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Archive for the ‘First Impressions’ Category

the belt!

This came outta nowhere. I’d read about Deltora Quest in many of the Winter previews but wrote it off as another of those generic & cheesy fantasy shows. That’s not to say that Deltora Quest isn’t generic and cheesy. It has it’s fair amount of generic characters:

  • Clueless boy-hero? — check
    • Possibly made even more cheesy by the addition of blonde hair/blue eyes? — check!
  • Aloof parents who bestow special powers/items upon said hero? — check
  • Mysterious stranger who joins the hero on his adventure? — check
  • Possible love interest who joins the party? — (possible) check
  • Mysterious item which shines/glows/moves/ at the hero’s touch? — check
  • Big bad villain who is a lord of some sort and is associated with darkness/shadow — check
  • ‘Quest’ starts off with the hero needing to find an item/power which will help him vanquish the villain? — check
    • Hero starts off quest by fleeing from minions of the villain — check

grarr! i be big bad and daaaark~!

However (and this surprises me too!), I rather like the whole premise of the story. ‘Course, don’t take my recommendation as cold hard fact. I’m a predominant fantasy reader and, after a certain number of books you tend to look past the clichéd setting and actually focus on the whole plot (i.e. in the beginning, you may not be able to see the forest due to all the trees that look all the fucking same!).

almost-fugly char design

Onto the more ‘technical’ aspects of the show:

  • Character Design:
    • I would not watch the show based upon the character designs. That is all I have to say.
  • Animation:
    • Not too shabby, I quite liked the OP with its crayon-like look. Plus, the whole illuminated-like-we-have-too-much-bloom concept in the dark was novel, I’ll give them that. But again, I would not watch the show based upon the animation.
  • Music:
    • Apart from the OP (which was !@#!@#JKSF$!@#!-ing liters of awesome), the rest of the music isn’t all the memorable, again, not an area this show scores well in.
  • Story:
    • THE WIN! Seriously. The story is the ONLY holding this show up on its feet, it’d be relegated to the deepest, darkest corner of the metaphorical closet if it weren’t for the kickass story. C’mon, you’ve gotta love a story that has big-ass dragon things which are adept enough to snatch gems from a belt and fly away. All this without destroying the castle in which the belt resided.

but sometimes they outdo themselves!

And with that, onto the seasonal rankage!

  • Nodame Cantabile
  • Deltora Quest

weirdness

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it begins

This (Nodame Cantabile) has been my most anticipated anime of 2007 so far (apart from Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu S2 of course). Even though I haven’t read the manga as of yet (stupid local bookstore, it doesn’t stock any Viz titles >_have watched the dorama version. Which in its own was simply fucking amazing. One of the few doramas, together with Tokyo Friends and Hana Yori Dango, that I have become hopelessly addicted to (Nobuta wo Produce might get added to that list but that’s for another day). Thus, naturally, I had high hopes for the anime, especially considering that the masters of slice-of-life, J.C. Staff, were producing it. And on top of that, Hachikuro’s

director Kenichi Kasai is on board as well!

well, i never saw THIS in the dorama

And my hopes were shattered into a million or so teensy little pieces after this episode.
It is nothing, nothing, compared to first episode of the dorama. Granted, the dorama had a larger time slot to work with but the anime was so horribly rushed. They didn’t have to cram what took an hour to show in the dorama into ~20min anime episode and expect it to appear ‘normal’. I admit though, to audiences new to the series, it may not seem as glaring as it does to me. I honestly don’t know how the manga handled this episode, if anyone can shed some light on the matter, it’d be great. One of the few good things was that we managed to see a few things that were left out in the dorama, such as the extended Vienna scenes in the beginning.

mukya?!
gyabo!
“Mukyaa~!” pales in comparison to “Gyaboo~!”

