The blossoms are out but I’m watching anime

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.

This is the legendary Yggdrasil. No, really.

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?

*move boob sliders to the right... no, more right*

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.

Grade: D

*****

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.

15 thoughts on “The blossoms are out but I’m watching anime

  1. anon

    “I’m still missing a few more shows; I’ve seen them, but I’m not sure what to think of these anime yet.”
    don’t forget to catch hanasaku iroha
    general consensus;best show of season
    also deadman wonderland when it airs

    I’ warming up to tiger and bunny
    not quite exciting like ttgl, but it has few charms

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      I wrote up Hanasaku Iroha in a previous post and I agree it’s one of the better shows, though I’m not leaning towards best yet. Oh, and I forgot Deadland Wonderland was also coming out.

      Reply
  2. anon

    * embarrassed*
    I came here directly from anime blogger antenna and didn’t see your previous topic
    and persona 4 anime!

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      and persona 4 anime!

      Yeah, I heard about that. Makes me wonder why we didn’t get a Persona 3 instead of that odd tasting Trinity Souls. Anyway, I loved Persona 4, but I have an inkling that’s because I got to play it. I dunno how I’d feel just watching events unfold. Plus, I grew fond of the silly English dubbing of the game. I can’t imagine any other voice for Teddie.

      Reply
  3. inushinde

    Out of all the shows present on your list, the only one that I feel inclined to watch past the first episode is Steins;Gate. While I think I have a good idea where it’s going to go from here, the characters are likable in their collective insanity, and I’d like to be proven wrong as far as predictability goes.

    Astarotte’s Toy made me weep tears of blood, though in retrospect it might’ve been my brain hemorrhaging at the sheer banality of it.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      After another episode of Steins;Gate, it just doesn’t really draw me in. The conspiracies aren’t crazy enough, and the main character isn’t charismatic enough. It’s like something’s missing. Or maybe he just spent too much time in the second episode going from chick to chick. The only reason I’m watching Steins;Gate is for the mystery and not the character relationships.

      Despite the racy premise, I felt like Astarotte’s Toy pulled its punches.

      Reply
      1. inushinde

        I can see where you’re coming from there. Still, I like that Steins;Gate has a more subtle buildup than, say, Higurashi.
        I mean Shiki started out incredibly slow, but it was pretty damn good at building atmosphere and an environment of hopeless paranoia.
        If the characters in Steins;Gate had a little more development, rather than needless introductions, I think it’d be my favorite show of the season.

        Eh, to each their own with Astarotte’s Toy. I just hated Astarotte herself. There were one or two gags that I found enjoyable, and I’m thankful that it didn’t get very graphic later on, but I’m dreading to see where the series goes.
        Then again, it’s only at the first episode, and it’s semi-unique in how it sets up the same old song and dance.

        Reply
        1. E Minor Post author

          I meant to say Astarotte’s Toy had no guts. It felt so half assed. If it wants to be raunchy, actually push the envelope. The show just ended up being mundane.

          Reply
          1. inushinde

            I doubt it’ll do anything raunchy beyond having the male lead react in horror at what she needs, her overreact in a catty manner, and hilarity not ensue. But hey, I could be wrong.

            Reply
  4. reddit alien

    Another show airing this season, C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control, will be simulcasted by Funimation next week. It seems to revolve around get-rich-quick schemes, mysterious financial districts, girls with antlers (take THAT catgirls), and altogether bizarre, science fiction – possibly Eden of the East style.

    Reply
  5. thoughtcannon

    The one comment I have about Astarotte and the “if it looks and smells like shit” part of that is what shit vendor you go to. While Scamp for the most part uses direct quotes from sources I wouldn’t be surprised if he colors those quotes or picks and chooses information that he intends to put on the charts. For instance the ANN summary doesn’t mention bodily fluids at all. Case in point would be the Seikon no Qwaser S2 entry (not that it isn’t accurate).

    Not that Astarotte is a great show or anything, the ANN summary forgoing the bodily fluids bit actually makes this sound even more like Zero no Tsukaima. Unless the OP is incredibly misleading the daughter of the dude featured more heavily than the dude himself.

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      That’s a good point, but then you’d have to consider that ANN could “color” things just as well. Their version is so bland and whitewashed in comparison. I don’t know where Scamp gets his source; regardless, the whole semen thing was out there from the start. You’d be hard pressed to find many anime fans who didn’t know the two main things about this anime: 1) the semen nonsense and 2) Kugimiya Rie.

      Reply
  6. Bloub

    Hello, I haphazardly fell here a few days ago and I put the blog in my favorites… I came to visit it just now and first I’d like to say it’s pretty cool to have such a thing to help me selecting an anime when I get bored and want to watch one.
    However I see that from this article to the one posted today, no one decided to talk again about Sket Dance as if nobody tried to follow it, which is I think a pity, because the serie deserves it.
    In fact, I admit that the episode wasn’t that fun ; but personnaly, after watching it, I felt curious about the manga and I started reading it… And seriously, it was a real surprise ! I just couldn’t stop reading until the end, and I have very often been litteraly laughing out loud (and that is something, since I’m not really keen on mangas, I think it’s sort of troublesome to read)
    Well, now that I’ve read it all, there’s no more fun for me to watch (except that it is rather a good job on the animation), but it would be sad to abandon it only after the first episodes, because this anime has so much to offer !
    There it is, I guess I can shut my mouth, now. (PS : sorry there might be a few mistakes in my message, I’m French…)

    Reply
    1. E Minor Post author

      Your English is fine. As for Sket Dance, I did watch a couple more episodes even though I didn’t write about them. From what I did see, it’s okay for an anime, but it’s also kind of stuck in a limbo. Not a great anime, but not bad enough to make fun of. You might be right — maybe it does need another chance. I’ll try a couple more episodes when I get some free time.

      Reply

Please refrain from posting spoilers or using derogatory language. Basically, don't be an asshole.

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.