Winter 2009 Rundown

Instead of doing three at a time, I’m just going to blaze through all of these at once.

Akikan

Oh Akikan! What could have been! You had such a wonderfully dumb concept! If handled correctly, you could have been immensely entertaining! It was, however, not meant to be. If episode two is any indication, the staff doesn’t even care about this show. I haven’t seen something this ugly since that time I watched ten episodes of Soul Link, which is quite hilarious, since Suzuhira Hiro did the designs for that show as well. To make matters even worse, this show is by Brains Base. I thought better of you guys! I mean, Natsume Yuujinchou was boring as shit, but at least it looked good. This is just an abomination. Do not watch it.

Maria†Holic

The dastardly combination of Akiyuki Shinbo and Studio SHAFT (AKA: SHAFTXSHINBO) are at it again, this time with the amazingly sassy and abusive Maria†Holic. Though, quite frankly, I’m a little disappointed. The show carries itself on its witty writing more than anything else, and when that happens in a Shinbo show you know something is wrong. Him and his cohorts have boiled the signature SHAFTXSHINBO style down to a science, while at the same time bringing nothing new to the table. The show is playing it pretty straight, and is more on the Negima!? side than the Tsukuyomi ~Moon Phase~ side as far as directorial eccentricity goes. I like it, but I expect a lot more. The opening sequence does more or less make up for all of the show’s shortcomings, though. And the writing really is great–Maria is such a dickhead.

Minami-ke ~Okaeri~

Well, that feels a lot better. After stumbling around a bit with the slightly deformed baby that was Minami-ke Okawari, our good friends at asread have done their homework, and figured out just what makes Minami-ke good. Okaeri is a step back into the snappy direction and quirky writing that made the very first Minami-ke a joy to watch. Instead of trying to force their own stylings onto the production, asread is keeping to the spirit of the first series as much as possible, and are doing a fairly good job. The colour scheme is set back to the warm tones that brought the first series to life, and the character designs are a fair compromise between asread’s style and the style used in Doumo’s series. While not as horrible as bloggers make it out to be, the artwork in the series ranges from having moments of greatness, to simply being okay. It’s rough, but it’s still pretty good.

Rideback

This one fooled me. I came in expecting mecha warfare, but instead I got some seinen college story with strangely girly character designs. I don’t really know if this’ll hold my interest, but episode one didn’t totally suck. The story of a girl losing her talent for ballet then finding herself again on some random robot motorcycle is dumb, but it didn’t weigh things down too much.

Sora wo Kakeru Shoujo (Sora Kake Girl)

I was unable to tell if this first episode was a mess of cliché on purpose or not, but once you’re half-way into episode two it’s pretty clear that this is Sunrise parodying themselves. This is another one where I’m not sure if it’ll be able to hold my interest, but it has nice character designs on its side, and pretty solid Sunrise production values. It’s probably better than Code Geass, but lacks the entertainment value.

Sora wo Miageru Shoujo no Hitomi ni Utsuru Sekai (Munto TV)

Munto is kind of like Kyoto Animation’s Daicon IV opening animation, except much longer. It’s a pretty generic fantasy story, but you can tell the staff’s heart is in it. This first episode is just the original 2003 OVA with some slight touch-up work, so naturally it looks pretty dated. While not as shiny and bright as modern day Kyoto Animation titles, everything moves well, and some shots look like really good pictures you’d see on pixiv, just animated. The female character designs are all great, with a couple of especially cute lolis in the cast.

Not doing Shikabane Hime Kuro since I’m not done with Aka yet.

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