Spring 2009 Midseason Report: Moe, Manly, and Melancholy

snapshot20090523123316

So we’ve finally reached the midpoint of the season. Although most of the shows I’m watching are longer than 13 episodes, and nowhere near finished at this point, I feel it’s still a good time to talk about all of them. So let’s start this list off.

snapshot20090523123918

First up is Cross Game, a show that took me completely by surprise. I had no intention of watching it at first, but after hearing a couple good things about it from friends, decided to check it out. I don’t really like baseball or sport anime (with the exception of One Outs), but I’m really enjoying this show. I like it since the art and story has a very old school feel even though the manga only started in 2005. It’s a nice throwback to simpler times of the 50s and 60s before anime became the huge business it is today. I don’t expect much merchandising out of this, and would be very dissapointed if there was. What I like most is that the romance between Ko and Aoba feels believable, unlike most anime romance. Slated for 51 episodes, this show is far from over, but I look forward to seeing how it develops.

snapshot20090523124111

After 7 episodes, I am pretty much convinced that Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood is better than the orignal. The main reason is pacing. If memory serves me correctly, it took the original series about twice the time to get to the point it is at now. The dialogue in some episodes of the original felt unnecessarily long and drawn out, but they’ve trimmed the fat and everything feels faster now. Also, unlike most fans I really enjoy the super deformed moments. While it occasionally feels excessive, I prefer shows that don’t take themselves too seriously, and are able to act silly every once in a while. My only complaint is that the OP and ED both suck. Ready Steady Go and Rewrite were both excellent songs.

snapshot20090523124019

Hatsukoi Limited is an odd show because it is both highly entertaining and highly idiotic. There are times like above with unnecessary and completely random fanservice which makes the show funny and infuriating at the same time. There are times when I feel that the creators know they’re making a stupid fanservice show, and decide to push it as far as they can. However, this is negated by boring serious moments which you can’t take seriously. It’s a fun show on the whole, but I probably won’t remember it in the long run.

snapshot20090523123606

I’ve already put in my 2 cents about Hayate no Gotoku 2, but I’ll write about it again anyways. Nowhere near as good as the original series. The jokes don’t translate very well from the manga, the art isn’t as pretty, and the OP sucks. Still waiting for the amazing ED to be released though.

snapshot20090523131105

Another surprisingly good show, Eden of the East probably has one of the better stories I’ve seen in a long, long time. My only concern is how they’re going to wrap things up in the last 4 episodes, since we’ve only met 5 out of 12 Selaçao. It’s a really good commentary on the socioeconomic state of Japan. The art is also very clean, and the two leads and the Selaçao are very well written. My only complaint is that the background for most of the characters, especially the minor ones are very poorly explained, but this is because they have a very limited amount of time to tell the story. I would have liked to see this expanded into a full 26 episode series, but there’s always hope for a second season if things don’t get resolved by the end of the first.

snapshot20090523122956

K-ON! is typical moe bullshit at its best. What sets it apart from other moe shows adapted from 4 koma manga is its pacing. Instead of simpley stringing together jokes, the writers expanded on it a bit to fill in the continuity. The best example of this is in episode 8 with Azusa, the new club member slowly showing interest in the club as the episode progresses before finally joining at the end. In the manga, shw just randomly appears one day and joins. The music is still pretty good, although I prefer Mio’s seiyuu’s singing voice much more than Yui’s. I’m guessing that there will be a second season, but I’m not sure how much manga has been made, so we’ll have to see how that all plays out.

I don’t have a picture for Natsu no Arashi since I am dreadfully behind. Before I discovered Cross Game, I was watching this for my dose of old school feel. However, I realized that there wasn’t much holding me to this series. I love SHAFT shows, Jin Kobayashi manga, and old school; but it didn’t have enough of what I like for me to keep up with it week by week. I’ll probably catch up on it when a batch is released at the end of the season.

snapshot20090523124251

Saki is enjoyable for how self conscious it is. It knows that otaku watch it for the moe and yuri undertones, and does everything in its power to appeal to them. I don’t remember the manga putting as much emphasis on Nodoka’s boobs and her relationship with Saki as the anime does. It’s enjoyable though. The pacing is also nice and quick, so it never feels boring. Unfortunately, my preferred sub group has been slow lately, so I’m still waiting for the most recent episode, but it’s not high on my priority list this season.

