Archive for October, 2008

Toradora!: Episode 1 Report

Astute followers of this particular corner of the information superhighway (all two of you) will probably remember that, some time ago, I read the first (translated) volume of Toradora! and issued a report on my findings, namely, that Toradora! was, in a bizarre and shocking development, deserving of its own popularity!

Of course, the light novel being good is one thing; whether or not the anime adaptation will be good is another matter entirely. I was able to check out the raw version of the first episode earlier today, and was suitably impressed by it. I hadn’t actually given much thought as to how they’d adapt Toradora! for the small screen, but I can say that they did it amazingly well. This may, of course, simply be first-episode budget-blowing audience-catching aftereffect, but I’m happy, and that’s what matters.

What got me (and, apparently, everyone else) is that Kugimiya Rie is, rather than resorting to her Shana/Louise/Nagi-esque voice, using one that’s different, thereby deflecting the cries of “TYPECASTING!” that has seemingly plagued the pre-airing discussion somewhat. Even Horie Yui, as Minori, is putting on a different voice than her usual (I knew it was her, yet I still needed some time to make sure it was, in fact, her).

Aside from acting, the episode itself was very well done, in comparison to the novel. I did not, however, read along with the novel in one window and the episode in another and record snide comments on a piece of paper, so my judgement might be a bit flawed. I was satisfied, and, at this pont, that’s all that matters. Fully animated Taiga was appropriately cute in a very Taiga-like way, and, in particular, the slight introduction of her brand of dere (the complete and utter inablity to move or speak when confronted with something involving the object of her affection) mixed with her being, well, Taiga, was pleasing.

As for how good the series is, in terms of the novel? I’m going to withhold judgement until I’ve seen the lightpost scene animated, which will be the litmus test for the series in that department. WIth Okada Mari as the lead writer crossed with Nagai Tatsuya (who has directed things well which would assist in the matter of the lightpole scene, even if he isn’t a Name To Watch Out For yet), however, I’ve got very few doubts as to whether it will be handled right.

In short:

Minori approves. Taiga, presumably, approves, but she’s too prideful to show it. For now, anyway.

Expect a better, more lengthy, and somewhat more interesting post when the lightpole episode does roll around! Shouldn’t be long now!


Soul Eater: The Midpoint Check!

Here we are, at the closest thing we can get to a midpoint for Soul Eater, and my internal thoughts upon the first half of Soul Eater bear much resemblance to the gnashings and thrashings and occasional screams of abject terror of the newly-released Kishin:

It’s not by Edvard Munch, but it will have to suffice. Unbearable agony of being indeed.

It’s not a clear-cut matter of “Soul Eater is awesome” or “Soul Eater is terrible” (this kind of polarized debate seems to be reserved for certain other series at the moment). It’s not even a matter of “I love Soul Eater” or “I hate Soul Eater”. In a psuedo-Zen statement (that, quite possibly, is entirely fabricated by my own self-defeating brain), Soul Eater just is.

On an episode-by=episode basis, Soul Eater has, very rarely, pulled out an actually bad, or at least unentertaining, episode–and, yes, I did not skip the two Excalibur episodes, since they were hilarious if only to see Takehito Koyasu have entirely too much fun being as annoying as he possibly can be (his glee is almost tangible, I think). In fact, there have been some downright amazing episodes, both for their sheer comic value and for their sheer dramatic value. And the overall thematic structure of the series remains intact and present throughout the series

And, yet, somehow, through some mysterious force of nature as yet unbeknownst to me, when I sit back at episode 24 and look back at the past half-year, the continuing sequence of episodes of consistently good quality is somehow less than the sum of its parts. Indeed, one of the first thoughts to cross my mind upon finishing 24 was “Why didn’t this happen ten episodes ago?” since, given the amount of actual plot we’ve seemed to have, that would be a much better place for it.

I chalk this up to the almost inconsistent nature of Soul Eater itself. Somewhere in the delicate balance between being comedic and being dramatic, Soul Eater has the ability to excel at both, but also seems to be incapable of working the two into a synesthetic whole. As far as entertainment value goes, it’s a great series–but, possibly, my desire for “something more” from the BONES 10th Anniversary Series is being left wanting. My latent inability to truly “get” shounen series on a general level (as opposed to a case-by-case level, which is where I operate) is also probably manifesting itself as well.

Negativity aside, episode-by-episode, I am still entertained by Soul Eater, which is exactly what it, as televised entertainment, wants to do to me, so I can’t really fault it for that. And this latest sequence of events–the battles underground to prevent the awakening of the Kishin–are much, much closer to what I was expecting when I started the series. The comedy/drama balance in recent episodes, too, has been much better. As things for Our Intrepid Heroes look down, Soul Eater as a series is looking up. I may be wavering and faulting now, but if the series keeps itself roughly along the same lines as it has been the past six or so episodes, then it’s highly likely that I’ll simply have to dismiss the above as a simple case of “slow start.”


I cannot understand those that take anime seriously, but I can love them, and I do. Out of my love I warn them to keep clear of this blog.

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