Posted 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)

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  • Bam
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 03:29 AM)
    @sonic: That just shows that they have budget issues and problems with asset management. Deen tends to hire a lot of commission contracts so the talen behind each work, and hence the quality, varies greatly.
  • sonicsenryaku
    (Thursday, Oct 23. 2014 03:06 AM)
    Deen’s art has certainly improved and their cinematography has gotten a slight bump in refinement but their animation still could use some work and they still have trouble keeping their art and animation consistent through their series. All these critiques apoply to their tv series productions by the way; some of the movies they have worked on as well as they co-production works are pretty good
  • ninjarealist
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 11:49 PM)
    @Emma I think Deen makes some really good looking anime. People tend to give them crap for some of their mid-2000 stuff and justifiably, but their recent stuff and early stuff is really quite visually arresting.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 11:43 PM)
    Now granted,deens adaptation of sankarea had some pretty neat visuals behind it.
  • ninjarealist
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 11:14 PM)
    Granted that none of those manga had the type of mass appeal that Sankarea has, but they’re some pof the best manga I’ve read within their specific genre (sentimental ecchi comedies/romances). I love his art style too. It just works so well for sappy romantic stuff. Inu Neko Jump will always be one of my favorite manga.
  • ninjarealist
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 11:12 PM)
    On the subject of Sankarea, I’m about as big of a Hattori Mitsuru fanboy as anyone could be and I have to say that Sankarea is my least favorite manga of his. His strengths and weaknesses just don’t lend themselves very well to that type of horror/drama plot. Umisho, Inu Neko Jump, and Otogi no Machi no Rena even were all better manga.
  • k-off
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 08:47 PM)
    To be fair to the series though, I thought that the owl was pretty cool.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 06:18 PM)
    But I’ve heard complaints about the fanservice of rea not making sense considering her past/background and I’m inclined to agree.
  • Emma
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 06:16 PM)
    Ha, and once again another shounen ruined by not being a seinen manga.
    @Aidan: Sometimes..sometimes I feel its the fans that should be writing these things instead…well the good ones =P
  • AidanAK47
    (Wednesday, Oct 22. 2014 06:05 PM)
    @K-Off, Potentail for Rea to go berserk and starting a zombie apocalypse? Or at least enough to have her slowly lose her mind and chiro having to resort to more and more desperate measures to protect her and stop her from hurting others. There was plently of potentail in the premise, just that the author didn’t have the balls to take it that far.

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