Initial Thoughts on Tiger & Bunny, A Channel, Maria†Holic Alive, and Sengoku Otome: Momoiro Paradox

Featuring hero "Fire Emblem," a.k.a. the red Batman with a fondness for men. FIRE!

Tiger & Bunny (Ep. 1)
Well, I wasn’t sure what I would think about this show based off of the very sparse description on pretty much every anime chart I looked out, but I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at how enjoyable I found this first episode.  Sunrise pairs two interesting ideas: advertisement and superheroes.  Advertisement-wise, they are making use of their sponsors by putting their logos into the anime on specific heroes.  The advertisement idea goes even further in plot and characters, as superheroes are also sponsored by major businesses in the anime and perform all their heroic feats live on television in the very popular show “Hero TV.”

This is where our two main characters step up.  “Wild Tiger” is a veteran hero who is starting to feel the effects of time in his popularity and rising ineffectiveness.  He clings to old-fashioned ideals of separate identities and dated suits.  When a rising new star makes an appearance and Wild Tiger’s company is bought out, he finds himself with a new boss and a new partner.  This partner turns out to be the very same newcomer from earlier who has the exact same powers as Wild Tiger–the ability to get 100X stronger for a duration of 5 minutes.  However, unlike Wild Tiger, this new hero is able to achieve at what our veteran fails.

I always find veteran/rookie pairings interesting and of course, comical.  And that’s what this show seems to be all about: comedy and tons of action…in a fresh way.  I say, bring it on!

OP: “Orion wo nazoru” by UNISON SQUARE GARDEN–The song’s a bit too poppy/rock for my taste, but the visuals are gold standard.  It was a treat to watch and see all the different heroes, both in hero form and as their regular selves outside of costume.
ED: “hoshi no sumika” by Aobozu–A bit slower paced than the opening, this song has a nicer feel to it and doesn’t seem so much like your generic seinen music.  The graphics, too, are not as flashy as in the start, featuring cityscapes and various shots of Tiger and Bunny.

Interest Level: 80% Sure, I’ll stick with this for now and see where it takes me.  I hope the following episodes are as fun as this first one.

From left to right: Nodoka, Mio, Yui, &, wait...

A Channel (Ep. 1)
What we have here is the perfect example of an anime that drives anti-moe extremists nuts, and what gives moe-lovers a bad name.  I was attracted to this show from the visuals I had seen, plus the fact that I usually enjoy slice-of-life, school girl anime.  But at least in those types of shows, there are usually interesting events happening in the background, with dialogue that endears the characters to me.  Unfortunately, there is none of that in A Channel.  I kept sitting and waiting for something to make me chuckle, but all I thought while watching was how generic this anime felt.  Tooru-chan’s affection for and possessiveness of Run-chan is kind of cute at first.  But the writer decided that tiny moment of cuteness was enough to warrant bashing us over the head with it repeatedly within the same episode.  By the end, I wanted Tooru to just jump off the school’s roof.  In the above screenshot I compare the main characters to ones from K-ON!, but I could do the same to girls from a bazillion other shows.  This anime is even more boring than the first season of K-ON!, and that’s saying something (though I actually like the second season).

The one scene I laughed at in this episode is in the section after the ending theme, where Nagi imagines that the boys ask Run-chan about Yuuko’s three sizes, and actually has her answer them without any reservation.

OP: “Morning Arch” by Marina Kawano–The upbeat song, paired with the moving cityscape and various other visuals, tricks you into thinking that whatever follows will be just as sparkling and energetic.  It’s too bad I found the girls more entertaining in the opening than in the actual episode.
ED: “Humming Girl” by Kaori Fukuhara, Aoi Yuuki, Yumi Uchiyama, and Minako Kotobuki–Featuring the girly voices of our main characters, I again found this ending deceivingly cute in its fluffy vocals and lyrics.  It portrays the hope and uneasiness the girls feel in their everyday, young lives.  The visuals themselves are nothing special as its just the girls going about their regular days.

Interest Level: 50%, I’ll try out a couple more episodes in the hopes that the dialogue takes several steps up.  If things stay the say they are, I’ll most likely drop it.

