|Summer Anime Impressions 2010|
Tis a new Summer of anime, and another season of simulcasts. Well if you live in America anyway. It's Winter here in the southern hemisphere and most of the simulcasts are region locked to America. Life as an anime fan for the rest of us, sadly, continues as normal. Anyway, only one or two episodes for all the shows I'm watching or checking out this season have appeared so I wont officially score them, just give them ballpark ratings. Read on for the highlights and lowlights of this season.
Article By: Bradley Beeck
Highschool of the Dead
Genres: Horror, Action
Streaming: Anime Network
Description: The zombie apocalypse begins. A group of highschool students band together to fight and survive it's horrors.
Opinion: Fanservice, plus zombies and the anime industry hits a home run. Seriously this is one of the best new shows I've seen all year, it's that awesome. The fanservice is fairly heavy but nothing particularly creepy and the violence isn't too violent (zombies still regularly get their heads smashed in), although I think the worst of it has been censored in the licensed streamed. The characters also aren't cardboard cutouts, as they have history and presence. Takashi and Rei for example were childhood friends but Rei got tired of wanting for Takashi to notice her so she moved on. I also like how the characters don't sit around angsting over why the zompocalypse is happening, they just react and try to survive.
Score: Very High
Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi
Genres: Comedy, Action, Romance
Description: The Otogi High School Bank fixes the problems of it's students, in return for their future help. Ookami, a fierce girl, and Ringo, her diminutive but mature friend, are members of the club. Morino Ryoushi is afraid to be looked at so he keeps to the shadows, until he confesses his feelings to Ookami. This sees him put on trial with the Otogi High School Bank, to see if he is worthy. It vaguely parodies Little Red Ridding Hood.
Opinion: I guess you'd call this a quirky comedy/romantic series. I'm not really sure what to make of it. It seems like it's about Morino getting to know/helping Ookami, and trying to overcome his phobia of not wanting to be looked at. This ties in with the request of the week from the students, although there appears to be some history regarding Ookami which will come into the series. The biggest thing that stands out about this series is the scratchy 80 year old grandmother who narrates the series; that's really what she sounds like. It's a bizarre and annoying choice, especially considering the series doesn't need a narrator.
Description: An all girl's school goes co-ed and being close to his home, Takatoshi joins it. However before classes even begin he's forced to join the student council by the president.
Opinion: Highschool girls randomly say dirty things. That's it really, although it does seem to have a continuity/passage of time. There isn't really any build up to the 'jokes' or any subtle to them, this isn't Are You Being Served?, and I didn't find it funny. Maybe I'm too serious for this kind of show, but I can't recommend it.
Genres: Romance, Drama
Description: Two years ago Junichi Tachibana waited for a girl he asked out on a date but she didn't come. He never found out why she didn't and now two years on he's still recovery from that. Finally he decides to move on and ask one of the girls around him on a date.
Opinion: This show would otherwise be a Harem series but the production committee has decided to do something different this time: have all the girls 'win'. So each of the girls will get four episodes before the story resets. Whether or not this show works will hinge upon how that reset is handled. There's a lot of awkward drama in teenage romances so it will be annoying if we have to go through that again every time. The first girl's arc has been done pretty well thus far. The main character confessed to her in the first episode but was rejected, and unusually he tries again in the second episode. The retry scene was the best moment in the series so far; it was natural, and there was some chemistry between them. I also like the character designs. A lot of the time in anime girls are so thin they couldn't possible exist but Amagami's designs are nice and solid, with realistic proportions and appearance.
Legend of the Legendary Heroes
Description: Ryner Lute has the Alpha Stigma, cursed eyes which give him special powers. His companion Ferris Eris is a famous swordsman obsessed with dangos. Together they search for relics connected to the Legendary Heroes. Sion Astal is the illegitimate son of a noble, and target of assassination. He swears he will become the king and fix the country, which is continually at war with it's neighbours.
Opinion: The first episode wasn't so much a coherent narrative as a random collection of scenes. It skipped from one scene to the next with little in the way of character introductions or build up. The somewhat madcap escapades of Ryner and Ferris, also clashes with the more serious character backgrounds revealed in the second episode. I don't believe Ryner would be so carefree/lazy or secretive with his powers given his background. I don't know why the direction/pacing is so appallingly bad but at this rate it's headed for the dustbin of anime history.
Score: Very Low
Genres: Mystery, Drama
Description: Strange new residents move into the rural town of Sotoba, when a series of bizarre deaths begin.
Opinion: The first episode of Shi Ki was quite ephemeral, drifting from scene to scene, so it's hard to pin down. Some of the characters are odd, while others seem normal and it might involve some supernatural elements. It's a mystery/murder anime but I don't know who the main character is going to be, given the events of the first episode, or who will be the one trying to figure out the no-doubt impending series of murders. Shi Ki needs more than one episode to judge.
Shukufuku no Campanella
Genres: Harem, Fantasy
Description: Leicester Maycraft is a member of the Oasis guild in the city of Ert' Aria. Carina Verritti, his girlfriend (?), and the other female members of the guild accompany him to watch a meteor shower. A stray meteor heads towards them but it turns out to contain a puppet called Minette who immediately bonds to Leicester.
Opinion: This show is completely insubstantial. There's no conflict and the main character is almost non-existent. He doesn't do anything worth mentioning, and the girls are par for the course in this type of show. At best it's a way to waste time for 22 minutes.
Score: Very Low
Description: Maya is the daughter of the man who founded Waldstein Academy or Occult Academy as people call it. Maya's father dies in the year 1999 and she travels to the academy for his memorial and finds that his death wasn't natural, it was occult related. She hates the occult, and decides to destroy the academy. This ties in with Uchida Fumiaki, a time agent from 2012, who tells her the Academy is the central location for the fulfilment of Nostradamus predictions and the destruction of the world.
Opinion: This isn't a serious show, as evidenced by the way characters react and everything that went on during the first episode with Maya's father's death and possessed resurrection. Occasionally that can work but here I find it off-putting. I also don't particularly like Maya, she just seems designed to a personality trait – the Tsun in Tsundere. Still it's decent enough entertainment.
Asobi ni Ikuyo: Bombshells from the Sky!
Genres:Harem (?), Drama, Science-Fiction
Description: Kio is attending a memorial service for his grandparents when a mysterious girl with cat ears and a tail appears. She tells him she's an Alien called Eris come to play, although she's none too secretive about it. This proves to be huge trouble as the girls in Kio's life all turn out to be secret agents.
Opinion: Pretty much the entire episode was spent introducing characters, but we didn't get anything about the main character. The show will probably be about all the girls surrounding him, who happen to be spies/agents or other after Eris. I hate mentioning this in the same breath as Asobi but it did remind me of Shingu: Secret of the Stellar War, with aliens already being on earth etc. Unlike most harem series this might actually have a plot to speak of but I wouldn't get my hopes up if I were you.
Score: Low although it's got some potential