Fall 2009: First Thoughts

Fall2009

Now that anime has normalized to the level of everyday television sitcoms and dramas for me, I have reduce my consumption of the medium to hardcore mainstream titles and the seasonal aberrations. The simple fact is that the odd ducks tend to be the real winners of any season, and anything else just redefines mediocrity by kicking the bar down a notch. I may eat these words someday, but I’m confident that it won’t happen this season.

Queen’s Blade 2
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: D+
I’ve never understood softcore porn. I understand regular pornography or playful teasing in regular movies, but not softcore porn. I’ve never understood Queen’s Blade. I understand hentai or fan-service, but not Queen’s Blade. This is a show about scantily clad girls with massive jugs fighting in an increasingly raunchy manner that is so blatantly artificial that I’m surprised the Seiyuu don’t break off from the script to call this show out for what it truly is:

Viagra without access to an actual girl.

Kampfer

Kampfer
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: D+
So here is yet another run of the mill fan-service anime that is watchable due to relatively high production values but will surely fall apart in terms of atmosphere, story, characters… the whole shebang really. Watch it to meet this season’s cleavage shot quota, or better yet, don’t watch it at all.

Armored Librarians: Book of Bantorra
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: C-
When I watched the first episode of this anime, I thought that it didn’t have enough atmosphere to sustain the rather dark ideas it presented. After watching the second episode, I realized that the ideas weren’t substantial enough to sustain such a heavy atmosphere. Armored Librarians is an odd mesh of an actions series about super-powered bishounen and chicks and a tragedy about humans who are brainwashed and turned into human bombs. Considering that these concepts fail to come across as shocking or particularly impacting, I fail to see how this synergy will pan out to anything meaningful.

Railgun

To Aru Kagaku no Railgun
Episodes seen: 4
Initial Impression: C+
I’ve put a lot of slack on Kampfer and this is the part of the seasonal overview where I get bitten in the back. I like to Aru Kagaku no Railgun. It may be nothing but a pandering anime about cute girls acting cute, but it does it with such high energy and bounciness that I can’t help but be entertained. J.C. Staff has somehow perfected its own form of moe that even I can sign on to.

Inuyasha: Final Act.
Episodes seen: 3
Initial Impression: C-
If I actually applied all the economic theory I’m learning these days, I would have dropped this show even before it started. With no expectation that this will be anything but the painfully prolonged melodrama being forced to a close, I should have cut my losses at 167 episodes and skip the final 26. Such a shame my inner completionist self won’t let this slip by.

SacredBlacksmith

The Sacred Blacksmith
Episodes seen: 3
Initial Impression: C-
I remember a time when sword and magic fantasy anime told epic tales in a dignified tenor. I remember a time when manly heroes were manly heroes and female elves actually had breasts worth looking at. The Sacred Blacksmith is essentially a moe anime with the whole sword and magic bit as a lure. Expect the usual tripe that comes out of this genre. (But then again, at least I haven’t seen this a million times in far superior fantasy books).

Seitokai no Ichizon
Episodes seen: 3
Initial impression: C+
Seitokai no Ichizon is a slice of life moe harem anime that makes fun of slice of life moe harem anime and the culture that surrounds it. Unlike Lucky Star, this anime is afflicted with ADD and bolts through half a dozen gags before Peter Griffin can complete the line “remember the time…” Though the first episode kicked off with a bang, the show is starting to show the wear and tear of its pacing merely three episodes in. I suggest you watch the first episode if you get your kicks by counting how many anime/video game references you can spot in any five minute interval.

Letter Bee

Letter Bee
Episodes seen: 3
Initial impression: C
Now this is something I haven’t seen in a while. Letter Bee is essentially one in a long line of inspirational stories about the power of will in the face of adversity told in a fantasy setting. The focus of the title is on a young “Letter Bee” who is given the task of transporting important cargo across dangerous, monster infested terrains. The characters are self-aware and the presentation is largely non-derogatory, but the anime really isn’t all that impressive aside from the fact that the kind of tale the show tells is uncommon these days. You may be swept by the beautiful choice of colors and the novelty of the overall concept, but I doubt this will have the strength to pull at your soul.

Nyan! Koi
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: C-
This anime is about yet another teenage boy with crap luck who accidentally decapitates a cat god statue and is thus cursed with the ability to speak with cats. He must now fullfill 100 wishes of his neighborhood cats or else face the final form of the curse where he will be turned into a cat himself. Besides this overly absurd hook, the show is panning out to be yet another fan-service romance anime to skip.

Kiminitodoke

Kimi ni Todoke
Episodes seen: 3
Initial impression: B+
Kimi ni Todoke is one of the best titles of the season. Though the show taps quite a few tropes of the shoujo genre, there’s something irresistibly charming about the protagonist Kuronoma Sawako. As a shy, misunderstood person, her perspective of the world, the way she hold herself and the way she is presented is intriguing and quite pleasing to watch. Production I.G. may have not had too many grand slams over the last few years, but I think that this could be one.

Kobato
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: C-
Wow, I can’t believe CLAMP is so popular that they can get a show about nothing. I normally bash moe anime for being only about cute girls being cute, but at least they have some back-story or semblance of conflict. Kobato is literally just about a cute girl being cute. Though the show looks good and has a pinch of charm, it will ultimately only appeal the hardcore of the hardcore of CLAMP fans.

Trapze

Trapeze
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: B-
Trapeze is the first anime to trip over my WTF meter this year. Part psychological drama and part acid trip, this show is really unlike anything I’ve seen before. If you can enjoy novelty for its own sake, give this a whirl and get absorbed into the bright, colorful, drug induced world.

