Series Review: Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun (9/10)

Instant summary: Two social recluse, one incredibly violent and one incredibly studious, falls in love.

Can I say... faith in shoujo genre restored? Well, Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun proved that the genre doesn't have to be exceedingly formulaic and full of generic characters. At least that's true for the manga scene, and I'm glad the anime scene doesn't have to follow it.

The shoujo genre quickly becomes stagnant when they only care about squeezing in cool moment after cool moment, and main duo always seems to be stuck in a perpetual state of uncertainty towards each other, that makes me want to just plant their faces into each other yell "JUST F*CK ALREADY!". Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun was very, very different. It was an emotional roller-coaster that almost completely escaped the trend; the characters are frank with each other right at the beginning, and it's their unique personalities that brings their relationship to its highs and lows. And it wasn't a long, boring ride; the highest and lowest point of this roller-coaster can happen within the span of one or two episodes.

Speaking of unique personalities, I believe that's the primary reason Tonari no Kaibutsu-kun became something awesome. Let's begin with Shizuku, who is the complete opposite of a dreamy high-school girl desperate to fall madly in love. In fact, she unique enough to be one of my top bishoujos of the season. Icy, gritty and cynical, she's unfazed at the obscenely loud personality of Haru, including his violence, despite her tiny frame. But at the same time, it takes a man like Haru to get under Shizuku's shell, and actually got her to fall helplessly in love. He's both extremely predictable and unpredictable at the same time, and for a fun character, I couldn't ask for a better one. Together, they made things exciting. A term you never seem to hear for a shoujo title.

And it's often very, very funny. The anime is strangely energetic most of the time as well. In some ways, I guess it even broke the norms of a romance title.

I guess my problem is that it never got too exciting. The ending was extremely mellow; and while you can call it a good ending, it's also somewhat inconclusive. I guess it's a drawback for staying faithful to the source? I wish they could have ended on a more exciting chapter. It would be more impressive, and more importantly, more memorable.

Plot/Concept: Broke the limits of the genre into something fantastic!
Story Style: Uniquely energetic, funny, and moving!
Audio/Visual: Great
Value: 9

Random Musings: Gargantia Ep5, Railgun Ep4, Henneko Ep4, Valvrave Ep4

Amy grew several cup sizes for this, but that's a problem for approximate zero people. Big boob Amy FTW!
Episodic posts are a pain in the arse. Let see if I can try something new...

Suisei no Gargantia Ep5

- Probably one of the best beach episodes ever, except there were no beach.
- Thank god they didn't sparkle or glitter the shot where the "camera" pans over the girls in bikinis. I hate it when they oversell...
- They spent almost the entire episode in bikinis. Why can't more episodes be like these? Heck, why can't more animes be like this?
- Love how they nonchalantly flew around the whole fleet in their bikinis. It's like walking across your whole town in your swimsuit. I need to go live on the Gargantia.
- Is it still a mech anime at this point?

To-aru Kagaku no Railgun Ep4

- I'm pretty sure Misaka Imouto had flat, monochromatic brown eyes in the previous titles (Index 1, 2 and Railgun 1). She has normal eyes now... Is it J.C. Staff's attempt to give the character more "life"?
- They also changed Nunotaba Shinobu's unique eyes from the manga... something I'm not happy with.
- 4 episodes in and so little has happened... this is getting boring for me. Although it's mostly because this is my 4th time reading/watching the sisters arc. The ending is unlikely to differ much, so there's nothing to anticipate...
- Is Satou Rina getting too old for Misaka?

Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko Ep4

- In the first episode I'd have sworn that the main two characters had swapped traits. I guess that's not the case after all?...
- Unsurprisingly, cracks has already began to show. Episode 4 was incredibly rushed, and Onee-chan's character got dumbed down waaay to fast. It became unrealistic and almost ruined the character.

Valvrave the Liberator Ep4

- This episode makes me so mad, I don't know why I still clung on to hopes that it would be something good later on.
- Like, for example, Shouko would risk the authenticity of a piece of information that everyone's lives depends on, just to protect a unknown suspicious girl from being found out?
- Imagine how the series would be ruined if she actually stripped naked to prove a point? Well, if words doesn't work, tits should, right?
- So JIOR spend so much time and money to develop a mech that could kill the pilot if he made fun of the mech's mascot?
- So Haruto tries to convince the pilot not to get into the Valvrave... by screaming? How about some actual reason?
- Why won't he want another pilot for Valvrave anyway? We can always use a couple more vampires...
- The school song and the Moses thing made me cringe so hard.
- They were so dismissive of Shouko, but paid so much attention to L-elf?
- AND not arrest/capture him after that? No one finds him suspicious for knowing so much?
- The extremely pessimistic student body turns incredibly optimistic in 30 secs because a risky proposition from a teenager?
- So they're going to break away from the rest of the country? Don't they need supplies like, food, water, electricity and air?
- Just... look that the students chanting for Independence with Shouko as president...
- There's only two things I know for sure: one, Sunrise's trademark angsty protagonist is just going to get angst-ier, and two, the writers are just going to smoke even more pot for the rest of the season.

