Anime of Summer 2016 First Impressions – Part 2

Holy crap where does the time go? It feels like it was only last week that I wrote up my impressions to some of the summer seasons latest series, yet here we are almost three weeks later. I guess time flies when your working all the time.

Anyways, here is part 2 of my summer impressions. I haven’t been keeping up with these two series at all, so its essentially still just my impressions on the first episode of both (even though there are about 4 episodes out now I think). The next batch of shows will be a bit more in depth, as I have actually been watching them each week as they come out. Can’t wait to start talking about them! For now enjoy my thoughts on two shows that really missed there mark for me…

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Taboo Tattoo

It seems some people are actually into this show for some reason. From the opening scene all I could do was laugh at the show, and it wasn’t because it was trying to be funny. After a quick fight involving a mysterious female character (who we got to see in the opening) the show opens with our protagonist fighting a couple of thugs. We immediately get to see that our protagonist is one of those “I’ll do whats right and deliver justice!” type characters, and that he is a petty capable fighter. Up to this point nothing really screams “laughably bad”, but it doesn’t make you think it is going to be anything other than mediocre either. So many series will start off with a flashy fight scene in order to try an draw in the viewer that it isn’t that exciting anymore. With no clue as to who the characters are its hard to care who wins or loses, the only purpose they serve is to give us a taste of what the powers or fighting style will be. These first action scenes don’t really show either, just that our protagonist is at least skilled enough in CQC that he can take on street thugs, and that there will be some kind of supernatural powers being used.

Anyway’s, I start to realize what kind of series this will be as soon as the protagonist finishes off one of the thugs and they literally run away crying for their mommy. This isn’t going to be a cool gritty action anime, it’s going to be the millionth action anime that tries to be funny, goofy, have cute girls and have all the normal tropes of every other generic action show. There are going to be maids (as seen from the opening), probably a loli character, fan service and of course, the protagonist is going to have some crazy ability that lets him get out of any tight situation, because plot.

It gets worse though, as the guy he was trying to save turns out to have some kind of crazy secret weapon. Like most rational people who have smuggled top-secret weapons from military facilities, he just decides to give it to the kid who just saved him from getting his ass kicked by some thugs. Yeah. OK. Our protagonist continues the idiotic behavior by accepting the gift from the strange guy, and when it starts to spark and cause pain he just keeps holding it because you know, why not. I would like to think that most people would probably drop the freaking strange slab that a random guy gave you on the street when it started causing you physical pain, but I guess our protagonist isn’t very normal…

So that’s the set-up to the series and how the protagonist gets his powers. I spent most of the scene just laughing at it, cause it was mind numbing to try and figure out the logic of it all. It would have been way more believable to have the random guy just kinda force it on him if he really wanted it gone. Anyways, the first episode pretty much lived up to what my expectations were. We get to see the mysterious girl from the start again, as she turns out to be working for the US military. She too has the same power that the protagonist now has, which manifests itself as a tattoo on their palm. Turns out that they need something to trigger the abilities of the tattoo’s (hers is chalk) and he doesn’t know what his is yet. The mysterious chick looks suspiciously young to be working for the US military, but hey we need cute girls in these battle right?

We get two more fights in the episode, both of which looked alright. The first one is between protagonist and mysterious girl (I really need to learn their names…) and i finally shows off some of the powers they have. Animation wise the fights look cool if you aren’t paying attention, but there were a few times that made me question how they animated it. One moment that really stands out in my mind is when the girl goes to punch the protagonist, and it shows it kinda from her perspective. The way they animated her arm as she is punching him made it seem like it was some crazy noodle arm, something you would expect from Luffy in One Piece.

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Outside of those random moments I thought the fight looked really cool though, and I enjoyed them a lot. Hopefully the series focuses on the fights more than they do everything else, because as it stands its the shows best feature. There is some random fan service thrown in throughout the episode, and of coarse the main bad-ass chick acts insanely cute when she isn’t out to murder you. Its basically striking me as just another generic action anime that is doing all the things necessary to get fans to care about its characters (or at least care about the main chick, I can’t see anyone actually liking the main guy as he is just insanely bland and uninteresting). I can see people really liking the main girl and basically end up loving the show because she exists, but if you ask me the show isn’t doing anything too impressive or interesting.

So far its not a great first impression, but there is time to improve I think. It isn’t as bad as say absolute duo, which was probably the last generic action show I watched (attempted to at least, it was really bad). It is at least interesting enough to keep watching, so I will see where it goes.

