Ugh, I should’ve made posts on Ben-to 4 and Fate/Zero 5 this week, but I’ve been lazy about blogging altogether and also that NaNoWriMo things is happening. On that note, you can read my story as I write it over at talesfromthe711.tumblr.com. It’s a series of short stories involving 7-Eleven convenience stores. Meanwhile, omo has been doing great posts on those shows, although not covering what I want to.
Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai gets better every week, proportional to its gain in characters. Watching episode five with a friend was a great idea and I can honestly say I enjoyed this week’s episode. Not that I suddenly think the show is “good” or anything, but here’s where it gets weird: I mostly enjoy this show for the voice acting.
Dantalian no Shoka has been great fun, and watching it inevitably makes me think about Gosick, another light novel-based anime set during the 20s starring a goth-loli. In turn, it also makes me think about the creative voices behind these two adaptions. This post is entirely speculation and fun on my part. It is neither my goal to interpret what the creators of these shows intended, nor to compare the shows in terms of quality.
I love talking about studios, whether I’m giving some less-respected ones the credit they deserve or driving the ones I hate as far into the ground as possible. It’s hard to call Gonzo a less-respected studio because in reality they’ve been one of the best-loved studios in anime for over a decade, but I’ll be giving them some love anyway.
I started off my J.C. Staff post by declaring them a “great” studio. I can’t say that about DEEN. Whereas J.C. Staff has shows that look good even if they suck, DEEN has shows that look like shit even if they’re good. Yet, while I could jump to the conclusion that this makes them a failure as a studio (in cases of adaptions, what good does it do if you don’t supply the most important thing—animation!?), the truth is that DEEN has a lot of good shows, regardless of their failings in animation. The studio even has a number of things going for it that only through watching a lot of their shows would you start to realize are definitive trademarks.
Some of those good points are as follows:
For a long time I’ve wanted to make a post about how great J.C. Staff is, since they get so much shit from the Western anime community in general (though they also get plenty of due respect). Now’s a good time to help raise awareness because a bunch of dumbasses are making top 10 lists of J.C. Staff anime—so I’m jumping into the fray.
It began with a random-ass survey on some Japanese website whose top 10 was then transplanted to Sankaku Complex. Top 50 is long, but since it’s a good way to look at a lot of shows at once, it’s a good way to start this post. Please note that the order of this list is absolutely fucking ridiculous (as in, I can’t fathom how the results came out this way).
Episode 2 of C was a letdown for the most part, but that’s okay because Steins;Gate and Astarotte no Omocha are putting up strong showings as easily my favorite shows this season. I can’t contain my fanboydom for either!
Astarotte ep 3 was so good it hurt, and Asuha in animation is the cutest god damn thing this side of planet Earth. At this point—unlike with Ao no Exorcist—I’m so far beyond the changes from the manga (which have gotten pretty major) that they barely register now. This anime is much better than the manga, not just for the already true reason that Okama’s art design is spectacular, but also because it’s written by the pens of gods.
I like to refer to Toradora as a sort of keystone in the Kugimiya Rie loli arch. Everyone and their grandma has known since 2007 that Kugimiya is best known for playing “tsundere” lolis, especially in J.C. Staff shows, and it’s only grown more true over the years, with this season’s (fucking terrible) Hidan no Aria reaching almost so-terrible-it’s-like-a-meta-commentary-on-the-overuse-of-Kugimiya levels of Kugimiya overdose.
Why is Toradora the keystone? Because it takes the character type, all too known for it’s inability to grow and develop and for being perpetually misunderstood, and then the whole purpose of the show is allowing the character to do just that through 24 episodes of the best melodrama in anime. Now we’ve got Astarotte no Omocha, which accomplishes something similar in the span of three episodes.
Obviously it’s not a replacement for Toradora because that growing process is important the way Toradora does it, but it’s also a very cool new animal to see the character so easily understood, and seeing how she’ll grow in that environment. It’s like Naoya is the father to Astarotte that Ryuuji was the lover to Taiga.
Plus the show is so fucking god damn adorable, I want to hug Asuha TO DEATH. Cute girls haven’t done this many cute things since Ichigo Mashimaro.
I guess someone in the studio has impeccable taste. SHAFT are known to have amazing original OPs and EDs done by unexpected or otherwise awesome artists (such as ryo on the Bakemonogatari ed and Ootsuki Kenji on Zetsubou Sensei’s everything), and the Ootsuki Kenji to Zetsubou Shoujo-tachi album is by far my favorite anime-related musical project (to the extent that I actually own the album!).