Space Dandy stakes his claim.

Space Dandy stakes his claim.

The first episode of Space Dandy turned out to be mostly silliness. As I said in my season preview, this show just doesn’t look like it is going to have the heft that you might expect from Shinichiro Watanabe (Cowboy Bebop).

“X Jigen e Youkoso” by Etsuko Yakushimaru

Meanwhile the Ending theme, sung by Etsuko Yakushimaru was actually quite pleasant, although not as attention-grabbing as her work on, say Mawaru PenguinDrum.

Woman's hand with pipe

Just one example of the fine illustration of hands in Kyoto Animations newest: Kyoukai no Kanata

Hello everybody. I have been taking a break from blogging, but not from anime! In the past I used to try to write a post for every interesting series upon having seen the first three episodes as a “taste test”. The last of the “first three” have just aired, or are about to do so.

Having seen the first three episodes of many shows this season, I conclude that the one I enjoy seeing the most one quarter of the way into Fall 2013 is Kyoukai no Kanata, a series about a meganeko blood mage, and the boy who loves her.

Kyoto Animation has done their usual spectacular job of animating the series — everything looks great, and this time there are actual fantasy action scenes (sword fights, yeah!) that get the KyoAni treatment, but they also throw in some amazing animations of small things, such as Ayaka’s hands while she was tracing out the occult circle. Remarks from around the blogosphere are mostly positive, including surprise that we already are pulling out a serious battle this early.

Other shows that I have enjoyed so far include:

  • Kyousougiga — This show is great fun, and I really like the way the mythology is mixed with almost a Sci-Fi feel.
  • Log Horizon — This show is holding up better than I thought it would. The story is starting to develop, and I think they are managing to build up tension without using the same — you die if you lose trope that has been used plenty already.
  • Yowamushi Pedal — so far this one looks better than Ace of Diamond, the other sports-themed anime this season, but I often lose interest in these shounen sports shows, which have a tendency to go on far too long.
  • Yozakura Quartet Hana no Uta — I went into this without having seen previous entries and find it pretty entertaining so far.
  • Golden Time — I wouldn’t say this is one of the better shows I am watching, but the third episode certainly went in an unexpected direction.

I hope the rest of you are enjoying the Autumn as much as I am!

A show that so far has simple ideas, but a strong design sense.

A show that so far has simple ideas, but a strong design sense.

This post is based on watching the first three episodes of Amnesia. The show has a very strong design sense; it is also clearly based on an otome game. Although (as with any otome-sourced anime) the show is largely an excuse to get a girl into a situation where she needs to interact with a bunch of guys, Amnesia actually manages to establish itself as a Mystery. Our nameless heroine doesn’t know how she relates to those around her, and her attachment to reality is demonstrated to be thin, right from the start. Instead of just presenting the story as the mystery of who she is and/or what happened to cause her to lose her memories, inexplicable, even supernatural, elements are added in ways that make little sense (but maybe in a good way?).

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Chihayafuru season 2 begins, and Ayase Chihaya will rule the tatami mat once more

Chihayafuru season 2 begins, and Ayase Chihaya will rule the tatami mat once more.

The first episode of Chihayafuru season 2 was pretty good. there were some allusions to events and characters from the first season, but the show didn’t get bogged down in rehashing old material. New challenges surfaced without completely forgetting the promising direction things were going at the end of the first season. Obviously, as a first episode, the show is mostly setting expectations and introducing characters. It was great to see that the show will still look great, and have the mix of comedy and romance and competitive sports that were so successful in the first season. I also am very happy that Kousuke Hamada is credited with the music for this season, because the soundtrack to season 1 was really phenomenal.

Sumire Hanano gets a dose of reality.

Sumire Hanano gets a dose of reality.

As to the content of the episode itself, much of it was about the crisis revealed at the end of season 1. The Karuta club needs to increase membership, so they attempt to recruit freshmen. One of their new underclassmen is quite a handful, and we get to see the Karuta club from her perspective.

Bring on episode 2!

This post is my final “first impression” post of the Fall 2012 anime season, I swear!

I was thinking I could get away with just two “first impression” posts this season, but it turns out this season has enough going on that the omnibus format is still quite useful. This week I include Zetsuen no Tempest for the first time. I also have juggled my pseudo-ranking scheme a little bit; shows that were previously marked “dropped” are still off the list, but some shows have failed to impress me during the first 2-3 episodes. I’m breaking this list up, then, into shows that have shown themselves to be Solid, those that I am still Following, and those that are on Probation.

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Blogging powers … ACTIVATE!

The second week of the new season has brought us some new premieres, some solid second episodes, and some other stuff. Let’s get to it!

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Idols fighting the police with laser swords? This is only the beginning.

In a future where fabulousness is outlawed, who will fight for our right to entertainment? AKB0048, that’s who. AKB0048 are the spiritual successors to J-Pop sensation AKB48. AKB0048 is also the name of the last series to air of the Spring 2012 anime season. This is a Science Fiction series in which idol band AKB0048 fights against government prohibitions forbidding entertainment. Our perspective is that of some young fans, who are inspired by the groups fabulousness, and seek to join them. This adds a helping dose of tween rebellion that fits the basic theme of fighting for the Freedom of Expression quite well.

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What happens when KyoAni tries their hand at the Mystery genre? We're about to find out.

Hyouka is a new series for the Spring 2012 season. In a season that is already loaded with very promising works, it is almost difficult to believe a work that is this anticipated is just beginning. Hyouka is being produced by the [in]famous Kyoto Animation studio. KyoAni is famous for their abundant talent in creating gorgeous animation, but they have tended to focus on moe shows, and thus their brand is polarizing. Hyouka is supposed to have elements of Mystery, but do KyoAni have what it takes to deliver a real Mystery? Are they destined to turn Hyouka into a moe-infused school life show?

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Dusk Maiden of Amnesia.

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia (Dusk Maiden of Amnesia) seems to be a Supernatural Harem School-life Romantic Comedy with a touch of Mystery for good measure. The male lead’s harem is the school’s detective club, and the club’s president, Yuuko, is his “magical girlfriend” (in this case a ghost). I don’t do too well with these types of shows, so I watch an episode to know what I am avoiding then insta-drop it. There were three things that surprised me about Dusk Maiden of Amnesia, though:

  1. The OP (used in this first episode as an ED) was actually pretty good (something you can confirm for yourself, below the fold),
  2. This first episode made use of the non-linear storytelling technique, which I thought was interesting and amusing, and
  3. The art direction was occasionally quite bold.

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"His drums just wouldn't stop thundering in my head."

The Spring 2012 season finally feels real now that we’ve got the premiere of the Noitamina shows. Of course the show to which I have most been looking forward is Sakamichi no Apollon (Kids on the Slope). With Shinichiro Watanabe directing, Yoko Kanno providing the soundtrack, and MAPPA doing the animation, we have the A Team on production. The setting is unusual, in that it is set in the recent past (1966). It shouldn’t be a surprise that the first episode already delivers.

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