Aug 22, 2011

Summer 2011 Mid-Season Impressions - Part 2 of 2

Here's part 2 of my 2-parter Mid-Season Impressions. Part 1 can be read here.

Hanasaku Iroha
It's another show from last season, so you know what that means! A short paragraph with entirely nothing new to say! The only update I can give is that I've been a bit unsure about this show lately, but it's still very entertaining and there seems to be a nice bit of drama on the horizon (and naked fighting from what I saw in screenshots). If you want more you may as well just read my Spring 2011 Mid-Season post.

"You could at least be making an effort with this post"
Once again, I have next to nothing to say beyond my Mid-Season Impressions post (this post is looking to be easier than I expected) other than it seems to have been getting better at hitting more than it misses in the second half of it's run.

A taster of the sheer amount of characters in this show (with the best two in the middle)
As a show full of teenage girls trying to become idols I wasn't really expecting this show to be the pinnacle of story-telling and drama... and it isn't. I'm still relatively unsure about this show after 7 episodes. Due to the sheer clusterfuck of characters and the need to introduce them all in one episode it took me a while to warm to this show. I definitely don't dislike it, but I don't particularly love it either. To me this show is nothing more than an excuse to pick your favourite girl and listen to some cheesy J-pop whilst watching them all do cute things.

This loli looks serious
Kamisama no Memochou
Make your first episode double-length, introducing a cast of interesting characters tied together by an intriguing plot. Now you have your viewers hooked, so the logical next step is to throw that all away and instead set the series on a downward spiral where it gradually gets worse with each episode, with a cast of barely developed characters tied together with needless fan service and boring plot. Well done! You've just created Kamisama no Memochou, otherwise known as J.C Staff's latest victim. Okay, maybe I was a bit harsh, but seeing a show which looked so promising at the start become barely mediocre greatly bothers me. If not for the fact the last two episodes were slightly better than the previous few then I would likely have dropped this ages go. I don't know how many episodes this series has, but if it's 12/13 and the next arc isn't as crap as episodes 2 through 5, then I may be able to force myself to finish, just like J.C Staff's previous victim Yumekui Merry (of which I've recently started reading the manga, needless to say it's much better than J.C Staffs attempt). Also like Yumekui Merry, the only redeeming feature of this show seems to be it's main female character, but even then she can be pretty damn annoying with her whole "I'm not a detective, I'm a NEET detective" talk non-stop.

It's like a better animated Wacky Races
REDLINE, otherwise known as SEVEN MOTHERFUCKING YEARS HAND DRAWN, is the latest film by Madhouse, finally given it's DVD/BD release and the subject of great amounts of hype and praise, mainly for it's animation (which took seven years to hand draw) and soundtrack. The story revolves around racer "Sweet" JP and also to some extent his gorgeous rival Sonoshee in between two races called the Yellowline and the Redline. The Yellowline is the race into which we are immediately thrown at the beginning of the film, showing the incredibly powerful cars and the several races (not the car kind) which feature in this galaxy-spanning race (of the car kind) series, including humanoid dogs, horrible wrinkly things and so on. The Redline, on the other hand, is the no-holds-barred race which takes part at the end of the film, full of explosions and crazy bio-weapons galore as the racers try to avoid the military of an empire who doesn't want the race, which is broadcast all over the galaxy, to be taking place through one of their major military bases full of several secrets. In between these two races is where the majority of the story and character-building takes place as the Roboworld empire tries to stop the racers in any way possible, and the racers try and sabotage the Roboworld empires plans. There is also a whole load of back-story concerning JP and Sonoshee as well as comedic Redline TV segments in which the other racers are interviewed and back-story is provided to the viewers. In the end, this film certainly isn't a masterpiece of story-telling, but it was never supposed to be. The purpose of this film was to provide non-stop adrenaline-packed action which is beautifully animated and complimented by a quite simply excellent soundtrack, and it sure as hell managed it, even finding time to throw in some romance. This film is a must-see, if only for the pure experience of watching it rather than to be provided with a thought-provoking storyline. If you're still not downloading it by now, then you should sure as hell hurry up and do so, and grab the soundtrack while you're at it.

Well, I wasn't expecting to write so little about the first three shows, but I suppose my rant at Memochou and relatively large paragraph on REDLINE made up for it slightly. That's me (probably) done for a few weeks  until the End-of-Season Impressions!

Aug 21, 2011

Summer 2011 Mid-Season Impressions - Part 1 of 2

Despite my previous comments on how the summer season seemed to be lacking decent shows I found myself picking up 6, resulting in 10 shows overall... and there was me thinking 7 was a handful. Due to the number of shows and my chronic laziness (evident by the fact I haven't posted anything since my Spring End-of-Season Impressions) I have decided to split Summer 2011 into two posts, because otherwise it'd take far too long to do and I'd find myself delaying over and over.... which I've already done enough as most shows are now past their mid-season episode.

