Posted by psgels on 29 April 2012 with categories: Hyouka, Some Quick First Impressions

AKB0048

Short Synopsis: Our lead character wants to be an idol.
Okay, so like expected, my brain just exploded by all of the reasons in which this series just does not make sense. The premise, but also the small details and decisions the characters make; for god’s sake there are just so many things about this series that are in no way possible when you think about them. The good news however, is that this was the best first episode of an idol show that I’ve seen for a year now. For once, it had no annoying characters. Surprisingly, the voice actresses (presumably members of AKB48) actually take up on cues and actually are able to act a bit. It’s nothing stellar or anything, but I expected much blander and annoying than what we got here. And granted, the idol series for the past year aren’t really a big standard to live up to (Uta Prince, Symphogear, Pretty Rythm… only Idolmaster was anywhere near decent), but still this actually felt well paced and had decent writing. It caught my interest. The big question is how on earth are they going to about the ludicrous plot of this. In the original Macross, the idols made sense in the story and had an explanation, but ever since that seems to have gone more and more into the background for Shoji Kawamori. Having an evil government that bans music is by far not enough. Oh, and I also hope that the concert scenes will be better than what they showed in this episode. Ugly dancing CG is something that I don’t ever thing has been done right.
ED: Ugly dancing CG.
Potential: 60%

Hyouka

Short Synopsis: Our lead character gets to be friends with the school idol.
Well, in a season that has so many visually standing out series, Hyouka comes and joins them with some very realistic animation. Along with its own share of very artistic shots. Other than that, this was very solid for a first episode: the dialogue is all well written, and it uses its mystery very subtly by making its mysteries small, and then explaining them with ordinary logic. The characters are already dynamic and far from cliches and it’s definitely the most realistic high school series of this season. However, Kyoani: you are some amazing animators. So why do you always have to go back to high schools? There is a vast diversity of different settings that you could explore. Well, at the very least I’m happy enough because this finally is a show I’m interested in. It’s not just random antics but this episode is clearly building up to something, and with writing and animation that are so good I’m definitely going to follow it. My only fear would be that it would take too long to build up. This series is 21 episodes long, and if it uses this well it can turn into a great series. However if this starts pulling a Pesona 4 it can get boring quite fast.
OP: Nice use of the water ripple effect. The song’s boring, though.
Potential: 85%

42 Responses

  1. Litho says:

    Dunno about you (well, I do since you just wrote about it) but after all teh high-quality we’ve gotten this season, I found this one kinda boring. Granted, I’ve never been one for the whole highschool romance thing anyway.

    • Jess says:

      Hello!

      Could someone please explain to me what in the world happened in the first episode?? I didn’t understand it at all??

      Thanks!!

      • Litho says:

        The typical Clannad thing happened. Go outside and watch the grass on your lawn grow. It’s the same thing, basically.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Far from cliches?! Goddamn dude, you’re so wrong. The girl is the epitome of a Mary Sue character for god’s sake, how can you not see that?

    • B. says:

      Mary sue is such a vague definition anyway… Almost all female characters can be considered Mary Sues.

      • Andmeuths says:

        Every Female Main Character has certain “Suish” characteristics.

        Come to think of it, it’s the same problem with male protagonist. Make them too talented, charismatic etc and you have a Gary Stu. Make them too generic, boring, average, wimpy, etc and you have a generic spineless Harem Male Protagonist. Rare it is that someone could be interesting without being Sueish.

        And given all of that, I place more emphasis on setting above all. Generic Characters developing in a fascinating setting makes an acceptable story for me, so long as they aren’t so horribly written that you want to strangle the scriptwriters instead.

        So, condemning the female lead as a Sue? Very well. Justify in what ways she’s a Sue, rather than simply tarring it with a generic, negative label. At this stage, it’s really too early to say much about her- what other sides do all these characters have to them? If a scriptwriter could develop characters to that depth in One Episode, I applaude them.

        • Anca says:

          Mary-Sues don’t necessarily refer to talented, charismatic characters. The term originally referred to an author self-insert, or a character that is basically everything the author wants to be. A lot of those generic harem leads are Mary-Sues.

          Typically, they don’t fit the setting, are speshul in ridiculous and overblown ways, have gimmicks like moodring eyes, and everything gravitates around in an unnatural OOC fashion. They’re perfect, only have superficial flaws that only exist so they aren’t flawless, and often have tragic pasts (note, they also come from rich/royalty families).

          Ouma Shu is a typical Gary Stu, but they aren’t THAT common. The definition has just become muddled to mean ‘character that isn’t well-written’.

          (The term was originally used in fanfiction, for characters like, say, Princess Dark Rainbowstar, the main character’s twin sister whose eyes are glowing orbs that change color, and who has every male in canon lust after her. And things like that.)

    • meow says:

      Does she qualify as a Mary Sue? She’s cute and all but feels a bit ditzy and seems to show some stifling obsessive compulsive behavior. It just happens to be a match made in heaven for our male protagonist, who’s apparently a masochist who fantasizes about being attacked by beautiful female tentacle monsters. I think I can blame her sister using him regularly as an aikido practice dummy to get what she wants.

  3. kurini says:

    I really like the animation! It was much much better than I expected from the trailer I’ve watched and from kyoani!

  4. F says:

    Realistic animation? Did you mean realistic art? If so, then I will have to respectfully disagree.

    • psgels psgels says:

      No, the art indeed isn’t realistic. I’m rather referring to how the characters move and how fluid they made it.

  5. rufe says:

    Yea, definitely not realism, but it is GORGEOUS! The flower at the beginning had me going “KYOANI HAS DONE IT AGAIN!!” The changes of style for the various scenes was very well done as well.

    Great acting, etc. I’m excited about this series.

  6. Reverse says:

    i really dislike the hair flower animation, it was bad

  7. AidanAK47 says:

    My problem with this episode was that the set up was too obvious. I kept getting Haruhi flashbacks. Plus I hope the mysteries are more challenging as the whole time they were wondering about the locked door I was muttering “It was the janitor. It was the janitor. It was the janitor…”

  8. riddlekiller says:

    Dudes, this was indeed a solid first episodes. The conversations were well done and it felt natural. The animation was fluid and it did not feel awkward. It might have started off slow but that’s what to expect with any first episode. Anyway, it is suppose to be slice of life and I do say, it was really well done.

  9. meow says:

    This guy is like a male Scheherazade. I wonder what he’ll cook up next.

  10. TheDoorIntoSummer says:

    Except for the animation, I didn’t like the episode at all (I’m gonna drop the series, in fact). I didn’t thought it was bad, I thought it was… boring and superfluous.

    • meow says:

      Hm…I think it’s too early to tell. KyoAni disappointed a lot of rabid Key fans in Japan turning down a Little Busters adaptation for this. And I think they threw a heck of a lot of money and effort into the animation. Are they known for errors in judgement?

      • TheDoorIntoSummer says:

        Considering the last KyoAni anime I liked was Haruhi Suzumiya’s first season, maybe they don’t do errors in judgement, but surely they don’t cater to my tastes.

        • Puran says:

          You didn’t like disappearance?

          • TheDoorIntoSummer says:

            Sorry, I meant “the last KyoAni series”. My bad.^^;
            (I didn’t see Disappearance, actually. My interest in Haruhi Suzumiya-related works is long gone now)

          • meow says:

            @tdis

            Wow. Your loss.

            Out of curiosity, what did you like about Haruhi’s first season in the first place?

          • TheDoorIntoSummer says:

            Well, it had a good balance between the members of the cast, and between seriousness and wackiness. And it was also funny and well-acted.

          • meow says:

            MELANCHOLY OF SUZUMIYA HARUHI SPOILERS

            Hm. Not sure if you’d like Disappearance then. What I liked about Haruhi was how it toyed with my imagination and exceeded my expectations. I was expecting a funny but mundane slice-of-life based around a typical pretty but super eccentric girl into sci-fi and the occult and the wacky adventures their club would go through. What I didn’t expect was for most of these crazy things to have some actual basis, as well as how it all came together somehow. It was a guessing game from start to finish, made all the more intriguing for it’s mixed up airing order and even seemingly mundane episodes had something to say. Remember the first episode? How weird was that? I didn’t even pick up that the cat was actually talking. I thought it was some weird dubbing scene. And then there were action scenes that blew my mind. Yuki’s knife fight scene beats a lot of stuff I see in action shows. I was so fascinated, I really wanted more and wound up following up on the translated novels to see what else this author had dreamt up. And I often wonder if Haruhi’s High School Festival episode with her excellently done concert scene was the reason for KyoAni doing the successful K-ON series. Haruhi was good slice-of-life sci-fi. If any of this resonates with you, I think you might want to give the second season and Disappearance a try. I get that people hate the second season for the Endless Eight arc but at least check out the Tanabata Festival episodes as it is linked to the Disappearance movie. You could watch it without the 2nd season but there will be a few scenes that will be a little bit like watching the 2nd Back to the Future movie without watching the first. Yes, there will be time travel. If that doesn’t excite you then, yes, please pass on Disappearance.

