Winter 2009: Mixed Bag

Another season, another new batch of shows. While there are much fewer this time around, there are still a few that have caught my eye. This list is rather short as there are a bunch of sequels to previous shows I never finished, so I apologize if you don’t find the show you’re looking for in this list. So in alphabetical order, let’s get this started.

Akikan

By far one of the worst shows I’ve seen in a long time. I don’t mean bad in the sense that it’s just not my taste, but bad in that there are no redeeming qualities. I don’t know why anyone would greenlight this project. The plot is your typical normal guy meets extraordinary girl story, except this time the girl is a can of melon soda who has to do battle against other soda can girls. The plot reminds me of Kujibiki Unbalance, the cheesy, illogical, otaku anime within an anime from Genshiken. The difference between this and Akikan though is that Akikan is a full blown series whereas Kujibiki Unbalance was just a joke OVA. The plot is terrible, the characters bland archetypes, the animation quality is depressing, and it doesn’t even have a good cast. The only exception is Jun Fukuyama, whose over the top performance works well with the character. However, he’s in plenty of better shows, and there are better shows in general out there. I may watch this show for the lulz, but I don’t expect to be surprised by this piece of crap.

Kurokami

Another series I’m unsure about. I find the premise to be interesting, although the plot seems to be your typical angsty guy meets super girl series. The character designs and personalities are kind of generic, but not bad. In a nutshell, it feels a lot like Shakugan no Shana. With the exception of Kugimiya Rie, I didn’t think Shana was that good, so I’m a bit wary about this show. However, I liked the action in this first episode a lot more than any of the Shana battles, so I might stick around for those I’m curious if the near simultaneous English/Japanese/Korean broadcast will affect fansubbers at all. I doubt it, as the dubbed anime market isn’t very large. Check it out, maybe it’s your thing.

MariaHolic

Traps, lesbians, and maids. What more can you ask for? I’ve only seen 1 episode of Maria Holic, and I’m sold. The beauty of this show is how it can completely pervert the shoujo-ai genre. Over the summer, I started watching some of the popular shoujo-ai titles such as MariMite and Strawberry Panic, so I’m familiar with some of the common themes. Maria Holic takes these themes and completely twists them. As opposed to being a pure maiden whose friendship develops into attraction, Kanako is an open lesbian, and a perverted one at that. The titular Maria is not a gentle girl, but a sadistic guy, who enjoys tormenting the boy hating Kanako. The maid Matsurika is quiet and obedient, but every word from her mouth is cruel and sarcastic. The animation is consistent with the manga, transitioning from serious to super deformed without warning. The style resembles Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei with its collage look and surreal color palate. Although I’m not sure if this series will be memorable, I’m sure I will enjoy it.

Sora Wo Kakeru Shoujo

I really don’t know what to expect of this series. While the setting is clearly portrayed, the plot and background story are not explained in the least. It seems to have a serious story, but wacky characters. For example, we’ve got Jun Fukuyama playing a colony AI with an appreciation for tea, despite not having any way of actually tasting it. This is contrasted by an abandoned planet Earth, space being full of garbage, and allusions to a big war. The animation is beautiful and colorful, and the character designs have an appealing, modern look. The series shows some promise, but this fails as a first epsidoe as it does nothing to sell the show outside of its aesthetics. I’ll stick with this for a couple more episodes, and see where it leads me.

White Album

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a serious, realistic show like this. It’s a good change of pace for me considering the amount of moe anime I watch. It’s also a good change of pace for Hirano Aya, now that she’s actually doing a serious role. I doubt that anyone will remember her for her role in this unfortunately. For some reason, this series makes me think of 90s anime. Maybe the colors they use are more akin to those of that era, or maybe its because the series takes place during the 80s. In either case, it works. While nothing new, White Album is something different in this day and age, and I’ll probably keep watching it for that reason.

Still a couple other shows this season to watch out for. There’s the new MariMite and Minami-Ke seasons. Unfortunately, I never finished the previous seasons of either series, so I will pass on those for the moment, and just get a batch torrent when I finally finish their predecessors. I’m still looking forward to Tale of Genji, which just came out, and I am eagerly waiting for subs. So that’s it for tonight. I just watched the new ToraDora!, so a review of that should be out soon. Thank’s for reading.

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