First impressions of the summer 2010 anime I’m watching

Not many summer shows looked particularly appealing to me this year. So far I’m watching four and may pick up another one or two if the desire arises. Here are my thoughts after watching the first two episodes of each…


Ookami-san to Shichinin no Nakama-tachi

I decided to watch Ookami-san because it seemed mildly popular after the first episode. Two episodes in and I can’t really say what I think about it yet – the first episode was full of comedy and parody reminiscent of Hayate no Gotoku! while the second episodes lost the fairy tale parodies and instead was focused on dramatic character development reminiscent of Toradora! (Ryouko and Taiga are quite similar, too). So far I would say I like it more than dislike it, but I don’t know what direction it’s trying to take with the contrast between the first two episodes. Only time will tell I guess.

The characters seem kind of cliche, but one thing I do find interesting about Ookami-san is the concept of the Otogi Bank. Oh, and I love the opening song by May’n =)

—–


Seitokai Yakuindomo

Slice-of-life school comedies are one of my favorite genres – as long as they give me a few laughs and aren’t too ecchi, I could enjoy even mediocre ones. Seitokai Yakuindomo is similar to Seitokai no Ichizon from last fall except with less otaku humor and more general adult humor. The jokes are subtly mature without being too perverse, which I find pretty fun. Though not hilarious all the way through, I’ve gotten enough laughs from this show so far to keep watching it. Since the characters are pretty generic and it’s the same old story of humorous high school life, your enjoyment of the show rests solely on whether you like the genre or not.

—–


Digimon Xros Wars

If you will, my guilty pleasure to appease my fetish for cool/cute fantasy creatures XD I’ve loved Digimon since I used to watch the dub on Fox Kids over ten years ago. I’ve watched all five of the previous Digimon series in their entirety, some more than once, and some in both English and Japanese, so how could I pass up the latest one?

Many fans, myself included, have a bad taste in their mouth from the last series from 2006, Digimon Savers. It just didn’t have the charm of the old series, and even though the main characters were older, they weren’t that likable. With Digimon Xros Wars, it looks like Toei is aware of this and is going back to old-school Digimon style – the main hero is once again a young goggle-wearing boy, with a name (Taiki) similar to Taichi from the original series. The main digimon, Shoutmon, even shares the same seiyuu as Agumon from Adventure. It has other good older seiyuu too, like Houko Kuwashima and Minami Takayama. Two episodes in and it’s off to a start very much in the old Digimon spirit – the kids get pulled into the digital world and battle off evil digimon with the help of good digimon, with an encompassing plot and future character development being foreshadowed.

I’m sure Xros Wars will be better than Savers, but I don’t think it will be as good as the original three series. It does have potential, so you never know. All the Digimon seris have been about 50 episodes long, so I’m sure this one will be too, meaning it has plenty of time to get good =)

—–


Occult Academy

Occult Academy has one of the most interesting stories of recent anime I’ve seen. I have high hopes for it and I think it will become one of the more unique, quality series of the year, like Eden of the East was last year. It has a mix of horror, supernatural (the occult), sci-fi (time travel and aliens), and a touch of comedy, all blended together well. I’ve seen one of TV Tokyo’s other Anime no Chikara series, Sora no Woto, which I liked, but I have a feeling Occult Academy will be better. It’s one of those series that should be judged as a whole, so I hope the story manages to stay good. The only thing I don’t like is that Maya’s abuse of Fumiaki in episode 2 is a bit too excessive. I know it’s not supposed to be taken seriously, but there was too much of it and I hope they cool it later on.

I also got an Eden of the East feeling what with a naked guy (with a secret mission) in the first episode, and a very special cell phone XD

—–

I was going to watch High School of the Dead because of all the hype, but it seems like it’s mostly gore and fan service, things I’m not very fond of. But if I hear good things about it, I may reconsider. I was also thinking about Shiki.

And hearing Yoko Hikasa (Mio from K-ON!) as the main girl in two of the summer ’10 series I’m watching is kind of strange XD

25 Comments… read them or add your own.

  1. Myna says:

    I watched the first episode of Ookami-san. The characters kind of annoyed me a little, and the whole thing about the two girls not having chests OVER AND OVER AGAIN irked me alot. That freaking narrator! X_X

    I watched the first occult academy and was interested.

