Anime Mondays #56 (Spring 2014 First Impressions)

Can someone enlighten me on how this year’s weather works?  Seriously.  It’s like we get two gorgeous days in a row where I can wear shorts and no coat and then we go right back to snow.  Is this, like, an apocalypse lead up?  I am not amused.  It’s April, this should be the time where I get to wear capris until October.  Anyway, I know you did not come here for a weather report.  Here’s this week’s anime recap.

All images are from MAL, and there are spoilers up to the episodes listed!

Baby Steps – Episode 1 Baby Steps Cover

I cheated on my backlog challenge so hard this week.  Once I started watching the new series, it was like I couldn’t stop myself.  And then, when I tried to finish a couple off so I could go back to my original number, my ADD kicked in hardcore and I could only get through a few episodes at a time.  Ugh.  But Baby Steps.  I don’t know about anyone else, but this anime reminded me a lot of Marmalade Boy.  I don’t know if it’s the weird, almost retro art style, or the fact that it’s about tennis, but has melodramatic undertones (as opposed to Marmalade Boy, which is a melodrama where the main character sometimes plays tennis…), but it went there.  Unfortunately, this was not a good thing.  I feel like I’m going to contradict myself many times this week, but I wasn’t buying the sports/slice of life drama Baby Steps has going on.  Maybe it’s because I connected absolutely 0% with the main character.  He studies really hard in school to get perfect grades, but for no real reason.  He doesn’t enjoy it, he just thinks he has to.  He has no life to speak of, other than that he copies his perfect notes for his classmates, and wants to pick up a sport so he can get some exercise.  Yeah.  He’s not passionate about anything at all.  I’m sure the point of this set up is to show how eventually he will become passionate about tennis, but the way the anime went about this was just overkill.  The female lead he’s paired with is pretty much devoid of personality also, other than that she loooooves tennis and wants to go pro.  I just wasn’t feeling the first episode, but since it looks like the first half of this series is going to be one big training montage, I won’t feel the need to marathon it and can watch it as it airs.  Bad for a sports series but good for my backlog challenge.

Princess Nine – Episodes 5-26 (Completed!) Princess Nine cover

Unlike Baby Steps, here we have a sports anime mixed with drama that I absolutely LOVED.  Princess Nine made my heart whole, broke it completely, and then put it back together again.  Oh man.  Once I started watching this anime, I just did not want to stop.  In fact, I didn’t watch anything else at all until I completed it earlier this week.  And once it came to the end, I was a sobbing hot mess.  God, I wish there was another season of this show.  I know it’s so old that it will never ever happen, and there isn’t even a manga I can read, but I fell in love with every single character so much that I just want more.  For a sports anime, the pacing is completely off, and, honestly, that’s the show’s biggest downfall.  We know in the very first episode that the girls will need three years to play at Koshien, which is the equivalent of the World Series for Japanese high school baseball, but by the time we get to where this is a legitimate possibility, it’s episode 25 already.  Yes, there are a lot of training episodes, but they did not take away from the overarching story of the show (except for the one with Ryo’s extended dream sequence…trust me, you’ll know what I mean when you get there) and I felt that the love triangle here was top notch.  A lot of the problems are all miscommunication based (as seems to be the norm in romance anime), but I bought it.  Oh, how I bought it, hook, line and sinker.  Please get past the terrible pacing and the in-game stock footage.  Just do me a favor and watch this show, if for no other reason than to hear Monica Rial perform a dub voice that doesn’t sound like a petulant, high-pitched whiny child for 80% of the show.  SHE IS GOOD, GUYS.  Except for the first five episodes, where the high hot mess comes out, but as the character develops, so does her voice, and man.  I am so in love with Princess Nine.  I rated it 9/10 on MAL, and if you like your sports anime with a high dose of drama and characters you give a shit about, I highly recommend it.