Another gripe: Nodame’s voice actor. I’ve gotten way too used to Ueno Juri’s acting in the dorama which, in my opinion, is a perfect rendition of Nodame. I suppose I will get used to Ayako Kawasumi’s voice over time though..it’s not too far removed from Ueno Juri’s voice.. But one major problem! She needs to learn how to do the “GYABO~!”s right so that it doesn’t sound like she’s adding ’em in as an afterthought. Chiaki’s voice actor on the other hand, even though he doesn’t do Chiaki’s trademark “Hieee~?!”s, is quite acceptable..

wtf mate?

Music-wise and animation-wise, no complaints. I love the OP and ED (and I think I heard strains of ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ when the ED started up!). At first I thought a pop-ish OP would be terrible for the show, but it actually fits in quite well and I find myself preferring this version over the anime one. It reminds me a lot of the Hachikuro OPs.

yesh.

I’m holding out for a few episodes before I actually pass my judgment on this. Taking from my experiences with Hachikuro here as I personally thought that the show would suck after watching the first episode.

hachikuro nostalgia

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lelouch

Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion. Sunrise + CLAMP = Win after all. I had doubts at first at the potential of this series as well as the way Sunrise may carry on about with it. After all, this was my most anticipated show of the season (apart from maybe Negima?! — and we know how that ended up

). Most of these doubts were thankfully dispelled after the first episode. I’m sorry that this is late though. I’ve been feeling out of sorts lately and haven’t been watching all that much anime recently, it’s weird.

mm?

This show truly is made out of pure win. Let’s take the character designs for one. They do remind me at times of the initial Gundam SEED designs but most of the time it’s just pure CLAMP love. CLAMP’s designs are wonderful and Sunrise is doing a top-notch job adapting them for animation.

animated mecha!

Animation is simply fabulous. I don’t think I’ve seen smoother animation any place else this season except for maybe Negima?! (I really need to get around to watching episode 2 of that to see whether it changed for the better). I do not have a single complaint here. Sunrise has truly redeemed themselves with non-CG mecha animation. Their last attempt–Zegapain—had pretty awkward CG in it…I must add this post is a bit biased as I’m an absolute sticker for well-done mecha anime, mecha for life!

lelouch+angry face

Music is yet another place where Code Geass excels. The OP is wonderful and considering it’s by FLOW I expected no less. Catchy and completely fitting, you can’t not like it. Plus the OP video itself is one of the better I’ve seen, As for the ED, well I can’t say I like it as such right now. I may grow to like over successive episodes, but right now, I’ll most likely skip it or just alt-tab out of MPC and start something else up till it plays.

more emo faces

Like a lot of shows this season the story here has serious potential if Sunrise manages not to muck up. I rather like the fact that Lelouch (our main character) isn’t portrayed as being overly good and heroic. Plus I just found the idea of an empire called “Britannica” completely hilarious. It just makes me think of the encyclopaedia every single time someone says it onscreen.

the june mermaid

Season Rankage:

  1. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion (finally, some good mecha!)
  2. Tokimeki Memorial
  3. D.Grayman
  4. Pumpkin Scissors
  5. Asatte no Houkou
  6. Yoake mae yori ruriiro na – Crescent Love –
  7. Negima?!

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escape!

Tokimeki Memorial ~Only Love~ (Heart Throbbing Memorial ~Only Love~). Good gods, talk about surprising. This one blew all other fall series I’ve blogged (there are some I’ve watched but I’m not blogging, e.g. Kanon 2006, Death Note) completely out of the water.

oooh..?

First of all, the OP and proceeding intro are too deceptive, way too deceptive. So deceptive in fact that I thought this was going to be yet another high school romance/harem show. Not to say that it isn’t. It is, but, well, let’s just say that it’s different…

eheh...hi?

