Spring 2010 Anime

So a pretty good season lined up for spring 2010 anime.  So lets cut the chit-chat and get to the chase shall we (ya I’m not much in the mode to yammer on really).  Oh, a few notes.  The reason why I wait for four episodes is because I feel it’s the best way to see what kind of direction a show is going to take and how well the animation may or may not stand up over the season (kind of, it’s still a bit iffy on that part).  This is also inherited from the old single DVD release format were there was at most four episodes a disc (ahh, old times, old times).  One more disclaimer.  This is mostly written from opinion and more then likely their will be things you (the reader, ya you) will disagree with.  A good example for this season is B Gata H Kei, and Mayoi Neko Overrun.  BH after four episodes is pretty much a more raunchy romantic comedy then people would be use too but after four episodes it’s pretty apparent that it’s just a normal romantic comedy at it’s base.  Mayoi Neko Overrun on the other hand brings very little new for me that I haven’t seen a hundred times (exaggeration) before and done better, although that ping pong match in episode four was pretty well done.  As for Kiss X Sis… the less said on my part the better I think (goes to corner and starts mumbling to himself).  Wow, I didn’t cut the chit-chat at all did I.  Oh well, I do that sometimes.  Well on to the guide proper shall we.

NOTE: I’m too lazy to write something for UraBoku right now and to elaborate on the points I have for the show.  I’ll update it later.

Angel Beats!


Otonashi wakes up with no memories and next to a girl taking aim with a sniper rifle at a seemingly innocent girl.  The girl, Yuri, explains that he’s in the after life and she wants him to help her rebel against god and fight Tenshi (single).  Otonashi doesn’t take her word and goes to talk to Tenshi, a seemingly nice quiet girl.  When Otonashi asks Tenshi to prove that he’s dead she stabs him through the heart and he blacks out.  He wakes up later in the infirmary only to discover his torn and bloody clothing next to him.  He then meets Yuri again and aggress to help her till his memories return.

  • Original story by Key (Clanned, Kanon)
  • Animation by PA Works (CANAAN)
  • Excellent art, great animation, fun characters, great music, and great writing with excellent dialog (mainly after episode one).
  • It is very much moe but works
  • Still waiting to see how the story turns out in the long run.  It is a little bipolar with its heavy comedic aspects mixed in with its more somber moment

Okay doesn’t sound that great.  BUT… It gets a lot better from there.  The first episode is a little wonky in its pacing but shows off some of the key points of the show that are expanded on later episodes.  Mainly the music performed by Girl Dead Monster (they take center stage in episode three), the comedy element (episode two, when the team is dodging traps in the tunnels, and four, mainly the interactions of Hinata and Yui as well as the rest of their baseball team with Noda, Shiina, and Otonashi and some others), and the action element (episode two, kind of, still waiting for an epic firefight)

Arakawa Under the Bridge


Never be indebted to anyone.”  Are the words Kou Ichinomiya, a elite up and coming business man, has lived by all his life.  But when he becomes indebted to Nino, a homeless girl living under a bridge, for rescues his life, he asks her how he can repay her.  Her answer is she wants to experience love and asks him to become her lover, which means also living under the bridge with her.  But first they have to ask the permission of the Village Chief… who thinks he’s a Kappa.

  • Adapted from manga by Hikaru Nakamura (Saint Young Men),
  • Animation by SHAFT (Hidamari Sketch, Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei)
  • Director Akiyuki Shinbo
  • Animation is about average (on the low end) with good art with a bright almost pastel color pallet.  It does use some of SHAFTs usual tricks but it’s not as abused as past shows
  • Pretty abstract humor, or is it surreal gags (I think that’s what it is)
  • No real complex storytelling, it’s a gag show after all

This show is chock full of oddball characters, and emphases on oddball.  Nino who claims to be from Venus, the Village chief dressed like a Kappa, Sister, and an ex-mercenary dressed like a nun, and other equally odd characters.  The show’s oddball-nis is also accentuated by SHAFTs typical video direction, although more subdued in this show then shows of the past year.  In the end it’s a fun nonsensical show with no real story made for the audience to sit back and split a side open.

B Gata H Kei (B Type H Group)

Yamada’s goal after getting into high school is to acquire one hundred casual sex friends, but first she has to get over her embarrassment of being inexperienced.  To do so she focuses her attention to the plain looking and equally inexperienced Kosuda.

