Skip to content

Retroactive Posts: Hey Spitz, What’ve You Been Watching? April 2013

May 8, 2013

(Originally posted on April 27th, 2013)

(This article will be spoiler free.)

おっす! April has seemed like a very short month for some reason. I haven’t kept all that busy all things considered… aside from my continued war with local internet service providers (and what a grizzly war it has been…), but this month has seemed to just come and go. At least it’s warming up a bit I suppose.
I came to the realization a little while ago that I haven’t been playing video games as much as I used to. I still play League of Legends (and to a much lesser extent Dota2. Maybe I’ll get an article in here rambling about the two at one point soon) and occasionally some Starcraft 2, but aside from those, I haven’t really had the impulse to seek much else out to play. I’m unsure if it’s just the end of the cycle lull that’s killing my interest, or if it’s something else.
The 日本語 study has continued (though at a somewhat slower pace due to my own foolish mistakes in choice of textbooks), but the interest is still there, so that’s sure to continue. That’s basically it though as far as April is concerned.
I saw my share of anime this month however, so here’s what I saw and what I thought:

 

ghost-hound-2Ghost Hound:
 Ghost Hound tells the story of three teens, Tarou, Makoto, and Masayuki, who each went through traumatic experiences when they were younger.
Fast forward a decade-plus down the road, and they have each discovered that they possess the ability to astral project, and to roam their rural village and its surrounding forests as disembodied spirits.
It isn’t long before strange occurrences begin taking place in and around the remote rural town of Suiten, and more people become involved in them.

What I thought: Good
Ghost Hound is masterfully produced, and while it’s tone might have shifted from what I expected this anime was going to be a short while in, the observation of human nature, spirituality, and numerous discussions of mental conditions and phenomena those conditions can produce that the characters participate in were all interesting, and were able to hold my attention while I was waiting for more plot to surface.
This is a very slow anime. A lot of time is spent on atmosphere, and at times it seemed as though nothing was really happening, but the characters were likable enough and the dialogue was well-written enough to keep even the slower of episodes from being a complete bore.
I wouldn’t call Ghost Hound a horror story. Strange things happen, and disturbing sights and sounds are sure to be found, but this anime is more a study of the human brain than an attempt to spook or unnerve you. That isn’t a bad thing necessarily, but it’s probably good to know going in.
I’m sure it isn’t for everybody, but it’s at least worth a look.

 

Lucky_Star_main_charactersLucky Star:
Lucky Star is a slice-of-life comedy series based around the lives of (primarily) four Japanese high-school girls.
There is no plot so much as there are mundane every-day situations, and the antics and hilarious conversations which those situations spawn from the cast of characters.

What I thought: Great
Lucky Star is a tough sell I think I would say. The art style, while not chibi necessarily, certainly makes it appear as though the characters are all much smaller than they should be. The majority of the cast is comprised of female characters, and there isn’t a whole lot of grandiose story-telling taking place here. Even as I’m sitting here typing this, I’m having difficulty putting my finger on why I enjoyed it so much, but I suppose it’s mostly just the writing and the tone.
One of my favorite types of comedy is comedy which celebrates the humor found in everyday situations, and this is exactly the type of humor which Lucky Star excels at. While comedy is the name of the game, they also know precisely when and how to drop an emotional bombshell.
If this anime succeeds at any one thing, it’s in the characterization of its cast. They all have believable, down-to-Earth personalities, and interact amongst one another in a manner just as much.
Each episode is also ended with a mini-section titled Lucky Channel, and these were probably the funniest parts of the series.
If the art style or premise isn’t your thing, you should still at least give Lucky Star a chance, especially if you enjoy comedy that doesn’t rely on satire or vulgarity to get cheap laughs.

 

kon1K-On:
When the new year rolls around, and with an under-abundance of prospective members, Sakuragaoka High’s light music club faces being disbanded.
To prevent this, Ritsu (at drums) and Mio (on bass) enlist Tsumugi to play keys, and the overtly clumsy Yui who is well versed with… castanets?
Together, they make up the light music club; and with a strong desire to play to the masses, they spend much of their time practicing snacking in the club room.

What I thought: Good
My seeking out K-On was mainly based on the fact that you see this anime referenced all the time. If you’re around anime or people who watch anime, you may not know them by name, but I bet you recognize these characters, either due to fan-art, official art, memes or what-have-you. So what do you do? You say “let’s see what the big deal is”. (Or at least that’s what I do.)
While I have to say that I don’t feel like I’m the target audience for K-On, I will say that I enjoyed it well enough. At times it seemed a little too adorable for its own good, and if I had to sum this anime up in one word, it would be “もえ”, but it’s perfectly fine nonetheless. I’m unsure how to put it, but K-On also nails the sense of atmosphere or immersion that only a few other anime (Angel Beats! for example) have managed to pull off. It’s difficult to describe, but I would best put it as what you get when you fit relatable situations with good art and perfect ambiance in just the right way. It isn’t quite nostalgia, but it’s not far off.
The characters have likable personalities (though I can’t help but feel like poor Mugi didn’t get her due), and the story they tell might in the end accomplish little, but the dialogue and the antics are a fun time, and the art, animation and music are all great.
It’s somewhat lacking in story, but just about everything else is done excellently.

 

614558-haganaiHaganai: Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai:
Hasegawa Kodaka and Mikazuki Yozora are socially awkward, and because of this, they have been unable to make any friends at school. Upon meeting one another, an eager Yozora and a reluctant Kodaka create the Neighbors Club, a semi-secret school club whose purpose is to provide a place for students to meet new friends.

What I thought: So-so
One of my least favorite things in anime is fan service. Here or there it’s bearable, but in cases such as 11 Eyes (though fan service was the least of that particular anime’s problems) and Haganai, fan service just feels like filler; and Haganai has more than its share of filler.
While I dig the art style and the character designs, a couple of the characters were very unlikable (I’m lookin’ at you, Rika), and I didn’t really find their antics all that amusing, as several of the characters’ interactions were entirely one-note.
It was never insultingly bad or anything, but I feel like there’s missed potential here with the premise. Being a pretty socially awkward person myself, the concept of young people attempting to meet people just to have it backfire in their faces is relatable and appealing, but it seems to have been squandered here, offering instead a generic harem setting, and almost nonstop fan service.
While it wasn’t outright terrible, there are still anime out there more worth your time.

 

Another month in the books. May’s line-up as of right now is Koi to Senkyo to Chocolate, Haiyore! Nyaruko-san, Toradora, Durarara! (I haven’t forgotten about you two, don’t worry), and if time permits, I have more K-On and Zero no Tsukaima to get to.
I’ll do my best to formulate my thoughts on that LoL/Dota2 article I mentioned before, but no promises there. As for game releases, I don’t think anything notable is coming out this month. By this time next month we’ll know what the new Xbox is called, so there’s that…
Between the Japanese study, my seemingly endless backlog, and promises of new console announcements though, May should be a good month. Hopefully it doesn’t whisk by as April did.
じゃ次回まで。
Keep your plots unspoiled!

From → Anime

One Comment

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Spitz’s Year-end Wrap Up 2013 | Spitz's Soapbox

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: