Being that post-quake industry has chosen to stagger out a number of titles over the course of several weeks, and because a bigger post is still in the works, I figured it time to actually strap in and share some blurbs regarding the Fall 2011 season.
Now as basis for what comes is largely based on what I shared via my Twitter feed(Here).
First off is what came to mind when watching Persona 4 The Animation
Synopsis: Newly moved from the city to the country town of Inaba, Yu Narukami quickly adjusts to living with his uncle and six year old cousin. But it is once after he makes friends at school that he begins to fall deep into a surreal mystery involving local murders, alternate dimensions within television space, and a troubling power that begins to appear within him.
Upon being initially unsure of how much I was actually ready to watch this, as I had never seen any of the anime made for this franchise prior, along with having a mild interest in the Digital Devil Saga game series oh so many years ago, there was more than a bit of hesitance on my part. And sure enough, after viewing these first few episodes, it is clearly not a show designed for me. And by that, we are speaking from nearly every approach, what we have here is a show so modeled after the often choppy, broken up nature of the games, that it becomes much more like watching a game, rather than experiencing a story unfold. Hence..
It’s true. Characters instigate beats with little reason, layers are planted in an almost random, inconsistent fashion, and dialogue comes from the way a game triggers them.(Things that simply do not work in regards to how a mystery tale functions) Overall, it’s a garish, headache-inducing ball of nonsense that will likely be more interesting to those invested in games of this style than not.
Persona 4 can be watched via Crunchyroll.
Next came the much-anticipated follow-up to one of my favorite realized worlds in anime history, Last Exile-Fam, The Silver Wing.
Synopsis: Once again, in an alternate world where flight is achieved by way of alien technology, and yet alliances remain unstable, a cadre of neutral-leaning sky pirates are pitted between two core powers; the peaceful Turan, and the traitorous Ades Federation. After an audacious assault on Turan, young harpoon-master, Fam & her partner Giselle task themselves with bringing the nation’s princesses to safety, with Ades in close pursuit.
All things being honest, as much as I lament Gonzo for their shows that start strong, and often crumble over time, I was more than happy to see more stories take place in this world that first appeared in 2003, featuring stunning concepts and character work by the one Range Murata. Even when the story delved into archetypal territory, the style was the star of the show, and much in the way Gainax inspired fans with its unique vision with Royal Space Force, there was a certain amount of history and mystery that made this such an ideal world to explore further. And now that we finally have another chance to drink it all in, there is still a deeper need for story and character to rise beyond what has already been established. Which isn’t to say that Fam suffers in this department, but it does feel like a leaner, more fun tale than the previous. THAT SAID- There are elements early on that border on hurting the show as it goes on. Most notably, the return of Junko Noda as a character that in many ways, doesn’t need to be there. Even if it carries some familiarity for fans, it’s simply grating to witness. There is also the element of “service” that invades the initial episode, something that runs heavily counter to the world presented. All in all, a decent start to what is at least to me, a welcome return to a potential-packed creation. Could this become Gonzo’s Blue Uru? We can only wait and see.
Fam, can be seen via Funimation.
Next up, is Studio BONES’s big entry for the noitaminA block, featuring the direction of Seiji Mizushima, and words of the legendary anime writer Shou Aikawa, Un-Go!
Synopsis: In a post-war future Japan, the reconstruction moves ahead, but not without it’s share of cover-ups, and deepening mysteries. Shunjuro Yuki, and his assistant, Inga, are often called into investigating many of these cases, but often at the cost of their very reputations. Yuki is more often known as The Defeated Detective, his and his partner’s unique insight often help crack difficult cases, but are often in the shadow of computer-bound Rinroku Kaisho, a legendary detective with a penchant for secrets.
I understand that much of this show is aimed at a certain audience, but it does require a certain amount of suspension of disbelief before any of the mystery established begins to see like our hero is the only one who could figure it out. It also doesn’t help that having a secret weapon in your assistant that can squeeze the truth out of suspects with little problem at all. In many ways, these rarely seem like mysteries so much as another onslaught of messages by way of the author, who BY THE WAY…
For those unfamiliar with the inimitable Shou Aikawa, he is a writer best known for his work on Fullmetal Alchemist, but for many of us older fans, he is also known for helping with some of the medium’s most infamous works including the anime versions of Urotsukidoji, and the unforgettable (although not for reasons expected) ANGEL COP. A man with no qualms about his politics, or emotionally hysterical screeds against certain ideas, his works can range from modestly entertaining to appallingly bad without a second thought.
Either way, while mildly entertaining, it still remains a little puzzling that this show wound up on this block. There is little in the way of the material presented to be anything more than another alternate future vision complete with fantasy technology, character types, and a weird kid wearing animal ears and paws. Take that away, and Aikawa’s horns start to show. While there is definitely something interesting brewing here, there is also a silly approach being made here regarding characters that are poised to take the fall for the peace of a nation’s ideology- Methinks someone’s been watching The Dark Knight a bit too much.
Un-Go comes via Crunchyroll.
Thoughts regarding the anime version of Yuki Suetsugu’s Chihayafuru!
Synopsis: After entering high school, Chihaya Ayase’s life has reached something of an impasse. Growing up deeply supportive of her older sister’s success as a model, her longing for her own dream has hit a roadblock as she was once inspired by a classmate to become a world class karuta player. Not long after this, do her old friends come out of the woodwork, and old friendships and rivalries(as well as new ones) resurface.
Seriously, I didn’t see this one coming. So far, Chihayafuru is a handsomely produced hybrid of shoujo romance & almost sports drama regarding a love of traditional japanese amidst a world increasingly mired in the superficial. With the reliable hands of Madhouse, and stalwart Morio Asaka ( Card Captor Sakura, etc) at the helm, this is a truly sweet, earnest, albeit unsubtle little show. And when I say little, I mean it in the best, most stealth manner possible. Featuring a likeable heroine, a unique visual palette, and some great insight, this may very well become my show to watch this season.
Chihayafuru comes via Crunchyroll.
So, should there be more that I may be missing out on, by all means suggest, but I must stress that it isn’t easy to hook me. Try if you wish, though.