22 Feb 2011

Anime Weekly 3

A short post every Sunday, 9pm (I hope!) summarizing what I've watched in the past 7 days. Notable episodes this week have a (*) beside the episode number.

This post will be going up on Tuesday instead of Sunday. Seems like I can't keep up with this every week, so some changes will be made to the format.

Dragon Crisis!
Episode: 3

This episode tries to bring out the big emotional moments, but fails completely. I personally felt that I could not connect with the characters at this point, since not much is known about them and the way they are written just seems so inconsistent and impersonal. The producers tried to deliver a heartfelt episode with emotional dialogue but it was just too cheesy and awkward. Moreover, how did Rose suddenly expand her vocabulary within minutes??

Kimi ni Todoke
Episode: 3, 4

A bit of depth for kazehaya, but still going round in circles! Kent makes his move, but it seems like it requires 
alot more to force kazehaya to confess/do something. This show is really too slow for my liking. I don't know how I survived the first season...

Yumekui Merry
Episode: 4

Ahh... episodic content. So far, it is not doing it right. Each episode is self contained and the main characters are taking a damn long time to develop. I would have preferred it if they spent a few episodes to develope the characters and set up the premise before delving into this format. The direction, art, and animation is still above average, but somehow it doesn't click. It's the kind of show where the individual components seem good, but the sum of all parts comes out short.

Hokago no Pleiades
OVA Episodes: 1, 2, 3, 4

A bunch of 10 minutes OVAs produced by Gainax for Subaru. The only thing car related are the brooms sound like car engines. A weird collaboration, though the animation and character designs are quite pleasant to look at. Don't go in looking for something deep or even remotely interesting.

Onii-chan no Koto
Episode: 4, 5

Nothing much to say. Did I drop this previously? I can't remember. I just watched it while waiting for the next episode of Madoka to come out.

Episode: 4

No improvements and tedious to watch. I'll just stick to the manga, which is doing a fun video game arc right now.

Episode: 4

The mysteries in Gosick are ALWAYS interesting, but somehow, they manage to make them boring to watch. I can see this doing well in a light novel format, but as an anime, this is probably the worst Bones production I've watched.

Kore wa Zombie
Episode: 4, 5

Quite an improvement, though my reaction to this series is still very mixed. It seems like they can't decide whether to do a comedy or drama. The drama elements don't blend well as the comedy jumps in and out unexpectedly and so the atmosphere is weird most of the time. The scene with the dog drinking tea is a classic. Nearly spat out the water I was drinking when I saw that scene. lol...

Infinite Stratos
Episode: 4, 5, 6

The battles get interesting in episode 4, but sort of dies down later on. I have to give them credit for the animation though. They don't skimp, and even when they do, it's not very obvious. Battles, unlike those in Star Driver, move the story forward, and are not used just to boost show ratings or show off their animation skills (some of whom have worked on the recent Macross movie). However, the dere side of the numerous tsundere characters are still a little irritating. And there are too many transfer students. Seriously! Every episode introduces a new transfer student (who promptly falls in love with our main character)!

Episode: 3, 4

Yamakan might be betting his entire career with Fractale, and I do see the effort he is putting in, but it seems he is destined to fail. Haruhi did well because of the seiyuu and story. Lucky Star flourished without him. Kannagi has a small but interesting otaku following due to the character designs. Black Rock Shooter had the advantage of a pre-established fan base and the huge marketing muscle of Good Smile Company. Fractale? They butchered the original (and more favourable) character designs and art style. They tried doing a Ghibli-style adventure without the same subtle touch that Ghibli gives its characters. And on a short TV series budget. It has an interesting premise and some promising characters (Phryne), but the main character and plot progression is seriously weak! It feels like you are being thrown along for the rough, uncomfortable ride without much context or build up.

Star Driver
Episode: 17, 18(*), 19

The beach, BBQ, and karaoke. All fun scenes for episode 17 and 18! I especially liked episode 18 and Keito's karaoke/dancing moment. However, these episodes seem to lack a purpose. After the end of Mizuno's arc, Keito was supposed to step up to the spotlight, but she still seems rather hidden and mysterious. Sure, we are shown some of her past, but we do not know how she became like this or what is her current motivation. Seems like the producers are trying to drag things out and, hopefully, throw us a curve ball in the episode 22 or 23, and another in episode 25, before giving us an epic conclusion in episode 26. *cross fingers*

Level E
Episode: 4, 5

Honestly speaking, I did not expect random episodic content from this series, and initially I had my doubts about any of this going well. Episode 4 changed my mind. It was so brilliantly pulled off, with good dialogue and genuinely scary story. Buuuuut, the producers had to ruin it with a poor conclusion. Felt like they took the easy way out when they could have done something more elaborate like in episode 3. Episode 5 was rather interesting too, but does not serve the greatly good of the entire series. I don't know if they will continue like this or weave in some main plot, but right now I'm seriously missing Yukitaka and Miho. Please don't troll me by removing them completely from the rest of the show!

Wondering Son
Episode: 3(*), 4, 5(*)

Episodes 3 and 4 continued to do a good job of setting up the characters. Chiba (the angry girl) was fantastic. The story seems to be putting a lot more focus on her and it is paying off. She tends to be the trigger for all the drama but does it in a convincingly real way. Her jealously is complicated and not one-dimensional. Episode 5, on the other hand, seems to be the real start of the series. Characters have been defined, so it seems that the author just creates the situations and let them play it out naturally. The scene that stood out the most was Nitori's secret being told to everyone through the guy that likes Chiba. I loved how all the characters reacted differently, each according to their personalities, and how each reaction affected all the others, creating the perfect storm of emotions. While this is all good, I hope the story takes control of its characters a little more so that things can proceed nicely towards the 11th episode's conclusion.

Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica
Episode: 4(*), 5, 6(*), 7

Every episode of Madoka (since episode 3's twist) is so epic that it easily enters my top 10 anime of all time! Of particular interest were episodes 4 and 6. Episode 4 did not have a huge twist like in 3 and 6, but it had great drama. It provided a believable situation and motivation for Sayaka to finally become a Mahou Shoujo. For episode 6, the revelation of the truth behind the Soul Gems through Sayaka's almost-accidental death was a huge shock. When Madoka threw Sayaka's Soul Gem away, Sayaka suddenly blanks out and collapse without any warning or build up. And then Kyubey calmly told Madoka she has just thrown her friend off the bridge. And Kyouko confirming that Sayaka's body is dead. The scene turns to a sinister silhouette as you realise Madoka just killed her best friend. That moment was so brilliantly played out with little drama leading up to it and such simple, sinister visuals. Unless Urobuchi Gen seriously fucks up the ending, this series is hands down the best this season, and possibly this year. Great start to 2011!

Since school is a clingy bitch that won't let go, I'll have to shorten my posts A LOT in order to do it weekly. Moreover, I simply don't have much to say about most of these series. Currently I only actively follow Madoka, Wandering Son and Star Driver without fail, so I've decided to blog these 3. In addition, I'll also blog about one episode of a series that I've watched that week, but that might not happen every single week. Star Driver comes out on Tuesday, so I will watch it during the week, while Madoka and Wandering Son usually come out on Fridays, so I'll watch them on Friday or Saturday before blogging all 3 on Sunday. Next Anime Weekly should be on Sunday, covering Star Driver 20, Madoka 8, and Wandering Son 6.

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