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Anime spring season 2018

March 30, 2018

This past anime season was a real powerhouse, featuring more outstanding series than the average season usually does, from epic shows like “Uchuu yori mo Tooi Basho”, “Violet Evergarden” to charming surprise hits like “Yurucamp△” or little gems like “Hakumei to Mikochi”. Looking at the spring schedule, there’s notably less anime I picked out to watch.

  • Amanchu! Advance
    Loved the first anime adaptation of Kozue Amano’s enchanting “あまんちゅ!” manga, it offered everything that fans of slice-of-life series adore: from endearing characters, heartwarming moments to soothing music and rustic backgrounds. Was overjoyed when they announced a sequel had been green lit, am very much looking forward to another season of this excellent slice-of-life story and seeing more of Futaba and Hikari’s antics.
    Like its predecessor “Aria”, “Amanchu!” is really a staple of the slice-of-life genre.
  • Steins;Gate 0
    For those viewers who were able to get into its pace and enjoy its more unique style, the first “Steins;Gate” anime was nothing short of a masterpiece full of thrilling moments, a real emotional roller-coaster with an intriguing approach to time-travelling. Am keen on watching this sequel although I am a bit anxious it could be a rather taxing viewing experience if the anime’s tone is overly dark and brooding.
  • Full Metal Panic! Invisible Victory
    It has been more than 10 years since we got a “Full Metal Panic” show, still find it hard to believe that a new season will begin to air a few weeks from now! While I never got into the original light novels, did enjoy its anime adaptations, including the slapstick comedy spin-off “Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu” so am looking forward to see more of Chidori, Sousuke & Tessa’s adventures. Do expect this new anime may be action oriented and have little to no comedy in it, but we shall see.
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Yuru Camp△

January 12, 2018

Adapting the “ゆるキャン△” manga by Afro into anime, “Yuru Camp△” is a slice-of-life tale of five school friends who enjoy camping in the rustic Japanese countryside surrounding Mt. Fuji.

Was confident that I would adore “Yuru Camp△” as it promised to be the type of slice-of-life anime I enjoy the most, a leisurely show about cute girls doing cute things with Japan’s enchanting countryside being the backdrop and an essential element to create a soothing atmosphere similar to anime like “Yama no Susume” or “Non Non Biyori”.

The first few episodes delivered everything I hoped they would, showcasing the idyllic landscape in rural Japan with charming painted backgrounds boasting a lovely colour palette that enhances the atmosphere. Although there does not seem to be a major overarching plot, the main characters introduced are elaborated on in a natural, believable way and the first episode spends most of its time showing one of the girls spend her day camping.

“Yuru Camp△” started off great and has every indication it could be one of the better slice-of-life anime around, especially its endearing characters promise to delight us with their natural, unassuming charm and marvelous chemistry.
A good example of terrific character building and interaction depicted in a simple, yet believable and contemporary way was the messenger conversation between Rin and Ena in the second episode. Am curious to see if the relationship between stoic Rin and bubbly Nadeshiko will also be more cleverly developed and feel natural or if it will be comparatively predictable.

The character design style and overall animation feel rather simple and plain. Luckily this is not detrimental by itself for such a slice-of-life series as this genre can still provide viewers with a wonderful experience if its other elements such as backgrounds, music, characters and atmosphere are spot on, which they seem to be for “Yuru Camp△”.

If you enjoy slice-of-life anime, then you definitely should check out this new series. Alternatively, if you’re just looking to relax for a bit, this show will undoubtedly be a soothing experience.
You can watch “Yuru Camp△” as “Laid-Back Camp” on Crunchyroll.

Slow Start

January 8, 2018

Based on the “スロウスタート” four-panel comedy manga by Tokumi Yuiko, “Slow Start” is a slice-of-life story about a girl who enters high school a year later than her peers, although self-conscious about her age and not knowing anyone at her new school she luckily soon befriends three classmates and the four of them start a fun-filled high school life.

From its first episode it is clear that “Slow Start” will be an endearing show about cute girls living through a blissful school life full of fun and warmth, similar to other slice-of-life series like “Kiniro Mosaic”, “Wakaba*Girl” or “A Channel”. Although there is plenty of comedy, the emphasis is undoubtedly the girls’ friendship and their idyllic every day school life, all represented through rose-coloured glasses.

A staple style in the slice-of-life genre, am aware that such anime may not be to every fan’s taste as its overall style and atmosphere does cater to a slightly different taste compared to slice-of-life shows such as “Yama no Susume” or “Flying Witch” which even though they also feature school girls and friendship, look and feel rather different from “Slow Start”.

The opening episode surprised me, not so much for its classic story or charming yet typical characters but was struck by the splendid, vivid animation by studio A-1 Pictures. Whereas many slice-of-life series feature seemingly simple animation which can be more easily forgiven in this genre, most scenes in this first episode of “Slow Start” saw its characters animated full of life and motion, enhancing the show’s bubbly, cheerful atmosphere.

