Anime Reel – Anime & Manga TV News

Spring 2010 Week 1: First Impressions

Posted on: April 6, 2010

This is so unfair!
The first week of April is a hectic time for anime fans, as new shows flood out and people fall over themselves making snap judgments based on the first 22 minutes. I tend to wait four weeks before making final decisions about which shows are keepers, which are casual watches, and which are busts, but that doesn’t stop me from forming opinions from the get-go. I’ve almost a dozen new shows over the last week, and here are my quick thoughts about each of them. Feel free to disagree with my opinions after the jump!

Ikki Tousen Xtreme Xecutor – This wasn’t my thing before, and isn’t my thing now. It’s amusing for stretches, but I’m getting tired of the formula. There are so many places to find shameless amounts of fan service these days that this doesn’t seem that special anymore.

Heroman – Seems promising, like the marriage of Giant Robo and Spider-Man. The main character’s voice grates on my ears, though, and I’d love to hear this one if/when it gets an English voiceover. Joey’s voice is so obviously female that it’s distracting. This show has a lot to live up to, and while it has potential, it hasn’t done much to fulfill it yet.

B-gata H-kei – Mildly amusing in a turn-your-brain-off kind of way, but it doesn’t seem sustainable yet. The main character really, really wants to be sexually active, but every time she tries it, her imagination acts up and she runs off screaming and crying. This pattern repeats at least three times in the first episode, and unless there’s some real character development soon, the joke will get old fast.

Kaichou ha Maid-sama! – Boring. The whole thing is based on a one-note relationship that really should have resolved itself within a few hours, but you can see the creators behind the scenes desperately trying to stretch the material far beyond where it should go.

Ichiban Ushiro no Daimao – Strangely, one of the more appealing shows of the season. It goes heavy on the panty shots (well, loincloth shots), but it’s genuinely funny in its own right, and could be a whole lot of fun. I just have to block out the in-your-face upskirt angles and enjoy this for the gags, which seem good so far.

Angel Beats! – A mess so far. The comedy is misplaced, the characters don’t mesh well yet, there are several noticeable art goofs, and even the soundtrack seems to be confused about when it should play. A lot of people are saying that we need to have faith in the power of Key and Maeda Jun, but I don’t see the magic in this first episode. This has a strong pedigree, but it needs to shape up fast if it wants to live up to its own hype.

Giant Killing – I’m looking forward to this one. The first episode was slowly paced, but I’m giving this one some leeway because it’s a show about a soccer coach. It’d be out of character for a soccer show to be fast-paced (har har), and I actually like some of the personalities in this show already. Bonus points for finding someone who can actually speak English to talk for a bit, though as usual, the actual acting portion was a bit suspect (any of you remember the New York contingent from The Legend of Black Heaven?).

Arakawa Under the Bridge – Good writing and good acting so far. The comedy is there, the characters are crazy but not stupid, and everyone tells me that the source material gets even better. Between this show’s great cast and its ability to elicit some real belly laughs, I’m impatient about next week.

kiss x sis – This is so not for me.

Mayoi-neko Overrun! – I haven’t been able to get behind any of the characters yet. The ostensible female lead Fumino is especially a problem, because she’s a stereotypical anime tsundere turned up to about 20 on a scale of 1 to 10. She’s so over-the-top, predictable, and shallow that she detracts from the rest of the show, which could be okay if it weren’t for the constant angry shouting.

K-On!! – Cute, and with better music than the first season, but still not really my bag. I look at this show and I see all of the fluff pieces that came before it: Kokoro Toshokan, Aria, … not much in the way of plot or even just forward progress.

I haven’t seen Working! yet, but overall this season didn’t really have me jumping for joy. Some of the more promising shows haven’t delivered, while there are some surprise sleepers. Fans who just want to see cute girls doing cute things (or sexy girls doing sexy things) have plenty of that this season, but the preliminary outlook says that I’ll be watching Ichiban Ushiro no Daimao and Sarai-ya Goyou this season, with occasional looks at Giant Killing and Heroman.


5 Responses to "Spring 2010 Week 1: First Impressions"

I pretty much agree, K-On!! and B Gata H kei are my “Turn brain off, sit back, zombie out” shows, Mayoi Neko yeah, the female lead is a bit more Tsun then she came off in the few chapters of the manga that’s out, hopefully they’ll tone her down a tad before long. Heroman so far is the only one that I’ll predictably be watching as it comes out. At least we still have FMA:B wrapping up this season too. Haven’t watched Arakawa or Angel beats yet, but I’m not a huge fan of Key, so may not even touch Angel Beats at all. But I’ll eventually get around to the first ep of the rest.

It was pretty difficult for me to get excited about this season, and it hasn’t changed too much. Arakawa is the only show that really impressed me, it’s kind of like Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei is back in my lineup.

Angel Beats and Daimaou are ok, but not “must watch”. Heroman I haven’t seen yet, reviews seem kind of mixed but I’ll probably give it a try. Everything else was either a disappointment or ruled out from the start. Not a great batting average for a spring lineup.

I was okay heroman up to the advent of Heroman, then things just went downhill for me.

After Joey carefully reconstrucs the broken toy (using his 1337 glue skills!) it’s struck by lightning (yeah, I get that it’s *special* lightning) and it comes to life with intelligence and massive growth ability. After 20+ years of anime, not much can breach my suspended disbelief, but this managed it.

I would have laughed my ass off if Joey went through a classic magical girl transformation when merging with the control module, but no. No over the top slapstic to distract, no subtle humor to reward attention. Best I can guess is the nut case professor with a very singular interest is supposed to be the comic relief. Maybe I was just too jaded alredy to see the humor by my disappointment with Heroman’s entrance.

What’s left to watch? How about some action. Oh, wait! Let’s stop and wait for Joey to push the “DO” button on his controller. What great intellectual prowess Joey demonstrates here in control of his newfound powers. Wait for Heroman to stop. Push button to continue. Rinse, repeat. Is that really all Joey is going to actually contribute to what is obviously Heroman’s own decisions of what needs to be done?

As if it wasn’t hard enough to suspend disbelief with the stuttering action, we get to see a fuel tanker that has already exploded one on fire threatening to blow up again. No, stop right there, wait for the “DO” button to be pressed. Okay, now take your sweet time ripping the roof off the car. Only a few short minutes after I grew tired of this scene, Heroman does NOT extract the occupants to safety before the tanker explodes, but still manages to save them.

Nothing tickled my technophilia. Nothing made me laugh out loud. The main characters don’t appeal to me. And the action completely lacks any urgency to make me sit on the edge of my seat.

😛 That’s my 22 minute impression. I’ll try to watch at least one more in hopes of seeing somthing worth watching, but I just don’t think this is for me.

I’m keeping happy so far with Dance in the Vampire Bund and Heroman. Both are really entertaining so far. I am also watching K-On second season, Arakawa Under the Bridge, and Ichiban Ushiro no Daimao. All of which are really good first episodes. I’m a particular fan of K-On as I found the entire cast cute and funny on the first season.

I will also keep an eye on the new series, on the hopes that they are entertaining enough to have some thing to watch between other shows.

Watched the first ep of Ichiban and almost choked on my soda when the fortune telling duck appears. I could not believe it. A crossover from 1950’s television in a Japanese Anime. i doubt anyone reading this has ever seen (at least live, sadly I have) the old Groucho Marx game show “you bet your life”. In it, if during the course of your conversation with Groucho you said the “Secret Word” a Groucho Duck would drop out of the ceiling with $50 in it beak and the word. Yes the same duck with glasses, Tux and cigar. Amazing.

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