Posted by psgels on 13 January 2011 with categories: Fractale, Hourou Musuko, Some Quick First Impressions

Hourou Musuko

Short Synopsis: Our lead character wants to be a girl.
At the start of this episode it was a tad hard to figure out who was who because the creators didn’t bother to introduce most of the characters (this episode started in the middle of an already ongoing story), but yeah: this is good. It’s got some of the best acting of the entire season, it’s wonderfully animated with its own distinct art style, and this episode did a great job of portraying its different characters. I like how all these characters have had a history between them, and act like it. It’s miles away from the usual “childhood friends” stereotype that you usually see, and even the fact that the male lead cross-dresses is portrayed in a way unlike I have ever seen. This show takes itself seriously and really knows how to do good drama. The only pitfall that I can see is that this is Noitamina: does the story of the manga fit within 11 episodes, or do we get another rushed ending like with Kuragehime?
OP: Decent, but cliched and nothing special.
ED: Well sung at the beginning, but then loses steam.
Potential: 85%

Fractale

Short Synopsis: Our lead character saves a strange girl from a bunch of bad guys.
Ah, now I understand why this got to be Noitamina: it’s heavily inspired by Ghibli. It’s been a while since we’ve seen such a series. This show pretty much tries to add the moe factor to Ghibli, with some parts that work and others that don’t. In a lot of ways this one reminds me of Dragon Crisis’ first episode. It’s only that the setting for this one is much more creative, while the characterization is far from as good. The annoyance of the characters is definitely going to be the biggest problem for this series: just about every major character had his or her moment that rather got on my nerves due to the stereotypical moe acting, the worst being the male lead whenever his hormones started acting up. Still, this episode brought quite a bit of interesting stuff to make up for it, including a really trippy OP and a very detailed setting that is unlike anything that appeared during the past two years.
OP: Very trippy, excellent example of how to do a low-budget OP correctly.
ED: A bit of a boring ballad.
Potential: 70%

28 Responses

  1. totoum says:

    ” This show pretty much tries to add the moe factor to Ghibli”

    Some of the first characters that got the moe tag attached to them are from ghibli movies…

  2. psgels psgels says:

    Ah, let me put it this way then:

    ”This show pretty much tries to add the moe factor to Ghibli much, much more than usual.”

  3. Denizen says:

    The thing with Hourou Musuko’s anime is that whilst the characters do have a backstory, the actual manga didn’t – this really is starting off from a random point in the story.

    As for the ending, unless they decide to introduce timeskips, then it’s probably just going to be a single manga arc with parts from previous chapters stuck in, so I very much doubt there is much to fear about rushed endings – there’s nothing particularly to rush.

  4. chounokoe says:

    The story of the Hôrô Musuko anime starts about I think 5 or 6 volumes (of 11) into the manga. Many scenes we saw were flashbacks of what happened earlier…well and some things seem to be a little bit mixed up.
    I think the anime is rather concentrating on getting the emotions of the characters across than an actuall plot…well, as Denizen already said, there is no real plot apart from the characters dealing with their sexuality.

  5. darkerthanblackswordsman says:

    “Some of the first characters that got the moe tag attached to them are from ghibli movies…”

    OK… I guess I misunderstand the term “moe” then. Which characters in particular?

  6. Firechick says:

    Meh. I don’t really think Hourou Musuko is gonna be 11 episodes considering how popular it is. Fractale’s the one that’s gonna have 11 episodes. And speaking of Fractale…that is seriously the most original thing I’ve seen in ages! It’s so weird yet that’s what makes it so good! Plus I love the voice acting!

  7. Mei says:

    Glad that you gave Hourou Musuko a good score! I was really hoping that you’d blog this series, since I love the manga so much.

  8. Taara535 says:

    Fractale was definitely pretty good. The setting is quite fascinating and it has a great tone to it. The one thing that bothered me about it was not the characters (who I thought were fine) but was the music interludes which were a little bit too much over the top for the scenes they were trying to portray.

    Still I’ll definitely be following this one.

  9. Frost says:

    Whats with noitamina and cross dressers?

    Hourou Musuko has amazing production values… The backgrounds in particular look stunning, but honestly Im tired of stories about little kids, why couldnt this be about adults for once?

