[Anime] First Impressions: Various 2013 Winter Anime


I've been getting back into watching some Anime recently, and while there's still the last season I have yet to catch up on, the least I can do is not fall too far behind the recent season – yet I can see it's leaving me behind already. So some late first impressions to those late to the party like I am. It's fashionable, right?

(More images to be added to this post at some later date.)

Tamako Market

You might like to check out Ruben's review for something more substantial

There are many reasons I pick up an anime, and while I don't have any real doctrine to the anime I watch like Ruben does with KyoAni (not that all their stuff isn't awesome though), the similarity in art style to K-ON did initially prick my interest in seeing how it would pan out to be. Like K-ON? Or would it actually be something that manages to have plot this time?

I'll admit that I've not seen a lot of K-ON, but the art style is extremely recognisable and in watching Tamako Market, you are immediately aware of the similarities – especially when you're watching with someone who is a fan of formerly mentioned series. Not that it hurts the series any – the art is moe enough to make you squeal in a fangirlish manner and whether or not you are a fangirl is inconsequential.

As someone who has watched more of Hyouka than of K-ON though, I would say there are definite touches of Hyouka in Tamako Market, much more obvious in the male designs (GASPSHOCKHORROR GUYS!!11eleventy). Perhaps it would be an insult to some, but Mochizou looks a lot like a mishmash of Houtarou and Satoshi on first impressions – O-oh my. Their lovechild? Oh the scandal.

The setting of the market and the mochi stores is loveable and culture-driven with a good dash of humour into it that makes for an enjoyable watch, despite the fact that sense this episode does not make! But who cares? The animation was vibrant and the delivery is well paced. Apart from the appearance of the talking bird, otherwise it would be a more normal anime, yet this bird throws something crazy into the mix. He has style... but of what kind, I'm not sure.

I'm interested to see where they'll take this, and it'll be nice to have someone to follow it with in the coming weeks. Another thought though – if a certain individual is considering cosplay, I might just need to look into a Tamako Market one for myself!

VividRed Operation

You might like to check out Ruben's review for something more substantial

Communicator in VividRed

I first obtained this series because the preview image of the series on Ye-old-links-site (clearly not a URL here, okay?) looked vibrant and the series certainly didn't fail to disappoint that very, very first impression. Only seconds into the episode, I had to stop the video and jump back a step just to check if I was right in reading that redjuice, the designer behind most of the character designs and scenery designs in Guilty Crown, was part of the production crew. The colours certainly seemed to reflect some of this influence, being quite intense. In past tense, in fact.

However as I watched the first episode unfold, I could tell the involvement of redjuice to this particular series was much less pronounced. The style of the characters in Vividred did not reflect redjuice's style as Guilty Crown did, nonetheless looked very polished all the same. Set in a futuristic enough universe, the story raised a lot more questions than anything else which is a great start to a story if they then continue on to give us the answers we thirst for.

Akane and her sister

I've had it mentioned to me that this series contains possibly some fanservice-y elements including the main character's butt-hugging gym shorts in the opening of the film showing much more leg than it requires, but the show itself doesn't contain much fanservice at all. Past that initial scene, the main character dons a far less revealing outfit, and doesn't even impose nudity in the gratuitous transformation sequence I admit to have not seen coming... Oh it's one of those shows again, huh?

Transformation!

Still, despite the sudden appearance of this seemingly Mahou Shoujo-like genre in an otherwise Science-fiction-y universe, I'm willing to continue on with this series, since the delivery is well done and the colours are extremely nice. I'd also be interested to see what other influence redjuice had on the series though, having watched Guilty Crown.

It's not lost on me that their names are a reflection on their appearance too, despite the fact I've not looked up the kanji to any of the character's names, or indeed any real information on the series at all. However 'aka' means red, and Akane does indeed have red hair, just as 'aoi' means blue, and Aoi also has blue hair.

Coincidence? I think not!

Akane with her phone

Sasami-san@Ganbaranai

This was a series I genuinely thought I might enjoy just because of the branding – the title of the series sounds awesome! However it didn't strike such a great note with me with this opening episode. I was almost tempted to drop it, however Ruben has convinced me to give it a second chance. The main character was acceptable at first and her antics almost amusing to some degree as well as the overall art being visually very interesting, however the representation of her brother and the events which unfolded later into the episode ended up making me think badly of it – I guess you could say it feels in a way they tried to jam too much into an initial episode.

Regardless of how it ended, the opening sequence really caught me though. I liked the way it was assembled and it seemed different from the usual formula which I appreciated. I have to wonder whether it holds clues to subsequent episodes though, as I'm intrigued as to what these characters are shown in it (pictured below). I'll be disappointed if they don't turn out to be anything, but I'm hoping they do get involved somewhere along the line.

Patterns in the Opening

I have no real idea if the animation studio behind this series is SHAFT or not, because I generally don't do that much research into a series, however the delivery of the story really gives me a SHAFT feeling in how it likes to insert little textual elements and play around with backgrounds and effects. There are many great artistic elements and humour is carefully crafted into it. I did notice SHAFT somewhere in the ending credits, but I didn't go back to verify what that was exactly.

I admit it would be interesting to see what direction this series takes, although I can't really see it at this point. However I will conclude simply that they do have an interesting way of censoring.

Interesting censoring

It should be noted a distinct lack of male characters, other than the obvious 'male protagonist'.

Amnesia

Skies
I'd watch to see this

The last item in this massive post is Amnesia, which I hadn't realised was some sort of Visual Novel until I'd actually started into it. That means the way it was constructed was pretty typical for these sorts of Visual Novel adaptions, where a girl enters an environment where there are an inordinate number of (quite hot) guys. The method of entry (plotwise) to this is somewhat interesting, however that would be attributed to the original story itself, and so the plot has no real bearing in this.

The art in Amnesia reminds me quite strongly of a mix of Uta no Prince-sama and elements of Alice adaptions. Although I have no doubt it's the original designs from the game, the colours make the anime a real joy to watch, and the characters' eyes are shaded in such an unusual way it would be a nightmare for a cosplayer, but oh-so-pretty to get to look at for ~25 minutes. So if nothing else, this is a series I'd watch purely because of the gorgeous art and designs, despite the fact it's merely an adaption.