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24 of 24 episodes seen
You know how everyone talks about this anime called Mawaru Penguindrum?
Just one single show can completely change your landscape.
Such a thought-provoking series is not made by mere coincidence.
It's definitely... fate.
Of course, it's not for everyone.
There are many mysterious, seemingly pointless story developments.
It's hard to accept abstract ideas that start with nothing but confusion.
But I think... Every line of dialogue, every object drawn in the show exist for a reason.
Nothing in this show is pointless.
What if I asked viewers what anime was like before they have seen Mawaru Penguindrum?
They've forgotten what it was like when they didn't?
You could say anime today isn't hopeless thanks to this show.
The feeling of noticing perplexing symbolism.
Hearing the sound that you'll never forget.
Plot twists at startling rate.
This show can change your perspective of anime in a heartbeat.
Apples, diaries, penguins, and even the color of trash cans...
seemed like treasures filled with possibilities when I saw them with an open mind.
But... I can't go back now.
I can still watch generic anime.
Although, I can't recall what I liked about them.
Sometimes I wonder why there aren't more deep, meaningful anime like this.
The next season's lineup appear awfully uncertain to me right now.
Like Poyopoyo Kansatsu Nikki's cat.
A half-cute, half-round, manly cat.
On the other hand, if there has to be shallow series to make deep ones more enjoyable...
then everything must have a meaning.
That's what I would like to think.
Mawaru Penguindrum starts with mystery.
Storytelling here is like a true Japanese movie: Subtle.
Main heroine here is Oginome Ringo.
The stalker of main characters' teacher.
She builds an observation post below the teacher's house from scratch.
A charismatic yandere in modern Tokyo.
It's a penguin eat dog world.
The "real", heroine in the second half is useless in the first half.
Girls like her should just get netorare!
Gosh, you must watch this series to the end.
Mawaru Penguindrum will keep you thinking.
Abstract ideas here are like puzzles: Thought-provoking.
Main heroine here is Takakura Himari.
The sister of main characters.
She's sick from a terminal disease.
A tragic princess in the border between life and death.
It's a world of duality.
The brothers stop searching for an unknown object called "Penguindrum" and try to keep her alive from scratch.
Journeys like that should be more important than destination!
Gosh, I must watch this series again.
Do you like beautiful imagery in anime?
Do you like allegory and careful attention paid to every detail on the screen?
Of course you do!
I feel the same way.
Or rather, I can only love beautiful artwork.
After all, I am an anime enthusiast.
There are so much detail in every single frame that will make more and more sense by the episode.
That's why you must not only watch this series, you have to watch it again.
Viewers who don't do this are ugly and stupid.
They can't appreciate the art in Mawaru Penguindrum.
Listen well. No one loves mindless viewers. They don't have the right to be loved.
It's a pretentious anime, after all.
Artwork in 'Mawawru Penguindrum' removed the impurity in the background, such that only beauty remains.
Just as the great Ikuhara produced the magnificent 'Shoujo Kakumei Utena' from storyboards.
So, I have a favor to ask of you.
Give yourself the opportunity to see this masterpiece. Let yourself see the beauty in this series.
It's Fabulous Max!
Action, comedy, suspense, joy and sorrow, calmness and anger.
If BGM didn't reflect the mood on screen, then why do they even exist?
Because, ever since that very first episode, music in the background matched perfectly with the story.
The only thing we heard were true theme songs and BGM... Music to our ears.
Isn't it electrifying?
Listen, you lowlifes who will never amount to anything.
Obtain the TL notes from my blog.
Let's initiate the Survival Strategy.
Why are people born?
If people are born only to suffer through shallow anime,
is it meant as some kind of a punishment?
Or a cynical joke?
If that's the case, viewers who adhere to their innate curiosity programmed in their DNA...
are far more elegant and simple.
If there really is a 2011 anime worthy of watching,
then, it must be called Mawaru Penguindrum.
I love anime that deal with "fate".
You know how everyone talks about this anime called Mawaru Penguindrum?
If you were able to read through this wall of text, you probably have what it takes to enjoy this series.
I didn't write the review in this format by mere coincidence.
It's definitely... fate.
Of course, it's not for everyone.
There are many unpredictable twists and unexplained mysteries.
It's hard to fully understand the meaning of all the allegories and symbolisms in this series.
But I think...
Every line of dialogue, every object drawn in this series exist for a reason.
Nothing in this show is pointless.
*Stamps* Destiny. read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
The story is arc-based with at most two characters for every case. This ensured great character development for the featured characters, which is the driving force behind this series. Unlike your typical detective show, the cases are often simple. They're often very much solvable thanks to the abundance of hints planted throughout each arc. KamiMemo was far more engaging than Gosick to me as I found myself thinking about each incident with the characters rather than just watching a detective story presented to me. The downside of simple cases is that the story seems dull at times, though it makes up for it by adding drama and inspiration to the story.
Despite being a detective anime, KamiMemo is filled with themes typically found in shounen (especially battle or sports) anime such as friendship, determination, justice/morality, belonging, search for a purpose in life, and love. There's also quite a bit of action, and like in the real life, many things are settled by brute force in the end rather than intelligence alone.
The characters are rather stereotypical, but the anime spends a significant amount of time developing each person involved with each crime. Though Alice, Major, Hiro, and Tetsu were underdeveloped and functions almost exclusively as case solvers to advance the plot. The focus is on Narumi's growth as a person and clients of the NEET Investigation Firm. Their past, hopes, and desires are carefully presented to build up for the climaxes. While it can difficult to accept the corniness of Alice's speech and the convenience of the buildups at times, you are always rewarded with touching drama and inspiration by the end of each episode.
