Posts Tagged ‘Catch-up’

Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko (Anime)

July 21, 2011

SHAFT openings are always something special.

Japanese title: 電波女と青春男
Synonyms: Electromagnetic Wave Woman and Adolescent Man
Animation Production: SHAFT
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Sci-fi, Seinen
Number of episodes: 12

Plot Summary: The story revolves around a highschool boy named Niwa Makoto. He lives with his aunt’s family since his parents are away on business. It is there where he meets his mysterious cousin of the same age Touwa Erio — who happens to tie a futon mattress around her upper body and is a self-proclaimed alien. Her staple food is pizza. Erio had been missing for half a year and was found floating in the sea. She doesn’t remember anything about what happened during that period of time, but she began to think that it was the act of an alien and wanders the neighbourhood wrapped in the futon. – ANN

The animation of Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko is fantastic, there is plenty of movement going on and the scenery is beautiful. The characters themselves are very sharp with plenty of detail and with very bright and vibrant colours. The overall imagery is brilliant and memorable, and character expressions are very well animated which I particularly enjoyed. You can sense what the characters are feeling and I felt that I could relate to them. This show just throws evocative imagery at you from start to finish, which just served to strengthen my love for all the characters, and the show.

Ryuuko Meme Erio

For the characters alone, Denpa Onna is definitely something special. Each of the characters feels unique in their own right, with none of them quite fitting into previously established archetypes, for that reason it feels very fresh. Each character is kind of an oddball and each stands out in their own way; you will not forget these guys for a long time as they felt quite real despite their eccentricities. The characters were always lovable, almost overbearingly so at times, and quirky, but not in your typical ‘moe‘ kind of way. I get tired with paper cut-outs, and Denpa Onna certainly has none of them.

Whilst the characters themselves are eccentric or strange, the setting and story feels firmly grounded in reality, serving as an excellent foil. The show is very strong in terms of romance unlike your usual anime romance in it feels believable. Nothing blows up out of proportion and character reactions don’t feel over exaggerated or forced, but rather subtle and well perceived.

This show lends its comedy aspects to the oddities of the characters, and with such poignant, unique characters it always feels new. The personalities of the characters are strong and they interact well together and importantly, each of them appears consistently throughout the show. There are no weak links here, and the show went out of its way to make each character feel as human as possible.

The soundtrack to Denpa Onna was surprisingly nice. None of the tracks were overused which is pleasant, and the background music always supported the mood fantastically. The sound effects were very effective too, worked well with comedic moments, and enhanced the overall experience greatly. The first 3 episodes did an excellent job of introducing the characters, setting the scene and establishing relationships. My only concern about Denpa Onna, is that the opening 3 episodes felt slowly paced in comparison to the remainder, and I feel that many would have not continued it on further. The ending also felt strong, nothing ‘out-of-this-world’ happened, but the show just seemed to flow nicely from beginning to end.

In conclusion, I think that this show has made a strong impact on me. I will definitely not forget this. It didn’t bring me to tears because that is not what it was aiming for, but it was very light-hearted, warm and heartfelt. It felt insightful and moving, and the quirky characters kept it feeling fresh and subtly funny throughout. There is an OVA episode 13 coming out with the DVD. I am intrigued as to what it contains because I felt that the show ended nicely, but I think it might have something to do with the upcoming festival and I am really hoping for a little romance between a certain 2 characters. It will be released on December 21st in Japan, and I am very excited.

I could not finish without mentioning Maekawa’s costumes. She also taught me how to make a bottle rocket, for which I am eternally grateful.

Maekawa - Sandwich Costume Maekawa - Mochi costume Maekawa - Octopus sausage
Maekawa - Fish costume Maekawa - Alien Maekawa - Dugong

If you enjoyed this, I would personally recommend any of Shafts earlier works. It feels very much like Arakawa under the bridge, but without the skit format and a little more serious. I am a huge fan of Shaft, and I believe you will be too after watching this. A season 2 might have been hinted at, but if so, I do not believe that it is required.