  • Adapted from manga by Yoko Sanri
  • Animation production Hal Film Maker
  • Not that half bad, way on the purvey side but decent sex comedy
  • Animation is straight average and art isn’t too bad.
  • Don’t really care for any of the music (OP, ED, BGM all are kind of blah)

This show isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  But then again we also have Kiss X Sis this season so I could be a little skewed on this.  It is a sex focused comedy show first and foremost (no sex yet in the first four episodes, just a lot of talk about it, and a decent amount of underwear, not as much as Chu-bra!!) so take it or leave it.  Personally I’m not sure if I’m going to follow it or not.  The art is okay, as well as the animation.  I don’t care at all for the music.  Story whise isn’t too bad but can get on some peoples nerves I’d bet.  It’s very much on the border of my taste.  I’ll probably stick with it for a few more episodes but I will say this, it’s not a repeat of Chu-bra!! or Kiss X Sis(TV) and that makes me very happy.

Demon King Daimaō (Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaō)(Farthest in the Back – Demon King)

Just after arriving at Constant Magical Academy, Akuto Sai, who wants to join the highest order of magicians of the country, has his aptitude test taken.  It predicts his future occupation is… Demon King.

  • Based on light novel by Shotaro Mizuki
  • Animation production by Artland
  • Harem anime done right
  • Licesned by Sentai Film Works and on The Anime Network’s web site for free viewing to registered members (registration is free), every Friday 11AM
  • Also on crunchyroll.com Friday 12PM (CST)
  • Animation is average with good art, background animation is a bit lacking though (cardboard cut outs)
  • It kind of like Kampfer redux, without the gender bending, but with nudity
  • At least the lead male is slightly more decisive then your topic male lead (but kind of clueless or willfully ignorant of others intentions toward him, but acceptable)
  • The editing for the censored version breaks down to this.  A third of the time it’s intrusive (massive black voids), another third is tastefully done (with cute little sings placed over panty shots or other exposed undergarments or flesh) and the final third is not handled at all.

This is a harem show first and foremost but with a slight twist with the lead male not being such a wimp like most harem leads.  The versions on TAN and crunchyroll are the censored versions which can be a little intrusive like the giant ugly black voids covering half of the screen, but they also have these little signs covering up bits and pieces with a chibi version of the character saying things like “don’t look” or other such phrases.  The animation is a bit below average but has pretty good art… most of the time (they can’t draw that magic gun in episode four and five very well).  Story wise… it’s a harem show with a lead character that’s not a wimp.  All in all it’s a pretty enjoyable show with a good helping of fan-service.  It’s available on TAN for registered members on Friday’s at 11AM MST for free (12PM CST, TAN is headquartered in Texas, go figure) as well as on crunchyroll.  TAN’s video player does seem to have a few issues, but I’m no expert in such areas and works for my purposes just fine as is.  Besides, I’m downloading the uncensored fansubs after I watch it on TAN, not for the nudity but the lack of editing, I hate the black voids they use to hide stuff.  But the point is I watch it on TAN FIRST, so should you (not that you have too, it just would be nice to support the legitimate release).

Giant Killing


East Tokyo United soccer club has been on a downward spiral for the past couple of years and to breathe some life into it they bring in former ETU star Tatsumi to reshape ETU into a winning team.

  • Adapted from manga by Masaya Tsunamoto (story) and Tsujitomo (art)
  • Animation production Studio DEEN (Higurashi/Umineko no naku koro ni)
  • Animation is below average but decent, art isn’t too bad but a little wonky (faces, hair, and knee caps look weird sometimes)
  • Decent pacing for the most part, a little slower then what you’d expect though

I was kind of disappointed in Giant Killing.  I’m not saying it’s a bad show outright but it could do with a lot more polish.  The animation is a little lackluster and character art is a little wonky (probably inherited from the manga).  The story takes it’s time developing but in the end just couldn’t hold my attention (my attention span since high school has very much shrunk since then).  That with the poor animation puts Giant Killing off my list.  It may be a good sports show but I kind of got spoiled by Bamboo Blade, the only sports anime (or show period, anime or not) that I’ve ever really given a chance, not that I didn’t try with Giant Killing.  I will thank it for introducing me to the Cherry Cokes though.

Hakuouki (Hakuōki Shinsengumi Kitan)

Searching for her father in Kyoto, Chizuru is chased by two ronin who are in turned attacked by two oni dressed like Shinsengumi.  The fake Shinsengumi are then killed by two actual members of the Shinsengumi unit who take Chizuru into custody.  When they discover she is the daughter of the doctor that they have been looking for they allow her to accompany them on their search for him.

