Summer 2011 Anime: ¿Unos episodios primeros? (Part 2)

Welcome back to my commentary/preview/review/words on the first episodes of this season's anime! You can go back to the first part here if you haven't read it yet.

So let's get on with it shall we?

When it comes to things with 'yuri' in the title, one has to approach with caution until you know what you're getting into. Thankfully (or perhaps regrettably?) they go easy on the yuri here. So once again we see our Lucky Star influences seeping through (the blonde girl is pretty much a carbon-copy of Konata), and the series looks to be comedy/slice-of-life/spoofy in the same vein. We're introduced to whom we assume is the main character, and possibly the creepiest sister to ever grace the earth, but then we find out later on that there isn't necessarily going to be a 'starring-role' as it were.

Although it's not reeking of originality, the episode was at least entertaining. The skit about the qualities of an anime protagonist was brilliant, for sure. Not quite sure how the "amusement club" is supposed to fit in the grand scheme of things, but with a show like this who cares about the premise? Amusing for the most part and a nice colourful art style, so as long as they keep up the gags and maybe some kind of progression to make sure it doesn't go stale, this good be a good enjoyable series. Also the ending song's chord progression is reminiscent of Black Sabbath's 'Paranoia'. Just saying.

Will I keep watching?: Until I get bored of it 

Mayo Chiki! 
And here it is! The show everyone's been waiting for! By which I mean Mako Chiki is this season's most stereotypical, unoriginal, cliche and downright horrendous straight-up harem series. Let's go through the constituent parts that one needs to make a successful harem:
Suggestive sister waking her brother up in the morning? Check.
The rich girl? Check.
The "guy" who's popular with all the girls? Check.
Annoying, girl-obsessed, comic relief best friend? Check. [I say comic relief; essentially the whole show is one big joke.]
Running head-first into a girl in the corridor? Check.
Otaku + glasses + reporter girl? Triple check.
Push down girl whose clothes then open-up in an unlikely fashion + groping her? Double check.
Protagonist's a jerk? Check.
Walk in on girl naked in shower? Check.
Cross-dressing butler? Che-...wait, scratch that one.
The list goes on.....

Seriously though, who keeps buying this stuff?!  Nothing new, nothing fresh, nothing mildly amusing, entertaining or intriguing. Nothing really needs to be said about this one. You could probably play out the entire episode in your mind if you've ever seen part of a harem before.

Will I keep watching?: Depends on whether or not I have a lobotomy scheduled within the next few days, i.e. no 

You've got off to a bad start Idolmaster. That's not how you spell words. Once again, though, I have to highlight how I didn't really know anything about these series before watching them, so I didn't know what to expect from Idolmaster or know what it was based on. Before it was established that there was a cameraman, which took a bit too long to happen, it just seemed like there was an utter demolition of the fourth wall occurring. I wasn't completely adverse to this, I mean it hardly ever happens in anime, but it would be nice to establish a premise at the beginning of something.

With regard to the actual show, I get the feeling these characters are going to get on my nerves very very quickly. Not only do they all seem to have the same voice, but it's a ridiculously irritating, grating one. I'm also vaguely confused as to whether this is just supposed to be an entertainment show, or whether it's trying to be ever-so-slightly informative? Leaves me wondering how to view the show. As a sort of documentary thing with a hint of humour it could be fairly interesting, and I do like how it's set up (i.e. following the girls around etc.), but if it's just going to make up ridiculous situations then I don't see myself being able to bear it. It looks like, despite the reveal of the cameraman being the producer, it's going to continue in the same documentary-esque fashion which is a bit weird - should've just had a first episode with this unique style and then after the reveal gone back to a more normal show format. Also, how on earth is that "boyish" idol not actually a guy?

Will I keep watching?: Maybe one more episode, and if I haven't lost the will to live from listening to those girls it might survive on my list. 

I have no idea where this is show going. It had me worried that it had pulled a 'Kamisama Dolls' in having a really dramatic opening scene which it then didn't really pay heed to, but they brought it back in within a more sensible time limit than Dolls did. There's no clear path that this show can take now though. They've introduced the two characters who are presumably going to be the focus of the series, but there hasn't been anything really revealed about what No.6 is, how it functions, what that weird thing in the centre of the city is or why the authorities would choose to unleash this prisoner into No.6 and why it would be considered a bad thing. Lots of questions to answer, but the show's got me hooked enough to stick around to find out.