I simply adore these stained-glass-like visuals, so obviously opposing the ideas of this show

Maria†Holic Alive (Ep. 1)
Shaft returns with this sequel to the 2010 Winter 1st season.  If you’re at all familiar with the first season and enjoyed it for its comedy/parody, then you’ll be glad to know that Maria†Holic Alive returns to give you more of what you love.  The premise of this show is ridiculous, and you’ll have to set aside any misgivings you may have on blatant degradation of sexual orientation to enjoy it.  This anime strives to parody the norms of yuri anime/manga, as well as that of all-girl situations that hint at yuri.  The result is a highly offensive series of skits that you either really love, or passionately hate.  I can’t remember exactly how rude the 1st season was at portraying so-called lesbian tendencies, but I found it overly disgusting at the beginning of this first episode.  They may not want me to take it seriously, but I still have a hard time swallowing the correlations they make between lesbians and man-haters/uncontrollable desires.

Get past the beginning, and I actually enjoyed the rest of the episode where Kanako and Co. battle through the trials of the First Girls’ Dorm (a.k.a. the dorm mistress’ series of traps to discourage male/female rendezvous).  The visuals, as usual, are appealing, with the mixture of dreamy visuals and highly saturated character graphics–echoing the juxtaposition of the religious and innocent, school atmosphere with overt mockeries.

Random notes: I have a strong liking for the Dorm Manager and her soft-woofing dog, Yonakuni-san.  I also loved the episode’s nods toward schoolgirl-running-with-toast-in mouth and deux ex machina plot devices.

OP: “Runrun Riru Ranran Rara” by Yuu Kobayashi–With the horrid lyrics and singing, I know I’m supposed to find this hilarious.  But.  I don’t.  I just find it degrading; I mean, please: “Kanako is a lesbian.  Everyday, her delusions rush uncontrollably through her mind…Her loathing of men is her solitary flaw!”

Interest level: 70%, I remember enjoying the 1st season to a degree, and I usually like Shaft works (Bakemonogatari, Hidamari Sketch, Arakawa Under the Bridge, Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru, etc.).  Though this show teeters between being overly offensive and devilishly clever, I kind of enjoy that torturous struggle.

It shouldn't be the bacon you're staring at.

Sengoku Otome: Momoiro Paradox (Ep. 1)
This anime starts out pretty similar to any schoolgirl-type show.  Our protagonist is clumsy and self-indulgent Toyotomi Hideyoshino, a.k.a. “Hideyoshi.”  Because of her late-night habits of goofing off on her cellphone and browsing the fashion trends on the net, she can’t get up early enough to take a less-packed train to school.  As a result, she continually takes the busy train, misses her stop, and arrives late to school.  Since she spends all her after-school time on hobbies, she doesn’t do too well in her studies.  Instead of changing her bad habits, she instead decides to ask for help at the local shrine.  What follows is a disastrous encounter with an unknown woman and Hideyoshi’s transportation to a different time and place.  In this world rife with war, she is saved by a feudal lord and her loyal vassal and pledges to help them find the missing pieces to a mythical set of armor known as the “Crimson Armor”–only until she can find her way home.

OP: “Kagerou” by Tenka Tori Tai (Satomi Akesaka, Mariya Ise, Sachi Kokuryu, Rei Mochizuki)–Again, we have a well executed intro. of both music and graphics to set the  mood for this show, which obviously includes flashy action and plenty of boobs.  Each of the warrior women gets a turn to show off her moves and glorious body (I find myself mostly interested in the archer chick).  The song is pretty typical for an action-type anime, and not too memorable.
ED: “Atsuki Ya no Gotoku” by Tenka Tori Tai (Satomi Akesaka, Mariya Ise, Sachi Kokuryu, Rei Mochizuki)–As with most shows, I find the ending music more likable than the opening.  Slower-paced, whimsical, and lead by the throaty vocals of the above-named women, we’re also treated with the images of the same warriors from the OP, only this time stripped of all their armor and battle faces.  They float through floral patterns and carefully placed ribbons–women in full bloom, indeed.

Interest level: 70%,  I seriously picked up this show on pure whim.  I had had zero interest in it when I first saw the description, as I usually dislike vast amounts of fan service.  Despite the hefty bosoms that threaten to spill out of armor pieces, I didn’t find the amount of fan service too much–at least in this first episode.  Another part of this show that caught my interest was the whole girl-caught-out-of-time aspect; it reminds me a bit of Fushigi Yuugi.  The idea is admittedly overdone in tons of anime, but I like that Sengoku Otome takes a sex twist to this blast to the past.  Instead of the known male leaders, we have women.  While this was probably just done to entice the male viewers, I still enjoy seeing strong women in leadership roles.  The main character, however, leaves much to be desired with her flighty personality.  From the opening graphics, I can assume she’ll become stronger and gain a little sense.  I’ll try this out for now.

