I’M BACK, AND I’M HERE TO WHIP THE T.H.A.T. BOYS BACK INTO SHAPE!!!!!
Sorry about the late reviews. I was waiting for the subs version, so many apologies. Our dear ExecutiveOtaku will be making his respective reviews in-between mine’s.
It’s been some time since I last updated anything other than this year’s Spring Season preview (Yes, I’m a languor person, after not being used to update as much as I did in the past.) So, after picking 4 series out of so many (And not to mention
3 4 spin-offs of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, seriously is this some sort of April Fools’ joke coming from Japan? I bet all three Three Kingdoms series are as egregious as they imply to be. The fourth one is made in China with Japan is probably the most historically accurate out of the four, but I can’t be bother, ha-ha.) I’m also busily writing in another blog, which reveals a much more personal of me than this one here, so if you can’t find me here, go look on the other side as I reveal some of my secrets, such as my age but I won’t get too personal and tell you guys what I’ve been up to. I’ll keep it short as it is. And yes, I’m no computer geek who has no idea how to input a CSS code or whatever it is. That is why the layout of my blog is rather…simply clean for a lack of a better word. It’s also where I can rant whatever I want and talk about other stuff such as food, old series and school.
Note: Oops, looks like I didn’t reveal my age. Sorry! I think I just continue to keep the guessing game going then.
Now, onto the preview: Manga spoilers ahead for Maid-sama, so I suggest that non-manga readers shall stay out of this. EO’s part of the Maid-sama impressions will be spoiler-free.
Pardon me if I’m writing nonsense since I’ve caught the seasonal flu. My nose’s getting irritating by the day, so excuse me for any absurdity.
Kaichou wa Maid-sama
Misaki could be the first female President of Japan if she keeps this up. She can wipe all her political opponents away with her iron fists. She should rule it with Usui as vice-president, as he knows Shaolin Kungfu against the school full of assholes.
We are introduced to our protagonist, Misaki, poor but hardworking and diligent, who has a case of misandry, sort of. (Her father left her family when she was young, leaving Misaki’s family with a huge amount of debt, that’s quite reasonable. She also thinks that most men are all perverts and cowards because of her job at a maid cafe.) But seriously, Misaki, if you really dislike men in the first place, why don’t find another job which you don’t need to see so many men all the time, like being a clothes shop assistant or something? But if she is not working as a maid as her part-time job, there will be no more Maid-sama, and the remains for our dear President will be all scraps and bones, worst of all, no storyline. But at least the pay is good, since Misaki is such a filial girl.
So, getting back to the juicy parts, she tries to make the school a little better by screaming at boys. While being portrayed as a hero to the 20% of the school population (which is made up of girls) and cowardly school teachers, she is portrayed as a devil, a villain and a monstrous dictator to the rest of the school population which consists of boys. One thing that I’m upset about the series is that they have replaced most of the seiyuu (since I want to hear RieRie (Tanaka) after not hearing her for about a year, I think her last known roles was
a sadomasochist psycho Liang Qi.), but I hope these changes can make the series better. But really, the new seiyuu voicing the manager doesn’t sound right but I can’t pinpoint the exact reason why. Anyways, my female intuition tells me that Rie suits better for this role. Based on the chapter in the manga, Suzuna, Misaki’s younger sister and her mother appeared quite early since their appearance should come later. And speaking of which, I though Misaki’s mother would be an old hag living in the happy land of hers, but I guess that I was wrong after all after seeing her working as hard as Misaki.
Another reason why I dropped the manga a few months ago is when Aoi, Satsuki’s cross-dressing nephew appeared and I really had enough with the nonsense since the jokes are becoming a little too far. (And he kind of reminded me of Akira from Blaue Rosen, a manga that I dislike a lot which take some of the characters’ sexual tendencies a little too far.) But let’s see how the series will turn out. Talking about Usui, he seems to be acting cool for the entire episode, but I’ll check how long this facade will last. And for the animation, it was decent to say the least, but I can’t get my eyes off the mediocre backgrounds, making it look as if it’s a rushed work. Hmm…since J.C. Staff have a number of projects on their hands at the moment. At least it’s not as bad as the two Vampire Knight anime series based on character designs and their faithfulness to the manga.
Approval Rate: 70%
The sandbag of DOOM is evilll~. Don’t worry, President Misaki will SOLVE all your problems and woes!
