Anime You Might Not Have Tried/Heard Of #4

Hi there, I am back. Since I have been really lazy lately, I figured I might use this opportunity to give myself some motivations, so here I am. Plus, I am a man of promise:

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I know people (including myself) don't like big paragraphs, so I will try to make them more organized here with a more refined format rather than just throwing a whole wall of text at you.

By the way, if you haven't seen my previous thread, but interested:

http://www.theverge.com/2012/8/19/3252665/anime-you-might-not-have-try-heard-of

http://www.theverge.com/2012/8/24/3264181/anime-you-might-not-have-try-heard-of-2

http://www.theverge.com/2012/9/18/3345230/anime-you-might-not-have-tried-heard-of-3

Mazinkaiser SKL
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Genre: Mecha

Studio: Actas

Director: Kawagoe Jun (New Getter Robo, Innocent Venus, Getter Robo Armageddon)

Adapted From: Original, spinoff of Mazinkaiser, which is also a spinoff of Mazinger

Localized By: Media Blasters

Cast:

Asanuma Shintaro/Ethan Murray as Kaido Ken

Hino Satoshi/Doug Erholtz as Magami Ryo

Hayami Saori/Erin Fitzgerald as Yuki Tsubasa

Story:

Takes place in Machine Island, an island isolated from the rest of the world, three forces known as Garan Army, Kiba Army and Hachiryokaku are battling each other for the complete control of the island. The island itself was isolated by "Gravity Curtain", which had became unstable and threatening the mankind. Learning the danger of the Gravity Curtain, the worldwide government WSO decided to sent the Skull Force to the island to disable the it while combating the island's resident. Within the Skull Force, there are two men, Kaido Ken and Magami Ryo, pilots of a Mazinger known as Mazinkaiser SKL...

Impression:

See what I typed up there? You can totally ignore it. It's what I call a mech porno. There is a story, but you don't care, you are here for the actions. The whole show is about watching giant robots with badass pilot kicking asses, so don't expect anything like a deep story where people realized they need to stop fighting for peace or adding bunch of biblical references for no reason. This will be a very short paragraph, considered there is only 3 episodes, and there isn't really much in it. The art style, while nothing new, it did well in combining the old school 70s style and a more modern style.Animation is not bad, but not something you expect from an OVA, not to mention there are lots of rehashing scenes. However, it's a bit forgiven, since it's a rather experimental anime for the series (new setting, new characters, new style, new everything).

Since it's an action focused show, the action scenes are very well done. Remember back in the days when you were watching a robot anime from 80s (or 90s, or whatever you think it's awesome) where two robot kicked each other's asses and you were sitting in front of the screen all bumped up? This is what you will get. Overall, if you are a Mazinger fan, or just super robot fans in general, go watch it. Even if you ended up not liking it, it won't be that much of a waste of time, I mean, it's only three episodes.

Accel World

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Genre: Sci-fi/Action/Cyberpunk

Studio: Sunrise (Gundam, Gintama, Code Geass)

Director: Obara Masakazu (Mai-Hime, Mai Otome, Sora Kake Girls)

Adapted From: Light novel by Kawahara Reki (Sword Art Online)

Localized By: Viz Media

Cast:

Kaji Yuki as Arita Haruyuki/Silver Crow

Misawa Sachika as Princess Snow Black/Black Lotus

Toyosaki Aki as Kurashima Chiyuri

Asanuma Shintaro as Mayuzumi Takumu

Story:

In the year of 2046, a technology known as Neuro Synchronization was created. Through the Neuro Linker, virtual reality and internet had easily became an important part of people's everyday life. Fat and short, bullied by classmates, low self-esteem, our protagonist Arita Haruyuiki is the very typical example of geeky kids we have seen in real life. Cursing the reality, video games in VR, where he is not restrain by his phytsical condition, is the one place he can find his confidence. One day, however, he found out that his high score was taken by someone else in the school network. Depressed by the fact that he had finally lost his last source of self-esteem, the beautiful and popular student council vice-president, Princess Snow Black, appeared in front of him. "Do you want to accelerate even more, young man?" Accepting Princess Snow Black's invitation, Haruyuki entered the program known as Brain Burst, a program that allow the user to accelerate their thought 1000 times by consuming Burst Points, and fight as Burst Linker in the VR known as Accelerated World to gain more Burst Points.

Impression:

Story

  • Anime that takes place in video games are nothing new, but for Accel World, it has a very interesting and detailed setting. Many details of the setting also stated that Brain Burst is something more serious than just a video game, as it affects the user's real life as well. This makes the story and actions a lot more intense after knowing the consequence of the characters after they lose. With the setting, the story involved both the real world and the virtual world, with both affecting each other. There are also lots of cheesy setting and naming in here, which kinda make Brain Burst more video game like. Outside of the actions, the story mostly deal with Haruyuki being a low self-esteem bullied kid, and how he overcome those hardship though the help of others and himself with Brain Burst being the medium of it. Overall, the story did nothing new, and there are lots of cheesy moments, but it was enjoyable enough to keep me watching.

Visual

  • The visual is very well done, and expected from Sunrise, who had already familiarized themselves with Gundam (not to mention they have money from Namco Bandai). The virtual avatars in the show are well drawn with details, and such detail did not go away even when they are in motions. The actions scenes themselves are also very fast pace without spending too much time on unnecessary movements. Another thing worth mentioning is the interface of Brain Burst, which looks extremely cool. Whoever design that needs to work for a game company for at least once.

