Weeaboo Wednesday: Summer Season First Impressions Part 2
Disclaimer: The above video has nothing to do with anime or Weeaboo Wednesday. However, it’s the funniest thing I’ve seen in a while, so deal with it. It is also extremely NSFW.
The weather is getting warmer, the sun is coming out more… you know what that means: Summer is here. To most people that means the beach and bbqs, but to us pasty white nerds it means a new season of anime. In a continuation from last week’s Weeaboo Wednesday, I’ll be bringing you impressions and recommendations for the new summer anime season. So far this season has been hit and miss, but there is definitely some quality shows, so let’s jump right in.
There’s a lot of anime out there about Japanese high schoolers in after-school clubs. While not a bad thing in and of itself, that does mean that seemingly generic shows need to rise above to be noticed and enjoyed. Unfortunately, I just can’t see Sora no Manimani doing that. Sora no Manimani features a group of students trying to form an Astronomy Club, and stars a loud, excitable female lead and a quiet, reserved male lead who are old friends that haven’t seen each other since childhood. Once again, a generic plot. However, this does not mean that Sora no Manimani is a bad show. I’ll admit that I laughed at some of the jokes, and found the episode to be entertaining, but I personally don’t have the time to watch another generic slice of life/comedy anime about high schoolers in an after-school club. I’d recommend iSora no Manimani to anyone who wants to watch a well done, but generic slice of life. However, I’ll be skipping it to make time for other more interesting shows.
Spice and Wolf 2 is exactly what I wanted it to be: more of the same. If I didn’t know any better, I’d believe that there was no seasonal gap and the series was just continuing. Spice and Wolf 2 picks up right where it left off as it follows the travels of Craft Lawrence and Horo. I could go on and on about how much I love this series, but I’ll just say this much: Horo is one of, if not the best strong female lead I’ve seen in an anime. Her personality is crafted in such a great way that she can go from flirty to serious to comedic and it’s all completely believable (except for the whole “wolf spirit” thing). I’ll be watching Spice and Wolf 2 every week, and I strongly suggest that everyone out there checks it out… but if you do, start from the beginning; hopping in at season 2 will only leave you confused.
Bakemonogatari has a lot of hype, and for a good reason.The style and presentation of the show is very unique, so much so that it instantly hooks you. The plot of Bakemonogatari centers around a high school student named Koyomi who was recently cured of his vampirism. While walking up some stairs, a girl from his class, Hitagi, trips over the railing and falls into his arms. He discovers that she weighs next to nothing, and offers to help her. As I understand, the show continues with Koyomi helping people who have been afflicted by supernatural problems.
As stated before, Bakemonogatari stands out because of its style and presentation. The show mainly consists of two or three characters engaging in conversation, and as such there is lots of visual cues and flashes that happen on screen. It’s kind of hard to explain, but it looks really cool and makes up for long periods of dialogue, which is well written by itself, but when it all comes together you see something that just looks awesome. I’ll be watching Bakemonogatari each week, and I highly recommend you check it out.
Let’s be honest, most anime is not grounded in realism. This isn’t necessarily bad, as I enjoy giant robots and fantasy settings and the like, but a show like Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 looks to be a good example of how to take a realistic “what if” and roll with it. Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 follows Mirai, a sixth grade girl, and Yuki, her younger brother, who visit a robot exhibition. While there, an earthquake that registers 8.0 on the Richter Scale hits Tokyo. The series follows the siblings as they try to navigate the aftermath as they try to get back home to their parents on the other side of Tokyo.
The first episode of Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 consists of setting up the characters and providing backstory. Though the main characters are somewhat generic (Mirai the moody pre-teen and Yuki the excitable child), the dialogue and story flows in such a way that makes you care about what happens to these characters. Since the earthquake occurs at the very end of episode one, I can’t quite judge how this series, and the main characters, will deal with the aftermath of the earthquake. However, I will say that what I’ve seen so far shows a lot of promise, and I’ll at least watch the next couple episodes. If I had to make a call right now, I’d recommend Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 if you think the premise makes it worth watching.
Kanamemo is shaping up to be a total guilty pleasure. Though the plot is generic, the characters one sided, and the animation shoddy, Kanamemo is absolutely hilarious. I know I shouldn’t be watching it, but I can’t help it. Kanamemo follows Kana, a 13 year old girl who loses her family and gets a live-in job at a newspaper delivery store. Though the other characters are one-trick ponies, the jokes manage to be funny over and over. For example, one of Kana’s coworkers (I should mention the entire cast is female) at the store is a lolicon who gets drunk and hits on Kana. That’s it. That’s the only joke for that character… but it manages to be funny every single time. Perhaps my sense of humor is broken, I’m not sure. Regardless, Kanamemo is a show that I can’t honestly recommend, even if it is very funny, because everything else about it is generic and poorly done.
Taishō Baseball Girls, set in 1925, tells the story of two high school girls, Koume and Akiko, who try to form a female baseball team. They face difficulty due to the standards of 1920’s Japan, where even running is considered a vulgar act for a woman. The show chronicles the struggles they face and their eventual creation of an all-girls team. The story for Taishō Baseball Girls is unique and interesting. Anime set in this time period is few and far between, and the setting of Taishō Baseball Girls alone made me interested. Though I’m not particularly interested in the sport of baseball, so far the show doesn’t so much focus on the actual game as it focuses on the societal struggle of the girls. Though it will reach an inevitable point where it becomes more of a sports show, I’m very interested to see what happens next. The dialogue is well written and conveys many of the restrictions women had to deal with in that time period. I enjoyed the first two episodes of Taishō Baseball Girls, and will continue to watch and recommend it.
Well, that about wraps it up for MWN’s summer season first impressions. There is definitely some good and bad this season, and I hope that this has helped you figure out what interests you. Tune in to Weeaboo Wednesday next week for a review of last season’s shows, and a scorecard of how right or wrong I was about the spring season in my respective first impressions.