To me it felt like finally fall season was a strong quarter of new anime again! It seemed like it was relatively balanced regarding different genres and to some extent a couple of new seiyuu were able to make their debut. I will list the shows that I’ve enjoyed the most this fall. That said, I’m not including DAYS since it’s basically a summer leftover but I enjoy it so very much nevertheless, therefore I must lose a few words on it before I get started.
I usually get invested in every sports anime there is, somehow they always seem to be able to get me at least a little bit captivated. Of course, there are those I enjoy more than others but in general, I’m always happy to see a new kind of sports adapted in anime. The fall season did offer not only one but six!! new sports anime and nevertheless the one I’m enjoying the most is still DAYS from the previous season. I believe what draws me in with this series is not necessarily the football maneuvres but rather the interesting characters and how their relationships in- and outside the team develop and change. Surely DAYS doesn’t re-invent anything we haven’t seen before, but the character designs are interesting – not too flashy and not overly realistic either. The 24 episodes merely guided us through the protagonists journey from the starting line to the first serious tournament that puts their team on the line, particularly the third-year members for which this is their last chance to rise to the top. Unfortunately I haven’t had the chance to read the manga yet so I will excitedely dependen on the sequel for now.
Not too long ago I approached an animated show for children that already aired 9 years ago: Happy Happy Clover. It’s a very straightforward slice of life story about the every day adventures of the bunny girl Chima and her friends in Crescent Moon Forest. Of course, my main motivation to watch Happy Happy Clover was strongly influenced by the fact that Koyasu voices a character in it. It is a bunny called Tabiusagi-san (which literally translates to “traveling bunny”, but I read that his localised English name was in fact Rambler).
A his name suggests, Tabiusagi-san travels many different places and when he comes by Crescent Moon Forest the animals always ask him to tell them all about his wonderous adventures. He does have a healthy amount of self-confidence on him and appears to be much older than Chima and her friends, but nevertheless he’s still just a bunny and therefore really cute most of the time. Especially his voice is cute, Koyasu did a wonderful job of portraying this character headstrong and charming and at the same time perfectly adorable and calm, regarding his tone. There was a scene when Chima, who has a crush on him, comes to wake him up in order to challenge him to a race and he’s just so annoyed because he wants to sleep a little longer. That might have been one of my favourite moments because cutesy and pouty Koyasu is something I absolutely adore but don’t get to hear that often compared to other voices he does.
Happy Happy Clover itself isn’t particularly good, nor is it completely bad. It’s leightweight entertainment with a good cast and decent character designs but if not for my bias, I propably wouldn’t have watched all 13 episodes. Interestingly enough there were some pretty sad topics too, e.g. how Tabiusagi-san mentions he doesn’t have a home because his forest was burnt down by humans, together with his parents. That’s rather harsh, is it not? Obviously they didn’t elaborate on this very much because of the audience it’s directed at. Tabiusagi-san must have suffered a lot in the past, although he seems fine in the series. I keep wondering if the directors had something deeper planned for the plot or if they just needed some tragic background story. Another thing that pleasently surprised me was how Tatsuhisa Suzuki was voicing the prankster fox named Charaku. Tatsun was the last person I’d expect to show up in this anime but naturally he, too, did a great job at portraying his character. In general, this show was really interesting in regard of hearing a handful of seiyuu with slightly younger voices and a range different from their usual one.
Shin-Ei Animation’s adaptation Amaama to Inazuma(Sweetness and Lightning) based on Gido Amagakure’s manga of the same title has started airing and the first episode was absolutely beautiful. The viewer is given a proper introduction of the characters and the setting. It’s been six months since teacher Kouhei Inuzuka’s wife has died. He is now taking care of their daughter Tsumugi by himself, but he’s not very good at cooking. Therefore the two of them have mostly been having boxed lunches for every meal. Despite the loss of his beloved, Kouhei seems to get by alright, Tsumugi apparently doesn’t seem to realize her mother has died. Or rather she is still too young to grasp what has happened. Probably her dad told her that her mother went on a trip to make her absence easier to understand, since near the end of the episode Tsumugi says “when mum comes back home”or “send mum a letter”.
Kouhei and Tsumugi go to a cherry blossom viewing where they meet a girl crying under a tree. The girl’s name is Kotori Iida, as we find out later, and her mother owns a restaurant of which the girl hands them a card. As the days go by, Tsumugi grows more and more tired of the same boxed lunch every day so Kouhei decides to take his daughter out to have some “good food” for a change. When they arrive at the restaurant of Kotori’s mother, they find out the woman herself isn’t actually there so Kotori tries her best to prepare some rice for them. As they eat the rice together, not only Kotori but also Kouhei become emotional and decide to cook and dine together from now on…
For a slice of life show, it has a perfect pacing, it’s not too fast or too slow, the first characters were established but not too much was given away yet, making the viewer curious for more. At least that’s what I can say for episode 1. The opening is adorable, creative and fits the show really well, and so does the ending. And of course, the cast is full of elite seiyuu. So far we’ve heard Yuuichi Nakamura as Kouhei who aces at portraying a loving and caring father and Saori Hayami as Kotori. Tsumugi is voiced by Rina Endou who is still a child and relatively new in the business but she is doing really well and her voice is adorable.