9 thoughts on “Initial Thoughts on Tiger & Bunny, A Channel, Maria†Holic Alive, and Sengoku Otome: Momoiro Paradox

  1. Agreed with your opinion on T&B. A interesting take on super heroes! I also like the main character. His moral code and sense of priority, although may be cliche, is something I like.
    Although I also felt A-channel to be a bit generic, I believe I enjoyed it more than you. Hopefully it will get better in following episodes. I was slighty dissapointed by the animation, seemed better by looking at promo art.
    I didn’t like MHA episode 1 very much, the jokes didn’t really work. But I do remember enjoying the first season so I have hope that following episodes will be more funny.
    From the shows I’m following, Sengoku Otome is probably the one I’m less interested in. It has some good points but nothing that shines too much, so far I expect it to only be the kind of show I will enjoy a bit but never getting very good. Still worth a watch, and who knows, it may surprise me.


    • I’ve encountered quite an array of responses to A Channel. The general groups tend to be “Eh, so-so, but kinda cute and I’ll stick with it,” or “Eh, so-so, generic and not worth it.” I haven’t really come across super strong feelings in either of the parties. What all shows have you decided to follow this season?


      • From the ones I tried so far:
        Kami nomi II, Nichijou, Hanasaku Iroha, Tiger & Bunny, and Dog Days I most likely will follow till the end. Sengoku Otome, X-Men, Fireball Charming, Azazel-san, Softenni, Tsubasa wa Nai, A-Channel, Maria†Holic Alive, 30-sai, and Steins;Gate I will probably finish although may end up as on hold. SKET Dance and Gintama’ I may end up dropping.

        I also should try the following shows: HenZemi, Dororon, Astarotte, Kampfer s2, Moshidora, Aurora Dream, Showa Monogatari, Tono to Issho, Hoshizora, Hyouge Mono, Hida no Aria, Denpa Onna, Ao no Exorcist, Honto ni Atta, C, Ano Hi Mita Hana, Deadman Wonderland, Fujilog, and Appleseed. Also may try Kaiji and Seikon no Qwaser if I feel (and have the time) to watch their first seasons…
        So yeah tons of shows,m the reason why many of them I may end up putting on hold if the load is too big…


        • Oh wow, seriously, that is a LOT. Almost the entire listing! I just watched the first episode of Kami nomi II, so I’m looking forward to blogging a bit about it. Are you fluent in Japanese in something? I’m mainly asking because I’m not sure if all those shows will get subbed, primarily Showa Monogatari. It’s the one show that I looked forward to the most, and have the least hope in seeing someone pick it up.


  2. The only one I’m watching on this particular list is “Tiger & Bunny,” & I really enjoy it. It was advertised as some sort of mecha anime, but it doesn’t seem to be shaping up that way. It’s more of a buddy movie plus a pragmatic look at the superhero genre. And while some reviews I’ve read feel that the whole advertising + Hero TV thing is too much of a stretch, that’s not really true, is it? I happened to watch a soccer match on TV last night, and all the players’ jerseys had brand-name endorsements on them. Athletes are the superheroes of our times (at least the most celebrated ones), and the companies are going to cash in on them as much as possible, no?


    • I’m curious as to what other spring shows you’re planning to watch 🙂
      I agree with you, I didn’t find the mecha presence noticeable at all, and I’m the type of viewer that dislikes a lot of mecha-oriented shows. The advertisements are cleverly included and I didn’t mind the focus on it, at all. That’s the whole point! I’m really curious how the pairing will turn out over the course of the season, since as of now, “Bunny” seems a bit of a jerk. I’m recalling the scene where he sees the kid sad about his balloon, yet does nothing to help him.


  3. Ah true… there is also the chance some of them won’t get subbed… I’m studying japanese but so far I’m only at the level where I can understand somewhat an anime with an easier language (like K-ON XD). Unfortunately it shouldn’t be good enough for something like Showa Monogatari.
    On a side note, I will be sure to comment when you blog about Kami Nomi 2!


    • Mm, I wouldn’t expect it would for a lot of people. It’s a pretty generic fan service, fantasy, girl-whisked-away-to-another-world type of show. It’s my guilty pleasure of the season and not one I’d recommend to many others.


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