Friday, July 15, 2011

Summer Anime 2011 Reviews: Part two!

And here is the second half of the reviews, sorry it's up later than I said but apparently the time that crunchyroll will air Dantalian ≠ the time NicoNico streams it (CR is streaming it a week delayed) so that threw me off. Lesson learned, simulcasts are weird, don't try to predict them. XD

Mawaru PenguinDrum:
When Ikuhara announced that he would be working on a new anime, his first one since Utena, part of the internet went nuts and, after the trailers came out, promptly showed them to the other half of the internet to convince them to try it. The first episode alone involves death and revival of a character, invisible to normal people penguins, a magical girl transformation sequence in reverse and possibly incest (actually, considering Utena, make that incest for sure but, again considering Utena, it probably won’t be portrayed as a good thing). Plus plenty of colorful artwork, lots of background detail that will probably make for a fun second viewing and it seems to introduce a central plot thread all in the first episode. Unfortunately this one doesn’t have a simulcast so you’ll have to hunt down fansubs for it but I think it’s worth a look by everyone who enjoys more surreal things/bored with mainstream/loved Utena or who is just plain curious about what the hubbub is about.  

The Mystic Archives of Dantalian (Dantalian no Shoka or Bibliobeca Mystica de Dantalian):
The final show of the season that looks an awful lot like Gosick but, like the other two shows that also bear some resemblance, the show itself seems rather different. Huey, a former fighter pilot (from what looks like World War I^), has inherited his late grandfather's estate and belongings which include a ridiculous amount of books and a young girl who looks like a girl, Danlian. She is quick to inform Huey that his grandfather's death was no accident, as he had already suspected, and then reveals that his library houses some very dark and very magical books and it seems like Huey is now in charge of guarding and binding those books. I checked out a few chapters of the manga and really like the anime designs better (the way Danlian's hair and face are drawn make her much cuter) but for some reason Ginax uses photographs with a cheap photoshop effect over them for backgrounds in places which is a bit odd. The placement of the music also seemed a bit strange at times but honestly the strangest thing about this show is the live action ending that seems to have absolutely no connection to it. The show is streaming both on crunchyroll (with a one week delay for everyone, even subscribers) and on NicoNico without commercials (but I think only for the US).   

Natsume Yuujincou San (Natsume and the Book of Friends III):
To all the people who are complaining that Brains Base hasn’t made Durarara 2 yet, shut up. Natsume was their biggest seller before DRRR and I love it more/been waiting longer for this.
Ahem, not much has changed between seasons of this show (except that it looks a little better here, a little cleaner, so it might have a slightly higher budget) which continues to follow Natsume’s episodic encounters with the local yokai and people which help him grow and mature. This first episode also revealed more of his grandmother Reiko’s background and the contrast between her ultimately tragic life and Natsume’s growing happiness/security with the normal world is heart-breaking, which is of course what you except from an episode of this show so clearly it’s doing it’s job right. You can’t stop me from watching this show (streaming on crunchyroll as everyone expected it would be), when is this thing going to be licensed! (I don’t care if it’s in the R3 or R4 markets, I need this thing on DVD with subtitles some day!)

No. 6:
The other noitaminA show this season, set in the far off year of 2013 after a nuclear war devastated half of the habitable area of the planet and the remaining areas where divided up into six sections, Sion is an elite among the elites. Recognized for his high IQ he’s lived the life of luxury with his mom since he was a toddler but even he can see that there is something not quite right with this city. This is confirmed when Nezumi (Mouse/Rat) come bursting into Sion’s room one night with a gunshot wound, a violence chip implanted in him by the government and no desire to burden Sion with the truth. So, it’s sci-fi, it’s a utopia that’s actually a dystopia, I’m game! And to everyone who is complaining about all the “BL”, shut up, grow some ovaries and if you can’t take two guys holding hands (yet find two girls hugging cute) then yeaaaaah, I have nothing polite to say (seriously, if I have to read one more  “ewww, BL ruins all the good series” BS I will start drop-kicking people through the internet). And for anyone who was unnerved that Sion and Nezumi sound waaay too old for 12 don’t worry, there is a timeskip (judging by the preview it’ll be right at the beginning of the next episode), it looks gorgeous (this is BONES after all) and should have the plot to back it all up. Crunchyroll is streaming the show but just for the US/Canada (on that note, Funimation isn't streaming either of the noitaminA shows this season which seems strange, especially since they just had a panel at Anime Expo promoting the brand of sorts).

Nura: Rise of the Yokai Clan (Nurarihyon no Mago: Sennen Makyo):
I saw most of the first season last year since I really enjoyed the manga but I had to give up by the end, it was just doing things so differently from the manga and I just didn’t have any motivation to watch it (also, there was too much Kana in it, believe me this was actually a problem). So I had no intention of watching this until I saw a few other people who had dropped the show try the first episode and say that the new staff seem to be doing much better than the first group. And yes, this is better so far, heck, they FINALLY animated the very first chapter of the manga which is set four years earlier and completely explains why Rikuo feels the way he does about the yokai. It’s not the most ground-shattering revelation but, as the first season got more and more muddled (and had flashbacks to the silly thing) I always wondered why they didn’t just put this in. Beyond that, it looks like they’ll be skipping a minor arc or two (hopefully not the semi-major one) to get to the series really big arc, the Kyoto Arc, so fans of the manga who dropped the first season should go ahead and check out the first few episodes here (streaming on hulu by Viz again) to see if it’s worth picking back up.

So, right now here's what my watching schedule looks like (in addition to watching some live action tv and older anime from the library):
Sunday: Nura*
Monday: Natsume
Tuesday: Steins;Gate
Wednesday: Blue Exorcist*, Furuba Radio Drama
Thursday: Blood-C*, Bunny Drop, No. 6
Friday: PenguinDrum (yes I know it comes out Thursday but the subs take a little while), Dantalian*
Saturday: Tiger and Bunny

All the shows with a * on it means I'm watching it now but if it doesn't stay at least decent I'm dropping it. Technically No. 6 should have one as well since I didn't like the pacing in the second episode but I haven't dropped a noitaminA show yet, just ranted about it. On that note however, I've seen a lot of people who liked the pacing/didn't mind the pacing in the second episode so I suppose that means this story is working as an adaptation (that said, I like what one of the reviewers suggested on ANNCast, think it was Rebbecca, when she suggested that it just have longer episodes, that would really well in this case I feel).

^oh dear, maybe this isn't so different after all, pleasedon'tbringupWWIIIohpleasedon'tdothatagain.