The title says it all. Oh, and this is another set of shows heading straight to the Watching list.
Area no Kishi
I’ve been waiting for a good soccer anime for quite awhile. I never thought I would be interested in sports anime, but after watching Cross Game and Moshidora, I realized that I found them exhilarating and much more emotionally involved than I had originally thought. There’s quite a bit of newer anime out there for the baseball and boxing fans, but my sport of choice is soccer. After doing some searching, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of soccer anime available. There are plenty of older ones as well as more recent ones that I had never heard of before. I’m guessing the reason I don’t feel drawn to any of them is because I’m still more attracted to those with romance than those without. And it looks like we’ll be treated to plenty of angst in Area no Kishi, with the sibling rivalry and possible mutual love interest. Although I haven’t watched to completion the baseball anime Touch, I did watch the first 20-some episodes, and the two feel similar with the sibling rivalry and love triangle. I’m hoping that Area no Kishi goes the route of Touch and Cross Game and chooses to focus more on the sport, using the romance as more of a fuel. Doing it this way heightens the emotions but doesn’t create too much drama.
I do find a couple of things odd about the art, my first issue being with the dated style. I’m not sure if it’s the color saturation, shading, the still shots, or some combination of all, but it feels like I’m watching an anime from the early 2000s. Perhaps this is intentional to give the anime a classic type of feel, but I don’t know if I really like it right now. Another aspect I find strange is the design of Aizawa Suguru, who most of the time looks proportional and flat faced, and at other times much too heavily penned. This occurs whenever he’s mad and yelling at Kakeru. I would expect such a style from a delinquent-type character, not the star of the soccer team. Overall, I’m definitely interested in the characters and in how Kakeru will fare back in the sport with his weak left side, but I’m still feeling some reservation.
Zero no Tsukaima F
Yes, I am going there. I am watching a show that these days I normally wouldn’t give a second glance. Why? Call it plain loyalty. I’ve seen the previous three seasons, and so feel somewhat obligated to finish the story out and see what could possibly happen to our duo, Louise and Saito. I’m not even sure why I watched all the other seasons, since everything past the first just deteriorated into ridiculousness. The fan service got ten times more annoying and the plot was pure drivel. I don’t even like our lead characters. I think I kept with it then because I was unfamiliar with the season charts and therefore unaware of what better anime I could be watching instead. Whatever the case, I’m sticking with it and seeing if this show come somehow pull off a better product and decent ending.
But the hope is very, very little after what I’ve seen here of F so far. The fan service is no better than before, and Saito is still a horny fool with zero (ohhh-hohohooh) loyalty to Louise–and who would want to be with her personality? I would have preferred more face time with Tabitha, who is the least irritating character of the cast. Instead, they’ve opted to throw us in with more Tiffania, a busty, ditsy elf with as generic a sweet personality as you can get. I am curious to see how she’ll handle Void magic as an elf, and just who she’ll end up with as her familiar.
So I gave in and watched the first episode of Brave 10, and I must admit, I was pleased with the results. Filled to the brim with a cast of bishounen ninja, I am ready to put on the napkin bib and engorge myself on the delectable dishes of glossy male hair and bare, broad chests. As of now, I’ve got a crush on both our male lead, Saizo, and Sarutobi. I always think it’s a good sign if I’m crushing on more than one of the male harem. I’m looking forward to meeting the other warriors that are bound to be gathered by the warlord, Sanada. I’m unfamiliar with the legend of Sanada Ten Braves, having never studied the history nor seen the anime, Sengoku Basara, but I don’t mind Brave 10 being my first excursion into the well known tale. Time for my fan girl squeal ><
Oh, right. I should discuss quality, yeah? I have no complaints about the art style and animation, as both are puh-reeeetty. I appreciate the action sequences being mostly animated, as opposed to going the cheap route with stills. The actions fuels my fangirl love for battling pretty boys. The premise is interesting, and fantastical, with the inclusion of our female protagonist, Isanami. She’s mostly all archetypical dere-dere, with her sweet interior and exterior. She reminds me a lot of Chizuru of Hakuouki, with her innocent wrappings but powerful ability for destruction. As flouncy and friendly as she is, I feel drawn to her. She’s that fuzzy puppy you can’t help but play with and feed a mountain of treats (or soba).
I’ve been anticipating the quality of this show ever since I first saw the PV, and this episode just furthered my expectations for what this anime can accomplish. We start of with a story being told, horror story style, of the tragic death of Misaki Mei. We don’t see the narrator, or the girl to whom he speaks, but the setting of atmosphere is successful. I’m disturbed and curious, and based on what I’ve seen, I think I’ll hang in here until every last of the candles go out. That isn’t to say, however, that the first episode wasn’t devoid of irritations. For instance, the OP theme is horrendous with Another. It doesn’t suit the style of the storytelling at all. I have nothing against the song itself, just that it shouldn’t be here. There are also the several interspersed shots to creepy images of dolls in varying states of repair–armless, bald, or with strange bulges at the top of the head. Dolls are creepy, yes, but I just don’t see how throwing in seemingly unconnected images is a better choice than some other type of scary image, or not including any at all. There is already plenty enough through music, dialogue, and visuals to set the atmosphere. One more area that seemed odd was the forced unity of Sakakibara’s classmates. I can understand them having some type of agreement to hide something, or mutually avoid something, but their act falters a bit too often. Or perhaps they’re silent through fear, but even then, I would expect them to not let their feelings be so transparent to an outsider.
There are several things about this first episode that I do like very much, such as the background music and sound effects, the art direction, the dialogue and pauses, the characterization, and the ED theme. The music and sound effects are a tad on the cheesy side since they’re used through every second of the episode, but they are successful in aiding the atmosphere. If they had a few moments of silence, I think it would help a lot. The art is also quite stunning, with the usual attention to detail by PA Works. I’m seeing a similarity in quality to HanaIroha with the backdrops and smooth character design. The dialogue works exceptionally well with the awkward pauses and searching questions by Sakakibara’s classmates. I find it odd that I absolutely abhor horror in almost every other medium, be it film or literature, but enjoy it the way I do in anime. That’s something that would make an interesting blog post, comparing the differences in storytelling, art, and atmosphere in Eastern versus Western works.