Sunday, November 11, 2007

sola = art?

So there's this umbrella sold at MoMA...

Friday, November 2, 2007

Fall impressions the third

It pains me somewhat, but I've actually started taking notes after I watch an episode. This way my thoughts remain fresh and snarky when it comes to committing them to hypertext. It should also help me get more things off my chest; otherwise the really inane, cliché things start piling up inside me and I get very sarcastic.

I'm tempted to just cut and paste my vague notes, but that strikes me as being far too lazy, even if this is a throwaway anime blog. (Yeah, and it doesn't even have screenshots.)

Mokke 1: This wasn't as polished as I had hoped. I expect a lot from my slice-of-life entertainment (OK, I expect a lot from everything), and while there's interesting glimmers of philosophy and character development, the mood just isn't there. It may be a good window into traditional Japanese culture though. Since the manga runs in Afternoon, I think I'll pick up the first volume and see how it is in its original format.

Myself; Yourself 2: I'm still finding segments of this series difficult to endure. I skipped through a lot of this episode. They probably blew their budget on the pivotal scene near the end. The sudden glow and rush was really nice, and I'm glad to note an attempt at animating the correct piano notes for once.

Myself; Yourself 3: Still painfully bad, but ultimately worth it for tsun -> dere drama. I may as well rant: it's obvious that they're selling this eroge visual novel, and selling it hard; the ED sequence is proof of that. We've got the classic inept protagonist, the more-capable best friend, and even a loli waiting in the wings, apparently. But I shouldn't complain too much; this miscellany comes with the territory. Rather I should thank them for indulging my miko tsundere osananajimi sensibilities. Can't think of much that's cuter than a girl toying abstractedly with a pretty rock, jealous thoughts in her mind. Make that girl with towel, fresh out of the shower. Sheesh, these people are clever.

Clannad 2: Hey, it's still good. Surprise surprise. For once, the protagonist is actually well characterized, and it helps that the seiyuu isn't I Can't Believe It's Not Kyon. It's also good that they're not focusing on an uguu girl, although there seems to be one here too. Lastly, I don't know too much about Key, but either them or KyoAni has a thing for rushing through fields, and it's ... well, a rush.

Kimikiss 2: They say that Japanese fans of the PS2 game are up in arms about how the protagonist has been split for the anime. Well, tough, I say. This is a Very Good Move on the staff's part. It not only avoids the Curse of the Inept Protagonist, but in this incarnation it brings Mao to the forefront, and she's a very strong character. I suspect those complaining don't want to lose their individual vicarious thrills, but consider that with the split approach we get at least three vicariously successful (I'm willing to bet) romances as opposed to one. And there's an assortment: awkward, inscrutable, and forward. We'll see far fewer "how dare they not include $girl's ending" posts too. So why complain? I, for one, welcome our multi-protagonist, decent-sax-CG, declining-production-budget overlords.

Sketchbook 1: This is surprisingly good. (It's amazing what they can do with a 4-koma these days. The anime for Sketchbook, Hidamari Sketch, and Lucky Star are all totally different in style and execution. Truly fearsome.) Out of first episodes this season, I would have to say this is the best. The mood is spot-on, there are cats, there are weird girls, and there is simple enjoyment of life. Why, the soundtrack is even made of jazz. I give my full blessing.

Genshiken 2 2: Not much to say here. It's well done. The OP is way over the top though. Doujinshi is a dangerous thing. (Something to note: it helps to have read and mostly forgotten the manga before watching the anime. Particularly the forgetting.)

Blue Drop 2: This was quality, except for one jarring comic-style reaction 2/3s of the way through. Still unclear what's going on.

Ghost Hound 1: I think this is the first series I've seen that is truly HD in scope and implementation. The sound design alone is worth a few years of continuous applause. I like how the background sound goes from drones to FM synthesis, and such. As for the much-vaunted "Spiritual Animation", it's cool, but it doesn't seem particularly groundbreaking. The backgrounds are fantastically detailed. I like the OP song: swing that's dark instead of cheesy.

Kaiji 1, 2: This is very well done: they've nailed the art style and the over-the-top delivery. My interest is flagging, however, so I'll probably end up reading the manga sometime.

Kimikiss 3: The budget seems to be running down. Definitely more annoying parts. Belatedly, I note that the (admittedly pedestrian, but effective) technique of fading in the ED is being carried over from Honey & Clover.

Gundam 00 1: Ah, where to begin. The opening sequence animation is fabulous; they definitely spent a lot of time on it. However, from the get-go we have a strong allusion to Full Metal Panic!, which only gets stronger as the episode plays out. The OP sequence is standard Gundam, but it's really interesting how the OP song quotes part of the second Zeta Gundam OP. I take this as a sign that everyone is going to die. I can't say I like the non-Gundam MS designs, and I haven't seen enough of the Gundams to weigh in on their aesthetics. The seeming focus on physical combat is a bit strange; perhaps somebody watched Code Geass a bit too rapturously, or maybe even was responsible for it. (Rant on reel-in kinetic weapons forthcoming.) I'm terribly amused by how everyone's all like "hey it's marked GUNDAM I wonder what that means" and then a few minutes later say "oh it's another gundam". Oh, I can see all the glorious Gundam clichés coming from a mile away. Since those clichés include pulchritudinous princesses, I guess I shouldn't complain.

Blue Drop 3: Strangely enough, the mood is consistent through the whole episode, except for a jarringly comic outburst two-thirds of the way through, just like ep. 2. But I've gleaned basically enough of the plot and have lost interest.

Rental Magica 2: Was the time-slip announced? I was rather confused. Anyway, this is the Kaze no Stigma for this season: kinda bad, but exciting nonetheless, with solid novel-based plot and characters. The distinction is that the originally seinen Kaze no Stigma was turned into a aggravatingly shounen anime. At least the Rental Magica novels are shounen to begin with. Still may pass on this series for the shounen-ness.

Moyashimon 1, 2: I must say, I was expecting more from a Noitamina production. At least the OP and ED are up to snuff. There are some brilliant sequences in the anime, but the execution of the rest leaves a little to be desired. I think I'll investigate the manga for this one too.

Egh, that's it for now. I would have been done much sooner had it not been for those meddling adults. Anyway, I'm on restricted internet for these two weeks so I'm not getting any new stuff. I may have some retrospective ponderings instead.