March Anime Roundup

Current season:

Finally finished  Higurashi no Naku Koro ni Gou,  which has seemingly been dragging on forever. Readers will recognise the series as a reboot of the 2006 broadcast Higurashi no Naku Koro ni (When they Cry). There is an extra twist to this new iteration but somewhere along the way I lost interest in the show as it just dragged on and on and was really  irritating at times. The artwork is poor overall, and some of those characters just make me cringe. Just to make things worse there is a 3rd season in the offing  but the chances are I will give this a miss as I do not need that sort of  irritation in my life. I rated it a 4 although MAL rates it 7.16. Why? I do not know. 

Urasekai Picnic (Otherside Picnic) also ended this Monday and I will be frank and say I really expected much more from this but was disappointed.  The “Otherside” was somewhat of a jumbled place and that was understandable, but I felt that the series did not have the feel of menace or dread that I would have expected from a place outside of the normal. The main characters (Sorao and Toriko ) were not too awful, although the former was really a grumpy-kun that must have gotten out of bed on the wrong side. Artwork was OK, and music not memorable and I rated it a 7, while MAL rates it 6.59. I really think that this was a lost opportunity that could have been so much better but which turned out to be mediocre. 

New watches from the current season:

Wonder Egg Priority: I started to watch it after the hype started to surface and I am left in two minds about what I am seeing. The story revolves primarily around Ooto, Ai, a shut-in that stopped going to school after being bullied and her best friend committed suicide. She joins 3 other girls Aonuma, NeiruKawai, Rika, and Sawaki, Momoe, each of which are literally fighting off things that want to kill them. Each has faced a suicide in their circle and each is literally battling their own demons.

It is beautifully made with stunning backgrounds and artwork, but part of the story leaves me uneasy. Suicide is a contentious subject and while it does not glorify it there is no real satisfactory conclusion to each individual that gets “protected”.  Episode 4 particularly squicked me as it seemingly brushes off the suicide of boys. I suspect that this show may still hold a big surprise at the end, or it may just be a one season wonder. I am rating it an 8 at the moment but that may change. Incidentally, out of the 4 girls only Momoe seems to be “normal”. It appears as if I am correct about there being a twist as it has just happened in the last episode that I watched. Given how few episodes are left I think the story will be rushed at the end. I could however be wrong.

Rewatches from previous seasons.

Scissors Seven (Cike Wu Liuqi) is an ONA (original net animation) that I first spotted on Netflix awhile ago. It aired from April  2018 to June 2018 and was an absolute blast. It features the amnesic barber/assassin “Seven” and his sidekick Dai Bo (a blue chicken) and Da Fei (a small chicken) as they live on Chicken Island, seemingly trying to make ends meet as hired assassins. Seven has a past that he is unable to remember but which seemingly seems to kick in when he is in danger. Animation is hand drawn and really works well in the series and it has some surprisingly good ending themes and the odd musical interlude. Characters are often really odd (Pentagon Face, Cola, Captain Jack, Thirteen, Meow, Mad Bark,  Chairman Jiang and a few others) and each pops in and out of the season as it progresses. It can be quite convoluted at times but is thoroughly enjoyable and I have now watched it twice, rating it a 9.

There is a second season called Wu Liuqi Zhi Zui Qiang Fa Xing Shi which is equally funny although it starts to get quite dark towards the end and that I also rate at a 9. A third season has just aired but has not been released on Netflix yet. I watched the Mandarin version with English subs and it works very well, or at least I preferred it to the English dubbed version. 

Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuuutsu  (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya). Love her or hate her, Haruhi and the members of the SOS Brigade provided many hours of entertainment. I watched  the first season in 2008, which was not too long after it came out in April – July 2006….. and it was hilarious, especially the “movie” that they made (The Adventures of Mikuru Asahina Episode 00). Unfortunately the 2nd season was more of a disaster, comprising mostly of 8 identical episodes (collectively known as the “Endless Eight”). One thing you cannot fault the series on was visual quality, and of course 2 very catchy OPs and EDs. Haruhi is right up there in the Tsundere list (although it is argued that she is not Tsundere) and of course she is right up there in the irritation lists. You do not want her in your life! (trust me on this one). I have probably watched Melancholy at least 4 times, and the last time was before 2013. Now looking back at it after so many years it is still very watchable and enjoyable and there were so many laughs to be had. It is hard to describe the show, but the premise is that Haruhi is not interested in meeting “normal people” and she forms the SOS Brigade to search out “Aliens, Time Travelers and Espers”, although she is totally unaware of what she would do if she actually knew any.   At the time I rated it a 10 although it has dropped down in the MAL ratings to 7.87

(l-r) Haruhui Suzumiya, Yuki Nagato and Mikuru Asahina

A full length movie was also made, known as The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, and it aired in 2010. It was an amazing movie, and ties in with so many other elements from the anime. It rates  8.65 at MAL and it really deserves it. I have it queued for a rewatch myself. 

