Steven called this week the lull week and that so fits; the old season has just about totally ebbed away and the new season is still rushing towards shore. I never look forward to this week in the season but I can’t deny that it presents a good opportunity for a little change of pace. So with this abundance of time I have, I wanted to share what anime-related things I’ve been doing this week instead of trying to watch 17 different anime.
I finally had the time to marathon an anime series and I had a couple in mind. The first was the first season of K-On!. I’ve mentioned in the past about how I fell into the very small group of people who neither rabidly loved or rabidly hated the first season of K-On!. I wanted to see if I still felt like that or did my feelings change after watching the second season and falling completely head-over-heels for it. If I was a betting man, I’d’ve guessed that I would like it more; much like how the start of Lucky Star was so much more enjoyable the second time around because I could draw from the empathy and love of the characters that developed later in the series.
Imagine my surprise, then, when I still liked the first season of K-On! about the same as I did the first time. I originally found it very difficult to really get into the show because it felt like it couldn’t decide which type of show it was. The pacing was too fast for K-On! to be a relaxing, slice-of-healing anime but a lack of focus on really trying to make it as a rock band made it near impossible to take it seriously. This inability to decide what type of show it was still intruded on the enjoyment of the series during the rewatch, even with all the love the second season added to the franchise. The pacing also muted the best part of the series – the characters and their friendship. For example, I remember not really liking Mugi in the first season and being shocked how much I got to like her in the second season. Rewatching the first season I realized the sole purpose of having first-season-Mugi in the show was to have a walking ATM machine that could advance the story along rapidly with the use of her magic money and connections. It was only in the second season that Mugi becomes real, she’s a sheltered girl looking for friendship and to stuff as much fun into her high school life as possible. She quickly becomes one of the best characters of the show int the second season.
If I was scoring the first season, which I’m about to do, I’d give K-On! season 1 a Final Series Score of 8/12 B+ with Rewatchablity: 1/5 – Low, Ending: 2.5/5 – Average, Animation: 4/5 – Excellent.
With that mildly disappointing experience under my belt, I went to the next show on my rewatch list – Sora no Otoshimono. I wanted to see how well it would hold up the second time and to make sure I remembered the important parts for the second season that is about ready to start. Last time, I gave Sora no Otoshimono an 11.5/12 (Near Perfect) for expertly cultivating an absurdist, over-the-top feel that repeatedly surprised, delighted and entertained. For the rewatch, it no longer had the element of surprise so it was going to have to work harder to earn the same level of success and I anticipated that it just couldn’t meet the much higher expectations. So, no surprise, when Sora no Otoshimono didn’t live up to being a 11.5/12. I still really enjoyed it though; the comedy was killer, I liked the characters even more, I could still appreciate how intelligently put together it was, I still got sucked into the plot and Icarus’s crowning moment of awesome was still just as awesome. Upon finishing, I still felt like the show really needed a sequel and this time I only need to wait about a week to see it. :)
Since I’m in the scoring mood, Sora no Otoshimono Season 1’s amended Final Series Score is 11/12 A+ with Rewatchablity: 4/5 – Medium to High, Ending: 4.5/5 – Sublime, Animation: 4/5 – Excellent.
The final anime that I marathoned was completely by accident. I wanted to check one little thing out in Asobi ni Iku Yo! but I found myself popping the next episode in as soon as the previous one finished. This one was definitely better the second time through much like Lucky Star was. If I had to summarize the difference in viewing experiences I’d say Asobi ni Iku Yo! was just easier to enjoy the second time. I liked the characters from the moment they were first introduced and the early plot twists made much more sense this time around. I was also able to better catch and enjoy the references to science fiction that infused the series this time as well as see how the fluffy exterior hid a rather well thought-out story of first contact between two cultures. I’ll forgo the grading Asobi ni Iku Yo! here since I plan on rating it in my seasonal anime top pick award posts that I’m already starting to work on. I hope AIC Plus+ decides on doing a sequel since I think there’s plenty of interesting ways the story for this can go but it’s, probably, really up to DVD/Blu-Ray sales as to if we see Asobi ni Iku Yo! Season 2 or not.
The other thing I did this week was spend time excited over the new anime announced.
I know there’s always been anime movies but doesn’t it feel like lately they’ve become even more popular? Don’t get me wrong, word of a Sengoku Basara movie and a K-On! movie leaves me feeling very excited, especially if the K-On! one will feature all new material like the Sengoku Basara one will have. The two seasons of Sengoku Basara have been fun but they could have been really fun if they had been paced better and more fighting was involved. Which is why I think a movie might just be the perfect form for Sengoku Basara – they won’t have the time to draw the talking and angsting out.
I’m really curious about the K-On! movie. The second series ended absolutely perfectly but since this is a slice-of-life series there’s no reason the story needs to end with them graduating high school. I’d like to see what happens to Yui, Mugi, Mio, and Ritsu when they go to college and I want to see what happens to Azu-nyan, Ui and the light music club. Can one fashion a good, super laid-back, slice-of-life movie or will the movie be more plot focused – maybe on the college version of Afternoon Tea Time making it big or Azu-nyan’s efforts to save the light music club. I hope more details are forthcoming soon!
The third newly announced anime project that got me excited is Berserk. I’m not a fan of Berserk, per say, but I’m curious about the franchise after learning my one sister (the D&D playing one) loves the manga and the original series. When I first heard of a new “animation project” for Berserk, I started thinking about who I’d want to work on the project from my limited understanding of the source material. The name I kept going back to was Madhouse. They have the animation quality and the experience with darker series like Mouryou no Hako, Rainbow, Death Note, Paranoia Agent, Blue Literature, Kurozuka and they have many of the best anime production people in the business working for them. It appears, after a couple of days, that Studio 4˚C will be doing the animation and my guess was completely wrong :) . This is a very interesting choice; on one hand I’ve been very impressed with all the works of Studio 4˚C that I’ve seen but on the other hand they don’t seem very prolific and I wonder if they have the expertise to plan out and execute a long running series (which I’m hoping the announcement is for). I guess we’ll just have to wait a few more days for more information.
That’s how I spent this lull week, what did you do?