will have to join the club.  The next day, two student council clerks, Himawari and Sakurako, are assigned to sort papers in the student council room while Ayano goes off to look for Kyoko.  While sorting, Kyoko happens to stop by with the rest of the club and offers to help sort papers.  They finish and end up leaving before a frustrated Ayano returns to find she had received help from her enemy.

Yuru Yuri is cute, but somewhat spacey in its direction.  It can’t seem to focus on just one theme or goal and roll with it.  While this sort of arrangement is certainly a staple of success for many moe anime, for some reason Yuru Yuri feels like a long string of cliff hangers.  There are so many loose threads flying around unresolved that I wonder if they will ever get revisited.  Or maybe I’ll just completely forget about the unresolved plot elements and things will tumble along on their merry way.  I’m hesitant to say Yuru Yuri is bad, because it has some very lovely moments where it shines brightly.  That being said, I’m pretty sure this is something I’m going to be completing just for the sake of catching those few scenes of brilliance.

Uta no Prince-sama Ep 2

Final impression – average

Haruka has received her first assignment as a student at her private music school.  She’s been paired with Ittoki, one of the boys that helped her on the day she took her entrance exam.  He’s in charge of singing and lyrics and she’s in charge of composition.  However, despite their desires to work in the music industry, neither of them has experience making their own original work.  As they stumble through their project independently, it dawns on them that working together will produce a much more cohesive piece.

There’s nothing really offensive for male viewers of Uta no Prince-sama, despite the strong themes that are designed to appeal to girls.  However, the plot feels somewhat rushed and is being guided by feelings and backstory that don’t get properly filled in.  Overall it gives a distinct impression of being incomplete.  It’s not a bad anime and certainly feels good.  But that’s just not enough to hold my interest.