Posted by psgels on 23 July 2011 with categories: Summer 2011 Kaleidoscope




Okay. I know what I’m going to do this season: another Kaleidoscope, though in a different format from the previous times I’ve done one. There’s just too much interesting stuff this season, it’s unbelievable. Instead, I’m going to be writing short blurbs and impressions about all (or most) of the episodes that interest me. It’s an experiment. I have no idea whether it’s going to work, but this seems like the perfect season to try it out, with so many great series.

Dantalian no Shoka – 02
Ah, you can see that this show too is in need of more time: this episode felt a bit rushed, and yet it did retain its atmosphere. Overall this seems to be much more about atmosphere than its mysteries compared to its sister-series of Gosick and Kami-Sama no Memo-Chou, and I guess that that’s where this fast pacing works. Now, this episode was flawed (“You may have thought that you stabbed me, but I was saved by this book that I conveniently carried in my pocket at exactly the right place!” – that is one twist you should not pull!), plus the transformation sequence was significantly less interesting when we saw it for the second time (especially in contrast with Penguin Drum), but I really like the experimental animation, the banter is quite nice, the male lead is no pansy and isn’t the idiot that Kujou was. Oh, and another plus is that Dalian so far has been the only teenager in the series. That helps too.
Rating: * (Good)

Gyakkyou Burai Kaiji – 42
It’s really hard to imagine what the rest of this arc is going to look like. I mean, normal conventions would say that the next episode would focus on breaking the second barrier, the episode after that on the third layer, leaving a final climax to wrap everything up. This thing however still has a whopping eight episodes left. At the very least. Seriously, this already is an intense thriller and I really like the mind games so far: is it just going to drag on over and over, or is there really such an awesome climax waiting?
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Sacred Seven – 03
The main problem with this show so far is not that it’s generic. That’s just something that doesn’t really help. Instead, this show is too one-sided and does a poor job at fleshing out its characters: there are way too many dark and brooding emo characters with very little other traits to their character. Seriously, the main couple is emo, the newly introduced villain is emo, the main side-kick is emo, half of the side characters are emo. That’s not the most interesting combination to work with! The one exception was the action scene of episode two. More of that, please!
Rating: (Enjoyable)

Usagi Drop – 03
Usually when a series addresses workaholics, it’s done quite one-sidedly: parents who fell in love with their jobs and forget about spending time with their children. Even with that, you can get some good drama out of it (the most recent example of this is Showa Monogatari). Usagi Drop however rocks because of how well it takes a look at this topic, how the main character is trying to balance his life as a typical salaryman while suddenly having to raise a child. This third episode made things even better by showing other cases of this with Daikichi’s mother and a coworker of his. I don’t have a child myself, but a lot of my coworkers are in that stage of their life, so this series hits surprisingly close to home for me right now.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

Blade – 04
I’m still not sure whether Blade is going to work or not. On one hand, the writing can get incredibly cheesy at times (though thankfully still nowhere near Iron Man levels), and the facial animations also leaves a lot to be desired. And yet this series abandons Japan and goes to the Philippines instead, and out of all of the Marvel-series so far, it has by far devoted the most time to the past of the main character and is by far the most character-oriented of the four series. A main theme of this series is also for Blade to be saved from his really, really dark childhood, which also provides a good reason for the female lead to be there (so likely no more Hisako-esque debacles). Nevertheless though: Madhouse. Please try to spend more time in how to correctly animate facial expressions. It’s really getting silly now.
Rating: * (Good)

Kamisama Dolls – 03
A killer is on the loose, so what does the village responsible for him send to get him back? A little girl. Okay, so this third episode takes care of that by introducing more different characters, and spicing things up quite nicely. The second half of the episode had great chemistry, acting and the dark atmosphere that also made the first episode really good. As for the first half… at least it was funny. Having a comedy director on this thing really helps to get the delivery right. But what’s this about the Kamisama Dolls manga not being finished? I mean, here we have the perfect set-up for an action-packed 13 episode series. Is the story really large enough to warrant more time than that? On one hand, this is a good series to create an anime original ending for. On the other hand: Makoto Uezu is adapting this series. You do not want to give him freedom, because that just screws everything up into a boring fanservice-fest.
Rating: ** (Excellent)

15 Responses

  1. kurini says:

    Yeahh! Another kaleidoscope! This will please many people! :D

    Ah, I have to agree that the book-stabbing thing in Dantalian is just too convenient…

  2. Algent says:

    In S7 I love how they suddently put a scooter scene in the middle of the action… >.>

  3. Wandering Bunny says:

    Regarding Kaiji; at least two episodes would drag a bit, specifically probably next episode and one episode before the end. However, most other episodes should be thrilling!! We’re only past the first hurdle! There’s a llllot of moves to be done by both parties in the coming episodes~

  4. Joojoobees says:

    If you weren’t able to provide useful insight in just a few sentences I would have preferred a single thoughtful review, but I like the kaleidoscope reviews. You usually make some very good points when you force yourself to be succinct, so we get several interesting insights in one post, just spread across different series.

