Spring Season Round-up

The summer anime have started and I’ve already watched the first episode from all of my picks so now it’s time to round up what I thought of the spring season titles I watched with some AMVs.

How was the spring season?

I thought it was pretty damn good. It’s the first time I have finished more than one show I started watching and I never felt like I was forcing myself to the end of the ones I watched all the way through. Red Data Girl, My Youth Rom-Com, Aku no Hana. Attack on Titan is on-going but I’m totally up to date. After about a few episodes of these I was caught by the appeal of intelligence and great animation and even nostalgia over my youth.

The only spring season casualties are Devil Survivor which I dropped and Hataraku Maou-Sama where I have stalled on episode 9. Perhaps I’ll finish it one day but not for now. What did I finish?

Red Data Girl was the last title I finished watching. It was gorgeous and the music was great but what concerned me was the writing.

It looked really obtuse at the start, so much so I figured it would have difficulty telling Izumiko’s story in one series and revealing all of the aspects of her world and bringing In lots of Japanese folklore. The writers probably thought the same thing when it came to adapting Noriko Ogiwara’s series of books so they didn’t bother going into any more detail than Izumiko and her school days over the short series. With its slow start and the pacing issues it could have been a disaster but it ended on a nice note and it was always beautiful to watch as the next picture reveals.

Red Data Girl Sun Shower

Izumiko blossoms as a character. She is a nice character and one you can follow with ease. The final episode featured far more supernatural action than the rest of the series combined as Izumiko’s supernatural abilities came to the fore. There was no way that she was going to turn into a kick-ass heroine who blasts people with magic but she matures enough so that she recognises she has some strengths and needn’t be as submissive and scared as she started out as. There’s still scope for her to grow but even if there’s no second season you can still imagine her growing up into a person comfortable with her powers and being able to step between the worlds of mortals and gods. And what about Miyuki? The romance really blossomed as well. Awww. A touching ending.

4/5

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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.

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Genkina Hito Spring 2013 Anime Preview Picks

Genki Jason Spring 2013 Anime Picks

Well there was no post yesterday because I was busy writing a preview of the anime Spring 2013 Season Infoshows that will get aired in the spring season for Anime UK News. The preview features do prove rather popular and generate a bit of traffic. To make the features I essentially used one of the handy season guides that get produced and took to researching the details of the productions through various websites and then a whole weekend’s worth of writing with tracks from the Final Fantasy XIII OST playing in the background as I brought together notes, some of which had been made over the course of a year as a journalist for AUKN.

I plan to watch some of these and like last year I am going to announce what I will be viewing. This links in to my New Year’s Resolution to watch and review more anime. I got off to a good start last year but my efforts tapered off until the very end even though I was watching anime. I am a bit more on top of my game this time as I am taking a more aggressive approach to how I approach anime (and most things for that matter…) and watching and writing about them more often. Here is a list of shows I will at least watch the first few episodes of. Even though I am still watching on-going series like Maoyuu Maou Yuusha and Robotics;Notes as well as the recently released Blue Exorcist, I am going to tackle this set because they do look like the most interesting in the season.

Here is my Anime UK News preview guide (it is not as self-absorbed but is as long-winded as this)!

Devil Survivor 2Devil 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

Japan is gripped by the invasion of mysterious creatures and it falls to a band of Japanese high school students who can summon demons themselves to fight back.

This is the second adaptation of an Atlus RPG property following Persona 4 The Animation, which I enjoyed even if I did not get the game in the end. This one is the recent Shin Megami Tensei Devil Survivor series seen on the Nintendo 3DS¹. This is the reason I am going to watch it because I want to get into the Persona series a lot more… It’s probably the wrong way to do it but what the heck. The director is Seiji Kishi, the chap who directed Persona 4 The Animation. Series scripts written by Makoto Uezu who has written for TV anime Humanity Has Declined which I thought was a brilliantly surreal and inventive anime.

Seiyuu involved include Hiroshi Kamiya, Aya Uchida and Kana Asumi. Hiroshi Kamiya voiced Riku in the great comedy Arakawa Under the Bridge and Kana Asumi voiced Nyaruko in Haiyore! Nyaruko-san, which I found rather amusing and an ironic fate for the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Actually, I might start watching that again… Anyway, other seiyuu include Yuka Iguchi (Tsukihi in the cool anime Bakemonogatari) and Daisuke Namikawa (Rock in Black Lagoon). Great voice actors!

Here’s my First Impression

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