Ben and I watched anime over the summer, and now that it's fall we decided to put our thoughts about the previous season in print. So without further adieu, here are our impressions of Summer 2016's anime, starting with my own.
Alderamin on the Sky:
Where to begin? my original impression was that this was going to be another warring era drama. It is far from that. The character introductions were spot on and their development continued to the last episode. Speaking of the ending, the conversation between the male lead and the princess is a good finale; but I'm hoping this is the prelude to at least a second season. Overall this was a well done series that held my interest from beginning to end.
I give it a FIVE and recommend it.
Started slowly, almost annoyingly so. However, after the introduction of the main characters, I began to warm up to this show. Pikari--Miss Extremely Outgoing, almost to the point of turning one off--meets Teko, a slightly introverted girl who just moved to the area. This is more than you typical slice of life. The premise of scuba diving along with the quality of the supporting cast makes this an interesting series if you can get past some of the Pikari and Teko's antics.
Overall a very strong FOUR.
Arslan continues to be an exceptional story. These eight episodes open up a new chapter where the story continues to test the main characters' mettle, and so far their testing is going well. We end with a cliffhanger placing Arslan in a delicate position: to become king, he must decide how many established rules of the kingdom he must break. And on top of that, which one of his allies will become an enemy? We'll have to wait and see.
Kidou Senshi Gundam RE: 0096:
Remembering this is a Gundam show, I didn't expect this to end well. It actually ended better than I expected. However, I thought the "secret" of the box was pretty lame.
Surprise! This was actually good! It ended (maybe) very well. I do believe a second season could be in the works (and it should be). Characters were very good, the story was coherent, and even the animation looked good.
Mob Psycho 100:
To quote Ben: "This show really brings it." While not one punch man, it scores just as well for many different reasons.
Since I'm a RPG player, I wondered how this series would explore the gaming business from the creative standpoint. If this is a typical representation of the gaming industry (my tongue planted firmly in cheek), then it's a miracle anything gets done. Entertaining but, like I said, not representative of the industry. I hope...
Story = Three
Background music = Three
Idol group = Four point Five
Overall = Three. I guess Frontier spoiled me.
Ben's thoughts continue after the break:
A few years ago, I posted an article about the band Scandal. This is a follow up to that piece.
That last five years have seen aggressive yearly tour schedules playing every major arena in Japan--including BUDOKAN in 2012 and OSAKA-JO HALL in 2013--and then capping it off with the 'HELLO WORLD Tour' in 2015.
Congratulations SCANDAL, you've made it, and you're on the cover of Rolling Stone. Granted it’s the Japanese Edition but in my book Rolling Stone is all that matters.
SCANDAL has taken advantage of modern technology, social media and YouTube, using self promotion that was not available when I was their age. I have to admit I'm quite amazed how all this self promotion works. And comparing today to the last post they were pretty much the only 'all female band'. Today the number of bands has exploded. SCANDAL was the trail blazer for this generation of bands. A point of order here is the difference between a band and a group: in a band you play instruments, in a group you don't. SCANDAL is a band. 9nine, AKB48, and Momoiro Clover Z are groups. Going back to my last post, the only semi popular female band that I found, believe it or not, was the live action K-ON band. A lot has changed in the past 5 years.
As most of you are aware, I enjoy many things in this life, and music is one of them. Music is also universal; you need not know the language to like what you hear. I've followed SCANDAL since 2008 and their first US appearance. So what do I like about this band? The simple answer would be the music, but there is more to it than that.
What makes SCANDAL stand out? You get a performance from the entire group, not one person monopolizing it. Granted, Haruna is lead vocal. She has the natural gift of leadership, and has learned how to best utilize the group as a whole.
A bit of history: SCANDAL was officially formed in 2006 on Rina's 15th birthday. Mami and Tomomi were 16, and Haruna had just turned 18. Face it, keeping independent souls in that age bracket together and learning the ropes was a daunting task, I'm sure. Then--two years later--they're here, in the states, performing. Yeah, there is some chemistry between the four of them I would say, with Haruna being the lead chemist.
That aside, the performances--live and studio--are first rate. They play their own music quite well, I might add, and are genuinely enjoying what they are doing. Take Haruna's powerful vocals teamed with Tomomi's hauntingly beautiful voice, then add in Mami's and Rina's background vocals and there's the formula for listening pleasure. With all of this balance in instrumentals and vocals SCANDAL has hit the right note. (I should mention here that Tomomi was the lead vocalist on their first releases. Whoever is leading, the members follow with an excellent result.)
Congratulations on entering your tenth year together and here's hoping for many more to follow...
And whatever course fate takes you on enjoy it to the fullest...
A belated Happy Birthday to Mami and Tomomi and a early Happy Birthday to Haruna and Rina...
Oh Rina, if you ever run out of arenas, let me know, I've got such a list.
I just finished watching the P/V for Stamp. Besides being a great number, I might suggest that, in future, American cars need to have the door firmly pulled to you. Haruna made the effort but the Mustang only hit on the 'safety' latch. Just for future reference and while I'm at it, I'm waiting for 'Sisters' to be released. I'm hoping it follows the idea I have in my head.