I’m eager to find out more about the feelings of loneliness Kotori has in connection with her mother, watch Kouhei trying to master cooking to make Tsumugi happy and meet new characters.. I honestly can’t wait for the next episode!
The DuRaRaRa!!x2 Ketsu Bonus CD Vol.5 features Izaya and his brand-new character song and I cannot believe he is the one that gets to cover 勝手にしやがれ (Do as you please) by Kenji Sawada!! The DRRR team is a clever bunch, they knew exactly what they were doing when they were assigning this song to Izaya. It’s about breaking up, about being left behind and loneliness. And the cover just adds up perfectly. :’)
To be fair, the whole song could strongly match Shizuo and Izaya regarding how we may or may not look at their relationship, but one thing becomes obvious either way: the hinting at their last battle especially with the lines
Saying “goodbye” may be somewhat of a killjoy
so maybe I’ll just send you off with a “later“
which clearly point out the parallel to the /sayounara-abayo/ moment in the series when Shizuo officially bids Izaya goodbye in order to finish him off for good. Izaya can’t properly deal with how even Shizuo is evolving and abandoning him, the one archenemy he always had is now lost to him too. The paradox “Shizuo-complex” , to quote Simon again, like so many times before.
/愛というのに照れてただけだよ/ “it was just that I was a little embarrassed of this thing called love” Simply put, this is exactly what Izaya might feel like and what his main problem is, as Shinra once pointed out. He’s afraid and unable to overtly and genuinely show affection towards someone so that he can protect his heart from getting hurt in any way. But ironically that is what hurts him the most in the end.
Do as you please becomes twice as sad when you apply the song lyrics to Izaya because he’s that sad individual who can’t break out of his vicious circle of loneliness. Sawada might have referred to being left by a beloved, for the information broker it gets so many more meanings… “looks like you’re leaving me after all” Does he mean Shizuo who he has become attached to against his will? Does he refer to his family? Or the life in Ikebukuro he must leave behind? Celty’s head and what is connected to it?
I’m not going into detail about all the lyrics even though they give a lot of insight and are beautiful but I just wanted to point out how glad I am that they chose this song for Izaya but I’m also upset because please, just let me rest from the pain (jk never stop the angst)! Maybe I’ll find some time to talk about the complete lyrics and my Izaya related interpretations some time soon…
Thank the gods for Taku Iwasaki, once again, as he delivers the BUNGOU STRAY DOGS Original Soundtrack 01. It’s the good old Iwasaki compositions we know, this time with less emphasis on the electro and all the more emphasis on the woodwind players. The saxophone strongly leads us through this album and it’s the best decision they could have made for an ost like this.
The tracks that caught my attention the most in terms of new elements are:
Track #01 Good for Nothing performed by Lotus Juice who always brings across the Iwasaki atmosphere instantly since he’s usually making an appearance in his works in some way; by now Iwasaki without Lotus Juice just won’t feel right. It’s a rough staccato mix of saxophone and rap, a perfect way to start the album, an impact from the first note.
With track #12 Run, Atsushi! (走れ敦!) we are back to Iwasaki’s beautiful string ensemble that I love so very much, quick-paced and dramatic in a sense.
Track #17 Leaping Wings is performed by the Kaze LaLa Choir and it’s one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard so far. The women’s graceful voices create such a soothing atmosphere and it’s something I didn’t expect to be in this series/on an ost like this. It has a completely Western touch and maybe that is why it fits in so well (because of the setting of BSD).
In #18 Eye of the Tiger, Lotus Juice performs once more. He is supported by rocking electronic guitar and synthesizer. This track uses a theme melody I can never get enough of, thus it easily became one of my favourite tracks.
I assume Iwasaki and his crew will also take it upon themselves to create the soundtrack for the second season of Bungou Stray Dogs in Fall Season 2016 and I’m already thrilled to hear more jazzy tunes from one of the Japanese masters of composition. In fact, I was even missing the one track that had become my favourite in a matter of seconds – the PV song. It also did play in the series itself so I’m certain it will be on the next ost. I’m keeping my fingers crossed but for now I’m just extremely grateful for these new compositions and will continue to indulge in their beauty.
Takehito Koyasu, the seiyuu ruling over my heart. Come rain, come shine, come snow, come sleet, for Koyasu the show must go on and I’m willing dig into all of his work. Here I will list my impressions.
This time I’ll comment on Kapaeru from Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera.
