Hot Damn! Chroma's Summer 2013 Impressions
Friends, I have lived the busiest season of my life to date stuffed with working at a new job, attending full-time school AND watching a pile of fantastic series that I cannot WAIT to talk about. Enough time wasting already, let’s get to it.
Chojigen Game Neptune: The Animation
What started off moderately interesting has already lost most of its appeal for me, followed by an episode roster that can only be described as “cotton-candy fluffy filler”. It’s padded and looks grand, but take one bite and it clumps into one sugary mess. I think I raised up my arms and said “they finally did it, they broke me!” when they managed to use eggplants as both an evil plan and a sexual object. Yes, you heard correctly. Spoiling nothing else, I can say that since the characters are all creative and fun, definitely check out one of the games on the PlayStation 3 and see if you like that. As for the series itself, it didn't really do it for me.
Danganronpa: Kibo no Gakuen to Zetsubo no Kokosei – The Animation
And we can hit up both game adaptations right off of the bat then, yes? Much like Neptunia, Danganronpa suffers from having to live up to its name in the gaming world, and it also fails to meet its goals, at least in my eyes. Danganronpa’s huge glaring issue is its pacing; a mystery crime-solving thriller that moves way too quickly. While I can respect it only has 13 episodes to shove in everything that the PlayStation Portable game offered, the fact does not change that the story suffers as a result. The audience is given no quarters to determine things on their own, and oftentimes they’ll opt to leave out developing scenes entirely to attend more to the gruesome deaths instead of figuring out how it was done. Even if you haven’t played the game you’ll feel the pacing issues, but try out the fully translated PSP title and it will be more than apparent. I think it's just a type of series that is insanely difficult to adapt, as you get such gratification in solving the crimes for yourself, instead of the show doing it for you.
You know, I was actually asked if I was gay for enjoying this series. While meaning no offense to any homosexuals out there, I was quite shocked to be asked such a thing. Are we so petty that we must segregate media into restrictive demographics? People have been flying off of the walls at the mere mentioning of this series, and that alone is just as fascinating as the overall show for me. Enough of the entirely unnecessary reactions though- let’s judge the series on its own merits, shall we? Sporting a little bit of drama and overall enjoyment, Free! stays mostly in Kyoto Animation’s safety net. With my favourite animation company doing what they do best, I do find it difficult to dislike what goes on, but a part of me does wish for something special. The animation remains as stunning as ever, even if it's not their usual female romp. The plot on the whole doesn’t stretch to a grand scale, but for something like this, it seems to hit a good level of depth and knows to stay there. My actual favourite aspect of this series is the catchy soundtrack, ranging from a recognizable OP/ED combination to a plethora of memorable background tracks. Nothing spectacular, but nothing to be disappointed over.
Kami Nomi zo Shiru Sekai: Megami-hen
In terms of relationship development, I can happily say that this series has achieved above and beyond with what it had. Evolving beyond the aspect of finding loose souls and extracting them from their hosts, Keima must now prevent a growing evil from conquering the world, find the hidden Goddesses, as well as keeping track of his previous conquests. The season seems to have selected the most popular characters for a return appearance, and luckily they are all given the additional development they deserve. Surprisingly, tensions between characters have hit an interesting high, and it has been a spectacular ride from start to finish. My one complaint lies with the initial pacing with the newly introduced heroines. After such a long wait with hinted imagery showing these new characters, they are glimpsed over in mere moments and given some development much later into the season. While it’s understandable to appeal to the manga readers as well as efficiently place the series into a single cour season, it would have been nice to see some more information doled out from the get-go, especially after the setup they had going. It was still an enjoyable ride.
Please excuse me, I think I’ve been diagnosed with sugary sweet glucose-filled diabetes from watching this adorable series. I single-handedly blame this series for invading my personal space and completely altering my senses to stay addicted to its fun and lovable world. The strengths of this series lies within both its amusing scenes and some of the cutest characters you’ll ever see. Yes folks, this series will have you pairing off the cutest friends together, and the combinations you can make are endless- it’s almost like a golden Christmas! While every character in this damned series is unforgivably awesome, the show stealer is Kujo Karen and her rising seiyu Toyama Nao. This talented voice actress steps in as a main character early on and absolutely dominates every scene she’s in with one heck of an epic accent. I can’t get enough of this character and her way of talking; it’s actually invading my thoughts and warping my brain. Somebody help me, dear god help me. There’s also the best yuri couple ever conceived on Earth, albeit the constant interruptions that get in the f&#!ing way. You don’t want to know how many times I screamed at the screen in frustration. Those two need to be officially together.
You know, there’s no laboratories or science in this series whatsoever. They tricked me! Where are my lab coats?! For what it’s worth, there’s a focus on love. Y’know, strange love with squishy body pillows, cross-dressers and childhood friends. That may sound creepy, but since we’re looking at a comedy with a little light drama thrown in, they manage to keep it enjoyable. The character roster is kind of average at best with the exception of the main protagonists Riko and Maki, who get in some pretty amusing antics together. Speaking of the comedy, it never hits hard but consistently works at an easy level, meaning you’ll always get a good chuckle- just don’t expect too many “holding your sides” moments. As previously mentioned, there are also some light drama moments that spice up the series, but they come and go on the fly. In conclusion, Love Lab is an easy series to pick up and follow, and I'm glad I saw it.
Monogatari Series: Second Season
After Nisemonogatari left me rather disappointed as a sequel to Bakemonogatari, I found this continuation that they were actually calling "Second Season". Cutting back a bit on the strangely questionable ecchi scenes from Nisemonogatari, I got a nice chunk of actual story progression once again.
But you know, I think I'm personally starting to get a bit tired of the Monogatari universe. The quirky methods of doling out conversations was a great talking point early on, but when it's the only way characters dish out info, it's actually kind of tiresome for me. I almost wish people would stop beating around the bush and get to the point, and don't get me wrong, there are parts in the show where these drawn out conversations are necessary. It felt like I was pulled into an alternate universe, but now I'm tired of it and I want to return to Earth. I think I've had enough of broken necks for now.
But hey, no matter how many of these series they make, I will continue to check out the music if meg rock is continuing to front that production.
Servant x Service
If you ever thought that a public services office was all work and no play, then please allow this series to change your opinion. With a mixture of overly colourful characters that work in the office itself and those that interact with them from the outside, there are plenty of entertaining scenarios to arise. What if most of your work day was spent listening to a grandmother prattle on about her fabulous grandson, only to be forced to spend your after-hours trying to avoid said grandson who is lost in his own little world. How about having a boss who meanders about the office hiding within the softest animatronic bunny plush ever? Yeah, this show’s kinda nuts. Do you remember the one-premise idea in a family restaurant which featured so much more? That’s right, Servant x Service is produced by the same people who worked on…well, Working!!. While only revealing a synopsis that describes the main location for setting, they go above and beyond to expand upon that concept and create a likeable series. Check it out if you have the chance, you’ll definitely like the fun to be had here.
Shingeki no Kyojin
Titans fight back! The stakes only continue to grow as mankind struggles to fight back against these gargantuans that are threatening their existence. If you haven’t seen it yet, where have you been? Each arc of this series spans a healthy amount of episodes, and it’s just the length I like to see for actual development of character relationships mixed with the harsh action. While the series had started off somewhat lighthearted with some jokes thrown in, there are no laughs to be had once the focus shifts to the Survey Corps and the risky 57th Expedition. This expedition reveals horrendous truths about the titans, which span way beyond what the humans were expecting. Since the characters are built up so well, you enjoy their company and constantly hope they come out alive. If they don’t, well…just have a look at some public networking sites talking about this series. Without a doubt, this adaptation has lived up to the greatness of the manga, don’t miss it.
