First impressions summer 2013

summer headerThe summer season is gaining momentum. Some series had a good start and others need some time to build up their story. Let’s take a first glance at this summer season.

Before we kick off this post, I must mention that I don’t watch all the shows in a particular season. Keep this in mind while reading. It is possible you may not find the series you wanted to read about.

illyaFate/Kaleid Illya is a spin off for the Fate/Stay Night franchise with Illya in the spotlight. Depicting an elementary school life and the transition to a magical girl by a magic stick.

I’ll be honest, Illya is perhaps one of the cutest characters I’ve seen to date. She is almost as cute as the characters in K-ON or the manga O/A. The whole color scheme, mannerisms and voice actress fit her visual design. Though I’m not sure how much of a realistic transition she is from her previous embodiment in Fate/Zero. The transformation from a child to a young girl is quite vague at this point and I doubt it will become any clearer.

On the other hand, I was greatly annoyed by the talking stick. The arrogant, magical object that creates magical girls. I had the feeling it was a rip-off from Kyuubey from Madoka Magica or the other irritating stick in Shigofumi. I think it isn’t a surprise by now that I’m not a fan of talking objects and this was so far the most annoying part of the show. But who cares, the show is about Illya and her cute happenings anyway.

kiniroA second cute looking show with the developments of an English transfer student, named Alice. The series at its core shows the transfer student trying to blend in. The Japanese show their warmest side to guide Alice through all the different habits and mannerisms in Japan.

Early on in the show the viewer is confronted with the English with a Japanese touch. Many studios have tried to let the voice cast do their best English. Not many succeed, but I must credit the cast for attempting this challenging part of their roles. The English isn’t at its best, but it is a step in the right direction when introducing foreign characters.

For a series like Kiniro Mosaic it is difficult to not feel as an animated advertisement for Japan. Many things are great and everybody is friendly. Of course this is inevitable because of the country of origin of Kiniro Mosaic. Another possible problem with these shows is creating an incomplete and stereotypical view of other cultures. So far this hasn’t been the case and Kiniro Mosaic attempts to create a show acceptable for multiple different parties.

kaminomi 1Kamisama no Inai Nichiyoubi tells a story about a world that God has abandoned. People can’t die or make children. Gravekeepers are responsible to bury and put the dead to rest.

This premise sounded like one of the most intriguing for this season. It was rather unclear where this story wanted to go, but the concept sounded very interesting. I almost had the feeling it could match Angel Beats with its concept. Kamisama no Inai could build a surreal and apocalyptic world where people live in total chaos. Living in fear for the gravekeepers who came to bury them.

Kamisama no Inai decided to take the other path. It displays a rather peaceful world where a lot of people live in harmony. Of course it is bound to go wrong at some point or else there wouldn’t be any plot progression. This happens with the introduction with the antagonist.

The antagonist and our protagonist seem to be a logical fit for the story. They interact naturally and progress through the story. But I must admit that the characters are quite colorful and innocent looking to fit in the grim situation the world is in. Our main character, Ai, is a young girl that is born into a broken world. This brings interesting possibilities for dialogues and events to give the story more impact. Though at this stage it is still unclear whether the story will follow a more dark course. I suspect the color scheme won’t become gritty anytime soon.

kimi no iruAdaption of the still ongoing and popular manga, Kimi no Iru Machi. Following the life and relationships of two teenagers, beating the odds in an attempt to keep seeing each other. This is combined with the movement through the different stages in life.

The anime starts with a fairly great time skip. It doesn’t pay too much attention to the beginnings of the story. Hopefully this series will try to pay more attention to how it all came to be. It would add more impact to the coming developments and explain the background of the different characters.

The studio tries to mimic the kind of retro look that are accompanied in the manga, at least the different artworks coming with the manga. The look and feel give an end 80’s, beginning 90’s vibe. Something that was kind of the case in the Bakuman franchise which had certain stylistic elements associated with the 90’s.

blood ladWith little clue what to expect I started Blood Lad. A story about a demon who is the leader of a territory in the demon world. He is annoyed with his role and is fascinated by the human world. He is interested in otaku culture in particular.