    I recommend Shiki. I was much more interested in Shiki than Occult Academy.

  2. Yumeka says:

    @ Myna

    The narrator on Ookami-san is Satomi Arai, who also does Kuroko on To Aru Kagaku no Railgun. I personally think she’s pretty funny XD

    I’ll think about watching Shiki. Don’t know if I want to pick up another series now but maybe I’ll watch it when it’s done airing.

  3. Linnie says:

    My number one this season is Occult Academy. I recomend you Shiki as well. Looks like a good horror mystery (other than hair design there is nothing to complain about).

    Highschool of the Dead is… how to put it… good zombie show. BUT if you hate pants shots just for the sake of looking at panties stay away. If you get over it, it’s quite entertaining (i.e. every boob bounce is a torture but otherwise it’s okay).

    Then there’s the category of an okay, watchable show. Ookame-san belongs there. It may, or may not, prove to be good. Seitokai Yakuindomo is actually funny and I watch it simply becuase I’m interested what the characters say next. Nurarihyon is a crossover between Inuyasha, Natsume yuujinchoou and some other shounen aspect so I keep whatching it to see what it becomes.

    So Shiki all the way :D I’ve heard only praise from manga readers.

    P.S. If you want to get a good laugh, watch first episode of Shukufuku no Campanella. Seldom in my life have I seen anything this boring and bad. It’s even worse than watching a wall for the straight 30 minutes.

  4. Yumeka says:

    @ Linnie

    Hmm, perhaps I will put Shiki on my “To Watch” list. And High School of the Dead and Shukufuku no Campanella sound like shows I should stay away from =P

  5. f0calizer says:

    Now I’m curious about Occult Gakuin, as the reviews I’ve read in the blogosphere are generally positive, and I like its good blend of genres. Plus it’s being streamed on Crunchyroll, making it more convenient for me to watch.

    I’m tickled by what I’ve read about Okami-san & might watch it once more of it comes out. I wonder if they’ll develop the fairy-tale parody aspect even more? I’ve seen numerous comparisons of the main character to Taiga from Toradora; while that’s true, to put my two cents’ worth, I think there’s a nod (not necessarily a parody, but a small salute?) towards Spice & Wolf in the Ookami-Ringo pairing. Holo in Spice & Wolf is a wolf spirit who looks like a nicer, friendlier version of Ryouko (from the screenshots I’ve seen). And Holo’s favorite food? Apples…

  6. Yumeka says:

    @ f0calizer

    I highly recommend Occult Academy, at least at this point. It seems like the type of series that will either end amazingly well or become full of flaws – I’m hoping it’s the former XD

    Having seen Spice and Wolf, I agree that Holo looks a little like Ryouko, without the wolf ears of course, and they have the apple and wolf (ookami) associations. But obviously their personalities and backgrounds are very different. We don’t know much about Ryouko’s background yet, but personality-wise, the Taiga comparison fits =P

  7. Mikoto says:

    Yeah, put Shiki on your planning list. I recommend it but it seems like you have a lot of series on your hands. xD

    Also, no guilty pleasure in watching Digimon. It’s one of those types of anime where, even though it advertises digital pets, it still manages to have a good plot… more than people give it credit for. I loved Tamers and the first Digimon movie.

    High School of the Dead isn’t something I’d recommend to people that aren’t into those bloody horror movies and games, and aren’t really so crazy about mindless fanservice (so much that it would affect your enjoyment – if you don’t like/can’t tolerate big jiggly boobs… stay away xD).

  8. Yumeka says:

    @ Mikoto

    Yeah, people automatically assume that Digimon is just as “light” as Pokemon. Of course, I love Pokemon, but I’ll admit that the anime is very children-oriented, along the lines of stuff like Doraemon (the games, however, are not). Digimon is more dramatic and more along the lines of Naruto and One Piece (with less violence).

