Thursday, August 14, 2014

Summer season 2014 anime short reviews

So here's a roundup of the animes I'm watching this season (apart from Free! Eternal Summer). I didn't like last season too much, but this time there's a few good ones.

DRAMAtical Murder

This is a strange one.
I really like the setting, futuristic, people in gangs, personal assistants in the form of robot animals. I also really like the character design, very diverse, colourful, creative, a little crazy. My favourite is Koujaku - an adorable and sexy hairdresser (!!) and gang leader with an old-fashioned samurai-ish outfit, tattoos and long dark hair.

I've read that this is based on a yaoi game, but so far it's rather harmless; there's just one kiss and that was more of a WTF moment than romantic or sexy.
I can't say too much of the plot yet because DRAMAtical Murder is one of these animes in which you need a lot of episodes to figure out what's going on. But it's not confusing enough to make me drop it (like some others), but rather entertaining enough to continue.

The big problem DRAMAtical Murder has is the animation. I don't usually care that much about animation quality but here it's at times so bad that even I notice. I do hope the studio manages to improve.
I'm also not too fond of the opening and ending, especially the music, but that's not too important for me.

Cyberpunk and yaoi - sounds like a good mash-up. Kind of makes me want to play the game and read the manga.

Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun

Chiyo Sakura has a crush on her schoolmate Umetarou Nozaki but when she tries to confess... she gets mistaken as a fan. Turns out Nozaki-kun is secretly the mangaka of a popular shōjo series. And while Sakura tries to get closer to him, she somehow ends up as his assistant.

There's really not much more to the plot. But the characters are awesome.

This is a hilarious shōjo parody. Everytime it seems like it's turning into your typical romantic high school drama for girls - something wacky happens and turns it all around.

Ao Haru Ride

And here we have the shōjo Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun is making fun of...
When Yoshioka Futaba starts High School she wants to change her image. She had been hated by the girls in her school because she was the cute type whom the boys like, so now she's going for a tomboy attitude. Then she unexpectedly meets her former crush Mabuchi Kou who had had moved away suddenly. But he has also changed a lot and while she tries to find out what happened, despite everything they become friends again. Prompted by Kous snarky remarks she tries to lead a more authentic school life with less shallow friendships. And so somehow an unlikely circle of friends forms. But things get complicated when Futabas new best friend falls for Kou.

It might sound weird but I kind of like how she likes his smell and how she's fascinated by the nape of his neck (a very intimate and sensitive area of your body) - it's those things that make it seem more realistic. And maybe somehow it makes me feel a little nostalgic. Also the pacing of the story is really good.

I know it's a rather typical high school romance, but I really quite like it. I even started reading the manga (which is also good).

Love Stage!!

Love Stage!! is a "gay" love story set in the entertainment industry in which an otaku from a famous family and a rising idol star discover that they are not as heterosexual as they thought they were.

I've read the manga before (and then forgot about it, like so often) so I started to watch the anime, too. I was a little surprised to hear of an anime adaption since the manga is quite explicit. In the anime there was ony one of these scenes so far and that one was of course heavily censored.

What I didn't like - in both manga and anime - was the sexual assault scene. I dislike how often these are used in manga/anime with a "I just couldn't help myself" and shortly after everything's ok because it was done because he loved her/him so much. I think that's a sickening attitude to spread. Sorry for that little rant.

Aside from that Love Stage!! is actually pretty funny and entertaining.


The handsome uprising calligrapher Seishuu Handa wins an important price but when he's critisized for being too conventional, his pride his hurt and he punches his critic, another famous calligrapher. As a punishment and to improve his art, the young man has to leave Tokyo and live on a remote island. As a city boy he's having a hard time dealing with the rural community, especially little girl Naru who is delighted to have a new playfellow available all day.
So we watch "Sensei"s (everyone just calls him that) quest to find his own style in calligraphy, which is sometimes heartwarming and most of the time extremely funny. The animation style is beautiful and the opening and ending songs are good and fit the mood.

Barakomon might be the best anime this season. I wasn't sure after the second episode because I felt it was too much slapstick with no good pacing, but the other episodes are great.

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