Monday, July 5, 2010

Summer Anime 2010: Part 1

Before we get started, a few helpful links for the people who aren't completely familiar with Japanese media terms. Ecchi, light novel, moe, and visual novel.

Amagami SS
Director: Hiraike Yoshimasa
Length: 24 episodes

"Amagami SS is based on a PS2 dating game featuring six different girls. The story of the anime will be arranged in an omnibus format, with each heroine getting her own version of the story animated." (MyAnimeList)

The format of Amagami SS seems interesting, and since it was a game popular enough to get an anime, I presume it will have a very good story to it. However, it gives off vibes that ring too closely to Kimikiss for me. I'm willing to give it a chance since it's likely to develop in a very different manner to Kimikiss, but some of the similarities between characters and plot are more than a little concerning.

The animation is definitely good, but the music comes across as very generic. Classical music is used in abundance with 'pretty girl still shots' and 'romantic' moments, but don't really add a whole heap to the atmosphere, another similarity to Kimikiss. I have a feeling this will be one of the series that I drop after 5 episodes, but I'm willing to give it a chance since it feels like it can go somewhere good.

Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakamatachi
Director: Iwasaki Yoshiaki
Length: Unknown (guessing 24)

"A love comedy parodying fairy tales such as "Little Red Cap", "The Ant and the Grasshopper" etc. Okami Ryoko (Okami-san) is a spunky high school girl. She is a member of a "fixer" club so called Otogi High School Bank. She runs about to fix the problems of the school with her partner Akai Ringo (Akazukin-chan)." (MyAnimeList)

Adapted from light novel, this seems like it could come along nicely. The concept is a little whack and very unbelievable, as are the characters, but the plot seems fairly solid and the characters do work well together. I'm reminded slightly of Working!! with the oddities of characters, but the environment doesn't seem to be anywhere near as good for the type of humour I think the show is gunning for. This series really don't know what it wants to be, judging by the first episode, as there are elements of comedy, romance, action, and slice of life. While a few shows have done this well before, such as Toradora!, this doesn't seem to be shaping up to be one of those. I may well be wrong however as it is handled by the same studio who did Toradora! (and the similarities are pretty obvious).

Music is once again generic, although somewhat better than Amagami SS as it does work to build atmosphere just a little bit, but the voice acting is cast extremely well. The characters all have extremely fitting voices and I'd love to see where they can take the narrator role to. Hopefully they can manage it as well as Hayate no Gotoku did, but so far it's been a bit lacking. Animation is slightly above average but nothing to call home about. Character designs are very interesting and I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do with them later on in the series.

Seitokai Yakuindomo
Director: Kanazawa Hiromitsu
Length: Unknown (guessing 13)

Adapted from a four-panel blue joke manga written by Ujiie Tozen. (MyAnimeList)

So, this is essentially a cross between two genres. The student council slice of life comedy genre and the ecchi genre. The two best normal examples of these genres are Seitokai no Ichizon and B Gata H Kei. I'm not looking forward to where this anime is going. At best it will be a few laughs an episode with some sort of coherent plot nearing the end of the series, at worst it will become unfunny, stupid (although in most respects it already is) and downright boring. Seitokai no Ichizon was an amusing look into an oddball student council of one male and four females, Seitokai Yakuindomo is the same look into a very similarly oddball student council of one male and three females. The male is slightly different in Yakuidomo, but in all respects I feel that I'm watching the same anime but with worse animation, characters, and music. The episode set up is nearly identical with almost all events taking place within the student council room and the jokes are nearly identical. I wouldn't be so annoyed if the jokes were different or at least better, but as far as I can tell, Yakuindomo is a carbon copy of Ichizon with more perverted jokes. And the pervertedness isn't even subtle, it hits you over the head with it making it go from somewhat funny in an immature sort of way to just plain annoying.

I don't think Yakuindomo will be staying on my watching list, but I (unfortunately) have to give it a chance until I get to episode 5.

Shukufuku no Campanella
Director: Ushiro Shinji
Length: Unknown (guessing 13)

"The story takes place in a trading city Ert’Aria. Leicester Maycraft is an item engineer belonging to an adventurer guild "Oasis". One night, he is at a party with his friends to see a meteor stream on the rooftop of a chapel. One meteor grazes them and hits the steeple of the chapel. There he finds a secret room and a sleeping girl. The girl wakes up and says "You must be my father!". The encounter with the mysterious girl brings an unexpected adventure to Leicester." (Amazon Japan)

Oh dear sums this one up. Based on an adult visual novel, this anime promises ecchiness, average (at best) plot, and silly characters. The first episode gave two of these, being somewhat less perverted than I would have thought. The first episode has done almost nothing to explain the plot of the show, nor what it's really about. We're introduced to the characters (who all seem a little too perfect or moe for my liking), the setting (which seems quite nice actually), and...Well, that's all actually. I have no idea where this anime is going, none at all. The next episode preview promises action and plot, but I don't trust it in the slightest.

The animation is pretty good, nothing spectacular once again. I really want there to be a Ghost in the Shell or Cowboy Bebop hidden among this seasons anime, but the way it's going the chances are slim. There's an over use of still shots, chibi interludes, and out of scene characters. In moderation these can be good, but almost every second joke or conversation in general used one of these. The music has been the best I've heard so far but that's not saying much. The ending song is quite horrible and the episode didn't feature an opening one so I can't comment but I doubt it'll be any good.

The anime I'm most reminded of with this series is my least favourite anime of all time. Zero no Tsukaima. If things begin to go the same way, I'm certainly not staying with this past episode 5. I'm not sure I'm happy with watching it for that long either.

All images from MyAnimeList. Most descriptions found there as well. It's pretty handy for stuff like that (: