Only a Stone’s Throw
Happy Independence Day everyone, and while many are celebrating FREEDOM in the form of parties and such, I decided to get a head-start on the Summer 2011 season of weeaboo visuals, so without further words, here’s your first look at four new shows I’m watching this season along with the rollovers from last season, Hanasaku Iroha and Nichijou
Not much was known about Sacred Seven before release, other than it was billed as a new school comedy slash fighting series. Well, it’s safe to assume that by now what we’re seeing is a series about a guy named Alma Nidoshi, who seems to have been possessed by some kinda evil stone power. Years previous, he went berserk and hurt a bunch of classmates. This earned him the reputation among his student body for being a feared hothead. Only Wakana Itou, a female classmate of his, seems to be unaffected by this and tries to get him to join her club that has something to do with rocks and gems. Meanwhile
Blossom Ruri Aiba, heir to Aiba Industries, scouts Alma in relation to his power, and when another stone monster attacks, manages to run into him while he attempts to save Wakana near a bus stop. Using some power within her, she cleanses the evil power within him and converts his appearance into something that looks like Viewtful Joe crossed with Zero crossed with Mega Man with powers comparable to Wonderboy Mega Man. He proceeds to knock out the monster and save the day.
I’ll be honest, I was going into this series with the expectation of getting something similar to Code Geass, and that doesn’t seem to be the case yet. I can’t put my finger on what it reminds me of though. Still, the jump right into action on the first episode suggests they are either going to grip this one and go, or it’s going to slow down to a “monster-of-the-week” schedule for a period of time. Character-wise, not feeling a whole lot from anyone not named Wakana, who seems to be the only one with a personality so far. Not that Ruri and her servant weren’t a little fun in this episode, but the definate highlight was Aiba Industries battle maids, who seem to know how to fire a sniper rifle and dress in ways that make my pants explode. I’d keep your eyes on this series folks, it might go somewhere.
TLDR Watch This: Mega Man and Roll, Battle Maids, you like rocks
TLDR Don’t Watch This: You had a bad experience with rocks, high school hijinks, you think Spinzaku will make a cameo
Sub Group: gg
First Rating: 8
Elementary school basketball, that is what Ro-Kyu-Bu! is all about, and apparently I either miswrote the gender of our protagonist Subaru Hasegawa in my preview chart or they changed it up. Suburu is a male high school basketball player whose club was suspended for a year for an unspecified reason. His sister, a elementary school teacher/advisor, asks him to help teach the elementary school basketball team for three days. He reluctantly agrees and is greeted by five girls, Hinata, Tomoka, Maho, Saki, and Airi. They’re very happy to have him teach them, but also somewhat impatient, especially Maho who thinks practicing should yield the same results as RPG video games. Only Tomoka has experience playing basketball and Suburu takes notice of this.
It’s cute girls playing sports, but it’s cute underage girls playing sports. Every character archtype is here, the level-headed Tomoka, the smart and straightforward Saki, the snappy and sassy Maho, the innocent and reserved Hinata, and the unusually tall and busty Airi. Suburu is the typical boy who doesn’t want to play the game anymore for reasons unspecified, but will likely find his passion for the sport again through these girls. It’s got funny and cute moments, and really, that’s all you probably need. Hopefully it doesn’t try to go too far out-of-bounds. See what I did there? That just happened.
TLDR Watch This: cute girls playing basketball, a girl that looks like Mikuru
TLDR Don’t Watch This: cute girls playing basketball, if you want to avoid the Party Van
Sub Group: Doki
First Rating: 7
Last season we had GOSICK, which had a mild start but ended so fantastically I was thrilled. This season we have Ikoku Meiro no Croisee which takes us to 19th Century Paris where Oscar Claudel returns to Paris from a trip to Japan, where he brings back items that might be of interest to his and his grandson Claude’s sign shop, “Enseignes du Roy” in the shopping district. He also brings back a Japanese child named Yune who will be serving as an attendant and “poster girl” for the shop. It is not explained how or why she leaves and accompanies Oscar, something that may be detailed later. At first Claude believes she cannot understand French, as all she does is stand and smile, or nod. He proceeds to finish a sign for a shop down the street when her outfit accidentally catches it and breaks the glass in the metal frame. Distraught she offers a kimono to him to sell which he takes to a clothing shop to sell in the shop’s name. As it turns out however, the kimono was one of her prized possessions, from her mother. When he goes to confront her about giving away such an item, she spills out everything to him, in his language. She could understand him the entire time and remained quiet out of courtesy. Claude promises he will get it back for her, and makes her promise not to give away anything else dear to her.
