Friday, 6 May 2011

Spring 2011

as per usual, will be blogging each new Spring series as i watch them. all biased opinions ahead, so don't flame me for what i feel.

all biased opinions are up!

Minami (CV Hikasa Youko) takes over as Hodokubo High School's baseball club manager when her best friend, Yuuki (CV Hanazawa Kana), is in hospital for a long term stay due to weak health. while looking for a book that can teach her about managing a club, she accidentally bought Peter Drucker's book, "Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices", on business management instead. not intending to waste the money spent, she starts to manage the club using the book with surprisingly good results.

the usual "high school trying to get into Koshien" story, but with the focus being more on business strategies than the baseball itself. not that there isn't, just not enough. as it is now, we're actually at the end of its 2-weeks-10-episodes run. after being postponed to April 25 from its initial March 14 start date due to the Japan quake, much of the hype, at least for me, has died off. but since it's such a short run, there's no reason not to watch it either. how often do you find an anime series that completes in less than 2 weeks anyway?

30-sai no Hoken Taiiku
Hayao (CV Shimone Hiro), a 30 year old salaryman, is visited by love god Daigorou (CV Okiayu Ryotaro), who is trying all means to help him get rid of his virginity. unknown to Hayao, his love interest Natsu (CV Nazuka Kaori), also have two love goddesses Pi-chan and Ku-chan (CV Kitamura Eri) helping her.

while it isn't as hilarious as Azazel-san, it does have its funny moments, like Daigorou's constant "butt" offering and the censoring of certain words being voiced over by Tachiki Fumihiko. any longer than 15 minutes per episode, i would have grown bored of Hayao being constantly rejected by Natsu.

sequel to the sci-fi historical gag comedy set in an alternative Edo-era conquered by aliens called Amanto, Gintoki (CV Sugita Tomokazu) AKA Gin-san/Gin-chan, Shinpachi (CV Sakaguchi Daisuke) and Kagura (CV Kugimiya Rie) continues to work odd jobs in the Yorozuya to pay their monthly rental.

i'm not technically done with my Gintama marathon, but thought i'd better get this review over and done with. probably the first time and only time, most of my Gintama episodes are watched while doing something else in the background, reading online scans, general web surfing. and you can only do it while watching Gintama, because it is the only anime you can give half your attention, and yet still get all the jokes. plus, i like the various parodies of other anime/manga.

and Elizabeth.

gintama elizabeth

everyone should like Elizabeth.

posted 18 Apr,

C: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control
taken from ANN: The Japanese government was rescued from the brink of financial collapse by the Sovereign Wealth Fund. For its citizens, however, life has not improved, and unemployment, crime, suicide, and despair are rampant. Kimimaro (CV Uchiyama Kouki), raised by his maternal grandmother, is a scholarship student whose only dream is to avoid all this and live a stable life. One day, however, he meets a man Masakaki (CV Sakurai Takahiro) who offers him a large sum of money if he'll agree to pay it back. From then on his fate is radically altered as he's drawn into a mysterious realm known as "The Financial District".

as Ep1 is your general introduction to the major characters, all that is important to the story now is that when Kimimaro use the card Masakaki gives him, he is transported to a alternative time-space where he will have to use something akin to an life-size avatar to fight. sounds similar to Star Driver, with the avatars replacing cybodies as the fighting medium. and you get your opponent's money from winning the battle.

my strongest impression has gotta be Masakaki who looks like Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter, and is just about as freaky in character too. well, many of the characters have their freaky moments, but Masakaki tops them all.

Ao no Exorcist
Okumura Rin (CV Okamoto Nobuhiko) has the trouble of holding down a proper job. while it's technically not his fault, he's definitely hardworking enough, he has the worst luck of getting involved in acts-of-injustice when he is working. his younger twin brother Yukio (CV Fukuyama Jun) is his complete opposite, being excellent in studies and sports and is going into a prestigious school on a scholarship. things change when he starts to see strange things that normal people can't see.

turns out these "things" are demons and the reason why Rin is able to see them now is revealed by his foster father, Father Fujimoto (CV Fujiwara Keiji), who tells him that he has awaken as the son of Satan, blue flames spurting from his body and all. as to how and why he becomes an exorcist, instead of being the one that should be targeted, that will be shown in the next episode.

spring 2011-04

there wasn't any huge battle scenes in Ep1 but from what i read, that will probably come along in future episodes. emphasis was more on fleshing out the various characters, especially Rin. and with Okamoto-san voicing him, it's almost like watching a tamed version of Accelerator with a sense of justice and humor. definitely will be looking forward to this every week.

on another note, the ED is sung by Korean boyband 2PM, making the ED looks a tad weird with all the boyband MV sequence.

Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko
because of his parent being overseas for business, Makoto (CV Irino Miyu) moves to Tokyo from the countryside to stay with his single aunt Touwa Meme (CV Nonaka Ai). only to find that she has a daughter Touwa Erio (CV Oogame Asuka), who claims that she is an alien, and goes about with a futon tied around her upper body.

Makoto could've brushed it off as his cousin being crazy, if not for the fact that Erio did went missing for six months and was later discovered floating in the ocean with no memories of that time.

as to the truth of whether Erio was really abducted by aliens, i highly doubt that we would get an answer at the end of the show. (these series never do like to give concrete answers.) if anything, i'm watching just for Irino-san.

Hidan no Aria
the seiyuu couple from Toradora are back together in a new action comedy about a special school that trains students as armed detectives called "Butei" to work as paid mercenaries after graduation. hoping to enjoy a normal ordinary life, E-rank Kinji (CV Majima Junji) is intending to get a transfer out of Butei High when he is caught in a bombing on the way to school and is subsequently saved by Aria (CV Kugimiya Rie), the most powerful S-rank Butei student in the assault department.

what most students doesn't know, is that due to a genetic condition, Hysteria Savant Syndrome, a.k.a. “Hysteria Mode”, Kinji can turn from a nonchalant ordinary boy into a smooth-talking playboy with superhero reflexes when he is sexually aroused. because of that, and also due to unfortunate circumstances where he accidentally saw her chest during the whole bombing saving incident, he has incurred the wrath of Aria who is determined to make him her slave for the rest of his high school life.

a typical Rie-chan show, much like Zero no Tsukaima/Shakugan no Shana. but unlike the former two, we actually have a more useful male lead this time who can actually "tackle" (for lack of a better word) the tsundere Rie-chan character. and i'm not as annoyed with Rie-chan for taking up these stereotypical characters as i was a few years ago. must be all the desensitization from watching Gintama and Fairy Tail.

Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai
a group of childhood friends drifted apart after the accidental death of one of their own. and now the ghost of Menma (CV Kayano Ai) is back looking for Jintan (CV Irino Miyu), to make him get all her friends back together again.

hitting me as hard as Cross Game did in Ep1, the ED, a remake version of famous ex-girl-band ZONE's Secret Base, will have you crying through the end of the episode. much like what Cross Game did with Ayaka's song. the cast is fantastic, with Tomatsu Haruka once again, cast as potential love interest Anaru to Irino's Jintan. then there's Sakurai Takahiro and Hayami Saori, with a lesser known Kondou Takayuki rounding off the cast of the childhood friends.

unlike easy-going and cheerful Kou from Cross Game, Jintan doesn't have an easy task ahead of him, seeing how he was hit hardest with Menma's death, and has turned into somewhat of a hikikomori and drifted the furthest away from his friends. however, with only 11 episodes to this show, there shouldn't be much time for any long dragged out plot to feel bored. already i'm thinking that i'll miss watching this. yes, even on the first episode.

Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai II
Keima (CV Shimono Hiro) AKA "Otoshigami" (the Falling God) and Elcea (CV Itou Kanae) are back. while Keima is more than contented just making his 2D girls fall in love with him, his real-life harem is also increasing with the addition of another demon Haqua (CV Hayami Saori) and 3 other new girls, one of which is voiced by Toyosaki Aki.

who can forget the last episode of season 1, where he cleared his game backlog by playing multiple games simultaneously. don't you wish you have the same ability to do that for watching anime too? especially when you have so many shows on your list that it seems almost impossible to find enough time to watch? oh well, maybe that's just me. HA!

