Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"Kotoura-san" and "Sasami-san@Ganbaranai" Episodes 1-7 Thoughts

First off I want to reiterate how sincerely sorry I am for being so lazy on posting here the past couple of weeks. I have been hammered (not the good kind) with projects at school and I went home last weekend for my birthday so I have really been putting these off. I will be resuming my schedule of posting at least one thing a week starting this week.

So two anime that I have kind of left in the dark, Kotoura-san and Sasami-san@Ganbaranai have recently hit the halfway point for this anime season at episode seven. I simply adore everything about Kotoura-san but still find myself on the fence with Sasami-san@Ganbaranai.
So good stuff first; Kotoura-san!!! I have been in love with this show ever since the first episode aired even if the first episode had a completely different tone than the rest of the show. I could go all fanboy on you and just say, “Alasdfkjdklj  it’s so awesome blababla” but I rather give you some concrete reasons to why it’s a good show. First things first; what the hell has been going on? The show follows Haruka who for some reason was born with the ability to read people’s minds. As she learns to harness this power however, she unfortunately blabs about every little thing she hears so she ends up telling everyone everything about each other (keep in mind she’s like five or six years old so she doesn’t know any better). These actions result in her losing all her friends and even causing her parents to divorce (ouch). All hope seems lost until she meets Yoshihisa who seems to turn her world around. Yoshihisa doesn’t mind that Haruka reads his mind and over a small period of time, their circle expands to the ESP club at their school. Within the club, Yoshihisa and Haruka meet Daichi, Yuiko, and later on Yoshihisa’s childhood friend Hiyori joins. Essentially the show quickly evolves into a “What’s the club going to do today?” sort of format. While this might provide a boring atmosphere for some viewers, it’s the character interactions that keep me coming back for more. The perverse Yoshihisa provides some hilarious moments between him and Haruka since she can pretty much see every dirty thought he has (even about other women). The show is also very slapsticky so if you are not a fan of short punchline jokes then stay far away from this show. 
On the technical side of the show, the animation is kind of hard to explain. On one hand it looks very simplistic but on the other its color template and how light reflects off of characters and objects make it look very appealing. I guess you can say it’s a generically awesome looking anime. Sound wise I love the opening song as well as the ending. Music during the show is pretty good but not Aria great. Voice actors seem to be doing a good job so no complaints there. 

Overall the show is just a blast to watch each week and with some foreseeable plot devices coming to light, I can only hope that it will continue to get better and better.
Lastly we have the very strange Sasami-san@Ganbaranai. At first I only kept watching this show for two reasons; the unique looking animation and the WTF factor. The only anime I can think of to compare it to is Humanity Has Declined. It’s odd way of presenting the information, humor, and plot is something almost straight out of Humanity Has Declined but instead of being placed in a post-World War w/e timeline, the show takes place in what appears to be a modern day Japan setting. To quickly catch you up to speed, the show takes around four episodes to actually tell you wtf is going on and why Sasami is so damn important. Sasami is essentially part of a cult (ran away but we all know that wouldn’t work out in the end) that glorifies the women and transfers superpower like abilities to them. Oh they also treat the men of the clan/cult as slaves. Sasami seems to be able to change reality around her unknowingly so that’s why Tsurugi and her gang of misfits are around to keep the piece. Other than the fix up gang and Sasami, the only recurring character is Sasami’s brother Kamiomi who she seems to have a tsundere like attitude towards and seems to also have a somewhat sexual attraction to (GEEZE NEVER SEEN THAT TYPE OF CHARACTER BEFORE -__-). Each episode seems to be somewhat self-contained and does not need any real prior knowledge to watch (other than the first couple episodes) so feel free to jump in anywhere if you want to see if you like it. If you do, make sure you then go start at episode one so you get all the little things. Technical things aside, the plot of the show is just…strange and for me not enough to keep me interested. It jumps around a lot and some episodes will take almost the entire length to see wtf is going on. But in my honest opinion you are only sticking around for the weird and also the awesome animation.
Like I stated previously, the animation in this show is quite unique looking and just very appealing (to me). Colors are bright, character models are defined but not at the same time (just like Humanity Has Declined), eyes look awesome (love me some great eye animation), and the set pieces are pretty awesome. Now that I think about it some more, this show shares a lot more things with Humanity Has Declined than just the slapstick humor. The animation style is very closely related from how the character models are drawn to even the way the eyes look. So if you liked how Humanity Has Declined looked then you are in luck here. The animation is great even though you should already know that since SHAFT are the ones animating it (Nisemonogatari, Bakemonogatari, Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei, need I bring up more awesome looking SHAFT anime?). Oh yeah sound; it’s good I guess?

