8 Jul 2011

Summer 2011 Impression (part 1)

The Summer season is here! Seeing the high ratings on Star Crossed Anime blog got me really excited to check them out myself. Part 1 will cover Ro-Kyu-Bu!, Kami-sama no Memo-chou, Ikoku Meiro no Croise, Sacred Seven, and Blade.

Ro-Kyu-Bu! 1
This show is DEFINITELY catering to loli-fans. While the main characters look fine (they ARE elementary school kids), their teacher looks about the same age as them. There are horrible amounts of fan service stuffed into this episode, covering a wide range of stereotypes (sports girl, maid, imouto, etc...). HOWEVER, it avoids putting ecchi-ness into the plot itself. The fan service comes in the form of camera angles rather than ecchi situations. Also, some drama is brewing up. Their competition with the boys team would likely be a focal point at least for the next few episodes.
Potential: 2 stars (crappy, but has potential to get better)

Kami-sama no Memo-chou 1
This, I believe, is one of J.C. Staff's best effort to date. As much as I loved the characterization in Hachimitsu to Clover and Toradora, they have never been exceptionally good art-wise and animation-wise. KamiMemo has the guy who worked on Paprika and half of Paranoia Agent work on the series composition, while retaining the animation chops of Sano Keiichi (Railgun, Index season 2). This is a killer combo as the art and animation looks super sharp, and the atmosphere is brilliant. The revelation at the end of the case was short and sharp, showing brief scenes that give you an eerily vague idea of what happened. Keep it up and you'll have a hit, J.C. Staff.
Potential: 4 stars (not a classic yet, but still excellent stuff)

Ikoku Meiro no Croise 1
First off, Yune is super cute and Toyama Nao portrayed her character really well! The art is beautiful, and the atmosphere is very calm, but the highlight is really the characters of this show. As a slice-of-life series, you can only go so far with atmosphere. Luckily, Ikoku Meiro no Croise has great characters to back it up and ensure it will stay engaging for longer. I'm already quite sure I will give this series 4 stars at the end of its run.
Potential: 4 stars (looks likely to maintain this quality, but also unlikely to surprise)

Sacred Seven 1
Having watched Code Geass, I can't help but see this becoming another one of those crazy action shows. That's a compliment! The action sequences in this episode were amazing. It doesn't quite reach the ghibli-esque fluidity of Xam'd, but it is well directed (the action parts anyway), moves the plot quickly, and misplaced humour. Weird brew for sure, but I'll be staying on to watch more because it has me HOOKED.
Potential: ?? stars (either go Code Geass or sink, your decision, Sunrise!)

Blade 1
Madhouse dropped the ball... again. I tried to put aside my bias towards their recent Marvel collaborations, but even the action sequences failed to excite me. They are not really that bad, but just poorly paced and directed. Sacred Seven set the bar this season for action shows, and Blade is just doing the limbo instead of vaulting over it. I still think the X-men adaptation was slightly better.
Potential: 1 star (I could probably force myself to watch this just to see if it gets better, but I won't)

A mixed bag so far, but I still have Noitamina to look forward to. Hoping to pick up at least 5 series this season to kick-start Anime Weekly again!

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