First Impression #2: Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru and Ketsuekigata-kun!

It’s been a while but me haz returned! Sorry for not posting anything the past weeks, I didn’t really feel like it and had some things to take care of. Anyways, let’s get down to business.

Over the past few weeks many animes have started and I picked up eight of them. Tbh, I did not expect this to happen because I did not think really highly of this season at first. Well, I’ve been proven wrong. On todays First Impression we have: Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru and Ketsuekigata-kun!

FI

Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru (The titles are getting longer and longer, don’t they?) or “My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU” seems like your typical high school romantic comedy involving three main protagonists. We have our antisocial high school student who has no friends, Hachiman Hikigaya, our hyperactive girl who tries to fit in and one more Yui to add to our collection (srsly, they are so many) Yui Yuigahama – Double Yui – and the slient yet very beautiful heroin Yukino Yukinoshita. Yui and Yukino must have so creative parents! Anyways, this is our set up. Typical, like I said.

Yui, Yukino and Hikigaya

If it’s so typical why should one watch it? Well, it has Hikigaya. He might fall into the usual “loner without friends, bored with life, can’t talk to girls” archetype but he’s totally fine with it. He doesn’t want friends, is fine with himself and wants all the others to kill themselves. This is why he ends up in a club that only has one member and, surprise surprise, this member is the most beautiful girl in the whole school, Yukino Yukinoshita. But what is that club? Simple, it’s the glorious volunteers club. “What?”, you may ask. “There are those who, out of the goodness of their hearts, provide for those who are in need. Society calls them volunteers. We extend a helping hand to those in need. That is why the club exists.” That!

Exactly!

Hikigaya ends up to be Yukinos newest ‘client’ even though he has no problems what so ever when it comes to him. Naturally they both don’t like each other right away because she’s beautiful and she knows it while he hates everybody especially the popular kids. Soon he finds out that Yukino isn’t all so popular because people have to tendencies to dislike those that are better than them, resulting in Yukino being bullied very often and her avoiding people as well. Similarities found! Time to give them both their real first ‘client’ thus introducing Yui Yuigahama. She has a problem, Hikigaya and Yukino help her out and she has so much fun with both of them that she decides to join the club afterwards. This is the beginning of Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru and their story of how they help people. In the following episodes they do that in their own ways, they are confronted with the popular kids and have to work on their teamwork. All in all I enjoyed all three episodes so far and would recommend to watch it if you like simple high school settings, Yuis or romances because it doesn’t go the usual romance comedy route and sticks more to the actual plot of helping others so far. Don’t know how that will change in future episodes but we’ll get there.

The anime is produced by Brains Base who also did animes like Baccano! and Durarara!!, and is directed by Yi Yoshimura who directed several episodes of Gintama, Kuroshitsuji and Ore no Imou(moar long titles…).

I don't even know why I put this there...

The second anime of today is called Ketsuekigata-kun! which translates to “Blood type-kun” and that is what the show is about: blood types. Literally. The blood types are the main characters. And I don’t mean this show has four characters, each one with a different blood type, no! The blood types themselves are the main characters.

Ketsuekigata-kun!

All the episodes are about two minutes long and show how the individual blood types react in a very comical and funny way. The episodes start with questions like “Which blood type might say something that shows their lack understanding the situation”. Then we see the different views of the blood types to said situation. We have blood type A who is serious and kind but indecisive, B who’s liberal and unique but thick headed. Blood type O who is hard-working and a romanticist but gets angry easily and AB who has the positive sides of A and B but plays hard to get. I like this anime for its simplicity and hey, each episode is two well invested minutes. You even learn something. Ketsuekigata-kun! is produced by Earth Star Entertainment.

AB reigns supreme?

And that’s it for today. Next time I’ll probably write about Toaru Kagaku no Railgun S and Suisei no Gargantia. Both are pretty enjoyable shows that deserve to be written about. So long… sayonara!

Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo Review!

Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo. Oh yes, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo! Or in English “The Pet girl of Sakurasou”. I had no intention of ever watching this show if it weren’t for a friend of mine who was in love with it. When the anime hit its 17th episode I started watching it, thinking until I caught up to episode 17 the anime would already be over… boy, was I wrong. I caught up to episode 17 in three days. Today I hold this anime very dearly to my heart because it touched me emotionally on multiple levels and it even made me cry. Yes, Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo is one of the three animes (and entertainment mediums overall) that has made me “cry”. The other two being Pokémon (the episode Ash let Butterfree go. Admit it you cried too) and the second Rebuild of Evangelion movie. Funny thing is you could count Sakurasou and Evangelion as one because of the very specific reason I “cried”. Enough about me though.

Sakurasou-no-Pet-na-Kanojo

Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo is a 24 episode anime produced by J.C. Staff and directed by Atsuko Ishizua. Until then Ishizuka only directed several episodes for Aoi Bungaku Series and Supernatural: The Animation which are both Madhouse Studio shows. Sakurasou was therefore her first full project as a director and completely different from her previous works. With that in mind Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo can easily count as her masterpiece and will probably not be overshadowed by anything by her any time soon. The anime is an adaption of the Light Novel of the same name which is not yet finished by the way.

In the beginning of the first episode we get to see Kanda Sorata in school being bored by everything in the world (a bit like Light in Death Note) until he wakes up at home because one of his cats stuck its butt in his head. Not the best way to wake up. And if it couldn’t be worse he’s not the only one to in his own personal one-bed-room. Kamiigusa Misaki, a very hyperactive and a bit perverted girl (or alien as Sorata likes to call her) who cannot ever shut up slept over. Again. Pretty soon we’ll find out that Misaki is not the only crazy person in Kandas life. The whole house he lives in consists only of so called ‘problem students’ and this is what Sakurasou is.
Sakurasou – the place where all the special students move to because they couldn’t live in the normal dorms. They and Sorata. He had to move there for a different reason which is his habit of picking up cats.

Cats

Sakurasou no pet na neko?

As a totally normal guy living with those problem students is hell for Sorata and all he wants to do is move out as quickly as possible. This all changes when Shiina Mashiro appears!

Shiina Mashiro

Tadaaaaaa!

Mashiro is the cousin of the teacher who runs Sakurasou and just moved to Japan from England. Needless to say she is also quite special. She can do nothing on her own and I mean almost absolutely nothing. She can’t even change her clothes without the help of Sorata who is pretty quickly forced to Mashiro-Duty, meaning he has to take full care of her. This leads to many funny, easily misunderstandable by outside people, situations which embarass Sorata most of the time while Mashiro doesn’t even realize why the situation is strange at all.

naked

Well, in her defense, she just woke up…

The characters are where the anime really shines. The residents of Sakurasou may be called ‘problem students’ but in reality they are all some kind of geniuses. Misaki already animated full anime shows that made her incredibly rich. Mitaka Jin, who writes the storyboards to Misakis animations is not that of a genius but he’s great at picking up women, and Akasaka Ryuunosuke, a complete shut-in who almost never leaves his room hates women and mainly communicates via a maid-program that he wrote himself, is a programming genius. They as well as Sorata and Mashiro make a very varied and wonderful cast that you can’t get bored with. All of them have their own stories, habits and perks that make you love them even more. This goes from Mashiro believing in the power of the pantsu to Ryuunosuke who trusts tomatoes more than people. Later on ‘normal student’ and friend of Sorata, Aoyama Nanami, joins the main cast and makes a great addition to them just by being relatively normal opposed to all the other shining personalities.

Aoyama

As the slice of life anime this show is, we follow the residents of Sakurasou through their everyday life in high school and beyond. We get to explore why they ended up in Sakurasou and became the way they are now and become to be at the end of the anime. The interactions between the characters is fantastic and you easily feel connected with them. What makes it stand out from other slice of life animes might be the one question that Sorata is confronted more than once. What are we actually doing with our lifes? Are the normal people only there to play catch-up with the geniuses only to fail? Why is life so unfair that some people have to work so hard when others are good at something without even trying and what differentiates normals from geniuses? The anime takes on these questions very well and you can relate to both sides even if you consider yourself either a ‘genius’ or a normal person.