    I don’t mind gore as long as it’s not too excessive and there’s a good story behind it (like with Higurashi and Umineko). However, I can’t stand tons of fan service. So yeah, looks like I should steer clear of High School of the Dead =P

  9. f0calizer says:

    @ yumeka: Re: Ryouko Ookami — after watching ep2, yes definitely the Taiga is strong in this one! I’m just happy there’s a small allusion to Spice & Wolf, which was an anime I unexpectedly ended up liking too. I’m also tickled by how the Ryouko-Ringo friendship is part of the fairy-tale parody.

    I really like her simple but striking outfit with its red trim on black with red scarf. What’s good is that, despite the fact she’s wearing a slit skirt, there aren’t gratuitous shots of her underwear when she’s fighting (unlike another current series about witches *cough*). And given the fancy costume designs, I wouldn’t be surprised if this series becomes a group cosplay favorite at upcoming conventions…

  10. Yumeka says:

    @ f0calizer

    I would definitely like to see an Otogi Bank cosplay group! Strangely, I was just at Anime Expo and I don’t recall seeing many cosplay groups from newer series. I hope that changes next year.

  11. Glo says:

    As I perused this post, the thing I felt was most important to stress was that fact that in my own first impressions post (which I will put out when finished, possibly tomorrow), I also compared “Occult” to Eden of the East. Especially with the end of the first episode, which depicts a certain male relieving his “johnny” to the lead female role. I still have to watch those movies….

    However, I realize now that it is more important to stress that you MUST watch High School of the Dead. It actually doesn’t have much gore (blood, sure, but actual gore, no), and really not that much fanservice (I’m actually pleasantly surprised by the lack of fanservice). Instead, this show has what I consider to be an awesome cast of characters that never fail to amuse with their bespectacled performances. I’m not sure if “bespectacled” fits in that sentence, but you should watch this show, it’s awesome, TRUST ME (it’s me we’re talkin about…Glo the LEGEND).

  12. Yumeka says:

    @ Glo

    Yeah, a memorable scene like that in Eden of the East can’t help but be noticeable if it appears in another anime. The emphasis on a cell phone also helped =) (I too need to watch the Eden movies, but a rewatch of the series is in order first).

    Hmm, I’m not sure about High School of the Dead (everyone else says it has a lot of gore and fan service). Once it finishes airing, I’ll see if anything different is said about it. If a good story and characters end up outweighing the pandering aspects of it, then I may consider watching it one day.

  13. Saere says:

    So far I plan on watching High School of the Dead, Occult Academy (haven’t started yet), Amagami SS, and Ookami-san, but I’ll probably add more airing series as I finish up older ones like Paradise Kiss, which I’m finally watching years after reading and loving the manga. I’m also still catching up on One Piece.

    I’m absolutely in love with High School of the Dead– it’s my favorite of the season. I went and read all 26 available chapters in one day because of it. The ecchi (as in random bath scenes in the MIDDLE OF AN APOCALYPSE) can be hard to get around for some, but the writer knows how to address relevant situations. It proudly broadcasts its lack of substance in certain areas in favor of subtly slipping in great scenarios and action that have you going, “Where did this come from?” early on. My favorite part so far was seeing how lingering Cold War tensions affected nuclear decisions in such a crisis.

    Again… it’s ridiculous that females don’t have much chance of surviving unless they have D-cups, but the art’s often brilliant and the writing is nice. I’m really curious how the anime will develop, since there’s certainly enough material to keep me interested for a 30+ episode anime. I fear that fanservice will get the spotlight and the interesting twist on a zombie story will degrade into a poor ending due to the low episode count, which also means that viewers won’t spend enough time with the characters to witness later morality. I have my fingers crossed. :)

  14. Yumeka says:

    @ Saere

    It sounds to me like the High School of the Dead manga has some good things going for it. You’ll have to let me know if the anime ends up doing it justice or if it litters it with too much gore and ecchi pandering. If it does do it justice, that will increase my chances of giving it a try one day =)

  15. Yi says:

    Occult Academy for me as well. I like the blend of horror, comedy, and dominant cute girl. Other than that, Strike Witches, Shiki, and HSoD.

  16. Yumeka says:

    @ Yi

    I hope we both enjoy Occult Academy~

    (and although I’m sure it has good things about it, as of now I don’t intend to jump on the Strike Witches bandwagon).

