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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  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Sep 30. 2014 10:29 AM)
    I freakin love the Norweigan electro band Röyksopp. Their videos are also award winning works of art which hit all the surreal chords that I adore:
    http://m.youtube.com/?#/watch?v=ADBKdSCbmiM
  • Asuka111
    (Tuesday, Sep 30. 2014 08:21 AM)
    @K-Off She’s so gorgeous X3
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Sep 30. 2014 08:17 AM)
    @Asuka I know Francoise Hardy, she’s amazing. http://youtu.be/LNEEVsZt8vI
  • Asuka111
    (Tuesday, Sep 30. 2014 08:10 AM)
    Amyone listen to European music? Stromae for one.
  • WyattX
    (Tuesday, Sep 30. 2014 07:41 AM)
    @Vincent Well, Japan has its own pop scene, so I don’t think that really equates.
  • Vincent
    (Tuesday, Sep 30. 2014 07:32 AM)
    @WyattX In Korea, it’s about the same, except indie bands turn into pop bands rather than shouty bands and anyone who’s not relatively good looking is eventually kicked.
  • WyattX
    (Tuesday, Sep 30. 2014 07:28 AM)
    But going back to Miyavi real quick, I remember being really impressed with his guitar slap. But now I just roll my eyes. A lot of these Jbands have fallen and have been replaced with this generic, shouty music.
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Sep 30. 2014 06:58 AM)
    This was kickass as well. http://youtu.be/c9kBdIG-NcY
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Sep 30. 2014 06:55 AM)
    @Wyatt: listening to this now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j-20sTMvEVs
  • k-off
    (Tuesday, Sep 30. 2014 06:55 AM)
    @Wyatt Well, I agree with that. Love Letter was just an explosion of feelings.

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