    As for Fractale Im biased because I hate the main characters VA… I dont know whats the idea of having women voice guys anyway, you can tell right away its not a guy, sigh

    So yeah, big disappointment for me in general

  10. Kim says:

    I didn’t think there was anything particularly Moe about Fractale. Anyways I liked the 1st episode a lot. The whole thing felt like a homage to classic anime (not just Ghibli films). I definitely saw some Nadia: Secret of the Blue Water there as well.

    @Firechick Hourou Musuko is scheduled for only 1 tier.

    I liked the first episode of that as well but as of right now Fractale impressed me even more.

  11. cuc says:

    No one has made a joke about “Down by the Salley Garden” being called “a boring ballad” ;-) ? It’s Yeats.

    At least in my country, it has gained elevator music status, and can be heard everywhere.

  12. Victor says:

    I liked Fractale more then Hourou Musuko. HM is way too dramatic for me. It’s just the first ep and we see our lead character crying with debussy music! Beside that, the history is very interesting and I thought they chose the best age for the characters (puberty).

  13. Pafiume says:

    Hourou Musuko already?? Excitinggg~ I thought it aired later, this makes my day. I was worried thinking about an anime for this series before I even knew there was one, but I’m excited to see how it will turn out. The end will probably turn out like Kuragehime, since the series isn’t even finished, but… hope for more? Hahaha..haha.. I can wish.

    Fractale too, excited to watch that. Of the series I didn’t know about it seemed the most interesting. Hope it lives to my expectations.

  14. ibg says:

    I doubt the story fits in 11 episodes. It’ll either be an anime original ending or end after a certain arc. Either way HM isn’t a story that needs closure, so it’ll be fine.

  15. Arisu says:

    Hourou Musuko was just gorgeous. I have got to say it was much Much better than I expected. I knew it was going to be good but still it delivered an awesome beginning. Everyone’s just so adorable. I like the atmosphere, the pacing, animation, characters, everything about it was great imo. The sister being a bitched to Nitori was quite shocking but if you think about it in real life it’s just a normal sibling interaction. I love that the show didn’t have to drag it out and used the evil sister cliche.

    If I have to bet. Musuko is going to be one of the best anime of year.

    Fractale on the other hand was so obnoxiously stupid that it made my blood boil. You are so spot on psgels about how annoying the characters were. It’s so hard to take this show seriously with the constant addition of the not so subtle fanservice, it’s criminal that it’s compared to a Ghibli show. Grrrr. As bad as Dragon Crisis. Drop.

  16. Jeremy says:

    I’m really happy with Hourou Musuko but yes they really decided to start at a random point in the story. For someone who read the manga like me I don’t really mind (been gigling out of joy the whole time xD) but I admit it could be confusing for someone who hasn’t read the original material.

  17. Halcyon says:

    Yeah, the Hourou Musuko manga is certainly one of my favorites, and I loved the first episode. But a couple things are making me a bit afraid for it.
    (1)The background music, first of all and for the most part, seems too generic, treating it like some stereotypical slice-of-life when it feels like it needs something a little more tuned to its subject matter.
    (2)Also, the voice actor(ess) (I don’t know.) while very good at making Nitorin sound like a feminine boy, bugged the hell out of me when he was yelling at his sister and crying. And, maybe it was the art style, but it also didn’t feel like the voices were coming from him. But that is only from the first episode.
    (3) The biggest thing though is how the story’s truly important moments will be treated. In the manga, the most impactful parts were the ones in which nothing was said, and you could feel the emotion flowing out of the characters. I just hope they can get that aspect to come along. But again, we’ll see what happens.

    As for Fractale, I can tell why some of you are really iffy on this, especially the the horridly annoying characters and how it just feels the show is going to take a turn for the generic. (I mean I hope there’s something beside the classic adventure to truth that I’m registering.) But, the pilot definitely has originality and potential, so I’ll hear it out a couple more episodes.

  18. c160 says:

    I think I can see why they want to start Hourou Musuko at this point,since it may probably widen the appeal range(and lessen the squick/fluffy cuteness(YMMV) of two very young children cross-dressing) but really,people who only watched the anime will miss out on a lot of very hard hitting scenes from the childhood era(the many firsts the children experienced pops to mind). They may include it in like in this episode,with the flashbacks,but really, I doubt they can pull it off without turning it into a mess. Another thing is that at this point,most of the characters are well developed so things like Nitorin wanting to wear his sister’s dress is not as creepy as it may be to some first time viewers.

    And it’s not like they’re gonna be any major climax of sort near this point if they want to wrap it up in 11 episodes too..