Spring 2013 First Impression Rankings

More crappy opinions and er... fanservice shots? It wasn't completely intentional...

1. Suisei no Gargantia
Easily topped the list with amazing animation and concept.

2. Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko
Filled the moé quota all by itself.

3. Hataraku Maou-sama!
Witty, funny, and beautiful chemistry between the down-to-earth demon king and bitchy warrior angel.

4. Aiura
Proof that you can actually impress with very little.

5. Ginga Kikoutai Majestic Prince
It's surprising that dumb comedy and intense mech battles can work together.

6. Yuyushiki
Slice-of-life in its purest form.

7. Namiuchigiwa no Muromi-san
A really dumb comedy, but that's the point.

8. Yahari Ore no Seishun Love Come wa Machigatteiru (On-hold)
Nice characters, but no idea where this is heading to.

9. Mushibugyo (On-hold)
Seems to be dragging to a 100+ episode anime, and the manga is actually better.

10. RDG: Red Data Girl (On-hold)
Immediately becomes really boring from the start, and P.A. Works can't save it with beautiful animation this time.

11. Devil Survivor 2 (Dropped)
Apparently my favourite character designer had a thing with boring storylines.

12. Valvrave the Liberator (On-hold)
Fucking unconfession. And terribly cliché.

13. Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge (Dropped)
Not unique enough to save itself from all the cheesiness.

14. Karneval (Dropped)
Have no idea what it wants to be other than a fujoshi bait.

15. Photo Kano (Dropped)
I could stomach a lot of sick, yet I still find this sickeningly perverted.

Series not included:
Aku no Hana (couldn't even be considered anime)
Hayate 3, Oreimo 2, Nyaruko 2, Hyakka Ryouran 2 (didn't finish prequel, probably going to suck anyway)
Date a Live, Arata Kangatari, Zettai Bouei Leviathan (unappealing)
Shingeki no Kyojin, Railgun 2 (waiting till it's finished... it's going to rock anyway)

First Impressions: Suisei no Gargantia

Instant Summary: A pilot of a state-of-the-art mech lands on Earth, and gets picked up by a (seafaring) fleet with technology a few eons behinds.

I know, it's already pretty late for such a post, but this is the last one. I sure saved the best for the last didn't I? Suisei no Gargantia pretty much secured the best title of the season with the first episode, and I'm disappointed to say that no other title in the season came close.

Personally, Gargantia has the best mech designs out of the 3 mech titles this season. It's much more detailed than Majestic Prince's, and not as messy as Valvrave's. The important thing is that while Gargantia's mech spent a lot of time on screen looking fabulous, Majestic Prince's mechs and the Valvrave spent a lot of time in the background, far shots, or blurry action scenes. The premises of this show didn't even need a flashy mech battle, but they did it as a prologue anyway, and made it look fantastic.

The background is amazing. The beautiful clear skies and endless ocean created an amazing setting for the show. In fact, it's probably good enough to forget about the space battles altogether. It's also amazingly detailed, right down to the "primitive" tools of Gargantia, the rust from the salvage and the girls' outfits that suggests a unique heritage. And there's the character designs; it's a character designer's trick to use big, bright eyes to inject liveliness and youth into a character (think Eru Chitanda), and the effect here is multiplied by their contrasting dark skin; although they almost had a constant surprised look, you can really feel a lot of their energy, that which makes them really likable.

Enough about animation! What sets this apart is that there's already quite a bit of development in the characters and their relationships, as they're bridging the disparity between the two groups in terms of culture and technology. I love seeing how they're already warming up to one other, from the beginning where they held each other at gunpoint. The relationship between the bubbly Amy and stony Ledo is a rom-com in the making! And of course, there's also the bits of comedy gold. Damn primitives and their animal corpse-eating habits!

And finally, there's also the action, which can be exciting without being explosive. That's saying a lot when there has only been a few battles so far. Having your protagonist hold a overwhelming combat advantage can be pretty cool.

This is probably way too long for a first impression, but this very well shows how impressed I am with Gargantia.

Outlook: Already secured the best title of the season.

First Impressions: Hentai Ouji to Warawanai Neko

Instant Summary: By the magic power of a cat statue, a girl becomes an instant kuudere, and a guy became unable to hide his perverse thoughts.

An anime based on lolis being absurdly cute? I approve!

Outlook: Two words, MOE OVERLOAD!

Fun Fact: Ishihara Kaori and Ogura Yui, respective VAs of Azusa and Tsukiko, are supposed BFFs and forms the singing duo YuiKaori.