Winter 2010 Anime Initial Impressions (Except Vampire Bund)

I finally sat down to watch a bunch of the 2010 anime that I meant to watch. Actually, since I put it off, I got to watch two episodes of a few things. The only one I didn’t sit down to watch yet is Dance in the Vampire Bund. I’m still waiting on a few volumes of manga to come in from Right Stuf and I want to make sure that I’m up to date on the current U.S. releases before I start watching. I’ve heard that so far it’s more of a retelling than an adaptation anyway, but some similar events happen and I don’t want to spoil myself ahead of time. And now that we have explanations out of the way, on to the impressions.

Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu – So this is probably the one I’m going to enjoy the most this season. It was great.

The story revolves around a school with a new program. Students are placed into classes A through F with A being the best based on placement exam scores. The A classroom is… well, amazing. It has giant comfy chairs, laptops, self-serve bars with snacks (I’d assume no alcohol <.<), etc. The F room, where our heroes reside… Well, everything is falling apart. It’s also filthy. So what do our heroes do? They take advantage of a policy that lets them challenge other classes to matches in order to switch classrooms (or whatever condition the winner decides instead). They’re goal is to take Class A’s room at all costs.

Challenges occur by using “state-of-the-art technology” to call little mini-versions of themselves into battle with a strength equal to a given student characteristic like their last score in a given subject or their rank in the class. The two do a quick RPG-esque exchange of attacks and the loser is knocked out of the match (and sent to detention to study more).

The battle system is cute and all, but the real draw is in the characters. They’re quite amusing. The series is also home to Hideyoshi. Here’s a picture of Hideyoshi:

Turned on? Good. Hideyoshi’s a guy. Yep. A guy. Most of the internet is gay for him. He may be the best trap since Bridget. Even within the series itself, people are pretty gay for him.

It’s a fun running gag. Actually, it’s not really fair to call Hideyoshi a guy. Hideyoshi is neither a guy nor a girl, but a Hideyoshi. Proof:

Anyway, interesting series with great visuals, decent comedy, a colorful cast, and an excellent trap. Definitely following this one through to the end.

Sora no Woto – A.K.A. K-ON! at wartime.

This one’s a bit interesting. There’s a girl who wants to learn to play music, so naturally, she joins the military. That’s what people do, right?

Actually, in all fairness, it becomes pretty damn apparent after the second episode that this is a post-apocalyptic world of some sort. The unit our heroines are part of is in possession of a tank that no longer functions. This tank is a relic from ages past. It’s called a “zero generation” tank. It’s also a freaking spider tank and we do not have those yet. Their base is also an old school. Episode 2 has an interesting moment where our main character notes that they may be in a music room and the character with her can’t understand why they would teach music outside the army.

Regardless of the setting, it’s a pretty cute series so far. Very lighthearted and a nice, relaxing watch. However, you can’t help but have this feeling that, given the setting of the show and the history of it, shit WILL go down. If that ever happens, we have some potential awesome on our hands. The cast is also great. There’s a good balance of personalities. However, I do feel that not only the art style but the characters themselves are highly reminiscent of K-ON! It’s not really a bad thing, of course. K-ON! had a formula that worked, so it’s good. It’s just a little weird. Oh, and Yuu Kobayashi voices one of the characters ❤

Anyway, this one looks like it’ll be a good watch if it keeps the pace up since I’m a sucker for the slice-of-life direction it seems to be going in. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this one and I’m hoping for great things.

Durarara!! – First, a picture for the series, since I feel like I have to.

And now, a picture to sum up what I saw.

I seriously have no idea what was going on in most of this. But it was fucking sweet. FUCKING SWEET. Somebody hit someone else with a motorcycle and then SLAMMED THEIR HEAD INTO A WALL WITH IT.

Also, sorry I couldn’t get a widescreen/bigger shot there. Media Player Classic was being stupid and wouldn’t snapshot the frames I was telling it to, so I had to printscreen on my tiny 1086×768 resolution. (I need a new damn monitor.)

Anyway, series revolves around this guy who never left his home town before who is moving to Ikebukuro to go to school after an invitation from his old friend. I don’t really know anything about the series, so basically I just got to meet some characters and get a feel for the setting in the first episode. Also, I got to see the motorcycle thing, which was totally fucking sweet. Did I mention that yet?

I don’t know how I’ll feel about it as it goes on, but right now it’s a definite watch.

