Sunday, January 30, 2011

Winter Streaming Season: Thoughts, part 2

[Note: I forgot to mention this in my last post, but I will not be discussing Fractale or Mitsudomoe 2. The reasons for not discussing Fractale are obvious, seeing as I've already written two reviews of the show, and Mitsudomoe 2 is a sequel to a show I haven't watched, making it not so fun to talk about.]

Level E

Style! Sci-Fi! Buddies.

Level E is one of this year's thankfully plentiful examples of good anime. Based on an obscure manga from the '90s by the author of Yu Yu Hakusho and Hunter x Hunter (that will hopefully be translated), Level E isa buddy comedy with shades of serious science fiction, and vise versa. After moving into a new apartment located near a UFO crash landing, high school student Yukitaka Tsutsui enters his new home to find... a man with long, blonde hair and bishonen looks by the name of Prince sitting in his apartment room wearing Yukitaka's clothes and claiming to be an alien. An incredibly fresh sci-fi romp ensues, with perhaps the most stylish opening credits since Cowboy Bebop's "Tank!". Prince is a remarkably ridiculous character who plays off straight man Yukitaka in a remakable fasion, and yet, as casually hinted several times, there is an elaborate alien plot behind it all. Studio Pierrot's cg animation is also quite remarkable and (mostly) meshes with its 2d surroundings, which should be commended too. And really, how could I hate a show with this promo? Now, here's what the commenters on Crunchyroll had to say:

now this is more interesting than i thought from reading the text..
i laughed my @$$ off at the puppets ahaaha XD
Not a bad start to this series, love sci fi anime, will continue to watch 
Wandering Son

And now I present to you, the best anime of winter '11

Cross-dressers have been the subject of manga and anime before, but never before has it been handled so tenderly. Based on the manga of the same name being released in english later this year by Fantagraphics, Wandering Son airs on Noitamina (try spelling it backwards) the excellent animation block that gave us last year's Princess Jellyfish and this year's Fractale. Wandering Son is about two first year middle schoolers, Shuichi Nitori and Yoshino Takatsuki. Last year, Nitori confessed his love of Takatsuki, but what keeps them close friends is not romance, but a shared secret that no-one can ever know. Takatsuki likes wearing boy's clothes, while Nitori likes wearing wigs and dresses. This initial description, sadly, would not be enough to inspire confidance in Wandering Son, as many jaded otaku will think, "Great, another forgettable fanservice show with gender confusion," but the content of this show is dead serious. Nitori and Takatsuki must confide in eachother in a world that does not understand them. It is not funny at all when Nitori is caught by his sister while trying her new dress, and runs off wailing still wearing the skirt. This is an upsetting and delicate moment when a side of himself he had never shown to anyone but himself and his most trusted friend is shown to the last person he wanted to know. In short, this show is amazing. Now, here's what the commenters on Crunchyroll had to say:

Absolutely every moment of this episode took my breath away. If this keeps up, it will be a gorgeous show about a rarely touched-upon subject. I'll be sure to tune in for the rest!

OMG!! this show is PERFECT for me

interesting i love the art work its so... different
Hrm! Very stylish and mysterious.... Hrm!

This looks good. GOSICK is in fact probably Studio Bones' (Fullmetal Alchemist, Rahxephon) most visually satisfying entries to date. In a very gothic looking 1924 in the made-up english country of Sabure, at the prestigious St.Marguerite's Academy, Japanese (of course) student Kujo Kazuya, aka the Dark Reaper because as we all no nobody in Europe has dark hair (??), encounters, as Crunchyroll's description puts it, "a girl who is as beautiful as a doll..." who is a genius and some dude with a ridiculously cool pompadour (I am beginning to doubt this show's historical accuracy) and stylish gothic mysteries ensue! This is very good. However, I ran into the problem I have had with many adaption shows, particularly light novel adaptions, before. This show is WAY to faithful to the original, and it makes the show boring, despite the aforementioned style, and this is one show that really suffers from that due to the fact that the mystery is ludicrously over the top. Oh well, it's still good.Now, here's what the commenters on Crunchyroll had to say:

I think some foundation or backstory is missing here. Seems there are a number of elements of these characters and why they are doing things not even hinted at yet. Confusion has many friends.
Also, hopefully the cases get more complex. Otherwise I'll just stick to Detective Conan.
run bunnies run!!! O-o
In Our Final Installment: Moe Blobs and Mutilation

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