A Channel
more four-panel comic strips getting anime adaptations. this time, the main lead is the younger first year high schooler Tooru (CV Yuuki Aoi) who gets into the same school as childhood "bestie" Run (CV Fukuhara Kaori), only to find that she's not the only close friend anymore with the appearance of classmates Yuuko (CV Kotobuki Minako) and Nagi (CV Uchiyama Yumi).

while everyone is keen to get on the K-ON! popularity boat, i'm hard-pressed to say i like it from the start. Tooru's highly protective nature of Run borders a little too much on the yuri side, especially seeing how jealous she gets seeing how close Yuuko is with her. but you gotta admit that Tooru is cute, given how small sized she is and how her long sleeves always flaps around.

still don't think it contents with K-ON! though.

posted 12 Apr,

Sekai Ichi Hatsukoi
BL lovers rejoice! from the author of Junjou Romantica, here's a parallel story within the same time frame as the former, with the premises shifting to the publishing firm Marukawa Shoten, involving male shoujo manga editors.

Onodera Ritsu (CV Kondou Takashi) is reunited with his former first love Takano Masamune (CV Konishi Katsuyuki) who just happens to be the chief editor at Marukawa's shoujo manga department, Emerald. and Takano is determined to make Ritsu fall in love with him again after knowing that the reason they broke up years ago was due to a huge misunderstanding.

as with Junjou, there's 2 other couples to look out for, both with the same first-love theme setting. kinda happy to see Okamoto Nobuhiko in the casting as Kisa Shouta, though he isn't as eccentric as when he is Eiji from Bakuman. there will also be various cameos by people from Junjou; Usagi-sensei already made his in Ep1. Isaka-san is another given, since he's part of Marukawa Shoten. wondering if Misaki will cameo in any episodes?

Sket Dance
following a group of 3 students in the school's "fixer" club called "Suketto-dan", they end up doing less than menial tasks, and are often hanging out in the club room instead. with only 3 members, club president Yusuke AKA Bossun (CV Yoshino Hiroyuki), ex-yankee Hime AKA Himeko (CV Shiraishi Ryouko) and communicate-through-computer-only Kazuyoshi AKA Switch (CV Sugita Tomokazu), they have another worry as nobody wants to join their club due to their eccentric personalities.

think Ookami-san, minus the fairy tale stories. the interaction between the characters are funny, especially with Sugita-san voicing Switch. it's similar to how he does Gin-chan in Gintama, which i'm still frantically trying to marathon through. Himeko going into her "yankee-mode" is also another funny part in the show.

Yondemasu yo, Azazel-san
detective Akutabe (CV Namikawa Daisuke) has a very unorthodox way of solving cases by summoning demons to do his bidding, most commonly the lust-inciting demon Azazel (CV Onosaka Masaya). but because of Akutabe's anti-demon barrier, Azazel and most other demons shrink to a cute miniature size, making them appear more like the "victims" of Akutabe's wrath than being actual demons themselves.

Akutabe's assistant Rinko (CV Satou Rina) isn't spared either, especially after she was tricked into a contract with Azazel. you really wonder who the real demon is now.

Spring 2011-03

there's tons of other demons coming up in future episodes, and i'm looking forward to seeing Beelzebub (CV Kamiya Hiroshi) and Salamander (CV Nakai Kuzuya) soon. who knows what bucket-loads of hilarity will ensue from all of them. the real draw is of course still Onosaka-san, especially when he's using his Kansai-ben. it just makes things sound that much funnier.

posted 11 Apr,

Hanasaku Iroha
Ohana (CV Itou Kanae) was forced to live with her grandma in her countryside hotspring inn when her mom and her lover had to run from debt collectors. her grandma was too happy about it, since she disowned Ohana's mom years earlier for running away with a man, and makes Ohana earn her own keep by working in the inn. totally not what she was expecting at all.

grandma isn't the only person who doesn't seem to like Ohana, she had already irritated a chef apprentice Minko (CV Omigawa Chiaki) when she plucked Minko's herbs, mistaking them for weeds. other workers that interacts more with our main lead is the very shy Nako (CV Toyosaki Aki) and gossip-lover head waitress Tomoe (CV Noto Mamiko). not forgetting also, is Ohana's childhood friend in the city, Kouichi (CV Kaji Yuuki), who finally confessed to her after finding out about her abrupt departure to the countryside.

