Established in the year 1981, Kyoto Animation is in the industry for quite some time. Kyoto Animation’s visuals are a feast for the eye and leave the viewer in awe. Let’s take a look at some off the series they have produced.
I won’t pay attention to all the shows in this post. This post should be considered as an introduction to what some studios have to offer. In no way do I try to review the shows that follow.
Following the happenings of Haruhi Suzumiya who can shape the world to her desire. The only problem is that she doesn’t know it, but her club members do. A club Haruhi started to find extra terrestrials and other worldly creatures.
Interestingly enough all the extraordinary people are already gathered in the club, except for Kyon. Kyon is the only ‘normal ‘ club member and encounters the world shifting creations of Haruhi. This is perfectly portrayed by the inner monologues Kyon has. His normal world is turned upside down by Haruhi.
This brings interesting situations with Kyon trying to minimize the damage Haruhi inflicts on her environment. The cast is diverse enough to fill multiple story arcs and explain the background stories. With the diverse cast, the story keeps shifting its focus and keeps up being fresh. Haruhi’s all over the place character makes the multiple story arcs interesting and the link between Haruhi isn’t faded despite Haruhi not being present all the time.
Slice of life with a touch. Clannad portrays a world with a supernatural feel. Without spoiling too much, the link between the worlds is explained later on. This brings quite interesting psychological dialogues or monologues that pull Clannad a little bit away from the slice of genre.
Clannad uses interesting story techniques such as game elements to make the story more entertaining. This works great as it delivers over the top moments that are really entertaining.
We cannot forget the cast. Our main character Tomoya is brilliantly fleshed out by its voice actor. Combined with the wonderful character Nagisa, resulting in interesting ‘discovering love’ scenes between Nagisa and Tomoya. Nagisa and Tomoya are such strong characters that you start to empathize with them along the way.
Clannad: After Story continues were Clannad ended. After Story focuses more on the developing relationship between Nagisa and Tomoya, moving through different stages in life.
On a down note Clannad After Story needs some time to pick up. It tells some side arcs in the beginning. Emphasizing more on the back stories and happenings of the side characters. It drifts away from what made the first season strong, namely the relationship between Nagisa and Tomoya. Luckily the series retakes its pace and develops into one of the most emotional anime stories I’ve seen.
Because the story retook itself in the second half, the first few side stories can be forgiven. Clannad After Story turned into an emotional rollercoaster that defined KyoAni as one of the top studios out there. Being able to make beautiful and emotional stories depicted with crisp animation.
Shifting the focus from a music to club to a tea club, fits the show in the slice of life genre. A slice of life show that revolves around the day to day activities from cute girls. This may not please everybody and it is best to avoid the show if you’re not a fan of slice of life genre oriented anime.
For the ones who do, the show is the ultimate portrayal of cute girls doing cute stuff. The characters are diverse and result into entertaining interactions between them. Because many different characters are present, the studio is able to play around with the setting and create different atmospheres. Still at its core it remains a slice of life show teling a story about a group of girls who start a band.
And I kick off this series with praising the animation. The color scheme, the character designs, the fluent movements , it was all next level. Not many series pull such an amazing display of visual excellence. But animation isn’t everything.
Hyouka turned daily school activities and seemingly insignificant happenings in school, into crime solving mysteries. The animation making the ‘crimes’ approachable and entertaining. The way crimes, like item theft were explained, were perfectly executed.
Despite this premise, the series coped with some pacing issues. Not all mysteries were wrapped up as fast as I hoped for. This made Hyouka a series with its up and downs. Luckily the characters gave the mysteries an extra touch to prevent them from spiraling into the boring. The voice actors did a great job in fleshing out the characters.
In all honesty it was mainly the animation that stuck with me. I was amazed by the visual effects a studio could create. Hyouka was an entertaining ride and it gave a new meaning to ‘school mysteries’, wrapping it all up in crisp visuals.