Naruto – Episodes 94-99 Naruto cover

Tsunare is a bad ass.  That pretty much sums up these few Naruto episodes, but it’s oh so true.  She not only takes down the bad guys, but she heals Sasuke and becomes the fifth hokage.  God, a character on Naruto I like who is not a bad guy and not a child.  I’m honestly shocked.  The filler (I’m just guessing this is filler because the story arc seems to be over…) episodes after the battle aren’t half bad, either, but since I have no idea what everyone is going to do now that Tsunare’s the fifth hokage, it means I have no idea what this is leading up to.  More Chunin exams?  I’m all about it.  I bet there will just be some lame ninja missions, though.

 

 

 

Soul Eater Not! – Episode 1 Soul Eater Not Cover

Yeah…this is not Soul Eater.  I’ll cop to squealing at the cameos by the original characters in the first episode, though.  Especially Death the Kid, my anime husband, flying by as someone looked out the window.  No shame.  But, they looked so…weird.  The art style has completely changed, so Maka didn’t look like Maka (she has moe eyes now, gross) and Soul was like…this ugly, mute shell of a person.  I didn’t even recognize Sid.  The only returning character who looked somewhat normal was Black Star, and his cameo was by far the best.  Other than that, Soul Eater Not! is about two girls who are going to fight over this weapon girl who has zero personality.  Actually, the two girls fighting over her don’t have much of those, either.  One is a bitch, and the other is dumb.  That’s about it.  Seriously.  It may end up being a cute show, but it’s not anything that I would have wanted out of a Soul Eater spin-off.  However…I do want to cosplay as the weapon girl.  Her outfit is the cutest school uniform I have seen in awhile.

Kamigami no Asobi – Episodes 1-2 Kamigami no Asobi Cover

Well, you know how I said I was looking for a reverse harem to fill the void left by the end of Brothers Conflict?  FOUND IT.  This anime has absolutely no shame in what it is.  This is like…the reverse harem to end all reverse harems, packed chock full of manservice.  I mean, in the first five minutes, we are treated to a magical girl transformation sequence for a male character.  Oh yeah.  It went there.  Like, you know how on the Americanized edit of Sailor Moon how they erased all the lines in the girls’ silhouettes?  None of that here.  Kamigami no Asobi is about Zeus bringing a bunch of gods from different mythologies together and dropping them in a fake school he creates with one human girl, saying they all need to learn about love and interactions with people.  So, pretty much this one girl is going to have to date every single one of them for the good of all man kind.  Um, sign me up.  She’s not as devoid of personality as most reverse harem girls, so I don’t hate her (yet), even if she did try to run away.  Why…why do these reverse harem girls never realize how awesome their lives are?  I don’t understand it.  Dumb characters are dumb.  This anime will have no plot and will more than likely also be dumb, but I am going to enjoy every moment of it.  True facts.

La Corda D’oro Blue Sky – Episodes 1-2 La Corda D'oro Blue Sky Cover

Oh, my precious La Corda, you are back with a vengeance.  How I have missed the halls of Seiso Academy with cute boys playing instruments everywhere with horrible animation and still frames to infer movement.  The first series was the shit.  It’s what made me excited for anime again when I realized that it was so much more than Sailor Moon and Unico.  I was like, reverse harem?  That’s a thing???  Oh, yes.  But this spin off…I’m not really feeling it.  Firstly, TOO MANY CHARACTERS.  Lord, in the first episode, I think we were introduced to ten of them, with barely any warning or development, and it all went by so quickly that I couldn’t even register the different hair colors.  Secondly, the premise is just…dumb.  In the first series, the main girl couldn’t play the violin at all until a music fairy helped her and gave her a magic violin that practically played itself.  That I could buy.  This time, it’s about this oddly dominant purple haired dude who practically kidnaps his two friends and forces them to enroll in Seiso without any pretense whatsoever.  I mean, their luggage is magically waiting for them at the dorms.  They didn’t have to apply?  Audition?  What about the parents?  How does this even happen?  Stupid.  Thirdly, the best characters are going to be the ones that go to different schools, and we will barely get to see them, I can tell already.  I’m sad.  I miss my trumpet playing anime boyfriend Hihara.  Plus, I want to punch the lead girl in the face.  Win some, lose some.

