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Just use "that".
So, here we are again: round 2 of my rundown of the first episodes of the newly aired TV anime this fall season. I haven’t watched all of them, but the few that I did were a mixed bag of pleasant viewing and prettified boredom. Anyway, I just watched ep 1 of Naoto Hosoda’s latest TV series Mirai Nikki (produced by asread), an adaptation of a manga of the same name, and I found it to be surprisingly engaging despite my reservations concerning the material and everything else. I have no idea who or what kind of director/animator Naoto Hosoda is (though I did watch the first Koe de Oshigoto OVA, which was reasonably fun enough), but I saw in Mirai Nikki ep 1 that he was a capable director who knew how to evoke mood and control the pacing of whatever it is he’s working on to make the piece quite interesting and entertaining. The episode was brisk and crisp, getting straight into the nitty-gritty, seemingly without any wasted scenes, and the art/animation worked well enough to bring about some definite sense of suspense and dread during the particularly darker parts of the ep. I was also delighted to see that the character designs weren’t cheaply realized, but were rather pretty and elaborate enough to really seem like a step-up from their manga counterparts and to function effectively in animation–both in stills and in motion. I didn’t like how they resorted to rendering the Deus ex Machina character and his world in CGI, though, but since this is a TV anime and animating them normally would have been too much of a pain for the studio, I guess I can’t complain too much. Director Naoto Hosoda was in charge of storyboards/direction for episode 1.
So I’ve been gone for about three weeks, and now I find myself catching up with the latest anime season (fall), which has finally gotten itself underway this past week, providing yet again a considerable smattering of new TV anime and such to pass the time and entertain me. But anyway, since I’ve been getting absent for more often now, I think I won’t be able to keep blogging cartoons with the same frequency as before. Still, if there’s something interesting that catches my eye, I’ll try my best to write my thoughts about it here–mental exercise, and all that. As such, this blog is still very much alive, though not kicking as hard.
Colorful (Keiichi Hara, Sunrise)
Back to blogging about cartoons I am after what felt like an eternity without internet access (that and other business). As such the backlog I’ve acquired is tremendous, and I think I may even have some of the shows I picked up, and now I’m also way out of the loop when it comes to anime…but anyway, I digress. Two weeks ago (or was it three?) I finally had the chance to watch this film, which I’ve been keeping an eye out on for quite some time (also after I watched Coo). Since I watched Coo, I’ve already taken a liking to the director, for his stubborn and almost methodical approach to his work, not only in terms of the framing and some such technical stuff, but also in terms of the content, like the dramatic aspect. And he does it while still maintaining a high degree of visual interest for the two hours or more his films run. 2010 saw Hara’s return to movies with Colorful, a film which more or less continues in the trend I’ve seen set in 2007’s Coo.
No post about [C] episode 5 this week, since I’ve been far too busy taking care of other stuff to even think about it, and I found the episode itself to be nothing special–a step down from the upward course the show was heading since three weeks ago. And doing a post about it now would be way too late. The story did keep on moving forward with its slow yet assured pace, so there’s some more speculation fodder to be had for people with such inclinations. There’s quite literally hundreds more places to go for those, so I leave it in their hands to talk about that stuff. I sense that the quality of ep 5 was just another bump in the road, though, and hopefully there’s more interesting stuff in the next episode.
That said, I’ve still been making room for cartoons despite that, and I’ve found myself catching up with Texhnolyze after a long break. Interestingly enough, my interest in it increased even after taking a break off it for several months, and despite the fact that I wasn’t too taken by it when I first started it. It’s a curious thing. Its director, Hiroshi Hamasaki, is now in charge of that new show Steins;Gate–which I kind of liked at first but not so anymore–and his style is unmistakable in both, in terms of the minimalist approach to sound and the uniformly flat-looking colors and art. Still, both shows are markedly different. Texhnolyze just feels more accomplished and more in tune with the story (courtesy of Chiaki J. Konaka), whereas Steins feels like it thrusts much of the load on one character too much of the time, and at times it clashes with the style of the show(some eps feel as if they’re 20 mins too long). I don’t know if it’s because of the source material. But Steins is still a solid show, and I’m still watching both.
Koi Sento (Shuhei Morita, Sunrise)
Sunrise’s new (well, not exactly new–it was shown last year) one-off anime project Koi Sento reminded me of the job they’ve done with some parts of their movie King of Thorn, with how they animated the people moving around and just ‘doing’ things. What I saw in that film didn’t sit well with me, and I found those bits of digitally enhanced animation (I don’t know the exact term for it) one of the most glaring distractions of that movie. It was only now that I’m writing this that I realize how foolish I was for thinking back to that film, when in truth, I’ve already seen this method earlier than the film. True enough, I’ve witnessed something very similar to this style before in that short film Kakurenbo, where 3D and 2D were mixed together under a still-very-anime aesthetic. And it turns out that the people behind this latest effort were the same people behind Kakurenbo (Shuhei Morita handled much of everything in Kakurenbo and wrote and directed Koi Sento), which surprised me, for Koi Sento was a very different creature–not better, but different.