Overall the show is just random so if you are into that kind of thing give it a shot. Animation is quite good and the noise it makes isn’t distracting.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

10,000 Views...WTF

So I don't know how but I just recently hit 10,000 total views on this blog which is totally insane. Most of the views are probably from Google or other search engine searches but regardless 10,000 people is quite a feat. I would like to take the time to thank all the returning viewers. I have fallen behind on my usual pace due to some projects at school but I promise that I will put forth a better effort in getting posts and reviews out faster. I intend to have three posts out by this coming Friday. Two of them will be about currently airing anime and one will be about something not anime related (HINT: Superheros (kind of)).

Once again thank you so much for stopping by and I hope that you will come back again!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"Chihayafuru 2" WTF Is It About? "Da Capo III" Episodes 4-6 and "Maoyuu Maou Yuusha" Episodes 4-6 Thoughts

So with +8 anime to keep up with (and also my recent conclusion of both seasons of To Aru Majutsu no Index), I have fallen a little behind on my anime posts. To spice some things up, I am going to talk about my experiences with three very different anime. The one I hate (Da Capo III), the decent one (Maoyuu Maou Yuusha), and the one that covers something I don’t give a damn about but still like the characters (Chihayafuru 2).
Brace yourself for the super skinny but big breasted boring characters. Boobs...IT'S PLOT RIGHT?
So let’s talk about Da Capo III first since someone actually took the time to leave a comment on my previous post. So far six episodes have rolled on by and not one has kept me interested for more than two minutes. I do not know why so many people are just raving how awesome this show is when the only redeeming qualities are the animation and the music. The show is god awful boring because nothing happens….NOTHING. Every scene just consists of Kiyotaka talking to possible romance option #1; five minutes later we now have Kiyotaka talking to all possible romance options in the club room. This would be fine if we had some character development going on but every conversation is just a static progression and nothing important comes out of it. I want to like the characters I really do but since Rikka and Sara are the only female leads that have been somewhat explored, it’s kind of hard to root or even care for the others. The music however is another story entirely. I absolutely love the music they chose to put in the anime because it is so fun to play on top of. In fact, if the music wasn’t so good I would have dropped the show. The only reason I still watch the show is because while I watch some static characters, I can play along to the songs on my guitar. So yeah I will definitely buy the OST but there is no way I will financially support the anime itself. If you are looking for a school romance try Clannad or the Amagami SS series.
Now for the decently interesting Maoyuu Maou Yuusha. Last time I spoke out how the initial episodes make the anime feel like a spiritual successor to Spice and Wolf; that statement unfortunately praises this anime too much. Six episodes have now completed and unfortunately it is starting to drag. The main hook-line-and-sinker for me initially was the character development between the Demon King and the Hero. The show unfortunately separates the two after the initial episode and it is not until episode six that they reunite. Another issue is the pacing of the show; one second it’s spring and a conversation later it’s winter…? There is so much time skipped that I started to feel a little detached from the world the anime was trying create. I know that the whole purpose was to show how the Demon King’s plans were working out (with the crop rotations) but fast forwarding too much will leave an undesired effect on the audience. Another issue is the blatant fan service surrounding the Demon King. There isn’t any nudity or suggestive themes but the whole G cup bouncing physics is starting to somewhat get in the way of the mood the anime is trying to set. But one thing that cannot be overlooked is that yes this anime has striking similarities to Spice and Wolf; economics and trade play a huge role, the wise non-human female character is very clever, and a slow developing romance between both main character slowly pans out. These are all things that made Spice and Wolf so enjoyable but it will take a lot more than these traits to pull this anime out of the small rut it has dug itself into.
And finally the anime that brings in a sport that likely 90% of the world has never even heard of; Chihayafuru 2. This season of Chihayafuru picks up directly off of where the previous one left off so there shouldn’t be any confusion if you haven’t watched it in some time. The show does a pretty decent job of giving a very short explanation of what has been going on but you really do need to watch the first season to get the full entertainment value out of this show. The show revolves around a card game called Karuta which is a fast paced game that utilizes the Ogura Hyakunin Isshu poems as a reference point. Each player has a stack of cars (the poems) that they lay out in any particular order they see fit. The object of the game is to match up the correct poem’s read by the reader before the enemy player can. Cards are won when a player reaches out and grabs (or in anime fashion bash the card clear across the room) the correct corresponding card with the rest of the poem being read. So yeah sounds interesting right?...no it’s really not but the show makes it interesting which means it’s doing a great job. If you look at different anime in the past, you will find many of them make certain sports look way too fun and interesting. Tennis had The Prince of Tennis, baseball had Major Season, racing had Initial D and Capeta, and the pastime of beating the crap out of people was glorified in the Dragonball series. 
If this show doesn't make you want to go buy a racquet, then something is wrong with you.
By far one of the hardest working protagonists I have ever seen.
What each of these anime (including Chihayafuru) has done is make the subject matter very interesting. Even if the sport being showcased somehow didn’t appeal to you, the characters started to grow on you. If you have seen any of the Major seasons then you know how charismatic Goro is. Even if you did not like baseball, Goro made you want him to succeed. If you did not feel anything for Goro and his dream then you have no heart. This is exactly what Chihayafuru is also riding on, the likeability of the characters to present you (the audience) with a story based around something that normal people would not care for. I have kind of rambled on how sports anime work and not how and why Chihayafuru is worth picking up. What I can tell you about this anime is that you will like Chihaya, Taichi, and the rest of the Karuta club because they all have ambitions and in typical anime fashion will do anything necessary to make them come true. I promise to actually get in-depth to what is going on in the show in a later post but I thought I would at least explain why you should give this anime a shot. Most people read the synopsis and pass it off because they think an anime based on a card game would be boring to watch. I strongly encourage that if this show interests you that you start on the first season as this season directly follows the events from the first.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