Ookamikakushi – This is Ryukishi07’s story with PEACH-PIT’s art thrown into a PSP visual novel and spat back out as an anime.

No one’s really expecting this one to be really good. The PSP VN got a lot of mixed reviews, I hear. The first episode wasn’t terribly interesting, but it did pique my interest.

The story is pretty similar to Higurashi (not a surprise given the same author) and it starts out with a guy moving into a new town and starting school there. There’s a town festival starting soon. Also, people go missing. So yeah, similar. To be a bit more in depth about it, the guy moves in with his dad and his little sister (who, for reasons yet unknown, is confined to a wheelchair). Upon moving in, he meets this weird girl who is extremely clingy in a fairly creepy sense.

This is totally normal behavior around someone you barely know.

So anyway, he goes to school and people seem to love him. He’s pretty average though, and never stood out at his old school. Even a girl who’s pretty new to town herself can’t seem to understand what makes the guy so popular. Well one guy nearly drags him out by the neck to “Science Club.” There’s another weird girl who shows up and doesn’t talk much. She stops him with very few words and everyone kinda pours out of the classroom. Main dude tries to talk to her and she blows him off saying he’s annoying. By this point, I’m having a hard time liking most of the characters. So anyway, creepy stalker chick and new girl and main guy head out to see the town. When they leave school, they see the guy that almost drug main dude out of the room. He panics and runs off. Last we see of him is the guy being chased by a group of costumed/masked people and one of them taking a scythe to him. I should probably mention that at this point he has glowing red eyes and may or may not be a warewolf or something. We don’t really know what happens to him since it takes place off-screen.

So yeah, not a whole lot to say about this one. I guess I’ll have to watch a few more eps (or the whole thing, since I believe it’s only slated to be a 13-episode show) and see where it goes. Watch status is in limbo at the moment.

Chu-Bra!! – Girls’ underwear! Yaaaay! …I think.

I’ll be quite honest. Watching an anime series about middle school girls and their underwear makes me feel really uncomfortable. I feel like I can hear the party van approaching. If nothing else, though, I guess it’s… informative? Educational?

So it’s about this girl (pictured above) that loves underwear. She also likes informing people about underwear. She decides to start an underwear club to teach girls about underwear. (So far after two episodes, we’re not even that far yet.) It’s pretty slow-paced, but it has some decent gags and jokes. It also has some fairly disturbing ones. Two words: Talking. Nipples. (Open link at your own risk. Almost definitely NSFW.)

Anyway, weird ass show. Not much to say about it. I didn’t expect much from it to begin with. I pretty much thought it would be complete crap. I’ll give it another episode or two and see where it goes, I guess.

BONUS ROUND

Musou Kakyou: A Summer Day’s Dream – Touhou animu! Fan-made.

This isn’t actually part of the 2010 season in any way, shape, or form. It’s actually a little over a year old. (It was released December 29th, 2008 at Comiket 75.) It’s a fan-made Touhou anime slated for three episodes, but only the first has been made. What’s notable about it is that it uses TOP TIER vocal talent from some incredibly well-known seiyuu. No one knows how MAIKAZE managed to get the funds or connections to make that happen (or if we do, it’s not wide-spread info), but it’s damn impressive. The episode is actually pretty impressive in its own right, too.

The story is that Reimu, our best most favoritist shrine maiden, is setting up for a festival. Her ol’ pal Suika is chillin’ with her. Unfortunately, after she sends Suika out for some shopping, she finds that the shrine’s donation box has been stolen. Aya, who happens to be snooping around, decides that she’ll help out. Calling Marisa out (or more accurately, dragging her there in seconds flat), the three of them head out to find out what’s missing. Checking in at the Scarlet Devil Mansion, we find more of our favorite characters, including Patchouli and Remilia, who have had things stolen from them as well. Nothing really gets resolved in this episode, but we do get a neat and well-done (albeit short) fight scene out of it as well as a few enjoyable moments with the girls.

You can find out more about it here. (PROTIP: If you want to watch it yourself, check the Links section on that page.)

Well, that does it for my little impression thing. I’ll throw some more impressions out for Dance in the Vampire Bund after I get/catch up on the manga for it. Right now, my order is backordered, so I can’t say for sure when that’ll be. I’m also not sure what to expect from me next. I started Demon’s Souls instead of Mirror’s Edge, but it’s a huge undertaking, so I may be bouncing around a few games. Expect either some kind of game review, Katawa Shoujo impressions, or just some random junk that I decide is blog-worthy.

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