Archive for April, 2012

Carnival Phantasm begins

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

Instead of continuing with great shows that I opened recently, I spent Sunday binging on various things, like Carnival Phantasm. It chose it primarily because of the availability of official AVI (thank you, UTW!), and secondarily because of the pretty imagery (thank you, SDB’s top rotation). Princess Phantasmoon is pure cake.

I am also very friendly with the idea of a callout anime for the fans. My word, The Idolm@ster TV was just that!

Not knowing the characters seems not hurt anything. Unexpectedly, I am somewhat predisposed to Ciel, although she really does not have any redeeming qualities, aside from being a cute meganekko. Perhaps I pity her for being made a comic relief. Their Lucky Channel at the episode’s end is… clumsy and cute like puppies. And overall, the anime does not seem to lose steam over the course of 4 episodes, which is good omen.

FRIDGE: To heck with badwidth, time for a half-retrospective!

Here’s the old man, who reminds me a bit about the mascot of that definitive macambre humor anime, the name of which escapes me. He belongs to the “glue creatures”, who assemble the separate large-skit pieces in the show. Some bloggers were unduly hostile to these creatures, but I don’t mind. What really bugs me thugh, I cannot understand if a 1:1 correspondence exists between the glue creatures and main show characters (like in PuchiMa).

Ciel’s entrance is where she got me. Although I recognize my mistake now, it is too late.

Ciel’s serve. Wow.

Ciel’s in teacher guise, wearing a New Mexico torquoise brooch for some reason. Around here, everyone wear them, men and women alike.

A random secondary character, who later makes appearance in the Houkago Puppies Brigade.

Rin Tosaka does what she knows best.

More Rin. BTW, the BD recording scene was a mad riot, comedy-wise, even if you are not aware of Archer’s identity. In the picture, she was committing one of the 5 pilot’s deadly sins, as identified by FAA: Resignation [1].

Arcueid: the failure of a vampire.

Saber in civvies. Nobody needs explaining about her, right? On the other hand, I did!

Look at Taiga’s face closely… and now this:

They broke the 4th wall explaining how they blew the budget animating her, which was amusing. But more importantly, look at the caption: only 2 frames for the speech. And yet, it looks 10 times better than Shining Hearts. For shame.

Finally, the puppy group. They try so hard. If only Jon Stewart was half as clever (or adorable).

UPDATE: Someone at Reverse Thieves leans that way.

[1] Other the 5 safety deadly sins are Anti-Authority, Impulsivity, Invulnerability, and Macho.

Ano Natsu de Matteru begins

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

The policy of letting other bloggers to put toes in the water first works quite well for me: everything I watch pre-selected is excellent. I dropped both Onegai Sensei and Onegai Twins, so nothing is guaranteed, but Ano Natsu opens very strongly. All the right superlatives apply: gorgeous, competent, engaging. Now, the feeling is very different from the co-running Chihayafuru: watching that one is gestalt, watching this one is entertainment in the best sense.

Raw spoiling notes:

  • Nice intro. So, what did the camera capture? Something fixed the glasses…(unless it was a premonition – or a random dream)
  • Looks very pretty, in anime style. Pre-selection helps, I suppose.
  • Kai (Kaito Kirishima)
  • Kanna Tanigawa
  • Mio – bashful girl with long hair (it’s their Mikuru Asahina)
  • Ichika Takatsuki — aaaaand, she’s not a teacher! Hah!
  • Did she just spell her own name wrong?! 責月 イチカ
  • Remon Yamano — interestingly different uniform. Aaaaand a question! (Chiaki Kurihara may explain)
  • Eating carbs, yeah – blogged at Ani-nouto.
  • Tetsuro Ichigaki – there must always be one (Toradora’s Kitamura, Natsuiro Sudanokey’s Takeshi, etc.)
  • Ichika went into 3rd year, so there’s a gap.
  • OMG WTF is with fishing? (something’s at the end of the line?)
  • The basic opening hook is Man From Mars, In Disguise. Don’t remember how Onegai Sensei went with that, and I dropped it too early to find out.
  • Love Kai’s fantasies. Mine is like: before Approach drops me, I request a handoff to the Center, and then keep to 10.5, navigating serenily over mountains… Reality: I do not know the Center frequency for the area, so I putt along squacking 1200, giving a wide berth to any MOA.
  • Chinamini… boku no ie des!
  • Nice OTZ
  • * Unreliable ads is the worst part of Crunchyroll (audio overlay)
  • Magic glasses! Does this mean that Ichika can’t write, or does it not?
  • Hilarious ep finale, now what?

Chihayafuru begins, on probation

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

The video was only 5 minutes 14 seconds in when I thought: “This is going straight into the `disliked greats‘ folder”. The anime gave off that unmistakable masterpiece wiff. More than a wiff actually.

Reading various anime blogs, I slated Ano Natsu and Chihayafuru as best just-complete titles to try. Ano Natsu enjoyed a much higher profile in the ‘sphere. Everyone who’s anything blogged it: I saved links to Hung, Suguru, Mike, Omo, RP, Zyl, Peterburd, CKS, and a few others for the traditional “Bloggers on Foo” compendium. It was a popular, quality anime. For Chihayafuru, I only picked Diego, Tappan, and Omo again (he’s so pro). But when I polled people who’s seen both, they were unanimous in rating the later higher of the two, and it only took me a couple of minutes to see why.

