Anime Winter Season 2013 Recommendations – Love Live!

I know, I know, I know. Anyone who has read about Love Live! pretty much say the same thing, it’s a shallow show about a bunch of girls who becomes idols to save their school…lame. I went in thinking the same thing and I was wrong, sort of. The shows premise is pretty much as I’ve described it. Honoka is you average second year high school girl (aren’t they all?) who goes about her daily life with her friends untill they hear the terrible news about their school closing down due to the low number of new applicants. While this actually doesn’t effect her in the slightest because all the current attendants will be allowed to graduate, she still feels a need to save school. To do this she investigates various ways to increase the number of applicants until she stumbles upon one method that seems to be a tie breaker from many young girls namely, the concept of School Idols. Now so far I know it sounds very bland and generic and….it is, however while the premise might sound bland and boring the execution of it is very well done.

Each character while in no way unique are still memorable and will give you a laugh or two the story seems to have a feel-good-underdog-rise to-the-top-feel of it and probably won’t offer much in the way of conflict except the occasional diet until you pass out and generic girl insecurity issues… oh and parents who want you to take over there rocket selling business or something.

Where the show really shines though is in it’s animation, being a show about idols there will be a lot of dancing and while you can clearly see that the dance animation was made in a 3rd party animation program it is still the smooth transition from static animation to  dance. The songs they “create” are your typical j-pop idol music, catchy and on occasion memorable in combination with good choreography.

As for characters…there are going to be a lot of them as they need one character to cover every aspect of a live concert so costume, music,director and so on. One thing the show aims to do is to show how hard it is being an idol with everything from multitasking of being able to smile and nail every move to music creation to (I hope) dealing with crazy otaku fans this is where the show breaks out from its premise and shows some much needed heart.

This show is clearly trying to get a piece of K-on cake but completely misses the point, heck some of the characters are almost rip-offs of K-on character i.e the black haired, up tight, sort of leader of the band ,who writes lyrics she is embarrassed over. When making this show they must have thought that, “Hey, if we take the same concept, but idols instead and thus increase the number of moé girls we can have more people will watch!”. While that is true to some extent I probably would’ve enjoyed a more focused show.

I know it seems like I’ve done nothing but excrete faecal matter all over the show but it holds a lot of potential and if nothing else it’s one of those shows that you watch because the animation is so damn good. I recommend this show to anyone who has the time for it or simple like the idol concept.

P.S If anyone understands the reason behind having pinkish knees on all the girls feel free to leave a comment.



Anime Winter Season 2013 Recommendations – Kotoura-san

So couple of weeks back the 2013 winter season for animé started, as always there are loads of new shows starting and it’s really hard to keep up and know which one you should commit to watching because so many lack potential in their opening episode and end up being great with the later episodes. Well have no fear! For I am here to shepherd you through the new animé jungle.

I figure I’ll start off by recommending the animé that I think has shown most promise of being truly worth while watching this season namely Kotoura-san. There are currently 2 episodes out of this show and I will spoil a little bit of the show’s premise for you but if you do not want spoilers, the gist of what I will say is that it’s good, I mean really good, go watch it…NOW!

Kotoura is you everyday high-school girl except for one thing…She’s a mind-reader, she has had this ability from the day she was born and unfortunately has no way to control it and anyone in her presence will have their mind read and she will respond to what they are thinking  as if they said it out loud, this in turn leads her being alienated and bullied at her school and home (if you’ve seen animé before you know Japanese kids can be really cruel). She eventually transfers to a new school and isn’t much happier for it since she’s expecting the same treatment, and she is right until she meets Manabe-san who not only welcomes her ability but has fun with it and show goes on from there.

Now what the show does really well is that it pulls on your heart strings from episode one showing Kotoura coping with her day-to-day life but manages to take the edge off in a smooth transition to physical humour like with Kotoura bumping into a wall because she was distracted by Manabe’s sexy fantasy about her. Another thing the show does well is that the characters are well thought through and work well with their respective counter-parts, Manabe’s good guy idiot thing works well with Kotoura intial doom and gloom attitude and other characters serve their purpose without overstepping boundaries and the fact that I don’t hate Manabe after 2 episode is a huge plus, because guys in animé, especially of this type of animé tend to suck…I mean worse than a rocket in space that had the airlock blown off it.

As far as the animation goes, it’s ok, this show seems to have the budget of a regular 12-24 episode animé and doesn’t stand out. The art style does a good job of having this type of make everything look cute, but then sad when sad stuff happens thing. What did catch my eye though was the character design, when you see Kotoura she has a certain s cuteness that makes you care about her, with her short red-orange hair, short stature and not over sexifying her makes you really care about the character and not just the portrait of her and Manabe isn’t your average bowl-cut/20 tons of hair-gel douche he has a somewhat unique look and as a character is likeable.  The fan-service in this show is perfect, I know some people are against fan-service at all, but I kinda like it, in small doses. Mainly these appear when Kotoura reads Manabes mind, Manabe knowing this thinks of perverse stuff involving her  to make her freak-out, but it’s not overly done as of yet, she has yet to have ice-cream knocked over her making it look like…..yeah.

All in all Kotoura-san is a show plays on your emotions by an elegant mix of humour and some really deep dark sad stuff, while there are a lot of clichés it does them in a that makes you feel they are new. The animation is decent and there aren’t major flaws but nothing to really hang your hat on, the overall art style is cute but not overly glossy.   If you commit to seeing one show this Winter Season 2013 Kotoura-san is definitely a strong pick.