Winter 2009 Pt 2: WTF Motorcycles?

New shows, new episodes, and motorbikes. Let’s get this rolling.

Akikan (Ep 2-3)

I’ve had enough of this series. I watched two more episodes of this expecting it to be so bad it was entertaining. But it can’t even achieve that. The third episode was so painful to watch that it gave me a headache. I’ve never watched anything so bad that it was physically painful, not even Twilight. The main character Kakeru is the only entertaining part of the show, but his personality feels so out of place that it ends up feeling more awkward than funny.

Kurokami (Ep 2)

While the premise is solid, Kurokami episode 2 ended up being a bit disappointing. The awesome fighting animation quality from the first episode is gone, and the plot is feeling more generic. The girl is a god or something sent to cleanse the earth of bad spirits like Shana, and now she’s made a contract with the main dude a la Fate/Stay Night complete with hand tattoos and everything. Not good enough to keep up with on a week to week basis, but I may watch it some day.

Maria Holic (Ep 2-3)

As of now, this is my pick for best show of the season. My only complaint is that the animation often feels really lazy. This includes making background characters simple watercolor or using still frames with voiceover. While I understand that SHAFT doesn’t have the greatest budget, and this is part of the director’s style (same guy as Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei), it gone overboard, and looks cheap. I feel like they blew all the budget on the spectacular OP and ED sequences, and are scraping the bottom of the barrel for funds for the rest of the series. But despite these complaints, this series is a keeper.

Ride Back

I watched the first episode knowing nothing about it. First, I was like, wtf ballerinas, then I was like wtf motorcycles with arms, then I was like oh shit, the motorcycle can turn into a humanoid walker thing. Then the main character is just trying to have a nice college life in a world unified by a mercenary army. The first episode played out like an inspirational made for TV movie. The girl loses her talent, but finds a substitute which brings the spark back to her life. She’ll probably make new friends, and become a motorcycle master. I wouldn’t mind if the series played out like this. It was entertaining to watch her do ballet with her motorbike. Also, something about the look and supporting characters reminds me of Genshiken, so I hope this ends up being more of a calm show about a girl and her motorbike. However, the OP and setting hint at a larger plot, so I’m a bit wary about that. I was so surprised by the first episode, that I feel like watching the rest of it just to see how it develops.

Sora O Kakeru Shoujo (Ep 2)

I’m still not convinced whether I will be sticking with this show or not. While not as entertaining as the first episode, mostly due to a lack of Leopard, I’m still a little bit interested in the plot. My beef with it is that it shrouds too much in mystery. They pose more questions than answers, and it’s to the point that the viewer barely knows what’s going on. Hopefully the next episode actually explains something. At least it looks pretty.

Tale of Genji

Regular readers (if any of you actually exist) know that I’ve been excited about this series for a while. The reason for this is because my mom studies Japanese art history, and has read the original book several times. We even have several editions lying around our house. So after finally watching the first episode, I have to say that I’m not impressed. While the director was determined to be as faithful to the original book as possible, this causes it to feel a bit dated. The animation is ok. Nothing special about it. In fact, that sentence summarizes the first episode overall pretty well. It does nothing well nor poorly. I’ll stick with it until the end, just so I can show it to my mom.

White Album (Ep 2-3)

I’m enjoying this show despite how slow it is. It’s pace is borderline boring, so it’s a bit difficult to watch at times. However, it’s so pretty that it doesn’t bother me. It feels like there isn’t really a plot nor do the characters have much of a motivation besides simply living their lives, so I guess you could call it the most realistic slice of life show made. It’s not the most entertaining show, and the pace may be a turn off to most, but because it’s so different from the rest of the season, I’m going to stick with it.

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