Summer anime watching
Posted July 6, 2012on:
A lot of anime gets watched in this house. 300 channels of cable TV, and I’d rather watch Crunchyroll. I got hooked on anime when I was in high school, watched a boatload through my early to mid 20s, and although in my late 20s I got out of it, the hubs has been watching a ton recently and been getting me hooked again.
Here’s what he’s been watching the most of lately, and I’ve been enjoying these too – Gosick, Mysterious Girlfriend X, and Hyouka. He’s seen every available episode of the shows mentioned, where I have probably seen half the episodes. The words below are his.
Gosick– this came out a year or so ago, and it advertises itself as a mystery solving anime, but it’s really a character study and a romance, possibly one of the best romances ever seen in an anime story. It does everything right, successfully combining action, adventure, romance, and situation comedy. A refreshing way to present a story, as so many anime are so focused on just action, or just comedy, or just romance, or just slice of life, etc. Although many animes genremash, very few offer such a good blend of, for lack of a better phrase, storytelling methods.
Taking place in the 1920s, the story starts when Kujo goes to a small fictitious European country to study at a private school. He’s the 3rd child of a fairly wealthy Japanese family, and he experiences some prejudice against Asians while in his new city. In his boredom, he explores some unused buildings in the school, and meets Victorique. Tiny of stature but large in attitude, to tell you much more about her would spoil the major, and most fascinating part of the story.
As they get to know each other, they run into small mysteries and start attempting to solve them. Victorique’s superior intellent, and the fact that she simply knows too much allows them to solve some mysteries, while falling deeping into others, especially since Victorique’s half brother, Grevil, is a Senior Investigator with the police department.
Every episode touches on a deeper backstory, including the consequences of World War I, fascism, and as Kujo and Victorique get to know each other, they begin to trust one another and learn more about each other’s backstories. Victorique isn’t just a spoiled little girl living in a library, she has a very, very dark past. The beauty of Gosick is watching the story develop. At less than 30 episodes, the time commitment is worth it.
Mysterious Girlfriend X – This show doesn’t need all the bell and whistles and all the stylistic extras that many other shows depend on to make a point, it is simplicity at it’s best. A classic boy meets girl show with a little twist, this is on the sweetest and most real relationships to be on tv in ages.
Our boy, Tsubaki Akira, is a typical Japanese teenage boy. He’s interested in girls, flawed, says and does dumb stuff sometimes, and is a completely normal clumsy teenage boy. Nothing he does is ridiculous or over the top, he seems completely believable, doing dumb things that every normal teenage boy does. Not the most interesting person, but still, quite refreshing, as so many characters in animes are often exceptional, at everything.
Our girl, Urabe, is the focus of the story. She’s a new transfer student into the school and she’s attractive, yet not attractive, all at the same time, making her very intriguing. If she’d just dress up a bit, or do her hair nicely, she could be beautiful, but she doesn’t care about looks. Her hair is usually covering her eyes, and her clothes usually look sloppy. Have a main female anime character who isn’t the classic beauty is refreshing as well.
Sloppy looks aside, Urabe is an unusual young lady. And here’s where people get weirded out by this show, even though there is no need to be. Urabe has a special power based in her saliva, and Tsubaki has a fetish for it. Yes, you read that correctly. Urabe can read and transmit emotions through her (and others) saliva. She will drool on her finger and have Tsubaki suck her finger so she can transmit how she is feeling.
It’s easy to have a gut reaction of “that’s gross!”, but once you start watching the show you realize their relationship is sweet, innocent, and beautiful. The transfer of saliva is used to show the development of their relationship, and as a way for awkward teenagers to express feelings and emotions that many adults have trouble with. The writers never use it in a fetishy way or make any attempt to explain how her powers work. This isn’t a show that needs explanation, the best way to enjoy it is to simply watch it.
Hyouka – one of the more complicated shows. The animation is top notch, getting close to Studio Ghibli quality. The attention to detail is insanely good, and I like how the people are a bit more realistic looking (permenant scowls, imperfect hairstyles), as opposed to everyone being beautiful all the time.
you can watch the show with the sound turned off, and the level of detail will offer you an entirely new storyline.
On the surface, this is a mystery. It’s about the revival of a classics club at a Japanese high school, with two boys and two girls. One of the members of the club finds a mystery, and she requests that her clubmembers assist her in solving them. Houtarou, who becomes the main character, has very little self esteem, and very little direction in his life. He hides it with a facade of apathy, and the habit of not spending energy on anything. At the beginning, it’s hard for the viewer to care much about Houtarou, but once you realize it’s a facade, he becomes far more interesting as the other characters pull him out of his shell.
Also, the mysteries aren’t that interesting. No murder mysteries, no ghosts, nothing epic. It’s simple stuff, like why did a family member get expelled from the school, is a student smoking in a classroom, very humdrum stuff. So, where’s the interest?
Much like in Gosick, it’s the background story that slowly builds and is touched on in every episode about Houtarou. The series is only half way through, so there is no way of knowing where it’s going. So far only 10 or 11 episodes are available on simulcast, but the show has already been renewed for a second season.
Start watching this show for the excellent animation, stylistic details and music. Before long you’ll be hooked on a slow burn of a surprise that you probably should have seen coming.
So, what anime shows has everyone else been watching lately?