  17. Odin Force says:

    I also like the idea of Otogi Bank. It is something that should be adopted as a form of school club in real life to raise the students’ awareness of daily “invisible debts”; favors we got from others, which have no exact monetary value, but still should be valued.

    One thing I’ve been wondering about the Ookami series, is that the Otogi Bank seems to have no contract paper whatsoever for its customer.

    Base on what the narrator has mentioned, Otogi Bank operation is even more dreadful than the loan sharks (even though that might be just another joke). So, it may actually use underground law, aka. sending a member to threaten and get back the “loan” from the customer. If that is the case, the girl who likes playing dress-up might be a good candidate to deliver shame-oriented tormenting; the club’s president for mind-oriented tormenting, and the mad scientist girl for specialized tormenting devices.

    It might as well send the hunter guy to beg for payment in the first place, before the other dangerously maniac members.

    Anyhow, my main concern is: on one hand, invidible debts/loans don’t need to require paper contracts, as real life also works that way. But on the other hand, the risk of having to pay something that you don’t know the exact amount, the form and ability to pay… would logically make any club visitor reluctant to ask for help. Although logic is somewhat a luxury in Ookami, if not all anime, I’d love to see a detail paper contract of Otogi Bank.

  18. Yumeka says:

    @ Odin Force

    Excellent analysis on the Otogi Bank. I feel it may be too early to address your concern however, since there’s a good chance it may be revealed in later episodes. When I write my review of the series after it finishes airing, I’ll try to remember to address this issue =)

  19. Fabrice says:

    This season hasent really impressed me the way spring did,
    but i guess occult is the one that stands out the most. the story seems a bit more…. well organised? idk the others are either fun fun anime the usual or too much fan service.

  20. Yumeka says:

    @ Fabrice

    Yeah, compared to others, this season didn’t excite me at all either. Besides Digimon, there wasn’t anything I was particularly looking forward to, and I haven’t seen the original series of any of the sequels this season either. One of the reasons I’m only watching four shows this season, three of which I decided to watch solely by what I’ve heard others say about them.

  21. Reiko says:

    Yeah, Highschool of the dead is mainly fanservice and gore, but if you really think into it, it has a hidden meaning. (If you watched the first episode, you could probably tell.) It really just goes to show how terrible and inconsiderate human beings can be when fending for their lives.

    Ookami-san looks good, though, too. I might check it out. ^^

  22. Yumeka says:

    @ Reiko

    I was hoping High School of the Dead had more to it than just gore and fan service. Glad to hear there’s at least one subtle message like that hidden within.

    I just watched episode 3 of Ookami-san and I liked it ^^ (another character-driven episode rather than a humor/parody based one). So yeah, check it out if you can.

  23. DoctorDazza says:

    I do quite like Occult Academy and will keep watching it, cause it is quite funny and different to a normal high-school supernatural drama/comedy, but I have to disagree with comparing it to Eden of the East, they don’t play on the same level to me. Eden was massive, it felt massive, the fictional world of Eden was so big and I mean both in front of the camera, like the setting, the internationality of the characters (there was a real American voicing Americans) and behind it, the growing of the Eden system, the sub-plots of the other Selectos (or whatever :P), and the impact the main characters were having on that fictitious world.

    Yes Occult is a good show, but when it’s finished, no one will care about it, there might be slight nods to it, but other than that, I doubt we’ll see it again until it comes out on DVD in America.

  24. f0calizer says:

    Along with Ookami-san, I’ve decided to follow Occult Academy as well! I watched the first 2 eps on Crunchyroll & really enjoyed its mix of genres; in terms of sci-fi, it clearly echoes the Terminator & Back to the Future films, which I love. I’m also tickled by how Maya is voiced by K-ON’s Mio Akiyama’s seiyuu — once in while I can hear a stern Mio (like when she’s yelling at Ritsu) in Maya’s voice & I start imagining Maya strumming on a bass guitar. =)

  25. Hana says:

    Sorry I’m late to this, but to add my two pence worth: I’m also enjoying Occult Academy and I also highly recommend Shiki, which I was very pleasantly (or should that be creepily) surprised by, lol.

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