Dog and Scissors First Impression

Dog and Scissors (Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyou)       Inu to Hasami wa Tsukaiyou Anime Image

Director: Yukio Takahashi,  Series Composition: Toshizo Nemoto, Character Designer: Yōko Satō

Voice Actors: Takahiro Sakurai (Kazuhito), Marina Inoue (Kirihime), Ai Kakuma (Hami), Chiwa Saito (Sara), Maaya Uchida (Sakura)

Studio: Gonzo 

This s a story about books. Of writing and dying. A Story of writing and reading.

The anime begins in a richly furnished home where a woman sits typing and a dog sits reading. A narrator informs us of who he is:

Dog and Scissors Natsuno AKA Shinobu Akiyama at Work

I, Harumi Kazuhito am a dyed-in-the-wool idiot for books. I’m not just any dog, either. Until recently I was human!

Dog and Scissors Harumi Inu Reading

 

Yes, that dog reading is the narrator and he was a bibliophile high school boy in his former life. His favourite author was Shinobu Akiyama, who appeared out of nowhere seven years ago, and has gone on to conquer Japan with her seven deadly sins novel series which Harumi adores. Harumi was desperately waiting for the final novel, Lust, to come out but found that destiny was going to deal him a bit of a strange hand by turning him into a dog.

Why is Harumi a dog? He was present during a robbery of a diner. A mentally unstable man threatened to kill a fellow patron of the diner, a woman too engrossed with writing a book. Harumi stepped in and put up a fight but it ended badly.

Dog and Scissors Diner Hold Up

 

During that special moment when he is in the afterlife he expressed his desperate desire to live and found a body that would accept his soul. It just happens that the body was that of a dog rescued by a pet store owner with a huge afro.

Despite being reborn as a dachshund, Harumi is still obsessed with reading books and he’s still obsessed with Shinobu Akiyama. He soon finds himself bought by the woman who got him killed. She turns out to be Natsuno Kirihime but Harumi knows her quite well through her pen name Shinobu Akiyama.

This might be awesome situation except she is majorly irritated that she can hear all of Harumi’s thoughts, has a scissor fetish and carries a pair strapped to her thigh. She’s also a bit of a dom and so the two clash.

Genkinahito-Dog-and-Scissors

 

The two settle down into a life full of reading and writing, bondage and cutting. Why is Natsuno taking care of Harumi and will Harumi finally get to read the final volume of the Seven Deadly Sins series, Lust? All will be revealed… Hopefully…

Continue reading “Dog and Scissors First Impression”

Red Data Girl

Red Data Girl        Red Data Girl Poster

Director: Toshiya Shinohara, Series Composition: Michiko Yokote

Voice Actors: Saori Hayami, Kouki Uchiyama, Jun Fukuyama, Kaito Ishikawa, Rie Kugimiya, Akira Ishida, Kazuhiko Inoue

Studio: P.A. Works

My last First Impression for Spring 2013 post rambles on about my one supernatural mystery anime of the season which is based on a series of light novels by Noriko Ogiwara. I reported about this for AUKN over Christmas in 2011 and was rather intrigued by the use of Shinto mythology.

The story starts at Tamakura shrine deep in the Kumano Mountains. It is a sacred and beautiful place and a World Heritage site in real life.

 Red Data Girl Tamakura Shrine

Who resides at this peaceful place? Izumiko Suzuhara, a 15-year-old girl who has been raised at the shrine for nearly all of her life.

 Red Data Girl Izumiko at the Shrine

Her father works in America while her mother, who she has not seen in many years, is somewhere in Tokyo. She is under the care of her grandparents who work at the shrine, and her guardian Yukimasa Sagara, a man who is close to her mother. Izumiko is something of an oddity at school due to the sheltered nature of her life which has left her behind modern styles and technology. She is also the focal point of spiritual energy.

