Fall 2009 Anime: Early Synopsis

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Man, I never expected there to be such a jump in my workload between my second and third year of college.  I’ve still been keeping up with a bunch of the fall season shows; I’ve just been too lazy tired to blog about it.  There aren’t too many shows that have wowed me (as expected) but the ones that did are worth watching.

Winter Sonata

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Okay, I’m just going to get this out of the way.  I don’t think I’ve been this turned off from a series since Binbou Shimai Monogatari, and it was totally unexpected.  The preview art that I saw looked good, the romantic plot sounded nice and the opening train animation kind of reminded me of 5 Centimeters per Second.  Oh, how wrong could I have been.

First off, Winter Sonata’s animation covers the full spectrum.  Sometimes it can be beautiful; other times it’s wonky as hell.  It looks like they’re using Flash animation or something like it, but it’s not being used well.  Maybe I could have overlooked that if it weren’t for the plot.  I was expecting a dramatic love story, but Winter Sonata is using every romance tactic in the book.  Flashbacks, hospitals, chance meetings, love triangles, fights and this is all just in the first episode.  Maybe all of this is easier to digest in its original live action form, but all I had to do was read the Wikipedia storyline to pass.  If there’s one thing I HATE in any form of TV, film or literature, it’s (highlight for spoiler) amnesia.  TOTAL copout for a good plot, and it only extends the series because the main characters pretty much have to fall in love twice.  I stopped watching Hana Yori Dango because of that crap.  Anyhow, there are good qualities to Winter Sonata.  They’re using the same cast from the Korean drama, which should be a treat for long-time fans.  And I’m sure anyone who’s a fan of soap operas will eat this plot up.

Kobato.

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Very cute and bubbly, but lacks the action that other CLAMP series like CCS or xxxHolic had.  I think that the plot gets deeper the further you get into the manga, so I’m hoping we’ll get past Kobato’s naivety soon in the anime.  I like seeing all the different cameos from other CLAMP series (which makes me wish they’d do a CLAMP in Wonderland that was more than just a music video).  But they’re really using the Kobato anime as a chance to animate the Wish series in the way that they never did in the past, so that’s cool.  Maybe it’ll inspire them to start Legal Drug up again!  Hahahaha!  ….orz

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Oh, and is it me or does Kobato’s hair resemble an epic mullet?  I mean it’s cute, but it’s weird how her short hair is so divided from the long hair.

Maaya Sakamoto belts out another hit opening song with “Magic Number”, but I have to say that Megumi Nakajima’s “Jellyfish’s Confession” is the single that I’m waiting on pins and needles for the full version.  Wtf @ a December 9th release.

Armed Librarians: The Book of Bantorra

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This series takes a more fantasy-based take on library warfare than Toshokan Sensou did.  I like the different types of weaponry, but the character development has a loooong way to go.  The villains are totally one-dimensional; I wouldn’t be surprised if they end up tying a maiden to some railroad tracks.  The Director’s know-it-all personality is pretty annoying, plus the fact that there’s no way her boobs could actually stay in a shirt like that, but I’ll let it slide since she’s a good fighter.  I think my biggest pet peeve was the typical fucking Ali Project opening song.  I know for a FACT that they are capable of singing vocals that don’t resemble a child hitting random piano keys, but they continue to disappoint me time after time.

There was one thing that surprised me, mostly because of the season preview summaries (highlight for maja spoilers):  I had NO idea that Colio was going to die within the first arc.  The way that Volken tried to save him in the first episode made me believe that they’d end up with some kind of bromance later.  Really it was kind of disappointing because Shiron was an interesting character and I would have liked for that storyline to have lasted longer.  But she was kind of shitty at preventing his death, wasn’t she? (end spoilers)

Inuyasha: The Final Act

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I’m impressed that Inuyasha is one of the stronger contenders quality-wise for this season.  I guess they’ll be pulling out all the stops since it’s the last arc, and Sunrise has nothing better to showcase until the Gundam 00 movie comes out.  As an old fan, it’s nice to get back into the series and it’s still kind of a new experience for me since I first saw the show when it premiered in English on Cartoon Network.  It’s odd to hear Sango calling Miroku something like “honored priest” in Japanese instead of his name, especially given how lecherous he is.  I don’t really have any complaints about this version, but I guess I’m just along for the ride and not expecting anything ~deep~.