So many good shows struggle with the introduction and exposition. Chihayafuru‘s slick writing and direction are absolutely effortless in tackling the problem. Art, design, animation, timing, afureko – everything is top notch, seamlessly. Masterpiece. The only incongruent piece for me was the comical hall monitor, and that’s it.

And yet, I’m not “feeling it”. Taichi is a bit of a jerk. I tell myself that it’s a show about real people, with real flaws, but it’s not working. The two other principals are ok, but… again. Not working. Maybe I’m just too prejudous against sports anime.

I’m going to give it an honest try. Anime this good does not come along often. But it’s quite likely that I’ll Tutu this.

Peter S. on beginning of Kimi ni Todoke

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

The puzzlement:

[…] and it’s already obvious that she’s going to get the nice boy in the end. So what are they going to do for the rest of the series? The “scary” gimmick is already played out (though her thrill in playing a ghost and scaring people was pretty funny). Yeah, she’s going to make friends and get accepted, but if it’s played out as slowly, with as many interior monologues as she had in ep1, it’s going to be a slow and dull series. They better come up with something else. Maybe those two girl classmates will liven things up.

I know of two answers, one standard and one animebloger’s, which I am going to explain according to SDB’s “reveal, not spoil” guidance.

On the first hand, devoted fans do not mind the slowness. I remember how one of my “professional Twitter” links posted an “awwwwwwwww” on the subject (I have a separate Twitter account for professional communication, where I follow a few colleagues in areas of Linux, distributed and cloud storage). I pinged him with a question and he explained that he was reading something like Chapter 14, where Kazehaya bows down to kiss sleeping Sawako, who suddenly opens her eyes. Oh, brother, hearts aflutter.

On the other hand, Kurumi. Actually, there’s more to it, like the idiot friend, Pin, and cooler friends, but Kurumi most of all. Although I am not her die-hard fan, I can see the point. Basically KnT a source that permits displacement of the main character, if a particular fan wishes, like how some claimed that DBZ is basically a story of Vegeta.

It’s possible that neither of the answers suits Peter, but they do exist and work for a large number of people.

UPDATE: Oops! As it turned out, something happened to Peter’s WordPress Feed, and Reader showed his old postings as new:

In reality, the post that I quoted above was written back in 2009, way before the full picture became known.

Shining Hearts begins

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

As I am moving on, I find myself trending away from edgier anime, the one that is not cartoons, towards meaningless escapism and comedy (with the exception of veritable masterpieces like Oh Edo Rocket and Gurren-Lagann). Even Mouretsu Pirates is asking too much, so the “preview” was a lie, and I ended watching Shining Hearts tilda “Shiawase no Pan”.

The first thing that jumps at me is how cheap the animation is, especially for such a pretty show. OK, I understand the feet-shuffle, everyone-is-still except the one speaking. But they even overdose on “obscure the legs while they walk”. It’s horrible.

The same-face thing… exists. I am sorry for not linking, since I cannot find it now, but I am vaguely aware of the (in)famous designer who is not Nishimata and always draws one face only. What’s interesting, some secondary characters possess more individuality than the main group – the main group of ep.1, I hasten to add. I already saw the spoilers at Chizumatic and speculation about the catalyst arriving in the same manner as Minette did in Blessings of Campanella.

As far as story goes, I am not sure if I want to join Zyl and call the series “ultimately pretty soulless” yet. The opener was a decent intoduction and seemed to hold promise. So, we’ll see.

Hanners on Natsuiro Kiseki

Friday, April 20th, 2012

Hanners:

If last week’s episode was dumb, then this week’s Natsuiro Kiseki is just plain dull — all of the machinations within it eventually come to naught, ideas from last week’s episode get reused, and ultimately nothing of any interest actually happens as our cardboard cut-out characters lurch around and go through the motion’s of the episode’s plot. It’s utterly boring, […]

Since I am not sure if I can trust an opinion of this man, let’s consider his record. Hannars completed whole seasons of Hidamari, which I dropped 3 times, and never progressed past GA:GADC 02, which I found far superior. Never seen Azumanga and Sketchbook, apparently, although that falls into “ignorance” category. Yeah, it looks like he’s saying that I’ll love Sphere The Animation.

BY THE WAY: Nova wrote, “Either it’ll be relaxing and cute, or just god damn boring and bad.” Then he promised, “See you at episode 3.” Well?

Another prokrastinator is Lolikit, who twittered: “Natsuiro Kiseki 1: Amazing stuff. Slice of life. Nice lighting. Good friends. This is the best show of the season, hands down. 10/10”

Haganai ends

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Nothing new happened in the series since I posted the opening bracket, except perhaps the JP’s mistake became even greater in the perspective. On the other hand, I skipped the oversexualized OP every time. It was this bad.

