25 CommentsFirst Impressions / By Scamp /

SoreMachi episode 1

Shaft being Shaft? I wish, at least then we might have had something interesting to watch.

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First things first, let me extend a short love letter to the opening song and animation. I’ve had a soft spot for Round Table ever since the Chobits opening and this one puts as much of a big stupid grin on my face as that one did, even if they are songs of the slightly cutesy variety. The other part I love is the dancing. Look at them, they’re dancing with mops and brooms! Anime needs more dancing in general. I know why anime doesn’t have more dancing. It’s costly to animate any sort of fluid dancing, hence we’re left with opening and closing songs to get our dance moves. Still, I wish they did dance more often.

The ending song is also pretty damn cool, but anime characters playing in a band together has been in fashion for a while now, so not much new there.

The anime itself? A bit of a disappointment. To use an example, take Natsu no Arashi. We have our peaceful maid cafe and all is well and good. Now strip Natsu no Arashi of everything that made it interesting. Get rid of the retro setting, the occasional pieces of Shaft-ing that made the visual experience fun and the actual plot of ghosts and time travel, increase the animation budget a bit and you have SoreMachi. There’s just nothing to this. Shaft may have increased the animation budget, but if you hadn’t told me I wouldn’t have been able to guess this was them. The closest we have to some sort of Shaftyness is a few shots from below whenever a character takes a step forward in dramatic fashion.

There’s no hook here. No original take on the maid cafe thing. The characters aren’t interesting. Actually I take that back, I do like the maths teacher because he acts exactly like a maths teacher should act. Besides the opening and ending songs, he was the only real highlight of the episode. But other than this, this show got nothin’. I’m willing to give it another shot, because Shaft anime are often difficult to judge solely on the basis of the first episode, but early signs are not good at all.

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  1. Posted October 10, 2010 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    I guess Shinbo is busy making Arakawa x Bridge awesome…

    • Scamp
      Posted October 10, 2010 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

      But this seemed to have a bigger budget, judging by the animation quality. So idk

  2. luffyluffy
    Posted October 10, 2010 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Shaft doing two shows a season? You know SOMETHING’s gotta suffer

    • Scamp
      Posted October 10, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      Madhouse did, and I’m not kidding here, 4 series during the Autumn 2008 season. Casshern Sins, Chaos;Head, Kurozuka and One Outs. OK, Chaos;Head is touted as an utter disaster, but Casshern and One Outs were both fantastic. Even Kurozuka, for all its flaws, certainly didn’t skimp on the animation aspect.

      But yeah, they are Madhouse. So maybe not a fair comparison

      • Posted October 10, 2010 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

        Didn’t Madhouse also do Mouryou no Hako that season, too?

        Anyway, I almost fell asleep during this. Part of that is because it’s hot down here right now, but this was also fairly boring.

  3. Someone Else
    Posted October 10, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    I kind of enjoyed it, I liked it when the main lead female works as a maid in a maid cafe that doesn’t look like one and she doesn’t even knows how a proper maid cafe works! Her friend gets old pretty fast though, and that granny (was she voiced by a guy!?) was more like there “just for the luls” and yes that math teacher haha, he’s definitely an embodiment of those math teachers, both male and female

    But yeah, I hope it gets better though

    • Scamp
      Posted October 10, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

      I had hoped the granny would take more of a role, possibly serving the customers in a subversion of the maid stereotype, but nothing doing unfortunately.

  4. smallish
    Posted October 10, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Would you recommend Natsu no Arashi? Your brief description of it sounded interesting.

    I didn’t watch this series because I have a general rule against maids. Actually, now that I think about it, I have a ‘general rule’ against a lot of things in anime. Maybe I should reconsider.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 10, 2010 at 9:35 pm | Permalink

      Eh, not really. It’s kinda good, but nothing worth writing home about. Plus the second season is utterly dire. There’s better Shaft series out there. Or, better yet, watch that mangakas other anime adaptation: School Rumble.

      • luffyluffy
        Posted October 10, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

        Funny that you should mention that. I got a FUNi blind box and it happened to have volume 6 of the School Rumble DVD in it. it reminded me of you~

  5. fathomlessblue
    Posted October 10, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Never seen Natsu no Arashi so I can’t compare the two but I really enjoyed this first episode.

    I’m fairly new in regards to Shaft shows, and i’ve only seen the better ones (Arakawa and Bakemonogatari) so it was a bit disappointing the crazy angles etc were kept to a minimum. The animation was pleasant and everything, but bar the odd scene and close up eye shot, it was pretty hard to guess they were involved.

    The humour was up my street though, so that was something. Plus, like you’ve mention the Op and Ed were great, the former probably being my fave opening of the season. The dancing… ;P

    I alo really loved Arashiyama’s voice. It took me about 10 minutes before I realised it was P-Ko’s v.a, Chiaki Omigawa. That, if nothing else cements this show as a must-watch series.

    Aghhh, theres just too many watchable shows this season. Or maybe after the last one my standards have become far more lax.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 10, 2010 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      There’s many people who don’t like Chiaki’s voice. I wouldn’t call myself a fan either, but when it comes to seiyuu I hardly ever care. I grow used to whatever voice they have pretty quickly and just accept it.

      As for Shaft, you’ve seen the only two I really like. I’ve yet to watch ef or Hidamari but the rest I either only kinda liked (SZS, Natsu no Arashi) or really didn’t like (Bund, Maria Holic)

  6. Posted October 10, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Eurgh, I just ragequit this barely halfway through, reasons being three-fold: annoying; unfunny; and trying-too-damn-hard-to-be-ironic-but-Epic-Failing-miserably-instead.

    That is all.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 10, 2010 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

      Trying to be ironic? My impression was that it wasn’t trying to be ironic at all and that was its main problem =|

  7. Posted October 10, 2010 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    I’m prepared to give it whatever time it needs if only because I have an absurd allegiance to Chiaki Omigawa. There’s nothing inherently offensive to me, and the silliness of her personality and chubbiness to Hotori’s face reminds me of my ex-girlfriend. If Hotori had purple hair, she’d bear a real uncanny resemblance to her (we’re still on very good terms, she just had to move out of state for school and job).

    Part of it also helped along by the fact that I really love the OP and ED. You said you watched To LOVE Ru for as long as you did just because you liked the OP right?

    • Scamp
      Posted October 10, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      Please don’t remind me of To-Love-Ru…

      Oh people and their obsesseion with Seiyuu. I still don’t care for who voices who and probably never will

      • luffyluffy
        Posted October 10, 2010 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

        I can understand it.

        I’m actually buying Durarara!! on dvd ONLY BECAUSE Steve Blum is Dotachin.


        I was at the panel screening for it yesterday and just as I was explaining to a friend that Steve Blum stalks me.. There he was. VOICING DOTACHIN.

        Oh, and Johnny Yong Bosch as Izaya and CRISPIN FUCKING FREEMAN AS SHIZUO helps.

  8. Posted October 10, 2010 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    Did Round Table collaborate with Maaya Sakamoto for the OP? I was under the impression that they did just the regular background music.

    Chiaki Omigawa seems to be a polarizing VA. I love her wonderfully nasal voice – works great for the innocent roles she tends to play like in Arakawa Under the Bridge, Seitokai Yakuindomo, or even Soul Eater – but some people seem to hate her with a passion.

    • Scamp
      Posted October 11, 2010 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      I assumed they sung the opening since their name appeared in the op at the typical spot the band name usually appears in the op. You know, around the 1 minute mark. Plus it sounded like them, albeit with a different vocalist

      • Posted October 11, 2010 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

        Well, the vocalist was definitely Maaya Sakamoto. But notice that after the Round Table credit, the song DOWN TOWN gets its own credit screen. Usually, you’d expect the 2 to appear on the same screen.

  9. Posted October 10, 2010 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    Are you in my head? I had pratically the exact same thoughts on this initial episode! :lol:

    • Posted October 10, 2010 at 11:57 pm | Permalink

      Most people probably had the same reaction. There was transparently nothing compelling about the episode, except maybe the music.

  10. Posted October 11, 2010 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    i was going to make a comment about dancing in anime but then i decided to refrain.

    waste of post ftw.

  11. Posted October 15, 2010 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    This was so awful, I was shocked. And I don’t have high standards.

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