Aoi Bungaku
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: A-
Absolutely beautiful.I cannot praise Studio Madhouse enough for the kind of thick, rich atmosphere it produces with Aoi Bungaku. This anime is an adapatation of six classical literature pieces across twelve episodes. The first story is about a revolutionary artistic accused of murder told in a highly engrossing and slightly neurotic fashion. Since I’m not familiar with the original six classical pieces, I cannot speculate how the rest of the stories will fare, but so long as the atmosphere remains at such a high caliber, I can’t imagine this failing.

Winter Sonata

Winter Sonata
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: C
Wow, they’ve just laid the melodrama as thick as mayonnaise. Only in Korean melodramas do you get lines like “If [blindness] is my fate, I won’t run from it because when I close my eyes I can see your smiling face.” The show may decide to change to less heavy handed gears past episode 0, but with the original Korean director on board, I’m doubtful much will change. Watch this if you’re a woman in your 30s dreaming of a drop-dead gorgeous romantic who devotes his every other waking moment to think of poetic lines about you that he will whisper into the abyss.

Sasameki Koto
Episodes seen: 2
Initial impression: B-
For a show about lesbians, Sasameki Koto feels highly (and oddly) innocuous. Perhaps it’s the simple character designs, the slow pacing or the soft music, but the series comes across as rather sweet. Though the series doesn’t come across as particularly distinctive or impressive that doesn’t stop it from being entertaining. There are enough quirks and eccentric actions to enhance the rather understated melodrama to a pleasant viewing experience.

Shana

Shakugan no Shana S
Episodes seen: 1
Initial impression: C+
Yay! Filler! No, there’s no sarcasm here. As much as I like the franchise, the show’s melodrama has grown insufferable, so I rather watch some random fluff about Shana and Yuji switching bodies resulting in some random hijinks. Any devoted fan of Shana has already watched this, but for those that haven’t, you honestly aren’t missing much.

7 Responses to “Fall 2009: First Thoughts”

  1. […] from:  Fall 2009: First Thoughts » Behind The Nihon Review By admin | category: script girl | tags: asian-hot, death-race, jugs-fighting, […]

  2. The Winter Sonata blurb is hilarious. Perhaps I should try it out for some chuckles. Though I’m stating the obvious, I feel it needs reiteration: every season has one or zero gems, with this summer’s being Bakemonogatari. I haven’t seen Blue Literature (Aoi Bungaku), but all the praise I’ve been hearing from you all reliable sources, I’d say that’s our winner this time around.

    You’re harsh on some shows, but maybe that just says something about me and my newfound tolerance for idiocy. Moe has infected and ravaged nearly everything, and I haven’t come to terms with the fact that I’m wasting my time. My personal notion that “non-moe” anime is guaranteed to be relatively decent may be confirmed once again when I do get to Aoi Bungaku… or Trapeze? My faith in anime as a compelling medium for storytelling gets hacked at continuously. Maybe I should just settle on telescoping out unique approaches to animation and visual representation, because at least those things will always intrigue me.

  3. Boooooo needs higher ratings for Tsundere-gun and Trapeze~

    Anyway, I remember your rating on the first episode of Mouryou to be A-, which I thought easily deserved A+, being one of the best first episode I’ve ever watched, so I think Aoi Bungaku is going to be quite epic (plus how everyone is raving about it).

  4. I lol’d at the Winter Sonata bit XD

    Looks like Kimi ni Todoke reached you, and I couldn’t be happier. B+ is fair I guess, but my biased senses would tell me it deserves higher 😛

    I’m gonna have to hop on the Trapeze and Aoi Bungaku bandwagon, if only for the sake of joining the ‘kewl kids’ XD

  5. I recently watched the Shana S OVA. My thoughts were, this is cute… but pretty pointless. I’ve really liked Aoi Bungaku and Kimi no Todoke, which is sweetness overload that somehow works, and I think Trapeze has got potential as a “now for something completely different” type show. Railgun is at least a million times better than Index so far (excuse the hyperbole) and Sasameki Koto fills my yuri quote nicely… but other than that, wow this season is poor. Last season had a lot of good anime (and arguably one great one), but this one just utterly pales in comparison.

  6. This season, more than some in recent memory, has has some real shit first episodes. Book of Bantorra nearly lost me at “Hello!”, Kobato bored me to tears, Letter Bee’s first two episodes sucked, and Nyan Koi came off as way too run of the mill. All of these have improved greatly since those first episodes. Book of Bantorra is now intriguing, Kobato is still boring but making reference to other CLAMP manga so now it’s interesting, Letter Bee’s third through fifth episodes have been better, and Nyan Koi introduced a most awesome female character in episode 3 so now it’s watchable.

    Kampfer, on the other hand, is getting worse as we go on.

    I think you’re being a touch unfair to Sacred Blacksmith. Yes, it’s got moe elements. Yes, it’s not your more realistic (Jesus) fantasy environments. But it has the same overall feel to it that Full Metal Alchemist had. There is a sense that while the world they live is in relatively relaxed and casual, there is enough of a sinister undertone that things could get dicey at any second. No, it hasn’t kicked a plot into gear yet, but when it does, it could be pretty damn good.

    I’m with you on the rest.

  7. I think it is very humbling not to be able to do what you want when you want as much as you want. We used to be able to do that as cleihrdn and now I find each stage of life brings me new adjustments. And some of my illnesses like fibromylgia and degenerative disc disease have limited me before my time learning to accept the things you cannot change and listen to your body can be a hard lesson to learn at times but well worth it when you finally do. I find if I can focus more on what I CAN do than what I can’t then I listen better! Blessings to you. Thanks for your prayers and friendship. You are in my prayers as well.

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