I am seeing a lot of music animes popping up, and it’s not just folks wanting to be the latest idol band or boy group, but real musical dedication. After having seen “Your Lie in April” and bumbled through two season of “Hibike! Euphonium”, I decided that I would try out “Piano no Mori”, (“Piano’s Forest”) although it is a strange confabulation of events. Also, it’s an anime movie and you know my stance on them. I will watch it and decide later if it was worth it, as they get such a limited to no release at all in the US (more…)
I am really going to ignore all the suggestions and intimations that this is a yuri show. Yes, it is very heavily tilted towards the troubles and tribulations of the female portions of this high school orchestra. Yes, the tales are about friendship and betrayal and wants and needs and desires. Yes, the ladies do wear a caliber of flirty outfits that tends to emphasize things, but since I feel it lacks a key ingredient to have it go over to the yuri side, “Hibiki Euphonium 2” is just showing us more of the problems that we saw in the first season, now made manifest in the second season. (more…)
Short Pull Series XI – Junior “Miss”
The second season of “Miss Monochrome” has come and gone, and since they are brief episodes, it can get past you really quickly. However, the cohesion in this series got better for the next go-around. Originally Miss Monochrome (and she is a robot or android of some ilk) wanted to be an idol singer, trying to supplant Kikuko as Japan’s top idol, but since she doesn’t tour and doesn’t have an album, it’s really hard, when all her efforts are to get her seen and heard and adored, but they are not working and she is just another face at the local Kwik-E-Mart. The arrival of Yayoi Konno helps things along. She is a record promoter for a small label, but wants to help Monochrome succeed. They work towards the album and the big tour, even getting her idol back-up dancers, Caramel (that’s them up there rehearsing).
Now, all of these people still haven’t got a clue as to what the record industry is like and Yayoi is too over-zealous in getting things for Monochrome (she is just as ditzy as the other), but events and actions slowly come to fruition and as we close out the season, the concert in on the horizon….to be addressed in season three. I sometimes wish (more…)
Time to “Gear” Down
I was really surprised that a third year of this show came out, owing to how things were, more or less, wrapped up, but “Senki Zesshō Symphogear GX” (“Superb Song of the Valkyries: Symphogear GX”) came out with much disappointment for me. I supposed I watched it to ‘officially’ close out the franchise, but it was tough going.
The ladies are now part of a group called S.O.N.G., who provides disaster relief around the world. Kind of like the “Thunderbirds”, but without being marionettes. The problem is that they are attacked by an autoscorer while facilitating a rescue. This is a doll (more like an automaton) bent on the destruction of all the Symphogear girls and it looks like they might succeed, as they are stronger, faster and better equipped. The series looks into how our sextet can defends themselves and the world against a new, more powerful, threat that can even destroy their armor. (more…)
After the success that I had with “Your Lie in April”, I decided to tackle “Hibike! Euphonium”, another music-based anime. Well, the full title is (take in a huge gulp of air) “Hibike! Yūfoniamu Kitauji Kōkō Suisōgaku-bu e Yōkoso” or “Resonate! Euphonium. Welcome to Kitauji High School’s Wind Ensemble Club”. And if you can say that on one breath, perhaps you should consider playing the euphonium. For those who are not fully certain, a euphonium can be thought of as a smaller tuba, a bit easier to transport and with a better tone, much like its brother, a baritone horn.
Anyway, to the plot. The Kitauji high school concert band club had at one time participated in national tournaments and was a champion school, but after the club’s adviser changed, they have not been able to even participate in the qualifying tournament. At this point, we are talking perhaps at least five years, and possible closer to ten. However, thanks to the newly appointed adviser’s strict instruction, the students are steadily improving and build up their strength.
Our lead is Kumiko Oumae, who has been playing the ‘euph’ since she was a little child. She decides to join the band when her friends also wish to, and she discovers she would not be the only euph player on the band. Sapphire Kawashima is a deadlock for the band, as she is the only contrabass player. Unless you have zero ability, you are guaranteed a spot on the band with a rare instrument in a high school band. Hazuki Katou was a trumpet player, but they needed someone on tuba and she ‘won’, as they had a surplus of trumpets, led by Reina Kousaka. Now she is REALLY good, but has personality problems. (more…)
Attack of the OVA # 10 – Don’t “Lie” to Yourself
Just after “Your Lie in April” concluded, out came their OVA. This is a rare OVA, in that you have to see the series all the way through before you can honestly watch the OVA. The entire OVA is referenced throughout the series and it makes a caliber of sense when you see this, as you were given all the clues. I am assuming it is about four years earlier, so everyone is 10 or so, although the picture may give an indication of being eight. It’s hard to tell. We have the three main players on that bench, each noshing on their favorite treat.
