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Moe Check! ยป Archive for first impressions

Archive for the “first impressions” Category

Her name is Yami, or something?

I'm well aware of the fact that To-Love-Ru is essentially a fanservice show, with little more excuse than to show cute girls in various states of undress. This is pretty much why I'm watching it in the first place, albeit only partly so: I am far more interested in the costumes, so my attraction to this sort of anime is more about cute girls in various states of dress.

Except I watched a bit of the first episode and realized that I might be getting a little too saturated with data: it has been so long since the first season that I have no idea who most of these people are.

Which is an odd complaint for a show like this: one can summarize the general plotline of an episode in a few brief sentences. The girls lose their clothes in some way. The male lead gets a good eyeful, nosebleeds. The male lead gets beaten up. Repeat, while adding in a few bits of Wacky Alien Hijinks.

But I doubt people watch this show for the plot, as much as for the characters, or at least the girls. And when I can't remember most of the female characters, not for want of trying, I begin to appreciate the little recaps some anime do at the beginning of every new season.

I can kind of remember the main female lead, the pink-haired alien girl with the very interesting outfit I kind of want to know how to design. I can remember the male lead's little sister. I can remember the Normal Girl the male lead has a crush on, and I admit she looks just as cute as I remember. I can remember some alien guy who turns into a girl or something, and I can also remember how the show (and the manga) tended to keep him in girl form for the fanservice.

Most of all I remember the blonde girl who keeps reminding me of Fate Testarossa from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, and who is apparently also some sort of intergalactic assassin, although in Fate's case this only started after she grew up, and they don't call it that in the Nanoha-verse anyway. But names, names, all elude me, and with it comes a desire to refresh my memory by watching the first season again.

Not that I have any objections per se, but I kind of have to work on a blog post, and the last time I went on a memory-refresher binge I lost track of three days. The irony is immediately obvious.

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Don't try this at home.

There's something about this series which fails to catch on for me, and yet I keep watching, because I have the nagging suspicion that it is entirely my fault.

I'm probably comparing it unfairly to Keroro Gunsou, which is hilarious and heartwarming and does the whole Strange Animals From Somewhere Else Invading Earth Incompetently thing quite well. Keroro alone would turn annoying very quickly, but the anime wastes no time in introducing plenty of other characters to share the spotlight with. It probably doesn't hurt that the artstyle is cute (which, to be fair, Ika Musume also does well) and Chiwa Saitou has a major role.

And Keroro Gunsou doesn't just deal with slapstick comedy, but also the little things: friendship, nostalgia, the simple joys of life. All seen through the viewpoint of literal aliens, letting us experience the things we take for granted through eyes that have never seen it before.

Ika Musume feels like… something missing, I suppose. It dials the comedy up, but I keep expecting an incredibly biased narrator to start pointing out the obvious or crack some deliberately lame joke or something. Having the titular character mess up her invasion plans yet again is amusing for the first few times, but after that I get antsy: why am I not being amused? Or rather, why am I not being sufficiently amused, when it seems to share several traits with Keroro Gunsou? I am missing something; I should watch further to see what this is.

I want to say that Ika Musume might get better if the cast expands, but I'm not sure if this is what it wants to do. Maybe it's going in a completely different direction that my unfair comparisons are leading me away from.

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Lightning and Serah.

My entertainment options for the past week or so has been hijacked by my first foray into the present generation of consoles, which explains my general lack of updates or even noticing what has come to pass in the world of anime.

I got the Playstation 3 essentially for two games: Final Fantasy XIII and inFamous. With the discovery of Recettear and its subsequent devouring of my life, I added on Atelier Rorona onto the pile, and topped the list off with Bayonetta and Valkyria Chronicles. I am appalled at the amount of willpower it took me to pry myself away from my new toy.

This thing is dangerous to my productivity.

So far I've been enjoying Final Fantasy XIII. It simplifies the systems of the previous FFs, and distills it to its core essence. And while I miss the familiar tunes and themes from the earlier games, I can find no fault with the ones here. (Of course, I have the version with the Japanese voices and the English subtitles, which may be a factor.)

It even has an in-game encyclopedia/codex, with the Datalog. I'd prefer a lot more background info on the setting, but what's already there is fascinating enough.

Unfortunately, it also continues the trend of the Final Fantasy games of the recent years in being really, really depressing. I find myself gravitating to Vanille entirely because she isn't caught in the throes of despair… okay, let me rephrase that. Vanille doesn't act like she is caught in the throes of despair. I know the characters have had really bad things happen to them, but honestly it's a little difficult to handle such GRIMDARK all the time.

And Vanille looks like she has some Deep Dark Secrets of her own. I actually like the Yuffie-Selphie-Rikku type characters, which I keep feeling puts me in the tiny minority of the subset of the fandom who discusses these things on forums.

As in anime, I like the actual material, but the fandom seems to hate me. So it goes.

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Minette tries puppy-dog eyes.

Working through my backlog from the past season. It is strangely liberating to watch the deadlines for posting on this blog whiz by with nary a fare-thee-well.

I find that I'm far more likely to be favourably inclined towards an anime if it has little bits and sequences of cutesy art. These are usually signs of some sort of comedy happening, with the flailing arms and the blankly-panicking eyes and the snarking from the sidelines.