Animation is superb! No complaints whatsoever. Plus character design is amazing as well! This is definitely a show that has pulled out all the stops. Production is done by Konami Digital Entertainment which came as a big surprise for me. I never knew they made anime! Provided concepts for, sponsored yes, but not produced! The anime seems to be loosely based on a dating sim of the same name. Again another surprising find, it seems to be rather popular with three titles in the series as well as a number of spin-offs.

dear gods

Music! I need to talk about the OP! As said before, it is extremely deceptive. Do not be caught off guard by its seemingly peaceful atmosphere, the entire show is completely contradictive. I actually like the tune (“Yokan” by Yuki Makishima) though, rather peaceful. I can see it racking up the plays during an especially stressful essay. The ED “Kiseki no Kakera” by Yuki Makishima, Yukako Yoshikawa & Saki Fujita) isn’t anything special though. It just seems to be your typical run-of-the-mill tune sung by all seiyuu in the show. The background music is worth mentioning here. It’s some of the best I’ve heard in a while. I loved the tune that played during the introduction of the teachers – which was funny as hell by the way.

!!!

Now back to the story once more. As said before it is a high school romance-comedy but it’s far from being generic. For starters, the whole high school is pretty much bonkers. Starting from the overbearing (and buxom!) chairlady to the eccentric teachers and finally down to the completely unpredictable student, this series has a formula that seems to be made entirely of WIN.

fighter chick ftw!

The chick deserves its own description. It’s just too funky to be left out of this post. That whole fight scene and the scene thereafter with its ‘remarks’ were simply the highlight of the episode.

runn!

This has currently filled the void emptied by the completion of Ouran. Hopefully, it’ll live up to the legacy left behind by Ouran but I have my doubts. Nevertheless, an extremely enjoyable show.

#8

Rankings!:

  1. Tokimeki Memorial
  2. Pumpkin Scissors
  3. Asatte no Houkou
  4. D.Grayman
  5. Yoake mae yori ruriiro na – Crescent Love –
  6. Negima?!

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it begins

Asatte no Houkou; probably the biggest surprise so far this season.

#2

I actually hated the concept when I read about this on other blogs. C’mon, a girl becoming a woman and vice versa? Not really my idea of an enjoyable anime.

woot for water!

But J.C. Staff being there usual surprising selves have pulled off a big one here. In fact, I can draw many parallels between this and Honey & Clover, not surprising. J.C. Staff produced both. They both share the same drama/slice-of-life genres as well as gorgeously drawn artwork. Oh and they both have a miniscule female character. I especially love backgrounds in Asatte, they’re just breathtaking. Plus they have this whole ‘watercolour’ effect merging in at times — something which helps heighten that sense of ‘a summer gone by’ that you get when watching this.

the stone

In addition to this, pacing is simply incredible. That whole moon/transformation sequence at the end was gorgeous. I loved the way it just unfolded out. This is, so far, probably the most emotional series I’ve watched yet this fall. This is just something you can simply watch and somehow relax at the same time. It has this whole ‘flow’ going with it. It just seems like the whole episode is some sort of stream, you’re just floating along watching events pass by. It’s a somewhat nostalgic atmosphere, though I don’t really know why.

i believe i can flyy~

The OP doesn’t seem to be memorable right now but it seems to be one of those you grow to like more and more the more you listen to it. Plus more importantly it does help set the mood and atmosphere for the proceeding series. Not a bad combination altogether. The ED really isn’t all that memorable either, just your usual peaceful tune.

lets not talk about it

Definitely worth your time if you’re like your slice-of-life shows. Especially Hachikuro fans. Give this a spin, I doubt you’ll regret it.

i loved this bit

Season rankings time!:

  1. Pumpkin Scissors
  2. Asatte no Houkou
  3. D.Grayman
  4. Yoake mae yori ruriiro na – Crescent Love –
  5. Negima?!

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aww

You’ve seriously gotta be kidding me. This is the promised godly remake of Negima-that-was? In what ways is this good?! Let alone godly. And I was looking forward to this as well… Let’s hope Code Geass doesn’t disappoint.

the awful classroom scene

C’mon, the show has no real saving grace unless you count the top-notch animation/CG. And that happens only in certain spots too. I mean reusing that background for the whole classroom scene just made that whole scene tedious to watch. I was actually contemplating ALT-TABing to Firefox to browse the web till that scene passed by. Then again, the whole magic scene was artfully done. That was one of the few bits that I actually like in this episode. Oh and the intro as well, that was nice, it just got steadily worse from there though.

evangeline!

