Shikabane Hime: Aka probably had the highest pressure of any anime this season to be awesome right out of the gate because this is Gainax’s first series after the wildly popular Gurren Lagann. I continue to love Gurren Lagann to death but I realize this is a completely different show and one that will hopefully yield a different experience. So how does this episode turn out?
Quite well actually.
Some reviewers that I’ve read are complaining that there isn’t a whole lot of action in this episode and thus it was boring. I think these people are looking too short-term and not thinking long-term. One of the reasons that Gurren Lagann was so good was that you cared for the characters and worried if they were going to live through a fight or not; they weren’t just cannon fodder. That 10 minutes or so that they developed Simon’s character and the 5 minutes on Kamina’s character during the first episode pays off almost immediately and continues to pay the rest of the series.
Likewise, I think we’ll see that the time they spent developing the character of Ouri, Makina the corpse princess, and Keisei the monk will be nicely paid off in the future. For instance, I find that I already like Ouri because the younger kids at the orphanage obviously like him a lot and because he ran to Makina’s side to help her instead of going after his stuff that fell down the hill. Then there’s Makina; it appears that she was killed horribly, most likely by a group of Shikabane, and now wants revenge. I feel for her and want to see her get to the goal that she desires. And finally, I have the feeling that the monk Keisei is trying to atone for letting Makina die by standing by her side now to help protect her along with running the orphanage that Ouri is living at. So, as you can see, I’m already hooked on the characters of this show.
That’s pretty much all I wanted to say about the show, nothing else really stands out. The animation is as good as you’d expect from a Gainax show – pretty and gives the city a nice atmospheric feel to it. No OP this week. The ED song was above average but the animation was just a montage of what happened in the episode – a little ho-hum but still okay overall. Overall, I think I have more confidence in this title being great then something like To Aru Majutisu no Index.