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Finally able to blog! (Thanks, new laptop :)

So, I was thinking about a more interesting way to give my opinions on some of the latest anime… and since anime is released in quarters (January/April/July/&October) and because I am still a student, a “progress report” might be a good way to start things. Therefore, based on what I have watched so far, here we go :)


Amagami SS Plus+: A

Having enjoyed the first season of Amagami SS, I was extremely pleased when I learned of a season two. Like its predecessor, Amagami SS Plus+ is divided into arcs- except that in season two, there are two episodes per heroine instead of four.

I really felt that season two did a great job in developing the heroines more. Though the first season had some areas where the plot development felt too rushed, the two “supplement” episodes of the second season were much more relaxed and simply more enjoyable to watch. Often in shoujo anime/manga, the audience is left with questions of “what next?” after the protagonists finally get together- And more often than not, we are just left with a sort of “they started going out”. “they confessed”. “happily ever after” ending. It was quite a fresh experience to be able to see a small bit of the “and then…” in Tachibana’s romance life- All in all, Amagami SS Plus+ is makes an excellent sequel to Amagami SS

Ano Natsu de Matteru: B+

With the same director as Toradora! and Ano Hana (my favorite anime of 2011), and also with Yanagi Nagi (singer of “Kimi no Shiranai Monogatari”, ED theme of Bakemonogatari) singing the ED theme song, Ano Natsu de Matteru (or simply “Ano Natsu”) caught my eye even before it began airing. Fortunately, I can say that I wasn’t disappointed.

These days, you can really tell that anime producers are searching for something “un-cliche”, something that is able to leave an impact on the viewers. Several times a year, the producers do succeed; just take Fate/Zero, Madoka Magica, or Ano Hana as an example. Ano Natsu is another anime that tries to incorporate some new ideas into its plot. Actually, these attempts are not bad at all; they just seem a little forced at times.However,  the anime does know how to throw some and times, and  if you are looking for a romance anime that doesn’t give you headaches, you may find that little moments of Ano Natsu make you smile. Despite its shortcomings, I enjoyed Ano Natsu and commend the producer’s efforts to give the story a twist.

Another: A-

From the moment I saw the illustration for this series, I knew that I wasn’t up to some ordinary  anime. In fact, this one was a curveball for me: who would have thought they would air a horror anime in the middle of January? Maybe in the spring… or summer… but in the winter? (Trust me, it really doesn’t need to get any chillier around here)

Another was actually my first horror anime in two and a half years: Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni, my first anime ever, was enough of a shock. I really hate sad endings/ having a mysterious “something” killing people… so I generally refrain from this genre. However, I found that I really couldn’t stop watching Another once I started. The series is turned out quite differently than I expected- talk about plot twists. Even without the twists and turns, the series has something that just pulls you in- everything, in fact, from the soundtrack to the art to the ever-present gloom  keeps you going. Or maybe it’s simply the presence of Misaki… the ever-mysterious Misaki… Also, there is definitely a lot of violence in Another… and even though it’s just anime, it was pretty convincing to me. Though I felt a bit dissatisfied with the ending, I am encouraged by the fact that the author of the novel (Another is based on a book) announced a sequel. Perhaps in the future, we will be able to unearth the secrets that lie behind the doors of Class 3-3…

Chihayafuru  (Cont from 2011): A

“What is karuta?”, you may ask. Well, Chihayarfuru will certainly leave you with ample information on this Japanese game. From its first episode, Chihayafuru will draw you into the world of karuta.

The art of Chihayafuru is what initially caught my attention last October: and I’ve been waiting a while to let this series finish. As I mentioned for “Ano Natsu”, consumers and producers are constantly on the lookout for something new… and Chihayafuru certainly does its job in bringing that new flavor into your list of completed anime. The very fact that non-Japanese (and even Japanese) people are not really familiar with “karuta” already boosts Chihayafuru’s appeal to the public. The story is well-planned, the art has its own unique taste, and really, how much more unusual can you get than a 16/17-year old tomboy chasing her dreams to be a master at this “sport”?

Nisemonogatari: A+

Almost done here.

Last but not least is our top anime of the quarter, with a big, shiny A+ on its report card…. *drumroll*- NISEMONOGATARI!!!

At last! The sequel to BAKEMONOGATARI!!! (Getting excited here) A return of Araragi-kun and Senjogahara-san? Hanekawa Tsubasa with a whole new look? Kanbaru coming back to show off her mad basketball skills? The “Fire Sisters” singing the opening theme songs of the show???

As a fan of Bakemonogatari, I simply could not wait for each week to pass by, the next week bringing with it yet another episode of Nisemonogatari.

If there was one thing that I did not like about Bakemonogatari, it was the fact that the artwork appeared a little awkward in some areas (particularly the eyes- they always got to me). Nisemonogatari not only solves these minor problems, but comes back with some serious upgrades in the looks. They even have Araragi with slightly longer hair, being considerate to the time frame of the story! The new characters introduced were also full of vitality and most important of all, their own color. (Is it just me, or do the illustrations of Araragi Karen and Tsukihi  actually do resemble the illustrations of ClariS, the duo who sang theme songs for Nisemonogatari, Ore no Imouto…, and Madoka??? 0_0)Each character is unique by every definition of the word, and one simply does not get bored with them. And of course, Nisemonogatari is just as action-packed as its prequel, even being considerate and showing how the girls involved in the life of our dear friend Araragi Koyomi are doing. Fear not. Araragi still remains the girl-, I mean, the apparition-magnet of the twenty-first century.

 

***I still have a ways to go before clearing the list of anime I have for the 2012/January season… (InuxBoku SS, Natsume Yuujinchou Shi, etc) but this is what I have for starters. Forgive any typos that may exist on this progress report! :)

-Tsubasa-sensei.