  5. m says:

    Having no knowledge of the series, I wonder if they’re cramming an entire LN into each episode of Dantalian no Shoka. If that is the case then I’m inclined to give them a little credit for how well it comes off despite that. Still, it really breezes right by and I find myself wishing the episodes were twice as long so that I might have some feel for each setting. Though with 13 episodes they might not be able to clear many volumes at a sane pace.

  6. Mi-Mi-Mikuru says:

    Are you ignoring Usagi Drop in favor of blogging any other average show?

  7. psgels psgels says:

    Mi-Mi-Mikuru: patience, patience. I just didn’t get to watch it yet.

  8. Tan-Tan says:

    About Dantalian: When I was watching it and saw how the book save him, I immediately thought, “Oh psgel isn’t going to like this” XD

  9. Hogart says:

    Nice, thanks for trying such kaleidoscopes!

    Dantalian did play some cards right, and at least hinted that Dalian put something in Huey’s coat, but it wasn’t a very interesting or convincing episode. They didn’t seem to be piecing things together, so it felt like Huey just randomly thought of the solution and Dalian just felt like being cryptic and abrasive. I wish the show was more animated (in every sense of the word).

  10. garfield15 says:

    “(”You may have thought that you stabbed me, but I was saved by this book that I conveniently carried in my pocket at exactly the right place!” – that is one twist you should not pull!),”

    Um, if you watch the scene before that, Dalian was the one who put the book in his coat. When he picks up his coat and says “Dalian, what’s this?”, it was to indicate that she put the book there since she was suspicious of her.

  11. detraephot says:

    or is there really such an awesome climax waiting?

    Oh yeah and it’s gonna be great :)

  12. Mi-Mi-Mikuru says:

    I didn’t say anything… *blush*

  13. Joojoobees says:

    @ garfield15: “Um, if you watch the scene before that, Dalian was the one who put the book in his coat.”

    How did Dalian know she would try to stab him THERE?

  14. tanukichan says:

    @Joojoobees: For all we know, he could have had another book at the other side of his coat, so it doesn’t matter which side she stabbed him. ;)

  15. Learn Kana says:

    Wow, very interesting stuff! I haven’t seen any of these series but I’d really like to watch Usagi Drop; it addresses concepts that I really don’t remember seeing in other shows.

    Thanks for sharing! :D

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  • Bam
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 05:54 AM)
    The episode was alright and felt dense as I watched it, but in hindsight only really moved the plot forward incrementally. Lancer not untying Tohsaka as soon as he killed Kirei and then not killing Shinji when he clearly had the chance left a bad taste in my mouth. That and Shirou’s heavy plot armor at this point is becoming reminiscent of another famous anime dual-wielder. Not a compliment.
  • Bam
    (Monday, May 25. 2015 05:46 AM)
    UBW 20 felt like another rendition of Eva 26 (Take care of yourself), complete with character analysis, battle with one’s Jungian Shadow, and loosely Buddhist ideas of self-actualization. It even featured the repetitive monologue shots that fade to black (with “I saw Hell” instead of Rei’s “Sky. Red, red sky”). It never went as far as Eva with “which way is up?” type of Soliloquy, but that’s probably a good thing.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:48 AM)
    Ashura was an excellent example of how to through anime illicit and emotional response in an honest, non-melodramatic way.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:46 AM)
    @Bam: I’d be more than happy to take a look at some of those shorts anytime.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:44 AM)
    @Emma: there’s a lot of European animators that got active in the last 10 years or so that are really reinvigorating their animation scene, and every now and then I get introduced to some fabulous shorts.
  • Bam
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:40 AM)
    @Emma: no I don’t really mind gory ‘for the fuck of it’ violence, I even like it in some grindhouse type of works, but I just don’t think it’s always effective as a shock factor. Live-action is the most sympathetic for obvious reasons, but there are animated works that do elicit a deep response. Probably because of circumstances but also the details of the in-between animation, which can induce certain feelings of disgust.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:39 AM)
    *here and there
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:35 AM)
    @Bam: I really wish there was more arthouse anime now to give some kind of a balance to everything thats out these days.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:33 AM)
    Now I like my exploitation every so often, but yes Bam I really do wish that adult and mature storytelling could be better associated with truly, more pure mature themes.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:25 AM)
    I get choked up over Bergmans cries and whisper and Autumn sonata, I look back on a work by Key and Jun Maeda and wonder, think of how silly it looks to me now.

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