Aside from the first scene in which we see kid-genius guy floating in midair and turning into flowers, bizarrely enough, it's all pretty cool. Our main fellow has that weird knack of being randomly hospitable to anyone he comes across, but then again he wears sweater-vests so that can probably be explained away by a mental problem of some sort. The character of the fugitive intrigues me - almost warm at times, but also constantly on his toes ready to respond to anything. Would be interesting to see what he's been through.

Will I keep watching?: Definitely - want to see where its going. 

Usagi Drop   
The first thing that strikes you about Usagi Drop is its art. The colours and the sketchy style gives the feel of a watercolour painting brought to life. I also have to say that the opening sequence is really cool. So our protagonist here is a 30-ish year old who doesn't seem to be doing anything with his life, but who appears to still be a child at heart - shown in how he isolates himself from the rest of the relatives; on the floor and surrounded by sweets. Most likely the show will go on to show how his character changes as he spends time with the girl, and it looks like it will be done well for once - often we're supposed to follow that characters act out of character due to the influence of someone else, but it's just not believable or realistic, like with Ikoku Meiro.

I have to say this episode did actually give me a "feeling", which is vague I know, but a good sign nonetheless. The mood, amplified by the brilliant music, was well created and I felt a certain attachment to the characters - particularly the girl who, in an alien situation already, just lost her father. Without being familiar with such a set of circumstances, I'd like to think that this girl seems to be an accurate portrayal of someone going through that. This was a really nice episode, and I'm looking forward to seeing where the series goes from here.

Will I keep watching?: Certainly. 

Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi 
No relation to 'Usagi Drop' I'm afraid. A few comparisons to draw with 'Kore Wa Zombie Desu Ka?' though, if you saw that. Attending the school with the shortest skirts in existence is our physically and mentally disturbed protagonist, who also happens to be immortal for as yet undisclosed reasons. There's some kind of link to magic and vampire-like things and evil-doing. True to form, the school council is equivalent to the spawn of Satan on the evil-o-meter.

So there's some kind of backstory here between our main guy and a promise/encounter he had with a strange girl when he was like six years old. This show's already fallen into two of the most annoying cliches out there. Firstly, why do people in anime give such special attention to assurances they gave when they were so young? I've never understood that, particularly when it practically every case they'd already forgotten them before being reminded. Secondly, why has this sequence of events just kicked-off at this point in time? If these are repressed memories, what's prompted the sudden revival? And how has he never noticed the spontaneous healing powers before - and why didn't they cure his legs when he injured them? Small concerns in a world of freaky magic, colourful witches and short skirts I know, but these things matter. So somehow when damage is done to the guy, the girl is allowed to return to the mortal realm or something crazy? I honestly have no idea what's going on here.

Will I keep watching?: It gets one more episode, then I'm off most likely. 

This got exceptionally weird, very very quickly. Definitely not a fan of the creepy old man narrating in innuendos. Wait...that opening sequence just isn't something you can naturally put after that first scene. Completely striking that introduction from our minds, we have another cast of completely bland and unoriginal characters. A 'school for geniuses' is one of the lamest excuses I've heard to just collate all the most overdone character archetypes, and even then it's just as a premise for an ecchi-skit show.

I've got to give it credit though, the "genius narrator" bit was pretty darn funny. The rest of the episode was pretty shocking though. R-18 could possibly be a more appropriate title methinks. And it was constantly annoying me throughout the whole thing that you just couldn't have a school which catered for all of those talents in the same classroom. It makes no sense. Grr. And what kind of school, genius-infested or otherwise, enrolls an author of pornography? 

Will I keep watching?: Highly doubtful. 

Well, that about wraps it up then. I had a glance at a couple of the others, but I either dropped them immediately or they weren't worth writing about. Hope you enjoyed this, or at least found it slightly helpful in deciding what might be worth watching. Until episode two!


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