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Hanada-Kun

Hanada-kun is the prequel to 2014’s amazing Barakamon, which was a slice-of-life show about a calligrapher who spends time on a remote island in order to grow as an artist and as a person. It was a charming show, full of unique and fun characters. It also featured some of the best child characters I have seen in an animated show, with some of them being voiced by very talented child actors. It was the type of show that could bring a smile to your face through its charm alone.

Hanada-Kun has none of that. Instead, Hanada-kun is a strait up gag anime, focusing on Hanada’s inability to read social situations at all while he was sin highschool. Everyone in his school is amazed by his talent and think he is one of the coolest guys around, but everyone is intimidated by him so no one will talk to him. Hanada takes this as a form of bullying, and thinks everyone is talking behind his back and making fun of him. When Hanada receives a love letter, he doesn’t even open it to see what it says because he thinks it is a challenge letter and someone wants to rip him a new one.

The whole show is crazy and wacky, and it can be easily seen in the character designs as well. One of the girls that falls for Hanada in the first episode is ridiculously large, especially compared to everyone else. Her head is probably 10 times the size of everyone else’s, so she end up looking like someone who doesn’t belong in the series.

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Even though I loved Barakamon, Hanada-kun did not hit the mark for me. The gag’s just didn’t make me laugh, and the running gag of “Hanada misinterprets everything and causes wacky things to unfold” was already not that funny to me. I don’t see myself finishing the series because of this. If you really love gag series, Sakamoto-kun only aired last season, so check that one out. If you already watched it and are still looking for a gag series, give this one a shot. Hopefully you find the jokes funnier than I did.

*BTW: You don’t need to have seen Barakamon to watch this one. They are completely different, and from what I have seen none of the jokes rely on you having seen Barakamon. If you haven’t seen Barakamon however, go watch Barakamon! It’s amazing!

 

Anime of Summer 2016 First Impressions – Part 1

It has been a while since I have dived head first into the wave of new shows premiering in a new season of anime. I pretty much skipped the spring season, picking up a few choice shows at the end when they were finished airing. During the winter season I watched a handful of shows in the beginning before falling off of most of the shows I had picked up. I honestly can’t remember the last time I even went past 10 new shows, since I have recently been just picking out a small handful to enjoy in the afternoons at my pleasure.

For some reason with the new Summer season I decided to kick it up a few notches and go into overdrive with my anime watching. It could be from the fact that I have been having a lot of free time lately in the afternoons, when I am usually in the mood for chilling out and watching some shows. Whatever the reason, it doesn’t really matter because this blog isn’t about that…. its about anime! More specifically, its about what I thought about the shows I have watched so far.

I will be only doing 3 shows per blog, so there should be a few of these coming down the pipeline over the next week. If you like this blog stay tuned for more! Now on with the main dish.

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Shokugeki no Souma: Ni no Sara

See what I did there?… Main dish!… Cause it’s about food!… ok I’ll stop now..

This is probably the most hyped shonen series from the season, so chances are slim that you haven’t heard about it by now. If you haven’t though, it’s about a guy who is so good at cooking he gives you orgasms as you eat his food and he goes to a school where everyone is about as good as him.

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That’s not a very good synopsis now that I think about it, but it should give you the basic idea. Souma Yukihara makes delicious food, and he goes to a school where everyone else makes delicious food (just not quite as good as Souma usually because he is secretly way better than almost everyone). The first season was great, and if you haven’t checked it out yet, I highly recommend doing so. (Also, probably skip over the next bit as I am going to start talking about the first episode of season 2 so just go to the next show to keep reading).

Now onto this episode, which was a great way to kick off the new season. We pick up right where we left off, with the 1 v 1 tournament kicking off. The first cook-off was Souma vs. Alice, a fight of extreme opposites. Souma focuses on making his food taste excellent with minimalist ingredients and techniques. He uses his imagination and skills acquired from working with his dad to make amazing dishes. Alice on the other hand, trained in state of the art facilities and  uses advanced techniques to create her dishes. As we saw with her previous dishes, they are quite out there combining crazy sensations and tastes to create one of a kind meals.

The episode didn’t waste too much time on catching us up to what has been going down. In fact, it hardly spent any time on recapping events from season 1. Instead, the episode went full speed ahead with the cooking showdown, and it managed to wrap the whole thing up in the one episode. It felt fast paced and exciting, but I couldn’t help but feel like it was being a bit rushed. We hardly got to see any action shots of Souma or Alice cooking, and the reactions to each bite of the dishes and the explanations of what they tasted like seemed weaker than normal. Usually each bite of a meal would send the person into a frenzy of emotions. People would freak out over how good it was and what it reminded them of or what it felt like to eat what they were eating. Instead, everyone seemed relatively calm through most of Alice’s dish, and even Souma only got the judges to go into a blissful state for a brief period, near the end of his dish.

