Anime Quick-Hit Review: Winter 2010 Season Part 7

(Originally published and formatted for Livejournal on 2/5/11)

Anime Quick-Hit Reviews:
Winter 2010 Season Part 7

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:

Precure All-Stars DX2 Movie: Light of Hope

Series Details: 70-minute movie based on the long-running Pretty Cure series, shown on March 20, 2010.
What It’s About: Tsubomi and Erika are invited to a new amusement park, Fairy Land, centered around a powerful Rainbow Jewel. Bad guys want to steal the jewel to bring about a thousand years of darkness, and the two young Precure magical girls must team up with several others to save the day.
My Thoughts on the movie: The Pretty Cure franchise has been around for a few years with a couple hundred episodes and several movies, but so far my only exposure to the magical girl show has been the first episode of the most recent series, featuring the newest additions of Tsubomi and Erika, which I reviewed negatively. Viewed through that lens, it seems the young duo are useless idiot, constantly doubting themselves, that have to be continually saved by older Precure girls. I think I counted a total of sixteen or seventeen different magical girls, each with a slightly different power and costume design and personality — it’s an explosion of pinks and blues and yellows and twinkles and stars and happiness and teamwork and blah-blah-blah, like a giant San Rio store vomited all over the place.
Movie Final Grade: C- (Rather than a thumbs-up/down, for movies I give a full letter grade). It’s like they took everything in the Pretty Cure playbook, threw it all together and shook it all up. But all they ended up with is a technicolor mess.

Boku Otaryman

Series Details: Flash-based 35-minute original video animation special that aired on January 29, 2010.
What It’s About: Yoshitani is an “otaku salaryman”, a lovable loser that has no hope at life, at work, or at love. Just a short series of jokes about his daily misadventures and misunderstandings, a semi-autobiographical tale based on a four-panel comic series.
My Thoughts on Episode 1: This is the sort of comedy where you don’t know whether to laugh or to cry, because often it hits just a little too close to home for comfort. Like spending the day getting lots of little things done, going to bed at night with a sense of accomplishment…alone…with a tear in the eye.
The Verdict: – Borderline thumbs-up/thumbs-down. I can see the potential for humor, but more often than not the jokes fall flat. A swing and a miss.

Kurokami: Tora to Tsubasa

Series Details: Original video animation special as a side-story to the television series, released on December 22, 2009.
What It’s About: Based on the 2008 “Black God” television series, where contractors are bound with “Terra Guardians” and battle it out. This is a story about one contractor, Excel, a young girl who forms a new contract with guardian named Mikami, after a hundred years with her former contractor, Steiner, in the past.
My Thoughts on Episode 1: Another chance for me to sample a special to see if I’m interested enough to go back and check out the original series. Meh, seems like a poor-man’s version of Darker than Black, powerful warriors and contractors and special abilities and all that.
The Verdict: – Slight thumbs-down. Well, maybe I’ll check out the television series, it doesn’t seem like anything special nor anything terrible either, definitely not at the top of my list.

Hitman Reborn: Shonen Jump OVA

Series Details: A special original video animation special based on the long-running television series and manga, available online in March 2010, later released on DVD in July.
What It’s About: Reborn and the rest of the crew head all over Japan in a “Vongola” style vacation, visiting several famous sites, spending the night at a hot springs, Tsuna always ending up with the short end of the stick.
My Thoughts on Episode 1: Even with over 200 episodes, I’ve never felt the desire to check out Hitman Reborn, so I know nothing of the characters, their motives or whatever “Vongola” means. There may have been jokes hidden in this show somewhere, but if they were they were entirely based on knowing the characters themselves. So, mostly I was just sitting around wondering when all this nonsense was going to end. The special does nothing to interest me to go back and find out more about the show itself.
The Verdict: – Thumbs-down.

Okay! So, that’s a grand total of 40 shows, specials, and movies from the Winter 2010 season that I’ve quickly sampled over the past month. Out of those, seventeen get the thumbs-up.

Movies getting the thumbs-up: Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha First Movie, The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, Lupin III: The Last Job
Specials, one-shots and OVAs getting the thumbs-up: Kowarekake no Orgel, Yondemasuyo Azazel-san, Mudazumo Naki Kaikaku: The Legend of Koizumi
Series where the first episodes get a thumbs-up: Hipira: The Little Vampire, Katanagatari, Sora no Woto, Ookami Kakushi, Dance in the Vampire Bund, Durarara, Hanamaru Kindergarten, Darker than Black: Gaiden, Gundam UC: Unicorn, Working, and Time of Eve

So, what’s up next? A look at the second episodes of the above-listed shows, to see which ones advance to the next round. Once again, quick-hit reviews so I can get them out of the way as soon as possible. Onward ho!

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