Anime Episodic First Impressions

Sakamichi no Apollon Eps 1-2

I heard this anime was about jazz, so I couldn’t really pass it up. As a music (and especially jazz) nerd, I was very interested in seeing what this show is about. Turns out it’s a period piece (probably late 50s, early 60s?). This makes sense, as most kids in Japan today are probably not going to be into jazz.

The story follows a high school kid (Nishimi) who migrates from school to school and never really develops any lasting friendships. He develops a crush on the class president (Ritsuko) and finds a friend in the class trouble-maker (Sentarou). There’s a weird love triangle going on since the two aforementioned characters are childhood friends.

Anyway, the plot is really about how Nishimi learns to make friends through music. He’s classically trained as a pianist, but this doesn’t fly with Sentarou, who has a jazz-only rule. Nishimi manages to play the opening line to Moanin’ (the Art Blakey one, not the Mingus version) super square, thus eradicating his jazz cred. Nishimi then buys the record and plays along (which is what any self respecting jazz learner would do).

Eventually he catches his break and gets invited to a jam session where he does a (probably too) good job of sitting in, having probably never heard Bag’s Groove before (though it does just follow a simple blues form anyway). You don’t really go from super square to comping like that in a day. Though he actually did a pretty bad job of comping when he threw up embellishments all over Jun-bro’s trumpet solo. Know your place, dude! But I digress…

Later on, they go to a beach and Ritsuko wears a one piece bathing suit. But who cares! Let’s hear some jazz! Oh, and Nishimi judges both of his friends for being Christians (though from the sound of it they seem to be part of a cult or something). Also, Sentarou falls in love with some broad, so maybe the love triangle will be broken soon.

Episode 2 Beach episode? Let the fanservice continue!

So far the selection of music has been good. Hopefully they continue to have music segments so I can try and show off by naming songs. Okay! I think I’ve found my anime for this season! Also, random thought: Why are the OP and ED not jazz? I can understand the desire to sell singles, but still, come on, the show is about jazz! Music picker, you had one job!

(Also, if anyone wants to start an anime/jazz fan jam band, I’m up for it if you need a trumpeter)

Anime First Impressions

Amagami SS #1: Friend Zone

Amagami is the other Summer season anime that I decided to check out. It’s a pretty standard dating simulator to anime conversion, though apparently it hits each girl’s arc, so you can see what the main guy would do in alternate timelines. Either that or he’s just a major player.

Junichi starts his day off in his closet panic room planetarium. He can’t get over being stood up two years ago on Christmas eve. Note: Christmas Eve is sort of like Valentine’s Day here. You need to have a date, otherwise you’re a loser who just waits for Santa to bring you stuff.

A variety of the six girls who appear in the OP show up in this episode, but the arc belongs to Morishima, the school idol and class president. Junichi does something nice for a freshman, and Morishima notices. What follows is a bit of luck and a bit of stalking (by Morishima, actually). Junichi is probably too gun shy to hit on Morishima, but she makes it easy for him by running into him at the library and jumping onto his back (literally).

There are a few warning signs that Junichi is headed into the Friend Zone, though. Morishima keeps saying he’s a nice guy. FRIEND ZONE! She also uses him to carry books and whatnot. She’s just testing how much she can get away with by messing with him. Probably self esteem issues or something. When she mildly suggests that he might have taken a liking to her, Junichi jumps the gun and confesses. He obviously should have acted like a douche instead, because Morishima tells him she prefers older types. This sends Junichi back into his closet planetarium fetal zone for the count. Or at least for the episode.

I’m guessing that Junichi will use his persistence to prove to Morishima that he deserves to play in the major leagues. I don’t envy him though, as getting out of the friend zone is an uphill battle. Probably better to just hit on one of the other girls.

As far as the episode went, I liked the art and the character designs. I noticed that the characters all seem to have pretty large waists. It’s probably a more realistic design, but they seem kinda awkward. Also, there is no megane character as a love interest. Unless one of the girls develops an astigmatism, I will be very unhappy. Amagami SS is generally pretty cliche, but I think it could be worth it given the quick turnaround per girl and cute character designs (Nice choice grabbing Morishima first, Junichi)!

