Written by Josh Dunham
SNAP JUDGEMENTS: SPRING 2010 .
Josh Dunham brings you his thoughts on the Spring 2010 season. In this Snap Judgment, Josh covers Working!!, Giant Killing, Arakawa Under the Bridge, Heroman, K-ON!, Kaichou wa Maid-sama, Angel Beats, and Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou
Produced by: A-1 Pictures
Premiered: April 4th 2010
Synopsis: A family owned diner is understaffed. Enter Takanashi, the new part time employee who has to learn the ropes of his new workplace in order to stay alive. Will Takashi fit in will the rest of the quirky staff, or will he soon find himself out of a job?
Snap Judgments: One of the very few shows that I was looking forward to watching, I hoped for more than what was actually delivered. To be clear, I was hoping for a light and care-free comedy, leaving a little bit of room for some ecchi and maybe moe. It quickly spent all that allowance and goodwill.
The animation is very well done, clearly showing the skill of A-1. Everything moves smoothly and fluidly, each character looking as shiny as they can be, but that is the only redeeming quality of the show. The music is rather bland. In fact, you wouldn’t even know there was music playing unless you tried to pay attention to it, only to forget its existence soon after. Whatever plot it did have escaped me by the end of the episode. It’s not like things didn’t happen, more like they all lead up to nothing important, and more to the point, were boring.
Produced by: DEEN
Premiered: April 4th 2010
Synopsis: The soccer team of East Tokyo University is a skilled group of players that haven’t won a game for quite some time. With the arrival of legendary player and team manager, Tatsumi Takeshi, ETU just might have a chance at being the best. That is, if they can accept him.
Snap Judgments: Another anime that I was looking forward to and let me down. It’s not that the show had a bunch of major flaws, more like it had one fatal one: it wasn’t very interesting. The whole first episode spent all of its time building the prestige and reputation of Tatsumi, a character that was barely introduced. With next to no time seeing how or why Tatsumi behaves the way he does, Tatsumi is more the vehicle for the story to roll forward rather than being a character in the plot at this point.
I wasn’t a big fan of the aesthetics that Giant Killing had to offer. The character designs are rather dull and the art style looks a bit weak. It’s not that Giant Killing is an ugly mess, as there are scenes that look well done, but they’re few and far between
Overall the show was bland. The music did little to spice each scene, and the art isn’t always consistent. Being a sports anime, one would expect there to be at least a match in the first episode to kick everything off, but the sports action was quite limited. A sports anime that doesn’t play sports is like going to a library that doesn’t have books: you walk away unsatisfied and disappointed. Perhaps the next episode will be better, as the first one left off right when a game was about to break out, but I’m not sticking around to find out.
Arakawa Under the Bridge
Produced by: SHAFT
Premiered: April 5th 2010
Synopsis: After falling off a bridge and nearly drowning, Kou Ichinomiya owes a great debt to the blonde haired girl Nino. Due to Kou’s asthma that is triggered when he owes someone a debt, he finds himself unable to avoid repaying Nino. But what does Nino ask of Kou? That he loves her.
Snap Judgments: Being produced by one of my favorite studios and being written by the same author as Saint Young Men, I found myself gravitated towards Under the Bridge, so there may well be some bias with my opinion of it.
The screwy mind games and slapstick comedy that SHAFT has become known for where all featured in the show, delivering exactly what we could hope for. Kou is quickly established as being super smart and hyper rich heir to a corporate throne, adding a nice dynamic to the story, since most of the show takes place under a bridge where conditions can be described as less-than-befitting of his status. In fact, it’s the characters that are the most interesting part of the series thus far.
That being said, I wasn’t completely sold on the first episode. The jokes, although worth a chuckle or two, weren’t the knee-slappers that I expect from SHAFT. Still, I’ll stick with the series to see if it picks up after an episode or two.
Produced by: Bones
Premiered: April 1st 2010
Synopsis: Joey is your average boy living in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave, until one day he decides to rebuild an expensive broken toy for himself that he names Heroman. After a conveniently placed lightning strike, Heroman becomes alive, and follows Joey’s every command. Joey then uses Heroman to save the world from everything bad.
Snap Judgments: For all looks and appearances, I should not like this show. The last Japanese collaboration with Stan ‘The Man’ Lee was so horrible, I took a solemn oath that I would never like anything that was done like that ever again, but then Heroman came around. There is so much in this show that should not work well together, but somehow it defies all reasoning and becomes something awesome.
For a giant robot show to take place somewhere other than Japan in the beginning of the series is a rare locale for the genre. Toss in a cute cheerleader, a crazy scientist, a race of bug aliens seeking to destroy human life, and Stan Lee, and its almost laughable that the show is watchable. All these crazy elements are woven together with superhuman skill that comes off feeling very upbeat.
