|"Ranting Again" by Konstantin|
So I thought I'd get back to ranting regularly once I moved into the new house, but it looks like work, commute, and certain other circumstances
had other plans. Now that I'm used to getting up at 6am and getting home at 7pm, I figure it's time to pick up the slack. Still have no clue where Akira finds the energy to keep putting out comics working the hours that he does.
The fall anime season is now in full swing, so I thought I'd start off with some of my first impressions. Of what I've seen so far, here's my Top 5:
Clannad - The year's Key + KyoAni = win show. It's cute, funny, and beautifully animated, though the game-style fades look a bit cheap in an otherwise visually excellent production. The soundtrack doesn't feel as remarkable as it was in Air and Kanon, and the cast feels a bit crowded in the early episodes, but so far things seem to be working, and hopefully they'll switch the focus on individual story arcs soon enough. Knowing Key, things should switch from funny to depressing as soon as they finish getting us to like the characters. This is by far the season's best galge adaptation and so far seems to be one of its better shows in general, so it's worth at least a look unless you've already tried to watch Air and/or Kanon and hated them. Also, moeblobs. (")(")(")
Minami-ke - Slice of life comedy focusing on the antics of three school-age sisters that falls somewhere between Azumanga and Ichigo Mashimaro humor-wise. The funniest show of the season, managing both great character humor and wonderfully animated sight gags. One of those rare shows where just seeing the expression on a character's face is enough to get one doubled over in laughter. Definitely worth giving a shot, though if you're not clutching your sides by the end of the first episode, this might not be the show for you.
Genshiken 2 - Sequel to one of the definitive shows about otaku culture that's still got the original's cast and general feel (though it looks like they've switched animation teams yet again). If you haven't seen the first show, I strongly recommend watching that first, since the second series assumes familiarity with all the characters (including Ogiue, who got introduced in the OAVs), and a lot of the humor is very character-centric. While the ground covered by the initial arc may be familiar to those who have seen Comic Party or Doujin Work, no other show I can think of has quite captured the amount of cat-herding involved in getting a bunch of geeks to successfully undertake a major project (or do just about anything). Also the new opening rocks. While it lacks the musical awesomeness that is Manzo, it makes up for it with one of the best Gundam parodies in recent memory.
Gundam 00 - And speaking of Gundam, looks like the ol' money press is still chugging along. Snark aside, what I've seen so far of the latest Gundam installment has been downright decent. The animation still screams high budget three episodes in, and Sunrise has finally ditched SEED's character designer and traded him for Yun Kouga who, while most famous for his pretty-boy manga, can design attractive female characters with the best of them. The plot seems to be a bit reminiscent of Gundam Wing's, though a bit more overtly political and without most of the components that made that show annoying. For one thing they've yet to introduce a character whom I'd like to see punched in the face (ah, the good old days of UC Gundam, where characters who deserved to get punched in the face did, repeatedly, and turned out the better for it).
Kaiji - If you've ever seen so much as an episode of Akagi, you'll know what to expect from this show the moment you see Fukumoto's trademark pointy chins, gargantuan noses, and angular faces (if you've never seen any Akagi, drop whatever you are watching, grab the batch torrent, and prepare to experience the most badass anime this side of Berserk). It doesn't matter that you don't know a thing about mahjong, Fukumoto can turn a complex tile-matching game with bizarre rules and even more bizarre terminology into a heart-racing contest of will, even if you as the viewer happen to know exactly jack about any of the rules involved. In the case of Kaiji, though, it looks like Fukumoto has decided to handicap himself. Instead of the avatar of GARness that was Akagi, Kaiji starts out as a loser, and remains a loser at least for the first few episodes, which is not a good thing to be when you're in a gambling anime. On the plus side, some inklings of a spine and/or a brain are already starting to shine through in him, otherwise this would be a pretty short series. If you can swallow the fact that this particular journey into the seedy underbelly of underworld gambling focuses on a modified game of rock-paper-scissors (to the death!) without cracking up every time the narrator kicks in with the doom and gloom (over rock-paper-scissors!), you're in for a hell of a ride.
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