Animelog: Piano No Mori, season 1

Frankly, those 12 episodes don’t deserve to be called a “season”. Initially Gainax announced 24 episodes but for some reasons the second part will be aired on the Winter 2019 season. However, this decision might’ve been a little spontaneous and by the end of the first half we don’t come to any conclusion and just have to be patient and hope that next year we’ll be able to remember the characters.

Despite the fact that I like musical anime in general the most important thing about this show for me personally was that it’d be the first Gainax anime in a few years. Yeah, they made a couple of shorts; yeah, this is a recently created Fakushima Gainax branch, not the main studio — still, it’s very important that Gainax is still alive and doing good TV shows. And Piano No Mori is good. Even though sometimes it demonstrated absolutely awful 3D scenes (I understand that it’s virtually impossible to make detailed piano scenes in 2D, but c’mon guys, Nodame Cantabile managed to find the right balance so could you). Even though the characters in this anime don’t have believable background and motivation and, honestly, it’s very difficult to make myself care about any of them. Even though this is a fucking shounen with all its typical attributes such as competitions, overcomings and other things showing how strong your spirit is and how concentrated on the victory you are.

But again — I’m complaining because A) we set the bar for musical anime very high. Nodame Cantabile and Your Lie in April (although the existence of the second one is dedicated to making the audience cry and only then it’s about music) are a proof. And B) Gainax itself is to blame — year after year they’d been doing shows, which inevitably ended up on my “Top” list. Looking at how other studious and genres are doing — Piano No Mori may be claimed a success. Moreover, music in this anime atones for many for its sins.

According to the Wiki page Gainax are going to release two more anime this year so we’ll get another chance to see whether Piano No Mori is a single act or things are actually getting better. Fingers crossed.

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Animelog: Hinamatsuri

One of those anime that I sort of liked but barely can find enough words to describe, because, well, it’s a slice of life anime without any plot or other things I could’ve complained about. Characters? They are okay, I guess — with an exception, Hitomi is amazing and a single one of the main reasons to watch this show. Hina is very irritating, so it’s perfectly understandable when Nitta celebrates when she finally left =) The plot… well, in the best case scenario it can be described in a single sentence but with a lot of repetitive phrases like “and then she arrives”, “and then another she arrives” and so on. Jokes and visual are good and as a comedy Hinamatsuri is a fine addition to the season that ended up with two or three unexpectedly good and addicting shows (WotaKoi and Ginga Eiyuu Densetsu, yeah sorry, I’m going to promote them every time). I even regret not saving screenshots from some moments like, for instance, when the whole gang went to the “girly club”. It’s not the best comedy in the world but I’m definitely going to watch next seasons and fear not — they will be made! The manga is still running and apparently Hinamatsuri found its way to the audience’ collective heart, I hear only positive things about it.

Animelog: Uchiage Hanabi, Shita kara Miru ka? Yoko kara Miru ka?

This movie has rather mixed reviews on MAL with the average score 6.66 (I immediately want to sing a line here, you know, that famous one Dickinson sang in ’82), which is definitely brutal. However, as a true Shaft fan I couldn’t just ignore it and yesterday we bravely threw away all prejudices that movies with low MAL score suck and stuck to other ones — that anything made by Shinbou can’t suck by definition.

Turned out that mixed opinions are rather deserved. “Fireworks” is a very Shaft-ish movie — slow, demonstrating unusual sometimes camera angles, full of 3D and with its main heroine looking like Senjougahara and one of the guys suspiciously resembling the Arararari-kun. At the same time it’s something very far from typical Shaft. In its heart the movie is a very simple story about a girl, Nazuna, who hasn’t had many friends or a boyfriend, whose family is about to move from the town and who wants to change everything in the last moment, to create precious memories together with someone. That someone is our main hero, Norimichi, who loves Nazuna and really wants to help her. The only trick here is that the day needs to be replayed several times in order to achieve the best outcome — but a small ball found by Nazuna on the beach comes to the rescue.

The main problem with this movie is its pointlessness. This is not a love story (well, to some extent it is but authors don’t concentrate on that aspect much). This is not a story about overcoming something. This is not a story about friendship. This is not a fantasy focused on rewinding the time. Yeah, sometimes it was nice, but after all we just started at point A and finished… virtually at the same point A.

P.S. In the end I felt like “Fool Moon Sways” was about to start — the scene looked so familiar to that famous one from BECK. Well, the music in the movie is fine anyway =)

Animelog: Wotaku Ni Koi Wa Muzukashii

Easily the best anime of the spring season — relaxing, calm and about adults. Love is Hard for Otaku represents that part of life many of use would like to have, an opportunity to share your addiction with a person you love and with friends. Drinking together after work discussing your first 2D love (no one but Asuka!), playing games on weekends, visiting manga stores to buy new books. Let’s just say no to outdoors activities and those stupid movie theatres!

In addition to all that adult otaku romantics WotaKoi contains tons of jokes and references. And many, many awkward situations, this is an anime about love after all. Wouldn’t say that the romance is the strongest selling point of this show but it’s okay I guess. A little too innocent, a little too pointless — but who knows, maybe that aimlessness was meant to show that life is about small things? (Who am I trying to convince?)

This anime wasn’t all roses, unicorns and other beautiful things, for sure. The plot line with a shy girl who was befriended by Hirotaka’s brother was slightly off. To be honest, pretty much all scenes with Nao-chan weren’t necessary — every time “I looked into his big dumb eyes” (c) I couldn’t get rid of a feeling that I want to fast-forward to the next part.

Anyway, I looked forward to watching WotaKoi and it lived up to my expectations. A super-nice daily life story about otaku, that kind of says that “yeah guys, even if all these Japanese cartoons are trash it’s a cool trash and, more importantly, it’s a cool trash that you like, so keep on!” Need to buy a new Asuka figure.

Animelog: Aggretsuko

This anime is a prove that not everything Netflix blessed with its touch turns into something unwatchable.

Aggretsuko is a very funny but sometimes painful to watch anime about a red panda, Retsuko, whose life consists of going to work; struggling there for 8, 9, 10 hours listening what a terrible worker she is; going back home just to get some sleep. She is an accountant and her life is full of fun many office workers know about — Great Air Conditioners Wars, shitty bosses, gossiping, using everything to get promoted, etc. The only way to express Retsuko’s rage is to growl metal songs in karaoke.

Original Aggretsuko is a show consisting of at least one hundred 1 minute-long episodes (“gotta be reddy for tomorrow!”, it was omega cute!) but the Netflix’ remake is more like a “normal” anime, with some of kind of plot, longer episodes and so on. And it’s really, really good — yeah, I’m shocked myself. We observe how Retsuko is moving to her another inevitable fuck up, whether it’s the idea of quitting the job or an attempt to build romantic relationships (to become a stay-at-home wife and eventually quit the job — yeah, she really doesn’t like it), we see how she tries to be nice and reliable, we feel for her, hate her colleagues — this is a rare anime that made we want to support its character, laughing at her miseries at the same time.

P.S. In addition to Fenneko’s amazing laugh Aggretsuko can offer a couple of catch phrases, like “Ton-bucho sugoooooi!” or “Protein!”

Animelog: Mahou Shoujo Ore

One of the main (and pleasant) surprises of this spring season. Despite its ordinary description (a girl became a magical girl that looks like a boy and there’s actually no reason to call him a magical girl but all this doesn’t matter because Super Power Of Love) Magical Girl Ore is a very funny show where authors made an attempt to create something new in the established genre dedicated to a bunch of girls fighting big evil. Oh, and two main heroines are idols (we should be trendy, shouldn’t we?) and the guy whom Saki loves, all of a sudden is very gentle towards her but when she’s a magical, khm, girl and the monsters in this show suspiciously resemble Puchu and bloody fights are actually bloody and Kokoro-chan looks and acts like a yakuza and so on, and so forth — I don’t know how to describe all that madness, honestly.

The anime is not as insane as Pani Poni Dash but it did the most important job it had — it managed to keep the necessary degree of craziness during all 12 episodes. Neither mahou shoujo shows could escape some questionable parodies, nor comedies (running in the morning with ramen, anyone?) — but to be fair Mahou Shoujo Ore wasn’t serious about itself as well. No one is forgotten.

Animelog: Natsu No Arashi

Another harem anime made by Shaft? I’m in!

Natsu No Arashi is a weird harem anime where no one among 6 girls is interested in the main character. Moreover, 4 of those 6 are actually ghosts. Who were killed during the WWII. And who can travel back in time. And who do travel back in time in order to save others during the raids.

However, although we have those dark-ish parts showing what was happening in Japan more than 70 years ago mostly Natsu No Arashi is a comedy show. Hajime-chan creates Cutie Cherry-chan, his ultimate weapon; Yayoi-san tells us about books she read; Master of the cafe all the characters work at wants to use the ability to travel in time for her own sake (like, “this milk is expired — can you take it back in time and exchange for a good one?”) and one of the customers desperately tries to get some salt.

The shallow lighthearted nature of the anime is spiced up with old-school character design and parodies here and there — Shinbou wouldn’t be Shinbou without this part (and without head tilts, of course) — and in overall it’s one of most unusual standard anime I’ve ever seen. There’s a second season — and seems I have no choice but to watch it ^_^

2018-06-03 16_39_33-NATSU NO ARASHI ! Season 1 Episode 3 - Watch on Crunchyroll2018-06-03 16_40_50-NATSU NO ARASHI ! Season 1 Episode 5 - Watch on Crunchyroll2018-06-03 16_42_54-NATSU NO ARASHI ! Season 1 Episode 11 - Watch on Crunchyroll

2018-06-03 16_43_48-NATSU NO ARASHI ! Season 1 Episode 13 - Watch on Crunchyroll

Tenma… chan?