61 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

First episodes of anime that aired on 14th April 2011 that aren’t [C]

Yesterday, 4 new anime aired in Japan. 2 Noitamina, one Shaft and one JC Staff doing thar’ thang. Writing 4 posts about each episode today alone would be next to impossible, so I was going to crowd them into one post. But seeing as I could easily write 1000 words on [C] alone, that would overshadow everything else I have to say about the other anime. So here is Ano Hana, Denpa Onna and Hidan no Aria, leaving me to rave about [C] at a later time.

Hidan no Aria

[sigh]

JC Staff. You really aren’t even trying anymore, are you? I’m not even talking about producing a show I actually like. That hasn’t happened since Nodame Cantabile and I’ve pretty much given up on you in that respect. It’s just these Shakugan no Shana clones you’ve been putting out for the past few years have gotten almost silly in their repetition at this point. You’d think after having made this many they’d be getting self-referential at this point, and sure this show tries to be self-referential, but saying “ooh, this is like something out of an anime” doesn’t bloody count. Pointing out what you are doing does not constitute as humour. Not that this episode is trying to be primarily a parody. It’s the same light action romance comedy anime that you’ve all seen before. Shakugan no Shana, Index & Railgun, Zero no whatever, Merry Dream Eater. Maybe toss in a few similar series except without the action like Toradora, Hayate or Ookami-san. Like all the above series, Aria isn’t actively bad or anything, just so damn same-y.

Denpa Onna

There are 3 kinds of Shaft anime. The bizarro comedy, where the animation and artwork goes totally bonkers, such as Maria Holic, Pani Poni Dash or Sayonara Zetsubo Sensei. There’s the other end of the spectrum, the deadly serious Shaft, a rather rare breed only ever really seen with Madoka Magica and ef, but the animation here is also pretty bonkers and all over the place. In the middle lie their strange romantic comedies. Here is where their animation style calms down finally (with the exception of Bakemonogatari). Here lies the likes of Arakawa and Natsu no Arashi. Here is where Denpa Onna lies.

So where does this lie in the sliding scale of Shaft anime? For now, I give it a tentative thumbs up. Shinbo, being the big pedo that he is, still has a fascination with young girls with their short skirts and ever so shiny legs, which gets on my nerves, but it’s otherwise cleverly written. The dialogue flows well and some genuinely funny scenes in amongst it all. The sheer strangeness of the female character works as humour in of itself, even if the male lead is about a bleh meh generic as you can get, simply surviving on the strength of the script he’s given and not his characterisation. I think the quality of the show depends how they handle the plot that showed up in this episode. There’s a story about a neglected child in here that looks fascinating and was cleverly introduced in this episode, but it depends on whether that’s what the anime wants to tackle. I think with the likes of Bakemonogatari, Arakawa and Natsu no Arashi that Shaft have proven they are interested in tackling the plots of these sorts of anime. Just don’t expect anything from the prospective second season.

Also the op argh argh argh my ears argh argh the pain argh argh. It sounds like someone took a 12 year old girl off the street, stamped on her toe repeatedly and then recorded that over what could have otherwise been a decent song.

Ano Hana

[sigh]

Sure does suck being right all the time.

I knew Ano Hana was going to be like this. I know this director. He did the second season of Honey and Clover and Toradora. This guy loves melodrama and this was his chance to direct an original anime project so there was no way in hell he would do anything other than lay on the melodrama as thick as he possibly could. This episode was almost oppressive in the amount of melodrama it packed in. And that sort of stuff does absolutely nothing for me.

I don’t care. I guess other people must instantly care about people in sad situations, but I don’t. I’m an evil heartless prick who couldn’t give a shit. I like Hanasaku Iroha, which has its bits of melodrama, but that show is more interested in having good writing than effecting me emotionally. Ano Hana wants to tug at our heartstrings first and foremost and I just don’t want any of that. But I also recognise that I am the minority when it comes to this viewpoint. Look at the popularity of Key anime for an example of that. If you like Air and Kanon and the like, Ano Hana is for you. But it sure as hell isn’t for me.

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61 Comments

  1. Mr.Durrr
    Posted April 15, 2011 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    >[C]
    >shitty CGI
    >derp character design
    >QUALITY animation
    >loli moe demon girl
    >pokemon battles

    NOPE.jpg

    • Nop
      Posted April 15, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      >directed by Nakamura
      >music by Iwasaki Taku

      Suddenly everything is better.