She is on the verge of a momentous change since she will be leaving her small town to attend Houjou Academy in Tokyo, a place where students from all over Japan and the world at large with supernatural abilities have gathered so they can be tested for their powers and then whittled down so that the person with the greatest power can be given special privileges.

 Red Data Girl Houjou Academy

What supernatural ability does Izumiko have?

Like her mother, she is a shrine maiden who has the ability to be the spirit vessel for an ancient goddess with great power.

 Her guardian Yukimasa Sagara has placed his son Miyuki as her servant.

 Red Data Girl Miyuki's Rebellion

Miyuki is not too happy about this. Miyuki hates his father and doesn’t want to listen to his orders. He isn’t too fond of Izumiko who he views as too weak.

However during a supernatural encounter on a school trip a mysterious entity known as a Himegami reveals to Miyuki the true potential of Izumiko. She will be the last representative (yorishiro) of the Himegami goddess and he will be a guardian (yamabushi).

Red Data Girl Izumiko is Possessed!!!

Because of this shared fate and the importance Izumiko now has the two become close and so they stick together as they meet the new students at Houjou Academy, some of whom are determined to come top of class and get the privileges given to those with the most power.

In a season full of action, drama, and comedy I was hoping for something different, something along the lines of Another, a series that took its time and allowed me to indulge in watching some world building. Red Data Girl is definitely similar because it is a slow-burn tale placing the supernatural in a realistic arena. Six episodes in and there is a mounting supernatural atmosphere with a central mystery that is slowly unravelling. Nothing I find scary, just sinister and it is thanks to the anime being atmospheric and its use of Shinto Mythology which means that it has some new, unfamiliar ground where everything is a surprise.

Continue reading “Red Data Girl”

Hataraku Maou-Sama

Hataraku Maou-Sama¹                                   Hataraku Maou-Sama Poster

Director: Naoto Hosoda, Series Composition: Masahiro Yokotani

Voice Actors: Ryota Ohsaka, Kanae Itō, Yōko Hikasa, Hiro Shimono, Yuuki Ono, Nao Tōyama,

Studio: White Fox

This First Impression has been a very long time in coming. Indeed, I am up to episode 8 when I should have written this after episode 1 and chucked it out like a regular aniblogger. It’s not because the show is bad. I really, really like it and think it’s bloody funny.

We are in another dimension. One where magic and religion hold sway over the populace, beasts’ stalk the earth and Gods’ reside in the sky. In one corner of this world the Devil King Sadao is the lord of the underworld, he is dread and cruelty incarnate. He has declared war on humanity.

 Hataraku Maou sama Demon Lord Sadao

He is close to conquering the continent of Ente Isla.

 Hataraku Maou sama Enta Isla

His four demon generals and their armies of monsters and the undead have stormed across Ente Isla and razed entire villages, putting civilians to the sword and crushing armies raised up against them.

 Hataraku Maou sama Evil Imp

But when all seems lost Hero Emilia unites humanity and with her combined forces she kills three generals and pushes Sadao’s evil minions back to his castle and lays siege to it and battles him. 

Hataraku Maou sama Hero Emilia

On the verge of being beaten by Hero Emilia, Sadao creates a portal to so that he and his last loyal general Ashiya may escape to another world.  

Hataraku Maou-Sama Opening a Portal

He enters the portal and finds that this other world is in our reality. More specifically modern-day Tokyo.

Hataraku Maou-Sama Tokyo twilight

Furthermore, he has lost his demon form and looks like a human! His first priority might be to gather his strength and plan his next attack on Hero Emilia and Ente Isla but he has lost most of his powers. In this world magic does not exist, science and technology provide the framework for life. Sadao has a human body and all of its attendant needs. He still has vestiges of the old world, his funny language and clothes but he is essentially a nobody.

