Anime of Tomorrow
Tag Archives: god’s
Autumn 2012 (13 episodes) (Japanese title – Kamisama Hajimemashita) (more info)
While I don’t hate Fruits Basket, it’s just not written in a style that I’m very fond of. The male characters are all androgynous pretty boys, side characters show no potential, ideas come and go on a whim and the premise is really hard to swallow. So when Kamisama Kiss follows that formula like it was cut from a piece of the Fruits Basket quilt, even someone who liked that setup more than me ought to give this series a second thought. The degree to which it’s ripping off its inspirational material is staggering. The female lead starts out homeless, it’s centered on the premise of gods and spirits and the main man in her life is an unlikeable jerk that the viewers are expected to forgive just because he happens to be there for her at the last minute.
That’s not to say it isn’t fun. Being subjected to all the responsibilities of a god without any of the upsides is full of opportunities for all kinds of hilarious trouble. Maybe I’m just the wrong kind of person to have an appropriate attention span for this kind of random flow. I’d say check out Kamisama Kiss if you were a Fruits Basket fan, but don’t be surprised if it turns out to be a disappointingly shallow spinoff.
Summer 2012 (?? episodes) (title literal translation from Italian – Champion) (more info)
Campione is the story of Godou Kusanagi, an ordinary boy who gets thrown into a crazy, supernatural situation because of some ancient artifact he’s obtained and is expected to perform his role as the destined hero. As is usually true of these sorts of anime, the first episode isn’t very easy to follow. It wavers between realistic logistical problems for the protagonist (such as a young Japanese man in Italy being unable to speak the language), followed by a mildly ecchi scene in which the heroine, Erica Blandelli, gets intoxicated and needs his assistance, to having him suddenly be able to control the power of the gods so that he can protect the land.
But despite how standard this kind setup is, Campione isn’t committing too many missteps. The art style fits nicely with the European setting and the writing and character design shows potential when Godou has some convincingly improvisational moments in which he must negotiate with beings not accustomed to lowering themselves to being a human’s bodyguard. I don’t expect Campione to be any kind of masterpiece, but this first episode has caught my interest because I can see the definite beginnings of something that looks like it’s going to go somewhere.
Final impression – an undercover sports anime (4/10)
Autumn 2011 to winter 2012 (25 episodes) (title literal translation – Phi Brain – God’s Puzzle) (more info)
When you scrape off the surface coating of the puzzle theme, Phi Brain is just another sports anime. You know the kind—arrogant middle school or high school boys with really specific superpowers competing against other arrogant male figures that are evil by the arbitrary distinction of not being the main character. Yes, there’s a small twist to the premise, but that’s totally insignificant. The basic concept has been done a million times, it’s distinctly shounen and by this point people reading this review probably already know if they’re going to like it or not. I’ll concede that not all sports anime are awful and I understand Phi Brain is attempting to mix things up. But it’s not different enough to hold my interest beyond the first episode.
Final impression – A really compelling drama (8/10)
Summer 2011 (title literal translation – God’s Notebook)
Narumi just wanted his high school life to pass by in an ordinary, orderly fashion so he could become an ordinary, orderly adult. But when his cheerful classmate Ayaka insists that he be involved in extracurricular activities, any hopes of his life remaining quiet disappear. She introduces him to a group of young men who work under the command of hacker genius and self-proclaimed NEET detective, Alice. Under her guidance and the assistance of her friends and subordinates, Narumi finds the desire to grow beyond his pitiful goals of mediocrity into someone capable of changing lives.
Kamisama no Memochou is an excellent example of what can be done with anime as a story-telling medium. It depicts genuinely good people facing incredibly trying dilemmas. Anime with similar tones include Durarara!! and Eden of the East, but those two anime go into supernatural or science-fiction themes that Kamisama no Memochou stays very far away from. Even the drawing style and character designs of this anime take on a style of realism seldom seen in anime and when it’s done this well…that’s really cool. It watches like a regular, well-written drama with a wonderfully varied and eccentric cast. Characters have complementary little quirks with well-established motives and designated strengths that give them a nice team cohesion. Each mini-arc of the story is dynamic, interesting and spans a range of tones from mysterious, dramatic, suspenseful, romantic and even comedic where appropriate. For a no-nonsense drama, you can’t go wrong with Kamisama no Memochou.
Initial impressions – very good
The great folks at J.C. Staff have brought us a detective anime that puts the stereotyped, incomprehensible, and poorly stylized Gosick to shame. Kamaisama no Memochou starts out with a strong first episode.
As Narumi enters his first year of high school, he just wants to be a fly on the wall and remain unnoticed by everyone so he can avoid the rest of the world. But when his outgoing classmate, Ayaka drags him into her fast-paced world he becomes entangled in something he just can’t avoid. Then, when he meets the hacker detective Alice, no matter how much he wants to stay apathetic to the rest of the world, he just can’t pull himself away from being the good guy.
This first episode feels like it’s setting the tone for a great series to come. Characters feel natural and relatable, while still being very exciting, a little eccentric with excellent development. If you’re looking for an action/drama/detective anime with colorful characters, check out Kamisama no Memochou.