  • Adaption of romance adventure game from Idea Factory for PS2 (2008)
  • Animation production Studio DEEN (Umineko no Naku Koro ni, Rurounin Kenshin)
  • Great art and good animation
  • Follows the Shinsengumi
  • Story starts sometime before 1864
  • (Ikedaya Affair July 8th, first date given in the show is January of the fourth year of Bunkyuu Era)
  • If you have seen Peacemaker or familiar with the back story Hajima Saito of Rurounin Kenshin you’ll be treading a familiar path

It’s fun sometimes watching the something written from a different perspective and in the case of Hakuouki, I have to say it works.  The animation and art production are very good even if it’s a bunch of pretty boys running around the streets of Kyoto (I guess that’s where the budget for Giant Killing went).  From what I’ve seen not much has been revealed but it’s one of the kind of show which takes some time to unravels its secrets.  Now if only Chizuru actually proves to be useful I’ll like this show more.  As is, when she ran into the Ikedaya store in episode three she never drew her sword to defender herself which makes her kind of stupid in my eyes.

Heroman


Joey, an orphan boy living his grandmother in Center City on the west coast of United States, picks up a damaged Haybo robot toy and fixes it up at home, dubbing it Heroman.  Later that night lightning strikes it, caused by an invading alien saucer, and grows in size and ability.  When the alien Skruggs invade the next day the only effective resistance is Joey’s Heroman.

  • Adapted from manga by Stan Lee (original creator), and Toman Ota (Art )
  • Animation production Studio BONES (Fullmetal Alchemist, Darker than Black, Eureka Seven)
  • Animation is good with nice art
  • It’s set in America, so it’s already funny

This show has a bit of character behind it.  On one hand it’s animated by studio BONES, which I have mad respect for Eureka Seven, and original story by Stan Lee.  Yes, that Stan Lee.  It has a lot of trappings that I’ve seen in comics (evil aliens who want to conquer the planet without much reason, maybe it’s intelligence level…, boy saves world etc, etc.)  But as far as I can tell it’s pretty nicely animated show with some fun art (check out Psi’s afro).  Oh the point “It’s set in America, so it’s already funny” comes from my experience with watching shows set in totally different caulter then the where the production is made.

House of Five Leaves (Sarai-ya Goyou)

The unemployed samurai Masa is hired by the charismatic Ichi as his yojimbo.  Masa soon finds out that Ichi is the leader of a gang of kidnappers named the Five Leaves after he helps Ichi deal with a job.  Without steady employment and intrigued by the members of the Five Leaves Masa increasingly involved with them.

  • Based on manga Natsume Ono (Ristorante Paradiso), manga published in the US by Viz Media
  • Animation production by Manglobe (Ergo Proxy, Machiko to Hatchin)
  • Airing in the Noitamina animation block (Nodame, Moyashimon)
  • Licensed by FUNimation, on FUNimation’s video portal and Hulu Thursdays at 11:45AM (MST)

I’m going to be frank and say this show isn’t going to be for everyone, but personaly I like it.  It has a very unique art style inherited from the oiginal manga by Natsume Ono (Ristorante Paradiso, it’s on crunchyroll and the manga comes out later this month from Viz) that can easily turn people away from a rather nicely produced show by Manglobe.  It has a nice slow pace whcih works for this kind of show and some fun characters.  All in all an enjoyable show if you can get over the character design and art direction.

Yes I know I’m using the same art for the horizontal and vertical pictures but it’s the only ones I could find that isn’t from the manga.

K-ON!!


Second season of K-On follows the girls’ senior year of high school adventures in the Light Music Club’s “After School Tea Time”.

  • Based on manga by kakifly (now licensed by Yen Press)
  • Animation production by Kyoto Animation (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Lucky Star)
  • Second season
  • Great animation
  • 4-koma comedy

It’s the second season of everyone’s favorite girls playing music moe show.  Sarcasm aside it is a fun little show but like most shows based on 4-kome the main point is to throw out as many gags as it can to get the audience to laugh.  The animation is pretty slick and possible better then it’s previous season (ya, it was that popular).  So far it’s even less focused on music as the first season was and personally I feel it’s kind of a shame.  I wouldn’t mind watching a show which I learn something useful from it like GA.  But in the end it’s a nice little enjoyable distraction and that’s all I can ask.