Sincerely hope they can keep this level up throughout the rest of the season because such terrific animation coupled with sweet characters and a pleasant, blissful atmosphere could propel “Slow Start” past similar shows like “Kiniro Mosaic” or “A Channel” to one of the best slice-o-life series in recent years.

You can watch “Slow Start” on Crunchyroll.

Kantoku C93 doujin ‘Girls Kiss′

January 5, 2018

After Kantoku and his circle ‘Afterschool of the 5th Year’ published the daring ‘Plaid & Nude’ doujin during this summer’s Comiket event, for the winter edition of Comiket it is are back to the style of the ‘Colors’ and ‘Confession of Love’ books with the new release ‘Girls Kiss’.

Most full colour images featured in ‘Girls Kiss’ are landscape format illustrations spread over two pages, befitting the detailed and oft enchanting backgrounds in these art works.

Alternating between subject close ups making the girls the centre of attention or having the characters depicted further back making the background stand out just as much, Kantoku displays terrific use of lighting as well as creating stunning landscapes.

Was surprised that ‘Girls Kiss’ did not feature any significant illustrations of Kantoku’s most used mascot characters Kurumi and Shizuku, luckily we do get illustrations of the cute twins Akemi & Himeru as well as other character like Nagisa and Kei.
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Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan

January 3, 2018

Based on the “衛宮さんちの今日のごはん” manga by TAa, a cooking oriented spin-off from the original “Fate/stay night” story, “Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan” is a new short anime by studio Ufotable with a new episode set to air the first of each month this year.

Was pleasantly surprised by this new Fate comedy spin-off, whereas “Carnival Phantasm” was all-out parody full of slapstick humor and references to the original Fate tales, “Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan” feels like a leisurely slice-of-life comedy surrounding the daily meals at the Emiya household, not unlike “Koufuku Graffiti” or “Amaama to Inazuma”.

The first episode was wonderful, not only was it lighthearted, funny and featured good pacing for its brief running time, feeling neither rushed nor drawn out, the animation by studio Ufotable stood out to me, it was absolutely terrific, making this a great example of how a slice-of-life show can be elevated thanks to a fitting animation style, apt colour palette and great overall quality.

Adored the “Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works” series as well as the “Carnival Phatasm” parody show, hence I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the Fate cast portrayed leading leisurely daily lives with heartwarming comedy moments. If the cooking scenes weren’t enough to make your mouth water, seeing characters like Saber rendered with such cute expressions as she enjoy her food will win over anyone. Makes me keen on seeing Rin, Sakura and Rider appear in future episodes.

Can hardly wait for the next episode! Although must admit that considering the quality of this first episode, it makes it worth to wait an entire month for each next episode as Ufotable is on course to deliver another epic Fate series, albeit a slice-of-life comedy about cooking this time instead of a fantasy action story.

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2018

明けましておめでとうございます。Happy New Year!
Wish everyone an excellent 2018 filled with joy and happiness.

Starting 2018 with a gorgeous illustration of cute tsundere Misaka Mikoto from “To aru Kagaku no Railgun” by DSマイル.

You can see more of DSマイル’s art on Pixiv.

Although I do welcome a third season of the “To aru Majutsu no Index” anime, am keen on another season of “To aru Kagaku no Railgun” and seeing more of Mikoto, Saten, Uiharu and Kuruko’s adventures. Hopefully they will make a third anime adaptation someday.

Last year there were a few events events privately and professionally that got me thinking more about how short life can be, who I want to be as a person, what I like doing and what I want to do. Am intent on continuing on a path to improve myself, work to become a happier person and make both a better private life as well as professional life.

Anime winter season 2017-2018

December 29, 2017

The new year fast approaches, bringing us a new anime season. Looking at the shows scheduled to air this winter, I picked out the following new series to watch.

  • Violet Evergarden
    Adapting the light novel “ヴァイオレット・エヴァーガーデン” into anime, this new show from renowned studio Kyoto Animation is highly anticipated after its promotional videos promised it would be a stunning visual spectacle. With an intriguing plot premise and plenty of room for interesting character development, am very much looking forward to “Violet Evergarden” although I do hope our high expectations of it will not lead to disappointment.
  • Overlord II
    After two compilation movies that recapped the first season were released earlier, this excellent isekai fantasy tale that features a fresh approach to its protagonist is back for a second season. Enjoyed the first “Overlord” anime so am thrilled it is getting a sequel, am curious to discover where its story will take us.
  • Yurucamp△
    My favourite anime genre being slice-of-life style shows, am looking forward to this anime adaptation of the “ゆるキャン△” manga which promises to be a leisurely, heartwarming story of five girls enjoying camping. Hope this new anime will be a good mix of slice-of-life elements featuring endearing characters spending time together in the breathtaking landscapes of Japan’s countryside like “Yama no Susume”, “Non Non Biyori” and “Flying Witch”.
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