Stella Jogakuin Kotoka C3-bu
Tell me something. When you think of the concepts of airsoft and survival games, what are the first three descriptors you can come up with to detail the experience? Are they jazzy music, parkour and elitist bitterness? If the answer is no, then it’s time to let one determined girl and the people around her to convince you otherwise. While Stella Jogakuin plays out following the game of airsoft, it’s really a case study of our protagonist, Yamato Yura. Without spoiling much, know that the simple idea of firing pellets at an opposing team changes this girl. What started off as a sugar-coated family-fun zone has oozed out all of its delectable flavours and has become dark and depressing. It's a bit of a double-edged sword, as I personally got to see the darker side of the show I hoped would arrive, but its presentation of such ultimately cheapened the impact for me by the end. With such a fun opening arc, jumping straight into blackened despair is too sharp of a contrast, and it didn't sit well with me.
But I still want people to watch this series. When it hits, it smacks it out of the park and is just so darned fun. Even if you don't click with the drama portions, there should hopefully be other parts of the show that you can enjoy.
Tamayura ~More Aggressive~
I was promised aggressiveness, damn it. Where is the killing and the physical abuse? Oh wait, you mean that kind of aggressive. While the title doesn’t apply to the overall execution of the series, focus has been placed on the main character wanting to take the initiative more often, so it’s a fitting title nonetheless. I’ll start off by stating that Tamayura is slow. Sometimes painfully slow, to the point where I start nodding off. But I think that’s what I like about it so much. It doesn’t take itself as a plot-heavy series and it looks at creating a simple setting to enjoy. The characters are all fun and play well off of each other, and the events they follow are worth watching. With such a heavy lineup of action, comedy and various other genres, it’s nice to just have a series that lets you kick back and breathe. It’s also nice to see a photography club actually going out and surveying their atmospheric surroundings for photo opportunities. Yes, that means you rarely see the classroom or the school for that matter- what a shock for a series of this genre nowadays! It's categorized in a special genre of anime known as "healing anime", and I can't disagree.
Hey, did you hear? They’re making a third season of this! It’s not like I needed logic in my life anyways, so bring on the insanity. Tekyu‘s second season is just as bizarre and questionable as before, and it’s just one of those series that doesn’t need to adapt to stay amusing. It’s either something you’ll love or something you’ll absolutely despise. The humour runs on 1.2 gigawatts, meaning the entirety of its 2 minute episodes is over before you even have a time to register what the hell you just watched. However, that’s just part of what makes this show so entertaining. There’s that moment of silence you have once an episode ends, and you sit there, thinking…thinking…but no, don’t try and “understand” this show. Ponder all you like, but you’ll never come up with a logical reason as to why someone would sink through a tennis court for being tired or why a little high school girl would be eating a table tennis paddle as if it were a rice cracker. So if madness is your thing, jump right in. If it’s not, tread carefully in; hopefully we’ll end up converting you to our glorious side.
Watashi ga Motenai no wa Do Kangaetemo Omaera ga Warui!
There has only been one episode in this series where I haven’t just burst out laughing, and I mean that in a good way. While I’ve seen quite the split fanbase for not just the series as a whole, but heavily towards the protagonist. While I can see how the on-and-off relationship works, I personally love every little thing about this show. The super awkward nature of the main character radiates an aura that you just don’t get that often. You’ll want to see her succeed, but at the same time, it’s just so funny watching her misfortunes. On the topic of being funny, this series has really fresh jokes. They’re often built up and rewarding as well, introducing itself at the very beginning of an episode at times and finishing near the end. On top of that, there’s a boatload of fun references for you to look out for. We’re not talking about shameful placement for the sake of it, but rewarding references that you can appreciate. Some of these you can even see coming with the clever use of imagery. You’ll undoubtedly get at least a few great laughs out of this one, check it out.
So how did you enjoy this awesome season? I found a lot more than I had initially expected, so be sure to check out some stuff if you held back earlier.