Download Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko

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Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai (Anime)

July 17, 2011

Japanese title: あの日見た花の名前を僕達はまだ知らない。
Synonyms: We Still Don’t Know the Name of the Flower We Saw That DayAnoHana
Animation Production: A-1 Pictures
Genres: Drama, Slice of Life, Comedy, Romance, Supernatural, Tragedy, Seinen
Number of episodes: 11

Plot Summary: A group of six childhood friends drift apart after one of them, Meiko “Menma” Honma, dies in an accident. Five years later, the leader of the group, Jinta Yadomi, has since become withdrawn and lives as a recluse. One summer day, an older looking Menma appears before him, saying she wants to have a wish granted, though she does not remember what it is. Jinta, remembering his memories of the past, once again attempts to bring his childhood friends together and fulfil his promise with Menma. Wikipedia

To be honest, AnoHana hit me, and likely much of the anime loving community as a bit of a surprise. Anime original works by A-1 Pictures have been somewhat unsuccessful as of late and whilst I enjoyed both Fractale (2011) and Occult Academy (2010), the DVD sales and overall ratings just do not scream success. On top of that, I feel I do not quite fit the target audience of A-1 Pictures more successful adaptations, so I was not expecting much.

AnoHana OP screencap
AnoHana was definitely the sleeper hit of the spring season however, In its first week of release, Blu-ray sales of AnoHana hit rank #1 in Japan, selling over 31,000 copies. It has a very strong rating of 8.84 on MyAnimeList, and a mean rating of 8.9 on ANN. The director, Tatsuyuki Nagai, was responsible for the very successful Honey and Clover II, and the success of AnoHana should probably  be put down to him.

The soundtrack for this show was also pretty fantastic. The opening theme “Aoi Shiori” by Galileo Galilei, and similarly the ending theme were brilliant and very fitting. Additionally, the animation for the show was very fluid and appeared to have a high production value. The animation and soundtrack combined very nicely to produce a very calming experience, and the way the next episode preview was blended into the credits worked a treat. The series is beautiful and unique, with excellent character development that feels consistent throughout. It never drags and I found it relatively easy to watch the entire series back to back without getting bored; every episode was exciting in its own way.

Ano Hana Before and after
The series was very emotional, but it wasn’t until episode 8 and onwards that I started to get a little choked up, and I often found myself on the edge of tears during the final episodes (I don’t actually cry because I am a man). The main drawing point for this anime in particular is of course the characters. But the odd thing is, I found it difficult to find much likeable about any of the characters in question when examined individually. Rather, it is more about the way the characters interact with one another, and how well they each express their emotions. AnoHana did start to feel very melodramatic towards the end, but I think it worked in the shows favour. As an anime original production, and not a manga adaptation, I believe that it shows the advantage anime originals have. You can tell that this was originally produced for the screen and it really shines because of it.

I believe that AnoHana was well worth the watch, but is not quite worth as much praise as it is currently receiving. Part way through AnoHana, it became clear that this show is one very large, complex love polygon. That is not to say that this show is a harem, thank god, but it did serve to frustrate me greatly. I do have a few quirks with the characters of course, and when I thought about it closely this show had a serious knack for annoying me. Saying all that though,I really enjoyed it. It’s the first show in a long time to bring a tear to my eye. If you enjoyed it, I might recommend Honey and Clover, Clannad or Tokyo Magnitude 8.0

Download Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai

Deadman Wonderland (Anime)

July 15, 2011

Japanese title: デッドマンワンダーランド
Animation Production: Manglobe
Genres: Action, Horror, Sci-Fi, Drama, Mature,  Shounen, Supernatural, Tragedy
Number of episodes:
12

Plot Summary: Ganta Igarashi has been convicted of a crime that he hasn’t committed, and sent to a new, privately owned and operated prison, where the inmates are the main attraction in a modern day twist to the gladiatorial coliseums of ancient times. Throw in a healthy dose of weird little girl, some new-found super powers, and a little conspiracy theory, and you have Deadman Wonderland. – ANN

So, Deadman Wonderland eh? In all honesty this was one of my more anticipated shows to come out this Spring. Manglobe was behind this one, and judging by their track record I have to say I was seriously looking forward to it. The World God Only Knows (2010), Samurai Champloo  (2004) and Ergo Proxy (2006)  are definitely some of my favourite shows to date, so yes please! Unfortunately, Deadman Wonderland did not quite live up to my expectations.