At a certain point in the series, our main character Staz meets Fuyumi. Fuyumi is a ghost and Staz promises to give her back her life. Staz is going to encounter the human world at first hand. Many funny moments are bound to appear.

Of course this premise results in rather predictable events like meeting friends and family of Fuyumi. Luckily the connection with the demon world isn’t lost. The characters that are connected with Staz make their appearance in certain scenes. May it be with or without direct involvement of Staz and Fuyumi.

I didn’t have any expectations with this show. I didn’t know whether this would be a very good show or a mediocre one. The premise didn’t hold many surprises or spectacular events. This will be a show that will be entertaining and won’t do anything that is beyond its synopsis.

uchotenAn interesting show in the summer line-up produced by P.A. Works. The story is set in Kyoto where supernatural beings and humans live in harmony together. Our main character Yasaburou uncovers the story behind his father’s death while leading a hectic Tanuki life.

From the short synopsis it is easy to think the show doesn’t quite feel like its following a steady path. And so much is true. The show is all over the place and again a show with a lot of cultural reference that makes the story harder to grasp. I fear a situation like Red Data Girl, a previous P.A. Works production, where the visuals were very crisp, but the story was rather vague. I wonder how this show will play out as I have a vague understanding of what it is trying to do.

watashiWatashi ga Motenai tells a story about an unpopular girl who wants to be popular. Swallowed up by the obsession of being popular, Tomoko tries to do everything in her power to have a fulfilling high school life. A high school life filled with boys, hanging out with friends and having fun.

At the beginning stages it is apparent that the studio doesn’t want to censor the show into a strawberry sweet romance story. This series shows grim reality as a teenager tries to blend into a group, having sexual fantasies and encountering uncertainty in social situations. It does this with a mix of comedy, but at the core this show is more than only the funny happenings of a teenage girl. This show displays a life that many are familiar with.

I wonder where this show will go and I hope our main character can find some closure at the end. Finding that life she always wanted. It is funny, but also sad to see someone struggle so bad to find a place among others.

free!Maybe one of the most controversial and speculated show of the summer season, Kyoto animation’s Free!. An anime about a group of guys who have a passion for swimming, have girlish names and try to reunite each other to swim again.

Let me say at first that I’m probably not the target market for this show. I consider Free! as two things from KyoAni’s perspective: “Look what we can do and still sell anime” and “We need to find new markets to sell our anime.” And that is how I feel about Free!, as a way to prove a point and to reach new possible fans for anime. In this case it will be a young female audience.

Of course I was curious what KyoAni would do with such a show, with girlish guys as a unique selling point. Where we are used to anime that target young men with cute girls in suggestive poses and events, KyoAni does the same for the female audience with guys in the spotlight. Despite this, the show still has a KyoAni touch with nice visuals and a decent story to match. I believe that the female audience has quite a good show on its hands. Not only because of the guys, but also because KyoAni is at the wheel.

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3 thoughts on “First impressions summer 2013

  1. skycells says:

    I feel the exact same way about Fate Kaleid and Uchouten Kazoku; Illya is aborable but that talking staff is really annoying and I have no idea what Uchouten is trying to do.

    I’ve only seen the first episode of Kamisama, but it looked like it could turn out fairly good. Blood Lad is entertaining, but yeah, I don’t expect the plot to be great; I never really do for a comedy series.

    I watched Free as well, and it was pretty good. I’m not in the target audience, but I may continue watching past the first episode for Gou.

    • ninetybeats says:

      Kamisama had many potential and I hope they take that route. A route that is a little more dark. But we’ll see were its heading.
      Well I’ll watch Free!, it certainly isn’t the KyoAni show you would usually expect. Maybe in some way that it is a show where the girls are turned into guys:p

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