I don’t really object to shifting the whole Evangeline arc to the beginning. I just finished reading that in the manga the other day (it’s volume 3 for all those who’re curious) and the whole Thousand Master/Evangeline fight scene was done much better in this anime. I didn’t expect her to step on the doll like that, that was pretty in-your-face.

evangeline again!

Oh and the vampire scenes were another bit that was done rather well. I always kept wondering how, in the manga, that no-one actually recognised Evangeline. But I suppose a dark shadow on her face works…kinda…

bah, nodoka

Oh gods, and the voice acting. It’s horrible! Well, apart from a few cases such as Konoka (whose voice I honestly hated in the first few minutes but grew to like later on), Negi and Evangeline. One especially bad one – Nodoka. She is not supposed to sound mature!! I was completely shocked when I heard her voice.

so what, i mixed the screenies up a bit

Onto the part of the show I hated pretty much completely. The character designs. For some reason I actually quite liked the designs in the OVA Preview. I have no idea why, but the designs actually look worse when put into a full-length anime episode. I was flinching every time I saw someone I recognised from the manga series. Takamichi looks horrible. Gods, what did that do to him?! He looks like he’s aged prematurely, even more so that before! The only real exceptions here are Konoka (who’s design actually looks quite good), Makie (she looks the same, thank god) and a few other random members of the class who’s names I just can’t put my finger on right now. I suck with names.

bai bai

So, what’s left…Ah yesh, music. Again, this wasn’t bad throughout the episode. I rather like how they did the whole ‘Negi leaves Wales’ bit with the music and all. But what the heck was it that was playing in the middle of that classroom scene?!

hm

SHAFT, you have disappointed me. Not even a sacrifice of a thousand virgins can now sway the fact, in my mind, that no proper Negima anime series can be made.

good gods

Watch this if you’re bored. Like really, really, really, really, really bored. Oh and if you’re a Negima fan-boy/girl. I might drop this.

noo..konoka

On to the rather dismal seasonal ranking of Negima?!:

  1. Pumpkin Scissors
  2. D.Grayman
  3. Yoake mae yori ruriiro na – Crescent Love –
  4. Negima?! (yes, that’s how bad it is)

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whoa!

Yoake mae yori ruriiro na -Crescent Love- or “Brighter than the Dawning Blue -Crescent Love-“. I know I shouldn’t be liking this but it’s so bad it’s actually good! Production companies should realise by now that there’s only so many times that you can make harem shows and actually expect people to like. But this show had a trump card, more on this later.

the moon

I mean, the weirdly fascinating OP and ED aside, the show was pretty horribly paced. It was almost as bad as watching a group of amateur actors forgetting their lines and attempting to prompt each other. I must commend the SD moments though. Those were just classic. They’re probably one of the reasons I don’t actually hate this show right now.

runnn!

Animation itself is pretty mediocre, it ain’t anything to write home about, that’s for sure. It’s being handled by a company called Doumu. Don’t look at me, this is the first time I’m hearing of them too.

boink?

Music, is well, just…well “meh” would be a great word to describe it. It’s…just there… In fact I didn’t actually notice that the OP had started, I thought I was still staring at the pretty [Lunar] splash screen at the beginning of the episode. The ED is your run-of-the-mill slow, calm ED complete with stills from what ever inspired this anime. I’m guessing that it was some sort of eroge from all the bishoujo that are in it.

that bastard

And of course, the trump card, the only thing that seems to hold this anime up. Feena-sama! I have made a resolution to see this anime to its end just so I can glimpse more of Feena-sama! Who cares about story, music, animation and other such nitpicky details, all I need is Feena-sama.

kanpai!

Oh yesh, the seasonal ranking:

  1. Pumpkin Scissors
  2. D.Grayman
  3. Yoake mae yori ruriiro na -Crescent Love-

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