The Noitamina shows have finally premiered, and thus I present Un-Go episode 1. Un-Go is a (Sci-Fi) mystery series produced by Bones, who have a mixed reputation amongst anime fans. Several series that I like a lot (notably RahXephon) were produced by Bones, so, for me, their participation in this project was a selling point. Obviously one episode isn’t enough to make definitive decisions, but I enjoyed the first episode, and am intrigued by the mysterious world in which these crimes take place. The art and music was good. The mystery was also competently handled.

Read the rest of this entry »

It was a reckless bet, but it felt so right.

A brilliant second episode of Chihayafuru. After Taichi’s awful behavior in the premier, I was anticipating a showdown with Arata. Well, in episode 2, we got that and more. There was more beautiful artwork, more character development, and, of course, more Karuta.

Read the rest of this entry »

The power of photography and other arts and crafts is explored.

Tamayura ~hitotose~ is an expansion of the Tamayura OVA that I reviewed previously. This is an example of the “healing” genre, and is directed by Junichi Sato, the master of this genre, and the director of Aria (he also worked on a recent work in the genre, Ikoku Meiro no Croisée). For those who don’t know, some aspects of the “healing” genre, especially Sato’s work, are a strong grounding in a particular place, the power of human relationships to bridge gaps and sustain us, the nobility of work done by human hand, and the potential to make a fresh start (or perhaps better phrased, the opportunity the future brings to those willing to face it). I’ll take a closer look at these themes below.

I was looking forward to this series because I’m a fan of Sato’s work, but I wasn’t sure how much the OVA could be expanded. Having now seen the first episode, I can happily report that this first episode already expands the story of Tamayura, adding important details by exploring the story of the months prior to Fu’s arrival in Takehara. This was a very good first episode, and I am looking forward to following Tamayura this season.

Read the rest of this entry »

Beauty in vain.

At last it’s here! My number 1 pick for the season, Chihayafuru has premiered, and there is some wonderful news; legal anime streaming site, Crunchy Roll, has picked up the series, making it easier for people to see great anime.

Chihayafuru is about a girl, Chihaya, a passion for the game Karuta, and two boys named Arata and Taichi. I wrote a bit about Karuta in the Fall 2011 season preview post, so I won’t discuss it in detail here. The first episode did a great job of introducing Chihaya as she enters high school, where she hopes to dedicate herself 100% to Karuta, and to Chihaya, Arata, and Taichi as they were in grade school. A strong theme this episode was being an outsider.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nonoha and Kaito.

Φ Brain, AKA Phi Brain (occasionally referred to as Puzzle of God, or PoG) is a new series for the Fall 2011 anime season. It is a very shounen story about a boy who challenges some difficult (and dangerous) puzzles, and some of the sharpest puzzle solvers around. Although this first impression was written upon viewing only the first episode, I must say the show looks promising. Are you ready for some clever shounen action? Phi Brain looks set to deliver.

Read the rest of this entry »