The art and animation quality is absurdly high for a series of this type. Characters designs are very generic, but everything is detailed and maintains extraordinary consistency (even in a baseball filler episode). There are some sloppiness when characters are shown from distance, but this is only noticeable because of the amount of detail and fluidity in regular scenes. Overall, the visuals are far above par.
OP/ED are very addictive songs that fit the show perfectly (I didn't even skip them!). Voicing is a perfect match for every character, and BGMs were decent.
Episode 1 (double-length) was an original story specifically written for anime by the author of the novel, and in my opinion it was by far the best, most well thought out arc. I think this shows J.C. Staff's inability to properly pace and adapt novels. Everything was summarized pretty well in the final episode despite it being volume 1 out of 7 in the novels though. There were many instances where I felt the anime was saved by the inherent strength of its source material, but I found it to be very enjoyable overall. read more
1 of 1 episodes seen
The art/animation in this movie is top-notch. Production I.G. with assistance from P.A. Works, Studio Pierrot, and CG by Dandelion resulted in stunning visual quality down to the tiniest details. What I especially liked, was the amount of attention paid to body language and gestures. There's so much information to be gleaned from visuals alone, and that's what I find most interesting about Japanese films. There was also this action sequence near the end that just blew me away. I don't want to spoil, but I have not seen such breathtaking hand-drawn animation since watching "Tonari no Totoro" in the late '80s.
The story begins with the protagonist, Momo, moving to a small fictional island named Shiojima with her mother. Their new house appears to be haunted, and she feels absolutely miserable about moving out of Tokyo. Being a city girl that she is, Momo struggles to adjust to the country life. Instead of playing with the local kids, she eventually befriends three Youkai in her house - Iwa, Kawa, and Mame. Momo begins to appreciate the life on the island, and come to realize the meaning of his late father's unfinished letter to her.
The character development in this movie is absolutely phenomenal. It begins with a light comedy, but through numerous adventures and mishaps on the island, we slowly learn about her past. The transition from comedy to drama is seamless, and it really makes you to care about the protagonist by the end... This film has what I call magic, something Ghibli films of late desperately lack. Although the local kids were severely underused in this movie, I think the three Youkai were the true supporting cast. Their chemistry with the protagonist was excellent, and the humor just comes naturally. Mame's character was especially funny in a quirky way. One can easily tell how much thought and planning has been put into this film just by watching the impeccable timing at which Mame's character was used as comedic relief every single time.
Every piece of music appears to be fully orchestrated, especially the violins stood out to build tension in action scenes. Momo's voice acting by child actress and seiyuu Miyama Karen was a perfect fit, as well as the three Youkai.
"A Letter to Momo" is almost like a homage to Studio Ghibli's kids movies - "My Neighbor Totoro", "Spirited Away", and "Ponyo". It sticks to the tried and tested formula of supernatural spirits that only interacts with kids, and somewhat predictable plot development. However, the producers have managed to merge various elements from all those films into an exciting original story. "A Letter to Momo" is a magical crowd- pleaser with great pacing and a heartwarming story. It's a solid movie that anime and movie fans should not miss.
Possibly the best all-ages anime movie since "Spirited Away" (2001). read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
'Hidan no Aria' has just about every cliche harem elements in the book. The premise focusing on a special occupation to try to be unique, the characters strip and trip randomly for fan service, violent retribution for accidental infringement, archetype heroines, obvious tsundere stuttering, ordinary high school student with hidden special powers, protagonist is surrounded by girls who are crazy about him for no reason... I can go on and on.
The core premise is somewhat interesting. It's set in a school that trains mercenaries, and the students undergo various lethal training and get credits through actual missions. However, there are also a lot of stupid concepts going on, like all them being "butei" (combat detectives), the Hysteria Mode, and the fact that almost every character is descendent of a famous historical and fictional figures - Lupin the 3rd, Sherlock Holmes, Joan of Arc, Tooyama Kinshirou, Himiko, Count Dracula... it gets embarrassing to watch after a while.
The story consists of one improbable event after another. The character and villain's actions rarely make any sense. It gets so bad that a good guy would point the gun at the bad guy and say something like "there's no escape now", and the bad guy just runs without getting shot. I had no idea why this series needed to be about "detectives" as there were almost zero thinking going on. It's more like charge in first and see what happens next. It's also pretty absurd all the characters were carrying the gun and shoots around in the school campus, and of course, everything is bullet proof so no one gets hurt. The jokes get repetitive, with the protagonist getting into ecchi situation with random girls, and seen by one of the yandere/tsundere heroines and gets "kaza-ana".
Worst of all is the protagonist's "Hysteria Mode", which gets triggered from sexual arousal. This is the stupidest activation trigger I have ever heard, and serves only as a tool for fan service.
Art in this series is decent. The female characters are attractive, though extremely generic design. Character movement is very stiff and apparently low budget, but there are some nice slow motion action scenes that it's at least average quality in terms of animation.
The voicing for Aria is absolutely horrible, a stereotypical tsundere voice with zero distinction. Not only that, it gets seriously annoying after a while. Other characters' seiyuu were average at best. BGM is quite insignificant, and OP/ED were average.
There is nothing in 'Hidan no Aria' that sets it apart from hundreds of other harem series. It's obvious why a certain fansub group would trollsub a series like this, and in fact, the sound effects guys in this series started trolling in latter part of this series, like inserting sheep sounds at the mention of 「執事」, a word meaning "butler" but has similar pronunciation to Japanese word "sheep".
