Posted by psgels on 5 November 2010 with categories: Autumn 2010 Kaleidoscope



This week I’d like to talk about this surprisingly charming slice of life series. And I guess gather my thoughts about Shinbo at the moment. I mean, I consider him to be an excellent director. The thing I hate however is how he is working on way too many projects. Just get him to work on one single project every year or two years: that will make them extra special, especially with the wait time in between. Why can’t he just leave Shaft’s other projects to the other directors at Shaft? Why does he need to hold their hands for every single series?

My big annoyance with Shinbo is that I’ve just seen too much of his series and I really do not want to sit through another one of his uninspired series. At this point, those series are easy to spot because he ends up doing one of two things:
1. Repeat himself. The best example of this is Natsu no Arashi 2, in which the first four episodes talked about the exact. same. freaking. subject. But also Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei. My guess is that that’s also why I can’t enjoy Arakawa Under the Bridge: there are just way too many similarities between the two.
2. Take his style way over the top to the point where it loses all its charms and ends up only getting in the way of telling the story. Examples of this (in my experience at least) were ef – a tale of melodies and Bakemonogatari.

Soredemo Machi is neither: it neither tries too hard, and while maids have been milked to death in anime, the delivery is fresh here. It doesn’t try to force down as many random jokes as possible, but instead focuses on just portraying the characters without trying to pretend to be anything more, and on top of that the different stories are varied and not repetitive. Finally.

Arashiyama is quite likable. In this episode she was mostly just a side-character, but even there she was pretty enjoyable as she tried to encourage Toshiko and her brother’s romances. It neither dragged on, and yet you could see that she loved to tease them. These kinds of romances are now also cliched as hell (‘I want to propose to you but I’m too scared so I just say something that sounds like “love”), but the creative characterization still made them enjoyable. If the characterization of Togainu no Chi was as good as this episode, I really would not have minded it being a dating sim.

On top of that, I’m glad that we finally have a Shaft series with a proper budget here. Especially the first two episodes had very good inbetween animation, but this episode too was very dynamically animated. I also like how all of the characters have their distinct character-designs, rather than just feeling like stock puppets with different eyes and hair pasted on top of them. On top of that, it’s also an interesting technique to use CG in frames that aren’t moving: it certainly took me a while before I noticed it.

It’s not perfect, especially in the way that those title cards get more annoying every episode, and there are times when it tries too hard (like with the chair in the previous episode), but I like its charms and how down to earth it is. It’s also got some good jokes as well (like the Czar and Luther).
Rating: ** (Excellent)

10 Responses

  1. Hogart says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who finds this more watchable than Arakawa now. Or the only one who can listen past Chiaki’s voice and see the charm she adds to the character she’s portraying.

    But then, I’m quite tapped on Shinbo myself, maybe that’s the big discriminator here. If you’ve only seen a few of his shows you might be more forgiving, but once you’ve seen enough of them you start to appreciate it when he really tries to put in some effort and doesn’t phone it home like usual.

  2. GPrieto says:

    Thanks psgels for your post. ‘Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru’ (Sore Machi for the friends) is really the best Shaft series of the present year. I really fall in love with Hotori.
    If someone is looking for a good fansub of Sore Machi, i recommend strongly to visit ‘www.furukawapan.net’. They make a great job explaining the puns of every episode.

  3. Gunslinger says:

    Boy i tried watching the raw today and the dialogues were really difficult to follow which is a change from most other shows

  4. Gunslinger says:

    Boy i tried watching the raw today and the dialogues were really difficult to follow which is a change from most other shows

  5. GPrieto says:

    Psgels, one question: why do you classified ‘Sore Machi’ as a slice of life series? It looks much more like a comedy for me than a slice of life series. Which is the difference in this case?

  6. GPrieto says:

    I agree with Hogart. Chiaki Omigawa makes a great job as Hotori Arashiyama. Her best work so far.

  7. temperus says:

    @GPrieto and Hogart. I agree. Chiaki works well here. She’s got just enough “annoying” to suit an annoying character without ruining them. She adds credence to the idea that she annoys all of her friends and enemies, but not to the point where they would want to hurt her.

    And having a memorable voice isn’t a bad thing. I can barely imagine Holo as anyone other than Koshimizu Ami, or Nodame as anyone but Kawasumi Ayako. I actually wonder who would be better-suited for Hotori.

  8. cho says:

    i FKN LOVE HOTORI !!! there has never been anyone like her before…i love every single thing about her!

  9. Tsubaki says:

    I’m surprised by how much i love this show (the first shaft series to capture my full interest). I appreciate how down to earth it is; it’s genuinely charming and funny too. Thumbs up.

  10. GPrieto says:

    cho, I agree with you!!

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  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Sep 1. 2015 04:17 AM)
    I played and finished blood omen and I don’t really hold the same opinion. The hit detection was clunky, there wasn’t any real puzzles besides go press the switch and the whole thing felt very liner. But that would have been fine if it wasn’t for the greatest problem of all. The loading. Good God that killed it. It loaded when you pressed start, loaded when you moved to a new area, loaded while changing forms. It just killed the pacing.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Sep 1. 2015 03:47 AM)
    the original LoK:Blood Omen was a pretty expansive RPG tho. Nosgoth felt like a lived-in world with quite a sprawling story and landscape. You can equip weapon, armor, item and magic from an interesting set, and it was one of the few vampire games were you could use all of their famed forms: bats, wolf, specter and even a human disguise to talk to town-folk who will remain dead and come back as ghosts after slain.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Sep 1. 2015 03:44 AM)
    @Aidan: well the company went bankrupt, so whatever they were doing didn’t work out for them too well. Eternal Darkness had decent gameplay imo- the sanity meter was a pretty cool concept. They tend do expect too much and overload their battle mechanics which aren’t as robust as they think.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Sep 1. 2015 03:24 AM)
    Bloody hell. I was going to quit at Soul Reaver 2. And you tell me the game doesn’t even end there?
    Silicon Khight seem to me like a company who tend to go for story over gameplay. Same went for eternal darkness. Shit gameplay, good story. It’s a pity that sequel kickstarter didn’t get funded.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Sep 1. 2015 02:35 AM)
    Time doesn’t do PS1 era 3D games any favors either. The never-before-seen scope and sprawling worlds end up feeling claustrophobic now, and low polygon models with no texture don’t get any better with age. The style, story and voice-acting still remain commendable tho.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Sep 1. 2015 02:29 AM)
    @Aidan: That’s generally what happens when you break relations with the original creators (Silicon Knights of Eternal Darkness and MGS:Twin Snakes fame) and then overshoot your capacity so much that you end up breaking an already reduced game straight in half; the story of which doesn’t get resolved until LoK:Defiance.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Sep 1. 2015 02:24 AM)
    I don’t think I’m invested in any anime/manga franchise’s story as much as Berserk; which probably sucks cuz we have a pretty high chance of never seeing it concluded. I speculate that if we don’t get to an important juncture before the next ‘break’ then the series will end up unfinished.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Sep 1. 2015 02:19 AM)
    @Kaiser: yeah it’s nice to see that Miura still got it, that was some of the kinetic battles that he’s known for. It’s all good to have him meeting his deadline schedules too; he might be back on the horse for real this time.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Sep 1. 2015 02:17 AM)
    As someone who used to play this games demo on a PS1 and loves the design of the character and story…I think it’s fair for me to say that Legacy of Kain Soul Reaver kinda sucks.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Tuesday, Sep 1. 2015 02:07 AM)
    I expected more of the chrono crusade author but the plot has now descended into a mess.

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