Friday, December 21, 2012


Tsuritama was one of the weirdest series i have ever seen. it starts off weird, stays weird, and ends in a wet, weird bang. the primary focus of the series is fishing, adding yet another curious layer to a very unique and colourful series.
"colourful" and "weird" are two very accurate terms for this series. this, by the way, is the best defense ever. -w-

the series follows Yuki, a boy with crippling social anxiety issues due to frequent moving for his grandmother's work. as he enrolls in a new school on the island of Enoshima, he vows to overcome his problems, starting by making a nice introduction to his new class.
this is soon shattered by the introduction of Haru, a boy claiming to be an alien. showing up at Yuki and his grandmother's new house, he declares that he is an alien who will be living there from now on. after the grandmother agrees on one condition (which is never revealed to the audience), Haru makes a very loud and public entrance to his new class, holding a fishing pole and declaring Yuki his friend. as the series progresses, we see a slew of characters introduced, along with an odd plot and practical fishing advice, all wrapped up in a shiny, rainbow brite package.
Yuki makes this face a lot in the beginning.

 one of the most noticable things about this series is its pallette. the opening is easily the most colourful i have ever laid eyes on, and the series doesn't disappoint in that department, either. that Yuki is japanese AND sports a crop of fire-red hair (the only other characters in the series with so called "anime hair" colours are both aliens) is interesting enough, but then we get to the aliens, the secret organization, and the scenery. the crisp blues and greens, however, help paint an accurate picture of island life. looking back at it, i can almost feel like i'm there in the flower garden or out on the pier. the art style meshes nicely with the rainbow overload as well, resulting in a pleasing asthetic.

Enoshima has a lot of local customs which present themselves near-constantly in the background, even meshing themselves quite prominently with the story.
with the art comes the soundtrack, which is cute and fluffy, with a distinct nautical air. the main theme is always appriciated, it being bright and sunny, but not overbearing. the music always fits the tone of the series, as a soundrack should.

worst name for a boat ever.

to be honest, i can't find much fault with this series. i know it sounds like i'm being nice by saying that, but the main characters have distinct personalities and goals, the plot is interesting and detailed, and the setting is perfect for this sort of anime (full of odd traditions and local customs). even the ending was nice, with the potential for a second season, but more likely just to leave it as it is. there are some characters and themes i wish they had developed further, such as natsuki's mother, but all the same the show was satisfying without it. though i do wish they hadn't gone their seperate ways at the end (potential spoiler, sorry ^^; ).
om nom nom.
overall, Tsuritama was an odd but enjoyable watch, both compelling and clean, making this an easy pick for anime clubs and most age groups. plenty of the episodes focus solely on fishing and what goes into it, so while it might not appeal to everyone, people interested in odd anime, sports anime, sci-fi anime, and cute-but-not-too-cute anime will enjoy this. i had a hard time believing this was originally a shonen series, but given the action and the core of **FISHING** makes it a bit more believeable in that respect.
i know we've all woken up with our share of questionable bedmates, but this is a tad ridiculous.

Tsuritama is available from Commie Subs, Kamigami Subs, Terrible Subs, Why Not Subs, Deadfish Encodes, and HorribleSubs. It is also licensed for sale in the US by Sentai Filmworks.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia got my attention immediately on the list of Spring 2012 anime, as the picture provided on TV Tropes' list prominently featured the series female lead, Yuuko. The description told of a ghost-themed anime, and the picture helped propagate the image. I expected a very dramatic anime, which is partially what i got.
There are a lot of derp faces in this series.

The result was actually more of a dramady, with plenty of gags flying in every direction. despite the lack of devotion to a single genre, the blending works rather well, though there are moments when i feel that a more serious touch might have worked better, such as the moments of undue fanservice. when the time comes, though, the series delivers, with plenty of twists, turns, and emotional punches being thrown. the storyline is pressing, keeping your focus as it tells the sad tale. all events blend together in the end, too, meaning that episodes that might feel like filler end up tying in with the main story nicely.
The delightful moments of silly rarely detract from the overall tone of the series.
Falling in line with the dramatic theme of the series is its artwork and soundtrack. the music is handled beautifully, being perfectly appropriate for each moment, and moving ones' heart even more. the opening first struck me as rather odd (especially the title), it grew on me, becoming a natural part of the series. the music also clicks nicely with the rich, gothic (yet distinctly japanese) visuals, cementing this as a supernatural story. even the previews are handled with care, each card being done in a different style than the series and each other. the opening, ending, and show itself all feature fluid, stunning animation complete with CG effects and style shifts appropriate to the situation.

One of the many beautiful preview cards.