ExecutiveOtaku’s Counterattack: EO here chiming in with my thoughts. While I’m not as blood and guts as Crusader, I guess I’ll be giving the mecha-loving male second opinion to Reverse Vampire’s take on these shows. First up is Kaicho wa Maid-sama, a shoujo series that I wasn’t expecting much from during the season previews. In some ways it was what I expected, but it had some promising points in the first episode that will make me watch at least two more episodes before I decide to keep going or not. Misaki was occasionally getting annoying with her authoritarian rule over her schoolmates, but the episode seemed to be hinting that her more unreasonable actions were something that would be changing over time once she hopefully stops letting her personal grudges affect her duties as president. Nothing wrong with being a strict leader, but the way she handled things leaves some leadership skills to be desired. While I didn’t take to her just yet, her character has shown some promise of depth and complexity. Takumi, the presumed love interest, was a lot more fun in this first showing. Far too many male anime love interests and leads take the stupid aloof ‘I don’t care’ attitude. Such characters should be cast into fire. Luckily Takumi manages a believable mix of trying to stay apart from things, general laziness, and genuine concern. He just knows that being too open about it will only draw Misaki’s wrath. Not much time for side characters in the first episode, but I found Misaki’s friend with the flowers to be funny and interesting in an odd way. Wonder if she’s related to the Flower Girl from Macross 7? Animation was alright, though there were one or two interesting shots. OP was nothing special; ED song was pretty good, animation was lots of Takumi fanservice that seemed to be set in Kuroshitsuji’s version of London for some reason.
I’m all about strong female characters, I just hope she becomes a benevolent dictator instead of the tyrant she is at present. She needs to take a few pointers from our Queen and Protector Fumie from Sora no Manimani.
Verdict: Probationary viewing. Has yet to distinguish itself as a shoujo or comedy series just yet, but has some signs that it may get better. Will watch two more episodes and then decide to keep watching or not.
Hakuouki: Shinsengumi Kitan
I’m so jealous of your hair, that is why I’m claiming that I used more condi….wait, are we in the wrong show?
Ok, it’s based on a PS2 dating-sim game (If I’m wrong here, please point it out in your comments). Been looking up for it and it’s pretty late for Studio DEEN to release the official site.
Pretty boys? Check. Reverse Harem? Check? History lesson? Wait…it’s a fictitious story, and I just realized that there are quite a number of history-related series this season. (Counting the OMFG 4 versions of Rot3K.) Oh boy, do the Japanese love history lessons very much? Before I continue, let me see what’s wrong with the subs…okay, we’re in the right show now. I thought this show was some sort of hair commercial or something…
That’s what I’m talking about.
As far as I’m concerned, I was pretty impressed with the animation, though the boys in the show were pretty stale. I guess that we’ll see their back-stories in a matter of time. Though I would observe on the animation quality when the series arrives towards the middle part.
Apparently, our dear heroine [and a trap] Yukimura Chizuru was chased by two thugs at the start but they were attacked by demented and zombified Shinsengumi members after that. Thank Chizuru for her lucky stars, the REAL Shinsengumi members saved the day, quickly eliminating those monsters the moment they appeared.
Unfortunately, our dear trap here was tied up and the Shinsengumi threatened her not to reveal their identities as the renowned police force who saved the town in a fire during the Ikedaya Incident. Until they found out that Chizuru is a girl, that is. So these guys act cool (but stale, at least to me) for a while without Chizuru’s presense, all talk about work, blah-blah-blah and discussing on what to do with the girl. So, they decided to disguise her as a boy for a little longer (Ouran, hint hint) since they do not allow girls into the group, but she’ll be protected by hot guys 24/7. Plain and simple, right? Wrong! She was given a sword for self-defense, but was still caged by a bird, this time with Souji and Saitou who unintentionally eavesdrop at Chizuru’s monologue. So our boys decide to break some rules since Hijikata is currently out on a mission in Osaka. The story ends with Chizuru eating with her new friends while some guys (I forgot the names, since some of them look similar to me) fought over food like kids with bad table manners. Until they received grave news from Hijikata…
Approval Rate: 65% (Will see till the 4th episode)
Oh boy I can’t believe every single member of the Shinsengumi fell for Chizuru’s TRAP. Well, not all of them.
ExecutiveOtaku’s Counterattack: I was not even going to bother with the first episode of this series, but since ReverseVampire made it part of the post I decided to take one for the THAT Team and watch the first episode. First thought was “zombies? In my Shinsengumi fanfic anime?” It’s more likely than you think in the first scene. Apparently there’s a supernatural element to the story. I’m not sure if that makes changing around the history and messing with actual people’s lives better or worse. If all the characters were fictional people it probably wouldn’t have drawn so much of my ire. Characters were as to be expected from a harem show: calm intelligent guy with glasses (despite such fine-framed, thin-lensed glasses not existing at the time), younger kid-brother character, fatherly guy who gets flustered easily, dark mysterious killer(TM) guy (Hajime Saito what have they done to you?!), carefree guy, etc etc. And they all (except Saito) seem far too nice, understanding, and restrained to be the historical group of enforcers and assassins that they were. There’s nothing for me in this show really. The heroine and the harem characters were all pretty boring, animation was adequate but never did anything for me, the one fight scene failed to impress, and the mystery sounds like it’s going to be rather plain.