The art and animation of Haganai were astonishing, truly. The only thing that tempers my enthusiasm is a nagging feeling that I may be uprating shows which I see in postage-stamp format, and downgrading those which I experience in HD (like Idolm@ster). More research is needed.

Otherwise, there wasn’t much, and I’m afraid that the game made me less interested than I would be otherwise. It was a more rewarding experience with its varying storylines. Some of them did not sit well with me, but others were quite pleasing. The anime does not permit a choice, and the one available story was poorly capped. It ended like Natsume Souseki’s Botchan. The abrubt cut wasn’t quite as frustrating as in Sacred Blacksmith, where a continuing plot was sacrificed. Haganai did not have a long-term storyline aside from the harem resolution, possibly. So, taken by itself, the anime was not a disaster. It’s just the game offers so much more.

Not sure if I want another season or not. We know how Zero no Tsukaima went down, which is a big concern. If they make another season and do not wrap it up, I’m not going to touch it.

By the way, I pre-ordered the petanko set at CDjapan before I finished the anime. Fortunately, game and anime continuities are practically indistinguishable.

Liked: Yes
Rewatch: Probably not, except for research.

P.S. Completely forgot to mention that Haganai is another exception to the rule “FUNimation only licenses garbage”, together with Oh Edo Rocket. Just 3 or 4 more good shows, and we’ll get to “FUNi licenses 90% garbage”. Kudos to FUNi for streaming on YouTube, too.

Naruto SD begins

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

This looks like another entrant that makes one appreciate Nichijou more, as a work of genius. That one was not always agreeable, but it was outstanding throughout, while Naruto SD is merely ordinary. That said, how can you not love this:

There were a few of small touches, too, like the way Neji dodges Tenten’s harisen nonchalantly.

OneMinuteOfDusk on Mouretsu Pirates

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

I had a look at Aniblog Tourney bracket, and apparently Ani-nouto is seeded to face the winner of a match-up between the well-known Altar&Vega and OneMinuteOfDusk. Having never heard about the latter, and in the spirit of the tourney went to check it out… found a cancellation notice:

The “letter of marque” is simply one of the show’s many poor excuses for them to adventure under the guise of being a “pirate”. The letter actually forces you to pirate? There’s insurance to cover your losses you’re legally robbed from? Pretty convenient, huh?.

The only other character worth a look, Chiaki, is simply a tsundere rival-friend under a thin cold image. In the battles, most of it happened on a computer screen. No, not yours. 50% of all the action features flashy and futuristic diagrams and arrows filling up flying across their ship’s monitors. 49% features the characters talking really fast about stuff that’s really complicated and apparently really brilliant. The final 1% shows the ship firing its guns maybe once or twice.

Basically it’s a good attempt to say things everyone thought but was afraid to express (except, I think, Lolikit, who’s cool and doesn’t afraid of anything… on Twitter). Granted, Evirus shot it down too with “pretty boring”, but he did not elaborate. Suddenly A&V’s victory does not seem quite so assured.

P.S. Wasn’t 49% of Banner of The Stars characters talking about complicated things? I remember rewatching ep.1 of that 3 times because I did not understand Samson’s spiel, which really was brilliant. Gave up and switched subtitles on, still could not quite figure it out. Awww, I’m going to rewatch it again now.

UPDATE: Altair&Vega demolished OneMinuteOfDusk with 169:67.

2012 Spring Season

Monday, April 2nd, 2012

As usual, the new season rolls in while I have a backlog from seasons past. I have some high hopes for Chihayafuru and Ano Natsu (also known under its fanon title “Onegai Summer”). Also queued are the Tatsuo Sato’s pirate show and Lagrange. Not to mention that I am still plugging at Haganai, too. Nonetheless, I can’t help marking a couple of new anime.

Althogh I never was one hotly anticipating an upcoming series, I essentially unretired for Idolm@ster TV anime. Considering what a success that project was both for myself and for creators, it’s difficult to ignore AKB0048. I think it has good chances. We cannot be sure, of course. The premise is somewhat similar to Sakura Wars in that the idols perform canonically [1], in-show, while moonlighting as mecha pilots or otherwise fighting a guerilla war, Gundam Wing style. This is different from Xenoglossia, where characters did not perform — except Yayoi, perhaps.

A thousand ways exist in which AKB0048 may yet fail, but it does not have to fail.

In addition to AKB0048, I noticed that Seiji Mizushima is going to direct Natsuiro Kiseki. Preview at THAT makes it look like cute-girls-doing-cute-things type of thing, while Crusader fails to appreciate Mr. Mizushima’s contributions to anime directing (never seen Oh Edo Rocket, apparently). While Tatsuo Sato’s Mouretsu being not quite the work of genius we came to expect from him means that a director is not a guarantee, he was constrained by the original source. Natsuiro Kiseki is listed as original story, which makes Seiji Mizushima’s work easier. Of course he carries the responsibility for any screw-ups as well.

BTW, how’s this snap judgement at Sea Slugs:

Leenina: Looks like harmless enough entertainment, but the fact that it’s just a star vehicle for a group of pop idols is sort of disheartening.

Heh.

[1] The scheme is also used in an American cartoon series T-Rex, coincidentially set in a faux-1930s environment. Ask Don.