Fall 2009 Anime First Impressions

December 11, 2009 at 1:30 am | Posted in Anime & Manga | Leave a comment

Alright, since I’m having a minor panic attack due to the fact my compsci final exam is tomorrow, I decided to finish up this post as well to get the jitters out of my system.

A very belated impressions post, but enjoy anyways! :)

Also forgive the cheesy song title puns for the “good – okay – bad” categories I divided the series up into…

*images ganked from THAT‘s Fall preview.

~~~~~~I’ll Be There For You~~~~~~

Kimi ni Todoke

Impressions: Okay, so I find most shoujo really cheesy and cliche. My roommate loved the manga, so I decided just to give the anime a try. Sawako’s not stereotypical, which is already a good sign. I hope they don’t crack that “The Ring” joke as often throughout the rest of the series though – it’ll get old. Obviously this is going to be one of those series in which the “make or break” aspect will be the execution. You already know the main girl will end up with the main guy, but it’s really about how their relationship develops. There were a few moments where I was torn between going “kyaaa~ how cute” and “asdlfjsdklARGH” but that’s shoujo for ya.

OP: nice animation – the video is really pretty. Song is quite ordinary, just your laid back indie acoustic pop with a male singer. Soothing, and sets off the scenes well, albeit a bit dull.

ED: pretty art again – manga-style color sketches this time. The singer reminds me of Round Table feat. Nino. Nice mellow song to fit the mellow art.

Tatakau Shisho – The Book of Bantorra

Impressions: I thought it was going to be some attempt to do a fantasy version of Toshokan Sensou, but thank god they didn’t go that route. Hamyuts is a rather cool character despite her fanservicey character design. What caught my eye was the aspect that humans become ‘books’ once they die, which really makes me curious. I’ve always envisioned life as a book that you write in since I was a child, and I’m curious what would be stored in my pages once I kick the bucket. And the antagonist uses human bombs – +10 for the sheer cruelty. At least we know the villains aren’t pansies and just sit around looking evil. Definitely keeping tabs on this series.

OP: oy vey, it’s ALI PROJECT again – it’s actually rather nice, but still pales in comparison to the epicness of their Rozen Maiden material. I wish there would be scenes from the actual series in the OP sequence – the style suits ending credits better.

ED: generic J-Pop, neither the tune nor the singer stand out. ED video okay, nothing special though.

Tegami Bachi

Impressions: Having anticipated this series since August, I had very high expectations for it, and it did not disappoint at all. The OVA was decent, but the production quality was stepped up from there. The animation and art were even better, and I’m really liking the pacing right now. I’m a bit worried as to how they’ll tie up the series since the manga is still going, but I’ll fret when we actually get there. For those non-manga readers, the plot is excellent and unique – it’s about a world where Letter Bees deliver letters containing pieces of ‘Heart’ in them. Sounds sappy, but they risk their lives in this job, because the routes often go through areas where Gaichuu (kind of like giant armored insects) inhabit…so you get some monster fighting for those shounen fans out there. Overall, the story manages not to get too heavy despite the sheer gloominess of Amberground and its social class system. Easily my favorite of the fall season.

OP: Art is as gorgeous as ever with lots of wonderful blues and purples and the unique star snowflakes. Gave a moment to introduce each character, which I LOVE in OPs. The only gripe I have is the song – it really doesn’t fit the mood of the series, and it’s rather dry. It has grown on me slightly after a few watches, though.

ED: Wow, HIMEKA proves to be no one-hit wonder with this one – it’s beautiful and heartbreaking, and complements the series perfectly. I like how the first few seconds gives a preview of the next ep before going into ED footage. I love the animation here even more than the OP, especially the emotions of the characters that foreshadow later events.

~~~~~Holding Out For A Hero~~~~~

11eyes

Impressions: Oh boy, was I trolled by the opening sequence. Not bad for an introductory episode, but it was very very slow and generic. Of course, the rest of this just hinges on character development – if Kakeru stops being so damn passive, I think he has potential to be  a likable lead. Yuka, on the other hand, needs to DIE. She’s a cliche Mary Sue with an annoying voice to boot. Concept of the Red World caught my interest, except the unnecessary panty shots and dull pacing ruined the execution of the episode. Still, I normally give fantasy series a chance (Pandora Hearts had a slow start, too)

OP: Never heard of Ayane, but the song is fast-paced, driving, and the opening sequence is one of the best I’ve seen for this season (best part is during the chorus, where all the characters show their powers). Pity the actual series is a disappointment afterwards.

ED: Wasn’t too much of a fan of it when I first heard it, but it’s grown on me. The Asriel vocalist still has a ways to go before she can measure up to her Yousei Teikoku counterpart, but she’s enjoyable. ED video was a bit boring.

Kobato.