Admittedly, Riko's character was extremely hot both in design and personality, and ecchi in this series was decent. It's one of those series you watch to kill time, and see how bad it gets. B-But it's not like I enjoy watching this series or anything! read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
It functions only as a test ground for me. It is also a spoiler zone in this page.
Under the current assessment of the series, it is a "9/10".
This was determined by my reaction to audio-visual investigation of the SHAFT seishun anime.
Patience is the closest thing viewers have to salvation.
However, accelerated exposure could amplify the viewing experience of a class-2 audience.
A collective of readers that has forgotten it is a collective of voters... That is you.
Members of the self-unaware, clueless MAL users under aliases are not permitted to vote "Not Helpful" on this review.
Injection of corrective program to opinionated haters with inflated pessimism and distaste!
I would write the entire review in Denpanese, but I used up my esper mana for speaking an alien language.
The word "denpa" (lit. "electromagnetic waves") is used to refer to people with overly-active imaginations who appear to live in their own world. In other words, delusional psychopaths.
The word "seishun" (lit. "blue spring") means "adolescent" or "puberty". However, the term often implies the joys and challenges of overcoming immaturity, and youthful romance, as per usage in "seishun points".
'Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko'(loosely translated to "Psychopathic Girl and Adolescent Boy") begins with the the protagonist Niwa Makoto moving into a new city, known as the "the City Watched Over by Aliens". He's in his aunt Meme's care, whose daughter Erio is a denpa hikikomori wrapped in futon.
The story begins with Makoto getting to know Erio. She's got a serious case of denpa, believing herself to be an alien who came to Earth to investigate the mankind. Being a nice guy that he is, Makoto takes her out to prove she's a human being and can't fly like E.T. After that, the focus is transferred to the remaining cast, Mifune "Ryuushi-san" Ryuuko, Maekawa-san, and Hoshimiya Yashiro.
Many viewers must have felt betrayed when Erio turned from a jargon-spitting enigmatic girl in a futon to an ordinary shy girl, but ironically, Makoto and Erio are surrounded by denpa and therefore has plenty of material for comedy and accumulation of Seishun Points.
Niwa Makoto is your average protagonist in a harem setup. He even describes his own situation as a typical protagonist in school drama in the first episode. However, he does have his own unique Seishun Point system to keep track of the quality of his school life, and does actively pursue opportunities to accumulate points. He is one of the more likable protagonist around in that he has a skeptic, realistic personality, but man up when it really counts. He has a pretty good sense of humor, and we as viewers follow his narration as a guide, seeing things through his perspective almost the entire time.
Touwa Erio started out as a hopeless loner whose own mother had given up on her for becoming denpa after a traumatizing event in her childhood. She does eventually get "fixed" by Makoto, and makes a slow return into the society. Her character provided early selling point for the series, and we see her gradual change after Makoto showed up. This season ended at volume 3 of the novel series, out of 8 volumes in total. Her change in character was limited to finding a part-time job and participating group events, but there is surely more to come if a sequel is ever made.
Touwa Meme is a 40-year old aunt of Makoto, who acts like a child all the time and sputters nonsense all the time. Her role in this series is mainly MILF moe and acting as a puppet-master who influences the other main characters to get the story going. She's quite mysterious, and it's hard to know what she's thinking, but as audiences, we know she's hiding something about Elliott, who may or may not be an alien.
Ryuushi-san is probably the most interesting character in this series. She is a moeblob, but has an unique and consistent quirkiness that worked really well with Makoto. Their chemistry is excellent, and she's just one of those adorably cute hard working character that you can't help but cheer for. She is the de facto Heroine in this season, spending most time with Makoto and the only one to actively try to win him over like a character in a true seishun series. Yashiro's line in ep11 makes me wonder if they would eventually become an item. The way she blushes around Makoto was really cute, and I'll certainly be cheering for her.
Maekawa-san's personality is almost the opposite of Ryuushi-san. She's always composed and has a dark sense of humor, also seems to have analyzed every situtation and knows what's going on. However, she also seems to have a screw loose on her head, with all the strange cosplays shown in every episode. Her role in the show is mainly to tease Makoto and Ryuushi-san, but getting them together conflicts with her apparent feelings for Makoto. There could be some major character development for her if the sequel is ever made. And of course, her costumes are also there for moe to niche viewers.
Hoshimiya Yashiro made a very late appearance this season, but left a huge impact into the story. She claims to be an alien esper, which no one believes, but she has shown evidence of her super powers throughout the final few episodes. Interestingly, she says Makoto and Ryuushi both have "the potential", which was precisely what Erio said to Makoto early in the show when she was still a major denpa. Yashiro also brings a new theme to the show, that one should not limit their potential, and develop the strength to believe. This message is extremely similar to 'Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin', but it is executed far better here, with many great inspirational scenes.
Every major characters have their roles in the show, and the character headcount is very low to ensure every character gets their own spotlight. There were some pacing problems in the middle as one non-linear episode mixed in and extremely slow story development, but there are incredibly inspiring and touching moments of youth in every episode as a treat. There are also plenty of references to other manga and anime, sometimes even real life events to keep us entertained.
Art and animation is this series is generally very good. The character designs are attractive, with great cuts and camera angles (although it's almost completely devoid of the signature SHAFT animation style). There are few scenes where characters seemed deformed for budget saving purposes, possibly using Korean animators, but every single inspiring scene (and fan service scene) that actually matters is drawn to perfection. SHAFT knows how to inspire and how to best use visual support to tell a story, and it shows once again in this series.
