This is probably as good a time as any to mention that I kinda have a thing for toned female stomachs. My best friend growing up was the only other person I’ve ever known who shared this interest, but now I can add a third person to our club: Yamauchi Shigeyasu, the director of Dream Eater Merry. He’s obviously not shy about it, since I’m pretty sure Merry’s bellybutton hadmorecloseups than her face. As much as I appreciated the attention to detail on this part of her character, I was still primarily interested in what was going on everywhere else. Fortunately, I wasn’t disappointed.
Fujiwara Yumeji has recently been having dreams in which he is pursued by a gang of bipedal cats through what looks like New York City from An American Tale. They finally catch up to him but retreat after a rooster crows, signaling they’re “out of time,” but promising to bring their boss to meet him next time. The next morning, he uses his ability to see multicolored dots by looking through his fingers (I never knew this was a special thing because I always see that sort of stuff when I press on my eyes like that) to try to predict what type of dreams his friends will have that night. After hanging out with a slightly creepy teacher and talking about writing novels, he heads home and has a forceful encounter with a strange girl who wanders off after she loses her hat.
Well, this season of anime was certainly a pleasant surprise. After the lackluster summer season, everyone at Project Haruhi felt that our prospects for the fall weren’t all that great. Fortunately, a few standout series managed to rise above the typical fare and keep us entertained. Foremost among them was Squid Girl, which we all agree was the best show of the season. Sadly, that’s pretty much the ONLY thing we agreed on.
While recording our weekly reviews on Bakacast, a number of disagreements sprung up. Dusty and Glen are huge fans of Star Driver, whereas I found it too boring to watch past four episodes. Alternatively, I’ve been quite the Panty & Stocking apologist, but Glen and Dusty find it marginally entertaining at best. And we all enjoyed hating on OreImo, one of the most reviled shows of the season… except for Glen, who actually enjoyed it quite a bit. Even our opinions of Iron Man tended to vary.
For the purposes of these reviews, I’ve tried to assign each show to the person who enjoyed it the most. The exceptions are Samurai Girls, which NOBODY liked, and Iron Man, which Dusty gets because he’s our resident comic book nerd. Hopefully, that will make these reviews more than just one unending stream of negativity. No promises, though.
Our in-depth reviews are below the break. Beware the sacrilege! Oh, and the spoilers too.
We missed our Weekly Anime Review* post last week, as everybody was way too busy with Thanksgiving to write anything. Since we’re playing catchup, this post is much longer than usual. This problem is further exacerbated by a couple of new reviewers who have joined the team, expanding our coverage to include MM!, Kuragehime and SoreMachi. Please note that neither Project Haruhi nor its staff are responsible for any eye strain you may incur during the reading of this post.
WARNING: This product contains spoilers, pretentious hater reviews and failed attempts at comedy. Side-effects may include ink vomit, uncontrollable flatulence, disco-themed stripper transformations, naked sky-women and diarrhea. Should you at any time begin to experience a headache and/or an erection lasting longer than four hours, please consult a physician immediately. These claims have not been evaluated by the FDA. Results may vary.
*Hey, I just noticed that the acronym for Weekly Anime Review is WAR! That’s like… a pun or something.
Many millions of years ago, on the planet Cybertron, life existed. But not life as we know it today. Intelligent robots that could think and feel inhabited the cities. They were called Autobots and Decepticons. But the brutal Decepticons were driven by a single goal: total domination. They set out to destroy the peace-loving Autobots. And a war between the forces of good and evil raged across Cybertron, devastating everything in its path, draining its once-rich sources of energy. The Autobots, on the verge of extinction, battled to survive.
Countless eons later, Gainax made a parody of it. And it was awesome.
Longtime readers of Project Haruhi might have noticed that we haven’t been posting a lot of anime reviews lately. This is because most of our authors, myself included, got tired of writing long screeds for every freakin’ episode of anime we watched. Therefore, we’ve decided to adopt a more streamlined format for individual episode reviews. Each author is going to write a short, two-or-three paragraph review for whichever shows they’re covering, and they will all be collected together into a single weekly column.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the inaugural edition of the Weekly Anime Review. Keep reading below the break for our cynical, jaded anime rants, then let us know what you think in the comment section!
When I first heard there was going to be a Railgun OVA, I was disappointed. Yeah, you read that right. Unlike other fans, I was not looking forward to this. Ever since episode thirteen of the original series, I’ve been waiting impatiently for J.C. Staff to cut the filler crap and move ahead with the actual story, as laid out in the manga. The last thing Railgun needs right now is more pointless fluff. Being the pessimist that I am, I was steeling myself for more holodeck swimsuit antics and Pizza Hut product placement. Fortunately, I was wrong.
In a nutshell, this OVA was exactly like one of the better episodes of the TV series. There were lightning-lesbian antics, an urban legend-based mystery that needed solving, a personal crisis for Mikoto and the Power of Friendship™ to help save the day. Hell, you could stick this in the middle of the show itself, and it would be nigh-indistinguishable from a regular episode. This is both a good and bad thing; although this OVA is guaranteed to entertain the hardcore Railgun fans like myself, it also suffers from all the same flaws that made the original show such a hard sell for more casual viewers. This half-hour of Mikoto-filled goodness encapsulates everything that is right and wrong with the franchise as a whole.