Continue reading “Hataraku Maou-Sama”

Flowers of Evil / Aku no Hana First Impression

Flowers of Evil Anime Image

Aku no Hana

Director: Hiroshi Nagahama, Assistant Director: Tetsuo Hirakawa, Original Creator: Shuuzou Oshimi, Series Composition: Aki Itami, Character Designer: Hidekazu Shimamura, Art Director: Kentaro Akiyama
Voice Actors: Youko Hikasa, Shinichirou Ueda, Mariya Ise, Sayuri Hara
Studio: Zexcs

This was not one of my picks from the Spring 2013 anime season. When I was writing the synopsis for it during the spring season guide for Anime UK News I was very uncertain about it. I mean, on the one hand it sounds initially unpromising, a middle school student named Takao Kasuga steals the gym clothes of the girl he has a crush on, Nanako Saeki. Great.

But things get really interesting when we find out that he was spied stealing the clothes by a fellow student, the strange, creepy and rebellious loner named Sawa Nakamura. The class is shocked and Saeki is upset so Sawa is sitting on explosive information. Instead of informing people about Kasuga’s indiscretion, Sawa uses this information as a way to control Kasuga and draw him into her own twisted world. Kasuga has a difficult choice: Play her game or be revealed to the class as a perv.

After the spring season started and I was disappointed with Devil Survivor 2, I was drawn to this because I kept reading about how viewer reactions were extreme.

The art style has proven controversial amongst fans of the manga and anime in general. It is very different to that of the original manga by Shuzo Oshimi due to its use of rotoscoping, a technique where animators trace over live-action scenes frame by frame.

Aku no Hana Manga and Anime Comparison Image

There are real actors portraying the characters.

Aku no Hana Live Action Characters

Some hate it for this change but there is an opposing camp who love it. I am in the latter camp and not because I like being different (which I do). I have thought about this deeply (for once) and I have come to the conclusion that Aku no Hana is one of the most intentionally disturbing anime I have seen¹ and it is thanks to its art style.

I like it a lot because it is different and it is very effective at delivering this twisted existential love (?) story which captures adolescent feelings in a unique way.

Anybody walking in expecting bishounen or wild hair styles will be shocked. The characters look much more like normal human beings than in most other shows.

Aku no Hana Kasuga Walking Down the Street

Rotoscoping lends the features and movements of the characters an added weight to every scene. They constantly move and react to the world in real ways and while some of the detailing is off (faces can disappear), the visuals are never boring and always have an impact. Indeed, their faces are very expressive thanks to the technique. It feels like watching real people. It is perfect for conveying both huge and subtle changes in emotional tones, priceless for monitoring the reactions of certain disturbed characters and their tormented prey as well as the moments when the blossoming of love, hope and admiration appear.

Aku no Hana Saekis Emotional Shift

Continue reading “Flowers of Evil / Aku no Hana First Impression”

Devil Survivor 2 The Animation First Impression

Devil Survivor 2 The Animation Title

Devil Survivor 2 The Animation         Devil Survivor 2 Poster

Director: Seiji Kishi, Series Composition: Makoto Uezu, Music: Kotaro Nakagawa

Voice Actors: Aya Uchida, Hiroshi Kamiya, Junichi Suwabe, Nobuhiko Okamoto, Takahiro Sakurai, Ami Koshimizu, Kana Asumi, Kikuko Inoue, Yuka Iguchi

Studio: Bridge

My first impression of the anime? It’s dull. Here’s a post full of why.

Devil Survivor 2 Kuzue and Daichi

Kuzue Hibiki and his friend Shijima Daichi are on the verge of going to college. They meet in Shibuya and discuss what they will do in their future. Daichi has dreams of going on dates and trips and playing around while Kuzue feels a degree of uncertainty about his future. Then Diachi introduces Kuzue to a phone app called Nicaea.

Devil Survivor 2 Dead Face Reveal
If you register with the app you can take a picture of a friend and see the face of your friend when they die. These short videos are called Dead Face clips and they are all the rage because people want to see how their friends will die.

Continue reading “Devil Survivor 2 The Animation First Impression”