[Anime] Autumn 2013 First Impressions

Quality of anime? I don't particularly rate any year by quality or non-quality. To some, quality may be shows such as UtaPri which seem to finally provide the reverse harems that girls have been waiting desperately for, or perhaps it's the usual moeblob animes that come out each season, or for the elite it may be higher standards of intriguing and complex storyline, great graphics and likable characters. Nonetheless, it seems some people are relatively satisfied with what this season has to offer.

First Impressions? Where do we begin? Let's start off with the first anime of this season that I watched, Kara no Kyoukai Kyoukai no Rinne Kyoukai no Kanata. Kyoto? No, Kyoukai.

Kyoukai no Kanata

All smiles MiraiKanbara

Kyoto Animation seems to have put their best foot forward with this show, rolling up all the humour of Chuunibyou and a shred of Tamako Market with lashings of Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu and Hyouka, and I quite like the mix that ensued. (Plus the colours they used look amazing.) They seemed to take everything they learned from making previous series and started to deploy it into this anime so I'm expecting great things yet.

Frustrated Kanbara

The first impression of this anime would generally be 'an actually magical/fantasy-world version of Chuunibyou!' and I wonder if they would be far from the truth, nonetheless it's great to see Kyoto Animation diverging a bit from their usual content.

What is usual content anyway? Kyoto Animation produces series that seem very slice-of-life, but then you have a 'God' in the form of a girl with espers, time travellers and aliens around her, or you have mysterious talking birds that love to chew on mochi — perhaps it's not as outlandish as we may think. While I've heard of youkai, youma, akuma and the like though, this is the first item I've heard of youmu, although the fact hat Kanbara is a hanyou does make it all the more interesting for me... I've been interested in hanyous since Inuyasha. #ahem

Mirai fighting, blood spraying

One difference with this new series, perhaps, is the amount of action thus far. Of course action can be interpreted in different forms though — Haruka-tachi swimming in Free! during their competitions is action in itself, though subtle. Regardless, Kyoukai no Kanata still appears to be an anime that plays to this studio's strengths.

I have to admire their quality of animation as usual, where both characters and backgrounds look top notch. I also appreciate their subtle humour among the otherwise dire circumstances which Kanbara often finds himself in. Alright, not that dire, but regardless of whatever he has to go through he still has the heart to help Mirai get over her fears. Can't leave her alone? That couldn't be clearer if you spat in my face!

School hallwaySakura blossoms

I try not to predict what happens in the future though, since I'm resigned I'll be wrong, but it seems destined that Kanbara would be pulled down Kyon/Oreki routes no matter what he does anyway — he's involved and now there's no escape. It seems like we're still waiting to see the bulk of the characters though, so we'll see who appears next!

Gotta love the glasses. You thought I was going to end there like that, but I wondered what brand the phone was.

Kanbara looking at Mirai's phone

TV アニメ『境界の彼方』© 鳥居なごむ・京都アニメーション/境界の彼方製作委員会


Ibara NaruseThree girls on the roadTaeko Nomura on a bridge

Next up on the drawing board I'm putting Coppelion, which Ruben already blogged about yesterday already. I first found out about it via Facebook, when Seb mentioned that he was interested in the series because of the artwork (contrary to what Ruben says, there are definitely more people that watch anime for the art than he thinks).

I could see what he meant even from the small graphic available with the embed and didn't seek further to know what the anime was about. I suggested the series to Ruben after we had explored the first episode of Kyoukai no Kanata. The first thing that hit us, of course, was the gorgeous scenery which likely would be the reason that I continue watching this series, considering I'm somewhat less impressed with their depictions of people.

Street signTokyo Tower

Perhaps it's to contrast the high detail of the background, but the characters themselves seem abstract. Compared to Kyoukai no Kanata, for instance, where the art quality is uniform across the screen, Coppelion uses otherwise plain-looking characters — but perhaps we will realise that this is for a purpose, though I notice that they differ somewhat significantly from their depiction in the manga.

Aoi Fukasaku and Taeko Nomura

As much as I like to see nature depicted though, I am rather impressed by their depictions of this 'dystopian landscape' as Ruben calls it. This leads me into the plot, which Ruben has already succinctly covered, and while the premise does not reveal all that much about what will happen next other than following on immediately from the events we are cliff-hanged on, it is still intriguing as we wait for some greater goal to appear for those three genetically-engineered-but-otherwise-normal-looking high school girls that are currently wandering around what first appears to be mere countryside before we realise it's none other than a deserted ghost city once known as Tokyo.

I for one am not expecting anything out of the ordinary, but like I said I don't like to predict, and so I won't. While we rolled to the end of this series, I began to think that this was not a series I would want to watch because it was simply rather depressing after the high that Kyoukai no Kanata left, however if I were watching with someone else I would not mind because it does present an otherwise compelling story.

Abandoned buildingTokyo Tower

TV アニメ『コッペリオン』© 井上智徳・講談社/コッペリオン製作委員会
Coppelion © Copyright King Record.Co., Ltd.

Kill la Kill

Light from the heavens

Moving on finally to Kill La Kill, that is another anime that leaves you on a high. The extreme nature of it akin to the way Gurren Lagann was always so 'over the top' really gives it an extreme character. Kill La Kill after just watching Hentai Kamen was almost too much and I admit I did not pay much attention then, but I did watch it later and found I quite liked it, particularly because of the silliness and the strange art style, despite this often being reasons that people would shy away from it.

There have been complaints that the art is 'bad', but I don't consider it so. It's clear that the studio can draw well, but the 'style' they have instead chosen to use to deliver the story is really quite unique and comical in ways that Kyoukai no Kanata isn't. If I must be honest, I see less of Gurren Lagann in it than Ruben seems to, as he finds it extremely reminiscent of it and I am only reminded by certain aspects — one of which is the storytelling method, I admit.

Ganged up onFlying through the airAsleep at her deskCartwheeling into rubbish

Story-wise I would be tempted to align it more with Star Driver, if I had actually watched it and known what it was about. Nonetheless, you can tell this will be an extremely action packed series, that certainly does not fail to cater towards their male audience. Is it strange to be enjoying it myself, even if I'm a girl?

As a stereotypical 'CRUSH THE ESTATE' kind of anime, I still feel as though it has plenty to offer, particularly in the way of jokes and ridicule. Again, I'll see where this takes me since I quite like the fluidity of the art style and the lineless backgrounds that are sometimes used. The differences in how they animate compared to 'traditional methods' is what popularises studios such as SHAFT (other than their themes...), but the important thing is that they're not afraid to be different.

Severely injured but not defeated

TV アニメ『キルラキル』© TRIGGER・中島かずき/キルラキル製作委員会
Kill La Kill © TRIGGER, Kazuki Nakashima/Kill la Kill Partnership © T, K/KP

Okay, okay, we're done.

Well that's all for now before this post gets even longer! Another two series next time around if I ever get around to writing it, but it definitely won't be recent by then!