Sunday, April 30, 2006

Spring 2006

Watching anime can be tiring sometimes. First week of the April was quite hectic, but in the end it was surprinsingly easy to pick good ones. Maybe i am picky, but those 7 series i chose i most likely also finish. I hate wasting time with some so-so series and drop in the halfway only to notice i used hours from my life to the useless. I did that before and almost stopped watching anime altogether.

If/when someone sub Saiunkoku monogatari i probably give it proper look. Unlike Futago and Kirarin that have fairly easy japanese, subject alone is so hard that there isn't point to watch it without subs.

I have written review about all shows i intend to watch so just general thoughts. Aria the natural was sequel i waited long time and every bit of it still is godlike. I am not sure if next season can offer anything like that. Nana is equally awesome. I haven't seen movie or read manga so that i can fully enjoy it without thinking all the time how that and that was done differently in the manga.

Along the Nana, Futago and Kirarin finally gave good cute shoujo. I didn't find Ouran host club funny, particularly those twins. Usual shoujo ai fix come from Strawberry panic. Teaching of the story is that if someone denieds your need to kiss every student working moral suffer!

.hack//roots is bit different from others. Story looks interesting, only story oriented series i have liked so far and music is good so i don't see reasons why it wouldn't be good. Ah! my goddess isn't that great as series, but Belldandy (and partly Skuld) has saved it more than once. Semi-interesting anime probably to the end of the world.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Strawberry Panic 3

Aria like feeling that Strawberry panic has is getting stronger all the time, mood of the show is just little more serious. Once again very little actually happened and still it was pretty enjoyable. I am glad there isn't any unnecessary fanservice or guys fooling around. Who needs them anyway? =)

SP looks promising series. More story doesn't hurt, but if they decide to keep this slice of life series i don't complain.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Starship Operators

Group of cadets from defense university find themselves from the war and their nation surrender without fighting. They have technology advanced spaceship so they decide to buy that with help of galactic news network to fight on their own. In the way Amaterasu have several problems finding place to supply ship as Kingdom have labeled them pirates and terrorists. Producer of the network also make requests how they should fight and sometimes those are hard to fit with battle plan.

Speaking of battles, execution works wonderfully. At least 80% of time is used to plan everything properly and all action is tight packed. Even if Amaterasu is powerful comparing to the others spaceships it isn't completely unbeatable. Firing range and accuracy varied depending which weapon is used and SSO also considered that during battles so no "i launch 15 missiles right now because it looks cool without caring if those even have chance to hit the enemy".

Story is the strongest point of the series. It managed to give meaning why characters do something and was quite interesting too. Spaceship that they used reminded me a lot Mirai from Zipang. Technology advanced and sailing alone without knowing who are friends or foes.

As Amaterasu faced enemies crew also suffered casualties. I am glad they didn't do same as Saikano. It dragged on forever how sad it is and that was only irritating. Perfect example is when Sinon's boyfriend died in combat and it was pretty sad moment. But she didn't sorrow that rest of the series, drama works best when it's packed to the small and tight packet.

Music department don't fail as Kawada Mami's and KOTOKO's songs are brilliant. Overall Starship Operators is one of best scifi animes i have seen and everyone who like story oriented scifi and drama should watch it.

Rating: 8,5

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Aria The Natural 3

Akari, Aika and Alice meet Al so they decide to eat in the restaurant and after that Aika asks if Al wants to go to the date with her...i mean asks if they could watch meteor shower together at the night.

Aika clearly likes Al. =) That was my favourite scene from volume 2 so i glad they included it. That felt almost like confession from Aika when she told her feelings to the Al while they romantically watched meteor shower without anyone else there. Way to go Aika. =) President Aria on other hand didn't have that much luck with his loved one.

I could watch Aria forever. That will be sad day when they air final episode of the Aria. I finally found series that can maintain it's awesomeness regardless how many episodes there is and it's shame if second season is only 13 episodes.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu 3

Meh. More i watch Haruhi less funny it is. First episode was hilarious with all that parody and comments from creator. As soon as show started to focus SOS Brigade it only went to downhill. I am not too fond of school comedies so that was expected, but definitely not this much. Second episode was still kind of funny, but there were signs that wouldn't last long. Only way i can describe this episode is boring. Few times i almost smiled, that's about it.

I am not far from dropping this. I don't know if Haruhi try to be something else than pure comedy, but i don't find it worth to watch. If next episode doesn't offer much better i won't watch more.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Strawberry Panic 2

Another day in the school and once again Shizuma try to kiss students, it seems to be her hobby. Second episode was as enjoyable as first one. Animation could be better, but that doesn't matter much. I really like ED now, after seeing that i demand live action version of Strawberry panic right now. =)

And i wonder why Shizuma (i presume that other person is she) is so obsessed towards Nagisa. That preview looks like she is going rape Nagisa...

