It’s nice to see that SHAFT really can use its unconventional animation style to support the story that’s there to be told instead of promote their animation style on the expense of the story telling. This time pace and style create an atmosphere most fitting to the feelings and mind of the protagonist. Especially Chihiro’s torn state of mind is pictured quite well this way and I love the overall surreal impression that is accomplished. I also like the idea of telling both, so far mostly independent plots at the same time, thus using each other to fill up some time on the other which is otherwise managed by doing filler episodes or introducing filler characters. This way most of the characters are of real importance or, if they aren’t, only receive little screentime. And there is always the possibility that both plots might merge to a much greater one in the end. Of course this all only works right if both stories are interesting and compelling for the viewer, but at least for me it definitely does.
Archive for November, 2007
It’s not like the first half of Shana’s second season was completely uninteresting, but it’s far from what the first season accomplished. Nearly to zero fighting scenes, no love-rivaling between Shana and Kazumi (not even some hiding behind poles from the later), no visual antagonist plotting and too less Shana-Yuji interaction make this all a rather sad experience so far. Hecates addition to Yuji’s class might turn out to be some neat story element later on, but for now it only made this second season a rather bad school harem. But there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel now with the worst endured and my hopes are still up that the second half will have some of the old Shana feeling to it again, so that this little sentence will be more than true:
Like predicted Myself; Yourself turned out to be solid entertainment, nothing more but also nothing less. The partly revealing of past incidents and the interaction of the characters is interesting so far, but the development of the main plot could be speeded up a little while the rapprochement between Sana and Nanaka was a bit rushed. This could have been stretched more over the past filler episodes in order to give a better idea about how deep Nanaka was hurt by whatever Sana did (assumed that he really did something wrong or she thinks he did. At least I guess that is to be the crux of this story). It’s a bit sad that till now the (obviously) filler character Hinako got the most character development. I don’t say that I dislike her, in fact it’s the other way around, but I’m pretty sure that she won’t be of any real importance for the further dealing with the issues of the five friend’s past and thus she just eats up precious screentime. It’s somehow the same for Aoi, who might be a bit more important but I just like her less.
Some recollection of what was shown so far about the past events:
– As Sana departs with the train Shousuke tries to shout something to him, but the words can’t be heard. Shousuke looks serious, but isn’t in panic, so maybe he tried to tell Sana about the deeper feelings one of the girls (Nanaka?) has for him.
– Sana is startled by the view of a bloody knife. Combined with his reluctance to take off the bulky watch around his wrist I guess he attempted suicide at some time, but nothing else points in this direction so far (beside the daily calls of his mother, which could be interpreted as worries about some possible relapse, but can also be normal interest in what her son does). If this should turn out to be true I think they shouldn’t have put both clues in one episode to make it less obviously.
– At the time Nanaka is asked by Sana to play something on a violin she panics and gets a flashback of huge flames. Shouri seems to know about what happened and convinces Sana to drop this idea. The present Nanaka wasn’t shown playing violin so far, so she seems like she has lost her will to play through whatever happened at that time.
ef – a tale of memories
I like the surreal feeling which is created by the way ef – a tale of memories is animated. Only problem is that because it’s being made by SHAFT one can’t be really sure if this is intended or if they are again using the story as mere base for showing off their made animation skillz (which didn’t went well with some of their latest works). Well, so far it’s comprehensible and quite enjoyable, the characters are likeable and especially Chihiro’s fate is pretty touching.
Watching the everyday life of the three sisters featured in Minami-ke is highly entertaining and relaxing. It literally emits good vibration. Each sister has a unique and well balanced combination of strong and weak points which makes their interaction pretty enjoyable and through the including of each girls individual school life and circle of friends a lot of variety should be ensured. Two thumbs up.