Here’s the weekly roundup post–instead of blogging regularly about a single show or two, I’ve decided to follow this season’s shows in this way. This week, I talk about Akikan, Asu no Yoichi, Toradora, and a first look at Regios.
I think the best thing about this show is the government official who seems to be trying to both threaten and seduce Daichi. The introduction of a “tournament” of sorts between the different Akikan girls could threaten to become serious, since it’s a fight to the death, but I doubt it would work even if it did–this is simply not the kind of show that could sustain that kind of drama. (Ie, it ain’t no Mai Hime.) The entire premise almost sounds satirical after all; see usagijen’s effort to make good on that idea.
And yet, this is beginning to fall into the “it’s so bad it’s actually kinda good” category for me. I mean, I lulz’d at the end when the grape soda character, and her song, got introduced. Though maybe it was because we had just recorded our last podcast episode and talked about Tentacle Grape soda…something which might actually be somewhat appropriate for a show like this. It sure would make Daichi rather happy given his character.
I see that this childhood friend is a bit of a schemer. And, for once, when he’s on top of them both, his first reaction is something other than cringing embarrassment. He has the mind of the audience!
Asu no Yoichi 1-2
A strong start in episode 1–in which we are introduced to a fairly likable country samurai-in-training trying to make it in the city whilst collecting a harem–gave way to a more typical, ho-hum episode 2. I liked the first episode a lot because Yoichi wasn’t the typical wimpy harem lead (actually, we’ve been seeing fewer of them lately, haven’t we? If this is a trend, it’s a welcome one). He’s capable and chivalrous, albeit a bit clumsy and rube-like. And given the genre, eventually he has to pratfall his way into ecchi moments from time to time. The second episode featured a lot more of them than episode 1, which probably indicates we’re going to be getting a lot more of the same to come. Alas. The girls in this show aren’t particularly interesting, either.
The haikus were kind of funny though.
I wasn’t sure this wonderful show was going to get any stronger than the final arc of its first season, but clearly, I was not prepared for the full-on continuation of well-written, revealing character moments that these episodes contain. They are directed with the finesse and with the quiet depth that Honey and Clover had, showing how many light years ahead Toradora is from most of its genre peers.
I suppose my initial predictions about Minori’s cheerfulness perhaps not being an act is starting to unravel, however; she is clearly in denial about many things, and seems almost embarrassed to be as full of insight into others as she actually is. I’m also not sure I buy Kitamura’s sudden change of mood, which was handled a little clumsily in episode 15, with its abrupt shifts from comedy to drama to comedy. This kind of shifting was something that H&C excelled at, especially with the use of insert songs, and continues to be peerless in–not to mention in the overall realism department. Toradora will never be that good, I don’t think. It’s not even as true to life as Karekano was.
Still, though, it has that whiff, that air of good writing which is in such short supply in anime combined with solid direction. More moments like the intertwined monologues at the end of the 14th episode (the most H&C like moment so far), the stargazing incident in 15…and I’m going to seriously wonder whether we have a “best of the year” show contender on our hands. What a long, long way a little complication and emotional layering can do.
I suppose this is the other contender for the “Dragonaut-sized fiasco of the season” award along with Sorakake. It seems to be two shows–one is a potential school comedy in which a badass but clumsy transfer student with talents begins to make his mark in the Military Arts; the other is an action show in which said student joins a team to slice up some giant bugs reminiscent of the ones in Nausicaa. In between are a countless number of characters I can’t keep track of. The one thing this has above Dragonaut is at least the women’s boobs aren’t as humongous. But after the first episode I still haven’t quite figured out what was going on–which makes it worse, in fact, than Sorakake, where at least we have the Leopard computer to keep us amused a little.
Actually, come to think of it, the action sequences that began and ended the show were OK. Not very well-animated compared to, say, Rideback, but passable. The show held my interest in the first five minutes prior to the credits, and I was even saying to myself, “well, if this is only a monster-fighting show, it might be kind of boring.” I was right that they wanted to be more than just that, but it didn’t work to prevent boredom and confusion. The “jump the shark moment,” for me, was when a whole gaggle of squealing fangirls–or something–stripped Our Hero naked to dress him in the new uniform. Only in anime, I suppose. Bad anime.
What is with all these shows with enormous casts, anyway? Most anime writers can’t properly handle in media res. If you can’t, you do these sorts of things one step at a time.