Hello, readers. Dom appears to be distracted by a conveniently placed shiny object at the moment, so you are once again at my tender mercies. There's no new gadgetry to discuss this time (unless you actually care about my new automated litterbox), no news worth discussing in this context (unless you care about my new kitten), and no semi-philosophical ramblings (sorry).
So instead I'm going to go over the first round of new anime series, giving you first impressions based on first episodes. In no particular order I'm going to cover Dance in the Vampire Bund, Ookamikakushi, Omamori Himari, Durarara, and Baka to Test to Shokanju.
Dance in the Vampire Bund is a new take on vampires. None of this sparkly, sexual fantasy, Twilight crap. No, this is very different, and far darker material. The episode mostly takes the form of some sort of TV show, where things go wrong on a semi-predictable dramatic schedule. The vampire have travelled to Japan to claim some newly uncovered territory and destroy particularly weak and inferior vampires. Violently.
Dance definitely has the appropriate mood down, and the writers appear to at least be read up on their vampire lore (they named a female vampire "Mina"). This one looks like it could go good places. I'm going to watch with interest.
Durarara, to my understanding, is made by many of the same people who made Baccano. This makes sense, as it has the same structure of interweaving apparently unrelated story threads. One centers on a guy from the sticks moving to the big city and settling in. From this I expect a lot of personal drama and it's been a good excuse to introduce other characters. The other major plot thread in this episode involves a kidnapping ring and some supernatural entity on a black motorcycle.
What's going on? It's not clear yet, but the show appears well put together. I wasn't nuts about Baccano, but the people I know who have seen it seem to generally like it. Also, Durarara has a fairly good OP. I'll give it a shot in the hopes it starts making sense.
Next is Baka to Test. It bears strong similarities to a fairly typical high school romance… and then they vanish. And then they come back. It seems to exist at the point where high school romance and high school action anime meet. The basic world-concept is that you have a high school where the quality of the facilities a class gets to use depends on their ability to beat out whichever class currently holds those facilities. Combat is handled via an RPG-esque system where stats are determined by test scores.
Predictably, lead male and his idiot friends wind up in the lowest class with the worst facilities. Obviously, they want facilities that don't suck, and so they begin their plot to ascend. The first battle hinges on a quirk: by sheer luck, the lead male's romantic interest is decidedly not an idiot and manages to power them to victory.
It's not a good show, really, but it is somewhat amusing. I might keep watching it in hopes of actual plot, but I don't hold out much hope. Take it or leave it.
Ookamikakushi is a show that in a lot of ways reminds me of Higurashi. The episode starts off with some really weird stuff happening and someone being attacked by a girl with a scythe. Then you get taken back to the beginning of the story. A new guy moves to a town and gets tackled (literally) by his love interest. Things go fairly swimmingly, and then a creepy girl that everyone seems to be afraid of shows up. There's an obtuse conversation, and then it's back to mundane things for a bit with hints that there's some big secret being kept by this town. The episode ends with a combat scene, echoing the opening.
Ookamikakushi is working really, really hard at being mysterious. So far, it's working. I have no idea where it's going to go. This show might be good, but only if the writing is good. Nothing else is interesting enough to pay attention to.
Omamori Himari is in most ways a fairly stereotypical magical harem anime. Lead male with unknown supernatural importance? Check. Array of busty females who concern themselves with him for no explained reason? Check. Supernatural enemies? Check. Flat-chested childhood friend who gets very jealous when other women show up? Check. Generic tragic past that conveniently rids Lead Male of parents? Check. Even the plot of the first episode if very formulaic.
So why am I talking about it? One reason: Himari. Himari is the first of the supernatural harem girls to be introduced, and she's hilarious in action. She's got attitude and writing that far outstrip everything in the show, even the cheesy-but-funny naked sexuality she displays towards the Lead Male at every opportunity, including literally crawling into his bed. She's charged with protecting Lead Male, and is doing her level best to be as close to him as his own clothing. Closer, if other people stop interrupting.
But all of that is still fairly formulaic. The thing that brings home the bacon here is Ami Koshimizu. She was the Japanese voice of Holo in the Spice and Wolf anime series, and she brings the same voice and attitude to Himari. With anyone else, it would probably fall as flat as the thunder childhood friend.
I'll probably watch it, but only as a guilty pleasure, and only if it doesn't turn truly bad.
So there are my thoughts on the first round of shows. There may or may not be a second round, depending on it I can find the time to do it and if there's stuff to talk about.
Oh yeah, rant image. I adopted a cat last month. His name is Burn and he completely fails to be camouflaged against my white couch. That is all.