The pitfall with this series is likely the characters. while the female lead, Yuuko, is memorable and relatable, the rest of the cast seems to suffer a bit by comparison. the show typically only showcases the main 4 characters, consisting of Yuuko, Teiichi, the male lead, and the other members of the Paranormal Investigation Club, Okonogi and Kirie. Okonogi plays the clueless, bouncy, overeager girl to a t, and Kirie is well done as the brooding, mysterious girl, but overall they're rather pale in comparison to Yuuko. Okonogi never ceases to annoy me, and Kirie might be a big stronger in the series if she had a stronger presence. Even Teiichi doesn't fall on the same level as Yuuko, being one of the most forgettable protagonists i've ever seen. It is his forgettableness, however, that seems to be his defining trait, this being discussed once or twice throughout the series and even becoming the focus for a few episodes. he is somewhat relatable, being very sensitive and bashful in nature yet very strong-willed, but even his face isn't very noteworthy. despite this, he and Yuuko mesh rather nicely.

I'm glad i saw this series, really glad. it's been a while since i had seen a real ghost anime, and while the early episodes are more silly, the later ones really satiated my appetite for a good, rich story. i was moved by Yuuko's plight, her tragic memories and unnessecary death. i wish that the series had touched on certain characters more, such as the people from Yuuko's past, but otherwise everything was handled very well. the series ended nicely, with hints of a second season, but so far nothing has been said about one. overall, though, the series was a great watch, with a few ecchi moments, but mostly an interesting supernatural mystery.
The truely dramatic moments are handled very elegantly, resulting in highly emotional scenes.

Tasogare Otome x Amnesia is available from Commie Subs, Unlimited Translation Works (UTW), Hadena Subs, Deadfish Encodes, Final8 Subs, Tekeremata Subs (esp), and Aozora Team (ita). Tasogare Otome x Amnesia is also licensed in the US by Sentai Filmworks.
Another of the preview cards.


Sunday, December 2, 2012

Acchi Kocchi

Acchi Kocchi caught my eye on the Spring 2012 list of new anime, though the picture did little to showcase what the series had to offer. what i got exceeded my expectations enormously, giving me one of the most adorable series i have seen to date. the series' opening ("Acchi Kocchi", "Here and There" or "Place to Place") and ending ("Te o Gyu Shite ne", "Squeeze My Hand Tight") provide a very accurate glimpse of what the series is: the former shows off the sheer comedy chaos that the series was and is (the yonkoma manga is still running), and the latter shows off the squee-inducing fluff of the budding romance of the story.


The first episode gives an accurate rendition of how the show runs: cute, random comedy broken into a pair of 15-minute segments per episode. with this, there isn't much plot, but a story like this isn't supposed to have a lot of plot. it would honestly be quite weird if there were a multi-episode arc, given that one episode is actually 2 (and these are segmented further by the scene changes). after all, this was based off a yonkoma (4-panel) manga, which are known for being basically pure gag comedy. for it to be anything other than silly would require a major story overhaul.

Santa Claws.

It is expected then that the anime adaptation is likely faithful to the manga, with quick jokes, slapstick humour and out-of-left-field quips. despite yonkoma being a very japanese comic format, however, most of the jokes translate easily into english, meaning that someone with no knowledge of japanese culture wouldn't have much trouble at all understanding what is going on.
Some people shouldn't be allowed to cook.
given that each episode is standalone, watching this slowly or out of order doesn't really create many problems (and in fact, i've been showing it to my anime club at a rate of half an episode per week). it's light and breezy, meaning it can appeal to a very broad audience. young or old, casual viewer or hardcore otaku, japanophile or culture noob, all can enjoy this series, since at the heart of it all, we can all relate to what the characters do and go through. She likes him but can't admit it. He's clueless. They like to make fun of them. it's easy to get.
My one beef with Acchi Kocchi is that the ending was sort of unsatisfying. that's likely due to the manga still going, but all the same, i really wish that things had been resolved a bit more. maybe i was just being a bit too fanatical with it, or maybe this points to a second season (after all, it only finished its run in june of this past year). i suppose it reminds me a tad of Ai Yori Aoshi in that there was a loose end that had yet to be tied, but if i divorce my feelings from it a bit, i suppose the ending wasn't all that bad. like the rest of the series, it was rather cute.

In retrospect, though it didn't wrap things up, it was a good ending.
those looking for a more meaty story (or those who are sick to death of cute, fluffy anime) will not enjoy this story. not one bit. but for the vast majority of us who are willing to open our hearts for one more adorable romp, this is gold. the simple plot also makes this an easy watch for those new to anime, and the clean jokes make it suitable to show to anyone, so for those looking to introduce someone to the anime market, this is the type of series you could easily show your 3-year-old cousin or 75-year-old grandmother. i can (and do, and will) recommend this to anyone, especially if that person needs a heartwarming watch or good laugh.

You can't help but root for them.

Acchi Kocchi is available through Deadfish Encodes, FFFansubs, Evetaku Subs, Hadena Subs, Commie Subs, Sakura Circle Subs, Sugoi Subs, and Tsumiki Subs. (Be warned; just because the last one shares the same name as the main character doesn't ensure quality. i downloaded a batch from them and i still had to do some light patching.)

A guest appearance by Pedobear. RUN, HIME, RUUUUUN