The most impressive aspect of the show were the character designs, in particular Joey and Lina’s. Joey’s simplistic yet flavorful character design is appealing and wasn’t boring like typical designs you’d see from, say, Gonzo. The same goes for Lina. Each time I saw these characters come o- screen they command complete attention. The show is beautiful, everything from the colors to the background is bright and vibrant, a nice refresher compared to the mass of seasonal fluff.
The show isn’t perfect, as there are some things that are outright distasteful, Stan Lee’s inevitable cameo for instance. I was hoping that Japanese would learn the lesson that we were unable to learn ourselves: Stan Lee doesn’t need to appear in everything he’s involved in. It almost becomes a game of ‘Where’s Waldo’, as you can’t rest until you find where the old bastard is hiding. I say that with all due respect of course.
The show almost feels like a cheesy old comic book with a slight Japanese flare. It’s hard to tell how exactly this becomes something fun to watch, but it truly is. I’ll be waiting to watch the next episode.
K-On!! Season 2
Produced by: KyoAni
Premiered: April 7th 2010
Synopsis: A sequel to last year’s popular first season. The five high school girls continue to meet in the light music club that is composed completely of them, all while trying to become a successful band and mange school life.
Snap Judgments: Being a sequel, you can pretty much judge the show by the merits of last season. However, I couldn’t stand last season, so here are my thoughts going back in.
Plot-wise there was little to keep me entertained. Perhaps I missed a few things from last season, however that doesn’t curb my wrath. Let it be known that I’m not a big moe fan. What I do watch in terms of moe is very sparing and conserved. That being said, watching a moe show that is the flag-bearer for how cute an anime can be was like the Third Impact all over again. Seriously, K-On!! is the Super Saiyan of all moe, and thus I was distined to dislike it before either of us were born.
Getting past the extremely ditzy characters, there are some aspects of the show that are both entertaining and disappointing. The background music was wonderful. I loved the keyboard melodies, and found myself focusing on the music rather than the dialogue. However, this really worked to the show’s disadvantage, as the background music outshined the actual pop music our heroines were playing.
I’m sure fans of the original show will love this new addition. As for me I think I’ll pass on this a second time.
Kaichou wa Maid-sama
Synopsis: Shojo Snorefest
Josh’s Thoughts: This show sucks. The main character is a bitch, a student council president bitch no less, who wants all men to submit to her rules. The anime pulls so many clichés from other anime that it becomes almost painful to watch. The main character has daddy issues since he left the main character, her mother and sister when she was younger. Since then our bipolar heroine holds men to a higher standard, which creates a lot of friction at school.
Added problems include being poor and having an eternally ill mother who can’t work, ‘forcing’ the student president to work as a maid in a maid café. This makes no sense. Why does no one see a doctor? If your mom had been sick for several years wouldn’t you check her in to see if there’s something wrong? I sure as hell would. And why can’t your mom work when she’s never seen coughing, lying down, or doing things that sick people do? I call shenanigans, you hear me, mean maid-girl? Your mom is lazy.
The art was poorly done, and the whole maid fetish is the only motivation for someone to watch this show. I will admit though, now I know the terrors of working at a well-paying job and having the most popular boy in school being totally smitten with you. It’s almost as scary as being paid to kiss Jessica Alba.
Synopsis: You’re dead, so shoot the cute angel girl.
Josh’s Thoughts: Although the whole idea of being dead and having to shoot at a cute little angel girl to stay alive sounds like the premise of an Adult Swim flash game, Angel Beats seems to show some promise. The first thing I noticed was the music, which was quite good. During the middle of the first episode an entire concert breaks out. That was an unexpected treat, seeing how the series isn’t designed to be a music show.
Although I had every intention of passing this show by I’m glad I took the time to stop and watch it. The idea of having a group of high school students trying to kill a single school girl intrigued me enough that I’ll be coming back for a second episode for an explanation. The series is truly balanced on a knife though, as the same plot that gives it its edge can become its downfall.
Ichiban Ushiro no Daimaou
Synopsis: Sai Akuto wants to become a High Priest and change the world, however, upon taking a sort of job aptitude exam Sai learns that he’s destined to be the evil Demon Lord that will destroy the world he wants to improve.
Josh’s Thoughts: People who say you can’t judge a book by its cover are wrong, so very wrong. Yeah, I know this is an anime and not a book, but it’s based of a novel, so there.
Before I even watched the show it was easy to tell that there was going to be harem and ecchi elements driving this show, but somehow this didn’t become a bad thing. Despite several cliché panty-shots in the beginning, I didn’t want to gouge my eyes out with a fork. The premise of the show is not particularly interesting, yet it holds some odd charm that that’s hard to explain.
Our main character, Sai, is not a complete and utter pushover who’s always getting boobies in his face, nor is he a pervert that is trying to sneak into the girl’s locker room. It’s refreshing that Sai has his sights set on a becoming a Pope-like figure rather than just being an idiot who somehow has super-hot women fawning over him. Add some catchy music and half-decent action scenes I can see some redeeming value in this other than girls in ‘accidental’ provocative positions.
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