I’ve been dragging my feet in getting around to watching all the newly airing shows, but I’m glad I clung in there because there are a few promising works here waiting to blossom. And while a couple are not too high on my priority for this season, none of them were completely devoid of noteworthy aspects.
Ano Natsu de Matteru
If you’ve seen Toradora, Toaru Majutsu no Index, or AnoHana, then you’ll immediately recognize the character designs in Ano Natsu. Cleanly and charmingly drawn, the characters of this anime fit the feel of this show–young and whimsical. I’ve read from other reviewers that the outline mimics that of Onegai Teacher, but I haven’t seen it and so can’t make that comparison. What I do notice are some old and overused scenarios, such as the alien girl who falls into the life of our very normal male protagonist, as well as his circle of strangely diverse friends who I couldn’t imagine really becoming friends outside of the anime world. However, I’m not too annoyed with the alien girl aspect since I think it’s incorporated in an understated kind of way. I’ve become accustomed to magical girl type anime where the girl literally falls into the guy’s lap wearing the most colorful and out of this world type of clothing. Ichika chooses instead to try blending in with the populace, failing only with her hair color and a few odd mannerisms.
Kaito’s school friends are less acceptable to me as a viewer, since I find them too set apart in their personalities and looks. We’ve got our main protagonist who looks like a film nerd, a playboy who can charm the pants off teachers and students alike, a moe blob pink-haired girl with no interesting characteristics, and a tomboy with a one-sided crush on our protagonist. Their connections to one another don’t really make sense to me at the moment, but most likely the anime will flesh out their friendship along with the love story. And as far fetched as the situation is between Kaito and Ichika, at least there’s the circumstance of their initial meeting that ties them together. Because I’m so curious about what it is exactly that has infected Kaito, I’m able to overlook the groan-worthy scene of Ichika, fresh from the bath, rushing to his aid with some futuristic device and a healing kiss. It will take some work for her to charm me, as well as Kaito’s older sister and tomboy friend who walked in on the scene, after that face plant into her buxom breasts.
Oh god. What do my eyes see, but an anime that reminds me much too much of Guilty Crown (which I’m contemplating dropping). The similarities are too many and too obvious: gorgeous graphics disguising a thrown together plot with little backstory, a young man troubled with identity crisis handling powers far beyond his control, a bland yet pretty female of mystical properties, and a transformation with sexual overtones. I haven’t seen seen the prequel to this anime, but I haven’t heard anything good about it. I was hoping that this sequel, set far, far in the future with only a myth of a connection to its predecessor, would rally around a complicated characters.
I’ll throw Aquarion a bone and concede that Sora, despite his uninspired name, is far more interesting to me as a lead than GC‘s Shu. Flying just seems more useful overall than the ability to pull possibly useless Voids out of people. Sadly, he is alone as the rest of the cast falls between mildly entertaining to full out ridiculous to the mundane. Maybe I would have had to seen the original to understand why there’s such a separation between male and females for piloting the Aquaria, and why a complete Aquarion joining male and female is now considered impure. Right now, I’m bored by the flashy animation, which is the last feeling I should have for a show filled with so much mecha action and fan service.
Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou
After my disappointment with last season’s Kimi to Boku., I wasn’t holding very high hopes for Danshi Koukousei. I was worried that, once again, there would be no reason for the boys being boys, and that their dialogue would be just as disinteresting. Thankfully, it proved to be neither. Though the comedy wasn’t always spot on, I believe that the conversations and activities these boys had were mostly believable. Take, for instance, the whole skirt scenario. It makes sense to me that a group of guys would waste an afternoon talking about why the heck girls are willing to make themselves vulnerable wearing skirts. I can even imagine a couple of jerkoff friends tricking their more gullible pal into putting one on. Their whole fascination, be it true or pretend, in his wearing of the article of clothing cracked me up.
Another skit that had me almost dying in laughter was right at the end with Hidenori and Literature Girl. The scene looks innocent enough, one that looks like a chance meeting between two possible lovers. Unfortunately for the both of them, a carefree discussion is the last thing that comes about. Hidenori’s nervousness at the girl’s close proximity despite the very large riverbank results in some hilarious inner dialogue. To talk, or not to talk? And what to say? What made the situation even more priceless was both his own and the girl’s reactions to his nonchalant phrase, “The wind is troubled today.” His own mortification is followed quickly by her giggling glee. The only shortcoming to this whole joke was the punchline, being that the scenario was her attempt at a reenactment of her draft of a love novel. I would have preferred the scene be her idea of trolling (think Mai of Nichijou). Despite the semi-letdown, I still left this episode with a smirk on my face and look forward to the next.
Inu x Boku SS
My hopes for this anime paid off in the premier episode, and I find myself completely hooked by the characters and the setting. I do have a bit of reservation with the loli and bishounen elements, but so far there hasn’t been anything too blatant for my tastes. Ririchiyo is a blend of tough and melancholy, a person who has no idea how to communicate with others and lets her irritation with her own inabilities affect her interactions. She seems snobby, but I know she is the last person to consider herself above others–knowledge based off of a couple of very short flashbacks featuring a very bullied little girl. Despite her prickly exterior, there’s a real vulnerability to her that reveals itself in the look of shame and wistfulness on her face after each interaction. I can understand why she’d choose to live by herself in a new place, where no one knows her and where she can hopefully start over. This looks like it might be difficult, however, since she looks to have her own kind of supernatural bloodline meddling in her life.
If there’s a perfect bodyguard to balance out Ririchiyo’s hard personality, then Soushi is him. Looking at his nine-tailed fox form, I can’t help but be reminded me of xxxHOLiC‘s pipe fox, who was a blend of adorable and dangerous. While I can understand Ririchiyo’s resistance to any sort of interference from her family, I wouldn’t be able to put off Soushi’s cute eagerness to serve. His sweet smile and quickness to serve completely disarms my suspicion, and I loved the scene at the end where his true form is revealed. Based off of the glow in Ririchiyo’s eyes, I’m sure she could have protected herself, but I preferred Soushi’s method (which was…what?). I didn’t like not seeing exactly what happened to the burglars, but I assume they were allowed to run away with their lives knowing that no one would believe their claims about the Demon Mansion. I have no clue which direction this anime will take, but I’m happily looking forward to whatever is in store.
Winter 2012 Season update:
- Kill Me Baby (Dropped)
- Guilty Crown (Dropped)
- Black Rock Shooter (Plan to watch)
- Thermae Romae (Watching, will review after 3rd and final ep.)