"Warm Bodies" Movie Review

HEY here is something new; something not anime related! Don't get your hopes up for more posts not anime related but I just recently watched this film with a group of friends and thought it was worth talking about.

So let’s talk about it; the movie is set in a somewhat modern time frame where zombies are running rampant throughout the world. The entire movie takes place in a general area so we never see the effects the outbreak has had on the entire world but the movie still does a decent job creating a very paranoid world for the surviving humans. Without ruining and spoiling the beginning of the movie, some stuff happens and Julie (the main female lead) ends up residing with the zombie R at an abandoned airport filled with other zombies. Most zombies are all brain dead and are not capable of thought provoking ideas but R seems to be able to think, act, and talk on the level of a normal (errr somewhat slow) human. As the story progresses we see that R begins to take on more and more human characteristics as well as regain some of the key vital signs of being human. R has only one real (zombie) friend named M that does not play a huge role until the middle part of the movie. From there on out he becomes a key part of the final act. 

It’s actually quite difficult to talk about the movie without giving anything important away. The trailers made the movie look like it was going to be much more action orientated with fights between the zombies and humans but what really happened was 95% romantic comedy and 5% guns blazing. Note that this isn’t a bad thing and in fact is a great thing. If you want a guns blazing zombie film with comedy then go watch Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead. This movie gives us the fill we need for combining a light hearted romance with the oh so overused zombie genera. What I can tell you about the movie is that the character development between R and Julie seems quite forced in the beginning but after a while they do seem to develop some chemistry (even though there is something real f$#ked up about what R does to get to know her better…). The supporting cast (essentially the zombie M and Julie’s friend Nora) do not play huge roles until the later half of the movie but when it is their time to shine, they do a pretty good job advancing the plot. 