This morning I awoke to an empty house. For the first time in almost seventeen years, my friend and constant companion is not here. Just before eleven am yesterday, he made the journey from this world to the next. When trying to find the words to describe him I came across a couple of quotes, I’d like to include them here, they speak well.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.” - Anatole France
"He is your friend, your partner, your defender, your dog. You are his life, his love, his leader. He will be yours, faithful and true, to the last beat of his heart. You owe him to be worthy of such devotion." - Anonymous
Rest well old friend, you were loved and cherished by many.
In August 2006 four young ladies: Haruna Ono, Tomomi Ogawa, Mami Sasazaki and Rina Suzuki met in an Osakan vocal and dance school. As they became friends, they decided to form a band. On the 21st of that month they formed Scandal, and they started performing at Osaka Castle Park. The rest is becoming history, as they say.
Today we celebrate their fifth anniversary and take a brief look at this self proclaimed "Most Powerful Japanese Girlie Pop Rock Band."
First let's introduce the band.
Haruna Ono--guitar and lead vocals, born August 10, 1988--is the leader and oldest member of the group. Her philosophy is to spotlight each member of the group in every song or performance. This way, no one person gets the all the attention. In my opinion it's worked quite well.
Tomomi Ogawa--bass and vocals, born May 31, 1990--does quite a bit of the song writing for the group and adds her playing expertise along with her stunning vocals to each song.
Mami Sasazaki--vocals and lead guitar, born May 21, 1990--shows extraordinary guitar playing and an intensity on stage that I’ve not seen in ages. Her solos are something to behold.
Rina Suzuki--drums, keyboard and vocals, born August 21, 1991--is the youngest member of the group and the most outspoken in interviews on and off the stage, besides being quite a drummer in her own right.
Irony, the opening to Ore no Imouto ga Konnani Kawaii Wake ga Nai, is a song recorded by the singing duo known as ClariS. This group consists of two high school students named Kurara and Arisu. Uploading their own songs to anime websites led to their debut and signing by Sony Music Entertainment.
Very little is known about the history of these two artists. Any photos are actually anime portraits from a "well-known illustrator." The mystery surrounding these two--along with the haunting tune shown above--has generated quite a bit of speculation. What I know is that, besides Irony, they have also recorded a song called Connect. It's the opening theme to Mahō Shōjo Madoka Magica, which starts showing on Japanese TV on January 6, 2011.
There is also a website dedicated to the group: the ClariS Official Website.
Wherever their paths lead them, it is this authors hope that they have an enjoyable and fulfilling career.
Most of you know that, besides anime, my other passion is aviation. It is my first passion, because it existed long before anime was dreamed of. This video gives you a glimpse of what is involved in the final assembly and painting of a Southwest Boeing 737-800.
The subsections arrive by rail at the final assembly plant next to Boeing Field Seattle, Washington and then the fun begins. I know that an in-service overhaul of this airplane takes six to eight weeks to complete. I'll use those numbers as a guideline as to how long this process takes. So the next time you see one in flight or ride on one remember what it takes to make one. And that video doesn't even show the full construction. All the subsections--fuselage, wings and tail surfaces--are assembled at the other Boeing Commercial Aircraft Company plants or come from other subcontractor facilities world wide. They took months to complete on their own. Did you know about 50 gallons of paint are used to paint a typical 737? Once the paint is dry, it will weigh approximately 250 pounds.
So many things we take for granted today were only the dreams of visionaries 50 years ago. In this season of dreams, my present to you is another look at the other part of my world. Although I'm fashionably late, enjoy a look as this modern marvel springs to life.
With "Irony," the opening theme from OreImo, playing in the background. Minako Kotobuki, (Tsumugi Kotobuki in K-ON!) introduces us to the new Sharp Galapagos, a media tablet, that according to the video can be used anywhere to do just about anything. The tablet went on sale in Japan on Friday.
In this video she gives us her feedback on the device. It looks like she's having a great time too. Now a lot of us don't understand Japanese, but with Minako as the sales representative, I do believe the Galapagos will be a smashing hit. I wonder if there's an English version?
The staff of Project Haruhi wishes Ms. Minori Chihara a very happy birthday and many more to come.
Although primarily known as Yuki's voice, Minori has have a very prolific musical career as well. I've posted several of her songs, but this is one that I haven't shared with you yet. This selection is called "Shijin no Tabi" ("Travels of the Poet"). Listen for yourself below the break!
The final K-ON!! episode announced that a film will be produced. I can't say I'm surprised, but I am somewhat disappointed. Do we really need this?
KyoAni has done it again: they gave us a repetitive and boring second season that didn't live up to the first, just like Haruhi, and then tried to win back our favor with a film announcement. Bah! Why waste our time and money with a subpar TV anime season when KyoAni can give us better material on the big screen? MERCHANDISE is the answer. It's all for one and one-thousand yen for a Mio doll.
Is this the future of anime? Do the studios care about nothing but merchandise and ticket sales? Substance, story and plotline don't matter anymore? I certainly hope not... but given what I've seen lately, it's hard to be optimistic.
I've said on the podcast that K-ON! had all the material to do a third season, provided it focused on the light music club and its new members. Will this film be about Yui and company, or the new band under Azusa's tutelage? Will the girls finally realize their dream of playing at Budokan, or just sit around drinking tea? If this just winds up being more of the same pointless filler we got for much of the second season, they just shouldn't bother making this film at all.
Here's to the K-ON!!! movie. I hope you live up to the hype.
The entire staff of Project Haruhi wishes Aya Hirano a very happy birthday. May your day be filled with peace and happiness.