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Kashimashi Girl meets Girl

Yasuna FTW! I just had to say that at first. If tomboy and lesbian fall in love to the ex-boy what we get? Excellent shoujo ai series of course. =)

Anyway, i don't think i have seen so much jokes and analysis related to sexuality in same series for a while. Our main trio for example. Hazumu is feminine boy who turned into girl because of alien. First she was confused what to do, but eventually accepted that changing back to the male is impossible. Like that things would be just fine, but raising love triangle between her two best friends made it more complicated. Before turning into girl Hazumu had confessed to the Yasuna that he loves her. Yasuna rejected him and as it later turned out reason was her inability to see only grey when looking males.

I have to say i am impressed how well Kashimashi developed relationship between Hazumu, Yasuna and Tomari. I expected rather lighthearted comedy as it was in the beginning of the series. Later half was much more serious and showed some bittersweet feelings girls had. Yasuna's struggle against her illness was sad to watch. It's good she has at least dog so she isn't completely lonely. I didn't like Tomari as much as Yasuna, but she played her part very well.

Series also commented some preferences of love life. In episode 10 when Tomari hear that other girls talked about first kiss and they noticed how she remembered her own experience. After that they said how Tomari used to like Hazumu, but since she is girl now it's not possible for them to be lovers. Gay and lesbian relationships in real life have been quite topic lately in some countries and way topic is handled here is little different from normal in anime.

It has been while since i saw this good side characters, they are all very funny and do exactly what they should in the story. Two aliens who's mission is to study love through Hazumu. Older one is guy who shows quite amount of skin if comparing to non shounen ai male character and other one is cute little girl. She has amazing VA btw. Then there is hilarious teacher who introduces herself (with happy voice) better than i ever could: "I, Tsuki Namiko, without a boyfriend for 35 years since the day i was born...". There is also some guy called Asuta, but he isn't worth of description. Just random dude who accidentaly added to the cast.

Overall Kashimashi is series that shine because of refreshing and each other reinforcing characters. Main trio succeed wonderfully with all angst and drama, side characters give comic relief. That balance nicely the mood. Music is great stuff that fit to the series, especially ED. Overall this was pretty enjoyable anime, i probably watch it again later.

Rating: 8,5

Friday, April 14, 2006

Starship Operators 1

I started watching this solely because of KOTOKO and first episode wasn't that bad. Story tells about group of students who buy spaceship to fight against hostile nation because their own nation surrendered and they want to continue fighting.

Starship operators isn't type of show i usually watch, but it has managed to avoid mechas and show things from little different angle so i am willing to give it a chance. Both OP and ED are also great so there is no reason why i wouldn't.

Sasami Mahou Shoujo Club 1

Another mahou shoujo, this time not so good. It wasn't particularly funny or amazing any other way. But voice acting was main reason why i didn't like this, it sounds too... kiddish. Since there is already so many shoujo series right now i don't have much interest to watch this average series, i get overdose of shoujo otherwise.

Except voice acting i didn't find anything bad, but nothing good either so this is only episode i watch.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Aria The Natural 2

Akari, Aika and Alice have plan to train today, but they end up following treasure maps and find another world in the sky which in this case means of course beautiful scene above the city. Even Aika admire it and Akari also receives title she truly deserve, Mistress of happiness.

That was little different in manga. Events were same, but where those happened was different. Though both ways are enjoyable so i can't complain.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Kirarin Revolution 1

Let's see. We have extremely cute little girl as female lead, mascot, other cute girls, lot of funny shoujo expressions and some good music. Not exactly most original setting, but execution works very well.

I don't have much to say about this. Kirarin Revolution is cute little shoujo and i probably watch rest of the series too.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Wonders of life

Just noticed something (yeah i know, i am slow). If i look general impression of spring season and what shows i have picked there is clearly few things that most have common. Series what include at least 90% females, only little or zero fanservice and a) normal life with more or less realism (Ah! my goddess, Aria, Nana) b) "normal" school life if you can count lesbians in girls-only school normal (Strawberry panic) or c) magical girls (Fushigi).

Other 3 series at the moment, i dropped Kiba because second episode didn't offer miracles so that leaves none shounen here. Suzumiya is open question until i see more and hack, well it's fantasy series.

Why i enjoy slice of life-ish series so much isn't easy question to answer. My taste in anime is quite feminine for guy so that's definitely not common. It's simply relaxing to watch how girls just enjoy their lives without action, guns, mechas or panty shots. And if in the way characters face different issues hard to deal with or feel romantic feelings towards other people even better. Perhaps lack of females as main characters was reason i didn't like Ouran high school host club.

After all this i still watch almost everything once in a while not to feel bored because of repeating same. At least if it's well done and not too long (26 episodes max). But series with non fanservice female lead(s) has much higher chance that i enjoy it and most likely only those can make it to the top10. Outside anime i watch lot of war stuff, mostly documents and follow ice hockey somewhat so i am not mentally female (yet). But that's whole another topic which i talk maybe later.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Nana 1

Looks like my expectations about spring shows hit exactly the spot. First episode of Nana was pure awesomeness from the beginning to the last second. This season will be fantastic.