The most appealing aspect of Deadman Wonderland was how dark, gritty and atmospheric it was. The characters were often ruthless and deceitful and the concept of “Deadman Wonderland”, the setting of the show, speaks volumes about the author’s view of humanity; a view which I share, and for that reason alone I certainly enjoyed it. Not only that, the characters were intriguing, and seemed to have a genuine past. The show constantly painted a moral shade of grey and the world itself was well thought out. Additionally, the show seemed to have a great shock factor not often seen in anime, I found myself cringing more often than I would have expected and not because it was bad either.

Deadman wonderland episode 2 sniper guard

"Deadman wonderland" is a fascinating place.

Deadman wonderland exhibits a prevailing sense of irony throughout, it is beautiful. The main seat of my enjoyment was within episodes 1-6 and for a while the show seemed highly promising.  The early episodes did an excellent job of setting the mood; The situation was depressing, it was dire. For the viewer it was very exciting, particularly the “games”. Around about episode 7 however my enjoyment dwindled. The shock factor certainly remained, that much is true, but the focus very much shifted. New characters were introduced and suddenly, there was a plot. The pacing of the show felt dramatically different, possibly sped up to fit within the 12 episode window and it started to feel very shounen-eque in nature. The fights felt shallow and the superpowers whilst very interesting in concept, felt poorly executed. Furthermore, the main character became quite irritating, whiny and dense; a typical shounen male lead.

Ganta Igarashi - the whiny crying loser

Irritating main character.

There could easily be a second season to flesh out the story, but  due to the story being slightly rushed, many of the more interesting characters got swept to the sidelines. The initial sense of mystery and intrigue did wonders for this show but unfortunately the show lost some of that charm part way through. The closing episodes left a lot of loose ends to be tied, but there has been an OVA scheduled for release since before Deadman Wonderland even aired. It is set to be bundled with volume 11 of the manga this October in Japan.

In terms of animation this show was great. The production was right up there along with earlier Manglobe works, and the show did not fall into many noticeable  clichés or traps. The choice in animation style did feel questionable at times, with the camera panning and zooming to make up for what seemed like a lack of real movement. It was by no means horrendous, but it did draw my eye, and the show was so dark in terms of colour, that I had to turn up the brightness of my television to make out some of the details.

One gripe I had with this show was some of the major censorship in parts. This show has a lot of blood, after all, this show is rife with torture and violence. Hell, the powers themselves are blood, but the censorship seems to only cut in at arbitrary moments, and when it does, you notice. The show has been licensed by Funimation, so hopefully, the DVD and BD will be released uncensored.

Deadman wonderland censorship blur owl arm chopped off

Censorship often cut in arbitrarily and is very noticable.

The soundtrack for this show was also fantastic, I particularly liked the opening song “One Reason” by Fade and it was refreshing to hear an anime opening actually tailored to the show. Unfortunately they did seem to overuse some tracks at times and again, it was noticeable.

Saying all that however I really did enjoy Deadman Wonderland. It is by no means perfect and in retrospect quite shallow, but it was well worth watching and I do recommend that you do the same. I have a feeling that if you enjoyed this, you may also enjoy Rainbow and Now and then, Here and there, both of which portray a very grim situation, but don’t end up feeling all shounen in style.

Deadman Wonderland did leave me with one nagging question.

Deadman Wonderland Toto androgenous

Is Toto male or female?

-“So make me your deadman”
Download Deadman Wonderland 

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