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

November 1, 2014

 (This article will be spoiler-free!)

時間だ! Halloween has come and gone, and took with it the end of good weather and the end of comfortable, shorts and tee nights. I’m not a worshiping sort of fellow, but I’m praying that this Winter is far more mild than last year’s. I get chills just thinking back on it, and not only from the cold.
While I’m not the type to go out of his way to celebrate holidays, I do enjoy peppering my typical anime/video game regimen with seasonally appropriate things. I had hoped to rewatch Another as the Halloween season was reaching its climax, but alas, I couldn’t find the time. Halloween wasn’t all that bad though, and I hope those reading this had a safe and (mostly) sane one as well.
Here’s what I did find time for over the past month:


43847lYama no Susume
When they were a bit younger, Yukimura Aoi, a girl who has since grown afraid of heights, and Kuraue Hinata, her bright and energetic friend, shared the experience of seeing the sun rise while at the top of a mountain.
While Aoi is happy nowadays with her feet at more or less sea level, Hinata encourages her to tackle climbing mountains with her, with hopes of recapturing that beautiful moment they shared previously.
Various ups and downs ensue in this series of cheerful shorts.

What I thought– “Short and cute.”
Shorts are perhaps the most difficult type of anime series to get right. There’s very little room to build character or develop plot in just a couple of minutes per episode, but every once in awhile you stumble into a series which appears to find a good balance between character, comedy, and story.
It isn’t going to pluck your heartstrings or put you on the edge of your seat with tension, but the story told in Yama no Susume is endearing and cute, and the characters found within it are, while few (not a bad thing), quite likable, with the Asumi Kana-voiced Hinata largely stealing the show.
It looks and sounds nice, and there’s a second season currently airing which I’ll be happy to catch up on.
Yama no Susume is a series that doesn’t try to accomplish more than its short episode run-time allows. It only requires a few minutes of your day, but those minutes are some of the more cheerful you might spend.


Ghost-HuntGhost Hunt
Taniyama Mai is a student with a curious interest in the supernatural.
She and her friends often get together at school and tell ghost stories amongst themselves.
One day, those stories become more than after-school thrills when the school’s principal hires Shibuya Psychic Research, fronted by the young but aloof Shibuya Kazuya, along with several other individuals specializing in the supernatural, to investigate an old school building which was planned to be demolished.
This encounter pulls Taniyama Mai into association with Shibuya Psychic Research, where she and its members and colleagues seek to solve a number of paranormal adventures.

What I thought– “A fair choice for a Halloween-season series.”
This series ultimately brought fewer good scares than I expected from it, and plays out like a more level-headed version of the sort of paranormal hunt shows that you might find on television. That isn’t to say it’s devoid of disturbing stories or startling visuals, but this is not a series designed from the ground up to scare you.
Ghost Hunt plays out as a series of subplots, with Mai and her friends tackling new locations and mysteries after each few episodes, and while a couple of these stories are hit-or-miss, overall I enjoyed the tone of this series. When it’s creepy, I feel like it manages to do so earnestly.
It maybe runs a little long (at 25 episodes), but I was never really bored with it (if that makes any sense). The animation can be pretty iffy, but the art style has a nice look to it, and this series has one of the prettiest sounding ED tracks I’ve encountered.
It isn’t entirely free of shocking moments, but Ghost Hunt doesn’t go out of its way to scare you. It’s a relatively grounded series with supernatural elements, and if you’re interested in the more scientific approach to investigating hauntings or supernatural occurrences, there’s plenty to like about this one.


50697lRou-Kyu-Bu! SS
The second season continues the stories of Hasegawa Subaru, Minato Tomoka, and the rest of the girls of Heishin Academy’s Basketball team as they return for more rivalries, more intense basketball matches, and more cute hi-jinks.
Subaru’s Father has returned to town, and with him he has brought a foreign girl looking to increase her skill-set in the sport.
She isn’t the only one seeking to prove herself on the court however, as the girls of Heishin Academy and their new rivals soon find out.

What I thought– “Offers more opportunity for investment than the first season did.”
Much more time is spent on the act of playing basketball here, so by sports series terms, I feel like SS is far more successful than the season which preceded it, though this does mean that less time is spent on the characters and their personalities.
What the first season of Rou-Kyu-Bu! lacked was a good adversary, and this is addressed here, though this is still a series which intends to have you chuckling at cute antics and less about having your blood boiling hoping the girls of Keishin Academy can outdo their competition.
There is a cast of new, mostly likable characters, some friendly and some not-as-much, and while the story is generally just as flimsy as found in the previous season, and a lot of time is spent in the Blinds-and-Locked-Doors Zone, it’s such a stress-free series that it’s tough to really say anything all that negative about it.
If you didn’t like the first season because it was too much 萌え and too little Basketball, there is more time spent on the court this time, but if you dislike cute anime ladies doing cute anime lady things, the second season likely won’t win you over.
More time spent in basketball matches makes Rou-Kyu-Bu! SS a somewhat better sports series that what came before it, but the primary attraction here, much like with the first season, are the colorful personalities of the characters found on the court.


yami-shibai_oYamashibai 2
A police officer whose ventriloquist act goes awry one day.
A rumor which says a particular locker holds the key to your desires.
An individual who attends a funeral ceremony and encounters bizarre behavior from his fellow attendees.
These are a few of the stories found in Yamishibai’s second season of short, kamishibai-inspired tales of horror.

What I thought– “Pales in comparison to the
first season by terms of tension and scares.”
So here’s a funny story: Yamishibai 2 was one of the Summer series I watched through, but come time to write about what I had finished from last season, I completely forgot I had seen it. This may betray the quality of the short stories found within this second season.
It sometimes relied on jump scares, but the previous season of Yamishibai made good use of its short run-time, and offered a number of memorable short stories which are even fun to go back to now, having already seen them.
Perhaps it was the new Director, or perhaps the creative spark was just lost in building these creepy one-off tales, but regardless of what the cause was, the second season just didn’t bring the same creepy atmosphere or the same level of scares which the first was able to.
It still has a creative, kamishibai look and presentation about it, but I would probably have to say Yamishibai 2 isn’t worth even the very short run-time, even as someone who really loved the first season.
Uninteresting stories or poorly orchestrated scares, Yamishibai 2 failed to follow up on the surprisingly effective first season of the series, and as such is very difficult to recommend.


I am enjoying several of the Fall Season’s anime (Inou Battle, Parasyte, etc.) and not feeling a few as well (Trinity Seven, Girl Friend Beta), so it’s a good mix I suppose.
I’m pleased to see Hirano Aya back in the saddle in Parasyte. I know there was some sort of personal nonsense which caused her to step down for a bit, but she is a tremendously talented voice actress, and I’m quite happy to hear her voice once again. Here is to many more memorable characters in the future!
It’s that time of year again when we get to find out whether the new Call of Duty will be a return to form worthy of sharing a place in the series with CoD4, or if we fans of times past will be left out in the cold once again. I hope to do a full, stand-alone review if I get the time, so keep an eye out for that if you’re interested.
Time, it’s trucking along!
(It’s getting cold out there. Keep those stories nice and unspoiled.)

From → Anime

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  1. Spitz’s Year End Wrap Up 2014 | Spitz's Soapbox

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