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

November 1, 2013

(This article will be spoiler-free!)

疲れた!10月はとても忙しかった。 You know you’ve been keeping occupied when you take a look at the calendar and suddenly realize how much time has passed. Wasn’t it hot and humid outside at one point?
October has brought in the cold weather, and in turn, sickness, though I’m certainly feeling a bit better than I did earlier in the week. It’s a bummer when you have things you would like to be doing, but all your body wants to do is lie in bed.
How was Halloween?
The month of October was a little light compared to the ones leading up to it, but here’s what I watched:

 

1070Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko:
Yokodera Youto is a high schooler with the tendency to hide his true feelings behind a guise, as many of these feelings are knee-deep in perversion.
One day, a friend lets him in on a secret of a cat statue hidden away atop a hill that is said to take something you don’t need in order to give it to someone who does.
Seeing the cat statue as a good method of removing his guise, he seeks it out, only to find the overly emotional Tsutsukakushi Tsukiko, who has come to the statue with the hopes of becoming more like an adult.
What follows is Youto and Tsukiko contending with the changes wrought on by their respective wishes.

What I thought: Good
I liked the art style and the character designs quite a bit, and while several of the characters are pretty forgettable if you’ve seen romantic school comedy series such as this before, there are a couple winners in there.
The most entertaining character (to me) was Tsutsukakushi, and this was thanks to the great stone-stiff voicework done by her voice actress, which made a number of her character’s reactions much more humorous than they might’ve been otherwise.
The story is told with a heavy emphasis on ecchi situations, but they seem to have embraced it, with it seeming to be played more for comedy than for eye-candy (though not entirely).
The overall goal of the series probably isn’t its strongest appeal, but I would say Henneko was an entertaining watch throughout its duration.
A bright, aesthetically appealing art style and a modest helping of ecchi comedy might be Henneko’s most defining traits, and while the story isn’t badly done, it doesn’t do anything especially endearing or memorable either.

 

tumblr_mqztkbCInx1rkoi2qo1_500Attack on Titan:
Humanity has shielded themselves within their walls from the destructive forces of the Titans for the past century. While the man-eating creatures roam freely within the outside world, humanity can rest easy within the cities built within the three Wall Maria, Wall Rose, and Wall Sina.
Until a day on which a never before seen colossal Titan breaches the outermost wall, Wall Maria, and brings a pack of Titans within to eat their fill.
One of the survivors of Wall Maria’s breach is Eren Yeager, who swears vengeance against the Titans.
Attack on Titan follows Eren, his childhood friends, and his new comrades as they train into the military to combat the hulking monsters.

What I thought: Must see!
This is a keeper. I got into AoT a little late because I heard some people comparing it to Elfen Lied, but please take my word for it that AoT is nowhere near as violent as that series, so if that’s something that was keeping you away as well, don’t worry. There is plenty of violence, but much of it is inferred in lieu of being reveled in such as seemed to be the case with Elfen Lied.
The art, when at its best, looks clean and detailed, and I was a big fan of the thick outlines bordering characters. While the story is dark, the series doesn’t rely on muddled visuals to depict it. There are clear blue skies overhead during several of the battle sequences, which I really appreciated. The animation is nice too, especially during said battle sequences.
The music is quite good as well. Not only are the OPs and EDs nicely done, but also are the songs that play during many of the battle sequences. They’ve sold at least one copy of a soundtrack if they ever release one.
The human versus Titan battles give off a  tremendous sense of speed and agility, and this speed coupled with the frailty of the humans makes each battle sequence a tightrope wire of tension, as death can come rapidly and without warning.
The story drew me in from the get-go, and each new episode seemed to end just as it had begun. There are a few things here or there that I’m a little iffy about, but overall it’s a tremendously tense and unpredictable story. It’s an interesting world to visit (though I’d never want to live there), and the story that is told is both disturbing and thrilling.
The story isn’t finished, and I’ll be there from the get-go once they decide to continue it.
A story of survival told in smart and interesting ways, Attack on Titan is a tense, unpredictable series sporting a clean art style and a fantastic soundtrack.

 

09Shiki:
Sotoba is a rural village, detached from the bustle and the noise of the city.
One summer, a string of deaths begins to take place within the village, and gossip begins to spread about whether it could be related to the family who just recently moved into a European style mansion overlooking the village.
Shiki tells the story of a village overcome by suspicion and tragedy, while a pack of supernatural creatures lurk in the shadows.

What I thought: So-so
This is a strange series for me to try and talk about. The story is lackluster and underdeveloped, so on one hand I want to say it might have worked better if it were shorter to toss out all of the filler dialogue and omit a couple of the more useless characters. On the other hand though, I could see this series working quite nicely at its current run time (20 episodes long), but with a stronger focus on maybe two or three of the characters to make the conclusion of the story carry more weight.
I prefer to be the type of person who can see something for what it is though, and not what it could have been, and what Shiki is is a bore.
The animation isn’t terrible, but save for one or two in particular, the character designs are obnoxious, which leads to a widespread problem I have with this series which is the tone. Much of the time, I was unsure whether it was trying to be a horror series or a comedy, with these over-designed characters being some of the problem, as well as a number of oddly placed audio cues.
The reason this series was such a bummer to me though, is that there are appealing aspects to it, but they didn’t seem to nail any of it. Some of its scenes are legitimately creepy, the Sunako character (voiced by 私の女神 herself) is very interesting, though she gets very little screen time until near the end of the story, and this series’ conclusion is chaotic and disturbing, but I can’t help but feel like it could have been far, far more disturbing if the large (arguably too large) cast of characters were more relatable or interesting.
There are interesting ideas going on in Shiki that warrant praise, but they require far too much runtime devoid of intrigue or tension to find, and because of this, it is a series that is difficult to recommend.

 

Sankarea.Sanka-Rea.640x960-7Sankarea:
Furuya Chihiro is a high schooler who has been obsessed with zombies since he was very young.
Sanka Rea is a girl who feels like a bird in a cage, seeking an escape from her overbearing father.
After Chihiro comes into possession of an old book which promises a potion with the potential to raise the dead, he puts it to use trying to resurrect his beloved cat which had just passed away.
One night, while he’s tinkering with ingredients for the potion within an abandoned bowling alley, Chihiro meets Rea, and it isn’t long before events take place which intertwine their paths in humorous, disturbing, and surprising ways.

What I thought: Good
This is a pretty great series for the Halloween season (though I guess that suggestion would’ve been better a week or two ago, huh…) which takes the zombie genre into a 萌え direction.
I can see how that might turn away those who don’t like that sort of thing, but I think it’s a fun contrast.
Sankarea is a series that looks and sounds quite nice (that ED theme is quite good), and the dark humor makes for an entertaining watch. The cast of characters are nicely designed, but are pretty lacking in the personality department, and the story they tell, while a decent enough time given the idea behind the overall premise, isn’t all that memorable, and lacks a real ending (though I’m hoping that second season does get made).
Sankarea looks and sounds terrific, and while the story is lacking, enough fun is had with the zombie girl premise to make it an entertaining sit nonetheless.

 
This month has seemed so, so short. Here’s hoping more can be accomplished by the next time one of these goes up!
It’s odd to think that 2013 will be over in a few short months, though I suppose that just means I’ve kept myself busy this year.
The Fall anime season has blown wide open, and I’m doing my best to stay caught up on the numerous series I’ve started within it, with Kyoukai no Kanata, Nagi no Asukara and Little Busters! Refrain being some of the highlights. My weekly schedule is chock full of interesting stuff, and I was bummed to have to drop a few series for later, and not because they were bad, but because I simply don’t have the time to watch them right now. I guess you could say that’s a good problem to have.
The backlog contenders for next month are currently Fate/Stay Night, Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood and if I have the time I’d like to watch Bakemonogatari (Hanazawa Kana has a character. I sort of have to.) That’s all for October though.
次回までね。
(Keep those eyes open, but those plots unspoiled.)

From → Anime

3 Comments
  1. I was biased with Hentai Ouji, because I liked the artwork from Kantoku, he also made the colorful character designs for Hentai Ouji. I was skeptic because JC Staff was producing it, and while not entirely bad, they still didn’t manage to transmit Kantoku’s style one on one.

    I cannot agree on Shiki and Sankarea, because they are somewhat similar. Shiki has a great setting and a novelesque storytelling. The dialogue creates uncertainty around the cast and builds mystery for itself. The viewer knows whats going on, the cast doesn’t. The soundtrack really created a dark and gory vibe around it. While on the other hand Sankarea did a mediocre job. I’ve read some portions of the manga and the anime completely failed on storytelling. It rushed and left out a lot of world building. I cannot label it good when taking the source into account.

    • I don’t read much manga, so my opinions are based entirely on what the anime does on its own without any sort of comparison to the original (which may have been how I didn’t dislike Sankarea, though I did say in the article that I found the story lacking).
      For Shiki on the other hand, I’ve got nothing. Its tone was all over the place, and the story did very little for me, save for the ideas behind the Sunako character.
      Goes to show that whether something is good or bad depends largely on the viewer. Thank you for reading!

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