On the technical sides of things the anime is well animated, the characters and backgrounds look pretty good and especially Mashiro has something special to her. I know people who started watching it only because they liked how Mashiro looked (it was also one of the reasons for me to watch it). All the voice actors did a great job. They brought so much life to the characters with no exceptions. Though, I want to point out Ai Kayano who voiced *surprise surprise* Mashiro. Her performance was outstanding in the emotional and dull parts both and the ones where Mashiro gets to talk more. They couldn’t have chosen a better voice actor for her role.
The openings and endings were okay. Nothing too special and rather common for this kind of anime but they fit the series. Same goes for the soundtrack. It fits but nothing really stands out.

All in all Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo is a fantastic anime that can capture your heart quickly and won’t let you go until you finished it. There were only some little things that could probably be done better but hey, nothing is perfect. I recommend it to anyone who likes slice of life animes and even to people who don’t usually watch this kind of show. I’m one of those people normally and you can see how much I love Sakurasou. Watch it. It’s good!

Sakurasou.no.Pet.na.Kanojo.full.1286636
Sidenote + SPOILERS for EVANGELION and SAKURASOU:

The very reason I “cried” while watching Sakurasou no Pet na Kanojo. I somehow feel the need to explain.

In episode 24 the graduation ceremony takes place which is really emotional as it is, even though the main cast gets kicked out for almost causing a riot. Later on a piano can be heared playing a song that is normally played at graduation ceremonies of elementary schools and they all sing along. This song, called Kyou no Hi wa Sayounara, can also be heared in the Rebuild of Evangelion 2.22 movie in the scene where Asuka almost gets killed by the dummy-plug. The brutality in this scene underlined by a song sung by children really struck a chord with me. The whole scene was so gruesome, sad and emotional, I shed a tear. If it weren’t for the song I wouldn’t have but soundtrack can have such a huge impact on a scene. Then, when I heard the exact same song in Sakurasou but this time they were all happy and relieved I myself couldn’t take it. In my head I associated this song with the brutality of Asuka almost being murdered yet I saw the main cast of Sakurasou singing along to it happily. Too many emotions for me! And I am normally not a very emotional person but let me listen to this song I will always react.
Getting this off of my chest felt really good.

Senran Kagura Anime Review!

Hey, I have some time to spare and this new blog + something I kinda wanna talk about… so let’s do this!

The anime winter 2013 season is almost over with most of its shows having reached their climax and end in the last week. One of those shows I was watching and finished recently is called Senran Kagura. It’s an anime basically about ninjas doing ninja stuff… or is it? Yeah, not really.

Off the grid Senran Kagura is a 12 episode anime, adapted from the PSVita game of the same name, produced by FUNimation Entertainment and directed by Takashi Watanabe who is famous for directing animes like Freezing, Groove Adventure Rave, Shakugan no Shana(!) and the first season of Ikki Tousen. He even worked on the storyboard for Death Note, this guy knows what he’s doing.

The anime starts off by showing us main character Asuka (the characters all seem to lack last names which is probably a ninja thing) fighting off random ninjas in the shadows, looking really cool and strong, giving you a glimpse of what the show could be like. Which of course, is a good first impression.

Action in bikinis!   

What follows is the opening theme! After that we are told that Asuka is moving back to the city of Asakusa returning to ninja school and continuing her aim of becoming a good ninja and making her granddad proud. On the ship to Asakusa she meets a mysterious girl in black school uniform, engaging in small talk with her. If only she knew at that point that she’ll meet her again some time soon!
Next stop: Asuka arrives at Hanzou Academy which is basically a normal school with a secret ninja school hidden within. If you ask me that’s not really the ideal place to hide a ninja school in but who am I to judge and there needs to be a reason why they are all wearing normal school uniforms! Even though they don’t seem to attend regular classes. So yeah… we’re then finally introduced to Asukas classmates. Dutiful and somewhat bossy Ikaruga, hyperactive big-boobed blonde Katsuragi, clumsy and shy Hibari and finally the silent eye-patch wearing, overprotective when it comes to Hibari, Yagyuu. And yes, they all lack last names. It must be a ninja thing. On the other hand, their teacher Kiriya-sensei, does have one. Maybe you get your ninja last name when your education is over. Who knows? Kiriya-sensei informs Asuka then that her last mission (the awesome scene from before the opening) was basically a total disaster yet she passed by surviving. Works for her.

