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It’s that time of year again! New Anime for spring! Here’s what I’ve watched so far and what I thought. I’ve also tossed in what I’ve carried through the previous season and older stuff I’ve watched. Under this cut you'll find my thoughts on Tiger and Bunny, Hana-Saku Iroha, X-Men, Dog Days, Steins;Gate, Star Driver, Kimi Ni Todoke, the Ore No Imouto Ga Konna Ni Kawaii Wake Ga Nai OVA eps, Initial D, Nyan Koi, Tokyo Majin, Devil May Cry, Damekko Doubutsu, Prince of Tennis, Inazuma Eleven, and Summer Wars! Phew!

First up, Spring 2011 anime!

Tiger and Bunny

Hands down my favorite anime of the new Spring season! This is a tale of heroes in a commercialized world. People, called "NEXT", are born with special powers. These people then use those powers for good, becoming Heroes. Only, there's a catch. They are hired and sponsored by corporations and wear logos of those companies. They compete in Heroes TV where their crime fighting exploits are recorded by television crews and they are awarded points for their good deeds.

Now into this pretty cynical setting, let's throw in a hero who fights merely for the people. Wild Tiger aka Kotetsu, is an older hero who naively believes that he's fighting merely for justice. As a result, he's rather rash and destructive in his efforts to keep the peace. Ultimately, his company closes down their heroes department cause he costs them too much to maintain and is the lowest scoring of all the Heroes.

Kotetsu is handed off to another company where they ask him to take part in the first super hero team and play second fiddle to a younger hero with the same power as him! Barnaby, whom Kotetsu dubs Bunny, is only into the hero business for the recognition and they get off to a rough start. It looks to be set for an interesting ride.

So far, I really love it. The character designs are nice. It's actiony. Despite the rather cynical premise and the potential for the Heroes to be cutthroat jerks, they all seem to genuinely like each other and get along. This anime is really a lot of fun! It’s bright and flashy and slick and fun! And I can’t resist a fun anime. :D

Hana-Saku Iroha

This is a rather slow slice of life anime. I enjoyed the very first episode and I’ve enjoyed all the ones since. From the beginning you really feel for the main character, Ohana. She has to put up with a spoiled and irresponsible mother and as a result, she acts a bit spoiled with her male best friend. He’s very tolerant and she also shows maturity. I appreciate that she’s not a whiny mess like you see in a lot of other anime.

Then Ohana’s mother drops a bomb. She’s running away with her in debt boyfriend and sending Ohana off to the country to live with the grandmother she’s never met. As if that wasn’t enough, her best friend confesses to her the night before she leaves and then doesn’t show up to see her off. Ohana fantasizes about what life at her grandmother’s traditional inn will be like and then she arrives to have all her hopes dashed. A girl who lives and works at the Inn gets pissed at her and tells her to die and her grandmother is like more like a wicked step-mother.

The story does take on a sort of Cinderella tone with Ohana trying her hardest for little reward. Even when she fails, she keeps on trying and that’s why you like her. She arrived into a pretty chilly environment and through her honest efforts, you can start to feel a thaw. From dealing with coworkers who are too harsh or too shy to dealing with rude guests and her grandmother’s overbearing behavior, it’s refreshing to see Ohana power through it with her “I’m gonna show you!” attitude.


Well, I tentatively poked at the Iron Man and Wolverine animes, so I had to give this one a shot. X-Men was my beloved comic book back when I collected them. I bought both X-Men titles and branched out to Generation X. I watched the Saturday morning cartoon. And I cringed my way through the live action movies. Oh did I cringe. So I should hate this right? Not really. For all that new adaptations can really set you off, new interpretations are also interesting. I didn’t flat out hate it. I had to put all my previous knowledge on a shelf and try to take it for what it was.

It opens with Jean Gray, the Phoenix, under someone’s mind control and going up in flames. Other than her, we see Cyclops, Wolverine, Beast and Storm. My biggest immediate complaint was that Beast looks like a man with a lion’s head. He even has a snout and his ears on the top of his head! I couldn’t help but think of Guin from Guin saga with his jaguar head. So in that respect, no sir, I don’t like it! Dark has informed me that this is based off some secondary mutation crap in the comics but still! I don’t like it! That aside, at least Wolverine looks more like Wolverine instead of that long, tall, emo guy they had in last season’s Wolverine anime. That’s a relief!

The voices will probably take some getting used to. I’m used to a much stronger voice for Storm, but overall, they weren’t terrible. There were no screeching females. Though, at that point the female cast had been reduced to one with Jean out of the picture.

The story looks like it will be centering on Japan as the previous two Marvel animes. The mutant daughter of one of Professor Xavier’s friends has gone missing in Japan and they’ve asked for his help. After the disaster that took Jean, orchestrated by some evil organization whose name I’ve forgotten, the Xavier institute seems to have been shut down and the X-Men disbanded. Beast is teaching university classes with a talking squid (I’m not kidding), Logan runs afoul of airport security for his adimantium, and Storm stops some pirates after the cruise ship she’s on while Professor X sits in front of a monument to Jean at the school and snoozes like an old guy having weird dreams. Scott? Oh, he got the emo role again and he’s been living like a depressed hobo out at the place Jean died.

Things picked up storywise in the second episode as the X-Men flitted off to Japan, but they also started revealing flaws. For instance, Storm uses her powers once. ONCE and suddenly, she’s exhausted. Then again, she uses her powers once and she passes out. WTF! Cyclops hardly uses his powers at all. He has little missiles on his freaking motorcycle that he favors over his own powers. And when he does use those? Rather than cutting through anything he sets his gaze upon, is merely turns some kid human again? Ugh. So much disappointment! I’m putting off watching the next episode. Although, we have more females on the cast now, the previously mentioned kidnapped mutant and Emma Frost.

I’ll try to keep with it, but if Storm’s gonna keep passing out, I won’t be able to. WTF people?! Storm is fucking awesome! She was a goddess in her home country! She’s a very strong character. Unless you make her suddenly pregnant with Forge’s love child, there is no excuse for that!

Dog Days

In a far away land people possessing cat ears and tails are at war with people possessing dog ears and tails. Their warriors are superior and they’re fighting back that dog people. In their hour of need, the Princess of the dog people decides to summon a hero! In Japan, a super skilled sports nut goes about his business. Blah blah blah. Jumps off a roof and gets sucked into a magical portal by a dog (an actual dog this time) wielding a knife. Ta da! Hero is summoned!

And come to find out, all that drama about war? Just kidding! “War” in this far away land is pretty much a sports competition and the cat people are running an obstacle course of sorts. It’s American Gladiator meets Wipeout. So when the hero is asked to enter into this gameshow-like war, he says sure.

This anime got trashed in the ANN reviews for being so bland and you know what? It was. There’s a lot of talk about the war, some false drama that is instantly dispersed upon the revelation of the nature of the war and it is all rather fluffy and silly and will probably be forgettable. Despite that, it doesn’t offend, so it’s pleasant enough. I watched the second episode just to get a bit of resolution and that’s all I really need to see of it.


What the fuck is going on here? My head hurts too much to even review it. None of the characters struck me and the story was alienating. I don’t even want to try for seconds. If you’re going to tell me that microwaving bananas lets you send text messages to the past....well, no thanks.

Now, Last Season’s Anime

Star Driver

Star Driver was very much a guilty pleasure. I squeed “Threesome!” when I first started watching it and to my delight, they maintained that threesome! I’m so proud of it! Sure, it was full of silly premises, ridiculous bondage gear clad baddies, and predictable giant robot battles, but it was fun and cute and I am really sad that it’s over! It ended positively, but if ever there were an anime that I would have enjoyed seeing a montage of happy ending clips, that is one. Ah well, I’ll just have to imagine it in my head.

Kimi Ni Todoke Seasons 1 and 2

This wasn’t even on my radar when it first came out. I think I saw a suggestion for it because I watched some other shoujo show. So I decided to give it a try and I absolutely fell in love! Sawako is just so endearing in her complete naivety. You just fall in love with her and root for her. The development is slow, but you just sit back and cheer for Sawako as she slowly wins people over.

See, Sawako’s problem is that she’s just really sheltered and naive. Her looks are a bit old fashioned and as a child someone mistakenly called her Sadako, like the creepy character from the Ring. From there, layers of rumors built on top of each other and being shy and quiet, Sawako was unable to break through. She’s slowly set apart from people by all the rumors about her and her tendency to over-think things and be misunderstood.

The anime follows her as she slowly tries to put herself out there and slowly wins people over just as she wins you over. I could write more, but I feel that saying too much gives it away. It’s just a slow build of honest effort, misunderstandings, and all the pent of feelings of a coming of age story. It’s just so cute. :D

Ore No Imouto Ga Konna Ni Kawaii Wake Ga Nai

I really really hated Kirino and her shitty tsundere attitude. I hated her violence and selfishness and obliviousness. Hate! But I enjoyed her poor brother. I enjoyed the characters around her even if I wished she’d go away. Well, my prayers have been answered in the latest OVA episodes 13 and 14 that just came out! Kirino has left the building, she’s off in America or wherever the heck she was going and now Kyosuke can enjoy the peace and quiet without getting the shit kicked out of him for no reason at all. He gets to quietly hang out with Saori and Kuroneko and the only bit of violence he is on the end of is a pillow being thrown at him. It’s a nice normal reaction rather than Kirino’s usual “I’m gonna shove my foot up your urethra and make you piss blood for a week because secretly I like you” approach.

Kuroneko joins Kyosuke’s school as a freshman and as he’s her friend, he tries to help her out to make friends and fit in. They end up joining the game developing club together and there’s a fujoshi in the club. I laughed so hard. It was freaking hilarious. These two episodes were easily far more enjoyable than the entire rest of the series! They could possibly stand on their own, but you might not appreciate them as much then. At any rate, I’d like to order a second season of just this please! No Kirino needed.

And some even older stuff...

Initial D

Hulu had Initial D up to watch and I was curious, so I watched it. The art is terrible! Really bad. The CG cars in the first season are pretty ridiculous. I’m not really interested in cars, BUT, it follows the pretty standard shounen sports formula with you rooting for the underdog.