Shukufuku no Campanella is not going to be a contender for intellectual comedy, nevertheless, but at least it's fun. I admit this is a nebulous term defying easy description, but I can watch this show for the antics of the Tortilla sisters, or the bright and happy world Minette seems to live in, or the running gag of Chelsea's sense of direction (or lack thereof), or the various romantic misunderstandings Carina has over Leicester.

It's a good show to relax to. The artstyle is clean and bright and cute, and the characters are easy on the eyes. The setting is fascinating enough, with potential for exploration and elaboration, particularly with the various inventions Leicester produces which mimic modern-day devices, although I think a hedge clipper with a beam cannon might be a little further in the future than our present technology would allow.

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Blue Stella.

Yes, I know that Interstella 5555 is pretty much meant to either be an artistic feature-length visual expression of music, or an attempt to sell more Daft Punk. Possibly both.

Brainwashed Stella.

But Stella, the female bass guitarist, is pretty much the main draw for me. Which is probably intended, since she gets much of the screentime, and the hero of the story has a crush on her.

Stella adjusting her bass guitar.

Quite apart from the whole Blue-Skinned Aliens thing, I suppose suspension of disbelief would include having one specific genre of song have such universal appeal.

Loli.

Including random lolis.

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Recettear demo screenshot.

Why yes, I do.

So I've been trying out this game demo of Recettear, a Japanese indie game that's being brought over in English. The demo has been out for a while (not to mention the original game in Japanese, which has been out since 2007), while the full game will probably be available around September 10 on Impulse.

Recettear demo screenshot.

I like the main character Recette already.

Recettear demo screenshot.

I definitely like her.

A full review might be coming, once I stop losing horribly. It's so hard to get people to part with their money.

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Haruka Morishima.

Woken up by younger sister: Check.

Has some bizarre hobby that can plausibly be romantic: Paints stars in his closet. Check.

Admiring the school idol from afar: Check.

Has a stupid but cheerfully oblivious best friend: Check.

Helping a younger student buy bread during lunch: Check.

Talking to the school idol after a minor accident: Slipped and fell, and Haruka helped pick up his stuff. Check.

Talking to the school idol after a minor accident, take two: Crashing into Haruka in the library. Check

Flirted with by school idol: Both times.

Has Significant Seating: Check.

I love this show.

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Kanade in happier times.

It's getting dark a little too early. Are you missing the dearly bereft?

I think the primary reason I'm not getting as much as might be expected into Angel Beats is that I've seen this sort of plot before. And by that, I mean that I see the signs and portents, and I can dimly sense the incoming plot points approaching, rising, cresting over me, and then crashing down in a flood of terrible things happening to cute characters.

Part of it is the whole Key aspect of the plot, especially after Kanon and Air and Clannad, which may or may not have a happy ending, but the characters went through so very much just to achieve it, and I begin to wonder whether the ending is happy enough to be worth it. I've made my point about not being to handle Sad Girls In Any Weather before, which seems to be some sort of aberration among anime bloggers or something.

I'm watching Angel Beats primarily because I find Tenshi/Kanade Tachibana interesting in terms of what she can do, powers-wise. The personality is kind of a bonus, although I admit it's not really all that new; I can see the comparisons to Yuki Nagato and Rei Ayanami popping up, with a side of Ruri Hoshino. But cute anime girls with flashy superpowers is always strangely compelling, especially when they seem to curiously lack the typical shounen male protagonist trait of ALWAYS LOUD, ALWAYS YELLING, ALWAYS ARROGANT, all the time.

Also, there's Yui, who is oddly fascinating to watch in action. Maybe it's her cute-devil costume bits, particularly the leggings, which I find my gaze drawn to almost automatically (but very much not against my will). Maybe it's her incessant genki cheer, which I keep fearing will get taken away sometime by Immense Sadness.

In fact, considering the setting where everyone is already dead and in some kind of high school purgatory, Sadness is almost inevitable. There has to be a reason why each Player Character is there, and this reason has to encompass why the character had died sometime in their backstory with unfinished regrets. Pretty much Sadness By Default.

Except for Tenshi, who seems to get all sorts of plot hammerings in the show itself, much less in her still-unexplored backstory. I'm not sure how much more of it she can take, much less myself.

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From the opening sequence.

I can't get the opening song out of my head. I can play it on loop for several hours and not get sick of it, although that does apply to quite a few other songs in my collection.

The gags in Working do get a little repetitive after a while; it's clear that the source material is a 4-koma. In fact, even if the source material isn't a 4-koma, the way the show is structured seems almost calculated to give that feeling, perhaps in a cunning misdirection to serve some obscure purpose or other. I don't know.

But it's a good show to watch in small bite-sized portions, which segues neatly into an admission that I'm pretty much watching it for Poplar (Popura Taneshima, to be precise) at this point, but I'm willing to watch it for Poplar; Poplar is more than reason enough for me to watch this show. And not just because Kana Asumi, who voiced a high schooler often mistaken for an elementary school kid in Hidamari Sketch, now voices a high schooler often mistaken for an elementary school kid.

Mind you, searching for this show in non-anime-specific sites can be a pain. I can imagine the spambot keyword search terms even now.

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Princess Mill Varna and friends.

Why does this show remind me so much of Slayers?

Maybe it's the artstyle. Maybe it's something inherent in the vast majority of anime of this time. Something that Maze partakes of simply by existing, and being created during this period. The age of slapstick and sorcery, of madness and mecha.

Or maybe it's something else.

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