Verdict: Rejected. Nothing redeeming or promising in this show from my point of view. Any harem-centric show gets points taken off by me whether the harem is made up of female or male characters, and the show’s take on historical figures was not interesting enough for me to set aside my dislike of messing around with history. If you’re going to use historical figures, either make it accurate or make it so outlandish that it’s clear you’re not even trying to be remotely true to life (as in Sengoku Basara.)
Senkou no Night Raid
To the rescue!!!
Okay, now I’ve decided to blog about this series under first impressions so that this post doesn’t feel too blank or plain. Whether I pick this series up or not, maybe watching a few more episodes will decide if I should blog it until the end or not.
Yeah, so my history lessons only covered from World War II onwards till the end of the Cold War (Though I did study some important events between China and Japan during the period set in Night Raid), so I know nuts about what happened during World War I in China (Qing Dynasty, blah blah blah).
Don’t let this turn out to be Japanese propaganda towards the end of the story…
Maybe I shouldn’t cover this series with my lack of knowledge behind WWI. Well, let’s just say I’ll watch this for the entertainment since I was planning for a while that I’ll drop Hakuouki if the animation dips by the 4th episode. But after watching the entire episode, yeah, our secret spies protagonists are cool, have super powers…wait? ESP? I don’t remember the website telling us that our protagonists have powers. At least it’s a good surprise until its premiere.
Love the action scenes, and good attempt on speaking decent Chinese for the Japanese voice actors, though I had a good laugh at one or two. At least they did take a lot of effort sharpening up their Mandarin.
Approval Rate: 80%
Thank you! I am needed here after all.
ExecutiveOtaku’s Counterattack: A very impressive first episode, but what a surprise with the Darker Than Black-style abilities. BTW, I called it yesterday on Twitter about Kazura’s ability: he’s definitely studied under the Kuroko School of Teleportation. My fears about Japanese historical revisionism have yet to be realized, though they have yet to be fully dispelled either. As it is, the action was cool, the setting well utilized, and the characters have for the most part been interesting. There was a fair bit of plotting going on for a first episode, involving a Japanese zaibatsu president being kidnapped by a regional Chinese warlord, the internal fighting between that faction and the KMT, and a short-lived alliance of convenience between the KMT and the Japanese occupation forces. The main characters seem to be operating in some sort of off-the-books intelligence service, though their connections with the Japanese government aren’t yet clear. This is looking like a cool intrigue and action series, so long as they don’t go revisionist. I’ll be curious to see how they introduce and handle the Communist Party forces. At the time they were much more effective than the Nationalists and more popular, but will hindsight influence their portrayal here? And while we got a hint of the emptiness of Japanese words about wanting to promote prosperity and stability in East Asia at the end, how will this play out? The show has so many good points independent of the history and politics, so whether this turns out as a great series is really going to hinge on that key point.
Ryu has found a new job while in the off-season from Kimi ni Todoke.
I’m glad Aoi knows that you’re full of it.
Verdict: Watching, recommended for those who like a nice mix of intrigue and action. The history and politics could still do this series in if not handled correctly, but overall I was very impressed and had a lot of fun with it. Going to wait for the first episode of House of Five Leaves before I decide whether to blog this or the latter series.
RV’s Final Thoughts
I’ll be talking about Uraboku (11/4) and House of Five Leaves (16/4) probably another time, since both shows will air at a later date. Like I said earlier on, I will definitely drop one or two series so that I’ll give other bloggers a chance. (Most likely will drop Hakuoki.)
I’m still watching Durarara!!! and Heartcatch Precure, with Hanamaru Kindergarten just ended a few weeks ago. It was an enjoyable series with not the slightest creepy lolicon undertones in it, but that’s what kids think when they are young. Though it’s not the best series out of the Winter Season, do check it out. Durarara!!! is still a fun roller coaster ride with my preferred Shizuo X Celty pairing in it, even though it won’t come true in the show. Heartcatch was also another fun roller coaster ride, it just sets apart from the other Precure series in terms of music (The previous Precure series has really, really cheesy music which made my cry tears of anger almost every second), storytelling and presentation. It’s one of my guilty pleasures this year, in which I’ll reveal all my guilty pleasures before 2011 arrives. (This includes video games, manga and everything else that is not anime.)
Don’t forget to visit my blog, if you missed it at the beginning of the post.
So, my final verdict:
[Under approved, rejected or maybe]
Kaichou wa Maid-sama: Approved, but if the jokes go overboard I’m afraid I have to drop it. Please remove Aoi from the anime series…
Hakuoki: Maybe, but if the animation quality drops by the 4th episode, I’m dropping it, no buts.
Senkou no Night Raid: Maybe, I’ll watch another 2 episodes to see.