Voice acting, with exception of Erio, is spectacular. Ryuushi-san's voice acting is what I would call 「ハマリ役」, epic casting. Her voice is so unique, yet fits the character perfectly. All the seiyuu staff in this series are extremely motivated, and their lines are filled with emotion, especially in the most critical lines.
BGM is also incredibly touching and flows extremely well. It kind of just plays in the background, but becomes really noticeable in critical scenes to improve the viewing experience... it's in total harmony with the story.
OP is a "denpa song" in a whole different way. The term is usually used to describe songs with incomprehensible lyrics. In this case, the lyrics do make sense, but BGM composition and the vocal sound absolutely retarded. This works extremely well for a series about denpa, and it's somehow addicting. Absolutely brilliant.
ED is rather dull, but cute song with fun lyrics and unique whisper vocals.
'Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko' has many classic, almost cliché seishun elements, such as screaming out corny lines in public, running towards the sun (its variation biking towards the moon was used), awkward silences between the opposite sex, working hard on sports... However, it's the execution that makes all the difference, and it really shows in this series. The main message of keeping our minds open and appreciate every moment of our lives, it really reached my heart.
This series has also given me a new level of appreciation for NisiOisiN's works. Although the series does attempt to use witty dialogs to advance the story and succeeded to some degree, it lacks the pacing and sophistication seen in similar NisiOisiN adaptations by SHAFT, 'Bakemonogatari' and 'Katanagatari'. If I had to pick, this is closest to 'Soredemo Machi wa Mawatte Iru' for being a rare authentic 'slice-of-life' anime, and also the extreme quirkiness that's hit-or-miss for its viewers. It was a definite hit for me, and I'll definitely look forward to the sequel.
'Denpa Onna to Seishun Otoko' is a story full of dreams and depicts an ordinary guy in a crazy city, trying living his life to the fullest. It's brilliant, and exactly what a true seishun series is all about. If you disagree, I guess I'll just say it out loud in a clear and concise phrase...
"If you say so." read more
12 of 12 episodes seen
The art in the show has a nostalgic style, with retro character designs. For the most part, this show seems like it could've been made in the '70s, but the battle scenes are ridiculously detailed and serious that you know it was done on purpose for laughs, and find it funny.
OP/ED are also designed to be funny, with OP having obviously outdated tune that was popular in the '70s anime songs, with matching voice that was far too serious for the series. The ED has an absurdly inappropriate lyric that keeps repeating "someday we'll all drop dead" in a song sang in lullaby style.
The voice acting was excellent, with all the character sounding very unique, yet fits perfectly for each role. The biggest surprise was the guest appearance of Nozawa Masako (who also went on to voice Gokuu in 'DBZ' and Doraemon) and Sakai Sumie, the seiyuu for Enma and Yukiko in the original series in final episode.
'Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera' is one of the few anime series that successfully pulled off "so bad it's actually good" because it pokes fun at the '70s in every single aspect of the anime, which is essentially making fun of itself.
Final episode was truly epic, with plenty of seizure-inducing visual troll going on. But on the other hand, brings closure to the story while solving all the unexplained plot devices, and makes good use of opening narration for every single episode "I will never forget the heroes who came from Hell."
The story also makes reference to many '70s events such as the Osaka Expo and the Vietnam War. This makes it a very difficult series for most viewers, since it is based on a kids show, but kids today won't possibly get the references. The art style has the retro feel, but older viewers may be turned off by excessive ecchi and 'Crayon Shin-chan' level jokes. 'Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera' is a very very niche anime that 90% of you will not enjoy, but it's a gem for those who actually "get it". In terms of retro gag anime, this is as good as it gets. read more
11 of 11 episodes seen
The main theme of this series is "present vs future", with the main antagonist on the "present" side of the argument vying for the control of the financial district against the protagonist's "future" argument. This could be a direct criticism to the banking industry for their irresponsible lending for short-term profits (the present), which ultimately led to the subprime mortgage breakdown and Lehman Brothers declaring bankruptcy, subsequently causing economic disaster in Japan as well (loss of future). Using a person's future as collateral for cash today is also an extreme representation of excessive lending.
The story begins in the generic shounen fashion, with the "ordinary but chosen" student suddenly getting an invitation to participate in something greater, and given "powers" in the form of money and Digimon "assets". The underlying concept of this series is extremely weak, since it's based on an overly complicated battle system akin to 'Yu-Gi-Oh!' or 'Duel Masters', which relies on new rules and abilities introduced out of nowhere in the most deus ex machina manner imaginable to advance battles. We are literally being told that the protagonist is "blessed with a strong asset" because that's the only way to explain how he won the first battle, and one minute we're being told the amount of money in possession or strategy decides the outcome, the next minute they somehow manage to defeat the richer Sennoza without strategy (pure guts?).
This series is also plagued from the presence of too many characters. There is simply not enough time in an 11-episode series to develop 20+ characters, and many of their actions did not make sense. It was especially hard to identify the protagonist's motivation for rejecting the "present" view point, and his relationship with Hanabi, if she can even be called a heroine, since she is a non-presence in terms of screen time, and appears to be nothing more than a simple friend the protagonist has a little crush on. Every single opponent the protagonist faced are presented as good-but-misguided people fighting for an honorable purpose, and extremely forgiving towards the protagonist for destroying their lives. This is lazy scriptwriting, there's no excuse for it.