  2. Posted April 15, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Nope, C was awesome. Really.
    Okay, I’m leaving! *winks*

    • OHEMGEE
      Posted April 15, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

      Don’t leave. I can change. I promise.

      • Posted April 17, 2011 at 2:25 am | Permalink

        She doesn’t need you to change. She just wants her head back.

      • OHEMGEE
        Posted April 18, 2011 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        But…

      • Posted April 22, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        I wanna drink tea…..

  3. Posted April 15, 2011 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    I miss when J.C. Staff use to be good. It’s just been heart breaking seeing where they’ve been going the past couple years.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 15, 2011 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Were they ever good?

      *checks back catalogue*

      Utena
      Nodame
      Azumanga
      Honey and Clover

      Welp, guess they did indeed used to be pretty darn good

      • Posted April 15, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        They also did ROD the TV, while I wouldn’t say great, it was fun, and notable at the time.

        The last great thing I consider J.C. Staff having done is Aoi Hana (I haven’t watched Nodame yet, so I don’t know how Finale compares)
        with the character development and jaw dropping visuals. But after that, every once in awhile they manage something that’s okay or enjoyable, but it’s as if they lost every good thing they had going for them.

  4. Posted April 15, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    BOO- Oh wait you didn’t like Honey and Clover II and Toradora- WAIT YOU DON’T LIKE MELODRAMA :O

    Well everyone’s entitled to their opinions I guess. I loved the first episode of Anohana though.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 15, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Actually I’m all right on Toradora, but compared to the way most people seem to fawn over that show….yeah

  5. Posted April 15, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    When the Ano Hana characters start developing infantile speech patterns and all turn out to be ghosts/animal spirits, then I’d say the Key comparisons are apt.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 15, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

      This episode already had a ghost girl who might as well had an infantile speech pattern

  6. Posted April 15, 2011 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    JC Staff is adapting that God’s Memopad light novel too. Now the only reason I had the slightest interest in it was because Kishida Mel (Sora no Woto, Hanasaku Iroha original character designs) illustrates them. Then JC Staff. Bleh. Looks like the usual. Must compare how differently they adapt his designs.

    …So Menma is a ghost after all? Do the other characters not see her? If so, I now am interested. :V

    • Posted April 15, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      J.C. Staff

      >Take story
      >extract girls
      >Make chest flatter
      >insert beach, hot springs, forced romance, and anime original material that makes little sense as possible
      >make fans cry and fap at the same time

      Poor Memopad.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 15, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

      Yeah Menma is a moe moe kyun ghost

      • Kiseki
        Posted April 15, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

        But can anyone see her? I would love it if no one can (not sure why I just would). Main character being the only one who can see a ghost is something I’ve seen too often.

  7. OHEMGEE
    Posted April 15, 2011 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

    Imma check out Denpa Onna and Ano Hana.
    yep yep yep.
    Because you really need to know that and care (:

  8. Nebulous
    Posted April 15, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    I can’t believe you liked Denpa Onna.

    “There’s a story about a neg­lected child in here that looks fas­cin­at­ing and was clev­erly intro­duced in this epis­ode”

    Really? There was a lot of odd, never seen in real life characters but these characters are so far removed from reality its hard to find any application to real life issues such as parental neglect. Typical boy meets weird beautiful girl who is instantly enamoured by him. Rinse and repeat ad infinitum.

    Ano Hana on the other hand looks like you went into the show looking for melodrama. It seems like there was no way they could put a dead person in here without you calling it melodramatic. Not to say that the show is good, as really nothing of note happened here but it was certainly no worse than Denpa Onna.

    Both shows are so rooted in fact that they have to pander to a certain crowd its nauseating. If the futon girl had been hideously ugly I would’nt be saying this but no she had to be amazingly beautiful. Why? Because the Otaku demand their fantasies be fuelled – we must have a panning shot showing each part of this half dressed girl in a school uniform, WE MUST! We must have a that auntie character be a walking embodiment of moe! C’mon be serious, a quater of this episode was spent at the dinner table of which 90% of the animation there wa static with just lips talking.

    Don’t tell me you’ve been infected by that disease too.

    • OHEMGEE
      Posted April 15, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

      boo hoo. ;D

    • Posted April 15, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

      I love Scamp’s writing, but the reason I check this blog daily is definitely the comments. No other blog gets comments on this scale of entertaining. NO OTHER.

