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 Episodic

Ano Natsu de Matteru – 05

So of course the all knowing Remon-senpai knows exactly how to manipulate all of the characters for maximum enjoyment on the set of the movie. She puts Ichika in the role of crash-landed alien who needs a place to stay… Meanwhile, the love polygon is in full swing as Tetsuro encourages Kanna to go for Kaito while he simultaneously wishes he was with her. And the useless girl (Mio) is still sort of just useless for the most part. All in all, an enjoyable episode.

One thing I’ve been wondering is what time period this anime is set in. I sort of assumed it was some time in the 70s or 80s since Kaito’s camera seems very old school. In this episode, Ichika mentioned that the camera seemed old and Kaito explained that it was his grandfather’s. So I think this pushes the timeframe forward a bit.

I saw a cd player in one scene, so maybe they’re in the mid 90’s. None of the characters seem to have a cell phone, and there’s rampant landline usage, so I’m guessing 90’s is a good call. Given the natsukashii nature of the series, I think it’s cool that it’s not set in the current time period.

State of the art
Anime Episodic

Amagami SS Plus – 04

I used to be a high school student like you, then I took a sparkler to the nii-nii.

I just finished Rihoko’s arc in Amagami SS Plus and I’m pretty happy with the results. Junichi (Juiichi?) finally manned the fuck up and told Rihoko how he felt (though it was after he overheard her confession, so I guess that kind of nullifies any manliness). My main issue with the way he did it (and my main gripe about the series in general) is that he told her that he’s always loved her, and just realized it now. And he’s gonna be with her forever, blah blah blah.

Assuming the alternate universes in this world do not diverge too much, then Junichi is simultaneously in love with Rihoko and other girls! Of course, that’s possible but it kind of ruins the romance if you think about it too hard. Junichi should just make less blanket statements and be a little more realistic. He is a manwhore, after all.

Oh, and the next arc is the swimmer girl, Ai. I can’t even remember what happened in her original arc. Some kind of little brother issue? Or a dog issue? Beats me. This one will probably be boring as heck.

Anime Episodic

Ano Natsu De Matteru: 01-04

One show I missed during my short season preview was Ano Natsu De Matteru. Apparently this show shares the writer of Onegai Sensei and Onegai Twins. The connection between the shows is instantly recognizable since Ano Natsu shares pretty much the same trope characters of childhood friends, wise-beyond-their-years manipulatie senpai (who do the “fu fu fu” laugh), super hot wingmen and alien meganekko main love interests.

In a way, Ano Natsu De Matteru is a throwback to a time when anime plots were simpler. The cast represents a precisely honed set of love triangles and leaves things to sort themselves out. While it’s extremely predictable (and I’m guessing that if there hasn’t been a Madoka-style twist by now, there won’t be one), it’s also super enjoyable. This is like the comfort food of anime for me.

If I’m right, and this anime doesn’t take any detours (though I think it would be pretty brave and awesome if it did), I’m guessing that the main dude and alien will have a series of misunderstandings, childhood friend might gain some traction but then lose out, alien girl will arbitrarily be taken away from main dude for an episode or two, and when they’re reunited, they will end up together. All the while, “fu fu fu” senpai will manipulate the rest of the cast for maximum enjoyment. Childhood friend will either hook up with blue haired dude, or maybe even with the third wheel girl (the one with brown hair that’s kind of useless) to spice things up.

This anime isn’t rocket science, and that’s kind of good. For now I will enjoy the production values and nostalgic feelings that I get from watching this.

Anime Preview

Winter 2012 Anime Season: Back in the Saddle!?

I’ve taken some time out of my busy Skyrim playing schedule to watch a bunch of the 2012 Winter anime. So far I’ve seen High School DxD, Moretsu Pirates, Nisemonogatari, Papa no blah blah blah Ikinasai, Recorder and Little Kid, Kill Me Baby and Amagami SS+. Oh, and the one about the round cat.

The last anime I watched in its entirety was Madoka, which I thought was pretty good, despite the annoying finish. I’d like to watch more new anime, but I also don’t want to get suckered into watching bad shows. If anyone has suggestions on last season’s series that were good, lemme know.

Here’s some random thoughts on this season’s anime thus far:

High School DxD

Sorry girls, but you're all way too ugly.

Did the censorship practices for anime change severely since the last time I watched? Back in my day we’d see steam/lens flares and we’d like it! While there is something to be said for holding things back, I think probably the only reason anyone is watching this show past episode 1 is the fanservice. I thought the animation was pretty low quality, but you can always compensate with nips.

Moretsu Pirates

My Mother the Pirate

Of all the shows I’ve watched thus far, Moretsu Pirates has some potential. I haven’t watched the second episode yet, but I have a feeling this could be interesting enough to keep my attention. The animation is solid and there’s a “cool meganekko” which can’t hurt. Also, hot pirate mom.

I was really puzzled by this one. Then I realized it was a sequel to Bakemonogatari. I figured it started “in medias res” so it should be slightly confusing. I didn’t realize I was watching it “in medias in medias res.” INCEPTION.

Just Do What Papa Says!

Where's Chris Hansen when you need him?

At first I thought this was a heartwarming anime about a college student finding his true self, and a couple trying to find family with their mixed parent kids. Then the college student got babysitting duties for his unrelated nieces who want to bone him. Wah wah. While I like some characters (the big boobed senpai who seems to be some kind of performance artist), most of them are pretty messed up. This show could be interesting to watch for its awkwardness, but part of me really doesn’t want this thing on my hard drive at all.

Kill Me Baby

Aside from having the worst OP in the history of OPs, Kill Me Baby is actually pretty good. I lol’ed at the part where dumb girl eats the crepe instead of distracting the bear with it. Also, the Engrish “Kirru me, bebe” is pretty hilarious. I think this show could get old fast, given the low number of characters, but whatever. Maybe I’ll watch it until it bores me.

Amagami SS Plus

Cut and paste various scenes to get the hidden Miyu arc!

Amagami was a rare anime that I actually finished watching, so it totally makes sense for me to watch this followup. I was hoping they’d do something crazy like have Junichi (is that his name?) date ALL of the girls at once and come up with the compromise that they all need him, and he needs all of them. Instead they’re just starting where they left off in each girl’s arc. So far I watched the first two episodes. It’s nice to see the characters in a somewhat stable relationship instead of fumbling around and having misunderstandings all the time. There isn’t much tension to provide though, since we already know they live happily ever after. Hopefully this means they will just load up on Morishima fanservice.

Round Cat is Round

Girls love round cats

A drunken office lady finds a round cat. That’s about it. It’s only 3 minutes, so why not watch?

Recorder and Lando Calrissian

This show is only 3 minutes long as well. But it’s also stupid as hell and I’m not going to watch it.

So that’s it for my current season views. If you have any suggestions, please hit me up in the comments!