Nee-chan and I made a bento the other day. It was glorious and definitely something we should do again. And take pictures of us making it. And then take pictures of us eating it. But nee-chan can do that, she has the camera and has the cooking talent. I can stir rice and cut vegetables in a reasonably amateurish manner.
But that's not why I'm here today. I thought I keep you abreast of what anime I've been watching this season and why I think they're great.
|Marika Kato, Chiaki Kurihara and the crew of the pirate ship Bentenmaru|
Okay, so this series started back in the winter season and is a 26 episode series. Now, I won't lie and say I'm totally up to date. I'm slow-poking it with 'Bodacious Space Pirates' but hopefully I'll be up to date by the time the last episode airs.
This show is nothing but light hearted cute fun. One might look at the artwork and write it of as some sort of moeblob fan-service pile of drivel and to do that would be a HUGE mistake. Sure, I started watching the show for the legs and pleated skirts but after only a couple of episodes I found myself rooting for the main character, the pink haired Marika Kato.
|Marika Kato, pirate captain, maid-cafe maid and high school girl|
While the plot hook of hereditary captaincy might be a little flimsy, the show quickly does away with pretences and gets on with exploring the wonders of the setting. The characters are likeable and some of the ideas (such as pirates being entertainers for the super-rich on space cruises) while mildly silly are just so funny you don't care to nit-pick.
I think it's worth pointing out the the voice actress for the supporting character Chiaki Kurihara, as seen in the first image with black hair and glasses (and zettai ryouiki) is none other than Hanazawa Kana who has voiced some of my favourite characters, from Kuroneko from OreImo, Kobato from Haganai to Kureha from Mayo Chiki. I tthink it's fair to say I could make an entire blog post just about her, she is that amazing!
Of note, the opening them is incredibly catchy
|We have the dorky male lead we can empathise with, and the sexy female lead we can oggle.|
Sometimes I watch anime because I want crazy plot that only overworked Japanese guys could think of, sometimes I watch anime because I want to see cute girls doing cute things and sometimes I watch anime because I want to see action and lots of super power fighting. This is a case of (mostly) the latter.
The basic premise is that in a future setting where everybody has cybernetic brains there exists a program that accelerates your thoughts to the point that time seems to stop. One can then spend a long time analysing any given intense situation so as to not make any rash decisions. Useful no? The catch is (there's always a catch) that to do this you must spend points which can only be accumulated by fighting other users of the 'Brain Burst' program in a crazy avatar duel of special moves and flashy graphics.
That's pretty much it. Our hero strives to be the strongest Brain Burst user, along the way he must fight many opponents, most likely including the seven captains and other common shonen tropes. But he has his frineds to help him and the lovely Kuroyukihime who is the other reason to watch the show.
|Kuroyukihime, with her amazing outfit!|
This is another double season show, having as it does 24 episodes so hopefully we'll get some good plot twists and turns but more importantly, lots of strong opponents to fight. And defeat. Throw in some awkward teen romance comedy and you have a good bit of entertainment while you're eating your dinner.
Of note, the ending theme, -unfinished-, is a catchy euro-beat dance tune reminiscent of fripSide with most amusing Engrish lyrics.
Dusk Maiden of Amnesia
|The four main characters, or rather the two main characters, a bitch and the annoying one.|
Okay, so far I have been raving about the shows I'm watching because they are amazing. However, this one is slowing a little for me. So the basic premise of boy (Niiya) meets girl ghost (Yuuko) who can't remember how she died so he sets about to find out. With a couple of supporting characters in tow.
Now, I dont know if I've just been tired when watching this but it doesnt hold me the same way the above two anime do.
Either way, the main thing that keeps bringing me back towatch this show (other than the ethereal fan service) is the hilarious opening theme. More Engrish but this time with crazy metal blast beats everywhere and a chorus of 'Choir Jail' which makes no sense given the rest of the lyrics. I just....I don't even.....sigh.
|Ibara, Chitanda, Oreki and Fukube|
Some animation studios just love using their new programe to show off what fancy new techniques they can do. Hyouka is a prime example of this with KyoAni literally layering complex water ripple effects all over the opening sequence for no real reason other than to enlarge their ego's. Still, one can't complain, the animation is particularly lush.
All appearances aside, this show still manages to grab my attention. You would call it a mystery anime. All the small arcs are indeed mysteries to be solved but the nature of them is so everyday and ordinary it's actually quite refreshing. They are the sort of mysteries you or I might encounter in our everyday lives. It's those occasions where you think to yourself 'huh, wonder what the story behind that is?' We all have 'em and Hyouka makes that into an anime series. The dichotomy between the passive disinterested Oreki and the hyper curious Chitanda really pushes the show forward in a fairly comedic way.
In fact, its Chitanda Eru being curious that is the unstoppable force that compels the group to solve these otherwise mundane mysteries. This is another double season show that started this spring and will continue on through summer. It may not be super-fantastic but it's that easy pace that reminds me of why I enjoyed reading 'The Hardy Boys' detective novels as a child. And the eyes. The glowing eyes of the characters are mesmerising!
Naruto SD: Rock Lee no Seishun Full-Power Ninden
|The power level of eyebrows in this show is definitely over 9000!|
So, while there is a common thought that Naruto is a gateway anime of the worst kind, I've been watching the show for so long that I couldn't quit now even if I wanted to. I love it and recognise its faults but I still watch it. It's like original series of Star Trek. Something to watch while eating your dinner on Friday evening. And then this spin off came along. Rock Lee Super Deformed. It's chibi style, silly, doesn't take itself seriously and very very funny.
Each episode is a set of usually three, but can vary, short sketches often just based around some gag or other. Lee himself often instigates the trouble, Neji is the fall guy while TenTen plays an excellent straight guy. Might Guy just shows up and is generally weird to the professional level, something which Lee immediately wants to emulate. Many of the other characters show up in the series and it's always good to see your favourites appear. I for one can never get enough of Hinata.
|There are no words to describe this scene|
The comedy is very in style of the Japanese Manzai, and as such there is a lot of word play and irrelevant sketches just to throw up odd situations the characters can overreact to. Seeing Neji as a girl in several sketches is a mildly disturbing but not an altogether unpleasant experience.
Spring is nearly over
So, that's what I've been watching this season. There's always a backlog to chip away at as well and no doubt there will be some other shows from this season that will be talked about enough that I should probably check them out. I can't watch more than half a dozen series at any one time, otherwise I just lose what's going on in which show and that is just annoying
Let us know if you're watching anything that you like enough to recommend.