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.

Anime First Impressions

B Gata H Kei – First Impressions

The other anime series of Spring 2010 that I’ve watched so far is B Gata H Kei. It’s the one about the girl who wants 100 sex-buddies by the time she gets out of high school. Like the saying goes: “Aim for the Moon; Even if you miss you’ll probably end up with like a dozen STDs!”

So yeah, that’s the basic premise behind this one. Yamada has just joined High School, which apparently means it’s time for her to pick up guys and score! I’m not sure how she got this idea since her friend thinks she’s kind of crazy and no one else seems to be on board with her. I partly suspect that the Japanese Government is behind her motivation in an attempt to increase the faltering Japanese birth rate! She picks a random plain-looking guy because she happened to fall on him, which denotes fate. In anime terms I actually think that is a good predictor of relationship compatibility.

Yamada goes full force on the guy, Kosuda. Because she’s so results oriented, she ends up scaring him more than winning his heart (or at the very least, his attention). Yamada’s complete disconnect between reality and her fantasies make for some really humorous situations, like when she realizes people usually kiss before moving to the next stage. In baseball terms, she wants to head directly to home base. Oh wait, I guess that’s not a good analogy because you start at the home plate when you go up to bat… She also realizes at the last minute that she forgot to stock up on prophylactics before cornering Kosuda alone in his room. Wasn’t she paying attention during health class!?

I like B Gata H Kei because, as raunchy as the premise sounds, it’s really an innocent story about some high school kids trying to figure out what relationships and sex are about. It’s very apparent that both of the lead characters are so inexperienced that they’ll probably never end up doing the deed. That’d kill the series anyway. So hopefully the rest of the series will be a bunch of fun missteps with small milestones along the way (like Yamada getting over Kosuda’s pitched tent so she can kiss him). There is also something really endearing about the character designs. They seem like they’re about 10 years back or so, dont’ they?

I literally watched B Gata H Kei without any idea of what it was about. I was pleasantly surprised and I’m looking forward to watching more.

Anime First Impressions

Working!! First Episode Impressions

I found a bit of free time so I figured I’d check out the new Spring Anime for 2010. Working!! has gotten a lot of attention so I started by checking out the first episode.

Working!! follows the wacky staff at a Japanese Family Restaurant. Taneshima Poplar is the highschool senior who looks like she’s 12. Takanashi Souta is Poplar’s underclassman, who likes small, cute things. There’s also the girl who’s afraid of men and the manager who seems to have Yakuza ties, and the waitress who carries around a sword on her belt. Oh, and some other male characters, but who cares about them?

The first episode gives you a feel for who the characters are and the quirks that they’ll probably carry throughout the series. Takanashi joined the restaurant because Poplar asked him to, probably because he thought it’d be fun to work with a small cute girl. He denies being a lolicon, though. He likes kittens and puppies and mites and other small things in the same way! This begs the question: if he’s not into Poplar, then which kind of girl is he into?

The scenes in Working!! are short, and I had suspected that the source material was a 4-koma before looking it up. This gives a sort of feeling of discontinuity. It was revealed during the middle of the episode that Takanashi had already been working at the restaurant for a few weeks (without a break). I suppose this means that there won’t be a lot of character development, as it seemed the relationships between characters hardly changed at all given the time jump.

I think Working!! was funny at some points, but I’m not sure if it’s funny enough to keep me watching. It was sort of chuckle inducing, I guess. I want to watch that Arakawa Under The Bridge show because I heard it’s sort of more WTF, which is closer to my brand of humor. Even so, I’ll probably give Working!! another episode because I like Poplar (her eyelashes are cute).

Anime First Impressions

Hanamaru Kindergarten – Anime First Impressions

While there is so, so much wrong with this anime, I think this screenshot pretty much sums it up.

Anime First Impressions

K-ON! – Anime First Impressions


I just finished watching the first episode of K-ON! I guess they forgot to add the “ROC” to the first part of the title. Yes, I am going through my anime backlog by just picking the most popular (according to Anime Nano) series. I knew I invented that popularity cloud for a reason!

First impressions: Mio is hot. Too bad she doesn’t wear glasses. Might have to watch some more in case she eventually does.

Anime First Impressions

Kimi Ni Todoke – Anime First Impressions

Kimi Ni Todoke

I figured I’d watch a new anime of the Fall season since I don’t wanna burn through my backlog of House and Glee too fast. Or I just needed a 30-minute show versus the monumental hour long things that seem to be pretty popular these days. Anime Nano said that “Kimi Ni Todoke” was pretty popular so I went with that, not really knowing anything about the series.

Basically it’s the story of a girl (Sawako) who is scary-looking but actually quite nice. Everyone thinks she looks like a ghost or something and apologizes to her, running away, when they see her. Everyone but this cool dude who she met on the first day of high school. She likes him for obvious reasons, but she has a hard time opening up to anyone.

As far as these types of shows go, they usually end up taking a good chunk of the episode count having the girl get nervous and running away from the guy until she finally confesses to him. Kimi Ni Todoke somehow avoids this by making Sawako unnaturally confident around the dude (I can’t remember his name). By the end of the first episode, she’s opened up to the guy and much of her class, who previously excluded her and made her do class chores. What the heck is going to happen for the rest of the series!? There was pretty much no conflict at all, which meant the show was a bit boring. I kind of expected Sawako to get hit by a car or something at the end to shockify the series a la Kiminozo (Kiminizo?).

I dunno if I want to keep watching, but I will say that the anime is a joy to see. This is the first time I’ve watched an anime on my 54 inch plasma in 720p glory. The ending credits looked so nice that I wanted to watch them over again! Much much better than my college days of watching Love Hina in blockified horrendous fansub. Probably in 320×240 or something. Gross!

Hopefully something will come up that will make the series more interesting. Like Sawako falling into a coma (probably not) or a super bitch coming along to steal the dude (probably more likely) or the dude having some dark secret like being Batman.