Skip to content

Hey Spitz, What’ve You Been Watching? January 2014

January 30, 2014

(This post will be spoiler-free!)

おっす。It’s that time of the year in which you’re still trying to grow accustomed to writing the new, correct year on things. Fourteen is a good number, though, so I have high hopes for the new year.
You may have noticed that there was no video game monthly this month, and this is mostly due to the fact that I have been playing very little by way of new things. I’ve been plucking away at League and checking in on WoW, but generally much of my free time has been spent doing other things.
I had originally planned to start fewer currently airing series than I was juggling over the Fall season, but alas, my weekly queue is gigantic.
There was still time to watch through some stuff though. Here’s what I saw:

 

shinkaiKotonoha no Niwa:
Akizuki Takao is a student who wishes to one day be a shoemaker. He skips class one rainy day to sit in a park and scribble away at his notebook, drawing new designs.
It’s in this park in which he meets a woman older than himself, who is well dressed, yet skipping her duties to eat chocolate and drink beer.
Something about their initial meeting makes Akizuki desire to return every morning it rains to see her again.

What I thought: “Short, sweet
and absolutely gorgeous.”
I’m trying to cut back on hyperbole, and you’ll need to forgive me, but this is easily the most beautiful anime I have seen. The attention to detail, and not only with the artwork, but the animation as well makes each scene vibrant and busy, and the sound design is equally as masterfully done.
Its run-time comes in at under 60 minutes, so the plot isn’t the most extravagant thing you’ll come across, but there’s enough subtle character in it to make it worth the time. You’re given glimpses into these two individual’s lives, and are asked to put things together yourself, which I don’t dislike.
I went into this film almost entirely due to Hanazawa Kana voicing a lead character, and while I wasn’t left dissatisfied in that respect, what I got was far beyond my expectations.
Kotonoha no Niwa manages to tell a worthwhile story despite its very short run-time, and looks so astounding that it’s tough not to come back again for repeated viewings.

 

UntitledWake Up, Girls!: Seven Idols:
Having never really struck it big promoting their previous entertainers, the management of the small talent agency Green Leaves Entertainment decide that the key to their success may be developing an Idol group. It is left to Matsuda Koukei, Green Leaves’ manager to seek out prospective young talent.
So the hunt is on for what may very well be the next top Idol group of Japan.

What I thought: “A more grounded idol series.”
It’s a strange thing to release a film right before your anime series begins, and Seven Idols seems like a primer for what I’m guessing the tv anime will ultimately be.  It’s about an hour long, and entails Green Leaves Entertainment enlisting seven young ladies to perform as idols. There isn’t a lot of time for character building, but Seven Idols tells a decent enough story on its own.
It looks fine and the music is alright, and while its more realistic tone (compared to Idolmaster) means the characters aren’t as interesting or memorable, that realistic tone makes Wake Up, Girls! a bit more believable.
Wake Up, Girls!: Seven Idols is another sometimes uplifting, sometimes creepy look into the interesting world of Japanese Idol groups.

 

noFlaFate/Zero:
A prequel to Fate/Stay Night, Fate/Zero takes place a decade prior, and tells the story of the Fourth Holy Grail War, in which powerful individuals are chosen by the Grail to fight amongst one another, with there being only one victor. It is this victor who is given one wish to be granted.
Emiya Kiritsugu is a man who has lived a life full of dealing and receiving pain at the hands of others, and wishes to use the Grail to end the worlds suffering. He joins the ranks of six other individuals who all vie to unlock the power of the Grail and to have their respective wishes granted.
Each of these seven individuals are  given the assistance of a warrior from history to ensure their victory, and also a small number of Command Spells to ensure their Servant heeds the command of their Master.

What I thought: “A prequel
leagues beyond the original story.”
It’s an easy to look at series, with stylish character art and a strong emphasis on cold colors. Every one of the characters seeking the grail is interesting in their own way, and what makes /Zero so interesting from a plot standpoint versus /Stay Night is that there are numerous characters you want to see succeed. This makes the battles carry more weight, as you want to see several of these characters achieve victory while there can really only be one.
While I would hang my head in /Stay Night once I realized I was in for another long, drawn out, poorly animated talky sequence, in /Zero, even when the scene was little more than a Master having a philosophical conversation with their Servant, I was still completely fixated on the screen, as not only were these scenes more busy from an animation standpoint, but the writing was such and the characters’ personalities were each unique enough that it just felt far less flat and preachy than /Stay Night did.
I wouldn’t say I’m a Type-Moon convert just yet, but if anything, Fate/Zero has informed me that it’s a universe capable of producing a good story.
I had low hopes going into it, but with a cast of likable characters and a plot well worth investing in, Fate/Zero managed to completely alter my opinion of the Fate universe. If you didn’t like Fate/Stay Night, give this one a try.

 

6345To Aru Kagaku no Railgun:
Taking place in the highly advanced Academy City, which houses and develops the skills of all ranges of espers, To Aru Kagaku no Railgun tells the story of four friends of varying degrees of power as they (sometimes willing, other times not) find themselves in the middle of all sorts of odd adventures.

What I thought: “Light on story,
but likable enough for what it is.”
I was aware that Railgun is a spin-off series of Index prior to its viewing, though I didn’t bother to seek out the latter first. It’s obvious when characters from the other series pop up, but from a plot standpoint, I don’t feel like I missed anything by watching Railgun first.
The story isn’t told as one huge overarching narrative, but instead a series of smaller subplots which play out with references to previous ones, and while this was fine, I usually enjoy a single, coherent storyline.
The characters are very likable though (especially Kuroko), and while the plot may not have been particularly personal to any individual one of them, it gives you opportunities to see the cast interact with one another, which is more often than not a treat.
It animates very well, and the art is consistently good although there is the occasional CG vehicle here or there
It lacked the plot necessary to make it a memorable series for me personally, but there’s a second season out there and I’m still looking forward to seeing it.
A spin-off which stands on its own, Railgun isn’t the most impactful thing you’ll come across, but there is enough character found here to warrant a watch regardless.

 

I’m enjoying a lot of what I’ve started in the Winter season, with my go-to show each week of course being Chu-2 Ren. The preview I had watched of the second season had me worried it would be spent rehashing old jokes (which was Seitokai no Ichizon lvl 2’s problem), but so far it has equaled the first season by terms of personality and energy, and what nods to the first season are there are done in fun ways. I’m looking forward to seeing where it goes.
So much for January though. It’s just about through. I have my eyes on a few potential backlog series for February, though I haven’t decided on which ones to watch yet. Among them are some Summer season series I couldn’t find time to finish, as well as Steins;Gate, Guilty Crown, Persona Trinity Soul, as well as some additional seasons of some things I’ve seen (such as Zero no Tsukaima).
We’ll have to see if we can get around to all of that.
また読んでね。
(It’s cold. Keep your plots unspoiled.)

From → Anime

3 Comments
  1. I heard/read Ufotable is working on a Fate/Stay Night remake. The visuals and the story were good in Fate/Zero so I expect a lot of this adaptation. I never really got into the whole Index and Railgun series though.

    • Aye I’ve seen the key art for the Ufotable version of /Stay Night, and I’m sure (after seeing /Zero) that if there’s a group of folks capable of making that story worth sitting through, it’s Ufotable. Part of me would prefer a full series of /Prototype though.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Spitz’s Year End Wrap Up 2014 | 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: