Anime Quick-Hit Reviews: Winter 2010 Season Part 1

(Originally published and formatted for Livejournal on 1/16/11)

Anime Quick-Hit Reviews:
Winter 2010 Season Part 1

What this is about: For the sake of completeness and to accurately claim that I have sampled almost every subtitled anime show for all of 2010, I am going backwards several months to check out all the shows from the Winter 2010 Season, which is defined as all shows that debuted between December 21st, 2009 and March 21st, 2010. Rather than post full-length reviews, these are just some “quick hits”, my impressions based on the first episodes only. So, without further ado:

Hipira the Little Vampire

Series Details: 10-Episode TV Special broadcast from December 21st to December 25th, 2009.
What It’s About: Hipira-kun is a little vampire boy (not quite experienced enough to turn into a bat yet) who is always getting in trouble and going on adventures.
My Thoughts on Episode 1: If you were expecting something dark and edgy from Katsuhiro Otomo (the legendary creator of Akira), think again. Nope, this is aimed at the pre-teen set — if you loved Jill Thompson’s Scary Godmother, you’ll love this as well. Harmless and cute, interesting CG-assisted animation (which I’m not sure if I like or find ‘uncanny’).
The Verdict: – Mild thumbs-up, advances to the next round.

Bohemian Rhapsody featuring Leiji Matsumoto

Series Details: 7 minute long music video, single episode, released on December 23rd, 2009.
What It’s About: An animated music video by Leiji Matsumoto set to Queen’s popular seventies song, as a spaceship in futuristic Tokyo takes off with several of Matsumoto’s iconic characters.
My Thoughts on Episode 1: As far as I can tell the only reason for this to exist is to remind the world that Leiji Matsumoto has not died yet. And he’s basically using the same characters for the past THREE DECADES. I’ve never been a fan of his works, and this does nothing to change that opinion.
The Verdict: – Mild thumbs down, pretty pointless.

Bungaku Shoujo: Kyou no Oyatsu – Hatsukoi

Series Details: One-shot original video animation, 17 minutes, released on December 26th, 2009.
What It’s About: Konoha and Tohko are the only members of the school’s book club, and Konoha writes a short story for Tohko every day, which she consumes (literally) with great enjoyment.
My Thoughts on Episode 1: Before there was the feature-length movie, and before the three-part “Memoire” specials released in 2010 (both of which I reviewed very favorably, earning a spot in my 2010 top-20 list), there was this one-shot special that was bundled with the second volume of the Bungaku Shoujo light novel. And if this was my first exposure to the series, I would have been left with a sour impression. Not that this special is awful or anything, but quite unexceptional in comparison to the stories that came after it. Skip this, you won’t be missing anything by passing it by.
The Verdict: – Mild thumbs down, disappointing.

Ladies vs. Butlers

Series Details: 12-part television series debuted by December 29th, 2009.
What It’s About: Hino arrives for his first day at an academy that trains future maids and butlers. Through his own clumsy incompetence and an unlikely series of events, he immediately ends up offending every single girl he meets.
My Thoughts on Episode 1: I tried to give this show the benefit of the doubt, hoping beyond hope for clever humor. Why am I not surprised that it ended up being a stupid fan-service driven wacky comedy where the unfortunate protagonist ends up “accidentally” groping every girl he runs into? Croissant-hair-girl is also tsundere personified. Avoid, there’s nothing worthwhile here.
The Verdict: – Thumbs down, no surprise.

Yutori-chan

Series Details: A series of 25 two-minute net animation specials that started on December 29th, 2009.
What It’s About: Yutori-chan is a teenage intern that just started working at a Japanese toy company. Watch as she gets into all sorts of hijinks with her twenty-something supervisor and her thirty-something boss.
My Thoughts on Episode 1: I actually already reviewed this back in May, and my general opinion was that it is both harmless and inconsequential. Only watch if you enjoy pastels and exceedingly-lame jokes.
The Verdict: – Thumbs down.

Kowarekake no Orgel

Series Details: One-shot special released on December 31st, 2009, plus an additional 8-minute extra a year later on December 24th, 2010.
What It’s About: Keiichiro lives alone following the death of his family in a tragic car accident, barely crawling through life without a purpose. One day, he finds a discarded, broken, outdated android destined for the garbage dump; even though it is beyond repair, he takes it home, where the gears unexpectedly click into place and she starts working. Even though she has no memories, she’s a bit clumsy and inexperienced like a young child, Keiichiro spends the Summer months with his android helper “Flower”. What he does not realize (until it is too late) is that she ends up helping him find new meaning in life, as much as he helps her.
My Thoughts on Episode 1: This was a complete surprise — the plot itself is nothing exceptional or original yet it is executed well and enjoyable to watch. At only half an hour it speeds by way too fast, there is definitely enough material to build upon here it could have been stretched into a twelve-episode series without sacrificing any quality. I wish there was more.
The Verdict: – Pleasantly thumbs up.

Coming Up Next in Part Two: Katanagatari, Cobra the Animation, Harakanaru Toki no Naka de 3, Sora no Woto, Chu-Bra, and Omamori Himari

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