Musings and Reflections – Summer 2018 Week 1

One phrase impressions:

Hanebado! – Didin’t expect this to be that good.
Yama no Susume 3 – Did expect this to be that good.
Banana Fish – Didn’t expect much, but it was fairly good.

Hanebado! (Ep. 1)

  • Yeah, I expected stellar animation, but not that. Man, I’m totally infatuated by it. I watched that scene like 5 times and still can’t get enough of it. It’s like Yuri on Ice come back. The suspenseful OST, the dynamic camera, all the character animation – it’s more than great. Even the CG shuttlecock seems weirdly appropriate. As if it’s out of this world – an impartial, emotionless artefact that coldly and cruelly judges the participants without any qualms.
  • Also, Nagisa’s opponent seems to coldly (wearing a cyan-colored shirt after all) counter everything Nagisa creates, and doing it without much effort. And warm-colored Nagisa does try especially hard. Cool juxtaposition between calculating cold and chaotic rage. But it only seems that way. The winner doesn’t seem too happy about it either.
  • It’s not only the first scene that handles the animation beautifully, the whole episode is filled with character animation that in a lesser show could be only of mouth-flapping level. I probably don’t need to say that character designs are very appealing. I also like camera angles and various nets and fences used to separate characters (from other characters as well as from the viewers). Often shots leave lots of space thus making the scenes less intimate, making the viewer feel the distance between them and the characters. It feels like when in real life you try to befriend a person – at first you look from a distance, observing the superficial characteristics. Only after making a contact and getting to know a person you get a better grasp of what this first impression got right and wrong. This imposed distance also works because both Nagisa and Ayano feel exhausted and not really passionate about badminton anymore – they need space, they need something else to occupy their minds. Going back to Nagisa, the uncomfortable distance disappears once she reveals her feelings to Riko. I’ve known Nagisa for like 20 minutes but seeing that tough girl cry when realizing that sometimes hard work isn’t everything touched me. I can even call this a micro-character arc as Nagisa transitioned from a rough athlete to a sad person with quite a few problems. Because of that I feel that Nagisa is a protagonist I can cheer on.
  • Yet, I have a sad premonition that Ayano, being a far more conventional girl, will be in the spotlight far more often. A daisy trying to escape a shadow is a clear suggestion that Ayano will return to badminton and her journey will probably be the main focus of the story. Story-wise Ayano so far seems like a pure potential with nothing yet done with it, but seeing her similarities and differences from Nagisa I think the duo might work just fine. They both seem to have lost their passion, but Nagisa still has guts to work hard, even if (in her mind) hopelessly, and about the reason of Ayano’s indifference to badminton we can only guess for now.
  • Probably the only thing that marred the experience was the introduction of that pervy coach. Why so many anime like this trope so much? It does add some comedy (the second time the coach appeared wasn’t that bad actually) but I could think of many ways to add comedy without adding such a unlikable dude. Sure, he probably is a genius eccentric badminton player who will produce results but that doesn’t mean he’s likable. To think of it, Sengoku from Ballroom e Youkoso was a similar character, only he was more of a jerk and less of a perv. But I can live with that as long as there’s some sakuga. My only serious concern remains that the story might not live up to the visuals. But so far so good. I like it quite a bit.

Yama no Susume 3 (Ep. 1)

  • Well, I couldn’t ask more than the episode offered. Yama no Susume certainly isn’t the most exciting or adrenaline rush evoking show, but it isn’t its goal in the first place. And for what it attempts to do, it does pretty much flawlessly. Sure, it might be nostalgia kicking in and because of that I give the show more credit than it deserves, but I like it, and that’s that.
  • The first episode assumed that the audience is already familiar with the girls (naturally, it’s the third season after all) and spends very little time reminding of the events than happened previously. Aoi and Hinata might have gone mountaineering a bit too soon in my opinion, without much preparation, but, on the other hand, it shows that Aoi has grown to a point when she doesn’t need to think things through carefully in order to be able to have a successful trip. The trip itself was also used to make the viewers remember the Fuji experience and the fact that Aoi didn’t make it. Thus some continuity is established as well as a clear future goal.
  • Other stuff like little jokes here and there (pretty much all successful), some nice scenery, added educational value and simply the sense of continuous fun made me think how much actually was stuffed in one half-length episode. The show is back, and it certainly retains its charm – I didn’t lose a happy grin for a single second. Looks like it’ll be a fun season. Slice of life rules!
  • I don’t think Yama no Susume is a show that is very easy to write about and I’m afraid that especially as the season goes on I wouldn’t be able to think of anything but a few short remarks. Still, if that would make even a single person consider checking the show out, I’ll be happy.

Banana Fish (Ep. 1)

  • I can assure that the beginning is rather original. How many anime even bother to mention Iraq? When my interest was piqued, the setting changed, and not for the worse. I wouldn’t call the episode exciting, but the intrigue is certainly there, and I’m willing to see what will come out of that eventually.
  • Probably any show that has anything to do with mafia will have itself compared to Baccano, and that’s a harsh comparison 9 times out of 10. While Banana Fish doesn’t try anything supernatural but rather ventures to some darker areas (drugs and stuff), it can’t compete with Baccano on a level of narrative cohesiveness and smooth transitions between parts of the story. Segments up until the Japanese arrived felt a bit awkward because everything we saw was too many characters doing nothing but talking. Fast cuts between the segments alleviated the problem to the extent that it didn’t feel horribly slow, but some sort of disjointedness remained. Of course, once the bar fight began, everything went on more smoothly – character animation was a joy to watch.
  • I’m not completely sold at this point. There are some things that I like very much – for example character designs, interesting and doubtless meaningful scene compositions and the premise itself could make a great show. On the other hand, all this talking and a whole bunch of characters that may or may not be significant later on might come to haunt the show. I hope that it won’t be the case because there certainly can be far worse and far more boring anime about mafia, drugs, amnesia and other shady matters.

 

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5 Comments

  1. Even though I am totally not into sports anime, I have read so many interesting things about Hanebado! that I am very tempted to check it out. As I just said over on Irina’s blog, I usually only have time to watch 2-3 shows from the new season, so I want to make some good choices (and of course choices that other people are watching too, so we can discuss 😊) But the phrase Yuri on Ice come back…really grabbed my attention. So…maybe I will give this a shot 😊

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  2. Seems you had a pretty fun time with these shows so far. Starting a new season is always daunting because things that seem like they might be good could derail horribly and things that are only okay might improve. Looking forward to seeing your thoughts as the season progresses.

    Liked by 1 person

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    • Yeah, I did. I’m even surprised myself that so far things are looking that good.
      Thanks, I’m also looking forward to your observations.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. “Yama no Susume 3 – Did expect this to be that good.”

    Gave me a bit of a chuckle… Pretty close to what I said on my blog “it’s good to be home”.

    Liked by 1 person

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