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Archive for March, 2014

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Silver Spoon! It was a great little series that aired last summer about a city guy entering an agricultural high school for ~reasons~ and all the crap (figurative or otherwise) that he has to deal with while there. It was funny, insightful, full of character and thoroughly enjoyable, and definitely deserved – nay, needed – this second season!

Being a very direct continuation of the first season (as in, it starts almost exactly where the first one left off) this won’t be a particularly long review – it’s definitely one of those cases where everything I said about the first series still applies, minus the few differences I’ll elaborate on – but it’s still worth discussing in at least some detail. After all, I came away from the first season thinking that it was great but lacking… something. It was close, VERY close, to being a legitimately amazing show, but didn’t quite have the edge to take it there. Would a direct continuation be able to bring in what was missing?

Early mornings will forever be the actual worst

Early mornings will forever be the actual worst

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Despite the weak final episode and getting a little over-dramatic towards the end, I enjoyed Chuunibyou demo Koi ga Shitai! quite a lot back when it aired (and on a subsequent rewatch), and so was rather excited at the news of a sequel. But then I’m a KyoAni fanboy; I get excited for anything they do.

I was a little apprehensive, however. While the first season didn’t end in a definitive, “this is all there is to the story and taking it any further would make no sense whatsoever” way (it’s a fucking slice-of-life rom-com, of course it wouldn’t end like that), it did make for a fairly rounded, complete package. In other words, there was never any need for a sequel and there wasn’t really anything left at the end that would provide a springboard for one. But it was clear from the promotional materials how they were going to go about it: throw in a new character to shake up the relationship between Yuuta and Rikka and watch the sparks fly. It’s a pretty standard, relatively uninspired route to take, but could be perfectly serviceable. That the new girl was going to be a friend of Yuuta’s from middle-school who also still suffers from chuunibyou did make it all a bit more promising, it must be said.

Also now they're living together

Also now they’re living together

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So this was a series that I had actually initially skipped over. “Guy is engaged through arrangement to a girl, and then moves in with her and two other girls! Rom-com hijinks ensue!” is not exactly a good sell for me, because even though Mikakunin de Shinkoukei is adapted from a manga and not a light novel it still looked to have that same type of trashiness. I figured it was some fanservicey, quasi-harem-y wish fulfilment crap, so I didn’t give it much thought. But when it started, I started hearing quite a bit of positive buzz. Stuff like it being charming, endearing and rather special. I caved, and decided to give it an actual chance instead of dismissing it completely.

It would be more accurate to say that the premise is “girl is engaged through arrangement to a guy, and then he and his sister move in with her and her sister; rom-com hijinks ensue” which changes things quite a bit. With the realisation that the focus was on the girl and not the guy, suddenly it no longer seemed trashy and painfully, tediously derivative. Well, of course it wouldn’t seem that way once you started watching and got proven wrong but you get my point. Instead, it turned out to be a rather fun little rom-com/slice-of-life!

Whaaat? Extremely outdated and patriarchal customs are still practiced in developed countries?? Who would have thought!

Whaaat? Extremely outdated and patriarchal customs where the agency of women and children are removed for the benefit of the older men are still practiced in developed countries?!

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Did you like the first season of Wooser? Then you’ll like this one!

Really, there isn’t much more to say about this – it’s basically more of the same, although it is a bit better. The referential humour uses much more recent series this time around, the jokes are generally a fair bit funnier, there’s greater characterisation (how there’s any characterisation is beyond me, mind you), and it overall feels like a more focused and polished little product. Everything in my review of the first series still very much applies, but they’ve definitely refined the concept since then.

You want a short little series about a gluttonous, lecherous bunny thing that’s actually pretty funny? Wooser is for you, and now there’s more of it to watch. Can’t really complain about that.

7/10

 

 

P.S. God DAMN the ED is the best fucking thing ever and completely and utterly justifies the existence of this sequel even if it were the case that nothing else does.

Beautiful

Beautiful

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I was going to start this review by saying “I’m a big fan of hard sci-fi anime” but then I realised that the only thing I’ve seen that fits that description is Planetes, so I’m going to have to go with something different.

I’m a big fan of Planetes, mostly because of how accurately it depicted space flight while maintaining a cast of interesting, memorable and well-developed characters. I’ve been wanting more in that vein for a while, but there just hasn’t been anything quite like it before or since. At least not until about 2 years ago, when Space Brothers (or Uchuu Kyoudai if you’d prefer) started airing. It promised something quite different from Planetes, but by all accounts the premise indicated that it would have that same grounded, character-focused narrative with a lot of accurate and detailed depictions of spaceflight thrown into the mix, which was more than enough to catch my attention.

This premise is that Mutta, a professional automobile engineer, has been fired and basically hit rock bottom, while his younger brother Hibito has been training to become an astronaut with NASA – a shared dream that only one of them had been able to realise. Mutta had all but given up on ever accomplishing this, but through sheer chance JAXA started accepting applications for prospective astronauts – giving Mutta another shot at his dream. Space Brothers follows both his and Hibito’s journey at accomplishing the longstanding goal of theirs to stand on the moon together.

Being fired does not feel so moon

Being fired does not feel so moon

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Shoujo romances where the protagonist gains some divine powers are not exactly under-represented in anime and manga – I reviewed one such series, Kamisama Hajimemashita, a while back – and as a result it’s rather difficult for them to bring something genuinely original to the table. Many series don’t even try, instead relishing in the tropes and clichés of that particular sub-sub-genre. But that’s not to say that quality can’t exist within that restrictive space, and even when fairly predictable they can still offer something to make it worthwhile. It was through that that Kamisama Hajimemashita was able to stand out and make a name for itself, after all.

It was within this context, and with these expectations, that I entered Inari, Konkon, Koi Iroha. It’s not as if the premise had much to promise; middle-school girl who is largely unexceptional and fairly clumsy has a crush on a popular guy but can’t express her feelings, but one day meets a deity who tries to help her by granting her the power to change forms. It’s a setup that would be most surprising if it did anything to surprise. But of course none of this means it will be bad; to presume as such would be unfair, at the very least.

Involving yourselves with any sort of divine power is always cause for worry

Involving yourselves with any sort of divine power is always cause for worry

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