Thursday, May 5, 2011


Spring marks the return of many cherished things—baseball, cherry blossoms, fresh weather (Allergies, too. - Ed.)—but it also means a resurgence for shows that had taken a holiday for a season or two. While the likes of Bleach and Naruto never rest, Crunchyroll has been more than happy to roll out three shows that make their well-awaited return to their streaming schedule. To keep things short and sweet, we review the new renewed anime shows with pocket-sized reviews.

Gintama' (Season 5)

Storyline: 4
Animation: 4
Characters: 5
Track: 4
"Hype": 5

Overall: 22/25

How in the world did I miss the first 200 episodes of Gintama? At what point did Shônen Jump comedies return to being true comedies and not just some strength contest in disguise? Perhaps it was due to the fact that I stopped reading the anthology in 2004, back when the manga from Hideaki Sorachi first made its appearance. Needless to say, I hadn't known the show beforehand, and I am fully regretting my ignorance to it.

The best thing about watching the stoic Gintoki and his odd-jobs partners fumble about the modernized version of samurai-era Edo, one complete with alien presences and gadgets that samurai would never be seen with, is the fact that the writers have completely lost all control of the fourth wall, often devolving the established characters into parodies of themselves before re-establishing the status quo. The sight gags are priceless, while the drama and energy are over-the-top, leading to even funnier conclusions. Best of all, the loose nature of the show brings the best out of the actors and some superior chops when the straight man yells at all the dumbasses the other characters have become.

Prior knowledge is not that big a deal—it took just an episode or two of Gintama' (it's still pronounced "Gintama" even with the apostrophe acting as a "secondary sex characteristic") to understand the show's direction. Of course, it helps to have characters that are about as lost as you are.

(Gintama' is simulcast on Crunchyroll every Monday at 5:30 AM EDT.)

The World God Only Knows II

Storyline: 4
Animation: 3
Characters: 3
Track: 3
"Hype": 4

Overall: 17/25

When last we left Keima, the galge otaku so absorbed in 2-D fantasy that 3-D girls turn him off, he was roped into helping a demon from Hell, the atypical scatterbrain Elsie, in her retrieval lost souls from the hearts of maidens. He does a nifty job at it too, if he doesn't say so himself, but the arrival of Elsie's senior from school Haqua, a steadfast hunter in her own right, signals a change in the weather. Apparently there are lost souls so strong that they can occupy the heart of demons, making Keima's job all the more riskier!

It's unique to watch Keima, who should be the untalented average male in the show, stealing the spotlight by acting so confidently during challenges. While his techniques may be far-fetched and logical only to other otaku, it's nice to see a brave male lead who admits his lack of talent instead of a souped-up male lead with the spine of a chicken. While the show is predominantly a parody of harem shows, the main concern I have is that this will turn into a Rumiko Takahashi scenario where all the girls end up fighting over the one guy.

Decent in presentation and animation, The World God Only Knows II is good for Shônen Sunday's health as it gets some good representation in the Shônen Jump-dominated Spring 2011 schedule.

(The World God Only Knows is simulcast on Crunchyroll every Monday at 2 PM EDT.)

Tono to Issho: Eyepatch's Ambition!

Storyline: 2
Animation: 3
Characters: 3
Track: 2
"Hype": 2

Overall: 12/25

I'll be dreadfully frank—I didn't like the first Tono to Issho season at all. It was way too short to even count as an "animated short", each episode merely a one-minute slice from the 30-minute OVA. I'm not sure if other fans had the exact same complaint, but it looks like Media Factory and animation studio Gathering might have actually listened.

Surprisingly, the shows have dramatically improved, even though the 90-second shows have only been doubled in duration. The animation is not only cleaner and brighter, but it has allowed for more movement for the characters. The creative license even appears to have been pushed further, some superdeformity scattered with the stoic characterizations. As an after-effect, the comedy's actually a little better now that some time has been allotted and the jokes have space to breathe.

Tono to Issho: Eyepatch's Ambition is still hardly a great "show", but compared to the past season, even this rickshaw looks like a Rolls Royce.

(Tono to Issho: Eyepatch's Ambition is simulcast on Crunchyroll every Monday at 2 PM EDT.)

No comments:

Post a Comment