Nijiiro Days (Rainbow Days) fits into the Comedy, Romance, School, Shoujo, Slice of Life genres and aired  from Jan – June 2016 and I watched it after following a recommendation. My immediate irritation was the episode lengths (13 minutes of which 3 are OP and ED), but the series does have 24 episodes to make up for it.

The story centers around 4 high school boys (for a change) and focuses primarily on Natsuki) who accidentally meets another girl dressed as Santa Claus who is dishing out tissues on Christmas Eve. He is in dire need of those as he has been dumped by his current GF. He is smitten by Anna and I can see why. She is a very understated typical female anime girl, and is quite attractive (very well drawn too) although suffers from a low self esteem by the looks of it. The other 3 boys all have their love interests too, and these are expanded for each as the series goes on. It turned out to be an enjoyable watch and not quite the usual rom-com. The one jarring element was one of the characters who was a sadist and who carried a whip around with him. I do feel that this was not the sort of  trait that needed raising in a rom-com, and it would have been much better had this plot device not been used. The series ended at the perfect point and a 2nd season would have been very desirable, but apparently the manga ends at the same point.  I rated it a 7 and MAL rates it 7.33.

Shiki aired from July – December 2010 and is probably one of the best vampire/ghoul/corpse demon/horror anime that I have ever seen. In short a family of vampires moves into a small isolated village and people start to die at an alarming rate. All that stands between them and total annihilation is Doctor Toshio Ozaki. It is an amazing watch that really keeps on springing new surprises on the unwary viewer. The OP and ED’s are excellent and overall the story works very well. The only complaint I have about it is the character artwork. I suspect they tried to do something different with the characters look and it did not work! Suffice to say this is an anime crying for a remake. I rated it a 10 at the time when I watched it in 2010, MAL rates it 7.79. 

The girl in the image above is  Sunako and she is the indirect cause of all the misery, however she is a very tragic figure, especially as the anime reaches a conclusion. 

Kanon 2006 and Kanon 2002 are both based on a visual novel by Key and 2006 was animated by Kyoto Animation. It was an amazing watch the first time around (and the 2nd, 3rd, 4th etc) and I picked it up once again this past week.

However, I had never seen the 2002 version so pulled that up for a watch first. 2006 has 24 episodes compared to the 13 for 2002. The 2006 artwork is wonderful and so are the OPs and EDs, but the same cannot be said about 2002. The story revolves around  Aizawa, Yuuichi and his encounters with 5 girls around his age (Mai, Nayuki, Ayu, Makoto and Shiori). He previously lived in the city where he has just moved to but seemingly has no recollection of his life there 7 years ago (amazingly bad memory he has too). It is one of those anime that needs you to suspend normal rules of life and keep an open mind. 2006 is probably the better of the two, but I will reserve judgment until I have completed 2002. 

Uguu!!!

Having just completed 2002 I really enjoyed it. I felt that it flowed much better than I expected and there was less “fluff” in it, although the character design was awful. Storywise both anime are similar although 2006 does develop the characters more than 2002. My biggest gripe though is the ending of both. *Spoiler alert.* Personally I still feel that Yuuichi “got” the wrong girl. Nayuki  really gets the short end of the stick and I have always felt that the miraculous re-awakening of Ayu should not have happened and Yuuichi should have come away with Nayuki instead.d.  But, it is a great story and thoroughly watchable. I did skip through the OP and ED because frankly IMHO they were not good at all. I rated 2002 an 8 and MAL rates it 7.11. To me it fall short of a 9 due to the characters  design and the music.

That pretty much wraps things up for this month. At the end of March we will be seeing the last episodes of most of my season watches, but I will deal with them in April. 

DRW 2021. Created 10-22/03/2021. All opinions are my own.  

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