Friday, February 22, 2008

Myself ;Yourself - Completed Review

What is it?
Story of a high school student who moves back to his hometown, only to find his old friends have changed over the years.
What's good about it?
I have lots of bad to write so I'll just skip this part.
What's bad about it?
Warning- the following will be an unfiltered rant with lots of unconstructed points which will shamelessly toss spoilers around like it's nobody's business. You have been warned.
This thing is all over the place, with no idea what it wants to do. At times, you feel it's just a slice of life drama, especially at the beginning. Towards the end, you swear this is a totally different series, the most serious of mature dramas. I think the best way of describing how bizarre this thing is set is to give a spoiler-filled description of the character's.
Sana: Main character-somehow, this guy is able run from being totally oblivious when it comes to the feelings of others, leading to countless misunderstandings and his confusion when people get pissed at him- to the thoughtfull friend when it comes to guessing there are some letters written to him in a mailbox from 10 years ago and guessing that his friend just tried killing herself. Go figure.
Shuri and Shuusuke: Twins who elope together when they try to be seperated by their abusive, politian, father. When we see them 10 years later, now in their late 20s, they still are walking around holding hands. Creepy.
Hoshino: At first she serves as the third wheel in a love triangle. You know the character that is bringing about conflict between the eventual lovers though she is never a real threat to the two since they're obviously going to end up together. Well, she REALLY wasn't a threat since it turns out she is a not-so-closet lesbian who harbours a crush on a classmate. She also turns out to be a devious sociopath that spreads rumors about this girl because she is jealous of her relationship with her twin brother(that's right the crush is Shuri). After this is revealed, that character dissapears from the plot and that situation is never really resolved.
Aoi: Big-boobed neighbour with the most annoying voice in anime. Ever!
Nanaka: Main heroine-the epitome of a tsundere character.
For some reason there is also an eleven year girl who contributes nothing to the story and if anything, confuses us further about what kind of series this is.
Final Verdict
Despite all the bad stuff I've said about this series, I did find it watchable, especially in the second half. I wouldn't recommend it to everyone but it has a ton of angst and drama and there is a market for those kind of series.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Overdrive - Completed Review

What is it?

The story of a loner, daydreaming, unambitious student who is dragged into the ultra-glamourous world of competitive cycling.

What's good about it?

Some nice supporting characters. An original starting point (Bicycle anime!). Lots of drama and suspense. Not unfunny at times.

What's bad about it?

I hate the main character Shinozaki. He's weak, weird and awkward. He says uncool stuff all the time(I want to ride my bicycle with everyone because everyone is great and I love riding my bicycle with everyone. Totally unappealing. Besides that, the pacing is slow after the race starts, the dialogue is lame when they talk serious and after the novelty of cycling wears off, you're left with the reason you never got into cycling in the first place, it's hella-boring.

Final Verdict

Overdrive never seems to be able to blend comedy and drama effectively, so much so that the jokes sometimes come off as inappropriate for the moment and the attemps at seriousness are just that, attempts. At the end of the day, this series is mundane sports anime that is unique only in it's choice of sports. There's better choices out there.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei - Completed Review

What is it?

The story of a pessimistic teacher with unusual viewpoints regarding society, politics, the economy, technology, art & entertainment, history and the human condition. Together with his equally unusual and unique students, Sensei debates a wide range of topics.

What's good about it?

The more you watch it, the more you realize Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is a creative work of genius. The topics and opinions discussed are truly insightful and are provided a productive twist of humor for our entertainment. These are driven by an almost entirely female cast of cleverly-named characters. The animation style is unique and the character designs are very endearing.

What's bad about it?

References. SZS bombards you with a non-stop array of references, some so obscure as to baffle the most well-read of Japanese pop-culture connaisseurs. Since I consider myself as knowledgeable as the most astute non-japanese anime-watcher and that most references flew over my head, I'm amazed at how exclusive the content was. In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that some of these references are inside-jokes between the creative staff of SZS that only they could fully understand.

Final Verdict

Even when I don't get the references, I can feel that the joke was a funny one, adding to my frustration at not understanding it. Despite my limited comprehension, I was able to appreciate the creative way topics were broached and handled. Nevertheless, there were too many missed references for me to be able to consider SZS the pinnacle of greatness I would no doubt qualify it as if it were more accessible.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Minami-ke - Completed Review

What is it?

Minami-ke is the story of the three Minami sisters who live alone. For some reason, we never know exactly why they live together, since their parents are never mentionned. Since they don't seem to mind though, there's no reason to let it bother us.

The Minami sisters each have their own unique personalities, which is what moves the story along.

What's good about it?

The main characters really drive this show, especially kana and Chiaki. A lot of the series is just the two of them going at it with each other. The style is very reminiscent to Lucky Star, minus all the otaku content. You can easily draw comparisons between Kana and Konata, though they do have their dissimilarities. Minami-ke beats Lucky Star hands down in the supportive cast category, both in terms quantity and quality. The emo-dillusional loverboy Hosaka, the cross-dressing, onee-san loving shota character, the popular athlete whose crush causes him misunderstandings and stress galore are all appreciated characters.

What's bad about it?

The only downside to 4-panel manga style of anime series is that the reactions, jokes, themes tend to become repetitive and somewhat predictable. However, I found Minami-ke evades this trap better than most in the genre by mostly staying fresh in regards to material.

Final Verdict

You all know I live for these kinds of anime series. When I'm watching series like Lucky Star, Pani Poni Dash, Cromartie High, School Rumble and Azumanga Daioh, I find myself quite willing to ignore minor flaws purely because of the enjoyment factor they provide, and Minami-ke is no exception to that. I was also impressed that Minami-ke made a notably better job that Lucky Star at staying fresh and avoiding repetitiveness(though I'm willing to concede that it being half as long in terms of episodes might help its cause). I'm very eager to see if this trend continues in Minami-ke Okawari, but for some reason I'm not worried it won't.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Anime Roundup - February '08

Bonjour fellow anime-lovers,

I'm finally getting back into my anime watching routines. I'm back up to date with Gundam OO, Bamboo Blade, Clannad, Shion no Ou. Here are my impressions on where they stand up to now.

Gundam 00: No points for originality due to the too familiar setting, characters and themes but 00 is the most polished and decent Gundam series in recent memory(easily better than Seed destiny).

Bamboo Blade: Now that we've past the halfway point, I find Dan-kun/Miya-Miya have really lost their original freshness though the creators still insist on insisting on their disfunctionality. Luckily, the rest of the cast is great and this series is quite enjoyable. Tamaki exudes MOE!

Clannad: The arcs are hit and miss but this series is still a good production. It's from the same creator as Kanon and Sola, and it shows! So far I'd rate it between the two. (If you don't know what that means, dig through my archives for those reviews.)

Shion No Ou: I suppose this is as fun as a show about Shogi players can get. It's okay.

Also, I've finished a few series that you can expect reviews for in the near future. Those being Genshiken Season 2 and Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. I've also selected the possible series I'll be watching from the Winter Anime Season. Keep in mind this is a short list since the winter and summer new series are traditionally not as significant as their fall in spring counterparts. They are generally 12 or 13 episodes long, taking up the slots of other 12/13 episode series from the fall/spring that have just ended. Here they are:

-Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei
-Major Season 4
-They are my Noble Masters
-Rosario to Vampire

As you can notice these fall in to distinct categories. The first two being sequels, and the last two being light fare/harem/comedies.

If I'm bored I might pick up these two:

Spice and Wolf
Minami-ke Okawari (I'd have to watch Minami-ke first, which I've only begun downloading.)

That's all for now, keep watching your anime everyone! Bye-Bee!