Batch 1 of my quick first impressions on some of the Winter 2008/2009 anime series. As usual, these will be divided into a series of entries.
In this batch: (1) Zoku Natsume Yuujin-chou; (2) Minami-Ke: Okaeri; (3) The Tower of Druaga: The Sword of Uruk; (4) Akikan; (5) Kurokami: The Animation; (6) Maria Holic; (7) Asu no Yoichi.
- Nice OP ["Ano hi Time Machine" by LONG SHOT PARTY] Catchy melody. Love the trumpet parts. Been looking forward to this one since I heard it’s been green lit for a second season. I kinda missed the whole crew, especially Natsume and Nyanko-sensei. Something seems to be different with the animation… I think it looks better than the first season, like the colors seem to be sharper this time around (unless my eyes are deceiving me). Also, for a second there, it reminded me of xxxHolic with the butterfly and the smoke (around 8:24 in the ep).
Anyway, it was a nice first episode to kick off the new season. What I like most about this series is how they’re able to blend in moments of laughter and silliness with heartwarming ones in an almost seamless manner. It was just a few minutes of the youkai’s memory, but it tugged my heartstrings. I also somwehat share the same sentiment that Natsume has regarding farewells. The ED ["Ai Shiteru" by Kourin] is a nice ballad.
- Watch it? Absolutely.
Third season of Minami-Ke.
- As usual, it has a fun OP ["Keikenchi Soku Joujou" by Rina Satou, Marina Inoue and Minori Chihara] like the first two series, but this time it’s shown 7 mins or so into the episode (could be just for the first episode though). Now this one, I’m pretty sure there’s something different with the animation. It was quite noticeable that Asread did better this time around. I love cup yakisoba too! Lol@ cup yakisoba phenomenon.
The ED ["Zettai Colorful Sengen" by Rina Satou, Marina Inoue and Minori Chihara] started playing at 16 mins or so (out of 23 mins) into the episode, then the episode resumes at around 18 mins. Beware of Chiaki’s one-hand-face smash with the assistance of Fujioka the bear. Lol@ Hosaka’s fortune overload (180th?! xD). It seems like he keeps getting bad fortune (does he? the subs I watched didn’t indicate what his fortune said). And Hosaka does his usual shirt unbuttoning to show off what appears to be a new and improved set of abs. I can almost imagine Maki’s disgusted reaction to that. xDD
- Watch it? Yep, for my regular dose of laughs courtesy of the Minami sisters’ antics and Hosaka’s craziness.
- - I like the OP ["Questions?" by Yu Nakamura]. Very nice rhythm. The OP sequence is similar to the first season’s, in that there is no connection to the story or setting, just the cast playing baseball. I (very) vaguely remember how the first series ended, but I think I remember that it was a cliffhanger. The episode gives us a glimpse of the characters’ lives after the climb. The fomer military official, Kelb, quit the force since the leaders did not agree to reward the climbers efforts for defeating Druaga and credited the king instead. He set up an eating place with his second in command person in tow (Lol, Chun-Li? is that you? xD). Later, someone’s chasing after someone, the priestess if Ishtar, it seems. Fatina, Jil and Utu saves her. They find out that Kaaya is about to die in the future and Jil can stop it. They’re going to climb again. Catchy ED ["Mahōtsukai Desu Kedo" by Fumiko Orikasa].
- Watch it? Maybe. I sat through the first season anyway. I also hope it would actually end this time, and not another cliffhanger.
- Upbeat OP ["Miracle Plan ga Dekichatta!" by Charmmy Queen]. The story of a can turning into a girl, needing to be infused with carbon dioxide from kissing to survive, then turns back into a can when her tab earring is pressed. So she gets a kiss every time. With such an unusual premise, I was wondering how it’d turn out. I think it turned out to be weird, but could’ve probably been better. I don’t like the character design either, and Otoya is a bit freaky. Hmm, so if Kakeru and Melon end up together in the end will they have little can kids?
I don’t know what to say about the ED [ "Koisora Recycling featuring Melon Soda" by Nomiko] other than upbeat and unusual. I’m not exactly sure but the second ED is listed as “featuring grape juice” so I’m assuming there’s a different juice featured every episode ending.
- Watch it? Uh, no.
Also known as Black God.
- No OP for the first episode (I saw the subs for the pre-airing stream, though, does that make any difference?). Keita’s mom died when he was a kid. He remembers that his mom died the very day when she saw someone who looked exactly the same as her. Keita’s classmate, Risa, tells him that she saw someone who looked exactly the same as her at a concert she attended. Keita tells her to be careful, as he remembers his mom. He later meets a girl at a ramen stand. As the shop owner inquires about his family, Keita ends up telling about his mom’s fatal accident and his doppelganger theory, that when you meet your doppelganger you’ll die soon after.
