(Originally published and formatted for Livejournal on 2/3/11)
Anime Quick-Hit Reviews:
Winter 2010 Season Part 6
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:
Series Details: 12-minute original video animation special that was shown on February 23, 2010.
What It’s About: Inexperienced assistant Rinko summons the great demon Azazel…but the great demon arrives he’s in a cute, harmless super-deformed style. Rinko puts the powerful minion of Hell to work at household chores, but the tables are turned when another demon, Moloch, is also summoned.
My Thoughts on episode 1: I actually already reviewed this back in July, but include it here because it properly belongs as part of the Winter 2010 season. And it’s just as funny now as it was back then; apparently I’m not the only one who thinks so, too, because a second special has been green-lit.
The Verdict: – Thumbs up. I want more.
Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku: The Legend of Koizumi
Series Details: 25-minute original video animation special that aired on February 26, 2010.
What It’s About: Setting world policy decisions at the mahjong table! Whenever a world crisis is at hand, the leaders of the major powers gather to fight it out on the mahjong table. But one man rules above them all: the legendary former prime minister Koizumi! Watch as he lays waste to Kim Jong-il and the spirit of Mao, while making a monkey out of thumb-sucking Bush!
My Thoughts on Episode 1: Fucking hilarious! This is so over-the-top it is just plain insane. And here I thought that Saki pushed the intensity-envelope on an otherwise droll game, but this anime punches through that envelope like it is wet tissue paper. Koizumi is portrayed as the larger-than-life (by a factor of a thousand) figure, steely-eyed and invincible beyond belief, while all the other world leaders are simpering idiots (except for Elder Bush, who is also a strong-man figure that takes pity on his feeble-minded son). This show is just CRAZY. I don’t think they could keep this up for a regular season of shows, but this shock-humor is perfect for the occasional special, and look forward to see if they produce another special pitting him against the Pope, Putin and Tyshomenko.
The Verdict: – Thumbs up! What a ride!
Series Details: 13-episode weekly television series that started on March 6, 2010.
What It’s About: Souta is the newest employee at the family restaurant Wagnaria, recruited off the street by the energetic Poplar (he couldn’t say no because she is just so darn cute!) Now he must deal with the unusual misfits and unique personalities of the people who work there.
My Thoughts on Episode 1: Another show that I have already reviewed before (in fact, it was the very first show I reviewed ever), but since it debuted towards the end of the Winter 2010 season I’m including it here. Fun, light-hearted comedy that is based on taking a bunch of quirky characters, throwing them all together and watching what happens.
The Verdict: – Thumbs-up.
Time of Eve
Series Details: Six fifteen-minute original video animation episodes released in 2008 and 2009, combined together into a complete 106-minute theatrical movie on March 6, 2010.
What It’s About: In the near future, androids have become part of everyday life. One day Rikuo discovers his family’s android, Sammy, has been acting strangely, and discovers a strange command in her logs, “Have you enjoyed your Time of Eve?” With his friend, they track down a secret doorway in a disused alleyway leading to a cafe where humans and androids are treated as equals.
My Thoughts on Episode 1: If a robot is indistinguishable from a human, then what does that indicate about our own humanity? It’s a question that has been asked repeatedly for decades, most famously by Isaac Asimov (whose three laws of robotics is referenced in this show), and we are no closer to a clear answer. The premise for the show is nothing new in the realm of science fiction, but Time of Eve does a fairly good job of broaching the topic. Forget about the insipid “I, Robot” movie, check this out instead. The animation itself is a bit weak, but the story got me really thinking with several unanswered questions, in a way aniem shows rarely do.
The Verdict: – Thumbs-up.
Doraemon Movie 2010: Nobita and the Great Mermaid Battle
Series Details: Feature-length movie that appeared on the big screen in Japan on March 6, 2010.
What It’s About: Doraemon floods the town with “imaginary water” so that Nobita can scuba-dive and impress his friends; but he ends up attracting the mermaid princess Sophia by mistake. With all of his friends, Nobita and Sophia travel to the deep ocean for an adventure where they search for a mythical sword that will save the ancient race of mermaids in a sudden war against interstellar invaders.
My Thoughts on the movie: Yes, I watched the Whole Damn Thing. (Hey, I suffer for my art!) What can I say, Doraemon is a kiddy show, the robotic earless cat from the future that has been entertaining Japanese children since before I was born. Four decades of Doraemon, and he’s still the same; if you’ve ever seen Doraemon in the past, you know exactly what to expect from this movie. This is pretty much perfect for kids between eight and twelve years old, that’s about it.
Movie Final Grade: C (Rather than a thumbs-up/down, for movies I give a full letter grade). Perfectly fine, just your average kid’s movie, nothing of interest for adults unless you’re on a big-time nostalgia kick. Now, I dare them to produce a grown-up Doraemon movie with an adult Nobita dealing with real-life events and a grim-and-gritty robot cat. I double-dog-dare them!
Shin Koihime Musou: Live Revolution
Series Details: Original video animation special, 20-minutes long, released on March 17, 2010.
What It’s About: Some of the main characters from the anime series sing a few songs on a big arena concert stage in front of tens of thousands of fans.
My Thoughts on Episode 1: I have already (very) negatively reviewed Shin Koihime not only once, but also a second time, so I already knew what I was getting into with this. It’s not a story of any sort, but a faux live concert with anime characters. Seriously. The only reason to watch this is if you’re a diehard fan of the show to begin with, in which case you’re a lost cause already.
The Verdict: – Wow. Just wow. What utter crap.
Already received a thumbs-up: Hipira the Little Vampire, Kowarekake no Orgel, Katanagatari, Sora no Woto, Ookami Kakushi, Dance in the Vampire Bund, Durarara, Hanamaru Kindergarten, Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha First Movie, Darker than Black: Gaiden, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, Lupin III: The Last Job, Gundam UC Unicorn
Already received a thumbs-down: Bohemian Rhapsody featuring Leiji Matsumoto, Bungaku Shoujo: Kyou no Oyatsu – Hatsukoi, Ladies vs. Butlers, Yutori-chan, Cobra the Animation, Hanakanaru Toki no Naka de 3, Chu-Bra, Omamori Himari, Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu, Hidamari Sketch x Hoshimittsu, Kaitou Reinya, Seikon no Qwaser, Nodame Cantabile: Finale, Fate Stay/Night: Unlimited Blade Works, Heartcatch Precure, Isshoni Sleeping: Sleeping with Hinako, Quiz Academy 2
Coming Up Next in Part 7: Pre-Cure All-Stars DX2, Boku Otaryman, Kurokami: Tora to Tsubasa, Hitman Reborn Shonen Jump OVA