Also, more evidence for picking Morishima:


Anime First Impressions

Mitsudomoe 1: Where’s Nanaka?

Oh, there she is. I found her.

For a random crazy sister anime (apparently the director of Minami-ke is on this one, too), Mitsudomoe is about right. There’s the genki one, the evil one, and the studious one (which doesn’t necessarily make her good).

Also, I think the title has a meaning, but I’m gonna make up my own. Let’s break it down. Mitsu = 3. That makes sense, three sisters. sudo = sudo cause havok. moe = the kids are moe? Not really, but I needed to use the “moe” part somehow.

The gag of the episode was the kids naming their pet hamster “nipple,” then a lot of Three’s Company style humor with the hot nurse misunderstanding the kids talking about nipple getting sore from too much touching, etc.

This one got a few laughs out of me, so I’ll keep watching it as time permits.

Anime First Impressions

Angel Beats – First Impressions

Angel Beats is another anime that’s getting a lot of attention in the nano-sphere (and beyond, I suppose). I’d rather not explain the entire first episode. But basically it’s about a dude who wakes up in the “afterlife” where he can’t actually get killed. And he joins an army that’s fighting against Angel, who is apparently the boss of the world and is seen as their aggressor (makes sense since she kills… err, mortally injures the main character shortly after meeting him).

I guess the anime is mostly memorable due to the animation quality (which seems very digital and bright). The bright colors actually seem a bit out of place since the afterlife is usually thought of as this misty, grey sort of world. There’s also a bunch of characters in the undead army that could be interesting, like the weird American (?) guy who no one understands, or the Judo guy who has a case of the Brocks, or the guy with the spear who’s overly-defensive of their fearless leader.

The main thing that’s messing with my head on this one is that I’m currently playing a DS game called “The World Ends With You.” The game’s plot seems a bit too familiar to this anime. Guy wakes up and can’t remember stuff, fighting against “reapers,” they could end up getting “erased,” apparently they’re in the afterlife (I haven’t gotten to the end of the game’s story yet). So I’m linking any mysteries with Angel Beats into my experience with that DS game. Not sure if they’re inspired by each other or anything, but I thought this anime was a little too similar to the game I’m playing right now.

Angel Beats is actually entertaining enough on the level that the main character can just keep on dying and respawning. It’s like the part in Groundhog Day where Bill Murray keeps trying to kill himself. The animation is also neat and I’m probably willing to give the show a few more episodes to see where it goes from here.

Anime First Impressions

Arakawa Under The Bridge – First Episode Impressions

Arakawa Under The Bridge seems to be this season’s random gag anime. The name is fitting because it’s basically about a dude who’s constantly getting trolled. Aaaand that’s about it.

Ichinomiya is heir to a corporate dynasty who lives by the rule: don’t owe anyone anything. Apparently this doctrine is such a heavy part of the family that being in debt to someone actually causes Ichinomiya to get sick. I guess that means he doesn’t carry a credit card either. Anyway, his live is saved by a random girl named Nino. Because he has to make his debt up to her, Ichinomiya agrees to do whatever she wants. This includes living under a bridge with her and putting up with other wackiness like being renamed by the Kappa guy in the river.

Arakawa seems to be a gag anime. Ichinomiya is the straight man and the other characters are the ones who do insane things that Ichinomiya points out, only to find that no one else thinks they’re insane. When done correctly, this kind of show is hilarious. After watching the first episode, I feel as though the writers and/or director really aren’t going into it full force. Maybe I’ve been spoiled watching shows like Sexy Commando and Cromartie, but this show just seems a bit too reasonable. No weird humming, martial arts moves involving unzipping one’s fly or a badass robot. Though there was some ahoge movement.

If I’m going to watch a WTF anime, I want some really WTF moments. I haven’t gotten that in the first episode of Arakawa, though maybe it’ll appear eventually. I may check other blogs in lieu of watching the next episode.