Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category

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To the end of Sketchbook ~full color’S~

February 24, 2008

Shift changeover

And so ends a very nice series after short 13 episodes. Granted, while being very good in the art of emitting a atmosphere of calmness and tranquillity it never reaches its spiritual precursor ARIA. This might be because the characters and setting of ARIA, funnily despite being settled in a rebuild Venice on a terraformed mars, are in some ways more believable than the ones of Sketchbook. Thus the serenity in Sketchbook felt somehow forced at times, which is seldom the case with ARIA. None the less Sketchbook has its own points to shine with its way to discover small miracles in things more near to our daily lives, its beautiful landscapes and its fine set of characters, humans as well as cats. Especially its cats I’ve to say. ARIA’s cats might rule their city more or less from the shadows, but the interaction of the Sketchbook cats is just more fun (maybe being granted to understand them might have help here, too). The few cat-centred episodes became easily my favourites, I hope Sora and the other humans can forgive me for this.

An interesting fact by the way is that Mike, being tri-coloured, has most certainly got to be a female cat (genetic fact). Don’t know if this is really intended, because of the name I always thought of him/her as a male cat until Sora mentioned the number of his/her colours in this last episode.

In the end, while it greatly helped to bypass the time between the second and the third season of ARIA, Sketchbook was surely more than just a merely placeholder and succeeded to transfer some of the Aqua-feeling back onto good old Manhome.
I surely wouldn’t mind to be welcomed by Sora & co again some day.

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True Tears & Minami-ke Okawari

January 28, 2008

True Tears

True Tears

Surely the standard harem setting of three school girls being or becoming more or less emotional attached to the male lead isn’t something to write home about, but if it has to be this kind of show True Tears is one example of how it’s done right. The artwork is pretty and the animation of high quality. The scenario is interesting and promises a lot of character development and, maybe the most important factor, the characters themselves are quite likeable, have a well framed background and are (anime-wise) believable. A nice bonus is that they try to liven up the surrounding of the characters by adding lots of NPCs, but sadly the CG-parts don’t really do the trick it because those just don’t look right. And last but not least I really like the SD-characters-outro (SD for the win!).
Altogether a pretty nice watch.

Minami-ke Okawari

Minami-ke Okawari

Well, so far Minami-ke Okawari isn’t as good as I hoped for but also isn’t as bad as I feared. The animation and character design is of course something to get used to, but their quality doesn’t seem to differ very much from the first season. Good points are more teddy bear involved punishment, the usage of grey for everything Chiaki isn’t thinking about, the appearance of the !s, the keeping of all the seiyuus, the Haruka banchou revival, the strange but interesting intro and many, many more stuff. Bad is the advanced use of (humour-unrelated) fanservice, the lacking of Sensei and Ninomiya-kun and of the warning at the start of an episode, the ugly outro, some other minor things and that the whole thing isn’t as funny as the first season was (so far).
Surely a good and enjoyable series to this point, but it will take a bit more to reach its precursor.

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Shigofumi & ARIA The ORIGINATION

January 20, 2008

Shigofumi

You've got mail

I’m really impressed by the first two episodes of Shigofumi. The main character of this story is a girl named Fumika who (with the more or less assistance of her talking staff named Kanaka) is in charge of delivering letters from the dead to the living, so called Shigofumi. Each person who dies seems to have some kind of “last call” to notify someone of the living about their final thoughts. For example, in this first two episodes the father of a girl named Asuna sends a letter to his daughter’s lover. Shouta, who has spend a lot of free time with Asuna seems to be the one who fits this description best, so Fumika visits him to ask if he might be the right addressee. Of course he is shocked at first, but then tries to convince Fumika that he is the right one to receive this letter. But he doesn’t know yet that it’s content will change everything…

First of all the show’s technical aspects like animation quality and character design are quite high which made a great first impression for me. Thus being in the right mood it was easy for me to sympathise with characters and the amazing twist of the story and it’s atmosphere finalised my high opinion of Shigofumi already after the first episode. After this, the second episode accomplished to present a “happier” ending for this arc than I could have imagine at the end of the first episode without forcing it through some kinds of miracles, which only confirmed my above stated opinion.

With it’s different arcs which span only over some few episodes this series promises to stay highly interesting while Fumika gives the whole show some continuity. And maybe she has some story of herself to tell, who knows. Definitely a show I’ll gladly continue to watch.

ARIA The ORIGINATION

ARIA the ORIGINATION

Like Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei ARIA The ORIGINATION was a sure win for me from the start of this season. The first episode didn’t do anything to make me believe in the opposite and so I’ll happily spend all the extra time on Aqua they’ll give me through this excellent series.

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Gunslinger Girl – Il Teatrino & Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

January 15, 2008

Gunslinger Girl – Il Teatrino

Gunslinger Girl - Il Teatrino

It’s quite sad that they obviously couldn’t raise the same budget for the second season of Gunslinger Girl that was available for the first season. With so many changes (to the worse) it just feels too different from the first season to smoothly connect both. This alone already gives this second season a rather bad start which is, like said, quite sad. After all it’s not that they are doing that ill of a job with Il Teatrino. The (re)introduction of the characters and the world they live in was done well enough and the pacing was most of the time right, too. The animation quality is decent, the girls don’t look bad at all (albeit they sound to much like, uh, girls now) and the soundtrack might be even better than the original one. I especially like the opening song here.
So, if they manage to translate the intriguing story of the manga at least half-decent into anime and somehow recreate it’s atmosphere I’m sure this will still be really entertaining. But I guess it can in any way only fall short compared to it’s precursor which definitely isn’t something that should be so crystal-clear from the start of a second season.

Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

Zoku Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei

With me liking the first season of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei and this seamless continuation from the first season (there was never something like a story after all, so it’s just madness following madness) I just can’t see what might possible go wrong here.

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Spice and Wolf & H2O – Footprints in the Sand

January 11, 2008

Spice and Wolf

Spice and Wolf

Although I don’t know yet what should think about the characters of Spice and Wolf I like what I’ve seen so far. The show accomplishes to emit a nice medieval atmosphere, its music fits well to this atmosphere, the animation and the character design looks good and the ending song has some nice engrish to offer. Lawrence’s more or less normal behavior toward the naked Holo was a nice change compared to the behavior most of other male anime characters would show. He definitely earned some brownie points here. On a negative note it was rather bad how they handled the display of Holo’s nudity. Not that I expected or wished to see more, but even if it’s sometimes quite silly how the “naughty bits” are hidden in other works it’s still better than just leave them out when their could be seen normally. I think they could have easily worked with Holo’s long hair and tail here. But oh well, it isn’t that of a problem after all.
Wonder in which way the story will develop now. Guess the last scene with Chloe indicates that Holo might still be important in some way for the village because the priests seem to have noticed her disappearance quite quickly.

H2O – Footprints in the Sand

H2O

H2O is a rather mediocre series so far. First of all I found Takuma’s blindness to be not very authentic illustrated. Okay, I don’t know much about the behavior of blind people nor do I know how it should be translated in anime behavior, but it just felt wrong. Furthermore the characters seem to be rather shallow and their design is not appealing enough to compensate for this drawback. In fact the only reason for me to continue watching this show at the moment is because I’d like to know how the class rep was able to create this fascistic-like system in her class (and I would complain either to see her and her two thugs getting the beating they deserve). Maybe it gets better before I lose the little interest that is left, but I’m not very hopeful.

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Minami-ke

January 3, 2008

Say 'Cheesy'!

Okay, I was mistaken in my last post about Minami-ke. In fact, they have invented the wheel (comedy series wise) anew here. This was one of the finest anime comedies I’ve seen in years and I’m more than sad that it’s already over. Not in the this-show-was-great-but-now-finished way of sadness but in the there-is-so-much-more-potential-to-explore way. Those 13 episodes were truly a bliss to witness, however with so much characters being introduced and so much different relations between them being created they could have easily filled at least 13 episodes more without running out of steam I’m sure. Well, hopefully Minami-ke: Okawari can in some way follow in this version’s footsteps. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for it.

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Halftime for Sketchbook ~full color’S~

December 16, 2007

Tea is the answer

I really like Sketchbook. Beside of the usual good points a show should have (likeable set of characters, decent animation quality, fitting background music) this one offers an interesting different way of looking on daily things. A good example for this is how Sora in one episode question everything she does on a daily routine and tries to do it in a different way. Of course in the end she falls back in her old pattern, but I think the idea itself is a pretty good one because by always being able to revert back to the old behavior one can only win by trying things a bit different every now and then. Carried to the extreme is this aspect of Sketchbook of course when the cats become the protagonists for a while, another idea I like very much.

The slow pace is quite enjoyable as well because it creates a very special atmosphere that I just can’t describe better than Jaalin from Random Curiosity already did in his review of the second episode:
“I believe it’s because this show is able to fill me with something entirely different – not plot, not action, not anything readily identifiable, but rather a sort of emptiness. It’s not that kind of retarded emptiness or that ignorant emptiness, but rather the kind you wish for after a hectic day at work. The kind of calm and quiet mind after the noise of the looming biochem test or the English essay has finally blown over. That sense of relief you get when you wipe the last item off your to-do list. Then again, that list probably never ends for some people, but to watch an episode of Sketchbook can definitely make you feel that moment of calm.”

It’s a similar calm feeling I always had when I watched Aria, but in contrary to Aria the calmness feels a little bit forced. Maybe it’s because Aria takes place in a world which natural pace is unknown to us and thus it’s believable that Akari & co can live, learn and work the way they do. Sora and her friends however live in an ambience very well known to all of us: The school life. We know that this part of life can be rather relaxing at times, but also holds many days when it’s mostly the opposite. In Sketchbook even the time when they have to study for the next test is presented in a calm and slow pace. So I guess the feeling of “forced calmess” comes from the contrast of my own experiences. But as I said, this is only a little tarnishing of an otherwise great atmosphere.