The second season of Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! ended after 10 all-too-short episodes, just as the first season did. Unfortunately, unlike the first season, the second season finale did not conclude with the announcement of a sequel. Given that Konosuba S2 sits comfortably on top of my list of winter 2017's best shows, above even Little Witch Academia TV and Shōwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjū: Sukeroku Futatabi-hen, I'm certainly hopeful for a third season someday.(more…)
Anime sure loves high school boys. Arguably, the only characters anime loves more than high school boys are middle school girls. Whether you agree with this assessment or not (and don't take it too seriously, okay, this is why I don't have comments enabled), I don't think I'll get much opposition if I claim a lot of (mostly shitty) anime skews towards school-aged protagonists in school settings. In the extreme, you even get shows such as Guilty Crown or Kakumeiki Valvrave where preserving a school's social structure is the single most important goal of the characters, despite living in a state of war.(more…)
I first noticed Kakuma Ai because of her Aldnoah.Zero supporting character. She voices Nina, the schoolgirl refugee who nearly collided a ship with a giant obstacle the instant they let her steer. There's not much to the character that really stands out, but her panicky cries as she nearly wrecks the boat were pretty amusing. But then I noticed she's also in Amagi Brilliant Park, voicing Sento who sounds completely different than Nina. Sento didn't do any panicky yammering in the episodes I watched, but I did like the way she said "brilllyant paahk." I'm not particularly familiar with the rest of her work, but given the contrast between Nina and Sento and their aforementioned highlights, I'm encouraged to pay more attention to her in the future.
Hayami Saori, who voices Emi from Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso caught my attention for the same reason I really enjoy Ito Kanae: She speaks with a normal voice. I find artificially squeaky "anime" voices a bit tiresome at times, and perhaps moreso when that fake-sounding anime voice is one the seiyuu uses as her "real" voice. Hayami Saori, on the other hand, sounds like a genuine person to me, which contributes a great deal towards my positive impressions of her character. Emi, if you don't know, is pathologically passionate about piano in such a way that would be sort of grating if I hadn't fully bought into her character. Emi's success in this regard speaks volumes to Hayami Saori's contribution to the show. It turns out I've also liked her in a few of her previous works, so she's another seiyuu to keep an ear out for, as it were.
I should probably put together a season introduction for Winter 2014, considering that half of it has already passed. At this time, I'm still following
14 15 of the shows currently airing this cour (Jesus Christ, fourteen FIFTEEN?), and may add Gundam Build Fighters if I ever get around to starting it. I present the following shows in order of their precedence on the chart at the time I started writing this sucker, but you shouldn't put too much weight on their positions or particular ratings because this ain't anime titration, you know.
With regards to REC, I'm calling my shot: The final episode will be entitled "My Fair Lady."
Maybe I should back up a bit.
REC is a love story with a somewhat unconventional "boy meets girl, boy sleeps with girl, girl moves in with boy, boy and girl may or may not sleep together again for the rest of the series" kind of show. Based on the eponymous manga, REC stars a mopey 20-something salaryman named Matsumaru who takes a liking to the chipper hopeful-voice-actress Aka, who wants to be the seiyuu answer to Audrey Hepburn.
It's a short show, with half-length episodes and a reportedly nine-episode season. Perhaps due to its brevity, the shows seems a little frantic, particularly in its attempt to reconcile its unconventional storyline with the general anime idiom. That is, most anime love stories are platonic. Comedies in particular conspire to keeps their would-be lovers sexually frustrated and intensely fearful of any form of intimacy. (See Ai Yori Aoshi.) However, Matsumaru and Aka consumated their new relationship after less than 12 minutes of air time. Naturally, this makes it difficult to tell convincing, celibate stories that fit within the typical romance anime framework.
Thankfully, I get the impression that REC is well aware of this conflict, and will manage to resolve the issue within its short run, likely bringing Aka and Matsumaru back to each other's embrace by season's end. Paralleling this development will probably be the advancement of the ongoing Audrey Hepburn theme, with each episode taking cues from her movies. My Fair Lady seems a logical choice for the final episode, albeit a somewhat obvious one. And don't even try and tell me it's going to be Always.
Rec seems to be an amusing little show with half-length episodes and an ongoing Audrey Hepburn theme. It's too early to tell, but I think the show deserves a chance since it actually allowed its romantic leads to (discretely) have sex.
I'm a sucker for alternate universe stories, but I have mixed feelings about the new Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle anime, based on CLAMP's fantasy manga starring characters based on older versions of its Cardcaptor Sakura characters, and similarly revised versions of characters from some of its other series as well.
On the one hand, the animation is pretty as all Hell, and HDTV raws are available, and I hear the story itself is entertaining, at least in manga form. On the other hand, no one from the voice cast of Cardcaptor Sakura returns. The different voices are really jarring—at least as much as the visuals in To Heart ~Remember My Memories~. I do still enjoy To Heart: Type R, and I'll probably keep watching Tsubasa Chronicle, but it does have a very tough act to follow.
I love the music in Tsubasa Chronicle, thanks to the fine work of Yuki Kajiura, but I don't like the different voices. Touya's voice is the least objectionable, followed by Tomoyo's (Maaya Sakamoto does an acceptable older Tomoyo in addition to singing the ED), but Yukito's voice is completely different. Also, I swear original Cardcaptor Sakura 10-year-old Shaoran has a deeper voice than the older Tsubasa Chronicle Shaoran.
Oh yeah, in keeping with what I understand to be CLAMP's new character designs, everyone looks extremely tall and skinny—way beyond "willowy" and all the way to freakisly elongated—but I'm okay with that.
The plot? Sakura's in trouble and Shaoran is trying to save her. And there's universe hopping involved, which some people have compared to Sliders. Overall, it's interesting enough, but not especially compelling. I think it's still too early to decide the show's merits, but it's an interesting idea at least; we'll just have to wait and see about the execution.