Character

  • The characters, while generic on paper, I found them surprisingly enjoyable. Haruyuki and his character development are something you can find in almost every anime, but the character itself is very believable and can be easily related to. There are other generic character developments as well, but the anime avoided spending too much time on them, which make them a lot easier for the audiences to enjoy.

Overall, if you are looking for an anime about video game, and don't mind some cheesiness here and there, or maybe you prefer your meal to be cheesy, you should give it a try. I won't say it's the best anime ever, but an enjoyable one for me at least.

Daily Lives of Highschool Boys/Danshi Koukousei no Nichijou

(Or as some people like to call it "Nichibros")

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Genre: Comedy/Slice of Life

Studio: Sunrise

Director: Takamatsu Shinji (Gintama)

Adapted From: Manga by Yamauchi Yasunobu

Localized By: NIS America

Cast:

Irino Miyu as Tadakuni

Sugita Tomokazu as Hidenori

Suzumura Kenichi as Yoshitake

Hikasa Yoko as Literature Girl

Story:

lol What story?

Impression:

You have seen anime with high school girls doing nothing. But how about an anime about high school boy instead? I have to admit, it's one of the funniest anime I have watched. The gags are just brilliant and stupid in the same time. Having Square Enix as the sponsor with Dragon Quest parodies also help a lot too. I am pretty sure I am not the only one who said to myself "Hey! I did that when I was in high school!" or "Man! I wish I did that that when I was in high school!" while watching this. Another thing worth mentioning, it's the voice cast. They are pretty much another reason why you are laughing, since many funny scenes were depended on their funny voices. Just go watch it. To be honest, I think most people will enjoy it. I knew Rachel Fogg did when I told her about this anime.

Well, I guess I can show you a sample of it to convince you.

Tari Tari

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Genre: Drama/Music

Studio P.A. Works (Hanasaku Iroha, True Tears, Another)

Director: Hashimoto Masakazu

Adapted From: Original

Localized By: Sentai Filmworks

Cast:

Takagaki Ayahi as Sakai Wakana

Seto Asami as Miyamoto Konatsu

Hayami Saori as Okita Sawa

Shimazaki Nobunaga as Tanaka Taichi

Hanae Natsuki as Wien

Story:

The story take place in a high school that offer both general and music major. Miyamoto Konatsu, a student with a great interest in music and once joined the music club in her junior year, decided to quit the music club after her teacher claim that she has no talent in music, and start a new chorus club of her own. With Konatsu's new chorus club and it's new members, Sakai Wakana, who had once gave up music, Okita Sawa, Konatsu's best friend who was interested in archery and jockey, Tanaka Taichi, the one and only badminton club member, and Wien, a boy who just transferred in after studying aboard in Vienna for 12 years, the five high school seniors who had their very own dreams to pursuit were slowly brought together by music.

Impression:

Story & Character

  • The story is very character driven, and the good thing is that the characters are likable. In fact, the characters are one of the reason why I like it so much. Each character has their very own back story and developments, and they are slowly pieced together as the story progress, and they can be quite emotional sometimes. It's also great to see ho the characters started off barely talking to each other (except Konatsu and Sawa), but become very close friends by the end of the story. Their interactions just give you that feeling of "Man, this is youth!" (which also makes you feel like an old geezer). The character Konatsu also has a very interesting role. While she is not the first main character, she plays the protagonist for the beginning part of the story, and the center of the story after Wakana takes on to become the "real main character", and later on there are also arcs dedicated to the rest of the three main characters. That gave each of the 5 characters an equal opportunity to shine without anyone being left out, and made their friendship very admirable and eventually quite touching.

Presentation

  • Many parts of the story is told through flashbacks. What I want to talk about is the way they are being told and the screen transition. Whenever there is a flashback being presented, there are no fancy special effect for the transition, they just simply cut the flashbacks in right away like they are happening in the same scene. It feels very plain and ordinary, but it really build up the ordinary atmosphere the show is aiming for. Another good thing about it is that it shows how the events take place in those flashback is actually affecting and reflecting in present time. Wakana's mother is dead before the show begin, but with those flashbacks, you can still understand her character very well like she is still alive, not a dead character just simply there being used as a plot device.

Visual

  • As expected from P.A. Works, simply gorgeous. The most worth mentioning is the background. Not only are they beautifully drawn, but they also did a lot of research on the place the story is taking place in, something they are known for (they did the same thing with True Tears and Hanasaku Iroha as well, which cause the place in real life become a tourist spot for quite a while). Sz643_mediumLjiyf_mediumThe character designs is done by Tanu, the artist behind the (in)famous PSP game Akiba's Trip. The anime staff also did a great job at translating his artstyle in anime form including the background.

Voice

  • As an anime about music, the voice actors did a fantastic job at both acting and singing (Though I never expect Takagaki can sing in such high pitch voice). A little complain will be Wien's voice actor, Hanae's voice acting is a little weak in the beginning compare to the others, though not bad for someone who were doing voice acting for the first time, and you can tell he greatly improved his voice acting by each episode. I also found his singing to be the most charming one out the 5 main characters, which is a shame, because there aren't many solo for Wien in here.

While I understand not everyone share the same taste, I have to say this is a very well done anime and I will recommended it to anyone. For people who haven't graduate high school yet, the story can be very encouraging for you while you are on your way to pursuit your dream, while the people who had graduate, or even those who are already on their career, can definitely remind themselves back when they are in high school and that passion they have for their future. Now go watch it and BEHOLD THE POWER OF YOUTH!

I was thinking about writing a few more, but I guess that's enough, as I don't want to hurt your eyes with these huge wall of text. Though I have the following three days off, so maybe there will be another one up by tomorrow? (I know, that's what I said last time too, it's not gonna be tomorrow.)