Takumi has been driving his father’s car to deliver tofu up and down the mountain passes since he was able to see over the wheel, though not necessarily legal. Now he’s an expert at racing the mountain passes, though he doesn’t know it. He’s pretty indifferent to cars and life in general. But slowly, a passion develops in him. Even though the art is bad and it’s pretty predictable in Takumi’s climb to the top, it was still pretty enjoyable. The techno sound track was fun. If you’re really into cars, drift racing, or underdog sports anime, then you might like this. Also, I totally ship Ryousuke and Takumi, because above all, I am a fangirl at heart. >:D

Nyan Koi

While it contained a lot of violent tsundere crap, it was still rather cute. If you like cats, you’ll probably like it. It ends promising another season, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Tokyo Majin

This series was a bit of a mess, but I think that’s sort of to be expected when you pull the plot from some video games. Despite the messy plot and rather depressing direction it seemed to be heading into, I think my fujoshi heart allowed me to forge on in this one. At the heart of the story there are two guys who become friends and face tragedies and bad guys. It’s one of those anime where you feel a strong need to write a major fix-it ending or AU. I can’t really say I recommend it. It made me cry and then left me hanging. But at least the boys were pretty? ...I’m so shallow. x_x

Devil May Cry

I don’t know why I watched this. I was bored I guess. It feels like I wasted my time. Dante was pretty. There was some interesting action, but....meh. The damn thing never really went anywhere. Every episode was just a one shot. Characters reoccurred, but that didn’t mean much. I hated how the final pieces of the crappy plot came together and how the final monster came out. I just felt empty and disappointed when it ended.

Damekko Doubutsu

This was so cute! The anime consists of short little five minute episodes that I just whizzed through. The title translates into “Useless Animals”. It’s a story about animals who don’t live up to their stereotypes, so there’s a wolf that’s useless at hunting or being aggressive, a rabbit who is more like a wolf, and a cheetah who trips on her feet. While they are animals, they’re kigurumi or people dressed up as animals..or something. At any rate, it’s just cute and silly and you should watch it. Here! Here’s the first episode of 25 :D

Prince of Tennis

I was reading some Prince of Tennis doujinshi from Kodaka Kazuma. Basically, if she draws it, I’ll read it. I love her <3 And since I had no idea who the characters were, I decided to check it out by watching the anime. I’m about 50 episodes in now. Again, it follows the pretty standard shounen sports model and you root for the underdog, who, in this case, is a 12 year old tennis player.

This anime is fujoshi paradise. No wonder it was so popular with the fangirls. There’s tons of boys, many of them already conveniently paired up. I can’t even keep their names straight. If their name isn’t Echizen Ryoma, then I have to keep googling them to keep them straight. I’m not even joking. I think it’s a byproduct of me watching anime episodes so quickly that I don’t retain the names of their five billion rivals.

So far, the anime isn’t bad. I’m ok following the formula, though I hate the Greek Chorus! The three freshman boys, two freshman girls and the two reporters! Mostly I detest the kids and their constant ping ponging between “Oh shit he’s gonna lose!” to “Oh man he’s so awesome he’s gonna win!” So much false drama is dedicated by their constant doubt. The reporters are at least useful for insight and other stuff. The kids, I could do without!

The tennis moves up to this point are still a bit in the realm of possibility, so I haven’t been rolling my eyes too hard. I am enjoying it, but it all depends on how repetitive it’s going to get. I dropped Eyeshield 21 for that very reason.

Inazuma Eleven

And speaking of moves that are within the realm of possibility, of all the sports anime that I’ve ever poked at, this one is the worst as far as believability goes! For other ones, you can deal with it being set in the real world and the moves being exaggerated. In this world, I am convinced that it’s an alternate universe where playing soccer grants you fucking super powers! There’s not other explanation for this crap!

It doesn’t help that the main character shares something with Naruto....his voice. I keep expecting ninjas to pop out! But I think the real nail in the coffin of this series is the shouta. With Prince of Tennis, even though the characters are really young, they look older and you can fool yourself into thinking they’re older and not feeling guilty about that. With this series, I glanced at a few doujinshi and squicked myself out. It’s super shota bait man! Even just watching the above clip of the boys in their tight little soccer outfits, I feel really dirty. Not dirty in a good way. I’m sure this series is aimed at boys as it’s a spin off of a soccer video game, but I can’t shake the impression that it’s aimed at pedos.

And a movie thrown in!

Summer Wars

There was a bit of buzz about this, but I never really looked into it. Damn, I should have. This movie was great! It’s got a lot of layers. It’s about a girl dragging a boy to her great grandmother’s birthday and tricking him into playing her fiance. It’s also about her great big crazy family and their drama. Oh but wait, it’s about a highjacking on the world’s largest and most powerful social network that is actually threatening the world. And if that’s not enough, that whole battle to save the world echoes another battle of one of the family’s son’s and his baseball tournament.

I know my description is brief, but I really enjoyed the movie and intend to watch it again! It was wonderful!

And that brings all my anime babble to a close...for now.
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September 2011

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