Winter Season 2009 – First Impressions

Unfortunately my dear lesbian Kanako, that’s not possible.

Maria+Holic

Starting with the most eagerly anticipated show this season, I’m disappointed to say that it failed to match personal expectations. The problem lies not with the animators (well…) or voice actresses but rather, the source material.

Gripe #1: Monologue overload

I failed to anticipate the bulk of the episode being Kanako’s inner thoughts. Though unique with this series, it seems overdone in animated form. It didn’t seem as bad in the manga.

Gripe #2: SHAFT being SHAFT

Even though SHAFT’s well-known for their unique animation style, it feels a tad off seeing it here. Granted, the focus lies on the characters and not the scenery… but somehow, their technique doesn’t seem as appropriate. I’m sure I’ll get used to it… after a couple more episodes.

Highlight #1: The Trap

But that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy the first episode. Trappy, bullying Mariya is epic.

Highlight #2: The Maid

Of course, Matsurika shares the same status. I love her first line to Kanako and the sophomore’s subsequent reaction.

Highlight #3: Proper Fanservice

Unlike the other notorious series (To Love-Ru, Rosario+Vampire, etc.) that just dumps it on you relentlessly, the fanservice here comes with a purpose… which is to exploit Kanako’s weakness.

Highlight #4: Twitchy-ness

But my most favorite part was this scene. Twitchy hair is irresistible. To make it all the more delightful, there’s TWO characters with this rare trait.

Overall, Maria+Holic is still one of the more anticipated series this season… but after considering the special release, my expectations are lowered.

Akikan

What’s to say about a series based off of girls coming out of the soda cans and requiring kisses to stay alive? Fanservice galore… and comedy if the series spares you from a panty shot gallery.

Gripe #1: Delusional Fanservice

But what I didn’t expect… was manservice. It isn’t as distasteful as regular fanservice since I haven’t encountered too many series with it. Or rather, I avoided them all together.

Gripe #2: Manservice

And that point is reinforced moreso with another character, the one in charge of the Akikan research project.

Gripe #3: Delusional Manservice

However, there is some amusement to be had. Akikan may have the most unique weapon this season… carbonation.

Highlight #1: Kame Hame Ha… oh wait…

Most importantly, there’s the potential of a fair blue-haired goddess by the name of Najimi…

Hightlight #2: Blue-haired Goddess Candidate

But that concept was quickly shattered seconds later…

Gripe #4:  No. Just no.

Yet there’s some hope since Kakeru has good tastes…

Highlight #3: Potential meido

In essence, Akikan has shown a hint of potential… but I share the same outlook that I always had with fanservice/zany series, which is “Quick to Drop”.

Kurokami

While I’m not one to praise Sunrise’s other works, this one was different since I’ve read the manga from which the adaptation comes from. It’s an interesting read but I always thought it got a bit too deep to be animated. But surprise! Here it is… and wow…

Highlight #1: Boxing Kuro

True to the manga, Kuro is amazing and that fight scene in the latter half was nothing short of breathtaking.

Highlight #2: Decimation

Though she took at brutal beating at first, she made short work of the bad guy… which leads to my first distaste of this series. If Sunrise is sticking with the manga, then there’ll be a short train of opponents similar to this one.

Gripe #1: Lame Bad Guys

Also, contrasting sharply against Kuro’s fighting prowness, there’s her silly side…

Gripe #2: Silly Kuro is silly.

However, what makes up for all that is the gore and how there’s plenty more to come. Hello and goodbye “root” Mayu”.

Highlight #3: Splat!

Topping it all off is Kuro’s serious face and her parting words. Nothing like revenge against family for the annihilation of her entire village.

Highlight #4: Serious business in the family killing industry

For some reason, I expected Kurokami to be the first to go in the discontinued list. After all, I’m familiar with the manga and with Sunrise, I’m not too happy about how Code Geass R2 and Mobile Suit Gundam 00 turned out. Compounded with a backlog of fall series waiting to be finished, watching this was initially low priority. However, seeing how well executed this episode was, it completely changed my assessment and I’m placing this near the top of my list.

Touhou Doujin Anime

Admitedly, I never touched anything Touhou-related other than some remarkable wallpapers that floated my way. All that I know is that Touhou’s a series of challenging games with interesting characters. Other than that, nothing.

Without any prior knowledge, I found the anime… quite pleasing.


Highlight #1: Charming animation

I found the characters animated about the same level as the Kyo no Go no ni series. It surprised me since I thought they’ll make it sharper and more detailed… but it has its benefits. Watching it brought back nostalgia of, dare I say, childhood cartoons. There were no fancy effects or stunningly realistic CG… but I remembered it being simple and more notably, fun.

Highlight #2: Intricate characters

I thought I’ll have a hard time getting to know the Touhou cast, daunted by the wiki page listing them. Instead, the episode gently pulled me in and it’s very easy to understand their roles… Though whether or not they’re accurate to the games, that’s something that I don’t know about.

Highlight #3: Prospect of action

I cannot deny… how eager I am to see the cast face off with their powers. But…

Gripe #1: Uhhh…

Not too impressed by the portrayal of the antagonist… Not impressed at all…

Still, the good points far outweigh the bad one so this one’s a keeper. Who knows, it might inspire me to start gaming again… but only after I beat Persona 3. Also watch White Ablum but I’m still trying to collect my thoughts after that boringly dull episode.

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One Response

  1. I agree with many of your points on Maria Holic. The first episode didn’t impress me. I have not watched and have no intention to watch other shows you mentioned.

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