Thursday, July 14, 2011

Summer Anime 2011 Reviews: Part one!

In half the world summer is well under way (I swear that where I live summer starts mid-May and then alternates between hot and unbearable through late September) and a new crop of anime is out as well! As with the spring anime, I'm trying out so many that I'm splitting this up into two parts and the second part will go up tomorrow. All of these reviews are based on the first episode (even though many of these shows already have a second episode out) and I was wondering, would you guys like to see me post reviews of the individual shows in the future (like how most anime blogs do the new seasons) or do these giant posts work just fine?

Baka to Test 2 (Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu Ni or Idiots, Tests and Summoned Beasts! Fuimation doesn’t use that translation but that’s what it actually does mean):
Well, Funimation has SAID that they licensed the anime for simulcast (in addition to DVD/BR rights, which is strange since they still haven't released the first season yet) but they haven't said anything else yet so I haven't seen it. Although, it sounds like the first episode was a less-than-stellar beach episode which hasn't made me all that eager to start in on a new season....
To start with, it sounds like people who are already fans of the Blood franchise (especially Blood+) don’t like this show very much but people who aren’t/are big CLAMP fans (like me) are enjoying it more, very interesting. I’ll admit that I’m not as enamored with the show as many other people are, I really want this show to be at least a bit darker (and there are some hints that it’ll do just that) but the high school parts aren’t bad right now (the twins actually remind me of the twins from Otome Yokai Zakuro). So I’m not sold on the show but, since it is streaming on NicoNico, I have absolutely no problem with giving it a few more episodes to see what happens.  

Bunny Drop (Usagi Drop): 
First off, NO DISCUSSING THE ENDING OF THE MANGA. If you don’t know it, DON’T LOOK IT UP, I'M VERY SERIOUS ABOUT THIS. It’s not like the anime can cover 55 chapters in 11 episodes anyway, we’ll be lucky to get through the first four volumes if that much.
Ahem, sorry, the ANN forums have been freaking out enough over that, as for the show itself it’s sweet. The background visuals are gorgeous in a watercolor/crayon style (similar to Aoi Hana or Wandering Son) and it looks like the manga character designs translated well. Rin is an adorable child and it’s a nice choice to have a ten year old voice a child (again like Wandering Son, although there is a bigger age difference here since Rin is just 5). It’s streaming on crunchyroll and I’ll be continuing it for sure!

The Crossroads in a Foreign Labyrinth (Ikoku Meiro no Croisée or La croisée dans un labyrinthe étranger):

 Well that was cute, and hurray for a series set in a historical period that actually has period correct clothing and architecture! (Looking at you Gosick, and I have seen some people say that all the clothes are from the same decade, I’m not just assuming this). Set in Paris in the 1880s or so, blacksmith Claude is surprised to find that his grandfather has come back from Japan with not only souvenirs but with a little girl whose job is to act as the shop’s signboard. Yune is absolutely adorable (I really want to see someone cosplay her really fancy outfit now) and, after some misunderstandings, it looks like the show will turn into a charming and laid back slice-of-life show. I’ve seen some people worried that there isn’t a lot of manga material for it (two volumes when it was announced back in December so it’s probably got under 20 chapters now) but if it’s a one season show that shouldn’t be a problem (and, since I've seen a member of the French staff post and mention that all the work was done in the show now I imagine it is only one cour). I won’t be watching this since I try to only watch one fansub a season but if this does get picked up for streaming I’ll happily continue with it. 

God’s Notebook (Kamisama no Memo-Chou)
I’m trying out three different shows this season that remind me of Gosick: Ikoku (since they have the same manga artist+historical clothing), Dantalion (it’s the giant library+goth-loli with male sidekick) and this one (goth-loli detective+male sidekick). I had heard that the light novel series this one was based on is pretty well regarded among fans in Japan and the mystery here was better than some of the earlier mysteries in Gosick but the motivations for it basically amounted to person needs a therapist to deal with issues, doesn’t have one and then engages in self-destructive behavior which, well, had been done so many times before that it’s rather boring*. I found myself disliking all the characters (except the lady who ran the ramen shop but she had less than five minutes of screen time) although the episode was paced well (it was longer than a normal episode but I believe that’s only for the first episode). In the end, right now this just isn’t a show I’m interested in but, if the reviews for it are consistently good, I’ll give it another try someday (plus, no simulcast so I have to hunt down fansubs for it, not the show's fault but that is a minus in my book).

Five more reviews coming tomorrow, four of them are already written and I'm just waiting on Dantalion to finally show up. CR has it listed at 12:30 EST so hopefully that's the same time as on NicoNico and I'll be able to grab lunch, watch and get a review written and the next piece up mid-afternoon tomorrow. See ya'll then!

*in fiction anyway, in real life it’s just terrifying