Kaichou wa Maid-sama (Class president is a maid)(Maid-sama)

Misaki, the first female student council president at her former all boys school, is working hard on reforming the slovenly boys of her school, but she has a secret.  She is working part time at a maid café to help support her family.  When the schools most popular boy, Usui, spots her taking out the trash in her maid outfit, she is sure that her secret will be reveled at school but Usui has other plans.

  • Adapted from manga by Hiro Fujiwara, published in the US by TOKYOPOP under the title Maid Sama!
  • Animation production J.C. Staff (Toaro Kageko Railgun, Hayate!!)
  • Animation is average, art is slightly above average
  • More of a love comedy then a melodramatic shojo show

I avoid a lot of shojo shows for the same reasons I avoid shonen, a lot of them follow the same pattern.  Read one and you’ve read them all, just change the names and maybe the setting.  Fortunately Maid-sama doesn’t fall into the same trappings.  It ends up being more of a comedy love show than anything else with Usui bugging Misaki all the time.  The animation isn’t as nice as some recent past shows from JC Staff but works well enough and the art improves the atypical shojo art that plagues most manga of the genre (a lot of it bugs me).  Kaichou wa Maid-sama is a fun show which escapes most of the trappings of its genre and is better for it in my opinion.

Kiss x Sis (TV)


Keita’s twin stepsisters are helping him study for the entrance exam for their school.  As they spend more time with each other the more they develop feelings for each other.

  • Based on manga by Bow Ditama (Mahromatic –Art, Fight Ippatsu! Juden-chan)
  • Animation production Feel
  • Alternate retelling of OAV from 2008-2009
  • Good animation and art, but OMG creepy.
  • Sickening cute if you can get past the incest
  • I want those two hours of my life back!
  • Reading up on incest on Wiki, it sounds like incest by marriage tends to be in the legal grey area, albeit a slightly dark grey.  Also I think I heard somewhere that marriage between step siblings is not illegal in Japan but I have NO clue as to if this is true or not.

This show frankly creped me out.  Real sisters are never that sweet, trust me on that.  I simply could not enjoy this show, especial when the girls are fighting over Keita on who gets to jump his bones.  And they aren’t shy about it, case in point in episode three Riko tries doing something nice for Keita who’s studying for his entrance exams.  That nice thing was to make chocolate lipstick, apply it to herself and make out with Keita, which gets her exited and, umm, “leaves a mark” on Keita’s pants (yes I’m tip toeing around the description of the scene).  It’s kind of a shame, it has some really nice animation and the art is… okay (I don’t really like it, almost all of the female characters are as flat as a board and they try to sexualize them, they look like they are in middle school at the most and it just comes off as being creepy).   Anyways if you can get around the whole incest thing it’s kind or (?) cute raunchy show (but I’m going to try to erase most of it from my memory).

Mayoi Neko Overrun! (Stray Cats Overrun)

Orphan Takumi Tsuzuki runs the confectionary story “Stray Cats” with his older “sister” Otome and with the help of childhood friend Fumino Serizawa.  Otome has a habit of helping out people and cats in need and one day brings home a mysterious girl with cat ears.

  • Based on light novels by Tomohiro Matsu and Peco
  • Animation production AIC (Nyan Koi!, Dual!)
  • Animation is slightly below average, art is okay
  • Relies heavily on otaku type tropes… very heavily
  • Great it’s a otaku pandering show with almost every cliché to draw in the otaku
    • Maids
    • Rich ojou-sama
    • Tsundare
    • Zettai ryoiki (Absolute barrier)
    • Cat girls
    • Lolis (i.e. flat chest-ed girl)
    • Big breasted older “sister”
    • Orphans (tragic past)
    • Childhood friends
    • Nerdy characters (too comment on the otaku-ness of the show)
    • Shimapan

This is a straight up otaku pandering show.  Just about everything it does is to try to draw in main stream otaku to watch it.  And in my opinion, I’ve seen it done better.  But that’s probably because I’ve watch too much stuff so everything they do is old news to me.  Anyways, the show itself is pretty mediocre, has some decent comedic pacing, but in general… kind of bland.  The animation is so-so, and the art is okay.  Only thing that stands out are the amount of tropes they have and the use of dramatic pauses to build the punch line of a joke.  But beyond that, personally, it doesn’t have much that I’ve seen done better in a dozen other shows.  But if you’re relatively new to anime it might not be so bad to check it out.

