Impressions of Spring 2011 anime continued in no particular order. You can check out the previous post here.
A-Channel: Lucky channel
There doesn’t seem to be anything in A-Channel that isn’t borrowed from other shows. The show’s four girlfriends run the gamut of typical anime personalities: the boke, the tsukkomi, the rich girl, and the moeblob. But a couple things are turned up a notch for some reason. For example, the moeblob isn’t just a little ditzy — she’s aggressively stupid. Why do I say that? ‘Cause while waving to her friend, she almost fell out of a fucking window.
It’s all meant to be cute and funny, but I can’t help but notice the sad attempt to one-up the previous anime sensations. Oh, did an earlier popular show about four girls have yuri undertones? We should too, but even more overt! That’ll set us apart in a sea of copycats. Shit, Tooru looks just like Konata with emo black hair.
As you might have already expected, we spend the first episode just watching the girls live their lives and being friends… and oh dear, it’s somehow even more slow-paced than your average “four silly friends in high school” show. Boob-smacking is about all the action you’ll get here.
At this point, it might appear that I’m just piling it on A-Channel, but the art direction isn’t my cup of tea either. They just get more and more prepubescent looking every season. I’m amazed Tooru’s tiny legs don’t just snap from the way she’s drawn. Pretty soon, we’ll be looking at stick figures with giant anime heads and eyes. Flat’s the best, after all.
Astarotte’s Toy: Manga cum laude
Succubi must suck the “life seed” out of men or something to maintain their beauty, but Astarotte hates men. She’d like to get out of making a harem like her mother did but how can one buck such a precious tradition? Since a human hasn’t been seen in forever, Astarotte thinks it would be a safe bet to make a harem of human men. In anime, someone naturally falls out of the sky and dun dun dun it’s a human male (but he sure doesn’t sound like one!). It’s an exciting premise for sure. As many have already mentioned, it all feels a little too similar to a certain anime featuring the same voice actress as the heroine.
There’s some grumbling out there that there’s no actual semen exchange. I wasn’t looking forward to it, but hey, I believed the same thing too when coming across the synopsis on Cart Driver’s chart:
Succubus princess Astarotte Ygvar has just turned 10. In order to maintain their body and preserve their beautiful appearance, they must consume a substance only found on males. This substance is a liquid called “Sauzfryma,” better known as semen.
So idiots are smugly clucking, “See, this is what happens when you judge a book by its cover.” Give me a fucking break. Let’s say a food stand is screaming at the top of its lungs that it’s serving shit. From a distance, it even looks like shit. Hell, maybe it’ll even smell like it. Naturally, I think they are serving shit. It turns out they weren’t serving shit — just shit-looking food instead — and the proprietor smugly points at me, “See, that’s what you get! Don’t judge books by their covers!” It’s not as if anime doesn’t have a precedent for bodily fluid exchange; forgive me if I thought another anime would be just as retarded.
As an additional aside, I usually don’t give a shit about Japanese voice actresses — I don’t think the knowledge of “who’s been in what” adds anything to my enjoyment of anime, personally — but oh, most people have heard of Kugimiya Rie and that includes me. It immediately tells me what to expect and it’s the one character she has done in 99% of her roles. We tell Johnny Depp we’re sick of him being the same damn guy in every movie he’s in, but it appears to me that people are actually excited when their favorite voice actors literally reprise the same character over and over. And who could blame Kugimiya for simply milking her moneymaker?
Battle Girls – Time Paradox: Time traveling samurai girls
A girl is into fashion and that sort of stuff. She doesn’t put much effort into her history schoolwork. Let’s put her in her place… uh, literally, and send her back in time to the feudal era. But wait, what if historic figures in Japanese history were girls? Hmm, haven’t we done this before… I guess history is boring with crusty, old men so let’s replace them all with anime girls. Let’s brainstorm some up… like…the Desert Fox will be Makoto of Kanon fame! Aru~ See, history is so much more exciting now. Remember the infamous Yalta photograph of Churchill, FDR, and Stalin sitting down together? Can anyone find an anime version of it?
If you think I’m just rambling, you’re right. There’s personally nothing worth writing about this show because it’s unremarkable and crudely animated. In fact, let’s just leave it at that and move on.
SKET Dance: Well, at least we’re not morally bankrupt
SKET-dan investigates and solves problems around the school, but it doesn’t have the most sterling of reputation. When a transfer student shows up, they probably figure the new guy could be swayed to join their group. The first episode essentially introduces us to the characters and their modus operandi.
SKET Dance isn’t fanservicey shit, but… the first episode wasn’t very interesting either. The whole thing just felt very lukewarm. The first episode didn’t allude to any overarching plot, so I guess we’ll have to live with one-off stories about random troubles around the school. In that case, it would help SKET Dance to be outrageously funny a la School Rumble or Full Metal Panic, but the first episode didn’t crack open too many laughs. Just for the fact that it isn’t a harem, I guess it deserves a second chance, but what else is there to say?
The World God Only Knows 2: The good OP is gone so who cares
See the title.
Steins;Gate: Semicolons; problem?
Rintaro seems a little crazy. He’s ranting about destroying the control structure of the world, he’s nuking bananas into gel, claiming that the “Agency” is out to get him, even mentioning something about Stein’s Gate and… the list goes on. The first episode sorta revolves around Rintaro texting his friend about the murder of some girl he just met, but he’ll later find out that he sent that text to the past. To top it off, the girl isn’t dead after all. Well, if this isn’t a convoluted mess of crazy talk, I don’t know what it is.
I really think shows like this could benefit from a full hour to set the stage a little better. Steins;Gate‘s first episode is a little haphazard as it is. So far, the draw is the deliberate opaqueness of the entire plot, and I’m not sure if that’s a pro or a con. With so many elements crammed into the first episode (a mysterious satellite, a cellphone that can send text messages into the past, the mysterious femme fatale?), the characters fell by the wayside as they usually do in anime like this. We get archetypes instead: there’s the super hacker nerd and the childhood friend who’s into cutesy things. And Rintaro’s… well, just batty, but I can’t say I know much else. Yeah, you could say it’s only been one episode, but that’s my point. With a week between episodes, sometimes, an hour would be a better format.
I’m still missing a few more shows; I’ve seen them, but I’m not sure what to think of these anime yet. There are also several half length anime this season like Fireball Charming. Maybe I’ll do a separate post for them.