Spring 2011-01

if you're feeling down that Kimi ni Todoke is over, and you'll miss all the amazing scenery and lovely backdrops, you'll want to watch this. while this isn't romance, the slice-of-life setting with Ohana's self-discovery is something worth watching for.

colors aren't as fantastic as Production I.G., but P.A. Works delivers too.
Spring 2011-02

Steins; Gate
taken from ANN: A group of friends customized their microwave into a device that can send text messages to the past. As they perform different experiments, an organization named SERN who has been doing their own research on time travel tracks them down and now the friends have to find a way to avoid being captured by them.

this is one heck of a confusing Ep1. if you can't get heads or tails about whether Rintarou (CV Miyano Mamoru) is living in the past or present, well neither do i. his childhood friend Mayuri (CV Hanazawa Kana) may look like a ditz, but under all that pretense, there could be more to what she really knows.

the story revolves around the murder of a neuroscience prodigy, Makise Kurisu (CV Imai Asami), and this is where the time-traveling part comes into place, with Kurisu doing back and forth between being dead and alive.

still confused? well, so am i, and this is just Ep1. hopes the story starts to make more sense soon.

Showa Monogatari
revolving around the Yamazaki family in the Showa Year 39 (1964), this is a true slice-of-life anime about how the family copes with fast industrialization threatening their own family-run factory, to the Yamazaki son experiencing new "American" culture with his friends, as Japan gets back to their feet after WWII and the hosting of the Tokyo Olympics.

i really like this show. it could be due to the Gegege no Nyobo influence, but it's really interesting to see another era of Japan history that isn't so popular in anime, unlike the Sengoku or Bakumatsu eras.

posted 8 Apr,

from the KyoAni guys that gave us the megahit K-ON!, here's another comedy slice-of-life that revolves around everyday life as what the title (日常) suggests. though i doubt you would think a talking cat, an elementary school-like scientist, an high school robot girl or a guy who rides a goat to school, normal to begin with. and these aren't even the actual main leads to begin with.

the only seiyuu i can recognize from the cast was Cho-san (Brooke from One Piece) who voices the Principal. all others are relative newbies, so one wonders if they're trying to promote them like what they did with the K-ON! girls.

while it may not make it big like K-ON!, it does have its own quirkiness and would be a good series to enjoy just for its randomness.

Dog Days
for middle-schooler Izumi Shinku (CV Miyano Mamoru) who gets sucked into an alternative world, he's amazingly cool about it. summoned by Princess Millhiore (CV Horie Yui) to save the Republic of Biscotti (dog land) from the invasion of the Lion Domain of Galette (cat land), he's even excited about it somehow.

gone are the days where alternative world travelers hated their predicaments and can't wait to get back to where they came from, since Shinku is more than happy to get the chance to hone his gymnastics skills as the hero of the country. gone also are battles where bloodshed is the norm; in place are friendly "battles" where the invaders have to clear what looks like an army SOC and the defenders are in charge of tending to all the injured, including the enemy's.

the story is simple, light-hearted and easy to understand. just the character designs will make everyone go "kawai~" or "moe~". at least to me. how else would you explain the dog and cats ears on all inhabitants of Fronaldo? plus, with so many seiyuu involved, Koyasu Takehito, Hanazawa Kana, Mizuki Nana and Taketatsu Ayana amongst many others, that it would a pity to pass it on.

so think of it as you would an RPG game, try not to instill too deep a meaning into the plot (leave that to the other mind-blogging shows) and you would be able to enjoy it as a simple fantasy story.

posted 5 Apr,

Tiger & Bunny
heroes endorsed by companies like Softbank, Bandai, Pepsi, and Calbee? acquiring "hero points" on a TV program to win the yearly "King of Heroes" title? you'll see this in Sternbild City where heroes pit against each other, all in a day's work.

veteran hero Wild Tiger (CV Hirata Hiroaki) hasn't been doing so well in the rankings lately. his sponsor company Top Mag has been bought over by Apollon Media, and his new boss wants him to team up with newbie Barnaby Brooks Jr. (CV Morita Masakazu), whose personality isn't at all "hero-like" since he really only thinks of it as a job.

my initial motivation for watching this were Hiroaki-san and Morita-san as the main leads, as if it were like pairing Sanji and Ichigo together. i had a kick just from the mental image i conjured from that. from the trailer, i had thought it might be somewhat like gag, but after Ep1 it looks to be just your usual comedy series, with the superhero twist. it also reminded me of Will Smith's Hancock, where Wild Tiger seems oddly like John Hancock, minus the alcoholism.

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