Left to right, Emi Igawa, Kosei Arima and Takeshi Aiza, are all the same age and are all tremendously gifted pianists, but everyone takes a back seat to what Arima does. He is the Human Metronome, in that he plays the music perfectly. There isn’t much color or spark in what he does (unlike his rivals), but the judges look for technical perfection and Arima has that in spades. Here’s the funny thing: Arima is in competition against himself, trying to win over the love of his dying mother, who is as rough as they get. Emi and Aiza are chasing Arima and always coming up short. For the most part, there are your medalists, so to speak, as the rest of the competitors are left with scraps. (more…)
I actually had a chance to view this about six months earlier, but the capsule description seemed a bit uncertain and I’m not a fan of music shows. I find they are in the area of sports shows, where we end up focusing too much on the performance and the show loses something about the people. But then I heard that this was a really romantic series, the best in the past few years. On Free Comic Book Day, one of the offerings was a manga sampler, of which the first chapter of this tale was shown. Well, with all these promotions, I had to see it.
The show is “Your Lie in April”, known in Japan as “Shigatsu wa Kimi no Uso” (“April is Your Lie”) and tells the story of piano prodigy Kousei Arima (glasses up there). He dominated the world of piano competitions and became famous among child musicians. His mother, who was also his instructor, was a very tough taskmaster. She died and he had a mental breakdown while performing at a piano recital at the age of eleven. As a result, he was/is no longer able to hear the sound of his piano even though his hearing is perfectly fine, and he completely disappeared from the scene. (more…)
“Love” To Love You
It seems to be a rule of anime that if you have an idol show, there MUST be a second season and “Love Live II” is no exception. We follow our nonet as they decide to put on the gauntlet again and try for stardom. But they bring in a lot of artificial problems to force them to fish or cut bait.
The first problem is that Honoka Kōsaka (in the lead spot) is now Student Council president and doesn’t have the time for this. The second is that Love Live is now doing regionals and their group would have to beat A-Plus to move ahead. The third is that three of them will graduate by the end of the school year, so this would be the last time the original members could perform together.
What should they do? What can they do? What will they do? Any suggestions? Yeah, like you couldn’t see through that. Of course they forge ahead, ready and willing to sing like there’s no tomorrow (and, in a sense, there isn’t). It’s just that the second season seems pasted together and a lot of the ‘problems’ aren’t real problems, more along the lines of having to surrender parts of your youth to move ahead into the world of adulthood. (more…)
“Wake Up” Call
This is another idol show, along the lines of “AKB0048” and “Long Live Project” and it follow more or less the same arc, although presentation is a bit different. The full title is actually “Wake Up, Girls – Seven Idols”, but, like them, we’ll truncate it to WUG.
We have to start with not the girls, but the group that supports them, which are the two ‘adults’ (I’ll explain later).
Green Leaves Entertainment is a tiny production company on the verge of going out of business. It is located in Sendai, the biggest city in Japan’s northeastern Tohoku region, in a rather questionable office building that could double as an auto repair shop. Not particularly inspiring. The agency once managed the careers of magicians, photo idols, fortune-tellers, and other entertainers, but its last remaining client finally quit. In danger of having zero talent (literally and actually), the president, Juynko Tange, (she’s at the end there) hatches an idea of producing an idol group. On the brash president’s orders, the dissatisfied manager Kouhei Matsuda heads out to scout raw talent. (more…)
A “Miss” is as Good as a Mile
“Miss Monochrome” is another short-pull series. At four minutes, it’s short enough, but one of those minutes is taken up with the ending credits, so it runs even shorter than that.
Miss Monochrome is a caliber of robot, her best friend being that Roomba. She somehow was worth 19.2 Billion yen, but her rapacious private secretary took everything and left her destitute. She has a dream of being the best pop idol in Japan, but has no method or manner to do this. She gets a manager, who happens to be the shift manager at the convenience store she works at, to try and get her all kinds of gigs and public meetings to get her face and talent out there. A manager is a manager, right? Get the gigs.
But she is an absolute klutz when it comes to things and the episodes end where they started: with her no closer to her dream of being a pop idol. (more…)