Musings and Reflections – Summer 2016 Week 1

Orange (Ep. 1)

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     That’s the way to start a new season. The energy of the show just streams through and with a little bit of mystery (well, possibly sci-fi) it makes quite a start. Of course it requires a bit of faith to believe that all the letter and basically the future timeline stuff will be explained well enough but so far it seems to be a worthy investment of time. Even though the character designs a beautiful beyond any doubt, not every cut does them justice and I can only wonder what will happen later on if even in the first episode that by convention should be the hook to catch as many viewers as possible with the best the show can offer, we still get some stills in place of characters walking albeit they change pretty quickly. Other than that, I’m quite impressed. One of other positives is Azu. Yes, there are plenty of genki girls in anime but this time I think it’s done unconventionally realistically – Azu type of girl could easily be found in probably every high-school, being without too much childish or cartoonish that your typical anime genki girls are often known for.

Tales of Zestiria the X (Ep. 0)

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     As expected, Ufotable (pretty much being my only reason for watching the show) tried a lot to make everything shiny. I just don’t think everything worked as well as they expected. Standard animation looks as polished as always, but CG constantly made me wonder if I was watching a video game cutscene. I don’t think CG water or CG towns (almost like something from Total War series) look bad per se, I just don’t find it that compatible with 2D characters. The tornado with very roughly done flying rocks made me remember the Studio Deen Dragon. The dragon of this show appeared later but it was certainly better. Just the whole 2D and 3D clash still needs time to settle in. The story also resembles a game very much with going, asking a question, getting an answer, going on, getting in a fight and so on. Not to mention the same feeling of stuff happening and just needing to be done but without much engagement of the viewer (or player). As I’m not familiar with the source, I can’t even guess anything about the story, but without one (and a good one) the show seems to be just another example of why games don’t usually make a good anime.

Amaama to Inazuma (Ep. 1)

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     That was beautiful. I’ve come to the show fearing it had many opportunities not to be to my liking and so far I’m very glad I’m mistaken. It seemed to me that to only be of the same level as Usagi Drop would be an enormous task to accomplish, plus I’m not that fond of anime that heavily features cooking. Even Tsumugi’s character design looked a bit too flamboyant not to mention it’s really hard to make a believable and realistic enough child character with all the quirks but not beyond the level of annoyance. The episode somehow tackled all those challenges surprisingly well with a fair share of light humor, beautiful backgrounds (especially those of the park with blooming sakuras) and heartwarming moment of characters tearing up because some rice – the simplest of all foods – after all the microwavable stuff seemed so good. The relationship between the teacher and the student later on may begin to cause some troubles but for now it was just a beautiful and a very heartwarming episode.

91 Days (Ep. 1)

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     Another pretty strong first episode. And it looks like the niche that last season was occupied by Joker Game this time will provide something more entertaining. The general feel of the show just can’t not remind me of Baccano, and that’s a really good thing, – the same time period, mafia stuff, some over the top characters, a bar fight… Not to mention that studio Shuka previously did Durarara and that’s basically a cousin to Baccano. Still, this show so far seems a bit tamer and without any supernatural elements. The idea of someone trying to revenge some past sores may be not the most original but here in anime community it looks quite fresh. It’s hard to say much about the characters though it’s really going to be interesting how Angelo may need to cooperate with Nero who belongs to the family Angelo’s determined to get even with. The presentation certainly suits the show and immediately pinpoints the time period while the soundtrack seconds it also really well.

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