  19. mds says:

    whoa …. that Fractale ED ..
    contrast to psgels : best ED song this season for SURE..

  20. Penguin_Factory says:

    These two shows are the only ones this season I was really looking forward to. Kind of disappointed Wandering Son skips so much time, I liked the early parts of the manga.

    Love the Fractale ending. I was listening to it thinking “I swear I’ve heard those lyrics before” before I found out it was a WB Yeats poem.

  21. Hogart says:

    I was really disappointed with Fractale. It felt like I was watching a moe-fied Nadia clone for most of the episode, and the sci-fi undertones didn’t seem like they could undo that damage. The dude’s nervousness was also really annoying, and they had to have the lead female tell us several times that he’s interesting to cover up the fact that he’s as dull and generic as they get.

    I’m waiting on Hourou Musuko, because I generally dislike series about gender identity issues that take themselves too seriously (or too light-heartedly). I’ve heard this is more preachy and angsty than tactful and touching, though your take on it may just convince me to bite the bullet and give it a shot.

  22. JLR says:

    As far as Fractale goes, I would caution people not to make any judgments until you have seen quite a number of episodes, preferably almost the entire show.

    With this kind of setting, a dramatic change in the story or characterization is possible at any time. It all depends on how the creators choose to tell the story, and again, this is one of those shows where it’s impossible to tell.

    I liken it to So Ra No Wo To. I didn’t like the direction that show took, but you really had no idea what direction it was going to take until near the end.

  23. Maureen says:

    To be totally accurate, “Down by the Salley Gardens” was Yeats’ version of a pre-existing Irish ballad. He didn’t come up with the tune or the basic situation or the title; he just improved on it. It’s the folk process, except with a great poet involved. :)

  24. Kazu says:

    I usually watch pretty much everything noitamina has to offer, but Fractale is just too moe on the character department for me. I started watching noitamina because I was running away from those generic characters, so it kinda hurts seeing the time-slot finally get infected by them.

  25. Kalandra says:

    Not all moe is bad, there are always exceptions to the rule.

  26. betawatcher says:

    @ Halcyon Nitorin is voiced by a 14-year-old guy. :P

  27. Solaris says:

    About Fractale, check out the changes from the novel illustration’s chara: http://img577.imageshack.us/img577/8077/fractaleoriginalvsanime.jpg
    (image taken from animeclick.it)

    Actual chara and premise reminded too much of Miyazaki to be a coincidence. Let’s just wait it developes a bit before opening fire on it.

  28. Tan-Tan says:

    I gave Fractale a try. The direction was weird. Rather lack of atmosphere there especially with the music (though I think it’s awesome). I loved the jokes lol. The expressions are just priceless xD

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  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:56 AM)
    @Bam But unlike the american concept of manifest destiny, the Japanese used it as an excuse to wage what they were really doing: a war to hoard resources.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:52 AM)
    @Vincent: I see. A similar doctrine to Manifest Destiny.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:49 AM)
    @Bam Not to my knowledge. From the government, at least. It was always about expanding the glory of the homeland or something like that, which is why the Japanese took glee with the invasion of Manchuria and the Philippines, places they had no ethnic ties to.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:46 AM)
    *admitably
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:46 AM)
    @Vincent: I am admirably not too knowledgeable when it comes to the history of that region, but I still know that atrocities were committed.
    The interesting thing is that Japnese believe that their ancestors actually came from Korea. I wonder if this fact was ever used as a propaganda for why they have the right to annex Korea.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:40 AM)
    @Bam There also was the fractures within the Korean Peninsula itself. Quite astounding, really, that a nation as small as Korea is divided to this day. Not even counting the Japanese and Chinese aggression.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:39 AM)
    @Vincent: you probably know of it twinfold: both with the aborigines and then again with the Japanese invasion of Korea.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:37 AM)
    Then came the missionaries to convert the locals and make them forget their own culture and heritage and instead follow the words of their newly crowned white lord and savior. And to this day the region is predominately hardcore Catholic. Mission accomplished I would say.
  • Vincent
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:35 AM)
    @Bam What better example of a massacre paying off for the invading force, than the sub-baked rock I’m from? Australia has a dark history.
  • Bam
    (Saturday, Oct 25. 2014 02:35 AM)
    Again, I don’t condone the genocide. It is a mark of shame in the history of the region that the countries try do to whatever they can to brush under the rug.

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