Love Live! School Idol Project – Episodes 4-5 Love Live! School Idol Project Cover

Once I started all these new shows, I tried really hard to finish some old ones.  Unfortunately, I started with Love Live, so that didn’t end well.  I had to switch to Hulu Plus to watch after episode 5, and for some reason, it didn’t have subtitles?  So there went that.  Man, this show is boring.  You’d think I’d like it since it’s about a girl group and music, but…no.  It’s more first season K-On! than anything worth watching.  The characters aren’t cute (minus the red haired girl), there’s no real plot to speak of, and, though I like the fact that they aren’t succeeding right away, but how long is it going to take for them to at least form the whole group??  I know there’s nine of them, I’ve seen the intro, but we just haven’t gotten that far yet.  In fact, it’s taken me five episodes to even distinguish between the characters to tell them apart in the intro.  Another show where I hope it gets better.  It’s not going to, is it?  I’m trying.

Persona 4: The Animation – Episodes 8-12 Persona 4 Cover

Okay, so I like Rise…but I still don’t like this show.  The episodes without all the fighting and without the Midnight Channel, are still the best episodes, and for an anime that’s really supposed to be about the fighting and this alternate world, that’s really bad.  Also, I can’t find the rest of this series dubbed to rent anywhere, so now I don’t know when I’ll get to finish it.  Is the game a whole lot better?  That’s the only thing I can think of, that people who love the game really love this anime, because I’m not buying why a lot of people think it’s so great.  Someone help me.  Anybody.  Bueller?

 

 

 

School Rumble Season 2 – Episodes 15-17 School Rumble Season 2 Cover

So, I found this show randomly in a box of anime I need to watch because after I sent back that Persona 4 disc, I needed to look at something I actually liked.  I watched the first season years and years ago, along with the OVA and half of the second, but then I just put it aside for some reason.  Let me tell you, when I put it back in the player, I immediately picked the storyline back up and remembered every single character and what they were about and how much I liked them.  This is a difficult feat, especially for a comedic anime, and a testament to how good School Rumble is.  Sure, it has its faults, like the dub is terrible (so that’s really just a Funimation fault, whoops) and you have to really pay attention because the dialogue is so rapidly paced, but it’s a good, solid comedy.  These episodes were especially good because they all involved Harima staying at Tenma’s house and then being kicked out and having to go on this adventure with Sawachika…ugh SO GOOD.  I felt so terrible for Harima because Tenma is just so clueless and he looooves her, but I could not stop laughing.  Man, I hope he gets his head out of his ass and picks a different girl because they are all so much more deserving than Tenma.  It’s hard to watch more than a few episodes in one sitting, but this show is worth it.

Supernatural: The Animation – Episodes 17-19 Supernatural the Animation Cover

Watching the Supernatural anime just made me want to watch the Supernatural tv show, which I am a huge fan of…even though I haven’t gotten past season 4 yet.  No spoilers!  It’s a good companion piece to the tv show because it has animated episodes from the show, along with anime only episodes, so it doesn’t get boring.  Also, the anime does things that the actual show would never have the budget for, like a giant robot demon made out of junkyard cars.  Oh yes.  Plus, each episode is introduced by Jared Padalecki or Jensen Ackles, so that’s worth your money right there.  And, Jared does the dub voice.  (If you didn’t know, I think he is one of the most attractive men on the history of the planet, so enjoyment level is up to rooftops here.)  Still, it’s hard to marathon this because continuity is a big issue.  Also, the art style isn’t my favorite.  But, I mean…it’s Supernatural.  That’s enough.

And that’s enough for this post.  I am currently watching 237 anime (god, fuck you spring season 😦 ) and have completed 20 shows this year.  There may or may not be a post next week, as I’m going out of town, but if not, just look for a double in two.  I also want to pick up at least a couple more spring shows…I know.  I shouldn’t.  But they’re so shiny and new…lord help me in the summer.  Oh!  And I got my Crunchyroll mystery manga box in the mail.  All Tokyo Pop titles, and most I have never heard of, but I’ll take some pictures and get something up on it before I leave for next weekend.  See you then!

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