Posted on 1 December 2013 with categories: Autumn 2013 Kaleidoscope

For a lot of series this season I lost the motivation to keep up, even Yozakura Quartet, but with White Album I really wanted to catch up due to the potential I still saw in it. I just finished episode nine, and yeah. The creators pretty much did it: they created a love triangle, and they did it well. They did exactly what they needed to do, nothing more and nothing less.

I mean, this just works, and it’s the first love triangle in quite a while that is so well done. There are no annoying side-characters who try to steal the spotlights: the side cast knows exactly their place: this is the story of the three main characters, and nothing else. Every episode also progressed smoothly into the other: We first had the set-up, then a few episodes of developing the romance between the male lead and both girls, then there was the climax with the school performance that lead to two of them coming together, and now the finale of the series is focused on graduation and the actual love triangle.

On top of that, this series is so mature about it. It just presents the romance as it is, and the drama here is actual drama that develops naturally, not through forced cliched events. The whole premise of this series is deceptively simple, and this series knows it. When I compare this for example to a series like Sakurasou, the latter just feels so contrived with all of the forced drama that just kept going on and on. Not to mention the stupid characters. The characters in this series aren’t stupid. They’re teenagers. This show is actually blurring the lines between friendship and romance, rather than making it incredibly obvious who fancies who.

Also, a freaking couple forms before the end of the series! Yay for another series that actually wants to do that.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 12 November 2013 with categories: Autumn 2013 Kaleidoscope

I’m not blogging this series, but this episode was too interesting to pass up. I’m quite behind on a lot of series, so unfortunately it might take a while before I’m caught up with everything again, so I’m just going to continue the Kaleidoscope in whichever way is the most handy.

Noucome is definitely my guilty pleasure of the season. There is a lot wrong with it. For starters: remove the dog girl and this series would already be lots and lots better. Every major character in this series is a clever play on stereotypes, but she’s just there for dumb moron-jokes and fanservice that we’ve seen way too many times before. This series also has some moments at which it’s just random for the sake of being random. That also could have been toned down.

But yeah, this episode in particular had some pretty sharp parodies. It was actually a breath of fresh air to finally have a series address the stupidity of some overused cliches and bad plot devices that plague the romance and harem scene. I mean, I’ve said before that a good parody is one that really pokes fun at its subject material, instead of just copying things.

The Shaft and the Sister parodies worked surprisingly well. This probably is the first time that I’ve seen a Shaft parody work so well, pointing out how silly it is to just watch a bunch of dialogue while the camera focuses on random details in the background that make no sense. Very clever. And on the other side of the coin, it was so satisfying to finally have someone call out on the bloody sister-cliche! I cringed when the sister first appeared, but the entire character is a very successful parody who just calls everyone her sibling. The best part was that one member of the student council who finally showed a bit of a realistic reaction of having younger siblings as a teenager.

Beyond that, there actually is a romance series that distinguishes between liking someone and loving someone. Yukihira meanwhile continues to take the piss out of the typical character who has a crush on the male lead by getting into his way in quite some creative ways.

Overall this was a very inspired episode. It’s not perfect obviously, for example that Maria-Sama ga Miteru bit was just a random reference that had no purpose of being there, and the rich posh girl with huge boobs was just another rich posh girl with huge boobs, but for a comedy to be consistently funny for five episodes, with such a questionable subject material. I consider that quite a job well done.
Rating: 5.5/8 (Excellent)

Posted on 28 October 2013 with categories: Autumn 2013 Kaleidoscope

Gingitsune – 03: Not blogging this episode because nothing much really happened, but still an adorable little episode to dream away to. I stand by my case that that fox is adorable. The turtle was a one-off character, but he did illustrate the concept of time really well, which is quite important for our white friend’s development.

Golden Time – 03: I was surprised by the weird cult that appeared out of nowhere, but I guess that weird obsessions are a theme of this series. However, what happened afterwards was quite interesting: two characters just sat down and had quite a long talk for anime standards, in which they got to know each other much better. Lots of interesting stuff happened there.

Noucome – 03: I just realized how hard it is to animate characters laughing. Most of the time you get these awkward squeals with blushes that feel incredibly forced. But yeah, another hilarious episode. Everything about this episode was just so wrong, but for once the show actually acknowledges this, which is something you don’t often see. Of course it then goes and pulls in some twists that are as bad as the things it’s parodying, but still, even the drama here is done tongue in cheek.

