One thing about a majority of the short-pull series that I see is that many of them are based from 4-koma strips and, boy howdy, does it show! It’s not much more than set-up, joke, punch line, we all have a good laugh and that’s the end of the episode. Next! It almost seems more trouble than it is worth, but these shows can also be quite enjoyable. I tend to think of them as a proving ground for future writers and directors to test the waters without investing a whole lot into it, especially if it tanks. (more…)
Short Pull Series XXII – I’ve Got My Eye on You
One gets the feeling that anime companies will do a show about anything. I mean, there are shows about playing Go (“Hikaru no Go”), performing rakugo (“Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu”) and even one about soda cans that turn into girls (“Akikan!”). So, I initially was not surprised when they did one about scuba diving. For most of us, what we know is whatever was gleaned from Jacques Cousteau specials on TV, or, in my case, “Sea Hunt” (yeah, check the archives for that one.) But what about something a tad more casual? Too bad “Amanchu!” is not that show. (more…)
On the flip side of Sakamoto, we have this guy. Everything Sakamoto is, he isn’t. “Tanaka-kun wa Itsumo Kedaruge” (“Tanaka-kun is Always Listless”) relates the tales of Tanaka. Now, I can’t tell for certain if he is lazy, anemic, bored or uncaring, but he desperately has to rely on the good-will of his friend, Oota, to physically truck him from place to place. He can (and does) sleep everywhere and it is a wonder how he is able to dress himself in the morning. If the food would just crawl into his mouth, he’d be as happy as they get.
Oota thinks he is missing out on a lot life has to offer, but Tanaka is content with things as they are. Even when classmate Miyano wants to be his apprentice, as she admires the complete inertness Tanaka exudes, he declines the offer, as that seems like too much work for him (and, after you see him in action, or inaction, you understand why). He also appears to be grandly clueless, as he stumbles upon a secret that fellow student Shiraishi has. Or maybe it’s that it doesn’t mean a great deal to him. This is both the core charm and the overall frustration with the series. You just can’t tell the difference.
Is he a slacker? Is he a passive-aggressive? Is he a sponge? Is he a deep thinker? You are never really sure, but to see the huge amount of effort placed onto him to be more than just a rolled-up carpet, lugged from place to place, is astounding. I just wonder what it will be like when he has to get a job.
There is also a series of OVAs, done in chibi style, of varying lengths, but nothing over a minute. They are not much more then set-up and gag, but it does help to explain things a bit better. It’s that for a single joke, there really was no logical way to insert it into the series without it coming off as more strangeness. Some may feel that this is a caliber of ‘nothing’ show, but something does happen; it just unrolls very slowly and maybe that’s what we want to say. Then again, maybe not.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 7 (Eyes seem too big)
Plot 8 (Expressed surprisingly well)
Pacing 8 (Good, despite a potential lethargic nature)
Effectiveness 8 (Tells itself well)
Conclusion 6 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 0 (A similar show would be “Honey and Clover”)
Overall 8 (Oddly compelling)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. Just let me sleep.
“Haven’t You Heard” the News?
There are a lot of strange shows about school life, whether we speak of “Ouran High School Host Club” or “School Rumble” or even “Medaka Box”, but the offering before us, “Sakamoto desu ga?” (“Haven’t You Heard? I’m Sakamoto” or “I’m Sakamoto, You Know?”) certainly ranks as one of the strangest. We follow the aforementioned First-Year Sakamoto (nope, we don’t know his first name AT ALL) the incredibly cool and popular genius who is well liked by both girls and boys. Despite the strange situations he may be in, Sakamoto always manages to fix the problem in absolute perfection while still being over the top. (more…)
Short Pull Series XIX – A Flash in the “Pan”
OK, lest I sound like a sour old man (“Hey, you kids, get off of my lawn!”), there is nothing wrong with all-girl animes…..to a point. It’s just that you need to have something more than moe girls or full-figured femmes or luscious ladies cluttering up the screen. I do like (wait for it)…plot. Wait a tick…..why does this opening sound so familiar? Because this show, “Pan de Peace” (“Pan de Pīsu”, “Peace through Bread!”), is honestly no different than “Usakame”, save that instead of tennis, it’s bread. (more…)
Short Pull Series XX – “Tennis”, Anyone?
OK, lest I sound like a sour old man (“Hey, you kids, get off of my lawn!”), there is nothing wrong with all-girl animes…..to a point. It’s just that you need to have something more than moe girls or full-figured femmes or luscious ladies cluttering up the screen. I do like (wait for it)…plot. We actually started off with “Teekyu”, which began as a sports comedy manga (and the title is a pun on the Japanese word for ‘tennis’. Things like that are lost on me). They then had a spinoff, “Usakame”, which is named for the high school these four ladies attend and they belong to the tennis club. (more…)
Well, we knew by the close of season one of “Ansatsu Kyōshitsu” (“Assassination Classroom”) that there was going to be a season two, where the stakes are much higher and the pressure to succeed is at an all-time high. Although this classroom of slackers and underachievers are well-versed in assassination techniques, they are no closer to getting rid of Koro Sensei (that yellow effigy in the middle) today than they were when he first made the scene months earlier. Adding to the problems is that the government feels events are not progressing at a proper enough clip, so ringers are called in to complete the deed STAT. (more…)
Don’t Worry, Be “Happy”
Every once in a while, you come across a show with a concept so odd, that you have to look into things a bit more deeply. Such is the case of “Anne-Happy”, (Anhapi♪), also known as “Unhappy Go Lucky!” or “Unhappy”. The plot is surprisingly thin:
Tennomifune Academy is an elite school where students train in various subjects such as arts and sports. The school, in a sense, chooses you, not the opposite (much like a wand from Ollivander’s). That is, except for the students of Class 1-7, a.k.a. the “Happiness Class”, who have been deemed “unfortunate” and must try to overcome their own misfortune and achieve happiness. The series follows a core group of five students, who each have their own problems, as they try to find their own elation. (more…)
The “Ultimate” Goal
Now, I like a goofy show as much as the next person, but it bothers me when they break in into a ‘half-and-half’, so the first grouping of episodes are an exhilarating ride and when the ‘serious’ ones make their appearance, it gets somber and introspective, losing some of the charm that got you here in the first place. Such is the case with “Ultimate Otaku Teacher” (“Denpa Kyōshi” or “Electromagnetic-wave Teacher”, subtitled “He Is an Ultimate Teacher”). We have Jun’ichirō Kagami, 24, who is a genuine genius. He published a paper at 17, talking about a teleportation device. Despite that majestic early splash, he would rather spend his time playing video games and being a real NEET (but not necessarily a hihikimori). His sister, Suzune, feels that his talents are being wasted on his anime blog (What?!!? Wasting time with an anime blog? Is she nuts?) and he needs to get a job. No, let me rephrase that. GET A JOB OR I’LL BEAT YOUR BRAIN IN! (She is batting .545 with an on-base plus average nearing 1.000). (more…)
What if fantasy became real? What if you lived in a world where extra-dimensional creatures of every ilk and caliber, of every temperment and desire, of every size and strength, were made whole? Thus is the intriguing plot idea behind “Myriad Colors Phantom World” (“Musaigen no Fantomu Wārudo”). So, how did this come to be? (more…)