Firstly, character design is very similar as in Paradise kiss except much more detailed and better looking. And top of that animation is high quality so visual aspect couldn't be better any way. It's amazing how shoujo has capable of moving between comedy and drama so flawlessly, i guess that's reason why i like it so much. I seriously don't know how Nana do it, but there was so many hilarious pure comedy scenes and within seconds serious moment that was there felt exactly like drama.

OP is gorgeous,
i already love it and animation promise great potential of drama. Seriously, i still don't believe what i saw. If Nana will mix awesome drama, comedy, story, animation and jrock i am gonna cry just because this exist. That's series i have waited since i started watching anime. I don't think i have to say how good ED is, you know it already.

If authors don't screw up something very badly which i doubt Nana will be best series of the season.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Aria The Natural 1

I think smile just froze to my face. I haven't laughed this much since end of the first season. Whole cast seems to be lovely as always, now there is Ai too. I really hope that she is regular character now on.

Warm and fuzzy feeling Aria give, i haven't found anywhere else at least not this strongly. It really melt even most cold hearted persons. I can't praise enough voice acting, whole range of types amazingly acted. Alicia enjoy everything that she does, Akari is airhead who is always goofing around and is often sentimental when commenting her own feelings, Aika with hillarious "Embarrassing lines aren't allowed!" comment. Just to name few. Whole cast is heart, brains and body of this series, full of different personalities.

Then there is music. Yui Makino and Round table have made perfect songs for this. Peaceful ones, exactly what series is. At this point if you try to find negative things about Aria you have come to wrong place. This is perfect or "anime of the year" if you are fanboy enough to know meaning of that from certain series.

Friday, April 07, 2006

.hack//Roots 1

That was definitely interesting. I haven't seen any other hack series or played game, but liked this one. First thing i noticed was great quality of animation and character design that pleased my eyes.

I didn't notice anything special in voice acting, decent ones what you easily forget. But music totally kicks ass, especially OP. Background music improved a lot some scenes.

Story didn't fail either and overall first episode was enjoyable, one of few action series i have liked so far this season. Looking forward to see more.

Ah! My Goddess Everyone Has Wings 1

Finally, Belldandy back on action. Looks like second season will be same comedy Skuld trying to separate Keiichi and Bell with romance undertones. I never believed i would say this, but that's really good thing.

Both OP and ED sounds great after first hearing. And i have probably said this more than once, but Inoue Kikuko and Hisakawa Aya are amazing. Those two are main reason why this is so good.

Quality of raw wasn't that great, i think i wait widescreen version before watching more. Number of new shows right now bit too much so that just balance things bit.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu 1

Just noticed that even without review at least half of hits i get from google are related to this so sake of it let's write one. =)

First impression was positive. OP is so awful that it's funny, words of the song and animation just reinforce that. Suzumiya continue with same mood and show parody of mahou shoujo and young wizard with so useless cat.

Episode ended bunch of students cursing why they did this animation begin with. Way how authors started the series is definitely brave, anyone who take risks instead of safe and boring way deserve praises.

I have no idea what happen in next episode, but hopefully Mikuru continue her adventures. I am not sure will i able to watch serious action series without laughing anytime soon and it's your fault, Mikuru.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Strawberry Panic 1

That was lot better than i expected. Unlike one unnamed yuri anime this season, first episode of Strawberry panic was actually very good. There was already romance tension between characters and comedy was enjoyable. Episode ended nicely, ED was bit suprise as it include two real female actors. Still continued the mood of the show very well. Both OP and ED songs are great also.

Overall, Strawberry panic is promising series. Looking forward to see more.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Fushigi Hoshi No Futago Hime Gyu 1

I am now officially hooked. All characters are so cute and comedy hillarious that it's impossible to watch this without laughing. And it's mahou shoujo so can there be anything wrong? =)

If you can watch this and say without lying they aren't cute i give you a cookie. I don't know if story is good, who cares anyway. Did i say they are so cute already?

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Anne Freaks 1 (manga)

I have to say reading Anne freaks was weird experience. Story is rather dark, including killing of own parents and torturing other people (art only show bloody scissors, but you get the idea). And all of sudden there is funny faces what i have used to see in shoujo. Weird, but works very well.

There are 3 main characters so far. Anna, girl without conscience and hesitation kills people, yet still smiles a lot and likes kids. Yuri who had problems to bury his mother's dead body and Anna helped him so police didn't catch him. Also has raising romantic interest towards Anna. Mitsuba is last person of our team that fight against terrorist group. He is still too newbie when it comes to killing and just like Yuri try to save innocent lives if possible.

Overall, i like Anne freaks a lot. It's bloody, funny and same time covers serious issues between parents and childs.

Rating: 8,5