Anime Impressions – Some Top Show Thoughts (Fall 2013 Week 3.5)

I’ve decided rather than use a never-ending list of shows, that I’d talk each week about a few different shows. This week I’ll pick three shows I think are pretty good, or surprising, and which I feel need more love in order to be picked up – meaning, Kill la Kill, Log Horizon and Kyoukai no Kanata, for instance, are all out. I’m also going to be a tad swamped with things for the next couple of weeks, so I’ll use a couple of such posts to tide us over while I work on some content in the background, and real-life related stuff.

The shows I’ll discuss in this post are Samurai Flamenco, Gingitsune and Kyousougiga.

I’ll also add a paragraph per show which is more of a “Sales pitch.”

Samurai Flamenco / Samumenco – This episode is good in ways that remind me of one of my two top shows of last season, and considering I gave a whopping 6 shows a score of 8 or higher last season, that’s saying a lot. The show is Genshiken Nidaime, and what the two share is comedy that isn’t entirely reliant on gags or generic moments that could and often would appear in dozens of shows a year, but comedy which rises, seemingly in an effortless manner, from the characters’ personalities and the interactions between them.

Samurai Flamenco / Samumenco anime

Crossing in red light will not be tolerated!

The characters seem to be either naive or cynical, but they’re all likeable for it, rather than feeling anyone is either too stupid or too much of an ass. The characters, especially the two main characters, seem to interact well with one another. What is the show about? A boyish model who believes in justice like in cartoons from the 80s, and sets out to spread it, and his friend the cop who can’t help but facepalm. The show makes me think of older shows such as Samurai Champloo and Cowboy Bebop – it is solid, without resorting to wild colours or a crazy art style.
The show knows what it wants to do, what it wants to be, and it doesn’t try to be anything other than that.

Sellin’ it: Amazing character interaction, classic art style, discussing issues that have to do with adulthood – And it’s all done so well. Target crowd? Have you liked Cowboy Bebop? Have you liked Samurai Champloo? Are you over 20 years old? (Note, only one needs to apply), did you like Kick-Ass (I sure did)? Whatever, just watch this – unless all you’re after is lolis and comedy, then you might want to skip it.

Watched: 3/22
Current Grade: A. If I could marathon the whole show right now, I would, and considering how busy I am, that’s high praise.

Gingitsune / Silver Fox AnimeGingitsune / Silver Fox – I guess a good word to use to describe this show is “pedestrian”, and I am sure once the season ends many people who have watched this show will rate it a 6 or a 7 out of 10, meaning it was “solid” and “enjoyable”, but nothing special. They have a point to a degree, but this is because this show shines in its small moments.

A slice of life show covering Makoto’s life in a shrine. She and her father live in the shrine, and after her mother’s death she inherited the ability to see the cranky, grumpy, fox-spirit that is the shrine’s herald. The chemistry between these two characters is palpable, and they feel relatable.

The show’s first episode truly reminded me of Kotoura-san‘s early episodes, in how sad it’s been. There are many moments during the episodes I sometimes find myself tearing up due to being reminded of things from earlier episodes and a subtle and very fitting soundtrack. This show makes me smile each and every week after it ends, because I like its cast, every single one of the characters, and watching them interact is a joy. The only downside is that two main characters had only been introduced in episode 4 and their story had only been half told, with the other half promised to occur during episode 5. I wish this show was a double-season feature.

Sellin’ it: Do you want a solid slice of life, which doesn’t pander or make excuses? A slice of life built upon characters and character-interaction rather than non-comedy and poor harems? An actual slice of life the way cranky old people say we used to have more of in the past (we didn’t, memory just compressed all of those). Ah yes! Do you like a nice slice of magical realism, of the mythical living alongside the mundane and all of it being matter of factly? I’ll put it like this – if you liked Hanasaku Iroha and/or Mushishi, you ought to give this a try.

Watched: 4/12
Current Grade: A-. It makes me smile, it makes me tear up, and it makes my week better. This is a show full of small moments, not large ones, but the overall effect is still great.

Kyousougiga / Capital Craze animeKyousougiga / Capital Craze – It’s hard for me to describe this show. Well, let’s begin with the show being sort of reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland, we even have one of the characters reading it within the show. I myself am more reminded of the story of Pandora/Bluebeard – going to a locked room and peering inside.

The show keeps going from moments of incredible and endless action and craziness to small, heartstring-tugging moments, and it does both well. A family story, so they tell us, of a family left behind in a magical mirror-Kyoto where they rule, but which they cannot escape to return to the real world until their parents come to collect them, and it’s already been 400 years. And then a wild girl with a big hammer drops into the city-world, and revelations and action ensue.

The show had an old ONA/OVA – you don’t need to watch them, and the show is basically self-sufficient. Do make sure to watch episode 0 which covers half of the old ONA in better graphics. Episode 0 is non-stop action and very little sense, but I suggest against skipping it – it provides you the puzzle which you later try to piece, to understand how everything comes together. Half the fun is derived from watching episode 0. If you hate episode 0, make sure to watch episode 1 – the tone of episodes 1-3 is quite different than that of episode 0.

In case you really want a guide to talk about the relationship and backstory of the characters in more details, as covered in the OVA/ONA, then check this writeup on Otaku Revolution. Personally I think you can do without, but you do miss a couple of subtle points, which are merely alluded to within what we currently have – but perhaps that’s the point.

 Sellin’ It: Did you like FLCL? Did you like Uchouten Kazoku? Do you want to see Rie Kugimiya in a role that doesn’t make you cry? I’m not going to say too much here, because it’s a wild wild ride, but there’s a reason the aniblogosphere is going wild over this. Show of the season? There’s tough, tough competition this season, but that this is even in the running means you need to give it a try. Alongside Samurai Flamenco, it’s just so weird to me these shows aren’t widely watched.

Watched: 3/10 + Episode 0.
Current Grade: A+

According to the weekly Anime Power Ranking by anibloggers (such as myself), the last two shows (Samurai Flamenco and Kyousougiga) are very successful, but anime-bloggers are a minority, not the majority, and when people ask me which shows to watch, it’s unlikely they are already watching these two.

All of these shows are shows I’ll recommend people to pick up, based on the descriptions above, since some of them might really not be what some of you enjoy, so I hope this write-up will help you pick a couple of these.

Question: What shows are you watching this season that you think are great but under the radar? And what do you think of the shows above?

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