Posted by psgels on 23 December 2010 with categories: Anime Reviews




At the start of this season, Natsu no Arashi was the last time in which I actually liked a Shaft series, so I guess that it’s no surprise that I wasn’t really looking forward to their two shows: Arakawa Under the Bridge and Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru. Nevertheless, the latter surprised me by being a pretty charming slice of life series. It neither feels like a rehash of one of Shaft’s previous series, nor does it take its style to the point where it gets in the way of the storytelling.

From the outside this seems like another show full of cliches, with the maids and all, and while this show certainly could have done without the maids, it’s the execution that makes this a fresh series. It’s especially good at fleshing out its characters though its dialogue, which is interesting, varied and really brings the characters alive. The entire cast has a good chemistry, and the show continues to juggle them in different situations and combinations in order to keep the series fresh throughout 12 episodes. I especially liked the conflicts between Hotori and her math teacher: they’re pretty much the polar opposites of each other and the tension between them is quite addictive.

There are some annoyances throughout the series, though. First of all is the way in which this series uses these eye catches that already were obnoxious back when Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei used them. Hotori herself also has this really annoying voice actress, who really manages to portray her as this immature teenaged girl. It’s a good characterization, but her yelling will get on your nerves in one way or the other. The most annoying are the scenes that focus on Hotori’s love interest, though. His inner monologues about how he wants to get inside Hotori’s skirt are boring, overdone and go on for way too long, and it never really amounts to anything.

In terms of the graphics, Shaft really put the earnings of the DVD sales of Bakemonogatari too good use, as this series is really well animated, especially the first two episodes. There are few of their usual shortcuts that have gotten old at this point, and instead it’s able to fully animate its characters while still able to experiment a bit. This definitely adds an interesting dynamic to the characters.

An interesting note is that Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru is the first series since the first Sayonara Zetsubou-Sensei that Shinbo actually directed himself, rather than acting as some sort of supervisor. The results really show: this series is skillfully directed and balanced instead of just using Shaft’s style for the heck of it. There’s enough to keep you busy and the characterization is surprisingly good when you look past the initial annoying characters.

Storytelling: 8/10 – Sometimes funny, sometimes not. Doesn’t aim to be the most spectacular, but manages to keep things surprisingly interesting for a slice of life series.
Characters: 8/10 – Characters don’t shy away from being annoying, especially the lead character. They’ve all got a bit of depth and background and are quite likable, though.
Production-Values: 9/10 – Very well animated, especially the first two episode.
Setting: 8/10 – Solid, aside from the one or two weird moments where the show delves into the supernatural.

Suggestions:
GA Geijutsuka Art Design Class
Natsu no Arashi
Gakuen Utopia Manabi Straight

5 Responses

  1. Puran says:

    Yeah, good job in this one Shinbo… Now if he could only outgrow some of his tricks and stopped slapping his name on everything, he could be a likeable director again!

  2. garfield15 says:

    But the monologues are the best part!

  3. ~xxx says:

    I agreed.
    Soremachi is not that spectacular but very good in keeping the interest a bit higher than the usual.

  4. Bear says:

    Enjoyed this show a lot more than I thought I would (maids are REALLY overdone so seeing the promo images was kinda meh). I think I was sold on this series around episode 4 during the supplemental math lesson. The teachers character and seiyuu is awesome. Have to disagree on the seiyuu for Hotori. I think she suits the character and the humor used in the show perfectly.

  5. AKI says:

    Been watching this one for four hours now and loving it to bits. I’m at the final episode already. Not as good as SZS but this is one of the better Shaft/Shinbo series.

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  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 11:04 AM)
    @Badesh: which one? Cuz I played thru both the Dreamcast and the PS2 version. The Dreamcast one was a stand-alone story, but it was both a good one written by Miura, and it was set between Vol22 and Vol23, so it didn’t interfere with the manga’s story. The PS2 one was almost a chapter-by-chapter adaptation of the Holy Demon War section, and it featured the de-facto Berserk theme ‘Sign’ by Hirasawa himself:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdpqV7RPnTE
  • Badesh
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:50 AM)
    They did the same thing to promote the video game! Srsly?
    Besides, i really enjoy the new series as a long time fan.. can’t exactly point out why. I like the action and for every shitty shot, we get an awesome one.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:49 AM)
    Also Caska’s back to being brown. So I guess some things are getting fixed as we go on.
    /RantOver
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:40 AM)
    That’s why is disheartening to see that the post-credit scene of ep03 was ignored by so many, specially considering the quality of the animation and the importance it had to the plot and course of the show.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:39 AM)
    Now I’m not going to deny the toxicity of some of the so-called “hardcore” fanbase- the Skullknight community is a testament to that. I’ve seen too many people claim that they’re done with the series, only yo come back every week and nag about the same redundant points over and over again. The show has had much more traditional animation than I’ve originally anticipated.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:27 AM)
    The music is a great example of that. The 97 series created a surreal somber atmosphere, with a lot of that piggybacking on Susumu Hirasawa’s weird soundtrack. Look at the new series intro- that is as tone-deaf as it can get. I much rather preferred a black screen with a red Berserk logo over this shonenesque song. Caska’s rape as an eyecatch? yeah, they are seriously mislead as to the significance of that scene.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:24 AM)
    Now I’m a big Berserk fan, anyone here can attest to that, and I’m glad to have some Berserk, in whatever form we can get. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to overlook the deficiencies. I still stand by my point, which is that the new series doesn’t primarily suffer from the animation, as I think a lot can be achieved in the format as evidence by the last two episodes, but the main point of contention is the overall tone which doesn’t fit Berserk.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:20 AM)
    And Berserk is panned for the CG, not only because of the unconventionality, but also since it isn’t particularly strong CGI neither. Sidonia was well-received, and that uses CG a lot more than Berserk. Since the manga has extraordinary line work, people want to see the same level of detail. The 97 series also works against the New one, since although it had minimal budget, it still had much superior cohesion.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:17 AM)
    But that aside, FoE actually garnered some decent publicity. It’s also not really CGI, but a weird type of rotoscoping, which has been used for a long time. The show was alright. It started strong, had a lot of slack in the middle, and ended on a stronger note.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Jul 23. 2016 10:15 AM)
    @afgm: Flower of Evil, it’s better to call it that since aside from me personally preferring English names when speaking English, the title itself is a reference to Charles Baudelaire poem, and we don’t say the French name Les Fleurs du mal, so why use the Japanese?

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