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Hey Spitz, What’ve You Been Watching? June 2013

June 29, 2013

(This article will be spoiler free.)

皆、おっす!June has seemed like a very long month to me, though it feels as though I wasn’t able to get much done. Rather frustrating.
I have a tremendous amount of respect for voice actors. The characters we all love in anime simply wouldn’t be the same without them, and talented actors in my opinion are one of the main things that separate a good anime from a truly great one.
One thing I like to do after finishing an anime is to look up what else the voice talent involved had lent their voices to. It’s a great way to find new things to watch, and it’s always a shock to find out that a certain voice actor had voiced a character from something else you liked without you even realizing it. You would be surprised how deep of a hole you can fall into when you start connecting anime by their shared voice talent. Did you know Satomi Satou who voiced Chitanda Eru in Kyouka was also the voice of Ritsu in K-On!, as well as Minami-san from Oreimo? Personally, one of my favorite voice actors in anime is Hanazawa Kana. You might have heard her cute, soft-spoken voice in such anime as Angel Beats!, Black Rock Shooter and Strike Witches (among many others).
I didn’t mean to ramble, of course. As far as the backlog goes, June had a tough act to follow after last month, but looking back on it I suppose it was pretty sound. Here’s what I watched and what I thought:

 

22125Toradora: 
Due to Takasu Ryuuji’s intimidating appearance, people take him as a ruffian despite his quiet demeanor and his admirable culinary skills. He has feelings for the bright and energetic Kushieda Minori, though he can’t bring himself to confess.
Due to Aisaka Taiga’s short temper (and height), she has become known as “the Palmtop Tiger”. Similar to Ryuuji’s situation, Taiga is interested in the glasses-wearing Kitamura Yuusaku, though her clumsy nature prevents her from making any progress with his and her relationship.
Toradora tells the story of these two high-schoolers, who, after crossing paths, decide to help eachother with their respective relationship problems, as Taiga is good friends with Ryuuji’s crush, and vice-versa.

What I thought: Great
It’s always surprising to me how an anime with an unremarkable premise and a not particularly grandiose overarching plot can succeed to draw me in solely thanks to its characters.
That may be a little overly dismissive, I suppose. Toradora does have a great payoff waiting for you at the end of the road, but it’s the road which you travel with these characters that makes this anime worthwhile. They’re relatable, down-to-Earth individuals with complex feelings and personalities, and save for maybe one in particular, they’re all very memorable.
There’s a good amount of emotional investment to be found in Toradora, and it’s all wrapped around a bright, nicely animated art style. I’m regretful that I put this series off for so long, but I’m happy to have finally gotten around to it, as it was well worth the watch.
The plot at face-value may be pretty average-going stuff, but thanks to a cast of truly likable characters, Toradora is still worth the time.

 

ika musumeShinryaku! Ika Musume:
Ika Musume (whose name quite literally means “squid girl”) has become fed up with humanity soiling the world’s oceans with their filth, so she sets out to conquer mankind one beach at a time.
Upon her arrival on land however, her antics put her in debt to the owners of a beach-side grub-shack; and as she works to pay off this debt, she learns about humanity’s way of life, and gets into a wide array of hijinks along the way.

What I thought: Great
I would say it’s probably safe to assume that Shinryaku! Ika Musume is an anime more aimed toward a younger audience, but not so much that I felt foolish as an adult watching it.
The story never gets dark. There are no real antagonists, nor overarching goals to speak of here (save for those in Ika Musume’s delusions), and in a lot of way’s this was refreshing, as it made it easier to just chill out and enjoy the mishaps.
The characters are all bright and likable, and the wacky situations that ensue from Ika Musume’s mischief are, in the large majority of the cases, very funny.
There’s a second season out there which I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing; and I recommend that if you enjoy bright characters and excellently written, any-age appropriate comedy, you should check this series out!
While it may or may not have been intended for a younger audience, Shinryaku! Ika Musume is still a great anime for when you want to cheer up a crummy mood or just want to have a few good laughs.

 

official-haruhi-artharuhi-suzumiya-official-artwork-0166The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi:
Once the winter holidays approach, Kyon isn’t surprised to see Suzumiya Haruhi once again dragging the other members of the SOS Brigade into her antics – with the current agenda being holding a X-mas party in their club room.
As the day of the party nears however, things begin to seem amiss. Suzumiya Haruhi isn’t coming to school, and Kyon begins noticing strange inconsistencies with his classmates.
Where has Suzumiya Haruhi gone all of the sudden, and does she have anything to do with these inconsistencies?
The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi begins as Kyon sets out to find answers.

What I Thought: Must See! (but only if you’ve watched through the show first)
I suppose I didn’t know what this movie would be upon going into it. Sure, I thought that Haruhi ended sort of abruptly, but it was an ending that achieved a good sense of place, and a feeling of “this is how things are, and this is how things will continue”.
Though accompanied with The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi, the overarching plot of the series comes full circle. In some ways it’s somewhat of a bummer that the story ends outside of the tv anime, but leaving the end of the narrative to be played out on the big screen affords higher production values, and to tell the entire ending all at once without having to split it into parts.
This is a lengthy film (coming in at just under 3 hours), but it is paced perfectly and provides a lovingly executed finish to a memorable series. There may be substantially less comedy here than you’ve come to expect coming off of the tv anime, but it is replaced with a good play of emotions, and quite possibly the greatest sense of place I’ve seen in an animated story.
It looks beautiful, it sounds beautiful, and the manner in which the story wraps up is wonderfully done as well. If you’ve watched Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu and enjoyed the time you’ve spent with these characters, you owe it to yourself to hunt down the feature film.
If you found enjoyment in Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu, then The Disappearance of Suzumiya Haruhi will be the cherry on top. 

 

moe-185672-akaza_akari-errant-funami_yui-seifuku-tashinou_kyouko-yoshikawa_chinatsu-yuru_yuriYuru Yuri: 
Yuru Yuri is a slice of life comedy series focusing on a group of middle-school girls who are members of an easy-going school club.
This club is called the Amusement Club, and while their group activities may consist of very little by means of bettering the world around them, their club room, if anything,  is an excellent place to get into absurd antics with one another, as well as the members of the Student Council.

What I thought: Good
Yuru Yuri is right up there with Strike Witches on my list of “things I wish I didn’t enjoy as much as I do”. Unlike Strike Witches, there is (thankfully) no blatant fan-service to speak of with Yuru Yuri, but it’s more brazen in its own ways. Much like Strike Witches though, Yuru Yuri is entertaining solely thanks to its colorful cast of bright, energetic characters.
While a good amount of this anime is spent knee-deep in awkward territory, there is some genuinely funny stuff to be seen as well. Some of the characters don’t get a whole lot of screen time, so it was hard (for me anyway) to recall those particular characters’ names, but the prominent cast are a lively bunch whose interactions are more often entertaining than irritating.
I’m absolutely certain that this anime is not for everyone, as it can be somewhat immature at times, but if you’re able to check your brain at the door and just concentrate on the antics, Yuru Yuri is a completely valid comedy series led by a bright cast of characters and backed up by an alluring art style.
It was tremendously difficult to get through an episode of Yuru Yuri without a smile on my face, and if you’re as content with considering it a guilty pleasure as I am, I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a good laugh or two. 

 

HKsegHyouka:
“If I don’t have to do something, I won’t; but if I have to, I’ll do it quickly.” These are the words which high school student Oreki Houtarou lives by. If an activity requires any unnecessary amount of energy to complete, he wants nothing to do with it.
When his older sister requests him to join the Classics Club at school, he reluctantly does as she asks, but only grudgingly so.
It is in this Classics Club where he meets Chitanda Eru; a girl whose curiosity and brilliant gaze drag him into solving an array of local mysteries.

What I thought: Good
Coming off of Gosick last month, I started Hyouka looking for my next mystery fix, and while I didn’t enjoy Hyouka as much as I did Gosick, I can say that it’s still a valid use of one’s time.
If there’s one thing Hyouka excels at by leaps and bounds, it’s visuals. It’s absolutely gorgeous to look at, and equal care was spent to ensure that the ambiance followed suit. By terms of production, Hyouka is masterfully done.
The main reason I didn’t enjoy it as much as Gosick however, is that the mysteries which the members of the Classics Club seek to solve are much more tame than those found in your typical mystery story. Comparing the two is somewhat unfair I suppose, as Hyouka has a much more realistic, down-to-earth tone than Gosick, but nonetheless I found the mysteries to be the weakest part of Hyouka, as they’re generally the sorts of mysteries that an average high schooler might encounter (thus, quite tame).
That being said, the cast are a likable bunch, offering a number of funny character moments, and while the mysteries weren’t particularly exciting, the manner in which they are solved didn’t seem unfair from the viewer’s point of view.
I might have had unfair expectations going into it, but Hyouka is still an excellently put together anime, so I don’t regret the time spent.
Depending on what you desire out of your mystery series, Hyouka may not be what you’re after, but thanks to some jaw-dropping visuals and a cast of likable characters, it’s still an anime worth seeing. 

 

And there you have it! June 2013 is in the books. As you might have noticed, I finally got around to watching Toradora, and was quite pleased with the time I spent with it. I haven’t forgotten about Durarara! of course. I’m about midway through it at the moment, so it’s probably safe to expect it in next month’s article.
Flowers of Evil will also be finished being simulcast next month, and I’m looking forward to sharing my final thoughts on it. The summer anime season is just around the corner, and there are a number of anime in particular which I’m looking forward to, with Watashi ga Motenai no wa Dou Kangaete mo Omaera ga Warui!, Blood Lad and the Hyperdimension Neptunia anime to name a few. Summer has snuck up on me this year, but I have a feeling that it’ll be a good one.
That’s all from me for now though.  じゃね!
Keep those plots unspoiled!

From → Anime

2 Comments
  1. Toradora! <3 One of my favorites. :)

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

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