Impressions: Alright, Kobato’s a bit of an airhead, but she’s an adorable airhead. I remember reading bits of the manga before this series aired, so I decided to give the anime a spin before continuing the manga. So basically Kobato has to heal the hearts of people, collect their troubles in a bottle, and fill the bottle up so she can grant her own wish. The first episode is her test on how to live like a normal human being so she can obtain that bottle. While she did seem a bit Mary Sue-ish, she was just so damn cute in her blunders, so I forgave her (maybe it’s because Hanazawa Kana did such a good job at her voice). Overall, it seems a bit too sugary sweet for me to marathon, but perhaps in small doses, I could enjoy this series.

OP: I know I’m going to be biased, because it’s Sakamoto Maaya. While I prefer her serious works more, this lighthearted piece captured me with its catchy “1, 2, 3” melody in the chorus. Also, Kobato looks very cute in the video, especially the outfit change part (I like the red dress XD)

ED: Nakajima Megumi! I thought her music disappeared, but I’m glad she’s still putting stuff out – a NakaMegu ballad = <3. The ED sequence with the bottle spinning the credits was rather creative – it’s a bit dull to watch through more than once, but I like the design.

The Sacred Blacksmith

Impressions: RAWR, what is with the flurry of annoying Mary Sue leads? Well, Cecily isn’t quite as bad as 11eyes’ Yuka, but she’s so useless in episode one I just had to facepalm. Luke’s pretty damn awesome with his magic blacksmithing skills but seems to be a bit of a jerk as a person. I wonder if this is one of those series that’ll start off with rather unlikable leads that improve through their interaction with each other? The art wasn’t that bad, the plot seems like it has potential…I tend to cut fantasy series a lot more slack since good ones can have rough starts (am I the only one who thinks Luke is a clone of Fujimoto from Kobato?)

OP: Catchy, listenable, only the vocalist’s voice kind of bothered me a bit – sounded like she was trying to be a copy of angela’s Atsuko in some parts.  The video is just your average OP sequence, a bit of action, a bit of character intro, nothing special.

ED: Oh boy, Toyosaki Aki singing is bound to end in tragedy (K-ON’s OP was barely tolerable). The vid is trying to look cute but is failing at it.

Seitokai no Ichizon

Impressions: Okay, I thought it was going to be some sort of dumb, student council harem deal, but that was subverted by the main guy himself, a self-acknowledged pervert who declares that he wants to make the girls in the council his harem. Kurimu is moe without being too annoying, and the random episode parodies and references are total win. The only flaw is that I don’t know if I can stand several more episodes of dialogue since this style of comedy seems to work best for an OVA, but a full-fledged series would need more substance. I do see a serious side emerging at the end, but I hope that doesn’t detract from the original premise of the series.

OP: Generic cute anime OP, song is generic, doesn’t really show the male lead until like the very end. Kind of makes the characters look a lot more serious than they really are, haha…

ED: The song doesn’t really catch my attention (except the hilarious “flip up skirt” lyrics) but the video is amusing – the characters are little video game chibis competing – whether its running forward or swimming the breastroke.

~~~~~Drop it Like It’s Hot~~~~~

Okay, since I’m lazy and tired, I’m just going to give a quick review of these.

Fairy Tail – loved the manga, liked Kakihara Tetsuya’s portrayal of Natsu, omg HIRANO AYA AS LUCY MAKES MY EARS BLEED. I was tempted to push the mute button more than twice. Perhaps I’ll give it a few more eps, just to hear Ohara Sayaka as Erza…

Kampfer – Plotless genderbending harem that will rely only on fanservice. The only reason I’d keep watching it is for the loaded seiyuu cast since I’m a slave to my seiyuu fandoms sometimes. Inoue Marina, Nakajima Megumi, Horie Yui, Tamura Yukari…and later on Mizuki Nana, Noto Mamiko, and even Minagawa Junko. Why, anime companies, why?!

Miracle Train ~Oedo-sen e Youkoso~ – Alright, I admit to checking this out due to the fangirl factor. I’d gone in expecting the Hetalia of train stations but what we get is one of those “solving problems” series…and the scenario doesn’t even interest me. A girl losing her dog? Yawn.

Nyan Koi! – Allergic to cats yet cursed to do cats’ bidding…had comedic potential, but it wasn’t as funny as I had hoped. Also from the looks of the OP & ED, it will probably be a shitty harem.

Sora no Otoshimono – alright, the only reason I’d watch this is for Hayami Saori, and her singing. But seriously, a big boobed angel who does the biddings of a perverted boy? Next.

I was too lazy to preview Yumeiro Patissiere and Winter Sonata. So no reviews of those.

I kind of did like Kuuchuu Buranko and Aoi Bungaku, but…I’m also too lazy to go find images of them. Kuuchuu Buranko seems like Kaiba – one of those trippy series that makes me appreciate the genius of its creativity, but I have to be in the right mood to watch it. Aoi Bungaku…adaptations of Japanese classics – something I can appreciate since I love literature, although it’s a bit heavy for my liking since I am mainly looking for something that uses less brainpower while watching anime.

Alright, I’ve recovered from my panic attack. Time to go heat up a bowl of that frozen El Pollo Loco chicken bowl and learn about arrays like no other…

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