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Hey Spitz, What’ve You Been Watching? September 2017

October 9, 2017

ようこそ!It wouldn’t be the Soapbox if I weren’t struggling with self-appointed deadlines!
Despite my pleading to the contrary, Summertime has shuffled its way out of the door to make way for Autumn. I look forward to a brief period of sublime weather followed by my least favorite season. Enjoy it while it lasts, hm.
October brings more than cooler temperatures though, and adding to what makes it one of the most enjoyable times of the year is the spooky atmosphere of Halloween. While I’m not much of a costume party or lawn ornament erecting sort of guy, I do enjoy bringing out specific movies or games or anime for a quick watch where I can.
For awhile, Dead Space was my go-to yearly ritual, and I do believe I’ve recommended the anime series Another here on the Soapbox before, around this time of the year. If blood isn’t to your liking, maybe something like Gosick might strike your fancy? While I would call it a mystery series first and foremost (and one that is quite good if I might say so), it certainly exhibits horror elements in some of its subplots as well.
Do you have any Halloween rituals of the entertainment variety?
September was a busy month! I had to binge through the last handful of episodes out of the few Summer series I took up. Here’s what I watched:
 

Yamishibai 5-
When you hear the ringing, it can only mean one thing;
It’s time once again for Yamishibai.
A woman who takes great pride in her hair.
A student whose clingy friend insists on copying her.
A salaryman who comes across a young girl on his way home.
These small tales are but a portion of the bizarre stories told by this fifth season of this horror anthology series.

What I thought-
What better series to welcome the Halloween mood of Autumn than Yamishibai? And this series has seen a tumultuous run, since the first season in 2013 until this, the fifth helping.
It pleases me to report that while I wouldn’t call this the most effective collection of short stories out of the bunch, the soul is certainly there, even if the animation sadly is not. Rather, these episodes present themselves as sorts of slideshows, with characters fading into, out of, or around the scene. This is a bit unfortunate, because this Yamishibai has done well with its paper doll style in the past, but taken as leisurely animated illustrations that you might find in some sort of morbid storybook, the look isn’t a total deal-breaker.
There are of course clunkers, as there always are, but some of these stories, two in particular in the later episodes were rather effective, one dealing with a peculiar scratching sound, and one with the aforementioned salaryman.
Sporting a collection of fresh, unfortunate tales and an especially stirring ED theme, Yamishibai’s fifth season probably won’t knock your socks off visually, or keep you up late into the night, but nonetheless offers a few brief chills.


 

Aho Girl-
Hanabatake Yoshiko is a young lady with reasonably cute looks, bright aspirations in life, and the ability to light up a room with her inescapably bright personality.
There is one glaring flaw in her character however, and that is that she is, by any terms, an idiot.
It is only thanks to the firm guidance of Yoshiko’s childhood friend Akutsu Akuru that this doofy mess of a human being hasn’t chased her love for bananas, or used her otherwise innate ability to steer herself into trouble into her ultimate doom.
Aho Girl is a series brimming with silent longing, banana consumption, inappropriate bikini vandalism and so much more.

What I thought-
And for a jaunt in the other direction, we have Aho Girl, which provided a modest helping of over-the-top comedic lunacy.
This series runs at half of the typical run time, with each episode clocking in at about ten minutes, and over those ten minutes, absurdness occurs ad nauseam. The oversold delivery by Yoshiko and A-kun’s voice actors (Yuuki Aoi and Sugita Tomokazu respectively) just racket up the energy further, and this series managed to produce audible chuckles from me throughout.
If you’re a fan of series such as Nichijou or Ai Mai Mii, this is a solid alternative for that style of comedy.
Often crass, often slapstick, Aho Girl is a comedy series which uses its lack elegance and poise to achieve a great blend of loud, abrupt and hysterical slice of life antics.


 

Tenshi no 3P!-
While he doesn’t attend school or have much of a social life outside of the safe confines of his bedroom, Nukui Kyou finds enjoyment in producing music and uploading it to a fanbase online.
One day, one such fan of his music sends him a message and asks him if he’d be willing to meet up in person, to which he agrees.
That one fan as it would turn out, is instead of group of three, orphans named Sora, Nozomi and Jun, and the three of them request Kyou to help them make music.
With Sora at the drums, Nozomi grooving on the bass, and Jun on guitar, the three and their uncanny musical abilities for their young age impress Kyou, and he agrees to help them improve, setting the group off on a musical adventure.

What I thought-
While I will not disagree that it exhibited less than appealing aspects, I enjoyed Rou-Kyuu-Bu! for its entertaining characters and its up until then novel setting. Seeing that Tenshi no 3P! was based on another series written by Rou-Kyuu-Bu!’s author, Aoyama Sagu, I expected a similar experience based around rock music rather than grade school basketball.
As the production quality goes, this is a fair series. The voice performances and the soundtrack are well enough, and the animation is, for a slice of life series, what it needs to be to get the job done. What is less enjoyable then, is the writing, or rather, the general flow of this series from scene to scene.
The creepy fan service, the clunker sub-plots, the less than stellar slice of life comedy; it all comes together to create a series which lacks a gripping identity. When the dialogue isn’t snappy or interesting, and the scene to scene happenings lack strong hooks to pull you in, eventually each episode becomes a matter of sitting through, rather than watching, and this goes without mention of the fan service. Where a more clever series might take the tropes exhibited by Tenshi no 3P and in a very knowing way have fun with them, this is a series which almost always just comes off as uncomfortable.
There are brief snippets of heartwarming moments dotted about, more notably in later episodes, but it’s tough to recommend this series on those alone.
Its soundtrack is solid, and its cast of characters are colorful and reasonably well-designed, but don’t be fooled, for Tenshi no 3P! is the very definition of a shallow series.


 

I always feel a bit gross self-advertising, especially for features on the same blog you’re already sitting here reading, but there are so few words remaining in this article, and perhaps you might fancy watching something next? Spitz’s Spookbox is a new video feature that started over the past month, and is currently a few episodes strong. Have you been watching?
(Last year this month.)
We’ve come this far. Mind those spoilers, yeah?
またね。

From → Anime

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