Yowamushi Pedal – 02 & 03: Okay, my verdict after the first real cycling match is that I’m not going to continue watching. The reason for this is that the creators are rather dragging them out, resulting in a lot of repeating lines that don’t really add anything other than padding things out. For cycling anime, the two Nasu OVAs do a much better job at portraying the sport than this.

Golden Time – 04: This episode. Did it really only take up 20 minutes? I mean how much can you stuff in one episode, especially for a regular drama series. Talk about things escalating quickly here. The good news is that there is great character development. The bad news is that we seem to be heading into a generic love triangle, so try to stay away from that, okay?

Hajime no Ippo – Rising – 04: Aoki’s fight actually got more episodes than Ippo’s. Perhaps a few too many penis jokes, but still this was a really enjoyable build-up and thankfully it set up the stage a bit better than with the first arc here that just boiled down to how deep the sea was. I like how this episode really shows Aoki in a serious light, yet didn’t shed away his goofiness. Lots of other anime have failed pretty badly in the past attempting this

Posted on 20 October 2013 with categories: Autumn 2013 Kaleidoscope

Phi Brain 03 – 02: Kaito, Rook: if you were in a giant room that was turning and moving around… you should have noticed that. I see that this series starts off well by pushing your suspense of disbelief to its limits. Everyone’s taking puzzles even more seriously here. The villains are basically “must… destroy… all puzzlers in the world!! All Puzzlers must die, so let’s beat them by using puzzles!” – I’m not kidding! But yeah, for the things that really mattered, this episode delivered. The characters were as fun as ever.

Ore no Nounai Blahblah – 02: Unfortunately a lot worse due to some bad direction and animation issues, but there still were plenty of good jokes in this episode.

White Album 2 – 02: Okay with this it’s definitely not like the first two White Albums. The whole belt thing was a bit weird, but you can see clearly what the creators are doing right now: setting up the love triangle. The attention to build-up is admirable, now the question is whether this show can make use of it, or whether it’ll just play the ‘boring’-card.

Little Busters – Refrain – 02: Okay, Little Busters, I have to hand it to you: this episode was amazing. I would not have minded at all if this were the ending of the series. This is wonderful as a conclusion. You can still ruin this by throwing in some harem-nonsense, but standalone this episode was the single best episode we’ve seen from Little Busters, BY FAR. Well, done!

Hajime no Ippo – Rising – 03: Awesome: Aoki has always been an incredibly likable side-character, so I’m trhilled to see that he got an actual arc dedicated to him here. That’s how I believe that the sequels are better than the original Hajime no Ippo series: it’s not just about Ippo. But yeah, tons of hilarity this episode on top of Aoki being really charming, and getting to fight the perfect opponent for him.

Posted on 14 October 2013 with categories: Autumn 2013 Kaleidoscope

I’ll try to post these entries on Sunday Evening. They’re just a collection of impressions about the series I watched that I didn’t blog. No rankings, no systems, just raw impressions and opinions. Enjoy.

Hunter X Hunter 96 – 99: Hunter X Hunter reached another one of its annoying phases again. The context of these four episodes was wonderful. I love what the creators are trying to do here in the big picture. The inrigues that come from all kinds of sides, some characters being really careful in their approaches in order to win. Great. But what happened in these four episodes was completely inconsequential in which the named cast just one-sidedly takes down a bunch of ants with weird powers. The part with the spiders was fine: it actually showed lots of new things about them, and gave them much appreciated depth, and the ants they took down were ants we know. However, Gon’s battle against that snake, bat and was really annoying to sit through and just served to kill some time. Not to mention that that fight just made no sense and it was way too overcomplicated for its own good.

Golden Time – 02: The comedy was less there, but I like what this show is trying to do: Kaga is an obsessive stalker and goes way too far and totally deserves a restraining order and yet this show is trying to make us sympathize with her. also pulling the “she’s pretty”-card for that.

Hajime no Ippo Rising – 02: A request to the creators: would you please try not to spoil what happens in your episode titles. I know that this episode was a bit more complex than just that, but it’s the same as hearing “character x does y”: it takes away a bit of the suspense. A suspense that by the way was utterly excellent aside from that tiny detail in this episode by the way. Oh how I missed these intense matches. It was a great way to get back into this series. Just let the next arcs take a little more time, okay?

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