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Not That Bad

Time flies. It feels like it was only yesterday that I salivated over the announcement of new anime series for Kaiji and Gintama, and now one of them has aired while the other is waiting in the wings. The much-awaited spring anime season is now upon us, and as such, fans have gobbled up the first episodes of those that aired first. But for me, I haven’t even touched the final episodes of my winter shows yet, not to mention the only hold-over from fall 2010, Star Driver. Then we have the winter noitaminA offerings, which I just finished a few days ago, and only now have I decided to do a little something to commemorate the event. That’s how slow everything in this place is. There are practically a thousand more blogs to visit, anyway, so I’m going to leave the episodic blogging to them (aside from those series that catch my eye).

If you want your latest unnecessary anime commentary/reviews handed to you yesterday, then don’t come here.

 

crashed and burned, but it's not that bad, really

 

Fractale (A1 Pictures/Ordet, Yutaka Yamamoto)

To begin, let me just say that Hourou Musuko was, in my mind, the best show that aired in the winter season. It did well for itself considering its length, aptly cutting out and dividing the source material to fit the staff’s purposes. The series as a whole was well-paced. Each episode ended right where it should, and there’s hardly any superfluous episodes; all of them flowed quite smoothly from one week to the next. The drama was short and sweet, neither too understated nor too overplayed. Many people thought the omission of about five volumes’ worth of content at the beginning of the series hurt it, but I didn’t feel it did. It evoked the necessary sense of curiosity for the anime, and more importantly for the source material itself. It was a good business decision for them. So, to the point…

 

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The Three Episode Rule 2

It appears I was right. The third episodes of the respective winter noitaminA anime have been strong, with one of the said shows kicking into high gear. I’m sure you already know which show I am talking about, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. All I’m going to say at this point is that it surely made the biggest splash this week, in terms of content and graphical presentation. Now, enough about that. Recently, I just caught a trailer of the newest noitaminA show set for spring, and I thought I would talk about it a little first.

 

[C] Control: The Money of Soul and Possibility Control (Tatsunoko Pro, Kenji Nakamura)

After two years, Kenji Nakamura is back with a new original anime project since Trapeze. Big news for Nakamura fans, the fans of his Toei shows (Mononoke, Trapeze), and just noitaminA fans in general. His shows have always been a pleasure to watch; his off-the-wall directing combined with well-placed CGI backgrounds provided a real spectacle, almost approaching the psychedelic. 2007’s Mononoke showed his technique at its best, expertly dividing limited quality of animation with occasional bursts of pure energy in animated form. On the other hand, 2009’s Trapeze was more experimental, fusing together live-action frames and actors with textured colorful backgrounds. Frankly Nakamura’s effort on that show was hit-or-miss, but I respect what he tried to accomplish stylistically. If anything, that show was a needed and highly refreshing change of pace. The show itself showed flashes of brilliance when it did hit the right notes.

Anyway, judging from the trailer for his new anime C (I still don’t know why they chose that terrible title), it looks like a departure from his past efforts. There doesn’t seem to be the layered backdrops with the trademark artsy texture common to his past shows, but it appears to have a more fluid and grounded look, with just enough Nakamura inflection. It looks to be more streamlined than his past shows. The show itself was said to have a lot of focus on action, which is itself another difference. I’m looking forward to how Kenji Nakamura juggles this seemingly new smooth approach, with his trademark loud and flashy presentation. His effective and informed approach to storytelling and directing plus this show’s socially sensitive topic should be a very interesting combination. Early on, I am hopeful for this show–it probably won’t be able to stop noitaminA’s recent ratings slump that’s been going on for some years now–but as a Nakamura fan, I’m happy (curiously enough, Mononoke was one of the highest-rated and best-selling noitaminA anime in the slot’s run).

[C] Staff:

Director: Kenji Nakamura (Ayakashi: Bakeneko arc, Mononoke, Trapeze)

Series Composition: Noboru Takagi (Baccano!, DRRR!!)

Original Character Design: mebae (Tailenders)

Animation Character Design: Takashi Hashimoto (Mononoke, Trapeze)

Chief Animation Director/s: Takashi Hashimoto, Akira Takada (Haibane Renmei, DRRR!!)

The show drops on Fuji TV’s noitaminA slot this April.

 

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