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

November 30, 2013

(This article will be spoiler-free!)

皆さんこんばんは。 Monthly time! Short one this month. November slipped by very quickly.
It was a month that brought with it good news, but one that came and went seemingly without notice. The most notable news (for me) was the Persona 5 announcement (as well as some P3/P4 offshoots), which has me very excited for next Winter.
I’ve seen people voice disappointment with it being planned for release on current gen the PS3 generation of consoles, but if you consider that it has been in development for awhile now, and developers already know exactly how to develop for the previous gen consoles, there’s very little reason for them to toss everything out to develop their game on the new stuff. Besides, if Persona 5 ends up looking half as nice as Catherine did, they’ll be doing alright in my opinion.
But anyway. That’s only somewhat anime related.
I didn’t manage to cram in as much anime watching as I usually prefer, but here’s what I watched this month:

 

30327Fate/Stay Night:
Emiya Shirou is a student with a special gift for repairing machines, who suddenly finds himself involved with a group of individuals vying for an ancient artifact.
Whomever claims this artifact is said to be granted any wish, and the fight for its possession has become known as the Holy Grail War.
One night, as Emiya is being attacked, he unintentionally performs a spell which summons forth a guardian to protect him. Wearing blue and silver armor and wielding an invisible sword, this guardian calls herself Saber.
What follows is Emiya, with the aid of Saber, coming to understand the nature of the Holy Grail War, and the individuals partaking in it, while defending themselves from those who would do them harm to find the Holy Grail.

What I thought: “Interesting ideas, but poorly executed.”
The premise is interesting, and I liked a good number of the character designs. The art is okay, but the animation is lacking in many places. If smooth animation isn’t necessary, it can be overlooked, but from the countless panning still frames, to characters often speaking with their face or mouth obstructed, it becomes obvious pretty early that corners were cut with the animation, and once I realized this, it started to become distracting.
The story is interesting in concept, but it isn’t executed in a way that held my attention. The loop of hearing the characters explain the nature of the world and motives of their enemies and then getting into battles with said enemies wore on me after awhile, and come the end of /Stay Night, I was unsure whether this anime was doing a bad job at explaining what was going on with the plot, or if I simply wasn’t paying enough attention to it due to its monotonous method of storytelling.
I won’t lie. I mostly wanted to watch through /Stay Night in order to watch /Zero without being completely lost, and while it hasn’t deterred me from continuing with the series, it does have me hoping the next entries deliver in the production/writing quality departments.
 There are hints of appealing themes found within Fate/Stay Night’s plot, but its slow, often poorly animated presentation had me falling asleep in my chair.

 

25771Bakemonogatari:
Bakemonogatari follows Araragi Koyomi, who after a specific ordeal in the past has found himself a sort of supernatural occurrence magnet.
One day, as he’s walking around his school, he happens across a young lady who is moments away from plummeting to her death.
Upon assisting this young woman, Araragi discovers that she is the victim of a peculiar curse. Finding himself drawn to this girl, he offers her his help.
This girl’s is but one of many supernatural stories however, as Araragi comes to discover over the days following.

What I thought: “Stylish, tightly
paced and sharply written.”
The structure in Bakemono is worth mentioning. While there is an overarching narrative, the focus of the plot changes to a new character after each two or three episodes.
From the terrific character designs, to the clean, tightly edited presentation, this series oozes style, and while much of the story is told through lengthy talky scenes, the manner in which these scenes are presented does a good job at holding your attention. Aside from that, these talky scenes are also smartly written. Bakemono seems like the sort of series which you might enjoy more and more as you rewatch it, as I have a feeling you’ll notice clever puns or wordplay that you hadn’t on a previous viewing.
The rapidly edited cut-away presentation also allows it to feel energetic without requiring a ton of animation. Something I’ve personally never seen before.
 The plot isn’t the most endearing or memorable thing out there, but Bakemonogatari’s tremendous sense of style and cleverly written wordplay make it a series worth seeing.

 

irohana-film-posterHanasaku Iroha: Home Sweet Home:
Matsumae Ohana has grown comfortable with her job at her Grandmother’s inn, and has grown fond of her fellow co-workers.
When the daughter of another inn, Wakura Yuina, comes to learn a thing or two about running such an establishment, she is put under Ohana’s guidance.
When Wakura’s antics place a storeroom in disarray, Ohana’s attempts at tidying it up again lead her to discover an old logbook, which promises her insight into how her mother Satsuki behaved when she was Ohana’s age.
Home Sweet Home continues the Kissuiso Inn’s story through the eyes of the family that made it what it is.

What I thought: “A nicely put together addition to the story.”
As it runs at a little over an hour in length, you don’t have to set aside much time for this film, and the story it tells, while largely supplementary to what was already told in the tv anime, fleshes out Ohana’s mother’s past a little bit.
It looks quite nice, and the sense of place is terrific. While the story is mostly focused on Ohana learning about her mother’s past, all of the characters from the tv anime make appearances here or there. Because it’s a short film, there’s very little time for character development, and because of this I would recommend seeing the tv anime first.
If I had to pose some sort of complaint with Home Sweet Home, it would be that it’s a pleasant watch, but ends very quickly.
 If you enjoyed Hanasaku Iroha, Home Sweet Home offers a side-story told in the same manner as the tv anime. This movie probably isn’t necessary to get the full enjoyment out of the series, but all the same it is a perfectly valid use of time.

 

There you have it. Slim indeed.
Next month I plan on rewatching some of the series I’d like to revisit (such as Angel Beats! and AnoHana), and later on in the month I plan to write up a 2013 retrospective article covering both video games and anime. Maybe around the 15th or so I’ll toss up an Anime monthly (likely primarily talking about the Fall season shows that will have wrapped up by then), or maybe I’ll just add it onto the yearly retrospective. I haven’t decided yet, so we’ll have to wait and see.
また読んでね。
(Keep out of that cold, and keep your plots unspoiled.)

From → Anime

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

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