The art and animation in this series is wonderful. The surreal alternative world, the dynamic presentation, the "wall" between the real life and virtual (Msyu sitting beside protagonist, the obtrusive word bubble etc), the action sequence... all makes this series very fun to watch. Character designs are pretty attractive, and other than slightly sloppy CGI in the second half of the show, it was perfect.
Sound was almost equally wonderful, with excellent voice acting that fits well for every main character, especially that of Msyu by Tomatsu Haruka.
Exciting battle BGM, and even more impressive was the music in slow scenes with the nostalgic and poignant feeling that they invoke.
The OP was a good yet ordinary rock song, but the ED 'RPG' by School Food Punishment was an overwhelmingly fitting song for this series, accompanied by arguably the most visually pleasing ED animation since 'Tatami Galaxy'.
I loved the atmosphere in this series. The narration and back-story for characters were also very enjoyable. However, they are too fragmented to make a huge impact to the main story. The single biggest flaw of this series is that the battles are far too superficial. Other money or life-game series such as 'Death Note' and 'Liar Game' had clear introduction of rules, which are enforced throughout the "game", using strategy or suspense for entertainment. On the other hand, 'C' used action, which simply does not make sense for a series of this kind. Strategies were superficial, and the consequences of loss (bankruptcy) were extremely vague. It feels like we're being shown a game's replay, rather than playing along with the protagonist. The premise of this series was amazing, with the existence of an alternative market, the Midas money, and the virtual world affecting the real. Unfortunately, the battle system was unable to fully capitalize on the concept. Perhaps the protagonist should've just turned into a stock trader or swindler... anyone using wits to earn money instead of a virtual pet who had nothing to do with money.
It also wasn't clear how the virtual world functioned, and what purposes they served. SEA financial district bankruptcy that destroyed Singapore sending "shock waves" approaching other markets? It was literally depicted like tsunami approaching on screen with a countdown rather actually showing how global businesses are connected and affected by international markets. It got so bad that there was a big stylized letter "C" moving across the ocean on a screen to represent the economic effect moving. In the end, nothing was explained, and the protagonist's efforts were in vain. The world turns as usual, and the corrupt financial districts will continue to exist.
The message of the series was also very conflicted. It started out as blatant criticism of the banking industry and questioning the importance of money, then it was the trust in the currency, and finally the big bad America? I did like how they attempted to show the futility of printing money to fix economic disaster (representing the futile Quantitative Easing), but it makes no sense to use losing face value of a currency as a crisis when Japan's recession today is mostly attributed to the strong yen. It also didn't really make sense to blame the U.S. for the financial crisis, because well, if it wasn't trade relationship with America, they would not have had the money to lose in financial crisis in the first place. Not to mention it was the U.S. that suffered the most in this recession. Like it's mentioned in one episode, you prosper together in a network, fall together too.
Random business jargons were being thrown out throughout the series, with terms like "entrepreneur" (they would usually just say "Kigyouka" in Japanese for that), "collateral" ("future" as "collateral" should not be affected until failure of repayment, so why does printing more money using future as collateral instantly destroyed people's future?), and nonsense battle moves like "Macro/Mezzo/Micro-flation", "M&A", "Overheated Economy", and "Cannibalization" (this term in business means launching a new product that eats away the sales of existing product of your own company, not eating others) etc. just makes it obvious those terms were being used simply to sound cool and an attempt to appear different from every other shounen battle anime.
'C' is a total failure in addressing real world issues. The setting, story, and character development are disastrous, but visual and audio presentation are very pleasing with good pacing. It's an enjoyable series as long as you don't think too much or take it too seriously.
It is, after all, a show that has chosen style over substance.
Jun 23, 2011Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae wo Bokutachi wa Mada Shi... (Anime) add
11 of 11 episodes seen
Childhood friends often mean a lot to us, maybe because we feel they understand us better for having a longer relationship than anyone else, or maybe it's the memory of having fun without having to worry about anything. But what happens when you lose one in your early life? What happens if you're stuck in the past?
This series is about a group of six kids who had a very poor naming sense, once called themselves the "Super Peace Busters" as well as giving one of the girls the nickname "Anaru". Yes, that's how the Japanese pronounce "anal". Other members of the group are "Jintan", "Menma", "Poppo", "Yukiatsu", and "Tsuruko".
Fast forward 10 years and Menma is dead, with the group almost completely split up.
'AnoHana' is the tale of Menma's mysterious return from afterlife to reunite the "Super Peace Busters".
Much of the first half of the story focuses on "seishun (coming of age)", with childhood friendship and the bond that connects the six as a major theme. The second half focuses on 'Junai (pure Love)', the unwavering love and the pain of losing someone dear, and the inability to move on with their lives.
The main characters are all suffering from Menma's death in their own unique ways, and conflicted with their own inner struggles.
Jintan and Yukiatsu are still obsessed over Menma, Anaru and Tsuruko can't get over her because she's still the focus of the guys they love, and Poppo for always watching in the sidelines. The story really focuses on the development of the five living characters, and there are many memorable, touching moments of youth.
Animation in this series is extremely fluid as expected from an A-1 Pictures production. The director Nagai Tatsuyuki who worked on 'Toradora' and 'To Aru Kagaku no Railgun' is a master at presenting seishun series in anime. 'AnoHana' is set in a countryside town with a slow, gentle atmosphere, but the director manages to inspire in key scenes as usual, using dynamic animation and sudden change in pace after building up for climax in each episode. The slower scenes have interesting camera positions and composition to draw in the attention of the audience.
