Tetsuwan Birdy

I probably would never have discovered Tetsuwan Birdy by myself. I could’ve stumbled upon it browsing MAL but considering that the description and cover look meh all the chances are that I would’ve just skipped it without giving it a second look. However, this name was brought up a few times in various “Hidden Anime Gems” posts and I couldn’t find a reason not to check it out — after all, it consists of only 4 episodes.

I would say that calling this OVA a gem may be a bit too much but still, it was fun. And, of course, nostalgic =) Anime from 90s have their charm and I genuinely love a lot of shows from that period. And Tetsuwan Birdy is unmistakably a product of that time — its visual, music, aesthetics and themes are exactly what you’d expect just knowing that it came out in 1996. Madhouse did a good job with animation, the main heroine is voiced by one of the best in business, Mitsuishi Kotono (I swear, it’s merely a coincidence that I mentioned her in two posts in a row!) and the ending theme is pretty catchy =) Just don’t expect too much from the plot. I didn’t and it was a right decision. An intergalactic agent has to share the body with a high-school student she accidentally killed, and together they fight against aliens, robots and mad scientists. Exhilarating, eh? It is possible to show an interesting story in 120 minutes but it’s not the case this time. Though there were a couple of nice moments with the family of the dead-but-not-so-much main hero, especially the polite exchange in the bathroom between Birdy, who took over the body at that moment, and his father =)

In general, Tetsuwan Birdy is an average show but if someone suddenly feels an urge to watch something from the time when the sky was bluer, grass greener and eyes in anime bigger — it might be a good choice =)

I have a confessions to makes: I can’t read music I kind of like MAL and regularly browse it for dubious reasons, like looking up what Mitsuishi Kotono is up to nowadays (I wish the site had more sorting options for voice actors/staff/studios pages!) or trying to find a hidden gem among shows sitting in the 4th thousand by rating. Yeeaah… maybe I could use the time better. Anyway. Recently I discovered that MAL has (or got) a new stat — “rewatch count” and of course I couldn’t let this opportunity go to waste and filled out that field for all the anime I do remember I watched multiple times. As a result of that questionable activity I discovered a fact that I don’t go back to shows I’ve already seen too often with the exception of those which got 10 from me. Not that it’s a surprise but considering that I have had precedents when the 20-year-old me believed a show was pretty cool but me at 25 could barely make it through the first episode of the same anime — it is just nice to think that all my favorites stood the test of time.

Sometimes I hate anime. Have been watching Idolmaster for some time and it sort of became my go-to show to relax in the evening — dumb but kind, something that netflix would probably call a “feel good” show. But in episode 20 authors decided that it’s time to squeeze some tears out of me and began punching me with Chihaya’s arc, methodically and sadistically. But that was not enough. To make sure I wouldn’t get away, when I was already down they kicked me with 約束. God damn, I’m quite a stone-hearted bastard but it’s impossible not to tear up watching and listening to this. The singer herself broke down and started crying performing this song live. Cheap tricks, A-1, cheap tricks you used there.

Trails in the Sky The Animation

Like Doctor Gideon Fell once said: “If I can not do the thing handsomely, I am not going to do it at all”. That particular conversation was about drinkables but I think that this wise man’s words were supposed to be extrapolated to all activities. Including diving into a particular fictional universe. I’ve been doing all things Trails for some time — got acquainted with the games, watched the musical, bought some merch, so the next obvious step would be to check out the anime.

I found only one OVA based on Trails games, to be more precise — on 空の軌跡. Confession time — I generally dislike such video games adaptations. There are of course exceptions, particularly when the source was a visual novel, like Steins;Gate, but off the bat I can’t recall a single good anime based on an RPG game. So my expectations for Trails in the Sky The Animation were pretty low. In addition, despite being familiar with the characters I haven’t played this arc — not sure though whether it’s a disadvantage. So when you convinced yourself that a show is going to be terrible — it won’t be able to disappoint any further and could only pleasantly surprise =)

And yeah, this anime is not terrible. If you forget for a moment that Estelle looks pretty questionable — the show is decently animated, especially the fighting scenes. You meet the characters you spent hundreds of hours with (okay, guilty, at least read about) again, including everyone’s favorite Hunter of Love, Olivert =) Apparently the OVA contains lots of spoilers but I’m not sure if there are any huge ones ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Felt like “- Oh no, Renne is one of the Enforcers!”-level spoilers. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a great show by any means and for people who are not at least a little bit familiar with the universe it’d probably be an hour and a half of nonsense — but it’s definitely not the worst one I’ve seen and it made me smile more often than curse everything and wish it’d never existed. According to the very low standards I set for this anime it’s a win.

And a bonus GIF =)

Hanasaku Iroha

Regrets, I’ve had a few — and one of them is that I dropped this great anime when it was airing originally, oh boy, 10 years ago! To be fair, maybe I shouldn’t regret that decision, after all it gave me a chance to enjoy it now. Hanasaku Iroha vs another attempt to gird up my loins and survive one more isekai show, I’ll take it I guess =)

Anyway, back then I couldn’t get through more than a couple first episodes, simply because Ohana, Minko and co were quite annoying. Turned out that patience is a virtue and I just had to wait a bit longer =) After spending more time with the Kissuiso’s staff my attitude towards them changed. Ohana’s unstoppable desire to butt in on pretty much everything was compensated by her positivity, kindness and her ability to fest up (I think it was a pretty nice translation of ぼんぼる), Minko’s rudeness started to look more like shyness, and so on and so forth. I got to learn more about all of them and can’t say that there was any truly unlikeable character and this is a huge thing for an anime!

To add up, Hanasaku Iroha is an unmistakably PA Works show, when the studio is at their best. It’s warm, cozy and hmm uneventful. Sakura Quest, that came out later, is very similar (but with adult characters) and I liked it a lot. When I’m saying that this anime is uneventful it doesn’t mean that nothing happens at all, no! Just Hanasaku Iroha has that feeling that whatever is going on — everything eventually will be fine (if you fest up of course). Whether it’s about a movie production, or the conflict between the manager and her son — or how Ohana should build the relationships with her childhood friend who confessed to her — you feel that all these problems will be resolved, it can’t be otherwise in this anime.

Moreover, this anime is beautiful, another feature of a show created by PA Works. It’s a cliché but the views of Yunosagi were breathtaking enough for me to almost tear up, hoping that all damn restrictions would be lifted soon and we’ll be able to visit Japan again and hopefully spend a night at a similar ryokan =)

A great show that gave me lots of positive emotions — and I look forward to watching the movie!

Okay, I guess I’m officially a fanboy now, because who else other than fanboys would watch a “Trails of Cold Steel” (or 閃の軌跡 how we, true fans, call it) musical? =) I clicked “play” on this video with an intention of pointing fingers and laughing at how hilariously unprofessional it would look like but instead watched the entire thing and had tons of fun. The musical has those warm Voronezh Anime Festival cosplay show circa 2006-2010 vibes but if cosplayers there had also been serious voice actors. The singing is not always great but the crew made up for it with their enthusiasm =) Plus, lots of cute small moments throughout the show: drunk Sara explaining what a “combat link between a man and a woman” is; Gaius jumping in excitement when Sharon is talking about toasts with apricot jam; the moment when Patrick Hyarms shows up — Elliott: “He’s a noble. Yeah, his status is slightly lower than Jusis’ but…” and Jusis, hearing that, proudly shows V =) An unexpectedly pleasant experience and I wish there was a sequel (hopefully one day there will be!)