Okay, drop everything you are doing right now and listen up. I am watching only one series this fall. Yup, it has already come to this; my last ditch attempt to spin my fanboy generators to maximum, my last summoning of will to enjoy an anime series with every fibre of my being. This is in a way quite sad, as there are plenty of people enjoying this season’s other anime to their fullest.Samurai Girls, Iron Man,Sora no Otoshimono, Panty and Stocking, or whatever your vice is; none of these are doing anything for me. The fanboy generator room has instead become a place of quiet meditation and brooding. That is, until I started watching My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute. Thats when things finally started spooling.
Now Jeagle did begin to review this series a few weeks back, but has since become lost in his own little world. My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute (or OreImo for short) has quickly become my numero uno anime for this season. Witty writing and dialogue, interesting characters and a wonderful art style makes for pleasant and funny watching. I guess what makes it so out there for me is the story. Here we have Kyōsuke, the older brother, almost characterless and devoid of much emotion, at least to start off with. He is sick of being the neglected child despite being the eldest of two. Then there is Kirino, the star of the show, the younger sister, the teen goddess, and boy, doesn’t she know it. If the anime itself isn’t very pretentious, Kirino makes up for this in leaps and bounds, much to Kyōsuke’s chagrin. The catalyst that kicks off the fun is Kirino’s closet fetish for little sister eroge. Sound dangerous? I have no idea where this series is heading, but am along for the ride.
A few weeks ago, nobody had heard of Invasion! Squid Girl. It was an afterthought on the fall season chart; just another kid’s show from a no-name studio, destined to be as quickly forgotten as the latest Pokemon or Beyblade anime. Then, about a week ago, something strange happened. People started making their own squid hats, ending their tweets with ~de geso, and making jokes about tentacle rape and ink vomit. Slowly but surely, Squid Girl was gaining popularity through word-of-mouth, until it became the sleeper hit of the fall season. Naturally, as an anime blogger, I couldn’t just ignore this. I had to see what all the fuss was about for myself.
Squid Girl is easy to quantify, especially if you’re familiar with the comedy stylings of Kiyohiko Azuma. Like Azumanga Daioh, it effortlessly blends slice of life with character-based comedy, and throws in just a bit of Sgt. Frog‘s wackiness to top it all off. The result isn’t exactly laugh-out-loud funny, but still cheerful and heartwarming… definitely an enjoyable diversion from the more mature anime of this season.
The plot is fairly simple. The titular Squid Girl (also referred to as Ika Musume), is an anthropomorphised moeblob squid who lives just off the coast of Japan. Upon seeing the pollution of the sea caused by dumped garbage, she resolves to invade the surface world and punish arrogant humanity for their transgression. However, her first attempt at conquest goes horribly wrong when she runs afoul of the Aizawa family, who operate The Sea House Lemon, an open-air seaside cafe. After smashing a hole in the cafe’s wall with her hair-tentacles, Squid Girl is forced to work as a waitress to pay off the damages. This sets the stage for all manner of hijinks centered on Squid Girl’s naivete about the human world.
Ever since I was born, I’ve been a big fan of boobs. They’ve always continued to impress me and hold my interest without ever becoming repetitive or jumping the shark. I’d be lying if I said boobs didn’t play their part in my enjoyment of the first episode of Samurai Girls, and that trend continued in the second episode. However, as wonderful as boobs are, it’s very difficult to make a show centered around them – other elements must also keep my attention so I don’t become bored during the times when there are no boobs around. Like the first episode, this one tries to fill in the boob-less scenes with some semblance of story. However, since the initial shock of the show not being terrible has dissipated, the little flaws in the writing are becoming more evident.
This episode picks up right where the last one left off: with the sudden appearance of a well-endowed, psychotic and seriously badass female calling herself Yagyu Jubei. Even a trained ninja with a helicopter skirt is no match for her because she can run through the air on ink blots and her power level is over five million, which apparently makes her a “master samurai.” However, none of this can stand up to Muneakira yelling ‘stop,’ and our protagonists end up in the custody the vice-president of the student counsel, Princess Tokugawa Sen.
This odd mix of Japanese folklore, alternate historical fiction, and shoujo romance caught my eye almost immediately during the fall season previews. I can enjoy something from just about any genre, provided it’s well-written and has interesting characters, but I’m especially fond of unique sociological settings. However, I was curbing my enthusiasm to the best of my ability following some lackluster trailers which were released a few weeks prior to the series’ premiere. My primary concern was that the show would shelve its interesting premise and instead degenerate to a standard romcom, but so far that concern seems to be unfounded. Instead this is shaping up to be an intriguing metaphor for the westernization of Japan during the early Meiji era.
The episode wastes little time on introducing the show’s premise: the various groups of youkai (which I will refer to as ‘spirits’ for the sake of English) are having difficulty adjusting to the westernization of Japan and the new Gregorian calendar in particular. Therefore, the new Meiji government charters the Ministry of Spirit Affairs, which will employ both humans from the military as well as half-human spirits in an attempt to mediate relations and help them integrate into modern society. Hilarity ensues when it comes to light that Agemaki, one of the military officers assigned to the new department, is so terrified of spirits that he can barely keep his composure in their presence.