RAINBOW (Rainbow – Nisha Rokubō no Shichini/二舎六房の七人- Something like The seven from room 206 or block 2 room 6)

Seven young men detained in harsh conditions at the Shonan Special Disciplinary School for various crimes in post WWII Japan band together to make it out alive.

  • Based on manga by George Abe (Story) and Masasumi Kakizaki (art)
  • Animation production by Madhouse
  • Animation is on the high end average, art is nice (reminds me of Black Lagoon)
  • For mature viewers only, think Shawshank Redemption but with teens and no butt sex (although the insertion of glass rods is present)

As I’ve mentioned, it’s like Shawshank Redemption but with teens and no butt sex.  Animation is pretty good with good art.  Character designs remind me of Black Lagoon’s and would not surprise me if it was the same character designer on this project.  It’s a pretty interesting show premise taking place after WWII.  Other then that I do recommended it unless you have problems with violence or darker stories.

Senkou no Night Raid


Set in 1931 Shanghai, the story follows a Japanese military spy organization, whose members have supernatural powers, called Sakurai Kikan as they operate in the cosmopolitan city of intrige.

  • Animation production by A-1 Pictures (Birdy the Mighty: DECODE, So Ra No Wo To)
  • Airing in the Anime no Chikara block (So Ra No Wo To)
  • Animation is average with pretty good art
  • Set in 1931 Shanghai

Not sure about this one.  It’s not a bad show, nor is it an excellent one.  Maybe this thought process is affected by episode four which is a kind of side story/ lack daisy character development episode.  Anyways it’s a decent show.  Animation is good and art is very good.  So far they’ve kind of tip toed around Japan’s involvement in China during the early 1930’s and seems more focused on a smaller, sci-fi/supernatural added, side note.

Tatami Galaxy (Yojouhan Shinwa Taikei)

A collage drop out having a late night bite to eat runs into a self proclaimed deity of matrimony.  His conversation forces him on a multi path reflection of his past two years centered on his interactions with Ozu, a mean spirited classmate who likes to get the protagonist in trouble, and a Akashi, a sharp tongue underclassman who he makes a promise with.

  • Based on novel by Tomihiko Morimi
  • Animation production by Madhouse (Kiaba, Kemonozume)
  • OP preformed by Asian Kung-fu Generation
  • Original character Designs by Yusuke Nakamura (art for Asian Kung-fu Generation CDs)
  • Airing in the Noitamina television block
  • Licensed by FUNimation and streaming on their video portal and Hulu.  Thursdays at 11:45 (Local)

An almost serial trip trough university life is a good way to describe this show.  It follows the protagonist in reflecting on the past two years of his collage life every episode hinging on a promise with an underclassman Akashi.  Most of the dialogue in the show is a series rapid fire delivered internal monologs of the protagonist so be prepared to read and read quickly.  Visually it has a simplistic but very stylized art style provided by Yusuke Nakamura, the artist who does most of Asian Kung-fu Generation CD cover art.  Animation is decent and serves well for Nakamura’s art.  All in all it’s a fun little trippy groundhogs day show.

Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru (Betrail knows my name)(UraBoku)

  • Based on manga by Hotaru Odagiri
  • Animation production by J.C. Staff

Quick comment:  So far it’s a pretty good clone of CLAMP’s X/1999.  Also the use a clever/stupid set up to explain why the two male leads are interested in each other.

Working!!


Gag comedy show follows the antiques of the staff of a family restraint somewhere in Hokkaido.

  • Adapted from 4-koma manga by Karino Takatsu
  • Animation production by A-1 Pictures (Kannagi, Ookiku Furikabutte)
  • Animation above average with lively art
  • A decent moe gag show

Where Mayoi Neko Overrun fails, Working!! exceeds (at least in entertaining me).  I guess this would be a case where a moe show has mass appeal then.  Anyway, Working!! is a nice fluffy 4-koma moe show that would probably speak to anyone who has worked in the food industry to any extent.  The animation is fun and lively and art is some of the most colorful I’ve seen.  But it does suffer from the same things most other 4-koma gag shows suffer from, that being rather 2D characters who are more caricatures rather than proper characters.  Other than that it’s a nice fluff show in the same vein as K-on!, but with a slightly broader foot in the collective door of fans then K-on! (Show of hands, how many have formed a band or seriously wanted to, now how mainly people have worked in the food service industry in some capacity, ya thought so.)

  1. takahiro
    May 3, 2012 at 1:45 am

    these images are awesome. ^_^

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