By now the main introductions are over which means there is time for some action! Clothes changing action! And of course ninja training.

Katsuragi might be more into boobs than some guys. And she goes for ’em

The first episode definitely left a good impression on me showing what we can expect in the future. Ninja missions, some kind of plot, ecchi here and there and comedy. To get to know the characters and their backstories better they show us lots of flashbacks with each of the main characters getting their own episodes. Some are better, others are not this good.

On the opposing side of the five main character girls are the five antagonists. All of them are well-trained ninjas and clearly stronger than the protagonists at first. Their objective is not clear at first, the only thing we know is that they are fighting for the dark side of the force – I mean, they attend a dark ninja school. Dark ninjas basically do the same thing as not-dark-ninjas only more ruthless and apparently enjoy better education. Dark side for the win! Later we find out that they want the secret ninja scroll, hidden in Hanzou Academy so they can add it to their ninja scroll and rule over the world! (Or something) Sounds a bit… textbook. Luckily the antagonist ninjas also have their backstories and flashbacks over the course of the anime and I personally have to say that I was more interested in them than in the protagonists. I mean, they have a bean sprout addicted blonde called Yomi and a green haired snake like girl who doesn’t give a crap about anything at all called Hikage. Also, the mysterious girl Asuka met on the ship and later on, Homura. They and the other two, Mirai and Haruka, seem way more ballanced out as a group than the protagonists are.

The sexy antagonists!

Somewhere about in the middle of the anime I asked myself why I was still watching it and wondered if I should drop it entirely because it seemed rather pointless to me. I have seen way better ecchi themed animes and the same goes for plot driven shows. Yet I still powered through and do not regret it because in the end it actually gets good again. The final battle between the good and the dark ninjas had some pretty cool fighting scenes, was interesting, exciting and had a nice piece of wisdom to tell.

Technically speaking, the animation was good, there was nothing to complain about really and the voice actors were fitting (since I can’t speak Japanese I really can’t judge them anyways but the cast seemed fitting to me). Mentionworthy might be Yuu Kobayashi who is the voice actor for Katsuragi. She also does a great job as Sarutobi Ayame in Gintama and Setsuna Sakurazaki in the Mahou Sensei Negima! animes. You also might have heard her in rather small rolls in animes like Fairy Tail, Bleach and Medaka Box. I’d watch a second season if they decide to make one.

Aaaaaaaand sidebar stuff:

Sometimes I find myself wondering why the protagonists are children or teenagers doing adult jobs or why the main cast only consists of girls, when being a ninja sounds more like a guy-job for me. Of course, the videogame probably sells better that way and the anime gets more viewers by having a sexy cast but just logically speaking… this makes little to no sense. It’s also not explained in Senran Kagura but I figured it out myself! Haha! In order to become stronger the ninjas use scrolls. But they don’t seem to read them. They just stuff ’em in their cleavage and boom – super powers! You can’t do that as a guy. These girls must have some magic like part in their cleavage that absorbs the scrolls and gives them an increase of power. We always knew that cleavages hold magic power and that men (and even women) are drawn to them but this takes the cake.

Also, in the last episode Watanabe shows us that he directed Shakugan no Shana by having a Shana cameo appearance! Not really, but this is what I thought when I saw following picture:

Shakugan no Homura?

All in all if you like light ecchi, ninjas and girls eating long sushi rolls in a somewhat sexy manor this show might be right for you!

If you expect a fantastic plot and/or full on ecchi you will most likely be disappointed.
And of course, if you play the videogames, watch it too. It is fun and has Hikage in it.

The sweet Hikage ❤

That’s it for my really first review ever~! Feel free to leave a comment. Tell me what you liked, disliked and what could have been done better. I’m here to learn and to improve. See you next time!