      Okay. Pokemon fandom is more absurd, but they’re less sparse in their ranting.

      • OHEMGEE
        Posted April 15, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

        We’re a community of love, pointless comments, and rants <3

      • Anonymous
        Posted April 15, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        The Cart Driver is the blog where you go to blog. Anything else is just wrong dude.

      • Posted April 16, 2011 at 12:09 am | Permalink

        +1

      • Posted April 16, 2011 at 4:04 am | Permalink

        I don’t know, I’ve seen a large concentration of rants about the physical and biological impossibilities of the Pokemon world, and they still don’t seem to be stopping. Most turn out downright silly.

        Might just be the people I associate with though.

      • Posted April 16, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

        The level of dumb I’m talking about is within competition pokemon.
        The rants I’m talking about go more into the realm of dumb then silly.
        Right now there’s the Drizzle/Swift Swim ban argument because pokemon battling needs to be as pure power, non strategy, and non gimmicky as possible, lol. It’s this competitive group called Smogen that has a lot of influence, and when the make rules, many people adopt them.

        That’s actually pretty smart. It’s usually way dumber then that.

      • Posted April 16, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

        Agh, dem competitive battlers.
        I still don’t see why people take the rules that Smogen set down as the undisputed way battling should be carried out.
        Then again, I’m in the camp that Pokemon shouldn’t be treated as serious business. Though I’ll admit, I find utilizing actual strategy to be tons of fun.

      • Nebulous
        Posted April 16, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

        Thats because Smogon are one of the few people who actually care about making competitive pokemon battling serious, and having a technique used by 90% of good players means that the came is over centralised and needs fixing. Although I don’t agree with all of their decisions they at least have some principles and wont go against them in order to make themselves more popular.

      • Posted April 16, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

        And I can respect them for trying and keeping things organized the way they want them in what they do. But they’re not the immutable word on Pokemon battling, as many people make them out to be.
        If folks want to try to run a team used by 90% of other competitive players though, I see no problem with that. It just makes it that much easier to run into the ground with proper planning.

        Then again, I’m not into competitive battling at all. I’m just throwing my two cents out there.

      • Posted April 17, 2011 at 12:01 am | Permalink

        Fucking goldmine.

        Actually care? Please. Smogen takes itself way too seriously, it’s like the sections of Brawl players who feel the game should only be played in final whatever it’s called with items turned off because it’s a better measure of skill even though other stages and having items turned on are infinitely more fun.

        It’s an over exaggeration to say 90% of good players use drizzle/swift swim but even so, a) if you don’t have a counter to that anyway, you kinda suck b) if you can’t put together a counter to that easy, you really suck c.) I’d rather face Drizzle then a team loaded with psedos any day.

      • Posted April 17, 2011 at 12:03 am | Permalink

        “If folks want to try to run a team used by 90% of other com­pet­it­ive play­ers though, I see no prob­lem with that. It just makes it that much easier to run into the ground with proper planning.”

        Especially in a system with so few variables, so many combination of abilities/pokemon/etc and so much potential for gimmickery, that’s actually the problem.

        Counters to a certain all-powerful strategy may not exist, or may have extreme disadvantages that make them useless against any other opponent. There’s no guarantee that any amount of proper planning will have a payoff.

        Pokemon isn’t a game balanced to avoid this – with 600+ of the damn things and so many colourful abilities it probably can’t ever be.

      • Posted April 17, 2011 at 12:36 am | Permalink

        I guess we are going to have this conversation .

        There are some basic competition rules in place to balance the system the best it can. After all, without the tiers that even Nintendo uses, the battling scene would be shambles.

        Smogen just goes too far in the name of trying to “balance the system”. The truth is, it’s not possible to build a team that can be strong against everything. But banning a strong and valid stragey is stupid, one that multiple counters does exists and can be executed with as little as one pokemon. The Blaziken ban is a least valid as the only way to stop a Speed Boost Blaziken is Static, Mummy, wait for it to die from Stealth Rock/Life Orb combo, etc.

        But even the Blaziken ban leaves a bad taste in my mouth, just as the Salamance did. It’s like they’re playing God with the game, and they’re not God. I don’t respect their authority, and I think and always will think they have dumb reasoning.

      • Posted April 17, 2011 at 1:13 am | Permalink

        That was pretty much my point – they’re trying to balance a game that by nature was not meant to support super serious competitive play. Every ban they institute just shifts the popular strategy to a different, probably equally powerful one. This is why I think that the game should never be taken so seriously – it doesn’t have the depth or design to support it.

        I’m of the opinion that groups like Smogen will always institute irrational rules in the name of “balance”, such as restricting all competitions to a single level or setting limits on certain key game mechanics that totally reshape the way the game works. They care more about this notion of balance than tactical depth, and have decision making process incomprehensible even to very serious normal players who aren’t part of their associations.

      • Posted April 17, 2011 at 1:20 am | Permalink

        “-they’re try­ing to bal­ance a game that by nature was not meant to sup­port super ser­i­ous com­pet­it­ive play.”

        I concur. Pokemon is a game with a surprising amount of depth, but it was never meant for competition at this scale. No matter what, there will always be powerful strategies out there.
        I like what they try to do, but if people want balance, they should try to find it on their own, at most using Smogen as a point to start from. Again, they aren’t THE authority on the games when it comes to battling.

      • Posted April 17, 2011 at 2:22 am | Permalink

        Okay. I’m really sorry Naota, I didn’t realize that was the point you were making, I thought it was an acknowleging both sides point. I get it now. ^______^;;;

        I’ll go…play with Bidoofs.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 15, 2011 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

      these char­ac­ters are so far removed from real­ity its hard to find any applic­a­tion to real life issues

      I take it you didn’t like Arakawa either then? ;)

      Honestly most of your other complaints are true, hence the thumbs up is still rather tentative. I don’t like the moe 39 year old women nor the fascination with the barmy girls inner thighs, but I enjoyed the episode for the wit and some of the clever writing, which elevates it above the annoyances. This is also the reason why I believe the show is only as good as long as it sticks to this clever writing and plot and not just hijinks because the pandering of the characters gets on my nerves a bit

    • EXM
      Posted April 16, 2011 at 3:12 am | Permalink

      You’re hating on an entire genre, rather than a show. And lets face it, the whole point of watching anime is pretty animation/character designs.

      The Aesthetics are one of the MAIN draws of the medium. It’s why anime rise to fame was so quick. Hating on it because it realistically knows it’s audience is pretty bigoted.

      Also, people watch Ano Hana because they want to feel something (lol empty life). If you don’t want to feel anything, then it’s pretty easy to hate it, admittedly. So perfectly understandable of you think it’s absolute shit for actually playing to its audience (Moe GHOST).

      • Nebulous
        Posted April 16, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

        1. Certain genres suck
        2. No, I don’t watch anime for the pretty characters. I am not pathetic like that.
        3. Aesthetics doesn’t mean everyone has to look like a supermodel.
        4. AnoHana allows people to eat their shit next to a possibly good meal (The Moe ghost is the shit fyi). You should never have to want to feel something the show should force you to feel something otherwise its not doing its job. The only thing I felt was that the main guy is a pathetic loser who is having a wish fulfilling fantasy with a flat chested Moe girl who is only their for him (much like the loser Otaku want more than anything).

      • Posted April 17, 2011 at 12:39 am | Permalink

        So about point 2.)…I’m not sure what your saying.

        You’re not so pathetic like that because you masturbate to real porn instead…or you just don’t want to mistaken for a common otaku but rather a super special elite higher class of otaku that doesn’t stoop to being swayed by character designs?

  9. Anonymous
    Posted April 15, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    I checked out Ano Hi Mita Hana no Namae o Bokutachi wa Mada Shiranai and C back to back. Seemed appropriate at the time.

    Both shows the same amount of shit and good in the first episode for me. Though I would like to specifically note that I wish to douse Menma in holy promethium.

    That is all.

    • Anonymous
      Posted April 15, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

      I forgot, can we consider Noitanima bombed now? I’d like to blame people.

      • Posted April 16, 2011 at 10:41 am | Permalink

        AnoHana hit high with DVD pre orders so expect the ratings to go a lot higher this season.

  10. luffyluffy
    Posted April 15, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    I fucking loved Denpa Onna’s opening.

    • OHEMGEE
      Posted April 15, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

      It’s strange. I really loved it too. It’s catchy to meeee

    • Posted April 16, 2011 at 4:45 am | Permalink

      I agree with Scamp, it sucks and makes me want to claw out my eardrums.

  11. Posted April 16, 2011 at 3:51 am | Permalink

    The only one of these shows that looked semi-interesting to me was Denpa Onna, and that’s looking to retain that entire “Eh, I have nothing better to do, so I’ll just watch this” feel that I had going in. Loved the way the girl’s head antennae moved while wrapped in the futon and… well, the girl in general. She’s easily the best part of the show thus far, though one episode in, that isn’t saying much.

    It’s decent, but a few things bug me:
    – Agreed on the opening. I was ready to massage my ear drums with acid dipped flaming sandpaper just to end the torture.
    – Something’s up with the aunt’s mouth. I don’t know what it is, but it just moves really strangely, and her smile creeps me out.

    I also felt that the dialogue wore a bit thin at times, especially with the aunt, but it had a little charm to it that didn’t leave me disappointed that I watched. Also, I found the ED amusing. *Shrugs*

  12. Rintaro
    Posted April 16, 2011 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    >light action romance com­edy anime
    >Index & Railgun

    What? Have you even watched them?

    • Posted April 16, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

      I guess Index has too much talking to count as an action anime…

    • Scamp
      Posted April 16, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

      Are you implying they aren’t a light action romance comedy? What would it count as then? Moe harem disguised as a sci-fi shounen?

      • Posted April 16, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Permalink

        To be completely fair, I don’t think Index even knows what it is.

      • Posted April 17, 2011 at 12:17 am | Permalink

        This comment needs a place in the comment gold hall of fame.

      • Rintaro
        Posted April 17, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

        A disguised moe harem anime that doesn’t focus on harem or moe at all? Hmmm

      • Nick
        Posted April 17, 2011 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

        I didn’t finish railgun, but regarding Index I have to agree with Rintaro. In some scenes it has elements of romance comedy (everytime he meets mikoto). But touma lecturing people before punching them in the face is a much larger part of the series than romance comedy stuff. And while he is doing that he isn’t accompanied by his romantic prospect, so I wouldn’t compare it with the other shows in the list. (Index is sometimes with him but she isn’t really a girlfriend candidate. I think you could call her a mascot.)
        And moe harem? Really?

  13. Posted April 17, 2011 at 12:15 am | Permalink

    Oh yeah. If you complain about Smogen long enough, someone is bound to come to it’s defense. Always. Without fail. It’s like moe.

    • Posted April 17, 2011 at 12:41 am | Permalink

      Oops, wrong place. But I broke the post by mentioning Smogen. Sorry Scamp.

  14. Posted April 17, 2011 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    tried ano hana. the concept is interesting enough but BLEAGH that moe ghost. WHY. i might have given this a shot if she was replaced with something more palatable. i didn’t find it terribly melodramatic although it was kinda stupid how the main character kept mentioning his “stress” and “trauma” like he needed to reconfirm it to the audience. instead of just showing it. sigh. also i hate the bgm.

    • Scamp
      Posted April 17, 2011 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      At least the bgm isn’t as bad as the one for Sket Dance

    • Raspy
      Posted April 17, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      I think he was mentioning his stress and trauma in an attempt to explain to himself the reason why he could suddenly see a grown up supposedly dead childhood friend. Seems reasonable enough to me. Like he was trying to convince himself that he hadn’t gone completely bonkers as he might suspect he has.

      Idk for you, but when I think about it that way I find it enjoyable.

      The show didn’t blow me away and it isn’t instant like but so far it is good enough to warrant a chance to watch at least another episode imo.

      There was bgm in this anime? Didn’t notice. xD

      Denpa Onna made my brain hurt at one point because it couldn’t handle the absurdity of the situation at the dinner. This was the first time something like this has happened while watching an anime.

      Usually I either understand the situation that is taking place or don’t understand. If I don’t understand I usually ignore it completely and put it away for another time. I guess the absurd situation of the woman ignoring the existence of the girl was taking place for far too long for my poor brain to ignore it and file it away.

      I don’t know what I think of this anime as of now. It might be good or it might flop. But for now I remain optimistic.

  15. scotto
    Posted April 18, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    Eh, I think the reason Ano Hana is so popular is less to do with the melodrama and moe ghost, and more to do with the identifiable lead. I keep reading Japanese blogs which go on about how painfully realistic they thought Jintan’s attempt to leave his house for the first time in a while were and how cutting the words of his former friends were. But I guess the Index Mk2 doesn’t hurt?

    • Ogrim
      Posted April 26, 2011 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      Agree, for me it was their realistic character design, I could understand their feelings and that made it so interesting for me :-)

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