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

  Continue reading “Spring Season Round-up”

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”