The Sacred Blacksmith

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Sword action with a hint of romance every now and then.  I like Aria’s ability to transform and I hope that Cecily will get strong enough that she doesn’t need Luke to save her all the time.  I don’t know why she still wants a katana when she has a freakin’ demon sword that can shoot out gusts of wind.  The scenes where Lisa and Luke make swords are pretty cool, and I like how they animated Lisa’s eye movements.  It kind of reminds me of a robot’s eye instead of a real one.  Luke’s right eye is also odd, and I’m assuming that it’s fake.

Oh and if anyone’s bored, the Wikipedia article for this series looks like a hot mess.  Bolded words all over the damn place.

Kimi ni Todoke

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This series does two things to me:  It brings out the fuzzy side of me that loves cutesy romantic tales… and it makes me say “FML” everytime I remember that no one I knew in high school (let alone myself) had a boyfriend/girlfriend who was remarkably perfect and nice and awesome like Kazehaya.  I mean, DAMN, I’d be almost willing to go through the shitty life that Sawako/Sadako has lived to get a guy like that.  (Keyword is almost.)  Sawako’s naivety kind of bothers me, but it’s balanced by her friends’ personalities.  I’ll admit that I thought that Yano and Yoshida would be Peach Girl-level villains who would thwart Sawako’s every move, but they’re freakin’ awesome buddies!  My initial prejudice is probably what Karuho Shiina, the mangaka, was aiming to touch upon with this series.  It’s a simple old saying: You can’t judge a book by its cover.

Production I.G. does a great job with the art and animation, and I have to admit that I thought J.C. Staff was in charge since they tend to be the pastel art king.

Sasameki Koto

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If Kimi ni Todoke is an example of a potentially perfect couple, Sasameki Koto would be the story of “orz”.  This is the time old situation of loving someone even though that person’s not interested in you at all.  But this is with lesbians!  Unfortunately I can relate more with Sumi than Sawako.  It’s kind of weird to go from Aoi Hana‘s Fumi to this show’s Sumi who both are tall with long hair and glasses.  I still think that Aoi Hana’s depiction of lesbians is more realistic than Sasameki Koto, but I think this show is going more for the comedic side of things.  Sumi has epic SD expressions and I can’t help but laugh when she gets pissed off at Kazama’s plots to find a girlfriend.  And Akemiya… he just about had me falling out of my chair, laughing for days at his “big reveal”.

Still there are some moments that are surprisingly touching: Kazama’s rejection, Sumi being told that she’s not Kazama’s “type” and the big kiss scene were nice scenes that brought the plot back to realistic relationship issues that people deal with all the time.

The single for the OP and ED is out, and I absolutely love it.  It’s by Natsumi Kiyoura who did the opening song for the first season of Spice and Wolf.

Aoi Bungaku

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I have nothing but pure admiration for this series.  THIS is what I had thought Bakemonogatari would be like: more serious, creepy and thought-provoking.  Aoi Bungaku is going to be comprised of several different historical short stories, with the first arc being No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai.  I was really impressed by the quick background info on Dazai that they gave via a real life narrator before the start of Episode 4.  It’s really creepy how close Youzo (the main character) and Dazai were alike, but I guess it’s like the saying “Art imitates life”.

The art, animation AND music are so good…  It just sends me to my happy place, that’s all I can say.  You have to experience it to really get it.  When it comes to delivering quality anime, Madhouse does the job right time and time again.  After this arc, I’m really looking forward to Hell Screen and The Spider’s Thread because I just read those stories by Akutagawa last year.  I wish Rashomon could have made it into the selection, especially since it doesn’t seem like there’s an animated adaptation of it (even though Rashomon is probably the most known of Akutagawa’s stories).

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Top image by 真柴屋: http://www.pixiv.net/member_illust.php?mode=medium&illust_id=6865926


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