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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  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 01:57 AM)
    @Bam: James Cameron hasn’t made a film I’ve enjoyed since terminator 2.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 01:55 AM)
    @Bam: Wow, someone else who noticed the Elysium/battle angel commonality, I’ve been thinking about that for a while myself also.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 01:18 AM)
    Also looking back I notice heavy thematic similarities between Elysium and Battle Angel Alita. The labor division and the great disparity in life-quality of Earth versus Elysium is almost a direct parallel to Tiphares and the Scrapyard. I wonder if this is going to hinder the Alita’s Hollywood adaptation, in which case good- that horrendous GitS one is more than enough.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Mar 3. 2015 01:13 AM)
    Truthfully Seinen is an age/gender demographic and not really a genre or category, but even within Japan the term has come to be identified with manga that have sexuality and violence like the works of Go Nagai instead of those that contain general adult themes. That’s why comedies are pretty much never considered Seinen, even though some are probably only appreciated by the Seinen crowd.
  • AidanAK47
    (Monday, Mar 2. 2015 01:29 AM)
    Late to this one but
    @BrendanVGC, that’s kinda tough. See there is a huge amount of very different manga that fall under the category “Seinien” You would kinda need to give us a more focused genre to work with here. Like horror, action etc.
    And pretty sure death note is shounen.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 07:35 AM)
    Damon I am more used to seeing in a drama or comedy role I reckon rather than an action hero.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 07:24 AM)
    Eric Bana is so underated =<
    I want to see more of the man on film.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 05:52 AM)
    The story would’ve been much more anchored and believable if the social imbalance wasn’t portrayed so heavy-handedly. It makes no sense for every house in Elysium to have a healing-bed that completely restores you and they dint bother to put a single one on Earth to keep the working class happy and healthy. I mean, c’mon now.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 05:49 AM)
    Yeah the action sequences were the best parts of Elysium. I don’t k ow, I just don’t feel Matt Damon in these roles anymore and I hope they stayed with Eric Bana like the rumors were hinting; that probably would’ve made it a more personal story.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, Mar 1. 2015 04:55 AM)
    Its been too long since I saw district 9 to have an accurate opinion on it.

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