"Hooooney~ I'm ho- THE FUCK?"
Tiger & Bunny
Well, the second half of this series has sure been a roller-coaster ride, with twists and turns around every corner, with the quality of everything remaining consistent as ever... except for maybe the character animation, which I've noticed has been a bit off lately, but I hear that's purely budget restrictions. This show is simply great, and will probably go down as one of my all-time favourites after it's ended, which unofrtunately isn't that far away. After 3 posts involving this show I don't have much more to say... so... yeah...

"Hey, you! Why the fuck aren't you watching this show!?!?!?"
This show... THIS FUCKING SHOW. Steins;Gate couldn't have departed from it's somewhat carefree first half any more dramatically. Gone is the scientific shenanigans with lab members, to be replaced with murder, suicide, despair and a desperate struggle to fix things again. Without a doubt, this show is already one of my all-time favourites, and when the Visual Novel is finished getting translated I'll make damn well sure I read it immediately. If for some insane reason you are yet to watch it, grab a crate of Dr Pepper and a lab coat, sit down, and enjoy the ride, because I sure as hell am. With only 4 episodes left I can't wait to see what happens.

One big thumbs up to this show, and without a doubt the best character this season.
Cute girls doing cute things, an abundance of yuri (even if it is predominately implied or merely Chitose's fantasies) and great comedy? Sign me the hell up! I was already looking forward to this show because I knew it would involve plenty of yuri (it's a guilty pleasure, stop looking at me like that!), but I didn't expect it to be this great! Not since K-ON!! has a show managed to reduce me to giggling like a little girl at every little thing the characters do, and the comedy is just plain brilliant too. The characters largely aren't too stereotypical and each is rather unique, but for me the one that stands out well above the rest is Kyouko (above), with her care-free attitude, otaku interests and unrequited love towards Chinatsu (who I simply despise) due to her resemblance to anime character Mikarun. The character designs are quite nice too, and I particularly like the more circular design of their eyes as is present in the manga. With episode 8 being aired tomorrow there is unfortunately not long left for me to enjoy this show, but I'm pretty sure I won't forget it, if only for my already gigantic picture folder of the show.

The only thing more adorable than Hideyoshi is his summoned being... which are now able to talk!! 
Baka to Test to Shokanjuu Ni!
Ever since the announcement of Season Two last March, I've been looking forward to it with incredible anticipation, and it didn't disappoint. The characters are as loveable as before, the comedy is as great as before, and the animation is as great as before. In fact, my only complaint is that they should perhaps dial down the whole yandere aspect of Minami and Himeji in the first few episodes, and perhaps that there hasn't been too many summoning battles. That aside, never before have I watched a show which managed to make the male characters mission to peek into the girls bathroom so action packed, inspirational, heart-warming and hilarious, and their reason for doing so isn't even perverted desire (originally), but merely a desire to clear their name... it'll make sense once you've watched it. I adore this show and I'm incredibly happy that it continues to be great. I'm not sure how long this will run for, but I have an unhappy suspicion it may be just 13 episodes long like the first season. Either way, I can't get enough of it, and especially it's characters!

Ah, nothing better than curry with family and friends. Wait... are those penguins!?
Mawaru  Penguindrum
This has been one of the surprises this season. I'd heard very little of it before the season began, but after quite a lot of people were talking about it after the first episode I decided to check it out, and I'm glad I did. Without going too much into spoilers of the first episode, brother's Kanba and Shoma are tasked with finding an item known as the Penguin Drum, with the assistance of a trio of penguins, which they creatively named Number 1, 2 and 3.  A great deal of the comedy of this show comes directly from the antics of the three penguins as they go around helping the two brothers, with a particular highlight being the penguin espionage of the first few episodes. It's not all comedy though, as the quest for the Penguin Drum sees more characters being introduced, some more dangerous than others, with the story really picking up in the last couple of episodes. The animation is nothing to complain about either, and with 24 episodes announced, I can't wait to see what else the show has in store.

"Why aren't you watching my show!?!? I'm just so adorable!"
Usagi Drop
Don't you just hate it when you find yourself raising your grandfathers illegitimate 6-year-old daughter? What do you mean you've never experienced it?! This is another show I heard next to nothing of before the season began but decided to pick up after seeing it discussed a lot, and once again I'm incredibly glad I did. Whilst attending his grandfathers funeral, 30-year-old Daikichi notices young Rin (above), who appears to be treated as an outcast and an embarrassment. Annoyed by their attitude, when the conversation arises as to what will happen to Rin now, Daikichi stands up and offers to take care of her, despite having no idea what it means to be a parent. Thus begins one of the most adorable and emotional shows I have ever watched as they both manage to teach each other new things about life. The two main characters are instantly likeable (if you don't immediately love Rin you have no soul) and although the character animation is somewhat different to the usual I've grown to like it, although it can be a bit off at times, but that's probably due to budget. Just like last seasons similarly emotional show, AnoHana, Usagi Drop also unfortunately has merely 11 episodes but again just like AnoHana I doubt I'll be able to forget about it any time soon. I also won't be surprised if it has me crying like a baby before it ends, especially as it's already made me tear up slightly on more than one occasion.

Part 2 will include:

Hanasaku Iroha
Kamisama no Memochou
REDLINE (movie)