I was very pleased with everything I got here from the first episode, it was quiet and quaint, even had title voice-overs in French. The hardest thing about these kinda series is that while the language spoken is Japanese for the Japanese viewer, it’s implied that the language being spoken by anyone other than Yune, or to Yune, is French. They do not explain how Yune knows French or anything of the sort. So that makes the first episode interesting because you couldn’t tell if she understood what was being said, or was simply being polite and aware of her position as a child and attendant. Remember, in those days, children were often not allowed to address anyone until spoken to, or speak out of turn, something we don’t do today. The visuals were very nicely done, from her outfits to the scenes around them. Some say it was a boring start, but I think it fit exactly what it should for the series, and there were even a few funny moments thrown in. Overall, this is shoring up to be a keeper.
TLDR Watch This: if uiharu went back in time and became a child, cute girl doing cute cleaning things
TLDR Don’t Watch This: the french
Sub Group: Ayako
First Rating: 8
Kami-sama no Memo-Chou debuted in a full hour of power, 2 episodes essentially. Somehow I think it needed two episodes to start just to set us up for the fact that this girl is essentially Sherlock Holmes, Jigoku Shoujo, and LulzSec, all in one. The essential plot of this series is Yuuko “Alice” Shionji, is a NEET girl surrounded by monitors and computer equipment who investigates mysteries and compiles information on people, with help from other kids who also are either NEETs or interested in her cause and do the outside work for her. Narumi Fujishima ends up witnessing the team’s current case as he was walking home from school and rather unwillingly becomes a member of the team, alongside the playboy Hiroaki “Hiro” Kuwahara, military enthusiast Hitoshi “Major” Mukai, and toughguy Tetsuo “Tetsu” Ichinomiya. They all gather behind a ramen shop run by Minli “Min” Huang, whom Narumi’s classmate and Gardening Club member Ayaka Shinozaki works for. Narumi and the others are thrust into solving Alice’s latest case, involving a missing prostitute and her friend who assumed her role to search for her. In the end, Alice acquired enough data to confront the girl and inform her of the missing girl’s plight. Afterwards, Narumi becomes a permanent member of the team.
It’s Jigoku Shoujo and GOSICK in a nutshell, with a girl who has eccentrics that scale multiple vectors. Despite that, it’s a very enjoyable watch and depending on where it takes us, may be pretty awesome. The visuals are nothing to hit home about, other than the detail to Alice’s room and computer setup, but the wide range of characters are pretty interesting and the story seems fairly solid for a “case-of-the-week” format, which will likely lead into something larger. I do find it interesting that she actually does go out of her room, apparently only to do the final bit of storytelling, which is what reminded me of Jigoku Shoujo. Overall, worth your watch.
TLDR Watch This: female master hackers, her cute expressions, ramen
TLDR Don’t Watch This: annoying side characters, ramen
Sub Group: gg
First Rating: 8
The beach episode of Hanasaku Iroha 14 is here, and there was not as much beach as I might’ve wanted, and far too much Yuina involved. Apparently she is the fiancee of the head clerk of the inn they’re staying at, and he wants to be with her and run the inn, she thinks differently. It’s not until his hired help quits that she forces her hand and informs him of this, as the episode ends. My guess is either some lawls to the walls moments will happen next, or Ohana will step up and try to help the inn serve her entire class. More likely, right?
After a brief confrontation with a co-worker last week, I found this entire RAGE FIGHT in Nichijou 14 to be spot on, had I actually fought back. New OP and ED for the series, this time featuring Nano alongside the trio, indicating she will be a part of their wacky hijinks for the second half of the series. I have to admit I liked the first OP music better, but the visuals in the second are better. Still, the highlight of this episode was EPIC RAGE FIGHT, and a Snickers bar. Oh that Professor~
More new anime this week, as everything on my list except Dantalian no Shoka premieres on Friday and Saturday. I’ve got a good feeling about this season again, which was not where I was with it a couple months ago, so this should be good. Especially when Baka Test 2 starts, aww yeah motherfuckers. It’s on.