The girl clarifies this and explains that it’s 3 look-alikes rather than just two, making it more like “one in three” thing, a system to maintain balance. She elaborates that these 3 people who looks exactly the same have different destinies, but once any of the 2 meet, they will die from whatever cause, and the 3rd person will absorb the fate of the other 2 (which somewhat reminded me of Highlander). She says it’s too bad that Keita’s mom was a “filler” and not the “origin” among the 3 look-alikes (if she were, she wouldn’t have died). Someone appears behind the girl and hits her hard with a bat. Keita tries to defend the girl, but apparently she isn’t human. She then turns into serious kicka$$ mode (I love the insert song during the fight). Very good animation with the moves, albeit quite brutal. (the final punches were a bit like a video game though, like i was playing Tekken). She ends up beating the guy. She apologizes to a stunned Keita for the ruckus, and introduces herself as a mototsumitama named Kuro, and that she’s off to kill her brother.
At home, Keita hears the news that his classmate Risa died in an accident (aww, so she’s not the origin too). The next day, on their way home, his neighbor Mayu tells him she saw someone who looks like her earlier. She then crosses the street. Before Keita can do anything, poor little Mayu gets hit by a truck (I wasn’t expecting them to show me the bloody hit o_o)
I’m intrigued. What’s this three-people-who-look-like-you-to-maintain-balance thing? I wonder if Keita is the origin or a filler, same with his friend Akane. I’m also curious why Kuro wants to kill her bro (probably because he’s evil). Nice ED ["Irodori no Nai Sekai" by Yousei Teikoku] I especially like the beat and the strings part.
- Watch it? Yep. Interesting. It’s also tempting me to write episode summaries again (which I probably will if I find a loophole in my schedule).
- Kanako is a new transfer student in Ame no Kisaki Academy (an all-girls school). Apparently, she’s allergic to guys so she is hoping to find her fated yuri partner here. She then meets the beautiful Maria, the daughter of the ex-chairman, and offers to give her a tour of the campus after class. Kanako likes Maria, and thinks she might be her fated on. Oh, but curiously, Kanako got hives on her arm after the kiss. She also meets a few other pretty girls.
Time for the school tour. Kanako goes to the archery clubhouse to meet Maria. She hears Matsurika’s (Maria’s maid) voice coming from one of the doors, concluding that Maria is in that room too, Kanako takes the liberty to enter. BIG MISTAKE! Lol. The beautiful Maria turns out to be a trap! A guy dressing up as a girl to find his fated partner in the all-girls school. Maria acts like nothing happened, which infuriates Kanako who threatens that she’ll inform the school that Maria is actually a guy (roflmao, she grabbed his crotch! xDDD). Again, BIG MISTAKE! Maria turns the table on her, saying that since Kanako fancies yuri, Maria will report that Kanako harassed Matsurika and that Kanako will most likely be expelled since people will believe the elite Maria rather than a transferee like Kanako. Kanako realizes the pinch she’s in, and agrees to follow Maria’s orders. Kanako will be under Maria’s 24/7 surveillance to make sure she doesn’t squeal. And thus, Kanako’s life as Maria’s underling begins.
I like the insert tune when Maria kissed Kanako’s cheek. I also like the stained glass-inspired stuff in the episode. I found it quite boring, but then started laughing upon seeing Maria in guy mode. I like her/him better that way. The voice and the attitude is just lol. Um, so what did we learn from this? Always knock before you enter. xD
- Watch it? Maybe, maybe not.
- - The OP ["Egao no Riyuu" by meg rock] has a nice melody. The lead guy, Yoichi gets kicked out of the mountain, where he lived all his life, by his father in order to learn and improve his skills and develop a more well rounded personality. Apparently, there is another family in the city who practices the same martial art/sword technique that Yoichi and his father do, the Ikaruga sisters. As it’s Yoichi’s first time in the city, he inadvertently sticks out and gets into a number of misunderstandings with the police and odd situations. He bumps into a tough guy and loses his map, gets arrested for using his wooden sword against the tough guy, accidentally falls into a change room where he bumps into the 2nd sister and gets accused of being a pervert, bumps into the 3rd sister in the bookstore and gets accused of being a yaoi fanboy(?), bumps into the youngest sister who sees him as a samurai. Poor Yoichi had a bad start in the city, but alas everything gets settled and he finally (formally) meets up with the sisters. He’ll be staying with the Ikarugas and training in their dojo during his stay in the city. The ED ["Life and proud" by Aki Misato] was alright.
- Watch it? Nope.
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