snapshot20090523122651

Sengoku BASARA is similar to Hatsukoi Limited in that it is both entertaining and retarded at the same time. However instead of relying on panty shots and cleavage to appease to fans, this show uses manliness and violence. The show isn’t meant to be taken seriously, and I’m perfectly cool with that. Also similar to Hatsukoi Limited, the entertaining moments are interrupted by boring ones. As teh show is technically based on Japanese history, they have to put the fights in context for those history buffs out there. While I do like the show a lot, I feel that Production IG is trying to replicate the success of Gurren Lagann with this show. However, Sengoku BASARA lacks the philosophy behind the GAR that Gurren Lagann had, making it essentially senseless beatings. Watching Sengoku BASARA is like eatting whipped cream, delicious but without substance.

Mazinger Z is another show I dropped simply because I couldn’t get into it no matter how hard I tried. It’s supposed to be nostalgic for those who’ve seen the show, but I have nothing to be nostalgic for as a new viewer. I should watch some of the original Maziner stuff before watching this one.

snapshot20090523122853

Last but not least, there’s the new season of Haruhi Suzumiya. Every anime blogger and their dog has probably been writing about this show, and as I fall into the first category, I might as well too. Overall, it was enjoyable. It wasn’t as good as some of the episodes in the first season, but I still liked it. It was like meeting an old friend for the first time after several years. It’s everything you remembered about Haruhi, no more, and no less. The art style feels influenced by Clannad with its lighting and shading choices, but it didn’t bother me too much. The ED is mediocre, and is your typical J-Pop song. Kyo Ani probably couldn’t think of any way to top the sensation of Hare Hare Yukai, so it looks like they didn’t even bother trying. I’m curious as to what the OP is, so I’m eagerly awaiting the next episode, whenever that may be.

That’s all for now. I’ve been watching some slightly older stuff recently like Nagasarete Airantou and Kamen no Maid Guy which are both stupid, but entertaining. I also recently finished To Aru Majutsu no Index whichhad an interesting idea, and some really likeable characters, but suffered from terrible pacing. Finals are approaching, so I may ignore Hard Work and Guts for some time. Until next time, stay awesome people.

4 Responses to “Spring 2009 Midseason Report: Moe, Manly, and Melancholy”

  1. ghostlightning Says:

    Unfortunate that you didn’t enjoy Shin Mazinger. I’ve seen most of the original as a very young boy (age 3-4) and there is a fair bit of nostalgia in my experience of it now. However, since it has been nearly three decades since that viewing (I’m 32), there’s very little to be nostalgic about save for the obvious elements of the franchise.

    I don’t really recommend watching the original. It’s groundbreaking, but beyond that there’s little merit to it. It’s basically a giant robot (the first super robot of its kind that established the genre) fighting the monster of the week for 50 odd weeks.

    The real value in Shin Mazinger is the top-notch work of the director Imagawa Yasuhiro who is quite brilliant. The visual style (scene transitions, composition, highly theatrical dramatic moments) and the mish-mashy storytelling elements are his trademark.

    While I never saw the original Giant Robo I had seem Imagawa’s 90s OVA treatment of the show (The Day the Earth Stood Still) and I regard it as one of the masterpieces of Japanese Animation. No (or infintessimal) nostalgia or “Remembering Love” on my end to begin with while watching that anime (7 episodes) but I ended up completely blown away.

    There was a supposed sequel/final battle for Giant Robo but I don’t think it was ever green-lighted. My speculation is that Imagawa used his unfulfilled vision for that show and applied it to Shin Mazinger for great justice.

    If you’re considering watching something as a precursor or prerequisite for enjoying Shin Mazinger, instead of the original series I wholeheartedly recommend Giant Robo: The Day the Earth Stood Still.

    For further details, read this [->], or this [->].

    • djwhack03 Says:

      I feel like they really did try to emphasize the obvious points of the series, like when they spent several minutes talking about the rocket punch.

      I’ll be sure to check Giant Robo out some time. I’ve heard good things about it.

  2. Actually, there’s going to be a movie of Eden of the East after the series finished, which should probably leave enough time to really get in-depth with the story.

  3. omg someone who likes Cross Game! More than enough reason to celebrate😄

    Cross Game is my fave anime of the season, every episode just resounds to me like no other. I do agree that the romance in this series is believable/realistic, but we owe that to the wonderful portrayal of the characters. Just.. brilliant🙂 Hope you stick to it till the end! I’m sure it’ll be more than worth it, seeing the first few episodes already got you hooked ^^

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: