Posted 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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  • Yuko
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 10:08 AM)
    Talk about a learning curve. I thought Surgeon Simulator had a pretty big learning curve…
  • Bam
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 10:08 AM)
    @K-off: no I hated that game.
    You should play the first episode of A Wolf Among Us tho,that game just sells itself ;)
    I never once read Fables neither, so not a fanbiase involved neither.
  • K-Off
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 10:06 AM)
    You’re right, the niche IS really fine tuned. I spent hours looking at YouTube tutorials and shit =o
  • K-Off
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 10:04 AM)
    I honestly still don’t know what to expect from TellTale, but I have high hopes…
  • K-Off
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 10:03 AM)
    @Bam I’m guessing you liked Telltale’s Jurassic Park?
  • Bam
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 10:03 AM)
    @K-off: Don’t get me wrong, I heard good things about it, but flight simulators just aren’t my thing. It seems to have a slow learning curve as well, which might be the thing keeping it niche.
  • Bam
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 10:00 AM)
    @Emma: if you have access to any type of computer right now then there really isn’t any excuse left not to, as it has aged very gracefully. The heavy noir jazz-fueled adventure in a 1950s south American land of the dead never really gets old and just oozes with style, witty dialogue and tons of charm. A timeless masterpiece of the medium by far.
  • Yuko
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 09:59 AM)
    @K-Off God damn, that sounds like hell.
  • K-Off
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 09:56 AM)
    @Yuko People who want the ultimate sandbox experience. It just comes at the cost of your time, effort, and knowledge, which is why KSP is a great game.
  • Yuko
    (Monday, Sep 1. 2014 09:53 AM)
    Who in their right mind, would play a game as hard as Kerbal Space Program??

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