Anime of Tomorrow
Tag Archives: Saya
Autumn 2012 to winter 2013 (26 episodes) (more info)
Over the past ten years, Key has released quite a few anime all to broad critical acclaim (with the exception of Kanon 2002, but I overlook that since they made up for their miss with Kanon 2006). With their fantastic list of well-written titles accompanied by gorgeous music including Air, Kanon, Clannad and Angel Beats, at this stage, the maker of these terrific series can pretty much do no wrong by me.
Now that I’ve established my fanboy tendencies from a time before I’d even heard of this anime, where on the spectrum does Key’s latest release lie? It seems that Little Busters looks set to take the prize for “most lighthearted story” so far with a starting cast composed of a compassionate group of five childhood friends who have all been assigned some excitingly nontypical roles. There is Kyousuke the contemplative and caring big brother, Masato the musclebound hothead who always gets into trouble, Rin the cute and smart-mouthed tomboy, Kengo the serious athlete and main character Riki whose calm and soft spoken personality voiced by Yui Horie binds everyone together.
While I can’t begin to guess what interesting traits the other members of the Little Busters baseball team in potential might possess, so far the setting is grounded firmly in reality even more than Kanon or Clannad. With so many important male characters already established and a tone that is fun and playful, while—so far at least—devoid of anything supernatural, Little Busters has already done a fantastic job of setting itself apart from the rest of Key’s anime in a very distinct way. Even the music has a very different feel compared to Key’s other works. There’s a certain spunk to it that gives me a big, happy smile whenever I listen to the soundtrack that’s all its own.
Really, I can’t believe it took so long for this game to be made into an anime. Teaming up with J.C. Staff to help animate Little Busters is different from how things usually go, but now that it’s here and I’ve seen its strong start, I know my six-year-long anticipation was well worth the wait.
Final impression – not a second wasted (10/10)
Winter 2012 (8 episodes) (TV series)
It’s the first day of junior high school and Mato Kuroi decides she’s going to be friends with the gloomy girl who has a funny name, Yomi Takanashi. The two soon discover they have a shared love of a children’s storybook and it looks like they’re going to get along great. But when Yomi’s spoiled, childhood friend Kagari butts in to push them apart, Mato isn’t going to just give up accept this bleak turn of events. She makes it her mission to liberate Yomi from Kagari’s possessive personality. But doing so will have greater consequences than she knows. In another world, the girls’ voiceless souls are fighting their own, very real battle with life and death on the line. And when the results of their battles become reflected in the real world, it’s going to change the course of their lives in ways they cannot possibly anticipate.
Quality in writing is often not about a story’s content, but about how well that story is told. Sometimes the best plot is the simplest and Black Rock Shooter tells a fabulously creative adventure about the subtleties of relationships and how the most well-meaning intentions can have unexpected, unintended consequences. It’s a wonderful metaphor about allowing ourselves to be close enough to our friends that we can fight with them honestly and without inhibitions. We must accept that we occasionally hurt people and that we are hurt by others; how we deal with that pain shapes our character and the ultimate fate of our relationships. Balancing this emotional drama between real people and their actions mirrored by their duplicate selves locked in gallant combat is a poetic dichotomy flooded deeply with incredible metaphors. Kana Hanazawa is perfect in her role as Mato Kuroi, depicting her exceptional personality and growth from naivety to strong, determined young woman. But what’s most amazing about Black Rock Shooter is that it probably would never have existed if it wasn’t for the Vocaloid song by the same name, popularized by casual anime fans who wanted to know the story behind the music. For something so spectacular to come out of simple fandom and not from a novel, manga or video game is truly remarkable.
Final impression – Only for unabashed CLAMP fans (4/10)
In a remote village, Saya Kisaragi is the shrine maiden entrusted with slaying the Elder Ones—fearsome monsters that feast on the townspeople. But when she has free time, she goes to high school, talks with her friends and enjoys coffee at a local café. As she continues her mission to protect the town, small details start to converge together that just don’t add up. Where do the Elder Ones come from? To whom did Saya promise to guard the village? And the greatest question, who was Saya’s mother? She had better figure out the answers to these questions before it’s too late and everyone gets eaten.
First impressions can’t always be trusted and that is never truer than in Blood-C. Talk about betraying your legacy. Blood the Last Vampire and Blood+ had a likeable cast of characters, excellent pacing and terrific endings. Even the live-action Blood the Last Vampire compares favorably to Blood-C and that’s pitiful. The only reason I completed watching it is because I enjoy CLAMP’s artwork, making it the only possible redeeming feature. I don’t know what Blood-C’s upcoming movie will do with this setup that the anime gave us. However, 95% of the anime was an utterly pointless jaunt on the way to its eventual cliff-hanger ending. The whole anime could have easily just not existed and twenty minutes added to the beginning of the movie to accomplish the same effect.