Spring 2011 anime first impressions and recently completed Winter 2011 anime reviews by Kia (Some rights reserved)
The New (Slice of Lifers)
Hanasaku Iroha © P.A Works, Masahiro Ando, Square Enix, and Staffers
Sixteen-year-old Ohana Matsumae struggles to find herself amidst the ups and downs of teenage life. Raised by a single parent, Ohana holds an odd view regarding childbirth. In fact, she's still questioning her own existence. With a mother she can't look up to, who comes saddled with an irresponsible boyfriend, Ohana doesn't expect life to turn 180 degrees when her mother suddenly goes on a moonlight flit and sends Ohana to a hot springs inn belonging to Ohana's grandmother. Without any options, Ohana spends her remaining high school life living and working at the inn.
My confession after the first episode. Tears, though not much, ran down my cheeks. No, I did not sob. It didn't get to that point yet. I hope not! Anyway, I can relate to Ohana's problems, experience or no experience. It's a good slice of life anime, the kind you'd relax with a cup of coffee after a long day. It didn't bore me and kept me captivated with the background art, its slow pace regardless. I do hope there will be more comedy along the way. And I'm looking forward for more!
Nichijou © Kyoto Animation, Ishihara Tatsuya, Arawi Keiichi, Kadokawa Shoten, and Staffers
Nichijou literally means Everyday Life. The story follows quirky high school students and their apparently not-so-normal lives. From a girl who shouts
Selamat Pagi without knowing its meaning and saves her favourite sausage for last to a boy who rides a goat to school and pretends to be a noble — the lives of these people can never get less ordinary.
If I were to have an "Everyday Life" right out of Nichijou, I think I'd lose count of how many times my jaw dropped during the insane routines. This anime is all about comedy — from the ones you clearly understand to those just too bizzarre to take. I love to laugh in general, so watching this doesn't hurt as long as time permits *winks* My advice: If you love Azumanga Daioh and you fell out of your seat while reading Yotsuba&!, you'll love Nichijou!
The Then: Still Slice of Life (with a spice of Romance!)
Hourou Musuko © AIC Classic, Ei Aoki, Shimura Takako, Enterbrain, and Staffers
Do you ever feel like you're trapped in a wrong body? This question wanders inside Shuichi Nitori's mind. He hit puberty just as he entered the first year of middle school and while cross-dressing isn't his hobby, needs must: he wants to become a girl. Overcoming such an epiphany, Nitori relies on the support of friends, especially the one he most admires, the ever so boyish Yoshino Takatsuki. As the clock ticks, Nitori makes new discoveries about himself and his world. Will he continue to pursue his dream? Or will he keep himself wandering around his thoughts for the time being?
Honestly speaking, the series tackles a difficult subject. I've never crossed paths with anyone confused or insecure about his/her own gender, but this anime taught me a good lesson. In other words, cross-dressing has a deeper meaning, especially when wrapped up in a flawless package. That's Hourou Musuko for you. Lastly, the characters are either too plain or too complicated. Sometimes you can't help but to scream just like I did:
You're still in middle school for banana's sake! But then again, that's what makes this anime unique.
Kimi ni Todoke 2nd Season
Kimi ni Todoke © Production I.G, Kaburaki Hiro, Shiina Karuho, Shueisha, and Staffers
Kazehaya! Kuronuma! Kurumizawa! When those names echo in our shoujo heads we're completely aware of who they are, aren't we? Yes, Kimi ni Todoke continues after the snowy and bubbly New Year of the previous season.
On Valentine's day, Kuronuma Sawako struggles and hesitates to give Kazehaya the chocolates she made due to her almost-uncontainable feelings of love for him. After provoking her own thoughts and a long-winded monologue, she decides not to give him any. Didn't she ever think that Kazehaya would be anxious? Of course not, after all, she thought Kazehaya was only being "thoughtful" of her. Unknowingly, a certain blond guy places her in the crosshairs. What's going to happen in the 2nd year of high school? And then the school festival? Will the gap between Kazehaya and Kuronuma widen? Or will they convey their feelings for one another? One thing for sure, Kimi ni Todoke will never run out of floating bubbles!
The summary is long but the content is rather short for a reason. I'm sure most of us here have read this part of the manga several times already :p I can never wipe the smile off my face every time I watch this (except for the depressing parts *sighs*). Also, tiny bit of spoiler here: during the school festival parade, Kazehaya's parents were shown for a short while! If you KimiTodo lovers have read the recent chapters, you know what they look like already. Last but not least is the advice: If you've either watched the 1st season or read the manga, the 2nd season is definitely a must!
Images used here for reference are © their respective intellectual rights holders. No infringement intended.