Sound in this series is absolutely spectacular. BGM is the single most effective element in this series in setting the atmosphere, especially enhancing the inspirational and touching scenes.
Seiyuu cast, other for Menma, were also extremely well done. One can tell they are all very much absorbed into their characters, and really sound like they mean it rather than just reading the script. This is especially crucial in emotional/sentimental scenes, because acting make or break a series like this.
The OP 'Aoi Shiori (Blue Bookmark)' has a very catchy tune with matching vocal by Galileo Galilei and poignant lyrics. It should also be noted that "blue" is a part of kanji for "seishun ("blue" + "spring")", symbolizing coming of age.
The ED 'secret base ~what you have given me~ (10 years after Version)' is a masterpiece. I was a ZONE fan back in the day, and 'secret base' is undeniably their iconic song, and one of the most memorable Jpop songs of the decade. I hate to admit it, but the vocals and the music composition in this remake has surpassed the original. Not only that, the choice of this song as ED is absolutely godly. The lyric is about the memory of childhood and dreams for the future, and also a verse about "10 years later in August". The original song was released in 2001, AND the story of 'Ano Hana' is about a girl returning 10 years after death, in August. The ED animation scene with gray flowers falling to colored flowers rising was nothing short of incredible. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say, this may be one of the best ED ever made.
'AnoHana' is rather generic as a seishun/junai series. In fact, the premise of this show: "Dead girl coming back into life, and tracing back" is identical to that of 'Ima, Ai ni Yukimasu (Be With You)', except the girl is still much younger, and that only the protagonist can see her. And eventually, turns into 'Sekai no Chuushin de, Ai wo Sakebu (Crying Out Love, In the Center of the World)' type developments.
Still, it has an interesting use of plot devices, effective flashbacks, and very strong presentation. It feels like a true Japanese story and direction, and if you can connect with the characters, it's a very touching and memorable series. read more
25 of 25 episodes seen
The true meaning of the title was never revealed, but most speculators believe it's short for 'BAKUchi MANga.' (Gambling Manga). It is a simple tale of two middle school guys setting out to become professional manga artists. The story progresses like any other sports or music anime, where ordinary guys aim for the top, facing many challenges and rivals on the way. However, I consider this to be the greatest shounen/seishun (coming of age) genre anime I have ever encountered, because it analyzes what makes a manga good in a coherent way, and more importantly, it practices what it preaches.
This is a review by EIGHTHSin, and contains many spoilers. Read it at your own risk.
According to 'Bakuman.', there are SEVEN major steps to manga creation - Name, under-sketch, inking, filling, effects, screen tone, and whiteout. I'm no expert in manga drawing, but with this series being a manga about manga (which actually got serialized), I have no doubt this is correct. Of course, this anime alone is not nearly enough to teach you about how to draw manga, but it is quite enough to entertain a casual viewer like me. The show also emphasizes the difficulty of the process, that one cannot hope to succeed half-heartedly.
As the character mentioned in the first episode, "Manga is the Japanese cultural heritage popular across the globe."
This NHK series is extremely educational not only in introducing the process of manga creation, it also debates many other aspects of mang such as: how things work in a weekly manga publisher; the selection process; how artist stay serialized; the importance of target demographics; and argues how things ought to be in the industry. In addition, famous classic and current manga series and their authors are mentioned throughout this series without alteration of any sort, which functions as a masterpiece suggestion for new manga readers. It even directly quotes them, re-enacts DBZ "fusion", and uses quirks like Naruto's "-dattebayo". I take this to be a stamp of approval from those authors, and also to pressure themselves to create a masterpiece worthy of mentioning those names. The show uses real-life examples as case studies to explain its theories.
According to 'Bakuman.', there are SIX key elements to a successful shounen manga - A world that pulls the readers in, clear reason why protagonists are fighting, battles where it's easy to tell what's happening, equally or even more intriguing antagonist, a cute heroine, and some laughs or tears.
The first episode had an extremely strong pull - The tested and tried "average joe whose life changed by a trigger event", in this case, Takagi's request to be a partner. The turn of events leads to a promise of marriage upon realization of dreams, which serves as the clear reason why the protagonist wants to get his manga serialized, which is the first step to getting an anime series.
The story then goes on to show them making manga, meeting their 'opponents' in manga contests, and their manga are actually shown... even with a clear ranking measurements to determine a winner - easy to tell what's happening in the battle.
Then, there is Niizuma Eiji, the prodigy archrival of the protagonists, who is extremely intriguing, and happens to follow the "Introduce an enemy character, he's even stronger than protagonists, but turns out to be an ally" as mentioned during the 'CROW' production.
There's the cute heroine in Azuki, and the show has many comedy and tear-jerker moments to keep the audience interested throughout the series.
I find it interesting that the shows makes many observations that we probably don't consciously realize when casually reading manga, and even more interesting that if we pay close attention, almost EVERY observations of a successful manga made in this series are actually reflected in the series itself. In fact, it was also mentioned that most shounen protagonists wield swords, and if you think about it, the protagonists in this show brandish their pens in "battle".
The protagonists make FIVE manga series in the first anime series - 'The Two Earths', 'A Millionth of', 'The World Runs on Money and Wits', 'Angel Days', and 'Quasi-Detective TRAP'.
'The Two Earths' is their very first manga. It serves as introduction to the manga creation process.
'A Millionth of' shows the difficulty of getting a prize in manga contests, and introduction of various styles of manga.
'The World Runs on Money and Wits' functions as their confidence booster, as well as their gateway to future successes.