Even with the reactions being a bit more tame than usual, I did enjoy the episode overall. I was afraid they were going to go with a slower episode to catch everyone up to speed with what is going on. Thankfully we got an action packed episode to get us excited for some awesome food battles again.

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Love Live! Sunshine!!

Was I excited for the new season of Love Live? Hell yeah! I have been waiting for this for a while now, so I can get to know the new girls and get hyped for when they are released in the english version of the game (I am a big fan of the mobile rhythm game, and if you enjoyed the first two seasons I think you might also enjoy it too).

Not only was I excited for the new characters though, I was also excited for the new songs the group would be performing in the series, and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed. The opening is super catchy and had me smiling the whole time. The awful CG is present once again for when the group is performing, but it seemed to bother me less this time around (either they were using it less or I am just starting to get used to it). I wish they would just get rid of it by now though, since the series looks beautiful. They definitely brought their A-game with them for this first episode, as it looked amazing the whole way through and really made the characters come to life.

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The character themselves seemed ok to me so far, but none of them really stood out to me. We only get a good look at a handful of the girls in this episode, with some others popping up briefly just to give us a taste of what they might be like. The two characters we got to see the most of were Chika and You, two best friends that seemed to remind me of Honoka and Umi. Chika is clearly supposed to be the Honoka of the group, with a cheerful personality and a determination to set up an idol group at her school. She seemed really fun, and her friend You seemed just as fun and cheerful as her. That kind of makes her nothing like Umi (who was shy and kept to herself, and was practically the opposite of Honoka) but You is supposedly really good at swimming and is a part of that club, which reminded me of how Umi was great at archery and was a part of that club. Personality wise they are nothing alike though, so it is refreshing to have a character like You being around Chika instead of just 1-for-1 recreating Muse. The character that kind of got on my nerves the most was Dia, the student council president. She is basically just Eli, from the way she acts to the way she refuses to let Chika create an idol club. I didn’t like that stubborn part of Eli at all, so now I definitely don’t like it since they are just re-hashing the beginning of the original series. They could of come up with a new obstacle the girls had to overcome in order to create the idol club, but instead we get the same set-up to the original (which I didn’t like much to begin with).

Aside from Dia basically being Eli 2.0, I didn’t have any other problems with the characters. I don’t really have an opinion on them either, since I don’t really have a good feeling of what they are going to be like outside of the few traits we got when they were briefly introduced (such as Ruby’s shyness). Time will tell how well Sunshine stacks up against it predecessor, and I will be sure to give you guys more thoughts on the series in the future.

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Momokuri

Technically this is an old series, but apparently they decided to bring it back. Essentially all they did was combine two episodes of this 26 episode ONA to make a 13 episode tv series out of it. Considering I missed it the first time around, I thought I would give it a shot.

My first thoughts when starting up the first episode was “Are these guys seriously in grades 10 and 11?”. I have a younger brother who just finished grade 11, and let me tell you that kids his age just don’t act or look like that. The characters just seem way younger, like probably grades 7 and 8 (so 12 and 13) or even a year older for both. I just can’t see 15 and 16 year olds acting anything like they do in the show. This weird difference in what I think their age should be and how old they are could be due to the fact that the animation was done in the absolute cutest way possible. The show will give you diabetes if you stare at it too long, I am sure of it.

With that odd thought out of the way, I would like to bring up how enjoyable the show was to watch. I practically smiled my entire way through each episode and I even had a few good laughs here and there. The comedy basically all comes from the main female character character, Yuki Kurihara, who is basically the cutest stalker I have ever seen in anime. (that sounds really weird when I read it back to myself…)

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It is a cute show and easy to watch, but I found myself slowly losing interest half way through the second episode and getting distracted. That could be just me and my ADD like tendencies, but I think the real problem is that the show was meant to be short and sweet. It really isn’t written in a way that can keep your attention for very long, since the only reason I was watching was to see Yuki. The shtick with her being really cute but kinda creepy at the same time just isn’t able to keep me interested for a full 20 minutes.

I probably won’t continue watching this in its new re-formatted series, but I will be definitely be watching it a single episode at a time at my own pace.