[Review] Ozuma

Ozuma (or Ozma) was my first Matsumoto Leiji experience, and was just as grandiose as I had expected.  There’s an almost Miyazaki-esque feel to the themes of Nature and Man permeating the show, with reverence paid to Life’s raw power and mutability.  Complete with gorgeously detailed backdrops and sweeping orchestral sounds, we are expected to stand in awe of the beauty that is Life.  This life resists all forms of control: the Ideal Children’s attempt to infinitely replicate their genetic code, their further manipulation of the Natura’s bodies as shells for their own souls, and even in the Ozuma’s strangely sentient acts of self-preservation.  Through these struggles, the very definition of humanity is questioned.  What is more human than fighting to protect a way of life and set of ideals? What is the human mind, but a means for forever expanding the horizons of knowledge?

Almost hand-in-hand with these questions is an additional dispute of duty and love.  There are quite a few examples in Ozuma where characters display obvious signs of affection bordering on love, or even obsession.  And yet, in almost each case, those feelings are pushed aside for the greater good.  Duty triumphs and the “right” path is taken.

“Live, and love each other.  That is all humanity can do.”
-Maya

Wonderfully imagined, Ozuma suffers from too little time and overly lofty goals.  A large array of themes are presented, only to turn into simplified lessons, or never addressed again at all.

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Initial Impression: Sakamichi no Apollon on Fundamentals and Improvisation

They stand back to back, Jazz and Classical, fully pressed against one another.  Although they face in different directions, a fundamental connecting line runs between the two.  There’s an undeniable relationship between Jazz and Classical music that many musicians have the misfortune of never acknowledging, but that nonetheless is ever present in every note and beat.  I was one such musician.

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Initial Impression: Tsuritama, Hemingway, and Angler as a Role

The scene flashed by, but if you were paying attention, you may have caught the nod towards Ernest Hemingway.  The renowned author was also a dedicated angler who devoted quite a few of his writings to the art of fishing.  You may have even read some of his works in school; the first one that came to my mind was The Old Man and The Sea.  ajthefourth wrote a fascinating piece on the first episode over at Altair and Vega, complete with her own personal experience with fishing, and I would like to jump from that into my own views of this new anime and its aquatic theme.
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Initial Impressions: Natsuiro Kiseki, Phi Brain 2

I’m going to push these two out quickly so I can place together my next three spring shows into one post of awesome sauce.  That’s how spectacular the schedule for Thursday really is.  The following two anime, Natsuiro Kiseki and Phi Brain 2 aren’t bad per se, but when compared to many of the shows airing this season as well, the odds aren’t so much in their favor of staying on my already busy viewing schedule.  Regardless, I’ll stick it through for a few more episodes each to really decide whether or not I want to keep them.

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Initial Impressions: Sankarea, Tasogare Otome x Amnesia, Jormungand

Sankarea
Undecided

Like with Shirokuma CafeSankarea wasn’t even close to being on my radar after my season preview.  I’m just not feeling the whole anime zombie craze.  I was good with Highschool of the Dead‘s rampant sexuality and gore, but dropped Kore wa Zombie Desu ka? after just one episode.  Sankarea looks to be riding on their coattails with its generic pretty girl and cat-haired male lead.  And yet, I read a few reviews, notably from The Cart Driver and Guardian Enzo, that tempted me to ignore the warning bells going off in my head.

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Initial Impressions: Shirokuma Cafe, Fate/Zero 2, Saki: Achiga-hen

Shirokuma Cafe
Watching

Thanks to the kind prodding of bloggers Riyoga and Foxy Lady Ayame, I picked up this show that I had previously dismissed.  Shirokuma Cafe is an odd cross between slapstick humor and clever commentary.  The main laughs stem from the oddity of seeing these exotic animals, including a polar bear, empire penguin, panda, sloth, and several others, acting like humans amongst humans.  I’m not sure how long the novelty will remain entertaining through out the rest of the show, but I’m willing to give it a chance after the success of this first episode.

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Initial Impressions: Space Brothers, Folktales from Japan, and Zetman


Uchuu Kyoudai
Watching

Spring has really started out strong, first with Ozuma, and now with Space Brothers.  The show has a distinctly mature setting, as the characters are fully grown men with careers under their belts.  What makes them doubly interesting is that the two brothers differ not only in age, but also in success.  I often hear older sisters lament about younger sisters marrying first, but this is the first instance I’ve come across where the younger brother exceeds the older in both fulfilling his childhood dream as well as in the professional sense.

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Initial Impressions: Ozuma

Everything about Ozma screams classic in the making, from its opening plot, setting, characters, art style, and even soundtrack.  And yet, I had walked into this without almost zero expectations, it being my first excursion into Matsumoto Leiji’s works (creator of Galaxy Express 999).  The premise from the brief introductions I had read from season previews made it sound like some twist of Frank Herbert’s Dune series, which in itself isn’t a bad thing at all.  I happen to be a huge fan of Dune, and so I used that as my basis for wanting to try this anime.  Luckily, my inklings paid off with this grand first episode and I’m now dead set on Ozma as one of my leading shows to kick off the spring season.

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Initial Impression: Hiiro no Kakera

Airing a full month earlier than the rest of the spring shows, Hiiro no Kakera is an anime adaptation of a popular female romance game by the same name.  For anyone unfamiliar with reverse harems, the set up is pretty similar to regular harem shows, only with several hunks surrounding one girl.  There are the standard archetypes for the gallery, including the male versions of the kuudere, genki, and silent moe  Our protagonist also fits the bill for most reverse harems, being as weak-willed and bland in personality as possible.  This assumedly makes it easier for the viewer to insert her/himself into the story.  While that may have worked in the video game, the game to anime transition feels as if it has lost whatever it was that made it so popular in the first place.

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Spring 2012 Season Preview

I’m sick of waiting for trailers! I’m getting this season preview out of the way before it burns a hole in my drafts folder >.< I’m also changing things up a bit and only commenting on the anime that I’ll be watching or trying out.  I always have a hard time coming up with things to say about anime that don’t interest me in the slightest, yet I don’t want to say a bunch of negative blab and be unfair to something I’ll never watch.

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