'Angel Days' is used to show the qualities of typical shounen manga, and the importance of choosing manga that fits each author style.
Finally, 'Quasi-Detective TRAP' is their success of the series, and its production process emphasizes the bond and friendship between the two main characters.
The story follows the standard shounen format with many seishun elements. The good guys work hard to realize their dreams while encountering one obstacle after another. After clearing each obstacle, they "level up" by becoming better artists and attain better understanding of themselves. Like all seishun sports or music anime, there are consistent themes of awkward youth love, challenges of being a student, and the importance of friendship.
The protagonists set FOUR years as their goal for their anime debut. This is the prime reason why Mashiro is always in such a rush to make manga, and frequently shows his impatience.
The main characters in this series are extremely human, and they act according to their own desires to make their dreams come true.
Takagi has the ambition of becoming rich and famous, and he gave up the "mainstream" path of elites (get good grades to get into a prestigious university) for his love of manga and became a true "gambler".
Azuki follows her dream of becoming a seiyuu and moves to Tokyo, while stubbornly limits interaction with Mashiro to motivate both herself and Mashiro.
Miyoshi truly acts on her desires, and can't help but reveal secrets of others and butting into their business.
Niizuma also acting on his desires, but in a different way, drawing what he pleases and doesn't care what others think about him.
Hattori sees promise in Ashirogi, and does everything, even some "dirty adult tricks" to make them succeed.
What I'm trying to get at, is that the characters are interesting, and they "move on their own" according to their desires. I have to say, they are *too* human at times, and causes their actions and motivations to detach from reality, but as a fantasy and dreams shounen series, this is totally acceptable.
According to 'Bakuman.', there are THREE requirements for a successful mangaka - Conceit (Confidence), Effort, and Luck.
One of the major themes in the series is to have "Confidence" in yourself to follow your dream.
To follow that dream, the protagonists put a lot of "Effort" into manga, sacrificing sleep, school, and even time for girls in order to become successful.
Further more, "Luck" is prevalent in this series. However, it remains realistic due to many setbacks they face, just as they would in the harsh reality. The protagonists consists of a relative of a mangaka and a guy who's getting the best grades in school yet interested in manga. Right off the bat, they have been dealt pocket aces as "gamblers". Still, they don't become an overnight success. It took a lot of sacrifices and effort, and after 5 manga series, they finally made it to an authentic weekly magazine.
This series isn't just a fairy tale. It successfully shows the difficulty of making a living with manga, and shows the harsh reality that only the most talented *and* hardworking succeed. They were dealt another lucky card in getting Hattori as the editor, who truly cares about the authors and preciously "raises" them as mangaka.
As a shounen manga, a convenient setting is actually preferred. The key is how realistic the story develops given the fantasy-filled premise.
I especially loved a subtle snippet of reality in Mashiro's family. Where the breadwinner and the eldest of the family call the shots in home, like when father and grandpa straight up shut off the mother in roundabout ways, with the "Decision-making process" in his home and "Please get me seconds (refill my bowl)" by grandpa. It's outdated and somewhat sexist, but the harsh reality in Japanese culture.
According to 'Bakuman.', there are TWO types of successful mangaka - "The Genius-Type", and "The Calculating-Type".
The anonymous author of this series is the same as that of 'Death Note' series, and it is also clear in this series that the storyteller is the "Calculating-Type" just like the protagonists. In other words, he "calculates the laughs and tears in a way that doesn't seem to be calculated, through calculation." Obviously, this is not going to work on everyone, so we will all have different opinion, but the story is extremely well-constructed, and the anime direction presented the plot in very interesting ways. It's easy to sympathize with the characters.
I believe the ONE single most important theme in 'Bakuman.' is the love for manga. Both protagonist and antagonists in this series really have passion for manga. It really shows how much love the author has for this series, and manga in general.
The series points out flaws in Shounen Jump ("Shounen Jack" in series), the only real-life title altered in the anime. The show communicates to producers in the real life through its characters.
For example, there shouldn't be any politics in manga selection, like rejecting student submission or favoring popular authors - "Anything interesting will be published."
The potential incompetence of editors, in their heavy reliance of survey to determine which series gets cut off - "Manga written for votes rather than true quality."
The need for manga to have a strong pull early due to selection process of using names of first three weeks and the threat of cancellation due to votes - "The lack of series that slowly draws the audience in, and consequently series being approved without long-term prospects."
Manga published in order of popularity - "Creates unfairness for new and aspring authors."
How audience like stereotypical stuff that stifles creativity - "All popular series have swords"
The young mangaka depicted in this series have hinted how they wanted to change Shounen Jack when they get popular. Perhaps the author of 'Bakuman.' wanted to do the same with this show as well.
'Bakuman.' is the "mainstream among mainstreams" in terms of shounen anime, but has the dreams, the inspiration, the depth, the entertainment value, and of course, the laughs and tears unmatched by any other. It also has the uniqueness in being a manga about manga and an anime about anime. In terms of contribution to the industry, this easily ranks among the most significant series to be aired in this century so far, and I have enjoyed every minute of it. read more
10 of 10 episodes seen
The novel may have swept No.1 spot in every major book ranking chart in Japan with over 2.5 million copies sold in less than a year and half, but the anime adaptation is nothing but complete and utter failure.
One can tell how badly this show was neglected within minutes. Almost all the characters and backgrounds are nearly frozen! Not only that, there is absolutely zero creativity in art direction, as almost every single scene is either a standstill medium shot, standstill full shot, or moving long shot. It's like watching a slideshow.
