Wednesday, April 23, 2008

First Impressions - Spring Anime Season (part 1)

It's been a week and I've started watching a handful of the spring season lineup additions. Keep in mind that my computer has had a meltdown and my backup is an older model that can't play files encoded with the H264 codec. To put that in layman's terms, shows that are being released strictly in HD will not be reviewed (or watched) for an indefinite period. Now moving on, let's jump right into the early impressions (which is all these are so let's not read too much into them).

Code Geass:! Easily the best show of the season. I'll eat my hat if this ends up not being the best show of the year (and I love my hat!). I can't remember ever anticipating the next episode of a series week after week like I do with Geass. I'll leave all the spoilers for the formal review in the fall but I'll say that Geass does a fabulous job reconciling the incredibly high-tension cliffhanger ending of last season and starting off the new season at a fabulous pace. The adjustment is done very cleverly using flashbacks to fill in the gaps left over from last season without slowing down the action. The Code Geass franchise is shaping itself up as the series of the decade and if there's only one series you can watch, make it this one!
Early Impressions: GOD STATUS

xxxHOLIC kei: A decent start to a very good show. I just noticed I've never written a formal review of the original xxxHOLIC so I'll give you a quick impression of that since this season is shaping up very similarly. Holic is an entertaining show with nice characters and good stories but with very little to no character development and plot development. After a mystery is solved or a curse is removed, the characters come back the next week and take on their next challenge. We don't learn a lot about the characters and many plot lines go undeveloped like romantic interests or supernatural abilities. xxxHOLIC is a great show that is unwilling to take risks to elevate its product, a common flaw in CLAMP works.
Early Impressions: Great but flawed and unambitious.

Kanokon: A surprisingly good harem that is unapologetic about it's genre. Kanokon features insanely over-the-top amounts of ecchi and fan service. In fact, it's practically all that happens. The character design for our lead female is attrative and fresh. Add in a dash of funny material like the thoughrougly abused onii-chan, the Yuki Nagato-like(from Haruhi Suzumiya) rival character's deadpan deliveries and the classroom comments from the sideline cast and you've got an enjoyable show.
Early Impressions: Rare decent harem series.

To Love-Ru: A definitely lesser ecchi series. It feels like the material is more recycled, the character designs are a knotch lower and the comedy attempts are more hit and miss. To love-ru will need to go more outrageous and do less switching between funny and heartfelt moments.
Early Impressions: A more common, lesser example of the harem/ecchi genre.

Itazura na Kiss: This kind of series irritates me to no end. Girl confesses to jerk-guy. Jerk rejects her. Girl forced to move in with jerk's family. Girl doesn't give up on jerk and uses extorsion, confrontation and tenacity in an attempt to bag the guy. Sound like fun?
This is a romantic comedy that is unfunny with two unlikeable characters. The animation and character designs reek of low-budget and the setting is the furthest from unique. I will probably struggle to make it through this series if I do at all.
Early Impressions: Bad romantic comedy.

I've only watched the first 3 episodes of these series so my judgement is reserved only to them. That's it for now. I'll watch some more and get back to you with more early impressions and reviews for Clannad and Bamboo Blade in the coming weeks. Bye-bee!

No comments: