Anime Review: Shoka Special

(Originally published on Livejournal on 5/3/10)

Anime Review in a Minute:
Shoka

What This Is All About: I am going to attempt to watch at least the first episode of every anime show of the new season that is subtitled. The review will be divided into three short sections: “The Elevator Speech”, a quick two-to-three sentence synopsis of the episode; “The Skinny”, my initial reactions, and “The Verdict”, a simple Pass/Fail grade that determines whether to continue to the next episode or not. For those with a passing grade, I will follow-up later with the second or third episodes for a re-evaluation.

The Elevator Speech: The 7th Annual Animax Grand Prix Winner (a contest for amateur writers) presents a tale of battling calligrapher-warriors in Edo-period Japan. Shiro Sumiya has been summoned by the leader of the mysterious “Art Clan” because strange creatures are terrorizing the city. He meets up with two of his colleagues as they track down a fallen follower of the arts who manages to conjure a giant “drawn demon”, and they battle using their special papercraft-fu and ink-fu.

The Skinny: Hey! It’s Gojin the comic series meets Read or Die! A secretive group that is able to use paper and ink to create weapons and barriers and puppets? Sure does sound a whole lot like R.O.D, only set a couple hundred years earlier. A very interesting art and animation style that is intentionally messy and indistinct, yet it works for the subject matter. The story is nothing special, but it kept my attention, and I’m disappointed that this is just a single one-shot special (hard to flesh out a full-length story in twenty minutes). Kenji Saido is certainly someone to keep an eye on in the future.

The Verdict:

More Info:

Star-Crossed Anime Review: http://psgels.blogsome.com/2010/03/29/shoka-review-75100/
Anime News Network entry: http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=11345
View Online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D8afLzpoTS0

The Scorecard So Far (first episodes only):
Thumbs-up: Working!!, Angel Beats, Kaichou wa Maid-sama, K-On Season 2, Heroman, Arakawa Under the Bridge, Giant Killing, The Tatami Galaxy

Thumbs-down B Gata H Kei, Hakuouki Shinsengumi Kitan, Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou, Mayoi Neko Overrun, Uraboku, KissXSis, Senkou no Night Raid, Ookiku Furikabutte Season 2, Hime Chen Otogi Chikku Idol Lilpri, Shin Koihime Mousou Otogi Tairan, Ikkitousen Xtreme Xecutor, Hetalia World Series, Rainbow Rokubou no Shichinin, Haiyoru Nyaru-Ani, SD Gundam Senshi Sangokuden: Brave Battle Warriors, Jewel Pet Tinkle, Tales of Symphonia: Tethe’alla, Major Season 6

Up to bat next in the lineup (only a handful left!):
– House of Five Leaves, Sex Pistols, Magic Kaito

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