          • TheDoorIntoSummer says:

            I think you got it wrong, Meow (because, admittedly, I didn’t actually specify that XD): I DID watch the second season. And that’s exactly why I promised myself I would not watch anything Haruhi-related anymore.

          • meow says:

            I still think you’re missing out on something great but yeah, different strokes for different folks. XD

  11. Houlgrave says:

    You’d have to be out of your mind to think that this particular debut was boring. Ever heard of a little thing called “atmosphere”? Good grief children. :/

    At the very least, I’d say the two males leads show quite a bit of promise, and on top of that there’s no obvious overarching story structure, which leaves the possibilities wide open in a way that’s pretty refreshing for a high school setting.

    Honestly, it’s a bit dispiriting that folks will write something off before giving it any chance whatsoever to develop. Not every series needs to be a Gurren Lagann or NGE in order to be worth your time after one freakin’ episode.

    • TheDoorIntoSummer says:

      I didn’t find any discernable “atmosphere” in there, sorry. And no promise whatsoever, also (except for the animation production, but I don’t watch animes solely because the animation is good).
      But hey, it’s just my taste. I just wanted to say my opinion, that’s all.XD

  12. Vipsces says:

    I actually enjoyed this one. Highschool shows usually bore the fuck out of me, but this one seemed pretty refreshing.

    My one complain would be the forced exposition at times, especially between the 2 male leads…But luckily that will stop, now that they’ve introduced the characters properlly

    I like how it talks a little about misteries, but it doesn’t make it seem like the whole point of the show, just a nice setting for the characters to develop.

    • Puran says:

      I kind of liked the “forced exposition” (not sure if I would call it that, but I get what you mean). It lacked subtelty, but in a overused setting such as this, you need things like that to make the characters somewhat interesting quickly.

      I also liked the female lead. She doesn’t have much of a character right now, she just is “very” curious. So much that it’s infectious to other people. I liked how they showed that.

  13. commenter says:

    The interaction between the characters was very fluent and interesting for the setting. It looks like we’re going for more mysteries.

    I liked how the friend of the male lead interacted with him. For once they make it seem like they’ve really known each other for a long time and thus understand each other to a degree. Usually these foils are just there to tie scenes to each other. Similarly, I like how you see the bias of the male lead in every scene. The way the curious girl made an impact on her, the way he’s imagining the mystery story…

    Good stuff. I’ll be watching.

  14. Scruffy says:

    My only problem is that all I can hear when his best friend talks is Sunohara from Clannad. It’s the same voice actor and he seems to be a similar character type. Apart from that the show looked gorgeous. The scene as he walks into the room was the best IMHO, particularly how they made the camera move up and down a little as he walked into the room.

    • rufe says:

      Apparently Mr. Sakaguchi once said “no matter what I do now I’m Shinpachi”. That’s just the kind of voice he has I guess. (Mr. Sugita said, “sometimes the script just has written ‘say something funny here'”)

    • Puran says:

      “particularly how they made the camera move up and down a little as he walked into the room.”

      That was CG actually.

      • Scruffy says:

        yup .. nice mix of CG and 2D animation there, particularly as the viewpoint changes slowly on the main girl (whos name I’ve already forgotton).

        As to the Clannad duo .. at least according to wikipedia the neo-Sunohara has a love interest and is not an eternal looser like in Clannad. As to the lead girl I certainly don’t get any Clannad vibes.

    • Stars says:

      And the male lead is the seiyuu of Tomoya from Clannad, so I’ve already started thinking the backstory is similar for now.

  15. Tofu says:

    On ANN it’s listed as 12 episodes for Hyouka but 21 on MAL. Are you using MAL as the source when you stated that Hyouka is 21 episodes long or a different source?

    • psgels psgels says:

      I use neither, because both are inaccurate. ANN in particular only lists the episodes that are known for broadcast, not the total number of episodes. It has been officially announcd that Hyouka will have 21 episodes.

  16. skyhack says:

    Liked it. A lot. Liked the OP, too, but mostly for the nice acoustic work.

    I’ll have to work on it.

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  • 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.
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:24 AM)
    I also find it easier to get an emotional response from a honest drama, live action film, largely due to the real people doing the acting. Sometimes you get an actor whose just that good too…
  • Emma
    (Sunday, May 24. 2015 05:22 AM)
    I’ve gotten my odd emotional reaction here from anime and manga but a lot of the time it feels like the jump scare in a generic horror movie, I got shocked but I felt minipulated afterwards it wasn’t genuine, the same goes for some anime/manga drama when it takes a melodramatic turn instead of a bleak, honest one.

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