Voice acting is almost equally lackluster. All the characters talk in an unusually slow pace, completely devoid of emotion. I don't know about you, but this is what I call "reading the script".
Of course, not every series is going to get 'Seirei no Moribito' or 'Dennou Coil' treatment and get showered with taxpayer money, but daily broadcast with production value lower than that of 'Anpanman' is no way to treat a No.1 yearly best seller. Just because it's an educational show on NHK doesn't mean it has to be garbage as an anime, and more importantly, it should not be teaching wrong things.
*Spoiler begins here*
The concept of running a baseball team like a business is nothing new. Actually, it's a pretty common theme in coach/management side of sports drama. 'Moshidora' is unique in that it specifies a single book and focuses on select concepts, but this presents a new set of problems. What happens is that the protagonist basically picks up Peter Drucker's "Management", then becomes a mindless drone who literally follows every single teaching on the book as if it really was the life's Bible. Last time I checked, management was an art that has best practices, but not an instruction manual!
Peter Drucker's book for a high school team is a very poor choice, because his books are written mainly for large corporations and nonprofits (like the Red Cross), whose ultimate goal is profit (or raising funds). That's why the concepts introduced in this series are like "organizations should be socially responsible", or "employee responsibility fosters morale/motivation" etc, that large corporations often neglect. It's also why the book focuses a lot on importance of marketing, because raising customer awareness and building lasting relationship with customers ultimately accomplish large organization's objectives. On the other hand, high school baseball team is a small organization, and their success is not measured by number of fans and revenue generated, but how far they advance into the tournament. This organizational objective was defined in one of the earlier episodes by the protagonist, to win. Marketing is not required to achieve that goal.
There were some interesting application of theories to a baseball team, but also stupid mistakes like confusing marketing with internal marketing and HRM (Human Resources Management). However, there were also many instances where things went way too conveniently just to prove the concept works. Especially, the application of "Innovation" was absolutely retarded. Anyone who knows anything about baseball knows that guessing the type and location of the pitch is more than half the challenges a batter has to face against a pitcher. By pitching nothing but strikes, you're voluntarily abandoning the location aspect of guesswork, essentially allowing batters to swing every pitch without hesitation. Such a strategy would never work, unless the pitcher was a prodigy who throws at 100mph or nasty breaking balls with startling precision (he was not). And the opposing team is still surprised at the regional semifinals that they don't bunt? No, they would send scouts to spy on opposing teams way before reaching that far.
Baseball aside, it didn't even make sense from business management perspective. "Innovation" from management and HR perspective is not telling your employees never-seen-before strategy and have them to follow that. It's about creating an environment for employees that encourages innovation. 3M's Post-it Notes and Google's "20 percent time" are probably the most famous examples. Creation of strict employee guideline by upper management, and blindly following a single book as a manager is not "innovation" from the management perspective.
While excessive fantasy is acceptable, sometimes even preferred in sports drama, using inconceivable scenarios to demonstrate a business concept is not the way to educate. The thing with business concept is that it must be used on a case-by-case basis, a strategy that works for one firm does not work for another. There are hundreds of theories and many influential business theorists around. A manager's job is to determine which strategy should be used for their own organization, and how it should be implemented. By forcibly twisting the outcome in order to demonstrate a theory, the lesson becomes invalid.
I was actually watching this series with a faint hope that the protagonist would eventually decide to abandon the book. To my surprise, it actually happened, but in the most undramatic way imaginable. No matter how you think about it, she should've strayed from the book after the eye-opening event of a best friend's death, at the very climax where she ended up pointlessly trying to convince the coach not to change the batter. That would've been solid drama, maybe even teach a real lesson from the story. In the end, the show severely underplayed the realization of the book's limits, and missed the chance to show that one must choose what she believes is right rather than blindly following a manual, or should I call it "innovation in management". As it stands, the choice of keeping the batter who eventually hit the winning run seems like yet another convenient scriptwriting. It also appears to be done on her whim, as they were still living by the book after regional finals. It didn't even make sense they're trying to play the way "customer" wants, when they're not even a professional team that plays for direct revenue and fan base. Apparently the producers of this show didn't understand the concept of organizational objective because they only read "Management". The climax, that fake swing sequence was extremely clever and dramatic, using canny plot device in earlier episode. Unfortunately, it's too little too late by this point.
Characters in this show are just puppets. Their emotions are limited, their behaviors are fabricated to advance the story (I mean, what was with the protagonist's reaction in front of the team after her friend's death? "Can't read the atmosphere," as the Japanese call it, beyond belief). To be honest, I forgot all their names already, because I simply was not even close to connecting or caring about any of them.
*Spoiler ends here*
OP by Azusa stood out as the only good thing about this series. 'Yume Note' is an extremely touching and catchy Jpop song perfect for what little atmosphere this series had. She's definitely setting herself up to become the next anime song princess in my opinion, with three consecutive solid theme songs in row, previous two being 'Amagami SS' OPs.
I do sense some clever writing by the original author, but I am going to single this one out as the worst anime adaptation attempt ever, and the worst sports anime I've ever encountered. Not only did it lack entertainment value as a sports anime, it failed miserably as a tool of business education, and serves only as the glorification of Peter Drucker and his book. I suspect the novel is nowhere as pathetic as this anime, and I'll be waiting to see the live-action movie adaptation as the better interpretation of the novel.
"What If the Educational Adaptation of a High School Baseball Novel Had a Proper "Direction"?"