The locations for the movie were actually picked fairly well. The abandoned airport had a very eerie feeling which seemed to make it the perfect place for a bunch of zombies. We do not get to see very much of the human’s camp or the area between the camp and the airport so if the whole airport setting doesn’t do it for you, you might find this a turn off. The costume design and makeup for the movie was pretty spot on (it shouldn’t be that hard to dress up zombies with some old raggedy clothes) throughout the entire film. The clothes for R and M were torn and ripped in many places but they had a certain “sheen” to them that made them appealing and fitting.
Who ever was in charge of the makeup department should be praised.
The performances were in my opinion pretty good. It took me a while to warm up to Julie but once the chemistry between her and R sparks, she was enjoyable to watch. The supporting cast did a very good job…supporting the main cast. M provides help in the most key moments of the movie and Nora sort of does as well. Being a romantic comedy there was...you know…comedy in it. The zombies R and M have many conversations that include some hilarious slapstick comedy (NOTE: if you do not like short slapstick type jokes then 80% of this movie will not be appealing to you). Overall the actors did a great job creating some enjoyable scenes.
The back and forth scenes between R and M are basic but priceless
Overall the film exceeded my expectations even if the trailers made it look like a more action orientated film. It starts out a little slow for my tastes but by the end of the film I had a pretty big grin on my face. SPOILER: I will go out and say that the whole “love will make zombies come back to life” thing was pretty lame but it did serve as a suitable plot device for this film. I was glad that this was not a typical high adrenaline zombie killing movie; it’s nice to see a different aspects injected into the genera.

Final Score: 7.5/10

Saturday, February 2, 2013

"Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai NEXT" Episode 4 Thoughts IT'S NOT A TRAP

Yay now I won't feel awkward watching this scene.
Let me start out this post by saying I F#@%ING KNEW IT. We have had males who look like females (Ryuunosuke Akasaka, Terumi Minamoto, ext.) and a Hideyoshi but ever since I was introduced to Yukimura in Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai I just couldn’t believe that he/she/it was a male. The anime world can make some unbelievable things a reality but Yukimura just couldn’t be a male. Well in this week’s episode the cat was let out of the bag after the bathroom scene. No longer do we have to write Yukimura off the list of potential candidates for Kodaka; Kodaka x Yukimura!

Episode four was pretty interesting to watch; the whole club ended up going to a theme park to enjoy a day off from school. Sena, Kodaka, and Kobato ended up going to a show where thanks to Sena’s help Kobato was able to participate in and win a prize. Since Sena and Kodaka were mistaken as a married couple, we saw Sena talking to herself about how they would have to start dating before anything like that would occur. After the show was over however, a contest between Yozora and Sena erupted. Both of them would not back down on who could ride the “Black Dragon” roller coaster the most (even though they both are scared of either roller coasters and/or heights). What resulted from their contest was both of them losing their lunch all over Kodaka (gross). The gang ended up going to a spa area to wash his clothes. In the meantime while the group was enjoying the bath facilities at the location, Kodaka accidently sneaks a peak at Yukimura where load and behold the truth is finally out.

Hey! Important stuff is finally happening in this season’s show. We have had a marriage proposal by Sena’s father, a (almost) kiss between Sena and Kodaka, and we found out that Yukimura is indeed a super cute girl (a reverse trap?). For a show only four episodes in I have to say that I judged it harshly at first. The comedy aspect, the witty (and sometimes perverse) conversations, and character development are still intact in this show. We have seen Yozora become quite defensive as Sena and Yukimura become closer and closer to Yukimura which is a good thing because at the rate this show is going the history between Kodaka and Yozora will most likely prevail. 

There is not as much character growth as the first season but with eight episodes left I am sure that we will see some of the characters mature. It’s not my favorite anime of this season but it’s still pretty awesome. Pick it up if you like slapstick comedy.