Kapaeru, like his name and appearance suggest, is a Kappa youkai who works as an informant. Like most of the male characters in the most recent adaptation of Dororon Enma-kun, Kapaeru is a rather lecherous individual that happily joins in when it’s about chasing skirts. In the 2011 anime he is reduced to the role of the team’s mascot character and comedic relief, but when he does appear he does his job well. As much as I adore Koyasu’s deep voice, his comedic voice acting is fantastic as well and just stresses his amazing range. And although he is matching the pitch according to the humour of the situation, for Kapaeru he mostly uses his high cutesy voice with a Kansai dialect. Recently he hasn’t taken too many roles with higher, more child-like voices, so in Dororon Enma-kun it’s always a comedic delight to listen to him. In episode 7 there is a scene where Yukihime and Kapaeru are ice skating but then he gets slapped away by a youkai. He flies away shouting “Triple axel~!” in a graceful, defeated voice but in the next scene he suddenly comes back, completely pissed off, asking who kicked him in the face and the sudden shift from his cute to his angry voice à la Bobobo made me laugh so hard-I will be forever grateful for that moment.
With the rest of the cast he also produced the hilarious character song album “Showa Hit Studio” that partly served as the anime’s background music. In the trio song “Enma’s real, real hard work” with Kappei Yamaguchi and Minoru Inaba he sings in his Kapaeru voice while in his solo song “Affair” he switches back to his deeper voice he often used when performing songs like “Sora no Soko” (Weiß Kreuz). The contrast is hilarious and especially when regarding the fact that Kapaeru is supposed to sing the song, the whole situation becomes twice as overdramatic. If Dororon Enma-kun Meeramera is a good anime or not is another question I won’t get invested in today but the Koyasu audio material we got from the series was definitely something I’m not complaining about.
Takehito Koyasu , the seiyuu that has gradually become my favourite seiyuu. I can be lured into watching anything with him in it just so that I may be able to hear one line of his beautiful voice, ranging from hentai to shoujo genre and whatever else is out there. Here I will list my impressions.
This time I will talk about Koumei Shoukatsuryou from Koutetsu Sangokushi.
He is the protagonist’s master and from the first second you see him you know, he’s either the bad guy or at least has some evil intentions. But the only one who doesn’t seem to notice that is his disciple Rikuson who greatly looks up to him. And if Koumei isn’t the target of jealousy or loathing from the enemy empire he is like the almighty item in this anime. Everybody wants to gain his respect, serve him or belong to him. He is also so powerful that most characters make him out to be untouchable/invincible. With his graceful appearance he easily fools the people around him, hiding his scheming nature. He just really enjoys toying with people apparently. Everybody wants Koumei, but he doesn’t accept anyone (except his disciple in the end for whom he becomes “the darkness” but Rikuson still decides to sacrifice his life for his master; that’s true love for you). The voice pitch Koyasu chose for Koumei is the one I usually call his “calm bishounen voice“, it stays deep and in control, doesn’t really range much, maybe gets a little flirtatious every now and then and is usually used by him when voicing beautiful, androgynous men. It fit Koumei a lot because his character was truly always in control of the situation and seemed to know what the outcome would be like at all times. I liked Koumei because of his sly nature and was glad that he didn’t die at the end. The way he makes everyone gay for him is outstanding and yes, that Koyasu voice was music to my ears…!
Anime spring came with a lot of easy-going shows, additional seasons and a few surprises mixed in. The shows I was anticipating did not let me down so far but the anime I’m enjoying the most at this point are somewhat unexpected choices. I’m going to talk a little about those series that have caught my interest the most so far.
Favourite Anime of Spring Season 2016:
Tonkatsu DJ Agetarou (とんかつＤＪアゲ太郎)
Agetarou works at his family’s tonkatsu restaurant to succeed it one day, but the routine bores him. One day, a delivery leads him to a club where he eventually gets hooked on DJing and now he is determined to master both being a chef and a DJ…
About five years ago I learnt about the character called Izaya Orihara from Ryougo Narita‘s novel series and multiple-media project Durarara!! Little did I know that it would be this fictional character that would dominate my life forever. To be fair, it is one of the most popular personae in the series if not the most popular one. I never tended to like the major characters in television or film but in this regard, Durarara!! is different to me as there are many actors in the play and each can be considered the protagonist according to which point of view the story is told from and who we, as the reader, take interest in or relate to.
A Spectre reborn to save the galaxy.
Mass Effect 2 introduced many changes in controls and design. No more unlimited ammunition and a slightly different cover system. The font was smaller than ever before and even though I wear glasses I had to sit really close to the TV (but it was a very small TV so maybe that also added to it). The map’s usefulness had drastically decreased and never was any help to me in any situation. The loading screens looked more impressive but also lasted a lot longer. These things weren’t much to my liking when I started playing but in the course of the game I actually got used to it very quickly. Especially running in ME2 worked and looked better much better..