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Barakamon

July 25, 2014

Noticed this slice-of-life series in the summer anime line-up and although originally opted not to add it to my weekly anime schedule, quickly reversed that decision after watching the first episode.

Adapted from the “ばらかもん” manga by Yoshino Satsuki, “Barakamon” is a delightful slice-of-life comedy full of life and joy, following a young, hot-headed calligrapher’s journey of learning and self-discovery during his time living on one of the Gotou islands near Kyushu, Japan.

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While main protagonist Seishuu’s turmoils as a calligrapher may at first sound rather foreign for those not immersed into creative art as a profession, was nonetheless able to somewhat relate to his struggles, even if he may be a rather generic main lead in some aspects.

The same goes for the other characters, while they may not be really novel or refreshing characters, the show’s overall atmosphere and perfect balance between comedy and heartwarming slice-of-life moments make them very likable. One can’t help to gleefully follow them into this journey of the simple, yet colorful daily life on this island.
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Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei!

July 21, 2014

A magical girl action comedy based on Type Moon’s ‘Fate’ universe, the manga“Fate/kaleid liner プリズマ☆イリヤ” by Hiroyama Hiroshi already spawned an anime adaptation last summer. Its sequel manga “Fate/kaleid liner プリズマ☆イリヤツヴァイ!” now gets its own anime adaptation with “Fate/kaleid liner Prisma☆Illya 2wei!”.

Really enjoyed the first season of this show which takes known characters and elements from Type Moon’s ‘Fate’ universe and puts them in a magical girl genre setting, leading to a fun and entertaining series that is more lighthearted than the usual ‘Fate’ stories and feels akin to the classic “Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha”.

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Joining the cast of characters for this second season is Kuro, a darker version of Illya who mysteriously appears when the magical girl summoned all her powers. Swiftly going after Illya apparently intent on taking the girl’s life, who is Kuro really and what is her true goal?

Even though Kuro seems to be after Illya’s life, there’s no doubt that this sequel will be a lighthearted comedy overall and feature only a few dramatic scenes or desperate battles where a positive outcome is never in doubt. There will also be plenty of shoujo-ai shenanigans, the second episode even featured a rather bold kiss between Kuro and Miyu.
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Sabagebu!

July 18, 2014

Adapted from the “さばげぶっ!” manga by Matsumoto Hidekichi, “Sabagebu!” is a comedy series about a group of girls, member of their school’s survival games or airsoft club, similar to “Stella Jougakuin Koutouka C3-bu” and not unlike “Upotte!”.

From the first episode on, the show pleasantly surprised me, not only by determinedly opting for the comedy genre, but all main characters are either total oddballs or have plenty of reproachable characteristics, which is quite refreshing.

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Where Yura from “Stella Jougakuin Koutouka C3-bu” was a meek, timid girl who suffered trying to grow and find herself, and Funco from “Upotte!” was an energetic and honest girl, Momoka from “Sabagebu!” is more than meets the eye.

At first Momoka may seem to be the typical good girl protagonist struggling to keep up with the quirky characters from the airsoft club, she is soon revealed to be just as much of an oddball like the others. In fact, she’s likely the most ruthless one of the bunch.
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Aldnoah.Zero

July 14, 2014

Like to have some action or mecha sci-fi series in my weekly anime menu, so decided to try “Aldnoah.Zero” since its promotional trailer made it look quite promising.

Last season’s “Sidonia no Kishi” was an excellent sci-fi series, must admit I do not have especially high hopes for “Aldnoah.Zero” from the summer season line-up since it could become yet another mediocre mecha series full of overused elements.

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In fact, the first few episodes contain plenty of tried-and-true tropes from this genre and the show did not manage to really pull me in. While the mecha designs were appealing enough and the action quite fluid and well animated, am somewhat conflicted about the character design style and character animation by studios A1 Pictures and Troyca.

Although, with Urobuchi Gen among the writers, this series might surprise after all considering he not only worked on “Puella Magi Madoka Magica” but “Suisei no Gargantia” too, which was a very good yet underrated sci-fi mecha show.

Already have plenty of anime to watch each week, nonetheless decided to keep up with “Aldnoah.Zero” for now since the show does have plenty of potential.

Yama no Susume Second Season

July 11, 2014

Absolutely adored the first season of “Yamano Susume”, the anime adaptation of the “ヤマノススメ” manga by Shiro, so was eagerly awaiting the start of the second season. Also titled “Encouragement of Climb”, this type of light-hearted slice-of-life series is easily my favorite genre and the style of anime that I most enjoy.

Am delighted this second season not only features episodes that are over ten minutes long, which is well over the first season’s brief three minute episode length, but that it will be a two cour show scheduled to run for 24 episodes.

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The first episode was lovely, it was great to see Aoi, Hinata, Kaede & Kokona again and watch these endearing girl friends have fun mountaineering and engage in leisurely talk.

Personally prefer when sequels are handled by the same studio and feature the same cast of voice talents because this benefits continuity. Luckily, studio 8-Bit is once again in charge and the staff features the same director and character designer as for the first season, which leads to an identical look and atmosphere.
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Himegoto

July 9, 2014

Cannot believe missed spotting this show in the summer anime line up! Also known as “Secret Princess”, this new comedy anime is based on the “ひめゴト” manga by Tsukudani Norio that was originally serialized in “Waai!” magazine.

Of course, with this story originally from “Waai!” magazine, you can expect plenty of trap and cross-dressing shenanigans. Not only is main character Hime a cross-dressing boy, but several of the supporting cast cross-dress as well.

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As I am prone to enjoy anime featuring cute trap characters like Hideyoshi in “Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu” or Mako-chan in “Minami-ke”, and previously read some lovely serializations from “Waai!” magazine like “Sazanami Cherry”, definitely had to give “Himegoto” a try.

Although the main plot premise for having Hime cross-dress feels rather uninspired and the situation of forcing an effeminate, cute boy to cross-dress is nothing novel for a trap story, the first episode was nonetheless enjoyable.
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Rail Wars!

July 7, 2014

Based on the light novel series “Rail Wars! -日本國有鉄道公安隊-” written by Toyoda Takumi with original illustrations by Vania 600, “Rail Wars!” promises to be action anime with plenty of comedy.

The story is focused on Naoto, a student who joins the Japanese National Railways hoping to find a comfortable job but finds himself assigned to the security force where he must not only deal with challenging situations but his eccentric colleagues too.

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The first episode was quite entertaining, with lots of comedy and action revolving around this group of oddball characters and their daily shenanigans in the workplace which makes the show feel similar to “Working!!”, “Servant x Service” or “You’re Under Arrest”.

Perhaps my impression that “Rail Wars!” seems akin to “Working!!” was reinforced by Fukuyama Jun’s performance as Naoto, a character rather similar to Takanashi Souta from “Working!!” whom he also voiced.
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