Whimsical pictures: The first week of winter 2010

by Grungi

So, this first week of the season was quite good. I had initially planned to follow 4 shows this season, but in the end I think I’ll had a fifth one to the list, thanks to rave reviews it has had on other blogs and its first episode which did not disappoint.

Without further ado, here’s what I saw :

Sora no Woto – 01

I was very hesitant about that one, because I’m really not into purely “moé” anime. That’s why I didn’t watch K-ON, especially when I learned it had not a lot of music in it (yet it’s about a “light music club”, go figure). But anyway, Sora no Woto was being foreseen as K-ON, but with a plot, so in the end I gave it a try. And I did well !

Tough the first episode wasn’t spectacular, it set up a number of element that could steer the show away from the pure moé/slice-of-life routine and into more mysterious territories. Episode 2 should be out and subbed any time now, so I’m eager to know if it stays as good.

Oh, and the backgrounds look gorgeous. The characters are nothing very new or special, but they get the job done. Music also seems to play an important part in the show, so I’m paying special attention to that too.

Verdict so far : Very Good

Ookami Kakushi – 01

This one has a plot coming from the same guy that made the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni games, and that’s why I’m watching it. Unfortunately, it seems like the same old drill: a town whose people are divided between those who embrace progress and those who refuse it, murders and mystery ensue.

Altough it’s far too early to draw conclusion, as of now it looks like it’ll be good, but nowhere as awesome as Higurashi was. It stills does that “innocent-looking while somewhat disturbing” thing very well, so if it’s taken in an original direction, who knows…

Verdict : Good

Dance in the Vampire Bund – 01

I’m usually not particularly fond on vampire animes, but this one was by SHAFT, so I had to at least try it. Some people must have been relieved to see no walls of text and other bi-color shots so prominent in many SHAFT shows, but for me it was a bit too conventional.

Sure, for the most part the episode was supposed to be a TV talk show about vampires, but it maybe felt a little too mundane for its own good. And when the action picks up, it resolves pretty quickly, and the cliffhanger isn’t really breathtaking. But it’s SHAFT (and Shinbo as the director), so who knows how it’ll turn out.

Verdict : So-so

Durarara!! – 01

This is this season’s serious business. Probably the most hyped show this winter, and for good reasons ! Many people found the opener to be somewhat of a letdown, but oh boy, not me. It delivered everything it had promised, and then some : the trendy urban setting and characters, the mysterious headless killer, the edgy designs…

The first episode is packed with information, and at first the viewer can really empathize with the main protagonist who has some trouble adapting to the frantic pace of the life in Ikebukuro. But this show is sure to be a thrilling ride with its seemingly awesome cast, which include a big black russian sushi chef (yeah, yeah, really), a guy throwing vending machines around and all the trendy people we get to see in this first episode.

And of course there’s the mysterious headless rider. So, well, basically this one can’t go wrong. From the character designs somewhat reminiscent of Yozakura Quartet and the cool setting, it’s bound to be awesome.

Verdict : Awesome

Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu – 01

This is the fifth show I was referring to in the intro. I have seen my share of weird school concepts in drama and anime, but I guess this one tops them all. Can you imagine a school where student are distributed in the classes according to their grades, class A (for the best students) being incredibly luxurious, while class F being a dump, and where classes wage war on one another using summoned chibi versions of themselves ?

No ? Well, me neither, until I watched this. Then, add to that the fact that the chibi summons have stats which depend on their student’s grades on the last test. Oh, and yes, to restore their energy mid-battle, the student can take “recovery tests” to boost their summon’s stats. In the end, the class who wins the battle, defeating the other’s class rep, can switch classrooms with the looser.

Yeah, this is insane. But it’s very entertaining to watch nonetheless !

Verdict : Great

End Notes : I’m currently debating whether to add pictures to these posts… What do you think ? Comment and tell me. I don’t wanna make those longer than they should, but maybe it’s a bit dry without pictures.